First stop: the capital city of Santo Domingo
We arrived early Friday morning and immediately hit the streets. I’m not going to lie, it rained quite a bit in this city so any time it wasn’t raining - we took full advantage of. We got to walk some - which, if you’ve been following me for a while you know I like to do on trips. I love wandering around capturing the architecture, views and details of a city and this city was perfect for it. Here are some snaps from Santo Domingo!
We stumbled upon the ruins of an old hospital right in town. There were tons of green birds in the structure making a lot of noise. They looked like love birds and were so cute.
there they are!
and my momma being cute
This church near our hotel had a guard in the entrance
We took a 3 hour bus ride from the capital to a beach resort in Punta Cana and O.M.G. I can't tell you enough how relaxing it was. I will be the first one to admit I do not go on trips to relax. I am always running around from morning till dinner exploring and eating and going on tours but there was nothing to do here BUT relax and I can truly say I enjoyed it very much. The beach was beautiful and the ocean was the perfect temperature. We got to spend a lot of time with friends and family and the combination of the two different cities was honestly so perfect. Sorry there are not as many photos of Punta Cana but I was too busy not being busy. =)
It was President's day weekend and my parents came up to visit. I've heard about Camden for a while now but I asked on my instagram for day trip suggestions and Camden was at the top of the list for pretty much everyone that wrote me. So before Friday rolled around I decided Camden would be the place. Then, it snowed all night into late morning the day we were supposed to go. I thought for sure, we weren't going. But Greg was not having it. He knew how much I wanted this day trip and made us all get dressed and rush out the door.
We stopped at the deli, got some breakfast sandwiches and drove the two hours up the coast. As soon as I saw the scenery I knew it was a good decision.
We got there and it was beautiful! I couldn't wait to hit the trail!
Bella was so happy to reach the top too! She led most of the way and made sure she knew where everyone was the whole time.
This is not Greg doing some cool mountain man stunt.... this is Greg recovering from his fall =p
We made it to the bottom and took a stroll on the lake.
After our hike we headed into town. We tried to walk around and we did manage to stop in some really cute shops but we were STARVING and luckily for us one of the shop owners told us where we could find some good sea food.
It didn't take much to convince us and so off we went to Waterfront. A very good restaurant right on the ... you guessed it! I ordered so much food Greg did not think I was going to eat it all but after that hike I consumed every last bit. Also, I was so hungry, there are no photos of this food because I just went in! But check out this view right from the restaurant!
Yes, it's true but why you say? Because we have purchased our very first home!
First of all :ssiiiiiigggghhhh:: the process of buying our first home is over and we are moving in. It takes a lot of organization, detective work and mental strength to buy a place but we got through it and the reward is - pure satisfaction. We are still in Portland, ME - in fact we only had to move seven minutes away. We truly do love it here so much and are so happy to have our very first permanent/ non renting/ all ours - little home. ::happy dance:: Now the fun really begins. I will be sharing little details in as we start really making it our own.
In the meantime, I thought I would share some of the biggest things I learned and wish I knew when going into this process.
1. Get pre approved! We contacted our real estate agent way before we knew absolutely anything about the process and what it would take. Luckily we had a really good agent on our side and he told us to immediately go to the bank and see what amount we get pre approved for. The reason for this - even if you are just starting to look - or aren't even looking to buy just want to see what is out there - is you might fall in love with something on your first outing. You found it and you can't even believe it happened so fast - you go to the bank and wait! It's way out of what you THOUGHT your price range was. ::Enter disappointment:: So yes - it's super important to get pre - approved before you start looking.
2. Make sure you get yourself a REALLY GOOD real estate agent. Do your research, listen to recommendations and interview different agents before you settle on one. We can't say enough good things about our agent. He was INCREDIBLE! He really listened to what we wanted and made us aware of a lot of different things we didn't even know. He always led us in the right direction and was super on top of paperwork and deadlines. He really looked out for our best interest and we are so grateful for his hard work.
3. Make sure you have important documents organized and ready to send in once you choose a lender. A lot of the stress for us was tracking down things like W2's, paystubs, 401k documents, etc. Sure we had it, but to be honest we weren't very organized when it came to filing it and keeping it all in the same place. We have learned our lesson.
4. If there is a first time home buyers class offered near you - TAKE IT! we did and I can't express enough how helpful and informative it was. We learned A LOT and would highly recommend it to everyone.
For us, buying a home was a BIG DEAL. It is important to take it seriously and keep organized. Make sure you have the right people on your side and things WILL work out.
The most important piece of advise I guess I could give is
It is a very stressful process but there is a light at the end of the tunnel I promise!
I, by no means am an expert in any of this and of course every individual's experience is different. I just thought I would share some thoughts I would've liked someone would have shared with me in the beginning of all this.
Well folks, it has officially been a year since Greg, Bella and I moved to Maine. I can't even believe I get to say that! I have had such an amazing year getting to know a new city, meeting new people and eating LOTS of seafood. I have had wonderful friends and family come up and visit and made some awesome friendship here as well. Nothing scared me more than moving to a place where we knew absolutely no one - especially as an adult. It has more than anything, forced us to put ourselves out there. Something that can be hard for a lot of us. But boy am I happy we did. This past year in Maine has been one of the best collection of experiences and I am so grateful for it.
This year, I plan to dedicate a little bit more time to my blog, hopefully get to interact a lot more with you guys and share more about our life and adventures here. I want you to see us grow and our life change and I want to celebrate things with you too! Thank you guys for your support and making my social media and photography journey so fun. It means so much <3 I am excited to share more with you and hope you all enjoy following along.
So let's begin with a few of my favorite moments from our first year in Maine!
I am currently obsessing over turtlenecks and I've had this one for years. It's probably my warmest one yet. This particular one is from H&M and although it's no longer avail - I included some cozy alternatives at the bottom of this post. I've also done the same for my jeans! Happy Hunting!