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Few cities have as much style as New Orleans!   Layers of social and cultural styles of dressing, interior design, and of course cooking give The Big Easy a complex sensibility that you won't find in another American City.  You might feel like you need a passport to enter the Crescent City, because this town is definitely not like the one you call home!     

New Orleans is filled with talented and creative souls in all forms, from the  gifted musicians to the masters of cuisine.  It is impossible not to be inspired at every turn.

One very talented native New Orleanian is a man known by millions of TV fans all over the world.   Bryan Batt starred as Art Director Sam Romano in the Emmy winning series Mad Men.  Set in a 60's era advertising agency on New York's Madison BRYAN BATT AS SAM ON AMC'S MAD MENAvenue, the show became a major pop culture phenomenon.   The fashion world became smitten with the cool retro glamour of the men and women of Mad Men.  Catwalks all over Europe and NY suddenly featured the very grown up tailored look for men, and slightly prim, but retro sexy vibe for women. (Think full skirts and tight sweaters). 

SUNNY SATURDAY ON MAGAZINE STREET IN UPTOWNIn real life, when Mr. Batt is not starring on Broadway or acting on TV,  creating interiors has always been another true passion.  He and partner Tom Cianfichi run home accesorry boutique- Hazelnut on Magazine Street. NEW ORLEANS TOILLE GIFT & TABLEWARE AT HAZELNUT   In the Uptown section of the city, Hazelnut showcases the guys eclectic taste and attitude towards decorating your home. (Also an excellent gift resource).

Mr. Batt's new book big, easy Style has page after page of perfectly styled rooms that are sure to strike a chord with your own personal style.   A play on words of New Orlean's nickname - big, easy, Style is meant to ensure readers to have fun when designing rooms to live in.  If you choose items that bring out your own style, the room will make you happy to be there every single day.   The book is full of photos of Mr. Batt's home and countless others from all around New Orleans,BRYAN BATT & CHRISTOPHE POURNY AT HAZELNUT in just about every style you can think of.  Also, the book has a great list of resources of home furnishing and antique stores.  New Orleans is of course, home to some of the finest French Antique stores in the country.   Balzac Antiques is a great example of just such a store, and it is referenced in the book.   Sarah Scott Thomas has the eye of a curator and the passion of a collector.   Her shop on Magazine street is a favorite of collectors from all over the Country.    In fact, on a recent visit to her store, I met clients from Dallas, San Francisco, and New York - all in the store on a sunny Saturday afternoon.   Many shoppers had stopped by that day to see Antique Restoration specialist Christophe Pourny who was having an in-store appearance at Balzac toTREASURED FINDS AT BALZAC ANTIQUES ON MAGAZINE STREET promote his line of furniture care products.   Bryan Batt is also a friend, and we all caught up over at Mr. Batt's bustling store.   Bryan was having his book signing and Hazelnut was hosting a block party - complete with a Jazz band!   What a fun weekend in New Orleans!

If you haven't been to The Big Easy in a few years - plan your trip NOW!  The hard work and dedication of New Orleanians to restore their beautiful city after Hurricane Katrina has really payed off.  Their perseverance and welcoming spirit will warm your heart.   You owe it to them, and to yourself to visit New Orleans.   The weather is just about perfect at any time of year.   While it is hot and sticky in the Summer, that's when things get really interesting!   

Click the big,easy Style book cover to bring a copy home today.   Click Mr. Batt's photo to visit Hazelnut - they have a HUGE selection of Christmas ornaments that can easily be packed and shipped.   Also, click Balzac to see some truly beautiful French Antiques.   See you in NOLA!



Jane Fonda is one of the most unique voices in Hollywood.  How do you begin to talk about her life?  Born into Hollywood royalty as the daughter of the legendary Henry Fonda, Jane's life was complicated from the time she could walk.   Her parents relationship was far from perfect, to say the least.  Growing up as the daughter of this American icon, finding her own space in the world was confusing and challenging.

Fonda would become a famous actress in her own right and give groundbreaking performances that have now spanned 50 years.    From Barbarella, to Klute, to Agnes of God, to 9 to 5, to Monster-In-Law, Fond never fails to captivate audiences with every move.JANE FONDA - FITNESS EXPERT - click image

Along the way, she just happened to invent the concept of celebrity aerobics with The Jane Fonda Workout.   The series of video tapes would become the best selling fitness series in history - to this day!   They are still relevant and they still work!FONDA AS FUTURISTIC SEX KITTEN BARBARELLA - click image

Then there was the Political Activist Jane Fonda that caused a scandal during the Vietnam with her anti-war stance.  Jane shocked the world with her outspoken and provocative actions that came at a time when the country was so sensitive to the entire Vietnam situation. 

