WATCH | GRWM NARS x Erdem Strange Flowers Collection

WATCH | GRWM NARS x Erdem Strange Flowers Collection

NARS x Erdem Strange Flowers Collection

The NARS x Erdem Strange Flowers collection has just landed (in Canada) and all 13 pieces are something to write home about. Not only is the packaging stunning (hello Miss Havisham meets Grey Gardens floral magic) but the product is TOP NOTCH. Of course NARS knows their formulas – the eyeshadows were pigmented and long wearing. I can say this for a fact as I went to a Moksha yoga class after filming this video and the eyeshadows STAYED ON despite the buckets of sweat pouring from my face. Side note, I do not advise going to a hot yoga class after filming a make-up tutorial. Without further adieu…. keep scrolling to watch my quickie GRWM NARS x Erdem Strange Flowers Collection review!


HOURGLASS Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Soft Brunette
NARS x ERDEM Fleur Fatale Eye Palette – c/o
NARS x ERDEM Night Garden Eye Palette – c/o
IT COSMETICS Superhero Mascara – c/o
NARS x ERDEM Loves Me Not Blush – c/o
NARS x ERDEM Loves Me Blush – c/o
CLINIQUE Pretty Easy Eyeliner in black – c/o
NARS x ERDEM White Phox Highlighter – c/o
NARS x ERDEM Poison Rose Lip Powder Palette – c/o
BIODERMA Sensibio H2O – c/o
NARS x ERDEM Lipsticks – c/o
TOM FORD Carnal Red Nail Polish – c/o
NARS x ERDEM Mattifying Blotting Paper – c/o

My top three must-have pieces from this line are the Loves Me Not blush, Blood Flower lipstick, and the Poison Rose Lip Powder Palette. The Fleur Fatale eyeshadow palette comes in at #4 though!

The Strangest Flowers

The NARS x Erdem Strange Flowers Collection is just what I needed this spring. It has mildly subdued eyeshadows with banging bright and moody lipsticks. The Lip Powder Palette is like no other lip product I have ever tried in my life. Unless I count the times when YM magazine used to encourage it’s readers to use lip balm and eyeshadow to create new DIY lip shades. I don’t think that counts. Regardless, I believe it’s the real hero of the collection. It really allows for creativity and experimentation when you can blend with such control. Has anyone else tried any of the pieces from this collection? I would love to hear your thoughts! Alsooo If you enjoyed this video and post, please head on over to The Pretty Secrets YouTube channel for more upcoming posts! 🙂  Thanks so much for tuning in!

For more posts like this, head on over to my BEAUTY section. 

Video + Photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz


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BEAUTY | Guerlain Abeille Royale x Nude Honey

BEAUTY | Guerlain Abeille Royale x Nude Honey


Oh honey!

Honey, are you in for a treat! Have you ever considered your beauty routine might be lacking a vital natural ingredient? Honey. Did you know that Cleopatra was a huge enthusiast of Royal Jelly. HONEY. It all circles back to honey, natures most perfect sweetener. (Next to maple syrup). I would like to take a minute of silence to honour all of the bees that are working hard every day to make this essential ingredient in my life.

In all seriousness though, honey is incredible. Not only is it loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals it also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities too. Basically everything you could possible want when it comes to taking care of your largest organ – your skin! That’s why I’m so excited about this latest collaboration launch: Guerlain Paris’ Abeille Royale Collection in partnership with Nude Bee Honey Co. I tried two of the releases, the Abeille Royal Repairing Honey Gel Mask and the Royal Abeille Youth Watery Oil in addition to the actual raw Nude Wildflower Honey. Spoiler alert: I loved all three. Here’s why:



This luxurious gel mask is for hydrating and plumping. It’s a low maintenance treatment as you let it sit on your face for ten minutes and then massage the rest in – no post cleansing required! And it only takes using it once or twice a week to see the nourishing results. It’s made in partnership with Nude Honey as well!

Guerlain Abeille Royale Reparing Honey Gel Mask – $185


I think I have made my feelings known about all things “oil” in beauty products. I am a HUGE fan. The Youth Watery Oil absorbs quickly so you never feel “oily” and it leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft. Bonus: a little product goes a long way! There are two major ingredients at work in this serum: Ouessant Black Bee Honey and Royal Jelly – exclusive to Guerlain.

