Tips using Oats – ChatterTip April 2014

Tips using… You Guessed It – Oats – ChatterTip April 2014

Before I get into the tips, here’s a nibbly little tidbit for you – as I mentioned earlier I was born in The Year of the Horse and I love Oats, and we know that Oats are one of what we call the Cereals. In Astrology, besides the Planets, we also have what are known as the Asteroids, and Ceres is one of them. The word Cereal comes from Ceres, who was the Roman Goddess of Agriculture (and in Greek Mythology she was Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, who presided over Grains and the Fertility of the Earth). Ceres is connected with the 2nd Earth sign of Virgo and is associated with all Cereals including Barley, Oats, Rye, Wheat and Grasses. Now, here’s where it gets even more interesting…

Horse with Cereal Snack

I have the Asteroid Ceres right on my Rising Sign (or Ascendant), which explains why I love all things Cereal! I can quite happily eat Cereal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but I always used to feel guilty because growing up in England, one only ate cereal at breakfast-time, one was supposed to eat “breakfast” foods at breakfast, tea-time foods at tea-time… and that was that, but for me, a bowl of Cereal or a slice of Toast was always a favorite snack at any time of day or night. So once I learned that Ceres was literally right on my Ascendant, I realized it was perfectly natural for me to enjoy all those foods. Now I eat a bowl of Cereal or a slice of Toast whenever I want – totally guilt-free!

According to the Bach Flower Essences: Wild Oat is for capable people who have ambition to do something meaningful in their lives but have not yet found their true calling. They may have several choices or directions they could follow and may be working hard on a given path, but fundamentally they are dissatisfied and frustrated. Somewhere deep down they know that they have not found their vocation in life, and are emotionally or spiritually unsatisfied. Wild Oat helps to tune the heart (ruled by Leo) to what will bring true meaning and purpose. It helps us the make choices, sometimes difficult, which unite all aspirations. It also helps us to balance the needs of spirituality and making a living. [Excuse me while I run out and get me a bottle…]

No big surprise that I am giving you 5 Tips using Oats this time…

Oats for Convalescents

According to my old Herb Book, although Oats are used primarily for their nutritional value, they are also particularly helpful for certain convalescing patients. In Europe for example, Wild Oats (which are picked whole as a young green plant and known as Oat Straw) are used to make a tea to help with Chest complaints, and Oat Straw is also used in various baths, which aid in healing a number of ailments including Rheumatism, Lumbago, Gout, as well as Liver & Kidney problems.

Oats for Menstrual Cramps and More…

Eating a daily bowl of Oatmeal can help to end Endometrial pain, making Menstruation less miserable with fewer cramps, aches & pains. Oats can also help to control Hormonal activity, lower blood Cholesterol levels, ease Constipation, as well as aid with Fatigue and Depression. Who knew?

Oats for Poison Ivy

If you happen to have a bad case of Poison Ivy, or even the Chicken Pox, grind 1 cup Oatmeal (or Oats) until fine and wrap in cheesecloth. Place the cheesecloth in the end of a stocking or pantyhose leg and tie it so it hangs under the faucet when you run the bathwater. It’s best to go with lukewarm water and soak for about 30 minutes. You can also apply the Oatmeal pouch directly to the infected areas to help soothe the rash as well.

Oatmeal Facial Mask

Make a simple face mask by combining Oatmeal with a little Warm Water until it forms a paste. Especially good for oily skin, and rubbing Dry Oatmeal directly onto the skin will remove any flaky or peeling skin. If you want some thing a little more tasty, then combine ½ cup Hot Water with 1/3 cup Oatmeal. After about 3 minutes, mix in 2 tablespoons Plain Yoghourt, 2 tablespoons Honey and 1 small Egg White (optional). Apply thin layer of the mixture to your face and leave on for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with Warm Water.

Oatmeal Dry Shampoo

For those days when you don’t have time to wash your hair, this can apparently be a great solution. Take 1 cup of Oatmeal, place in blender and grind to a fine powder. Add 1 cup Baking Soda and mix well. Rub a little of the mixture into your hair, give it a minute or two to soak up the oils and then brush (or shake) it out of your hair (preferably over the bathtub or a towel). This can also be a great solution for bedridden patients who cannot bathe or wash their hair in the shower. And, it can even be used to deodorize your dog’s coat!

