Monthly Archives

August 2015

Inspiration, Stories

Hope when all seemed lost – a story of survival

In 1984, a professor in school asked us to watch a movie called “The Killing Fields” a film about Cambodia when it was ruled by the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-1979. It is estimated that the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.7 to 2.5 million out of a population of roughly 8 million. The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government, as well as professionals and intellectuals.

This movie had a deep impact on me. I have never forgotten it, nor did I ever imagine I would meet someone who had survived this horrible time, let alone an entire family who I admire and have come to love.

It has been a blessing in my life to hear the sweet voice and see the light and love that radiates from Saroeum Eav, the matriarch of this family, a humble and strong survivor.

When I heard her story, I couldn’t help but cry. How can one person, a mother, protect her tiny children from such atrocities, live in such dire conditions and press forward with faith and courage.

In 1975, after being forced to leave their home behind with all their possessions, Saroeum and her husband Leang Eav, who was a teacher, worked in the labor camps from 5:30 in the morning until 7:00 pm. Under wet and miserable conditions, they dug up tree roots to make room so that rice could be planted. Saroeum would also later work grinding rice, braiding thatches used to make roofs, harvesting rice, and more. At times, she was so weak that she had to force herself to go on. The regime had no use for weak people – they simply killed them. She knew that her husband and children needed her and year after year she managed to keep going for them.

She said: I was so happy about my kids that I forgot about my hard work, suffering and hunger.   Everyday my husband and I would run back from work to home to check on our kids during our lunch break. We were so lucky to have them. We both agreed that our life was so blessed because of them, and we both thanked God for the blessing that we received.”

The children stayed mostly alone, babysitters would often steal from the children the little food they had. In the camps, everyone was starving. Saroeum describes watching her two young children in these words: “One cup of rice soup had about 15 to 20 grains of rice. One evening Rachna was eating her food and one grain of rice with some liquid dropped from her spoon and fell onto the wood floor. She tried to pick it up many times but she couldn’t and then she laid herself down close to the wood floor and licked it up with her tongue. As I turned around to get another spoon for Alain, I saw her but I didn’t know what she was doing until I heard her say, ‘I got it. I got it mom.’ I felt sad because I knew she was so hungry that even if a grain of rice dropped on the floor she would try to get it.”

Some days when there was no rain, Saroeum would take her children to work with her. They liked to play in the field. Young Alain would find and gather grasshoppers, crickets and frogs, which he would cook and feed to his little sister and mother so they wouldn’t be so hungry. He was 5 years old.

In 1979, they escaped the labor camp by walking barefoot through mud, crossing rivers and jungles for 15 hours, not daring to stop to rest for fear of being caught and killed, all while keeping their children quiet so that the soldiers would not hear them.

When they finally reached the border of Thailand, they laid down in exhaustion for two days. Saroeum was two months pregnant.

They ended up in a refugee camp that would be their home for 18 months and where they would welcome their third child—a baby girl they named Mithona.

While in the refugee camp, Leang studied English. In May of 1981 they were sponsored by an American family who made it possible for them to come to the United States.

What Leang and Saroeum Eav knew about survival and endurance helped them flourish in their new homeland. All of their children graduated from college and are now all married and have children of their own. They teach them of their grandparents, of their sacrifice and faith, of their determination to survive and endure with patience. Their legacy will live on for countless of generations.

This week, I hope we can all take a moment to focus not on our own struggles and problems, but to draw strength and courage as we look to someone who has endured much and risen above the sorrows of this world. To the Eavs and to all who are an inspiration, thank you.




The Home

Monthly Stick on Canvas

Click here for a mini demo of our stick on monthly canvases!

Celebrating every month of the year, special holidays and birthdays makes it fun for the kids and brings a warm and welcoming feeling to the home. It’s also a sweet reminder to be grateful for all the different seasons and months of the year.

Our Stick on Canvas can peel off and on over 100 times.

