Archive for September, 2010

How do you spell ‘relief’? B-O-W-L-A-I-D-S

September 17, 2010

The Mash Up is over. It is no more. It has ceased to be. It is an ex- Mash Up.

I thank Monty Python and a paraphrased version of their dead parrot sketch for my lead-in, and wish to thank everyone who worked so hard to make the Evanston Business Mash Up a success. We had over 300 people attend, and I can safely say that a great majority of them had a good time. Thank goodness the next one will be next year. Next!

Since Mash Up was not just any regular event, I needed to spruce up my ensemble. I think I succeeded. This TdJ is the penultimate bow tie in my collection, so far. There’s one left, and it, my friends will be hideous. Hide your children now. If you don’t have kids, wait until the next bow tie is published before attempting to conceive. Well, maybe it’s not THAT ugly…go ahead and give it a shot.

I have owned this Bow Tie du Jour for several years, and I can’t at all recall where I got it. There is no tag, so that gives me no help. I do dig it…bright yellow with the cool blue circular pattern. It looked very peacockish, especially since I put it under my seersucker suit and had white/brown saddles on.

Southern man better keep your head–Neil Young

Of course, since Mash Up was a business networking gig, there were gobs and gobs of GWT there. I managed to snap a few pix, so Welcome to the Crew, fellas!


Greg Clarke is a new friend, whom I met a couple of summers ago while waiting for our kids’ camp to be dismiss. Last night, he admitted that he chose his tie with the knowledge that I would be at the event, and would notice his tie. Well, that kind of forthrightness gets your picture taken, buddy! Greg and his wife Belinda (who works for Medill School of Journalism) volunteered at the event, and were very helpful to the other guests as they chose their wrestling names.

Next on the GWT agenda…oh, should I explain that wrestling name thing? We had a blank line on the name tags that allowed for one to choose a professional wrestling name. A lot of people had fun with it…I was “Hunk of Junk.” One guy chose ‘Brooke Saucier’ as his (hilarious, Will S.), and I’m sure he didn’t frighten many people.


Erik Cascio here is the operations manager at Best Buy Evanston. He and his crew set up a 65″ HDTV so we could show off our sponsors. They were at our Annual Meeting earlier this year, and they are a fun group of folks. Erik will soon start at the Algonquin Best Buy…good for his career, and sad for Evanston.


Greg Allen is a friend of some former neighbors of mine. He and his wife Susan are simply two of the nicest people. Funny story about one of their sons, Will. I am pretty sure I mentioned that I recently sold a scooter that I had won from Panino’s. If I didn’t mention it, I recently sold a scooter that I had won from Panino’s. The Allens were dining in the restaurant at the time of the drawing, and Will picked my name out of a bin with several hundred entrants.


Herbert Rivero is the owner of Minuteman Press, on Sherman Avenue right across from our offices. Herbert was gracious enough to donate printing services to the Mash Up. They printed up a few hundred of our program books. Thanks, Herbert.

Uncle Ironstorm

And last, but certainly not the cliché about least, we have Jonathan Liss. He owns his own design firm, Jonathan Liss Identity + Design, and he did all of our artwork, web design…you name it. He did everything except keep his eyes open for this photo. Oh, and his wife does a lot of resale shopping/reselling. She actually bought Jonathan’s Yves Saint-Laurent tie at one (dang memory…she told me which one, too. Giiiiiingkoooooo!).

Well, that’s all, folks. Thanks for reading…Brooke

All Tie It on the Western Front

September 15, 2010

Well, as I write this, the inaugural Evanston Business Mash Up is about 10 hours from reality, and I am a bundle of nervous energy. There are so many people who worked their butts off to get this thing together, and we’re all hoping it is a success. We are all 14 hours away from a very enjoyable, and very well-deserved, cocktail.

My Tie du Jour is another that may fall into multiple Tie Week tie categories. It’s definitely striped, and some may think it ugly (love that the Tie du Monday got totally ripped in the comments…thanks JL!). It’s from Morrisoni, which just seems like someone put an ‘i’ at the end of ‘Morrison’ to make it sound Italian. The tie is black with teeny stripes in pink, gold and green; one may need to squint to see them in this picture.

