Facebook/Marie Oliver

Like it or not, warmer temps will be here soon. This month's roundup is full of stores that will get you set up for the upcoming summer season. And while clothes still dominate the list, accessories have found their way into this month's top spots.

Marie Oliver

Facebook/Marie Oliver

Shop the Marie Oliver collection at Tootsies on Thursday, May 18.

The renowned House of Creed recently opened its second Texas location, at NorthPark Center on level one between Neiman Marcus and Dillard's. A favorite perfume house among royals and discriminating clients for centuries, Creed now extends a luxury scent experience to fragrance connoisseurs in Dallas. The focal point of the store is the visual tower, which offers a 360-degree approach to exploring the brand. There is also a VIP room to host events and appointments with clients.

This Laguna Beach-based jewelry brand known for its effortless, laid-back style, has just opened two new DFW stores - in Forth Worth’s University Park Village and Southlake’s Town Square - on the heels of their opening at Dallas' West Village. We are swooning over their wide selection of lovely layered looks in gold, as well as their selection of diamond huggies for the ears.

Kat + Noelle
Park Cities resident Shannon Jud recently opened this fun and feminine boutique at The Pavilion on Lovers Lane. Named after the owner's two daughters, the store offers a collection of resort-inspired women's apparel and accessories, fragrances, home decor, and gifts. Brands to look out for include Beatrice b, De Loreta, Tallulah & Hope, No Pise La Grama, Gissa Bicalho, Neubyrne, The Wolfgang, VIETRI, Ortigia Sicilia, and more.

Marie Oliver at Tootsies
This North Carolina-based brand, founded in 2017 by Sarah Doggett Evenson, has been taking the Southern fashion scene by storm with its colorful apparel perfect for any Dallas social gathering. Here's an exclusive chance to shop the collection at Tootsies on Thursday, May 18, from 5-7 pm, with the founder on site. Grab a cocktail and shop for a cause, too, as a percentage of sales will go to The Birthday Party Project.

Parker & Hyde
Riding the momentum of successful woven tote collection, this Dallas-based brand has now launched a golf shirt collection for men. The shirts are made with materials that are wrinkle-free, machine washable, and have four-way stretch and moisture wicking capabilities. It also has a stiff collar that enables it to be worn both on the golf course and at the office, paired with a blazer, when it is time to do some business. The shirts retail for $88 and come in a variety of colors.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Nate and Ben Checketts, this premium men's wellness brand is now open at NorthPark Center on level one in between Macy's and Dillard's. The focus is on best-in-class, performance-driven apparel that is engineered for an active man's lifestyle.

The chic ear-piercing studio and boutique recently opened its first local boutique in Dallas' West Village. Studs offers affordable, on-trend earrings made for healed holes and everyday wear, which cater to Gen Z and millennial shoppers but are loved by all ages. They sell more than 250 earrings ranging from $10-160 per earring. They also do ear piercings using needles (never guns) and tout themselves as authorities on "ear scaping."

A new store has blossomed in the Bishop Arts District by the same folks that brought the area the ever-popular Oasis Plant Shop. Located directly across the street, this boutique features planters, coffee cups, bowls, and more made by local ceramicists. A lot of the pottery is even made in-house. Shoppers can check out the uber-local shop and support their neighbors doing really cool things with their hands.

Courtesy photo

Where to shop in Dallas right now: 8 must-hit stores for April

Where to Shop

This wonderful weather window is so small in Dallas that we will get straight to the point. Let's shop till we drop and enjoy the amazing spring selections before it is too hot and everyone is forced inside or into a swimsuit at their local pool.

Abel at The Scent Room
This 100 percent natural, luxury fragrance house from New Zealand has a new scent called Black Anise launching this month, and the vibes are dark and sultry. It’s not what you would expect, and that is exactly the intention behind it. Want something different from every other gal in Dallas rocking Le Labo’s Santal 29? Give this a try.

Alice + Olivia
Mommy + Me has landed at the Highland Park Village location just in time for Mother's Day outfit planning. Think floral patterns, and even some smocked options.

Apothecary Social
This popular Uptown boutique is opening a second location in the lobby of The Statler hotel in downtown Dallas. Located across from Overeasy, this boutique sells women’s and men’s fashion, gifts, home décor, and even fun pet toys.

