Friday, August 18, 2017

Postcards from Bunny: Step Up Shine and Dine 2017

It was time once again for the Step Up Women's Network event of the year, Shine and Dine, and Bunny was speeding her way to the party in a single engine plane flown by an ex-Blue Angel. "Can this thing go any faster?" she yelled to her pal in the pilot's seat. "No," he yelled back, "But it can do this!" And suddenly, the plane was spinning in mid air and spewing colored smoke from its rear, forming the sentence Bunny is running a tad bit late! in the blue Chicago sky. "You have to warn me before you do that again!" Bunny chided him, "I dropped one of my earrings!"

Eventually, Bunny made it to the new home of the Shine and Dine event, Revel Fulton Market. As in past years, she was greeted at the door by smiling girls in orange, the very girls Step Up Women's Network benefits. The first order of business was to scope out the vast array of offerings from the restaurants from all across town who had come to support the event. Chef Cory Morris maned the table for Ronero, serving up a delicious tuna ceviche with lime and corn in a coconut broth. At Terzo Piano table, Carolina Diaz brought a red pepper rigatoni. Christine Cikowski of Honey Butter Fried Chicken, who served as the chef/partner for the evening, came with her stellar plate of Fried Chicken Nachos (which Bunny may or may not have had seconds of). New comers to the event, like Eden, Butcher and Larder, and ASAP Poke were big hits as well, with lines moving steadily past their tables all night. Offerings from Duck Duck Goat, La Sirena Clandestina, and Found Kitchen greeted guests as they took their seats for the main presentation. Favorites like Bang Bang Pie, Floriole, and Sixteen provided sweet treats to round out the savory plates.

Step Up CEO Jenni Luke first took the stage to thank all the sponsors and walk the crowd through just some of the accomplishments of the program and the girls that the program benefits in the previous year. Several alumni of the program spoke about how much the network of mentors helped them through their education and into stable and important careers while groups of orange clad girls currently in the program looked on with stars in their eyes, dreaming of the day they too would be honored for their hard work and success.

The evening wore down with a live musical performance, which got everyone up and dancing. All told, the evening raised more than $350,000 for Step Up Women's Network, a truly admirable sum. Bunny made a promise to herself to once again find a way to attend this spectacular event next year (and every year after that) so that she never misses any stories of the incredible girls who are continuously given such wonderful opportunities through Step Up to grow to their full potential.

To see lots of pictures from the event, visit the Bunny and Brandy Facebook Page. You can also check recaps to previous Shine and Dine events to see how this year measured up.

The writers of this blog were invited to attend the event free of charge in order to facilitate the writing of this post.

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