There is a correct response for every social situation. Most of us get it right most of the time. However, when we don’t our Ms. Modern Manners Sharon Schweitzer, JD, is on board to give us a hand up in potentially awkward matters.

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

I‘m a tall female with short, cropped hair. In fact, I saw it on the streets of Paris and had to have the chic look. I’m frequently welcomed to shops or restaurants with a loud “Hello, sir.” Once they realize their faux pas, they stumble awkwardly apologizing and backtracking. This mislabeling is hurtful for those who are transgender or gender-nonconforming. How do I graciously respond?

 Inquiring Mind

Dear Mindfully Inquiring,

Like all things, etiquette evolves with the times. What was appropriate historically may not work as smoothly today. The clerk was more than likely intending respect with their greeting, and it will create a more gracious atmosphere if you give them the benefit of the doubt. Keep in mind that military and Southerners will say sir and ma’am out of habit. If a clerk is unsure about an appropriate greeting, they can leave off the gender tag and say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.”

The next time this mislabeling occurs, respond with a genuine smile and a warm tone, “Please consider dropping the ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ from your friendly greeting. It hurts when you get it wrong.” Sales associates will be more cautious or try to break the habit.

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

I have been encouraged to improve my professional protocol since I am losing accounts and the respect of my colleagues because of oversharing on social media and being a jerk. However, I’ve no motivation to do so. It seems overwhelming. Where do I start?

                                                                                                                                      Social Media Boor

Dear Feeling Boorish,

Motivation is the key to achieving our professional and personal goals, succeeding in our careers, and improving ourselves as lifelong works in progress. It can come from anywhere…from our personal relationships, to a desire to overcome adverse circumstances and achieve success. Whatever its source, motivation can make the difference between reaching our dreams, and watching them pass us by.

In order to remain a driving force in our lives, motivation must be maintained as a source of inspiration and resilience. To keep motivation high, it’s important to remind yourself why you began your professional or personal journey in the first place. Are you seeking a promotion that would allow you to exercise your creative abilities? Whatever your reason, here are four easy tips for maintaining motivation and achieving your ambitions:

  1. Write down your end goal and why you want to achieve it, note the date at the top of the page, and re-read your response often. Think of this as a promise every day that you’re making to yourself as a conduit towards fulfilling that commitment.
  2. Keep a source of inspiration somewhere you can see it each day. Make your phone screen a picture of your dream vacation destination, keep a family photo nearby, or tape your dream university’s brochure above your desk. Visualizing your goals will remind you why you’re working so hard and encourage you to stay the course.
  3. Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Instead of setting a long-term goal that may take years to accomplish, come up with a timeline of benchmarks that break down your goal into more feasible steps. When you reach an important milestone, celebrate your achievement; then look forward to the next step in attaining your goal.

Finally, consider finding a coach or mentor with experience in your field who can advise you on how to reach your goal. Set up weekly meetings to decide where you need to improve, and what successes you’ve achieved so far. Not only is a coach or mentor a great source of insight, but they will ask all the right questions and hold you accountable to them.



The best plays, musical performances and exhibits in Texas are being enjoyed by record number crowds, according to our cultural adventurer Rob Giardinelli, who shares our favorite recommendations from across the state. 



Austin Opera presents a classic work by iconic Italian Composer Giacomo Puccini, La Bohème, the epic story of young bohemians who struggle to find love and make their dreams come true in the Paris Latin Quarter circa 1840. Through May 5. At AustinOpera.org


The Tony Award winning and family friendly play by Roald Dahl, Matilda the Musical, is an empowering story about a young girl with telekinesis who overcomes obstacles and takes things into her own hands. April 3 – May 12. At ZACHTheatre.org


Off the Rails: The Rise and Fall of Austin’s Street Cars takes a look at how the street car era (1875 through 1940) impacted life in Austin and how it influenced the city’s residential development. Through May 26. At Library.AustinTexas.gov

IMAGE: Congress Avenue and 6th Street, 1913 C02001 Chalberg Collection of Prints and Negatives



World-renowned artist Sheila Hicks, whose vibrant works have graced such iconic spaces as Versailles and the Highline In New York City, comes to Texas with new, textile installations. May 11 – August 18. At NasherSculptureCenter.org


IMAGE: Image from 2018 Shelia Hicks Migdalor Magasin III Jaffa Exhibit in Tel Aviv. Photo courtesy of Nasher Sculpture Center.


