OUR HOMEOWNERSHIP JOURNEY













Top: Lauren James | Jeans: American Eagle |  Shoes: Keds (Similar linked) | Earrings: Bauble Bar Necklace: Kendra Scott

I'm a homeowner! Closing, moving (from 2 states), and unboxing has been hectic.  With this new exciting season I haven't been able to post my fashion looks as I would like.  To be honest, lately all I have been living is work clothes and sweats. I've been adding some nicer comfy gear like my Lauren James top, so I wouldn't look so much like a scrub haha. Every day working on unpacking, putting together new items, and slowly but surely completing our home.  We have a long way to go, but we are taking our time and enjoying the journey.  

I am not going to go away from posting fashion looks, it just won't be solely what I share.  Part of blogging you want it to be genuine for where you are in life.  And currently I haven't been getting dressed up all the time, I have been knee deep in the garage lol. I will have a nice balance of home, fashion, parenting, and lifestyle.  Many things make up Taryn so it is only fair that I share all of it. 

Any who...I will slowly but surely show the journey of completing our home and tips along the way! Before I dive into decor I wanted my first life + style to be dedicated to the home buying process.

Sharing 5 tips from our home buying process to hopefully help you in the process of purchasing your next home! 

1. SAVE YOUR MONEY: I know this is cliche to say, but it is the realest thing I could have ever learned from this process.  Buying a home is hella expensive.  When we moved from Michigan to Texas we were fortunate to stay with my sister for a few months while we searched for an apartment. Once it was time for us to make the decision to move into an apartment, we were faced with some choices.  We wanted to rent a 3 bedroom apartment, but the price was just so expensive.  It wasn't that we couldn't afford it, we just thought why pay more for something that we DON'T OWN. So we made a huge sacrifice, we put our 7 yr. old and 2 yr. in the same room. Going to a 2 bedroom wasn't ideal, and Cameron was never a fan. 

I tell this story because we made this sacrifice to allow us to save even more money towards owning a home. We didn't focus on the short-term we were looking at our end goal. I kept the apartment pretty basic.  Didn't jazz it up too much, got temporary furniture, because I knew where we wanted to be. This downsize allowed us to save even more, and pay off that annoying debt. 

Between our down payment, closing costs, and buying furniture the savings was imperative for our purchase. So as much as you hear SAVE, it's real, definitely SAVE. You may be in a position where you don't have to go to extreme measures to save, which is great! However you can, just SAVE.

2. CREDIT CHECK:  If you don't think your credit is a factor, then please educate yourself on buying a home.  I had to!  Years ago I didn't really know the true importance of having good credit.  in my early 20's I just didn't get it. I made some poor financial decisions and my credit paid the price. It didn't take me long to realize that we had some work to do if we wanted to get a home.  Most importantly, we didn't want to be in debt. We knew that working to be debt-free would then allow us to get a home.  I would say look at it from that perspective.  You don't want to owe any company.  If you make it your goal to become debt-free everything else will follow.  

First, about 4 years ago, we identified what we needed to work on and what had to be paid off.  We slowly started working on it. Even negotiated for some items to be completely removed if paid in full. (this worked for us quite a bit). Before we knew it we got rid of that haunting past financial mistakes, and kept a minimum balance on our credit cards. We got ourselves in a position we felt comfortable to purchase a home. At the point you decide to purchase a home, one of the first steps is to pull up your credit report and see if it is feasible. Just be patient with your credit report progress, nothing is overnight.  Monitor it regularly and pay something off whenever you can. 

Also, it's important when you to lay EVERYTHING out, if you are married find out anything that is owed. You want no surprises during underwriting.  Blemishes on your credit report just make the underwriting process just that much harder.  So go into it with a clean credit report.  To do that it will require you to be very aware of anything on your reports or possibly will be on your report.

3. CHOOSING THE RIGHT HOME:  Prior to house shopping Rick and I sat down together and made a list of our must haves, wants, and dislikes to help us get an idea of what to look for.  This was our roadmap that helped us narrow our home search options. In order for us to get more of the options we were looking for we opted to move about 10 minutes further north.  For us we wanted a certain square footage, a nice yard, and a home that wasn't stacked on its neighbor. I think you have to be realistic for your price range is.  Yes, there could always be a bigger home and more bedrooms, but we set realistic expectations.  The last thing you want is to get a house you can barely afford, because you set expectations you weren't financially ready for. 


4. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED:  Our home buying process beginning to end was not smooth! In a nutshell we went under contract for a pre-owned home, it didn't inspect well. So we exercised our opt out clause and walked away (Get an option period) .  Side note: If you are getting a pre-owned home do not pass on the inspection! Yes it is extra money, but so worth it! If we would have passed on the inspection we would have purchased a home that needed about $30k worth of repairs. Once we walked away our realtor (who was awesome), found a house that wasn't on our radar that was brand new and almost done being built! If you are in Dallas area and looking for a realtor please contact me!  We got under contract with the new home, and went through the not so smooth underwriting process. Many of the issues we faced which were out of our control.  

It tested our patience and almost brought us to tears. Just 1 of the many examples of issues we faced...our home is on the border of 2 cities.  Some of the home contracts had our city and Prosper, some docs had Celina. We had some docs we Prosper city but Celina zip code (such a mess). The underwriter did not like this and put a halt to our closing and wanted every single document that was ever produced in this underwriting process to match. Delayed closing by 3 days. I had to reschedule our movers 3 times...I say all that to say prepare yourself that it isn't quick, and there will be some road bumps.  The key is to not let the unexpected stress you out, and trust that you will get to the finish line.

5. DON'T FORGET THE FURNITURE: I say this because many homebuyers are coming from a smaller apartment or home, and moving into a much larger space.  This was our situation.  We went from 1,400 sq. ft. to 3,600. I mentioned earlier that most of our furniture was temporary furniture. Nothing that would be in our home.  I sold EVERY piece of furniture that was in our apartment, and put it towards our new furniture.  Filling a home up can be like another down payment on its own.  It is easy to want to be in a race. I daily have to tell myself Taryn slow down. We are completing it in stages.  We are got fundamentals first for each room, and slowly working on decor.  This time around I am also thinking about quality over quantity. I want something that will last us many years. My mom STILL has her coffee table after 20+ years. Just don't be in a race.  I am have been enjoying the journey.

I wanted to share these tips because I think it is important that people see that real life people can set a goal for a home purchase and buy it.  It wasn't a cake walk to get here and I wanted to show that we had to put in a lot of work to get to this point.  Just make a clear plan of where you want to go and you can get there. Homeownership can be obtained by anyone. The key is being aware and being proactive. 

I can't wait to take you all in my journey to decorating our home!



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PARTY OUTFIT




Body Suit: Tobi | Skirt: Tobi ShoesSteve Madden (Mine sold out, similar linked) | Earrings: Bauble Bar | WatchMichael Kors | Ring: Charming Charlie Purse: Rebecca Minkoff

The weekend is over, and we celebrated just about the entire weekend. Being able to celebrate another year being marriage makes me beyond thankful for him and the love we have.

It was only fitting that I wore this Tobi bodysuit and skirt. If you haven't tried converting to bodysuits, you should definitely give it a shot. I started wearing bodysuits when wearing skirts and most of my leggings.  I love bodysuits because it doesn't add any unwanted rolls to your outfit, and adds another level of smoothing to each outfit.  For me, I would also get irritated when I would wear skirts and I'd have to keep going underneath my skirt to pull my shirt down. Something to keep in mind if you are wearing legging is try to get the thong bodysuit.  It will prevent you that unwanted panty line.

What really made this outfit was the floral skirt.  It's clear I love floral so to find a floral that was a mini skirt, was an obvious no brainer. Not ready to have a full floral dress? Consider wearing just an item (skirt or top), and make the other coordinating item a solid.  This will prevent you from being too busy.

If you haven't checked out Tobi, make sure to do so you get 50% off your first order.  It has tons of my glam attire to get you ready for a night out or event!
Happy Styling!

*some of the items mentioned have been sponsored.  However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*
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AFFORDABLE DRESS OPTIONS


Dress: She in ShoesSteve Madden | Earrings: Bauble Bar | Necklace: Bauble Bar | WatchMichael Kors | Ring: Charming Charlie Purse: Rebecca Minkoff


I am huge advocate of knowing what to save your money on in your wardrobe.  It's no secret that I mix high-end with budget friendly items. I think it gives the perfect balance.

