Fashion

Day One: IKondo

A few months ago I was invited to go on the Bridgewater Brand Experience to Haiti. I was speechless. I mean… I’m the girl that’s afraid to leave Mississippi, much less leave the country! But without thinking twice, I accepted this opportunity. As soon as I got off the phone, I was stunned that I had actually said yes, but that was that. I was going to Haiti. Scared to death, but going to Haiti.

As I was preparing for this trip, I prayed a lot. I prayed that God would use this experience for his purpose and that I would fulfill his purpose whatever that may be. I also prayed that I would have a complete peace about this trip and that God would silence my fears. Keep in mind. I am not a world traveler. I once dreamed of traveling the world and I created a “mental” bucket list of all the places I wanted to visit, but when it came down to it…I was scared. The idea of traveling to a foreign place and experiencing another culture sounded great, but I WAS SCARED. This fear of the unknown, fear of a language barrier, fear of another culture, fear of leaving my comfort zone was crippling. I share this with you because I want you to understand where my mind was, but when we landed in Haiti I was overcome with peace. A peace that I cannot even begin to describe. I wasn’t afraid, I was over joyed. I knew that this was the beginning of something great. I just didn’t know what that “something great” was. So here’s Day One: IKondo.

As soon as we landed in Haiti, we were greeted by a young man holding a sign “Welcome Bridgewater Candle Co.”. His grin was so big and bright. I instantly felt at home in this foreign country. He greeted each of us each individually like we were old friends. I’m not sure if he’ll ever understand just how welcome he made me feel. (I’ll talk more about Max in a later blog!) We then were escorted to a van and off we went. On the ride to our first stop a place called IKondo, I tried to take in every second. There were so many people. 2.5 million in Port-au-Prince alone. Everywhere you looked there was a vehicle, a person, or an animal. It was so crowded and so unfamiliar. The ride to IKondo felt like a lifetime. I was overwhelmed with the beauty of Haiti and the way of life and culture of the Haitians. I was filled with so many questions and so much excitement. And then there it was.. IKondo.

**A little bit about IKondo. IKondo is located in Grand Goave, Haiti. It was built by the Hands + Feet Project. Their overall purpose for IKondo was to help the local Haitian economy and individual Haitians by providing job opportunities and supporting the local farmers and markets. So they created this beautiful resort where missionaries and groups come to experience the beauty that Haiti has to offer. The real beauty though is the job opportunities that are being provided to Haitians, from the cooking and cleaning, to the landscape maintenance. You can read more about them at http://www.handsandfeetproject.org**

It was so beautiful. You could tell someone took pride in building this place, but I was so confused. We just passed so much poverty, houses made of sticks and old tin and most homes had tarp roofs.. And THIS is where we were staying for the night. I’ll be honest, there was a sense of guilt. Why did we get to stay in a nice air conditioned room, when there were children living down the hill in blue tarp shacks. I didn’t understand and honestly I was embarrassed. We got our room assignments, unpacked our bags, and ate dinner. That was that. Until someone wanted to go walking down to the village to meet the people and see the beautiful view. So of course we all jumped at the idea. We get to go meet the local Haitians! I was so excited. When I meet them, will I know what to say, will I feel a sense of pity, and what do I do? Hug them? Try to speak Creole? I had no idea. We left the safe, guarded gates and headed towards these shacks. As we were walking, kids appeared out of no where. They all just stared at first, but then they started to follow us, running along side us with their wire and plastic rings. (They cut out these large rings from barrel lids and pushed them around with a piece of wire. It’s actually very hard.) I was so confused. How could these kids have nothing and yet be so happy and filled with complete genuine joy. But when we were walking back to the resort, a little girl ran up to me and tried to hand me a Gourde. Now I know that’s only like .40 cents American money, but I was instantly filled with confusion and awe. This little girl lived in a house with a blue tarp roof and tin walls and she wanted to give ME her money. It was then that I understood. These children don’t want stuff or money. They want love and acceptance. They just want companionship. I don’t know if this makes sense at all, but God used this experience for me to see life in a bit of a different light. We don’t need stuff and money. We need friendships, family, and a sense of community. I feel like that’s when my perspective of this whole trip changed. I came expecting to see and help sad poor Haitians, but instead what I was witnessing was pure joy and happiness. And they were the ones helping me. Showing me a new way of living. Showing me a sense of pride that doesn’t come with material possession. A joy and love that can’t be bought.

Anyway, we then headed back to the resort for bed. Before we went to bed we all gathered around and shared our thoughts about the day. A few people shared and I definitely could relate, but I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. I was and still am processing everything. But there was one thing I wanted to share, but feared it didn’t make any sense. I still fear that you won’t understand. I was jealous. I know this might make no sense to you and it is such a harsh word, but I was jealous of a Haitian child that had nothing. I craved to have the eyes in which she saw the world. There was a sense of innocence that I was jealous of, but more than anything I longed for her joy. Even though she was born into poverty,  she knew no difference. This was her life and she was still filled with complete joy. As I lie in bed that night, I prayed for that joy. I still pray every night for Christ filled, complete joy and I do feel like God is revealing this to me a little more each day. As I sit here now (a week later) reflecting on this first day I realize that I’ve changed. I no longer am jealous. Instead I have a sense of respect and admiration for that little girl and all other Haitians. I understand that I was born into this life for a reason just as they were born into there’s and I am going to find that reason. I am going to strive to be filled everyday with a Christ like joy that that little girl had. 

So that’s it for day one. A lot to digest. A little over a week later and I’m still digesting, but it gets even better. So stay tuned for Day Two: Jacmel. 

xoxo,

Bethany

P.S. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at bethanyallyoops@gmail.com and I will answer them in my future Q + A Blog about Haiti

 

 

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Fashion

Cinnamon Rolls: The sweet snack that takes me back.

CINNAMON ROLLS! There is something about a homemade cinnamon roll that makes me feel like I’m tip toeing on a stool, in my Grammy’s 1950’s style kitchen with the check flooring, sun pouring through the tall windows, flour spread over the counter top, cabinets left open, mixing bowls piled in the sink, and her beautiful, carefree singing voice echoing off the walls.

All of these memories and feelings came rushing back to me when I came across this Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll recipe by Audra (@audra_TheBakingChick). It also made me wonder, when was the last time I cut loose in the kitchen, got a little messy, and made homemade cinnamon rolls? Well, it has been long enough my friend.

So stay tuned for our rendition of this yummy recipe. I hope you carve out a little extra time in your hectic schedule to make something that brings back happy memories and takes you to a place of absolute innocence and brings out that childlike, carefree spirit we all have within.

Check out the recipe here. And let me know what food brings back special memories for you in the comments below!

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Fashion

{Fair}ly Dressed

The fair is finally in town and we couldn’t be more excited. Me and Courtney ran over at lunch for some roasted corn and lemonade, but we couldn’t resist a quick photo shoot!

I have found myself reaching for this little tank again and again. I love the loose fit and the beautiful color. I mean..what’s better than the color PUMPKIN this time of the year. So here are 3 different ways you can style our Pumpkin Lace Tank this fall.

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My all time favorite way to wear this little tank is as a layer. It looks so cute peeping out from under a sweater. I paired it here with our popcorn sweater. I also paired it with a chambray button up and leggings and it looked so cute together.

 

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Denim

As Courtney always says, “When in doubt wear denim.” I love a good fitting denim jacket and I have finally found the perfect one here. It’s the perfect layering piece for all of your tank tops in your wardrobe. I love how the lighter denim wash pairs with the rich pumpkin color of this tank.

 

 

By itself

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And lastly, this cute little tank is precious enough to wear by itself. I paired it with skinnies, but you could definitely wear it with shorts during these hotter Mississippi fall days.

 

 

Fashion

You’re never fully dressed without…

I have always struggled with accessorizing. And until recently,  I would send quick pictures of my outfit every morning to my mom. I always anticipated her thumbs up on my outfit or for her to tell me what I’m missing, whether that be a necklace or different pair of shoes. I lacked the confidence because I simply didn’t know the basics of accessorizing. In the last few months, I have searched Pinterest and bloggers everywhere to find the secret to accessorizing.

Here’s what I have found..

1. Always have the perfect pair of shoes.

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I have found that I can completely botch an outfit with the wrong pair of shoes. I have learned it’s always good to have one good pair of booties, a versatile pair of wedges, ballet flat, and one trendy, fashion forward shoe (My choice for this season is the cutout peep toe bootie)

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2. Jewelry is always a must..

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I am a firm believer that jewelry can change  any outfit. For example you can take a simple white tee and pair it with a statement necklace for a professional look or change it up with a long necklace and a cardigan for a casual look. Either way, the jewelry completes both outfits and without it you just have a plain ole tee and skinnies.

If you aren’t a “jewelry kinda girl”, then try a simple stud or a simple bar necklace (you’ll be surprised how much this adds to an outfit).  I have a bar necklace similar to the one pictured that I special ordered from AllyOops Boutique. I wear it with everything and I even layer it with my long necklaces.

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3. Oh, for the love of.. SCARVES

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Okay, I know it’s hot here in Mississippi, but it is technically fall. I envy people that live in states that actually have fall breezy weather. Because let’s face it, what’s fall fashion without a plaid scarf? I love accessorizing with scarves.They are super versatile! You can make them into a vest or wear ’em with a tee and skinnies, or even a cute skirt. My favorite way to wear a scarf in this hot weather is with my hair up in a messy bun and some simple studs. It’s crazy how a scarf can complete an outfit. Check out these cute plaid scarves!

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4. Accessorizing w/ the perfect Handbag

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This is where people make their biggest accessorizing mistake: Handbags. When purchasing a handbag make sure you get a bag that is VERSATILE and that fits with your day to day style. If you are artsy and bold, go for a bright statement bag. If your classic or preppy, go for a timeless Coach or Kate Spade tote. Whatever your style, make sure your bag is versatile enough to coordinate with your wardrobe.

One of my favorite bags this fall is the Emilia Medium Medallion Bag by Brighton. This bag is available at AllyOops.  I love the timeless color, yet it’s fashion forward with the medallion detail.

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5. Bralette & Dress Extenders

It’s no secret that bralettes are this seasons go to fashion trend. I love how they add the perfect touch to any outfit. I wear my bralette with tops or dresses that have low necklines, or deep sleeve openings. Below are just a few examples of how to style a bralette. (AllyOops Boutique has a great selection of lace and stone wash bralettes)

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6. “..you’re never fully dress without a SMILE..”

No matter what you are wearing, never forget to put on your smile. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel and look.

I truly hope these accessorizing tips helped you as much as they have helped me. So go forth and conquer this world, wearing your smile of course. Okay, and maybe a good pair of shoes 😉

XOXO,

Bethany Frazier

Fashion

The Stocking!

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Christmas morning. I slip slowly out of my room. Christmas tree lights are glowing. My sleepy eyes search the pile of shiney foil paper wrapped gifts for the crown jewel. The stocking.  I can’t wait for the excitement and surprise of what is hidden inside my stocking! I try to sneak a peak, but my mom has wrapped each and every item in my stocking so my efforts are thwarted. I must wait til she is awake. She would fill my stocking with the most wonderful treasures. It was amazing all the goodies she could stuff in that stocking. The latest eye shadow colors, fuzzy socks, scrunchies, a swatch watch, neon earrings, Rubics cube, and vintage jewelry from the thrift store. I don’t even remember what my stocking looked like, only the treasures inside it, but it must have been bottomless for it held endless joy each Christmas.

Such a delightful childhood experience must be turned into a tradition. So when I became a mom I did my best to recreate the magical fun of the stocking. I would always search out fun little treasures to fill my girls stockings. Stuffing the stockings full until they overflowed and looked like santa’s coat bursting at the seams after too many cookies. And of coarse I wrapped each and every item.

Even though my girls are both grown, I still stuff their stockings with goodies. While I can’t tell you what they will get in their stockings this year because they might read this blog, I can tell you some of my favorite stocking stuffers at AllyOops. I hope you will stop by and see for yourself all the wonderful stocking stuffers we have in store, then you can fill up your stockings til they are bursting with magical surprise!

My number one stocking stuffer this year is Standing on the Word scripture socks. These socks are made in the U.S.A., super soft, and fit really well.

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Restoration bath balms. Always a go to stocking stuffer. Made right here in Rankin county these bath balms smell as amazing as they are beautiful.

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Galaxy Glister. Add a little shine and shimmer to the holiday with this fun glitter gel. This innovative new product was created by a Jackson local and made right here in the U.S.A.

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Therapy dough. Stress relief in a pinch. This dough has a calming effect with its all natural essential oils.

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Muscadine Press scripture journals. Support another local when you purchase these beautiful scripture journals.

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Yazoo toffee. A Mississippi mom and daughter team make this amazing toffee. You must make time to try this one, it will melt in your mouth.

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Fashion

ThanksGIVING back

Here at AllyOops we are focused on supporting small businesses and the community around us, but what we value even more than that are products that give back to the community. Whether it be through volunteering or donating proceeds towards specific causes, here are a few of our favorite brands that give back…

OakRiver: Purses (and leather goods) with Purpose.

OakRiver is a company based out of Georgia. They make high quality leather goods that are tradional and timeless. I personally own a OakRiver bag and love it, but what I love even more is Mitzi’s (creator + founder) and the OakRiver Team’s desire to give back. They are envolved is serveral charities worldwide, including Redefin’d, Africa New Life Ministries, The Abba House/Grace village, Lizzy’s Legacy, and Purple Heart Homes. One of my favorites being Redefin’d. Redefin’d is an amazing ministry and non profit that give women in prison facilities manufacturing work. By working, this nonprofit pays them fair wadges and gives them this money unpon release. They focus on offering these women on the job training, life skills, and transitional housing upon release. Their goal is to break the cycle of imprisonment and make a positive impact on these women’s lives.  You can read more about the legacy they intend on leaving here.

Bridgewater: #LightACandleFeedAChild

As most of you know, Bridgewater + Rice Bowls have a special place in my heart. I recently had the oppurtunity to go to Haiti and see the impact we were making in the Haitian community and these children’s lives. Bridgewater is a candle company based in South Carolina. For every Bridgewater candle purchased, a child is feed for the day. Bridgewater alone is responsilbe for providing over 1 million meals to orphaned children. They are able to do this through the Rice Bowls Foundation. Rice Bowls takes the money donated by Bridgewater Candle Co. and goes to countries like Haiti. Once in Haiti (and other countries), they give the money to orphanges they sponser. This feeds the local orphans and supports the local market economy. (Win, Win!) You can read more here.

GoodWorks: Jewelry that Inspires + Helps

Goodworks was created by Helena Cho. She combined her love for missions and helping people with her love of fashion forward looks. Thus she created GoodWork(s) Makes a Difference, a fashionable jewelry line that inspires and encourages women as well as giving back to charitable causes. She pledeges to give 25% off all procedes to charitable organizations all over the world. A few of those charities are, provide 200,000 salad bowls for the Dream Center, help provide After-School Programs for 28,000 underprevilaged students in the US, provided clean drinking water over seas, and so many more. You can read more here.

Borderland: Helping Close to Home.

Borderland Candle Co. is a local candle company based right here in Pearl, MS. These candles are soy based and smell amazing, but what’s even more amazing is their dedication to providing clean water globally. Clean water is something we take for granted. I know I do. You get home soak in a warm bath or take a steaming hot shower, you go to the faucet whenever you need to get cool, refrshing clean water, and we run the dishwasher constantly. Well, other countries and communities aren’t so lucky. Borderland Candles have made it their mission to help out through Hydrating humanity. Hydrating Humaniy provides drinking wells all over the world. They provide Hand Dug Wells, Artesian Wells, and Drilled Wells. To see how you can contribute click here.

Thanks for reading,

Bethany

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion

Fall & Mississippi Weather: What to wear?

