Mini Penny Blog

Rocksbox // Designer Jewelry Box

Posted on: Friday, March 27, 2015

I love finding out about new subscription boxes! I'm excited to share my newest favorite one with y'all, too. It's called Rocksbox and it's a great way to try out new jewelry styles. And even better news is that you can try it out for one month free.

It's really easy to get started. Similar to other subscription services, you sign up and answer some questions to help find what style suits your taste. Once you're in, you can add items to your wishlist — jewelry you'd like to try out in your boxes. When you box arrives (yay!), there will be three pieces inside. These are on loan to you and you can wear them as you please. From there, you have the choice to keep and item or send it back.

What I like the most about Rocksbox is that you can send you items back as often as you'd like with the prepaid shipping label. I keep my boxes for a couple days, try out the jewelry, and then send it back. That means I get about three boxes a month with lots of great stuff to try!

For every month that you're a member, you get something called $10 Shine Spend that you can put towards purchasing an item (or items!) in your box.

The first box I got was gold — this great Golden Flair Necklace from Slate (which I loved), some mini bar studs, and this bali wring to wrist bracelet. I've been really into gold jewelry lately, so this was an awesome way to start my Rocksbox!

I returned the first box and a second one came for me quick! I loved the necklace in this box (I even wore it in my last outfit post) and had to skip on the bracelet and earrings. That's the fun part of these boxes — you never know what you're going to get each time!

Rocksbox is $19 per month for unlimited boxes. And if you use the code minipennyxoxo at signup within the next 30 days, you'll get your first month free!

What are you waiting for? Go check out the jewelry (and be sure to follow their lovely Instagram) and pick yourself up some great accessories for spring!

This post is sponsored by Rocksbox.

Winter's Last Stand

Posted on: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Snow day! Monday morning I woke up to my neighborhood blanketed in white. We all thought for sure that spring was here, but in standard Chicago fashion, the forecast changed. The bright side? I get to get a few more wears out of my favorite coat and boots!

I'm really digging this necklace. I got it from a new service called Rocksbox. I'll be filling you all in on that later and giving you a discount code to get your first month free!

Knit beanie, Urban Outfitters [similar]
Teddy Bomber, Urban Outfitters [similar]
Anorak, Urban Outfitters [similar]
Jenny Bird Turquoise Frida Collar, Rockbox
High Slit Tee Dress, Forever 21
Black leggings, Target
Camper Socks, Target
Freebird Chase Lace Up Boots, Buffalo Exchange

Recipe // Helen's Cheesecake

Posted on: Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I can't believe Mini Penny Blog's birthday almost slipped by me! March marks four years of running this blog and I decided to celebrate with two awesome things: cheesecake and a shop sale!

Okay, so first things first: the Mini Penny Shop sale. Now through the end of March, everything in the shop is 30% off. No code is needed and it's always free shipping in the US. There are lots of goodies available, so hurry up and get them before they're gone.

As for the cheesecake, this is a recipe that my mom uses all the time. She got it from one of her quilting friends, Helen, that I've known pretty much my whole life. Bottom line is, it's so good and I pretty much have to keep myself from eating half the darn thing in one sitting. Enjoy!

1 3/4 graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

3 - 8 oz. packages Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 Tblsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
Fruit (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325º.

Starting with the crust, blend the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press this mixture into a 10" spring form pan.

Next, your filling. First mix the cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for five minutes. Once it is mixed well, pour over the crust. Bake at 325º for 70 minutes. Check to make sure it's done by inserting a knife into the pie — the knife should come out mostly clean. Remove and let cool for 20 minutes.

While the cheesecake is cooling, blend the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Poor over the top of the cooled cheesecake and return to the oven to bake for another ten minutes. Remove and refrigerate.

You can garnish your cheesecake with fruit (I prefer blueberries and raspberries!) or flowers! And enjoy!


Posted on: Monday, March 23, 2015

This weekend I attended my very first Worldwide Instagram Meet! It's so nuts — I've been on Instagram since they first launched in the app store and I've met so many awesome people along the way. But somehow I had never been to an official meetup!

Of all the social networks I've been a part of in the past 10+ years, it's easy to say that I've made more friends and more connections through Instagram than anything else (old school Tumblr is a close second, though!). Isn't it great how a mutual love for good photos, food, puppies, and shoes bring us all together?

