Todd & Erin’s Shop Locally Guide – bean bliss All-natural Skin Care

Todd & Erin’s Shop Locally Guide – bean bliss All-natural Skin Care. I must admit I have a terrible weakness for skin care products that smell good enough to eat … and frankly, some of the bean bliss goodies smell so glorious that my eight-year-old Zoe buried her nose in my neck.

“What IS that?” Zoe said, taking another sniff.

As I fended her off, I looked at the lid of my body balm. “Uh, it’s Candy Cane.” The kid was seconds away from nibbling my neck, so I pacified her with a Vanilla Bean lip balm.

But it all feels and smells so good! Taneasha came up with with the oh, so tasty concept behind bean bliss because she needed something she couldn’t find in the store. “I have very sensitive skin and because of that, I have been using natural skin care products for much of my life.” But she added, “Unfortunately, most of them are either unscented, or they smell like lavender or herbs. Honestly, I don’t love that. I wanted something that was all-natural, but smelled incredible! That is how bean bliss all-natural skin care was born.” Taneasha infuses her products with real vanilla beans, and because bean bliss is meant for sensitive skin, everything is made with all-natural ingredients. (Erin here: at this point in the season, I have feet that more closely resemble hooves, but the Candy Cane body balm made my skin feel amazing.)


Where do I order this yummy stuff?

You can order all the lovely bean bliss all-natural skin care goodies online at, or pick some up at Fallen Angel Tattoo (City Weekly’s Best of Utah 2018!) located at 1530 South State Street in SLC. With the promo code Erin at checkout, you can choose whichever scent of lip balm you want for free. With any order, just add an extra lip balm, put in the code at checkout, and $5 will be deducted from the total. There’s a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and free shipping on any order over $50.


Are there variety packs with lots of things to sample?

There’s some wonderful variety packs for sampling, like the lip balm variety pack, with Pumpkin Spice Latte, Black Licorice, Sugar Plum and Candy Cane. The pack is currently on sale for 25% off – only $15! I’m a fan of the Bliss Bag -any scent you pick comes with the foaming hand wash, body balm and lip balm for only $25 – it’s on sale from $30.



Heavenly foaming soaps…

Why did no one tell me that the most vile, grimy child will happily wash their hands when there’s epic foaming soap involved? And bean bliss has such lovely scents: Vanilla Bean, Black Licorice, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Sugar Plum and Candy Cane – and they’re all only $10.


Take care of your tattoo!

Anyone with new ink knows how important tattoo care is, which is why bean bliss all-natural skin care offers a tattoo care kit for only $28 – that’s on sale, down from $32.


bean bliss All-natural Skin Care: show me the love…

bean bliss is beloved (say that three times fast!) and there’s plenty of five-star reviews to prove it. Everything comes to you all packaged in a pretty little bag with a ribbon, so you can send it directly to the fortunate recipient. Ready to take a look? When you order, just add Erin as your discount code and Taneasha will add in a free lip balm! There’s a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and free shipping on any order over $50.

You can also find bean bliss all-natural skin care on Facebook

Todd & Erin’s Shop Locally Guide: Bonnie’s Joy Pinup & Boudoir


Shop Locally: Bonnie’s Joy Pinup & Boudoir.

I’ve been fascinated with Bonnie’s Joy from the first minute I found one of the pictures from a photo session that my friend had booked. The allure of a woman – just like you or me –  but luscious and pouting in that way only a truly glamorous creature can be. The confidence of her! The charm!


Bonnie’s Joy Pinup & Boudoir is the brainchild of photographer Alyssa Chambers,  whose mission expanded to not only creating beautiful images but helping the women in front of the camera really see their beauty. It’s too easy to see the cellulite, the non-taut thighs, the stretch marks. But Alyssa’s job is to create an image of you that is elegant, sexy, and dare I say it, beautiful. “I love empowering women through pinup and boudoir photography,” says Alyssa, “confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can have.”

I know what you’re saying right now. “Yeah, I’ll book something like that after I’ve lost another 20 pounds…” You’re beautiful now. We’ve all been trying to lose that last 20 pounds. Forever. Alyssa’s here to remind you, “It’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel about how you look. Let me pamper you and show you you’re perfectly imperfectly right now.” Hard to argue with that logic.


