Maple Alps


DIY Facial Toner

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

I remember when I was a teenager, how I was always very conscious of what was going on with my face. It's probably because my Asian family was extremely blunt about the imperfections of hormonal acne, but hey, I'm okay now. I remember going through a 5 step facial regimen every night to ensure my face would be clear of any sign if pimple growth. Of course, it didn't really help much - nature has a way of being cruel sometimes. 

My skin has since greatly improved (largely because of a grown awareness of what can cause acne and other issues), but that does not mean I do not need to take care of my skin anymore! I have found that what I eat has a large effect on my skin, but washing the impurities off my face (which is exposed all day long, I might add!) at the end of the day helps as well. Since, as you know, I like to keep the chemicals off my face, I set out to find the perfect solution.

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Easy, all natural, 3-ingredient DIY face toner. Love this stuff! |

One thing I love about this toner is how inexpensive it is to put together! I had all the ingredients already on hand so I whipped up a batch right away to use. Another thing I love is how clean it makes me feel! Seriously, not to be gross or anything, when I would see that extra dirt come off onto the cotton pad even after using my face wash, I rejoiced! It doesn't use any harsh ingredients like alcohol or fragrances.

I have heard mixed reviews about using a toner with witch hazel or apple cider vinegar, but I've found this mixture to be successful for me (that was my disclaimer). It has now been a year since first making and using a homemade face wash and this toner. I don't use it every day (you'll see one reason why in the next paragraph), but I have noticed a definite change. I also find it extremely soothing on hormonal acne.

I do have one thing I feel a duty to mention: You could truly call this potion a husband spray, because, like bug spray, my husband will not get too close when I use it. Unless your significant other enjoys the smell of apple cider vinegar, use at your own risk ;-)

DIY Facial Toner

DIY Facial Toner

1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Witch Hazel (Alcohol-Free!)
1/4 cup Distilled or Filtered Water
Essential oils - lavender, lemon, tea tree (optional - I don’t usually add them)

1) Mix apple cider vinegar and witch hazel into desired glass container.

2) Slowly add the water, and finally the essential oils.

3) You will need to give a good shake before using a cotton pad (or a reusable cotton wipe) to wipe your face.

4) Do not rinse off


What kinds of homemade facial cleansers have you tried and loved? Let me know below!

DIY Facial Toner |

Why Living with Less is the Worst

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps17 Comments

Great news! Spring is here! If you are not one for spring cleaning or spring decluttering, that is okay. Living with less is the worst. Here is why:

Why Living with Less is the Worst |

Finding your way around in the dark is too easy

Seriously, it’s no fun having no obstacles with which you might at any moment stub your toe with. Middle of the night water runs to the kitchen are no longer fun because they no longer require superhuman ninja skills.


You only own what you love

Sometimes you just want to hate most of the items you have on display, #amirite?


Possessions last longer, which is boring

Wouldn’t you rather keep buying cheap, ugly things that you don’t care about enough to take extra good care of? Spending more money on disposable items is much better than buying good quality ones that are better for the environment and your wallet.


You have less cleaning and dusting to do

There is nothing better than spending your precious time on dusting that clay gnome you made in the second grade. Also, it’s a great work-out moving the piles of paper from one end of the house to the other, just so you can vacuum. Taking 500 items off of surfaces to dust is truly exciting.


Your junk drawer is nonexistent

It’s so boring and predictable to know exactly what is in each one of your drawers. Being able to see every item for quick retrieval is lame.  


Everything has a home

You should not need to know exactly where everything is at any given time. It's just not natural. Scrambling for keys and the like is essential to the human experience.

deep cleaning decluttering |

Great arguments for living with more if I do say so myself. If, however, you do not share this sentiment, be sure to check out our ultimate spring simplifying guide! We have upgraded our guide and you can now find an expanded Spring Cleaning guide and printable booklet there!


DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps30 Comments

Making your own cleaning supplies is nothing new. Besides the fact that humans have done it for long enough, I've noticed that the web is filled with different DIY solutions that are supposedly easy to make, easy to use, easy on the wallet, and easy on your body. 

How could I resist? Well, I didn't even try to resist. 

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DIY All-Purpose Cleaner |

It all started when I was reminded that caulk is actually a thing. Growing up, we used distilled water in the kettle, so it was never a problem. Now, however, with filtered water going in, I noticed an ever so slight buildup. I knew vinegar was good for caulk, and to be honest, there is no way I would have felt comfortable putting any sort of cleaner in there anyway. I was reminded of my time abroad when my roommate and I would clean our shower every week with vinegar to get rid of and prevent caulk. My mind wandered, as it does, and I wondered what else I could clean with vinegar. My husband, however, hates the smell of vinegar, so I knew I needed to find a solution. Spoiler alert: I found a one.

