Archive for May, 2017

Position Available: Part Time Customer Service Specialist

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Are you someone who posesses Buddy The Elf levels of enthusiasm and positivity? Perhaps someone with an upbeat phone-voice and the ability to react quickly?

Aristocrat Motors is looking for such a person as a part-time Customer Service Specialist. This incredibly important role helps schedule service appointments, follow-up on customer issues, and help create the greatest ownership experience on earth!

Applicants should have a flexible schedule and the ability to work Saturdays is preferred.

Click here to apply online.

Hang with Me

Monday, May 8th, 2017


It’s fair to say that Joanna Gaines, of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” fame, has kindled the curiosity of many wanting to plant and observe their own seeds transforming into colorful and fragrant plants. But what about those who don’t have the space, time, or, dare I say, green thumb to take on such a project? Well, not only are hanging planters your answer, but they are on trend.

Whether you prefer your planters be suspended from the ceiling or staggered on a wall, it is undeniable that you will be adding a major touch of organic elegance to your home. From sweet and calming lavender-filled nurseries to your favorite herbs planted in boxes near the kitchen sink, this trend will literally be sprouting up in every room of the house.

Design styles are limitless; meaning this is definitely an

easy and inexpensive trend that you should try. If your style swings bohemian, consider suspending a macramé plant holder filled with English ivy. This plant is not only pretty, but it’s air purifying. If modern is more your style, use slate or geometric pottery and fill with colorful succulents.

Don’t have a green thumb? Splurge on pretty faux plants that match your style. Because these plants will be hung higher than eye level, no one will ever know.

Want to give this a shot? Take this list to your local nursery to get started. Happy planting!

-English ivy (Hedera helix) 

-String of hearts (Ceropegia linearis woodii)

-String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

Fit for a King

Monday, May 8th, 2017


If the old saying is “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” then this year, the new saying is “jewel tones are your home’s best friend!” Fiery rubies, Mediterranean blue sapphires, and emeralds as green as the majestic mountains of Ireland are finding their way into homes everywhere.

Designers are having fun getting creative with this royal palette in virtually all living spaces. With jewel tones, the possibilities are endless, and, like that of a diamond, no two are the same. Cue the cheers from trendsetters everywhere — this is your time to shine!


Go all out: If you’ve been waiting for vibrant colors to make their comeback, then now’s your chance to dive right in. Whether your walls are light or dark in color, jewel- toned furniture will have you living like royalty in no time. Major retailers are ready for this trend and have several couches, ottomans, headboards, and rugs ready for you to choose from. These pieces are perfect for sparking conversation and show you are confident of your style!

Ease into it: If you’re more of a neutral person but are still intrigued by this trend, start slowly with throw pillows or dramatic curtains that pop next to your not-so-loud sofa. Imagine this look — a perfectly aged leathered sofa is draped with your favorite throw. And at arm’s length, your rustic coffee table made from what’s left of a nearby barn is layered with old books a.nd modern succulents. Just behind it, you are hugged by the warmth and drama of velvet royal blue curtains. Yes!

Kansas City’s Focus on Helping Others

Monday, May 8th, 2017


When the Board of Directors of the Rose Brooks Center assembled a committee to help care for its aging facility, little did it know that it had created a committee that would not only take on the cleaning, painting, redecorating, and repairing of the facility but one that would spearhead the successful effort to construct a new facility. When that new facility opened in 2001, this group of dedicated and very closely knit women just kept on giving — time, resources, and energy — to charitable endeavors with the formation of the State Line Service League.

The State Line Service League, or SL squared (SL²), is made up of women professionals from around the city: bankers, lawyers, doctors, CEOs, teachers, and artists. It became incorporated in 2005 as a 501(c)(3) organization with the original purpose of “doing short-term community service projects, with the goal to give back to the community and have fun doing it.”

