Mini Penny Blog

The Basics

Posted on: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

No matter how much shopping I can do nor how much inspiration I can take in, there's nothing quite like the jeans, t-shirt, and boot combo. I've been rocking this look more and more lately. With an ever-rotating collection of boots and black denim (and a variety of jackets on top), this is my easy solution for long days at the tattoo shop or no-fuss, out-the-door get up.

How do you rock the jeans and tee look?

White V-Neck, Forever 21
Raccoon Jawbone Necklace, Renegade craft fair
BDG Boyfriend Belt, URBN Sample Sale
Shredded denim leggings, American Eagle Outfitters
Aldo leopard booties, Buffalo Exchange [similar]

Recipe // Coconut Macaroons

Posted on: Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Macaroons (not to be confused with macarons) are one of my favorite treats to make... and eat. They're simple, delicious, and will only take you about an hour. Check out the how-to after the jump.

You've Got Nail 47

Posted on: Monday, January 26, 2015

I've been a little lax on my nail art lately — mostly going with simple and minimal designs. This manicure is really no different, but I love the grey and gold combo and felt compared to share this great base color I picked up.

I noticed the L'Oreal Dark Sides of Grey collection and Walgreens and bought Aux Chandelles and Bad Bad Grey. I was so excited to try Bad Bad Grey once I got home, so I started a manicure and was horribly disappointed. The formula was so sandy and gritty and it dried with the most undesirable texture (you can see examples of it here). It rather tarnished my hope of this collection for a couple weeks, until this past weekend when I decided to give Aux Chandelles a try.

Perfection. A previous review I had read noted that it was thin and hard to work with — mine was the opposite. It covered nicely and had a great smooth finish. I finished the manicure with a gold stamping technique and had a great looking manicure in hardly any time at all!

I totally dig this light, cool grey. What are your favorite neutral nail polishes? Have you tried anything from this particular collection?

L'Oreal Dark Sides of Grey polish in Aux Chandelles [similar]
UO Nail Polish in Admission [similar]
Zoya Nail Polish in Purity [similar]
Pueen Nail Stamper
Bundle Monster Stamping Plate #BM-404
Bundle Monster Stamping Plate #BM-315
Seche Vite Top Coat

12 Lists // Number 1

Posted on: Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Clear the Way and Chez Gillian have started a fun new series for the new year: 12 lists. I'm excited to jump on board with the project and add my own lists and invite you to share yours in an effort for us to all get to know each other better! There will be one list each month — and January happen to be a topic pretty close to my heart: favorite smells.

I've mentioned multiple times in the past, but I love "men's" scents — wood,  tobacco, etc. I read recently in Allure Magazine that women shouldn't wear manly scents because men find it unattractive. Well, f*ck Allure Magazine, frankly.

Earth scents — tobacco, pine, sandalwood, cedar wood, mahogany
West Third Brand in Scout and Tobacco 1812
New tattoos (I know, this is weird, but I think it's the witch hazel)
Burberry London for Men
Prospector Co Burroughs Body Cleanser
Lush Let The Good Times Roll
Murphy's Oil Soap — reminds me of my mom cleaning the house when I was a kid!
The pages of old books

What are some of your favorite scents? Leave them in the comments below or start your own monthly list!

January Color Palette

Posted on: Monday, January 19, 2015

I really dig Pantone's Color of the Year, Marsala. I'm excited to continue adding this warm color to my wardrobe and makeup collection. Personally, I'm really lusting for the Sephora and Pantone liquid liner and mascara! How about you?

Sephora + Pantone Universe Pure Masala Lipstick, Mascara, and Liquid Liner // Three Floor Faux Fur Jacket, NastyGal // Oxblood Socks, NeedSupply // Skelter Boot, Freebird // Long Sleeve Ribbed Crop Top, Topshop // Ruled Notebook, Public Supply

Header photo courtesy of the US National Archives.

Recipe // White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

Posted on: Tuesday, January 13, 2015

These white chocolate raspberry thumbprints are one of my favorite cookies ever. It all started when I worked at a bakery in high school — we made traditional thumbprint cookies that were shortbread with a glaze frosting in the middle. When I moved away from my home town, I started experimenting with different versions and flavor combinations. Given that raspberry + chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combos (and at the time I was really hooked on a Haagen Daz White Chocolate Raspberry Triffle ice cream), I started making these for coworkers. They were a hit.

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4 cup white chocolate chips or bar of white baking chocolate
Seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 375ยบ.

First, beat sugar, butter and vanilla until combined. Then add the egg yolk and beat until fluffy. Slowly mix in the flour and cocoa. The dough will be soft but not sticky. If your dough sticks to your hands, add more flour. It should have a similar consistency as sugar cookie dough.

Roll dough into 1" balls and place on a cookie sheet about an inch apart. Using your thumb, create the thumbprints, making sure they are deep and defined enough to eventually hold the jam without it sliding off.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. You want the cookies to still be soft, but not darkened. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow them to fully cool.

Once cooled, use a spoon to fill the divots with seedless raspberry jam. Once you've finished this, melt the white chocolate using a double broiler on low heat — stir constantly to avoid scorching it! Transfer melted chocolate to a pastry bag and drizzle over the cookies.

Once cooled, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. What other combinations would you try with this cookie? I'd love to try a banana pudding + Nutella drizzle combo, or even a red velvet and cream cheese!

Grey Candyland

Posted on: Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A few weeks back, I posted some grey wall inspiration. I had been itching for a change in my apartment (dubbed "Candyland" due to the lavender walls that were here when I moved in), and a neutral grey seemed like a good way to go with it. After looking at many, many swatches, I went for a nice medium cool grey. It has given me just enough change for the second year in my Logan Square home. It's fun to look at photos from the purple version and the new grey version — such a big change for a small amount of money and only a few days of work!

