India: Mumbai

Whitney Penn India 2015 CoverThis is part one of a series on my trip to India. I shared all of these of pictures on Instagram while we were there, and those pictures have in-depth captions and explanations. These posts are a gloss on my favorite parts of each city we went to. For more information on any specific picture, you can hop over to my Instagram or Edward’s and scroll back until January! Photos taken by Edward will be credited underneath.
Photo by Edward

We were so fortunate to stay with a friend and his family in the sprawling city of Mumbai. We spent a lot of time with our friend’s friends, doing things that 20-something students in this city do: wander around, go shopping, one night we ordered pizza and watched a movie. We all drove at some point or another, both on the left side of the road and in manual cars.
Some photos by Edward Smith

The view from Prithvi’s apartment + early morning on the sea link + when Edward climbed the top of Prithvi’s roof + driving along the sea link, a beautiful new bridge + “the car probably won’t blow up” + “let’s go for a drive” “I’m bored” + the 50 people that crawl out of the woodwork when you get into a car accident + getting pulled over + cars getting towed + Edward driving in midday traffic + “why is the car making that sound?”
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Wandering around Mumbai on a Sunday morning + riding the train + Victoria Terrminus (recently renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) + the smell of jasmine + victorian buildings with a twist.

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Book stores + vendors with overflowing stacks + painted trees + using our NYC ignore everyone superpower to our advantage + carrying giant bottles of water + not understanding cricket at all even a little bit + waiting for the sun to go down + walking through campus at dusk.

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The weird mall where we got our henna + going through metal detectors everywhere + eating KFC + sitting in bars all afternoon + dressing conservatively + wishing we could talk to every single person forever + people taking pictures of us while we walked by + swarms of people asking us for our picture everywhere.

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Getting dressed up for no reason + crossing wearing a sari off my bucket list + taking hundreds of pictures + watching people stare at Edward in his kurta + lusting after every textile I saw.

Radical Self Love Journal: Halfway Point

DSC_0177Hi friends! I hope you’re having good weeks- I know I am! I wanted to share with you the first half of the journal I’ve been working on based on Gala Darling’s Radical Self Love Bible School prompts.
Radical Self Love and I have a complicated relationship, but working in this journal and focusing on things I love and having a chance to do some guided introspection has been really fun and worthwhile. DSC_0203
Do we not love these bubble letter stickers?! I got them at Michael’s, and I now can’t find them anywhere online but I love them and I bet you can find them at your local Michaels/ craft storeDSC_0200
This is a quote from an Annie Dillard essay, Living Like Weasels, that I cannot stop thinking about. The dancer on the left is from Frankie, the dancer on the right is from an ABC Carpet & Home ad. The garden behind them is from an Australian interior design magazine. The bodega up the block sells the best magazines and they’re all from Australia or New Zealand. I don’t understand why, but I’ll take it.
spirit page
This page wound up being one of my favorites. I think I just like writing on pretty backgrounds. I went back and put glitter on the sneakers with Martha Stewart Glitter Glue, which, let me tell you, is the absolute best.   DSC_0182I don’t love this page but I feel really strongly about sharing our “crafting fails,” so here’s something I feel uncomfortable sharing with you! I just don’t think it’s that pretty, but the process of making it helped me learn more about my process.

Have a great rest of the week, sunshines!


Mini Makerie Recap

Embroidery Thread by Teryn
photo by Teryn (click through for source)

Hi Friends! Today on the blog we have story time (there’s a recap at the end if all you want to do is look at the pictures, I won’t be offended).  

A few weeks ago I packed a backpack, set an alarm for 4 AM, and flew across the country to my beautiful home state of Colorado. Why? To take an embroidery class! If you think a 4 AM flight for an embroidery class is a little… drastic, you obviously have never been to a Makerie workshop. I’ve now been to two, and I am here to tell you that Ali and Emily are nothing short of magical. Ali and Emily are like… these amazing fairies who turn everything they touch into creative, magical, special places and we should revere and/or appoint them world dictators. I would be so down to live in a dictatorship as long as it was led by Ali and Emily. That took a weird turn. Onward! 

Photo by Teryn

This particular Makerie, the Mini Makerie, was held in my mom’s studio! In our house! I didn’t even have to put on real pants to attend! I did, but I didn’t have to, and if that’s not the dream, I don’t know what it. 

Adriana Torres - Miga de Pan

Our teacher, Adriana Torres, makes the most incredible art. She made this sampler for her daughter, and you can really get a sense of her color palette and look from it. Her embroidery is otherworldly- tiny stitches, adorable creatures, and a color palette that somehow perfectly illustrates her. Click over to her site to see more. She’s incredible. 

