Allenspark, CO

My hammock & rainfly set up over the only snow-free ground in sight.

April 2016: Sandbeach Lake Trailhead

After moving to Colorado in February of 2016, we were anxious to spend our first night out in the wilderness backcountry camping as official Colorado residents! For me, it would be my very first backcountry trip ever, and as for Matt – he couldn’t say the same. He left the destination of the trip up to me this time, and I of course was searching the map for any sign of water (Aquarius – represent!). Sandbeach Lake: north of Nederland, 8.8 mile round trip, backcountry camping – sounded good to me!

This would also be the very first time I was completely loading up my brand new pack, sleeping bag and all, although it was extremely gracious of Matt to take the heavier 0° bag and let me carry the slightly lighter 20° one. My bag ended up weighing in a little over 30 lbs and Matt’s nearly 50 lbs. Mine was definitely a load, but didn’t seem like it would be too bad!

We started the trail at Sandbeach Lake in the increasingly warm sun, with close to no other hikers in sight. It was a beautiful sunny day with a cool breeze. I was starting to remove layers early on in the hike with much shock at the warmth and dryness April was already bringing. No. snow. in. sight.

I was definitely getting excited at how well I was carrying my new pack with all my different weather gear! Until — about a couple miles in we passed a couple of hikers, maybe in their 50’s or so, with trekking poles that casually warned us of the snow ahead. No problem, we thought. Must not be THAT bad if THEY are coming back from it just fine, considering their age and all…

So we kept hiking, and sure enough ran into that snow they were talking about. DEEP snow too. It seemed to have almost come out of nowhere! The path itself wasn’t even in visibility, but we decided to not let that deter us and kept going. Luckily, with the slight openings in the trees and a previous snowshoer’s faint marks on the ground, we had enough faith that we could still find our way to the lake.

Step after step, we continued to fall through the snow; it often was reaching up to our mid thighs! At this point it was getting quite tough and quite tiring, but also made for a fun challenge! With even less faith now of ever making it there, we for whatever reason persisted. This 4.4 mile one way turned into a near 5.5 hour trek into the unknown.

But alas, the snowshoer didn’t lead us astray after all! We found ourselves right at the mouth of what must have been Sandbeach Lake. With my ignorance, I still expected to actually see a lake; instead, snow covered everything in sight. However, it was FAR from a letdown! The stillness, remoteness of location, and breathtaking beauty of this snow-covered winter wonderland far exceeded my expectations. It was absolutelybeautiful. . .

After that long, tiring journey I was ready to not move for a bit. We were able to find a front and center spot by the lake in a couple of trees next to each other to sleep near. The only, I repeat only, patch of ground in sight that wasn’t covered by snow just so happened to be the perfect place for my hammock to be set up over. Matt didn’t get as lucky with his spot, but he didn’t seem to mind much. We set up our hammocks and rainflys, chowed down on what we wished was a hot meal, and then collapsed. As night hit, we were bundled up with every last warm layer of clothing and feet warmers that we had. It was a coooold cold night, but we made it through.

I was waking up here and there throughout the night due to the coldness, but was also restless with images in my head of marmots, bears, and other wild animals nibbling on my fingertips that were sticking out of the hammock – I hadn’t even heard about mountain lions at this point, but was definitely glad looking back that it was one less thing I had to worry about!

It didn’t help that my mind was probably drawing this illusion of nibbling animals from an actual real-life event: There is a duct taped patch on the top of my sleeping bag from a marmot that tried chewing a hole through to get to a food wrapper inside! I was luckily not the one using it when this happened, but am apparently living with the PTSD every time I use it now! Ha. I now know why it is so important to eat food far enough away from your sleeping area and to never leave wrappers behind either – the physical reminder of the duct tape won’t let me forget ever again!!

The next morning we were dreading our hike back. Expecting the trip back to take just as long, we rose with the sun, took down camp in the bitter cold shadows of the hills, and were on our way. I had to work in Denver at the salon that early afternoon and we still had the whole exhausting hike back to the car, 1.5 hr drive home, and showering/getting ready part to do. Yep, we’re crazy. We also only had one cell phone with us to use for the time, and that was on its last leg of battery. The fear was definitely settling in.

To our surprise, we ended up actually having a slightly easier time avoiding a lot of the fall-through areas in the snow and shaved off maybe an hour or two!! We realized that the early morning snow-covered ground was still frozen enough from the night before to withstand our weight, but that once the hot Colorado sun hits it for a bit it will start to soften and therefore we would fall through. We continued to tread lightly and quickly, and were able to estimate the time with the handy fingers between the sun and horizon line trick to be confident we were staying on track. I was able to validate with the phone once or twice before it died that we were.


