In Front of the Camera

You look great!” “You’re a natural!” These are the kinds of things I say to people when we’re taking their picture for Utah Valley Magazine, BusinessQ or Celebrating Women Magazine. Easy for me to say from behind the camera. For months I’ve been putting off getting a new editor’s picture taken. I need to lose a few. Color my hair. Go shopping. But with our 10th anniversary issue of UVMag coming out next month, I finally gave in and gave up. After we photographed a For Every Home distributor yesterday (and I told her how great she looked), it was my turn to hop in front of the camera — my turn to awkwardly fuss with my hands and blink at just the wrong time.But if anyone can snap a good photo, it’s Kenneth and MaryLyn Linge. They’ve turned more than 50 everyday people into cover models for our magazines in the past seven years. Together we’ve had a lot of laughs, tears (mine) and a even a ride on a private jet.

Only one black shoe made it to the photo studio, so I’m wearing brown heels with a black and white dress. Kenneth assured me my shoes won’t be in the final picture.
It was 90 degrees outside, but I wore a heavy green jacket for one of the photos. Kenneth was kind enough to have the thermometer set to 70 degrees.

I haven’t seen the photos yet, but at some point I’ll painfully go through the choices and ask Matt to say things to me like, “You look great!” and “You’re a natural!” Then the time will come for the magazine to go to the printer, and I’ll have to be happy with my photo — brown shoes and all. I think I’ll stay behind the camera for awhile and spout compliments and encouragement — I’ll just do it with more empathy.
Only one black shoe made it to the photo studio, so I’m wearing brown heels with a black and white dress. Kenneth assured me my shoes won’t be in the final picture.


Ten years ago this month, we nervously sent our FIRST issue of Utah Valley Magazine to the printer. We were clueless about what was around the publishing corner. We anticipated writing stories, organizing photo shoots and opening letters to the editor that praised our last issue. All of that has come true. But there’s been oh-so-much-more. We’ve seen our fair share of sticky business issues — collections calls, credit merchant woes and break-ins (two, to be exact — now we have a serious security system so don’t mess with us). We’ve had a few unkind letters (primarily surrounding the “Nedra” issue, but we won’t go there — I don’t feel like sorting through 139 more letters to the editor just yet.) But mostly, we feel lucky to feature the unbelievable people, scenery, events and businesses that call Utah Valley home. We’ve had the time of our lives, and we hope we’ve given our readers plenty of reasons to smile, rethink a topic or sit down and write a letter to the editor (keep it kind, keep it kind). One of the most common comments from our readers is that they love our annual lookalike contest. We deliver a new batch every September, and this year we have nine people who will have you doing a double take. A couple of years ago, I used my own lookalike photo for my editor’s letter.

Jeanette Bennett aka ?????

Can you guess who I look like? The answer is in our Sept/Oct 2008 issue. The new lookalikes are much closer matches to their celebrity doubles than I was. The lookalikes and the rest of the 10th anniversary issue will come to a mailbox (or newsstand) near you the first week of September. Until then, I’ll be checking my mailbox for more fan mail — and setting our security system.


I tend to cut things a little close. I don’t want to waste time being early and waiting, waiting, waiting. (This stems from a childhood with earlybird parents. We once got to a junior high drama production BEFORE the janitor showed up to unlock the building with the keys clipped to his belt. Then we helped him setup chairs in the cafeteria-turned-theater. Needless to say we had the front row to ourselves for an hour, which gave me time to plan out my “cutting it close” philosophies.)I booked some tight appointments today (of course I did), and the first one was at my “Remedez office.” I seriously believe it saves me time to get my hair professionally styled once in awhile. With my laptop and iPhone, I can process e-mails and organize interview notes during the round-brushing. Bonus! It looks much better than my “I’m-running-late” attempt to straighten the frizz.

Jeanette and laptop working at Remedez.

