Archive for April, 2010

It’s my party and I’ll tie if I want to…

April 30, 2010

Casual TieDay, Freebie Friday. Today I had a big decision: Which of my ties to sport and then give away. I think I picked a good one. Perhaps too good…

This tie can be YOURS! Just send three box tops...

It’s from Geoffrey Beene, and it’s a beauty. Purple with rows and rows of blue, white and purple dots. Knots well. I’ll miss it. It was a great find at Unique Thrift Store a few months back.

So, here’s the deal with the Friday Freebies on Freebie Friday: If you would like to have the tie, for yourself or for someone else, just post a comment, saying why you, or a loved or liked one, should get it. Pam Daniels, a fellow Lincoln parent, suggested this morning that her husband, Mark, should get it because she “likes that tie.” So far, folks, that’s a winner. If you’re local, I’ll deliver it. If you’re not local, or if you’re local and more than 1 suburb away, then I’ll drop it in the mail to you. Provided of course that you give me a valid mailing address.

I hope to do this every Friday, so please participate. At the very least, tell me to send/donate it to someone who never wears ties, etc. But by Monday, I hope to know who’s getting it.

Baby, you're a Star(r)

Today on the 8th Floor at One Rotary Center I ran into Steve Starr, a Chamber member who had been calling on a client. Steve owns Stephen B. Starr Design (yes, they are related), a graphic design/website design firm here in Evanston. Guys With Ties, baby.

Have a great weekend, everybody! Thanks for reading!


This room looks like a pig tie…

April 29, 2010

Can I just start by saying, again, how much fun I’m having with my job and this blog? I’m sorry I keep coming back to it, but this morning was really cool. I took the morning off to take care of a couple of things and get some breakfast, and so I didn’t get all gussied up until about noon. I was warmly greeted by the brothers Kim, John & Brian, at Brothers K Cafe; John said, “Oh, Brooke’s goin’ casual today!” Then, at Fraiche, owner Susan Friedman, asked where my tie was…It’s really fun to have your wardrobe noticed.

Earlier today, a friend who works for the Trib suggested I should get into the writing biz. And, tonight at the Lincoln School Science Fair, I received one of the best compliments a quasi-fashion blogger could receive. One of the teachers said something to this effect: “You know, if I were a guy, I’d raid your closet, because you wear some really cool clothes.”

"Happy Easter": I heard that three times today

Anyway, on to the Tie du Jour. It’s a Polo from good old Ralph Lauren. Madras cotton through and through, and as preppy as heck. My brother and I actually wore this tie in high school; in fact, I think I may be able to find one of his school pictures in which he’s sporting it. It stayed at the house, moved to Florida with my parents, and recently made its way back to me. It’s really thin, which is in again, apparently. The madras was a good call today, as Ma Nature cranked it up over 80 degrees. The flower-in-her-hair byotch also gave us heavy winds, but we’ll take it.

Do not adjust your set

I credit my madras/seersucker combo for bringing on spring, of course. In past years it was my shorts that brought it on…

Speaking of seersucker, the suit (it’s a gray/white seersucker–this here is my blue/white seersucker blazer) will be making its 2010 debut pretty soon. I’ll probably fire up a bow tie, and maybe even a bow tie week, since I have exactly 5 bow ties. Perhaps the 2nd week of May…

Tomorrow, I will start the Friday Freebies. I’m going to give away my Friday ties from here on out. They won’t always be the best ties, but someone will want them. Feel free to suggest where I should mail it, be it to you or a friend…or an enemy.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tie can’t we be friends?

April 28, 2010

One of the first things we learn as kids, after “Don’t touch the stove” and before “Don’t play in the sandbox after the cat”, is the primary colors. Red, blue and yellow. Mix them with each other to get purple, green and orange. Mix them all to get a sloppy brown sludge that resembles a skid mark, and doesn’t come out of your Garanimals, either.


The Tie du Jour represents the 3 primaries. I have had this tie for a long time, though I had long since graduated from even the Crayola box of 64 (raw umber and burnt siena RULE!!). I’m sure I picked it up at a resale shop in Chicago. The brand is ‘Rooster’ and I have never seen another with this label.

Despite the basic coloring of this tie, I have always had trouble pairing this with shirts. As you can see, I have gone with a plain white shirt, perhaps for the first time since 100 Days, 100 Ties began. I’m also pretty sure that I haven’t worn this’n since I started to work at the Chamber.

Michelle, My Belt, These are words that go together, um, welt.

Despite the fact that I would have worn this eventually, as part of the project, one reason I put it out there now is that I found a belt that goes perfectly with it. Here’s a shot of the ensemble, ensemble…

Go Cats! (except on Nov. 20)

I had lunch today with John Mack, an Associate Athletic Director at Northwestern. Mainly we chatted about this year’s NU-Illinois football game, slated to be played at Wrigley Field on November 20. He was kind enough, after the meal, to give a great smile while joining the legions of Guys With Ties.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Bye, bye, Miss American Tie…

April 28, 2010

Great day. Great. Day.