BOHO Market at The Hill Shopping Center
The beloved, open-air shopping experience is back with its Second Saturday Shopping Series, from April 8 to November 11 (9 am-2 pm). Touted as Texas’ largest artisan market, it features seasonal clothing, timeless accessories, home goods, wood work, sweet treats, and more.

Through April 16, this McKinney Avenue shop will hold a garden party-inspired sale with 30 percent off the entire collection of outdoor furniture. Just as soon as the sun sets on this sale, the mid-season sale starts on April 17, offering shoppers 60 percent off selected furniture and décor.

Miron Crosby
The beloved boots brand has heard their loyal customers' requests and extended hours until 6 pm Monday through Saturday. Planning to order boots for the 50th Cattle Baron's Ball in October with musical guest Shania Twain? Now is the time to go in and get to planning the perfect pair.

Renna at Forty Five Ten
Meet founder Renna Brown Taher and shop exclusive jewelry pieces from the collection while having the opportunity to customize your own piece with the designer. The event is happening 11 am-5 pm April 11 and again, 1-5 pm Wednesday, April 12.

Tory Burch
Big things happening at both the NorthPark Center and Highland Park Village boutiques, including a new iteration of the Good Luck Trainer and the launch of the brand's Mother's Day Shop. This is a hand-curated selection of gifts for every kind of mother. (I am personally eyeing the brand's exclusive Lettuce Ware Collection that was created in collaboration with iconic potter Dodie Thayer.)

Tory Burch

Courtesy photo

Big things are happening at Tory Burch.

Photo courtesy of Cappello

Where to shop in Dallas right now: 10 must-hit stores for March

Where to shop

Spring has sprung in Dallas, and that means tulips on every corner and pastel in every retail shop's window. Whether you like light and bright this time of year or keep your wardrobe neutral 24/7/365, there is as store on this list for you.

Alexia Maria
Luxury evening wear and bridal designer Alexia Maria recently held a trunk show at the Neiman Marcus Bridal Salon in Dallas, and it has us swooning over her Spring/Summer 2023 Wedding Wardrobe Collection. Originally from Mexico, the designer has an atelier in San Diego and sells her designs at Neiman Marcus, Saks, Over the Moon, and more. We love the go-big-or-go-home bows that adorn some of the dazzling designs.

Allie + Bess
With a new season comes new accessories, and Dallasites love supporting this local bangle brand that makes dressing up a little more fun. We specifically are into the brand's new necklace collections. Featuring a range of colors and materials, the collection makes it easier than ever to showcase your personality through luxe yet approachable jewelry. Our favorite? The Dakota necklace. Why? We are suckers for anything turquoise in color.

Artwork for Humans Showroom and Boutique
Dallas artist Jerod DTOX Davies, well-known for his murals around Dallas and album covers, has just opened a showroom in Deep Ellum to showcase his other passion: his fashion line, Artwork for Humans, which he calls "wearable art that upcycles clothing and uplifts the human spirit." Davies' garments have been favored by local musicians like Erykah Badu, who wore a sweatshirt he created for her at her recent birthday party. The showroom and boutique, at 3001 Canton St., is open Sunday afternoons for walk-ins and on Wednesdays by appointment. Read more about it in this story.

Blue Nile
Diamonds are a Dallas girl's best friend, and on NorthPark level one, near Macy's, there is a new mecca for meandering through the best of bling. Blue Nile showrooms provide shoppers with an opportunity to look, touch, and try on a superior selection of jewelry and engagement rings. Or, choose the custom route using the Build-Your-Own Diamond Jewelry Tool.

It seems silly to remind everyone that the summers are really hot in Texas. That said, the sun’s not something you can combat without the right accessories. Enter the most perfect sun hat, both beautifully made and certified at UPF 50+. These hats block 95 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays. The co-founders, Catherine Bankston and Erin Rabenhorst Davis, work with amazing artisans in Ecuador, ensuring that each hat is hand-woven and thus, unique. A vintage ribbon adds the perfect pop of color to a truly exceptional piece of wearable art. Shop them online.

Christian Louboutin x Neiman Marcus - “A La Piscine”
In time for swim season, Neiman Marcus has partnered with Christian Louboutin for an exclusive collection called “A La Piscine.” The collection features footwear and handbags in neon colors and splash print, as well as pet accessories, tumblers (gotta stay hydrated at the pool), t-shirts with hand woven details, and even limited-edition skateboards. A La Piscine is available online and at Neiman Marcus stores nationwide, including NorthPark, where shoppers will find an installation that transports them to a sunny Palm Springs day circa the ‘80s - think pool, bar, lounge chairs, grass, and floor-to-ceiling palm trees.

