Stay cool, baby
Unless you are fortunate enough to spend your summers by a lake, an electric fan is probably the easiest way to cool off quickly. If floor or table top space is limited, Lee Valley has a high-output fan (1710 cubic feet of air per minute at top speed) that can be wall-mounted, and provides air circulation for spaces up to 850 square feet. It has a quiet three-speed motor (120V), a metal front grill, an impact-resistant plastic rear grill, and 16-inch diameter plastic blades. The speed control switch can be adjusted directly or by with a pull-cord. And at $60, you cannot beat the price.
Another way to keep the house cool is an item that’s on my dream list - a VELUX venting skylight. They let in up to twice as much natural light as vertical windows, and they open, so that at night all that hot air (which has risen to the top floor) can escape. They also keep out damaging UV-B rays, which can damage fabrics — and your skin!
Keeping blinds closed during the day will also reduce interior temps, and Velux now has a line of prettily patterned blinds for their skylight line.
I have a Velux light tunnel in my upstairs that I love, love, love. Since installing it, I’ve don’t think I’ve ever had to turn on a light in the daytime to look in the linen cupboard. I get lots of light – even on overcast days. At night, there’s enough lumination from the moon and the stars (and okay, light pollution from various sources) that there’s no need to turn on the light for a trip to the bathroom.