Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 through my IPhone.

Well 2016 you've been a little rough on me. I can't say I'm too sad to see you go but I will say with those challenges comes a lot of character building, strength in my faith & hope for tomorrow.

I thought I would share a few of my favorite photos captured in 2016 through my iPhone.

I hope everyone has a safe & wonderful new year. 
Cheers to 2017. 
The best is yet to be. 


Monday, December 19, 2016

To those who may be hurting this holiday season.

I'm stepping back from the endless holiday wish lists & outfit ideas to share a part of my story with you. A part of my story that has shaped me into the person I am today.

I actually started writing this 4 months after everything happened but I couldn't even make it through the first sentence. I decided to wait till the year mark to share but when God puts something on your heart, you can either ignore it, question it or do something about it & I chose to do something.

This post is for those who have an empty seat at the table this christmas.
That one special person who use to fill that spot is missing.

The holiday season that is suppose to be the most joyful time of the year, yet for some it can be painful, bring heartache & loneliness.

10 months. 
Its been almost 10 months on the 24th of December since I drove to that hospital that night clueless as to what was going on.  My whole world changed forever. I'm not the same girl that I was 10 months ago. Everything I feel is surrounded by that one day. Even down to the photos on my phone, I place them on a timeline in my head that is either before Feburary 24th, 2016 or after.

Walking into that ER pacing back & forth not knowing what had happened. All I could think of was my mom wouldn't have called me to come to the hospital right now if it wasn't serious.
When I finally reached her in the small room at the hospital. 
She barely could get any words out before the doctor walked in and said "I'm so sorry but now comes the time for the decision to be made, if you want us to keep trying, or stop. His brain has been without oxygen for over an hour. His heart will never beat on its own again." I felt like someone punched me as hard as they could in my stomach. First thing I could get out was
 "Why are you just standing there? Get your ass back in that room & save my Dad."

I remember walking back into the waiting room, telling my husband & sister in law it wasn't good. We walked into that room with over 15 nurses as they did chest compressions on him, something I wish I would have never witnessed because getting that image out of my head is nearly impossible.  I stood there in disbelief as I watched the machines slowly stop & the nurses turning the obnoxious beeping off.  I felt this sense of helplessness that I have never felt before.
 I felt an out of body experience that I have never had before. I feel like God puts you in that state so that you don't die of heartbreak. Everything I once knew completely got ripped out of my hands. I lost a huge part of me in that hospital room, that I've been struggling to get back. 
My Dad was gone. 
My advice giver, my rock, the Dad who loved me first, the backbone of my family & my boys papa. 
Gone without any warning.
I was Daddy's little girl.
How could this have happened?
I couldn't seem to digest that. 
I remember I kept pinching myself to make sure this wasn't a dream.
My heart shattered into a million pieces & I'm still figuring out how to put it back together.
Day by day.

My heart broke for my Mom who had to find her husband of 36 years laying in the driveway.  Having to always wonder if there was something more she could've done to save him. 
Thats where we step in & remind her that God called him home on that snowy February Day. It didn't matter if he was snow blowing the driveway or sleeping in his bed.
Either way, Feburary 24th 2016 was his end date. His work on earth was done.
Thats a hard pill to swallow. 
There are times where my thoughts get the best of me & I lay awake at night staring out the window finding it hard to stomach the fact that my Dad is gone.
My heart broke for the 6 grand babies who called him Papa. He loved them so much.  More than half of them won't remember him except the stories we tell & pictures we share.
That breaks me.
Even Lord willing my future kids will never know the Papa that Liam & Sawyer got to experience. That breaks me. 
My heart broke for all our family & friends that had to get the news with a phone call.
I can't imagine what that was like.

Where do you go from there? 
How do you leave the hospital & say your goodbyes when you have a loved one there who was just ripped out of your hands suddenly.

Laying in bed that night after we left, I could't stop shaking.  My mom & I just laid there in shock. I don't think i will ever forget how I felt that night.

No, goodbyes. 
No, I love you Dad, 
No, Thank you for everything you've done for me Dad.
No, You were an amazing Father & the most giving person I have ever met. 
 If I could be half the person you were, I would be on the right track.

I hope he knew how much he meant to me.
Did I tell him enough?

Now, I'm not telling you this to feel bad for me. I'm telling you this because I'm with you this holiday season. I feel your pain & see your hurt.
Nothing I say or do will make this Christmas any easier for you. Where everyone else might feel joyful, you feel heartache. Where everyone else might be making there favorite holiday cookies, you feel it hard to even get the motivation to get out of bed in the morning.
Be kind to yourself.
I am consistently reminding myself daily.