We love a Dallas-based brand that actually makes the clothing here in town, too. Finley — seen on racks at Neiman Marcus, Tootsies, and more — provides a great staple for the ever-changing Dallas wardrobe. Chilly? Add a cardigan and a belt bag and you’re off to car pool. Warm? Wear this breezy beauty with shorts and some Golden Goose sneakers. Really, really warm? Throw this over a white one-piece and drive as fast as you can to Cedar Creek Lake. The possibilities are endless.

Cappello hat

Photo courtesy of Cappello

Get one of Cappello's new hats from the spring collection before your hot Dallas summer.

Parker and Hyde
Dallas-based handbag creators Lauren and Zack McLarnon hit the Dallas-demand jackpot with the success of the Neoprene Collection that they first offered in 2020. And because the brand is all about growth, the new signature woven collection - with a lycra blend and contrasting weave - is poised to be their next big hit. Each tote comes with a matching pouch and detachable strap to transform a tote into a crossbody. Get ready to see these everywhere this summer in Dallas.

Mizzen + Main
The Dallas-based brand has launched a new retail experience after years of feedback from its customers. The redesigned, 1,200-square-foot space in West Village is all about community. Come in and shop, talk, drink, and stay a while. The vibe is small-scale lounge, and the products are as reliable as always. Grab a friend and go shop for the comfiest dress shirts in Dallas at 3699 McKinney Ave. #407.

This French-founded brand is now headquartered in Italy and offering Highland Park Village shoppers the utmost in luxe, innovative outerwear. City life and nature expeditions have been married in a cohesive way, and the resulting pieces are on display at the now-open Dallas boutique.

*Bonus Intel *

We technically are only supposed to talk about things happening in the month of March; however, Highland Park Village is having its annual Spring Shopping Stroll kickoff on April 1, and we just couldn't let it pass without spreading the word. Happening from 10 am to 6 pm, it will include photos with live bunnies, face painting, balloon twisting, and endless store promotions. Some of our favorites include custom sketches by a fashion illustrator at Ralph Lauren and complimentary monogramming on in-store purchases as La Ligne. Be there or be oh-so-square!

Photo courtesy of Bottega Veneta

Where to shop in Dallas right now: 7 must-hit stores for February

Where to shop

It’s a short month so we’ve got a short shopping list. But haven’t you always heard that the best gifts come in small packages? Enjoy this pint-sized Where to Shop that is packed with home goods, skincare, and luxury fashion galore.

Blue Lagoon Iceland Skincare at The Conservatory
The premier Nordic luxury beauty brand, sustainably created from the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, has launched at The Conservatory in Highland Park Village. This, of course, aligns with the boutique's mission to sell products with sustainability and lasting value. Shop Blue Lagoon Iceland Skincare's luxury BL + Skincare line and the Spa Body Collection now, including eye serum, masks, body oils, hand creams, bath salts, lip balms, and more.

Blue Print
When you’re as busy as this home décor shop, it’s only a matter of time before you need more space. That was exactly what happened to Blue Print’s Edison Street warehouse. It’s now moved in to a 20,000-square-foot space at 1505 Oak Lawn Ave. Shop it for everything from upholstery to antiques and even lighting.

Bottega Veneta
Don’t call it a comeback. The iconic Italian brand has reopened its 3,350-square-foot boutique in NorthPark Center, featuring men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, and leather goods. As a reminder, this shop is located on level one between Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s.

A leading Swiss watchmaker has found its way to NorthPark Center on level one near Dillard’s. Founded in 1884, this company invented the modern chronograph and pioneered the navigational tool watch. Breitling’s collections center around air, land, and sea pursuits, and each piece is confirmed as a COSC-certified chronometer. The snazzy new Dallas store is open now.

Dunbar Road
This coveted Dallas design firm is led by Carla Fonts and has been charged with creating some of the most beautiful homes in North Texas. She now has opened the doors to a retail shop at 5021 West Lovers Ln. to allow customers who may not need design services to still bring home a piece that has the firm’s stamp of approval. Think art, candles, jewelry, furniture, home décor, and more.

Scarlet Reagan
Artist Kristi Kennimer is officially open and operating the second location of her gallery and home goods shop. Located at 5710 West Lovers Ln., the boutique has brought Park Cities and Preston Hollow peeps much closer to her pillows, paintings, jewelry, and more.

