I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

A Mid-Summer Catch Up

Hi friends!

Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comIt’s almost the 4th of July and this is the first time I’ve logged into my blog since May! They say time goes by faster as you get older and recently, I couldn’t agree more! It’s already been a year since Paul got his new job offer and we began house hunting! It’s been almost 6 months since I handed in my notice at my last job, which means it’s been 6 months since Disney World! Slooooow dooowwwn Time, please. Just for a bit.

JM Barrie Quote | Nikki Jean Tran Copyright | www.nikkitranphotography.com

So where did I leave off?

Oh yes, Richie (my brother) and I had just come home from jolly old England and I was still feeling homesick for the rolling hills, baa-ing sheep, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. What a dream. (If you feel like reliving the adventure, just click here.)

Mark Twain Quote | Nikki Jean Tran Copyright | www.nikkitranphotography.com

And since then I’ve been hermiting (is that a word?) away in my house, crossing off more things on my to-do list for the calendar. Friends, I’m SO close to being finished. I could kick myself for not starting this sooner, but I’m learning so much along the way and I can’t WAIT to have it printed and shipped directly into my hands. I may even cry. And pop some bubbly. And give Paul a big ole’ kiss on the cheek.

I have only two more pages to finish – the month of June and the cover. The cover, if I’m being truly honest, is something I’m trying to avoid. I have NO CLUE what to do with it. Most calendars just put an image from one of their months and call it good. That’s great for them, but what does someone do if they don’t have a direct theme? My calendar is not a beach photo calendar. It’s not even a home decor calendar. It’s a hodge-podge of pretty things I painted and wrote down, just things that make me happy (and I’m hoping they make you happy, too). I’ve come up with my title, however, so I’m trying to draw some inspiration from that and create the cover, but so far, no luck. I avoid designing the cover as if it were a big pile of dishes in the sink. No thank you, move along. Thank you.

Nikki Jean Tran | www.nikkitranphotography.comAnyways, so that’s where we are with the calendar. Each day Paul rides his bike to work and Rusty and I slowly but surely meander downstairs into the sunlit rooms. We make breakfast and coffee (tea doesn’t suffice when I need to be efficient for longer hours) and I clear off whatever table I’m using at the time to make room for all my stuff; computer, scanner, paints, brushes, paper, tape, water, coffee, food, etc. We’ve been spending most of our days on the main floor – it’s been too hot this summer to remain upstairs (except for today – I’ve missed my room so I’m determined to get work done up here today). All day long I paint and design. Design and paint. Paint and design. Paul comes home (we greet him with much enthusiasm) and I show him what I’ve done. Most nights I continue with my calendar, other nights we try to get out of the house and explore our neighborhood.

Watercolor Art | Nikki Jean Tran Copyright | www.nikkitranphotography.comI’ve decided on a  vendor and as soon as I send the files over they’ll ship me my sample calendar and wait for my approval. Then, just 2-3 weeks later the much anticipated shipment will arrive at our house and then comes the part that sometimes keeps me up at night: selling!! (I was told at a few jobs when I was younger that I was not much in the sales department. To be fair, I didn’t like anything I was “selling” (organic grape lotion anyone?) so hopefully this will be a more fruitful endeavor. I’ve got my fingers crossed.)

Once this is all done it’ll be time for relaxation and eating bon-bons, right? Wrong! It’s onto the next project and of course, the next calendar. I don’t want to be rushed with the 2020 calendar so I intend to start the next one right away, along with other things that have brewing in my mind. I asked my darling Instagram friends what they would like to see next, and the vast majority voted on kitchenware, something I’ve been dying to try. So, I’ll keep you updated on that next adventure when it happens. :)

Nikki Jean Tran | www.nikkitranphotography.comBesides the calendar, life over here has been pretty calm. We’re both done traveling for a bit, something we’re thankful for until the itch strikes again, so we’ve been trying to spend some intentional time with our new house and city. We’ve ventured out to the Farmer’s Market with our nephews while they were here for a sleepover (that’s them in the photo with Rusty – they love him too much) and had such a great time, we can’t wait to have a free weekend so we can go back. We go out to dinner when we have time, sip sparkling drinks on the front porch while Bing sings on the record player, stroll the streets of Downtown, add roses and herbs to our little garden we started in the backyard, and take long walks through the fairytale cottage-woven streets. And I just bought my first set of golf clubs so that is something new and exciting for us, too! We haven’t really had a shared hobby before, except for Nintendo and gardening, so we’re both looking forward to a. me learning how to golf and b. attempting to get through an entire course without people breathing down our necks. :) We went to the driving range the other day and I had so much fun – I can’t wait for my blisters to heal so we can go back again.

4th Of July | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comLet’s see, what else can I tell you? 4th of July is, quite literally, just around the corner and that’s always a wonderful day with my family. We go to a small town tucked in the Twin Cities and enjoy breakfast together on the park lawn, watch the parade at the top of the hill, and meander back down near the bandstand for music, bocce ball games, and a picnic. Then off we go to my aunt and uncle’s pool party to see the rest of our family and compete for the title of Cannonball Champion. (I remember being the little kid who looked forward to my older cousins and uncles being the Cannonball Champion – now I’m a running candidate…again, Time please slooooowww doooowwwn.) We still haven’t decided where to watch the fireworks so I’m assuming this year will be an adventure for us.

Then as the summer winds down, we’ve got something new to look forward to – Paul’s best friend from high-school and his wife are coming to stay with us for almost a whole week!! We are thrilled! We’re already getting ready to convert Paul’s office into a guest bedroom since it’s off the dining room, kitchen, and main floor bathroom – we’ll be sending Paul’s desk upstairs to our bedroom. I offered to share my office with him but I’ve been told I distract him too much so off he goes into the bedroom. :) (I just like to say hi a lot…and hug him a lot…)

Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comOh! And even before the 4th of July comes around we get to celebrate something else! (Before I tell you, just know I like to celebrate everything when it comes to Paul.) We’ve been together for 10 years! Every 3rd of July we celebrate in some way, back to the picnic spot where we had our first date (that’s me waiting for Paul to pick me up for our first date in the photo on the right!) and where he proposed a year later (that’s us a few seconds after he proposed in the photo below), or just something different to make that day continue to be special. I’m not sure what we’ll do this year – perhaps a picnic or some sort of new outing in our new city – but it’s still exciting to think it’s been 10 years already. :) (Slooooowww dooowwwn Time, please.) Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

And that friends, is pretty much where we are at life right now. Soon the State Fair will be here, the winds will pick up, the sidewalks will get all crunchy and deliciously red, orange, and yellow, the smell of pumpkins will fill up the house…I’m getting ahead of myself. :)

Enjoy your (hopefully) LONG weekend, have a beautiful 4th of July, hugs from me to you!! Xoxoxo

  1. Mom says:

    Thumbs up! :)

    Like :)

  2. JoAnne Mackley says:

    Thanks for ‘transporting’ me to your world of
    Color And Relaxation! Good therapy for my soul! Also, a good way to rest while getting over this yucky pneumonia (the cough is the WORST!)
    I can’t wait to view your finished calendar!
    JoAnne Pierce Mackley

    • Nikki says:

      Thanks so much for the wonderful words, JoAnne! So glad you enjoyed reading it. :) Take care of yourself and get some rest! Crossing my fingers for a speedy recovery! Xoxo