Mind of the Makeover… Modern Romantic

Well, here it is… my little dream of a website has finally come to fruition. I thought for so long that it would never happen but kept the idea firmly placed in my mind and didn’t let it go. Long nights in Photoshop and many hours brainstorming and editing later, I am giddy as a school girl with this exciting announcement. It just goes to show what a little determination, a positive attitude, and shear hope will do.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to watch my video from earlier today in which I take you on a quick tour of the site. As you can see, a lot has changed… perhaps even more than you initially realized. I want to make sure that you enjoy the full experience.

Now, if you thought that this snazzy new site makeover was all I would be sharing with you today, you are greatly mistaken! I have also composed a special behind-the-scenes look at my inspiration for the re-design. Like any good designer, I gathered a diverse collection of inspiring photographs, fonts, website bookmarks, book covers, sketches, and descriptors to better inform my developing concept. This vignette is a compilation of items that communicate the visual aesthetic I had in my mind’s eye for so many months.

Curated Collection by a Modern Romantic – an exploration of the personal art of style.

I knew a clean, neutral backdrop would accentuate the content of the site while also creating a classic and timeless atmosphere. To bolster it’s subtle foundation, though, I decided to work with bold, architectural typography that was at once modern and reminiscent.

The idea of our lives as a personal art where the values, message, and aesthetics of an individual are carefully chosen and communicated has been incredibly fascinating to me. Naturally, I was attracted to the image of paint marks and splatters as indicators of work in progress and a reference to this notion.

I have always been attracted to rich, saturated colors primarily in jewel tones. Although, going forward, I hope to shift the focus of this blog from exclusively my style to incorporate the personal style of many others, I did want the site to reflect a few of my specific preferences. So I chose to use accent colors inspired by this wall calendar of illustrations by Erte (published by Orange Circle Studio). It has rested on the wall beside my desk during this entire design process and frequently offered moments of eureka and inspiration.

Lastly, these words above which came from my pin board atop my desk were constant reminders of what I have been working towards. It would bore you to explain all the ins and outs of why, but perhaps you already understand without me having to say anymore. After all, this is a visual journal… let’s leave it at that.

If you care to know more about the directional changes I have been envisioning for Hilary Inspired over the past several months, visit my new “About” page HERE. You may like to know what the future holds!

My last note for today is one of gratitude to my husband David for being a wonderful counselor throughout this process and to my brother Andrew who made this all possible. No, really… none of this would have happened without his generous guidance and assistance in all technical aspects.

Thank you both from the bottom of my heart!

An Old Friend

My recent visit to the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens was pleasant and refreshing. I always love a good afternoon walk in the garden! In addition to the beautiful weather and scenery, I also enjoyed strolling around in my good-for-most-occasions day dress… an old and beloved friend. This charming floral dress is the most comfortable piece of clothing I own and is also perhaps the oldest (to me) item in my closet. Despite the changes in my personal style over the years, I still love it as much today as I did in my early teens and it has maintained it’s appearance surprisingly well over the years, as well. Longevity, comfort, and style – Now that’s the sign of an excellent purchase!

And what would a floral day dress be without my trusty red ballet flats to accompany it? Not as comfy or cute, I can tell you that! These are another pair of staples in my closet right now. I would say I wear them 75% of the week. I’m thinking an alternate set would be a good idea to give these babies an occasional rest. They must be so tired!

Cheers to the beginning of another week, friends! I hope you get the chance to step out and enjoy the beautiful Autumn weather.



Into the Garden

Because I have been so remiss in posting this week, today will be an extra full dose of Hilary Inspired for your viewing pleasure!

This time of year is so perfect for spending an afternoon outdoors – cool breezes, mild temperatures, beautiful changing scenery – which is why I chose to visit the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens a few weeks ago and just because it was so darn beautiful outside! Being cooped up in front of the computer all week was making me very anxious to get outdoors. There really isn’t anything more peaceful than quiet moments spent in nature by oneself.

I seem to find endless pleasure and inspiration from observing the subtle changes in texture and color of shriveling leaves and plant life. It’s sad to see the lush, vibrant life of summer fade away but there is a peaceful elegance in it’s departure and one that I think is much better appreciated from close up.

Afternoon walks are especially mesmerizing! Not only do you get the pleasure of considering the intricate leafy patterns created by vines on an old stone wall or worm holes in the trunk of a tree, but the dramatic, jagged lines of late day shadows as well.

Perhaps you will take a moment to relax and reflect, gather and regroup in nature this weekend as well. For those in creative and visual fields who have trouble leaving work behind, think of this as job related research – besides it’s beauty, nature offers an incredible resource of ideas and inspiration!

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A Night at the Thrift Studio

Oh dear, dear, dear…. we are already half way through the week and I haven’t spoken to you once! The weekend is well over and I am a full week and a half behind in telling you about what I did the weekend before! Despite my tardiness and delayed posting, however, here I am – ready to share a few moments from a beautiful event not too long ago.

Many of you have heard me talk about Dwell with Dignity. If you live in the DFW Metroplex you may have even attended one of their previous events. In fact, folks all across the country may be aware of them now after a national debut on The Nate Berkus Show! They are a wonderful charitable organization that works to create homes for those less fortunate with dignity and beauty. I could go on and on about their many merits but visit their site HERE to get more (and better) details.