As our “Shop Locally” darling, Bonnie’s Joy is offering a rather spectacular deal. Bonnie’s Joy session fee of $300 includes professional hair and makeup, 3 outfits, coaching/ posing, 60 min photoshoot and $100 credit to any Royal Collection. Mention Todd and Erin when you book to get $200 off. That’s right, your session is only $100 non-refundable!!  This is an amazing holiday gift for someone you love.


Have a look here to see more about the process, and when you’re ready to get your session or one as a gift, head here. This is going to be a series of images you’re going to gloat over the rest of your life. When you need to remember just how glorious you really are, these are the pictures you’ll pull out again and again.

You can also find Bonnie’s Joy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Phenomenon of Airbnb and “Forced Civility” – How Home-sharing Has Made Us Better People


The phenomenon of Airbnb and “forced civility.” How home-sharing has made us better people.

I don’t think I waited for my college acceptance email with this much anxiety.

The Todd and I wanted to take the kids to the Maine coast and we’d found the most perfect little cottage, a dreamy Airbnb with the dates we needed wide open. So we sent off our friendly little note about families, sand and lobster. As I hovered over the keyboard I wondered, does another traveler have a better five-star rating than ours? With warmer recommendations?

Fortunately, we got the cottage and I’m packing flip-flops and sunblock as we speak. But the whole afternoon of anxiety makes me ponder the new phenomenon of “forced civility.”

Think about it. I like to believe I’m a nice person. I go out of my way to thank people for a job well done because I know we all like to complain more than compliment. But the days of incivility and casual rudeness are coming to an end and it’s due – at least in part – to the new trend of rating your experience on a site for everyone to see.

It’s not just Airbnb, there’s also Uber and Lyft – where if it comes down to picking up you or someone else at 2am outside a bar, the driver’s going with the passenger who “Tips well! Was really nice!” Wouldn’t you? 

The importance of five stars next to your name is becoming an actual commodity, the numbers that put you first in line. Dr. Robert Cialdini explains some of the key elements involved in the phenomenon in his excellent book, Influence, which is the bible of the marketing industry right now. The book teaches the delicate art of getting people to always say “Yes.” What it essentially seems to boil down to are three key elements: accountability, sincerity, and reciprocity.


Reciprocity is key: the Airbnb host increases the effort to offer a comfortable, beautiful space with thoughtful touches and courteous assistance. In return, the guest goes out of their way to be tidy, pleasant and considerate. Each is pleased with the other’s efforts and feels respected. The host gives an enthusiastic review for the guest, telling others they’ll be pleased to have them in their home. The guest is certain to point out the admirable qualities of the space and how responsive their host was to their needs. Both give a five-star rating to the other. And their excellent, respectful behavior is rewarded.

Would this exchange have been as lovely and accommodating if there had not been a public review under their names? I’d like to think so, but I do know that I might be inclined to be more nit-picky with a hotel stay than in someone’s home, maybe less inclined to point out the positive elements of my time there.

What else drives us to become the pleasant and lovely human beings we are?


Sincerity gives me hope that this isn’t just a temporary fix to our grumpy selves. Airbnb urges us to share a bit about ourselves, why we’re coming to town, who’s with us. This just ended the impersonal exchange that might make me slack off on those good manners Mom tried to instill in me as a child. (Mom tried. Oh, how she tried.) Instead, I’m aware the host “knows” me. I can’t be rude! I’m a guest! 

My best girlfriend Carlie runs a bustling Airbnb flow of guests in and out of her mother-in-law suite, and she says she feels the pressure to be sincere, too. “Here I’ve got this nice mom and dad bringing their daughter to town to drop her off at school. They’re in my home. I want to make them comfortable- it’s kind of an emotional time. So I left a list of favorite college spots for eating, clubbing, hanging out – they thanked me three times.” After sharing these small, personal moments with someone who was a stranger just last week how could you turn into Tourist Monster? You’ve shared a thing. You owe them your best behavior.


Accountability is another important element in the sharing economy. According to You Get What You Give, the Airbnb “bilateral reputation system” rewards popular hosts with more traffic and higher rates. It also puts highly-rated guests in a better position during periods of high demand. But now you have to keep that sweet and pleasant act going. It may be forced initially, but civility becomes a way of life.

