360 Youth Services amy marie couture

Halfstack Magazine Winter 2014 Giving Issue - Letter from the Editor

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

Happy holidays readers! December arrived so quickly this year. I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on this past year and thank each of you readers, writers, photographers and contributors for your continued support. This publication wouldn’t be what it is without the backbone of amazing people behind it. You can find the latest issue embedded below or if you prefer you can read it by clicking HERE.



Now, this issue is dedicated to the idea of giving. Giving not just of gifts, but also of time, help, volunteering and of oneself to your craft and community. This issue I wanted to share the love with those who are doing some good for the world around them. The holidays arrive so quickly and often we fall into the same routine of mindless consumerism. I’m not going to knock retail, because without it we wouldn’t be here, but I want to showcase thoughtful consumerism. I also wanted to share stories of those working through and overcoming the struggle of poverty. You see this thread of an idea woven throughout the blanket of articles in this issue. We are featuring some pretty cool brands doing pretty cool things. Not just making cool things, but also making a difference. The fashion feature this issue is highlighting three up and coming designers in Chicago: Chicago Playground, Maybe Sunday and Amy Marie Couture. Each of these young brands has a buzz about them and I am so excited to feature them in our issue this winter.

I am sure you will end up hearing more about them. The feature was shot on location in one of Chicago’s up and coming art’s district neighborhoods. It’s a hood I knew of long before it became the cool place to be. It was my second home away from Humboldt Park. I went there for the best Mexican food, amazing people watching and a wonderful community. If you don’t know that it’s Pilsen, what rock have you been living under? Pilsen has become the premier art’s district in Chicago and we used it as the inspiration for our street style inspired shoot. We highlighted many of the amazing murals found on 16th street and Halsted. It blows my mind to see the beauty we captured in a place where I created so many childhood memories.



This issue is also featuring brands with a mission to give back to the community. Liv shares fashion lines like Twillory and Etnia Barcelona, two online brands we had a chance to learn more about. Perry is bringing us a roundup of local brands based in Chicago that give back. Teresa has her usual looks for less roundup and is sharing the latest on Chicago brand PRSVR of itshours.com.

Thom shares some great features this issue, in particular, a highlight on Wisconsin based cheese brand Sartori who is doing more than just making cheese. They are a family owned business that believes in doing good and putting their money where their mouth is. Last year they donated upwards of $42,000 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

I had the opportunity to meet with a local transitional housing program through 360 Youth Services, a local non-profit I volunteer at. I was able to meet some of those who have been affected by homelessness. I shed some startling statistics in this article and share the story of a young transgender individual starting life over again. Cora highlights an Instagram star: Mark Bustos who is known for his haircuts for the homeless initiative. We also highlight one of Chicago’s very own altruists: Marco Foster. Marco is known for his battle with brain cancer and for his empowering charitable events.

You will find a slew of great winterizing grooming and beauty tips from Danielle as well as some great music features including our winter album roundups. We have spotlight on DJ Cavem known as the O.G Rapper (organic gardener) who is helping to lead change and educate youth about healthy eating in areas known as food deserts. Stella shares a heart to heart interview with YouTube sensation and Lupus survivor: Bre Islar. Brittany, our health and fitness editor, is featuring Chicago’s own Live to Support organization. Rob shares some insight on Chicago’s climate action initiatives and shares how the community is working to take a stand against climate change.


I close out this issue with a story on Peace for Pits a non-for-profit dedicated to saving Pit bulls from euthanasia in Illinois and finding them a forever home. All to often, we forget about our furry friends and Pit bulls have even more at stake considering the propaganda and false information shared about them.

There is this saying that “you can judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” This holiday season give without expectation and love without condition. Remember those less fortunate and find a way to give from your core to those who can do nothing for you. I may not have a lot of money to give, but I have my body, my health and can make time to volunteer. It has been this past year of volunteering that has opened my eyes and has fulfilled my heart. It helps me to be a better person, to love more and to think more about my decisions. It has moved my soul and helps me to teach my young daughters about the power of love and a helping hand. It’s this idea that inspired this issue and I hope it inspires each of you this holiday season.


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