Archive for the ‘Ugly Tie Week’ Category

A tie in the ointment…

August 22, 2010

Ick. ‘Ointment.’ That is my least favorite word. It’s so abrupt, and nothing good is ever treated with–gulp–ointment. But, you can’t spell it without T-I-E, so perhaps there are some endearing qualities. Maybe not.

Ugly Tie No. 5

Well, Ugly Tie Week ended with a truly ugly tie. Oh, sure, it’s paisley, which can be cool, but it’s a heinous paisley, blue and red with watermark-lookin’ patterns. And the cheesiest label I’ve seen yet: City Gold. I was almost afraid of googling it, petrified of learning that it was some superstar designer that could do no wrong, and had even saved 100 children with life-threatening diseases throughout the course of his or her lifetime. Come to think of it, no way a woman is the designer behind this tie. Just too damn ugly. Unless, she designed it for an ex-boyfriend and she didn’t want him to ever ever EVER get kissed by another woman. It would be so ugly that, even on days when he wasn’t wearing it, it would so uglify him that he would never be besmooched. By a woman.

Okay, yes, I’m stretching this out because I didn’t do very well with my UTW selections. And, I’m upset with myself for taking all of the weekend to write this blog entry. Totally takes me back to my high school and college days, saving homework until the last minute.

I have some Guys With Ties I need to get out here, too. Barney Peterson, from the Hilton Orrington, makes a second GWT appearance after his visit to our Business After Hours this past Wednesday at Old Neighborhood Grill.

Ambassador Orenstein

Another visitor to the BAH at ONG was Robert Orenstein, a sales agent for New York Life. He is a Chamber Ambassador, and a great, um, well, ambassador for the, um, well, chamber.

I'm somebody now!

Of all the pictures I took last week, to celebrate 100th TieDay, everyone was a really nice person. But, I have to say that I took a pic today of a real jerk. Oh, I can’t keep this ruse going, it was really Steve Martin from the motion picture “The Jerk.” Oh, do I jest. He had this teeny-tiny tie in this scene (his first date with Bernadette Peters, where they eat Cup-O-Pizza, or is it Pizza-In-A-Cup?, and he licks her face and gets in a fight with his tattooed, slutty girlfriend) and I think it’s hilarious. The tie, AND the movie.

And my last one is Marcus Harris, a fella I met through our Lawyers, Guns & Money events (no Guns allowed). I ran into him over on Sherman, and his tie-wearing-status just forced me to snap a shot.

Oops, one more…Greg Washington, a very cool dude who was at the last LGM event, works with Fidelity Bancor. They are a brand new member of the Chamber…huzzah!

Thanks for reading…Brooke


How to beat the tie cost of living…

August 19, 2010

We’re gonna have a guest tie-story teller here. My cousin, Beaux Jones (son of Bert Jones, former LSU & Baltimore Colts QB) had quite the financial adventure in the famous Aidan Gill for Men grooming shop in New Orleans.

Hey Brooke
This is your cousin Beaux. I talked to your mom a few months back and she told me about 100 ties 100 days and as a fellow daily tie wearer (law clerk in New Orleans), I have been checking in periodically. I have enjoyed the blog and due to a recent interesting tie purchase I thought I would send you an email. I am sure that you are familiar with the Aidan Gill Barber.

Well, a few weeks back, I went in to get a haircut and a shave (oddly enough, these days both require the same razor) and I remembered that they sold fine ties. Perfect… I needed a tie, a purple one if possible. I had just bought a lavender colored shirt to try and spice up one of my cheap suits and my traditional ties just weren’t cutting it. I found the perfect tie…it was purple with diagonal grey stripes. I grabbed the tie and headed to the counter without checking the price.  When the nice young cashier rang the tie up, I noticed the price…$100!

As I was fighting off hyperventilation from the price, I was distracted by Aidan Gill himself (bow-tie and all) walking up to greet me. He politely asked my name and asked how I enjoyed my shave. While I was responding, he noticed the tie on the counter and reached for it. I was sure he was wondering why a young bum like me was buying a $100 tie. Then, with the tie in one hand and the other on my shoulder, Aidan Gill directed me to turn our backs to the counter. In my head, I was thinking that he was about to give me a discount on the tie but just didn’t want me to be judged by the gorgeous young saleswoman. He didn’t say a word… he just opened the back of the tie; then looked at me as if to say… “Go get em pal.”  The price no longer mattered.

Hope all is well. Peace and Love,

Quite the story, Cousin. I hope that tie has brought you a good return on your investment. Can’t wait until I’m down there and can check that place out. And maybe the salesperson.

