I knew Stephanie Nielson was popular. Heck, I wrote a seven-page article and multiple blog posts about her celebrity status. But I still didn”t anticipate the electronic mayhem that erupted this morning when nieniedialogues.com blogged about the cover story in our newly released Utah Valley Magazine. I apologize if you spent time this morning staring at our crashed website as it sluggishly tried to pull up the article. But I know WHY so many of you read and need NieNie. I started following her blog this past year, and now I can”t start my day without checking in with Stephanie and her witty sister Courtney (aka C. Jane). When Stephanie revealed her 2011 calendar, I knew she”d be perfect to help us start the year with perspective.\r\n\r\nWhen we arrived for the photo shoot last month, Nicholas was her only child at home. But with Stephanie”s three changes of clothes, hairdos and multiple light setups, the clock ticked and tocked until the other kids came home. The girls wanted to share their after-school stories with mom. She listened intently and then invited them to go help their dad in the backyard while we snapped the last few photos. I love to watch other women juggle the good, better and best that life tosses their way.\r\n\r\nI did my own balancing act that day as my phone kept ringing and buzzing. My husband and I exchanged six texts during the photo shoot. Topics? Kindergarten pickup and prizes for our company Christmas party. Ironically, I also missed a call that afternoon from Michael McLean — the cover man from our last issue of Utah Valley Magazine. I had seen “Forgotten Carols” the night before, and Michael was returning my congratulatory call on his festive performance.\r\n\r\nBut enough about my phone log and back to the woman of the week — Stephanie Nielson. Come back tomorrow for another behind-the-scenes photo of Provo”s postess with the mostess.
Stephanie Nielson”s dog, Jimmy, is a camera hog. He cuddled up to Stephanie during this first pose of the photo shoot with photographer Kenneth Linge. We actually thought this would be our cover photo (minus Jimmy), but after much debate and in-office voting, we selected the blue chair/reddish shirt for the cover. The couch shot was on our Table of Contents page.Did we make the right choice? Maybe you shouldn”t answer that. Reprinting the magazine would be pricey. By the way, the coolest way to see the magazine in its colorful format (other than getting a hard copy for yourself) is by clicking here. Before Stephanie sat down on the couch, I was the “stand-in model” for the photographer to test light and distance. Here”s the view from the couch.I”m not sure where Jimmy is in my snapshot above because it seemed like he was right in the middle of the action the entire afternoon. Even as we packed up the equipment at the end, we were tiptoeing around the family dog as he sprawled out for an afternoon snooze. Stephanie told me that Jimmy has actually been part of the family longer than anyone — they got the mellow fellow even before they were married in December 2000. Thanks for visiting the Jeanette Gazette this week. Every day I”m sharing some behind-the-scenes photos and stories from the NieNie feature. See you tomorrow!
During our staff meeting today, Hudson Printing delivered our copies of the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Utah Valley Magazine. Before grabbing a slick copy, I took a deep breath and rubbed my nervous palms on my pinstriped pants. Seeing a printed (aka unchangeable) magazine for the first time gives me a strange combination of excitement/nerves/fear/anticipation — especially when it”s an issue we created during December Madness (move over, March). What I”m NOT nervous about is our choice for the cover story. Stephanie Nielson is a community darling. She blogged her way into our hearts before making her way into our prayers after a 2008 plane crash. And now her nieniedialogues.com garners more than 3 million hits per month. If you could measure lovability, hers would be out of this blogosphere.\r\n\r\nI interviewed her the day before she left for St. Louis to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the photo shoot took place on Friday, Dec. 3. This week I”ll be sharing behind-the-scenes photos and tidbits from our time together. This photo was taken at the end of our multi-hour photo shoot (which we rescheduled so she could go on a fieldtrip with her kids. Motherhood comes first for NieNie!) I kept my brown leather jacket on throughout the photo shoot — mostly because I removed my jacket on the day of the interview so I could type more easily, and then I left it behind on her colorful couch. (The temperature was in the comfortable double digits back then.) Later that day, Stephanie tried to track me down while packing for her trip, and I felt guilty for adding to her to-do list. When I came to retrieve the jacket I also found a fabulous NieNie calendar in the sack. I learned my lesson! Always … I mean never … leave behind personal items.\r\n\r\nThe magazine will be online and hitting mailboxes by tomorrow. The new year and NieNie go together — especially if you buy one of her personality-filled calendars to hang throughout the year. Her quote on the January page is: “Perfecting our New Year”s kiss after the accident was odd, awkward, and it hurt. Now it”s adorable.