On Tuesday I went to a triple-billing ribbon-cutting (just one of the fun things you get to do with an Evanston Chamber title as long as mine: Manager of Membership, Marketing & Development) on Davis Street. FlowersFlowers, Grateful Yoga and My Panini were treated to the full-court press. The gang from Downtown Evanston joined 4th Ward Alderman Don Wilson (a great guy as well as GWT alum) to celebrate their new locations, and the vitalization of the Davis Street corridor.

In between staged cuttings of the ceremonial ribbon (it’s taped together for a staged cutting of the ribbon with the ceremonially large wooden scissors), I managed to welcome another member of the Guys With Ties fold. Emlyn Thomas is the new General Manager of Pensiero Ristorante, located in the Margarita European Inn on Oak Street. I ate there several times when it was Va Pensiero, and I’ve eaten there once since their new opening. It’s still wonderful, and the molten volcano chocolate dessert is perfection on earth. You just need one fork.

I also had reason to stop in at one of my favorite stores in Evanston. I have shopped in my neighborhood Classy Closet for years (it used to be known as Crowded Closet), and have found some great deals over those years. Proprietor Emanuel Wilder is an imposing man who drives an imposing vehicle (huge black Hummer), but you couldn’t find a friendlier fella. They mainly sell slightly used (pre-loved) men’s and women’s clothing on consignment, but there are some awesome treasures in there on any given day. I have found great tie accessories, and they have jewelry, art, handbags and other antique-type things. Emanuel is a member extraordinaire of my treasure-hunting brotherhood, and he does find some great things.

Like ties! Check out these two tie racks…I have to admit I had a might bit of sensory overload, trying to mentally wear a bunch of these ties. Some fantastic labels in here, very reasonably priced. I’ll be back over there very, very soon.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Knit happens…

September 13, 2010

It’s Monday, kids! And you know what that means…Martini Monday! Well, maybe not for me, but for my parents, perhaps. They are flexible on the coquetail du jour, as I’ve heard them mention Margarita Monday, Mimosa Monday (when brunch is involved, I assume) and Mojito Monday. Mmm.

Anyway, my Monday was gin- and vodka-free, unfortunately. Although, when you see the pic of my shirt/tie combo, you may think a white likker was involved in its choosing. For me, it was Mash Up Monday, which will pale in comparison to Mash Up Wednesday, when the actual event–The First Annual Evanston Business Mash Up–will take place. A lot of folks have been working their tails off to make this come together, and tickets are still available. My Tie du MashUp remains up in the air.

Purple Tie Week Reject!

There have been a few GQ pictorials lately (including this great one with SNL/30 Rock fella Jason Sudeikis) that have shown plaid shirts with (mainly) solid ties. For whatever reason, I gave it a go today. Not too shabby, although I got more comments on the knit knumber from Ron Chereskin. It’s purple, with a light stripe that has a little texture going on, too. As the caption indicates, this was a potential Purple Tie Week entry, and it was on the short list for Stripes Week, as well. Ah, so close to being famous…


My Dear Old Dad had a suggestion for the “With Ties” collection…DWT. Duffers With Ties! He texted me over the weekend to say that Ryan Moore, a PGA pro, was sportin’ a strip during the BMW Championships at Cog Hill, here in the Chicago area. Lucky for me and oh so lucky for you, there exists a photo of Ryan watching his ball sail off into the distance. I’d wear a tie playing golf…looks good. A couple years ago, Kevin Costner wore one for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and it looked pretty good.

This morning, I got in touch with the Lee Allison Company, a tie designer in Chicago. I mentioned them back in April, after my friend Patrick Hughes suggested I take a look at their website (which I love). I got a nice note back, inviting me to drop by their studio next Tuesday. Now I’m really nervous…I’m going to have to be sportin’ my best remaining tie, I’d think.