Nutshell. Received emailed membership application, just after midnight. Hosted successful Networking Breakfast. Got Julia to school on time, fed and happy. Made a potentially major connection between two members. Sold a major sponsorship for one of the Chamber’s annual awards. Had a perfect patty melt at Edzo’s with two of my buds. Welcomed a new member to Chamber HQ, who brought a check. Got Julia to soccer practice on time. Met with same business owner from aforementioned post-midnight email. Picked up Julia from soccer practice on time. Received phone call from the aforementioned business owner from aforementioned post-midnight email. Perhaps sold him on the idea of an even MORE major sponsorship, like maybe 10X bigger.

So, Burglar. Thanks for the karma. Hope my wedding ring that you stole is stuck on your finger and that your girlfriend (who doesn’t like you anyway because you’re a miserable thief) gets pissed off at you for being married.

Too bad, you're plaid

Okay, on to the tie at hand (this IS, after all, a tie blog). May have to think of it as a lucky tie, I guess, after the day I had.

Well, the Tie du Jour is from Cignal. It’s purple, black and orange with a little white thrown in there. Sounds hideous, but ties are enjoyed with the eyes, not the ears, so hopefully you’ll agree that those colors work together here.

Unfortunately, my gingko biloba usage merely started yesterday, so my previously accumulated memory loss ensures that I don’t recall which visit to which thrift store brought this tie into my closet. This may be closing-barn-door late, but perhaps I should mark ties as they come in; or, what if I go through the remaining ties, figuring out which came from where? I’ll figure it out.

At the aforementioned Networking Breakfast, we had a bunch of attendees sporting ties. And, kids, do you know what that means: Multiple Guys With Ties! Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Even on a Tuesday, that’s fun to say.

Okay, sorry…I was all set to get this out before midnight last evening, but I kept dozing off. After I typed this “kjjjjjjjjjjkjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk” I figured that it would be a good time to finish in the morhgi. See…that was supposed to be ‘morning’. Good night.

Alex Vizzy in the hizzy!

Bonjour, buongiorno, buenos dias. Hopefully, I’m well-rested enough to avoid typing errors such as last eveninhdsis. Ah, that’s better.

Our first GWT is Alex Voschenkov, a brand spankin’ new member of the Chamber. Alex V, as he advises most call him, is with Interface Financial Group, who offer alternate financing to small and medium sized businesses.

The streak of light across Joe's face can ONLY be accomplished by an amateur photog

GWT II is Joseph Pizzo, who is a photographer who owns Joseph Studios, which shares space with Ayla’s Originals, an international bead bazaar on Sherman Avenue. Oh, and Joe and Ayla…they’re married. Kind of intimidating taking a picture of a professional photographer with an iPhone camera.

Who can make a rainbow?

Our last Guy With Tie is David Levine, owner of Illinois Nut & Candy on Dempster in Skokie. Walking into the store is like a dream for kids–and adults–of all ages. The showroom is choc (candy pun) full of delicious indulgences in every shape and size. He is a marketing and networking expert, and, yes, gosh darnit, I’ll admit that I hope he gives me a free piece of chocolate for putting him in 100 Days, 100 Ties.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Brown-tied Girl…

April 26, 2010

Well, they’re hazel actually…and I’m a guy.

What can Brown do for you?

Well, if you live in Cleveland, Jim Brown, of your football Browns, could have given you several reasons to watch professional football, back in the 60s.

If you live in California, Jerry Brown could have served you as governor of your fine state. He wasn’t a bodybuilder or a box-office movie star, like the Austrian dude who currently serves you, but he is your Attorney General and is attempting to terminate the incumbent.

If you are pondering an Ivy League education, and the post-graduate sense of satisfaction that goes along with it, Brown University is your place.

If you are a cruel, power-hungry 6-8 year old, and you yearn for a sucker to try to kick a football that you hold tantalizingly a thousand times, only for you to yank it away at the last second, then Charlie Brown is your fool.
And PS…Lucy, you’re a byotch.

How now, brown cow (with orange and maroon spots/stripes)?

My Tie du Jour, with its brown background with orange and maroon stripes, got me thinking brown today. It’s from BCBG, their ‘Attitude’ line. If memory serves (and if my Gingko Biloba helps in that service), I got this from Crossroads Trading. I think one of my Ties du Last Week was from Crossroads, too. So bully for them.

What about Bob?

We have an entry for Guys With Ties, taken over the weekend at Dominick’s at Dempster & Dodge. Store manager Bob Devereux, who is a very friendly guy, was kind enough to pose; plus, he was fashionable enough to mention that he wished he had worn one of his favorite ties. Oh, well, next time, Bob.

