Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted long hair and although I wasn’t allowed to have it (school restrictions), I envied those who did. Fast forward a few decades later… and I have the hair of my dreams! Needless to say I’m pretty obsessed with taking care of it. My hair is bleached blonde with platinum highlights, and it can be tough to maintain the colour AND keep my locks healthy and hydrated.

I feature my hair A LOT on Instagram, and get asked lots of questions about my haircare routine and the steps I take to try and keep it healthy and long. Starting Fall 2017, I tried out a new haircare routine featuring some items from the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Line and I am really loving the results so far!

 

I tried out the  L’Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo, Conditioner, and a 10-in-1 elixir which is a leave-in treatment. Since my hair is pretty dry (all that bleach!), the EverPure Moisture shampoo and conditioner contains rosemary and helps replenish essential moisture and shine to my locks. I love how there are no harsh sulfates, salts or surfactants that can damage my hair.

 

Step 1 of my haircare routine involves using the L’Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner in the shower. I don’t wash my hair everyday – and you shouldn’t either because the extra washes will strip away the natural oils in your scalp (which helps naturally nourish your hair). I wait 2 or 3 days in between washes, and I generally time it after a workout or an intense shopping day (hahaha!). The L’Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo smells like lavender, which is really soothing. TIP: Make sure you take the time to shampoo your hair a second time AND to rinse out all the product from your hair! I always find that the first shampooing round is to lift the dirt and grease off the hair, and the second shampoo helps take away the gunk. This makes conditioning your hair much more effective! For conditioning, I leave the L’Oreal EverPure Moisture Conditioner in my hair for at least 3 minutes as I find this helps my hair soak in the goodness of the conditioner.

After I wash off my conditioner and step out of the shower, I towel dry my hair (DO NOT RUB HAIR BETWEEN TOWEL! Always pat down softly) and follow up with a few good spritz of the L’Oreal EverPure Moisture 10-in-one elixir. This is a skincare inspired super treatment with indian lilac that aims to deliver 10 benefits in 1 (1. Nourish 2. Hydrate 3. Soothe 4. Repair 5. Density 6. Smooth 7. Texture 8. Strength 9. Softness 10. Shine) – basically a spa treatment for your hair!

I then let my hair air dry to allow time for my hair cuticles to close, then when my hair is 50% dry I finish up by blow drying in a medium – low heat setting.

RESULTS

After using the L’Oreal EverPure Moisture line for 2 weeks, I’ve noticed a few subtle but important changes in my hair!

To begin with, my hair is a lot more manageable and soft. This says a lot given that my hair is super dry already. I find that the 10-in-one elixir really helps to smooth out any frizz and detangles my hair so it doesn’t get caught in my brush (and subsequently gets pulled out).

In addition – my bleached blonde hair color is maintained. Everyone who colors their hair knows that the blond tends to oxidize with time, turning into a brassy, orangey color. Despite the L’Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner not being a blonde or purple line, I find that the blonds in my hair are still maintained which is an added bonus – YAY!

So there you have it! I’ll be continuing to use the  L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture line for a longer period of time, and I’ll update any new findings here!

The L’Oreal EverPure Moisture line is the recipient of the “I recommend” award from cosmetics magazine in Canada, and is 100% Sulfate Free, 100% Paraben Free and 100% Vegan. If your hair is like mine – a little dull and dry – give this line a try and let me know what you think!

xoxo,

Kerina

For me, few things are as delicious, relaxing, and satisfying as a set of afternoon tea. Did you know that the term “afternoon tea” was coined by a duchess of England in 1800’s? It is the perfect meal between lunch and dinner, and afternoon tea with the right people at the right place while watching life hustle around you can be the one of the most luxurious feeling ever. I had the opportunity to try the afternoon tea at Le Lobby in The Peninsula Paris, and it was scrumptious!

The set afternoon tea menu at Le Lobby, The Peninsula Paris. Isn’t it super cute that they have afternoon tea menus for kids?!

The afternoon tea set was presented in the most visually appealing way, when it first arrived I was so excited I didn’t know which treat to try first! The bottom tier included the yummiest finger sandwiches and savoury delights, the middle tier 2 mouth watering scones, and the top filled with award winning pastries that are bound to delight your taste buds.

In the bottom tier, one of my favorites is the smoked beef wrap (left). It reminds me of a mix between Chinese fried dough fritters and mustard beef roll, and it’s absolutely DE-LI-CIOUS! I made a remark to one of the servers and they were so happy to know that we enjoyed it so much, they came back 5 minutes later with 3 extra wraps for us! I was shocked at the service and at the reality that I had the luck to enjoy 4 of these yums!

The top tier contains some of the most tasty pastries I have ever tasted in my life. I am an avid lover of anything hazelnut-related, so imagine my happiness when I tried those cookies. A few weeks later and I can still taste it in my mouth!

