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Local Exposure

[Local Exposure] Ristorante di Acquaviva, Sycamore IL.

You are about to find out what really gets me excited.  Finding amazing new places in my own backyard.  These are places I can spend time with my husband, friends, and family.  Just thinking about them puts a smile on my face.  You know when you can just envision the fun girls night out or the exciting date that you will have there and anticipation swells? 

Acuqua Viva Winery in Sycamore Il. is just my jam, and I think it should be yours, too! Wine tastings and samplings.  If you haven't been I am here to convince you to go.  If it has been a while, there is plenty going on to try out. 

Wine? Check. Amazing food? Check.  Friendly and fun atmosphere? Check. 

I am captivated by the location of Acquaviva in Sycamore because the best conversations seem to happen there.  Double dates, large parties, girls night out, or the occasional glass of wine solo.   This is my happy place. 

 

Pizza Alla Quattro Stagioni

Pizza Alla Quattro Stagioni

They offer a wide variety of specials nightly most of which are filled with the freshest seafood and seasonal produce offerings. The best fish I have ever eaten was at their restaurant, and this includes places I have visited on the coast.  It is delish. 

Oysters Rockefeller - Tuesday night special (and date night with thehubs)

Oysters Rockefeller - Tuesday night special (and date night with thehubs)

Here is a sampling of the specials at Acuqua

Raw Oyster Tuesday (hubby's five)

Nightly Seafood Specials

Ladies Night - $5 Martini Thursdays    

Lunch Thursday and Friday

Sporting Event specials
Sangria.  No need to say more.
Wine tastings and samplings
Seasonal specials using state garden on the Acquaviva Maple Park Property
Local Lamb - locally sourced and butchered onsite

Escargot Crostini

Escargot Crostini

Delicious and exciting flavored dishes severed up generously. 

Tables are close enough to encourage conversation with the ones nearby, and this is a regular occurrence. I meet a new neighbor, exchange a story, and discuss the yummy things we delight in.  .  The conversation is interesting and something happens when I am in this space.  It is hard to describe but it transports me.  I am not in Sycamore, I am not in a restaurant, but I am fully present in the moment.  My tablemates(s) are all that matters and I am fully vested.  This is a place you just don't want to put out the electronics and detach, it doesn't feel right here. 

Eating here means stretch pants when I get home, I just can't help myself it is just that good.  

Kale Frutta Salad - my favorite!

Kale Frutta Salad - my favorite!

And speaking of good we should probably talk chocolate.  I am not able to personally report on any desserts other than the chocolates.  If chocolate is your jam than it is important that you save room for the sweet offerings.  I am pretty sure I have almost lost my mind over a chocolate cake served warm.  I don't think it can be done better.

Chocolate Truffle.  Heavenly and decadent!

Chocolate Truffle.  Heavenly and decadent!

Time passes quickly, meals are served slowly, and wine is poured abundantly.  Yes I must recommend you give it a try- over and over again.  No need for an excuse, and if you need a dinner mate look no further {raising my hand}. 

Enjoy, and if you have a favorite spot you love share it here! 

[Local Exposure] by Preservation Heart Photography | Becky Beck 's Jewelry Store - Dekalb, IL.|

Who doesn't love the idea of beautiful jewelry?  I am pretty sure that all girls would love to have more sparkle in their lives!  Today's spotlight will help you in your pursuit with a focus on Becky Beck's Jewelry Store.

When seeking out vendors to spotlight on Local Exposure the criteria is simple – who offers amazing custom experiences to their clients?  Top of this list is Becky Beck’s Jewelry in Dekalb, Il. This shop is tucked off the beaten path and offers a treasure trove to brides, grooms, and anyone looking to for something special. I have used their services personally many times and walk away pleased each time.  The bright open space and large selection of brands coupled with luxe service you don't expect to receive.  

A large selection of Bridal accessories

A large selection of Bridal accessories

Becky Beck is Master IJO Jeweler and owner of the boutique, she has been in the business over twenty years and her friendly smile and industry know-how bring clients back again and again. 

These ladies work hard and have a lot of fun helping each customer find just what they're looking for

These ladies work hard and have a lot of fun helping each customer find just what they're looking for

Becky goes to great lengths to make the clients she works with happy and provide them with just the right piece.  Even if it means flying halfway around the world to hunt out the perfect diamond! 

Colorful engagement ring has a vintage appeal with a modern twist

Colorful engagement ring has a vintage appeal with a modern twist

I am not kidding!  She flies twice annually to Antwerp Belgium (in fact, she is there now!) to go direct to the diamond district and find the best stones for her clients.  Perfect for a groom seeking the perfect stone or the bride who wants to get the most of her diamond budget, the experience is unique and individualized.  

An unusual stone for a unique bride perhaps?  This ring is gorgeous!

An unusual stone for a unique bride perhaps?  This ring is gorgeous!