Have a great week, everyone. Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tie one, get one free…

April 24, 2010

Sometimes flowers are all one needs to feel better. The flower brings spring to vivid, sensory life. One of my favorite things to do is to ‘steal’ a sniff of a still-planted flower–I do it quite infrequently, but it’s like you’re connecting with the earth, Avatar-style. The Merrick Rose Garden here in Evanston is a must-visit; after driving by it for over a decade, I finally walked through a couple of years ago with Julia. It’s so worth the time, and I bet you’ll spend more time there than you thought you would.

April showers bring April flowers

Well, the Tie du Jour doesn’t have roses, but it still elicits enough spring thoughts. And that smell? My Speed Stick, from Mennen. Not quite as spring-y.

It’s from a label that I’ve never heard of…Giampiero. One of hundreds of Italian tie makers, there is another label that may explain the TdJ a bit more. The designers felt it necessary to put an additional label that says “Made in Como.” Como, Italy. I wasn’t aware that Como was such a hotbed of tie-making activity, but judging by this one I’d give it a second try.

Friends can be flowers sometimes, in just about any season. I’m typing this on a friend’s computer, loaned to me after the, ahem, burglary. I’ve had a fantastic outpouring of support after the break-in, from folks offering words of encouragement, to offers to go open up a can of Whoop-Ass™ on the perp, to an offer for Julia and me to stay at their home. It’s just great to know that friends surround me, and I’m sure it’ll be great for you to know that I won’t be smelling any of them. Even if they wear Mennen Speed Stick, too.

So, I was about to close out the blog, but I went over and did a quick google of ‘tie-flower’, thinking I may find a flower with the word ‘tie’ in its name. Given the springtime, I may have found something even better. There is a WikiHow post on how to tie a clover chain. Should be a few of those around, wherever you may be.

Have a wonderful Saturday, reading about Friday’s tie. Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tie and the Family Stone…

April 23, 2010

Orange kitchen in background

Correc-TIE-on: I was not robbed on Wednesday. I have been informed that a robbery is an instance where the perpetrator and victim are both present. I was burglarized. Perp = Here! Victim = Absent! OK, then, the asshole/punk/scumbag that I mentioned yesterday is a burglar, not a robber. My apologies to him and his proud family (of fellow a-holes/punks/scumbags).

My Tie du Jour is again from Ted Baker. I found this last week at Crossroads Trading Company here on Sherman in Evanston. They buy a lot of cool clothes, via a pretty good vetting process. Their prices are generally higher than a proper thrift store, but the overall quality is much higher. So, a rack of clothes will have a larger percentage of buy-able stuff. This tie was even half-price, so it was $6.25, I think. Well worth pairing with this Banana Republic shirt (which, by the way, had a twin at the very same Crossroads yesterday).

Anyway, the Ted is brown and orange and purple, which sounds like a train wreck on paper…but it’s damn good-lookin’, don’t you agree?

So, I am a day behind my blogging, and I apologize. I know, I know, I was rob…burglarized, so I can’t be counted on to blah-blah-blog about a tie. But, it’s fun for me, and I need it. I hope that I never stop thanking thee, O dear reader, for thy patronage.

Sorry, for the shortie today, folks. Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tie me a river…

April 22, 2010

I was robbed.

Three simple syllables. Sometimes they convey a feeling of being slighted, by a prospective employer or by a panel of award judges. In my case, it goes deeper than the ‘we wuz robbed’ category; my new apartment was broken into yesterday. My laptop (recently backed up, incredibly), camera (obsolete) and my wedding ring (um…) were taken, along with the 100% great-to-ecstatically perfect feeling that I have had about my new place. The robber–burglar, thief, asshole, punk…take your pick–was too stupid to take a couple of things that were really valuable in here, so I have chosen to take a lighter view upon the situation. Funny is how I roll.

And so, I beg you, dear reader, to forgive me for not posting yesterday’s tie until now. Without further ado, or further larceny, I present the Tie du Yesterday. It’s from Jones New York, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. I think this may be one of the most photogenic of my ties, at least so far. My flash-less iPhone camera makes it look metallic to me in this shot…

The Evanston Chamber hosted its monthly Business After Hours, so I had to get into full peacock mode. I hope this ensemble passes muster.

At last night’s event, I was able to snap a couple shots of Guys With Ties…

Here’s the President of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, Randy Usen. He’s a Senior VP at Evanston’s First Bank & Trust, and he’s been great to get to know during my time here at the Chamber. He sports some great ties, and this multi-blue striped number is no exception.

Next is one of my bestest buds, Paul Hletko. Don’t ‘hlet’ that loosely tied, unbuttoned shirt fool you…he really doesn’t like the suit/tie look. He is a man of many talents and careers: mild-mannered patent attorney by day, he also is the founder of Custompbox, a maker of custom guitar effect pedals. He’s also a guitarist for The Canfields, my favorite band, and he distills fine spirits in the comfort of his own home.

