ChatterLog Holiday 2011


Sagittarius, The Centaur

Greetings everyone and welcome to the December “Holiday” bulletin – our last issue for the year 2011. Following on from our secretive sign of Scorpio, this month brings us to the not-so-subtle sign of Sagittarius, half-man and half-horse, also known as the Centaur. Where the Scorpio might not be so vocal, the Sagittarius will surely make up for it – they like the sound of their own voices! And they usually have plenty to say because they are the philosophers of the zodiac and the sign that talks to God! So what’s this month’s theme, you must be asking yourself? Well, not only is this sign connected with philosophy and religion, Sagittarius is literally the “jock” of the zodiac – so continuing on from November and health our theme this month is “Sports.” Sagittarians love to work out and are generally miserable if they don’t have some sort of sporting activity as part of their weekly routine.

The sign of Sagittarius is also known as the Archer, and is often depicted shooting his arrows up towards the heavens – well, Archery is a sport too. I took Archery at High School and it was not that easy, you have to be quite strong to hold a long bow still enough to actually shoot it. Well, we were all pretty useless, no matter how close our teacher moved the targets, so one day he came up with a brilliant plan. We arrived on the playing fields to find he had attached 2 or 3 balloons to each target. As he started to draw faces on each balloon with a Sharpie, we were then instructed to imagine that each balloon was the headmaster, or a teacher who gave us a bad grade, whatever, and it worked! We all really improved that day and burst quite a few of those balloons! Sagittarius is the sign that “sees the bigger picture” – so for those of you who might fail to see the connection (not the coincidence) between Astrology and our everyday lives – listen to this! While my assistant Chelsea and I were preparing this bulletin she told me that not one, but literally three of her friends, and her sister had all recently mentioned either an interest in or current fascination with archery, or that they had been taking archery lessons! And, one of them is a Sagittarius! Now come on people, you just can’t make this stuff up! There’s a reason as to why she/they were drawn to archery – she wasn’t taking swimming lessons, or skiing – she was a Sagittarius taking Archery classes!

Picture from

A few years ago, my friend and I were watching the TV (I can’t imagine how I persuaded him to let me watch gymnastics, but there you go!) and one of the commentators was former Olympic gymnast, Bart Conner. One of them mentioned that a particular gymnast had a birthday (the program was around this time of year), and then Bart Conner piped in saying how strange it was that several of the gymnasts all had birthdays during this time, and what a coincidence? Hate to burst your bubble Bart, but it’s no coincidence! Each sign of the zodiac relates to specific parts of the human body, and by the time we have reached our 9th sign of Sagittarius, we have reached the thighs, which Sagittarius is associated with! And gymnasts need some pretty serious thighs to do what they do, do they not? Consider all athletes, for that matter. So here are a few famous Sagittarian athletes for you, starting with tennis stars Billie Jean King, Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Tracy Austin and Chris Evert (that’s a lot of strong thighs working right there!), followed by martial artist Bruce Lee (strong all over), golfer Lee Trevino, ice skaters Randy Gardener and Katarina Witt (more serious thigh action required), gymnasts Alicia Sacramone, Hollie Vise and Cathy Rigby, the 1st American woman to win a medal in World Gymnastics, and who went on to play the role of “Peter Pan” on Broadway, cricketer Ian Botham, basketball legend Larry Bird, baseball stars Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench and Ty Cobb, and football stars Dick Butkus, Terrell Owens and Warren Sapp (thighs more like tree trunks in their case!).

© Scott Bell

Continuing on with the subject of thighs, this brings me to another story of my British friend and photographer Steve Brickles, who admirably ran the New York marathon several years in a row. This summer he and the family moved back to England and on the weekend of the marathon this year, I thought about Steve and the fact he wasn’t here and how much I missed him. Little did I know, until I ran into his buddy Phil at one of the Holiday parties that Steve had in fact snuck back in to New York, literally for 2 days, so he could indeed run this year’s marathon – cheeky bugger! Anyway, the point of this story is that Steve is a Sagittarius, he runs marathons and he has big, strong thighs!

