Mini Penny Blog

You've Got Nail 49 // Scratch Mini Mani Box July

Posted on: Friday, July 31, 2015

The set I received in my Scratch Mini Mani Box is one of my favorite designs so far! I was able to create three different manicures from this box — at ten bucks, that's a steal!

For starters, I normally get really great service from Scratch. My wraps are shipped quickly and they always are responsive on social media. However, this month was really disappointing. I had really high hopes to get these wraps to quench my banana-leaf-obsession, but weeks after the money was taken from my account, they were still nowhere to be seen. It took multiple tweets and emails to even get them to ship these guys, let alone provide me with my tracking number. It was weird considering they are normally on it. A month later, they finally came in via damaged packaging. The strips were undamaged, thankfully! I'm hoping that I have better luck next month.

In this month's package, I received:
Fruit Basket Nail Wraps
Small bottle of (bright!) lime green nail polish [similar]
Two gold strawberry nail charms from Daily Charme

The biggest selling point for me on these is the leaf pattern. I'm indifferent to the fruits and was unsure how I'd use these, but found the opportunity to make a leaf set of nails and a fruit set!

The lime green nail polish is very pigmented! This is one coat of it on a white nail. It almost has a satin-matte finish. As much as I wanted to dislike this polish (because... it's so bright!) I actually love it! The gold strawberry is adorable, by the way.

Here are the three looks I created with this kit:

Banana Leaves
I used the Beverly Hills Hotel as inspiration for this set — banana leaves, pink, and gold! The strips are pretty good, but slightly thicker (and more sticker-y) than other wraps I've gotten from Scratch in the past. Regardless, I was able to use some green, white, and yellow polishes to fill in where the wraps didn't cover all the way to the edge.
Fruit Basket Nail Wraps
Wet and Wild WildShine in Tickled Pink
ELF Nail Polish in Pot Of Gold [similar]
Seche Vite Top Coat

Fruit Basket
For this set, I used all the fruit patterns from the set! Watermelons, pineapples, lemons, bananas, and the Strawberry charm!
Fruit Basket Nail Wraps
Wet and Wild WildShine in Tickled Pink
ELF Nail Polish in Pot Of Gold [similar]
Julep in Bea
Gold Nail Tape
Strawberry nail charms, Daily Charme
Seche Vite Top Coat

Neon and Gold
Finally, I had to use the lime green polish for a set! I think the fluorescent and gold is such a great combo for summer.
ORLY in Thrill Seeker  [similar]
Gold Nail Decals, c/o NewDress
Seche Vite Top Coat

Which set is your favorite?

Trend // Lace It Up

Posted on: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It's hard for me to walk away from lace-up clothes lately. Everything from shoes to dresses to bodysuits — I can't get enough of this style! I first started noticing it around Instagram and even picked up (and made) a few pieces for myself!

For starters, I made these from some old flats! I really loved the lace up flats I saw while window shopping, and decided to make my own. All it took was a pair of basic shoes, a leather punch, and some leather cord. Considering I had these UO flats lying around (they probably cost me $10-20 a few years ago) and already own a leather punch, I picked up a giant roll of black leather cord from my local craft store for $4 — and bam! Cute shoes! I've also done something similar to a pair of mule heels that I have. I'll be sharing those in a later outfit post.

Nasty Gal
Runnin' With The Devil Lace Up Dress // Prudence Flats // Wait and See Lace Up Dress // Lavish Alice Drop It Down Jumpsuit // Proud Mary Lattice Dress

Free People
Bein Bad Lace Up Pants // Back Interest Pullover // Jennie Tee // Steffi's Rugby Tee // Shay Lace Up Flat // Hierro Heel // Dusk Till Dawn Lace Up Heel // Andra Kitten Heel // Berlin Heel // Freefall Flat

Glamourous Petite Lace Up Bodysuit // Romper with Lace Up Front // Plunge Neck Dress // Denim Tunic Dress // Bardot Suedette Lace Up Dress

Fig Lace Up Sandal // Kaiser Ankle Tie Shoes // Jupiter Mid Heels // Nomad Suede Tie Sandals // Rupa Ghillie Sandals

Cherry Blossoms

Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I've been really beating a dead horse with the floral prints, huh? Oh well — I love this jumpsuit. I hardly ever find one pieces that fit my short frame. I was killing some time at the Urban Outfitters Surplus (where I used to work so many years ago!) and found this for five bucks. In the back of my mind, I was searching for something to wear to my art show and this ended up being perfect!

The art show was held at the Japanese Culture Center for my boss, who has been tattooing in Chicago since the 70s. All around, this outfit seemed like the best fit. Beyond that, I needed something that looked good whilst barefoot, because per their etiquette, it is custom to take off your shoes before entering the Japanese Culture Center!

The art show ended up being fantastic and it was a full experience. I even had a piece of my own hanging in the show! It felt pretty good for my first Chicago Tattoo Company event to be a success. All the work paid off, but I'm glad that it's over and I can move on to focusing on other business before planning another one of these! Whoo!