Use it, store it and re-use it year after year. There are canvases for every month and for holidays.

Choose a frame – 2 styles in 3 different colors

Choose a Stick on Canvas– there are 25 to choose from and more will be added from time to time.

Buy 10 canvases and get one free!

These frames can be hung both vertically and horizontally or put on an easel.  Here are a few of the canvases and display ideas.  The Salt Sky watermark will of course not be over the canvas. For the full line see our Salt Sky Shop.














9-september-harvest-watermarkedAnd one more exciting thing… We can create a canvas just for you with any picture you send us.  Baby photo, missionary, or a holiday that only you celebrate.  Go to our Salt Sky Shop for details and click on “Special Order Canvas”.

Your canvas will arrive at your door in this shipping tube.


Enter to win a free frame and a Stick on Canvas as we launch our new product.  To enter see our instagram today!


The Salt Sky Team



The Home

Just in case

We drove by a billboard today that read:


It made us laugh and got us thinking and taking a mental inventory. Here is a list of must have’s for a natural disaster made simple.

Water – Industrial Container in Salt Lake has the best prices on water containers, barrels and pumps. We recommend 5 gallon jugs with easy to carry handle $7.40. Every home should also have at least one 55 gal water drum $35.31 and remember the pump. Water is essential, you simply can’t live without it.images_products_hires_D004

Emergency Backpack – For a quick grab and go, REI has some delicious freeze dried meals that weigh almost nothing. Put 3 in your backpack along with water, flashlight and batteries, wool blanket (attach on the outside of pack) zip lock bag with first aid items, wet wipes, granola bars, extra clothing and anything else your family may need.


Food Bucket – Years ago our friend Anitra Kerr taught us this one. Get a 6 gal. plastic bucket with a lid $4.73 at Industrial Container. Put everything in it to make 5 meals for the entire family along with the recipes. Include a can opener, pot with lid, recipes and all the paper products to serve the meal.


Hygiene Bucket – Same idea as above. Include, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, diapers for baby if needed, wash cloths, toothbrushes and paste, garbage bags, travel size shampoo, soap.

The Big Stuff – We leave this one up to our men since they love to gather toys as they call them. A nice family tent, sleeping bags, portable stove, Dutch ovens, camping chairs, water purifier.


And here is the most important thing for a stress free emergency (like that’s possible). Keep all the above items in one place. If everything is together, you won’t be running around in an emergency trying to remember where things are.

After making sure everyone at home is safe, check on the neighbors especially the elderly.

Good luck to us all!

Decor, The Home

8 favorite things for the home

This week as we focus on the home, we want to share 8 of our favorite things that can give a house that comfortable, inviting and cozy feel that makes all the difference.

(1) Pillows. Pillows are a great way to update a room in a day!  TJMaxx always has fun pillows. We also love getting fabrics from Home Fabrics in Midvale, to mix in as well. These two places are great for your design and budget.

pillows for the home


(2) Succulents: No one does succulents like Black Sheep Flea Designs . These fresh plants are beautiful and a favorite because they don’t require a ton of care. Black Sheep Flea Designs can create a succulent piece for your home in any style of decor.



(3) Throws: Blankets and throws soften a room. Drape them on a bed or over the arm of a couch. We love this fur throw from Pottery Barn.  But there is nothing like a hand knitted blanket, these are our favorites from our own Diane Dowdle. Perfect to cuddle up in and fabulous for the upcoming fall and winter season!

throws for the home


(4) Candles: Grouping of candles add the perfect mood to any room. We love Luminara candles. These are deliciously scented wax candles on the outside with a battery powered flame that looks like a naturally lit candle.

luminara for the home,


(5) Diffusers. Essential oil diffusers add a touch of aromatherapy to any room in your home. The beautiful scent will make the room smell clean and also aid with sleeping and relaxation. Young Living has a great variety of diffusers.

diffusers for the home,


(6) Dishes: For beautiful dishes for any occasion, we love to visit Macy’s. They have everything from casual mix and match dishes to fine china.

dishes for the home found on


(7) Bedding: We found this simple duvet, pillows and throw at Ikea.  They  have  some great bedding for amazing prices. Sometimes you just need to change up your peaceful retreat and Ikea always has new and changing designs and patterns.

bedding from Ikea found on


(8) And the 8th favorite thing for the home launches in our Salt Sky Shop this Thursday! Stay tuned, we think you’ll like it.