Tips using Lead – ChatterTip January 2014

Tips using Lead… As in Lead Pencils – ChatterTip January 2014

Some of my original old notebooks from when I lived and studied in Paris 1981 © Louisa J. Curtis

As I’ve mentioned before, the Planet ruling the sign of Capricorn is Saturn, and Saturn’s metal is Lead, the heaviest of all the metals – another reason as to why we literally feel weighed down by Saturn’s influence.  So this month we are bringing you a few Tips using LeadLead Pencils, that is!  However, I must clarify for a moment… Many of you are familiar with the term “lead pencils” and many of us grew up using them for drawing and writing at school. But did you know that most Pencil cores are actually made from Graphite mixed with a Clay binder – that makes sense since Capricorn is after all an Earth sign! The black core of pencils is still referred to as “lead” even though they never actually contained any Lead at all!

But let’s stick to writing and drawing for just a moment, and what else is black in color and might be used to draw or sketch besides a graphite pencil? Why Charcoal, of course! Coal (and therefore Charcoal) connects with the sign of Capricorn, and is comprised primarily of fossilized Carbon – notice the similarity in the letters of the words Capricorn, Carbon, Charcoal, Coal and so on… Capricorn was also associated with Antimony, one of what are now known as the “mundane elements.” Metallic Antimony was at one time mistakenly identified as Lead, but was later established to be its own element around the 17th century.

Notice also that all of these metals and elements are either dark or Black in color, and the color connected with Saturn, surprise, surprise, is Black. In the Ancient Arab world, Antimony was called Kohl, which derives from the word Coal meaning “that which is black” – and many of you may be familiar with the Kohl make-up pencils. I even found a Singapore-based Trading Company online that specializes in wait for it… Antimony Ore, Manganese Ore and Lead Ore – and the name of the company – Royal Capricorn! I’m not making this up people – Astrology is all around us, whether you realize it, or not.

And here are those tips:

Easing a New Key into a Lock – You know when you make a copy of a house key, for example, but when you get back home that new key doesn’t quite fit into the lock properly the same way the original one does?  Simply rub a Pencil over the teeth of the key (the Lead end, we’ll talk about the Eraser in a minute!) – the Graphite Powder should help the key to then open the door.

Unsticking a Sticky Zipper – Similar to the “new key” situation, a Pencil could also be the unexpected answer to rectifying that annoying zipper on your favorite jacket that always sticks… Simply rub the Pencil along the teeth of the zipper to un-stick it.

Repelling Moths with Pencil Shavings – Here’s an environmentally friendly way to avoid getting holes in your sweaters and recycle your Pencil Shavings at the same time! Save the shavings until you have a decent amount, and then place into small fabric sachets to hang in your closets. Apparently the Cedar Shavings will deter those pesky moths.

Removing Sticky Label Residue – Remember I said I’d get back to the Pencil Eraser? A good quality Eraser is great for removing that sticky residue left behind by annoying Stick-on Labels. It has to be a “soft” eraser made from rubber or vinyl though, because once they dry out and get hard, they don’t work.

Removing Scuff Marks on Floors – Similar to the “sticky label” situation, Pencil Erasers can also be effectively used to remove those obstinate black scuffmarks that end up on your vinyl floors thanks to your family’s assortment of shoes and scuffing feet!

Tips using Chalk – ChatterTip July 2013

Tips using Chalk

© Louisa J. Curtis

In case you hadn’t noticed, I love researching home remedies and useful tips that utilize natural ingredients or items found in your kitchen pantry and around the home (I have done since I was young) and, that I also tie in the tips with the Astrological sign for each month. It’s not just about finding natural cures – it’s also fascinating to me when the cure or remedy uses an unexpected item, just like with the mayonnaise last month! So this month for July and the sign of Cancer, I decided to go with unusual Tips using Chalk.

