Huestudio Heroes

Throughout this wonderful holiday season about giving thanks, take some time to give back. Create a Thanksgiving with more meaning by making it a holiday with a purpose – An Inspired Thanksgiving!november_cornucopiaThe Huestudio + Company is inspired by the generous giving efforts of Preslee and Justin Bany, with support from their friend, Maddie Enviya.

For November 2015, we are proud to salute these young adults as Huestudio Heroes!

The 4th Annual Benefit for My Brother’s Kitchen* was held on November 7, 2015 in Elk Grove Village. Attending guests were invited to bring two (2) cans of non-perishable food items to support Thanksgiving servings on November 21, 2015 and were treated to music, raffles and good cheer.

IMG_3839For past benefits, Preslee and Justin created handmade gift certificates donating their personal time to rake leaves and shovel show. Inspired to do more for 2015, a larger giving idea was envisioned.

IMG_4707Supported by their friend Maddie, fifty (50) “Giving Thanks” Kits were artfully and lovingly hand-assembled. Preslee and Justin budgeted, shopped and set-up an assembly line of non-perishable items of granola bars, water, hand warmers, gloves, toothpaste, mouthwash, cheese/crackers, etc. to supplement the Thanksgiving Dinner feeding date on November 21, 2015. Friends and family were invited to “sponsor a bag” by donating funds. To date, over $450.00 has been raised with the support of twenty-three (23) sponsors.

IMG_4708Take time to give back. Non-perishable food items continue to be accepted and any/all are welcome to participate in the November 21, 2015 regular feeding date, just a few days prior to Thanksgiving, where 200+ Thanksgiving dinners will be served.

Be inspired to join Preslee, Justin, their wonderful parents and their many family and friends for An Inspired Thanksgiving!

IMG_4706*My Brother’s Kitchen was started as a Deaconate Ministry of Christ’s Vineyard by brothers Frank Vito, Sr. and Pete Vito, Sr. Their mission was simply to feed those less fortunate than themselves. Together with their friend and Executive Chef, Joe Coco, they began the mission in December, 2003. Soon after, Frank passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, but Pete carried on their mission, and “My Brother’s Kitchen” was dedicated to Frank’s memory in March, 2004.

Their first location was Our Lady of Mercy Church in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, where it stayed until the building was demolished in 2006. The mission found itself without a regular place to feed the needy until 2009. In 2009, Pete found a new home at West Side Christian Church and School on Pulaski and 13th in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, where it remains today.

Sadly, in October 2010, Pete Vito, Sr. also passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.

Today, Pete’s children have taken up the efforts that Pete and Frank began back in 2003. Pete’s eldest son, Anthony is now the Executive Director of My Brother’s Kitchen. Aided by his sister, Marie and their brothers Peter and Vince, the Vito children along with their extended family and friends continue feeding the hungry in memory of Pete and Frank. Their mission remains simply to feed the less fortunate with donations from generous family and friends. They personally prepare meals on the 3rd Saturday of every month, averaging around 200 meals served.

Get social with My Brother’s Kitchen on Facebook!

Bunky! One Elegant Gentleman.

february_heartsLast week, at the young age of sixty-five, we were saddened to learn that Bunky Cushing passed away. Gone too soon, our Chicago community will never be the same.

As Ray Bradbury stated in Fahrenheit 451, “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”flowers_pink

Bunky leaves behind many fond and colorful memories, especially the lost art and elegance of hand-written notes. If you didn’t know Bunky, more can be found on his blog, but read the touching thoughts penned by Lisa Bertagnoli, Mary Schmich and Maureen O’Donnell.

The Art of Pink!

Throughout the month of October 2015, we are honored to support “The Art of Pink” at all of The Peninsula hotels worldwide! Each hotel will present a month of pink-infused art, dining and spa experiences for guests to enjoy and show support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.ribbon_pinkThe Peninsula Chicago is installing a significant art installation entitled, “Alchemy” by Choi Jeong Hwa, a renowned Korean artist, curated by Pearl Lam Galleries. A site-specific light installation of twenty-four “totem pole” pillars that consist of found LED lights, plastic bowls and steel. One of the pink pieces in the exhibit, selected specifically by the artist, will be auctioned at the end of October, with proceeds donated to The Peninsula Chicago’s local breast cancer charity partner, Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation.flowers_pinkCotton Candy Pink is the preferred color of The Huestudio + Company for October 2015, as well as the preferred color of The Peninsula hotels each October. In support of “The Art of Pink” initiative, the main entrance and signage of The Peninsula Chicago will be artfully illuminated in pink each evening from October 1 to 31, 2015. In coordination with The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation, the hotel is offering complimentary transportation via the hotel’s MINI Cooper to patients for their cancer treatments. rose_pinkThe hotel’s stunning floral arrangements will adopt a rose hue and a “Remembrance Tree” will be available for guests to purchase a pink card for US$ 5 to write names of cancer survivors or memories of loved ones.


