Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Let’s go tie a kite…

September 29, 2010

Lateness rules. Or, if there’s a word for last-minute-ness, that rules even more.

Nice rak.

My Tie du Yesterday (will I get back to the Tie du Jour?) was another from the Tie Rak, which is un-googlable, but seems like it was a tie kiosk from the 60s or 70s, judging by the style. I love the blue and silver sheen that comes off of this tie–no natural fabrics could produce that back then, so you know it’s some great orlon, or dacron, or moron or some other lab creation that was hanging on my person.

Yesterday we held the Chamber’s monthly Networking Breakfast. Our host, Mark Allegretti of Allegretti Rug Masters, was sporting this great repp tie, and was kind enough to pause for a pose.

Greg Foster joins his UPS colleage, Tony Perrino, in the annals of Guy With Tie fame. He attended the NeBr, in advance of their Growth Through Global Trade seminar, to be held here in Evanston next week.

Russell Vilt, from the Best Western University Plaza, is a GWT twice around, as he sported a coolly autumnal strip.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

My, oh tie, what a wonderful day.

September 22, 2010

Today was my first field trip in decades. Didn’t need a permission slip, though, so maybe it wasn’t a real field trip. And no kids threw up on the bus…so, yeah, not really a field trip.

I believe I mentioned this, but I visited the Lee Allison Company. They design, create, market and sell ties. It was fun, and very educational. And, I have to say, my hosts, Lee Allison himself and Trideep Das, have got to be the nicest guys in the tie biz.

OK, let me get my Tie du Jour out of the way, and then I’ll give you the play-by-play of my Trip du Field. It’s branded Apt. 9, which is a label in the house of Kohl (see, that’s something I learned today). I have to say I was pretty nervous when I chose my shirt/tie ensemble, because of where my field trip was going to be…so, of course, I went with one of my remaining ties that has a little spark to it. This multi-oranged strip, with just a touch of blue & white, seemed to fit the bill–last day of summer, field trip to see guys who KNOW great-looking ties…you know the drill.

So, on to the field trip.

The Lee Allison Company

I was greeted at the door by Trideep Das, who answered my original email and invited me to visit. He led me up to their 3rd floor loft studio, which was just an eye-full of really cool stuff as decor–shirts, ties, cool furniture, antiques and these huge silk screens hanging from the ceiling. In one window they had a step-by-step diagram of how to tie a four-in-hand (at least I think it was a four-in-hand) knot. He introduced me to Lee Allison, and they were so generous to give me such a great deal of their time. I was really like a kid in a candy shop–I had no idea what to ask them, and everything they told me was new to me.

I had read the history of Lee’s exodus from the corporate and advertising world, but I was so star-struck I had to ask him to explain the details again. Lee brought out 3 or 4 rolls of woven silk that were ready to be cut into ties, and they explained their process of making the ties. There is a local seamstress who can create [shh, trade secret…but it’s SEVERAL dozen] ties per day.

A phalanx of Lee Allison ties

Ready for shipment to the necks of the world

Then they walked me over to the magic table. I’m pretty sure that’s not the name for it, but that’s what I’m calling it. Check these pictures out…I was in awe. There is no way I could have picked a favorite–they all looked so cool to me.

They saved the coolest surprise for last. They said that they’d love to offer a special promotion code for y’all. If you order from their website––add 100TIES to the promotion code box on the shopping cart page, and you’ll get 25% off of your whole order. I’ve already utilized this offer, which will be good until the end of September. They have some really fun ties, not to mention great-looking ones, made from the best silk on earth.

There is a Lee Allison connection that I missed. When I told the story a couple of weeks back about my cousin Beaux’s experience at Aidan Gill for Men in New Orleans, THAT was a Lee Allison tie. I had the picture of the special message on the tipping, and totally missed their logo in the photo. Trideep caught it, of course, when he read the entry, and mentioned Beaux.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but what I don’t want to forget is to thank Trideep and Lee for a great tour. They were so enthusiastic about 100 Days, 100 Ties, and so complimentary about my quest, I just can’t help being their newest, biggest fan. Please check out their selection online if you get a chance.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

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


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

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

Can’t spell “ninety-nine” without T-I-E…

August 9, 2010

The President is on the line, as 99 red balloons go by…Nena

I personally like the German version better, but that’s like saying I like cat food better than dog food.

Das ist großes Haar!

Since this past weekend was Lollapaloozaic in tone, I thought I’d hearken back to the bad old days of rock, when a German with big, bad Teutonic hair could learn her first, oh, 100 English words, pronounce them poorly and have a hit. It worked later for Scorpions, too–the 80s were good for Eurotrash imports, n’est-ce pas?

Rock. Roll. Repeat.

No, Nena’s not wearing a tie, but these guys are? Verve Pipe rocked LollaPop sporting these strips…Paul Hletko–roving photographer & and stark, raving GWT himself–snapped this pic of some very happy Rockers With Ties.