Happy designing!



sweet things that make a home

In 1977, I found myself sitting beside my family at the U.S. embassy in Chile. A tall friendly American man shook each of our hands as he handed my dad green cards with our pictures on them and new social security cards. His final words were “Good luck in the United States.”

Leaving home was the hardest thing we had ever had to do. We were asked to be gone in one month. As if bidding farewell to family, friends and teachers wasn’t hard enough, my mother started right away to disassemble our home. She could only pack what was essential and everything else had to be left behind.

My mom has always appreciated art and beautiful things, decorating her home is a natural thing to do for her. I remember before we left Chile, she took her most precious oil paintings out of their frames, rolled them up and took them downtown to be stamped on the back of the canvases so that she could bring them with her to the U.S.

My father only wanted to take one thing in the end, our dog, a German Shepherd that we had grown up with and who could not be left behind. Our “Chile dog” as the American neighborhood kids called him, lived 7 more years after arriving in Salt Lake.

I was able to bring a book that was precious to me and a teddy bear that my dad brought to the hospital when I was born. It didn’t fit in any of our bags so I carried it on my lap. I still have it.

A home is the feeling that is created wherever you land. It is the warmth and love that exists among the people you live with. To me it is also a place that houses beautiful things. Pictures, art, plants, books, knitted throws, and pillows, are a few of my favorites. I also find beautiful the things that remind me of people who I love that have passed on. My grandmother’s jewelry box, a teacup, her pearls are treasures to me. And then there are treasures that bring me joy from people I know little about—ancestors of my husband Bob— Mormon pioneers who crossed the United States carrying a tiny set of salt and pepper shakers with them.

Things…when everything’s said and done, things won’t mean much. But today, these small things draw my heart to times and places that live in my memory and remind me of home, of people I love, and of places I’ve been and often long for.

“Make your homes lovely, and adorn your hearts with the grace of God.”   Brigham Young

This week, I hope we can all remember that some things stand as sweet reminders that can help us look to the future with hope, with reverence, with appreciation—special things that fill and beautify a home.



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wind rivers

August is usually a month for big changes. Kids get ready for the school year, students rush to fill their class schedule, and summer sadly comes to an end.

For our family, August brings about one of the most exciting trips of the year: Backpacking in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.

My Father-In-Law Bob has been backpacking in the Wind Rivers many times since he was a young Boy Scout, and over the years has accumulated what he jokingly calls his ‘Wind River List’ of family members and friends that every given year he’ll refer to for an invitation to the annual Wind River trip. It’s a coveted list, so when I joined the family 3 years ago, I felt honored to have made the list.

This year’s trip didn’t disappoint, and made for some exciting memories.

wind rivers trip

Here’s what made this years Trip to the Wind Rivers one of the best:


The 2nd day of the trip is always dedicated to a day hike. We planned on heading up Silas Canyon to Island Lake, and then climb over the western ridge to reach Thumb Lake. We somehow deviated from the trail (not recommended), and came across a small lake on a high mountain up Silas Canyon that was unnamed but luckily shown on the map we had.  The view from the top was breathtaking, especially considering that very few (if any) people had been where we were. As a group, we decided to name the lake ‘Bob’s Lake’, in honor of our Wind Rivers guide extraordinaire.