Well, my 4th attempt at a truly ugly tie was met with agreement by my mom. And in case I haven’t mentioned, my parents have been staying with me for the month of August. So, this month they have been the first arbiter of my TdJ’s worth. My pink and black diamond-esque-apade was met with an immediate “Now THAT’s an ugly tie!” Excellent! Mission accomplished. Only took me 4 days.

While I’m at the guest-writer phase of the day, I wanted to share a comment that my good friend, Jennifer Lazar, sent to me regarding Ugly Tie No. 1 (the Guy Laroche pink one with tiny, marching paisleys). She’d prefer not to comment on the blog itself, but she is more than happy for me to cut/paste.

So there’s a qualification about the ugliness of this tie…

When I saw it on you I didn’t immediately think “that’s one ugly tie”. My thought was…ewww, not on him. That tie will work really well on a particular type or look of guy. It needs a 50’s ish, tire around the middle, sophisticated guy who is also wearing french cuffs with gold cuff links and a beard. He might even be French…which I know you are but it’s not you. He has a booming voice and I can picture him being in the hotel business. I have no idea why this is so specific. I usually have some opinion about ties but not quite this weird. Sorry.

Love it! Specific is good!!

This is a great shot of Guy With Tie alum, Zach Selch, when he is (much) younger. He tells me that this tie was handmade by his mom. A bespoke bow tie at 6 (is that the age, Z?), wow!

Dr. Tom

Okay, I’m going to run through the last of the PWT pix…thanks for your patience. Here is

Dr. Tony

Dr. Tony Breitbach and Dr. Tom Livermore of Wellness Revolution. Tony got in touch with me to say that he had a great tie for me to have. I can’t describe it until I wear it, and I can’t wait to wear it, it’s just simply classic. Thanks, Tony!

Dan - Tie No. 97

The rest of the SOHO folks are here! Dan Schwarz, owner of Well-Balanced Living, is a fellow Lincoln School dad. A good sport, too, apparently, putting the tie over the t-shirt!

Diana - Tie No. 39

Diana Groth Krasnansky is a new friend who just started her new business, Diana Groth Design. We at the chamber love to help small businesses, and it will be great to get Diana involved.

Joe Smith - Tie No. 95

Joe Smith is a financial planner with his own firm, JAS Financial Services.

Dan Kowal

David - Tie No. 74

Dan Kowal is the owner of Parity Systems, who office in our same building. He and 3 other employees (including David here) came to hear our featured speaker…

Malik - Tie 97

…Malik Turley! Owner of the brand-new Hip Circle Studio, at 709 Washington, Malik is also hosting our next Networking Breakfast. They offer Zumba, belly-dancing and childbirth type classes at Hip Circle. One of these days I will take Julia over there for family Zumba. I promise, Malik!

Maureen - Tie No. 39

The moderator for this quarter’s SOHO events is Maureen Glasoe, founder of Until Now LLC. She tells personal histories for loved ones, for CEOs, for anyone really. She’ll do personal research through interviews, and record your story for future generations.

Penelope - Tie No. 77

Penelope Johnson works for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but is deciding whether or not to start her own business. Best of luck, Penelope (psst…keep coming to our events and your business will grow).

Okay, that’s that for the PWT pics. I’ll give them a count. Please, if you can donate, please send a check (made out to me, or you can make it out to Evanston Community Foundation or Salvation Army Evanston Corps).

Thanks for reading (and thanks, Beaux and Jennifer, for writing)…Brooke

The tie is cast…

August 19, 2010

Madam, you are ugly. In the morning I shall be sober.  –Winston Churchill, to Bessie Braddock, after she told him, “Sir, you are drunk.”

Well, at least I started out with a title this time. Last night/this morning’s blog entry was fraught with a stunning lack of brainpower. Wow…I wrote the whole thing without a title, and never made one up. Only tonight did I realize it, and put one on there. But Aug 17-18 will go down as the day…the braincells…died. They started singin’, bye bye…

And if that weren’t bad enough, I think my Ugly Tie Week continues to be a failure. Today’s tie was met with a collective ‘Meh…’ from the viewing public. We had our Chamber’s Business After Hours this evening, and within 5 minutes, I received 3 comments about how conservative I looked. That is so not me. I guess I should have named this week Boring Tie Week.

Funky AND ugly

My latest attempt at ugliness (aka the Tie du Jour) is from Bugatti, apparently out of Germany, who had plenty of ugly fashion trends in the 70s and 80s (and in most other decades I’d wager). But, there are plenty of good things that come out of there, style-wise (I don’t know if Steffi Graf’s legs count as style, per se, but they are plenty good), I am sure. It’s a maroon, with weird patterns and streaks and…yahhh! It’s ugly, people! Agree with me, please!

And, now, we bring you to the photo portion of tonight’s blog posting.

