The Cherry Blossoms in High Park

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On Wednesday I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: that is to make it over to High Park to see the Cherry Blossom Trees while they’re in flower.

The oldest of these trees have been in the park for 56 years after 2000 saplings were given to Toronto as a gift from the citizens of Tokyo in 1959, in appreciation for our support of the Japanese-Canadian refugees after the second world war.

Cherry Blossom Trees, also known as Sakura Trees, are native to Japan, where they are the national flower. Their fruit is inedible by humans but birds and small mammals eat it. For people, their main appeal is the very brief period of flowering that lasts about a week.

This year I kept an eye on a website dedicated to these trees, here, where they track the status of the blooming. They said that Wednesday would be a peek day to go, so I took the half hour ride on the street-car and subway and got myself there.

Not only are these trees a gift that keeps on giving, they are also a gift within a gift, as the park they grow in was also a gift to the city.

High Park is the largest public park that is located completely within Toronto. It is about 400 acres, and opened in 1876 after having been given to the city by a man called John George Howard and his wife. The conditions of the gift were that the couple could continue to live in their home that was situated on the land, that no alcohol ever be served in the park, and that the land be used for the enjoyment of the people of Toronto forever.

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Now, I’ve been a little sneaky with these pictures, making it look like I could have been alone in my enjoyment of the beautiful blossoms. But I was by no means alone. It was packed! I’ve never seen so many cameras snapping away in one place before. The following shots show a more realistic view of what the areas near the various groves of Cherry Blossom trees looked like.

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The flowers were still intact over the weekend, so I can just imagine how busy the park was then. The Cherry Blossom Trees in High Park are popular indeed.

A lady and I exchanged picture taking near a small stand of Forsythia bushes. What better top to wear than this vintage one, printed with spring flowers? It actually has what appear to be cherry blossoms on it. (I got it during the shopping trip I wrote about here.)

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One third of the land of High Park remains in its natural state, so after I’d seen the special trees, I veered off the beaten track and ventured into the wilder areas of the park. There are too many pictures to cram everything into one post so I’ll be back with another post to show you the more rugged areas.

Thanks very much for dropping over.
xo Lou

Posted in Plants and Garden, Streets of Toronto | 6 Comments

Drugstore Beauty Department Haul

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Hi! I’ve recently gotten some new makeup and skin care items at the drugstore. The store I go to is Shoppers Drug Mark and I used their excellent points program to get this stuff, so basically it was all free.

As I’ve mentioned before, we have a Shoppers close to home and go there regularly for everyday household and grocery items, and every time we go we receive points, oftentimes in multiples with special promotions. I like to save those points to use for fun things, many of which I have an urge to try out but that I might not pick up if I were paying cash.

Last time I did one of these posts (here) there wasn’t a single colourful thing in the whole lot. I made up for that this time, getting some great makeup items in springy-summery hues, and some nail polishes.

Let’s start with the make-up:

Although it wasn’t my intention, I happened to pick up products that really make getting ready a quick process — like, we’re talking 3 to 5 minutes and I’m out the door. While I enjoy taking my time and putting on make-up with brushes and belnders when I’m going some place special, when I’m just dashing out for a short trip, I want to just put on a little something to look polished. I used to run out with no makeup on at all, but our neighbourhood has changed so much lately, and there are now good looking, well put together people all over the place. I often run into someone I know on the streets, and you know, call me vain, but I like to have a bit of makeup on when I do.

That’s where these first three products come in handy.

Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick :

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One of my very first makeup items when I was a teen was a cream blush stick. I haven’t seen one on the shelves in ages, so when I spotted this lovely pink one by Maybelline, I put it in my basket. It has the added benefit of having a bit of a highlighting sheen to it, which is very subtle and quite pretty. And it’s so quick to apply. I’ve also dabbed some onto my eyelids and it makes a nice shadow. I really like this stuff!

Covergirl Eye shadow Pencil in Flamed Out :

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I love those chubby coloured eyeliner pencils (like here one by Rimmel, that I posted about previously). They are so easy to use. This time I thought I’d go for a shadow (rather than a liner) in a pencil form, and chose a gunmetal gray colour, with a bit of sparkle. It’s on the hard side and takes a few swipes to warm up and apply, but it is buildable and does a nice job. I’ve been using it to shade the outside corner of my eye.