When we arrived at ‘Bob’s Lake’, I immediately spotted a fish rising near the shoreline. Luckily, I had my fishing rod in hand and ready to go. With my first cast, I placed the fly directly in front of the fish, and in an instant, this beautiful fish took the fly only for me to set the hook and reel him in. It wasn’t until I reeled him in close that I realized I caught the fish of a lifetime.  There’s only a few places on earth where you can catch a Golden Trout, the Wind Rivers being one.

Over the course of the trip, the 3 of us that were fishing together caught and released over 150 fish. Everything from the Golden, Brook, Cutthroat, and Tiger Trout. One aspect that made the fishing so great was the fact that we basically used the same Caddis Dry Fly the whole time. I’m hesitant to go fishing again in Utah as I’ve gotten so used to catching fish on every cast in the Wind Rivers!

Wind Rivers-

The Company

Sitting around a campfire in the wilderness having meaningful discussions is a great way to grow close and strengthen relationships.

Airplane Mode

One underrated benefit of the trip came when I turned my phone to Airplane Mode, essentially turning off many potential distractions that take away from the surrounding scenery and those I was hiking with.

wind rivers back packing trip

Until next time,

Griffin May


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Specialty Shops

Retro Betty

Address: 2821 So. 2300 E.
SLC, UT 84109
Hours: Monday 10 am – 6 pm, Tuesday-Saturday 10 am – 7 pm
Instagram: @retrobettyslc.
Facebook: Retro Betty
Phone: 801-467-2222

Retro Betty, owned by Amanda Parrish, is a fabulous boutique with a vintage inspired feel.  Amanda had always dreamed of opening a unique store with hard to find treasures that you don’t see everywhere.  Her dream came true in 2012 when she opened Retro Betty.

Amanda just returned from a buying trip, and I asked her how she finds so much that fits so well with her look.  She told me that she really has to spend a lot of time at market looking for that certain item that will be just right for her store.  You can find beautiful vintage inspired reproductions of clothing, house wares, jewelry, cards, men’s clothing, shoes, baby gifts, ready to go gifts for all occasions, candy and some antiques as well.  Retro Betty also has a line of swimming suits that will remind you of the movie “The Notebook.”

Retro Betty

While visiting her shop I found a gorgeous pair of shoes and a dress that goes perfectly with the shoes.  You really have to go around the store several times to see everything.  The details are so delightful, from the displays to the presentation as well as the packaging.

Retro Betty found on

The prices are so reasonable that you will want to make Retro Betty your go to place! I absolutely love that the outfits, gifts, shoes and everything else in the shop are not “everywhere”.  If you’re looking for a unique look or gift, go to Retro Betty!
Are you ready for an amazing giveaway? Retro Betty is giving one lucky winner a dress of their choice! (up to $70 value) She is also giving anyone who enters to win 10% off their entire first purchase. To enter see our Instagram or Facebook. Winner will be announced next week.

Salt Sky supports small business, join us in helping to grow our local economy by visiting the businesses we feature.


Health & Fitness, Recipes

morning protein shake and why you need it

Why are protein shakes important and when is the best time of the day to have one? I have those answers!  Some people think of protein shakes as BLAH! But what if I told you that you could make your protein shake delicious and add more nutritional value to it?

  • The best time to have a protein shake is first thing in the morning. Your body has been inactive for many hours and hasn’t received any nutrients during that time.  So your body is trying to provide itself with energy, and where is that energy taken from without some protein in your system? Your muscles! Your body will begin to break down your muscles to provide you with energy. Your body can quickly process the protein, give you a boost of energy and repair your muscles. What a great way to start off your day.
  • How much protein should you have? This all really depends on how much you plan on exercising that day.  If you are planning on going on a nice walk in the  morning just have 1 scoop of your protein powder.  If you are planning on having an intense 60 minute workout have two scoops. This is a great rule of thumb. There will also be instructions on the back of your protein powder so you can be doubly sure.  You should wait about an hour after you consume your drink so your muscles have plenty of nutrients to help you through your workout and keep your body functioning smoothly.