The House of Krigler
The prestigious perfumery is officially open to the public inside of the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. In addition to shopping the store in a conventional way, hotel guests can also have a "scent sommelier" suite experience that involves Krigler dispatching trays of perfumes and designer handmade trunks filled with extracts and raw ingredients for a tailored blending session. This "extra" amenity starts at a whopping $60,000.

Bottega Veneta, NorthPark

Photo courtesy of Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta is now open at NorthPark between Neiman Marcus and Dillard's.

Photo courtesy of Stitch Golf

Where to shop in Dallas right now: 8 must-hit stores for January

Where to Shop

The vibe for 2023 is being a well-rounded person. And what better way to illustrate that in our lives than in the places we shop and in the items that we buy. From luxe skincare to fancy dog food and even fancier golf gear, the list this month checks off pretty much every consumer’s box.

Abercrombie & Fitch
Yes, your teenage years are calling, and they wanted to ask you to give your clothes from that time another chance. This new and improved version of the iconic brand is opening in NorthPark Center on level one near Macy’s and invites you to shop for comfy clothes, denim, and that iconic fragrance that will serve up some serious nostalgia.

Custom Meats
Where does your meat come from? University Park residents Kate and Jeff Cutshall are challenging Dallasites to know that exact answer by embracing their new whole animal butchery on Lovers Lane. The shop offers meat, milk, eggs, and sauces — some of which are sourced from less than 100 miles away. The store even offers dog food for those who like to give their pets the best bowl of puppy chow on the block.

The Dondolo Love Collection 2023 was the obvious name for the spring collection from a brand that loves details and loves giving back. The outfits were created by designer and owner Catalina Gonzalez as pieces for kids to wear when celebrating beautiful moments in life whether that be a baby shower, baptism, Valentine’s Day, or birthday party.

LoveShack Fancy
Just in time for January resolutions comes the first fitness and active collection from the New York-based girly brand. Available at their Highland Park Village boutique, the line includes leggings, sports bras, bike shorts, tank tops, and flippy miniskirts, done in a stretchy polyester-spandex blend, with the sweet florals, pastel colors, and frilly touches that are LoveShack Fancy's trademark.

Kemo Sabe Pop Up
Aspen's not-so-best kept secret has pulled its roving trailer into the Fort Worth Stockyards for a pop-up, stocked with its signature Western goods including cowboy boots, hats belts, buckles, and jewelry. Whether you pick up a Stetson or Kemo Sabe's own Grit hat brand, you can count on the sales wranglers to personalize your purchase on the spot. The pop-up is at 128 E. Exchange Ave. #570 through January 22.

Maison Margiela
Dallasites go bananas for anything with Parisian roots, and that includes this fashionista name, now with its own dedicated boutique at NorthPark Center, on level one in between Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s in late November. Headed by iconoclastic designer John Galliano, Maison Margiela embraces a classic yet visionary style, both daring and ambiguous, from oversized shirts to smart little ankle boots.

Serena & Lily
Love Serena & Lily but can’t stomach the price tags? Had your eye on a particular piece while doing your weekly Knox District stroll? Run don’t walk to the store's floor model sale to score mega discounts on the products — beds, pillows, dressers, quilts, marble door-stoppers — that are as aesthetically pleasing as any other in the wide world of furniture. It runs through February 16; however, I wouldn’t wait as it's first come first serve and once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

Stitch Golf
Guys and gals who fancy golf gear and apparel are going to freak when they shop this new shop, now open in Inwood Village. The Dallas location is the first retail shop for Stitch, which was founded in North Carolina, and its branding is inspired by vintage cars. Shoppers can expect bags, high-end travel bags, stylish apparel, and duffer gear that make golfers go gaga.

Stitch Golf

Photo courtesy of Stitch Golf

Stitch Golf has finally opened in Inwood Village.

Jon Smith Subs

New subs and bagels rise to the top of this week's 5 most-read Dallas stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here. For the best Christmas lights, go here.

1. Florida sandwich chain brings its hot & cold subs to Dallas-Fort Worth. A sub sandwich restaurant chain founded in Florida is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth with two locations in the works. Called Jon Smith Subs, it's a chain known for its subs made fresh and novel French fries, and will debut in North Texas in mid-2023.

