Buying A House At 22

I have so many things I want to say in this blog post. Let’s just start with the obvious…my husband and I bought our first home at the ages of 22! Like what?! Yes, it’s a thing and it’s most definitely possible. I’m here to tell you how we did it!

A Dream

Throughout my husband and I’s relationship, we struggled financially. We went from living with my mother-in-law to a one bedroom apartment, a 500 sq ft studio, to a teeny tiny rental home. It’s been an uphill battle but our goal throughout those hard times remained the same – we wanted to be successful, independent, and happy. Despite our less than perfect living situations, we continued to make our future a priority. We knew what we wanted.

Working Hard

We recently got our big breaks a little over a year ago when we both landed jobs that paid well. Each of us probably interviewed a handful of times every week until we finally found companies worth wild. I’d like to point out too that throughout the whole “finding new jobs” process, we didn’t settle. We were offered positions at companies that were only commissioned based or positions that paid out less than what we knew we were worth. Looking back now, those days taught me important lessons about business and communication that I now value tremendously.

The Military

I should mention we would never be where we are now without my husband’s time in the Army. Since deploying this past April, we’ve had the opportunity to replenish our savings accounts and qualify for the VA loan.

My husband is actually an Army reservist when he’s in Illinois but since his deployment he’s been considered active for the last 10 months. To get the VA loan (at least from my understanding) you must have either 90 days of active duty service or 6 years as a reservist. Deployment turned into a positive real quick after we learned those rules. If the hubs never got deployed, we wouldn’t have been able to purchase until after his reserves contract ended. So confusing I know, stay with me here

Closing In Under 30 Days

Thanks to our amazing, and I mean amazing, home loan officers, attorneys, and realtors we were able to close on our first home in less than a month! If you know anything about the home buying process then you know this is very uncommon. Truthfully, it was not simple. I was taking phone calls, faxing, emailing and signing papers 24/7. If you’re thinking of closing on a house in the amount of time we did, be prepared to be available at any given moment!

In addition to the regular home-buying paperwork we needed to complete, I also had the job of getting these papers to my husband who (as I’m writing this) is still out of the country!

We Stopped Listening To Others

This sounds terrible to type but we stopped listening to the opinions of others in the first week of the process. There was a large amount of individuals who felt the need to weigh in on our finances and decisions. They expected the worst out of us. Word of advice, choose to listen carefully when someone else decides to judge your actions. Ultimately, it’s not, nor will it ever be their place to live in.

I know this post was all over the place! I just wanted to share some of the things I went through personally during this whole thing and thought maybe it would help one of you! If you’ve gone through or are going through this process feel free to leave a comment below sharing your experience! I’d love to hear how your story differs from my own!

img_4107

Reaching Goals In The New Year – Hello 2018

Ahhhh oh my goodness, hello 2018! Anyone else just as stoked as I am?! I always love the idea of a fresh start whether I’m trying to change something or not. This year feels like a new beginning with endless opportunities. I have a good feeling about the next 12 months – how about you?!

coffee letter board young millenial holding iced latte good morning

There are so many things I’d like to accomplish in the next year for not only myself but my blog too! I thought I’d share what’s been on my mind lately as well as my plans for the future!

Blogging Goals

My blog goals are pretty simple. I want to learn more about my audience (i.e focus more on trends and what others are interested in), invest in a new lens or camera for better photography, and find a way to help other influencers grow! If I can accomplish those three things in 2018, I’ll be happy!

Of course there are smaller things on my mind too like learning how to shoot portraits better and make my Instagram embody more of me instead of product shots. But I feel like those are always on my mind!

Back To School

The biggest goal this year is to get back into school. I loved attending college and felt like I had a purpose for getting out of bed in the morning. I miss learning and educating myself in a structured setting – something I never thought I’d miss. I’m in this funky part of life where I don’t know what to do next and I’m hoping this new college endeavor will help me unravel something great.

Buying A Home

The next thing on my list is buying a home. My husband and I have thought about this for a while and since he’s returning from his deployment soon, now is the perfect time for us to buy. Despite the cold winter weather, we’re hoping to find a home we like fast and close on it quick. When we both want something, we do everything in our power to get it. Doesn’t matter what stands in our way. The pre-approval is official and we’ve already been eyeing some options. Fingers crossed it all falls into place!

Travel Often

This upcoming year I’d love to travel more or just as much as I did in 2017. I went to Florida twice, Texas, Indiana, and Cuba just to name a few! My husband and I already have a weekend trip to Minnesota in March planned but I’m thinking there will be many more trips ahead. A couple in particular I’d like to see include New York and Canada!

My resolutions sound incredibly easy to accomplish when typed on the internet! Let’s hope I’ll be able to check off each thing on this list next year! What do you want to accomplish in 2018?! Leave a comment down below to share your thoughts!

img_4107

Cuba Travel Diary

Surprise!

I’m in Cuba for a week enjoying the warm sun, ocean breeze, and unbelievable views.

My travels started off in Chicago where I flew out of O’Hare International Airport and into Fort Lauderdale for a night (a long night might I add). After sleeping on the airport tiles and five cups of coffee later, it was finally time for me to board the flight that would take me straight to my island destination. A quick jet over was nearly a hop, skip, and a jump – the flight to Cuba lasted only an hour and a half! I was very surprised it didn’t take longer and couldn’t believe how fast the plane went!

Anyways, this trip has been a once in a lifetime experience and although it’s not over yet…I wanted to make sure I kept all of you updated with a few fun photos! Here are some of my favorites from exploring around. There hasn’t been much to do other than snorkeling, eating, and soaking up this amazing weather! Sounds just absolutely terrible right?! Do I have to go back to Chicago?!

Waffles fruit and hashbrowns for breakfast

One of the first things we did on this trip was grab the perfect brunch. As you can see from the photo, I went all out. I definitely was not going to hold back on all the good stuff this spot had to offer. I started with this plate and went back for seconds, thirds, and yes even an early morning desert. Topped my “breakfast” off with some cheesecake bites! Needless to say, I ate good!

Little crab in the rocks

Caves on vacation in Cuba

There were a ton of tiny crabs and unique sea creatures at the beaches we visited. It was also super cool to climb into these rock structures and just explore. I sat here for about an hour searching for shells, coral, and sea glass to bring back home.

I definitely got pushed out of my comfort zone with snorkeling. Jelly fish and sea urchins were things I did not want to encounter. Alhough I tried to stray away, the little guys slowly made their way near my path. So scary!

Iguana in the trees in Cuba vacation

Taking rides through some of the mountains were where I spotted lot’s of iguanas. This one decided to chill in the tree tops. They act like dogs and are definitely not afraid of people whatsoever.

Bad and boujee sweatshirt on vacation in cuba

Long days out and about make me so tired. At the end of each adventure I’ve looked forward to throwing on comfy clothes and watching the waves from our room. This trip has made be feel extra bad and boujee + peep my sweatshirt from Shop Abby Lee! It’s extremely comfortable and has been my go-to for traveling lately. Click the photo above to scoop yours or just check them out on Instagram @shop.abbylee!

Like I said above, I still can’t believe I’m actually here, in Cuba! What is your dream vacation?! Leave a comment below and let me know!

See you in my next post!

img_4107