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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 the romantic things in life. Tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, old and worn books, slow-dancing to records, painting by candelight, lakeside walks with Rusty, and starry-night picnics with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just the two of us - I hope it brings you smiles and happiness as you snuggle in with your cup of tea and begin reading. Enjoy, friends! (Latest posts on the right!) --->

Hello dear friends!

Holey moley, it’s been forever and a day, hasn’t it? The last time I wrote to you, you were reliving Steve and Tracy’s beautiful wedding day way back in September. Since then there has been many wonderful things happening in our home, besides the fabulous weather we’ve been having lately. (November 6th and in the 60’s? Yes, please.) But before I get to all the goodness, how have you all been? Have you been having an abundance of bonfires, pumpkin pie slices, and breezy walks among the falling leaves? Are you in nesting mode? Airing out the house and hanging fall bunting everywhere? Visiting pumpkin patches and apple orchards? Don’t you just love this time of year?

So let’s see, where did we leave off before? I was telling you about the chaos of having a job (I was a bit spoiled working from home for those few years which is why I was telling you having a job was chaos), we were just about to see some friends that we hadn’t seen in 5 or so years, and we were beginning a new addition to our garden.

Well, work has been a delight, I really can’t complain. I’m still stamping due date slips, decorating my library, ordering books, laminating book covers, and now we’re revamping the library to appeal not only to our high readers, but also our lower reluctant readers and so far, it’s been a success. I’m getting to know the school better, I’m making friends, and I’m adding a new adventure to my life…

I’m going back to school!!

I’ve applied for my Masters in Library Information and I’m hoping to start this spring!! I still can’t believe it – am I crazy for adding more stress? Oh well, you never grow if you don’t get out of your comfort zone, right? :) Perhaps someday I’ll work in a library similar to the one in Matilda. :)

So yes friends, I’m going to be a student again! Scary thought…:)

And in the midst of my favorite month, Paul and I left on a plane over the Southern US and over the Caribbean to the enchanting island of Jamaica to celebrate our five absolute blissful years of marriage. We went to the same resort from our honeymoon, and we even had the room right next to our honeymoon room! We had the most beautiful view, ate absolutely delicious food, clinked our wine glasses to the next 80 years of adventure, waded in the sparkling ever-so-blue ocean, danced under the harvest moon, met new friends, swam under the stars, and literally lived a dream for 6 days. And since a photo is worth a thousand words, here are some of my favorites. He really is the bee’s knees – we sure are lucky.

The view from the poolside. It rained almost everyday (Hurricane Matthew was about a week before we came, thank goodness) but only for 10 minutes or so. It’s amazing how fast these clouds move.

Our 5-year anniversary dinner at our favorite restaurant. :)

Our room with a view, the same view from 5 years ago. Nothing has changed. :) Do you see the ship in the background??

Isn’t it divine?

Sunset in Jamaica.

I tried to keep my camera in the safe as much as I could. I wanted to just be. But occasionally I felt we deserved some photos. :)

Paul enjoying the rain.

Our last night in a dream. Two extremely happy people right there.

If you’re ever on the lookout for an absolutely lovely time in Jamaica, we highly recommend Couples Tower Isle (no, I’m not being paid for this :)) – we’ll be back in 5 years and we already can’t wait.

We got to entertain my family this year for our annual fall party and as always, it was perfect. I can’t say enough good things about my family – they’re a supportive, hilarious, loving group and I’d be lost without them. We drank apple cider cocktails, ate pumpkin and apple pie, listened to records, reveled in the crisp autumn air, and talked and laughed and talked and laughed some more.

My aunt (Joan), sister-in-law (Kristy) and dear momma.

My dear sister (Toni) and daddy; and good ole’ Uncle Bill. :)

My little loves had their own fall party in the basement watching The Lion King and eating fall cupcakes and meatballs. :) (Thanks to my Auntie Barb for some of these photos!!)

And sometimes we’re lucky enough to have amazing family members by choice. ;) Tony and Diane. :)

Dear Grandpa and brother-in-law (Andy).

Darling Auntie Barb.

Dearest big brother (Richie) and godfather (Uncle Mark). :)

My dear auntie (Toni) and Joan. :)

Wonderful uncle (Steve). :)

Adorable Nana. :)

In between all these big things these past couple of months, we’ve been enjoying autumn in much smaller ways. Little pumpkins are scattered around the house, autumn-scented candles make the house smell like the inside of a pumpkin pie, the fireplace is running (it’s not real but I’m good at pretending), books are stacked in every corner and nook for cozy reading by lamplight, good old-fashioned cartoons have been keeping me company while I paint (Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Halloween Tree, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Garfield’s Halloween, etc.), and we’ve even been able to harvest some last minute things from the yard. I’ve got lavender hanging downstairs waiting to be made into tea, ripe red apples in the kitchen waiting to be made into Apple Crisp, and the last of the “popcorn” roses in little vases around the house. This season is too good and gentle to leave us so soon, but our reward is December’s magic and I shan’t complain. Soon the lights will be glittering in the house, the tree will be standing proud and tall, and the sounds of caroling will drift inside from the sharp cold. Bliss. :)

