Expert Living

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Experts know their stuff, and others flock for advice. But do they practice what they preach? In this section, meet five local leaders and see what happens when their expertise gets personal.

Kevin Gallagher, cars
Damon Willis, fitness
George Durrant, LDS literature
Jacci Hood-Miller, interior design
Cynthia Gambill, hair

 

Expert: Kevin Gallagher

Expertise: Cars

Kevin Gallagher knows cars.

There are more than 300 cars in stock at his Lindon-based dealership, Utah Auto Sales, and Kevin says he’s driven every make and model on the lot.

He’s a known expert in used car sales and wrote the “Used Car Buying Guide,” a publication that has been adopted by the Independent Automobile Dealers Association.

Before starting his dealership 10 years ago, Kevin was an automobile auctioneer.

The man knows his stuff.

Given that Kevin can drive any car he’d like, what is his transportation of choice?

A 2003 Anniversary Edition Harley-Davidson Dyna Glide motorcycle.

“It’s funny, huh,” Kevin says. “I can drive any car I want to, and so I don’t.”

He’s been a Harley man as long as he’s owned Utah Auto Sales, riding his bike for work and play whenever he gets the chance. If it is raining or snowing, Kevin gets a lift from his wife, Annetta, who drives the family’s Cadillac Escalade.

“We only live about five miles from the lot so I have her take me to work and pick up me when I’m done,” he says.

Although he’s been riding in style for a decade, Kevin has by no means sworn off cars. He drives new models when they come out but always goes back to his motorcycle.

In the early days of the dealership, Kevin would just drive cars off the lot, but he quickly discovered driving his inventory didn’t work.

“Every time I used to take a car home they’d call me and say, ‘Someone is here to look at it,’” Kevin says. “I want to make sure that all my cars for sale are on the lot, so I try to never take my inventory home.”

Best business practices aside, there are several perks to driving a motorcycle, Kevin says.

First?

“I just like the look of it,” Kevin says of his silver bike.

Second, the music.

“As you rev it up, the music goes up,” he explains.

Third, parking.

“You always have a place to park and it’s right up front — at the grocery story, at the football game.”

Fourth — and most important — the bike has room for two.

“My wife can ride with me and she doesn’t have to hold on,” Kevin says. “She gives me back massages while I’m riding, so why wouldn’t I want to ride?”

 

Although Kevin Gallagher, owner of Utah Auto Sales in Lindon, is an expert in all things auto, his vehicle of choice is a Harley Davidson motorcycle. His wife, Annetta, drives a Cadillac Escalade and Kevin’s grown children all drive sport-utility vehicles. 

 

First car — Ford Fairlaine shared with his older brother
Second car — Plymouth Duster that was bright yellow with a “pukey brown stripe.”
Current car — None, Kevin drives a 2003 Harley-Davidson motorcycle

 

Expert: Damon Willis

Expertise: Fitness

It’s 8 a.m. on a Friday and Utah County is barely awake.

The sun is slowly coming up, and as cars zoom by L.A. Boxing on State Street in Orem, light filters lazily through the shades of the five-month old business.

Inside the gym is owner Damon Willis, who is practicing what he preaches.

The No. 1 piece of advice Damon gives to clients who want to get in shape and improve their overall health is to focus on technique.

“It’s usually the harder way of doing things, and it’s something that you’re always working on,” he says. “The devil is in the details.”

That’s why the father of four can be found at the gym at least five days a week, usually between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.

Damon is constantly perfecting his technique in muay Thai boxing, a sport he has been practicing for 15 years.

“To get the results that you want, you need to be passionate about it,” he says.

In fact, Damon is so avid about technique that he has a trainer of his own.

What else does the fitness guru do to stay in shape? Here is a peek at his weekly routine:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Damon heads to the gym at 5:30 a.m. to lift weights for 30 to 40 minutes. He does circuit training, moving from one machine or set of weights to the next with minimal rest.

The 34-year-old lifts in one of two 10-week phases: an endurance phrase and muscle mass phase.

During the endurance phase, he uses lighter weights and an increased amount of reps. He aims for three sets of 20 to 25 reps, striving to “fail” (max-out) on each set.

While in the muscle mass phase, Damon uses heavier weights and shoots for only seven to 12 reps before failure.