Why Chalk, you might ask? Well, the Homeopathic Cell Salt for the sign of Cancer is Calcarea Fluorica, or Fluoride of Lime. What do we take when we have an upset stomach? My mother, who was a Cancer, used to drink bottles of Milk of Magnesia (also known as Magnesium Hydroxide), a thick white milky medicine used primarily as an antacid and/or laxative. Notice, it is called “Milk” of Magnesia and the Sign of Cancer rules over Milk and all dairy products, as well as the breasts and the stomach! Check out this article from The Daily Mail online with a headline that reads, ‘Drink Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia and slip into that cocktail dress’: Fifties ads use humor to help women tackle constipation!Now, the solid mineral form of Magnesium Hydroxide is known as Brucite, and according to Wikipedia, it is a common alteration product of (among others), a low-temperature hydrothermal vein mineral in metamorphosed Limestones… [Did somebody say LIMEstone?] And Brucite is often found in association with (to name but a few) Calcite, Magnesite and Talc [all sounding pretty “chalky” to me!] If you live in an area with “hard” water (which I did growing up), the Limescale that forms inside your kettle is Calcium Carbonate. Many Antacid Tablets contain Calcium Carbonate, or Chalk. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world, and is the MAIN component of shells of marine organisms and eggshells – and last I looked, Cancer the Crab has a “what” on its back? That’s right, a shell!

So, since July is the Seventh Calendar Month, I figured I’d give you Seven Tips Using Chalk:

1. Keeping Tools Rust-Free

Eliminate moisture and prevent rust from invading your toolbox by simply putting a few sticks of Chalk in the box. Apparently the tools and box will remain rust-free.

2. Polishing Marble & Metal

To make Metal shine like new, place some Chalk Dust on a damp cloth and wipe. Buff with a soft cloth for an even shinier finish. And for Marble, wipe clean using a damp cloth dipped in Powdered Chalk, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.

3. Preventing Silver & Jewelry from Tarnishing

Not too many people have time to polish their silver cutlery these days, but if you place a couple of sticks of Chalk in with the silverware, it will absorb any moisture and slow down the tarnishing. This also works with your jewelry box as well!

4. Reducing Closet Dampness [Too bad I didn’t know about this one sooner!]

Tie a dozen pieces of Chalk together in a bundle and hang in your closet. The Chalk will absorb any moisture and help to prevent mildew. Replace every few months, as necessary.

5. Removing Grease Spots

Rub some Chalk onto a grease spot on clothing or table linens and let it absorb the oil before brushing it off. If the stain lingers, rub Chalk into the stain again before laundering. This is also a good trick apparently for removing those rings around your shirt collars!

6. Repelling Ants

Ants are repelled by the Calcium Carbonate in Chalk, so simply draw a line with the Chalk around all of the entry points in your home where the ants come in. Scattering powdered Chalk around garden plants will also help to repel both Ants and Slugs.

7. Stopping Slippery Screwdrivers

Does your screwdriver slip when you attempt to tighten a screw? Well, supposedly it won’t slip nearly as much if you wipe the tip of the screwdriver blade with some Chalk first.

Tips using Mayonnaise – ChatterTip June 2013

Tips using Mayonnaise

© Louisa J. Curtis

So my Gemini friend loves sandwiches, but even more than that, he loves his Mayonnaise, and I mean loooves his Mayonnaise! So this month I am giving you a few perhaps unexpected Tips using Mayonnaise, other than for sandwich making [if he can spare it!]. Note also that Gemini‘s color is Yellow, and Mayonnaise is what color? Yellow!

Clean Piano Keys

How’s this for starters? Since the sign of Gemini is connected with “rhythm” musically, here’s a suggestion for when those piano keys start to turn yellow [so now we’re treating Yellow Piano Keys with Yellow Mayonnaise!] They suggest that you “tickle those ivories” with a little Mayonnaise applied with a soft cloth. Wait for a few minutes and then wipe off with a damp cloth, and then buff – the piano keys will apparently look like new!

Condition your Hair

Mayonnaise is already sounding a lot more versatile than I previously gave it credit for, so consider this option: Massage some Mayonnaise into your scalp, like you would any conditioner, cover with a shower cap and leave on for several minutes. Shampoo and rinse – the Mayonnaise will moisturize your hair a give it a lustrous sheen.

Keep Plants Shiny

Here’s a trick used by some florists – to make your houseplant’s foliage gleam, simply rub a little Mayonnaise with a paper towel onto the plant’s leaves and they will stay bright and shiny for weeks

Killing Head Lice

Not something anyone ever wants to experience, but should it ever happen, here’s a suggestion that is even recommended by dermatologists so you can avoid those toxic drugs and over-the-counter preparations. Massage a liberal amount of Mayonnaise into the scalp before bedtime, and cover with a shower cap. Sleep with it on, then shampoo in the morning and use a fine-tooth comb to remove any lice. To completely eradicate the infestation, repeat this in 7-10 days.