With my ‘do all done, I drove to my interviews at Nu Skin (made it just in the nick of time) and later headed back to the office where I reviewed our plans for the September/October issue of Utah Valley Magazine. The 10th anniversary issue, mind you. Ten years!And then I did it. I cut things too close to pick up photographer MaryLyn Linge and my husband, Matt, for a 5:06 flight to Chicago for an upcoming magazine project. We risked a speeding ticket and took full advantage of the carpool lane. Then Matt dropped us off at the skycap and headed to long-term parking, aka “the time warp.” MaryLyn then headed to the gate and I waited for Matt. And waited. And texted. Me: I’m upstairs by security. Short line. Matt: 23b Me: Getting close? Matt: I’m in the middle of the economy parking lot. Having a fun bus tour. Meeting new friends.Me: That does sound fun. OK. See you soon. Matt: Made last stop. Heading in now. Me: I’m starting to worry about time. Matt: No need to worry. Stopped to change bus drivers. Looks like we’ve got a driver in training. Me: Yikes. Matt: OK. Moving again. Me; MaryLyn says she boarded the plane. I don’t think we’re going to make it. What happened after that involved flailing our way down to C11 with heavy bags over all four shoulders (we’re too cheap to pay for checked bags). My recovering stress fracture was screaming as I made my way past business travelers, newsstands and missionary tags. But. It. Was. Too. Late. Thirty seconds ago they gave our seats to some very happy standby-ers. Apparently, being at the gate at 5:01 p.m. isn’t good enough. And so for the first time in my 35 years, I learned what it means to miss your flight. It means frustration. It means waiting on hold with the Delta helpline. It means getting five different answers from five different Delta agents. It means hearing every detail of how another woman needs to be in Chicago for her son’s 6 a.m. graduation. And for me, it meant sincere prayer that there would be two spots on the 7:45 flight to Chicago. Which, ironically, was delayed. We watched several passengers flail themselves toward the gate at 7:45 but then smile when they saw “DELAYED” flashing. We groaned. At 8:30 my prayer got partially answered because one seat became available. Matt and I had talked through this scenario during our 3.5 hours of downtime and decided that I would go. So I handed over my crumpled boarding pass and avoided eye contact with the graduation mom by my side. I eased my guilt by believing she made up that story to get sympathy from people above her on the standby list. A graduation at 6 a.m.? So I waved goodbye to Matt who walked away to face the Delta gods on his own to beg his way to the windy city. Hopefully the graduation mom stays by his side to keep him company. My text to him from the runway: So sorry. Lesson learned. If you go home, squeeze the kids for me. If you end up being routed through Memphis or Portland, have fun meeting new friends like you did on the bus.

Two frustrated passengers.

What the Boss Does on Holidays

You might think — like I used to — that business owners take lots of days off while they soak up the sun and count their money. We are not those business owners.Our office was closed for Pioneer Day, but all that meant for me and Matt was that we had to answer our own phones. But I’m not complaining. I plan to soak up some sun and count my money (won’t take long) in October (we booked frequent-flier flights to Hawaii just today!!).Having the office closed gave our kids a chance to take out garbages and clean windows without anyone around. It’s how they earn their allowance (I told you we were cheapskates).

Nathan is a great worker and leader. Carson spent most of the time working on his hairdo — but not his modeling skills. Should they be forced to split the janitor money 50/50? Nathan said no.
Lindsey was assigned “dusting,” but she was mostly fascinated with how the Lysol wipes stick to the glass. (Matt is hard at work in the background, and if you look closely you’ll see mockups of the next cover of Utah Valley Magazine taped to the glass.)


Yes, our Pioneer Day celebration was unique — we did our own trek by getting a 76-page draft ready for Isagenix, one of our custom publishing clients. Do you like the giant tape in the foreground? Nathan took this shot. We pay him for his janitorial skills — not his photography.


‘Summer Lovin’

Four kids and a business does not a calm summer make. But our work-hard, play-hard mantra is going full-speed. This past weekend we went to Southern Utah to visit two of our advertisers — Tuacahn and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. We saw “Tarzan” and “Price and Prejudice.” I stand behind what we’ve written in Utah Valley Magazine — both events are worth a jaunt down I-15.

The Tuacahn facility is amazing — even when it’s 110 in the shade. (Can you spot the head-tilter? When a camera comes out, her neck gives way.)

After loving St. George and vowing to move there when we retire, we headed to Cedar City for “Pride and Prejudice.” The main characters are Bennetts, but that’s not why I loved the play. It was hilarious and well-costumed! Even my 12-year-old boy — who noticed he was the only one of his kind in the theater — enjoyed the show. Just don’t ask him to put that in writing.

Nathan and Hailey ponder the love triangles in “Pride and Prejudice.” Or are they looking for bats? We saw them at Tuacahn, but I doubt this indoor posh theater has flying critters.

Hopefully Tuacahn and the Utah Shakespearean Festival will be clients of ours for years to come — because I want to keep coming for years! I love it when we combine work and play and the kids don’t notice the work part.Today, I was working on a project in my home office while Lindsey created a masterpiece.

Lindsey painted a “purple brain,” a yellow sunshine and several handprints with her fingerpaint. I toggled between two computers as I edited the next issue of MainStreet Magazine and Prosper Magazine. It’s a no make-up day — hence, the backside.

In this case, I was working hard and she was playing hard. Hopefully that still fulfills our summer mantra.

Family Friendly

Bennett Communications is a family-friendly company. Not only do Matt and I bring our kids to the office, but we celebrate when our employees add to their families. Nearly all of our new-mom-employees stay on as part-timers or freelancers. We don’t let people quit! As a result, we host a lot of baby showers. Here’s the gang (at least the female side) at a Chef’s Table shower. Just writing the name of that restaurant makes me crave the nut-crusted halibut.