Le Lobby also provides the most delicious jams and cream to go with scones and pastries. I find that the scones themselves were delicious enough on their own, but if you’re a lover of jam this would be your heaven.

Nonstop picture taking! (The blogger life, hahaha)

If you’re looking for quality, luxurious afternoon tea in Paris, Le Lobby at The Peninsula Paris is definitely the spot to be. Go with your lover, your girlfriends, boyfriends, and kids to enjoy the scrumptious delights. Le Lobby offers both indoor and patio seating, and their decor will blow your minds away. Perfect for photo taking!

 

What are your favorite treats – sweet and savoury? Let me know!

Xo, Kerina

 

For our first stop in my 2017 summer travels, we picked Dubai as our top destination. I’ve always wanted to visit Dubai for numerous reasons: to experience the hotness (I knew it was hot but I wanted to see just HOW HOT it could get, you know?), the tallest building in the world, and the amazing views from so many places.

When we arrived, it was about 10pm and we took a cab from the airport to The Address Dubai Marina Hotel. It was a 30min cab ride about 100AED. During check-in at the hotel, I was amazed by the vast and luxurious lobby, and how nice everyone was. A concierge member, Yang, then showed us our room and how all the electronics and lighting systems are controlled by an iPad in the room (how cool?!) Yang also answered some questions we had and informed us about Ramadan (no eating and drinking in public during fasting hours). On the table was also one of the most extravagant welcome gifts of all:

As if the welcoming gift and luxurious room were not enough, the view when we pulled back the curtains was simply stunning

Night view from our room, overlooking the Dubai Marina harbour. This is the biggest man-made marina in the world! Pretty spectacular if you ask me!

The hotel also has a 45m long outdoor infinity pool, where I took the liberty of walking my new pet.

We woke up the next morning to birds chirping and a beautiful sunrise, so we decided to go to the infinity pool for a swim. At 7am, the pool is nice and empty and the weather is perfect (not too hot!)

Throughout our 2 nights stay at The Address Dubai Marina, the staff took such good care of us. I’ve seriously never felt like royalty before, but that’s how I felt like while staying there. On the second day, we went back into our room to a surprise decoration of their newly wed honeymoon package! There were rose petals everywhere and the bath was filled to the top with bubbles and rose petals. Being photographers, we of course had to take a photo using the perfectly set up bath.

The breakfast at the hotel was also amazing – they have freshly squeezed juices and even “juice shots” with beets, ginger, lemon, and mint to boost your immune system. I cannot recommend them enough.

The Address Dubai Marina Hotel is directly connected to the Marina Mall, which is the biggest mall in the Dubai Marina. The A/C is always turned down super low so be prepared to bring a cardigan with you! We had our first Iftar meal in the mall too, and it was delicious!

If you are heading to Dubai, I would recommend staying at the Address Dubai Marina Hotel – the service is impeccable and the staff is always ready to go above and beyond to make sure your stay is comfortable.

*We were guests at the Address Dubai Marina Hotel – thank you all for this wonderful experience!

Now that May is officially ending soon, nothing says Spring/Summer more than the blooming of cherry blossoms. They represent love and romance, and their short longevity makes them a bucket list sight-seeing item for countless travellers. Luckily I am in Toronto, and when cherry blossoms are available for a few weeks I took my family there!

Baby Lucas’s first outing of the summer :) It was hot that day and he was sweating and not enjoying himself at all haha *typicalbabies*

Closeup of the gorgeous blossoms

My outfit there – I wanted to match the white and pinks of the blossoms, and I wore a crop top from Zara and a pleated skirt from ASOS. My shoes are from Adidas.

Closeup of the gorgeous skirt – it features silky satin accordion pleats that are all the rage Spring Summer 2017! It has the subtlest hue of shimmer to it and is gorgeous when you move. The pleats also stay in place no matter how much I throw it around, which is perfect if you want that effortless look and maintenance.

Found a pink blossom tree near a gorgeous little mansion nearby and had to take a picture with it. If there is one place that’s my favorite for viewing cherry blossoms, it is the Shinjuku gardens in Japan. I even filmed a makeup tutorial inspired by the romantic cherry blossoms – check out my video here!

What’s your favorite location for cherry blossoms viewing?

Hi babes,

Warning, it’s about to get real here.  Like babies, baby heart surgery real. Before you start panicking though, be assured that this story has a happy ending.  For something on the lighter side, please check out Lucas’ super cute Baby Sounds videos!