Relieve Sunburn Pain

I certainly never heard of this one, but summer’s on the way so if you forget your sunscreen and land yourself a bad dose of sunburn, apply Mayonnaise liberally over the affected area. It will apparently both relieve the pain as well as moisturize the skin!

Remove & Soften Dead Skin
When you have hard skin on your elbows and/or feet, rub Mayonnaise over the dry, rough areas and leave on for 10 minutes. Wipe away with a damp cloth and you’ll be amazed at how it removes and softens the skin [I know, because I checked this one out!]

Tips using Lemons – ChatterTip May 2013

Tips using Lemons – ChatterTip May 2013

Last year for Taurus we gave you Tips for the Neck and Throat so this time, I am going to give you some Tips using Lemons. Why Lemons, you might ask, since the Citrus Fruits are really the domain of Leo, but then Taurus does hold the “fruits of the earth” in their hands, so let’s just say that Taurus grew some Lemons and shared a few with Leo! But the real reason I wanted to feature Lemons this month is because I have a funny story from my recent visit to the Palm Springs Photo Festival and the photo for this month’s tip is a result of that!

Two Lemons © Louisa J. Curtis

On the very first evening at the opening reception, after chatting with several people and drinking a couple of glasses of wine, I was standing by the bar getting some much-needed cold water, when I noticed the largest Lemon I had ever seen – I mean, this thing was huge! I looked at the bartender and said, what is that thing? “It’s a Lemon,” he said. “A large one.” I was flabbergasted by the size of this thing, wondering if perhaps the heat and the alcohol had gotten to me already, but he obviously sensed my great attraction to this giant fruit and said, “Do you want it?” To which I immediately replied, “You bet.” Not that I’m in the habit of scoring huge pieces of fruit from strange bartenders, but without any apparent hesitation I popped that enormous Lemon into my bag and stashed it all week in the refrigerator of my hotel room before triumphantly bringing it back to New York so I could take a photograph of it next to the tiny Lemon from my local supermarket that was sitting in my fridge here. I couldn’t help myself!

Having done that, I then looked up some uses for Lemons (besides making Lemonade) and found a few unusual and unexpected suggestions, so I thought I would share a few of those with you…

Keeping Critters out of the Kitchen!

Who needs all those expensive insecticides and traps when you have Lemon Juice on hand? To repel Ants, first squirt some Lemon Juice onto your windowsills and door thresholds, and then squeeze some into any holes or cracks where the Ants are getting in. Plus, you can also scatter some small slices of Lemon Peel around the outdoor entrance. Lemons can also help to prevent Fleas and Roaches – simply mix the juice and rind of 4 Lemons with 2 liters of Water and wash your floors with it – then watch them critters run, apparently they hate the smell! Who knew?

Lemons in the Laundry!

Lemons can work well as a mild bleach that won’t leave additional stains, like some household bleaches do. For delicates, soak in a mixture of Lemon Juice and Baking Soda for at least 30 minutes before washing. Lemon Juice also works well for rust stains and discolored T-shirts and underwear, or try scrubbing unsightly underarm stains with a mixture of equal parts Lemon Juice (or White Vinegar) and Water. Add Lemon Juice to the wash as a safe and effective fabric whitener that also leaves your clothes smelling all lemony fresh!

Sanitize your Kitchen Cutting Boards!

Even after washing your Kitchen Cutting Boards can still smell, so to eliminate food odors and help sanitize them without using soap and water, rub with a cut Lemon, or wipe with Lemon Juice.

Crisp up that Soggy Lettuce!

Before you toss that soggy Lettuce into the garbage, add the juice of half a Lemon into a bowl of cold Water and put the soggy Lettuce in it, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Be sure to dry the much-improved leaves off completely before adding them to your salad.

Buff up your Pots and Pans!

Brighten up those dull aluminum Pots and Pans by rubbing them inside and out with half a cut Lemon, then buff them with a soft cloth for a brilliant lemony shine! Lemon Rind can be used to polish Chrome, while a paste made with Lemon Juice and Salt (or Baking Soda) is good for removing tarnish from Brass, Copper or Stainless Steel – simply apply the paste to the affected area and leave on for 5 minutes. Then, wash off with warm water and polish dry.

