5 Lessons Learned While House Hunting

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Let me start by admitting proclaiming that I am a devoted HGTV viewer, borderline junkie. I blame my parents really, who have embraced the channel for as long as I can remember and almost always have it on in the house. With the exception of Fixer Upper, House Hunters has always been my favorite because what’s not to love? You get to help a nice couple choose the perfect house that fits their lifestyle and dog best from three very different options. Rarely are there major issues and you don’t have to sit through all the gritty details including finding a realtor, getting the loan approved, all the underwriting, actual moving, etc.

You can imagine my excitement when Taylor suggested we start looking at houses to buy a few months ago! Searching for our first house to buy together = MAJOR! Visions of the two of us touring gorgeous homes with perfect light while that upbeat HGTV background music played lightly was exactly what I saw in my head. Oh, how wrong I was! The entire ordeal was fun but at times incredibly frustrating, however Taylor and I got pretty lucky finding our place after only a couple weeks of searching – more on that later! We learned quite a bit on our roller coaster to finding our sweet house, including:

Location is King

You can find the house of your dreams but if it’s on the worst street in five blocks you have to say no thanks, no matter how pushy the seller is. We learned real quick that we needed a quiet street that’s ideal for walking with nice neighbors AND has strong resale value.

If there are no photos then the seller is more than likely trying to hid something

For us, on houses we visited that had missing photos of certain rooms it was because the rooms were so tiny. And I admit, if we had known how tiny the room was, we wouldn’t have visited. So they want to intrigue your curiosity and get you there so you can at least see the rest of the house.

What you want in the beginning may change as you go through the process

We found this incredible house on day one and were infatuated with its classic lines and charming white picket fence. After a couple tours of said house we realized we didn’t need that much space (hello, upkeep) so we shifted our focus. After touring many other houses we learned we loved a large backyard but not three acres and that an open floor plan was ideal for our growing family. What we wanted at the start evolved and changed into so much more at the end.

Your realtor isn’t the end all be all 

With this being our first house, we relied heavily on our realtor for the first week or so until we realized we needed to be proactive in the process, too. We spent extra time researching homes in the area, best practices for first-time home buyers, and asked our parents a million questions. Knowledge is power and we learned so much from not just giving the reins to our realtor.

Go with your gut

Real talk: I said more than once “Who would live here?” and “Who would put a master bedroom off the kitchen?” Some houses were just not good and didn’t feel welcoming in the slightest. When we walked into the house we will Lord willing own by Monday afternoon, it felt right. I could see our furniture fitting perfectly and future dinner parties in the open dining room laughing with our friends and family. I could see it all and Taylor could too – we put in an offer that week and the rest is history! xo

Friday Faves

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[ the sweetest Easter dessert plates ]

It’s Easter weekend – can you believe it? I feel like it was just yesterday we had snow on the ground and now I’ve got the windows open with a bouquet of vibrant buttercups on our coffee table. After a loooong and challenging week, I’m thankful for the holiday weekend to unplug and rest. Of course I plan on digging into some of the Easter candy – those chocolate Cadbury eggs get me every time – as we road trip to Kentucky for my cousin’s baby shower tomorrow. How are we old enough to have our own babies? Funny how time sneaks up on you but as always, God’s plans are the best plans. For Easter Sunday I plan on attempting to fit into the Anthropologie dress I bought last summer, watching all the kiddos go nuts during the church Easter egg hunt and cooking up a big brunch. Have a beautiful Easter! xo

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[ love my devo & dessert girls and LOVED getting “egged” last night ]

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[ we may or may not tuck Buddy in every night ]

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[ fun Easter basket for my favorite little bunny ]

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[ at just 17 weeks old Baby Bell already has a jumpstart on her library thanks to my dearest friend ]

Monthly Pregnancy Update: 16 Weeks

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I cannot believe I’m already 16 weeks pregnant! It seems like yesterday when Taylor convinced me to take a pregnancy test “just to make sure” before we went to get our flu shots. Ten minutes later when I went to throw the test away, not thinking it would be positive, I saw those sweet two lines and promptly squealed. Said squealing was then followed by a long walk around the block in 28 degree weather crying and laughing and wondering if this was really happening. For some reason it didn’t quite feel real until we saw our precious baby at 8 weeks at our initial appointment, the little blob just bopping around on the screen. I fell in love the day we heard the heartbeat for the first time – seriously the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard – and feel incredibly thankful for this precious gift God has given us.

Some of my most pivotal chapters have been documented here on this blog and that’s why I’m thrilled for this brand new series I’ll be running until Baby Bell is born. I’ll be documenting changes in the below questionnaire to track my changing body and yes, cravings and moods. I’m so excited for our small family to start growing and to look back on this series one day.

Baby’s size: An avocado!

I’m feeling: Much better! I was blessed that I never got super sick during my first trimester, but I was plagued by off and on nausea and crazy exhaustion. I am so thankful to have most of my energy back and am embracing this whole pregnancy thing.

