Archive for May, 2010

Let tie people go…

May 14, 2010

I did it again. I forgot about Freebie Friday. Pretty pathetic that I’ve let slip 2/3 of the Freebies.  The legacy of past winners–Paul Hletko and the as-yet-unclaimed-and-unnamed “I’ll wear your tie and nothing else” person–is not being allowed to establish itself, due to my inability to remember that Fridays are for giveaways. Today’s Friday Freebie is another one that I will be sorry to see get stuffed–lovingly, of course–into an envelope and sent away.

And away we go…

Let’s talk tie, shall we? The Tie du Jour. It’s from Paul Fredrick, and it’s bloody beautiful. Unfortunately, someone didn’t think so, and donated it to Salvation Army. Of course, I find that fortunate, because it allowed me to find it and own it, for about $2, and it allowed Salvation Army to reap (less than) $2 for putting it through their system. The picture is probably terrible, and I hope it shows through for its orange-ness. The paisley pattern is a bonus, and it even looks like a fractal pattern. Whee!

So, as much as I hate to give this away…feel free to comment on it and try your best to earn it. I’ll ship it to you. It’s a real beauty.

Well, thanks for reading…Brooke

Just say bow…

May 13, 2010

After 43 ties of normal length, we finally arrive at a bow tie.

Let’s get right to the (Bow) Tie du Jour. Here’s a look…ain’t it a beauty?

Little Bow Peep

It’s from Beau Ties Ltd. of Vermont, and I think I mentioned that I found this (and another Beau Ties bow tie) at the Hadassah Resale Shop in Skokie. Paid all of $1.50. A steal, especially when you see that their regular prices are about $40/bow. The website is worth a look, and they do something really cool. If you have a regular tie you like, for $35 they’ll turn it into a bow tie. Plus you can submit your own fabric and they’ll bow tie it up. Don’t Tread On Me, Vermont!

I don’t know why it took so long to break one of these out. I now have 9, I think, with another one on the way, so I have a lot of them to get through. The fact that these are more spring- and summer-friendly, at least in my mind, kept me from it. The first week of June will be Bow Tie Week, but I’ll try to sport another before then.

If you have any awesome (and I say ‘awesome’ in the most lovingly sarcastic way) pictures of yourself or a friend or a date from prom that demonstrates a really cheesy (probably pre-tied) bow tie, please email it to me at I’ll post them during Bow Tie Week, under Schmoes With Bows or something. I think I have a couple of meself, and there may be a peach bow tie/cummerbund, especially for our readers (thanks, Eryin, for making me match your peach dress…ah, the 80s).

Ran across some guys today…Guys With Ties, to be precise.

Dan the Man

Dan Mennemeyer, Treasurer of the Chamber, seemed perfectly pleased in this picture pose. He’s also in charge of our annual Golf Outing, which will be co-hosted with the Wilmette CofC on July 26 at the Wilmette Golf Club, which is in Glenview (it officially says Wilmette, but it’s across from Glenview’s finest watering hole, Meier’s Tavern). Just to be clear, Evanston Golf Club is in Skokie and Skokie Playfields GC is in Winnetka. Glencoe Golf Club and Winnetka Golf Club are in, boringly enough, Glencoe and Winnetka, respectively. Sorry about all the links. Ha, get it? Links?!

EMH 1389

GWT, Version Next, is Michael Hoadley. He and I went to college together and were fraternity brothers. Still are, I guess. Haven’t seen Mike in a few years, until today, when I broke him out of prison. Actually, as you can see from the tie and the decorative, um, decor behind him, we were actually at a Starbucks in Evanston. Obviously, the tie has nothing to do with Starbucks, or any other national chain of coffee shops. Or local ones, for that matter. We just had some business to discuss. So there. And, no, he wasn’t in prison.

Thanks for sharing the excitement surrounding my finally dusting off a bow tie. And thanks for reading. And thanks for saying, “You’re welcome.” It’s polite.


Fee Tie Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an English-Mun.