Today, I am interested in telling you about a very exciting project that the Dwell team recently embarked on. With a warehouse brimming full of generous furniture and home decor donations, Dwell had the idea to create a pop-up thrift shop to sell off their excess inventory and bring in additional income for the organization. Enter, Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio… Wonderful! But even better than that, they decided to also bring in some of the area’s most talented designers to style several vignettes using reworked pieces from the warehouse. Brilliant!! I attended the preview party and let me tell you, it was awesome! I was completely blown away by the creativity and ingenuity used by each team to make old, worn items new and fresh again (of course, knowing many of the designers, I also didn’t expect anything less than fabulous).

Here are a few shots I managed to take between mingling with a pleasant and bustling crowd of supporters.

The Dining Room by EJ Interiors

The Office by studio ten 25

The Lounge by SWOON [the studio]

The Study by Jones Baker

The Parlor by PULP Design Studios

I think the pictures speak for themselves… this is a fantastic event and a MUST for anyone in the Metroplex area but visit soon! The shop closes at the end of October. The prices are very reasonable and support a fantastic cause. If you happen to pick up an item from the Thrift Studio, let me know. There were so many wonderful treasures I would have taken home with me!! I’d love to know what made it into your place.

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Rosy Embers

I’m beginning to believe my fruit selection is guided more heavily by the coloration of the produce than I originally thought. I mean, I’ve always know this was a factor in my decision making, but without a doubt, I selected these glowing red pears purely because of their gorgeous skins.

A pile of yellow-green cousins sat in the next bin over and I gave them hardly any thought. But whose to blame for this slight? Me or the unappealing appearance of the ordinary green pears? I think the answer is clear. The spotted ruby red is so perfect for this time of year! I love the dark undertones of purple and gold that are only noticeable in a certain light.

When housing beauties such as these, I also enjoy displaying them on pretty embroidered tablecloths. The tablecloth is such a simple and beautiful way to change the feeling of a space and combined with a bowl full of tantalizing fruit, a room comes alive.

Did I mention that these pears are sooo delicious?

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The Gate is Asway

Out of the blue and for no apparent reason other than momentary curiosity, I picked up an old book of poems sitting on a near-by bookshelf last week. While turning through the brittle, age worn pages, I came across this capsule sized poem entitled “October”. It seemed an appropriate feature for today’s post – can you believe it’s October already?!?

While my friends in four season locales are bundling up for crisp, cool weather, we here in Texas are enjoying a smaller portion of Autumn conditions with brisk mornings and chilly evenings. The mid-day continues to be pretty hot, but who’s complaining… it’s October and Fall will come yet! As the poem says, “the gate is set asway”… now, it’s only a matter of time.

Outfit: Skirt – Emersonmade Goldie Pockets Skirt, Blouse – Thrift (similar HERE), Shoes – Target (similar HERE), Bracelets – Antique & Thrift

For the time being, my memory of burnt red and gold leaves, growing layers of clothing, and late night bonfires will serve me. But you should know, I’m waiting anxiously!

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Simple Things

Most days, I make an effort to share posts with you that have been purposefully conceptualized and accompanied by words that were carefully composed. I admit that sometimes I probably spend too much time scrutinizing and editing and, by the end, share posts that are a tad long-winded but it’s all with the intent to share more than just pretty pictures of pretty things with “I love this” commentary (although that’s fun too). Hopefully my work here expresses more than that.

Today, however, I have a short, simple message. For many of us, the reality of a budget presents itself daily. It doesn’t matter what your income, we all make sacrifices to achieve certain goals. Sometimes those sacrifices are as simple as choosing to stay in for dinner or being content with less than cutting edge technology. I’ve been learning to embrace this idea and appreciate the small things that require little or no expense. Like a cup of hot tea (my favorite), an old necklace with a fond memory, or a bunch of un-fancy greenery.

Consumerism is fun… let’s admit it, we all love new things. But remembering to embrace what we already have is just as important. In fact, those can be the sweetest things!

So, I have a challenge for you. Take a moment this weekend to find a simple experience or item that’s been around for a while. Rediscover what it is you love so much about it. Then, while you’re at it, share your experience with the rest of us here. We might share a similar appreciation!

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Just Greens

Grocery shopping can be difficult and not for the obvious reasons… tempting ice cream selections, long rush-hour lines, the unreasonable desire to eat everything you see while shopping hungry! For me, the most tempting items in the grocery are often the fresh buckets of flowers and greens conveniently placed at both the entrance and exit of the store giving me plenty of time to reconsider my first decision to pass them up. Unfortunately, my recent policy to purchase only essentials from our grocery list doesn’t leave much room for an armful of sunflowers or gladiolas… or does it?

In my attempt to reconcile a floral procurement, I had a brilliant idea (or clever excuse… not sure which). While my grocery budget may not have room for the extra $15 of flowers, it might be able to swing a small $5 increase for a collection of greens. (Notice the persuasive quality of my inner thoughts.) So that’s what I did. No flowers, just greens. They are intended as filler for a larger bouquet but I actually think they’re quite lovely by themselves. And they last forever! I even placed a single branch in a pretty soda bottle beside my computer.

For someone whose mind often wanders to time spent outdoors, these greens are a wonderful reminder of the beauty of nature in the midst of a busy work day.

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