Now to the really good stuff, what should you put in your shake?

I put any fruit I have that day, which may include:

-1 banana

-1/2 apple

-1/2 cup frozen fruit medley

-about 1/2 cup fruit juice (apple or orange juice)

-2 TBS  yogurt or 1/2 cup of milk

-1 scoop VANILLA protein powder

Can I just say this is a no fail skeleton of a recipe.  Feel free to experiment with your ingredients, there are so many variations that are delicious.

What kind of protein powder should you get?

I personally think the vanilla powders taste much better than the chocolate ones.  You can get some great powders at Costco or Sam’s Club.  Look at the label and make sure it has a high amount of protein.

If you aren’t already doing it, it will soon become a healthy habit and you will notice a boost in energy!




Go back to school in style

Back to school in style

The school year is about to begin for a lot of people and what better time than now to go back in style. I love all the clothes and fashion but don’t forget about your nails!

Have you heard about Jamberry?  Jamberry Nails is a stick on nail wrap that lasts as long, if not longer than nail polish.  What makes them unique are the many patters and designs you can choose from, not to mention the excellent quality of the product.   I tried them out this week and had so much fun with them. Keep in mind that if you are looking for a fast application, Jamberry is not the fastest but they look really pretty and are easy to apply. My sisters got together for some Jamberry fun! Here are the steps:

1. Wipe your nails with rubbing alcohol and push back your cuticles.


2. Pick out the wrap size that fits best with your nail.

3. Cut the jamberry in half ( you get two applications per wrap)

4. Remove the wrap and heat it up with a blow dryer for 3 to 5 seconds.


5. Put the wrap on your nail and push it down getting all the bubbles out.


6. Heat up for nail for another 3 to 5 seconds to set it.

7. File the nail in a downward motion to remove the excess wrap to match your real nail.


It’s that easy!  Jamboree even has holiday patterns.

We are giving away a sheet of jamberry nails, a mini application kit and a mini heater! To enter, visit our Instagram or Facebook and get all the details.

There is also a deal going on right now for all our Salt Sky friends… You can buy three wraps and get one free.  For an added bonus, Jamberry consultant Emily Dowdle will be throwing in an extra gift with purchase when you click here to order and mention this post!

We hope you enjoy your gorgeous nails and look fashionably adorable this season.


Inspiration, Stories


When I think of faith, hope and healing, I am reminded of someone I admire greatly, he is one of my favorite leaders in the Old Testament. Hezekiah, king of Judah, was a religious and political reformer who reigned for 29 years. He above all loved and trusted in God and constantly prayed for help and guidance for his country and the protection of its people. And if that wasn’t enough, he had by his side the prophet Isaiah as his friend and trusted advisor.

King Hezekiah once became very ill. The prophet Isaiah visited the palace and told him to set all things in order because he would soon die.

When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed. He did not want to die, so he said to the Lord: “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.”  Isaiah 38:3

 Can you imagine living a life so well, so full of service, love and kindness that you could say those words to God?

Before Isaiah even had time to walk out of the palace, the Lord told him to go back and visit King Hezekiah again and tell him that He had seen the king’s tears and had heard his prayers. The Lord promised to add fifteen years to King Hezekiah’s life.

As a sign that He would keep His promise to heal King Hezekiah, the Lord caused the sun to go backward ten degrees. Isaiah told King Hezekiah to watch the shadow on a large sundial to see the miraculous sign.

King Hezekiah recovered from his illness and composed a beautiful psalm to praise the Lord’s goodness.

This story is full of miracles and hope. I love this story. Have you ever turned your face to the wall and wept sore? Sometimes even after we have done all we can to be good and keep the commandments, we still can have broken hearts and problems that like Hezekiah require serious healing.

