Sarah Hoover and CeCe Barfield Thompson Create Lively Conversation About The Arts

By Lance Avery Morgan   Photography by Tony Garcia Photography

Sofiane Sylve, Kristin Tips, Marie Mays,, Claire McNab and Gloria Steves Dilley.

THE SETTING: Recently, it was the perfect day for a luncheon when Sarah Hoover, a renowned art historian, writer, and consultant, along with interior designer CeCe Barfield Thompson visited San Antonio to share their affinity for the arts. We love that Ballet San Antonio’s annual fundraising luncheon is always a favorite with the sociables in San Antonio.

Jenevieve Zoch, Allison Reyes, Sage Blount, Ashley Friedman, Rachel Halliday, and Sarah Geibel

Chaired by Marie Mays, the event led thought-provoking conversations on the importance of the arts and the profound impact it will holds for generations to come. Additionally, Hoover and Thompson shared why they admire ballet and how the art has influenced their lives.

Sarah Hoover, Marie Mays, CeCe Barfield Thompson and Corinna Richter

Sarah Hoover, Marie Mays, CeCe Barfield Thompson and Corinna Richter

THE STYLE: “Our Annual Luncheon is a fun and engaging event that helps us raise funds to advance our mission to share the splendor of dance through diverse artistic performances and outreach programs, nurture exceptional professional dancers and make dance accessible to the widest possible audiences,” said Evin Eubanks, CEO of Ballet San Antonio.

CeCe Barfield Thompson and Sarah Hoover

The mission of Ballet San Antonio, a professional ballet company, is to share the splendor of dance through diverse artistic performances and outreach programs that reflect, promote and enrich the cultural heritage of the South Texas community.

Bonnie Muecke, CeCe Frost Griffin, Meredith Howard, Emilie Petty and Amelita Mauze

THE PURPOSE: BSA holds an uncompromising commitment to continually attract and nurture exceptional professional dancers, create distinctive performances, and make dance accessible to the widest possible audiences through partnerships with local organizations. For more information and to learn how to support, visit here.

Clara Ostrander, Maddie Allen, Rachel Halliday, and Nicola Bathie McLaughlin

The scene at the Ballet San Antonio luncheon



By Lance Avery Morgan

We love that this week the Andy Roddick Foundation, the leading Central Texas organization enriching the lives of children through high quality after school and summer learning programs, investments in community innovators and awareness-building activities, announced comedian Bobby Bones will host and multi-platinum award-winning country music artist Jordan Davis will perform at their annual Andy Roddick Foundation Gala on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at ACL Live.

Radio and TV personality Bobby Bones will serve as host and his comedy duo, The Raging Idiots  (alongside Eddie Garcia), will perform at the 2023 Andy Roddick Foundation Gala with Jordan Davis, who released his second full-length album, Bluebird Days, in February.

“We are excited to be back at The Moody Theater with Austin’s own Bobby Bones hosting a hilarious night to raise funds for this critical organization,” says Andy Roddick, founder and chairman of the Andy Roddick Foundation. “We are honored to be able to also share the music of Jordan Davis with our supporters and look forward to seeing you on November 15.”

The gala brings together approximately 2,000 supporters, friends, partners and concert-goers for an evening of celebration and music. The evening features a cocktail reception, program, an extensive live auction, an elegant dinner, and live concert at ACL Live, home of the famous Austin City Limits TV series. The annual event attracts the biggest names in music and entertainment and has raised over $11 million since 2012 to support the Foundation’s after school and summer learning and enrichment programs. Proceeds of the evening’s events will benefit the Foundation’s after school and summer camps.

Tickets will be available beginning Thursday, May 25, 2023 at 10am Central Time from starting at $50 for balcony and $65 for mezzanine. Contact Natasha Willet at regarding gala tables, individual gala dinner tickets and sponsorship or for more information.



The ocean view from Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf

Let’s face it: St. Barts is an insider’s destination. These days, the celeb hideaway is more popular than ever, according to our intrepid global reporter, Kristen O’Brien, who recently dropped into Le Carl Gustaf, part of the Hotel Barrière Group, to experience the best that luxe beach life has to offer.  