And since this is roughly the length of a small book, I’ll leave on one more happy note – my Etsy shop has finally opened (if you click “Shop” at the top menu it will take you there too) and I feel like I did all those years ago when I posted my very first photo to Facebook. I’m out in the open again, vulnerable but excited for what’s to come. :) I have a few watercolor prints in the shop but I’ll be adding more of course. I’ve got loads of ideas that just haven’t hit paper yet – more fun is on the way. I draw inspiration from our home so I’m hoping it makes you happy as it makes me happy too. :) Feel free to take a look and tell me what you think! (Be gentle dear friends, I’m just a beginner. :))

And with that, I shall bid you all a goodnight – until next time, friends (which will hopefully be sooner than later this time. ;)). Have a wonderful week! Xoxox

  • NanaNovember 9, 2016 - 6:24 pm

    You my dear are just so talented like your mom and big sister..Love you more ???ReplyCancel

    • NikkiNovember 14, 2016 - 5:18 pm

      You’re too nice, Nana. :) Thank you!ReplyCancel

Hello dear friends! It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in our little house – Paul’s watching football (blessed, consistent, football Sundays), Rusty is sleeping after having his friend over for the weekend, and the house is hushed after a busy, very fun weekend with family and friends. I’m in my little nook in the basement, editing photos, uploading photos, and browsing Pinterest while The Little Prince plays in the background (have you seen that movie? If not, please do. You – and your inner child – will thank me later :)).

So, as you might already know, the countdown to wedding photography retirement is getting shorter every day. We just photographed our 4th to last wedding last weekend and it’s slowly becoming a reality for me that this is it. We’re almost finished. Soon the only weddings I’ll be attending will be as a guest – no more stealing brides and grooms away for sunset photos during dinner, no more teaching how to cut a cake, or finding the most perfect pocket of light for dreamy photos, or trying new things with ring photos and details. It’s getting bittersweet, friends, especially after being around Steve and Tracy last weekend. We’ve had a wonderful group of brides and grooms in the last 5 years, which always makes the decision to quit difficult. But it really hit home when we were mentioned in a speech from the bride and groom themselves – something we obviously never expect! When Steve started thanking his family members and close friends with tears in his eyes, I was completely overwhelmed when he turned to Paul and I to thank us for being there and documenting their day. Oh my goodness. Thank goodness it was dark because the tears started coming and I felt a rush of gratitude that my job has allowed us to be able to know these two and be there for them on their wedding day.

Steve and Tracy are two of the sweetest people we’ve ever known – genuinely nice, genuinely thankful for everyone in their lives, and there is barely a minute when there’s not a smile on one of their faces. We are so grateful to have gotten to know them and at the end of our time at their wedding, I just didn’t want to leave! I hate good-byes, especially after working with such wonderful brides and grooms, so I’m glad that I even get to relive their day with our photos. :) Steve and Tracy, congratulations from the bottom of my heart! You two are absolutely wonderful and we are so happy for you and Brayden. I hope you enjoy reliving your day (with a bottle of champagne perhaps? :)) – love you both!! xoxo

PS. Besides the wonderful help I always get from Paul, I also had extra help from lovely Shelby, a budding photographer who wanted to see what it’s like to shoot a wedding. So, I will do my best to let you know when it’s her photo you’re seeing and not mine, because really, her photos were beautiful. Thanks Shelby!! :)

Not even two minutes into getting ready and the tears started flowing…

Love this one from Shelby.

Gorgeous, Tracy!!

As usual, well done Paul. :)

Love these of you, Steve!!

Oh gosh, the first look was so sweet. Everything made me cry this day!

:) :) :) :)

:) :) :)

Haha love this!! Her smile is so contagious!


:) :)

I just love all of these.

:) :) :)

Love this.

So handsome, friend.

Their little family of 3. :)

They had such gorgeous weather. We were expecting rain and like usual, Paul and I bring good weather. Sunshine, light breeze – the perfect fall day.

:) :) :)

Ahh! Goosebumps!!

Loved his reaction.

:) :)


As usual, she’s all smiles. :) :)

With a slight breeze, there’s a chance the candles won’t light. :)

Yes!! Love this shot from Paul!
Just married!! :)And then we hopped on a couple of pontoons and set sail on a Minnesota fall day. Boys in one, girls in the other.

So we pulled up next to the boys.

Hi Paul. :)

Love those dresses – so shiny.


Their entire wedding day was held at a family friend’s house – it was perfect. Each table had their own cake, burlap draped the tables, baby’s breath was scattered about, and everyone dined under twinkle lights and white tents.