Foods I could eat forever: Cheese, anything Italian, anything sweet and fruits –  I cannot wait for watermelon to be in season.

Foods I cannot imagine eating: Mexican and coffee. I can barely stomach the smell of either at the moment.

Currently wearing: Yoga pants and soft anything.

Pros of March: We found out we’re having a baby girl (!!!), renewed energy, renewed appetite.

Cons of March: Restless sleep due to crazy dreams, mood swings, in the awkward stage of the bump where it’s like “is she pregnant or just gained a few?”

Looking forward to: Spring and closing on our house next week.

Favorite scripture at the moment:For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” [ Colossians 1:16-17 ]

Spring To-Do List

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Hello, Spring! It may not feel like it outside at the moment but Spring officially arrived yesterday and I am beyond excited for longer days and warmer weather. I’ve got a running list of things I want to make happen during this season and thought you might like to see! What would you add? We’re all in this together, after all and the possibilities are endless.

Have a picnic in the park

Pick out the perfect pastel color palette for the new house

Host a brunch and/or lunch for friends

Find the perfect sundress

Spiff up the back patio and create a place to read or dine al fresco

Play a round of golf with Taylor

Visit the local farmer’s market and get plenty of fresh produce

Start a herb garden

Take a walk around the neighborhood at sunset

Enjoy a spa day with the girls

Fly a kite

Pack up our favorite snacks and see a movie at the drive-in

Take my yoga practice outdoors

Surprise someone with flowers for no reason at all

Friday Faves

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[ the most gorgeous petals ]

This week I’ve been going non-stop so I’m looking forward to spending quality time with good friends and hopefully plenty of couch time with my guys. I’m so thankful for my renewed energy now that I’m into my second trimester! Seriously, I feel like the energizer bunny compared to how exhausted I was those first few months. Case in point last night I decided to make a frittata for dinner while taking a pre-natal pure barre class online and finishing the laundry. I blame all the pre-natal vitamins I’ve been taking but definitely no complaints from this girl! Also, some exciting items to share with you next week like how we’re BUYING A HOUSE so stay tuned. Have a wonderful weekend! xo

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[ a few of the amazing women I work with at the Hope Gala for a great cause ]

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[ and our handsome husbands ]

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[ the best way to start my day ]

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[ the makings of a scrumptious frittata ]

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[ the most perfect tulip tree is home for the sweetest treehouse ]

Shameless Plug: Rent the Runway

FullSizeRenderLadies, if you haven’t heard of Rent the Runway please stop everything you’re doing and take notes. RTR is genius for so many reasons, mainly its purpose: to allow women to rent gorgeous designer clothes and accessories for that special event at a fraction of the cost to purchase. No longer do you have to rush out to buy a dress you may never wear again for that graduation or wedding. Thanks to RTR, simply go online and pick out exactly what you want to wear, pick a size + a free back-up (so you can wear whichever fits best), and your designer piece will arrive the day before your event at your front door. The company handles dry cleaning and return shipping, which is just the best.

I’ve used RTR several times now and have always had a great experience with both dresses and accessories. From party dresses for wedding showers to an elegant dress + earrings for a benefit gala (pictured above), they’ve always come through for me. Let’s be real: I love paying $30 to rent a $250 designer dress and what I love even more is that the look is guaranteed to be unique! Also, customer reviews almost always include pictures and a highly detailed report which makes it a breeze to choose the size(s) that will best fit you. Renting is ideal because once you’ve worn the dress and taken a million pictures while wearing it you can send it back – no longer will pretty dresses sit sadly in your closet. xo

Simple Tips for Spring Cleaning

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March is here which tells me Spring is near! Bring on the buttercups, Easter eggs and yes, spring cleaning. There’s something about this month that makes me want to turn the house upside down, closets included, and get rid of stuff. Let’s face it, we all have way too much STUFF. Before you feel super overwhelmed and quit before you start, here’s some advice on how to tackle all your spring cleaning projects….and finish them.

Work in sections – If you’re anything like me, the thought of a complete overhaul is exhausting and not realistic. Working in small sections prevents procrastination and well, throwing in the towel all together. So instead of vowing to tackle your entire bedroom, why not start with the closet? Or your sock drawer?

Divide and conquer – I tend to be an organizational nerd, as in I could spend some serious cash in the Container Store, so I highly recommend implementing storage bins into your life. Nobody likes a stuffed  t-shirt drawer or kitchen cabinet.

Get rid off the excess – That dress you haven’t worn in years? Donate it. Those magazines piled up on your bedside table? Trash them. Go through your kitchen pantry and get rid of anything that’s expired and take inventory of what you actually need.

Prevent pile up – Think through your needs and plan accordingly: throw out junk mail as soon as you check the mail, throw dirty clothes into a hamper, load the dishwasher instead of letting the dirty dishes take over, etc. Less pile up makes for a cleaner, fresher home and will leave you feeling all kinds of accomplished. xo