Chris-Tie No. 14

Here is Chris Chaudruc, doing his best to look busy. Hard to look busy in a clip-on!! Chris runs a website (which I am helping with), called, which displays drink and food specials from bars and restaurants throughout Evanston.

Chris-Tie No. 4

Paula-Tie No. 86

And here are two friends, Paula Kostuik and Chris Comi. Paula’s parents are good friends with my parents down in Destin. Natch, I became good friends with PK and her boyfriend CC. No, they don’t call me BS. At least to my face.

Since we at the Chamber just had an event, I thought I’d hearken back to our last event, the SOHO (Small Ofc, Home-based Ofc) Network from last Wednesday. I took a bunch of pix from that event (I brought in about a dozen or so), and away we go…

Cynthia Early (Tie No.97

Wink-wink…here’s Cynthia Early, from Edward Jones Investments. She actually cold-called me at my house, about 3 weeks before I started working for the Chamber. We have thus proven that one can be friends with d00r-to-door sales folks.

Dana Pearl-Tie No. 94

Dana Pearl, from the Human Organization, is one of the board’s favorites. She constantly has ideas and suggestions meant to better us as a Chamber.

Randy-Tie No. 74

Randy Sable is the Man at Total Benefit Services. He said he only wears a tie once or twice a year. I’m not sure if the 80s-rocker-bandana counts as wearing, but it looks pretty good.

And here’s Elizabeth Cooley, owner of Compass Organizing. She organized my office, a

Elizabeth Cooley-Tie No. 39

nd helped me get my email-work-flow in a semblance of order.

Speaking of order, I need to get back on a good writing/publishing schedule.

Thanks for reading…more pix to come. Brooke

Can’t spell (no title) without…well, that was just pathetic.

August 18, 2010

Yesterday my ugly tie got a few compliments (but someone finally did put it in its place–I’ll cut/paste what they said if they give me the thumbs-up). Today, unfortunately, I hurt someone’s feelings when they saw my Tie du Jour. My own mother, who had just given it to me, broke down crying.

Cardinal = Ugly Tie

No, not really, my mom is pretty tough. Tough enough to admit that it never snowed on her way to school (it was Louisiana), AND she was driven (both ways). She gave this to me (from the Dad Collection) when I was down in Florida in June. After being thrown for somewhat of a loop with all the adoration of Ugly Tie No. 1, I think I had a tough time with No. 2 (yes, that poop joke WAS intentional…thanks for shopping). She did sound a bit disappointed that it was chosen this week. So, Mom, I’m sorry! But…it has a cardinal on it, and I’m a Cub fan. Nuff said.

The TdJ is another strip from Wembley.

I didn’t take any PWT pics today, so I’ll be able to catch up on those…


Last week I went to a happy hour at the new Pensiero Ristorante. They have a mixologist named Adam, who came over from the Violet Lounge to start pouring some amazing concoctions in the bar. We also ran into William, a waiter there (he helped guide my gastronomical way about three weeks ago, during their soft opening) AND former Guy With Tie, who makes it into 100D100T again with another William. Matching ties, one pic.


So, it’s always nice to stop someone who’s wearing a tie, tell them quickly about the blog, and then ask to take a photo. JD here was a very good sport…he pulled into the line at Potbelly here in Evanston, wearing a tie, and then proceeded to listen to me tell him quickly about the blog and agree to a photo.

Walt-Tie No. 78

Pat-Tie No. 27

Mike, praying for Tie No. 80

So, last week, I ran into my friend here, Pat Hughes. He was the first guy to wear one of the ties that I brought around. I saw him at the new Bagel Art (corner of Dempster & Sherman), having a meeting with these two guys, Mike and Walt. Pat was kind enough to talk them into sporting my ties as well.

This past Monday we held a meeting of the Evanston Chamber’s Board of Directors. Wow, have I typed a less-exciting sentence in the history of this blog? Perhaps not. But, trust me, it’s more exciting than it sounds, as our board is filled with cool, fun people. As you can see from this montage (and you must say ‘montage’ in the John Houseman acting style–slowly, crisply), they are more than willing to throw on a tie in the name of ChariTIES.

Rebecca Berneck - Officeheads

Bob Piron - Belgian Chocolatier Piron

Carolyn Dellutri - Downtown Evanston

Chris Mailing - Turin Bicycle

David Le Roy - Diagnostics Technical Support

David "DFish" Fisher - RockStar Consulting

Jaime Varela - Harris Bank

Jeff Murphy - Saint Francis Hospital

Joe Liss - Brown, Kaplan + Liss

Larry Widmayer - Koenig & Strey GMAC

Pat Kelly - John J. Cahill Inc.