My buddy Kevin is a veteran traveler, he’s on the road at least six months of the year. He’s also an Airbnb darling- I told him he should send these reviews to his parents, they’re that good. Kevin groaned. “Yeah, but now I have to be Nice Kevin all the time! I never get to be Snotty Kevin or High-maintenance Kevin like in the good old days of anonymous hotels!” 

So I pushed it. “Yeah, but do you really miss Snotty, High-maintenance Kevin?”

He rolled his eyes. “I dunno, it’s been so long since I got to be those guys that I don’t even remember.”

Success! The crankiest friend I had in college has turned into Nice Kevin for good!


So maybe that’s the end result here. We’re driven to be kind and considerate for that coveted five stars. And somewhere along the way… that’s who we become.

Hmmm… perhaps this is how dating sites should be run.

“I Was Lost…” How Women of Worth Changed Everything

“I Was Lost…” How Women of Worth Changed Everything.

We’ve all been through terrible times. Experiences that we thought would break us forever. The women who make their way through the year-long program with Women of Worth have, too. Unimaginable moments that still did not break them. But they find their way to the program for help rebuilding their lives, learning new skills to help themselves and their families, working through a painful history to make sure it doesn’t repeat itself.

These amazing women get a mentor, someone to help them through this process, attending monthly workshops, developing goals. And at the end of the year, they’re dolled up, put on the most beautiful dress they’ve ever owned, stand in front of a packed ballroom and announce, “I am a woman of worth!”

Women of Worth is the brainchild of Judee Guay, who knows what it’s like to get a second chance to live the life you’ve always wanted. Judee found herself in a verbal, mental and emotionally unhealthy marriage of 24 years that was tearing her down. She believed she didn’t deserve any better. Her broken spirit was only compounded with failing health. At one point Judee was part-time in a wheelchair.

This was not the life she had always dreamed of and she wondered how she got there. She had lost all hope. Day by day, she picked herself up again. Over time she became healthy, released over 100 pounds, started to love herself, and left the emotionally abusive marriage. She healed herself. but Judee also realized other women needed a roadmap to get to where she was, and thus Women of Worth was created.


The insidious thing here is that the minute you hear these stories, meet these women, you are hooked. Seriously, how could you not want to help the next generation? This is where the Women of Worth Gala in November comes in. Since this is where this non-profit organization gets the bulk of its funding, selling out that ballroom is really important. Plus, you get to dress up, look cool, have a ridiculously tasty dinner and sit, with tears in your eyes as one woman after another stands to announce with every ounce of conviction: “I am a Woman of Worth!”


The Gala is on November 9th at Venue6SIX9 in Salt Lake City. Find your tickets and more information here. 

Use the code GALA to get $10.00 off per ticket. America’s Got Talent superstar Kechi Okwuchi is performing, and you can chat her up in a meet-and-greet before the event, pick up those tickets here.


(Cover image credit: pexels)

Win Tickets To Meet Kechi Okwuchi at the Women of Worth Gala!

Win Tickets To Meet Kechi Okwuchi at the Women of Worth Gala!

Anyone who’s watched Kechi Okwuchi’s incredible performance on “America’s Got Talent” knows what an amazing woman she is. Kechi survived a terrible plane crash that killed most of the members of her choir and sustained burns over most of her body. She struggled back from her terrible injuries and came blazing out on stage – in her followup in “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” the ever-irritable Simon Cowell gave her the Golden Buzzer. She speaks for the TedX Talks and she’s moved people all over the world.


Win Tickets To Meet Kechi Okwuchi at the Women of Worth Gala!

Here’s your chance to meet her in person! The 8th Annual Women of Worth Gala is holding an exclusive meet and greet with Kechi before she performs at the Gala on November 9th. You’d win two tickets to the Gala and the meet and greet. Head to the WoW Facebook page here and like, share and tag in your comment, and there’s another chance to win by signing up for the Women of Worth newsletter here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up for the newsletter.) Winners will be chosen in a drawing on October 15th.



Why this moment matters…

Here’s why the Women of Worth Gala is so important- this is the cumulation of a year’s worth of hard work from the women who participate in the program. These are women who’ve struggled up from abuse, polygamy, domestic violence, poverty and more with a desire to change their lives and improve the lives of their families. They’re assisted one on one with a mentor, who shares her experience with the mentee. There’s monthly workshops, personalized counseling sessions, and then linked in with additional services they may need.


