I went through this same issue myself when I was looking to make the leap to DSLRs. Not to try to intimidate you, but if there's one thing you should know, it's that everything about DSLR photography is expensive. When I bought mine, the total came to just over $1000 for a camera and two lenses.
Consider going for 'last year's model,' something that will be on discount and probably bundled with an extra lens to help get you started. I personally own a Canon EOS T1i and while it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of some of its higher-priced (or newer) siblings, it definitely has what it takes to help you get started with the basics of DSLR photography.
The best advice I could offer is after you do your research, head out to some of the photography shops in your area and try them out for size. You can read all you want about them online, but nothing really compares to getting to use it in person. You might find that you'd be more interested in a high-end point and shoot rather than a DSLR.
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