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical chronicles the life of one of the world’s most beloved and influential songwriters of the second half of the twentieth century. Hearing the timeless tunes of this legend has created over the last six decades will have you singing too. June 18 – June 23 at the Winspear Opera House. At OperaHouseDallas.org


David Park: A Retrospective, is the first museum in exhibition in more than 30 years of one of the influential artists of post WW II Abstract Expressionism. Known as the father of San Francisco figurative art, Park’s works from his Cubist-inspired paintings in 1930s through his figurative paintings of the 1950s are featured. June 2 – September 8, The Modern Museum. At TheModern.com

IMAGE: David Park, Four Men. Photo Courtesy Of The Modern Museum



50 master works from one of the world’s most influential artists of all time, Vincent van Gogh: His Life in Art features works throughout his life from his early years in the Netherlands to his landscapes in Saint-Rémy and Auvers. March 10 through June 27. At MFAH.org


Stonewall 50 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the June 1969 Stonewall Riots that became a seminal moment in LGBTQ right movement. The exhibit features works on a broad range of topics including transgender issues and intergenerational dialogue on the path to equality. Through July 29. At CMAH.org

IMAGE: Photo courtesy of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston


The Phoenix is an opera based on the incredible life of Venetian priest and poet Lorenzo Da Ponte, who after getting kicked out of Venice due to scandal, meets Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart and becomes a top librettist. Through May 10. At HoustonGrandOpera.org



America on Stage celebrates stage designers of the most substantial theatrical productions of 20th and 21st centuries. Drawn from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts it includes works ranging from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma to Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. Through June 30. At McNayArt.org

IMAGE: Douglas Schmidt, Scene design for Grease, 1972. Collage on board with acrylic, ink, and varnish. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin


Cinderella is the ultimate children’s classic with an underdog to root for, a wicked step-mother, a prince, a fairy god-mother and most importantly, a happily-ever-after ending that never gets old for kids and kids at heart. May 16 and May 17. At ChildrensBalletOfSanAntonio.org

IMAGE: The Arrival by Xiang Zhang


The Grammy and Tony Award- winning musical, Once is the musical adaptation of the 2007 film by John Carney. It’s the story of an Irish musician and Czech immigrant who grow close in Dublin due to their mutual love music. May 16 – June 9. At ThePublicSA.com

IMAGE: Photo courtesy of The Public Theatre of San Antonio



Always looking for the next best thing, our editors Lesa Rossick in Austin, Cynthia Smoot in Dallas, Jennifer Roosth in Houston, and Eleanora Morrison in San Antonio share their stellar statewide recommendations that are must-visits during the warm weather.



Alongside Arlo Grey and Alfred’s coffee shop inside the Line Hotel, is the new, chic rooftop bar, P6. Small plates, cocktails and a variety of musical and cultural events can be enjoyed overlooking gorgeous views of Town Lake. Plus, private bookings are available. At TheLineHotel.com


TLV is the newest addition to The Fareground, taking over the previous Easy Tiger space. A food truck, Hummus Among Us, turned brick and mortar serves Israeli street food ranging from Turkish breakfast to homemade falafel pitas. At TLV-Austin.com


Restaurateur Chef Jason Dady from San Antonio has taken over the old Fado Pub space with Chispas, a casual taco eatery. DuMon’s Down Low, a new speakeasy bar right below the restaurant, is also offering  bites from Chispas. At ChispasAustin.com



