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!

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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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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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The Weekend

Finally, after the labor day weekend festivities, I am catching up on a busy week’s worth of projects. A little extra time found me editing a few photographs from last weekend last night taken at the park with friends. It was a gorgeous day in Texas… a person could actually sit outside for more than 5 minutes without fainting of heat!

Lots of sunshine, cool breezes, flying kite’s, friends’ dogs, grilled meat, Greek coffee, and wonderful company have me fondly remembering last weekend and looking forward to the next.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Fading Colors

I hesitated to post today’s images. I’m sure by now you’re tired of seeing my country bouquet of late summer flowers since their first appearance in THIS post. But I’ve completely enjoyed watching their evolution from fresh, peppy buds to rich, full blooms and now softly faded shadows of those initial blossoms. Surprisingly, I think I prefer the last stage the most! The muddied hue of their petals gives the feeling of time and history and the crinkled leaves against others still fresh and alive creates a beautiful depth within their composition.

By now, they are far past their prime (or even the denouement after their prime), but I still love looking at them everyday. I’ve come to anticipate their ever-changing appearance and will be sad when it’s time to bid them adieu. Looking back, I’m amazed at their remarkably long life. Talk about bang for your buck! Much like this Texas summer, though… dry, shriveled, and long beyond it’s peak, the time has come to move on. David returned to school this week and while that doesn’t mean cooler weather (in fact, far from it) that does mean the beginning of something I have always associated with the Fall season, the Fall school semester. Bye, bye summer… and bye, bye flowers. Thank you for all the beauty in the end!

P.S. I’ve started working with watercolors as you can see by my brushes in the photo above. So far, all my paintings have been very basic and abstract. I can’t wait to paint these flowers next, though. They almost look like living watercolors, don’t you think?

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Amateur Artists

Last minute plans usually go one of two ways, really great or really not. This past Thursday evening, David had a last minute idea for a memorable (and affordable) activity to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Our hope… that the plan would be great despite it’s impromptu arrangement. Instead of spending a large amount of money on a fancy restaurant (which we have done before and it was totally enjoyable) he suggested staying in for an evening of wine and art! What’s the art about, you ask? A chance to create our own amateur artwork together over fine wine (and after a delicious home-cooked meal, I might add).

We both feel that original art is an important part of our home and would love to increase our collection. At this point, the “easiest” way for us to do that is by creating our own!! So, after preparing the meal plan, I stopped by Hobby Lobby, picked up a couple of canvases, some acrylic paint, brushes, and a palette and said a quick prayer for a bit of beginners luck to boot. (For those that are curious, our project cost us less than $30 in total!)

It was a bit overwhelming at first, as neither one of us have any real experience with paint, but we were both excited about the idea of making something together. By the end of the night (and many preliminary drafts later), we had completed two works of art conceived individually but created together.

Our amateur pieces of artwork now have a permanent home in our personal collection of original art and we couldn’t be happier!

FYI, if you decide to take on a similar project of your own, please send me pictures! I’m interested in creating an album on Facebook that features the photos I have received from my dear readers’. I’m looking forward to future submissions!

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