Guerlain Abeille Royale Youth Watery Oil – $185




Have you ever tasted 100% pure raw honey? There’s nothing like it. The taste is so sweet, I’m happy to consume it on its own. However, I would NEVER say NO to a baked chunk of brie to accompany it. I’m only human! Nude Bee Honey Co. was started in 2010. They are Canadian (yassss!) and dedicated to creating a raw product without articifial flavors or stabalizers. It’s not pasteurized and they never dilute the product with water either. A jar of their honey is JUST HONEY. How sweet?

Nude Bee Honey Co. Wildflower Honey – $9.99

BEAUTY | Night Moves Natural Skincare Routine

BEAUTY | Night Moves Natural Skincare Routine



As the nighttime continues to get longer and the air a little lot colder, I have needed to adjust many things in my life: vitamin D3 intake and the amount of layers I have to wear, both on my body as well as my face. My main goals are removing any dry skin and keeping my face at maximum moisture level.

Living in Edmonton poses its own amount of environmental issues for my skin (so so dry, so so cold) I find that even when I lived in Toronto and England, the wintertime always required more effort on the epidermis front. Here is my current night moves winter skincare natural beauty routine, a nighttime ritual that has been saving my skin. I would also like to note that this is completely 100% natural beauty products too which is a bonus!



It all begins with cleansing. Recently, I have been really digging the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser ($32.00) – it doubles as an exfoliating mask when left on for 5-10 minutes! It is also high in antioxidant ingredients such as lycopene which comes from tomatoes. It has a very subtle smell and a little goes a long way. Confidently, I can say that this will be added to my top shelf repeat products.


Twice a week it’s also necessary to exfoliate with some grit. The dry winds can be harsh on skin and sometimes a cleanser will not remove all that needs to go. 2-3 times a week I will employ the use of Rocky Mountain Soap Co’s Vanilla Coconut Revitalizing Face Polish ($17.50). Adding it to any cleanser is an easy way to incorporate it into a facial routine. I’ve been adding it to the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser. The polish has Moroccan Lava Clay which brings me back to the epic hammam experiences from my Morocco trip last March.


For a quick shower face wash when running late, the Saje Konjac Care Green Tea Enriched Cleansing Sponge ($9.95) is perfect. It’s made of 100% natural vegetable fibre and is infused with green tea. I love vegetables and green tea so I naturally gravitated toward this immediately. It exfoliates in a gentle way once it’s saturated with water. It’s also very handy for when you’re traveling since it can be taken carry-on without using up precious liquid quota.

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There are a couple creams I oscillate between for maximum moisture. On most nights I will use Pura Botanicals Turmeric Night Cocoon ($62), a rebuilding night cream. It’s whipped texture feels rich and velvety when applying onto my skin. I also love that it’s turmeric based which has a host of benefits, so many that I may need to write a post dedicated to the magic of that spice.


I’ve fallen in love with Pura Botanicals Neroli Eye Ritual ($48). It’s so rich with essential oils and natural ingredients (lavender, rosehip, aloe) it moisturizes my delicate eye area skin without weighing it down. Its roller-ball applicator makes for an easy and gentle application in that sensitive area plus there’s zero waste from this product. Did I mention a little goes a long way? I’ve had this for a couple of months using it daily and less than a quarter of it is gone.

Fun fact: Neroli oil comes from the flowers on the Seville orange tree. It’s the most expensive citrus essential oil and has been used in beauty routines for centuries.


Also… all products by Pura Botanicals are made in Edmonton! I am always so impressed by the quality of work coming out of this city…. especially this skincare line!


Herbivore Botanicals is also another brand I have been impressed with over the years. I recall stalking their simple yet lovely packaging in their Etsy shop when they first began. All of a sudden they were in Vogue and now they’re internationally recognized. It is so nice seeing a natural indie beauty line reach such widespread success!

With that said, one of their newer launches, Herbivore Botanicals Moon Fruit Superfruit Night Treatment ($78) is pretty phenomenal as well. It is comprised of fruit enzymes (Papaya, Lemon, Sugar Cane, Orange, Bilberry, Cranberry and Maple) that help exfoliate and resurface your skin; perfect for the wintertime. It also has kokum and shea butters to moisturize as well. The purpley colour comes from the inclusion of indigo root powder. I use this 2-3 times a week. It gives me a good excuse to give myself a facial massage as the product only really works when the cream is massaged into your skin. Looooove it.



Finally, I would have to say that Tea Tree oil is an all around skin saviour. It doesn’t exactly belong in moisturzing or cleansing categories. It would have to be in its own category for all around greatness. Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil is great for minimizing blackheads, reducing redness, clearing up acne, and preventing ingrown hairs. Ultimately, this is a must have in the medicine cabinet and a staple for any beauty routine.