Perched on the 19th floor of the historic Statler hotel, Waterproof boasts stunning panoramic views of surrounding downtown Dallas. As the moon rises over the city, swimsuits are exchanged for cocktail attire, the doors are open to the public and the party continues. You can take advantage of a new membership program that includes an expedited entrance for the member plus a guest, priority cabana and table reservations, 15% off bottle service and invitations to member-only events. At WaterproofDallas.com


Restaurant veteran and owner, Austin Rodgers (Offsite Kitchen, Neighborhood Services, Town Hearth) set out to create a restaurant that feels like a classic neighborhood favorite that’s been around for years. That’s the Alamo Club. Its shotgun space offers dining tables in a cozy area, a community high top table and bar serving unpretentious cocktails by seasoned pros. At AlamoClubDallas.com


With popular locations in Phoenix and Los Angeles, The Henry offers new American eats with executive chef, Imsub Lee, leading the kitchen. The Dallas menu is centric to the city with dishes range from short rib potstickers to a spicy fried chicken sandwich and grilled portobella tacos. A  full-service coffee bar, two full-service bars, a private dining room, as well as ample seating throughout its interior and exterior spaces. At TheHenryRestaurant.com



Bisou brings an unparalleled combination of continental cuisine and curated entertainment to River Oaks District. With a robust beverage program featuring classic cocktails, an extensive wine list, and champagne magnums served up in a sleek contemporary interior, it’s in fine company for the modern French fare that’s taking the city by storm. At BisouRestaurant.com


The new kid at an old favorite in the Four Seasons Hotel, Bayou & Bottle, is quickly becoming the ultimate see and be scene place. The bourbon bar and restaurant offers over 160 types of bourbon and whiskey. Want your own bourbon locker? That’s available, too. Plus, a Top Golf Swing Suite is only steps away. At BayouAndBottle.com


Brought to you by the same folks who created BCN and named for the Spanish capital of Madrid, MAD offers modern and traditional tapas and paellas which strongly label Spanish cuisine around the world. It’s raising that experience to a level of quality and excellence beyond compare…while conveniently located in the River Oaks District. At MADHouston.com



Mixing it up from a boutique-sized eatery in Olmos Park, the revolutionary chefs behind Mixli utilize indigenous Mexican ingredients and pre-Hispanic techniques to create the perfect balance of old and true, with new and innovative. With a mission to support as many local ranchers, farmers, and artisans as possible, the young team is making a name for San Antonio across the country. At RestaurantMixli.com


A mid-century themed cocktail bar located within walking distance to the Historic Pearl, The Modernist’s menu, music, and décor will have you singing and swinging right into the 1960s. A favorite neighborhood haunt, the cocktails and the atmosphere have kept this hot spot at the top of locals’ lists. Doll up in your caftan, don your Don Draper skinny tie, and sashay over.


Step into Savor, The Culinary Institute of America restaurant tucked in a cozy corner at The Historic Pearl, and experience a meal inspired by ingredients and techniques from around the world. Each dinner is a learning experience, crafted and served by students of the CIA, making for a truly unique and memorable meal. At CIARestaurantGroup.com



Before it even opens, it’s a colossal hit. When Dior: From Paris to the World, debuts this month, the feast for the eyes begins, according to our ardent fashion follower Lance Avery Morgan.


It might be the biggest thing to hit Texas since the actual New Look debuted in 1947. Dior: From Paris to the World, an exhibition which surveys more than 70 years of the House of Dior’s legacy and global influence will be on view in Dallas May 19 through September 1, 2019 at the Dallas Museum of Art. In fact,  Texas will be the only US venue beyond the recent showing in Denver for this extensive and highly anticipated retrospective of the celebrated Haute Couture house. We’re counting the minutes because as seen on recent red carpets, his design spirit is alive and kicking in celebrity gown fashion choices.

Just what can we expect to see? The exhibition will feature a selection of more than a hundred haute couture dresses, as well as accessories, photographs, original sketches, runway videos and other archival material, and trace the history of the iconic haute couture fashion house. His New Look revolutionized the fashion world. Dior’s sophisticated designs, featuring soft shoulders, accentuated busts, nipped waists, and dancing corolla shaped skirts, were inspired by his passion for flowers. The result was elegant feminine contours that brought a breath of fresh air to the fashion world through luxurious swaths of fabrics, revolutionary design and lavish embroidery. This marked the beginning of an epic movement in fashion history that would eventually lead to Dior successfully becoming the first worldwide couture house.

The exhibit will profile its founder, Christian Dior, and subsequent artistic directors, including Yves Saint Laurent (1958–1960), Marc Bohan (1961–1989), Gianfranco Ferré (1989–1996), John Galliano (1997–2011), Raf Simons (2012–2015) and Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016–present), who have carried Dior’s vision into the 21st century. Organized by DAM and curated by Florence Müller, the DAM’s Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion, it spans more than seven decades, this retrospective will offer a new perspective on the fashion house’s legacy following the Paris exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

“Dallas has long recognized the artistic significance of Dior, most notably when in 1947, early in his career, Christian Dior traveled here to receive the Neiman Marcus Award for fashion. We are excited to welcome this innovative creative voice back to our city and to offer DMA audiences the opportunity to be inspired by the remarkable legacy of a global icon,” shared Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director.

Visitors will be able to capture the unique technique of the Dior ateliers in a dramatic visual display presenting a glimpse into this secret world, including sketches, toiles, and the intricate process of embroidery. The atelier represents the heart of the house where seamstresses work with Dior’s creative directors to collaboratively bring couture to life. And this exhibit, in turn, breathes more life into couture.





When he brings his new play, Immortal Longings, to Texas in June to run at the ZACH Theatre in Austin, Corpus Christi native Terrence
McNally will share his lifelong career of sophisticated playwriting that sO many have come to expect from the Tony
Award-winner. Success With Style podcast series hosts Rob Giardinelli and Lance Avery Morgan share an exclusive peek inside McNally’s myriad of talents.


In an address to members of the League of American Theatres and Producers Terrence McNally remarked, “I think theatre teaches us who we are, what our society is, where we are going. I don’t think theatre can solve the problems of a society, nor should it be expected to. Plays don’t do that. People do. But plays can provide a forum for the ideas and feelings that can lead a society to decide to heal and change itself.” He should know since some of his hits include Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Full Monty, Catch Me If You Can, and the current Broadway sensation, Anastasia. It’s safe to say that most theatre aficionados consider him the greatest living playwright in America for good reason.

The real artistry of Terrence McNally is revealed and revered with his gentle manner. In the performing arts world his work is about as close to a sure thing hit as it gets and to many, at the age of 80, his best work lays ahead of him. With McNally’s new production at ZACH Theatre, overseen by Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley, he takes the audience back to the world of the piece, originally titled Fire And Air, to explore the rich history of the great Russian impresario Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev and his legendary Ballets Russes. Many know that Diaghilev introduced the world to such revolutionary artists as Nijinsky, Stravinsky and Picasso. In fact, as McNally is quick to note, “Few plays are flawless at their world premiere. Plays are not written, they are re-written. I knew in New York that the play was not finished to my satisfaction and I was grateful when ZACH invited me to finish my work on the play with a new director, a new cast, and most importantly, a new text. A change of title, even after a first production, is not an unusual part of a play’s journey. Away We Go in Boston became Oklahoma! before Broadway.”

McNally’s written word have been performed by some of the most prolific theatrical talents of our time. “Theatre is collaboration,” McNally is quick to point out. “I’ve had wonderful actors, directors and designers to work with and Nathan Lane is a good example of a young actor I’d seen in a Noel Coward play. I thought he was absolutely brilliant in it and so, I thought, I want to work with this guy.” They’ve worked together often since to great acclaim for both. When McNally won a Tony for Master Class, Zoe Caldwell performed as the legendary operatic diva Maria Callas (tutoring the young ingenue Audra McDonald) that was based on his impression of seeing her perform when he was 17. With John Glover, who triumphed in the lead role in Love! Valour! Compassion!, McNally also won a Tony.

The playwright’s unabashed authenticity is palpable in our conversation–likely the reason some of the most superb talents of our time work with him again and again. Chita Rivera, whom we caught up with at McNally’s eight decade birthday celebration commented, “Almost everything that comes out of my mouth are his words,” referring to their many winning collaborations on Broadway.

McNally is frank about discussing his life of growing up in a small Texas town and the recent documentary about him, Every Act Of Life, explores the world of McNally’s ups and downs. As a gay, Catholic son of an alcoholic father, his youth was difficult and he’s quick to admit that it fed his need to create art beyond his surroundings. So it was a full circle moment when he wrote Corpus Christi, a modern-day retelling of the story of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death. With the new reincarnation of Immortal Longings, McNally’s hopes are high. “’Oscar Wilde said ‘Be yourself. Everybody else is taken,’” states McNally, and it’s advice he’s followed himself to create a deep level of genuineness in his writings to this day. McNally’s Texas ties also remain strong and his career-related collection is housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas.

“I don’t think artists live their life in vain,” he confides. “If you reach one person in a thousand and you’re an artist, you could consider yourself repaid fully by one person in a thousand. I mean not everybody wants to be a writer or a painter, but if you can reach one person to expand their horizons, then you’ve met your goal as an artist.”



With summer upon us and a lull in the social season ahead, we turning to reading more, aren’t you? Our resident bibliophile Lance Avery Morgan has a few recommendations up his sleeve that are perfect for both surf and poolside.



This chic treat of a book delves into the Dallas-based designer Emily Summers’ world with a revealing glimpse into her style, inspiration, design projects, and even her own home. $50. At Rizzoli USA.



Thierry Mugler has, since the creation of his label in 1974, continuously revolutionized contemporary fashion with his singular, imaginative vision. This bool reflects a range of his iconic ready-to-wear and haute couture garments. $150. At Phaidon Press.



Farrow & Ball are world-renowned for their high-end paint and luxury wallpaper. Here is the wisdom for creating harmonious interiors and beautiful rooms. This is a practical guide filled with endless inspiration. $50. At Rizzoli USA.



This is an engaging, witty, and wonderfully illustrated compendium of one hundred notable men and women throughout Italy, Germany, France, Iberia, Scandinavia, Russia, and eastern Europe, who shaped and experienced one of the most creative and inventive periods in human civilization. $16.95. At Thames & Hudson USA.



Through informative and witty essays chronicling over 100 years of drag, readers will embark on a Priscilla-like journey through pop culture, from television shows to Broadway and film. $35. At Rizzoli USA.



These bold spaces reflect Andrews’ philosophy on design and explores topics such as creating a vision, keeping unexpected choices elegant and cohesive and how to cultivate cinematic style with sweeping staircases and a feeling of extravagance. $45. At Rizzoli USA.



This unique monograph of over 50 collections created by the fashion designer Marc Jacobs in the past 25 years and illustrated by Grace Coddington will sit firmly on top of your tabletop. $59.95. At Phaidon Press.



The Domaine of Château-sur-Loire, a fifteenth-century UNESCO World Heritage site, has for centuries been prided for its exquisite gardens. This in-depth presentation of the art of the garden, from historical styles to contemporary materials, is an essential reference for garden aficionados around the world. $115. At Rizzoli USA.



This definitive portrait of the creative genius who transformed fashion features exclusive interviews of those who knew him best, by one of the most respected names in French fashion. $40. At Rizzoli USA.



This covers the grounds, literally, of twelve beautiful properties, all designed to be lived in and enjoyed as extensions of the homes they surround, rich with creature comforts that are likely perfect for your home, too. $50. At Rizzoli USA.