As we all know, we are now approaching the end of our calendar year and all of the December “Holidays” including the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve, but I wanted to touch on the very English tradition of celebrating what is known as “Boxing Day” on December 26th, the day after Christmas. Growing up, we didn’t pay much attention as to why it was or what it meant – for us it simply meant that Christmas in the U.K. was essentially always a two-day holiday and that was good enough for us! You may recall back in my summer bulletin on “Food” I touched on our family picnic traditions, one of which was my mother’s famous Boxing Day Picnics. Every year, she would drive to the seaside on Boxing Day, with anyone who wanted to accompany her, to walk on the beach with the dogs (weather permitting but not necessarily always so welcoming in those wild wintry winds atop the cliffs!) and then sit in her little red Mini eating our turkey leftover sandwiches while we watched the waves!

Mum’s red Mini!

But another great tradition back then in the area we lived, and the one I wanted to mention was the local village Boxing Day Field Hockey Match, which was played by a group of usually somewhat inebriated or hung over men, who were mad enough (and probably drunk enough as well) to go out and play in the freezing cold. One year, they were pretty ambitious as there was a lot of snow on the ground following a big blizzard, but they still went out and did their thing even though the hockey ball kept disappearing under several inches, perhaps a few feet of snow where it had drifted! It was hilarious, but hardly “hockey!” Now not everyone plays hockey, there are several other traditional sporting activities on this day. For instance, in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland the leagues all play rugby or soccer matches on Boxing Day and traditionally they are always played against local rivals to avoid traveling too far over the holidays.

In Australia they play cricket, and in England, Horse Racing is another long tradition, which comes as no big surprise really, when you consider that our Sagittarius is the Centaur, half-man, half-horse – he is literally the sign that combines both the horse and jockey. While in some African nations as well as Italy, they hold prize-fighting contests on Boxing Day. When we were growing up, Hunting was still legal, and a Boxing Day Meet was not an uncommon sight if you lived in the countryside, as we did, and as seen by this photo below. And even though Fox Hunting was legally banned in 2004, Boxing Day still remains the most popular day for the Hunt, but now the hounds chase along scented drag trails instead of pursuing live game. Many of the country folk were most upset when the Government banned hunting, because it was deemed as “cruel”, but what the politicians failed to understand is the natural cycle of country life. Fox are considered vermin, and it is necessary for farmers to keep the population down so they don’t eat all their chickens!

Keswick Boxing Day Hunt, Market Square, Cumbria, The Lake District, England 1962

So where does the tradition of celebrating Boxing Day come from, and why Boxing Day, whether it be with drunken hockey games in the snow, sandwiches on the beach, or time-honored sports matches? The tradition of Boxing Day dates back at least to the Middle Ages, when the Lord of the Manor would box up tools and money for the serfs who worked for him. Later on, the tradition turned into giving boxes of food and clothing to the needy. In the U.K. it was a custom for the tradesmen to collect “Christmas Boxes” of money or presents as thanks for a year of good service. This was mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary in 1663 and is where we get the tradition of tipping our tradesmen at Christmas-time, such as the super of your building, the UPS delivery guy or perhaps your personal trainer!

And speaking of “boxes of food for the needy,” that brings me to the story of the “Christmas Food Parcels” that my father’s sister-in-law used to send us after my parents had divorced. And so this ancient tradition continued, however, these parcels contained food items that no one, no matter how hungry, would want to eat unless they were really desperate. They contained things like cans of pressed tongue and consommé, but we reckoned a simple case of Heinz baked beans would honestly have been more useful – at least we would have eaten them! It was already degrading enough that she was sending them to us. And then, one Christmas, we received a package with superior items in it, including some booze, so we were way chuffed and opened up the bottle right away. Within days, possibly hours, we received a phone call informing us that we had been given the wrong box and would we please return it immediately – including the sherry! I believe we might have returned the box but it was definitely minus the bottle! My mother wasn’t that stupid!