Paul Hletko - Heathcote Holdings

Rick Braunstein - Rotary Int'l

Sean O'Grady - NorthShore University HealthSystem

Shaun Chinsky - Good's of Evanston

And, last, but certainly nowhere close to least…

Tracey Samlow - MJ Catering

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Beauty is in the tie of the beholder…

August 17, 2010

Hey! Let’s give a Wildcat cheer for Ugly Tie Week! Ready?! Ooooooookay.

You-Gee-Ell-Why! You ain’t got no alibi. You ugly. What-What?!! You ugly.

So, as my title implies, beauty can be, and is, found just about anywhere. After threatening to decimate its confidence by being named Ugly No. 1, my Tie d’Ugly has actually been complimented 3 or 4 times today, and by people with taste! I bought it at Unique several months before 100D100T, but have never worn it because I found it hard to match with a shirt. So, while I had it slotted for UTW since I thought of having one, it turns out no one said it was ugly. Oh, well. The TdJ is from Guy Laroche, a French designer with a long history of success. In my humble, bumbled opinion, this was not a success. The pink is what, chartreuse? Paisleys are supposed to look like they’re in a petri dish, not marching into Red Square. And that thing on the end? Some weird colors in there…I just don’t know. This one would have gotten some comments on a Freebie Friday.

This past weekend I trekked down to Nashville for a couple of reunions. The St. Agnes/St. Dominic class of ’83 had a mini-reunion of sorts. Yes, I was the only SDS attendee, save for the hostess’s husband John, and I joined (aforementioned hostess) Martha, Eimir, Alicia, Karen, Amy, Katie, Meredith, Melanie, Michelle, Jean, Gina, Stephanie, Stephanie and Stephanie in toasting our youthful vigor.

As fun as Friday was, Saturday morning was the reason I went down there, and it was a quiet morning as I readied myself to head out to Camp Marymount for Adult Camp 2010.

Brief camp bio: I went to Marymount for 4 years (’81-’84) as a camper, from the ages of 12-15, then worked there for 3 summers in the early 90s whilst in my early 20s. Boys’ session was 3 weeks long, so in all of my life I spent less than a half of a year out there. But, somehow, the friendships that I made, with others and even myself, have stuck with me for almost 30 years.

There are so many things that I learned out there, and I realize that the teen years are rife with that kind of nurturing. I am not naive enough to believe that Marymount was the only place that I would have gained confidence in sports, sociability or what-have-you–I could have had the same experience at another camp, or playing a sport over the summer, or learning an instrument. But it’s the place I was, and I am now rewarding myself by going back there and recalling that.

So, I’m driving along, a hundred brief thoughts going through my head, of campfires, howling laughter, card games, softball games, swimming, singing, eating, drinking (as a counselor…doy), of songs (Catholic camp, we went to Mass…), friendship, bows, arrows, guns, blahblahblue-in-the-face. I see the white fence and nearly burst into tears (another thing I learned was that it’s okay to be sad that you’re not going to see friends in a while and that it’s okay to cry about it), not only for the 8-hour journey from the day before, but because it’s a loving place. Its spirit extends to me and to my fellow campers and counselors, and the ones before me and after. I knew maybe 15 out of 80 folks there, but I could speak to 80 out of 80 about shared experiences and an absolute adoration for this place.

Okay, that little essay sounded so much better when I was crafting it on the drive home last night, so I’m sorry if it’s a little disjointed. But let’s get on to the Philanthropists With Ties…I took a bunch today, but I want to get to the ones from last week that haven’t gotten on yet.

Al-Tie No. 56

Here’s Al White, the president of the Evanston Running Club. He’s helping on a committee that wants to put on a half-marathon here in town that will hit a bunch of neighborhoods throughout all parts of Evanston.

Billie-Tie No. 90

And here’s Billie Kershasky, a sales rep for Astor & Black, a custom clothier. As soon as I can afford one of their suits, look out. Billie, who’s also a Zumba instructor, is also helping to set up the half-marathon, which we hope will take place in the Fall 2011.

Brady-Tie No. 77

The other member of our tie-wearin’, run-plannin’ committee is Brady Gervais. She was a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and moved down here last year when her husband started at Kellogg.

Asher-Tie No. 25

Bill-Tie No.27

Here are Asher Wolmark and Bill Vellon, who run the Kingsbury Capital office in the Rotary Building. They are on the same floor as the Chamber, and are a couple of great guys. Asher shares a hometown with me, as we are both from Memphis (home of Elvis Death Week–if you haven’t got a chance, El Vez is one of the best Elvis impersonators you’ll ever dance your ass off to).

I’m sorry that’s only 5 PWTs…but I have to publish.

Thanks for reading…Brooke