Two of my lovely past brides (as is the maid of honor! I’ll point her out to you :)).

Little Brayden. :)

Mr. & Mrs.!!

:) :) :)

:) :) Love this from Paul.

And of course, we whisked away to find the dropping sun.


Oh goodness. So dreamy.

Another favorite!

I have too many favorites I think.

:) :) :)

:) :) :)

Just a guy and his kid fishing at sunset. :)

Such sweet, heart-felt speeches that night. Every speech brought tears and laughter.

Love these two.

I couldn’t choose a few dancing photos – they just were all too perfect.

:) :) :)

Brayden made an appearance!

Love this!

There’s my lovely past bride!! :) Loved seeing her and Bubba!

There’s Bubba. :) And Paul. And Arica. :)

And as we walked away down the driveway after saying our goodbyes, of course there would be a bonfire at a Minnesota wedding. Bliss. :)

I wish I had something more specific to talk to you about today, but really, I think this blog is becoming more and more of just an online journal with photos – a little of this, a little of that, and hopefully somewhat entertaining for you. :)

What can I tell you? Life has been somewhat hectic for me these past couple of weeks (actually months but it feels like a fresh start of chaos with this new job). I’m finding that I barely have time for anything – I come home somewhat early but there always seems to be something going on, something to catch up on, or I’m just plain exhausted. However, I did survive my very first week of school and I have to say, I do love it quite a bit. Friends, my job involves reading books, buying new books, repairing old and worn books, laminating book covers, stamping due dates, decorating a library, and talking to kids. It sounds glorious and it is glorious. 

I do miss this little guy though. He’s my world and I know we’re his and there’s only so many days in his short life that sometimes I feel guilty for leaving him all day. But, as soon as we walk in the door, all is forgotten and I know he forgives me as he sneezes in my face and his butt almost falls off from excessive wagging. Summer vacations will be our days together again; we’ll sleep in, bask in the sun, chase butterflies, water the garden, take walks, and snuggle by the bonfire. (I painted me and Rust below, if I were still a little girl and had red hair. :)) 

We have all the windows open today – finally. The weather has been so wet, humid, and mosquitoe-y lately and I just absolutely hate it. I love the rain, but the humidity and bugs can go. Bring on the fall weather, the boots, sweaters, apple cider, baking pumpkins, candles, blankets, and crispy fall paths. I’m debating on decorating for fall today or tomorrow…we have old friends coming over tonight for dinner and maternity photos! I cannot wait to see them! We haven’t seen them in almost 6 years…is that right?! Oh gosh. So, we’re preparing for a wonderful night catching up over good food, good music, and fall-like weather.

And since winter is slowly creeping towards us, Paul and I have been preparing our yard for next spring already. We’ve finally decided to expand our vegetable garden and create a really beautiful, more convenient, picket fence garden!! Complete with a little gate!! Friends, I cannot WAIT. I’ve been wanting some sort of picket fence in my life for so long and I’m so excited we’re actually doing this. We bought our little tiller and Paul was out there for a few hours tilling away under the apple tree and near the lilacs while the sun slowly went down. I kept him company, of course, rooting for him from the sidelines and doing a little backseat tilling (I can’t help it sometimes – it’s like word vomit). It needs a couple more rounds on it (we think – we’re new at all this so we’re going with the flow) and then we’re planning on planting garlic before winter comes. Then by spring, we should (crossing my fingers!!) be ready to put up the picket fence. It’s going to be a long, tiring ordeal however, because not only are we doing that, we’ll also be tearing down our deck and creating a concrete patio lined with yet another picket fence. So, next spring shall bring lots of changes, lots of improvements, and lots of happy dances from yours truly. :) We have a long list of things we want to try in the garden and I’ve been reading up on homesteading a lot (this book is my favorite – it’s in depth, has drawings, and a huge variety of gardening ideas) and someday, we hope to buy a lot of land to really do the farming thing right. :) We’ve even talked of getting chickens (not to eat of course – I plan on naming my chickens! Henrietta, Betsy, Mabel…), and maybe even some fluffy, white, baaaaaa-ing lambs. To dream…

Well, I think I’ve talked enough to you – I’m sure you’ve got things to do on this blessed Saturday and so do I! We went to my nephew’s soccer game earlier this morning – his very first one! – and Paul’s out mowing the lawn, and now the meatballs need to be made for tonight’s dinner. So good friends, I bid you adieu and I shall talk to you soon. :) Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!! xoxo

  • Melanie BeilnerSeptember 10, 2016 - 10:28 pm

    so excited for your picket fence projects…hope you get some time in your new busy schedule to do what you love and catch up on all those activities us kindred spirits love so much :)ReplyCancel

    • NikkiSeptember 11, 2016 - 5:12 pm

      Oh Melanie, you are too kind! Thanks so much for the well wishes! :) Can’t wait to show you all in the spring. :) xoxoReplyCancel