Part of my “job”  here on this blog is to scour the internet globe for resources and ideas (ok, well I do it mostly for fun), things that immediately grab my attention and hold onto it long enough to remember for the next time. That is the trick… next time. Those internet destinations that do manage to attract my return visit day after day are exceptional and I’ve been careful to not lose track of them. To help myself and hopefully you, I’ve recently updated my list of “Favorites” on the blog… a carefully edited list of those places that are top on my list! One such new addition, the site that makes me feel like a true Renaissance woman every time I visit, is 1st Dibs’ Introspective “Magazine”!!! Be informed, be educated, be inspired. You absolutely must read it!!

It offers everything from museum exhibit reviews, designer spotlights, industry updates, fashion profiles and reading recommendations. Enough to make any designer (or design enthusiast) a wee bit smarter and whole lot more well-rounded. 

For instance, I read a fascinating article on Andrew Bolton’s curation of the Met Museum exhibit of Alexander McQueen’s work, Savage Beauty, and another article on the progress of Dara Caponigro from Domino to her recent position as Editor-in-Cheif with Veranda… all wonderful information, right? So, what are you waiting for… take a look yourself! (here)

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Mad Men = Mad Style

Photo Credit: David Walker

It’s a well know fact that my roots are in the hills of middle Tennessee where I grew up. But Tennessee isn’t only home to moonshine and bluegrass (although I am a big fan… of the bluegrass, that is). In fact, my Southern homeland can be quite sophisticated at times! This particular event, the wedding celebration of two dear friends, was held at a chic, modern restaurant and bar, Easy Bistro, in downtown Chattanooga. It is the epitome of all that I am in love with right now… eclectic elegance and modern sophistication… oh, and Mad Men! (we are so behind the times and now totally addicted!)

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Along the Way

While road tripping around the hills of Tennessee, David and I also made a short stop at the world famous and quintessentially Tennessee Jack Daniel’s Distillery (a visit we had shamefully never made before).

I have always been very sensitive to environmental influences. (makes sense, right?)
So, I was especially surprised when all my preconceived ideas of a whiskey distillery (not exactly sure where I formed those) were entirely off! Set against lush, green hills and fresh, babbling springs, the distillery is peaceful, bustling, and beautiful all at the same time. Like a typical tourist, I had my camera in hand and ready to shoot the entire time. However, my eyes were focused on the smaller details of the distillery’s scene that are most likely less than typical.

Like the color contrast of bright, white siding against dark, green trees…the texture of metal siding altered by the organic reaction of corn mash and yeast in the air…the pattern that running water makes as it falls over pebble stones…and the light that catches on the leaves of climbing ivy.

Besides the folk-lore of Mr. Daniel’s himself and the fascinating process of distilling whiskey, the scenery in which it all takes place was my favorite part. Moist, green forestry…cool, running water…gray, weathered wood…striking, ebony tree trunks…what can I say? The background makes the place. Don’t you agree?

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Tennessee Landscape

Well, another lovely visit home has come and gone. Friends, family, co-workers, college classmates…we’ve missed you all and look forward to our next trip back. In the mean time, I am holding onto the visual memory of Tennessee’s stunning hill strewn landscape. It never ceases to awe me! (And recently landscapes have been especially inspiring to me.)

Today’s post was photographed during a picnic visit with a couple dear friends at Arrington Vineyards, a beautiful park-like vineyard that offers wine tastings, live music, and a spectacular view in the hills of Franklin, TN.

Cheers to good times, dear friends, and a lovely scene in which it all convenes!

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More Than Meets the Eye

All Photos Credit to Abelardo Morell via National Geographic

Life is full of small and curious things that inspire me and it seems as though I run across a new discovery everyday. Occasionally, though, I stumble upon something truly extraordinary…today’s post is about such a discovery. A friend recently alerted me to a fascinating photographer, Abelardo Morell, who has been working in the technique of Camera Obscura for many years (a photographic process with a long and rich history,
which involves images projected into a dark room through a small pinpoint).

Over the years, he has taken the science project meets art form to a stunning new level by using beautiful landscapes over the setting of an ordinary room.

Now, I am far from knowing enough about this artist and technique to speak confidently about his work so I highly encourage you to take a moment to read THIS short article and watch THIS brief video. But his work is just so curiously fascinating and compelling…there is certainly much more here than meets the eye!

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I know my readers in colder climates will be aghast when they read this…but is Spring already over?! A few weeks ago, I took these photographs of a Spring outfit inspired by a Texas country vibe and mostly compiled of pieces acquired from my recent thrift store outing…a light weight sweater, maxi floral skirt, and blue straw hat.

Now reflecting back, I am amazed to realize that this outfit (just a few weeks later) would be entirely too warm for our current weather in North Texas…isn’t that crazy!! Considering that I have not even gotten the chance to change out my winter/spring wardrobes yet, this seems a bit ridiculous. Shouldn’t we be enjoying milder weather in which transitional clothing such as this is appropriate? Or am I totally underestimating the power of a Texas summer?

