THE SENSATIONAL SAGA & SECRETS OF SARITA SILVA

THE SENSATIONAL SAGA & SECRETS OF SARITA SILVA

Coming to a bookstore near you soon is the latest book by Lance Avery Morgan. Set in the Golden Age of Hollywood in 1932, the rise and rise of film starlet Sarita Silva will inspire you to create your destiny your own way.

There are bushels of them. At least two and a half dozen floral bouquets, in just about every color of the rainbow, are arriving by the truckload at Preeminent Pictures, the biggest little major movie studio in Hollywood. An array of tuberoses, peonies, orchids, and gardenias, all ensconced in elaborately towering vases with gift cards of congratulations and well-wishes, have been delivered since dawn. Their destination is the dressing room of Sarita Silva, forever more known as Academy Award-winning Sarita Silva. The journey in which she receives the fabled golden statue has been rather brief by Hollywood terms, yet arduous to be sure. 

 

Little did she know, as she naps poolside at her Bel Air rental, less than 10 miles away from Preeminent, sleeping off what was a combination of too much champagne and Duck a L’Orange that the real journey of a lifetime had only begun.

 

It all has to start somewhere, like all great stories filled with love, heartache, success, and misfortune. Every life is as chock full of them as a cellophane bag of mixed nuts, especially in Hollywood. The bright California sun bathes Hollywood’s bustling, freshly tarred streets in lemony golden hues, setting the stage for both glittering dreams and powerful ambitions to collide.

 

Among the starry-eyed dreamers, like the tens of thousands of young, ambitious, and beautiful women and men before her, Sarita Silva steps off the bus with intense hope in her heart and determination in her youthful stride. A vision of grace and beauty, she knows she has to take a chance on her dream of becoming a movie star. In fact, her aim is to be the world’s most talented movie star.

 

The year, 1932, and Hollywood, the City of Dreams, is ablaze in the clinquant daylight with the glimmer of its mostly Spanish Revival architecture…and the distinct aroma of opportunity. Among the hopefuls chasing fame and fortune, the striking Sarita’s Silva realizes her radiant smile is not enough to ignite the silvery screen where celluloid dreams are being conjured every minute of the day somewhere in the world. But her secret weapon is that she possesses genuine talent.

 

 Busloads of Hollywood hopefuls fall off the turnip truck on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, the always-stirring epicenter where fantasies could come true, and often, life could change in what seemed to be almost overnight. That is what is so wonderful about Hollywood, that state of mind of Hollywood, anyway. Truly anything is possible. If can be dreamed, then it can made, or filmed. On the movie industry’s menu is a veritable feast served of possibilities: freedom, riches, personal fulfillment…and yes, even love.

 

Sarita straightens the hem of her lavender floral print dress that is accentuated with organdy blouson sleeves and makes sure her gloves remain pristinely white as she steadily holds the rail until she steps onto the sidewalk from the bus. As she navigates her way to the labyrinthine studio stages that lay ahead, Sarita’s almond-shaped and expressive eyes sparkle with excited anticipation. Giddy, really.

 

The Preeminent Studio gates, freshly painted in navy blue with shiny, intertwining copper Ps to represent the logo of Preeminent, loom ahead of her. The indelible gates are guarded by imposingly authoritative figures in gate-matching navy uniforms, like the police back in Sarita’s hometown of Monterrey, Mexico. She steels herself and walks forward, her fingers trembling as she clutches the audition script for the leading role in a highly anticipated upcoming romantic drama, I Am My Own Woman.

 

         Ambition courses through her veins, propelling her to conquer the challenges that await in the City of Angels. Sarita is not just content with being a visual spectacle; she possesses an innate talent that sets her apart. Whether it’s her voice, her acting skills, or a combination of both, she has a natural gift that draws attention immediately toward her whenever she steps into a room.

 

          However, beneath the glamorous exterior and the sparkle of Tinseltown, Sarita is not immune to the challenges that newcomers face. She grapples with what little she has heard about the complexities of the industry, navigating a landscape that can be both thrilling and treacherous. Despite the pitfalls, her determination remains unyielding, and she is willing to fight for her place in the spotlight.

 

LOVE NESTS

LOVE NESTS

PARADISE FOUND: FIVE-STAR TAHITI

If you truly want to get away from it all, French Polynesia might just be the most perfect destination on the planet. Sunny, remote, and quite glamorous, you’ll see why these famous islands surrounding Tahiti beckon you to the trip of a lifetime. Especially on a cozy getaway for two, according to our warm-weather traveler, Lance Avery Morgan.