Well, I’ll deal with that next Tuesday morning. Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tieland Park

September 11, 2010

So, in addition to my bounty of ties from Joe Smith, I also received a package from Collyn, one of my oldest & dearest friends. It contained a few treasures from the Nashville Flea Market: two Santa-adorned Christmas ties and a really unique paisley. Collyn was one of my first friends in Memphis, and her mom and mine were both transplants from SW Louisiana who’d moved to Memphis. They’ve been friends for 40+ years; same for Collyn and me.

I simply had to sport this new paisley this week. As I am prone to doing, I forgot that it was Freebie Friday today; BUT, unless someone comments some Nobel-worthy prose or poetry, no one will get this today. Besides, no one has ‘claimed’ a Friday Freebie in about 6 weeks, so the voting committee likely won’t be called upon to pass judgment.

Nashville's contribution to 100D100T

The Tie du Jour is from Nautica; it looks so vintage to me. I took another picture of the tip because it’s so different from the rest of the tie (and, with my ultra-photographic skillz, I forgot to hold the camera far enough away to capture it). Now THOSE are paisleys!

Since the Ides of March, when 100 Days, 100 Ties was begun, I have been given several ties. They are either hand-me-downs, resale finds, gift purchases, or inventory control. This last one is interesting to me, as I have run across several people who have, upon discussing their tie collection, confided in me that they have X number of ties, about 90% of which are not in their tie rotation.

It got me thinking if we could do some sort of tie exchange, wherein you could get rid of most of your ties, and have them replaced by other ties from other people’s unused collections. I need to figure out how this will work. I’ll download this blog post into my skull so that my brain will dream about it.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


September 10, 2010

When I walked into my office on Wednesday, there was a plastic shopping bag on my chair. Several hours later, after the bomb squad left , I sorted through the 8 wonderful new (to me) ties that had been given to me. Joe Smith, of JAS Financial Services, is a GWT alum (he was a PWT, actually, during the 100th TieDay celebrations) who had mentioned his previous tie collection. Alas, he had given away the bulk of it, but apparently he had saved some good ones, which will now be a part of the extended 100 Days, 100 Ties project. Many thanks, Joe!

So, I wasted no time in getting to Joe’s ties. My Tie du Jour is a gray-on-gray strip from Kenneth Cole, and I made it a part of a quasi-fall preview ensemble. Despite having 2 weeks left of summer, according to the calendar, we had highs that barely reached 70 the past 2 days. My black-t0-gray outfit (complete with vest!) was slightly to the casual side, but I thought I could get away with it, since I had Julia with me for the morning. Yes, only 3 days after the Labor Day holiday, our school district was off for Rosh Hashanah on Thursday.

So, our short week gets turned into two shorter ones. Should be a busy-ish weekend: friend’s cabaret band tonight down in the city; Northwestern takes on mighty Illinois State tomorrow to pad their offensive stats; a nap, if the nap gods are kind; out with the Reinharts who remain in town; then a lazy Sunday morning followed by Julia’s first regular season Team Evanston White soccer match. Sunday night is wide open.

Oh, and if anyone knows of anyone looking for a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with GREAT neighbors, let me know. There is a unit available here in my building, on the 2nd floor.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Bizarre Love Tieangle

September 9, 2010

OK, who else amongst you would, upon hearing “Bizarre Love Triangle”, or anything from New Order’s seminal album Brotherhood, get up and dance like you were still in college? Yeah, me neither, but why can’t we be ourselves like we were yesterday? I swear, New Order seemed to be on every mix tape at every party at U. of Illinois. Our football team may suck 9 out of every 10 years, but we had a good time.

toss me a lifesaver

My Tie du Jour, along with the Shirt du Jour, brings to mind the other basic shapes. The TdJ, with its light-blue Life Saver-esque decorations on a midnight blue field, contrasts slightly with the pink square pattern of the white SdJ. The tie is from Bolgheri, a mark under the house of Zegna, one of the preeminent Italian designing families. Cool first name: Ermenegildo. I read recently that the present patriarch goes by ‘Gildo’ (heel-do), but you know if you can get away with 5 syllables in your first name, you’re off to a good start. There have been no sociological studies to back up this claim, of course.