Photography courtesy of Le Carl Gustaf, part of the Hotel Barriere Group

The beach at Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf


The prop plane pitched to the right, then to the left, bucking and rolling over the wind currents as we made our descent, but first we had to clear a mountain range, followed by a sudden drop in altitude, before the plane could hit the runway at a great speed and pull to a stop before ending up in the azure-colored bay at the end of the 2,100-foot runway. Most runways are between 8,000 and 13,000 feet long for comparison, so landing safely was a welcome end to the beginning of my adventure.  Welcome to Saint Barthélemy, aka St. Barts or, à la française, St. Barth. Personally, I thought the landing at Gustaf III Airport was exhilarating, but then again, I’ve always loved roller coasters. For a less dramatic arrival one can take the ferry from St. Maarten, usually a 45-minute ride, give or take some choppy waters. St. Barts is not easy to get to, yet certainly that is part of its allure and mystique.

Seeking some R&R, with ample beach time and sun, and a dash of glitz and glamour, I set my sights on St. Barts recently for four nights and it did not disappoint. The “season” on the island is a long one, from early November until the end of August, when most hotels shutter for the hurricane season. By the time I arrived, the eight-mile island was starting to pick up steam, but 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 and their yachts on display in Gustavia’s harbor.

The view from Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf

The island’s capital is named for King Gustav III of Sweden as the island belonged to Sweden from 1784 until 1878 when it was sold to France. Historically, the first jet setters arrived in the late 1960s when the Rockefellers and Rothschilds started to frequent the island and build homes. Those in the arts soon followed, with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev as early devotees, and Hollywood celebrities like Steve Martin and Chevy Chase, and musicians like Jimmy Buffett discovered the allure of paradise. Today there are too many A-listers who frequent the island to mention.

As a guest of the five-étoiles, Le Carl Gustaf, part of the Hotel Barrière Group, I was warmly welcomed to the property nestled in the foothills overlooking Gustavia with a glass of champagne and a Carl Gustaf fan. The panoramic view immediately took my breath away as the sun set over a series of mountains rising out of the Caribbean Ocean, the red tiled roofs and colonial buildings of Gustavia, the marina with super yachts, lush palm trees and frangipanis. After a ridiculously early start and an almost twelve-hour journey from Texas, I felt like I had arrived in heaven.


Fouquets at Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf

Designed by renowned French firm Gilles & Boissier, Le Carl Gustaf exudes luxury, elegance, and French-style charm throughout its 21 rooms, suites, and bungalows that all face the ocean. The bungalows come with plunge pools, and the 5-bedrrom 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 laid-back atmosphere of the island 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, there are some rooms available during the low season for $781 a night.

After settling into the beautifully appointed bungalow and catching the final rays of sunlight dipping behind the islands in the distance, I made my way up the steps to Fouquet’s to discover the cuisine created by three-star Michelin Chef Pierre Gagnaire, a mélange of traditional French cuisine with Caribbean accents. The restaurant is mostly open air with wooden floors and wicker furniture, a Caribbean house with Riviera accents, so one is always enjoying the view of twinkling lights below in Gustavia, and the warm tropical breeze tousling my hair. I was keen to try Fouquet’s signature cocktails by Emanuele Balestra created with specialty edible scents from his “Bar A Parfums.” I ordered the “Daiqui Jasmin” with Havana rum, fresh squeezed lime juice, and jasmine scent which was lightly sprayed on my wrists and then in my glass to ensure a complete olfactory experience.

Fouquet’s at Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf 

The consumable scents such as “Mandarine & Lavande,” or “Pamplemousse Jaune & Mimosa & Pelarconium Rosat” are elegantly displayed in a box on the bar. Balestra is the “King of the Aromatic Cocktail” and holds court at the Bar Galerie Le Fouquet’s at Le Majestic in Cannes. Balestra creates his palette of flavors in the form of extracts and changes them up depending on the season. For dinner I ordered a Périgord black truffle rigatoni with parmesan while my guest ordered the local catch which was prepared and deboned in the usual French Guéridon service style. The sommelier took great care of us, recommending wines to accompany each dish. I did forgo the trolley of mature French cheeses opting instead for the Crêpes Suzette, also prepared like the fish, “à table” with great panache and showmanship. The dining experience encapsulated all the elegance of a top French brasserie with the welcoming casual simplicity of the Caribbean.

Breakfast at Fouquet’s


What’s wonderful at the Carl Gustaf is that you really 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 does provide electric bicycles for their guests, as well as offering car service to the ferry or airport, and the stellar concierge team can organize taxis to other destinations on the island. On the first day I had a reservation 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 Ibiza or Mykonos.

A guest room at Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf

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 massage in three massage rooms as well as a fitness and yoga studio. I signed up for a massage and after an hour of bliss and relaxation. I had to purchase the Biologique Recherche lotion that was used because my skin felt so smooth, and I loved the earthy scent. The Spa also carries the local brand, Ligne St. Barth, as well as selling chic swimwear and beach attire. Other activities that the hotel offers or can coordinate besides the electric bikes and aqua bikes include organizing a Catamaran sailing excursion, water sports, hiking tours, picnics, and fishing.