Photography by Lucas Kepner

If this isn’t paradise, then paradise may not exist after all. Welcome to the land in which James Michener wrote Tales of the South Pacific and the subject for the native images painted by Gauguin and Matisse that shocked the world. Yes, French Polynesia is a very special land…a mythical place with mythical people offering what some might consider a once-in-a-lifetime experience south of the equator. So plan it right here and right now.

Think of French Polynesia as the Hawaii of the 1950s before statehood – unspoiled, underdeveloped, and well, just a little untamed. With exotic island names like Bora Bora, Manihi, Tikehau, Moreea, and many more, each experience can be distinctive and very five-star. To most, this trip is one of a kind. You encounter an authentic experience at Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts. Maybe that’s why the rich and famous love to escape their red carpet life to a place like this, even if just for a couple of weeks, to return to a sense of authenticity. The region’s laissez-faire attitude topped with a chic French accent creates a unique and spectacular environment for any desire.

Want to curl up in the lap of luxury and eat fresh fish with a side of poisson cru (coconut milk), then enjoy endless spa treatments? This is the place for you. Think you’re up for an athletic vacation where you can snorkel, dive, kayak, surf, and do just about any other water sport? This is it. Need some downtime away from your iPhone and spreadsheets to complete that unfinished screenplay, polish off that Great American Novel, or just paint your own watercolor masterpiece? Come here to do it and recharge your creative batteries. Think of it as nature’s Botox.

To know the islands, you first have to be acquainted with its land and peoples. The extensive island chain of French Polynesia is home to only 250,000 inhabitants, 70% of whom live on the island of Tahiti. There are about 120 islands and atolls that comprise the area, much more than Hawaii’s eight islands, lending a feeling of remote tranquility when you get there. And it is hardly Gilligan’s Island, or even Lost for that matter.

You see, the Polynesians are a dynamic and diverse culture. They are a people who seek adventure. They’re survivors avidly concerned with the environment, who love to have a good time and make visitors feel welcome. Although the French are not usually known for their overfriendliness, they are known for creating an environment that’s above reproach, which is what they’ve done here since it was a French protectorate in 1842 and then became an overseas territory in 1946. Think of it as the ultimate lagoon destination.

Overwater thatched bungalows are the most common accommodations on the islands. From land, as you walk to the middle of the lagoon to your rooms at Le Bora Bora, you’ll see the marine life at your feet. Inside your teak wood suite of plush linens and island artist artwork, you encounter a Tahitian television; a glass floor coffee table where you can see all the fish swimming underneath you. These built-on-stilt suites are the perfect way to end either a sport-filled or relaxing day. Either way, you’re in paradise.

The sporting life on the islands is mostly inspired by the turquoise blue water and entices you to embrace your inner Indiana Jones. I hopped down the steps of my bungalow and swam over to a coral nursery where I found fish of every color and size. Have a need to catch your own meal? Do as I did and go deep sea fishing to catch a grouper, then have a picnic on a remote motu with a group of both friends and natives. Ready for dessert? There’s a coconut tree over there. It’s the kind I learned to climb to capture fresh coconut, then all you do is shuck it with your teeth or simply crack it open to taste the milky nectar. Anything seems possible in the South Pacific, even for the most ardent city dweller.

It’s said the blue water is so rich in coloration that it’s not duplicated in any other part of the world. Even from a plane window, it stunningly beckons each visitor. The fact that it’s pristinely clear is a given. The fact that it’s home to some of the best coral reefs in the world is a bonus. If you want to experience the best diving the world has to offer, this is the ocean for it. Marine life is healthy, abundant, and well-protected. Take a champagne sunset boat cruise to find out about the sea and its inhabitants.

Part of that specialness is the pearls found dotting both tourists and natives. The pearl farms that cultivate those precious balls of marine perfection are sprinkled among the islands. About one in 10,000 pearls are naturally perfect, so most are cultured like. Even cultured pearls of high quality take about five years to create. One created recently was a jawbreaker size valued at over $20,000. So, pearls are big business, especially the black ones that are shades of charcoal grey. If you are a diver and want to try your luck at obtaining perfect pearls, dive in. It can be done. For dive enthusiasts at all levels, Le Bora Bora by Pearl is the only luxury hotel chain to marry quality resorts with professionally run PADI dive centers at six of their resorts. The Four Seasons on Bora Bora is also an ideal choice when booking travel.

