Ladies Who Lunch

Women who wear multiple hats rarely take a seat, which is why yesterday was miraculous. We invited those featured in our Women in Business section of the July issue of Utah Valley Magazine to put on their lunch hat and dine at Chef’s Table in Orem. We casually and deliciously visited with the various women, including the mother-daughter combo from Graf Orthodontics (daughter Calee Creer is standing in the photo below and the beautiful blonde on her left, Mitzi Creer, is her mother).The “mom” half of the duo won the teeth whitening package from Lone Peak Dental! (See her holding the lucky chocolate apple below.) Thank you, Ardice, for bringing the caramel apples every year. Lone Peak Dental’s apple marketing campaign is one of the best in the valley!When I stood up to welcome the women, I mentioned that when we started the magazine I was a young mother of two who hadn’t seen many examples of balancing business and diapers. My mother and mother-in-law had been loving and lemonade-fixing homemakers. I turned to the women in our community to see what it looks like to wear both hats. Two of my favorite mentors are MaryLyn Linge and Mary Crafts (seen below).Mary (right) writes our dining reviews, and her company — Culinary Crafts — was featured in this last issue. She raised three children and a catering company while still having the best laugh in the valley. Love her. MaryLyn Linge (left) is a photographer extraordinaire along with her husband, Kenneth. They have photographed most of our magazine covers in the past nine years. The first photo shoot I did with them was a two-day adventure in Malibu that bonded us for life. I’ve been on an 11-year adventure with Roxanne Bennett (below). She’s our ad manager and my sister-in-law and apparently a hand-talker. I wrote more about this talented women here.In true hat-changing fashion, I rushed out of the restaurant when the luncheon ended to head straight to Hale Center Theater to see my daughter perform in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”Hailey has already got the hat-changing trait down!

Mom and Me

Strangers no more. Last night we attended the reception for photographer Justin Hackworth’s “30 Strangers” exhibit (which we wrote about here in our current issue of Utah Valley Magazine.) Back in April, he photographed mother/daughter combinations he’d never met — one every day — and then put together a black-and-white stunner displayed in BYU’s library this month. Hailey and I were lucky enough to be in front of his camera on April 11. But last night wasn’t about saying “cheese” — or eating cheese, for that matter. It was about relationships captured in a flash (but without a flash) and connections developed over a lifetime. The latter was presented in the form of five bloggers reading essays about motherhood. I listened with my arms around my two daughters and remembered why I love motherhood and why I should love it more. I snapped a self-portrait of our trio to remember the moment. One of the blog readers was Stephanie Nielson, who I haven’t seen since our January/February 2011 issue came out with her beautiful picture. She shared the written story of becoming reacquainted with her 2-year-old son after her plane crash. It was a tale she hadn’t shared during our interviews on her couch, but how could we ever share all of our anecdotes with one another? We continue to process and re-evaluate their meaning as the days march on and the lessons run deeper. For example, today I’m processing why I let Hailey and her older bro, Nathan, slide down the indoor banisters at the BYU library. Not a good motherhood moment. Maybe it will work itself into a dramatic reading at some point in the future. I’ll have to let my mind slide around on that for awhile.

Beam Me Up

Today I attended the “topping ceremony” for the Utah Valley Convention Center. The 52,000-square-feet of meeting space will open in Spring 2012, and dozens of VIPs showed up under a white tent today to celebrate the milestone. Before the ceremony began, Joel Racker (CEO of Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau) invited us to sign the white beam that will “top” the building in downtown Provo. I added my John Hancock and then asked Fred Parker (general manager of the Courtyard Marriott in Provo) to snap my picture. It seemed like a momentous occasion I’ll tell my grandchildren about and want proof to go with my story. Provo Mayor John Curtis, who thanked me for this article, told the crowd the convention center will contribute in ways most of us can’t comprehend to the liveliness of Provo’s downtown. “Our residents want to see a vibrant downtown,” he says. “Can you imagine a more vibrant contribution than a convention center? The pieces of the puzzle are coming together for Provo.” Don Nay, Utah County’s associate public works director, added, “We’ve built some pretty important buildings during my years here, but this is the most significant building the county has ever built. This is going to have a game-changing impact on Utah Valley.” Those are some pretty strong words, but I like ’em. Look for more photos in our next issue of BusinessQ.