SL² members have few requirements placed on them, which helps make this a fun and free-spirited group, and this attitude carries over to its fundraising and the way it selects new and ongoing community service projects. There is no financial commitment to membership, and fundraising is by donations and from a biannual art auction that has taken place at the Belger Crane Yard, the Blue Bird Bistro, and the Red Star Gallery.

Offering both“pre-owned”art from SL² members and friends, plus a featured local artist, SL² is able to raise most of its yearly financial requirements from this art auction.

The work selected is done by a vote of the membership, and the selection process itself generates enthusiasm for the projects selected. Favorite themes are food, creativity, education, and investing time to help other organizations.

SL² cooks and shares the culinary results with those in need. You can ask the eager group of diners hosted by Cherith Brook, a homeless outreach facility in the East 12th Street corridor. Rose Brooks remains a special place for SL²’s cooking, where members have prepared and served dinner for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other special events for the families of the center. Journey to New Life, a local parolee-outreach female-resident facility, has been the recipient of dessert and game nights. At-risk youth at Ozanam are treated to an annual Beach Towels, Barbecue, and Bingo Night. Meals are prepared and shared with Associated Youth Services’ Home Ties teenage boys in residence. SL²ers gather to prepare and share hearty sack lunches for Kansas City’s Urban Rangers, birthday cakes for AYS children in foster care, welcome meals for new residents at Hillcrest Transitional Housing, and snack bags for the children who attend Harmony Project KC, an outreach music education program founded by Laura Shultz, an original SL² member.

SL² members also jump at the chance to be creative. Some of their favorite projects have included painting and redecorating Cherith Brook’s community guest rooms, Samuel U. Rodgers Free Health Clinic’s pediatric waiting room, reStart’s family suites, an apartment at Hillcrest Transitional Housing, and the Victims Waiting Room at KCMO Municipal Court. The group helped to create the mosaic outside the Ronald McDonald House and with landscaping gardening and cleaning Sheffield Place, Swope Park Duchesne Clinic, the Whatsoever Community Center, and the Main Street Mile downtown.

Education is a major focus, and SL² believes that education is the key to a better life. In that effort, it has provided dictionaries to third-graders in local schools through the Dictionary Project, stocked a Little Free Library at Faxon Elementary School, and donated books to Scuola Vita Nuova’s library. The group has also reached out to international causes, such as providing support to a school in Kenya with supplies, soccer balls, and a clean water source, as well as packed care bags for Heart to Heart International’s Haitian tsunami relief project.

Since leading a healthy lifestyle is part of a rounded education, one of the “long-running” projects is sponsoring and helping coach a “Girls on the Run” team at Faxon Elementary School in KCMO. This program involves a curriculum of life lessons, self-esteem, and healthy living, which culminates in a 5K event celebrating the accomplishments of several thousand enthusiastic girls in KC each semester. SL² believes that Faxon girls have learned valuable lessons of self-worth and perseverance through Girls on the Run, and those lessons have also been provided to participating members of SL²!

Although SL² does not donate funds to other organizations, you can see that working with and providing service to other organizations are part of SL²’s “infrastructure.” This is also true in helping other organizations with their fundraisers. Examples of this support are the Metropolitan Lutheran Ministry’s Christmas Store and Spring Fling, Johnson County Christmas Bureau’s store, Harvesters’ Empty Bowls, Southwest Boulevard Family Health Clinic’s Tacos and Beer on the Boulevard, Bridging the Gap’s Earth Walk, and Rose Brooks Center’s Cabaret. SL² was also there with a team for the American Cancer Society’s all night RelayForLife.

The holiday season always includes SL²’s longest-running project to benefit Rose Brooks Center. Members gather at a member’s home for fun and camaraderie as they assemble gift bags for each resident. The evening concludes with a potluck supper and raucous carols around the piano.

