Hello friends!

I don’t have a lot of time to write today, there’s much to do around here and the weather is so nice I’m not even sure I’ll be able to stay inside all day!

I’ve decided today is the day I’ll be decorating for fall. Doesn’t that sound nice?! Magical, even?! I know. I’m taking full advantage of the beautiful sunshine and cool breeze coming through the windows and putting Gilmore Girls on the TV (the opening credits make me associate that show with fall) and pulling the tubs of autumn decor out from the rickety shelves in the basement up onto the dining room table just like my mom always does. Time to roll up the sleeves, get messy, make mistakes!! (Channeling Ms. Frizzle, too.)

Life’s been floating along as usual over on this side of the screen. Yesterday, Paul worked until past midnight on putting in a new shower door in his basement bathroom. Out with the grimy shower curtain2019 Calendar | Nikki Jean Tran | www.nikkitranphotography.com/blog that floats in the shower with you like a menacing little ghost, and in with the new shiny glass shower door – it looks wonderful. He’s Superman around here. Yesterday, I tried to drill in a new paper towel holder into a piece of furniture in the kitchen – Superman needs to fix it later today.

While Paul’s been at work, here and at the office, I’ve been painting for the 2020 regular calendar (I have a children’s calendar and a non-children’s calendar…the children’s calendar is full of fun facts about the Earth and the regular is filled with quotes and pretty illustrations. Not sure what to call the non-children’s calendar except the Regular Calendar…) and just a few minutes ago I finished the bottom half of June, a California surfing theme. :) I love it. There’s a vintage yellow beetle carrying a surfboard, me and Rusty in full beach attire, and later today I’ll be painting some righteous surfers riding the waves. :) I finished April the other day, springtime in Paris. Romantic? Yes. Who doesn’t want to think of sipping wine and eating macaroons at a sidewalk café in Paris?! (That’s me and Rusty exploring Paris together.)

Besides working and painting, Paul and I had a wonderful few days off together at the end of August. Our good friends were going to come out and visit but unfortunately couldn’t make it – no worries! Paul and I had so much fun just being lazy together, people-watching and sipping drinks at the State Fair, sleeping in and going to bed late, eating all sorts of junk food, getting the shipment of calendars in the mail!!

2019 Calendar | Nikki Jean Tran | www.nikkitranphotography.com/blogI didn’t even tell you the calendars came in the mail!! Friends, it was like Christmas morning over here. The boxes arrived (in the rain, of course) and Paul and I went to work right away on our mini assembly line. I got all the information for the pre-orders that came in, Paul wrapped each package, I wrote Thank You notes…it was an entire day of calendar packaging but it was SO. MUCH. FUN!!! The calendars  looked beautiful, so colorful, bright, and shiny. I was so proud. Tiny tears of happiness.

2019 Calendar | Nikki Jean Tran | www.nikkitranphotography.com/blogTo those of you who already purchased one, you are so incredibly kind and you’re what keeps me going when I have doubts bouncing in my head. I’ve received so many wonderful notes of praise from you all – I save each one, even if it’s a text – and I just can’t thank you enough. You’re the knees to the bees. Hugs from my screen to yours.

If you’d like to see the calendar or purchase, just click the link below (don’t forget the discount CELEBRATE10 at checkout for 10% off!!):

SHOP 2019 Calendar

Let’s see, what else can I tell you??

The garden in the backyard is doing decent enough. The strawberries are taking over more than I thought they would, but I can’t complain. Next year it should provide us with a whole bunch of fruit – we can’t wait. The basil isn’t doing so hot, but to be fair I stopped taking care of things about three weeks ago. I’ve been a bit careless with the garden, which looking back was exactly what I was like the first year at our first home…next year I’m sure I’ll be more attached and checking on them every day as long asGardening | Nikki Jean Tran | www.nikkitranphotography.com/blog those pesky hornets leave my yard alone. There’s a bunch of crabgrass (our mistake) and they like to hide in there…not for me. Give me bees, not hornets, please. However, the roses have a life of their own! My one yellow rosebush is over four feet high! It’s towering over the picket fence! I’m in love! And the little pink roses are still producing buds everyday – couldn’t be more happy with them. I accidentally killed my cilantro. Boooooo. But the chives and lavender are still thriving and soon I’ll be harvesting them. Actually, perhaps I’ll harvest the chives today and give them some time to grow back before winter….