Becky works within the client desires and budget to take full advantage of her access to the finest diamonds.  The hand selection process allows her to ensure a client has the perfect stone every time.    Customers who participate in the Antwerp diamond buying program benefit from an amazing selection of the best diamonds in the world.  

If your bridal style is vintage look no further for ideas and inspiration

If your bridal style is vintage look no further for ideas and inspiration

Within the store Becky carries many lines that fit a variety of styles from vintage & antique to high fashion.  I pretty much loved every second of being in the store.   The girls working the front are the sweetest group of ladies and have a whole lot of fun doing helping clients.   

Within the store Becky carries many lines that fit a variety of styles from antique to high fashion.  I pretty much loved every second of being in the store.   The girls working the front are the sweetest group of ladies and have a whole lot of fun helping clients.   

Jeweler Bill takes a moment to check on the the storefront and offer a joke (these guys have a good time and enjoy their work)!

Jeweler Bill takes a moment to check on the the storefront and offer a joke (these guys have a good time and enjoy their work)!

There is no pressure and each customer who walked in received a warm welcome and friendly conversation.  These are Becky’s family, she is pleased to see each person leave with a smile even more than the piece of jewelry.   While in the store I observed Becky treating her customers with great care and she was interested in their background not only the jewelry needs.  

The shop puppy ready to help with your next purchase ;) and Becky getting to know her client a little better each time he comes in.

The shop puppy ready to help with your next purchase ;) and Becky getting to know her client a little better each time he comes in.

Bill is the onsite jeweler at the shop.  He is an amazing craftsman with over twenty years of experience. He  does more than work on repairing and restoring pieces – he also offers friendly smiles and keeps everyone laughing on site.  I loved that he keeps things light and brings expertise to the clients the help them with their individual jewelry needs.  

Jeweler Bill solders a wedding set 

Jeweler Bill solders a wedding set 

Check out Becky's Selection yourself!
303 East Hillcrest Dr.
Dekalb, IL. 60115
(815) 758-3800
www.beckybecksjewelrystore.com/
www.facebook.com/BeckyBecksJewelryStore

A stone for everyone, Becky carries a vast variety of engagement rings 

A stone for everyone, Becky carries a vast variety of engagement rings 

Can't wait to see what you get!


[Local Exposure] by Preservation Heart Photography | Alexis Kay Designs, Inc. - Dekalb, IL.|

Shop Owner Marissa prepare a window display 

Shop Owner Marissa prepare a window display 

Alexis Kay Designs, Inc. located in the heart of downtown DeKalb is in the Local Exposure spotlight today.  The shop is a full service bridal boutique featuring designer and custom gowns, accessories, and on-site client design.

Store displays change regularly with various seasonal bridal trends and designs

Store displays change regularly with various seasonal bridal trends and designs

Owned by mother and daughter team Marissa and Dawn Caltagerone they cover the needs of each bride and ensure every woman has the dress of her dreams.  

Spacious and beautiful conversation area is surrounded by unique gowns and even a few vintage finds

Spacious and beautiful conversation area is surrounded by unique gowns and even a few vintage finds

The boutique is bright and spacious, a mix of industrial chic and old Hollywood glam make the space inviting and open to a variety of styles that brides may envision for their day.  Lots of space to bring friend and discuss vision – a bride will not feel rushed visiting Alexis Kay Designs. 

Dawn is the design force, she has been creating handcrafted gowns for over 30 years.  She works on site in the massive space that is the rear of the store.  Her creations are everywhere and I was completely inspired by her neat and well-designed work space.  

The vast design space is Dawn's creative studio.  Here she designs bridal gowns by hand

The vast design space is Dawn's creative studio.  Here she designs bridal gowns by hand

While I was in she was working on a gown pairing material from a bride’s mother’s dress with a fresh design.  This   customization and attention to detail is what make Dawn’s work unique.  Her design is in high demand and they are currently booked solid until August for new design projects. 

Hand sketched designs and patterns decorate the studio space

Hand sketched designs and patterns decorate the studio space

A custom design in progress using the bride's mother's gown as inspiration

A custom design in progress using the bride's mother's gown as inspiration

Marissa manages the front of the store and handles much of the clients ensuring each girl has the dress that matches her wedding vision.  The shop is laid out so that she can get to know each bride and understand the whys behind the gown.  Each walk-in or appointment receives the same outstanding level of service.  She is interested in learning more about each of the clients, and considers the dress selection process a time where she has made many friends. 

Marissa studies the display windows, she is the creative behind the shop design 

Marissa studies the display windows, she is the creative behind the shop design 

Oh, and I have yet to tell you about the gowns!  I was so pleasantly surprised by these gowns from a quality perspective.  I am a lover of fine fabrics and soft, comfortable design – especially on your wedding day.  Alexis Kay features many lines, I especially loved their signature Kenneth Winston line for their vintage silhouettes and incredibly soft laces.

gorgeous dresses by many labels including the amazing work of Kenneth Winston

gorgeous dresses by many labels including the amazing work of Kenneth Winston

These gowns are gorgeous and fall beautify on the woman’s figure – they are going to be lovely to photograph.  My mind was spinning with wedding ideas as I browsed the store and shot the dresses.  Budget conscious brides will love these prices and be thankful for the quality crafted gown on their wedding day.

