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Nikki Tran Blog | Designer. Artist. Photographer bio picture
  • Hello Friend…

    and welcome to the blog! 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 Rusty, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just the two of us - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with your cup of tea and begin reading. Enjoy, friends! (Latest posts on the right!) --->

Rusty the Yorkipoo 2018 | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comHello sweet friends!

The ocean waves are rolling in, a piano plays in the distance, the smell of fresh fruit lingers nearby, Rusty is basking in the sunshine…

Did you think I was in Jamaica? Oh no, just another l-o-v-e-l-y day in my office. I have a relaxing ocean video playing on the TV (join me?), piano songs playing on the computer, a cup of fruit sitting nearby, and Rusty has found the smallest drop of sunshine in my office and is snuggled on the carpet for warmth. :)

What can I say, friends? Life is rather wonderful right now. For the first time in a long time I feel like I’m following the right path. Ideas are flowing so easily, tasks are getting accomplished, and so far boredom and a lack of motivation have been kept far at bay.

Jane Austen Watercolor Quote | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

And until Paul gets home from work late in the afternoon, the days are my own. I wake up with him, lying in bed just a few minutes longer, then shuffle downstairs in my bathrobe and slippers, Rusty always at my side. Paul leaves for work and I take my time making coffee and breakfast for myself and Rusty (Paul doesn’t like to eat breakfast before work – he likes to rush in and begin work as early as possible). We meander into the living room, enjoying breakfast with a favorite TV show or two, me writing in my diary and planner while Rusty is perched on the couch watching everyone get on with their day through the front window. I put makeup on, curl my hair, get dressed, and then we troop on upstairs to the sunlit office. The walls are yellow, there’s lists all over the place, my paints are in a pile on my desk, there’s fresh basil dancing in the sunshine, and Rusty’s comfy chair is calling his name in the corner.

There’s all sorts of tasks for me to accomplish – nothing ever too similar since my projects are all over the place – and I absolutely love it. This isn’t work for me, a feeling I’m still getting used to. I love putting check marks next to things on my lists, and I get a thrill every time I add something new – it means I’m going in the right direction.

Paul comes home late in the afternoon and usually continues working in his own office while I continue working in mine. Finally, we close our laptops, turn off our office lights, and meet in the middle in the chilly kitchen. We turn on the oven and open the door to get the heat flowing, and we discuss the highs and lows of our day over coffee, wine, or beer. Dinner’s done cooking, we’re exhausted, so we take our plates to the living room and collapse on the overgrown couch, Rusty always at our side. I go to bed at night, always excited for the following day and the endless possibilities awaiting me in that sunlit room.

ValentineOn my first day back at home I gutted my desk and closet, organized my shelves and drawers, and made sure my office was being used in an efficient and functional way. I’m quite pleased with it. I organized my camera bags, making sure all batteries were charged and SD cards were cleared, then I stored them away in the back of my closet. I moved my printer and scanner around so they’re easy to get to. My painting supplies are right in front and ready to be used. I just received my business cards in the mail, as well as little “Thank You” cards I painted that I can slip in customer’s packages –  it’s all coming together, friends. :) I even began building my online store (right now if you visit my website – nikkijeantran.com – you’ll notice The Little Store isn’t available yet) and have been having all sorts of fun creating products for it, both in my head and on paper. :)

I also decided to bring my camera downstairs, fully loaded with a battery and clean SD card, so that we can get better at documenting our life at this new home. We’ve barely taken any photos in the last few months – even when my little nephews had a week-long sleepover!! – and surprisingly, just having the camera in the open has encouraged me to document life in the past few days! ‘Tis a miracle! Last night was even documented; the records were on, candles were lit, and we stuffed ourselves with pasta and bread until we began to feel the shame and guilt. (Those are always the best meals, don’t you think?)

Spring Things Watercolor | Nikki Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Just think, soon we’ll be watching the Masters on TV with the windows open, birds chirping, late sunsets, the smell of dirt and grass – I can hardly wait either! Paul and I have started discussing garden plans for this new house, and although I would LOVE the same vegetable garden from our first house, I shall have to settle for something smaller (but still just as wonderful, I’m sure). The thought of roses are getting me through these last week’s of winter – hold on, friends. We’re almost there.

And now I must be getting back to work. There’s still so much to do – the sun is shining and I was able to enjoy some rare warmth as I let the dogs outside (we’re baby-sitting Rusty’s best friend/our previous neighbor’s dog). We’re even moving rooms around this weekend! Soon both of us will have our offices upstairs! Crossing my fingers his desks are lighter than they look.