Okay, I’m rambling now. Time to eat some food and drink some coffee and pull out some autumn tubs. Huzzah!! Happy Thursday to you, dear friend! And enjoy this blessed weather!!! :) :) :) xoxoxo

  • MelanieSeptember 11, 2018 - 3:13 pm

    Nikki, I loved catching up on your latest post! I love Gilmore Girls in the Fall too!!!! I haven’t gotten out my Fall Decor yet but probably in the next couple weeks. It *just started feeling Fallish and the weather report predicts rain ALL week long. That might be a bit much :) I look forward to catching up on video chat soon. You and your blog and your creativity is just so CUTE & LOVELY….ReplyCancel

Hello friends.

(Shall we play some relaxing music for this relaxing afternoon? Yes, let’s.)

Rusty and I are sitting on the front porch, a Caribou Cooler within arm’s reach and dozens of chipmunks rustling through the front yard with their cheeks filled with our tree’s falling acorns. I think they’re in Heaven and Rusty is either really enjoying them or really hating them. He’s on guard dog mode it seems, hoping that one day he’ll come face-to-face with those little dollies. (Momma won’t let him – I once tackled him in the mud while wearing PJ’s to save a baby bunny from his wrath. I’m a friend to all the animals in my yard.)

I love this time of year. Can you tell it’s getting near to autumn just by the way the sun hangs in the sky at this time of day (it’s 6pm right now as I write to you)? I can. Or what about how blue the sky looks lately? I always notice how much bluer the sky is in the fall – maybe it’s because of the reds and oranges contrasting the blue? I don’t know, but the other day I looked up and felt a thrill knowing how close we are to nesting season.

So, naturally I begin to think about how the summer went. Did I get a lot accomplished? Did I take advantage of the weather? Did I cook summer-ish meals, taking advantage of farmer’s markets? Did I just sit and enjoy life as it went by or did I rush through it? Did I avoid doing things out of fear, like avoiding the beach because of wearing a dreaded swimsuit? Did I watch enough sunsets? Did I take Rusty on enough walks? Did I say ‘yes’ to more adventures with Paul?

Although I’m not completely happy with how I spent my time this summer (I can always use more outdoor time and can always use more ‘not caring what people think’ attitude to enjoy the beach and can always be more spontaneous when Paul asks if I want to go on long bike rides), I’m super happy that my friend Stacie got me out of the house at least once a week to take long, leisurely walks.

Sometimes I get too comfortable in this house. Working from home and painting all day in my PJs puts me in a bit of a rut; although I love my peace and quiet, I do realize I need to get out of my comfort zone every now and then so I don’t permanently stick to the walls of my house. So, almost every week this summer Stacie and I met at different places to enjoy an hour walk. It wasn’t much, but it’s something I’m going to miss as she goes back to school, working in one of the libraries I left at my last job.

Sometimes we went to a busy shopping area to walk, sometimes we walked through woods where we couldn’t hear the nearby traffic, sometimes we walked around a sailboat-filled lake enjoying the bustling city, and sometimes we walked through romantic gardens. (I like to tell her she takes me on more romantic dates than Paul does. :))

On our walks we chatted about the cares of life, dreams getting accomplished, family outings, daily life adventures (like when Stacie wasn’t being careful and took a scissors to her poor fingers), and more. It was only an hour or so a week, but it was a moment in the week I most looked forward to. It was calming, refreshing, it got me to talk to real people (Rusty isn’t a person, no matter how I argue it in my head), and it pushed me to go to places I’ve never been before. It was always an adventure, even if the walks took us just down the road from our houses.

