FORWARDLY FOCUSED

FORWARDLY FOCUSED

Uplift, magnify and amplify. Rinse and repeat. It’s our mantra around here with the Society Texas team and all that we do to create each issue especially tailored for you.

 

We agree with Oprah: Take your good fortune and lift your life to its highest calling. Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in the possibility.

 

Boom. It sounds so simple, but it’s a joy, as we begin summer, to dwell on the infinite possibilities ahead for all of us. We’ve risen from the depths of both the pandemic and the political and racial strife that has captivated this country… for what seems like eons now. We’re stronger, more agile, and ready for the next everything.

 

It reminds me of the stories my grandmother would tell me as a child. She was a woman of her era, born at the beginning of the 20th century. Neat as a pin (I vividly recall her ironing dollar bills under parchment paper so they would be crisp in her wallet). She had tremendous style, beyond being a terrific cook and doting grandmother who always wore a scent of cinnamony Estée Lauder Youth Dew. A native of Fredericksburg, the Central Texas oasis that seems to be the perfect hamlet in just about every American’s mind, she’d pursue a career and family in San Antonio. She would recount to me how Fredericksburg didn’t have electricity until 1937 after she had returned there, thanks to the Depression-era WPA Project that brought power to many rural U.S. communities. As a result, she never assumed a light switch could be turned on in any room and automatically have electricity―the service was spotty until perfected. Her motto? Never assume anything, yet prepare for the best of the future―and help it transpire however you can.

 

Edging in on a century later, I think we can all agree that being upended recently by COVID-19 and its topsy turvy vaccine rollout coupled with the severe weather and mass power outages across the state has instilled a sense of unknowingness of what the future might have in store for us. It has led all of us to have lives that are, shall we say, a bit more nimble to respond to evolving conditions of the greater scope that affects our personal world? Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. As a media company, we march forward to create more ways to share the best of the best that can uplift, magnify and amplify with everything you see here on these pages and on our digital platform. It indeed takes a village, and we are so proud of our villagers―both those who create this and you, who participate in gleaning from our storytelling. From our art-meets-jewelry cover feature to a profile of a stunning Houston home, to a profile on the talented hostess and entrepreneur Kimberly Whitman in Dallas, and all our other original editorial surprises in store for you, we are here to enliven your world.

 

We realize there is an abundance of stories to tell, people to know, organizations to support, and grand Texas feats yet to be discovered, so count on us to bring them to you in a vibrant and energizing way. And, always know that we are on board to share the best that Texans―and those with Texas ties―have to offer, and we look forward to being a favorite connection for you.

 

Lance Avery Morgan

Editor-In-Chief & Creative Director

 

BY PHOTO: Portrait photography by Romy Suskin 

 

Lance Avery Morgan. Photograpy by Romy Suskin

 

MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY

MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY

 

Spring has sprung, and around here, there’s also a spring in our step. How could there not be, compared to this time last year when it seemed the whole world shape-shifted in many directions? With all that behind us now, we’re ready, willing, and able to get back on track like never before…and for many of us, to make up for lost time.

 

We’re all a year into living with how the pandemic has re-shaped our world. Many of us have grown, and many have grown weary of it. Who can blame them? Fortunately, there is undoubtedly a revitalized global energy now that tangible progress is being made to stem the virus’s tide, offsetting the deleterious delays over the last year.

 

What has changed across the state? Plenty. All the markets are different­–many enveloped the social distancing mandates, and many didn’t. By now, we all know too many people who have either suffered from COVID-19 or have been exposed to it. So, what has changed here at Society Texas? I’ve always wanted this magazine and its digital platform to be a party that everyone is invited to and where everyone is always welcome. No matter the circumstances, our state’s sociability continues to drive and inspire us like never before.

