Wake Up to New Tastes at the Cafe

Rise and shine. The Cafe at Briarcliff is greasing its frying pans for a whole new crowd of early birds. Breakfast, long a favorite weekend tradition at the Cafe, is now served hot off the grill seven days a week. Start your day with a power combo of Country Fried Steak and Eggs, or a trim and healthy bowl of low-fat yogurt, layered with fruits and granola. From Belgian Waffles to Bacon Quesadillas, there’s something for all tastes between 8 and 11 a.m. (Sunday brunch served til 1 p.m.)

And that’s not the only hot news from the Cafe. A smoking new BBQ section recently appeared on the menu. In homage to our hometown culinary roots, the Cafe now proudly serves locally-made, award-winning Three Little Pigs BBQ sauce. (For those in the know: it’s won the American Royal cook-off three times.) All meats are slow-cooked on a special smoker made in Kansas, for a truly authentic and delicious meal.


Fashion Blossoms at Amelia’s

Let’s face it: you don’t really need an excuse to shop. But warmer weather definitely makes a compelling case for a wardrobe upgrade. If you’re on a mission to shed your winter layers in favor of the new seasonal trends, here are some of the latest looks from Amelia’s, one of the trendiest boutiques we know. And if you like these highlights, be sure to check out the store and peruse their full spring collection.

Bright colors and chunky jewelry are the talk of the season. (We especially love the purple-and-black dress with contrasting yellow belt. It doesn’t get any bolder than that!) Textures are mixed together and layered on each other for a unique effect: metal accessories, straw bags and hats, denim with lightweight cotton, etc. Another great example of this is the popularity of knits, in everything from dresses to shrugs:


This one layers with a springy floral top in the most flattering way, complemented by the right belt and bold necklace. You’ll find a lot of these combinations at Amelia’s right now, and pretty much anywhere that’s on the cutting edge of trends.

And if you’re wondering about accessories …

Bold, vintage pieces with lots of sparkle, platform wedges, and daring colors and patterns will finish off your spring look. (The turquoise bag with the bird in the center? The gorgeous shade of red summer wedges on the left? We want!)

The staff at Amelia’s do a fantastic job of putting together creative, flattering outfits. So don’t hesitate to go in and start browsing things you like. After all, it is spring … time for a trendy new you!



Lower Your Car Insurance

Did you know that people in certain professions qualify for lower auto insurance? It’s part of the Affinity program from Farmers Insurance, which offers discounts for selected workplaces and trade associations. The Bower Agency in Briarcliff offers Affinity programs to employees around Kansas City in the following disciplines:

  • Education (K-12 or college professors)
  • Science and Engineering
  • Accounting
  • Medicine (Doctors, RNs, Veterinarians, Pharmacists, Dentists)
  • Police Officers
  • Fire Fighters
  • Psychologists

Why these particular groups? Studies show that people in these fields are statistically less likely to have an accident, and therefore a better risk to insure. But you don’t have to actually work as a doctor or teacher to reap the benefit of those statistics. You just have to work in the industry. That’s because Affinity discounts are offered to entire companies or employee associations. So, let’s say you’re an office assistant for a dentist who is enrolled in the program. You, too, would be eligible to receive the reduced insurance rate.

Want to find out more about the Affinity program and how it can benefit your entire office? Contact Jenny Bower at (816) 746-8181. A representative from the Bower Agency will come to your office and explain how your staff can start saving today.


Can I Really Reverse Aging?

Whether you’re currently using anti aging skin care products or just beginning to explore the best anti wrinkle products for younger-looking skin, you’ve probably been told about antioxidants. Many people extol the virtues of an antioxidant-rich diet, and topical creams packed with antioxidants are said to give you an extra boost of anti aging ingredients. So, what does all this mean? Do antioxidants really work? The Spa at Briarcliff is here to explain, thanks to the scientific research of the Murad Inclusive Health Centers, our partner organization.

Free Radicals and Aging Skin
The first thing you’ll need to know before you can understand the importance of antioxidants in anti aging skin care is the definition of a free radical. No doubt you’ve heard the term “free radical” used frequently when discussing aging skin, particularly in relation to Environmental Aging or sun damage. In scientific terms, a free radical is an oxygen molecule that has only one electron instead of two.

How Do Free Radicals Form?
Free radicals form from UV damage to the skin or from exposure to toxins or other pollutants. The existence of a certain level of free radicals in your system is a natural part of aging. However, environmental elements and exposure to the sun and pollution can increase the number of free radicals in your body and accelerate the signs of aging.