And Wishing All You Sagittarians A Very Happy Birthday!

© Jan Pashley, Licensed by Creatif

To All Our Readers –

Family, Friends, Clients & Colleagues:

Celebrate the Holidays and may 2012 bring you all

Good Health and Much Success!

With Love, Wisdom and Peace, Louisa

ChatterQuote Holiday 2011

So this month, I was pondering which famous Sagittarius to quote and instead of one I decided to give you a few – besides, it was very hard to choose and according to my ChatterQuote rulebook, it’s my newsletter so I can have as many as I want! Each one demonstrates a specific Sagittarian aspect, and first up we have two musical legends, each one about as different from one another as you can get, and yet both have made their distinct and unique mark in musical history.

The Planet Jupiter rules Sagittarius, and it is Jupiter’s role to bring “wisdom” to our lives. We begin with legendary guitarists Jimi Hendrix, a Sagittarius, born November 27th, 1942, who even uses the very word “wisdom” when he said:

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens… When the power of love conquers the love of power then the world will know peace.

Next we shift to Jupiter being the Planet of “excess” and we have a classic crooner, affectionately known as “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra, a Sagittarius born right across the river in Hoboken, NJ on December 12th, 1915 and member of the infamous and original “Rat Pack” who said:

I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day!

And last, but by no means least, we move to Jupiter’s ability to “expand,” thus giving the Sagittarius the ability to see the bigger picture, and we have film producer, director, animator and international icon, responsible for creating such memorable characters as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Walt Disney, born December 5th, 1901, who aptly said:

If you can dream it, you can do it… All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

So on that note, dare to dream big in 2012!

ChatterArtists Holiday 2011

So with this month being associated with the sign of Sagittarius, our exercising “jock” of the zodiac, we are bringing you photographers who shoot Sports!

Jason Evans

I’ve not met Jason, however he was the “Grand Prize Winner” for the APA NY Photo Contest this year and lucky for me, his delightful winning trio of images is “sports-related.” Having said that, I also encourage you to check out his website as well to see the rest of his work.

© Jason Evans

Scott Bell

I first met Scott in Florida a few years ago now, and in October of this year I happened to run into him and a client of mine who he is buddies with at the Hasselblad Happy Hour at the Terminal Building during Photo Plus Expo. Scott is now primarily based in Chicago as well as Florida, and it was perfect timing as he shoots sports, as well as people. We just loved this image of the exuberant young football team!

© Scott Bell

Darren Carroll

I’ve never met Darren, but I saw his work on PhotoServe and thought he would be a perfect fit for our “sporting” theme this month. So I emailed him and without hesitation he got right back to me and was delighted to be one of this month’s ChatterArtists. So here is one of our favorites taken from the Rodeo, which seemed fitting since Darren is based in Texas – but do check out his website as he has wonderful work that spans all sorts of sports as well as environmental portraits.

© Darren Carroll

David Bergman

Some of you may remember David from our “music” newsletter – he describes himself as an “action” photographer and videographer, because he loves shooting both music and sports. And a perfect example of this was right after he finished the 17-country European tour with Bon Jovi this year, he then embarked on creating Gigapans at almost every single baseball playoff game (including all of the World Series games) for Pretty impressive! And the image we are showing you is from Game 7 in St. Louis, one showing the Gigapan itself, plus a detail shot of the pitcher to show how high the resolution is. To read more about David and his work, be sure to go to his website and blog.

© David Bergman

Chris Hamilton

I met Chris and his wife Rita way back when I was working at the Black Book, and they were some of my favorite clients. I always looked forward to seeing them when I visited Atlanta and Rita and I enjoyed many long conversations! Sadly, I haven’t seen them in quite a while, but as a long-time fan of Chris’ work, which is distinguished by his bold use of color and his time-lapse photography, he was a perfect fit for this month’s theme and I’m thrilled to be including him!