Tips for Anxiety – ChatterTip April 2013

Since we gave you some Tips for Minor Accidents last year for Aries, this time I’m going with some Tips for Dealing with Anxiety. Whenever you feel anxious about something, it is the Planet Mars at work. Just miss that train? Wonder when the next one is coming? Will you make it to your important meeting on time now? Did you remember to bring the right notes or are they still sitting on your desk at home? Mars literally speeds time up, and because of that Anxiety, we become more prone to those Accidents!

Rescue Remedy © Louisa J. Curtis

Anxiety is described as a state of apprehension or fear that surfaces in the face of danger, but nowadays our everyday lives in the “modern world” can be so stressful that we can easily become anxious, even when our lives are not in danger. As a natural “fight or flight” response to some potential peril the body prepares itself through Adrenaline to cope with the threatening situation – we’ve all heard of people who after a bad car accident suddenly have the strength to free themselves from the wreckage, or rescue their child from some imminent danger. In normal circumstances, they might not have been able to do what they did, but under extreme anxiety and with the adrenaline pumping, they found that inner reserve they didn’t even know they possessed. But what happens when that state of Anxiety takes over? Not so good. The adrenaline is still produced, but it is not utilized, so the body goes into a state of physiological confusion, or what’s known as a panic attack. Re-occurring panic attacks can turn into Chronic Anxiety, ultimately leading to a constant state of worry and depression. In other words, it can take you right out of your game!

Chinese herbalism might suggest Ginseng, and treatment would be designed to strengthen the spleen and enliven the liver. Traditional folk remedies for Anxiety suggest Oats, which I find very interesting, and starting your day off with a bowl of Oatmeal is not only said to be great nutrition, but also aids in reducing depression. Who knew? Other useful herbs are Skullcap (notice the blatant anatomical reference to the head – we are still talking about Aries, after all!) and Valerian. A tea made with Lady’s Slipper and Lime Blossom may also work to ease anxiety and tension. And another interesting note, while we’re mentioning Lime, is my favorite cure for a headache (again, we’re dealing with Aries), which is to take a piece of fresh Lime and simply rub it on your temples and forehead. Repeat a few times and see how that headache starts to dissipate – and it costs a lot less than Advil or Aspirin! For the bath, it is suggested using a blend of relaxing essential oils, such as Lavender, Geranium and Bergamot.

An increase in the intake of Vitamin B is said to help the nervous system, and in Homeopathy, Aconite (or Monkshood) is used to dispel a sudden panic attack, and Arsenicum (or White Arsenic) may be useful if you feel insecure, restless or tired (notice they both begin with the letter “A”). And for the Bach Flower Essences, Elm is used to help feelings of being unable to cope, Red Chestnut when dealing with the welfare of others, and Aspen (another “A” word) for anxiety that is caused by no reason in particular! And last but not least, Rescue Remedy, which my sister and I used constantly when dealing with the stress of losing both parents and everything else that accompanied those emotional and physically stressful times. Rescue Remedy is an equal blend of 5 essences – Cherry Plum for feelings of desperation, Rock Rose to ease terror, fear or panic, Impatiens to soothe irritability and agitation (that’s pretty funny since Aries can be pretty “impatient!”), Clematis to counteract the tendency to drift away from the present (well, if the present is making you feel kind of anxious, who wouldn’t want to drift away some place else?), and Star of Bethlehem to address the mental and physical symptoms of shock.

Tips for Healthy Circulation – ChatterTip February 2013

A couple of years ago in the Aquarius newsletter we gave you some tips for healthy blood and circulation, but this time I’m concentrating more on Tips for Healthy Circulation. Simply put, the body was made to be in motion, we have flexible limbs and joints that need to stay lubricated, but we have become a sedentary species, spending far more time sitting on our backsides than ever!

© Bill Lusk
  • Lack of Exercise!

I know it sounds obvious, but it really is important to remember that we need to Exercise on a regular basis. The engine of the automobile was fashioned after the human body, and if that motor is not maintained, and “run” on a regular basis, it will seize up. It needs fuel, oil and water – and so do we! We live far more sedentary lives than ever before, sitting in front of these computers all day… so even if it’s a walk around the block on your lunch-break, or walking home instead of taking the train – get those legs moving! Many thanks to photographer, and my client Bill Lusk for allowing me to use this perfect “running” image! Cayenne Pepper can be added to any Herbal Tea to stimulate the circulation and warm the body. Ginger also improves the circulation and Mustard baths can help if you suffer from cold or icy feet. Notice these are all “hot” ingredients!