How Do Free Radicals Cause Older-Looking Skin?
When a free radical forms, it immediately begins to attack other molecules in your system looking to “replace” its missing electron. Collagen molecules are often the first targets. Obviously, anything that contributes to an accelerated rate of collagen breakdown also leads to the formation of lines, wrinkles and loose skin.

Antioxidants Fight Free Radicals
This is where antioxidants come into the picture, both as part of an anti aging diet and as ingredients in your anti aging products. Antioxidants are nutrients that work to slow down the effect of free radicals and neutralize them in your body. A good metaphor is an apple. If you cut an apple, it begins to turn brown. However, if you dip the apple in orange or lemon juice, which contain Vitamin C (high in antioxidant properties), the apple stays white. Antioxidants can have the same impact on keeping your skin looking fresh and healthy by combating the elements that lead to collagen breakdown and even sun spots and age spots.

Where Do You Get Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are an important part of an anti aging regimen, both as an element of Inclusive Health® and an ingredient in your skin care products. In your skin care regimen, look for products that actively contain antioxidant ingredients (such as the Murad Vitalic® line or the Murad Environmental Shield® line). In your diet, incorporate fruits, vegetables and even green tea. The more you expose your body to antioxidants both internally and topically, the more your skin will stay healthy and youthful.


From Hollywood to Briarcliff Village

Celebrity Stylist Carlo Novoa is bringing a few red carpet tips to the team at Eclektica Salon. Carlo, whom you may recognize from his segments on the Style Network, has over 20 years of experience as a master colorist, stylist and salon owner for the entertainment industry. Now, his cutting edge styles seen throughout Hollywood on award shows, movie premiers and on music videos, will make their way to Briarcliff Village.

The staff at Eclektica are very excited about the upcoming master class with Carlo on Sunday, April 29. And we’re even more thrilled to pass along the latest hair trends and techniques to our clients!


Makeup and Margaritas: Girls’ Night at The Spa

Want to learn more about current makeup trends? Join Kate McCarthy, fashion/celebrity makeup  artist and national artist for GloMinerals, at The Spa at Briarcliff. Kate will offer an inside look on beauty secrets in a free class Wednesday, May 23, 6-8 p.m. Our estheticians will be stationed in various spa rooms to help you apply different products. Visit all the rooms and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a special giveaway.

All night, we’ll feature Glo products for 20% off, and free lipstick with purchase of $50 or more. Bring the girls and enjoy an evening of makeovers and free margaritas, “mocktails,” chips and salsa.

Although this is a free event, we do ask that you RSVP. Contact The Spa at (816) 746-5333.


Taste the Best of GreenAcres

Foodies, rejoice. This Saturday, April 21, is the 6th Annual GreenAcres Tasting Fair at Briarcliff Village. That means free samples from all our best vendors, delicious gourmet food demos, and discounts throughout the store.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., enjoy specialty wines and cheeses, buffalo burgers, and platefuls of healthy goodness. We’ll have live music, a petting zoo for the kids, and a dog wash for your canine friends (a fundraiser for the National Animal Welfare Society).

Admission is free, and everyone is welcome. Plus, don’t forget to shop GreenAcres Market for special event-day savings.

For more information, contact GreenAcres at (816) 746-0010.


Taste the Best of GreenAcres

Foodies, rejoice. This Saturday, April 21, is the 6th Annual GreenAcres Tasting Fair at Briarcliff Village. That means free samples from all our best vendors, delicious gourmet food demos, and discounts throughout the store.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., enjoy specialty wines and cheeses, buffalo burgers, and platefuls of healthy goodness. We’ll have live music, a petting zoo for the kids, and a dog wash for your canine friends (a fundraiser for the National Animal Welfare Society).

Admission is free, and everyone is welcome. Plus, don’t forget to shop GreenAcres Market for special event-day savings.

For more information, contact GreenAcres at (816) 746-0010.


Add Panache with Pillows

They may be featherweights, but as decorating tools, accent pillows pack a powerful punch and can instantly give a room loads of panache. Time and again I’ve seen the right pillows take a nothing room and make it fresh and fabulous. You can do the same in your home by trying these three simple steps.

I like to reinvent my living room on a regular basis. I don’t get a roomful of new furnishings or paint the walls a new color. I simply switch out the accent pillows. This little switcharoo, performed during the changing of the seasons, is a super simple and cost-effective way to keep this key room looking fresh. If you want to do the same, here are the three simple steps I follow when working in my own home or with customers at the Nell Hill’s stores. (I’m excited to announce that Nell Hill’s amazing accent pillows are NOW available  through Nell Hill’s Online!)