And crossing my fingers you get a moment to enjoy the sunshine, perhaps with the windows down and the heat all the way up while you’re driving home from work. That’s the best, isn’t it? I hope you all had a delightful Valentine’s Day, or Galentine’s Day, or Wednesday yesterday! The weekend is almost here – hip hip hooray! Cheers! Saluti! Prost! xoxo

Greetings, friends!

Shall we start the evening off with some music? Yes, let’s. Do you have your coffee? Tea? Bubbly? Brewskie? Perfect. Here we go!

My last day at my 9-5 job is tomorrow. I. Am. SO EXCITED!! I’m excited for new opportunities, for challenging myself with things that interest me, for personal growth, for happiness, and of course, for snuggling with Rusty non-stop.Frank Sinatra Watercolor Print | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

However, I’m leaving behind some wonderful people and that makes me quite sad. I’ve been cautious with making friends the older I get, having been burned one too many times, but I’m fortunate that I have gained some truly great friends over the past (almost) 2 years. (I’m sure you know who you are if you’re reading this – sending hugs to you all!! xoxo)

I’ve been asked what I’m going to do on Monday, now that the time has finally come to be on my own. Would you be surprised if I told you there were lists everywhere on my wall in my office? (You know I love a good list.) Yes, lists are on my wall so every time I look up from my desk, I’m reminded of the enormous job I’ve taken on of starting over. Each list has a HUGE goal, and then it’s broken down into mid-size goals, and then each of those goals are broken down intomini goals that will help me reach that mid-size goal, which then in turn will help me reach those HUGE goals. Needless to say, I’m thrilled. I really can’t wait to get my hands dirty and attack those mini goals, to dive head-first into this to see if I sink or swim (I’m banking on the swimming part, aren’t you? :))

Now that my head is clear and my time is (almost) my own, I’ve noticed how content and in-the-moment I feel. My random ailments I’ve unfortunately grown in the past year and a half have been occurring less, and would you believe I’ve even lost weight? I didn’t realize how stressed I was not chasing my goals until I was finally able to chase my goals. And me being so happy makes me want to make YOU so happy!! So, let’s get on with the giveaway, shall we?! :)Lanesboro, MN | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

I couldn’t pick just one winner, so I chose THREE WINNERS!! I collected all the lovely names that left lovely comments here and on Facebook and numbered you all. Then I stuck your numbers into a random number generator and lo and behold, we have our THREE lucky winners!! :) You ready?! I’m drum-rolling right now, just so you don’t think I’m taking this lightly.

…………………………………………………….

WINNER #1: ANNA SEVERSON!!!

WINNER #2: NICOLE BORWEGE!!!

annnndd

WINNER #3: KATIE GRENGS!!!

YAY!!! Congratulations you three!! I’m so excited and incredibly flattered so many people entered!! :) I will reach out to you winners and you can tell me what you’d like to receive out of the 3 gifts!! :)

And now dear friends, I have to trot off into the frigid cold to pick up my darling Paul from the bus stop. You all mean so much to me and I’m entirely too grateful you’ve stuck with me for so long. Cheers to you, to the weekend, and to the person who invented the electric blanket. xoxo

Nikki Jean Tran GIVEAWAY | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comFriends, it’s finally here. I’ve been working towards this day for the past 8 months and I’m thrilled to be writing this blog post to you!!

I’m officially announcing my comeback into small business. 

Woo hoo!!! If I could I’d be bouncing off the walls right now like Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Excited would be an understatement – I’m elated!! (You know in Mighty Ducks 2 when they enter the final game in their new jerseys?! That’s me right now, wearing a familiar yet updated jersey, anxious to step back on the ice.)

Let’s back up, shall we?

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably knew this was coming quite soon. And if you read this blog post looooong ago, you might remember me saying this was my new adventure; beginning another small creative business focused on serving other small creative business owners, with a mix of watercolor prints, paper products, and photography resources. It’s the necessary umbrella that covers all my creative adventures into one online shop for everybody; photographers, small business owners, and anyone else who enjoys my work. :)

Take a look!! Visit nikkijeantran.com to see what I’m up to! Explore! Go ahead…I’ll wait. :)

From the very beginning, since 2012, I read how small business owners would do better if they could find one niche. So I began photography, narrowing it down to just weddings and engagements. But, I always felt a pull to do more. I began creating Photoshop actions to sell to other photographers who loved to play in Photoshop like I did. But, because that wasn’t wedding or engagement-related, I thought I had to separate that into its own business. It all became really confusing when I began to want to explore more about design, specifically web design and development. I began teaching myself HTML and CSS, exploring other web designing platforms and shyly telling people I’d like to begin designing websites, sometimes getting a client or two that trusted me to try out this new adventure. But again, I wanted to do more.

Three years ago I began teaching myself how to watercolor. I’d always had a desire to paint, since I was quite young. And Paul, being the wonderful man he is, told me to just go for it. I did, and I fell in love with another creative endeavor. It was as if I was continuing to feed my hunger for everything that caught my eye. Although my passion for weddings and engagements began to waiver, I still loved photography. I still loved creating Photoshop actions, I still loved learning about design, and I still very much loved watercolors.

Instead of realizing they were all intertwining – maybe not on the straight and narrow path one would like to see, but on a path nonetheless – I insisted they weren’t relevant to each other; I’d have to pick one or none. How could people hire me if I was all over the place? I’d only confuse them. And you all know what happened. I just quit.

I thought these creative acts were just meant to be hobbies, nothing more (even though I knew I was good at it and would have loved to offer these services to people!). At work I would daydream about life back at home with Rusty, cocooned in my office and learning how I could help others with art, whatever kind that was. I would get bursts of motivation to seek out information on starting a business from scratch, gathering all the tools I needed, even creating the beginning stages of a website. But it remained a daydream until only a few months ago.

I think we all have our breaking points in life, and we all can sense when they’re about to happen. I say breaking point, not in a negative way, but as if our heart is so full with hope it might actually explode. Mine officially exploded while we were in Disney World. Shocking, right? My website had been pretty much finished by the beginning of the New Year and I had a pretty detailed map of where this business could go. But I doubted, and then became fearful, and turned back to doubt. Like I said in my last post, Disney World couldn’t have come at a more perfect time in my life. Perhaps it’s corny to you, but it was the inspirational push I needed to really go after my life; grab it by the tail and create my happily ever after.

I quit my day job.

My last day is next Friday and if you’re wondering if I’m nuts…perhaps? I’m walking away from a stable job, good friends, and a decent paycheck. Yes, I think I might be nuts, too. On the other hand, I don’t remember being this happy with my entire life in…I really don’t know how long. When I married Paul, probably. I’m absolutely terrified, but my excitement and hope outweighs it by millions. I’ve been trickling in business already and each moment I get to work on it, I become more and more excited about what’s to come.

Paul and I have a plan for our life and this is a huge step in the right direction, I just know it. I’m ready for the long hours, the unknowing, the determination, the skipped meals, the exhaustion, and the frustration. I’m ready to begin building my future again and helping those who want to do the same.

Now to the good stuff! Because this is such an exciting day for me, I want it to be exciting for you too – you’ve been with me for so long and I owe you. :) You’re all the bee’s knees, so I’ve created a GIVEAWAY for you all, whether you’re a lover of art, a photographer, or a small business owner, there’s something for everybody!! :)

To enter, leave a comment below (or on my Facebook post sharing this link) with which gift you’d like to receive. The options are listed below:

8 x 10 Wall Art – perfect for Spring, which is hopefully right around the corner!! (Frame not included)

Nikki Jean Tran GIVEAWAY | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

OR

a set of 75 sky, snow, and fairy dust overlays to use in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements!!

Nikki Jean Tran GIVEAWAY | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

OR

a brand new custom logo for your small business!!

Nikki Jean Tran GIVEAWAY | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Remember friends, make sure to LEAVE A COMMENT telling me which you’d like to receive on the blog OR ON FACEBOOK!! :) Tell your friends if you think they’d be interested in entering too!! The GIVEAWAY will end at 6pm CT, Thursday, February 8th, 2018 – and not a minute sooner!!! :) Thank you for riding along – it shall definitely be an interesting journey. So glad to have you all with me. :) xoxoxo

  • Anna SeversonFebruary 7, 2018 - 10:25 am

    I would love to have those gorgeous skies! Beautiful work!!!ReplyCancel

  • NanaFebruary 4, 2018 - 8:11 pm

    Nana just wants to tell you how proud I am of you sweetie pie..Always follow your dream.:) :) :)ReplyCancel

  • ChloeFebruary 4, 2018 - 5:50 pm

    I am in the process of changing names and rebranding… a little scary I am sure you know! I would love a new logo! Congratulations to you on following your dreams :) :)ReplyCancel

  • ToniFebruary 2, 2018 - 11:11 pm

    You are my inspiration…..Elma!! :) Proud of you lady!ReplyCancel

  • JackieFebruary 2, 2018 - 5:55 am

    What a lovely giveaway,congratulations on your new adventures!!! I would love to win the logo. Thanks:)ReplyCancel

  • Patty SchaberFebruary 1, 2018 - 8:56 am

    I love reading your blogs and love love all of your art work!ReplyCancel

  • KassandraFebruary 1, 2018 - 5:12 am

    So happy and excited for you, and how could I not try and win the photoshop actions :)ReplyCancel