South American Bushmaster Snake © Pete Oxford / naturepl.com
  • Blue or Purple Skin

When a person suffers from poor circulation or a disorder such as Raynaud’s Disease or Acrocyanosis, there may be patches of blue or purple skin, often worse after sleeping. One of the recommended Homeopathic remedies for this is Lachesis, taken from the Venom of the South American Bushmaster Snake. When you are bitten by a venomous snake, the poison enters the bloodstream, and again we are talking about Aquarius and the blood. The Homeopathic remedy Lachesis is used to treat (amongst other things) irritability – I’d be pretty irritable if a snake had bitten me too, so that makes sense… And ironically, on February 10th, 2013 we enter into the Chinese New Year, and the Year of “guess what?” – The Snake! A big Thank You to Giles Manning for providing us with this fabulous image of a South American Bushmaster Snake from the stunning Nature Picture Library!

Beets  Lisa Adams
  • Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins are swollen and twisted veins found most commonly in the legs, and are caused by a weakness in the veins’ valves. (Hemorrhoids are essentially the same thing, just found somewhere else!) Raw Beetroot is said to help Varicose Veins and should be eaten daily as a powerful tonic. Many thanks to photographer Lisa Adams and to her agent Holly Neumann at RepGirl – I was literally preparing this month’s newsletter when I received the RepGirl Valentine’s Day newsletter, in which was Lisa’s beautiful image of – guess what – Beets! So how perfect was that? It also recommended that you increase your intake of Vitamins E & C to help improve blood vessel health. From my precious copy of the Reader’s Digest “What Our Grandmothers Knew” on Improving the Circulation: “If you lead a sedentary life and have a tendency to Varicose Veins, draw up your toes as far as possible several times a day.” Sitting with your legs and feet elevated is another option!

Tips for Excessive Eating & Drinking – ChatterTip December 2012

Tips for Excessive Eating & Drinking!

Three Tequilas © S&C Graham Photo / Cocktail Images

Remember last time in preparation for Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season, we gave you some Tips for Entertaining from our charming sign of Libra, the perfect host of the party. Now with Sagittarius, we have the perfect guest! Well, maybe… The Sagittarius definitely loves a good party, and they love to eat and drink and drink and eat and talk the talk – however, their downfall is that Jupiter, the Ruling Planet of Sagittarius, is also the Planet of “Excess” so they often don’t know when to stop! So with the Holidays upon us once more, Christmas, Office Parties, New Year’s, you know there’s the potential for yet more excessive eating, drinking, and yes, spending. So this month we bring you some Tips for Excessive Eating & Drinking!

Eating & Drinking – Before and After:

  • What to do before you go out drinking!

If I go to a party, or I have to go to more than one event/place in an evening, I usually stick with the same alcohol, because mixing up your alcohol will surely give you a much worse hangover and is perhaps more likely to make you sick! And, I also make sure I have eaten something before I leave home – never go to a party on a completely empty stomach! Unless you are going to a sit-down dinner, it is rare that you get enough “finger” food to really fill you up, or that will be sufficient to soak up the equivalent amount of alcohol you are drinking!

  • What to do the next day when it’s too late!

It’s happened to the best of us, so here are some classic Hangover Cures for the next day when it’s too late! After a late night of partying, we used to hit a Diner or Breakfast Joint and consume fried egg sandwiches or stacks of pancakes – good greasy, yummy breakfast food to soak up all of that alcohol. Sadly, some of the best places here in New York City for those late night/early morning feasts have disappeared. Now, some of you may recall my clients, photographers Shannon & Colleen Graham and their specialty website that features cocktails and liquor. The first image of the festive-looking “Three Tequilas” is from their award-winning book ¡Hola Tequila! So who better than our expert Mixologist Colleen to give us a list of her best Hangover Cures (as featured on About.com), one of which is from Poland suggesting that you drink some Pickle Juice, or how about a Bloody Mary? Looks good to me!

Bloody Maria © S&C Graham / Cocktail Images

Worst Case Scenarios:

  • Food Poisoning – let’s hope not!