We finally made it back to the car, home to shower and get ready for work, and arrived on time to start my day of clients by the early afternoon – Boy, did I have quite the story to tell of the most eventful past 24 hrs leading right up to the entrance of the salon doors!? I almost felt as if I was just telling a tale from a foreign land, so opposite of the indoor city life. There was definitely much to reflect on here.

After the longest, most exhausting, and coldest yet most beautiful backcountry experience out at Sandbeach Lake, I realized: If I can do that, I can do anything!!! 

Sometimes those hard and treacherous experiences are the most rewarding! I am so thankful for challenging myself to see what I’m made of, and now I feel the drive to not stop here!

We plan on returning when the snow is gone to see what was hiding just beneath us that weekend that we couldn’t see! Here is the website’s trip report info with more pictures:

Sandbeach Lake Trailhead

I encourage you to go check it out for yourself! Or maybe there is a nearby conservation site or park you have yet to check out? Don’t let the weather stop you!! Chances are, you’ll end up having quite an experience with stories you will never forget to tell :).

What kind of adventures are you going to have? What’s stopping you from going out to explore the unknown and resurfacing your inner badass?



DIY Herbal Mouth & Brushing Rinse

Have you made the switch yet?

If you are still using brands like Colgate, Crest, Listerine or even Arm & Hammer, it is very possible you are putting you and your family’s health in harms way . . .

Have You Made the Switch Yet?

toxic toothpaste

If you are still using brands like Colgate, Crest, Listerine or even Arm & Hammer, it is very possible you are putting you and your family’s health in harms way via your oral care routine!

If you’ve never really looked at the ingredient list of one of these ever-popular brands, you wouldn’t really know that they contain harmful ingredients and other contaminants in the forms of irritants, hormone disruptors, allergens, and even carcinogens!

And if that’s not upsetting enough, we even have to question some of those “natural” brands of toothpaste out there as well that we thought were the safer solutions: Tom’s of Maine, Trader Joe’s, and Honest brands, to name a few! has thankfully put together a super helpful scorecard with some of the best and the worst toothpaste brands to help you navigate your way through the store.

Although, if you’re a “Suzy Homemaker” like me that’s looking for a DIY alternative, you may have been trying some powders and pastes at home. While some are nice alternatives, others take a little bit more getting used to. I, personally, was still in search of something even easier to concoct and also to take with me places; that’s when I discovered an Organic Brushing Rinse at a local health food store.

It definitely didn’t take me long to become obsessed!!

Not only was it super easy to use, fully cleansing and truly refreshing, but it stole my heart when I read the plain and simple ingredients list. With Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide as the main ingredient, I had to know more about the magic of this stuff!

My Experience

scraped knee

I’ll be honest; I had never really given much thought to hydrogen peroxide in the past! My only knowledge of this substance previously was having memories of my mom sitting me up over the bathroom sink and pouring it all over my scraped up bloody wounds after I’d hurt myself playing outside. That foaming, bubbly sight and sound definitely frightened me – and OUCH did it sting – but, it would get me healed up and back to normal in no time without infection! Looking back, I definitely approve of my mom’s natural first aid decisions, even though I absolutely questioned it at the time. That’s all I had ever seen it used for though before, and back under the bathroom sink it went.

Many, many moons later my second encounter was when I randomly stumbled upon a couple of online videos of individuals using hydrogen peroxide to actually cure their lung or throat cancers! To the average person, these claims and images were definitely out there, yet it was extremely hard not to believe these convictions when these users showed to be living proof. These claims definitely intrigued me to look into it a little further.**

Now a days, I am hearing much buzz of the multitude of health benefits from food grade hydrogen peroxide, which I shared with you in the “Hydrogen Peroxide for Health?” post. While some people may be hesitant because of its power, I now too, like many others, am using it carefully as a daily staple in my home with such excitement!

For me, this stuff is totally gaining ranks right next to Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother and of course Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil with their many, many holistic health and beauty uses.

The store-bought brushing rinse was such a hit that we went through it so fast; that’s when I realized I could easily just make this myself and save money too!


**Side Note/Disclaimer:   Since I thankfully do not have any serious internal health issues, I have never tried mimicking the inhalation as seen in the videos, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend you to do so either until you have done your own extremely thorough research and consultation with a homeopathic doctor. Also, always, always be mindful that not any one thing works for everyone. Be knowledgable, cautious, and conscious as to what works for you and your sacred body; listen to it!


I highly recommend reading more about Hydrogen Peroxide in my other article here, if you haven’t so already.

Oral Care

whitening teeth.jpg

HP is commonly and effectively used in professional dentistry today. Higher concentrations are mixed into gel forms for typical tooth whitening routines, while other documented uses for HP treat gingivitis and periodontitis.