The key to pulling this off is knowing what items are ok to save a buck.  For me, one item I often look for affordability on is my dress wardrobe.  In many cases dresses I only wear for one occasion and never put on again.  With that, I would be wasting a lot of money if I always spent over $100 for each dress.  And to be honest, most $100 dresses you can find the same one for a fraction of the cost.
 
 I would rather spend my money on items I will wear multiple times. I go to so many different functions, and never want to fill guilty that I may not wear the dress again and spent a ton of money on it. There are many places to purchases dresses from that are perfect for that one-time occasion that is affordable but not cheap looking.  I got this perfect wrap dress for less than $25!! Its perfect for Spring and Summer parties.  

Here are a few trusted sites that I check out whenever I am in need of a dress.  Shein, NY and Co (can be affordable when they are having a sale), Target, Boohoo (great for night out), and H&M.

Don't get me wrong, I love splurging on a dress every once in a while.  But I prioritize it based on the importance of the event. Start thinking about your specific events you have coming up, and really start considering a less expensive option that is just as cute!

Happy Styling!

BLACK SWING DRESS







Dress: Tobi ShoesSteve Madden | Earrings: Bauble Bar | WatchMichael Kors | Ring: Charming Charlie Purse: Rebecca Minkoff

I was on the hunt for a LBD that I felt confortable, but still added a level of glam. Swing dresses are the answer, because let's be real its not every day that you feel like putting on a bodycon dress.

This swing dress by Tobi is perfect to dress up or down.  It's very affordable which makes it a double win, because its obvious I like saving any amount of money I can! Head to tobi.com for more affordable dress options!

If you haven't added a swing dress to your wardrobe definitely consider it.
1. Swing dresses are so versatile. You can dress it up or down.  I chose to style it more for a date night glam, but you could easily pair it with some cute flat strappy sandals.
2. They are so fun to wear! I am constantly twirling and
3. No shapewear needed! Its not secret that I will throw on shapewear in a heartbeat.  
I love how shapewear will smooth out your silhoutee. With swing dresses they wear are optional. With it being a looser fit its flattering whether or not you are having those bloated days. haha!
If you feel some swing dresses are a little boring picking a style with added detail like this lace-up! It's also nice because it eliminates needing a necklace to pair it too.  

P.S...Moving is not fun, but I am so excited to share the journey with you all soon!

Happy Styling!
*some of the items mentioned have been sponsored.  However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

SPRING SEASON TRANSITION LOOK






Top: Loft | Jeans: American Eagle Shoes: Steve Madden | Necklace & Earrings: Charming Charlie | Watch: Michael Kors | Ring: Charming Charlie Purse: Charming Charlie (sold out) similar here



Spring is almost here, which means it is time to stock up on your favorite florals. It is no secret that my favorite print after leopard (of course) is florals. I have checked out of winter, and already started stacking up on some new florals for Spring.  Have fun with florals, add them in your blouse or even a skirt.  Try making a statement by getting some floral pants! Just keep the top simple. :)

Are you like me and always stare at your closet during the transition of Spring and wonder what to wear? I swear that was me at one point. We are out of the temperature of wearing boots and sweaters yet, not warm enough for short sleeves and shorts. 

I struggled with this...try adding a shear long sleeve top to your closet, the one I'm wearing is perfect for the transition! Next, pick up some caged sandals.  I'm not quite yet ready to go full open sandal, and caged sandals allow you to have a versatile shoe for any weather! Another thing is love my warm burgundy's and deep reds, but I'm swapping them out for soft hues and pinks.  

During this weather transition in Texas one day it is warm and the next it is cold.  Its no wonder I am recovering from a cold. Just because this weather doesn't know what to do during this season transition, doesn't mean your wardrobe needs too!

Happy Styling!


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MOMS DAY OUT - LASH EXTENSION REVIEW



Mom Life shirt: Etsy


Mom's spa day is always a must! Being a working mom, wife, and everything in between can be exhausting at times honestly.  Working then holding down the fort at home can leave little time for self-care. Last year I started to commit a lot more time to taking care of me and having some "me" time! 
 I regularly make sure to get take an hour of time to get a mani & pedi, hair done, or facials. 
As a mom I am always busy chauffeuring Cameron to various sports or birthday parties (I swear my 9-year old has a busier schedule than me.) It gets difficult to to find the time for me, but I force myself.  Across the board I feel pouring into me, not only makes me feel good. But I know my husband appreciates it too. 
What better way for some self-care than to do it with some fellow moms (and blogger babes).  We were determined to take a morning for some pampering and girl talk!! It's an added bonus that they also are battling the infamous "Terrific Twos".  We teamed up with Spa La La located in Dallas a block from Galleria mall, to have a moms day out! My girls Tanika (Alwayz Fashionably Late) and Eryn (Style Sew Me) had a blast!
Normally, when I get a spa service I opt for a massage or facial. BUT with Valentine's Day approaching I stepped out of the box and got Lash Extensions for the first time. Eek!! Not going to lie I was nervous about it, and wanted to them look natural. We got a variety of services and all made us feel/look great! Tanika tried Dermaplaning and Eryn got an eyebrow wax and tint! Check their reviews on their services here and here!! 



I wanted to share my honest review of lash extension from a first timers. Hopefully this will help anyone that is on the fence about lash extensions. Let me lead with, I have short lashes, so I didn't get anything too dramatic as I wanted to ease into this.  Also I wanted it to look natural enough for my 9-5. The entire process took about 90 minutes.  One of my things that had me press pause on ever doing it, was I imagined it would be so uncomfortable. It actually wasn't at all. I didn't even know she was starting at first. After a couple good conversations you will be done.  
My initial review is it looked great! You could not even tell the difference between my lashes and the extensions (which was another fear). It blended perfectly and for me I loved the natural length. It's been almost a week and I have lost some extensions, but still full.  The biggest drawback for me has been I always feel like something is in my eye. So my eyes have been a little itchy.  I am sure that is due to not being used to the length.

 Another thing to consider is the expense. Keep in mind that after you get your lashes installed it will required 2-3 week maintenances.  Almost like getting full set nails and then needing a fill-in. I say all that to say, if you are looking to keep cost very minimum then take into consideration this will be a regular expense.

Overall, I am very pleased with my extensions.  I can't say I will always keep lash extensions on, but they are a nice splurge here and there.  It is great if you have a lot of events coming up, or holidays.
Great conversation, pampering, and some new lashes I would say it was a moms day out success! 
If you are in the local Dallas area make sure to check out Spa La La.  Let them know I sent you and get 20% off Lash extensions or any facial service. 
Enjoy!

VALENTINE'S DAY DRESS






Dress: NY and Company  ShoesChristian Louboutin Pigalle 120mm | Necklace & Earrings: Charming Charlie Bracelet: Charming Charlie | Ring: Charming Charlie Clutch: Charming Charlie (sold out) similar here


I'm ready for Valentine's Day! Can you tell?! I love any excuse to glam up and go out with the hubby.  This year to celebrate Valentine's Day we are going to have a weekend getaway to a Cabin, with some awesome couples.  So excited for this KID FREE weekend getaway! 

Valentine's day is the perfect opportunity to glam it up and find a dress that is not only full glam but also flattering.  Who wants your night out with your significant other to be worrying about a dress that doesn't fit you well. This wrap dress is a staple in my closet. I love any wrap dresses, it has ruching which is great for concealing those problem areas.  I also love it because it is midi length.  This is my favorite length.  You never have to worry about the dress riding up and is appropriate length for any occasion. The added bonus is my dress and accessories (not including shoes) cost under $100! If you are not a fan of the wrap dress consider a skater dress.  It's the perfect combination of fit and flare! 

Can I get off topic for a second? If you are dating or married I strongly encourage you to take a second to celebrate the day of love.  Not that you shouldn't express your love on a regular basis, but use this holiday as another reason to DATE your spouse.  I know for us being married with kids its easy to let holidays go by and not really celebrate them. We always acknowledge it, but for awhile we would just get so busy with life that we would neglect those special holidays for each other. 

My husband and I have made it a point to break out of the routine, and commit to continuously dating each other. And when we committed to that it 120% rejuvenated our marriage and connection.  If you are in a rut in your relationship use this holiday as a kick start to begin regularly dating again.  However you wish to celebrate it, whether it going out for dinner, catching a movie, or simply cooking dinner for each other at home.  Do something! 

Take Valentine's Day to give your significant other a little extra love and affection.  I always like getting dressed up for the holiday.  If you are keeping it mellow consider a blouse, denim, and heels. 

Happy Styling!

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