May 12, 2010

Goodbye to IBTW (Impromptu Blue Tie Week)…you’ll get your chance, blue ties. There are a lot of you. Bow Tie week will happen soon (but not next week, as my mom asked me to postpone it until they return from Spain, where roaming charges would make it uneconomical to follow ‘100 Days, 100 Ties’–hey, it’s good to have fans), and there will likely be a Purple Tie Week (happy, CE?), and there will definitely be something along the lines of Ugly Tie Week. I have some ties that I can only wear under the guise of a gimmick such as UTW.

Busy day today…Julia ready, volunteer book club leader, meeting, Armenian Tea (@ArgoTeaEvanston), networking event, phone call, phone call, meeting, phone call, phone call, send invoice, phone call. That took me to about 5pm, and did you notice there was no lunch in there? Yeah…luckily my next item on the docket was happy hour pub grub with Paul, Freebie Friday winner numero uno. So, maybe not so busy, actually…just a full calendar.

Give me liberty (again)!

Our Tie du Jour is from Liberty of London, and, like the Liberty of London tie that was the Tie d’Other Week, it was brought home by my parents from a trip to–natch–London about 25 years ago. I like the way it pops against the aquamarine shirt. The picture is not very good…it’s not that bright in real life.

It’s a twofer on Guys With Ties today…

First we have Tom O’Hare, who’s a Commercial Banker with North Shore Community Bank, who will be sponsoring the Small Businessperson of the Year Award at the Chamber’s annual meeting and awards dinner in June. As you can see from his GWT debut (he was just elected to the Chamber board, so there’s a chance he’ll be on here again), he knows one of The Tie Secrets: Stripes CAN go with stripes! Well done, Tom.

Think Pink

Next is Jake Wilson, who dropped into the office today to introduce himself to the Chamber. A former baseball player for our hometown NU Wildcats, Jake was sporting a great pink tie. He said he’d just been to TJ Maxx to get a bunch of ties for his new gig…smart guy, that ‘Cat.

Thanks for reading, off to bed…Brooke

Blue Ties Smilin’ at Me…

May 12, 2010

Irving Berlin would not have penned ‘Blue Skies’ today…not in Evanston at least. I am using my best Cloris Leachman/Frau Blucher (“Neigh!”) voice in saying, “Zis veather tsucked!”

Great for bike spokes--sounds just like a motorcycle!

But, look what came to me today, to brighten up my skies a bit–Blucher (Neigh!) be damned! My business card, courtesy of Minuteman Press on Sherman, looks fantastic, don’t you agree? Send me a note and I’ll mail you a couple.

Happy Blue--an oxymoron

My Tie du Jour is on the bright side, too. Any blue that tries to shine through a grim, gray day works for me. The white dots give it some light; unfortunately the toothpaste stain did, as well. Tasted like Colgate.

The label, just behind the aforementioned stain, says Eric Michaels, but I can’t really find anything online that talks a lot about this designer’s ties. I’m going to assume that his first name is Eric, and that he was raised by Mr. & Mrs. Michaels. I’m going to make up the fact that he donated a kidney to a nephew last fall. Unfortunately, that nephew didn’t actually need the kidney, and was pretty grossed out by the whole ordeal.

Well, I’m back in the Guys With Ties game. Larry Widmayer, a commercial realtor with Koenig & Strey in Evanston. He’s on the board of the Chamber, and was sporting this nice red tie w/blue & white stripes while visiting Chamber HQ today. I’m sure he was inspired by reading about Red Tie Week, oh those weeks ago. Good times.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Fast Ties at Ridgemont High

May 11, 2010

24 minutes.

I now know the minimum time it takes me to get ready in the morning. I woke up at 7:06, having forgotten to set the alarm, and needed to get to Julia by 7:30. No need to go into the play-by-play, but I did it, even after figuring out an alternative plan for about 4 or 5 minutes. So I guess I could be shorn, cleaned, deodorized and dressed in 20 minutes if it ever were necessary.

...and blue diamonds!

So, for my Tie du Jour (I always have to stop myself from writing “for today’s Tie du Jour”–Redundancy! Halt thee thyself!), I had to go with something I knew would work. So I quick-picked this tie/shirt combo that I’ve worn two-three times in the past.

