DIY Simple Facial Toner

If you’ve heard of the terms “toner” or “astringent”  you may be wondering, What is the difference?

Toners are typically . . .

Toner vs. Astringent

If you’ve heard of the terms “toner” or “astringent”  you may be wondering, What is the difference?

Toners are typically lotions or washes that are designed to further cleanse the (facial) skin and reduce the appearance of pores.

Astringents are stronger than toners, and are typically alcohol-based. For this reason, they are suggested for use on oily skin to fully cleanse away the oils.

My recommendation, however, is to always avoid astringents – even if you have oily skin!


The more we harshly strip away our skin’s natural oils(sebum) with alcohol, the more our skin will want to compensate and in turn actually produce more oil! It’s a never ending cycle!

Alcohol-free toners are our better option, but the best option would be to make it yourself! That way, we know exactly what it is made with and can also customize it to our exact skin needs!

Better yet, you may(I hope) already have these three ingredients right there in your kitchen and/or bathroom!

Using Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV) with the Mother in its organic, raw, unfiltered, and un-distilled state as the base for our facial toner will give us many amazing benefits. Make sure you are always diluting ACV with water when using on the skin or taking internally because of its potency!


  • Fights pimples, acne, and blemishes with its malic acid that creates a potent antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral shield to keep bacteria at bay
  • Balances your skin’s PH, cleansing and keeping skin from getting too oily or too dry
  • Draws out toxins when used regularly, and helps maintain a youthful glow
  • Helps reduce age spots with its alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin cells and reveal vibrant new skin
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles


DIY Facial Toner

1.5 oz Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother (raw, unfiltered, un-distilled)

1.5 oz Reverse Osmosis or Purified Water

6 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia, 100% pure, therapeutic-grade)

Optional to calm sensitive skin: 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia, 100% pure, therapeutic-grade)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a clean, spray top bottle.
  2. Mist on clean fingers or cloth and dab on face and neck. Alternatively, you can directly mist the face and neck from 8+” if you keep eyes, mouth, etc closed.
  3. Finish with a moisturizer.
  4. For spot treatment, hold on concentrated area for a few seconds and skip the moisturizer on those areas.
  5. That’s it!


Tip: I re-used an old 4oz toner bottle I already had, and generally use my fingers or mist my whole face and pat. Try to skip the one-time-use cotton items to be free of waste!



The U.S. Legalizes Poison

Let’s face it; Now-a-days it is easy to get sucked right into our highly consuming, wasteful, and unhealthy ways of society. We are now purchasing most all of our

Are you conscious of your impact as a consumer?

Let’s face it; Now-a-days it is easy to get sucked right into our highly consuming, wasteful, and unhealthy ways of society. We are now purchasing most all of our daily needs and wants without having to put a hair of thought into how things truly work; let alone the entity at the top receiving our hard-earned dollars and what his/her true financial and moral intentions are with it, as well as the effects of these purchases and productions on the quality of our natural surroundings: the environment, natural resources, animals, the planet as a whole and life in general.

In addition, most of us may not bring enough attention to each ingredient in the cosmetics or food we put on and in our bodies on a daily basis; and these can have some of the most direct negative impacts on not only all aspects of our natural surroundings, but the very foundation of our own health, wellness and beauty!

Did you know: 

Cosmetics are capable of entering through the layers of our largest organ – the skin – which surpasses our digestive system with potential of going straight to our blood stream?

This bodily invasion can definitely throw things out of whack a lot quicker than offensive food consumption (which goes through numerous natural filters and detoxifiers in the body) and will create much harm with repeated offense. Our kidneys and liver that work to filter our blood can become overloaded by this repeated offense and end up contributing to more toxins in the bloodstream if unable to do its job properly.


eu vs us


The U.S. legislation is currently allowing the use of toxic, harmful chemicals in cosmetics, which we may apply every day, that have been linked to:

  • irritation and allergic reactions
  • mutagenic cells
  • immune system damage
  • hormone and thyroid disruptions
  • nerve, joint, and muscle disorders
  • fertility issues
  • heart, bone and kidney problems
  • reproductive and developmental harm
  • cancers
  • in some cases death

the list goes on.*


The U.S. legislation is also currently allowing the use of toxic, harmful chemicals in conventional food production, which we may consume every day, that have been linked to:

  • mitochondrial malfunction
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • excitotoxicity
  • inflammation
  • weight gain
  • obesity
  • neurotoxicity
  • learning and behavior disorders
  • hormone disruption
  • chronic and/or serious diseases
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • decreased immune function
  • reproductive harm
  • allergies
  • cancers
  • even death

the list goes on.*


So what do we do?

Ditch the harmful chemicals and those companies using them!!!

The worst thing we can do is rely on the large “self-regulated” corporations in the food and cosmetic industries for our safety and righteousness that produce on a mass scale with very little overhead. Will you let them continue to “self-regulate” these industries, or will YOU be in control of your own health and environment?