Did you attend an Instameet this weekend? Did you get to meet any of your favorite Instagrammers?

Spring Up

Posted on: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Good grief, Chicago. The past few days have been so wonderful and I'm so excited because ... outfit photos! Winter always hits me pretty hard — the short daylight, the snow, the ice, the dirt. But the other day my friend and I took a walk to get donuts (necessary) and I had to start stripping layers. I totally forgot how to spring.

Oh yeah, and spring calls for new hair. I love my undercut and all, but I'm itching to do something different. I'm thinking I'll see all the fun things I can do while growing it out a little. Here goes nothing!

What's your first order of business for spring? Mine is getting my bicycle tuned up and ready for riding. Second is probably selling my DSLR and trying to find a motorcycle. Finally, am I right?

Love Always FP Denim Jacket, Free People
Open back tee, URBN Sample Sale [similar]
Radio Sunglasses, Cheap Monday [similar]
Suede bag, URBN Sample Sale [similar]
Easy Jeans, American Apparel [similar]
Suede Boots, ALDO Surplus [similar]
Boot chain, DIY
Glider Bangle Bracelet, Madewell
Nixon Timeteller Watch, c/o RueLala
Rings, ASOS and H&M

Ways To Wear It // Spring Transition

Posted on: Monday, March 16, 2015

Few things make me more excited than the spring rolls around. Last year, it felt like it took forever, but right now I'm stoked that all of Chicago's snow is melting and that green is just around the corner.

Granted, warmer temperatures are on the way, and the transition into spring is great for layering if you do it right. My biggest concern this time of year is my footwear. The disappearing snow is leaving dirty puddles at curbs and intersections, meaning you need something that has traction and it still relatively waterproof but goes with the rest of your outfit. And that's why I own so many pairs of Dr. Martens!

Here are some ways that you can style Docs with your transitioning layers. There are so many different kinds, it's easy to find something that works for your individual style.

Giselle Crochet Socks, Free People // Dr. Martens 1460 W in black, Union Jack Boots // Paisley Stitch Detail Tea Dress, Topshop // Somedays Lovin' Dex Fringe Jacket, Urban Outfitters

Green Surplus Jacket, Mini Penny Vintage // All Clear Chain Choker, NastyGal // MIE 1461 in Silver, Union Jack Boots // Formula X in Gravity, Sephora // Panel Open Sided Top, Forever 21 // Cape Leaf Print Cigarette Trousers, Topshop

Moto Black Ripped Hayden Jeans, Topshop // Authentic Trucker Jacket in Moonshine, Levi's // Addy in Black, Union Jack Boots // Ultimate Faux Leather Jacket, Dorothy Perkins // Messenger Shirt in Clipdot, Madewell // Cotton Fringe Scarf, J Crew

What's your favorite part of the spring transition?

This post is sponsored by

New Vintage Listings!

Posted on: Monday, March 9, 2015

Great news! A lot of new vintage listings have gone up in the Mini Penny Shop! There are plenty of options for spring, plus all winter sweaters and coats have been marked down (sweaters are under ten dollars!). Always free shipping in the US.

Shop now: Mini Penny Vintage

A Nashville Adventure

For starters, I didn't take many photos while in Nashville for a few reasons. One: I had a blast (oops, I always have the tendency to forget to take photos while having fun) and two: the weather was unexpectedly ...grim. Last year at this time, I made the same trip during the same week and it had felt like summer. This year, it was cold, wet, and icy. This in turn left us stranded in Nashville with few ways home to Chicago. But more on that later.

Just like the year prior, I grabbed round trip Megabus tickets from Chicago to Nashville (and just like the year prior, they were cheap. $26 for two round trips!). They were both red eye routes — the first one leaving Chicago on Tuesday night and arriving in Nashville Wednesday morning. The second trip was to leave Nashville that night and drive overnight to Chicago. It was one of my favorite trips last year for the sheer brevity and spontaneity of it. It is a cheap, easy trip and you [theoretically] don't have to mess with hotels. When our bus landed in Nashville last week, I already had an alert that our bus home had been cancelled. But an easy tweet later, and Megabus had already booked us on a Greyhound home that evening. Crisis averted, customer service prevails, all that good stuff. Time to enjoy the day.