In conclusion, what would a beauty post be without a flatlay of all the products together? If this were on a shelf it would surely be my #topshelfie list of the moment. The only thing missing is my deepest love, Egyptian Magic, a cream my mom randomly bought me at Costco that I fell in love with and was never able to find in Edmonton again. It also falls under the all natural beauty category. Read about my love of Egyptian Magic in my Dried Out post. Are there any beauty products that get you through winter?

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BEAUTY | Japanese Drugstore Beauty

BEAUTY | Japanese Drugstore Beauty


I went to Japan a year and a half ago. It was such an overwhelming experience, I couldn’t even bring myself to sift through the hundreds of photographs I took while there. Now that I’ve put a little space in between myself and that phenomenal trip, I’m finally ready to delve into it. I figured starting with some beauty finds would be the equivalent of dipping my toe in a freezing pool. So here it begins, my drugstore favourites from my trip to Japan.

Let’s begin with this magical company called DHC… aka Daigaku Honyaku Center. What began as an educational translation company in 1972 is now Japan’s #1 skincare company and there’s a reason for it; their product line is understated in packaging but incredibly effective. Their Deep Cleansing Oil is the best oil cleanser I think I have ever tried, they are known for this cleanser. In fact, one is sold every 10 seconds worldwide. The original line was based on the moisturizing powers of olive oil, which has become their signature – the Olive Virgin Oil, pictured above, is another one of their bestsellers.

Other products pictured:
DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture Overnight revitalization – an intense overnight moisturizer with olive oil that promotes collagen production. I can always get behind that!
DHC Olive Body Butter – Don’t let the name fool you, this body butter packs a lot of moisturizing punch including shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, squalane and argan oil.

It’s also worth mentioning the rise in popularity of snail slime mucus as a coveted beauty ingredient. Back in 2013 there were many articles about the Clinical Salon that launched the first ever Snail Facial. They take their skincare very seriously so I hopped on that bandwagon and purchased a low end hand cream… I must say, it’s very moisturizing! However, I will always have to deal with my wrinkly grandpa hands no matter how much I moisturize. Le sigh.


According to the internet, there are 11 steps in a Japanese skincare routine and one of them is a face mask… preferably of the sheet variety. It’s no wonder they were hanging on racks in every corner of every shop I entered; each package cuter than the last, emblazoned with any mascot you can imagine, including Kumamon, Japan’s rosy cheeked bear mascot for Kumamoto Prefecture. Can confirm this sheet mask looks like the bear and is completely terrifying. I still regret not purchasing the Gudetama mask… that lazy egg is the essence of my being.


What would have been the point of going to Japan if I didn’t bring back some fake eyelashes? The racks of face masks might only be rivaled by the fake eyelash racks in the drugstore. The quality of eyelashes vs the price is astounding; they are so inexpensive and come in multi packs. Every imaginable shape, size, texture… they have it ALL; it’s nothing like in North America. I was most excited to get my hands on some bottom lashes, a trend that has not caught on in the west. A fine tipped eyeliner is the perfect compliment to a fake lash, I have fallen for the DHC Liquid Eyeliner EX. The applicator is fine enough that it compensates for my shaky hand. It’s also smudge proof!


Anyone else obsessed with Japanese beauty products and have some good recommendations? Since being back in North America then only way I can sate my cosmetic obsession is via the DHC online store and the Daiso, a Japanese dollar store in Richmond, BC. It is definitely worth the drive!

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BEAUTY | Salt of the Earth

BEAUTY | Salt of the Earth


When I went surfing for the first time, I spent a couple hours fighting waves, falling down, and having my face partially or fully submerged in water. By the end of the day, my surfing skills were medium at best but my skin, however, was glowing and cleaner than ever before. Not to mention my hair dried into the most perfect waves I have had to date. What sorcery in the sea had cleansed my face so brilliantly and left me with perfect tousled hair? Salt. Nature’s greatest cleanser and hair product is salt.

While I have a not so secret obsession with collecting different types of sea salt (black, Himalayan, rhubarb flavoured Icelandic salt, to my tried and true Maldon) for culinary adventures, since that day surfing, I have also incorporated it into my beauty routine in many different ways. It’s antiseptic and detoxifying, it’s also, conveniently, a natural preservative. It cleanses, it dries things out while simultaneously helps hold moisture in. It scrubs, it builds texture, it exfoliates, and it relaxes the body when dispersed into water – can you think of any other naturally occurring product that is so versatile? If you do, please share. In the meantime, I’ve compiled a list of a few favourite magnesium packed cosmetics that I cannot live without:



It’s apt to begin with this Lush product as it was my salty gateway drug. This scrub is an addiction in its own way. I love how effectively it soughs away dead skin; salt is an exceptional exfoliant. It also cleans out clogged pores too! When I’m in the shower, the first thing I do is wash my face and immediately apply Ocean Salt to my nose to work it’s magnesium magic for the next 15 minutes. Bye bye blackheads! Bonus: sometimes it drips down your face a little and you can taste the salty goodness. Thanks Lush for making non toxic products I don’t have to worry about ingesting by accident!