“I am a Woman of Worth!”

Then on November 9th, 2019, these incredible women are dolled up, dressed up, and in front of a packed ballroom they stand proudly on stage and they’ll pronounce, “I AM a Woman of Worth!” I want you to join us there to see this incredible, inspirational moment and ideally, leave the Gala ready to sign up to act as a mentor for one of the new women who’ll begin the program in January. This event is especially important because it acts as the main fundraiser for the next year’s programs.

Join us! Buy some tickets, support this program and these amazing women. Trust me, the WoW board knows how to throw a party, this is going to be an epic night. Use TODDANDERIN during checkout to get $10.00 off the price of each ticket.

What Would it Take for You to Say… “I am a Woman of Worth?”

What would it take for you to stand in front of a packed ballroom and pronounce, “I am a woman of worth!”

I like to believe I’m confident – or I can at least fake confidence for a suitable period of time – but to stand there in your fancy evening gown, feet planted firmly and just shout it out. “I AM a woman of worth!”

Throw in the challenge of women coming from sometimes unspeakable backgrounds to stand on that stage, and you’ve got the annual Women of Worth Gala.

A year’s journey.

These women have traveled through a year of coaching from a mentor- everything from nutrition to parenting, finding a job or going back to school, ending old habits that did nothing but drag them back down… it can be overwhelming without support. One recent “graduate” came from a life of polygamy- trapped, actually and barely made it out of her husband’s stifling compound with her children. But how do you jump into the modern world when you’ve lived in such a closed community with no real view of life outside? After her year of guidance and support, she was ready to say the words that she was told her entire life did not belong to her: I am a woman of worth. Today, she’s volunteering for the charity and showing other women the way up.


WoW’s pledge.

“There’s dozens of these stories,” says Judee Guay, director for WoW, “We are a non-profit, and our mission is: We support women who have been through abuse, overcome addiction, survived a debilitating illness or simply do not have a voice by giving them a hand up, not a handout.”


The guidance to change their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to have the desire to change your life, to show your children a better way. But if you don’t have the support and guidance, it’s a ridiculously steep climb. WoW succeeds by pairing a mentor with each mentee to check in on them, work through challenges, attend monthly workshops together.


The WoW Gala

So, at this point, I’m hoping you’re gripping the keyboard hollering, “Amazing! How can I help?” Well, I’m so happy you asked! The Women of Worth Gala is November 9, 2019, at the hip new 6SIX9 in Salt Lake City. It’s an epic black-tie event where you’ll get to see the results of all this hard work. Not to mention America’s Got Talent finalist and champion, Kechi Okwuch is performing – an incredible woman who has overcome unimaginable challenges of her own. There’s also a private meet and greet with Kechi, tickets are extremely limited. This is an utterly inspiring evening and is an important part of funding the next year’s group of women. When you pick up your tickets here, be sure to enter TODDANDERIN to get $10 off the price.


Do you know someone who could use these amazing women to become a Woman of Worth? Are you interested in becoming a mentor? Find more information here.

Please Come To The Period Party! Wait, What?

Please Come To The Period Party! Wait, What?


So, I got this in the mail the other day.

At first, I figured my girlie was pranking me. I mean, Janet is your standard working Mom of many. The kids are all in stuff like soccer and gymnastics. She belongs to the Junior League. We organize fundraisers together. I seized my phone.

“Hey, girl. Just got your invitation.”

“Oh, good! Can you and Zoe make it?”

“Um, what exactly is this?”

Pause. “A PERIOD party, silly!  To celebrate Emily Anne’s first menstruation.”

“I know I’ve been out of the girl loop with just having the twins for so long, but the period party thing.  Is this… done a lot?  Is this a thing?”

Impatient sigh. “Erin, you’re not going to be all immature about this, are you? Menarche is a crucial developmental step in a young woman’s life. She deserves to have her community gather round her and celebrate her fertility.”

I fought to swallow down a frantic giggle. “Where’s the gift registry?”

Janet hung up on me and I went over with pie to soothe her feelings. And she gave me permission to write about this because she knows I’m stupid and that you’ll agree with her.