HP still needs to be treated with caution in oral care too, as overexposure of undiluted use or marketed whitening products could result in sensitivity and other problems.

If 3% solution seems too strong for you, dilute with purified water to make a 1.5% solution (which is what I do). The HP will kill viruses and bacteria in your mouth, and also naturally whiten teeth over time.

It is suggested to use it as a mouth rinse or in place of a mouthwash, after brushing or in my preference, for brushing. I either swish in my mouth for about maybe 10-20 seconds to let it foam, spit, use a little water to brush, spit again, and rinse; or I will try and brush while the rinse is still in my mouth, but beware; it’s definitely a little tricky to keep it all in there since it’s a liquid! (Challenge accepted!)

I also prefer to use some of the purest and locally crafted essential oils in many of my personal care products for either taste, smell, and natural health benefits – or all three! These oils and plants are great for oral health:

  • Clove
  • Cinnamon Bark & Leaf
  • Eucalyptus Radiata
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Aloe Vera 



oral care

Probiotics, or beneficial microorganisms, are also on the rise for being used in dentistry. That will be a future topic of discussion. But basically, just like we should be aiding our “good” gut flora to keep us healthy, functioning, and free from disease & illness, it is also important to replenish our “good” bacteria in our mouth after a cleanse for the same benefits and precautionaries. Eating a vibrant, fresh, plant-based diet and avoiding harmful chemicals in our foods and cosmetics, including our oral routine, will most definitely help you in keeping the healthy balance of beneficial microorganisms. 
Looking to switch dentists? Search locally for a Probiotic Dentistry or a Holistic Dentist.


And here is the simple recipe:



Printable Recipe


Herbal Mouth & Brushing Rinse

Vegan, Natural & Plant-based
time: about 60 seconds | author: sustainthemane


  • 1/2 c  3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1/2 c  Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water
  • 1/8-1/4 c  Aloe Vera Juice
  • 3 drops  Thieves Essential oil or a similar blend (clove, eucalyptus radiata, rosemary, lemon, cinnamon); locally & organically sourced if possible; therapeutic grade
  • 5 drops  Peppermint Essential Oil; locally & organically sourced if possible; therapeutic grade



    1. Pour all ingredients into a reusable bottle. I enjoy the BPA-free squeeze bottle with a pop-up nozzle top to easily squirt the liquid out.
    2. Squirt, swish, brush, and rinse!




How do you like using a rinse compared to a paste? How easy was this to make?!


Hydrogen Peroxide for Health?



Have you heard the hype about hydrogen peroxide for health and beauty care? Maybe it’s been sitting under your sink for quite some time and you’ve forgotten about it perhaps? Well it’s definitely possible that you may get really excited to learn about some of the countless  amazing benefits and uses of hydrogen peroxide you didn’t know about!

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide(HP), or H2O2 , is a naturally occurring substance that is basically  water (H2O) with one extra oxygen atom, making it one of the most potent oxidizers known. It is colorless and odorless, but has a unique taste. It is an unstable compound that is highly reactive and breaks down easily back into water and oxygen. However, if stored properly away from light and contaminants, it is very stable and breaks down very slowly over time.

As you can see, this substance lives in duality; it can be extraordinary at improving many conditions for the better, but also extraordinary at eradicating those same conditions for the worse. Just as many plants can have medicinal benefits, too much of it and it turns toxic.

Like I always say, moderation and balance is key.

H2O2 exists naturally in different aspects of nature and is even created by our own bodies. Therefore, we know it is necessary to support life and must be treated with much care.


Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide & its Benefits

Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide is praised for being the safest and most natural antiseptic that fights infection, eliminates toxins, cures bacteria and viruses, and neutralizes germs through oxidation!

Look for Food Grade to ensure the quality and safety for at home or personal uses, such as in mouthwash or toothpaste, rinsing fruits and vegetables, helping your plants grow, and is used in at-home or larger food production. It is the ONLY grade recommended for internal use, such as to treat illnesses, cancers, and infections. You will not find the FDA recommending such uses though or claiming it cures.

This label also ensures that there are no additives or stabilizers in the product. It is sold at a 35% concentration, but may also be found more easily and already diluted in purified water at 3% for safer handling. The 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide MUST BE DILUTED.


Since H202 can technically be so highly reactive with its one extra atom of oxygen, we have to keep in mind the possibility of it also killing more than just the bad guys, which includes some of our good guys: eukaryotic cells (membrane bound nucleus cells; human cells/DNA). This may be sometimes translated into the stinging or burning sensations like I had felt as a kid after HP was poured over my scraped knees and elbows to fight infection. It killed any harmful bacteria and I definitely remember feeling it working.