Throughout the month of October, please consider making a donation or contribution to your local or favorite breast cancer organization to honor special family and precious friends. We love A Silver Lining Foundation, a 2015 preferred charitable partner!

Pink-infused gourmet dining experiences are offered with Pink Afternoon Tea, served daily in The Lobby with seatings Monday through Saturday, offered at 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm, and on Sunday’s served between 3:30 pm and 5:00 pm.

Join us on Friday, October 9, 2015 for an afternoon fashion show, presented by Saks Fifth Avenue on Michigan Avenue where US$ 10 from every afternoon tea will be donated to charity. Following the presentation, all afternoon tea attendees will be invited to the store where 10% of their purchases for the day directly benefit Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation.

A special pink-hued cocktail, “Pretty in Pink” is served in The Bar. Featuring Stoli vanilla vodka, lychee puree, raspberries and a splash of lemon juice, this cocktail is sure to delight!

For pampering with a purpose, The Peninsula Spa offers a “Pedi-For-A-Cure” treatment of a classic pedicure with US$ 5 of every service donated to Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation. 

In total, The Peninsula Chicago has raised US$ 18,432, including US$ 7,840 in 2014, which was donated to two charities: Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation and Bright Pink.hearts_pinkVisit The Peninsula Chicago, a preferred partner, and join the social conversation using the #PenInPink and #ArtOfPink hashtags! Don’t forget to “tag” us and use #TheHuestudioCo, as well.

We look forward to seeing our friends, family, clients and preferred partners support Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


A Decade of Ducks!

michaelcourier-thehuestudio-duck-derby-2015-8856For the fifth year in a row, The Huestudio + Company and The Sunshine Paddlers team has been honored to support Special Olympics Illinois and The Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby! 2015 marks their ten-year milestone, “A Decade of Ducks!”

This signature, annual fundraiser of Special Olympics Illinois directly benefits the nearly 22,000 athletes and over 21,000 Young Athletes across Illinois. The Huestudio + Company was proud to be a 2015 Event Sponsor! 

View all 2015 photographs in the Gallery below. Photo Credits: © Michael Courier Photography, 2015.

On August 6, 2015, The Sunshine Paddlers team met and staged at Bike Chicago in Millennium Park. Following a team briefing, bright and colorful event balloons, lovingly crafted by Balloons by Tommy, were handed out to team members to herald our 2015 Spectacular Sunshine Parade!

michaelcourier-thehuestudio-duck-derby-2015-8599Our custom team parade sign featured an actual wooden paddle and all team members came brightly dressed in Sunshine Yellow and Paddler Blue, custom “Be Happy!” t.shirts from Ink 4 Your Soul, and Derby-style hats and chapeaus! After all, it’s not a true Derby without colorful Derby hats!

michaelcourier-thehuestudio-duck-derby-2015-8494Led by our 2015 Sunshine Ambassador, Ron Antonacci, The Sunshine Paddlers team paraded together from Columbus Drive to Wacker Drive and along the Chicago River, then crossed the Michigan Avenue Bridge where many spectators  warmly greeted us to Pioneer Plaza, directly across from the iconic Wrigley Building. Michael Courier, a preferred event photographer, captured all the fun and festivities.

At 12 noon promptly, The Sunshine Paddlers team turned up the music and a flashmob-style dance occurred to “Walking on Sunshine”, all to the delight and joy of spectators. Custom, branded yellow and white beach balls were given to the gathering crowds.
Following the dance, team photographs were taken and a private luncheon, “Dine with the Ducks!” was held at Cyrano’s Cafe & Wine Bar, located on the south bank of the Chicago River. This was a perfect riverfront location and view to witness “Splashdown” and to dine on Chef Didier Durand’s custom and elegant menu offerings.
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
– Louisa May Alcott

View photo gallery

Our 50 Lucky Ducks!

duckWe are grateful and appreciative to all of our supporters and “adoptive parents” who have purchased and “adopted” ducks for The 10th Annual Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby and the “Decade of Ducks” celebration!

Congratulations to our fifty (50) “Lucky Ducks” who have adopted six (6) ducks [“Quack Packs”] – or – twenty-four (24) ducks [“A Flock of Ducks”], on behalf of The Sunshine Paddlers team.

These fifty (50) “Lucky Ducks” will receive an exclusive, custom-curated “Decade of Ducks” gift set, compliments of The Huestudio + Company, valued at over $125/each! Gift sets will be mailed and/or hand-delivered on August 6, 2015, depending on confirmed attendance.