Jeanette Unplugged

All week I was craving a non-digital experience. I needed a little distance from my MacBook Pro and my iPhone. I needed to be unable to check my e-mail or accept friends on Facebook. I needed to be “one with nature” with zero technological strings attached. Enter Stewart Falls. I’ve hiked this 2-mile trail behind Timpanogos a handful of times, and my soul was craving a repeat. Knowing I could take this hike with my Bennett brood on Friday afternoon motivated me to get my projects done and prepare to unplug. I shook my head Friday morning when the skies were crackling and the clouds were crying. My soul wasn’t prepared for a rain-out. Luckily by the time we headed up Provo Canyon, Mother Nature was dishing out the ideal hiking climate. We parked near Aspen Grove, and I gladly left my phone in the car. I briefly reconsidered so I could take pictures, but then I assigned Matt the photo duties and said goodbye to my only connection to life beyond my six-person pedigree chart. Let freedom (not) ring! When we got close enough to hear the waterfall, Lindsey (age 6) kept saying, “Don’t peek! Wait till we get there before you look up at the falls!” The picture above reminds me of our last visit to the Falls of Stewart in 2009. Lindsey and I have both grown in the past two years. And so has the rest of the fam. Here’s the group back in ’09. One thing that hasn’t changed is Matt’s allegiance to BYU. His 2011 attire (see below) was pretty much the same — which isn’t that surprising considering he has two types of shirts in his closet: BYU T-shirts and button-up dress shirts from Costco. Perfect ending to a busy week!

Freedom to Be Happy

I once joined a committee just so I could associate with Mary Crafts. As owner of Culinary Crafts, Mary is a genius at both food and event planning, which are my Kryptonite. Together we have worked on four galas for the United Way of Utah County Women in Philanthropy, and all four have been deliciously successful. Because of Mary. She also dishes out dining reviews in Utah Valley Magazine. So it was with great pleasure that I watched her serve up an evening of happiness on Saturday at her wedding reception. It was worth missing the Stadium of Fire to see the fireworks between Mary and Rick, who were all aglow as they mingled, danced and sang amidst glorious food stations and lime green decor. Mary, I’ve admired you since 2004 when I interviewed you for a BusinessQ cover story.We laughed then, and we’ve shared smiles (and a few tears) in the past eight years. Thank you for all you’ve shared with me. Congratulations!

Run With It

I’m not a runner. But a few years ago I started pounding the pavement 20 minutes at a time to clear my mind and my lungs. I signed up for the Cedar Hills 5K in 2007 and ran 3.1 miles for the first time in my life. Since then, I’ve run in a handful of races — and even placed in a few low-turnout contests. In 2010, I scribbled three races on my calendar — Ragnar and two half marathons. As a warmup, I did a 15K (just under 10 miles) at the Homestead in Midway and came away with a second place ribbon and a stress fracture. My other race entry fees became donations. This year I again tackled a training schedule, which (almost) prepared me to run Ragnar and my first half marathon. Before running the American Fork Canyon Half last Saturday, I declared that this would be the finale to my running career. I’d had enough with the sore legs, time commitment and sweat. But then I got a runner’s high as I completed the 13.1 miles in 1 hour 51 minutes. I may reconsider my retirement. (A year ago, we published a top 10 list of races in Utah County on page 122 of the July/August issue of Utah Valley Magazine. We had a few people write in and strongly disagree with our choices. You might think we hate hatemail, but we actually find it helpful and sometimes entertaining! By the way, the next time we do a list of top 10 races, the AF Canyon Half will certainly make the cut.