To keep from tiring early in his workout, Damon pairs a major muscle group with a minor one.

“That way you won’t fatigue one or the other,” he says.

Damon usually trains his obliques, triceps and back together. After a day of rest, he’ll do chest, abs and calves. On the last lifting day, he’ll focus on biceps, hamstrings and shoulders.

Tuesday and Thursday

Damon is up at the crack of dawn for a 60–minute workout on Thai pads with his personal trainer. The hour is divided into three-minute “rounds in the ring” with the trainer, where he practices kick and punch combinations. In between, Damon does pushups, crunches and squats.

Any Given Day

In addition to his early-morning workouts, Damon also tries to take in at least three of L.A. Boxing’s kickboxing classes per week, where he’ll burn between 800 and 1,000 calories.

Working out is serious business for Damon Willis, owner of L.A. Boxing in Orem. Damon can be found at the gym at least five days a week, usually at 5:30 a.m., working on his muay Thai boxing techniques.

 

Expert: George Durrant

Expertise: LDS literature

George Durrant is part of the first edition of authors in the LDS market.

In the late 1970s, he became a household name virtually overnight in Utah. His first book, “Love at Home, Starring Father,” sold thousands of copies and helped to spawn the LDS book genre that today includes hundreds of authors and thousands of book releases.

“When my first book came out, it went like wildfire — a new book was really something back then. It was in all the papers and advertised on the radio,” he says. “Practically every father in the Wasatch Front had it, and it gave them great hope.”

Although George always loved writing, he studied art at BYU.

His mother, who supported him financially during college, told him, “George, the pictures you paint won’t be with paintbrushes — they will be with a pen.”

More than 30 books later, George’s “paintings” sit on thousands of bookshelves in Utah and far beyond.

“My kids say I put everything I know in my books and that is why they are so short!” George says.

Most of his books are easy reads at around 100 pages. They all include anecdotes from his family life. For example, he tells the story of when three of his children were swinging together and two of the children were trying to keep up with each other. The third said, “I’m just trying to keep up with myself.” And with that, a story was born for this author/speaker/comedian.

First chapter

Although George claims he wasn’t much of a reader growing up, he does remember a book about a boy with a spoon who reached up to eat the clouds. He wishes he had read more.

“I was too busy shooting baskets,” he says. “I managed to graduate from college without being educated. If I could live my life over, I would read more. Educated people read.”

George didn’t turn many book pages, but he did enjoy writing.

“I came home from high school one day and they were knocking down the trees in a field where I used to play as a boy,” he says. “I guess I was one of the first environmentalists, and I wrote a theme for my English teacher about it.”

That teacher wrote in George’s yearbook that his was the finest theme she had ever read from one of her students.

Reading, writing

Now a great-grandfather, George is an avid reader — mostly of newspapers. He reads the editorial section of the Deseret Morning News every morning.

“If I spent as much time reading books as I do reading the newspaper, I would read 50 or 60 books per year,” he says. “But I find it so relaxing to sit down with a newspaper.”

In addition to newsprint, George also enjoys reading about sports, which he often gravitates to when he wanders the aisles of Barnes & Noble.

“I see a lot of parallels between sports and life,” he says.

Adding audio

George’s fame as an author has led to thousands of speaking engagements around the state and beyond.

“Of course writing has a greater influence than speaking,” he says. “I have no desire to be profound — although my book on fathers became very influential. That’s my number one thing — to be a father. I just like it.”

George likes to use his sense of humor to lift people and create a setting where an important subject can be addressed.

“I’ve found if you can get people laughing you can also get them crying. Once they start to laugh they want to know everything you want to say, and then you can really sock it to them,” he says.

The process

George wrote many of his early books on yellow legal notepads. Then one holiday when he was working at his office as an employee of Stephen Covey, his ballpoint pen ran out of ink. The other offices were locked, so he turned on his computer to finish his work.

“And I haven’t turned off my computer since then,” he says.

Now George writes many of his books while on his morning walks.

“I never listen to music — I listen to myself,” he says. “Sometimes I can write two or three chapters of a book on one walk.”

Unlike most authors, George’s prewriting rituals do not include research or gathering quotes.

“I don’t really care what anybody else says,” he says. “I just write what old George Durrant thinks.”

In the works

“I’m kind of a has-been, but I still write a lot,” he says.