2. Artisanal authentic New York-style bagel shop rises in downtown Dallas. Downtown Dallas is due to get some authentic, artisanal bagels: Starship Bagel, an old-school bagel shop that serves New York-style bagels, specialty shmears, lox, and coffee, will open a shop at 1520 Elm St., along Stone Street Gardens, with a front-row view of The Eye sculpture.

3. Marathon and holiday trains make this a festive roundup of Dallas news. This roundup of news around Dallas included info about a festive new program by DART, an appointment at a local radio station, the re-naming of a city park, and an update on the annual marathon which is this weekend.

4. Where to shop in Dallas right now: 8 hot stores for gifts and more in December. Move over, Santa, we've got shopping to do. Dallas-area shoppers are big spenders at the holidays, and local stores are ready to deliver the goods. This month's Where to Shop column has holiday pop-ups, new stores, and more to make your gifting season merry and bright. Whether you're checking your list twice or treating yourself, here are eight great shops and events to check out in December.

5. Splendid Crystal Charity Ball 2022 whisks Dallas dreamers to Italy for a bella notte. Crystal Charity Ball 2022 brought Italian magnificence to Dallas' grandest gala. The annual black-tie gala, held Saturday, December 3, is the grand finale of the social season and benefits children's charities around the city. For the milestone 70th year of Crystal Charity Ball, the Hilton Anatole Hotel's foyer and ballroom were filled with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Italy.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

These are the 7 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

On the tails of the holiday weekend, several events return by this week’s end. A gourmet Italian grocer will celebrate an Italian holiday; one of the longest running food festivals in town kicks off on Friday; and a wine tasting event themed after a hit movie takes place on Saturday. Get outdoors and pair a craft pint with a leisurely paddleboard tour. Or sip margaritas poolside after a refreshing yoga class at a top Dallas hotel.

Friday, June 2

Sunset Paddle & A Pint
DFW Surf Frisco kicks off its Friday night guided standup paddle tour of Hidden Cove Park and Marina with an extra incentive: beer. At the halfway point of the two-mile trek, participants stop for a sunset beer toast provided by 3 Nations Brewing. Board lamps, head lamps, and glow sticks provide light for the evening paddle back to shore. Tickets are $60 and the tour will run from 7:30- 9 pm.

All You Can Eataly
The Italian marketplace at NorthPark will close to the public and open to ticketholders for a Festa della Repubblica party featuring more than two dozen food stations, 50-plus Italian wines, 25-plus beers, and multiple cocktails bars featuring Italian libations. There’ll also be chef demos, DJ sets, photo booths, and live music with a dance band. Tickets start at $125, or pay $195 for VIP and get early entry, premium tastings, and a dedicated lounge. The party will run from 7-10 pm, with VIP early entry at 6 pm.

Taste Addison
The popular family-friendly festival kicks off Friday night at Addison Circle Park for two days of local restaurant dishes, wine and spirit tastings, music acts, and more. Participating restaurants include Asian Mint, Taqueria La Ventana, Thai Orchid, Ron’s Place, Lupe Tortilla, and at least two dozen others. General admission is $15, or $5 for kids 6-12. Or go VIP and pay $60 for two beverage tokens, two Taste Bite vouchers, and access to the main stage viewing deck and private VIP lounge. Taste Addison runs from 6 pm -midnight on Friday and 2 pm-midnight on Saturday.

Saturday, June 3

Catalina Canned Wine Mixer at Truck Yard Dallas
The Truck Yard hosts a “bro-down” party themed after the 2008 hit movie Step Brothers. Wear your best tuxedo t-shirt and enjoy a wine tasting, photo ops, food trucks, and a Step Brothers cover band. Admission is free, but a $15 wine tasting from 7-9 pm offers six wine samples and a souvenir glass filled with frose. Costume contests will be held at 5 pm and 10 pm.

Sunday, June 4

Yogarita at The Stoneleigh
Move over, beer yoga. The Stoneleigh is leveling up boozy yoga classes with the launch of Yogarita, a Sunday morning yoga session paired with a margarita. The one-hour class includes a Casamigos margaritas and a fish taco from the hotel’s Perle on Maple restaurant. Bonus: participants also get a lounge chair for the day at The Stoneleigh pool. Tickets are $40 and yoga mats are provided. Class begins at 10:30 am.

Wine and Cheese Pairing Class at Dallas Arboretum
This seated class will take participants through the art of pairing wine with artisanal cheeses and will be led by a cheese expert from the Mozzarella Company and wine expert from Two Wine Guys. The class is $89 (or $79 for Arboretum members) and will run from 1-3 pm.

Monday, June 5

Lakewood Brewery Dinner at Urban Crust
The Plano wood-fired pizza kitchen hosts a four-course beer pairing featuring local Lakewood Brewery. The dinner will come with four different Lakewood brews. The event is $49.99, plus tax and gratuity, and will begin at 6:30 pm.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus navigates marriage pitfalls in You Hurt My Feelings

Movie Review

Anybody who’s been married or in a long-term relationship knows that it’s almost impossible to be completely honest with his or her partner. There are always going to be moments – whether for the sake of expediency, in a show of support, or other reasons – when one person withholds their true opinion so as not to hurt the other person’s feelings.

That idea is the central tension point of You Hurt My Feelings, which follows Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a writer/teacher, and her husband, Don (Tobias Menzies), a therapist. Beth is in the middle of trying to get her first fiction book published, a process that is causing her unceasing anxiety. Don sees a series of patients, including a constantly-bickering couple (played by real-life husband and wife David Cross and Amber Tamblyn), and a few lapses cause him to question his commitment to the profession.

When Beth and her sister, Sarah (Michaela Watkins), accidentally overhear Don telling his brother-in-law, Mark (Arian Moayed), that he doesn’t like Sarah’s new book and is exhausted having to tell her otherwise, it sends Beth into an emotional spiral. The aftermath winds up pulling in not just the two couples, but also Beth and Don’s son, Eliot (Owen Teague), dredging up feelings that all of them normally try to keep hidden.

Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, the film is a funny and genuine look at how even the best couples can run into pitfalls. By most measures, Beth and Don get along fantastically well, supporting each other unwaveringly and showing their love in a variety of ways. When the story puts them at odds with each other, there’s never a question that they belong together, as even their arguments are tinged with exasperation instead of anger.

Holofcener complements the story of Beth and Don with a nice variety of side plots, including Eliot trying to start his own writing career while working at a weed store; Beth and Sarah’s mom, Georgia (Jeannie Berlin), offering up support and criticism in equal measures; and more. Don’s patients and Beth’s students offer an opportunity to expand the two characters’ personalities outside of their marriage while also adding a few other funny roles.

While perhaps not the most insightful film about marriage that’s ever been made, it is still highly enjoyable thanks to Holofcener’s writing and the strong performances. Filmed in New York City, the particular feel of that urban landscape and the way it affects the lives of the characters also plays a big part in the success of the film.

Louis-Dreyfus, as always, is a delight to watch. A kind of spiritual sequel to her previous collaboration with Holofcener, 2013’s Enough Said, the film gives her plenty of room to show off both her comedic and dramatic skills. Menzies makes for a steady presence, showing good chemistry with Louis-Dreyfus and a preternatural calm in therapy sessions. Watkins, Moayed, Teague, and Berlin all fit in seamlessly.

You Hurt My Feelings is not a world-changing kind of movie, but rather a solidly-told story about how relationships can be complicated. With actors who are easy to like and Holofcener’s reliably great filmmaking, it’s a movie for adults that’s nice counter-programming to the glut of summer blockbusters.


You Hurt My Feelings is now playing in theaters.

Tobias Menzies and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in You Hurt My Feelings

Photo courtesy of A24

Tobias Menzies and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in You Hurt My Feelings.

5 tips to build stunning sand sculptures from 2023 Texas SandFest winners

Fun at the beach

As summer fast approaches, sandy vacations to coastal destinations are on the horizon for many travelers. For those with kids in tow, sandcastle-making might top the list of beach trip must-dos.

But “playing” in the sand isn’t just an activity for children, as proven by the 22 professional sand sculptors from around the world who recently competed in the 26th annual Texas SandFest, held in Port Aransas in April. The internationally recognized event, started by Port A locals in 1997, is the largest native-sand sculptor competition in the nation; nearly 70,000 people attended this year.

Competition entries featured everything from mermaids to the Grim Reaper, all intricately carved, brushed, and chiseled from sand, ocean water, and perhaps a little diluted spray glue that sculptors say helps maintain detail. The competitors work on their masterpieces during the event, allowing spectators to witness their progress from start to finish.

“I do around five international sand sculpting competitions per year. It’s always a great challenge to compete a high level,” says Benoit Dutherage, a competitive sculptor from France who also creates snow sculptures in the French Alps during the winter.

