Name: Heather Wiley
Occupation: Art director, Russell Stover Candies
Current neighborhood: I just married a hometown boy and moved back to Independence after living in Waldo for 16 years.
Who or what is your sidekick? My 11-year-old "mini me" daughter, Avalon. I was a single mom until recently, so she was on my hip wherever I went for 10 years. These days, I'm almost always on the sidelines at various local soccer facilities watching her play, praying she doesn't get concussed.
What career would you choose in an alternate reality? In another life, maybe an art director for a big fashion magazine like W Magazine or Vogue. Anna Wintour without the bad bangs and no furs, and I would be really nice.
What was the last local restaurant you patronized? Beer Kitchen. The potpie is worth the unavoidable mouth burn. I like the Rieger Hotel, too. They make their own tonic!
Where do you drink? Governor Stumpy's in Waldo. I lived a few houses down the street for 11 years, so I'm embarrassingly familiar with the staff. They've seen me through breakups, power outages and a layoff, always there with a gin and tonic. They're my family now, and I've made a point to stop by at least once a week since I moved.
What's your favorite charity? Missouri Mission of Mercy. They provide large-scale dental clinics to people who otherwise couldn't afford care. My husband is a dentist, and last year we spent a weekend in Springfield volunteering. Thousands of people stood in line for days to get dental care. Fantastic organization.
Favorite place to spend your paycheck: I miss Streetside Records! I love Anthropologie and can spend hours in any bookstore.
What local phenomenon do you think is overrated? I hate to admit that I'm not a huge fan of barbecue. There's something unsettling about a plate of meat still on the bones, covered with bright-red sauce. Maybe I watch too many zombie movies.
Where do you like to take out-of-town guests? I love showing off the art scene in Kansas City. The Kemper Museum (lunch at Cafe Sebastienne) followed by the Nelson and a long walk or picnic on the lawn. Crossroads Arts District is one of my favorite places in KC and has sentimental significance since my husband and I were married there in March. The Bloch Building at night is a must-see as well.
Finish this sentence: "Kansas City got it right when ... " It built the Bloch Building addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and renovated Visitation Parish - for me the most inspired spaces in Kansas City.
"Kansas City screwed up when ... " It failed to pass a light-rail plan to connect the suburbs with downtown and the airport. The downtown streetcar is cool but not quite enough.
"Kansas City needs ... " To support its new professional women's soccer team! Listening to my daughter promise that she'll be a soccer player when she grows up just got a little less painful. I'm hopeful that, unlike the other leagues that failed, this model will work. We've already reserved our season tickets, and everyone who loves a female soccer player in this town should do the same. Go, Blues!
"In five years, I'll be ... " Researching colleges for our kids and plastic surgeons for me. I don't want to think about either today, though, thanks.
"People might be surprised to know that ... " I am a huge boxing fan. I can't really explain it, but I'm sure it has something to do with suppressed aggression. My poor husband has watched enough boxing matches in the last four years to last him a lifetime. Right now, I really like Nonito Donaire and Seth Mitchell. Attending a big fight in Vegas is on my bucket list.
What TV show do you make sure you watch? I haven't been truly obsessed with a TV show since Battlestar Galactica ended. If you catch me in front of the TV now, it's probably CNN or an HBO documentary. True Blood and Dexter both jumped the shark recently, so I had to stop watching.
____ takes up a lot of space in my iTunes: ITunes U. I listen to lectures all day while I work. I'm sure I'll receive my doctorate in social welfare from Harvard soon. Right now, I'm also listening to a lot of happy music: Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club and Elbow.
What movie do you watch at least once a year? To Die For by Gus Van Sant. I love the Three Colors trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski, especially Blue. I also love anything by Paul Thomas Anderson. In case I sound pretentious, I also watch Center Stage more than anyone should.
What local tradition do you take part in every year? We do Fat Tuesdays at YJ's every year. Hearts of Darkness, costumes, street dancing and the parade to 18th and Vine make it the coolest KC event of the year. It's worth the headache at Ash Wednesday service the following day.
Person or thing you find really irritating at this moment: I can get a bit petulant when people tell me what to do, so I don't like being waved through intersections. I know the traffic laws, too, genius. And don't get me started on those stupid green-plastic stoppers that Starbucks is putting into their coffee lids. And I don't like John Boehner.
What subscription - print, digital, etc. - do you value most? I'm a designer. I still love print. I've always subscribed to Newsweek, and I'm really sad to see it go. I read Vanity Fair, Real Simple and Rolling Stone every month. I love W Magazine because it's just plain beautiful.
Last book you read: On Boxing by Joyce Carol Oates
Favorite day trip: My sister lives in Blackburn, Missouri, which is a small farming community 13 miles north of Concordia. Once you get off the highway, it's a gorgeous drive through rolling hills. They have a fabulous Fourth of July festival with German food; a pie stand; and, if you love to run screaming from molten falling debris, the most insane fireworks display around.
What is your most embarrassing dating moment? The night I hit on a local musician, who turned out to be the kid I used to baby-sit when I was 13.
Describe a recent triumph: I recently redesigned the packaging for Russell Stover's line of hard candy. I was really proud of how it turned out when I finally saw it in the stores. It sounds corny, but there is nothing like the pride I feel for my daughter and stepsons. They are the coolest kids in the universe, and I'm hopeful that I had a small part in that.