Research has lead us to believe that the possible killing off of our eukaryotic cells(the good guys) doesn’t seem to be of serious concern though since these cells are far more compound/complex than the latter, prokaryotic cells (cells without membrane bound nucleus; bacteria); making the prokaryotics far easier to target and destroy and most eukaryotics to stay unharmed.

So therefore, if we decide to use this physical substance topically or intravenously, we can understand why it’s important to use it at precise proportions to help heal and even stimulate life. We understand if too much is used, it may pose a slight threat to living cells, like we talked about before, so we use this true natural remedy responsibly.

This is a good reason to obtain the 3% Food Grade H2O2 that is already far less concentrated. Many recipes require even further dilution on top of that. When in doubt, ALWAYS DILUTE.


Different Grades of H2O2

The grade of the hydrogen peroxide matters. The higher the percentage, the stronger the concentration and the more cautious you need to be with it. It is a very powerful substance that needs to be handled properly!

3.5% Pharmaceutical Grade: Found most commonly diluted at drugstores and food stores with purified water and stabilizers; disinfectant and mouthwash; should NOT be ingested

6% Beautician Grade:  Helps achieve lift or a “bleaching” effect in hair coloring for Professionals; 3%-10vol, 6%-20vol, 9%-30vol, 12%-40vol; not for internal use

30% Reagant Grade: Used in scientific experiments; contains stabilizers; not for internal use

30%-32% Electronic Grade: Cleans electronic parts; not for internal use

35% Technical Grade: More concentrated than Reagant Grade; contains phosphorous to neutralize chlorine usually in the water used to dilute it; not for internal use.

Food Grade 35%(but most commonly found at 3%): Used in food production; MUST be diluted if 35%; personal hygiene; plants; animals; cleaning; ONLY grade recommended for internal use

90%:  Used for oxygen in rocket fuel

How Can We Use Food Grade H2O2?

Now that we fully understand the cautions of HP, let’s celebrate this natural product responsibly! Here are some of the many beneficial and surprising daily uses!

Printable & shareable recipes in the links:



Here is a peroxide dilution chart if you do prefer to obtain the 35%:

h202 dilution chart

*    It is very important once again to be knowledgable, cautious, and conscious when you are using hydrogen peroxide in its versatility. We need to make sure we are using precise proportions and replacing and maintaining the beneficial cells/bacteria through supplementation and proper restorative health care habits.

Where to Find 3% Food Grade H2O2

Check with your local grocery or drug stores first! If you are in Colorado, places like Natural Grocers, Sprouts, and Whole Foods usually carry it. I use the brand Essential Oxygen – typically runs me about $14-17 for 32 fl oz. Lasts me quite a while! Store properly away from heat, sunlight, and contaminants.



Now that you see that H2O2 is naturally occurring in our bodies, boasts numerous uses for natural remedies, and is an affordable & safe replacement for harsh chemicals, can you see it fitting into your healthy lifestyle, or do you now just notice it’s already there…?



As time goes on, the cosmetic industry continues to grow towards the “hottest” and latest trends, but seems to be forgetting one very important thing: Are these cosmetics even safe??

In terms of safe cosmetics, we are referring to the external appearance of our skin as well as the effect on our internal processes as some ingredients are absorbed through the skin into our bloodstream. We love to refer to our EWG Skin Deep Database for some of our toughest research on specific ingredients and specific products. They basically let us know if certain things are safe for our bodies and our environment, which we love.

Some people are more sensitive than others in general, no matter if it is an organic plant-based product or not, so we believe in carrying out 24-48 hour patch tests prior to hair coloring services for those especially with known sensitivities.

Here in Sustain the Mane Salon, we are using some of the best professional products to our knowledge that are leading in the organic, sustainable, non-toxic and vegan beauty industry for hair color and products. We never use aerosols, ammonia, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils, or test on animals.

The quality of air in our space is one of our favorite changes to the salon environment since introducing safer, more gentle hair color and products in 2016. No more worrying about inhaling toxic fumes when mixing formulas or carrying out our artistic applications, and you as a guest also receive a much more relaxing and comfortable experience throughout the whole holistic pampering process.

It never stops there though; We are constantly continuing to further our knowledge on ingredients and products, and won’t stop until we are satisfied with what we believe is the best for ourselves and of course for you. We will recommend whatever we believe is best for each individual based upon his or her needs and desires.

Some of our products are homemade with organic ingredients and essential oils when we cannot find a trusted brand to carry what we need! This will eventually develop into a larger selection of homemade cosmetic products for you that we are extremely excited about to come!

True health, wellness, and beauty is our top priority for each and every one of you; whether we help you in person or online!