The hotel’s guests appreciate the special combination of being able to play at being Robinson Crusoe yet enjoy all the creature comforts of luxury resorts. The dining experiences at Le Bora Bora are memorable for their subtle mix of the best of French, International, and Polynesian cuisine, often accompanied by exciting Tahitian dance entertainment, which I well know. I was that guy they pulled on stage to learn the native Polynesian dance in front of the entire dining audience. Bongo drums and all. But it was worth it because the cuisine on the islands is unmatched. I danced for my supper. And most of the food is shipped in, since vegetation is rare on the islands due to space and logistics. But the fish is fresh and often comes from nearby the resorts. Fresh papaya juice and the best hot chocolate outside of Paris is de rigueur for breakfast, while a light salad lunch is the perfect energizer in between sports activities.
Want to be pampered? There’s an island secret called monoi, a liquid blend of the essences of hundreds of flowers, oil and indigenous coconuts that’s used in most of the spa treatments. The resorts offer a range of traditional Polynesian and other massage techniques and treatments using the purest natural oils and essences. Plus, there a selection of treatments, scrubs, and massages to soothe both the soul and the senses.

Islander folklore has that the French Polynesians honor dreams here. They feel that dreams are planted and fed, and not tossed away. That dreams and love never die in Tahiti. Upon departure, I am given my last strand of shells, signifying the hope of safe travels and a beckon to return. The shells and the trip symbolize the trip of a lifetime and I make a silent promise to myself to return again one day soon. With more sunscreen.

RADIANT & RAVISHING

RADIANT & RAVISHING

For your big day, you’ll want to look and feel as beautiful as ever. Here, our beauty expert, Leanne Raesener, shares the very latest and greatest getting-gorgeous products for a more stunning spring and summer.  

AUGUSTINE BADER

VINTAGE IMAGE
Brigitt Bardot, 1960s

GOLDEN DAZE

For the woman who has almost everything. Surrounded by a myriad of dazzling crystals, the fabulous bee-featured insect landed majestically on this one-liter Bee Bottle to make it sparkle. The best part? It still exudes your grandmother’s perfectly powdery scent.

$20,337. At Guerlain.com.

STILA
golden hour

SWISS LUXE NOW IN TEXAS

European insiders, and now Texans, turn to Valmont of Switzerland for the best, advanced skincare found anywhere. It’s where nature meets science and luxury meets effectiveness. We highly recommend the Moisturizing With A Cream, Mask, and Hydra Eye Serum.

From $160. Available in Texas at the Lake Austin Spa & Resort & LaMaisonValmont.com.

BRIGHTEN UP NOW

Does your color-treated hair need a volume lift shampoo as we dive into pools and fun this spring and summer? Yep, we thought so. The socialite insider go-to is, of course, Oribe.

$52. At Oribe.com.

CHRISTIAN LABOUTIN
URBAN DECAY

SUN-KISSED CHIC

Tan your face day or night with COU’s perfect Sunless Face Tanning Serum. With ingredients like Raspberry Seed Oil, Aloe Vera, and Vitamin A & E, it works to hydrate, tighten, and firm the skin while giving you a luminous glow. Created by native Austinite Trish Williams Huddleston.

$54. At COUSkincare.com.

SHOW YOUR GLOW

To feel wedding day wonderful, revitalize your skin with Glow Drip Serum from LOMI Skin, enriched with nourishing oils like Jojoba and Rosehip. You’ll experience a brighter complexion, reduced dark spots, and smoother skin with daily use. his serum is anti-inflammatory and filled with antioxidants for total skin revival, with Vitamin C as a powerhouse ingredient.

$98. At LOMISkin.com.

CHRISTIAN LABOUTIN
URBAN DECAY

WILD AS THE WIND

This elegant eye quad, the limited edition Wild Meadow Eye Quartet, includes two cream-infused pearlescent shimmering shades, one satiny-soft matte shade, and one luminous satin hue. The color story creates beautiful looks when mixed and matched or when worn as individually solo shades.

$78. At Chantecaille.com.