© Chris Hamilton

ChatterCorner Holiday 2011

Judi Stuffick

My latest article for the Features Section on PhotoServe is my conversation with Philadelphia-based emerging photographer Judi Stuffick. About this time last year I was one of judges for the ASMP Philadelphia Annual Photo Contest, and I was particularly taken by Judi’s series of “projected” images, even before I knew the back story behind them. I asked to be introduced to her at the opening earlier this year, and we have stayed in touch since then. I used her recently as an example in one of my articles for The Lab, where I talk about what work stands out for me, and hers certainly did.–3972.shtml

Clothes Line © Judi Stuffick

ChatterNews Holiday 2011

The Rearview Mirror Panel

If you weren’t at Adorama on Tuesday, November 29th, then you missed one heck of a panel! Produced and moderated by yours truly, I was able to assemble together seven incredible industry veterans, each one bringing a different voice to the table. I asked each of them to bring a mini-presentation in which I wanted specific examples of photographers’ success stories, websites they have noticed, or promotions they liked, and why. For the photographers’ show and tell, it was about what they have done to grow their business and sustain success in this industry.

Julie Grahame of aCurator began by giving us concrete examples as to how the Internet can have a powerful reach for your work, including some of the more challenging aspects to licensing images and copyright infringement, followed by Andrea Verdone, Photo Editor from Women’s Health Magazine, who gave us some of her favorite photographer websites, and why she liked them. Next up was Steve Whittier, Creative Director for the Land Rover account @ Y&R who talked about three of his favorite action & outdoors photographers and what stood out for him about their work and their presentations. Acclaimed photographer Chris Buck gave a wonderfully humorous look at how his work has garnered attention over the years and what he has done to stay true to his style (plus he gave everyone a novelty pen at the end of the evening, so you can’t beat that!), while Robert Luessen, producer and studio manager for Philadelphia-based photographer Chris Crisman gave us insight as to what marketing tools and strategies they have adopted in the past couple of years, including shooting a “behind-the-scenes” video. Next up was Wonderful Machine producer Jess Dudley, who brought us three different marketing success stories and how these particular photographers got noticed, and then rounding out the evening was photographer and videographer Stephen Mallon who showed his latest film project “The Willis Avenue Bridge” and then reiterated back to the audience his own notes that he had been taking from the other panelists all evening!

Panelist Jess Dudley has also posted a write-up on the event on the Wonderful Machine Blog, so to read more please go to:

Photo by Hector Rene

Overall, the message was to stay true to yourself and shoot what you love. There are many affordable options to get your name and your work out there – in the end, it’s a numbers game, and the “squeaky wheel gets the oil” – so keep shooting personal work inbetween assignments, that way you always have something new to show. And don’t get so wound up in all the social networking you forget that you are first and foremost, a photographer. Less is more when it comes to showing your images, and no-one likes a bottomless pit portfolio, especially on an iPad!

Stephen Flint

Congratulations also to my client Stephen Flint who was a First Place Winner in the APA NY Photo Contest in the Action/Adventure/Sports category – way to go Steve – and this was his winning image (and one of my personal favorites) of a paddle boarder.

© Stephen Flint

Ian Bradshaw’s Claremont McKenna College Magazine Project

My friend and photographer Ian Bradshaw emailed me recently about a really interesting project he had just completed for Claremont McKenna College in California. He was asked to produce a magazine, complete with 50 portraits for their Honor Roll of Donors. The donors had contributed scholarships and funds to build the new Kravis Center. The idea was for all portraits of the students to have some part of the building’s architecture either featured or in the background. They were each asked to bring one “prop” – something that they associated with their time at the college. Ian did not know what they were bringing literally until they turned up and had 20 minutes from a standing start with each student. It took him 2 trips to California to complete the project which was one of his most fun projects of the year, he said! The image we have chosen from the many, perfectly illustrates our “sporty” theme for this month and is of a 4 feet 11 inches tall pole vaulter with her 11 foot pole!

Jessica Dang, Class of 2013 – Majoring in Psychology, Activities include Track & Field

© Ian Bradshaw

APA NY Photo Contest + Holiday Party

@ Loft 33

33 West 26th Street, 4th & 5th Floors

New York, NY

Please RSVP to register!