So… this is a thing? We do this, now?


(image credit: Maxpixel)

“Please come to the Period Party!”

Anyone who’s been to Burning Man with me has already hung out with the “Goddess Girls.” They weave their own skirts and then they don’t wear them because they’re dancing nude under the full moon. Those girls? Oh, yes. They’re already on it. In fact, they engaged me in a discussion once about “syncing up” all the cycles of everyone in the house to “flow” at the same time. I have three sisters. That would have been Armageddon. I can hear the clip-clopping of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse just thinking about it.

But I guess I just never saw this coming into the mainstream. And the whole thing is fraught with confusion. Who do you invite to your little girl’s Menarche? Her gym class? Uncle Steve? Grandpa?

Look, I know a girl’s first menstruation is an important developmental step. And when it was my turn my Mom was great with a calm and matter of fact explanation of what was to come in my developing body. Then she threw me a box of feminine hygiene products. “Have at it, honey. Let me know if you have questions.” I was good. But if Mary Helen had tried to throw me a “Period Party” and I showed up to a house full of friends and relatives and a big cake, I would have walked back out the door and planted myself in the middle of I-15 at rush hour with the hope it would be over quickly.


Anyway, I’m going. And I’m taking Zoe. This will raise questions from my daughter about what “That is?” and I’ll answer them. But I’m secretly longing for the old days when I just had to find something in the Unicorn Poop toy aisle. Because I still can’t get anyone to tell me where Emily Anne is registered for a gift for the Period Party.

Does everyone do this? Am I just out of the loop on raising girls?

What’s Your Next? Super-charging Your Career With a Villa Consulting Retreat

What’s your next?

So, I’m at this point in my career… I’ve loved every second of being on the air with the Todd on TV, radio, and now this gloriously expansive digital platform. But I keep feeling this nagging sense that I’m missing something – something important. I feel like there’s more I should be knowing and doing and… I just know. I’m not sure where I should be focusing- there’s so many choices and as women, there are always things we should be doing.

I need coaching. I don’t know if you’ve been subjected to “consultants” in your line of work, but I vividly remember one very expensive consultant who listened to a bit of our morning radio show and told me, “Hey, Erin. You should start saying you’re into NASCAR.”

“I should-  why would I say I’m into NASCAR?” (Mind you, the only name I think is from NASCAR would be like… Dale Earnhardt? He’s NASCAR, right?)

The consultant settled back, tugging at his belt a little. “You should say you’re into NASCAR because guys dig it when girls are into racing.”

“Uh, huh…”

(Image credit: Moose Photos)

What’s your next?

Maybe this is the kind of coaching you’ve gotten. Maybe you haven’t gotten any. But if you’re at a point where you want to rise in the ranks at your company, maybe make a move to a better opportunity, or maybe you’re between jobs and you want to decide what your next should be – you need to be at this retreat! There’s a different energy with women, the way we approach professional challenges is different. We feel a huge pressure because of home, kids, our extended family, church, community, blah blah blah… Everything feels equally important, but how you handle the balls you’re juggling with all twenty fingers and toes changes when you have a better understanding of what you want and what your skills are. This is the gift that Merrilee Buchanan – the CEO and founder of Villa Consulting – will give you.


The retreat is September 8-12th in the beautiful Heber Valley. Everything- ev. er. ee. thing. Is included in this package- a beautiful villa, chef-prepared meals, all the coaching and training, even cocktail hours and adventures designed to stretch your boundaries are included in a price that is a fraction of a regular consulting fee. And when we all charge out of there and back onto the Road of Awesome, Villa Consulting is still behind us, with a support network and checking in to see if we’re reaching our goals.

I was surprised that the hardest thing for me was asking The Todd if I could just scoot off for three days and four nights. We have kids, the show – and all the other stuff that makes us all feel snarly and anxious about leaving our lives – and I felt guilty. He, of course, looked at me like I was a moron and said, “Of course you should go!” Give yourself permission. You likely need this as much as I do.