This past month, Fonda had heads turning again with her amazing fashion shots in Harper's Bazaar Magazine.  The actress now in her 70's was stunning in a full length gown AND a totally sheer panelled polka dot dress from Stella McCartney!  Who are you calling old??   Actually, in person Ms. Fonda is a true beauty.   I met the actress about three years ago on a flight from LA to Newark.  It was the red-eye flight and I was lucky enough to be upgraded to first class - of course Jane was there.   I was seated one row and 3 seats away from this legend.   She was in row 4A and I was in 3D.   I was never so disappointed with a seat assignment in my life!  So close, and yet so far.   The worst part about it was, I could hear her distinct voice and infectious laugh the whole night as she chatted with her seat partner!  I could have chatted with Jane for hours... Well the next morning at Newark airport I was cheered up.   As I stood half asleep waiting for the luggage to be released, I heard that voice ask in my ear "Is this the right carousel for our luggage?".   It was Fonda.   At least Jane had recognized me from the flight, it's all about making a first impression.   

Jane Fonda can teach anyone lessons about life on so many levels. CULT CLASSIC COMEDY - 9 TO 5  Rich and famous, or not, Fonda is a role model for women anywhere. JANE IN STELLA McCARTNEY- CLICK TO SHOP  She has made tough choices to live her life to the beat of her own drum.   Her audio book is narrated by the legend herself and to hear her voice tell this story is about as entertaining as a book can be.    Download the autobiography -My Life So Far- today and get it on your ipod.   It is the perfect inspirational listening to start your day in the morning, or help that evening commute to be a little more relaxing.  The book was released in 2003 and although it is not her latest book, you would hard-pressed to find a story more interesting! 

**Click Fonda's image above to download the ibook now**



Justin Vivian Bond is one of those unique creative forces that makes NYC what it is.  A staple in the downtown performance art scene, V (as JVB is known) is a versatile artist.   A singer, songwriter, and painter, V has been writing, starring in, and producing- theatrical, cabaret, and art events internationally for over 20 years.   What sets the work apart for me is the sense of comedy that runs through every piece.   There is an angst and a bitterness that just makes certain performers sparkle and stand out, and V has enough to blind you!

In the early 90's, the East Village of NYC was a still a wonderfully funky place.   It was possible to see shows any night of the week that you couldn't find uptown.  It was in this environment that Bond built a following.   One half of the duo -Kiki & Herb (Kenny Mellman) - fictional over the hill cabaret performers that had stayed too long at the party, Bond was lightning in a bottle on stage.  What was originally billed as "a little dowtown drag cabaret show" would come full circle.   The duo set the world on fire and performed everywhere from downstairs at Fez in Greenwich Village to uptown at the world famous Carnegie Hall.  Not to mention all the  international hotspots they would take Kiki & Herb!  Bond was nominated for a Tony in 2007 for "Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway".  Not many cabaret acts can say that, but Justin Vivian Bond is not your average cabaret performer.  I've seen V perform countless times over the years, in all incarnations, and it is the ability Bond has to seduce the audience in any venue that really deserves accolades.  JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND - IN CHARACTER - OR NOT

To be clear, it's not that Bond goes out of the way to please each audience.   It's that the performance is so true and powerful, that it can reach any audience listening.

"TANGO -My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels" marks V's first foray as an author.   Published by The Feminist Press, the memoir is as laugh out loud funny as it is touching and poignant.   A coming of age story about a little boy dealing with the confusing feelings about being different from other boys.  Combined with all those complicated issues that every child deals with about gender, identity, and a sense of sexuality.   Little Justin Bond might not have been your average boy next door, but anyone reading TANGO can relate to the feelings of being "different" growing up.   As adults we know there are reasons for peoples actions and reactions,  but as kids, we think we are the only person in the world feeling strange or alone.   The book sheds a light on the struggle that trans gender kids feel from a very young age.    Bond's affinity for his mothers lipstick and why she thought it was not appropriate for a little boy to wear it to school is just the beginning..

JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND - LIGHTING UP THE ROOMFans of David Sedaris will LOVE this book.   Both have a tremendous sense of humor.  Of course the stories are very different, but both authors tell them from outside the box.   I think if Justin Bond and David Sedaris had grown up on the same block, who knows what amazing things would have happened?  The world might have seen some incredible invention like a Gay Google or Microsoft on some cosmic level!  They at least would have had each other to commiserate with - that is if they would have talked to each other.  I'm not so sure.

I hope in addition to all the hipsters, readers, and glitterati that will read this book, that any young mother will also pick it up.   (great gift for any pregnant friend- she could use a laugh right now).    Mothers should remember and take heart in the fact that children are these amazing little independent spirits that come into our lives.   Parents often don't get the child they thought they would, but that is the magic of the experience.   Every child is perfect.   Loving them, guiding them, and keeping them safe until they can take care of themselves is the job of every parent and family member. 

I can't recommend TANGO enough.  But don't take my word for it.  The book jacket is covered with recommendations from MAJOR artists like Yoko Ono, Sandra Bernhard, & Rufus Wainwright to name a few! The New York Times Book Review also gave it accolades.  Buy it now in one of the options below.   Also, buy Justin Vivien Bonds albums.   They are unique and creative, and there isn't much music out today that you can say that about!  click Dendrophile to preview the latest album.

**  For anyone who doesn't know Bond's amazing incarnation as Kiki DuRane .   You should do yourself a favor and buy Kiki & Herb - WILL DIE FOR YOU taped live at Carnegie Hall**

TO BUY TANGO - CLICK -   iBOOK      Nook Book    Paperback