Food poisoning is certainly not something you ever want to go through, but when you’re eating other people’s food at catered events, or mass-made meals, such as on a plane, you never know! Drinking Warm Water with a little Lemon will help to cleanse the system, and Honey will add antibacterial and immune enhancing properties. Years ago I got a bout of food poisoning from something I ate on a plane on my way back from Portugal, and I was really, really sick. I was so dehydrated and weak, I couldn’t eat anything, but my cousin got me back on my feet again by making sure I drank plenty of Gatorade, which is one of the speediest solutions for putting all the Electrolytes back into your system.

  • Vomiting – never fun!

Another thing that you don’t really ever want to experience is vomiting, but excess will do it, or worse than that, excess and mixing your alcohol up! Fresh Ginger, steeped to make a tea, can help to ease the nausea. Drinking some Soda Water, Club Soda, or Ginger Ale all help to settle the stomach and stop the vomiting – you want something plain and with bubbles. Once the system has cleaned itself out, restore the balance by eating “live” Yoghourt and/or take the supplement Acidophilus. Eating a ripe Banana will help to put the Potassium back in the system, and eating a little “raw” Apple that has started to brown, settles tummy upsets, especially in young children.

Additional cures for your Food & Drinking Excess – you can always go back to our July 2010 ChatterTip – Natural Remedies for Stomach Problems!

Thanks also to Shannon & Colleen Graham and Cocktail Images for the images!

Tips for Excessive Eating & Drinking – ChatterTip December 2012

Tips for Excessive Eating & Drinking!

Three Tequilas © S&C Graham Photo / Cocktail Images

Remember last time in preparation for Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season, we gave you some Tips for Entertaining from our charming sign of Libra, the perfect host of the party. Now with Sagittarius, we have the perfect guest! Well, maybe… The Sagittarius definitely loves a good party, and they love to eat and drink and drink and eat and talk the talk – however, their downfall is that Jupiter, the Ruling Planet of Sagittarius, is also the Planet of “Excess” so they often don’t know when to stop! So with the Holidays upon us once more, Christmas, Office Parties, New Year’s, you know there’s the potential for yet more excessive eating, drinking, and yes, spending. So this month we bring you some Tips for Excessive Eating & Drinking!

Eating & Drinking – Before and After:

  • What to do before you go out drinking!

If I go to a party, or I have to go to more than one event/place in an evening, I usually stick with the same alcohol, because mixing up your alcohol will surely give you a much worse hangover and is perhaps more likely to make you sick! And, I also make sure I have eaten something before I leave home – never go to a party on a completely empty stomach! Unless you are going to a sit-down dinner, it is rare that you get enough “finger” food to really fill you up, or that will be sufficient to soak up the equivalent amount of alcohol you are drinking!

  • What to do the next day when it’s too late!

It’s happened to the best of us, so here are some classic Hangover Cures for the next day when it’s too late! After a late night of partying, we used to hit a Diner or Breakfast Joint and consume fried egg sandwiches or stacks of pancakes – good greasy, yummy breakfast food to soak up all of that alcohol. Sadly, some of the best places here in New York City for those late night/early morning feasts have disappeared. Now, some of you may recall my clients, photographers Shannon & Colleen Graham and their specialty website that features cocktails and liquor. The first image of the festive-looking “Three Tequilas” is from their award-winning book ¡Hola Tequila! So who better than our expert Mixologist Colleen to give us a list of her best Hangover Cures (as featured on About.com), one of which is from Poland suggesting that you drink some Pickle Juice, or how about a Bloody Mary? Looks good to me!

Bloody Maria © S&C Graham / Cocktail Images

Worst Case Scenarios:

  • Food Poisoning – let’s hope not!

Food poisoning is certainly not something you ever want to go through, but when you’re eating other people’s food at catered events, or mass-made meals, such as on a plane, you never know! Drinking Warm Water with a little Lemon will help to cleanse the system, and Honey will add antibacterial and immune enhancing properties. Years ago I got a bout of food poisoning from something I ate on a plane on my way back from Portugal, and I was really, really sick. I was so dehydrated and weak, I couldn’t eat anything, but my cousin got me back on my feet again by making sure I drank plenty of Gatorade, which is one of the speediest solutions for putting all the Electrolytes back into your system.