(Photo credit: Stocksnap)

The next challenge is this: getting your boss to pay for it. Ironically, since I’m the boss it was an easy discussion. But here are some crucial tips and facts to show to your boss to convince them of the wisdom of this move. It’s all about making you more valuable to the company. And it’s helpful to have a little “script” that’s worked well for others. In the end, if you can’t get your company to cover it, ask yourself if it’s worth investing in yourself, in your career. I guarantee it’ll be a fraction of that last family trip to Disneyland.

You can find all the information about the retreat and what’s included here. When you book your place, be sure to add TODDANDERIN for 10% off – you can also bring a friend or co-worker for $1,500 as well. This is our time- Villa Consulting travels all over the world to coach women executives- in fact, they’ve consulted with women in Saudia Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. If they can convince business owners of a woman’s value in the corporate world there, then these are some genius consultants! So take advantage of the moment and join me. I’m ready for more- I need help getting there. If you’re in the same position, then let’s do this together. Don’t forget, there’s only 10 spaces open at the retreat as I write this, so please hurry! I’m looking forward to learning with you.

What’s Your Next? Super-charging Your Career With a Villa Consulting Retreat.

Find out more about Villa Consulting here, and sign up for the retreat here. Feel free to email me with any questions at

Utah Eccentric: 5 Quirky Road Trips

quirky utah roadtrips

Utah Eccentric: 5 Quirky Road Trips. Perhaps you just can’t stand the thought of one more weekend languishing in your backyard, hogging all the space in the kiddie pool while your offspring glare at you? We’re here to preserve family unity, my friend. Grab the cooler and fill up the gas tank, you’re going on a road trip!

Pleasingly, there’s a big fat bunch of options for a short road trip along the Wasatch Front.  If you’re looking for something a little quirky, maybe off the beaten path, you’re in the right place, honey.

BTW: ready to introduce some new camping sites into your summer rotation? Check out our “5 Family-Friendly Camping Sites” here.


Utah Eccentric: 5 Quirky Road Trips

antelop island

1. Travel To A Desert Island: Antelope Island is the largest in the little chain dotting the Great Salt Lake.  Step foot onto the island and you’re sent back to frontier life with roaming buffalo, wagon rides, clouds of hummingbirds and primitive camping.  Floating in the pungent, briny brew of the Great Salt Lake is best from there–just be sure to get all those brine shrimp washed off in the campground showers.


Beaver Creek Nudist Ranch[4]

(Photo Credit:

2. Beaver Creek Nudist Ranch: mostly entertaining for what it isn’t–a nudist colony.  A group of Samak mischief-makers put up the sign years back to trick the unsuspecting into thinking they’re going to see some naked bits racing alongside the road up the Mirror Lake Highway past Kamas.  After laughing at your overly hopeful friends, stop by the Samak Smoke House for some incredible smoked trout and salmon and camp in one of the well-kept and surprisingly un-crowded campgrounds.


Old Mine Shaft Entrance

3. Lark, Utah–Extra Creepy Ghost Town: Lark, Utah used to be a bustling lead and copper mining town.  After a tragic explosion in the lead mine in 1950, five miners were lost and their spirits were reported wandering helplessly by the mine’s entrance.  Lark started fading and was eventually shut down by the Kennecott Copper Mine’s executives in the early 1970’s.  About four miles west of Herriman in the Oquirrh Mountains, it’s a fascinating and creepy destination. But I’d be out of there by nightfall…



4. The Antelope Springs “Footprint” Mystery: Millard County is a bonanza for even the newbie rockhound, thousands of trilobites to ferret out and marvel at the Awesome of your very own fossil collection.  Then grab a beer in Delta and start the endless argument over the authenticity of the Antelope Springs Footprint: a fossil found by William Meister in the 1960’s that looks like the imprint of a shoe.  Gasp!  Aliens?  King Arthur?  Who knows?  Easy camping and inexpensive hotels for overnighters.



5. Buddying Up To The Bear Lake Monster: Having worked a summer at Bear Lake 60 miles north of Logan, I am adamant that the Bear Lake Monster exists.  He’s described as half carp/half eel in appearance, and I swear I heard his roar echo over the waters at least twice that summer.  While you’re searching for the elusive serpent, be sure to stop by Raspberry Days and grab a gigantic raspberry shake from the Hometown Drive-in in Garden City.  There are campsites on the beach and inexpensive rentals all around the lake and in nearby Logan Canyon.