Now that school is starting and Stacie is becoming more limited with her time, I’m hoping I can still do the walks on my own without her. She was my motivation – now I only have to answer to myself and to be honest, I’m a bad influence on myself. :) Perhaps it will have to be something that is on my actual schedule, blocked out once a week on one of my days at new locations and Rusty can be my new walking buddy. (He’d like that, I’m sure.)

As autumn creeps nearer, I hope you’re enjoying the preparation of it all, enjoying the last pieces of summer (hello State Fair!!), and I hope there are tiny bits of your week that bring you joy like my walks brought me. Cheers, friends!! :)

Hello friends!

Happy Tuesday, top o’ the evening to you, and all that good jazz. (Music? Yes, let’s. )

Since this lovely little blog has been neglected the past year, I realized I never got to tell you the story about how I met my kindred spirits, or my people.

About four years ago, after being on Instagram for a year, I “met” a group of wonderful girls. I don’t even really remember how we magically met, except for one of them randomly commented on a photo I had posted of my teacup and a Beatrix Potter biography book.  I’m assuming I went to her page, saw that we had a lot in common, and then the rest of our group just snowballed, randomly bumping into each other and forming our little group we like to call The Kindred Spirits Club. (You’re never too old to start a club.)

From this group I’ve received lovely hand-written letters in the mail, birthday cards, Christmas cards, Thinking of You cards, random online messages of inspiration and motivation, virtual shoulders to lean on and bounce ideas off of, and a window into a world with people who were just like me.

To be honest, making friends has been hard for me ever since I left elementary school, when I grew up with the same 20 kids from pre-school through 8th grade. We were a little family and we knew each other’s quirks, talents, and how to push each other’s buttons. I loved them.

And then as I got older I began to realize how little in common I had with people my own age. I felt weird, like I was an outcast. I was teased for liking black and white movies, for listening to old music, for thinking about marriage and a family when I seemed too young, and for spending a Friday evening at home instead of at parties (I did finally come out of my hobbit house and “live a little” the summer I met Paul – my friends at the time could turn any boring night into a thrilling, spontaneous adventure and I loved them for it).

So when serendipity stepped in and I found myself in a little group of women who enjoyed sipping tea and reading Jane Austen, or watching Anne of Green Gables and writing down their feelings, I felt as if my eyes had literally been opened.

(To be fair, I do have a couple of people in my immediate life who enjoy a good Jane Austen novel or will indulge me with a cup of tea. You know who you are and thank you. :))

Fast forward a few years to this past April: I was Paul’s stowaway on his work trip to Seattle and had just posted on Instagram how I was enjoying the Seattle views. I completely forgot that two of my kindred spirits lived in/near the area and received an excited message from Melanie asking if I was available to meet her and possibly Sarah the following day. (To be honest, I was nervous. When you’re about to meet people you’ve held in high regard in a bit of a fantasy life, you get a little worried the beauty of it all will shatter from reality.)

Long story short, we were all able to meet the following day (the day after my birthday!) for a possible picnic and tea party. I was a big ball of nerves and excitement while I waited for Melanie to pick me up. Would this be awkward? Would her voice match her letters/messages? Would we have anything in common? Maybe she lied and hates tea and Jane and Anne and Beatrix! Maybe she’s going to kidnap me!

Oh goodness, it was the easiest thing in the world. Melanie picked me up at the hotel we were staying at and conversation was as easy as if we’d been friends forever. Her voice matched, there was no rope in her trunk (just adorable quilts and a large picnic basket), and we had so much to talk about! As we pulled up to Sarah’s house, the same questions went through my mind, but just like Melanie, Sarah was a friend from the start and we had THE MOST MAGICAL DAY. Seriously, it almost tops Walt Disney World.

Even though the weather was windy, chilly, misty – all Pacific Northwest-ish – Melanie convinced us to hike 20 minutes through the woods to a cliff on the ocean for a breezy ocean-view picnic. I had my boots on, I was ready to go. Thermos full of tea packed in the picnic basket? Check! Beatrix Potter teacups? Check! Individually packaged sandwiches for all of us? Check! A bouquet of flowers for extra magic? Check! A camera to document it all? Check!