My gosh, isn’t this exciting! It must feel like you, O Reader Faithful, were right there with me as I scrambled to make it out of the flat in time! Sorry, folks, I knew this would be on the mundane side from time to time.

Anyway, back to the TdJ…It’s a nice gray Tommy Hilfiger with two-tone blue diamonds. You can’t tell from the oh-so-crisp iPhone pic, but the lighter blue has a bit of texture to it which matches that on my Gene Meyer shirt. Ergo, the pair go (hey, I like that).

Update on the last Freebie Friday. There were no winners, as the only submitter of a comment was Paul Hletko, and his comment basically said he was not eligible for the FF. I have to agree, but if he’s over here again I just may give it to him.

Update on Bow Tie Week. My parents are heading to Spain in less than a week, volcanic ash-permitting, and they asked if I would postpone bow-tie week until their return. It seems that roaming charges to blog-surf in Spain may be harmful to your healthy pocketbook, and, lo, Mom asked if I’d wait until June. She is my mom and she asked on Mother’s Day…what was I to do? Alas, I will run BTW the first week of June, but I will wear a bow tie once per week until then. So, either tomorrow or Thursday will be the first one…gentlemen, start your bowties.

Well, it’s late, and I don’t want to miss another alarm. Thanks for reading…Brooke

D’you want ties with that?

May 7, 2010

This morning I made a sales call to the McDonald’s on Dempster and Dodge. For whatever reason, I failed to snap a picture of Ali the site manager (argh!), but suffice to say that he was a very cool guy, and I look forward to having him and his team get involved in Chamber events.

This, along with the blog post title, is the perfect segue into a pledge that I made nearly 4 months ago. No, no, it was not a pledge to bore the reading public with tie-related miscellanea. It was, in fact, a January pledge that I refrain from eating French fries (freedom fries to the xenophobic demo) for the rest of the year.

One day I ate Edzo’s fries, and they were perfect. That night, we were at The Bagel at Old Orchard; I ordered a reuben with chips, but they brought fries with it. Instead of exercising my inalienable dining rights by sending the fries back, I started eating them. Though quite differently textured, they were quite perfect as well. The next day I just felt a bit sluggish; not Achy-Breaky Heart or anything, just like I was swimming thru Jell-O for the day. It has been almost 4 months. I have peered into the eyes of the dragon, and I have stared down the very best of the fire-breathing lizards…the aforementioned Edzo’s, Cross Rhodes, Steak-n-Shake, Jacky’s on Prairie (les frites looked merveilleuses!), even McDonald’s in a drive-thru bag, where they put them right near the top so you can steal them from your child’s Happy Meal at a stop light and stuff them into your face while you turn for home and…and…I’m okay. The drooling makes me type stream-of-consciousness, I guess.'s all in the details.

So, Tie du Jour, yes…kinda shaped like a fry, come to think about it. I went with another from Chaps, and I really dig this combo. I hope that no one remembers that it’s Freebie Friday and that this brown and beautiful blue paisley number is up for grabs for whoever writes the best comment. I hope that, one day, I can recreate this shirt/tie pairing; for some reason I just thought the blues made some great music together.

Found a veritable treasure trove of bow ties this morning, at a chance visit to the Hadassah House Resale Shop in Skokie. It’s on Dempster, right across from the Skokie Swift CTA station. They had 3 silk bow ties (2 of them were from Beau Ties of Vermont), and now I’m dying to wear them. I think I’ll wear one later next week, and will use that Bow Tie du Jour to announce Bow Tie Week, for the week of the 17th. Huzzah!

Well, I guess I should have saved the Riddler for tonight, because I haven’t any more Guys With Ties. I’ll make it up to you over the weekend. Promise.

Thanks so much for reading on a Friday, or a Saturday or whenever.

Cheers, Brooke

If at first you don’t succeed, tie tie again…

May 6, 2010

Today we’re going to have a French lesson. Ecoutez…et Répétez! Onh…sohm-bl. Ensemble. Means ‘together’…class dismissed. Au revoir, les enfants.

Cufflinks and necktie, pocket square...OH MY!