Find more fascinating and entertaining Utah adventures at


Welcome To Our “AC-Free” Zone

I don’t judge how anyone tries to keep cool. Just don’t close the freezer door on his head…

(Image credit: PXHere)


Welcome To Our “AC-Free” Zone. As I’m fanning myself, I’m beginning to question the combination of frugality and spite that led us to this place…

Last August I opened a power bill for a galactic $423.74. Yes. One month’s worth of air conditioning. To put it nicely, sweetly, as gently as I can, Utah is a life-sucking dust bowl of death during the summer. May is often even chilly and maybe June suckers you into thinking, “Hey, maybe this summer won’t be so bad…” Then, July rolls around and the heat hits you like a cricket bat to the back of the head. The temperature gleefully climbs to triple digits and squats there like a malevolent wasp over your picnic blanket. It doesn’t take long before everyone’s hovering by their thermostat, wondering why it isn’t cooler yet!

But, please. A $423.74 power bill?

So, here we go- a solemn vow between my spouse and me that we would go “AC-Free” for the entire summer. This was not met with enthusiasm when we announced it to our offspring. But my mother, who grew up in a tiny Southern Utah town, was all in. While I notice her air conditioner is buzzing along industriously when I stop by her house, she has a huge list of suggestions of how people actually survived when there was no such thing as central air.

We’ve implemented the ideas below, and I’ll keep adding new ones to this post as the broiling H-E-double hockey sticks of this month continues.

Welcome To Our “AC-Free” Zone

  • This one seems obvious: a cold shower. I prefer baths, but complete submersion in ice-cold water seemed ill-advised. I can keep moving under a frigid spray. This worked. It cooled my skin enough to fall asleep, even though the bedroom was at 89 degrees. BTW: try a rainshower shower head to pretend you really are under some heavenly waterfall in Hawaii and not your stinking hot apartment- find some easy attachments here.
  • Lucky enough to have a breeze going? Hang a wet sheet from your open window and use the evaporative cooling of the wind to bring the temperature down. This worked. There was enough of a comfortable chill that we slept like babies.
  • Turn off those damn lights!! Gee, I can hear my dad’s words come out of my mouth as I holler at my offspring. It’s a small but obvious point that lightbulbs – even the high-efficiency ones – give off their own heat, adding to your misery. Since it stays lighter longer this time of the year, take advantage of it to keep the lights off. Kind of worked? We’re still pondering this one, but after a week of keeping the lights off until around 9 pm, it seems a little cooler. BTW: there are some low-heat lightbulbs that still manage to be affordable and energy-efficient, have a look here.
  • Drinking one or more cold glasses of water before bed. Replace fluids lost from sweating so dehydration doesn’t interfere with sleep. So stupid. Unless getting up repeatedly through the night because of said glasses of water was part of the plan and then trying to go back to sleep, this was a giant failure.


(Image credit: Pixabay)


  • Meet your new best friend: Mr. Ceiling Fan. When we moved into this house, we wondered if the previous owner owned a ceiling fan franchise. Just about every room had one… which as it turns out, has been our become our best ally. Just remember to adjust the settings on the fan so the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of simply spinning it around the room. No ceiling fan? Put a box fan in your window, turned to pull hot air out of the room and blowing it outside where it belongs. This worked. Our fans run constantly for a fraction of the electrical demand of the air conditioner. BTW: there’s some high-tech, low price ceiling fans here.
  • The most memorable line from my Zachie’s favorite movie, George of the Jungle is this: “Who wears 90 pounds of black leather in the jungle? Cotton! Cotton breathes!” This worked. The villain was correct- Egyptian cotton sheets treat your poor, hot skin more kindly than satin or a grim polyester blend. The lightweight cotton wicks away sweat and allow for a more “breathable” sleep. BTW: I found some surprisingly affordable thread counts on Amazon here.


So, this is where we are, a third of the way through July. More ideas next week – what worked and what didn’t. If we live that long. But our power bill will be a tiny, diminished version of its robust former self! Take that, power company!

What keeps you cool during the blow-torch hot months in your neck of the woods? Share! Spill! We’re giving away a $50 gift card for one of your clever ideas on August 1, 2109.


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(Cover image credit: Pedro Sandrini)

(shower image credit Pixabay)