Our First Home: Before Tour

August 5, 2015

We bought a house! After what seemed like a million showings and open houses we found the perfect house for us. It’s a one story 3 bedroom, 1 bath rambler, with a basement ‘full of potential’ in South Minneapolis. It’s biggest drawback at the moment is it’s down right UGLY. Literally all but one room is covered in 90s wallpaper. I think I counted a total of 13 different wallpaper patterns! But Joel and I see potential and really love the neighborhood. We’ve had about a week to work on the house and it already looks a lot different then these before photos, but still has aways to go before we move in mid-August.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

Yay! The only room without wallpaper! Our plan in here is to paint the ceiling, walls and trim. I know HUGE job, especially the trim work, but I really think painting the trim will completely change this place for the better. Also, I paint the fireplace brass parts in a matte black and paint the brick of the fireplace white. Joel’s not completely convinced on painting the brick, so we’ll see about that one after we move into the place. We are also going to refinish all the hardwood floors in the house. There are other smaller projects I’d like to do in here once we are moved in, like replace the tile under the fireplace and entryway.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

This is the worst room in my opinion. I mean there are 3 different wallpapers going on and there is even a border on the CEILING! Seriously the lady who lived here before was really, really into wallpaper, and likely had some decisions anxiety picking her favorite patterns, and said screw it, I’ll just use them all everywheeeeree! We want to replace the floor, maybe tile or hardwood, not sure yet. Paint the cabinets, change out the lighting situation, replace the counter tops and add a backsplash. Down the road we will also need to replace the appliances, especially that ancient fridge.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

The top one is the master bedroom and bottom will be our guest bedroom meets my office area. Again, we are going to remove the wallpaper, paint trim, remove the carpets to reveal the hardwood floors which will all be refinished. The bedrooms are the only spaces I feel I have a solid design idea, but that’s for another post!

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

I feel like the photos of the bathroom some how make it look better than it really is in person, because in person this room is a total mess. We are tossing around ideas of what we want to do in here, but those will be bigger scale plans and probably won’t happen until after we move in. My bathroom pin board is swelling with drop dead gorgeous bathrooms I’m pretty sure we can’t afford, but a girl can dream about lovely marbles, double sinks and brass fixtures right?!

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

This is technically our third bedroom, but was used as a dining room by the previous own and we want to keep it that way. Wallpaper must go, paint that trim and refinish those floors and we’ll be in business. I really like the chandelier, so just clean it up a bit and it will look great again, but maybe new faux candle things…do they even make something like that?

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

This will probably end up my favorite room in, or technically outside, of our house. It’s a spacious 3 season porch, but it’s rather ugly at the moment. We will be taking down the drop ceiling, then probably figure out what we can do next to make this place more open and inviting. I want to paint it a soft white and make this our go-to entertaining spot when we have friends over. Dreaming of comfy lounge furniture and a dining spot.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis

Brace yourself ladies and gents, cause our basement is pretty rough. The carpets are disgusting and that paneling has to go. Our vision for this space is an additional living room meets rec room, another bedroom and a 3/4 bathroom. The space is all there for our vision, I think, it’s just the budget is lacking at the moment so we will gut it and then be patient until next year. I might work on sprucing up the laundry area to be a little friendlier, which pretty much means clean up the cobwebs, add a outdoor runner and possibly paint the walls…we’ll see.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour

So that’s it folks! The grand before tour of our new home. I can’t wait to start showing some after photos in a month or two! If you want some sneaky snaps of the spaces as it progresses follow me on instagram! Thanks for reading and staying tuned in during this busy time for me. I really wanted to post more regularly, but planning a wedding and purchasing a fixer upper house is as time consuming as you’d probably guess, so thanks for hanging in here! Can’t wait to have real space for an office and YouTube videos again!

Wedding planning has begun…Let’s catchup

June 16, 2015

a and be bridal Minneapolis | Kitty Cotten

It’s been an embarrassing long time since I last posted here. So, it’s about time we catch up! Exciting stuff has happened in the past two months along with plenty of stressful hurdles to to navigate. As many of you know Joel and I got engaged, but that was back in August 2014 and not much has happened on the wedding planning front. Well, actually I didn kinda sorta try to plan a wedding here in Minnesota, but it just never felt right. I was overwhelmed and our families were getting antsy. Then about a month and half ago Joel and I were driving somewhere and I threw an idea at him, “What about we get married in Costa Rica?” Keeping his eyes on the road he said, “Sure.” In all that exciting glory we committed to a destination wedding. So, in the past month or so I’ve crazily planning a wedding in Costa Rica!