  1. Denise Adamson – Quack Pack x 2
  2. Sherry Allen – Quack Pack
  3. Kim Ball – Quack Pack x 2
  4. Christine Barcikowski – Quack Pack x 2 [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  5. Charles Besser – Flock of Ducks!
  6. Lora Biddle – Quack Pack
  7. Roseanne Bodinet – Quack Pack
  8. Lindsay Brown – Quack Pack [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  9. Kimberly Burr – Quack Pack x 2
  10. Curtis Cheshire – Flock of Ducks!
  11. Gail Cheshire – Flock of Ducks! [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  12. Bonnie Czarny – Quack Pack
  13. Eileen Delisle – Quack Pack
  14. Joseph Delisle – Quack Pack
  15. Roberta Dusek – Quack Pack [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  16. Katherine Dusek – Quack Pack
  17. Robert Elliott – Quack Pack
  18. Janice Gilligan – Quack Pack x 2
  19. Anthony Hernandez – Quack Pack [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  20. Kevin Helwig – Quack Pack
  21. Christopher Holke – Quack Pack
  22. Rich Holke – Flock of Ducks! ++ [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  23. William Holke – Flock of Ducks!
  24. Suzanne Jahnke – Quack Pack
  25. John Jordan – Quack Pack
  26. Maggi Kujawa – Quack Pack
  27. Tina Kunze – Quack Pack
  28. Charmain Marroquin – Quack Pack
  29. Deborah Marshall – Quack Pack
  30. Sandy Milton – Quack Pack
  31. John Perkins – Quack Pack x 2 [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  32. Libby Perkins – Quack Pack x 2 [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  33. Sue Rateike – Quack Pack
  34. Wendy Reeder – Quack Pack
  35. Mike + Margaret Romer – Quack Pack
  36. Modesta Sailer – Quack Pack
  37. Kerrie Schneider – Quack Pack
  38. Joe Schlamotz – Flock of Ducks!
  39. Candace Shimkus – Quack Pack
  40. Dorothy Starks – Quack Pack
  41. Joy Sullivan – Flock of Ducks!
  42. Laura Swinehart – Quack Pack
  43. Shannon Thomas – Quack Pack
  44. Venus Tombakoglu – Quack Pack [Sunshine Paddler Team Member]
  45. Linda Trelford – Quack Pack
  46. Judi Vallejo – Quack Pack
  47. Margaret Vega – Quack Pack
  48. Laurelle Wallace – Quack Pack
  49. Joan Warunek – Quack Pack
  50. Adrienne Wohn – Quack Pack x 2

One (1) complimentary duck adoption was given to all who purchased a team t.shirt. Please visit The Sunshine Paddlers team site to view your single duck adoption.

  1. Ron Antonacci:  1 adoption
  2. Gabriel Bucataru:  3 adoptions
  3. Joanne Calabrese:  1 adoption
  4. Gail Cheshire:  4 adoptions
  5. Sylvia Davis:  1 adoption
  6. Roberta Dusek:  1 adoption
  7. Ophelia Hernandez:  3 adoptions
  8. Sandra Hoadley:  1 adoption
  9. Rich Holke:  1 adoption
  10. Mona Kunio:  1 adoption
  11. John Perkins:  1 adoption
  12. Patience Paisley:  1 adoption
  13. Feonie Tandoc:  1 adoption
  14. Kathleen Young:  1 adoption

There’s still time to join The Sunshine Paddlers team! Sign up + adopt ducks under your favorite team member! We hope you’ll join us on Thursday, August 6, 2015 as we support Special Olympics Illinois!

Current Team Members for The Sunshine Paddlers [current, as of July 22, 2015.]

  • Ron Antonacci – 2015 Sunshine Ambassador*
  • Christine Barcikowski
  • Lindsay Brown
  • Joanne Calabrese
  • Gail Cheshire
  • Roberta Dusek
  • Anthony Hernandez
  • Ophelia Hernandez
  • Rich Holke
  • Jeff Hughes
  • Mary Luzader
  • Libby Perkins
  • John Perkins
  • Penny Thomas
  • Arman Tombakoglu
  • Venous Tombakoglu

june_sun*Our 2015 Sunshine Ambassador

Ron Antonacci is 53 years old and started competing with Special Olympics back in 1976! Throughout the years, he has competed for Gage Park and Marquette Park Special Recreation, located on the southwest side of Chicago. Ron competed in track and field, basketball, softball, and floor hockey, and most recently he has competed in Special Olympic Bowling and Bocce Ball with South Suburban Special Recreation Association located in Tinley Park.

Over Ron’s career he has won 97 total medals [ 37 of them being Gold! ], including numerous participation ribbons.

Ron attended Southwest Community Services Job Training Center Job in Tinley Park, and through their job placement program, he was able to attain a job at Jewel Osco in Frankfort as a utility clerk where he has proudly worked there for 18 years. Ron is very active in the community and well known by everyone.

The Huestudio + Company and The Sunshine Paddlers team is honored to have Ron serve as our 2015 Sunshine Ambassador!