Kansas City’s Italian Traditions

Monday, May 8th, 2017


It’s white tablecloth, classic Italian; and it’s an Italian grocery, delicatessen, and pizzeria, but most of all, it’s a part of the Kansas City restaurant culture, Jasper’s. Jasper’s restaurant has been a mainstay in the food community for over 63 years, through three generations of Mirabiles, and who knows how many pans of lasagna.

Now located at 103rd and State Line, Jasper Mirabile Jr. is now keeping the tradition of fine dining at Jasper’s. His experience and his training are cornerstones of the restaurant’s continued success. From studying at the University of Nevada’s Hotel and Restaurant

School and Kansas State University, he traveled to Europe to hone his skills in the cooking schools of France and Italy. At that point, he was ready to join the “family business.”

Joining his father in the namesake restaurant that had built a reputation recognized with the coveted Mobil Four Stars and the AAA Four Diamond awards for fine dining, Jasper continued to gain recognition and acclaim.

The Mirabiles’ Sicilian heritage has been combined with Jasper Jr.’s travels to the Tuscany and Piedmont regions of Italy to provide today’s menu. That said, many of the original menu’s dishes are still best sellers, from the Shrimp Livornese appetizer to the Strawberry Borghese cake.

Jasper Jr. was the first Kansas City chef to appear at the James Beard House in New York three times. The James Beard House, the home of the legendary American Master Chef, serves as the performance space for the James Beard Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to “celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.” It is one of the pinnacles of achievement in America’s culinary culture.

Following along the path of James Beard, Jasper Jr. has also authored two cookbooks: The Jasper’s Cookbook and Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook. The titles represent the simple goodness of the recipes found inside. A third cookbook is in the works, and it, obviously, will again center on classic Italian cuisine, On the Cannoli Trail. Many of these recipes are also offered on his weekly radio show, “LIVE! From Jasper’s Kitchen” (KCMO 103.7 FM and 710 AM).

Jasper’s has always seemed to be a step ahead of the changing dining preferences, as his brother showed when he opened Marco Polo’s Groceria in 1984. The public was looking for more casual and faster-paced dining, and the delicatessen and pizzeria offered just that, but with the signature quality of Jasper’s. Later in the ’90s, the move was made to the Watts Mill Shopping Center, their current home, from the original location in Waldo. This was, again, a realization of a more casual, suburban culture that still demanded great Italian cuisine.

Jasper Jr.’s knowledge of food and of the marketplace are once again being demonstrated with his new monthly “1954 Supper Club KC,” where he shares authentic recipes and cooking demonstrations that feature farm-to-table fresh produce. He sees these local food artisans as a return to a time before modern transportation delivered food to a chef’s kitchen. It only takes a short demonstration course in the Mozzarella Theater 2.0 or a 1954 Supper Club cooking lesson to understand the chef’s passion and desire to share what he has learned.

Awards have continued to come to Jasper Jr. as Jasper’s has been named one of America’s Top 25 Italian Restaurants and one of the Top 10 Italian Restaurants by USA Today; one of Travel and Leisure’s Top Italian Restaurants; and, for 27 consecutive years, a winner of the North American Achievement of Dining Distinction by DiRoNA, Distinguished Restaurants of North America.

Jasper’s remains one of Kansas City’s most popular dining attractions, and Jasper Jr. honors his father’s counsel, “Travel often and come back inspired and influenced by what you see — but more, by what you eat.”

A Beckoning for Bags

Monday, May 8th, 2017


Amid the strong wave of local leather artisans I have seen emerge of the past five years, Ami Beck of Dolyn Bags has developed a fiercely loyal customer base for her fine leather handbags for women. She is poised to take her brand to a national level this year by adding men’s and travel lines and introducing all three at MAGIC Las Vegas, an industry marketplace showcasing the latest in apparel, footwear, and accessories.