Cherry Blossom Jumpsuit, UO Surplus [similar]
Fringe Necklace, Claire's [similar]
Platforms, UO Surplus [similar]
Double Wrap Belt, UO [similar]

Photos by Erika Gomez.

How I Stay Inspired

Posted on: Monday, July 27, 2015

Inspiration can be elusive. Some days I'll jot down twenty ideas for Mini Penny, for drawings, and for photos. Other days I will stare at my computer screen with complete and total writers' block. Personally, staying inspired means balancing the right amount of work and the right amount of rest. Here are a few ways I keep on my toes.

I read a lot of blogs. I have made it a habit that instead of reading through Facebook status updates, I find a new blog to add to my Feedly. I categorize my app into multiple categories — architecture, typography, beauty, fashion, etc. Seeing what other people are writing and experiencing is such a great way to spark ideas for myself.

I also own stacks of books. And my coworkers at the tattoo shop have loads of books with amazing references. Having lots of interesting images on hand makes for great drawing ideas. I've always been a lover of books and other drawing reference material!

I also follow a lot of my favorite photographers on Instagram. Having a quick and easy feed of great photos makes it easy to be inspired on the bus, train, or other odd moments of downtime.

Keep Notes
I have a notebook dedicated to jotting down ideas. I keep it on my desk — very accessible for wherever I am around the apartment. If an idea pops up, I write it down. And if I'm on the go, I keep a list of Notes on my iPhone with all sorts of ideas of what I see throughout the day.

My notebook in addition to my calendar is really helpful in plotting out how ideas can be translated for the blog — shoots, DIY tasks, or other odds and ends.

I'm the type of person who can get burnt out if I don't take a break. I work a lot and feel like I'm always moving. I have to dedicate a few hours every week to simply veg out — Netflix, motorcycle rides, hanging out at a coffee shop or with friends. Anything that gets my mind off the grind. When it's time to get back to work, I feel plenty rested to look at my calendar with fresh eyes and new ideas!

Part of resting is also indulging. I have a lot of great ideas when in the shower or soaking in my favorite Lush bath bombs!

Take Photos
I take a lot of photos — of everything! My Fujifilm X100T is almost always on hand. When it's not, I have my trusty iPhone. You never know when a photo may spark an idea for something: drawings, color schemes, or outfit inspiration.

Cleaning my apartment, desk, or computer files is extremely therapeutic for me. I get a rush from getting rid of things. And a lot of times I'll uncover forgotten clothes, memories, and more that can transform into a new post or project!

Surround Myself with Creative People and Things
I work in a tattoo shop, so there's constantly something creative going on around me. My guy is an artist, my friends are artists, and I fill my home with small bits of creativity. With so many influences around me, it keeps me on my toes!


How do you stay inspired?

XO Pillow c/o Ankit

Review // Julep July Desert Heat Box

Posted on: Saturday, July 25, 2015

I can't believe it's been so long since I've gotten a Julep Maven box! I've been skipping every month since August 2014 — I just have so much polish that I haven't seen much that sparks my eye. I was delighted by July's options and opted for the Desert Heat Box for July.

The biggest selling point for me were the colors. Brittany [similar] is a bleached apricot creme and was what I was most excited about. I am so in love with this color — it's close to a nude but with a little twist. It goes on pigmented and smooth, but I was not impressed with the brush. I think Julep's brushes are inconsistent. Regardless, I was able to get this nice and smooth as you can see in the swatches above.

The Ginger is a liquid holographic [similar]. It's a multi-color gold with a great brush and really nice coverage. The swatches above are with two coats. There's fantastic shine in this one!

As an added bonus, the box came with rhinestone stickers. I have a ton of these in non-sticker form, so I didn't really need them — but it's a nice change from glueing them on by hand. Still, you need to layer on a top coat so that they don't pop off as easily.

There have been plenty of times that I've mentioned how I'm not a fan of Julep's cosmetics. I've gotten one eyeshadow palette that I've been impressed with and that's about it. In comes the Go Big Volumizing Mascara. I love this stuff!

I don't have a lot of faith in volumizing mascaras — I mostly just use a basic black mascara to darken my lashes. But this Julep is a good balance of volumizing without being overly chunky. This has replaced my daily go-to!

Have you picked up any of the recent Julep boxes? I've already skipped the August month, but am hoping to see some great fall colors coming in for September. You can sign up for the subscription here!

Quick Change Artist

Posted on: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I've lived in my neighborhood for about four years (minus the short time I spent in Philly) and it has changed so quickly. It seems like it's accelerating. Truth be told, I think I'm about to get priced out — I found out my landlord is selling my building. I can't blame him, though, because property in Logan Square (and many neighborhoods in Chicago) have gone up hugely in the past couple years.

