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Author: Jill Weinlein

Hamanasi is Belize’s Luxury Eco-Friendly Resort

Charles Darwin described Belize in his 1842 book,  Coral Reefs of the World, as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies.” Belize borders Guatemala, Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. When two American divers and nature enthusiasts traveled to Belize in 2000, they fell in love with the beauty of the beach town, Hopkins. They enjoyed meeting the people in this English-speaking nation. Belize is a melting pot of Creoles, Mayas, Mestizos, East Indians, Chinese, Mennonites, North Americans, Europeans and Central Americans. With over 1,000 different live species, there are 500 types of fish and 100 different varieties of coral....

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The 68th Emmys Award Cocktails

During the 68th Emmy Award Governor’s Ball, the dashing Charles Joly, award-winning bartender of World Class Spirits made two craft cocktails for the special celebratory party. The nominees and winners first sipped a Ketel One Moonlighter and The Emmys Old Fashioned. The Television Academy presented me with recipe cards to make both drinks at home. Here are the ingredients to make your own award winning cocktail to sip in front of the television, while watching the Emmys Award show. The Ketel One Moonlighter created by Mixologist Charles Joly is a simple, yet elegant cocktail, ideal for a toast to a special...

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Legendary Film Director Francis Ford Coppola

Sitting next to one of Hollywood’s greatest film directors–Francis Ford Coppola–was a thrill for me. Both of us graduated from UCLA Theater and Film School. The night I met Coppola, he was receiving a special honor and award at the 25th annual UCLA TFT Film Festival Directors Spotlight along with a talented group of film students. Sitting in a large theater at the Director’s Guild of America on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, I watched UCLA Dean Teri Scwartz honor Francis Ford Coppola with the Distinguished Vanguard Director Award Presentation. She enlightened guests with the history of Coppola’s career and had...

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Sotheby’s Ornellaia Wine Auction

Parking in the Hammer Museum UCLA in Los Angeles, I noticed an array of expensive luxury cars that included a Rolls Royce, two Bentleys and a few Jaguars lined up in a row. They belonged to affluent winemakers, oenophiles, wine buyers and culinary aficionados for a gala evening and dinner by James Beard award winning chef Suzann Goin. Michael Mondavi Founder, Folio Fine Wine Partners and Michael Mondavi Family Estate attended the event. He helped establish the Napa Valley wine industry to what it is today, while working with his grandfather Casare Mondavi and learning about natural farming and winemaking. Goin and her team prepared over 150 exquisite meals for the benefit dinner during the live auction of rare Ornellaia bottles conducted by Sotherby’s in support of the Hammer Museum. Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is an Italian wine producer in the DOC Bolgheri in Toscana, known as a producer of “Super Tuscan” wine. Every year since the release of Ornellaia 2006, the winery chooses a contemporary artist to create a work of art and series of limited edition labels. The inspiration is from a single word chosen by the winemaker to describe the character of the vintage. This year, the winemaker selected contemporary artist Yutaka Sone. Sone works in various media, primarily marble sculpture and crystal carving. His large blocks of marble are displayed around the world. The winemaker’s word this...

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American Bison Thrive on Catalina Island

President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law on May 9, 2016.  Both houses of Congress agreed unanimously with the approved bill sponsored by Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo. Recognized for its historical, and cultural significance in Northern America, the bison is the national mammal of the United States. Where do bison roam naturally? National Parks, including Yellowstone, on buffalo reserves, and happily on Catalina Island for almost 100 years. The first to arrive on the island came by boat in the 1920s. Some Islanders will tell you these furry mammals starred in Zane Grey’s silent film, The...

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Magnificent Montage Laguna Beach

Once you pull up to the Montage Laguna Beach, your mind relaxes as the friendly valets welcome you and escort you to the registration counter. The staff happily leads you to the  Lobby Lounge balcony to proudly show off their signature mosaic sunburst pool with over 500,000 colorful tiles. Beyond are rocky cliffs and the dazzling Pacific Ocean. Checking into room 526, we had marvelous views of the walkway leading down to the beach and the Pacific Ocean. The feather-top king size bed was dressed with 400-thread count bed linens. In the closet, two 100% Fila Casa Egyptian Combed Cotton...

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Hollywood’s Wizarding World

Universal Studios Hollywood is one of the most popular sightseeing destinations in California. Now with the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening before the summer, it will draw even more families and Harry Potter fans to Los Angeles. First there was a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Next, the attraction opened in Osaka, Japan, and now Hollywood, California officially opened a Scottish Hogsmeade Village on April 7, 2016. Inspired by the best selling author J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters and Warner Brothers films, it’s an ideal multi-generation activity that everyone...

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Custom Design Your Own Luxury Handbag

Have you ever looked for just the right handbag to go with a favorite outfit and shoes, only to settle for something different than you hoped? I have a solution for this dilemma. I recently learned about the handbag manufacturer Laudi Vidni from a gift card inside the 2016 Madison & Mulholland Awards Season Gift Bag. Viewing the Laudi Vidni online, I found it surprisingly informative and easy to use with prices starting at $75 for a custom designed bag. With 26 styles from wallets and wristlets, clutches, small bags to cross bodies, totes, shoulder bags and backpacks to choose from, you can then...

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Elegant Hideaway at La Quinta Resort

In the early 1920s, wealthy San Francisco businessman Walter H. Morgan purchased over 1,000 acres of land from the native Cahuilla Indians in the desert of Southern California. He hired the architect/designer Gordon Kaufman to design 20 Spanish Colonial Revival casitas with fireplaces as a retreat. Each unit was made from hand-formed adobe bricks and locally fired clay roof tiles. There is a plaque on the lobby wall of the hotel stating that the lobby was made from 100,000 adobe bricks and that the total construction of the resort cost $150,000. La Quinta translates in English to The Villa. With...

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Philanthropists William and Elizabeth Shatner

It’s a beautiful love story of Hollywood movie and television star William Shatner meeting a beautiful woman named Elizabeth. Quickly the two realized they had a lot in common with their mutual admiration for horses and helping those in need. They married in 2001 and got to work helping others. Every year the Shatners host the Hollywood Charity Horse Show in Burbank, raising money for children’s and veterans’ charities. Priceline.com (Will’s been a spokesperson for the Priceline.com since 1997) and the generous people at Wells Fargo help host this fundraising party by bringing together horses, riders, food, auction items and...

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Meet Michelin-Star Chef Cristina Bowerman

Born in Rome, Cristina Bowerman is as much a scientist as an Executive Michelin-star chef. After studying Foreign Languages, being a graphic designer and graduating from Law School, she practiced law for two years before enrolling and graduating from the Culinary Arts at the University of Austin, Texas, from the program of the Parisian school, Cordon Bleu. In 2006, she started cooking at the esteemed Glass Hostaria. Four years later she was the only woman to receive a Michelin star that year.
 Bowerman has changed the gastronomical landscape with her molecular approach to food preparation. Recently Chef Bowerman partnered...

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