For more information and to register please visit:

ChatterLab Holiday 2011

My latest article for Agency Access’ Blog, The Lab talks about print promotions and here’s the question I was asked this time, “Can you give me some feedback regarding how print promotions are received as an efficient follow-up to email blasts?” I used my Florida-based client Stephen Flint to illustrate this topic, showing his “Smokey” portrait promotion which he sent out earlier this year, taken from a personal project.

Smokey says – It’s a great day to be above ground!

ChatterTip of the Month Holiday 2011

Tips for Runners

© Chris Hamilton

So, no big surprise, with this month’s theme being “Sports” and Sagittarius being our quintessential “jock” our tips are for runners and athletes.

Blisters occur when a small area of the skin becomes raised and swollen by an accumulation of blood serum underneath. There are a number of reasons as to why we get them, but in this instance, runners may get blisters from shoes or sneakers that rub! If a blister is punctured, the flesh beneath becomes open to infection. Therefore it is essential to keep the area clean and dry in order for it to heal effectively.

One interesting old folk remedy is to apply boiled & mashed Carrots to the area, particularly good for infection as well as healing – never heard that one before! Applying Roasted Onions is another one, although that’s going to be a bit smellier! Ice will help to reduce inflammation, itching or pain. Bathe the blister in Cold Water with Salt added, creating a natural disinfectant to help with the infection. Cover the blisters in the daytime and remove bandages or plasters in the evening so they can dry out. Aloe Vera juice can be applied to blisters to encourage healing as can Marigold (also known as Calendula), or you can make a poultice with Basil Oil or Lavender. Apply Witch Hazel directly to the blister, it will sting for a minute, but it will also quickly relieve pain, reduce swelling, and encourage healing. And another of our old favorites, and natural antiseptics is of course, Honey.
A Cramp is a painful muscular spasm that occurs most frequently in the legs and feet, but can also affect the abdomen, arms and hands (such as “writer’s cramp”!) Excess salt loss through sweating is the most common cause. Many years ago I experienced a very painful bout of abdominal cramp, to the point where I ended up doubled over the dining room table. We were having lunch following a school sports day, in which I had run a few races, and all of a sudden I couldn’t move. So my mother called the doctor (yes, the same one who went up on the roof to fix the tiles) and he told her to get me into a hot bath. Easier said than done. Somehow my mother, sister and best friend managed to carry me up the stairs and into the bath while still doubled over and pretty much a dead weight! And sure enough, after a while the warmth of the water did help my body to un-seize – crazy!

So back to the kitchen cabinet we go and our old faithful friend, Apple Cider Vinegar, which can be used to make compresses, or put a few cups into the bath. You can also make a drink with 1 tablespoon Vinegar and I tablespoon Honey in a cup of Hot Water. Another remedy suggests that a pinch of Salt and some Lemon Juice may help to prevent night cramps – hey, why not go all out and add in a shot of Tequila, then you can sleep through your cramps! Both Lavender and Geranium are good essential oils that can be massaged into the area, and one of my favorites is Tiger Balm as well as Olbas Oil, which can be effective to ease muscle cramps and spasms. On the Vitamin and Supplement front, some research indicates that a Vitamin E deficiency may cause cramps, as well as an imbalance of Magnesium and Calcium. Increase your intake of Salt and Magnesium, and Vitamin C taken with Calcium is said to help night cramps as well. And don’t forget that Vitamin D is also essential for the proper absorption of Calcium. When I was growing up, we didn’t have Sports Drinks like Gatorade, but nowadays, if you have lost a lot of fluids from excessive exercise or even the flu, your body is dehydrated and you need to replenish your electrolytes, then these Sports Drinks can also be an easy and quick solution.
Strains & Sprains
A Sprain is the result of overstretching or tearing of the ligaments that bind the joints together, caused by a sudden pull. The most commonly sprained or strained joint is the ankle.