This is Sarah’s beautiful art studio. She’s such a talented watercolor artist and I LOVED getting a peek into her old and new art, her latest projects, and just to see where she does her paintings.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Oh yes. Melanie lives in the country and has chickens. She’s adorable and brought Sarah eggs. Of course.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Melanie took a bunch of photos of our hike up (you can visit her blog post to see it – you might have to scroll a bit to see our picnic, but if you have time you can see all the picnics she plans and photographs, they’re adorable), but I started taking photos once we reached the top. It was worth the climb.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Sarah and Melanie setting up camp. I swear I helped.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

‘Twas windy.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Wind or rain, we are picnicking!!

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

She wrapped our sandwich boxes with ribbon, cloth, and Anne of Green Gables paper. People like this DO exist!!

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

This was the view from our quilt. I just have no words.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comKindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comKindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

A side view from our quilt. Also, there were some people out and about and they were all wearing hiking gear and winter jackets and we were just having a lovely little time with hardly enough jackets/mittens/hats raising our teacups to them as they walked by, pushing against the wind and rain. Don’t mind us! We’re in Heaven!

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

I don’t think I could smile any bigger, do you?

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

We survived for about 40 minutes out there. It was as windy and as cold as it looks, but we were so happy. Melanie turned her phone music on and played instrumental music from Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables. All we needed was Mr. Darcy to come walking through the fields. Swooooon.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

That’s a bunch of wild rosemary on my picnic basket that Melanie picked, because why not?!

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

And then, because it was “my birthday” and because they’re like little angels, Melanie and Sarah took me to the most beautiful tearoom to celebrate turning 29. Sarah was so generous and footed the entire tea party bill. I’m pretty sure I cried tiny tears once or twice.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

I was on Cloud 9. Also, these 2 photos are Melanie’s photos. All day she felt like she was documenting too much – so grateful she did.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Nummmmyyyy.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

My new gal pals.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

(Melanie’s photo again.) Because they sneakily told the waiter it was my birthday, I got to wear the lovely crown and even got a candle in my dessert. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Notice I even have Mickey around my neck. Lucky lucky me.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comKindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

(Melanie’s next 2 photos.) We could have stayed there for hours and hours. Having too much fun, but reality was soon catching up with us and we each had to go back to our own worlds.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Before we split we ventured to the tearoom’s gift shop down the road. Saw this adorable teacup tribute in the sidewalk, snapped a photo, then I bought a Jane Austen mug as my souvenir and proof that this whole day actually happened.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

It was so sad to leave them. I felt like I was living a dream. However, there was a beautiful boy waiting for me at the hotel when Sarah dropped me back off and as usual, he always makes everything better. Even when I felt like I had just woken up from the best dream ever.

Since Paul is the reason all this magic happened (his work trip, I’m just a stowaway remember) here’s some of my favorite photos from the rest of our days where we explored Seattle, ate good food, watched fish being thrown, and walked through the rain and jumped in puddles. (Paul was not as good of a puddle jumper as I was. I am younger after all.)

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Seattle and this little nook of it. I fell in love very quickly.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Ya know, just making friends.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

The Seattle Spheres of Amazon!! They’re super cool – I felt like we were in the future while also visiting Jurassic Park.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comKindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Turning 29 was not too shabby.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

The market was SO MUCH FUN!!!

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.comKindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

We watched the fish being thrown. My life is complete.

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Huzzzah!!

Kindred Spirits Club | Nikki Jean Tran Blog | www.nikkitranphotography.com

Well, I suppose that’s it, friends! I hope you enjoyed seeing my new friends and one of my favorite trips with Paul. And I hope, if you’re like me, it encouraged you to not give up on finding your people. They’re out there! Perhaps typing behind a screen or perhaps right in front of your face but you’ve never talked to them before! Or if you’re lucky you’ve found your people. Keep them close and love them lots. Kindred spirits are rare and oh so wonderful. Cheers, friends!! xoxo

  • MomAugust 22, 2018 - 8:17 am

    You have wonderful friends and a great zest for life. :)ReplyCancel

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