Let us help you find who to trust or guide you through the wonderful world of DIY – so you can know exactly what you’re allowing in and on your body!


It’s time to be mindful of where our money is going and how we are directly impacting the world around us – starting with our cosmetics and food!


Self-love never looked so good ;).


Embrace Your Inner Child at Play!

September 2016: Idaho Springs

Last September we had a friend from back home come out for a beautiful fall visit. As a long time friend of Matt’s, he knew he came to the right person(people) and the right place to find adventure on his vacation days!

One of the nights Matt and I decided to take him to a spot in the hills of Idaho Springs for a fairly easy little hike and his possible first back-country over-nighter – we had been there maybe once or twice for a day hike when there was snow and became fond of it.

As we were ascending, we had come upon a couple of big boulders amongst the trees that we decided to rest at and considered setting up camp.

Oh how I now love the idea of back-country camping for free in National Forest land!! …Who would’ve thought?!

As I sat there looking around at the beautiful scenery, my brain couldn’t help but become flooded with ideas of making a shelter out of the perfectly solid boulders right in front of us. We were surrounded by hundreds of incredibly tall but skinny fallen tree trunks and limbs.

Before I knew it, I was on a mission!!

One by one, I felt like I became Superwoman lifting up these gigantic limbs any way I could and carrying them to the boulders to form a structure. I first started laying them across the top of the two boulders to make a roof; there was a perfect area behind one of the boulders for me to stand pretty level with the top, making it not too difficult for me to carry and lay them up there.


Who would’ve guessed that something as childish as fort building out in the woods would elate me to such a level!?

Doing this all by myself reminded me just how strong, capable and creative I am! It’s easy for me to sometimes lose sight of that or even just lack the energy to give something my all. Well, not this day! I found something so precious within me this day that got me dreaming and playing like a kid again! I feel like this was yet another reminder to me that I finally felt and lived firsthand, just how important it is to never lose not only the voice of your inner child, but your energy of your inner child as well.

Matt shows me this all the time by just being himself :).

After a few hours of hauling trees back and forth, back and forth, I noticed the boys finally starting to take notice of what I was creating and then they quickly jumped aboard. I was indeed very grateful for the help to get my vision moving, but also extremely grateful that I got a whole few hours or so of getting lost playing as a “kid” in the eternally alluring woods I never experienced growing up.

The boys couldn’t believe all that I had accomplished alone while they were off or around doing who-knows-what; the only attention I paid was to what I was doing!

With them now helping, we all ended up getting so enthralled with this project that we continued to work on it into the night – with headlamps lighting the way until 10 or 11pm!

We just HAD to get it done! 

I was truly having one of the greatest times of my life and didn’t want to stop until it was finished! I’m sure the boys could say close to the same – but surely couldn’t be nearly as invested as I was.

We finally ended up calling it a night since I had to work the next day, and I believe his friend was leaving early to go back to Illinois. Matt and I were able to set up our double hammock inside of the fort that night and had our first ever attempt at sharing the dang thing.

Yes, the dang thing…

which is supposedly made for two people technically, but we found out REAL quick that we did not agree with that marketing.

Being the heavy sleeper that I am, I didn’t have nearly as much trouble sleeping as poor Matt. But hey, at least we gave it a try!! At least it definitely looked really cool – ha!

Although, we realized after that, that we may need to try fitting both of our single hammocks in there instead – or just straight up leveling out the ground to have a proper “bed” space.

Here my inner-child goes again…


20160907_072223 (1)


One of our greatest ideas was using straightening out our rainfly on the ceiling to prevent any precipitation from seeping through the small spaces in the log roof – genius!

Another great thing is that the inside is so spacious you can fully stand up and walk around in it! We even have a “backdoor” and “balcony” off the back that perfectly allowed us to climb up onto one of the supporting boulders and have a beautiful view out into the hills, directly facing Mt. Evans.

And as silly and ironic as it sounds, this fort also brought light to both Matt and I’s memories of a childhood obsession to one day have a house with a tree growing through the middle of it!!? Both of us!

We have had many of these ironies in the somewhat short time of knowing each other. But anyway, this tree was awesome in so many ways – perfectly just being itself – and just so happened to be the center of attention inside our creation without us initially knowing!

Pure child-like magic!! 🙂 



The next day after our friend and I left early morning, Matt was “off to work” and took it upon himself to make the finishing touches to the fort. He spent a good little chunk of time hauling some quite heavy stones to line the perimeter of the fort to make it a little more stable.

After doing that, he definitely ended up putting in just as many hours as I did! In total, it took us short of two days but there are definitely still some upgrades that we would both love to add at some point.

(I sadly have only mostly videos at this point in time which can’t be uploaded onto this platform; will eventually change that!)



We now have a lasting memory and physical space in the mountains we can return to! It’s so neat visiting it during the changes of every season. It will hopefully also inspire and give shelter to any other adventurers who may stumble upon it!

Who knows – maybe we will become The Mysterious Serial Fort Builders……. ;).