I had been in debate between trying Pinewood Social or Biscuit Love for breakfast. The Instagrammer in me chose Pinewood because of it's retro bowling alley, killer neon, and interior aesthetic. It did not disappoint. Breakfast gave us a good chance to unwind and loosely figure out our day, but not before squeezing in two rounds (games?) of bowling. I'll be the first to admit that I'm terrible at bowling, but it was a really good time and I think I may have been getting the hang of it towards the end.

After breakfast, I wanted to head down to 12South. Last year we walked, so I figured that this year... we could walk. Meh. We made it to Third Man Records before deciding to shake the rain and get a Lyft down to Frothy Monkey for coffees and to dry off. The temperatures were steadily dropping and the rain didn't stop all day.

Laughably, I left my umbrella in the first Lyft we took. Emphasis on laughably.

So onto Imogene + Willie, Katy K, White's Mercantile, and a few other stores in 12South. The rain was really kicking our butts and I couldn't find a replacement umbrella for purchase anywhere. I was soaked and while it slowed us down, we didn't stop. We managed to pop into The Flipside for lunch poutine, Local Honey, and UAL before hitting East Nashville. I will say that this is the first time I've stopped in Local Honey and UAL and I'm really looking forward to going back on my next visit!

Okay, so at this point it's around 7pm. Even though I found an umbrella, the damage was done and I was pretty much soaked. We went straight to Barista Parlour for hot cocoa and espresso, before walking (in the rain... still!) to Mas Tacos Por Favor for a fantastic dinner.

Around 8pm we head downtown to visit Gold Club Electric, then decide to end the night at Acme and some other honky tonk hillbilly bar. A friend of mine whom I used to work with at Urban Outfitters had recently moved to Nashville, so he came out for a drink and we caught up on old times. It was fantastic. Our replacement Greyhound bus was to go out of town at 11:45pm and we got ourselves a Lyft that way.

An then the "worst" thing happened (I say "worst" in quotations because it really is not the worst and was just a big punch in the gut after being out in the cold rain all day). All busses out of Nashville were cancelled. Hah! Crap! So I got back on the phone with our original busline and tried to work some things out with not much avail. See, a funny thing happens when you visit another city. Since I live in Chicago and I'm so used to snow and ice, I was totally baffled to see Nashville completely shut down with just a little dusting of snow. We ended up in a hotel room for the night and had to rent a car the next morning to drive back to Chicago. Tennessee and Kentucky were so unprepared for the winter, it took us around ten hours to drive back thanks to the road conditions and closures.

At the end of it all, once we finally got back home Thursday night, it was a pretty good laugh. And despite not getting to see everything I wanted to see this time, I can easily say that I can't wait to visit Nashville again when it's a little warmer!

Have you ever had any unexpected travel delays or have gotten stranded in a strange city? What did you do?

March Shop My Closet Sale

Posted on: Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's time for a brand new Shop My Closet sale! I'm getting rid of some great items for the winter/spring transition — perfect layers, boots, and more. 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.

Additionally, all sweater in the Mini Penny Vintage shop are $9.99! Get 'em!

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!

Think Pink

Posted on: Saturday, February 28, 2015

My girlfriends and I always reach a point in the winter where we discuss how we can't wait for the snow to melt so we can break out our full shoe collections. I've picked up a few pairs of new kicks over the past few months and for fear of destroying them with salt, they've stayed in the box.

Luckily, I also have a strong collection of boots to get me through. I had been dying for these J. Crew motorcycle boots and stumbled upon them at my local Buffalo Exchange. My lucky day, right? And I'm tempted to also buy them in suede since J. Crew currently has an extra 40% off their sale (ack!).

Additionally, I'm constantly on the verge of dumping all color out of my wardrobe. But this light, dusty pink sweater from Showpo was such a good state that I had to scoop it up. I love oversized, cozy sweaters in the winter, and this one provides the perfect amount of coverage to pair it with leggings and not feeling too over-exposed.

Dove Knit sweater in Pink, c/o Showpo
Faux Leather Jacket, thrift store [similar]
Faux Leather Trim Leggings, c/o Betsey Johnson
J. Crew Biker Boots, Buffalo Exchange
Raccoon Jaw cast necklace, Renegade Craft Fair
Felt wide-brimmed hat, UO Surplus

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