This gown was my favorite ( it was reminiscent to my own wedding gown),  full buttons down the back complete the look

This gown was my favorite ( it was reminiscent to my own wedding gown),  full buttons down the back complete the look

If you are a custom girl and can’t find just what you are looking for, Dawn and Marissa will help your vision come to life.  Schedule a custom design consultation with them and let your dream gown come to life.  When you meet with these ladies they want to treat you like family, understand your day, and help craft the wedding of your dreams.  The custom gown is available to fit a range of budgets and truly gives a bride creative control over her day.  I personally always put quality and amazing materials first when selecting garments, if you agree this is your gown shop. 

Custom designed gown by Dawn, fits like a glove in Old Hollywood style 

Custom designed gown by Dawn, fits like a glove in Old Hollywood style 

Schedule an appointment or stop by:
Alexis Kay Designs, Inc. 
128 E Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL. 60115
(815) 762-6558
alexiskaydesigns@gmail.com
www.alexiskaydesigns.com
 

gorgeous lace details and satin that falls beautifully from the waist - this material was unbelievably soft and luxurious

gorgeous lace details and satin that falls beautifully from the waist - this material was unbelievably soft and luxurious

You will enjoy the wedding dress experience tailor made to you, and when you find that perfect gown – don’t forget to give me a call, I can’t wait to see it on you and shoot your wedding day in your Alexis Kay design. 

[Local Exposure] by Preservation Heart Photography | Meagen Lee Floral - Kirkland, IL

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[Local Exposure] by Preservation Heart Photography | Meagen Lee Floral - Kirkland, IL

In the first of the weekly Local Exposure series I am so excited to share with you the amazing designs and talent of Meagen Lee of Meagen Lee Floral.  As soon s I saw her work I was swooning and knew I wanted to feature the unique, fresh approach she takes for her bridal clients.  This chica knows flowers - I refuse to ramble on about how amazing she is, just look at the images of her work! 

Amazing bridal bouquet of broaches from a bride's grandmother's collection.  Want to create your own?   Meagen suggests a bridal shower gift of a broach from each guest and she can create the custom bouquet.

Amazing bridal bouquet of broaches from a bride's grandmother's collection.  Want to create your own? 
 Meagen suggests a bridal shower gift of a broach from each guest and she can create the custom bouquet.

A piece worth display after the wedding - I love the idea of taking treasures and creating something all your own

A piece worth display after the wedding - I love the idea of taking treasures and creating something all your own

Her painstaking details go in to each of her designs and client consultations.  When a bride books her for an event she dedicates the day to her wedding, ensuring that the bride receives personal attention throughout.  It is this level of service that I was so impressed with - above and beyond the drop off of the bouquets and centerpieces her clients needs are focused on throughout the day. 

These centerpiece designs are impressive and unique and span a range of styles and budgetary needs.

These centerpiece designs are impressive and unique and span a range of styles and budgetary needs.

While Meagen's designs are custom and beautiful her service and style is very approachable.  She will work with the each brides style and use her twelve years of experience to suggest the best options to fit season, style and budget. 

These gorgeous bouquets are so incredibly beautiful and custom styled they make me want to be married again - three times over! Love the birds nest bouquet, the burlap and pine cone bouquet, and the peach bouquet that drips vintage charm.

These gorgeous bouquets are so incredibly beautiful and custom styled they make me want to be married again - three times over!
Love the birds nest bouquet, the burlap and pine cone bouquet, and the peach bouquet that drips vintage charm.

Unique design and unexpected use of even common floral elements are everywhere in her work.  I was surprised around every corner the elements and details she used that could take something simple and create a totally new approach to its use.  

The red roses she has adapted into unusual bouquets and centerpieces - these will turn heads!

The red roses she has adapted into unusual bouquets and centerpieces - these will turn heads!

Succulent and seashell bouquet - you can take this with you on your destination wedding, or just perfect for a lakeside event.  Please remember to invite me!

Succulent and seashell bouquet - you can take this with you on your destination wedding, or just perfect for a lakeside event.  Please remember to invite me!

You can check out more of Meagen's work and book her through the following info - can't wait to see what you create together. 

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/meagen.leefloral

call her:  (815) 593-0393

or email:  Flowersbymeagenlee@ gmail.com

Textures like crazy in this feathery woodland inspired bouquet - I see forest wedding all over this one!

Textures like crazy in this feathery woodland inspired bouquet - I see forest wedding all over this one!

I know you will enjoy working with Meagen Lee Floral as much as I did - now if I only had an excuse to buy myself some flowers!   
 

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