~~ My challenge to you is to go get out in nature TODAY – even if it’s only just for 15 min!!~~

Go to as secluded and peaceful of a place as you can find and just sit and listen.

Meditate; see what comes to you!

Maybe you will start feeling nostalgic and end up freeing and embracing your inner child?

Have fun, reflect, and enjoy this time! 🙂

Steamboat Springs, CO

My birthday is in early February, usually the same exact week as blizzard madness in the Midwest and Superbowl Sunday. Not being a big fan of either, I’ve always shown my true Aquarius colors by gravitating towards water. . .

February 2017: Fish Creek Trail & Strawberry Hot Springs

Photo Credit: Kirsten Shoup


My birthday is in early February, usually the same exact week as blizzard madness in the Midwest and Superbowl Sunday. Not being a big fan of either, I’ve always shown my true Aquarius colors by gravitating towards water.

Growing up I had birthday after birthday spent at an indoor pool with friends, usually at a hotel of some sort. Ice cream cake was the only way to make those hotel pool parties even cooler! Pretending like there was no snow always seemed to do me well for being “stuck” with a winter birthday.

This year now being in Colorado, I immediately found myself in search of water all over again! Water to swim in isn’t nearly as available in Colorado without icky chlorine or it being ice cold because it’s snow melt. However, having a birthday in February here is not even half as bad as it is in Illinois. You can’t escape the snow, ice, and face-stinging temperatures in Illinois! They are there to stay. Here you have the most beautiful winter wonderland you could imagine, with the sun still so hot and shining so bright that you nearly get amnesia three days later after the snow has all miraculously disappeared and you’re getting too hot in the sun!?

Anyway, I decided that is was finally time to seek out a natural hot spring that I was eyeing for quite some time. Another couple that was joining us agreed that the spot in Steamboat Springs seemed perfect. Strawberry Hot Springs was near a hiking trail called Fish Creek Trail, around 4.6 miles. We figured we could go for a quick hike and then relax the rest of the day in the warm springs!

The hike alone was hands down the coolest winter hike I have ever done; Steamboat had just gotten a huge dumping of snow the day before, making it somehow look almost like a fairyland! The creek was alongside the trail, which had snow piled up so high on what I assumed were rocks beneath, that it looked like numerous layered snow “bubbles” coming out of the ground! You could only hear and barely see the brief openings down into the icy cold water flowing below. How cool.

What made it even more fun was the sketchy and steep bear-climbing we did to get up to the high point of the largest – and completely frozen – waterfall I have ever witnessed!! We snapped a quick pic, and slid on our butts back down to then head to the springs. It was so. much. fun. I bet this hike is AWESOME in the summer as well!

Best Adventure Friends!
Layered “bubbles”; Photo Credit: Kirsten Shoup
Frozen Waterfall; Photo Credit: Kirsten Shoup



After making it to the hot springs, I was quite surprised at how many people were there; given that it was Superbowl Sunday! There was still plenty of room though for us to enjoy our time. What a crazy feeling it was though to be freezing your booty off in your bathing suit(when in the shade) while looking at all the snow-covered ground surrounding you. You start asking yourself what the heck you’re doing… almost just like when you find yourself on the top of a mountain 14,000 ft + above sea level and in the clouds! It definitely wasn’t as extreme as that though as you may have guessed…

Sucking it up, I started to follow my friends right into the “medium” pool as we called it and quickly jumped back; holy hot water!! Was I really that naive that I didn’t realize that natural hot springs are as hot, if not hotter, than a hot tub?! Due to my fair and “sensitive” skin, I have always had issues with real hot water; it has always taken me what seems like 15 minutes just to dip a toe in! Eventually I was able to tolerate it and was super thrilled just to be able to relax in the comforting water and watch the beautiful sun setting.

The springs had 2-3 other pools connected to it; a quite chilly pool flowed into the medium pool, with a very tiny hot tub shaped area for two in between that was more my preferred temperature, and then another bigger pool that flowed from the medium pool and was even hotter.

WHAT?! Who are these freaks of nature that can tolerate THAT hot of water??

There were definitely not nearly as many people in the hottest pool, and most were just dipping their feet or legs in. No comfort here. I did also see someone with what looked like the cupping technique marks on his back, so I believe there are some type of spa services offered there as well. Next time I would love to check into that!

A hangout cove; Photo Credit: Kirsten Shoup
“Medium” and Hotter Pools; Photo Credit: Kirsten Shoup

As the sun was setting, we decided that we were as relaxed as relaxed could get, so we headed back home before seeing what the “night life” was like at the springs. More and more people were still entering as we were leaving. Must have been the “nudists” that I had heard about ;-P. Might also be fun for the next time…

Overall, this trip is highly recommended- even in the winter! I would actually prefer the hot springs only in the cooler months, as I can’t imagine being any hotter in general, unless it’s during a cooler night. I WILL be returning!

Go and check Steamboat out for yourself! Let me know your experiences!

Strawberry Hot Springs

Fish Creek Falls Trail