I’ll start out with today’s ensemble, because I have a couple of places to thank who made it all possible. As for the cufflinks, I bought the hardware (they are known as ‘findings’ or ‘pads’–who knew?) over at Tom Thumb on Davis for a buck-fitty per pair. Then, I took them over to Ayla’s Originals to get some beads to make them look nice. Lo and behold, $30.50 later–$4.50 in findings, $15 in labor, $7.50 in beads, $3.50 in tax), I had three new pair of original 100D100T cufflinks. I went for the agate type, over the sans serif (font humor). Many thanks for the help in choosing beads, getting ’em glued on straight and looking fantastic!

As for the scarf-cum-pocket square, that was given to me by Carmen, owner of Savvy Seconds and 1st’s, a “hip and unique resale boutique” just west of Lincoln Square. I had gone in there to tell her about the Chamber, and took a look at their rack of, ahem, pocket squares (not scarves). She wouldn’t let me pay for them…total sweetie. I wore one yesterday and the other today. Thanks, Carmen! I hope to see you at future Chamber events.

This TdJ brought to you by Fruit Stripes gum

The Tie du Jour is from Chaps, and it’s one of the first ones I bought at Thriftgeek. It’s black with a couple of pink stripes with a green stripe thrown in there. I like it because not only are the colors different, the textures are different as well, with the grains going this way and that.

Since I was bedecked in pink today, I figured I’d whip out the old CRC: the Cultural Reference Corner, brought to you by 100 Days, 100 Ties.

Pink Panther: movie franchise which mostly starred Peter Sellers–mostly alive–as the bumblin’, fumblin’ Inspector Clouseau gave way to a cartoon starring a suave yet mute, very pink panther who sashayed to hip Henry Mancini music while parrying animatedly with the aforementioned Clouseau. Unfortunately, Steve Martin (though I generally respect his earlier body of work) recently decided he should take the reins and bumble his own way to box office yawndom.

Can't spell 'Riddle Me This' w/o T-I-E

I have a couple of Guys With Ties today, but they’re just toys. I guess they’re actually Bad Guys With Bad Ties. Riddler’s is WAY too wide, stylistically, and Joker must have stolen his from Col. Sanders.

Romero, Nicholson, Ledger

These toys, by the way, grace the windowsill at my office. Robin, Captain America, Dash Incredible, Woody and the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man are all with them, among others. Good times.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tie can’t I be you?

May 5, 2010

Sometimes the mail is fun. Yesterday I received a small package from my high school French teacher, Dan Murrell. As you can see from his LinkedIn profile, he’s a Guys With (Bow) Ties guy. Ergo, he sent me one, which I plan to wear when I announce–to much fanfare, no doubt–Bow Tie Week. I now have 6 bow ties, a fact which makes the announcement/week-of-bow possible. Many thanks, Dan.

I believe I mentioned a few weeks ago that, due to a not-rare slowdown in brain activity, I left my minivan running in a city parking lot for, oh, let’s say 4 hours to make me feel better (conscience: It was 5 1/2). Dan, or Monsieur Murrell as we so fluently called him–to his face at least, was the teacher that, 23 years ago, spotted a smoking Honda Accord in the CBHS parking lot. I quickly realized it was my car, running…with the keys somehow LOCKED inside. Since my Brainfart Version 20.10 was accomplished with the doors UNlocked, did I get dumber since B.F. V 19.87, or just more brazen. Uh-huh, I have to agree…dumb. As rocks. Luckily I have people who care for me, reminding me to do things and giving me gingko biloba.

Go ahead, London

So, onto the Tie du Jour. It’s from City of London, which have some really nice patterns. I’m pretty sure (gingko biloba, please) that this is the 2nd City of London strip that I’ve sported. It’s black (or a ridiculously dark navy blue) with cornflower blue stripes, and goes perfectly with my charcoal suit w/light blue pins. Throw in my indigo cufflinks, light blue small scarf (it’s a pocket square!) and my gray&blue argyle socks, and I can’t help but be reminded of the Kinks’ Dedicated Follower of Fashion. “Oh, yes he is!”

