Wednesday, July 31, 2013

L'oreal GIVEAWAY!


I'm so excited to be bringing this giveaway to you today!





 L'oreal is one of my favourite drugstore brands, and can always be counted on for a good mascara (their Double Extend was a staple for me for years). I have used many of their eye shadows with great results and after trying out a ton of different gel liners from many different brands, I stumbled across this one several months ago and have been using it ever since...it's awesome. 

I love that it comes with it's own liner brush, and it's a good one too.



It's easy to draw a thick or thin line, and it has great staying power, lasting all day without smudging all over the place.


These photos were taken back when I first got the liner...look at that line..perfect, and it lasts!


The Voluminous Original has been around forever...and why do you think that is? Because it works...simple as that. It gives you lovely big lashes (of which I do not have naturally), is easy to build up (i.e. you don't get clumping with multiple coats) and you don't have to pay a fortune for it even though it works just as well as many of the high end brands.



I only put it on the lashes of my right eye (your left). This is just two coats with absolutely no other make up around it and no curling of the lashes....I would say that's pretty voluminous. ;)



Now for the giveaway! :)

L'oreal was kind enough to send me these products to share with my readers after seeing me rave about them on Twitter (thank you!).


Included is the Voluminous mascara in Black and the Infallible gel eyeliner in Blackest Black. I even have an extra gel liner to give away to the runner up!

Entering is very easy and there are two ways you can do it, if you do both than you get two entries.

1. Leave a comment on this page telling me which mascara and/or gel liner is your favourite and why.

2. Like the Random Thoughts Facebook page and share it with you friends on Facebook (don't forget to leave a comment on the page telling me you have done so!). You can find the page here.

And if you want to get a third entry in you can pin this post to Pinterest (let me know in the comments below that you have).

The winners will be drawn one week from today (Aug 7th)

Good luck! :)



Monday, July 29, 2013

Motivation Monday

This is the background on my phone right now and it is an excellent reminder every time I look at it to give what I love 110 percent. 


It's amazing how seeing just a few words like that can change my attitude in a second. In my mind I think "that's right! what's the point otherwise?". It gives me that push to try just a little harder, put a little more of myself out there, and let the doubt go. I hope it does the same for you.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pinspiration Friday!

Today's Pinspired post was a dessert bar that had been dubbed Billionaire Bars, I think because they are rich. They would go well with a nice hot cup of coffee to balance the sweet.

 Most, if not all of what is required you will probably already have in your kitchen pantry which makes it pretty straight forward.


Here's what you'll need:

Base:
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 and 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of unsalted butter

Filling:
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 white chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F, line a 9 x 13 inch pan with aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and give it a spray with Pam. Then you can get started making your base.

In a large bowl mix both the sugars, salt and the flour together. 


Microwave the butter for one minute, then pour the melted butter into the dry ingredients..


And mix until everything is just starting to hold together.


Spread it out into your pan, flattening it out with your hand and poking holes with a fork.


Slide the crust into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

This is a perfect time to grab the kiddies and a book and jump into bed for a giggly read. :)


Once the base is done and cooling you can start on the filling.

Put everything but the vanilla into a heavy sauce pan and begin to cook it on a low heat. You will have to stir the whole time and it takes about 20 minutes in total.



The filling will be quite a bit thicker at the end.


Mix the vanilla into the filling and then pour the filling onto the base and let cool completely (I put it in the fridge) before you add the topping.


This pic is a bit dark...sorry about that.


The original recipe said to melt the chocolate separately in a double boiler but...




I used the microwave...one minute..stir, another 30 seconds..perfect.



Drag a butter knife gently back and forth (you'll have to spread into the sides a little too).


Put it back in the fridge to set and then enjoy:



Overall they are a bit sweet for me, but as I stated before I think would go well with coffee, it would be a perfect balance of sweet and strong.

 Don't forget to let them warm up a bit before cutting...if the chocolate on top is too cold it will crack.

Happy Friday!


Original recipe here.



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Yard work

Today is day three in a row of serious yard work. It all started with a few photos posted to Facebook of a friends beautiful garden...and that was just the push I needed. Things were starting to get pretty overgrown around here and of course the longer you put things off the bigger the job gets which makes it all the more daunting. Getting started is always the hardest part, but once you do things just seem to roll along.

Our property is a fairly good size at just over two acres so there is always something to be done, and just like with housework it seems like the more you do the more there is to do. You know when you're tidying your bedroom for example and it turns into a total closet overhaul, or you're dusting your bookshelf and a little rearranging turns into changing everything from top to bottom or cleaning your kitchen turns into pulling everything out of the drawers to give everything a really good wipe down? That's what this yard work project has turned into and I've just been hopping around the yard from one place to the next, weeding, trimming, planting, hauling, sweeping, raking and clearing my way through it.