Shell Beach has the best sunsets on the island. And Aperol Spritz. Photo courtesy of Kristen O’ Brien

When I wasn’t relaxing at Shell Beach, on my own spacious balcony with the plunge pool, or at the spa, I ventured into Gustavia for shopping at Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada and adorable local boutiques like Poupette, Lolita Jaca and Sea Memory. I had some memorable meals at L’atelier De Joel Robuchon and L’Isoletta…and people watching at Bar L’Oubli. I also planned an excursion with the help of the concierge team to Eden Roc for dinner and to experience more of a party atmosphere. I appreciated that my hotel was more tranquil and not party central.

I do wish I had explored St. Barts more. After all, there are 40 quartiers to discover and so many places to swim, snorkel, hike, eat and dance the night away. But I was so happy with my stunning hotel and all that it offered; it was hard to stray too far. Next time I will plan to stay longer, but for now, I can still feel the warm Caribbean breezes, see the stunning water, islands, and mountains, as well as the colorful Caribbean buildings dotted with Swedish architecture and churches, and hear the bleating of the cabris, the church bells ringing, the mourning doves singing and by nightfall, the katydids. St. Barts is a magical place that enchants the senses, luxurious but understated although there is nothing understated in its stunning beauty and impeccable hospitality.

Nothing beats the view from the private Villa Diane. Photo courtesy of Kristen O’Brien



Change Sings At The SAFE Storybook Gala

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Konstantin Belyshev and Justin Rouhier

THE SETTING: The Omni Barton Creek Resort in Austin was the recent setting for a night of fun and fundraising. Over 600 attendees were on hand for the annual SAFE Storybook Gala. The cocktail-attired crowd began the evening with drinks in the foyer outside the venue’s ballroom. Guests were encouraged to wear their favorite attire to showcase their musical flair as a nod to the theme of the evening, Change Sings. As partygoers sipped on their favorite spirits, they had the opportunity to peruse silent auction items, receive a personalized poem courtesy of Typewriter Rodeo, and mingle with other revelers.


THE STYLE: The festivities then moved into the ballroom for the main program. As guests dined on their delicious multi-course meals, they were treated to highly impactful testimonials from the organization’s leaders and those who have benefitted from SAFE’s services. Next came a spirited live auction with many fabulous items, the highlight of which was a private in-home dining experience with Uchiko’s Tyson Cole, which sold twice for $30,000 each.


The evening was capped off by giving the SAFE Guardian Award to Frankie Fowler, who was recognized for her tireless contributions to the organization. Upon receiving the award, she was surprised by an onstage performance by the Austin Chapter of the Texas Gospel Choir, whose beautiful songs brought tears to the eyes of many, and the crowd to their feet, ending the evening on a high note.


THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Pamela Benson Owens and Diane Land, raised over $900,000 for The SAFE Alliance. Funds raised from the event will provide services for children and adults of abuse, including shelter, face-to-face and digital support, advocacy, prevention, and educational programs.



Houston Zoo’s Centennial Ball Is Smashing Success

By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Daniel Ortiz

THE SETTING: A record-breaking crowd of more than 700 Houstonians dressed in black tie, gowns, and glamour joined together for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of 100 years of the Houston Zoo. Guests met and mingled among live animals, including a North American porcupine, a tarantula, and an American alligator, before entering the tented Masihara Pavilion, which had been turned into a gorgeous and elegant al fresco ballroom. City Kitchen served a delectable, multi-course dinner, which was followed by a spirited live auction.


THE STYLE: The evening was filled with sentiment and animal love as Houston Zoo President and CEO Lee Ehmke expressed how truly remarkable it was for the Houston Zoo to reach its centennial anniversary and, above all, to celebrate the momentous occasion with the zoo’s closest friends and supporters. He honored Kathrine McGovern for always seeing the Zoo’s potential and turning dreams into reality. He emphasized how the smiles and laughter of Zoo visitors, especially children, are a powerful reminder that her generosity will bring joy and inspiration for generations to come. The after party was chaired by Chita and Lane Craft, with the Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra keeping revelers dancing past midnight.


THE PURPOSE: This year’s sold-out event, hosted by co-chairs Kelli and John Weinzierl and Kelley and Stephen Lubanko, and honoring Kathrine McGovern, raised $2.3 million to support the Houston Zoo. Highlights of the live auction included naming rights for the Zoo’s Galapagos tortoise, which sold twice for $47,000 after a lively bidding war.