Ok, on to Purple Tie Week! Today was supposed to be Tie No. 100, but my fashion mishaps up in Milwaukee (not the first fashion mishaps up in that region, I promise you) delayed 99 Day over the weekend. I had the opportunity to wear a tie to my friend Sara’s surprise b-day party (no worries, she knows about it by now) this past Saturday, but sidestepped the chance.

So, for the Tie du Jour, I have gone pink to celebrate the kickoff of PTW. Explain, you exclaim?! Why certainly, I reply with fervor, If you say please! Well, please explain, then, you acquiesce. My purple-fielded, pink-polka-dotted TdJ is from Thomas Pink (Ohhhh, you mouth), along with my shirt and cuff links. I really love the quality of their shirts, and their ties are especially well-made. I wore one a couple of weeks ago, and they just consistently tie better than about 99% (got to use 99 again, ha) of my ties. A Brookie mini-preview…my best tie will be tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I’ll be around with camera and ties in hand to start taking of photos of Philanthropists With Ties, and will ask for donations to the Salvation Army and  the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF donations will go to offset my tuition to Leadership Evanston). Dr. Vince Roberts (GWT alum), of Reavy Rehab, has generously donated a quarter for every picture I get from all of you. I will bring down a dozen or two from my Already Worn collection, but if you could wear a tie this week that’d be great. Send me the pic, no worries about donations. I just want as many pics of Guys With Ties and Girls With Ties and Philanthropists With Ties and Dogs With Ties and…you should get the picture by now. If ye should need more explanation, then, well, I can’t help ye.

Some thoughts on Lollapalooza, while I’m here. The Strokes, on Friday night, were awesome. I only have gotten into them since they last toured, so I was wont to see them. Now, I can’t wait for the next time…they are playing during Austin City Limits and I’m already plotting. The Black Keys were solid, as well…I first saw them two years ago at Loll’08. I mainly remember the lead singer’s full-and-beyond beard in the 90+ degree heat. This year, while the temp was quite milder, Dan Auerbach had a shorter, much summier beard, which made me feel better. Lady Gaga was, well, attentive to her persona. Theatrical, one could say. Her voice is pretty good, but her lyrics are pretty banal. She played to the crowd, but in the end I was happy that I had a chance to go see The Strokes for 55 minutes.

Sunday was a different story…I headed down mainly to hang out with my former roommate, Brendan, and his wife, Eela. For the first time in 20+ years, my parents drove me to a concert to drop me off. Nostalgia rules! Musically, I heard a bit of MGMT, and immediately wished I’d been in there for more. The National made me want to go buy all of their stuff and love it latently. Arcade Fire…well, let’s just say I thought I knew more of their music but now that I know that I don’t I’m not running to iTunes. I’m sure it was a function of its being the Sunday of a long-ish, party-esque weekend, but they were…meh.

Such is my limited review of the LollaBands. Until next year…

Thanks so much for reading…as I sit/stand/relax on the cusp of my 100th tie, I realize that 5,500 page views have mostly come from truly loving friends and family. I know that your time is worthy of other things, and I am sincerely honored that you spend some of it with my thoughts, bullshee and wordplay. I do plan on going forward, as I have at least 40 ties remaining on my two tie racks, and I hope/pray/wish that you stick with me for a little longer.

Thanks. For. Reading.  Brookie

Ties does matter…

July 30, 2010

Yes, the proper English would be ‘Ties DO matter’ but grammar don’t concern me none right now.

We’re gonna keep on keepin’ on here, with Tie No. 93 in the hizzouse, celebrating Day 3 of Mad Men Tie Week, which is celebrating Week 1 of Tie Week Month. And WHAT a celebration it is!

Out of the 4 or 5 ties that Don Draper sported the other day, one was a bit extra stripey (or maybe it was another of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce wags), so I thought this Tie du Jour matched up with the era pretty well. It’s from Baskin, which is definitely not a main player in the world of high fashion. But, this one has a little retro life in it, with it’s big orange and smaller neon green-adorned stripes. This one was tougher to tie, as it was very short. Were people really much shorter? Or were tie-wearers Elves?

T.I.E. = take it easy

I believe I’ve mentioned my friends, Paul & Susan Frischer, who own MarketFresh Books, where you can buy used books (and CDs, videos, etc) by the pound. I was in there with Julia the other day, and Susan had set something aside that is pretty special. Catalog Man, a series of postcards (marketed by Chronicle Books) depicting British “fashion” from the 70s, is tear-inducingly funny. Several of them are hawking ties, and I’ll try to post a couple here and there. This first one kills me (sorry, they all do) because of the turd-sniffing face that the ‘model’ is modeling, while trying to pull off sporting a full shirt-and-tie ensemble under the cheesy silk robe/smoking jacket look. His partner is probably relieved he doesn’t have to look at the camera, at least.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for ripping on a decade’s worth of fashion crime…Brooke