This Christmas, George is releasing a Christmas book that includes four Christmas stories previously published separately. One of the stories is “Don’t Forget the Star,” which was also a popular book on tape garnished with Christmas music.

“When I get ready for Christmas I have to play the tape, and others tell me the same thing,” he says.

George also has a book being published this year called “Seven and Preparing to Be Baptized,” in which he shares stories that happened to him around the age of 7.

Main character

In the beginning, George wrote books because he needed extra money.

“It allowed me not to get rich but to survive as a teacher,” he says.“Now I write books for the joy of it.”

In fact, George is uncomfortable with the title of “author.”

“Nobody could ever say there is a profound idea in there, but it is pure joy for me,” he says.

George relates to “The Music Man” where Harold Hill says “There’s always got to be a band.”

“For me, there’s always got to be a book,” George says. “When I’m writing a book, I’m happy.”

In his characteristic humor, author George Durrant says he is a “has-been.” But he is still adding titles to his already long list of published works. This Christmas, his four popular Christmas books will be sold under one cover. He writes many of his books in his head during his daily walks around Cedar Hills and then types them in his home office.

George Durrant’s epiphanies about writing

• Don’t worry about technicalities: “Spelling has nothing to do with writing — nor does grammar,” George says. “Writing is having something to say.”

• Look for ideas in everyday life: “I don’t go out looking for stories,” he says. “I just tell ‘little person’ stories — this isn’t ‘big hero’ stuff.”

• Use humor throughout: “When I’m speaking and writing, I don’t compartmentalize and only use humor in the first part. I weave it throughout.”

• Keep it simple: “Simplicity can have a profound influence,” he says.

• Have something unique in the first two or three pages: “Publishers receive hundreds of manuscripts, and it should stand out if it’s going to get published.”

• Be yourself: “If you try to copy somebody, it goes over like a lead balloon. If you aren’t funny, you aren’t funny. Maybe buy a joke book.”

 

Expert: Jacci Hood-Miller

Expertise: Interior Design

With 16 years in the interior design business, Interior Concept’s Jacci Hood-Miller has learned a thing or two about home décor. But when it came time to design her new home on the Hobble Creek Golf Course, it was back to the drawing board.

“It’s so easy to design someone else’s home,” she says. “You know where they want to go, and you help them get there. The problem with designers is that our tastes are widely varied. One moment you’re doing contemporary and the next you’re doing European. You’re all over the map all day long.”

So Jacci did what she tells her clients to do: She went style searching.

“I asked myself, ‘What is my style?’ ‘What are my goals for my home?’” she says. “And the answer I came up with is ‘I want to see it, I want to feel it and I want to smell it.’”

‘Miller’s Mountain’

The first design goal Jacci made was to match her home to its environment.

“Living in the mountains is different than living in a neighborhood,” she says. “So we decided on earth tones, warm wood and windows.”

Correction: Lots of windows. Ceiling-high windows cover the walls of the home, with only two window coverings in the whole house.

“Just look at it,” says Jacci, of the view from her great room. “Why would you cover that up?”

The other environment Jacci needed to match was a personal one. She and her new husband, Jim Miller, had to mold their new home to their old, individual styles.

“Previously, my style was the only one I had to take into consideration. But now that I’m married I have to compromise. Isn’t that a scream?” Jacci laughs. “Even as a designer you still have to compromise with your husband.”

That compromise included whose furniture they would use and what would go where. It also meant a battle of the dining room tables.

“We had five dining room sets between the two of us, which was a little excessive for people who rarely sit down at a dining room table!” Jacci says.

But lucky for the couple, Miller’s Mountain (as the home is aptly named) made most of the decisions for them.

“The mountain environment worked to our advantage,” Jacci says. “It really bailed us out, because my style was totally cottage and Jim’s was closer to contemporary.”

Mix and match

Deciding on a home’s furniture and decor can be a tricky design. Emotions are often involved, and the age-old question of, “To match or not to match?” can be overwhelming. Jacci’s solution? Not to.

“There should be continuity, but you should have quirky pieces you wouldn’t expect to see,” she says. “It makes things interesting, and it adds something to the environment you can’t get any other way.”

Jacci’s own “interesting” additions are heirlooms and memory pieces, including dressers, a record player and a past client’s chair. And while they may not match other furniture or decor, they match the home.

