Class A–affiliates of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Cedar Rapids Kernels field a roster of tomorrow's major leaguers on the fields of today. Led by manager Brent Del Chiaro and coaches Mike Eylward and Trevor Wilson, the band of savvy sluggers is set to continue its tradition of charitable efforts by donating baseball after baseball to needy attendees in the stands. As Midwest League champions in 1988, 1992, and 1994, the Kernels are hungry for this year's title and will stop at nothing—the Kane County Cougars included—to wrest it from the well-oiled gloves of wannabe winners.
With members certified by the American Lighting Association, The Ar-Jay Center’s staff of seasoned illuminators shine a new light on hum-drum homes with stylish accessories including lighting, ceiling fans, and mirrors. Brighten shadowed corridors with the aerial radiance from an oil-rubbed bronze mini pendant light ($38), or pinpoint bodily smudges underneath the cascading effulgence of a three-bulb bath light ($47). Halogen desk lamps keep work on schedule with brilliant light and built-in clocks ($30); the blades of a bronze 52-inch ceiling fan supply rooms with the wind power required during hot summers or indoor parasailing practice ($75). The center's experienced design staff stands ready to assist with any furnishing inquiries, helping customers tease out the personality of otherwise bashful roosts.
All About Pictures’ inventory encompasses a vast collection of card-making and scrapbooking supplies selected by brother-and-sister team Richard Kells-Pitlik and Diane Pitlik. Specialized paper in a spectrum of hues and textbook of textures ($0.79–$2.59) showcases family photos, tissues of sentimental value, and other lovingly flattened keepsakes. Flowers ($1.99+), ribbon ($0.50+), stickers ($1.99+) and other embellishments enhance pastiche pages. Heighten a project’s style with texture and design using Cuttlebug and Sizzix embossing folders ($4.99–$9.99), or by gluing it to a ceiling fan with a range of specialized adhesives ($4.99–$9.99).
With more than one million book titles to choose from, Barnes & Noble stocks one of the retail world's largest selections of bound pages, along with a huge assortment of educational toys and games. Keep sprightly scribes from using walls, furniture, and siblings as writing surfaces with the help of LeapFrog’s Scribble & Write ($24.95 online), or indulge kids’ natural passions for outer space and solid detective work with a LEGO Space Police Smash ’n’ Grab set ($19.95 online).
Named Best Florist by CityVoters, Pierson’s is a family-owned-and-operated flower shop boasting a cornucopia of blooms to complement tabletops, occasions, and sentiments of every sort. Celebrate a birthday in the company of a vibrant Teleflora fresh blossom potpourri ($29.99), or help a friend get well soon by gifting a daisy day dreams basket ($29.99) in place of a grab-bag of cybernetic implants. Season-savvy sniffers can sort through a large selection of autumnal options, including the fall for daisies arrangement, which serves up red and yellow daisies in a clear glass vase ($27.95), and the sugar maples arrangement, which flaunts nearly every warm, rustic tone of fall ($29.99) but never takes a chilly tone of voice.
Over a career that spans more than 20 years, owner and photographer Michael Ask has captured key moments in clients’ lives with striking, professional portraits of families, couples, children, and high-school seniors. Michael’s experience gives him the confidence to offer a “no nonsense” 100% guarantee—if customers do not like their finished portraits, Heartscape Studio will refund their money—and pay them an additional $20 for their trouble. He creates what he calls a "journey" for his clients by beginning every portrait session with a complimentary ideas consultation to review the client's hope for the shoot. Michael also advises clients on the most effective clothes and locations for their photo sessions, considering factors such as lighting, color, and whether portraits will be displayed after Labor Day. He is able to place his subjects at ease during the actual shoot, and he carefully retouches images to make his clients look their absolute best.