Destination wedding in Costa Rica | Kitty Cotten

But it wasn’t all adorable sloths and stunning sunsets. Halfway through, I panicked. I’d picked a hotel and reserved a wedding date at a place I just didn’t love. By now we’d told most of our family and friends the hotel, so changing it felt like a really big deal, but I knew in my gut it wasn’t the right place. A very stressful week ensued of endless pro’s and con’s lists of other hotels until I found one that was just right. So far my style of wedding planning has been a lot like the story of Goldyilocks, which is funny because I wouldn’t consider myself an indecisive person. But a people pleaser…definitely.

Location shenanigans aside, I found the most beautiful wedding dress at a and be bridal in Minneapolis! I wasn’t sure if I’d wear an actually bridal gown, but when you find the right dress you get this wonderful ‘I can’t wipe this smile off my face even if I tried’ feeling. I’m smiling at my computer just thinking about it. How’s that for cheesy.

Below is a peek at the invitation I made for our wedding, which I’m patiently waiting for printed version to arrive in my mailbox. I can’t wait to share with you guys all the details, DIY’s, and mostly the lessoned I’ve learned trying to plan a wedding. Up next, will be our ‘engagement’ photos. I put engagement photos in quotes, because sometimes I think engagement photos are way to corny and weird. Spoiler alert: there are no hearts, chalkboards or balloons. Thanks for sticking in here and reading this longwinded post. Let’s hang out more!

a and be bridal Minneapolis | Kitty Cotten a and be bridal Minneapolis | Kitty Cotten Destination wedding in Costa Rica | Kitty Cotten

Spring Break Lookbook

March 25, 2015

I have to admit I’ve been mentally packing for our trip to the Dominican Republic for about the past month, because I’m a crazy over planner and serial organizer. I mean, I live by my packing cubes. I’m such a dork. Anyways, I decided to put my type-A personality to good use and make a fun, short spring break lookbook video pairing 9 outfits as inspiration for your next adventure in warm weather! This is my very first video lookbook posted to my youtube, so let me know what you think and if I should do more of them in the future! Now, on to the outfit details of each look. You’ll see lots of repeat multi-purpose pieces in each outfit, so all you’ll need is a carry-on to pack!

Spring Break Outfit


Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
T-Shirt – American Eagle ($25)
Shorts – Levi’s (similar pair: $54)
Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)
Bracelets – MadewellBauble Bar  & J.Crew



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Flamingo Print Blouse – Madewell (similar one: $72)
Shorts – Levi’s (similar pair: $54)
Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)
Bracelets – J.Crew & Bauble Bar



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Blouse – J.Crew (similar one: $79.50 on sale)
Shorts – Levi’s (similar pair: $54)
Black Sunglasses – Amazon ($10)
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)
Bracelets – J.Crew & Bauble Bar



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Black Sunglasses – Amazon ($10)
Tank Top – Forever 21 (similar one: $14)
Shorts – Target ($20)
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Kimono – Target ($23)
Tank Top – American Eagle (similar one: $35)
Shorts – Levi’s (similar pair: $54)
Bracelets – J.Crew & Bauble Bar
Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)



Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)
Tank Top – Target (similar one: $28)
Skirt – Sheinside (similar one: $67)
Bracelets – Madewell & Bauble Bar



Black Sunglasses – Amazon ($10)
Bird Dress – Sheinside ($13)
Bracelets – Madewell & Bauble Bar
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Romper – Target ($25)
Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)
Bracelets – Madewell & Bauble Bar
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)



Black Sunglasses – Amazon ($10)
Romper – Forever21 (similar one: $25)
Bracelets – MadewellBauble Bar  & J.Crew

In-flight Travel Essentials

March 24, 2015

I love traveling, but it can be stressful at times. Here’s a video with all of my must have in-flight travel goodies to make traveling easier and a bit more relaxing. The only thing I forgot to add to this video was a snack. I always have snacks on me when traveling! Subscribe to my channel on YouTube:

How to Properly Wash & Care for Your Swimsuit

March 9, 2015

How to Wash & Care for Your Swimsuit
SWIMSUIT (Highly recommend Nani Nalu Beachwear in Minneapolis if you’re in the market for a new swimsuit! That’s were I found this suit) // HAT // NECKLACE  (Sign up for 1 month free of Rocksbox with the code:  kittycottenxoxo ) // SUNGLASSES

Always hand wash your swimsuit. Never wash your swimsuits in the washer and never dry them in the dryer. Both will quickly destroy the fabric and deteriorate the elasticity of your swimsuit. How to properly wash your swimsuit: Fill a sink with cool water and add a small amount of swimsuit cleaner. Let the suit soak for 15 minutes, then gently massage with hands to work the chemicals and dirt out. Drain the soapy water and rinse until the water runs clear. Never wring or twist the swimsuit.

Do not use detergents to clean your swimsuit. Always use a swimsuit cleaner like this one. Opt for one that is natural, alcohol-free and fragrance-free.

Always layout your swimsuit to dry. Don’t hang. Place your swimsuit on a flat surface out of the sun to allow it dry, this will keep the color from fading in the sunlight.

Don’t let chlorine dry into your suit. Rinse your suit in the showers near the pool before laying out or keep it damp until you can rinse. You could also store your damp suit in a plastic bag until you’re able to rinse it out at home or in the hotel.

Apply your sunscreen and allow it to absorb into your skin before you put on your suit to avoid getting sunscreen or oils on your swimsuit.

Rinse your swimsuit before getting into a pool. This will help reduce the amount of chlorine absorbed into the fabric.

Sit on a towel or blanket to avoid snagging your suit on rough surfaces.

Avoid hot tubs. The chemicals and heat accelerates wear on the fabric.

Alternate your swimsuits to allow for the previous day’s suit to fully dry and return to its original shape when you’re on vacation.

Packing List: Minimal Beach Vacation Makeup

March 6, 2015

Packing List: Minimal Beach Vacation Makeup Packing List: Minimal Beach Vacation Makeup Packing List: Minimal Beach Vacation Makeup

I don’t usually wear or pack too much makeup for a beach vacation, instead just a few pieces to create a natural, pulled together look. When I’m on the beach I always wear SPF on my face and lips. Sometimes I’ll pop on a tiny bit of waterproof mascara and sheer out a lipstick over my lip balm. That’s it. The rest of the makeup is versatile to create a few looks whether I’m going for dinner, having drinks at the bar or headed into town for a night out. Continue Reading…

February Favorites

March 4, 2015

B E A U T Y:
LAURA MERCIER tinted foundation
TRADER JOE’S lavender salt scrub
ELIZABETH & JAMES black nirvana perfume
SONIA KASHUK satin luxe lip color “very berry”
MAYBELLINE color tattoo leather “creamy beige”
SALLY HANSEN miracle gel top coat

S T Y L E:
SUNGLASSES black and gold round
SUNGLASSES tortoise clubmaster style
KIWI SELECT suede and nubuck cleaner
SAM EDELMAN petty boots

F O O D:

Sunglasses & Beach Hat Pairings (Under $70)

March 2, 2015

Cheap Sunglasses and Beach Hats

Hat ($58)
Sunglasses ($10)

Hat ($25.50)
Sunglasses ($16)

Hat ($49.50)
Sunglasses ($10)

Hat ($15)
Sunglasses ($40)

I’m 50 shades of pale, so a hat is one of my beach necessities (and lots of sunscreen of course). Plus, I think a hat is the perfect way to add a bit more style to the basic bikini. Top that off with a funky pair of sunnies and a margarita on the rocks and I’ll never leave that sandy beach.

For me, cheap sunglasses are the way to go on a tropical vacation, that way if you have a few too many cervezas and loose track of them you’re only out a few bucks. I bought those two pairs I noted above from amazon and was pleasantly surprised. I’ve been lusting over these pricey Karen Walker Harvest shades for awhile, then I stumbled on that top pair of sunglasses with a similar vibe for dirt cheap and I was all – buy now with one-click. High five.