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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!) --->

Office Makeover | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comHello, dear reader. Has spring sprung in your neck of the woods yet? Snow is drip-dropping off the ledge outside my office windows right now and the birds are making quite the racket in the trees in our neighbor’s yard. I couldn’t be more thrilled!!

I really don’t have a set topic for this blog post today, I just felt like saying hi since it’s been almost a month since I last wrote. I’m still doing the usual dance and routine everyday when Paul leaves for work. Rusty and I are still embracing long mornings before shuffling upstairs with tea and something to snack on. He lays by the window and I look at the big list of to-do’s I create at the beginning of each week and see what I feel like tackling at the moment. My head goes every which way with this little business, to photography, to art, to writing, to design – I never know where to start! On Mondays especially, I just begin doing something that seems appealing and the momentum begins to roll, like a train beginning to run on the tracks. Last week I was sick a day or two and had also spent two of my days painting the office walls, so I’ve got loads to catch up on this week. (Wait until you see my office now! We just received white blinds in the mail about 20 minutes ago, so when Paul comes home perhaps he can hang them for me and my next post will be a before and after of this room! :))

Kitchen Decor | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | nikkitranphotography.comPaul just booked our next vacation for us and as he points out, “Now we’ve got something to look forward to.” ….:) He needs a vacation badly, and it’s just his cup of tea where we’re going this time: Costa Rica! We’re ready for jungle views, endless views of the sea, and nothing to do but swim, sleep, read, write, and eat. Our last trip brought us to Disney World if you remember, and clearly that was my choice for vacation. I enjoy the more tourist-type destinations and Paul would rather be doing nothing on a beach – we need each other to give us a good balance. :) Paul also has to travel to Seattle for work soon and lucky me gets to be his carry-on luggage! I’ve been wanting to visit Seattle for years – excited to do some exploring in the Northwest.

I’ve decided I have a short attention span with projects now that I have the time to do them. I get so excited about one, finish most of it, and then jump to the next thing I’ve been dying to try. An unfortunate consequence is a pile of unfinished projects and a big belly of guilt. This is why I need Paul. Every night we do an Accountability Check and I show him my week’s list of to-do’s and then go over what I got done, why things aren’t done, and my issues/fears/concerns/hopes. He’s been wonderful. Even though he comes home exhausted from work he’s always ready to jump into the ring with me, encouraging me to continue with something I didn’t think was so good, or reminding me why I’m choosing to do a certain project, or giving me suggestions on what could be done instead.

Two projects I’ve been steadily working on are long-lived daydreams finally coming true. I can’t tell you yet, I’d like to have more done before I invite you in, but that is where most of my days lead me. In between working on these projects I find time to update my Photoshop actions collections, working on a new set to offer photographers, and I learn more about marketing, finance,Carnival Watercolor Print | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | audience reach – all the things that truly need to be done. With my last business as solely a wedding photographer, it was easy to reach people and then get hired. A friend of a friend would see their friend tagged in my photos on Facebook and inquiries would pop up in my inbox. Advertising seemed easy and not something to fret about. Well dear friend, this is a whole different ball game and I’m just beginning to wade in the new waters. (Not as fun as painting the day away, but what can one do?)

I’m sorry this was such a blah post, but life is just the same, day in and day out. And quite frankly, it’s been a bit of a blah day (even with the beautiful sunshine!). Next time I’ll have some pretty office photos, and maybe by then I’ll have dived further into the two projects where I will feel confident enough to tell you all about them – then you can get excited with me. :) (It is quite lonely being alone again, but the rewards far outweigh the loneliness.)

I know I’ve told you before, but if you’re truly interested in hearing more from me please feel free to follow along on Instagram. I share much more often on that platform, using it as a bit of a mini blog. I’d LOVE to see you there! Just search nikkijeantran and you should find me right away! Or, just click on the Instagram icon on the top of the right menu. :)

Enjoy your Monday, dear friends! I’ll write again soon! xoxoxo

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 |

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 – – 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 |

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 |

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 |

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.






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