Well, gotta run…thanks for reading. Brooke

Knit to be tied…

April 21, 2010

As I continue to bask in the glow of the start of my 42nd year, I want to present another present. I mentioned it during Red Tie Week, and it’s now on Prime Time (btw, can’t spell ‘Prime Time’ without, well, you know)!

Thanks, Sarah!

Sarah Burghardt, my very good friend (and girlfriend of my stepson, Steve McClellan), is the artiste who knit this gorgeous teal blue tie. She even blogged about it, with instructions and everything! It went quite perfectly with this shirt, and the Murano glass cufflinks and pocket square/scarf were nice additions, too, if I say so myself. Really must start photographing the ensemble, I guess…

The proud creator

So, in honor of Sarah’s hard work on behalf of the elderly, I hereby name her as the charter member of the Girls With Ties sector of 100 Days, 100 Ties.

Three White Horses = One Happy Girl

And, if that wasn’t enough, look what she did to Julia’s new bedroom here at the flat. While Julia was on spring break, Sarah came and painted these horses on Julia’s wall. Let me know if you’d like Sarah to paint a mural on your child’s wall. Or, hey, if you’d like one, too, that’s fine by me.

EddieBaby paid a fiver for them to dim the lights

So, just a bit after the inaugural Girls With Ties entry, we have yet another from the Guys With Ties world: Ed Greenwald. EddieBaby* and I have been friends since our kids were in swimming classes at McGaw YMCA together.  For the past 8 1/2 years, basically, our families have spent Saturday mornings at the Y and then breakfasting at Panera Bread on Sherman in Evanston. After hearing about my separation, EddieBaby wanted to take me to dinner…such a nice boy. We had a great time catching up at Pete Miller’s; amazing how much one can talk when the kiddos aren’t around.

*This Monty Python sketch will show you where I got the name EddieBaby.

Thanks again, Sarah, for knitting the latest Tie du Jour, No. 26, I believe. And, thanks go out to Coleen, for yesterday’s excellent No. 25! It’s so nice to have friends who know just the perfect tie for the perfect situation.

While I’m doing some thankin’, I will also say, Thanks for reading…Brooke

Can’t spell ‘Gifted’ without T-I-E…

April 19, 2010

Yes, I like those “Can’t spell…” bits, and No, I’m not calling myself ‘gifted.’ I’ll leave that to my Mom, who knows that I am.

But putting all maternal favoritism aside, I wanted to tell you about a couple of gifts that I received for my birthday.

Thanks Coleen!

Today we have fantastic silk tie, like none other than I have, from Versailles by Piatelli. It was given to me by my friend Coleen-Shannon Licar, office manager extraordinaire for Stephens Dentistry here on the 8th floor (Ste. 807–take a left out of the elevator and follow your smile) at One Rotary Center. Drs. Bob & Jim Stephens took over the practice from their Dad, and just recently they celebrated their practice’s 50th anniversary! Coleen had been reading 100Days, 100 Ties and knew that my birthday was coming up. She took a trip to a resale shop in Arlington Heights, where she lives, and shelled out 60 cents (probably 64 or 65 w/tax) for this bit of psychedelia. I don’t like it…I LOVE IT!

As I mentioned, it’s just nothing like anything I have, or anything I’ve seen. It’s hard to guess if it’s 5 years old, or 50, and it’s really well-made. Because of the uniqueness (and because it looks so freakin’ awesome with it), I thought I’d pair it with my black shirt and go a little Johnny Cash today. By the by, I’ll bet there are other folks who wear black all or most of the time–golf player Gary Player, Supreme Court Justice [insert your favorite SCJ here] and the Grim Reaper–who are pretty upset that Johnny C is the one that gets the ‘Man in Black’ moniker. Evidently the Grim Reaper did something about it. He’s a cold-hearted bastard…who doesn’t wear a tie to work.

A Dad-Guy w/Tie!

We have a couple of Guys With Ties today…this first one was sent to me by my parents, without identifying the wearer. I found out it was one of those very parents! My D.O.D.–Dear Old Dad–Bob Saucier. Unfortunately they didn’t include his head in the photo. I promise you he has one, and he used it to impart a sageness that knew no…yeah, yeah, here’s the picture.

Well, I guess I did say, "Show Your Ties!"

The other GWT is Geoff Brown, a former neighbor and present friend. I tried to get him just to show the knot of his tie over his sweater, but apparently he’s bared his chest at Mardi Gras a few too many times. After admitting that he wore the exact same outfit yesterday, I promised not to mention it in the blog. So, please, don’t read that last sentence, ok?

Well, Happy Monday and thanks for reading…Brooke