Maybelline Brow Precise Pencil :

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In my last haul post (here), I mentioned getting the Maybelline Brow Drama Eye Gel, that is sort of like mascara for your eyebrows. I found that, while it is a nice product, someone with fine brows like myself, needs to fill in first. So I picked up the matching pencil to go with the gel.

I hope they continue making this product, because it is really good. It’s a soft waxy pencil that really responds to the level of pressure you use to apply it, therefore allowing you to get a nice natural look. It is also the perfect colour. I’ve found in the past that many dark brown eyebrow pencils are actually pretty reddish, but this one is a nice pure brown. I also love the spooly brush on the end. This product also has excellent staying power.

Maybelling Color Sensational Lipcolor in Peachy Scene #525 :

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I’ve made a pact with myself that I will not be getting any new lipsticks until I use up some of the ones I already have. I didn’t realize how many I had until I organized them all together. It should be noted that this pact was made after I picked up this gorgeous lipstick though. It’s a sheer peachy colour with a nice amount of sheen. I’ve worn it a lot already.

Nail polishes – Two by Revlon (Impulsive #240, the purple one, and Pure Pearl #020, the white one), one by L’Oreal (Butterfly Kisses #380, the pink one) and one by Sally Hansen (Please Sea Me # 530, the blue one) :

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I enjoy doing my nails, but hate the smell of many nail polishes, not only when applying them, but long after they’re on. Some brands smell for a good 24 hours. But I have found that the Revlon polishes don’t have as strong an odor, so I got two of those.

I’ve worn the purple one already and love the colour. Purple is a favourite colour of mine in general, but this particular shade of purple is the best. I used it with a base and top coat (Rimmel) and it lasted a whole week without a chip too.

As for the Sally Hansen “Complete Salon Manicure” one, when I went to pay the sales assistant offered me a free bottle from a box of assorted nail polishes she had behind the counter, and that’s the one I picked out. I have to say that Sally Hansen polishes are in the ‘smells bad’ category for me, but I’ve not tried this new formulation, so it might be better.

Next are the repeat purchases :

Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, Vitamin D and Peppermint :

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I know I’m not alone in my love of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, so this product probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. One might say that I’m a bit addicted to the Vitamin D and Peppermint one and have 5 of them on the go at any given time (bedside table, bathroom cabinet, work station, cabinet near the kitchen/living room, and purse.) It’s great stuff!

Olay Complete Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin with SPF of 30 :

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I have been using this product for years and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Nick also uses it now too.

It’s oil-free formulation, especially geared towards sensitive skin, is perfect for protecting my face, neck and any exposed chest area, from the sun. It’s a bit more expensive than regular sunscreens, so we save this one to use on those areas, and apply something else to our arms and legs, which aren’t sensitive.

Being a 30 spf, it’s good for the daily jaunts in and out of the sun, but I use something stronger when I’m out for extended periods or if I’m at the beach.

I also always have a hat with me, not because I’m paranoid about sun exposure, but because I have a skin issue that requires regular check-ups by a dermatologist. I’ve had it for all of my adult life (and probably, unknowingly, as a child), and I guess in the long run being forced to stay protected from the sun has, and will continue to have, it’s benefits. But I have to say that I often feel a bit dorky wearing a hat all the time, regardless of how cute it might be, and certainly wish I had the kind of skin that could stand a bit more sun, because it feels so darn good being out in it.

On that note, I was out in a park yesterday, looking at some cherry trees in full bloom (that come with an interesting story that I’ll be writing about next week). It was really sunny out, and I got parasol-envy for the nice umbrellas some Asian ladies were carrying. I noted one in particular that had a non-permeable lining, made especially to keep the sun off. I’m going to look for one of those!

So that sums up this Drugstore Beauty Department Haul post. Thanks for checking it out.

I hope you have a great weekend and a happy Mother’s Day if it’s something you celebrate.

Nick and I have an interesting concert to go to. It’s not the kind of music we tend to listen to but we were offered tickets, so agreed to an adventure. I’ll tell you all about it later.
xo Lou

Posted in Drugstore Beauty Department Haul | 5 Comments