This week and always, in moments of sorrow when we need to be comforted the most, we must adhere closely to God and remember the words Isaiah delivered Hezekiah… “Thus saith the Lord, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee.” (2 Kings 20:5)


ice cream at thanksgiving point
For Kicks & Giggles

Ice Cream shop at Thanksgiving Point

Salt Sky summer activity featuring ice cream at Thanksgiving Point

Summer seems to be going by so fast and for some of us that means school is starting soon!  Since it’s still summer weather, that calls for ice cream.  Thanksgiving Point has one of my favorite places to get ice cream and the perfect stop to make after back to school shopping. I’ve loved taking the kids out for a fun treat and discuss what they’re most excited about with the upcoming school year.

This little old fashioned ice cream parlor and the prices are so great.  The kids love the whole experience of sitting at the counter to eat their ice cream. I also love how it’s always decorated so beautifully and so creative to reflect the season or month, it’s always changing.

Salt Sky summer activity featuring ice cream at Thanksgiving Point

The ice cream shop is located at the main entrance by the water tower at Thanksgiving point, next to the cafe.  There are also so many fun activities around the park that your whole family will enjoy or even a fun date for two!  Sit and have a treat or take it for an evening walk around the park.

Salt Sky summer activity featuring ice cream at Thanksgiving Point

Where’s your favorite place to get ice cream?  We hope you all have a great start to the school year and keep playing!  We’ll continue to bring you activities throughout the seasons so you can get out and explore Utah!




Summer activities featured this summer…stay tuned  for additional activities!
Terraces-Elbow Fork Trail
5 Splash Pads to Visit this Summer
7 Wonder of the World Balloon Exhibit
Swaner Eco Center & Newpark Hotel
Utah Olympic Park
Nature Hunt & Picnic
Snowbird Stay & Play
Visit Historic Spring City
Albion Basin/Albion Meadows Trail
Sugar House Park & Hidden Hollow Walk
Ice Cream at Thanksgiving Point


Specialty Shops

Lemonade Kitchen

Social Media: Instagram
Facebook: Lemonade Kitchen

We are excited to feature the very delicious Lemonade Kitchen. Opened in March of this year by owner and baker, Ashley Kearns.  Ashley is the mother of four and has always loved baking and entertaining family and friends who gush over her delectable cookies. She decided to open her online shop selling her delicious cookies so that we could all enjoy a little bite of heaven.


Ashely is passionate about real and fresh ingredients. Lemonade Kitchen cookies are all made using fresh real eggs, butter and ripe fresh lemons and they buy local whenever possible. The cookies are available in Orange Dream, Blueberry, Strawberry, Vanilla and Lemonade. These cookies are hand-zested and topped with their own Lemonade Kitchen’s signature cream cheese frosting.


I know, your mouth is watering now so… here is how you purchase Lemonade Kitchen Cookies… Orders are placed online at  Select your cookie flavor and quantity or send them in a beautiful gift box to someone you love with a hand written note included. All orders are processed within 1-2 days and are shipped according to the calendar date you select. Lemonade Kitchen ships on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays to ensure that all orders arrive fresh to your door! Utah locals can also enjoy a local pick up. After your order is placed you will receive an email with the day, time and location for pick up. Lemonade Kitchen is flexible and will work with your schedule.


Whether you just need something for your sweet tooth, gifts or you need your event catered with amazing cookies, Lemonade Kitchen is your place. For catering info and details, email Lemonade Kitchen.

To make this even sweeter, Lemonade Kitchen is giving Salt Sky followers 15% off entire order.  You can use the code saltsky15 through the end of August. AND… 2 lucky winners are going to win a half dozen gift box of cookies! To enter, see our Instagram or Facebook. Leave a comment below and get a bonus entry. We will announce the winners next week.

Good luck. I hope you dream of lemonade goodness and fill that sweet tooth craving!

Salt Sky supports small business, join us in helping to grow our local economy by visiting the businesses we feature.