LISA SWEETINGHAM

Journeys: An Uncommon Wealth

Lara Livingston was 22 years old when her father, a New York physician, passed away, leaving her in charge of his beloved La Sardinera, a 1,700-acre grapefruit-and-coconut plantation on three miles of palm-dotted coastline in northern Puerto Rico. It was 1925, and the young Livingston had already earned a reputation as an intrepid spirit, flying […]

The Robb Reader: Herb Alpert

Although best known as the Grammy Award–winning lead man of the Tijuana Brass, 77-year-old trumpeter Herb Alpert has a professional playlist that also includes songwriter (he cowrote “Wonderful World” with Sam Cooke and Lou Adler), record-label founder (he is the A in A&M Records), painter and sculptor (his latest works include 18-foot-tall bronze totems), Broadway-theater […]

Best of the Best 2012: Spas: Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie

Los Angeles’s iconic Hotel Bel-Air—a woodsy, storybook getaway complete with resident swans—has been the preferred city retreat of Hollywood royalty for 65 years. Now, after completing a two-year, $100 million renovation, the famed hotel has a retreat of its own: the Hotel Bel-Air Spa by La Prairie (310.909.1681, http://www.hotelbelair.com). Opened in October, the 4,100-square-foot, Alexandra […]

Wings & Water: Protect and Serve

Last february, while sailing off the coast of Oman, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, Calif., were taken hostage by pirates. The couple’s 58-foot yacht, on which they had been navigating the world since 2004, was soon tracked down by four U.S. warships, but the Adams were shot to death by their captors […]

21 Ultimate Gifts: Keys to the Castle

The GIFT The famed Sol de Oriente estate at Mexico’s Costa Careyes resort. $18 million In 1968, Italian real estate developer Gian Franco Brignone fell in love with the lush jungles, vast sandy beaches, and agreeable year-round climate of Mexico’s Costa Alegre. After a single visit to the region—a nearly 175-mile stretch between Puerto Vallarta […]

Smart Collectors: Sports Memorabilia: Dennis Gilbert

ESPN analyst and former major-league ballplayer John Kruk once dubbed Dennis Gilbert’s house “Cooperstown West.” Indeed, hundreds, perhaps thousands—Gilbert has lost count—of photos, jerseys, bats, balls, and other baseball mementos fill the Los Angeles–area estate where the legendary sports agent lives with his wife of 33 years, Cindi. Dennis played in the minor leagues from […]

Journeys: Ancestral Routes

On a spring evening in 1951, my maternal grandmother, Margot Zündorf, a blonde, blue-eyed 21-year-old German immigrant, was shot to death outside her home in Atwater Village, Calif. The gunman was her 28-year-old husband and my grandfather, William Valenzuela. Moments later, William turned the weapon on himself. My grandparents met when William was a soldier […]

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