Philly Chit Chat is Lucky 13

Philly Chit Chat is Lucky 13 today, in 2020 and that’s a good thing. The business is but the concept is not. In fact it reminds me of when PhillyChitChat first started, it wasn’t a business, it was a hobby. That’s where we are today. PCC covering things I find interesting, that I think you might find interesting as well. Thanks so much to all my subscribers for supporting me over the years, nearly 40,000, ok more like 39, 261 but that’s a darn lot of you who put up with my run on sentences, and writing as if I’m having a conversation.

Thanks to hubby Michael Toub who is my everything. He supports my unorthodox career, it was his idea for me to do a blog to share my photos, he’s my IT guy, he’s my best friend, the nicest guy you could ever meet, funny and friendly. I’ve become a better person because of him. Happy 26 years together too, and your birthday next week. Thanks to his parents for raising a great kid.

What started as a hobby has now turned into a career. I had no idea, nor did I ever plan it to go that way. I am grateful to you my readers who support me in this endeavor & especially for those who allow me to photograph them.

Since I was a little kid, I was always the one friends and family would come to and ask what the latest chit chat happening, and I enjoyed sharing it; dad called me Hedda Hopper (google it). Fast forward to when I was a paralegal at a law firm, Kohn, Swift & Graf, (yes I took those pixs on the website) where at one time one of the partners told me I had to stop gossiping and concentrate more on my work. Eventually in the 1990s I would become the traveling paralegal of the firm….

KSG, specifically my boss Bill Hoese, sent me to NYC to work on a great case. I figured out how to live there cheaper than commuting every day thus crossing off a goal I wanted to do all my life – live in NYC. After working 8 – 12hr days, I found I still had time to explore, and discovered I liked chronicling the celebrity nightlife in Manhattan. It was so much fun, and this was before many of the current celebrity sites were online, before FB got big, or twitter or Instagram were added to the Webster Dictionary.


At the urging of Mike Toub I started a blog about photographing celebrities, the photographers, the fans, the professional autograph seekers, basically the whole scene called Confessions of a Paparazzi. It was exciting time, I had a knack at finding out info on where the celebs would be, and using the info to my advantage where celebrity photographers would let me tag along with them as long as I didn’t get in their photos. The blog allowed me to share these adventures with a larger audience. I also contributed stories and photos to Perez Hilton and Gawker for links back to my blog.

A few of my paparazzi friends at the Waverly Inn in NYC capturing Anne Hathaway and her boyfriend in 2007

After returning to Philly when the assignment was up, surprisingly to none, I became a professional celebrity photographer, part time. I would continue to travel to NYC to photograph celebrities for the next 5 years after work, over night and then would go to work in Philly the next day very tired. It was a lot of fun. All my vacation days – 4 weeks, were spent living in NYC so I could pursue my hobby

Over the July 4th weekend 2007 with my friends Kati & Simon Curtis, who were visiting from NYC, we brainstormed. Simon coined PhillyChitChat and the rest is history. Thanks!! (We wanted to be able to include a lot of topics, not just celebrities.) Greta and Alan Greenberger on right. (2007) Greta has been a great mentor and friend for years.

Although over the years I have been able to shoot a lot of celebrities in Philly. I have to thank many of my readers, businesses and friends for their kind tips over the years in order for me to shoot so many of these celebrities or report on their whereabouts. Thank you so much!! (Thanks Michael Klein and Dan Gross for publishing my photos in the Inquirer and Daily News so many years ago, which really helped me grow.)

Stewart Bradley (what a great guy, boy did we have fun), AJ Feeley and Brent Celek

For many years I was “Paralegal by day, Paparazzi by night” until I parted ways with Kohn Swift 12/31/10, Mike said let’s see if you can make a living doing your blog cause I know you love it so much. I’ll support you for a year. A few months later I realized the only way I could make money was to be hired by PR/Clients to shoot parties as an event photographer, I would suggest they keep their house photographer if they had one, and I would use the photos took to place in the media as well as on my blog, promote their events on Social Media and pr give them photos for their social media.  I then told my readers I would be starting an event photography business, but would still write as I did the previous 3 years – who, what, when and where of the parties and the rest as they say is history. (These days they call it a pivot.)

Thanks to Jen Fred, Fox 29 who then said I’d be perfect for Fox 29 in 2011

Fox 29 came calling, where I appeared weekly for about 3 years, these days I contribute my work weekly (And appear occasionally. I was just on 2 weeks ago) This month, I celebrate 9 years as a regular contributor to Fox 29 and Philly Mag with my own column in the magazine. I also create content for  PhillyStyle Magazine, Metro Philly, Phila Business Journal, Phila Tribune, Philly Voice, and my pride and joy CBS3Philly, and am often featured on TV news shows, and I appreciate that people appreciate my mission of Philly cheerleader.  I’m so glad to have played a part in photographing the City as it came into it’s own in the last 13 years. I now have 3 photographers that work for me Andre Flewellen, Mike Hirata and Talya Hailey, and my sister Janine DeFeo who does our scheduling, and invoicing. We Will All Be Back Before You Know It!!

Thanks to Thom Cardwell for mentoring me in the beginning, and Laura Burkhardt for many years, even today she’s there for me to bounce things off of.

Philly Mag took notice of the who’s who of who I photographed and wrote this piece: I really did p/o a few Mainliner’s calling my girls “socialites”
Just like I called me a paparazzi, when it should have been paparazzo, I felt anyone who went out socially, especially supporting charities even if it was buying a bar drink, should be called socialites. It worked. I got noticed.

Philly Mag wrote about another “it” girl I featured – Maria Papadakis. This was a fun story, so much behind the scenes. Ahh I’ll never write a book.

Brandon Morrison (Custon Tux by LR2, and walking stick by Tobox) and Stacey Kracher, wearing Nicole Miller
There has never been a better friend, mentor, I’ve got your back to me in my life than Kory Aversa. Especially magnified in these trying times. Thank you so much for your friendship and for making me take selfies to chronicle moments even during that frightful storm yesterday, LOL. I’m glad you didn’t video me whimpering with fright from the lightning.
Thanks to the Ritz-Carlton and Aqiremo for hosting my 10th Anniversary Party; and Lynsie Solomon for organizing the party. She was fierce and kept the guest list at 325 people. Sorry for those I missed on the list. Only 7 more years until my 20th Anniversary Party and I’ll make sure you get an invite. Check out photos from my 5th Anniversary Party Here. Thank You All So Very Much, my heart is full with gratitude. To read more about my story head to Philly Mag, Philly Metro Billy Penn. Thanks again. Stay Safe, wear a mask (I know i hate it too) and be kind to one another. xoxo HughE