I can't even tell you how many of these wheelbarrow (yes there is a wheelbarrow under there) loads of weeds I've taken out....I really can't...I've lost count. 


This is so gratifying though...makes it all worth while.


The local nursery has some good sales on right now for both annuals and perennials so I packed the kiddies up for a short trip down the road and took advantage.

By the time we left I had picked up several geraniums, bee balm, two beautiful award winning hybrid coneflowers and lots of crocosmia (lucifer - a personal favourite). I think for the most part my choices are relatively deer resistant (fingers crossed!). My thumb has never been particularly green but my mother is a die hard gardener and I think some plant knowledge must have sunk in through osmosis.



I've only taken photos of a small amount of what I've done (lest you think it's taken me three days to do two little areas), and there is still much more yet to do so will try to take more photos as I go.

I envision my yard looking like this when I'm done (I've always believed in dreaming big).



Well, I've cooled down sufficiently in the glorious air conditioned house and consumed multiple glasses of water so I think it's time to head back outside.......the yard isn't going to weed itself....







Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A feathered addition

If you've been following my blog for any length of time than you may remember my post about going to a bird auction in search of finches, canaries and the like. If you don't than you can read it here. That post was written at the end of April and I've been keeping my eye out for cages and birds ever since. Well, the stars seemed to line up over the weekend as a brand new ad popped up for bird cages just before I was heading into the neighbouring town and I got a great deal on three canary/finch cages. They were in near brand new condition and very clean. The woman selling them was moving and it just worked out perfectly. I've also been keeping my eye on some Star finches that went on sale at our local pet store at the exact same time and this little guy came to join us:


I am so pleased with my selection. He has the most amazing song and just sings his little heart out all day long. He is set up in a window (out of direct sunlight of course) and I think he's really enjoying being able to see outside. He seems very happy where he's at, enthusiastically bathing in the dish provided and eating his morning greens with great relish (spinach seems to be a favourite). 

I had been hoping to get a pair but the pet store only had two males, and although I did find a female at a different pet store she didn't appear to be in great shape so I didn't want to risk bringing her home to my happy fellow. I'm continuing to search so if you know anyone with Star finches I would love to hear from them. I'm also still on the lookout for Gloster canaries (picture in above linked post), so the same thing goes for them.

There are so many beautiful finches out there I can see how keeping them could be quite addicting.....

One more thing...just one more "like" on the Facebook page to reach 200....sure would appreciate it. :)
Click here.



Friday, July 19, 2013

Pinspiration Friday

TGIF my friends! I'm looking forward to having Chris home and my parents are coming by for a visit this weekend too...can't wait!

Today's Pinspired project? A DIY Sea Salt Spray for your hair. You know when you go to the beach and swim in the ocean and then let your hair air dry and end up with those great beachy waves? Well that is what this spray will do for you. I'm impressed...and it was very basic/easy to do.


All you need to make the spray is 2 cups of hot water:

2Tbsps of Sea Salt
2tsps of coconut oil
2tsps of hair gel (I had a sample of some Paul Mitchell gel from my last appt and it had exactly 2 tsps in it!)


The original post called for warm water and to mix everything together by shaking it is the bottle but I chose to change that up a little. Sea salt is large and takes a bit to dissolve so I put the water in a kettle and let it get almost to the boiling point and then mixed everything together in a glass measuring cup. The little spout on the cup makes it very easy to pour into the spray bottle (make sure it cools down first!).


Once the mixture is in the bottle you're good to go!


Start spraying your hair. You will need to be quite liberal with the spray...make sure your hair is almost wet. Flip your head over and spray underneath too!


Then just let it air dry in the sun. My hair doesn't hold curl all that well but this actually worked a lot better than I expected. I love the results and would definitely do it again.



Sorry about the super squinty face, the sun was very bright but I wanted to show you the hair in great detail. :)



Hope you enjoyed the post! If there is anything else on Pinterest you've been wondering about be sure to let me know and I'll try it out.

 Have a great weekend!






Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Plan update and some beauty products I've been loving

One of my biggest issues with eating healthy is that when I go off the rails I tend to go off pretty hard. Occasionally I can pull off one "cheat" day but usually it turns into a week and a half/two weeks before I rein myself in and tentatively step on the scale with my face scrunched up and one eye barely open to see what the dreaded number will be. I have a salt/sugar addiction like most of the population and it's so easy to talk myself into saying...whatever...I've been good for so long that I deserve this. The thing is though, when I eat following The Plan guidelines I don't feel like I'm really missing out. I feel tight, fit, healthy and energized and my face is clear as anything...not a blemish to be seen (one thing I have really found is that if I eat anything with fake cheese...doritos and the like..I break out immediately and very badly). I think it's mostly in my head, this feeling like I'm missing out on all things yummy. It really is junk food and my body practically screams noooooo when I indulge....bloated and puffy, tired and grumpy.
This bad run lasted a week and a half and I gained seven pounds in that time. The good part is that when you get back on The Plan the weight literally falls off. I lost five pounds the first day and two pounds the next which puts me right back at my original thirteen pounds lost. In two days I've gotten back on track and am ready to work on the 547lbs I have left to lose. Kidding... ;) I'm so pleased with the results, my face is well on it's way to clearing back up again and the most important thing...I feel so much better.