Passing by Beck’s well-appointed, large- windowed studio in the Stockyards District, one might catch a glimpse of the statuesque craftswomen stitching together one of her products at a sewing machine. With the help of a part-time, in-house seamstress, she has been fulfilling her orders, but her production capability is about to expand. Over the past year, Beck carefully vetted American factories to take on the production of her new products, landing a relationship with a New Jersey-based partner. Finding a factory that communicates in a timely manner and delivers quality to expectation and deadline is an enormous achievement for an emerging designer as it is a process requiring an invest- ment of time and money to travel to and tour each prospect.

In addition to pinpointing a domestic production partner, the fact Beck is now working on her business full- time is another notable milestone most designers only dream about. The status of her business — the growth she has created through hard work and dedication after launching just three years ago from a workspace in her grandmother’s basement — is admirable. Why has she achieved what so few of her peers have? She is the perfect example of an entrepreneur: she possesses a magnetic personality; she listens to her customers; she delivers consistency of quality; she is not afraid to delegate; and she never loses sight of the long-range goal she has set for her business, which is to “to be a strong competitor in the global luxury market.”

Her long-range goal is grand to be sure; to spur herself on, she loves deferring to a source of inspiration a friend once shared with her. It is a quote by the late Scottish mountaineer and writer, W. H. Murray:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

        Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

I am immensely proud of this Kansas City native and look forward to her continue to navigate the industry, gain more market share, and, eventually, create more jobs in Our City.

The AMG C43 Sports Sedan is a Complete Package

Monday, May 8th, 2017

words & photos by TOM STRONGMAN

The Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 blends the soul of a sports car with the utility of a sedan, thanks in large measure to its 3.0-liter AMG-enhanced biturbo V-6 that cranks out an impressive 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. Get frisky with the throttle; it zips to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and the top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph, which is moot for most drivers unless you have a racetrack handy.

The C43 is more than snappy acceleration. It’s a complete package of performance, comfort, and technology. The taut suspension delivers a firm ride that enhances agility without punishing roughness, and the optional 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires let it carve through turns with precision. The steering is light but direct and the big brakes scrub off speed with ease. The 4Matic all-wheel drive not only enhances dry-road handling but also adds security when roads are wet, icy, or snow-covered.

The C-Class is the top-selling Mercedes-Benz model series, and it was extensively redesigned for the 2015 model year. The new model is 200 pounds lighter than the previous models due to extensive use of aluminum. The 111.8-inch wheelbase has grown by 3 inches, and that results in greater legroom for rear-seat passengers.

The C-Class is available in coupe, convertible, and sedan configurations. The sedan is offered in five variations, starting with the C300 at $39,500; the C300 4Matic at $41,500; the AMG C43 sedan at $52,000; the AMG C63 at $65,200; and the AMG C63S at $72,800. The test car was an AMG C43 with the sticker price of $63,070.

The C43 bridges the gap between the basic model and the full-tilt AMG C63 whose handcrafted V-8 engine is available with 469 horsepower or 503 horsepower in the C63S. In many ways, the C43 offers the best of both worlds: stirring performance and crisp handling at a price that is several thousand dollars less than the C63.

Given the C43’s multipurpose role, there are five selectable drive modes — Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual — each chosen by a small knurled knob on the console. Each is pretty much as its name implies. Eco gives the best fuel economy, although at a slight drop in performance. Comfort is the default setting, and it is a good everyday setting. Sport livens things up a bit, with sharper throttle response and tighter suspension settings; however, Sport Plus is the one you want for that Sunday morning charge through some winding country roads. The exhaust takes on a throatier growl, the engine responds with sweet urgency, and the automatic transmission snaps through its nine speeds with the precision of a manual. The Individual mode lets the driver mix and match settings according to personal taste, such as choosing the comfort suspension with the Sport Plus engine tuning.

The C43’s cabin is cozy and plush. The Irridum Silver test car had a black interior with Cranberry Red seats and the optional carbon fiber trim panels on the instrument panel and console, a most handsome combination. The 8.4-inch color LCD screen sits in the center of the dash like a tablet computer. It is not a touch-screen because Mercedes-Benz feels operating a touch-screen can be distracting. The console has a mouse- like touch pad and a rotary knob for operating audio and navigation, but the system can also be managed with voice commands. The steering wheel has fingertip controls, as well. The navigation system has five years of traffic and weather services provided by SiriusXM.