And once again, we’re back to Apple Cider Vinegar, which makes a great compress to reduce swelling and pain. Also recommended, this time Raw Onions (instead of roasted – don’t ask me why!) can be applied as a poultice, or you can make a cold compress with ArnicaBurdock can be drunk as a tea or applied as a poultice as well. Use Lavender Oil or Ginger in a footbath. For those of you familiar with the Bach Flower RemediesRescue Remedy can be taken internally to reduce the shock, while a few drops on a compress can help to reduce pain. It is best to elevate the limb as soon as you can after injuring it, and apply an Icepack to reduce swelling. If you don’t have an Icepack handy – might I suggest that you always keep a bag of Frozen Peas in your freezer – it makes a great makeshift Icepack that can be molded to your ankle, or wherever the Icepack is needed. Bind the ankle with an Elastic Bandage to give support, but be careful not to make it too tight and prevent circulation!

ChatterRecipe of the Month Holiday 2011

Roasted Turkey Roulade

As I mentioned earlier in the ChatterQuote, Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the Planet of “excess.” So what might this sign like to eat? Honestly, pretty much anything, and a lot of it! They certainly love their food and wine, but sometimes to the point of excess and gorging gluttony – the Sagittarius will literally eat until they are sick! So I wanted to give you a nice, robust, seasonal recipe from one of my favorites, the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I watched her make this on TV not long ago, and it looked really easy and delicious. Her reasoning was that no one really looks forward to carving that big old turkey, especially in front of a crowd, so she decided to make a turkey breast stuffed with all sorts of delicious things, and one that remains moist as well as cooks in under two hours – so here is her festive Roasted Turkey Roulade (serves 6 or 7).

¾ cup Dried Figs (large-diced, stems removed)
¾ cup Dried Cranberries
½ cup Brandy or Calvados
½ cup Water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
Onions (chopped – about 1 ½ cups)
Celery Stalks (diced – about 1 cup)
¾ pound Pork Sausage (casings removed)
1½ teaspoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves (chopped)
3 tablespoons Pine Nuts (toasted)
3 cups Herbed Bread Stuffing Mix (or you could use your own diced stale bread)
1½ cups Chicken Stock
Egg (extra large, beaten)
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper (fresh ground)
1 Whole (2 halves) Turkey Breast, about 5 pounds in weight (boned & butterflied)
3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (melted)
String (for tying the roulade)
Aluminum Foil (for tenting the roulade after roasting)

Place the Dried Figs and Dried Cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Brandy and half a cup of Water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, melt the Unsalted Butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Onions and Celery and sauté until softened, for about 5 minutes. Add in the Sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork and sauté with the Vegetables, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add in the Dried Figs and Dried Cranberries, along with the liquid, the chopped Rosemary LeavesPine Nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Be sure to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Place the Bread Stuffing Mix in a large bowl and add in the Sausage and Vegetable mixture, along with the Chicken StockEggSalt and Black Pepper, and stir well. FYI – this mixture may be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and place a baking rack on a sheet pan. Lay the butterflied Turkey Breast skin side down on a large cutting board and sprinkle the meat with Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper. Spread the stuffing mixture in a half-inch layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides (so the stuffing doesn’t spill out of the roulade) and don’t mound the stuffing too high or it will be difficult to roll. You can place the leftover stuffing in a buttered ovenproof dish and bake alongside the Turkey for the last 45 minutes of the Turkey’s cooking time. Starting at one end, roll the Turkey like a Jelly Roll and tuck in any stuffing that attempts to escape out of the sides!  Tie the Turkey Breast firmly with String every two inches to make a compact cylinder. Place the Turkey Roulade, seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush the skin all over with melted Butter and sprinkle generously with Salt and Pepper. Roast for 1¾ to 2 hours, or until a thermometer reads 150 degrees in the center. Test in a few places to be sure. Cover the Turkey Roulade with Aluminum Foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve into half-inch thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing and whatever other yummy side dishes you fancy!

Happy Eating, Everybody!
See you in 2012