  • Vomiting – never fun!

Another thing that you don’t really ever want to experience is vomiting, but excess will do it, or worse than that, excess and mixing your alcohol up! Fresh Ginger, steeped to make a tea, can help to ease the nausea. Drinking some Soda Water, Club Soda, or Ginger Ale all help to settle the stomach and stop the vomiting – you want something plain and with bubbles. Once the system has cleaned itself out, restore the balance by eating “live” Yoghourt and/or take the supplement Acidophilus. Eating a ripe Banana will help to put the Potassium back in the system, and eating a little “raw” Apple that has started to brown, settles tummy upsets, especially in young children.

Additional cures for your Food & Drinking Excess – you can always go back to our July 2010 ChatterTip – Natural Remedies for Stomach Problems!

Thanks also to Shannon & Colleen Graham and Cocktail Images for the images!

Tips for Entertaining – ChatterTip October 2012

Beetlebung Farm © Gabriela Herman

As previously mentioned the sign of Libra makes the “perfect host.” So with the Holidays approaching, I decided for this month’s tips to give you some Tips for Entertaining. Well, the tips are from a few “entertaining experts” not necessarily me!

Here are the TOP TEN TIPS for Entertaining from Clinton Kelly:

  1. Let the Party Reflect Your Taste (it is after all, your party! When I got my Green Card all those years ago, I hosted a Green Card Party where everyone had to wear something green, and all the food I served was green as well!)
  2. Illuminate with Candlelight (everyone looks better in candlelight!)
  3. Arrange an Attention-Getting Centerpiece (doesn’t have to be too complicated or expensive – mason jars filled with fresh flowers or herbs, or how about some decorative gourds and miniature pumpkins, for example?)
  4. No Paper Napkins but Linen (this is all well and good for a small dinner party, but come on Clinton, who honestly has the time to iron all those linen napkins – so a lot of people are going to go with paper ones!)
  5. Create a Child-Friendly Zone (if children are invited, that is, but it’s always good to give them their own little table and/or space.)
  6. Invest in some Stove-to-Table Cookware (looks nice and saves on the washing-up!)
  7. View, Unobstructed (nothing worse than sitting across from someone and not being able to see or talk with them properly because of some too-tall candles or giant floral table decoration!)
  8. Plan for Very Thirsty, Very Hungry Guests (may sound obvious, but for goodness sake, have plenty of everything rather than running out – always offer a drink as soon as they arrive, have a self-serve bar set up so you don’t have to make drinks all night, and have some “nibbles” for them to eat already set out.)
  9. Think Outside the Dinner Table (if you can’t do a big sit-down dinner, then have a nice cocktail party with lots of great hors d’oeuvres.)
  10. Be Mindful of Space (for a dinner party, don’t invite so many people that they’re going to be cramped with not enough places for them to all sit down comfortably!)
© Gabriela Herman

And from one of my own favorites, Ina Garten, aka Barefoot Contessa (not to be confused with Margo Pinkerton who is a different Barefoot Contessa) from her original book “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook”:

Here are Ina Garten’s TEN NO-COOK things to serve with drinks!

  1. Salted Marcona Almonds (or any other Nuts of your choosing…)
  2. Halved Fresh Figs wrapped in a small slice of Prosciutto.
  3. Fromage Blanc mixed with chopped Fresh Green Herbs, Salt & Pepper, and served with Crackers.
  4. Smoked Salmon served on small squares of thinly sliced and buttered Brown Bread (decorate each one with a tiny sprig of Dill, and/or a single Caper.)
  5. Smoked Salmon served on store-bought Blinis served with Crème Fraiche (& preferably Vodka!)
  6. Slices of Spicy Salami with slices of Seedless Cucumbers (or quality Pickles).
  7. Store-bought Hummus topped with a drizzle of Olive Oil & some toasted Pine Nuts and served with triangles of toasted Pitta Bread.
  8. Endive Leaves (or maybe Celery) stuffed with creamy Gorgonzola Cheese.
  9. Foie Gras with some Fig Jam served on Toasts (& preferably a glass of Sauternes. And if Foie Gras is too complicated, how about a nice store-bought Pâté?)
  10. Cheese Straws (one of my favorites!)

Thanks also to photographer Gabriela Herman for letting us use some of her lovely images from her “Beetlebung Farm” story.