Ocean Salt Scrub – $21.95 – Lush Cosmetics



Bath salts are the easiest way to incorporate magnesium into your beauty routine. Dump them into your bath and voila, you have a mineral rich tub to soak in. This small batch company blends sea salt, epsom salt, and organic Wisconsin honey in their bath soaks, plus a secrets mixture of essential oils. Can confirm they smell like a dream! Not only does magnesium have the ability to bind water to skin (hello moisture!) it also has antimicrobial qualities too. Soaking in this mineral rich water cleans out your pores while also hydrating them.

Bad Moon Rising Bath Salts – $5.05 – Wild Honey Botanicals



The importance of a toner cannot be stressed enough. It is a vital part of my facial routine and I like to have a few different types on hand for a myriad of purposes – rose water, frankincense, and of course, sea salt. When you tone with a sea salt spray not only are you cleansing your pores but also helping rid of bacteria that could cause future breakouts. This specific spray is made from Vancouver Island salt water infused with essential oils.

Sea Witch Spray – $16.50 – The Witchery



How can we have a conversation about salt for beauty without mentioning the quest for the perfect beachy waves in your hair? It goes without saying, doesn’t it? How else are you going to get that volume and wave than with a salty spray with a blend of orange flower, neroli and rosewood. Apply when wet for a beachy wave that will make everyone think you’re a mermaid who is married to the sea or apply when dry to add some texture to limp hair.

Sea Spray – $16.95 – Lush Cosmetics

BEAUTY | In the Sun

BEAUTY | In the Sun


Oh what fun it is to be in the sun… until it’s not. Speaking as a person who has endured sun stroke more times than I should have, the sun can be your friend for a certain amount of time. While I would suggest a hat and ample bouts in a shaded area, it’s still important to apply some products to ensure you don’t do damage while enjoying your time outside. I’d like to add that even on cloudy days, the UV rays the sun emits are able to pass through the clouds so don’t let the lack of sun fool you; a sunburn is just an SPF-less day away!

There are four natural products that I’ve used this spring and summer that have changed my life forevermore. Keep scrolling for my must-have list of sun fun Sandy approved products!



To be fair, this isn’t technically a sun product, however, I would like to argue that when I’m out on a golf course or jogging in the river valley during the day, this chemical free bug spray has been a life saver. It’s a combination of essential oils including catnip, lavender, and eucalyptus. It’s the best scent medley one could ever ask for in an outdoor spray.

$14.95 available at SAJE



This is the first all natural sunscreen I have ever loved. It smells like coconut heaven and it WORKS. With an SPF of 31, you know you’re getting a good amount of coverage too. My only complaint is that there isn’t a facial moisturizer with SPF – I like to combine this sunscreen with their Pomegranate Day Cream for an easier spread across my face.  The other major bonus of this sunscreen is that if it somehow gets in your eyes (I’m notorious for touching my eyes after I have applied creams of any sort) it doesn’t burn. Bless. It’s also made in Canada!

$23.00 available at Rocky Mountain Soap Co.



How quickly we forget that the sun can have an impact on our hair and scalp, damaging it just as much as our skin. Look no further than this UV protecting spray from Aveda. Not only does it smell like essential oil heaven (with 100% certified organic essences of neroli, ylang ylang and cistus) it protects your hair from the damaging effects of long term exposure to the sun. It’s water-resistant and can last up to 16 hours. Might I add this is even more important when you have treated hair since you’re already starting off with a damage deficit.

$38.00 available at AVEDA

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Not only is this handmade by my sister, it is also an absolute treat to spray all over myself after a long, hot day in the sun. With soothing ingredients such as aloe vera juice, goji berries, vanilla, green tea, peppermint, lavender, and chamomile…. your skin is in for a real treat! She also recommends leaving it in your fridge for an extra cooling feeling, I second that. The last fun surprise is the evil eye amulet at the bottom of the bottle – it’s the witchiest version of a Cracker Jack box!

$16.50 available at The Witchery


Do you have any sun fun favourites that you can’t live without? I’d love to add to my arsenal!

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