For example, this corner building has been vacant for as long as I can remember. It was ugly and drab, and then one day on my way home I saw workers painting it and gutting the inside. Someone had bought the building and was converting it — rehabbed apartments on the top level and a property management company below. It's strange to see a business on my street considering that I live in a residential area, but I suppose it makes sense that people are taking the locations as they can get them. It is a pleasant change to see something that's not a bar in Logan Square. I've loved this area of Chicago in my time here, but I'm frankly sick of the weekend crowds it brings now-a-days. People come over here to party. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I'd much rather prefer boutiques and restaurants to nightlife as of late. If I do have to move out of my apartment (I'm crossing my fingers because I love my space!), I don't know what area I'd venture to. Maybe Andersonville or somewhere up north? That's a bridge to hypothetically cross later on.

I'm back to black. I love all black. It's so simple and clean. I previewed these sandals in a post last week and did hint that I would share more info on them. They're really not quite what they seem!

Alterre was kind enough to send me these — I had my heart set on the Mule style, but they provided me with the Lift. What is so fun is that you can change the straps. Yup.

I was wearing the black in the photos above, but with the simple change of a little leather-punch whole, I can get a totally different look! It's really easy and the shoes are made solid. These are great casual sandals for on-the-go.

What's even more fun is that they have a lot of different styles and hopefully will be releasing more. I would love to see some polka dots or leopard print straps come into the mix! There are about a million ways they could go with this, so I'm excited to see what they do next. Check out their website for all current styles!

Babydoll tank, UO Surplus [similar]
Studded Necklace, gift [similar]
Paisley Shorts, Forever 21 [similar]
Lift Sandal, c/o Alterre
Gold Nail Decals, c/o NewDress

Clinique #FaceForward

Posted on: Monday, July 20, 2015

Today I'm partnering with Clinique to ask you all one simple question: if you could give your future self any advice, what would it be?

For me, I feel like I have more on my plate now that ever before — I'm running this blog, managing a high volume tattoo shop, and all of the other tasks that come on board with those. It's a lot — and it's not always kind to my sleep schedule or stress level. My face is my business, for a lack of better terms. It's my face and style on Mini Penny and it's my face being at the forefront of a cool, skin-related business.

With that, there are things I have to be committed to. For starters, I drink a lot of water today to keep my body feeling fresh and hydrated for the days ahead. Watching tattoos heal as part of my job is fascinating, and is sort of like am amplified version of skin health. Drinking a ton of water makes a big difference in my heal time and in my overall complexion.

Additionally, it's so very important for me to have a quick and easy skin care routine that is a no-brainer. That's where Clinique comes in. Every morning and evening I dedicate time to my skin so that I can spend the rest of my day focusing on all of the other tasks at hand. I don't let myself fall asleep with makeup on anymore. I always moisturize (because that is my biggest issue — dryness!) and have noticed a big difference.

The Clinique 3-step system shows an obvious change in my skin. I no longer have dry patches near my nose and scalp. It feels smoother, softer, and younger. And best of all, it's an affordable line that's accessible and classic.

So to my future self, I have to make a promise to stay hydrated and to treat my skin with kindness. In reality, I'm not getting any younger. The better I take care of my skin now, the better it will be in years to come.

What advice would you give your future self? What are you skin care goals?


This post is sponsored by Clinique. All opinions are my own. Thank your for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. 

Headphones in header image c/o Ankit. Ankit is not affiliated with Clinique.

Bell Sleeves

Posted on: Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nowadays so many pieces in my closet are governed by whether or not I can wear it to work. Working in a tattoo shop means no bells sleeves and no white — it's all a recipe for (gross) disaster. Additionally, the motorcycle. Certain styles have had to be phased out of my closet. But this dress, this dress. I couldn't say no.

I'm all about layering delicate necklaces lately. I just ordered a bunch of small gold pieces of jewelry that will be great for re-acheiving this look.

Another favorite fun project of mine is converting my shoes into lace ups. I've been lusting over a lot of these styles on Free People's site, but didn't want to wait — I grabbed some leather cord and a leather punch and an old pair of flats. Wha-la! It was really easy and totally revamped these otherwise boring shoes.

White Long Sleeve Dress, c/o SheIn [similar]
Hat, Urban Outfitters [similar]
Shoes, DIY [similar]
Layered necklaces, Various [similar]

Garden Variety

Posted on: Wednesday, July 15, 2015

There's so much black in my closet. I'm constantly teetering on the edge of ditching color all together and sticking with a simple palette of black, grey, and white. I noticed this romper (romper! It's so loose and comfy that it looks like a dress!) at the store and knew it would be a good addition despite it's bright floral pattern. I mean, I love florals — and this is still a fun way to mix it up without veering too far from my favorite dark palette.

The past few weeks have been insanely hectic at my job — I've been planning a big art show for the tattoo shop! If anyone in Chicago would like to come see it, we're going to be at the Japanese Culture Center from 7-10pm this Friday. All the details are here.

This is a little sneak preview of these fantastic shoes that were sent to me from Alterre. I can't wait to share them with you in more detail next week! Hint: They're not what they seem (wink wink).

The Seeker Romper, Someday's Lovin'
Lift Sandal + Jackie Strap, c/o Alterre
Velvet Belt, Urban Outfitters
Coin Necklace, Modcloth [similar]

MINI PENNY All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger