pennies for penny


the holidays are on the horizon and once again i find myself searching for the perfect gift to give to my loved ones.  after happening upon pennies for penny i will look no further.

the thomas family abruptly lost their 21 month old daughter penny in a tragic accident in 2012. in the days immediately following the accident, a community came together to help them in a dark time of desperation. within a few short hours, friends and strangers established and funded a project called “pennies for penny” to help defray big costs that the family had incurred.

“through this charitable act–and many, many others–we felt God’s love like a reassuring arm around us, holding us tightly, letting us know that all was not lost. a little more than a year later, we continue to be inspired by these acts of kindness. we can never match or repay them, but they changed us forever, just like our little penny did. love, family, connection, service, curiousity–these were the important things in life. and so, we committed ourselves to them again. we ache dearly for her each day, but the outpouring we felt from the world around us following the accident reminds us how nice it feels to be taken care of in dark times.”

each sale on pennies for penny will benefit up to three families in need this holiday season.

the penny ring {sold in a set of two} is made from pennies, with “in God we trust” still visible. all rings are individually handmade {with love} by volunteers specifically for the pennies for penny fund.

lives will forever be changed in the rememberance of penny.


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about me … about us

in case you missed it … the sprouse clan was featured this week on matilda jane’s blog! thank you to cj isaac of charlie juliet for spending the day with us in the city and capturing our family perfectly!

here is the interview …

sprouse 1

Q:  Please tell us a bit about yourself.  Where are you from and where are you now?

A: I am a southern girl recently transplanted to NYC.  Our family of four made the big move to the intimate community of Park Slope one year ago and I cannot imagine raising our children anywhere else!

Q:  I always love to hear about the incredible husbands that support the crazy schedule of a MJ Trunk Keeper.  What makes yours so special?

A: Matt is my best friend and greatest supporter hands down! Together we created and owned Abode – a home furnishings + accessories store in Knoxville, TN in 2006. Over the four short years of owning Abode, we welcomed our daughters {Sophie + Hazel} into the world while Matt continued to hold a full-time position as a television producer. Abode taught us many life lessons and reminded us how imperative it is to be in constant communication and to support each other unconditionally. Having past retail experience has allowed Matt to better understand the support that I need in Matilda Jane.

sprouse 2

Q: You’ve got two absolutely precious daughters!  Give us a glimpse into who they are.

A: Sophie {6} + Hazel {4} are the coolest gals I know! I have loved watching them grow and become young girls with Big dreams! Sophie loves to write and sing songs. She has a classic fashion sense while still making an outfit tailored to her. Hazel longs to be a cowgirl and definitely marches to the beat of her own drum. She has a free spirit approach to most things in life including her wardrobe, making it fun to see how her selections work in ways I would not have originally imagined.

Q:  If you could wear one item every day, what would that be?

A: I am in loving the midnight ruffle pants. – I wear them all the time! In fact, when talking to my girlfriend about Halloween costume ideas for herself she quickly replied, “well I can just throw on some Matilda Jane pants and go as you!” I may need to add some more staples into my clothing rotation …

sprouse 3

Q:  How did Matilda Jane find YOU?

A:  I have loved Matilda Jane from the time Sophie could fit into the clothes. The longevity and versatility of each piece has had me coming back for six years!

Q:  If you could have lunch with ANYONE, who would it be and why?

A: My mom. I was completely spoiled during the seven years we lived in the same city during my adult life. I miss her terribly and long for our impromptu mother/daughter dates.

sprouse 4

Q:  What are 5 words your friends would use to describe you?

A:  Passionate. Dreamer. Trend Setter. Listener. Creative.

Q:  Besides your family, what are you most passionate about?

A:  I have a passion for creating editorial through styling. Each summer, my sister-in law and I create a themed photo shoot involving our four kiddos and enlist the talents of a local photographer to perfectly capture each tyke’s personality. Each year these photos tell such a unique story of who are children are in that stage of life.

Q:  Share with us just ONE very important thing you do to try to leave this world a better place.

A: Instilling the importance of accepting others into my girls’ everyday life. This is one of the most important life lessons from my father that has made a huge impact on my life.  Throughout my life I have met and become friends with people that have a slightly different outlook on life than I do and because of that I have been inspired to grow, create and see the world through different lenses. I believe that individuality is what makes our world exciting and brings purpose to getting out of bed in the morning!

sprouse 5

Q:  What store makes your heart go pitter-patter when you shop in it?

A: The Brooklyn Flea. I love mixing old {sometimes what others may view as junk} with highly polished new home accessories. Our home holds many stories and is carefully/methodically put together so that our friends and family are able to easily join us in our story.

Q:  What do you value more?  Possessions or travel?

A:  Absolutely no question – Travel. Matt and I have always said that if we give our children anything it is that of a larger worldview. We walked through my grandparents’ home after they had passed away and marveled at the love that they had for each other and the memories that they shared while traveling the world together. Instead of investing in possessions that would eventually gather dust and then be sold at an estate sale they traveled – – seeing the world, visiting with family both in the US and abroad.  It is our hope to continue their legacy.

sprouse 6

Q:  If given the opportunity to have the day to yourself, how would you spend it? 

A:  I have recently come to understand how important it is to give myself “moments” in the day that are just mine.  These moments are long enough to spend time with a friend, organize my home, go to the gym or simply stare blankly at social media outlets. No matter how I spend these moments I hold them close because they are all mine and not dictated by the constant noise of “must-get-dones”.

Q:  If you could crawl into the pages of any book, what would it be and why?

A: One of my most favorite books is What Alice Forgot. I read it last year and have not been able to shake the message that it gives throughout showing unconditional love and forgiveness.

Q:  What is YOUR “must have” Paint by Numbers piece?

A:  My favorite dress out of the entire collection is the Rose Gold Jane Dress.  This dress gives a nod towards vintage. Giving girls a tailored and innocent look while having the freedom to run, play and discover new things.

sprouse 7

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nyc past + present

today i discovered the work of marc a. hermann {a historian of the new york press photographers association} and love his brilliant juxtaposed photographs of nyc as it was then and is now – – bringing back to life the people and stories of this city’s past. marc focuses on historic crime scene photos from the new york daily news archive and then blends them with photographs from the same present locations. i hope that you find his work as intriguing as i do!


{497 dean street, brooklyn}

edna egbert climbed onto her ledge on march 19, 1942. the news captured the distraught woman fighting with the police as she wobbled on the edge. the building is currently painted red, but remains nearly identical to the way it looked 70 years ago.


{923 44th street, brooklyn}

the tree that stands in front this building is the only living witness to gangster frankie yale’s untimely demise on July 1, 1928. yale’s car slammed into the steps of the brooklyn home that day as he was shot to death from a car driving by.


{park slope, brooklyn}

over 130 people were killed aboard the planes united airlines flight 826 and trans world airlines flight 266 in december 1960. the crash  destroyed some buildings beyond repair – the ones that still stand can be seen in this compilation.


{137 wooster street, manhattan}

on feb. 16, 1958 there was a massive and fatal fire at the elkins paper & twine co. the building was leveled, but new commercial space now stands where the elkins paper & twine co. once did.


{south street seaport, manhattan}

the fulton fish market in the south street seaport was engulfed in flames on feb. 26, 1961. these buildings still stand, in various states of occupancy, minus a few floors here and there.


to view more of marc’s work visit his website.

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be your own hero


it is my greatest desire to teach sophie + hazel how to live an authentic life. a life full of love, loss, success and yes … even failure. i want them to know that how they live their life matters and in that perfect balance between the simple + struggle is where true living happens.

recently, we have been ending our days by reading – heroes for my daughter – and have become spellbound by these quick 2-page stories featuring everyday people who made a huge impact on their world. this inspiring collection has impacted my girls and helped them to understand that a true hero is humble, loves others well, refuses to take “no” for an answer and fights long + hard for what they believe in.

some of their favorite stories include:
marie curie {scientist . researcher . nobel prize winner}
joan ganz cooney {helped create sesame street}
alex scott {founder of alex’s lemonade stand}
dolly parton {legendary singer-songwriter . business woman}
lucille ball {actor . trailblazer}

“no matter what stage of life you’re in, when you want something – no matter how impossible it seems – you need to fight for it. when you believe in something, fight for it. and when you see injustice, fight harder than you’ve ever fought before. no one is born a hero. every person featured in {heroes for my daughter} had moments when they were scared and terrified. like you. like me. so how did they achieve what they achieved? because whatever their dreams were, big or small – for their country, for their family, or even for themselves – they never stopped fighting for what they loved”
– brad meltzer {author of heroes for my daughter}

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enjoy today


and in the end
the most important piece of advice
that my past has given me …

is to enjoy life
while you’re living it
you can never know
which moments will be the ones
that you’ll remember
and when happiness will hit you

so be open for anything
at any time
do not fret over the past
but learn from it
and make new memories

for there is only one life
and one chance

-author unknown

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matilda jane

matilda jane

my girls and i have had a long-standing love affair with matilda jane and i am thrilled to join their team as a trunk keeper representing brooklyn, new york!

{about matilda jane}

matilda jane offers girls clothing ranging in sizes from 6 months to tween size 14.  each collection is purposefully designed to blend together. girls are able to confidently gain their own independent style by creating several unique outfits with a handful of pieces. each garment is thoughtfully designed with the understanding of how a child grows. a garment that begins as a dress is able to morph into a top the following year giving longevity to the original piece!

don’t have a daughter or simply love matilda jane as well? a women’s line is also offered through matilda jane!

{what is a trunk keeper}

matilda jane firmly believes in relationships between its company and the customer. trunk keepers allow the customer to have a continued personal experience with the company. as a trunk keeper, it is my job to inform customers of new collection releases, sales events, process orders and will be able to help with sizing and styling.

{how it works}

matilda jane is not sold in stores, making the line more exclusive for its customers.

how to view the line
attend a trunk show at someone’s home
view the collection online

how to order
during a trunk show
create a wish list {an order} online and email is to

{become a jane}

matilda jane extends exclusive benefits to customers that become a “jane” by hosting a trunk show in their home and inviting friends to shop. the benefits include the ability to purchase “jane exclusive” garments that are not sold to the general public and receive significant discounts and matilda jane bucks that can be used on a personal order.

{fall 2013 collection}

the latest collection was recently released on august 1 and i am completely smitten by all that this collection has to offer! i hope that you peruse the collection and love it as much as i do!

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{book work} i’m hooked!

i have read some amazing books – – so good that upon completion i find myself dramatically saying “i don’t think that i can ever read another book again – how could anything compare to what i just finished?!?!?” when lamenting to my mother about this subject, she {quite wisely} suggested that i try another book from the author’s repertoire. the creature of habit in me has not been disappointed.

if you are looking for a good summer read that will enlighten, encourage or entertain you … may i suggest a few …

{melanie benjamin}

melanie benjamin

{kate morton}

kate morton

{liane moriarty}

liane moriarty

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pretty in pink


i am currently obsessed with the images i have seen of lake retba and am adding this to my ever-growing “must travel here” list. lake retba {located 40 km north of dakar} is quite the fashionable lake and is 100% natural. the distinct color is caused by the dunaliella salina bacteria, which is attracted by the lake’s salt content. the bacteria produces a red pigment in order to absorb the sunlight. the lovely pink pallete changes throughout each season but is recommended to be seen june – november for the most vibrant colors.

for now, i may just have to put on my rose colored glasses and stare at the beautiful lakes of tennessee!

happy friday!

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the renegade craft fair


after spending a day at the renegade craft fair i happy tallied the event under –  reasons why i LOVE living in brooklyn. the event was held at east river state park in williamsburg and hosted 300 indie-crafters. the rcf allows attendees the chance to be privy to some of the most innovative artists … heavenly!  after two hours of perusing the aisles {and purchasing some pretty amazing finds!} in the sweltering summer heat, my oldest daughter sophie still could not be dragged away from the scene and to be honest i was glad to have an accomplice while my husband and youngest daughter sought out a place for lunch. i am thankful for the vision of susie daly, mat daly, sarah christensen, justin rathell, madelon juliano and libby alexander for bringing this exquisite event to several cities allowing artists a platform to share their handmade goods in a setting that offers savvy shoppers an experience that is like no other!

in order to best explain the vision behind the renegade craft fair, i have attached an excerpt from their website below.

the renegade craft fair is a curated indie-craft marketplace showcasing the brightest talents in contemporary craft and design. the fairs bring hundreds of makers out of their studios and workshops and into the spotlight for a festive weekend celebration of all things handmade. each individual event is juried from hundreds of applications, then curated to highlight an eclectic array of both experienced and emergent designers producing one-of-a-kind and limited edition goods in a wide variety of media.

renegade is the first, largest, and most well respected event of its kind and has been a major force in pioneering the way for booming DIY craft movement since it’s inception. following the chicago debut in 2003, rcf quickly spread across the us {and “the pond”} and presently hosts events in austin, brooklyn, chicago, london {uk}, los angeles, and san francisco. rcf events attract tens of thousands of people per fair and over 250,000 visitors annually.”

if you happen to find yourself in one of these cities during a renegade craft fair be sure to check it out – it is sure to please!!

the renegade craft fair

a lovely welcome sign

camp renegade

cooling off at camp renegade

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caution … wet paint

“every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – pablo picasso


we happily began {what i am referring to as} our “southern summer tour” at the lake in tennessee this past week. it was a perfect way to jump feet first into a break from scheduled activities.

each summer, my sister-in-law and i create a themed photo shoot involving our four kiddos and enlist the talents of jennifer crook photography to perfectly capture each tyke’s personality. this year while assessing the ages {and energy levels} of the group we chose to host a paint party. this will probably go down in history as one of my most favorite days!

i have to admit that i have snagged these photos from jennifer’s blog because i couldn’t wait a second longer to share her lovely work!

to see our photo shoot from last year click here!














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27 Cupcakes

cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes. cupcakes.

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