“When you bring in items that are a part of somebody else, you enhance your own environment,” she says. “It’s not just about making your house pretty, it’s about making it a home.”

A sixth sense

For Jacci, designing a home just makes sense.

“A house has to approach all of my sensory levels,” she says. “Visually I want it to be beautiful, and when I touch it and smell it I want it to feel warm and comfortable.”

Jacci continually creates that comfort with scented candles, soft background music and her favorite chair to cuddle up in. And despite all of the meticulous planning, the home feels surprisingly simple – even effortless.

“It’s all about the entire package,” she says. “If you enjoy being there, you’ll stay. And that’s exactly what you want to do with your home.”

Jacci Hood-Miller’s Springville home has golden-wood walls, plush furniture and burning candles. The dining room table is usually reserved for dinner parties, but Jacci accents it with warm colors to enhance the mountain home’s welcoming atmosphere. 

DESIGN YOUR STYLE

Jacci’s tips for successful home décor

Pretty doesn’t make perfect: “There is a saying in design that says form follows function. You have to go for function first, or it doesn’t matter if it’s pretty.”

Go big and small: “I like to take a large space and create a small space inside of it. The large space allows you to entertain a lot of people, but the (smaller sections) allow you to be more private and have a quiet place to visit.”

Stay involved: “In my industry, you work with the homeowner and you work for the homeowner. But you are not working in lieu of them.”

Expert: Cynthia Gambill

Expertise: Hair

As the owner of Remedez Hair Salon and Day Spa, Cynthia Gambill knows people pay attention to her hairstyle.

With her dark hair, beautiful complexion and Argentine accent, she draws attention as she works her way around the community promoting her salon and serving on community boards such as the Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce.

But Cynthia is the first to admit that people won’t learn the latest hair trends by looking at her locks. She has had the same hairstyle for more than a decade.

“I like a conservative hairstyle,” she says. “I have not changed my hairstyle for many years.”

Cynthia has a hair process that works for her, and she sees no reason to brush off her proven routine.

“I know my hair very well,” she says.

Here’s the curly and the straight of it — Cynthia believes hair care is just as important as hairstyle. And here are strands of wisdom that work for her.

“I wash my hair every other day or so,” she says. “Many people wash their hair too often. Of course, some do not wash their hair enough.”

Cynthia changes her shampoo every couple of weeks. She rotates different products that moisturize and nourish.

“Hair doesn’t need too much of a good thing,” she says.

Cynthia also gets her hair trimmed every four to six weeks, and she colors her gray about as often.

“Gray hair doesn’t look good on most people,” she says. “Asians can look distinguished with gray hair, but the rest of us need coloring to look our best.”

In addition to washing the gray right out of her hair, Cynthia also enjoys having highlights in her dark strands.

“Highlights add interest and dimension to dark hair like mine,” she says.

Cynthia uses a color conserve soon after having her hair colored to keep the tint at its best.

On the days she washes her hair, Cynthia blowdries it until it is nearly 90 percent dry before she begins to style it.

“This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes people make with their hair — they begin styling too early,” she says.

Cynthia scrunches her hair routine around her family’s routine. With four busy young boys, she chooses to use the bathroom right off the kitchen to conduct her hair care process.

“The time of day when I’m trying to do my hair, my boys are busy, too,” she says. “So it’s become easier to keep my hair products within reach of where my family is.”

Alpine’s Cynthia Gambill, owner of Remedez Salon and Day Spa, styles her shoulder-length dark hair in the bathroom off of her kitchen. “The time of day when I’m trying to do my hair, my boys are busy, too,” she says. Cynthia says hair care is as important as having a great haircut.

strands of hair advice

Cynthia Gambill gives 4 tips for lovely locks

• Don’t style wet hair: “Don’t begin styling your hair until it is 80 to 90 percent dry,” Cynthia says.

• Always use conditioner: “Your hair needs that extra treatment,” she says.

• Funky equals high maintenance: “If you get a funky hairstyle, you’ll need a professional to help you style it,” she says. “For most people, it’s easier to get a simpler style that they can manage themselves.”

• Use good styling tools:“It’s essential to have the right brushes and other tools,” she says. “You’ll do your hair faster and it will look better.”

 

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