It’s been 7 months since Lucas came into this world and this has been the hardest 7 months of my life for me, Lucas, and my entire family.  His tiny pint sized body has been through more scars, stabs and tears than anyone I know.  Meanwhile, I’ve kept this as a secret from my “Instagram world’ and even to many of my friends.  Only a few random friends and my parents knew what we were going through, but only the parents knew all the details.  This was too much to share because I was faced with so much uncertainty about my baby’s future, I was never sure what new diagnoses or nightmares would be around the next corner.   There was little space in my mind for fashion, makeup, travel… it felt like our lives were on the ‘pause’ button.

Let me start from the beginning.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was ecstatic.  I had settled into a good career, was planning to buy my first house and had been planning for a few months to have a baby.  My facebook feed was already full of cute chubby little faces and feet.  I couldn’t wait to be a hot mommy!  I said goodbye to sangria and wine, stepped up my healthy diet, exercised when I could and slowly awaited my bun to grow.  The only signs of trouble was a blood test that showed that I had higher than normal of this hormone, followed up by more tests, which confirmed that everything should be normal.  Should.

baby heart blog 1

Obligatory bump pic

Lucas had a normal birth as well.  It was painful but the epidural did its job.  He came out at approx. 3.5 kg and immediately let out cute little “ha ha, ha ha, he he” cries.  He had a cute bump on his head from a suction device that helped pull him out during delivery.  He was jaundiced and had a bit of a heart murmur (a small hole in the heart), but some doctors assured us that jaundice was common and heart murmurs usually heal themselves.  We were so happy go lucky, I was with my husband and thought, “yay! Now I’m a mom!”.  What could go wrong?

baby uv jaundice

UV treatment for jaundice

buddybundle heart failure

Tiny bundle of joy and tears

 

There were two issues with Lucas.

One was his slow weight gain (caused by his liver, which was causing long term Jaundice, a yellowing of his skin and stunting his weight gain), but the other was his difficulty in breathing (caused by his heart, which had 2 “medium to small” sized holes called ASD & VSD).  As first time parents, we had no idea how severe his problems could become.  The doctors kept assuring us that both jaundice and heart holes were common and usually healed over time.  Perhaps we couldn’t believe what was happening or perhaps we were naive, but we really thought our baby boy would be okay.

There was not much we could do but book followup appointments with liver and heart specialists.  After being held in the hospital for 7 days, we were exhausted and eventually sent home.  Little did we know, that this was the easy part.

Blood Tests, Biliatry Atresia, and Liver Biopsy

For the next few months, Lucas was sent for ultrasounds for his liver and heart.  And bloody blood tests, so many blood tests.  When the doctors ruled out potential common causes, they looked for rare causes.  Words like ‘permanent’, ‘cancer’, ‘survival’ and ‘terminal’ slipped into the conversation.  We were looking into diseases and conditions that were 1 in millions.  When we thought the blood tests were enough, we were then sent for a ‘nuclear imaging test’.  When we thought that was the worst of it, Lucas had a needle extract a piece of his liver into a test tube.  The liver extraction was to test for a condition called Biliary Atresia; a horrible thing I would never want any family to go through.  Having Biliary Atresia basically means immediate surgery.  If the surgery goes well, the patient will still likely need a liver transplant in the future.  Survival rate for Biliary Atresia into “adulthood” is good, but the patient will be followed with liver complications and health issues for the rest of his/her life.

I will never forget how the hours turned into eternity as we awaited for Lucas’s liver biopsy results.  My husband and I prayed as we waited in a random hospital room beside an empty baby hospital crib.  Busy nurses and hospital monitor beeps surrounded us.  We are not very religious, yet we still prayed.  We prayed to God and we promised that if Lucas didn’t have Biliary Atresia, we will do everything and anything for him to have a good life.  We asked the doctors what might happen and all they could say were reassuring things but never anything concrete.  My stomach felt like a vacuum and my heart was pounding in my chest.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Then finally, a junior doctor popped in and told us that he “looks good”, he doesn’t think Lucas has Biliary Atresia!  For that moment, we were soooooooooooooo relieved!  Our little buddy all star was wheeled in and we were finally able to put him into the hospital crib.  So he didn’t have this horrible condition, but what now?  What was causing his liver to be bloated and not functioning as it should?  He still had severe jaundice and stunted weight gain.  He was literally “falling off the charts” in terms of weight.  This was the first “high” point in our emotional rollercoaster which was of course followed with a crash down to reality.

We spent the next couple months with more exotic liver tests that amounted to nothing.  Grandparents were panicking.  Everyone was stressed.  Lucas seemed happy, just difficult to put to sleep (we now know that his heart was working so hard that he could never drink a full tummy).  Here comes the next bump.

baby heart failure blood

Only photo we have of our baby having a blood tests, not pleasant

It was breaking our hearts too.