Enter: lemons.

lemon vinegar all purpose cleaner |
DIY All-Purpose Cleaner lemon |

I had heard that adding lemons to vinegar and then letting it all sit for two weeks would make the vinegar smell less like vinegar. I thought it would be worth a try. Plus, the idea of having a jar of lemons sitting around for a while looking all pretty was very appealing to me. In went lemon skins, in went vinegar, and there it sat. I thought about using the leftover lemon juice to make a delicious lemon cake but opted to deodorize my cutting boards instead. Worked amazingly.

After two weeks (and a few days to be exact), I finally had the opportunity to strain my concoction. I may have been a little too excited, but it was worth it. While pouring, I was overwhelmed by the smell of lemons. The vinegar odour was faint, but still there.

Once strained (I had to do it a few times because I wasn't very dilligent in making sure I got rid of the pulp from my peels), I diluted it (1 part of the mixture and 2 parts water) and added it to my glass spray bottle. I took the great opportunity to clean my bathroom counters and was quite pleased with the result. I will mention that it took a bit more elbow grease than usual, but the result as a work-out as well as a clean-up. Score!

Related: The Ultimate Spring Simplifying Guide

declutter deep clean |

It wasn't just that it was squeaky clean afterwards either! I was not paranoid about using chemicals and felt good about the natural ingredients I was using. There are so many chemicals hiding in household cleaning products (read about some here)

One concern I did have was whether or not it was actually cleaning. After some research, I found that vinegar really is a great disinfectant!

I have been using this cleaner for over a month now, and I have yet to have any complaints. With Spring just around the corner, I'll truly be putting it to the test  

Related: The Ultimate Spring Simplifying Guide

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner |

Recap: DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Put lemon skins (avoiding pulp) in large jar

  • Cover with distilled vinegar

  • Leave to sit for two weeks

  • Strain well

  • Dilute mixture in a spray bottle (1 part mixture to 2 parts water)

  • Get cleaning!


Things you may need:


What about you? Do you make your own cleaners? Excited about some Spring Cleaning?

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner |

DIY Body Wash

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps22 Comments

A few days ago, I wrote about making and using do it yourself (DIY) hand soap. I talked briefly about the chemicals found in our soap products and about the benefits of castile soap and other natural ingredients. After I finished my experience with the hand soap, I thought to myself, "why not take it a step further? Sure, you're letting less toxins in through the skin of your hands, but what about the rest of your body?"

I knew it was time to try body wash. 

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Easy and Moisturizing DIY Body Wash! Super easy and no chemicals added!

Our skin is the largest living and absorbing organism we have! Imagine what might happen long term if we eliminated these harsh chemicals, or imagine if we continued using them...

Here's a little recap from my post about hand soap:

Triclosan (and even small amounts of it) is the most discouraged additive to soaps and hand sanitizers. Not only is it bad for humans (even low levels can lead to thyroid issues, etc.), but once it gets into the environment (waste water treatments can't remove all of it), it is harmful to aquatic life. 
Avoid fragrance. FDA laws allow the word "fragrance" on our labels to include whatever the product makers want. I don't even want to know the kinds of toxins that are included under that umbrella.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. There it is again. We talked about this in my toothpaste post, but apparently it's common in shampoos and soaps - basically anything that foams. It's the active ingredient in industrial strength soaps and garage cleaners. I would write more, but there's lots to say - I really read a lot about it. One helpful article I found was here.

I didn't want to take any chances, so I went ahead and made my own body wash too! Nothing wrong with that, right? Honestly, I made fun of myself a little bit, but it was a good time. 

Again, it was worth the cost and took less time than driving to the store to get some.

Another shout out to J for modelling! How talented is he?!

DIY Body Wash

I decided on a glass mason jar and pump attachment to avoid having to open and close a container every time. It was easy to use. Just one pump onto a loofah, lather it up, and you're good to go!

After using the body wash, I found the same thing to be true of my skin as I did with the hand wash - I felt moisturized and clean. I would also like to add that I smelled good post shower. :)

I can't wait to experiment more! 

What you need:

  • 1 cup Castile Soap (I use this Castile Soap brand from Amazon)

  • 1 cup Distilled Water

  • 4 TBSP Sweet Almond Oil

  • 2 tsp Vitmin E Oil

  • 20-30 drops Essential Oil of  Your Choice*

    *I used peppermint. If you use a citrus oil, be careful of the sun - I read that citrus oils could increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun

What to do:

1) Combine all the ingredients in a container (I use a large glass mason jar) and shake gently to mix.

2) To use, add a pump to a bath sponge or loofah.

I'll be sure to update you if I find something that works even better, but I am completely satisfied with what I conjured up here! 

Did you try the hand soap? Do you think you'll try this too?

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