Dutherage took first place in the Duo Masters category, along with his sand sculpting partner Sue McGrew, for their work called “Wish You Were Here.” Comprised of two loving faces (one mystically cut in half), the sculpture was a tribute to Pink Floyd.

“We like to reflect human emotions in our sculptures,” he says. “It is never easy to pick an idea among the thousands of ideas we have.”

Florida resident Thomas Koet, whose sculpture called “The Prospector” won first place in the People’s Choice category, intended to create something with horses and a cowboy as an homage to Mustang Island, where the competition took place. High tides just before the event thwarted his plans.

“The high tide washed away so much of the sand, I had only enough left for a mule or a foal,” he says. “So I decided to make an old prospector with a mule.”

Thinking out of the box when it comes to carving sand is just one of several suggestions Koet has for recreational sand sculptors. (“Who says it has to be a castle?” he says.) He and other winners from the 2023 Texas SandFest say they are always happy to see novices get creative.

Here are five of the pros' top tips for producing a beachfront masterpiece.

1. Think beyond the standard sandcastle
“Design and sculpt outside of your comfort zone,” says Abe Waterman, a sculptor from Prince Edward Island, Canada, who took first place in the Solo Masters division with his sculpture, “Sleeps with Angels.” The mega sculpture featured four angels at four corners holding a blanket carrying a sleeping woman. “While this may not lead to the best sculpture results, one will improve faster by doing this.”

Waterman noted that there are different types of sand depending on location. Some are better suited for detailed work while others work well for verticality. “But something can always be sculpted regardless of the sand quality, the design just may need to be altered,” he says.

Koet recommends picking something that will fit your attention span. “You can make anything you want,” he says. “You can make a cat, a shark, a monster truck, your high school mascot, a sneaker, or a shark eating an ice cream cone.”

2. Use the right tools
Forgo the cheap tourist shop plastic bucket and shovel set. “You definitely need proper tools to get a good result: A solid shovel, a few trowels – not too big – and a wall painting brush to clean your sculpture,” says Dutherage. “You’ll also need buckets.”

Think big painter’s buckets, he says, used to make what’s essentially “sand mud” consisting of lots of water and sand. Which leads to the next tip ...

3. Create a form mold
Consider this the secret to head-turning sand sculptures. Whether it’s a 10-foot-tall wooden box with sides that come off, or a plastic bucket with the bottom cut out, a “form mold” is an open-top vessel used to hold packed sand and water to create a carve-able structure.

“It’s a very useful thing to have in order to get a solid block, and to go high,” says Dutherage. “If you are a handyman, you can build your own forms. But a quick solution is to take a bucket, no matter what size, and cut out the bottom. Then put that bucket upside down on the sand. Add a few inches of sand, some water, mix with your trowel and compact that layer. Repeat until the bucket is full. Then gently pull the bucket up and surprise! You will get a nice block of sand ready for a sandcastle full of windows, arches, and gates.”

The compacted layers of sand and water almost act as cement, creating a sturdy base for carving. Dutherage says folks can easily repeat the form mold process to create multiple bases, either side by side or stacked.

4. Use plenty of water, for the sculpture and yourself
Benoit recommends adding even more water during the sculpting process.

“Bring a plant sprayer,” he says. “Sand needs to be wet to be sculptable.”

Even rain during sand sculpture building isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that rain will destroy a sand sculpture,” says Waterman. “While this is possible, most often it just textures the surface.”

Water is also essential for the sculptor, as staying hydrated is key during the process, Waterman adds.

Texas SandFest

Texas SandFest

"The Prospector" took first place in the 2023 Texas SandFest People's Choice category

5. Practice, Practice, Practice
“The biggest misconception is that I do anything different than anybody who does it only for the first time,” says Koet, who’s been sculpting sand for 25 years. “Sure, I bring more and bigger tools and I spend much more time shoveling the sand high and mixing it with water. But there is no magic other than years of practice.”

Waterman, who admits sand sculpting has taken over his life, competes in up to 10 contests a year and also creates sculptures for exhibits and corporate commissions.

“Tricks and tips will only get a person so far,” he says. “But ultimately practice and putting the time in will get them a whole lot further.”

Benoit agrees. “Making a sand sculpture requires a lot of work and the more you practice, the better you will get,” he says. “But first of all, you have to enjoy the fun of it.”