I found this tie on the rack at the Hadassah House resale shop on Dempster. I tell you, their ties are mostly ghastly misses, but they do have some hits over there. And, now that I look at this picture, I see that I can convince myself that it looks like a bunch of Muppet eyes. Guess that’s what I get for writing this late at night.

I did manage to recruit a new Guy With Tie today, at our SOHO networking event (that’s Small-Office, Home-based Office for you acronymophiles out there) today. Russell Vilt is the new sales manager at the Best Western University Plaza hotel in downtown Evanston. I can’t believe I took the picture with him standing directly under one of the lights; I wish you could really see how cool his striped tie is. So many striped ties are diagonal or horizontal…I really like this vertical look.

As I may have mentioned (or not), I had the good fortune to be interviewed by Jessica Rudis, an editor with Evanston Patch, a brand new localized online news source. That said, I had the further good fortune to have that interview published on their website, along with a new moniker: “Necktie Fashionista.” If that’s not something for the headstone (or the urn), I don’t know what is.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tie-ny bubbles…

September 7, 2010

I don’t know if it’s a Hawai’ian tradition to honor a celebrity 3 years, 4 months and 24 days after his or her death, but doesn’t Don Ho deserve that from us? Here at 100 Days, 100 Ties, we will not rest until the randomly famous, like the Ho-Meister (as his Ho-Posse called him), have their day in the sun, or, in this case, in the ground. I was just discussing over the weekend that there should be a website solely for asking that immortal question: Is [insert quasi-famous person] dead?

The dead people montage is my only must-see-TV moment on Oscar night; well, besides the who-can-fake-laugh-the-worst/best contest that I’ve been running for a few years. Every year, I exclaim, “Ohhhhhh (the number of h’s depends on how long it takes to remember the name…if I do at all), so-and-so died.” This vivid memory helps in future discussions of deadness.

So, rest in peaceful tiny bubbles, Don Ho. I loved you on Brady Bunch (“Don WHO?” exclaimed Bobby) and maybe Sesame Street.

Enough of death. Onto the Tie du Jour.

Tagless, but not lifeless, is the order of the day. My TdJ is black and purple (which, on closer inspection, maybe a very dark hot pink), with alternating patterns of pinstripe and some sort of bubble formation (thus the Don Ho tangent…by the way, no photos of that dude in a tie anywhere online). Like Friday’s strip, this one could have been in the Mad Men Week celebration, but it had fallen down into the corner of my closet. Yay, cleaning!

Today is somewhat bittersweet. After a month-long visit, my parents headed back south. They’ve done this for years, but it’s a lot different, obviously, now that I’m in an apartment as opposed to a house with an in-law apartment. They know I love them dearly (plus they read the blog), but they also know it was time for me to get my fall/school routine down. It’s so wonderful for them to spend so much time with Julia, and I hope that her uber-enthusiasm during their residency remains just the way it is. She knows that August belongs to her, and that’s the way it should be.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Tie a little tenderness…

September 6, 2010

So, this is the longest it’s taken me to post about a tie. Friday’s TdJ has waited 3 full days to become famous, and I hope it gets its full credit despite my procrastination. Despite the holiday weekend, I had quite a bit going on, and really didn’t find the time to sit my derriere down in front of the laptop. Well, perhaps the aforementioned tush WAS in place, but just didn’t feel like blogging.

Speaking of that word, I find it unfortunate that “blog” became the term for what we do. Not only does it have “Blah” in its sound repertoire, “blog” is just not music to the ears, nor is it pleasant to say. When I say, “I have a blog” or “I have a tie blog”, it just doesn’t convey 100% of the pride that I actually possess about my, um, blog. I’m fairly certain that it’s too late, but if I’m ever appointed Internet Czar, one of my first orders of business will be to create a kinder, gentler word.

My Tie du Jour could have fit in with the Mad Men Tie Week. It’s a simple blue tie from Tie Rak (I’m guessing it’s an old store, since there are no Google entries) with a single cool pattern on it, and I think it went smashingly with my diamond shirt from Gene Meyer. A perfect casual Friday combination, which reminds me: this is the Friday Freebie, so if anyone would like this vintage number, just send a nice comment and it’s probably yours. I’ve gone several weeks without giving one away, so let’s get this moving.