 

You’ll see in this issue, not only our usual abundance of sunny optimism but also an exotic look at things. When the going gets tough, the tough get going…to the exotic Canary Islands, which serves as a gorgeous backdrop for our fashion cover feature shot by Mark Oberlin and styled by Dion “Bleu” Drake. We think it’s a chic way to inspire, not only for the new fashions ahead but also for five-star travel in the near future. Then, a legendary Texan, 1950s movie star Jayne Mansfield, gets the star treatment by Lori Duran, with a look back at her Texas roots and her all-too-brief film career acting with such Tinseltown greats as Cary Grant, Joan Collins, and Maurice Chevalier, to name a few. Plus, we are always on the go, no matter where we may be, so we’ve taken a look at the season’s springiest shoes to keep you in stylish step wherever life takes you. These, along with so many of our writers’ optimistic points of view, curated for today’s topics and happenings, are what we hope you enjoy, too.

 

Even with the pandemic, no matter when it ends in the near future, the show must go on. And onward the shows went,  across the state, whether by socially safe distancing or by virtual gatherings. Raising money for much-needed non-profit organizations always has been, and always will be, tantamount. We historically have, and continually will be, honored to profile these entities who do so much for so many. Count on us to reflect the best of the best. Hey, it’s what we do.

 

So, happy spring to you and yours as we move forward with life, liberty, and of course, the pursuit of sublime happiness, among all your opportunities. We look forward to reuniting with all of you soon, in the ballroom, and beyond.

 

Lance Avery Morgan

Editor-In-Chief & Creative Director

Lance@SocietyTexas.comLance Avery Morgan. Photograpy by Romy Suskin

BY PHOTO:  Portrait photography by Romy Suskin

WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN

WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN

Welcome to a New Year with, well, with a revised shared reality since this time last year, that’s for sure. COVID-19 has taught us that our realities can become shape-shifted in a blink of an eye. Attending three to five galas, in sumptuous ballrooms with a thousand or more attendees, across the state each week, used to be the norm for our team…and as 2021 begins, we look forward to all the gatherings and philanthropic largesse continuing like before, don’t you? Strong people lift each other up, and we are in this together.   

One thing we know about a shared reality–whether it’s from reality TV–to pandemic-suspended reality, is that it’s very interpretive. One thing we know about a shared reality–whether it’s from reality TV–to pandemic-suspended reality, is that it’s very interpretive. However, a wedding is one shared reality that we can all agree upon. Since the beginning of time, families and friends have always gathered to share the reality of loved ones taking the next big step in their lives. That’s about as real as it gets in the love department. Since I was a child, I’ve attended countless weddings and believe me, since then I’ve always had a good suit appropriate for a wedding at the ready because I know how important weddings (and good suits) are.  

Understandably, parents have been duly concerned about the deprivation of a shared reality that the pandemic has on their kids: the lack of school and overall community due to the current happenings. The best-shared reality fix for that? Attend a wedding, large or small, I say. Do children get to see adults operating in a genuine world arena, and with the best intentions at heart: love? Bien sûr. Of course. 

That’s why we love and are beyond proud of, the weddings we are sharing in this special issue, especially in these challenging times. Beautiful brides, dashing grooms, and a flock of families and friends to celebrate them and their happy lives ahead? You bet. It doesn’t get much better than that. Plus, the ingenuity from all the weddings’ creative teams for each celebration seen on every page, from across the state, is exemplary. Let’s call it the best of Texas love, shall we? And after all, as Burt Bachrach and Hal David wrote musically, what the world needs now is love, sweet love.


Along with our New Year/New You focus, we hope you enjoy this issue as much as our editorial, design, and publishing teams did creating it. So, remember, as we charge into 2021, as John Wesley said, Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can. Cheers to a magnificent year ahead, and we look forward to gathering again with you soon.