The only thing that has pulled me through this is prayer.
Praying for strength to make it through the holidays.
Through all these life changes, I am facing.
 Trust in God, talk with him, He understands, he knows, he is loving & he grieves with you.
He will meet you in your darkest hour.
He met me.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:8-10

I wanted to tell those out there that have someone missing at the table this holiday season.
 I'm thinking of you.
I'm praying for you.
I'm mourning with you.
You are not alone in any way. 

For those of you that know someone who is grieving this holiday season, doesn't matter if its been years since their loved one passed or it just happened this year.
 Just be there. Walk alongside them. Send that simple text that says I'm thinking & praying for you.
Let them know you are there.
God calls that of us.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Romans 12:15

Sometimes people get so worked up on what to say to someone who just suffered a loss.
Don't say anything, its better to not say anything then have a foot in your mouth moment. When you come to grips with that you might feel a little less awkward.
Share memories you had with their loved one. Don't be afraid to talk about them, because in my experience it hurts more when you ignore those memories & don't say anything at all.
Thats the last thing we want is to feel that our loved one is forgotten.
It's painful.
Acknowledging that our christmas is going to be different than the previous years.
Those texts that I have received saying "I'm praying for you, I know this is a hard day." those texts do not go unnoticed.
 They mean the world to me.

I wanted to leave you with this verse that is close to my heart. Just a little reminder that even through these trials that sometimes feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, we can take heart that God is with us wherever we go.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." 
John 16:33

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Dress.

9 More days till Christmas!
Can you believe it?
I feel like I still want to fit a bunch more stuff in before Christmas gets here. So in 9 days, I want to squeeze in a quick meet n greet with Santa, drive around with the family and look at Christmas lights, a stop at the nursing home so the kids can sing Christmas Carols. Plus baking & decorating cookies all in the mix. Plus trying to avoid every public place so the kids don't get sick right before Christmas. Not sure if that is completely avoidable.

Besides the Holiday festivities coming up,  I wanted to share one of my favorite holiday outfits. You have seen this dress before.. maybe a couple times. Back in October I collaborated with Courtney Beth Photography, who was kind enough to take my pictures & I love how they turned out. If your ever looking for a photographer in NWI, check her out. You can find her site here.  (:

I love a good maxi dress.
This one is perfect with two slits up the side. Im usually not a fan of slit dresses but this one fits like a glove. I love it.
I paired it with this leather jacket to change things up a bit. Add a little "hardcore" factor to this outfit. I love a good leather jacket. I'm looking to upgrade mine soon, so I'm saving up for a good one. This one was originally from Target but I'd have to say it held its own. This jacket has lasted a lot longer than I expected it too. So not a bad buy.

Isn't the back of this dress so cute? I love the V-neck detail.

Outfit Details || Dress || Leather Jacket (old) Love this one || Booties-Similar here.|| Hat || Bag ||

I've mentioned this before but I bought this dress at M.I.N.K a little boutique in Crown Point, IN. You can check out there website here. They have such a cute collection of clothes plus your supporting a small business, which I love.

I. Cant. Even.
Courtney snapped a few photos of Sawyer too so I thought I would share.
Ahh I'm obsessed with this little man. He's getting so big.

Okayyyyy.. One more. (:

What are your plans for this weekend?
Any fun Holiday plans for the last weekend before Christmas?

As always, Thanks for stopping by!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Stocking Ideas For Your Man.

Cheers to the Holiday madness beginning.
I love this time of year. I hope I'm not the only one who finds the holidays exciting & fun.
I decided to continue the Stocking gift idea posts that I told you I would share.
 If your anything like me, I've always found buying gifts for my husband or any guy for that matter to be so hard. I never know what to get them & I usually just end up buying clothes.
So I decided to ask for my husbands help.
We came up with some nice but practical gift ideas all under $15 because I don't know about you but I don't spend a ton of money on stockings. Most of the stocking gift guides I've seen have been for $50 and under. I decided to do $15 and under because thats the most I usually spend.

2. Clean Start by Jack Black (Brent's Favorite)
3. Knockaround Sunglasses (Good quality for the price)
4. Beard Oil (Brent's Favorites )
6. Toiletrie Bag

I hope this helps you a little bit.  I know these gift guides use to help me or at least get my brain thinking of other ideas that he might like.
As always, thanks for stopping by!

What are some of your go to gifts for the man in your life?
Comment below & let me know!
I would love to hear from you!


Friday, December 9, 2016

Stocking ideas for Her.

Happy Friday! 

I'm sorry I've been a little MIA lately. I've had this cold & seriously can't seem to kick it. It always comes on at night too.. Isn't that weird? I usually work on my blog when the kiddos go to bed but between doing hair on the side & being sick, I just haven't had the energy. 

I feel like I'm trying to rush to get christmas shopping done this year more than normal. Then I got to thinking, it's only the 9th of December & it wouldn't be a Guynes christmas without a little last minute shopping. 
Also I feel like Christmas started so early this year. The stores & media have hyped it up so much that I feel like Christmas is coming tomorrow or something. 
Seems a bit rushed. I like to slow things down for the holidays & enjoy it.

Today I wanted to share with you one of my favorite tradition.

I didn't actually grow up doing stockings. Not because I was a deprived little girl but my Mom had a good reason for not doing them. 
One year when we were little & she was trying to fill our stockings, she snuck a banana in my older brothers stocking thinking it would be fine. Well it turned fairly black overnight. Needless to say he thought Santa hated him. haha 
So since my brother was scared for his life, she decided it would be best to stop stockings for awhile. haha 
I thought I would pick up these traditions with my own two boys & so far so good.
We've never had a incident yet. 
I just love the idea of getting all the little things you never think to buy yourself.
You don't have to spend a ton, so I kept all of these items $15 & under.

1. Lush Bath Bomb || 2. Cozy Socks || 3. Wet Brush || 4. Warm & Cozy Mug || 5. Verb Dry Shampoo || 6. SkinFood Face Mask || 7. Hand Cream || 8. Christmas Pjs

Did you notice a trend here?

Everything is comfy, cozy, or a product for dry skin during these winter months.
I either own some of these and love them or they are on my wish list.
I hope you enjoy & I plan on sharing a few more Stocking Stuffer ideas, I also have a hard time getting those $20 grab bag gift ideas so I was thinking of rounding up some of my go to gift ideas for that. Do you guys struggle with those gift ideas too or is it just me?

What are some of your Christmas traditions?
I would love to hear them, I'm a sucker for family traditions! (:


Monday, December 5, 2016

Date Night in Holland, MI.

Those date nights that are few & far between after you have kids are just so special. 
I cherish those moments where you can actually hold a conversation without kids interrupting or asking for something the second you sit down.
There were a couple minutes where we sat there soaking up every bit of that silence.
It was nice. 
I wanted to share my next outfit from our little getaway. If you read my previous post here
I shared our stop in New Buffalo and then we drove up to Holland, MI.

A quick change at the hotel after traveling in the car for a couple hours and we were on our way out the door. We walked around the cute downtown area, shopped a little, & ended up eating at New Holland Brewery. I recommend going there if you are ever in the area.
Great beer, nice atmosphere, & good food. 

I wore this dress that is actually long sleeve with a open v-neck back
but I added the comfortable sweater on top to change it up a bit and add a little bit of warmth because that Michigan cold air is no joke.
Have I told you how much I love tying my sweaters or shirts like this. It just add's a little something different to your outfit. Plus if something is bigger around your waist than you normally like it, its a good way to have a more form fitting top. This sweater is currently 25% off on cartwheel.

This dress I actually bought in the fall but I have been able to pull it off in the winter time too. It's from a cute shop in Crown Point, IN called M.I.N.K. You can shop there website online here.

Instead of booties like I normally wear, I paired it with one of my favorite over the knee boots. These are DV by Dolce Vita at Target.  These boots are so comfortable not to mention affordable too. I love that they have that ruffed up look around the toes & heels. Gives it that lived in look. Right now Target is offering $10 off of $50 dollars you spend & 25% off winter boots but I'm not sure if these would qualify for that. It's worth a try!

Notice how I have worn hats in all my photos lately... They are perfect for when your running short on time & can't wash your hair... yeahhhh.. 
Not even dry shampoo could've helped me out this time...
 No shame. haha

|| Sweater 25% off right now || Dress, can't find online sorry. || Boots || 

I hope everyone had a great weekend!
We had our first snowfall yesterday & it is absolutely beautiful.
It never gets old.
It wouldn't be christmas time in the midwest without a little snow.
Am I right?