Eating like this is delicious..


And it's not all veggies either..I had rice with my steak last night...with butter on it!

One thing that tested my self control a little was going to the movie theatre yesterday and not having any treats. I ate dinner just before I left which I think helped a lot.

I watched World War Z, talk about a thrill ride! This movie starts at 150mph and doesn't slow down the entire time. Here's the trailer:




Now for a few new beauty products I've really been enjoying. I have been wanting a good bronzer brush for awhile and have had to bring a couple that I've purchased back before because they were either poor quality or the bristles were too rough. This is my face and brushes must be gentle, plus hard bristles don't disperse the product well.

I was trying to keep things at a reasonable price too, so sometimes that can be challenging. My search finally ended with this great brush from Ecotools. Super thick, soft bristles with no fallout....perfect! I was a little worried the bristles were too thick and it would end up picking up too much product and I would look like a tanning bed addict but that wasn't the case at all. This is a great brush and cost about $10.


 Another product I have been loving is this leg lotion from Herbacin. A year ago I did a giveaway for their hand lotion which is also wonderful but this leg lotion is new. It's very moisturizing, quick absorbing and has a very nice light scent. It has been a must for my summer legs.


And finally a new face cream. I had never heard of Egyptian Magic before until it came up on a post from The Beauty Department. It contains just six natural ingredients and in the short time I've been using it I have been very impressed. My face feels very hydrated and soft and while you would think putting an oil product on your face would make you just that...oily..that's not the case, it's very fast absorbing. I'm a big fan!



If you try out any of the above products let me know what you think...they are winners for me!



Monday, July 15, 2013

A summer picnic and a trip to see the Parksville sandcastle competition

I'll preface this post with a warning...it's very picture heavy, we had a fun day yesterday. ;)

My plan for Sunday (yesterday) was to have a family picnic. I haven't gone on one in ages and the weather has been so fabulous that it seemed like the perfect sunny summer treat.
First thing? Get a picnic basket. This seems like an easy thing to do but I couldn't find one anywhere if you can believe it. I posted to Facebook asking for help and suggestions and still have a few to follow up on. I even had someone find me one on Kijiji (thanks Judy!) but I have yet to hear back.
We decided we would just pack up a cooler. It is insulated after all and I think would have worked fine. I say would have because just as we were getting ready to pack up and leave I got a text from my sister asking if we would like to meet up with her at Parksville beach for their annual sandcastle competition...why yes we would!
With this quick change of plans we decided that rather than go for a picnic in the park we would picnic in our backyard instead. We have a big backyard with lots of shade and this turned out to be a wonderful idea. It was so peaceful sitting outside in the gentle breeze and enjoying some delicious food.


We had local bratwurst sausage grilled on the BBQ and served in a baguette with whole grain mustard, ketchup and relish. Way better than a hotdog and it makes me hungry just looking at these pictures again.






Spot prawn season just ended and we had these delicious ones sitting in the freezer just waiting to be enjoyed...and enjoyed they were. Cooked in butter and white wine with onions, garlic and scallions they didn't last long, incredibly tasty.



A few of my Mom's homemade dill pickles added a lovely salty crunch.


And for dessert a few chocolate chip cookies.







For drinks we had the leftover lemon sanpellegrino from yesterday's dinner on the deck.



And for one final treat a run over to the cherry tree was in order.



After a bit more running around to work off some of the post lunch sleepies..


We hit the road for the hour and a quarter drive to Parksville.


Along the way we saw many old cars driving around (I'm sure there was a car show going on somewhere). I only managed to get pics of these three but there were a ton of them.


 Once we arrived at the beach we had to stop and watch the kite show. There were quite a few being flown but this one in particular was so cool with it's long tail.



Check out the video...I love when Marshall says "it's wonderful!"...adorable. :)

video

Then it was off to see the sandcastles...


This was "Fallen" and was based on Rapunzel.


I can't remember the name of this one but it was made to look like a hand touching a mirror. This was one of my favourites.


This was "Humpty Dumped Me"


"Billy Goats Gruff"


"Rub A Dub Dub"


"Fishin' Friends"


There were several others I didn't get pictures of. The skill required to design and make these sculptures is just amazing. They are available to view until Aug 18th and you can find more information on the Parksville Beachfest website.

After checking out the competition we hit the beach!


This is a great beach with lots of sand and space.


C + M.....awww.... ;)


My water baby....heading straight in..




It didn't take long until she was right in there...


All in all, a great fun filled day in the sun...