Adriana Torres - Crochet Elephant - Miga de Pan
Photo By Teryn

Adriana and her team make these adorable little elephants! I’m obsessed. 

Mini Makerie Color Wheel
Photo by Teryn

First things first, we gathered our color wheels. Adriana taught us all about color: hue, saturation, and brightness. This is my wheel, with all the colors and their different iterations laid out. I clearly don’t like pink. 

On day two we made a sampler and learned a dozen stitches. Since I’m already a stitcher, I knew some of them, but Adriana has a really particular way of doing them, so I feel like it was all new information. We were so busy that I didn’t get a picture of them, and Teryn wasn’t around so sadly they are lost to the wind. That’s okay though, some things don’t need to be photographed to be special. 

On the other hand, this wall in boulder begs to be shared. They painted it last summer and I finally tricked someone into taking pictures of me in front of it before we went to dinner at one of my favorite Boulder restaurants, pizzeria locale (thanks, mom!).

Mini Makerie Studio Shot
Photo by Teryn

One of the things I love most about embroidery is that it is firmly rooted in history. The first embroideries were in China during the warring states period, and the art has flourished from there. Almost every culture in the world has some sort of decorative stitching and I have so many thoughts and feelings about it. I have written multiple school papers on it. I’m not kidding. 


On day three we embroidered the heads and shells of this adorable little plush armadillos! How stinking cute are they?

Recap: Ali & Emily should be dictators; armadillo feet are cuter detached than on.



Friday Finds: Art T-Shirts & Getting Old & Summer Salad

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Happy Summer you all! The boyfriend and I are house-sitting for his sister in Brooklyn this week/weekend, and it seriously feels like vacation in all the good ways (sleeping in, beach visits, quiet), and being at home in all the good ways (cooking our own food, playing with dogs).

These FLY ART t-shirts from Rad have been the light of my life this week. I ordered one, can you guess which?

I found this site a few weeks ago, and now I”m freaking out about being old at the ripe age of 21.

Were you wise with the way you watched Orange Is the New Black or did you speed through it in 2 days like me? I can’t wait for season 3, but in the mean time, I’ll watch Uzo Adoba audition for every part.

Nerding out over this social data visualization tool.

These pictures literally took my breath away.

At 25, Jason DiSilva got MS and continued living his life and being honest about it.

Manic Pixie Panic:

But just because I like cute stuff doesn’t mean I’m shallow, or that I live to make guys feel more adventurous and deep. For example, I would never ask a guy to lie down in the street with me and look at the stars, because I don’t want to get hit by a car. I’m way too cynical to ever fall in love with a boy over a mixtape. And to be honest I find cupcakes kind of stupid. 

Britney Spears is so insanely fascinating. She’s currently living under a conservatorship left over from her 2007 break down, which means is that she’s a 32 year old mother of two children who has no legal control over her life or career. Here are some great articles about the issue.

David Sedaris on living the Fitbit life.

Usually recipes I find on Pinterest are one-offs that I don’t make again, but this Kale Citrus Salad (which I refer to as “that orange jalepeño salad from Pinterest”) has been on constant rotation, and we’re even having it tonight!

Have an AMAZING weekend everyone and I will see you next week!


May & June

June Life Lately

My summer has been incredible so far, filled with lazy days, a trip home, adventures around New York City & New Jersey, tons of healthy cooking using my CSA bounty, and seeing my friends and family. I started a new job as a barista at a coffee place in my neighborhood last week and that’s been a fun adventure! I’ve only done a little making (the butts patch above is about it) but I’m recharged and ready to roll!

What I Wore: Picnic in the Park Edition


The Venn Diagram of people who are happy about summer’s arrival includes: students, east coasters who dealt with the polar vortex, and people who like to eat outside. If I could, I would draw this diagram for you, with a big “ME!” printed right in the middle of the intersection of all three. Sadly, I can’t draw, so I’m going to have to ask you to do the work for me and imagine. If this were a particularly fancy diagram, I would include the above picture of me twirling too (it’s probably a good thing I’m not a designer, no?). PS: My poor, long suffering boyfriend had to take about 30 pictures of me twirling in front of my front door until I got the right one. He’s a keeper.


I had a hard & long week between school ending, going on some interviews for jobs I really wanted (that didn’t pan out, sad trombone), and going on interviews for more jobs I also wanted (that did pan out! happy trombone!), so it felt really good to doll up & sit in the sun. This dress is one of the ones that I always know will make me feel really good. It’s pretty durable so I never have to worry about being too precious, which makes it the perfect dress for sitting in the grass, eating messy food, and going on adventures in!