The front sports seats have proper support in all the right places. The adjustable thigh support extends forward so the driver can tailor the seat to his or her liking.

Advances in semi-autonomous technology continue to play an increasingly important role in automotive design, and the C43 is up to date with several features that make driving safer.

Attention Assist learns a driver’s habits and then sends an alert if it feels the driver is getting drowsy or not paying attention.

Collision Prevention Assist Plus sends an audible warning if it senses the driver is closing on a vehicle too quickly. This system will apply the brakes at speeds up to 124 mph. At speeds up to 31 mph, the vehicle will apply the brakes to avoid a stationary object.

Pre-Safe tightens seatbelts, closes windows, and closes the sunroof if it senses a collision is imminent. Pre-Safe Plus adds the ability to sense a rear impact and activates the rear hazard lights at increasing frequency and initiates preventive braking.

Brake Assist applies maximum braking force in an emergency.

Distronic Plus is the adaptive cruise control that adjusts the car’s speed when approaching a slower vehicle.

Enhanced Lane Keeping Assist prevents the vehicle from drifting out of the lane by gently applying the brakes on one side.

Optional assistance features include a 360-degree camera view and Active Parking Assist for parallel and pull-in parking.

The beauty of the C43 lies in the fact that it can carry four passengers when required but has an overall size that lets it slip through traffic with greater ease than a larger car. The biturbo V-6 flexes its ample muscle at the slightest prod, yet it is perfectly happy running mundane errands.

The Path to a Vibrant City

Monday, May 8th, 2017


As an architect, the nature of our business brings many clients to Kansas City for the first time. I’ve become an ambassador of sorts for our city during my career, and I’ve gone from approaching downtown with hesitation with visitors in tow to beaming with pride. Our city is experiencing the revitalization of the century, with the downtown population quadrupling in the last decade and expected to grow an additional 50 percent over the next five years. More than $380 million in investments have been made downtown in the past year alone, and more than 2,700 new jobs have been added. As a long-time Kansas Citian, it certainly feels good to see Kansas City plastered in national magazines as a great place to live, work, and play.

But Kansas City’s currently ranked relevance didn’t come to be overnight. Development in Kansas City’s urban core has had a long and treacherous history. City leaders have fought to activate downtown and there have certainly been setbacks along the way.

In the ’80s, the city experienced what felt like a mass exodus, with Kansas Citians moving to the suburbs, leaving downtown abandoned and the downtown core hurting for activity. Despite the city’s notable architecture and ample space, the city became a ghost town on weekends and evenings, and there seemed to be little incentive to drive activity back downtown. In fact, many in the city were resistant to redevelopment for decades, putting the city’s reputation and future at stake. However, in the early 2000s, there was an undeniable shift. Kansas City’s Power & Light District was born. The district was certainly a risk, but city leaders saw an opportunity to create a catalytic development with Sprint Center as the anchor, engaging in a public- private partnership with The Cordish Companies, developer of similar districts nationwide.

Kansas City is uniquely shaped by neighborhoods and defined by districts. It’s part of what makes the city great. From Brookside to the River Market, the city is brimming with pockets and places that feel completely different. For quite some time, those charming neighborhoods were centered on areas outside the urban core. Touring visitors through the Plaza and Waldo, the charm of the city is evident, but there was never much to see downtown. The Power & Light District changed that, creating a bustling downtown neighborhood for the first time in recent history.

But what makes a district — whether carefully planned or organically grown — work? Is there a checklist that leads to growth and success?

While it hasn’t been without its own set of challenges, Power & Light serves as an example of how sound urban planning can work. The project has transformed the south loop and our once-blighted downtown core, bringing business, entertainment, restaurants, retail, residential, hospitality space, and, now, even public transit to the district.