My work sisters! Kim, Jessica, (me), Briana, Kate, Whitney, Shelley, Natalie, Kimi, Chelsi, Roxanne, Stacy, Trish. Love these ladies!


Let There Be Light

People often ask how our business has done during the r-e-c-e-s-s-i-o-n. (I don’t speak the word.) Although our ad sales are down from 2007 and 2008, we are still selling ads, subscriptions and newsstand copies. Life is good. We’ve also started doing magazines for direct sales companies such as Tahitian Noni, Young Living Essential Oils and For Every Home. It’s been awesome to meet the passionate distributors and to try their scientifically-backed products. Right now I’ve got tunnel vision for our next issue of Prosper Magazine, which features Isagenix (based in Phoenix). After photographing the Isagenix shake (in both chocolate and vanilla), I decided to find out for myself if the distributors are right. I’ll let you know in 11 days. For now, I’ll be drinking lots of water, drinking Isagenix shakes and downing a cleansing potion that tastes just like it smells.

Our art director (Dave Blackhurst) photographed the Isagenix chocolate shake — and then I promptly drank it.

Child Labor?

Growing up with “publishing parents” has its ups and downs. Just ask my four kiddos.The ups? Going to Hale Center Theater to see Audra McDonald and Will Swenson perform in “110 In the Shade.” (Audra is our cover girl for the July/August issue of Utah Valley Magazine. We told readers it would be amazing. I love it when we’re right!)

Hailey sat with us on the front row of “110 In The Shade.” AND she got Tic Tacs and root beer at intermission. Lucky girl.

But the “Hale high” ended for Hailey at 8:30 this morning — the appointed time for magazine delivery. Nathan and Hailey are our official hander-outers of Utah Valley Bride Magazine. A few times a year we leave copies on the doorsteps of women’s housing units near BYU. Today is the day we’ll get girls a-flutterin’ as they look at the gorgeous gowns and fragrant flowers dotting the pages of our Bride magazine.

Nathan and Hailey unload and deliver copies of Utah Valley Bride Magazine.
Delivering to the Riviera in Provo.

But the payout doesn’t just come in front-row play tickets. Hailey also got some advice about where to live in about 10 years!

Day in the Life

6 a.m. Wake up. Notice there are two kids in my bed. And a husband.6:43 Leave for the office. Wave to the friendly walkers in the neighborhood.7 a.m. Arrive at the office. Prepare for staff meeting. Answer e-mails — including one telling me I misidentified an aerial shot of Utah County. Turns out there is a difference between Springville High School and Maple Mountain High School. Hard to tell from a helicopter.9 a.m Staff meeting. We discuss our plans for Utah Valley Magazine and BusinessQ. We also pass around pics of the fiance of a Ashley, a former employee. Facebook, sweet Facebook.

Staff meeting at Bennett Communications.

10:15 Leave the office to go home and grab my son for the Travis Hansen Basketball camp.10:35 Leave my neighborhood with a van full of basketball campers.10:50 Arrive at the Travis Hansen camp and look for my daughter, her friend and two cousins who are finishing the 9 a.m. session. Camp ends a bit late thanks to a great talk by Devin Durrant (note to self: write about him someday). Now we are cutting it close to be home in time for the next to-do.

Boys and girls (but mostly boys) listening to the awesome Travis Hansen and the also-awesome Devin Durrant at the Travis Hansen Basketball Camp.

11:10 Leave the camp in a hurry. Travis Hansen stops me and says, “Hey, you are famous! You do that awesome magazine!” I didn’t expect him (a somebody) to recognize me (practically a nobody). We chat. Now we’re even later, but it’s worth it to talk to Travis (note to self: good job writing about him and his wife a couple years ago).11:30 Get back home JUST in time for Hailey to get picked up for play practice at Hale Center Theater and just PAST time for me to jump on a conference call with Isagenix, a Phoenix-based company we’re featuring in the next issue of Prosper.11:45 Put the conference call on mute so I can tell Carson (age 6) not to worry. The dog will come back when he wants to. 12:05 Head to Kohler’s for dry ice. Carson knows a science experiment, and it must be done today. Apparently, I promised. Can this half day count as a full day?

Tokyo for July 4th

I’ve adopted a “work hard, play hard” mentality this summer. With four busy kids AND a business that doesn’t take summers off, there’s no time for lazy days or lemonade sipping.To celebrate the 4th of July (on the 5th) we met up with my sister, Rachelle, and her husband, Nathan. We actually call him “W” because my son is also named Nathan. Not sure if W likes his nickname, but it has stuck. We visited Lehi’s Tokyo restaurant, which I’ve been wanting to try ever since we featured it in Utah Valley Magazine. I love knowing about new eateries and boutiques, but I don’t always have the time (or the appetite) to visit all of them. But we carved out an hour for this trip to Tokyo on America’s birthday. It was a perfectly perfect way to spend a holiday. Most of us even caught the shrimp in our mouths. Delicious!