I’ve had this dress for… forever, I think (and therefore can’t remember where I got it?). I style it a little differently every time I wear it. This time I paired it with an Anthropologie vest and sandals I’ve also had forever. I slapped on my fav pink lipstick and went to hang out in Washington Square Park with some new & old friends! This weekend is dedicated to lounging, going on New York City adventures, and working on some projects that I’m excited to show you guys! What are you up to this weekend?


Inkodye + Makeshift Society + Creativebug = Hearts

DSC_0514Have you ever seen a craft and thought “dang, I’d love to try that, but I’m too worried about getting a visit from the craft troll who screws up my projects and makes me scared of trying new things forever and ever?” Me too! It’s also how I used to feel about Inkodye until Monday evening! I rounded up my boyfriend and his best friend to go on a crafty friend date to learn about, and play with,the awesome photo-reactive dye (for free!). How cute are they?

Creativebug hosted us at the super awesome Brooklyn co-working space, Makeshift Society.  Champagne & the yummiest looking snacks greeted us when we arrived, so I knew it was going to be an awesome night no matter how our crafts worked out.  The representative from Lumi, Jessie, was super sweet. She had on the raddest floral skirt, knew her sh*t on the science side of things, and was just generally the perfect person to teach us all about Inkodye. Sadly I don’t have any pictures of her, but if her bosses are reading this, she was the best!


This is me starting my astronaut tote bag project.


Inkodye is so much fun you guys. The mess is super minimal if you’re even a little careful, and even though it smells a little like cat pee (because of the ammonia), it’s super super easy to work with. If you’re allergic to perfection like I am, this is the craft for you. You don’t need to be precise or deal with small pieces or anything, you just splooge on the dye, blot of the excess, lay down your pattern and off you go.


We used UV lamps to activate the dye because our event took place at night! You can see my astronaut pattern peeking out here. The dye is activated by UV/sunlight, so the printing with it works the same as printing a photo negative- wherever the light hits will be activated, and wherever it doesn’t will stay the background color.DSC_0609

Finished product! See what I mean about perfection being overrated? I love the condensation spots (the orange bits) where the dye didn’t fully activate. The only thing you have to remember is that the dye stays photo reactive until you wash it out of your fabric, so keep it away from the sun until you wash it or else the un-developed parts will start developing and you’ll lose your pattern! Oh no!

DSC_0519Lumi hooked us UP with some takeaway kits & a free month of Creativebug classes in these cute little boxes! Thank you so much to Makeshift Society, Lumi & Creativebug for such a fun evening!

PS: I’m a Whimseybox influencer now! If you want to try some Inkodye crafts for yourself, use this link to buy your supplies, and I’ll a) love you forever, and b) get a % of that sale to put towards more awesome crafts and content for you guys!

A Glitter Girl’s Guide to No-Nonsense Manifesting

Isa Genzken – I Love New York Crazy City

Manifesting and positive thinking get a bad rap. I think a lot people read half of The Secret and throw it out because they think it’s total hippy-dippy nonsense, and they might be right. I’m weary of “change your life through the power of positive thinking” too. A good life takes effort, not sitting in your room wishing something would happen. You have to go out take what is yours. Sometimes though, sheer willpower isn’t enough. Sometimes, you need a little extra oopmh and that’s when these steps to manifesting swoop in and save the day. Manifesting is just the practice of inviting the universe to meet you halfway. Positive thinking is an important step, for sure, but this is a guide to taking things into your own hands at the same time. I’ve come up with eight distinct steps to take when you can’t see a way out of the jam you’re in, or a clear path to the live you want to lead.

Step One:  Cultivate gratitude. If you want to lay out a welcome mat for the universe, you need to be grateful for what you already have.  Like us pesky millennials, the universe needs positive reinforcement. This isn’t the cheesy “I’m thankful for… ” crap you say at Thanksgiving dinner when your grandma forces you to think of something. The gratitude you need to make manifesting happen is the kind that makes you jump out of bed, put on your brightest pink lipstick and kiss your reflection in the mirror. I know those moments don’t happen all the time, but you can up your chances of having them by noticing when your thinking gets needlessly negative, and forcing yourself to think one thing you’re thankful for. Bonus points if you’re thankful for some aspect of the thing that’s currently stressing you the fuck out. One thankful thought a day is all it takes.