LINER NOTES

Complete the look of Tom Ford’s seductive eye using this innovative, dual-ended liquid liner. Formulated in the blackest shade of black, it delivers ultimate precision and makes fluid strokes easy to achieve with this Eye Defining Pen.

$58. At NeimanMarcus.com.

CHRISTIAN LABOUTIN
URBAN DECAY

STEEPED IN MYSTERY

Zafferano I, a Storie Veneziane scent by La Maison Valmont, is a balance of bright florals and spiced accents takes the wearer on a journey without bounds. East-meets-west aromas of saffron, bigaradier blossoms and precious oud lend authenticity and generosity to this captivating extrait de parfum filled with wonder and wanderlust.

$490. At LaMaisonValmont.com.

IS THAT YOU BLUSHING?

Water Fresh Eau De Blush in Light Pink from the Les Beiges line is our favorite shade this year. Developed using MicroFluidic Technology, the visible micro-droplet pigments melt into skin upon contact, offering a barely there finish and a healthy-looking glow.

$50. At Chanel.com.

CHRISTIAN LABOUTIN
URBAN DECAY

THE EYES HAVE IT

Ready to turn back the hands of time with Genaissance de la Mer? Infused with Crystal Miracle Broth™, this ultra-sumptuous cream visibly rejuvenates the eye and expression areas to transcend virtually all signs of time.

$520. At CremeDeLaMer.com.

EASY TO LOVE

EASY TO LOVE

Suzanne Negley And Austin Hegarty Tie The Knot

By Alexandra Del Lago Photography by Hannah Pickle

Love took center stage with Suzanne Negley, daughter of Susan and Richard Negley of San Antonio, and Austin Hegarty, son of Betty and Kevin Negley of Austin. Suzanne met her future groom after he played in a show…which he does as a hobby. “I was attracted to his intelligence, the way he listens to me, his loyalty, devotion…and his sparkling blue eyes,” enthused Suzanne Negley. “When we met, I loved our effortless connection and her sharp wit. Plus, her intelligence and various hobbies and talents from welding to decorating our beautiful home,” shared Austin Hegarty about his new bride.

The couple dated for four years before a brief engagement of five months. “It was one of those magic, chilly fall Texas days with a bright, clear blue sky when Austin proposed at a family picnic on our family’s ranch, KWW,” said Suzanne Negley. “I made him his favorite sandwich, which I must have gotten exactly right because he got down on one knee, read me a quote from Ray Bradbury (one of our favorite authors), and asked me to marry him. Afterward, we drank champagne, called our families, and watched the Hill Country wildlife as the sunset. He made us dinner, and we watched my favorite movie, Hook, on the projector next to a roaring fire.”

They then turned their attention to their dream wedding in The Big Easy. After a rehearsal dinner at the Cajun Ballroom at the Audubon Zoo the night before, they were wed at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens in City Park. The bride wore a dress from Angelina Mata at Mata Atelier that they designed together. The inspiration was from a Grimm’s fairytale…a dress that comes out of an acorn shell made of stars. The ceremony, where the couple recited their own vows, was a combination of all the couple’s favorite things: the beautiful “flower children” and young adult attendants from the bride’s family as their wedding party, summer camp songs, and musical performances from their talented best friends, along with the officiant, Alicia NcNab’s, wisdom and humor, and the magic of New Orleans. Directly after the ceremony was a Second Line from the band Kinfolk that played throughout the botanical gardens as the sun set.

The reception was a seated buffet dinner for 130 of NOLA-style seafood and had Rockin’ Dopsie, a Zydeco legend, along with the Zydeco Twisters, who performed and enticed everyone on the dance floor. He even let the bride put on a Zydeco washboard and play with him, previously worn by only three other women:  Beyonce, Michelle Obama, and Oprah. Belinda Belk of Blue Gardenia Events was the wedding planner and Antigua Floral created the floral decor.

“New Orleans is our favorite place in the world, so to have all our favorite people come together in our favorite spots felt like an embarrassment of riches and joy, enthused the bride. Suzanne, who attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, works as a stylist. Austin graduated from The University of Texas at Austin and its School of Law and works as a marketing manager at Austin PBS. The couple reside in Austin.


ST. BARTHS? SENSATIONAL

ST. BARTHS? SENSATIONAL

The Jet Set getaway is still the go-to choice for many honeymooners. It has everything and more that you could ever want, discovers our intrepid traveler Kristen O’Brien, who shares her barefoot luxury point of view while staying at Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf.

