Mini Penny Blog

Ways To Wear It // The White Bootie

Posted on: Friday, April 17, 2015

I don't know what it is with me and shoes. Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved shoes. I can easily say they're my favorite thing to shop for, buy, and I normally base my outfits around shoes. I think my obsession has something to do with The Spice Girls. I mean, when I was ten or so, Scary Spice was my idol. I think that may also have something to do with my leopard print love...

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: white boots. I've been digging them lately — especially since one of my favorite bloggers, The Mop Top, has been scoring tons of great white shoes. Needless to say, because of Tanya's posts, white oxfords and booties have been on my radar. I managed to score a really cute light grey pair of boots at DSW [in this post], but still wanted something more white. I stumbled upon these Jeffrey Campbells on sale for $20 and couldn't say no.

I can't wait to start wearing these for spring. And I certainly need to brush up on my knowledge of how to clean white leather. Because, uh, these are great and I don't want to ruin them!

How do you style white boots?

Swing Mock Neck Mini Dress, UO // Trilogy Bucket Bag, Free People // Lucas III Boot, Senso // Stripe Necklace and Timespan Ring, Madewell // Tenoverten polish in Worth, Sephora

Moto Dungarees, Topshop // Let's Rock Lucite Crystal Necklace, NastyGal // Barstow MT Bootie, Jeffrey Cambpell // Textured Knit Crop Top, Forever 21

Endless Shirt, J Crew // Classic Sheffield Watch, Daniel Wellington // Alexa Panama Hat, UO // Radwell Cutout Oxford, Jeffrey Campbell // Moto Washed Black Jamie Jean, Topshop

Saved by the Bells

Posted on: Thursday, April 16, 2015

I was debating in my head yesterday: have I started dressing boring? Predictable? Or just minimal (a definite 'trend' across all social media lifestyles, amirite) ? It's so strange looking back on the past four years and seeing my style change. Before I definitely felt like I needed to be a little more 'loud' to make a statement. Nowadays, I am so comfortable in my regular black skinny jeans and a pair of boots and a t-shirt. But I still love going out on limbs. And I have the desire to so more than just that. I used to thrift all the time. I used to alter clothes and make things weird. After I started working for the Urban Outfitters Surplus some years ago (and later corporate, etc), I found that it was so easy to just buy from them. The discount was cool and accessible, but there's a certain tinge of crappiness I feel when I go through my closet and realize that a huge chunk of my wardrobe is this low-quality fast fashion stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I love a quick stop at Forever 21 or whatever. I have plenty of $5 items from the Urban Outfitters Surplus. It's hard to pass that stuff up sometimes. But damn if it all starts to look the same after a while.

And then I continued to think on the subject — what the fuck do I actually talk about on Mini Penny anymore? The weather? Hah. No, seriously, it's a bad habit of mine. I realize I never really talk about what I do — and to be honest, I'm not sure my day-to-day life of hanging out with my "boyfriend" (for lack of better terms) and his cat are even interesting. Is my calligraphy practice interesting? My obsession with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? I mean, I don't even want to delve into what I do at the tattoo shop for a myriad of reasons — I don't think it's very interesting, it sounds pretentious, and I don't really think it's fair to tell stories of third parties who have absolutely no impact on Mini Penny, etc.

But damn. What makes me Jessie Barber these days? I guess all of these things — the calendar planning, the fact that I really do dig my job at the tattoo shop, the borderline secret relationship I have been in for a while. I am so many leaps and bounds away from who I was in my journey to the corporate world, but in many ways still the same. I want more hours in my days, I want to make more things, I want to improve photos, and I want to dress fun (whether that's 'minimal' or otherwise).

As a person who digs on all of the nerdy analytical side of doing this thing, I can see what you guys click on and what you like — but numbers aren't personal. What do you all like to read? Or are you in it for the photos? Do you prefer to Pin stuff and get out of the blogosphere? Or do you want to interact more? Honestly, I love talking to you all in comments and emails. And I always want to encourage open conversation on all platforms!

With all that being said, things are forever changing in my personal life. And in my public life. I'm still into the downfall of the 'festival lookbook' and the rise of you doing whatever the hell you want to do to be you. But hey, Minis, let's chat more. Because I want to share and I want to make sure that I'm sending a message and not becoming a meteorologist.

On Sunday, Boy and I went out and did some outside-y things. We stopped by the UO Surplus (the irony) and they had these bell bottoms. See, there's this local motorcycle/clothing boutique near Boy's place that had some velvet bell bottoms. They were so killer — but I couldn't take the plunge on the price tag in case I wasn't in love with them. The Surplus, however, had these for ten bucks.

Dumb Me didn't buy them, though. I didn't feel like waiting in line for the fitting rooms and I didn't want to chance getting them and them maybe fitting me all goofy. But I couldn't stop thinking about them. Tuesday after work, I wanted to treat myself and decided to go back — unfortunately they only had one Large in stock. Still, I was a woman obsessed. I bought them anyway and once I got home, took them in and hemmed them just a bit so they would fit. Boom. I'm in love.

I really thought that these pants were, like, my new favorite thing. But I posted a photo of me wearing them on Facebook and all these dudes I know started shitting on them. So you know what my new favorite thing is? How much guys hate them. Because, yo, if they're uncomfortable because I'm wearing something that isn't latte-mom-yoga-pants, then they can eat me. Nothing gives me more pleasure than doing whatever the hell I want.

Guys, they're just pants.

Vintage vest, Thrifted [similar]
Layered tank, c/o Jenabelle [similar]
Flares, UO Surplus [similar]
Everwell Boots, Jeffrey Campbell [similar]
Moonbeam Necklace, c/o Miriam Designs
Whistle Necklace, Etsy [similar]

The Grey Boot

Posted on: Monday, April 13, 2015

I've been hunting for some white/grey boots for the season and stumbled upon two pairs this weekend — this particular pair is a faux snakeskin that I picked up at DSW. They were the last ones available and they were in my size!

This poncho is always one of my favorite layering pieces, but I certainly don't wear it as much as I'd like to. Do you have anything in your closet that you love but forget about?

Ruana, UO Surplus [similar]
Love Always FP Denim Jacket, Free People
Velvet Heart Denim Tank, Wicker Park Warehouse Sample Sale [similar]
Faux Leather Leggings, Rag-O-Rama [similar]
Western Sammy Boot, DSW [or similar]
Pyramid Necklace, UO Surplus

April Shop My Closet Sale

Posted on: Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's that time! Spring cleaning means I have a whole bunch of goodies for the April Shop My Closet Sale. 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!

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?

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