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:

Real Life and Finding Creativity

Hello, friends!

Shall we indulge with some music on this wonderfully sunny Spring afternoon? Yes, let’s.

Rusty and I are basking in the sunshine on the front porch, something we’ve been waiting desperately for for months. The neighbors pull into their driveways in their mini vans, children pile out, giggling and running for the front door, and then there’s nothing to hear but the tinkling of our wind chime and the chorus of birds in the trees high above us. I can tell this is going to be my favorite place in the house.

Not impressed with a school bus that went racing down our street…maybe I need one of those signs that says “Drive like your dog lives here!” – isn’t that the phrase? :)

I turned 29 this month, and for someone who thought she’d have her entire life figured out at the ripe old age of 22, I am still on this roller-coaster of learning – almost in view of the end, and then the tracks take a sharp turn and I’m sent back into the abyss.

I don’t like to write about the negative things that happen in real life, especially on here. I prefer this to be a bit of a getaway, a collection of Dear Diary moments and snippets of bliss. But sometimes real life will peek its ugly head and I feel the need to share some truths in life on this side of the screen. You’ve heard me talk about trying to find my place in this world with my photography, art, design, writing, and anything else. You’ve read my break-through moments on here, and you’ve seen what life is like when all is gravy and my biggest worry is whether or not to take Rusty for a walk.

But hidden between those moments are very real – sometimes long – bouts of depression. A spiral drop into a big rabbit role, sometimes seeming impossible to escape, until the blessed sun shines and all looks right again in the world. Tea gets poured, things are accomplished, and Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth can finally be together. I’m learning that this is normal, especially for those of us who work alone or are trying to figure out our creative mess in this world where, quite frankly, creativity and art are sometimes placed beneath the careers deemed as great success with big paychecks.

It’s been hard for me to transition from steady paychecks and a false sense of “purpose” to not knowing what the hell I’m doing again (excuse the French) and feeling quite useless simply because if Paul and I had separate bank accounts, mine would have nothing in it but moth balls. What is my worth?

I don’t like to be negative. I actually hate it. And I despise the drama of this all. I like frolicking around with colorful thoughts in my head, believing in fairy tales and singing catchy songs for all to hear. I like corny. I like crying simply because something is so beautiful. And unlike most blog posts, I don’t have an ending to this story. This stuff happens and like other things in my life, I’ve been learning about it and trying my hardest to conquer it.

I’m learning that when people ask me, “So what do you do now?” (I know people mean well and are just curious when they ask that question, but holey moley it makes me cringe), I shouldn’t stutter and stammer trying to think of how to explain the things I do. I’m an artist. (Paul recently told someone I was a graphic designer and I like that one, too.) I’m pushing the barriers of self-confidence and pushing the barriers of what my worth really means to me, not others. It’s a daily struggle , but I reach for my inner 5-year-old self and continue to be hopeful.

Did I crush your mood? I hope not. I hope that after sharing my life with you for over 6 years, you see a real person behind the words, and I hope, if you’re someone like me, you don’t feel alone. And perhaps you see that no matter what is shared online through people’s highlight reels, there’s always a bit of ugly real life hiding in the background. But, there’s always someone hopeful for picnics and sunshine, good friends, hand-holding, baby snuggles, fairy tales, and a happy ending to their story.


Let’s switch it up, friends! I meant this post to really only be about what I’m about to share with you, but ya know, feelings and such got in the way. :)

Okay, so in between the sad days and the crying on Paul’s shoulder, I’ve been in a state of bliss working in my little cozy office on THESE!!

Watercolor Calendar | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Can you guess what I’m making in my mad scientist lab?!

(I’m hoping you all guessed ‘calendar’ otherwise I would have to completely rethink my designs.)

YES!! I’m beyond excited about this project and I find myself wanting to bring my proofs along wherever I go so I can show them to everyone. I LOVE them! I don’t think I’ve ever LOVED something I’ve done – not like this. Even if they don’t sell I won’t care because I LOVE them and that means more for me. (Just kidding, kind of. I do hope they sell. Quite a bit.)

They’re ALL hand-written, hand-painted, handmade everything! Even the grids! I have so much fun brainstorming them in my head, finding quotes to match what I’m going for, and then watching the designs come to life. Every day when Paul comes home I drag him upstairs and bounce around my office showing him all the new stuff I’ve made. He’s always pleased. :) I shove them in my family’s faces when we get together, anxious to see their reactions (the nephews are always my biggest fans :)).

I’ve been researching different printing companies (who knew this would be the hard part? Can’t a girl just catch a break with prices??) and soon I’ll be honing in on one. I only have September, November, December, and only half of February and March to finish – it seems like a lot but I’ve only just started this in the beginning of last month. I’m hopeful I’ll be done by the beginning of June. :) If so, by the time the printing company has finished it, I should have the calendars in our home by August? I know it’s late, but I’m going to try my hardest. :)

I’ll be selling them through my website, my Etsy shop, announcing them on Facebook, Instagram, and here, and then I’ll be like a Girl Scout and knocking on doors! Just kidding…maybe. :) I’ll give my mom some to take to work. :)

Okay! I think I’ve talked your ear off today – time for me to get ready to go see my little nephew perform in his school’s concert (tears of happiness, always). :)

I hope the ending lifted your spirits up a bit! Pip pip, friend!! Enjoy the sunshine, the birdies, and all the little moments that make life oh so b-e-a-utiful! xoxoxo

  1. Barbara Wolters says:

    Great job Nikki love you,auntie