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  • Welcome!

    Welcome to the blog! My name is Nikki Tran. My husband is the bee's knees, our yorkipoo is my best friend, and my family is my world. I am so pleased you stopped by! Snuggle in your cozy chair, grab a cup of tea, relax, and enjoy reading about little snippets of my life as a creative old soul who loves tea, gardens, books, kindred spirits, & exploring lovely things. Check out my latest posts on the right. --->

Hello dear friends! It’s been quite a weird but wonderful week so far! Paul and I were in Ohio for his 10-year reunion this past weekend (if any of you Ohio friends are reading this, THANK YOU for such an amazing time!! We had such a blast and can’t wait for the next one already! xoxo) and then as soon as we got home we were able to host my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews while they’re in town from NY! It’s been a whirlwind these past few days and I absolutely loved it. When Richie, Kristy, and the boys left early this morning the house literally hushed and all was quiet. It was just me and Rusty (Paul had already gone to work) and although I love my quiet time, I couldn’t help but yearn for more people time. But, life goes on and by later in the afternoon (now) I’m used to being in an empty house with just me, little Rusty, and Paul.

Since I just finished hosting my family for a few days I thought, why not host my blog friends for a bit? So, I’m inviting you all over for a pot of tea, lovely music, and my home!! :) I absolutely LOVE decorating and if our bank account would allow it, that is what I would do in my spare time ALWAYS. The vintage store in the next town, garage sales, my mom’s basement, and other places where I can find already-been-loved items are my favorite. I know I’ve shown you my living room during the holidays (fall & winter), our bedroom, and even my office, so today we’re hanging out in the basement living room, or if you’d prefer a prettier name (which I do), the “Garden Room”. :)

When we moved in about 3 years ago, our house needed some help. Nothing major like a new roof or siding, just some decorating help. Two men had lived here and needless to say their decorating sense was a bit dry. Here is the photo of our basement from the realtor’s site before we moved in (it’s okay – feel free to gasp at the awfulness that is ORANGE PANELING, which unfortunately found it’s way throughout the entire basement and even suffocated the entire garage):

(photo credit: MLS Online)

After painting the orange paneling a beautiful cottage off-white, we decided to leave the green walls (the green made it into the living room upstairs and that was gone IMMEDIATELY since we have orange wood everywhere.) Thus the inspiration for a “garden room.” We added an area rug, neutrals, flowers, and other lovely things to create a cozy basement. Welcome, friends!!

A spoonful of sugar? Yes, please!

As you walk around the table to the couch, feel free to look at family photos that surround the entire room, watch Miss Potter, or even have a seat at my desk and paint for a bit!Or if you don’t want to paint or watch Miss Potter, feel free to peruse some cottage decorating books. There’s more on the shelf next to the couch. (PS. Don’t mind the rest of the orange paneling – I try not to look in that direction.)



Shall we take a peek outside? See how our lovely flowers are getting along?


Shall we sit? Chat? Miss Potter is one of the lovely movies that is always playing down here. Perhaps I’ll make list of other favorites, like I did with my books.


Would you like to play the piano?? Please do! It’s nice to hear someone besides myself play. You can find all sorts of sheet music (lots of classics, Disney, instrumental movie soundtracks like Pride & Prejudice)…


…in the basket on the ground, in the bench, or…


…right over there! Take your pick! And when the stars come out, just grab the telescope and enjoy a lovely evening on a blanket in the backyard. 



Alright friends, time to get back to reality and work (because really, blogging isn’t work.) Wishing you a lovely rest of the week and weekend!! Get ready to see some weddings pop up here soon! :)

Only 10 days until wedding season starts back up!!! I cannot believe how fast this year has gone! When I saw that I would have an entire break from February to August I thought, Oh my gooooodness. I’m going to get so much done in that huge break!

…Ha! I won’t say I didn’t get anything done, but definitely not as much as I thought I would. However, I did use the time to really push my other business, The Enchanted Collections, out the door and I’m pretty excited about all that I accomplished for it; I released two whole sets of actions in the past 6 months, increased my following for The Enchanted Collections a ton (I post before & after photos almost daily on my TEC Facebook page – come say hello, friends!), and next month I’m beginning to advertise to other photography forums! I’m so excited to see where this path will lead me! :) 

I was able to finish most of the basement before my surgery since my mom was staying a week to take care of me (befores and afters of that room will be up sometime soon! I have the post already drafted with lots of photos!), we gardened quite a bit, adding hydrangeas in every crevice we could find and expanded our “White Garden” – I have kept almost everything alive (my roses may have died after a transplanting accident) and we’ve even been eating food straight from the garden! Bliss! Our vegetable garden is thriving almost too much, so next year we’re adding more square feet to accommodate for everything we want (we’re even getting corn!) :)

And since wedding season is upon us, I’ve been preparing; preparing my mind (the wedding nightmares have begun – they usually entail me forgetting my camera, the florist not showing up, the bridesmaids dresses being the wrong color – you’d think it was my wedding!), preparing our bags (you can see all the goodies we bring to every wedding here), and preparing my body (there’s a lot of exercise on a wedding day). Wedding season means I’m working my 10 to 12-hour days, my anxiety level is slightly higher, and our weekends are booked. And although it does feel like the calm before a big storm, it’s quite a wonderful storm. :) I’m antsy to get back into weddings, see my brides and grooms, go through the photos afterwards, and I’m anxious to make my brides and grooms oh so happy. That’s always the icing on the cake. :)

