At any of the 15 Great Life Golf and Fitness locations, guests are encouraged to invent their own triathlon of gusto, switching from swimming in the pool to getting a total body workout to playing a round of golf. Great Life has facilities scattered throughout Kansas and Missouri, including golf courses such as the National Audubon Society–certified River Oaks and the links at The Oaks, which were designed by Tom Bendelow and opened in the 1920s. Golfers looking for quick rounds can drop by the nine-hole courses at Maple Creek, Abilene, and CedarBrook. Gyms such as the 14,000-square-foot fitness center at Berkshire allow members or guests to pump iron or run on treadmills when they aren’t helping their golf balls safely reach the greens by paying golf carts to drink all of the water hazards dry. Although amenities vary at each club, all of Great Life Golf and Fitness’s venues boast a pro shop, and the courses at Berkshire and Prairie View maintain driving ranges where golfers can make golf balls practice flying without their parachutes.
Mike Elder, a Kansas City native and the three-time undefeated champion of TLC's Ultimate Cake Off, founded KC CakeFest to capitalize on the boom in reality cake shows and to generate proceeds for The Whole Person, a nonprofit program dedicated to helping people with disabilities lead independent lives. Attracting talent ranging from Elder's fellow contestants on Ultimate Cake Off to the batter wranglers on Next Great Baker, KC CakeFest's crowning events are its celebrity cake battles, which pit teams of confection architects against one another for the merriment of onlookers and for the judgment of cake expert Leigh Grode. Other attractions include displays by national cake artists and free demos on topics such as how to resist eating a whole cake, cake dives, and cupcake chucks. Furthering revelry, rockabilly band The Rumblejetts will play a live set during each intermission.
The tobacco, the wrapper, and the roll. On the surface, a cigar may not seem overly complex, but Fidel's Cigar Shop celebrates the depths of its nuance in head-to-toe humidors that lock in and preserve earthy flavors harvested from Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, and elsewhere. The shop's staff educates guests on the inventory of more than 300 varieties, with specialized flavors and finishes akin to a fine wine's bouquet or a gourmet coffee's roast. Along with rows of cocoa-colored cigars tucked into cedar boxes, Fidel's also outfits aspiring aficionados with humidors, lighters, and cutters. In lively, social settings, regular events showcase new boutique products from exclusive estates, and the onsite Graycliff smoking lounge swaddles smokers with cozy seating, WiFi, and three LCD TVs, allowing them to relax as smoke-eating air purifiers erase the one-sided games of tic-tac-toe played with smoke rings.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.
Ten years ago you couldn't purchase Heather and Richard Garza’s homemade chocolates even if you tried. The luscious, hand-dipped confections were gifts bestowed only onto the Garzas’ closest friends and family. Those friends and family members ultimately decided they had to share their good fortune with the rest of the world, and, in 2005, convinced Heather and Richard to open up a shop and make their delectable treats for the public. Today, the Garzas put the same handcrafted touch into their chocolates as they did when they first began. They blend ganache with dark chocolates and hand form them over decadent truffles before dusting them with cocoa powders and peanut-butter drizzles. They also craft bonbons, peanut-butter balls, and maraschino-cherry creams—all hand dipped in white, dark, or milk chocolate—as well as two-tone chocolate greeting cards that are a great way to say, “I love you” or “Stop eating cardboard.”
One nippy Tuesday morning, Oliver H. Gerry swung open a set of doors inside the Grand Avenue Temple in downtown Kansas City. It was January 23, 1912, and that unfurled entranceway symbolized the first day Gerry Optical was open for business. In the 100 years since, professionally trained technicians have prepared eyewear to complement the styles of countless clients, including President Harry Truman and Senator Nancy Kassebaum. Today, each of the store's nine locations carries between 800 and 1,200 frames from brands such as Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban, Prada, and BCBG, and the flagship store on 75th Street also houses its own grinding lab to quickly custom-craft lenses and fix cracks after cartoon eye-popping mishaps. To honor its deep community roots, Gerry Optical gives back by partnering with Lions Clubs International to provide discount eye exams and eyeglasses to underprivileged families.