Well, if it can’t be worn in Texas, perhaps it can inspire an ensemble in Connecticut.
Happy Spring (or Summer) and enjoy it while it lasts!

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Ambassadors of Style: Episode 2

Welcome to Episode 2 of Ambassadors of Style! (and you thought I had forgotten) Episode 1 was a healthy dose of color theory with Lauren Willhite of Color Collective. Today’s episode features an equally awesome internet sensation, Kelly Ottinger! This interior designer meets editorial contributor meets serious design blog rising star has a lot to share. Her site, Kelly Market, focuses on the resources and inspirations behind the beautiful rooms that we love and admire in magazines. So she’s going to fill us in on a few of her secrets.

Follow THIS link to find the sources for Kelly’s collage above.

Hilary Inspired: Hi Kelly! Welcome to Hilary Inspired! As a rising star in the design blogosphere, we’d love to pick your brain on a few topics. Like for instance, your expertise in the arena of home accessories and decor. Your resource focused blog, Kelly Market, has become an instant sensation. Would you tell us a bit about what inspired its creation? 

Kelly:  I’ve been reading other blogs for a long time and had been toying around with the idea for a good six months or so before I finally launched (in September 2010).  Where a lot of other blogs focus on shots of interiors, I wanted to create layouts and focus more on products and inspiration, which for me ranges anywhere from fashion to people to old movies.  I’m also an interior designer with a growing business, so blogging is a perfect side activity.

HI: When on the search for collage content for your daily posts, do you have a first stop for inspiration? 

Kelly: One of my biggest inspirations is fashion….I read a lot of fashion magazines, websites, street style blogs, etc.  Some favorites are: Vogue, Jak & Jil, Garance Dore, The Coveteur, Hanneli, Olsens Anonymous

HI: Much of your post content seems to be inspired by travel and foreign places…what are your favorite exotic destinations to gather inspiration from?

Kelly: While there’s nothing like NYC or Paris, I do trend toward exotic, off-the-beaten-path locales.  I love South America and have spent time in Brazil and just returned from a trip to Costa Rica.  I love animals and dream of going on safari in Africa – definitely high on my travel list.  

HI: Do you have any current decor obsessions that you would love to have in your own home?

Kelly: One word: Quadrille.  Their patterns are hands-down the best….timeless and colorful-my only problem is choosing a favorite!  I just bought five yards of Java in red and am having a hard time deciding what to use it on- so many options!  

HI: For the style enthusiast on a budget, what is your preferred resource for unique home accessories that have maximal style but minimal expense?

Kelly: I’m a big DIYer…if you truly want something unique and are on a budget, I say make it yourself!  I love buying things on Craiglist, eBay, or at local flea markets, consignment stores, and antique shops and fixing them up myself.  

HI: Etsy is quickly becoming a fantastic go-to for artwork from up and coming artists. Would you let us in on your favorite Etsy hidden treasures? 

Kelly: I love Etsy for so many things and really use all three categories: handmade, vintage, and supplies…here are some of my favorite shops:


Drift Wood Interiors 

Emma Kisstina 

Berkley Illustration 

Samantha French

Anne Chovie 


High Street Market 

Sara Kate Huff 

Estate Eclectic 

Fabulous Mess 

Vintage Modern Design 

Paper: My favorite!  

Letter Love Designs  (Here is some stationery I have from her: 1, 2)


Verde Studio (I love giving vintage postage stamps as gifts & they have a great selection)

Home Décor:

Tilly Maison 

Element Clay Studio 

Jill Rosenwald 

HI: Do you have a style motto that guides your decisions when compiling pieces for the home?

Kelly: “Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style.” Billy Baldwin 

HI: So true!!

Thank you so much for your time and insight, Kelly. I’m afraid we’re going to be browsing through Etsy for days!!

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Out of the Box

For the past four and a half years I have lugged my collection of china and crystal in silver Dillard’s boxes from one rental home to another. And at every stop they have remained hidden in those boxes, stowed away in some storage closet, and only wishing for the chance to showoff. Well, their day has come…finally! Our current abode had a charming china hutch built into the corner of our kitchen. It is the perfect place for decorative display and convenient storage.

Along the way, I’ve also enjoyed embellishing it with small trinkets and accessories that make our home personal. Like these charming “feet” candlestick holders that David and I received as a gift at our wedding…that are so odd but I absolutely love them!

And this small set of brightly painted china…I picked it up at a local thrift store and felt it would complement the colors of my own collection beautifully. The base is printed with the inscription “Superior English Bell China, Shore & Coggins Longston, 1833”. It may be of no significance…but I like to think that it is. 😉

Then, while my family was in town, my mom arranged these lovely calla lilies. They fit perfectly, peaking from the hutch shelf…besides, I thought they were nicely unexpected in the hutch rather than on the table.

Now, my time spent in the kitchen washing dishes and packing lunches is a bit more sophisticated and a lot more beautiful!

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