I know I cannot be the only woman that has no idea what to wear this time of the year! It’s hot, it’s cold. It’s like the state of Mississippi is in PMS mode, there’s no romantic comedies on, and the grocery store ran out of peanut butter cup ice cream. Can anybody relate? Seriously though, it is hard to find the perfect outfit this time of year in the South.

I decided to do a little Pinterest searching and I found some great ideas of what to wear in the Fall in the South and here’s what I found.

  1. Open Toed Shoes: As bad as I want to pull out my tall knee boots, the weather is just not there yet. So in the mean time, I suggest keeping your short booties and even your open toed shoes in reach. Don’t put them away just yet. I would keep out a comfy sandal (like a Birk), a neutral wedge (to pair with bell bottoms and a sweater), and of course all of your short booties. I love pairing a cute sandal with skinny jeans and a light weight cardigan that I can shed mid day when the sun starts warming things up.db8fbf2b7659d64a0717a80424d21620
  2. Jeggings: Sometimes it’s a little warm even for denim, so a perfect pair of denim jeggings is a fall necessity. Pair them with a cute tunic top and (again) your favorite bootie for a easy and cute put together fall look.
  3. Denim Jacket: A denim jacket is a must. It might not be spring anymore, but don’t put up those spring dresses yet. Just grab a denim jacket, it’s the prefect layer for your short sleeve or spaghetti strap dresses. I like to pair my spring dress and denim jacket with a cute bootie for a fall look. You can even add a scarf for a complete fall look

 

This is my go to fall outfit. Leggings/Jeggings, a light weight sweater, and open toed shoes! Between this outfit and a denim jacket outfit I think we are set for fall.

If you have any other fall outfit ideas or any way you keep cool this fall in Mississippi, please share. I’d love to hear your outfit ideas.

xoxo,

Bethany

Fashion

Eleven Questions for Eleven Collection

Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 9.35.53 AMEleven Collection is a local jewelry designed and created by Mary Anna of Brandon, MS. We will be spotlighting Mary Anna and her jewelry line, Eleven Collection, this Saturday. So, we decided to meet up with her and ask her eleven questions about herself and her jewelry line. Here’s eleven questions with Eleven Collection.

  1. What sparked your love for fashion and jewelry? I’ve always been a girly girl who loves dressing up! Putting together an outfit head to toe makes me so happy. 
  2. Explain how you came up with the name Eleven Collection? And why? I really never had a set name in mind so I kinda just came up with it one day. Eleven came from Hebrews 11, the whole chapter on faith. I need all the reminders I can get to relax and have faith! I liked the word collection because in my mind I wanted to have a “collection” of items that were cute and affordable. 
  3. Have you always been interested creating/designing jewelry?No not at all which is crazy when I think about how I’m doing that now. I actually always thought I would do something clothing related and never even considered creating jewelry. Even when I first started my business I wasn’t making my own jewelry, but ended up pursuing that route so I could make pieces that were completely unique. It’s a great creative outlet!
  4. Cats or Dogs? I love animals but dogs are my favorite. 
  5. What is your favorite style jewelry right now? Currently, I am loving the choker and shorter necklace trend. 
  6. Describe your style in 3 words? Comfortable, trendy, and basic with a twist.
  7. What do you hope you will accomplish with Eleven Collection? I hope it continues to grow an online presence and I would love for it to be in retailers throughout the country. It’s so fulfilling to me to have a business and to truly enjoy it. I learn something new from it everyday and I want to continue to learn from it so that no matter if I’m making jewelry in 10 years or not, I’ll be even better at whatever it is I’m doing. Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 9.38.20 AM
  8. What is your favorite jewelry piece right now? At the moment, since it’s still football season, I would have to say my long maroon bulldog necklace.
  9. What’s your horoscope? birthday? I am aChristmas Eve baby! (Capricorn)
  10. What advice would you give to someone that doesn’t know how to style jewelry?Don’t overthink it, simple can go a long way, and keep a long neutral necklace as a wardrobe essential. 
  11. Who is your favorite FRIENDS characters? Phoebe always makes me laugh. 

Thanks for reading. And we hope to see you Saturday!

xoxo,

Bethany