As you can see from the photo, I eschewed my tie clip, as i wanted to be a little on the casual side. It was windy on Friday, so both the long end and the short end flew about a bit more that I’m used to. But, according to GQ, there are liberties that can be taken, even with–GASP–the thin part longer than the fat part.

Short week coming up, and I’ll be extremely busy pumping up the First Annual Evanston Business Mash Up. At what will be the largest gathering of Evanston businesspeople on the Northwestern campus, we will be getting some amazing people under one tent for a fantastic night.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

My brown-tied girl…

September 3, 2010

Well, technically, I have hazel eyes; and, physically, I’m a boy. So the title, thanks to Van The Man Morrison’s sing-a-long special, really pertains to my Tie du Jour. Skippin’ and a jumpin’, indeed…

I had a missed opportunity last night at the Lincoln School Ice Cream Social. I volunteered to be on the assembly line for all of the ice cream, and I had pictured wearing my seersucker suit. Since I get asked if I’m shillin’ ice cream when I wear it anyway, I figured I’d take the opportunity to say “Yes. Yes, I do sell ice cream” at least once. But, it turns out it was hot and humid. So, while it may be nostalgic to dress up humorously like a Good Humor man, it’s just not nice to scare kids when you sweat through a suit while slingin’ vanilla.

Fly away, Eagle

My Tie du Jour, unfortunately, is tagless, so unless the designer comes forth, we’ll just never know the true source of this strip. And, that’s too bad, because I really like it. Brown ties took a rest for a while, as they seemed naturally aligned with the short-sleeve-white-shirt-pocket-protector set. But, now, along with a general cooling of brown in fashion, there are more ties that use it as a base color. And it may be tough to see, but the pattern consists of a few tiny crests.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


September 1, 2010

A wise man once said, “Honey, could you turn that down? I’m trying to read.” I don’t know which wise man said it, but don’t you think it’s possible? I have always enjoyed reading the Bartlett’s Book of Familiar Quotations. All this wisdom, prose, poetry…bound together and categorized by subject. But didn’t these people say some dumb things? Mundane things? Those would be more the familiar quotations, right?

I mean, we have George Washington and his “I cannot tell a lie” myth; Abraham Lincoln’s much-proven Gettysburg Address, which began with “Four score and seven years ago…” But, even those guys must have said silly things, right? George could have said, “Wow, Martha, do you think you could have food that’d make me forget that I have wooden teeth?” Abe: “This sucky play makes me want to blow my head off.” See, now that would be a great book of quotations.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying. This sounds like stoner talk, but I’m not a stoner. What does this have to do with ties? Nothing. Someone said something really amazing to me the other day, and it’s never going to end up in a quote book, and perhaps that person will never be known as particularly wise. I guess what I’m trying to say is, Pay attention to the wisdom you’ve chosen to surround yourself with, and don’t hunt down those who claim to be wise.

Sir, step down from the soapbox.

Look closely...

Okay, on to my Tie du Jour. It’s from Lord & Taylor, and it was treasure-hunted at Unique Thrift Store, like so many of my strips are. From a distance it looks pretty staid, but up close it is quite complex. This picture actually may bring out the best in this tie, strangely enough. For a camera that has left a lot to be desired on many a tie-occasion, it really came through this time. Well done, iPhone camera.

The Chamber hosted a networking event this evening, called Lawyers, Guns & Money. Maggie and Dean Noonan from WineStyles were the gracious hosts. Pretty sure I’ve taken pictures from the event before, and tonight I got a couple Guys With Ties.

Joel Lipman is a real estate/business attorney who lives in Evanston, and offices in Rogers Park. I like the color in this one.

Square to be hip

Tom O’Hare, of North Shore Community Bank, is a GWT alum, and his square-patterned tie gets him in once again. Here, the camera disappoints slightly again, as his tie is actually much more detailed.

Thanks for reading, especially through that first part…such drivel.