While all the doctors’ minds were on his liver, we never had time to think about his heart.  The heart doctors told us that his heart condition looked “okay” and many babies heal their heart holes at 6 months.  Then one unforgettable morning, after Lucas had been drinking a lot of milk the night before, he suddenly stopped drinking.  He would try to take a bit of milk but then he would just cry and go to sleep.  He stopped drinking for nearly 6 hours and we so decided to take him to the hospital.  This hospital routine was something we were getting used to, no biggie.  Me and my husband calmly watched as multiple doctors and nurses raced and rushed around Lucas, taking in his breathing rate, heart beats and of course, more blood.  They thanked us for being so calm.  Coincidentally, I had been watching Grey’s Anatomy, and though I totally understood what was going on.  In the centre of the chaos was a crying baby Lucas, he screamed loud enough to drown out the hospital.

His blood oxygen level suddenly plunged 50%, he had to have a oxygen mask, the staff had to call for a kids-only major hospital.  An ambulance was ushered and rushed him to the kids hospital, where we were told he officially had “heart failure” (defined as a sudden dangerous drop in blood oxygen levels).

We got to the kids hospital at around 2:00am.  There were the same questions, the same tests, additional tests and x-rays done to Lucas.  He still had barely anything to drink, but he would go on to have 2 more heart failures as we tried to feed him.  Finally, a doctor came to us with some new information.  Lucas has too much liquids in his lungs.  He thinks that his heart holes were leaking fluids into his lungs.  The treatment for this is a medicine called Lasix, which basically forces him to pee so often that his body fluid level is manageable.

We were stuck in-between a terrible situation where A: Lucas must eat more to gain weight, despite his liver not allowing him to break down nutrients.  B: Lucas must not eat too much or else his lungs will fill up with fluids.  It was too much to ask for a poor tiny baby.  It was getting too much for us.  We thought we were the luckiest parents in the world when we found out he did not have Biliary Atresia, and yet this new stress was making us fall apart.  Forget Instagram, I barely could keep up with my own life.  It was hell.

Another day in a hospital

So What Now?

We tried to stay positive and did whatever normal parents stuff we could.  You know, the annoying antics you see people do on Facebook.  We made buddy Lucas smile, a lot.  He was a happy baby, he loved to swim and to be held.  The grand parents were living with us for the duration, which sometimes caused some tensions but ultimately I realized that we could not survive without their help.  We took photos, but were afraid to post too many.  We had a stroller but was afraid to take him outside.  A baby with those conditions certainly shouldn’t be outside to catch a cold.  We just didn’t know what could happen to our buddy boy.

baby heart failure deer

Lucas’ first Christmas

Lucas was now on more and more Lasix to keep his lung fluids at bay.  We were seeing doctors weekly and monitored his weight gain at home.  There is a chart to let you know how your baby is doing in terms of weight gain.  We stopped looking at that chart as he had fallen way off the lowest curve.

The liver doctors eventually talked to the heart doctors.  We got to know many kinds of doctors and with each test and visit, it was becoming apparent that Lucas can not continue like this.  There was only one thing we were sure of that was physically wrong with Lucas; he had a VSD and ASD (holes in his heart).  For some holes, surgery would be simple and non-invasive, but Lucas’ holes were located in especially difficult parts of the heart, the parts where surgeons would have to stop his heart and open his chest.

And so we began to talk about open heart surgery.  We were told that Lucas should gain more weight in order to safely have a surgery to fix his heart.  However, Lucas was not gaining weight due to his liver!  We pushed for surgery, despite knowing the risks.  They tried to convince us to sign waivers of risks to allow the surgery, they didn’t have to convince us very hard, we signed right away.  The “risks” were roughly 3%, but that 3% includes anything from infection to death.  It was our only option.  At least he would have a healthy heart and we can figure out his liver later.

And that’s how Lucas had Baby Heart Surgery

On February 13, right before Valentines day, surgeons cut a 5 inch gap in his tiny chest, stopped his lungs and heart from beating, and worked endlessly to patch up the holes in his heart.   The whole operation took about 4 hours and the lead surgeon took us to a private room to tell us how the surgery went.  It felt like the Biliary Atresia episode again, only this time we were desensitized to it all.  Bad news or good news, we would fight through it.  Finally, after we have all sat down, the surgeon told us that the operation went well.  His holes looked worse than what the ultrasound was showing, and it was a good thing he finally had the surgery!

It was another high in our roller coaster!  What would follow in the next few weeks would be some good news and some bad news.  Some nasty surprises and some good surprises.  However, my mommy hands are tired and just writing this post makes me sad.  I will stop right here and if you want, here is a video of Lucas’ recovery since the surgery! :)

baby heart failure

no more hospitals, mommy!

Lucas dreams of being an astronaut :)

Thanks for reading.  And I hope you and your family do not have to go through anything like this.  If you have any private questions, please feel free to email me at MangoRabbitRabbit@gmail.com.

LOVE,

Kerina