Good security starts with a good shirt/tie combo

Given my burglary from weeks past, I was connected with Todd Lazar from ProtectionOne Security. He dropped by in his tie, and told me what it would take to get all secure. So, you hear that, burglar-boy?! Two Dobermans (Dobermen?) will be waiting the next time you wish to play with your crowbar. And, dangit, if I won’t be around to scream the safe word. Anyway, Todd is now a member of the Guys With Ties clan.

Have a great evening, everybody. Thanks for reading…Brooke

Once bitten, twice tie…

May 4, 2010

No, no, I’ve not been donning my rocker hair wig and pullin’ out the Great White LP. At least not today…

Liber-tie of London

Spring is definitely in full bloom here in Evanston, and my Tie du Jour reflects that with its flowery disposition. I’d like to think that seeing this tie made at least one person’s day.

Back to the TdJ: It’s an all-cotton tie from Liberty of London, and it has been in my family for a couple decades. Either Mom or Dad bought it, along with another Liberty, on one of their London trips, probably in the 80s. When they were in their 40s.

My brother always looked forward to their trips, and not only because they brought groovin’ flowered ties home. Depending on who stayed with us, we were set for a rockin’ good time. Now, I know that my parents are keeping up with 100 Days, 100 Ties, so I’ll just ask them to skip over the next couple of paragraphs. There you go, Parent-types, move along, nothing incriminating to read here about your very social, yet very delinquent sons. I am assuming that I am too old to be grounded, by the way.

We had a couple of preferred cousins who would usually stay with us for the usually two-week trip. Kim and Mitch (I won’t use their last names so they won’t get in trouble, either) were as strict as they had to be, which means not at all. We had some parties which always grew too large and too full of tomfoolery, probably due to the fact that we were 50 yards off of Poplar Avenue, perhaps the main thoroughfare through Memphis. Oh, and if you didn’t know, I grew up in Memphis.

OK, Mom, Dad…you can read again from this point.

Jimmy Buffett had to have designed this tie...

Speaking of Mom, she submitted a Guys With Ties entry, all the way from their local Publix supermarket in Sandestin, Florida. This is the manager, Kelly, with a perfectly Floridian tie. Mom and Dad can actually take their golf cart to this store…but I don’t think they can drive the cart INSIDE it.

I'm Paul...born to be a winner

And, here’s another picture of Paul Hletko, who I believe is now the runaway clubhouse leader in terms of pictures–this one makes 3–on 100 Days, 100 Ties. Yes, that’s me with all the Ties du Jour, but I haven’t shown me face with them. This wouldn’t actually fall into the Guy With Tie subcategory, since he is sporting his Friday Freebie. His wife, Liz, said “that IS a lovely tie!” She has also commissioned me to take Paul to find some shirts and ties for his wardrobe. (Liz, don’t read this next sentence) Paul and I have plotted to take her money, buy 2 or 3 tie/shirt combos at Salvation Army, and sink the rest of the cash into beers. Swindlers. Cads. Rogues. Egads!

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Don’t tie for me, Argentina…

May 3, 2010

The flat-warming party was an unbridled success. Has a bridal shower ever been categorized as an unbridled success? Has there ever been ANYthing categorized as a bridled success? I think I need to close the blinds here at work…the sun is getting to me.

There, that’s better…anyway, I got some really cool gifts from the guests, that numbered in the tens. Wine and beer and food and mixers and paper plates took up the lion’s share of the prezzies, and I got a flower pot, a fantastically eclectic clock (took a hammer and nail and hung it up mid-party), some beer glasses and–are you ready for this?–ta-da! A tie!

How to un-Regis a Regis...

Yes, the Tie du Jour is a Tie du Gift, from Mark Clifton and his wife Travis. It’s from Saks Fifth Avenue, and it’s a really nice, silk khaki-colored tie. I thought I’d throw it with this new (to me) plaid shirt to give it some background music. Put it under my tan suit and it’s time for summer.

So, my net tie gain/loss for the party was -1, since I gave the Friday Freebie to winner-boy Paul Hletko and loaned another to David Tognarelli, who probably gave it to his cab-driver. My ties are apparently available for loan, so if one of them catches your fancy…

Well, it’s a short one today. Maybe if I see some ties out tonight I’ll add them to the post later on. Thanks for reading…