We’re spending the perfect week to get us relaxed for weddings; this weekend is Paul’s 10-year reunion in Ohio (10 years?? That means mine will be in 2 years – unbelievable!), and when we get back I get to host my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews for a few days. The sheets are washed, the fridge is stacked, the towels are fluffy, the lawn is mowed, the floors are swept and that is how I will enjoying my last week before the wonderful storm. Cheers, friends!! And get ready to be bombarded with wedding posts soon!! :) xoxoxo


  • ChristianaJuly 22, 2015 - 7:36 pm

    Isn’t it funny how time never meets to our standards?? But I’m glad you got some relaxing done and excited to see the photos coming soon!!! :)ReplyCancel

    • NikkiJuly 29, 2015 - 10:56 am

      Oh you are so sweet!! :) And YES! Totally know what you mean. We just have to be nicer to ourselves. :)ReplyCancel

  • The Garden Room |July 22, 2015 - 3:40 pm

    […] all the time. Until now! Hurray! I’ve just finished posting on my other blog (you can see it Nikki Tran Photography Blog if you’re bored :)) and decided to put the rest of work away until I write to you. […]ReplyCancel

I’m trying something new today! Welcome to tea time talk. This is where all the random things that would come up in chats with friends find its way onto my blog. Although my blog is becoming more and more personal and less and less restricted to just photography, I never felt right leaving you with a random thought type of blog post. My lovely cousin has her Coffee Talks where she writes more about personal things (she writes mostly about writing, editing, reading, entrepreneurial things, etc.), thus giving me the idea of this tea time talk. Since I’ve come up with a name for it and because you’ll now know what to expect when you see it, I don’t feel bad at all about writing random thoughts! It’s just as if I’m chatting with a friend (which I am :)). Shall we begin?

Pretend that you and I are having tea (and coffee). It’s a hot summer’s morning; we’re enjoying the cool basement air and cozy-ing up with pillows and throws on my grey couch, Miss Potter playing in the background, garden in view. Your coffeepot has just finished brewing your delicious morning must-have, and my teapot is just about finished steeping my usual British Breakfast. Creamer? Yes, please. A spoonful of sugar? Oh let’s!

I couldn’t sleep tonight! This post is being written at 3:52am and I’m wide awake. I think it has something to do with the fact that I made a pot of tea at 8pm and didn’t finish it until 9:30pm. Plus, I’ve been on some sort of creative kick lately and my head is just swarming with ideas – like when gnats are just hovering over your head or taking dives at your eyeballs, except these are wonderful gnats that are just trying to help you out. Paul and I might just be watching TV or surfing the internet (is that still a phrase?) and an idea will pop in my head. I’ll tell him what it is, he barely lets me get it out before he encourages me to “just do it, Beauty” (he’s really too nice with his nickname for me…except that my other nickname is “Stink”. It’s a term of endearment, I’m sure.) I’ll search for a pen and paper, write it out, and then for some unearthly reason, I’ll feel the need to start doing whatever it is that I’m thinking right then and there. And guess when these bursts of creativity come seeping through? Bed-time. C’est la vie.

I finally joined a gym! All throughout high-school I had my best friend as my gym buddy. We’d wake up early in the summers, meet each other halfway then walk to school together and exercise in the weight room. I loved that! I had someone to keep me accounted for, someone to talk to, to motivate me, etc. When I got to college I kept at it by taking fitness classes and thankfully I had another wonderful friend to exercise with. And then I met my dearest Paul and we all know what happens when you fall head over heels – weight room, shmeight room. :) And now 7 years later I’m back in a weight room, and so far it’s bliss (it’s only been two days – I’ll check back with you later this summer).

Did you hear about the Italian Festa starting today at Harriet Island?? Is anyone out there going?? I shall be there Saturday with my lovely Nana and aunties, ready to eat a lot of pasta, meatballs, and hopefully gelato (and I’m crossing my fingers the weather isn’t as horrible as it says it will be.) The last time I was there they had life-size cutouts of Dean & Frank – oh la la. :)

My brother and sister-in-law and nephews are coming back home to visit again!! I couldn’t be more thrilled! Do you remember our trip to NYC in May? Those boys just stole NeeNee’s heart and I can’t wait to see them again! I even get to host them again, like I did last year. I’m stopping at an Italian grocery store after the Italian Festival to pick up some food for when they’re here – I’m planning on having the boys help me make homemade pizza, maybe meatball sandwiches…of course us adults will get to toast with Limoncello. I hear they even have a surprise gift for Rusty…omigoodness, he’ll be so excited to see his cousins. ;)

On a business-y note but still in the realms of tea time talk, I really, really want to bring more life to the blog! I want to not only write posts to you, but write back to you via comments! I want to have conversations with you! You have no idea how much it thrills me when I see a new comment pop up – it’s like Christmas morning! So friends, how can I do that?? How can I chat with you more? I get comments on my posts on Facebook and I absolutely love them – how can I bring that conversation over here? Should I ask a general question at the end of a post?

Holey moley it’s 4:19am and I’m still wide awake. Will the madness never end?? And to make matters worse, Rusty just got sick all over the hallway. Oh goodness. Time to dash, friends!! Cheers to you! :) xoxo