If you are seeking some R&R after a busy wedding season, with ample sun and beach time, with a dash of glitz and glamour, not to mention an incredibly romantic setting, then Saint Barthélemy, aka St. Barts or à la française. St. Barths, the jewel of the Antilles, does not disappoint. The “season” on the island is long, from early November until the end of August when most hotels shutter for the hurricane season. The height of the season is between Thanksgiving and the New Year, when the population of almost 10,000 grows to include a who’s who of monied and well-heeled globe trotters with their yachts on full display in Gustavia’s harbor.

Nestled on a hill above the port of Gustavia, is the capital of St. Barth. The Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf St Barth overlooks one of the most spectacular bays in the Caribbean. Designed by renowned French firm Gilles & Boissier, the five-star resort exudes luxury, elegance, and French-style charm throughout its 21 rooms, suites, and bungalows that all face the ocean. The bungalows have plunge pools, and the 5-bedroom Villa Diane comes with a private chef and butler. The colonial-style Carl Gustaf was built in the 1970s and purchased by the Barrière Group in 2016.

With a roster of luxury properties all over France, including Cannes and Courchevel as well as Marrakech, and the recently opened Hotel Fouquet’s in New York, this was their first venture into the Caribbean. Renovations had to be halted in 2017 due to Hurricane Irma, and therefore, it wasn’t until late 2020 that they finally reopened. The hotel has a chic, French ambiance yet also fits in with the island’s laid-back atmosphere, while still offering all the necessities and luxury one could desire. Pricing for the villa starts at just under $19,000 per night, and for the other accommodations, some rooms are available during the low season for $781 a night.

Le Carl Gustaf offers a newly opened restaurant on site, an “haute couture” meat bar aptly named Beefbar, where guests can savor dishes such as Wagyu steak and Kobe prosciutto, an exclusive menu item developed by founder Riccardo Giradui. There are fresh and light options on the Leaf & Reef, including the iconic Miso Spinach or the refreshing Hamachi Crudo. And of course, a mouth-watering signature Soufflé rounds out the meal. All while enjoying the warm tropical breeze and view of twinkling lights below in Gustavia.

What’s wonderful at the Carl Gustaf is that you don’t need a car and can walk to most of the places you’d want to go…a fabulous beach restaurant and club at Shell Beach, the cute boutiques and haute couture shops of Gustavia, the trendy bars and other incredible restaurants like Bonito, Bagatelle, and Orega, are all walkable if you don’t mind climbing down a steep hill…and up again. The hotel provides electric bicycles for their guests, and a car service to the ferry or airport, the stellar concierge team can organize taxis to other destinations on the island. A great place to start your trip is at Shellona, the private beach club and Greek restaurant on Shell Beach, a quick five-minute walk from the hotel and where guests can easily get a day bed and soak up the sun, enjoy an Aperol, mix with interesting people from around the globe, and watch one of the best sunsets on the island. Like most of the beach restaurants on St. Barts, and there are 22 beaches on the island, there is usually a DJ on site creating a carefree party vibe similar to what you’d expect to find in Ibiza or Mykonos.

Another key benefit of staying at the Carl Gustaf? All the pampering and treatments you can dream of on-site at the Spa Diane Barrière, which offers multi-sensory and bespoke holistic treatments, facials, mani-pedis, and tailored massages in three massage rooms, as well as a fitness and yoga studio. Other activities the hotel offers or can coordinate, besides the electric bikes and aqua bikes, include a Catamaran sailing excursion, water sports, hiking tours, picnics, and fishing.

If you can pull yourself away from the tranquility and pampering at Carl Gustaf then head into Gustavia for shopping at Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, and adorable local boutiques, like Poupette, Lolita Jaca, and Sea Memory. There are also 40 quartiers to discover and so many places to swim, snorkel, hike, enjoy top-notch culinary delights, and dance the night away. No other place compares when it comes to chic and cozy, where you can feel the warm Caribbean breezes, view the stunning water, islands, and mountains, as well as the colorful Caribbean buildings dotted with Swedish architecture and churches. One can hear the church bells ringing, the bleating of the cabris, the mourning doves chirping, and by nightfall, the katydids. St. Barts is a magical place that enchants the senses. The Island is luxurious but understated, although nothing is understated in its stunning beauty and impeccable hospitality.