Step Two: Define the problem. Be clear about what the problem really is. Dig in and think about every single thing that needs to get solved about it. I am officially giving you permission to give into your inner worry-wart. This doesn’t mean wallow in misery– this means think about every little piece of the problem and really understand what solving this problem is going to take. Don’t write it down, don’t do anything about it. Just have it in your head. Quickly come up with a two or three word way to describe the problem. Then, I give you permission to do a Very Adult Thing and completely ignore the logistics of solving your problem. This is probably going to give you heart palpitations– ignore those too.

Rose Miller – Strawberry Blonde

Step Three: Narrate Your Perfect Solution. Instead of focusing on the logistics, I want you to think about the juicy details of how you are going to feel when a solution presents itself. Focus on the feelings, and the logistics will make themselves clear. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get yourself started (keep going if the mood strikes you): What does your day to day look like once you’ve solved your problem? What are you wearing? What does waking up every morning feel like? Going to sleep? What does a typical day look like once you’ve solved this problem?  What do you get to say on the phone with your best friend at the end of every day? What does being in your skin feel like? I feel like this goes without saying, but these should all be good visions of happy feelings. Keep these close to your heart. Manifesting isn’t always the easiest process, and you’ll need a reserve of good to keep you centered.

Step Four: Tell everyone about your problem. The key to not doing this annoyingly is to focus on the fact that you’re fixing the problem and already have it under control, but if they have any advice/help/contacts for you, take them up on it. For me, the best way to do this is to throw it in at the very beginning of conversation. Start conversations with “Hey, how are you?” and the other person is likely to say “fine, how are you?” Your answer to that has to work in your problem without complaining about it and then immediately give the other person an out of talking about your problems if they don’t want to. Example: “I’m good… in the middle of solving this (two or three word description of problem from step two) thing, but otherwise really good. How was your (trip/first day at a new job/whatever)?” People will either bite if they want to help you, or they’ll just talk about themselves if they don’t want to deal with your shit. Bringing it up to new people helps too, but there’s less of a script for that. Ideally you’ll have the conversation above, with a mutual friend, in front of new people. I trust you guys to understand how to interact with other human beings without being weird. 

Etsy – New York City Art Print

Step Five: Cast a wide net. The Internet makes this so easy. This is an extension of step three, but digital. This step could also be called “take it into your own hands.” This is the part where you make profiles on every dating website, apply to every job tangentially related to your skills, sign up for community classes in something you’re interested in. Nothing is too small at this moment, the point is to have your name and number absolutely everywhere. Don’t get too attached to any one option, just send out your best vibes everywhere.

Step Six: Loosen the reigns. This can be a really hard step for us Type-As. But do your best to go to live your life. Let the universe work it’s magic while you do your thing. Let those managers read your sparking cover letters, and those cuties on OKCupid get excited about your profile while you take yourself on a date or do a craft or see a movie and sneak in drinks with your best friend. Take a deep breath. You’re almost there.

Aimee Sicora – Fashion Print

Step Seven: Follow up with everything. Step five can take a while. But you’ve gotten this far, and you cast a wide net, so you’re going to have a bushel of opportunities coming your way. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you should!),  is to seize all those opportunities. Spoiler alert: a lot of these things won’t pan out. This is the exhausting step. Things are going to feel out of your control, and they are. The despair is expected, just keep your eye on the ball. Focus on the juicy details from step four and stay rooted in your gratitude. This is the part where you make it happen, where you meet the universe halfway. It can be helpful to look for signs that you’re on the right track during this step. I don’t know what that means to you, but to me it means little coincidences and moments of magic. You’ll know them when you see them. Keep going, keep following up, the energy you spend will come back to you. Stay open and grateful, even when if feels like it’s going to kill you.

Step Eight: Arrive. Just when you feel like you’re going to keel over and give up, a solution will present itself. It might not be wrapped up in a pretty bow, but you’ve done the work, and you know what you want. You’ll know you’ve worked it out when something makes you feel the way you wanted the solution to make you feel. It will fit with your vision of what you want and, most importantly, it’ll be easy. You won’t have to fight, or scream at anyone, or cry. The logistical work you have to do (and there will be logistical work) to make it happen will flow. This is the part where you savor every moment because you did it! You met the universe halfway and kicked-ass in the process. Now it’s time to rinse and repeat on the next thing.

Secret Step Nine: Take care of the stuff you manifest! This means be a good friend to the girl you worked hard to get to know. Keep that perfect apartment clean. Have fun and be honest with the boy you think could be the one. This is a tangible form of gratitude, one that’s easy and so, so powerful.