I spend most of my time in my living area — my computer and work station are out here, plus my new TV and Netflix. When I'm working or painting, I like leaving some Netflix series on in the background or listening to Spotify via my computer. Additionally, the living room is a nice and cozy spot to cuddle up and watch movies. There's a lot of natural light — and I opted to paint the entire fireplace and mantle a gloss white.

The kitchen/dining room combo took no time to paint — it's white tile from about eye level down, plus with the cabinets and door frames, there wasn't much work to do. It ended up looking great, especially around where my bicycle hangs my my front door. I have a large, awkward storage space just to the left of my bathroom. I've been using a dark grey curtain to conceal the clutter, and the paint just happened to be a really nice match to it.

Additionally, I love that my bedroom is grey. I already keep my bedroom fairly dark — I love sleeping in my cozy bed with the heated blanket. Hibernation. They cool grey is much more relaxing and looks great with my bedding.

And finally, the bathroom. My bathroom is set up really weird — the shower is diagonal, and there are little nooks where you can tell that my building split the top level apartment into two single bedroom apartments. Either way, I'm glad it's pretty big. The grey really helps bounce light around the bathroom better and not make the lights feel so yellow. Previously, the ceiling was also painted purple, so I decided to change the ceiling to white and only leave the colors to the walls.

I dig seeing projects go from inspiration to completion. Are you planning any home improvement or home changes this year?

2015 Resolution

Posted on: Friday, January 2, 2015

This year, I'm only making one resolution. I'm not focusing on my physical self, but instead my creative self.

I grew up drawing and painting. From as young as I can remember, I loved to color in coloring books or draw pictures of my friends, family, and favorite characters. Despite my gut instinct, I ended up going to art college for Illustration and Fine Arts once I finished high school.

Art school ruined my love for drawing. I've had this conversation with others who have attended similar colleges — some agree and some do not. It wasn't a good fit for me, and it ended up making me burnt out on my talent.

Here and there over the years, I'll doodle some little things, but then I lose interest all over again. In 2014 I started working at a tattoo shop. I'm surrounded by very creative and wonderful people and it has made me want to start doing my own thing again. It's been so long since I've gotten this deep into painting that I'm still feeling out what my style was or is. In 2015 I'm making a goal for myself to finishing 50 paintings. So far, I've have Bowie, Richard Harlow, and Amy Winehouse in progress and I'm excited to share my work and re-learning process with you all along the way.

(And possibly put some of them up for sale?)

What's your resolution for the year?

Best of 2014

Posted on: Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I can't believe it's already time to say goodbye to 2014. This year was so fantastic and I'm really stoked to move onto 2015 and take on new adventures. But first, it typical form, let's look back at the year and see some of my favorite Mini Penny moments!

Last Year's Resolutions
I'd venture to say that I did perfectly fine on resolutions. I did start going to the gym (however brief that lasted over the summer...), I dedicated more time to the Mini Penny Shop, I visited friends Los Angeles (although I wish I would have made it to San Diego to see my brother!), and I did a hefty bit of exploring in my own city. I'm excited to continue exploring and traveling in the new year! I already know what single resolution I'm challenging myself to stick to in 2015 — more on that soon!

What Happened in 2014

2014 started out with brunch...

And then I went for the big change and cut off all my hair! Oh, plus donuts.

I survived Chicago's "polar vortex" (AKA winter), which felt like it lasted until June. I managed to escape it for a day by visiting Nashville for the first time — and will be back to see it again in early March! I can't wait!

There were a lot of bike rides, random trash findings, and more bar photobooth splurges than I can count. Oh and lots of black coffee.

The Mini Penny An Honest Tote ghost totes were a big hit for spring and summer!

And of course there was the fun trip to Los Angeles and my wonderful stay at the Ace.

I saw Chromeo twice in 2014 and even got a selfie with Dave 1's crotch. Good job, me.

I had a fantastic and fun opportunity to work with the folks at Mazda.

And of course I enjoyed visits from old friends (which always result in new tattoos).

The best way to end summer was on a bike.

Or at the dunes.

Or by visiting a mini pig farm in Florida and totally falling in love.

And I spent a couple days at the happiest place on Earth.

I finally saw my favorite band (Descendents) and even got a hug from Milo.

I visited my childhood home for the first time in three years.

And finally picked up a new toy that has been inspiring me to create more.

Beyond just the camera, I started working at a tattoo shop this year with a staff of amazingly talented people — something that has kicked my ass into gear as far as just getting a handle on my own doodles and whatnot. I'll be sharing these with ya soon.

Favorite Outfits of 2014

The Undercut // A Dress // Queen of my Castle // The Frye Company

5 Days of AOS // The Wave // Red Hot // The Pumpkin Show

How was your year? What were some of your favorite moments?

December Shop My Closet Sale

Posted on: Monday, December 29, 2014

It has been such a long time since I've done a Shop My Closet sale. Needless to say, I've been gathering a bunch of stuff and it's time to start passing it onto new homes! In the past, I've used BigCartel, but I'm going to go back to the way I did it when we first started — email + PayPal! If you see something you want, send me an email with your PayPal address plus the item(s) you want and I'll shoot you the invoice. US Shipping is included with all of the prices — let me know if you're international and we'll figure out the shipping fee.

As items sell, this post will be updated to reflect which items are no longer available. If it's here, it's for sale! Click through for the full listing and hurry — things go fast!

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