 XO Lance Avery Morgan,

Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director

Lance@SocietyTexas.com 

 Insta: lance_avery_morganLance Avery Morgan Photography by Gregg Cestrao

Photography by Gregg Cestaro

Gallery

BE THE BEGINNING

BE THE BEGINNING

As we end the year, with COVID-19 still in view, I am wagering that you, like me, have been more contemplative than usual as we move forward to create new beginnings. With the impact of the virus on all our lives, including the shelter in place opportunity, we see just how magnified life can be. Like watching our favorite movie, or hearing our favorite song, or observing our favorite scent over and again every day, we are more keenly aware of so many more things we simply didn’t notice before. The Greek philosopher Epictetus wrote, People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them. In fact, I would guess to say that we flourish not only by learning new things, but also by acting upon what we
glean from them.

This holiday issue reflects the abundance of cheer and love we all have in our hearts, especially going forward. The joy of brightening other lives, easing each others’ burdens, and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts, becomes for us around here, the magic of the holidays. And, what joy we have for you in this issue. In fact, every page is joy-filled.

Realizing that quality isn’t expensive, it’s priceless, our team’s festive holiday gift list inspiration can help transport you beyond the ordinary. We’ve worked on it all year, and we think you’ll be emboldened by our recommendations to transcend the familiar. We are intrinsically empowered by cultural influencers, tastemakers, and styleweavers. William Jack Sibley’s profile on San Antonio powerhouse Robert L.B.Tobin, who helped, along with his family, create the cultural landscape of the art world in Texas, will have you spellbound by his accomplishments and the ongoing legacy of his foundation. Our happy-as-can-be look at this season’s fall bags, festooned with floral opulence, will surely spark your own stylish creativity too.

Along with our chronicling of ongoing events affected by the virus, you’ll see that people everywhere are
still sharing, giving, and supporting so many great causes across the state. Plus, we’re delighted to offer a
dazzling array of thought-provoking editorial that is unique to both us, and this state. So, we thank you
from the bottom of our hearts for your support this year, and we wish you and yours the merriest holiday
season yet, since we still have so much to be grateful for everywhere we look. Now get out there and be
spectacular with more fun ahead.

XO Lance Avery Morgan
Editor-In-Chief &
Creative Director

Photography by Gregg CestaroLance Avery Morgan Photography by Gregg Cestrao

 

DOING, NOT DOUBTING

DOING, NOT DOUBTING

With all our days and nights seeming to be played on an endless repeat cycle, I’m genuinely interested in learning how family, friends, and colleagues have been spending their time sheltering in place. As I continue to inquire, the responses have had a wide variety of reactions. Ranging from spending more time with kids (always while managing temporary homeschooling and juggling a career), playing with pets more, taking additional swims, leaning into Zoom calls as a reinterpreted way of staying connected, streaming entertainment like never before…to even, starting a digital platform devoted to a passionate cause.

No matter what our individual reactions have been, it seems we all have been generating an interpretation of well, how we can make the best of a challenging situation. In this super-charged fall issue, with many hopes for bright tomorrows, we hope you’ll see and enjoy the numerous examples of people living their best lives while helping so many others. Like with our inimitable cover subject, Houstonian Becca Cason Thrash.

One thing I’ve learned is that togetherness is in the mind, the heart, and the understanding. It has little to do with proximity. To me, togetherness means not only staying in touch with many folks currently (and certainly checking in with some who have pursued other interests since I’ve known them), but also looking at the past for insight into how we got to here. This is the basis of every story we help tell in Society Texas.

Through photographs and documents, I personally took a deep dive into my own family’s history, going through archives that had been tucked away and piled up for review. Ranging from old letters, land deeds, address books, diaries, photos, and more from before the mid-1800s, I’ve gotten a glimpse into what makes us each unique and interesting…not just where we are going, but where we have been collectively. I believe in the positive influence of archival information:  it can add light to a situation long ago created and yes, long ago buried.

Through the curated filter lens of my family’s historical past, it was a process, to say the least. In my spare time during the pandemic, I sorted through what seemed like thousands upon thousands of documents, from photos to all sorts of papers. I well recall many, many summer days and holidays sitting at my grandmother’s knee while I listened to the stories about the olden days, as I would call them at the time. The stories were of happiness, challenges, triumphs, and tragedies. I’d ask questions, and she’d answer because she knew how closely I listened, as we’d be encircled by an unruly pile of both Kodak and professional portrait studio memories. Many were labeled with names and dates, thank goodness, and it helped connect the dots of a child’s mind to the era of clothing, backdrops, and situations. It was a type of social archaeology, gleaned at a young age, of how people lived their lives, or how they wanted to represent how they lived their lives.

I wish I could say that my family kept neat family albums full of chronological happenings. They did, sort of. And, like many families around the world, much of it was gathered in shoe boxes, decorative tins, hat and cardboard boxes, and just about any other vessel that could contain a virtual time machine. The result? That curated filter netted over 1200 documents that I chose to represent the best of the past. Scanned at high resolution, labeled, and placed in order of eras into electronic files, it was to become a body of work.

As I dedicated myself to the opportunity at hand, I found myself really examining the photos more closely than before. Really looking at them, magnified. Almost as if I was trying to look more deeply into the souls of the subjects and asking why they chose many of the decisions that they did. Only they knew for sure, for better or worse, as their lives’ roads proved, and I now have a renewed respect for their decisions. Because it got my family here to today, this moment. A philosopher once said, You can’t start the next chapter if you keep reading the last one, which I whole-heartedly agree with, and sometimes it’s nice to know that an actual body of work that reflects my family is now in place for this generation and future ones.

Here at Society Texas, we hope that you thoroughly enjoy this issue. Know that it was crafted with you in mind, and we look forward to staying connected and learning more about how you have thrived during this time.

XO Lance Avery Morgan

Editor-In-Chief

Lance@SocietyTexas.com

Photo by Gregg Cestaro

 

CHARACTER-DRIVEN

CHARACTER-DRIVEN

 When we started this issue, most of us could not have predicted how much a pandemic could reshape our lives to the present time. Fast forward to now and we know that tough times bring out the best in people. Now, more than ever. We see it every day…in both momentous and in small ways as we all widen our aperture. We’ve seen it before COVID-19, during COVID-19, and as the world re-shapes itself, we will see it the period after COVID-19. The world-altering times that we live in are a testimony to the character and can-do attitude of our state and the world at large. This spirit is shown every single day, as so many people sacrifice for the duration of this challenging time period of social distancing. It reminds me of how social we all are, especially when we are asked not to be.

As humans, we understand the needs of others. The non-profit philanthropies we support in this magazine and beyond, and their people, are adapting like never before. It’s unprecedented. The word unprecedented has come up often in the media recently and in the been there, seen it, done that culture we’ve become pre-COVID-19, the spirited mood is indeed now different. More refined. It reminds me of the days following 9/11 when people took genuine stock of their lives, where they fit in the world, and how massive events can affect us well, forever.

So, with this issue, we are embracing the new exuberance that has been unleashed. Always sunny and optimistic, our point of view is still as authentic as ever. What our team sees, hears, and learns on a daily basis, we know, matters to you. As always, there are so many of your favorite columns and a wildly diverse array of talent who made this issue happen. We love our homage to 80s fashion shot by Mark Oberlin and styled by Dion “Bleu” Drake, a glamorous look back at why Texans love Acapulco so much according to Lori Duran. We offer an insider’s look at the top philanthropic events across the state helmed by our social editors Rob Giardinelli, Leanne Raesener, Cynthia Smoot, and Jennifer Roosth. In fact, the entire editorial, design, and publishing teams have outdone themselves in this issue on each and every page.

As we all seek to streamline our lives and more clearly define what is important to us, know that we are with you each step of the way in print and digitally with the same warmth and inclusion as always. So, let’s move forward to the new horizons ahead and seek new adventures. Let’s make new memories together as our future becomes as valuable as our past, as Texans who possess the pioneer and entrepreneurial spirits of those who came before us. And, we’ll see you again soon in the ballroom…and beyond.

XO Lance Avery Morgan

Editor-In-Chief

Lance@SocietyTexas.com

Photo by Gregg Cestaro