This innovative “live-work-play” district carefully integrates these components over seven city blocks and more than 3 million square feet. It was carefully designed with pedestrian-friendly proportions, multiple entry points, sidewalks with narrow streets, open storefronts, public art, and extensive green space. But the design is notably highlighted by a public celebration space, which drove many design decisions. That space, KC Live, has since become one of the most recognizable spaces in the country to watch a game or event, helping put Kansas City on the map and becoming the city’s living room!

These elements, when strategically planned and executed, generate activity at the pedestrian level, giving the district a distinct urban feel that was desperately needed in Kansas City. To provide an authentic Kansas City experience, materials and textures are rooted in our historic downtown architecture. The Power & Light District and districts like it at all scales bring density that help to brand the city and bring people together around commerce, entertainment, or sports. And there is more to come! As we see and experience the revitalization of downtown, plans have emerged for future development in other corners of the city.

While there have been ongoing conversations about the district’s success, as is always the case with mixed-use developments, as an architect, I believe vision and a desire to evolve come with an element of risk essential to revitalization. Development is about both the tangible and the intangible. The things you see and the things you feel. We saw a district come up in a previously ignored part of Kansas City’s downtown, and we felt, for the first time in a long time, a level of energy and momentum in downtown. There was a feeling of emphatically turning the page and starting a new chapter in Kansas City’s history. What often is forgotten in the long road to redeveloping a city is the time it takes. While a district can be deemed complete, the organic growth that takes place over time is what embeds a development. There is always more to come.

So what’s the next step? We must keep the momentum going! Let’s continue to build density through development. Let’s commit to connect the city’s neighborhoods with careful, people-centered planning.

Kansas City has been the benefactor of some beautifully designed spaces. The city is home to some of the most notable examples of art deco architecture in the Kansas City Power & Light Building and Municipal Auditorium. We have architectural landmarks in the Country Club Plaza, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Liberty Memorial, and, most recently, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. We even boast the often forgotten about Community Christian Church, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. And the city is also home to a bustling architecture and arts community. Some of the region’s — and nation’s — most beautiful design work is coming from our city. And our lives are shaped by these designs, whether we recognize it or not. We spend nearly every moment of every day interacting with architecture and the built environment. It’s synonymous with being. Yet we forget to look around and take stock. We forget to appreciate how the nooks and crannies of our city and districts have been designed and developed with us in mind.

The reality is that the Power & Light District is just the beginning. Over the co.ming months, we’ll give you a look at the districts and developments that are transforming what it means to live in Kansas City.

Position Available: Facilities Assistant

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Aristocrat Motors, a leading high-end, luxury dealership in the Kansas City automotive market, is looking to add a qualified FACILITIES ASSISTANT to our team! This position entails assisting the Buildings Operations Manager in maintaining the exteriors and interiors of our 3 dealerships. All applicants who apply must be willing to travel to all 3 dealerships in Merriam, KS; Kansas City, MO; and Topeka, KS.

Aristocrat Motors offers a unified team environment, great benefits, and ongoing training and support for its employees. Apply today or refer a qualified friend. You can apply by visiting the following We look forward to hearing for you!

Job duties include, but are not limited to….

  • Maintaining properties and buildings at Aristocrat Motors, Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City, and BMW\Volkswagen of Topeka
  • Doing tasks that include plumbing, painting, electrical, HVAC, and light construction work
  • Carrying objects that are over 25 lbs.
  • Communicating directly with the administrative assistant and buildings operations manager
  • Attending safety compliancy meetings on a quarterly basis

In addition to competitive pay, we offer our associates the following benefits:

  • Health, Dental, Vision, Life, and Disability insurance
  • 401(k) plan with company match
  • Paid Time-Off
  • Employee Vehicle Purchase Program
  • Professional work environment, with job training and advancement opportunities


  • At least 1 year of maintenance experience is preferred
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