Step 1: Find Fabrics You Love

Picking out the blend of colors, patterns and fabric styles for your accent pillows is a personal pilgrimage. There is no one right approach or combination, except the one that makes your heart jump for joy. Some people want a mix of timeless classics that will never go out of style. Others want to embrace the latest trends, with the freshest and newest colors and patterns. Some like a muted, tone-on-tone palette, while others want an electric mix of zesty colors and robust patterns. I really enjoy helping Nell Hill’s customers come up with fabric combinations they love, because it’s a blast to see their faces light up when we hit the bull’s eye.

To find a picture-perfect pillow combination for your home, first evaluate the style and color palette of the space and the furniture where the pillows will sit. If there is already a lot of pattern and color in the furniture or room, I’d recommend keeping the pillows pretty neutral. But neutral doesn’t mean boring.  You can use lots of different fabric textures, styles and trims to give the pillows personality.

If the room and your furnishings are neutral, then the sky is the limit for your pillows. You can keep your pillows neutral, in keeping with the room. Or, you can use the pillows to introduce contrasting color and pattern. If you want to try bold new colors and patterns, go for it. When it comes to picking upholstery fabric, I always play it safe because furniture is so expensive you want to cover it with a fabric you won’t get tired of. But I am fearless on my accent pillows, often pulling together three completely different fabrics on one pillow.

When I design a grouping of pillows, I like to create balance in the fabrics so they work wonderfully together, complimenting each other, not competing. To strike this fine line, pay attention to the size of the patterns. If you have a big pillow with a bold, large pattern, then pair it with pillows in solid fabrics. If you pick a smaller geometric pattern, then you can mix it with a larger plaid or floral.

At Nell Hill’s, we are selling lots of pillows made from contemporary, graphic patterns.  I love this fresh new look so much, I’m even adding graphic patterned pillows to my traditional living room.  I started with navy, apple green and marigold accent pillows. This spring, I’m going to work in a pillow or two in the bright, happy coral color that is so popular this season.

Every morning, I sit with my coffee and do a stare down of my living room, trying to figure out how to weave in some exciting patterns and wild pops of color and still keep the elegant feel I want in this room. I’m bringing home swatches of the new fabrics we’re carrying at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff to see which of these bright, happy, sophisticated textiles will be the winner.

Step 2: Create Configurations that Work

Once you pick some fabrics that make you smile, it’s time to determine the number, size and shape of your pillow mix. The size and scale of the furniture you are adorning will give you boundaries, and your personal taste will let you know how full or sparse to fill in within those boundaries. Some people like their sofa decorated with a number of pillows in different sizes, while others want just a few.

At Nell Hill’s, we’ve found that 24 inch square pillows are the perfect pick for standard sized sofas (21 inch pillows just look too dinky for our tastes). Here’s a pillow combo I love and use over and again when I design sofas for customers: Place a set of matching 24 inch square pillows on each corner of the sofa. Then put a standard sized pillow (20 inches by 26 inches) in the middle. Finish off with a pair of smaller rectangular pillows (14 inches by 22 inches) against each arm of the sofa.

If that’s too many pillows for you, put a matching pair of 24 inch pillows in each corner, then place a matching pair (in a contrasting fabric) of 21 inch square pillows in front of them and call it a day.

If your sofa is unusually deep or the back is very high, you might prefer to go with a 27 inch square pillow.  In fact, you might need a row of them against the back of the sofa to fill in the space and allow you to touch the floor.

Step 3: Fill ‘Em Up Right

The secret to success in creating a lovely pillow is to use a high-quality fill. At Nell Hill’s, we’re sold on fills that are made from a mixture of feathers and down because they are soft and dense and can make even inexpensive readymade pillows look amazing. In my experience, you can use less expensive fabrics and still have a beautiful pillow – we do it all the time at Nell Hill’s, where our decorator fabric is as low as $15 a yard. And, I’ve found that even if you make a pillow out of a top-of-the-line fabric but use a lower quality fill, the pillow will look scrawny and shapeless or too hard. If you have to scrimp someplace when doing a custom pillow, scrimp on the fabric and use a high quality feather pillow form.

-Mary Carol Garrity, Owner, Nell Hill’s


Knowledge Is the Best Sunscreen

Days are getting longer, school’s almost over, and everybody’s dreaming of basking in the sun. But don’t start your summer without the latest facts about skin protection, courtesy of the doctors at Sunflower Dermatology.

On Thursday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m., Doctors Molly Mesner and Brian Matthys will lead a free seminar on ”Healthy Skin: Learn to Detect and Prevent Skin Cancer Early.” According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is among the most common of all cancers. It can affect people of any age, even under 30. Come get equipped with the knowledge you need for a great summer in the sun.

To RSVP, please email jenny@sunflowerdermatology.com. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served.