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Hi.

Welcome, friends! This here slice of the Internet revolves around lattes, bookshelves, Pinterest, Emily Henderson, white wine spritzers, China, brass anything, passports and my sweet family. Grammar and important worldly events? Not so much. Consider yourself warned.

Spring Sprucing

Spring Sprucing

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IMG_0382

I love this time of year in Beijing. The bone dry desert landscape becomes a little more green, the Chinese people put away their heavy winter jackets in exchange for lighter weight winter jackets (someday I will tell you why this is funny), and you can finally take the saran wrap off your windows.

What? You don’t have saran wrap on your windows? Well…that is probably because you live somewhere semi-normal, where they actually insulate windows. If you live in my house, you religiously put saran wrap up every winter so that you can minimize the full on Siberian winter winds that roll right on up through the kitchen. I wish I was kidding.

No I am not trying to be artistic...there is really just that little light in my kitchen

No I am not trying to be artistic...there is really just that little light in my kitchen

I’ll tell you what is hard to do…decorating around saran wrapped windows. Yeah. It is not for the fainthearted.

Alas, saran wrap be gone. It is spring in the Jing!

Ahhhh....so beautiful now. Beautifuller? Less Ugly? Lets go with that, less ugly.

Ahhhh....so beautiful now. Beautifuller? Less Ugly? Lets go with that, less ugly.

Like any other cold weather city, this also means that people come out from hibernation. Back yard grills are fired up, trampolines are dusted off and I typically spend half my paycheck on buying plants and flowers (mostly because I “forget” to water them and up replacing them with new ones every 2-3 weeks or so). It is a blissful, albeit, expensive time of year.

All this springy goodness, motivated Brado and I to use the last waning moments of our spring break to attack our outside spaces which were in desperate need of some attention.

The thick layer or dust look can be achieved by living in a very dirty city and basically ignoring your deck completely for 5 months

The thick layer or dust look can be achieved by living in a very dirty city and basically ignoring your deck completely for 5 months

This used to be a plant. I think I am about 4 months too late but RIP little fella

This used to be a plant. I think I am about 4 months too late but RIP little fella

Just embarassing

Just embarassing

To be fair, Brado did most of the “attacking”. I was more like his trusty, chubby sidekick. He swept and mopped and hosed everything down. I basically did whatever job allowed me the chance to sit down. Stuff pillows…I got that! Brainstorm what plants we wanted to buy…yup, I’m all over that! Drink iced tea….ummmm, okay!

Day One Progress...so much better!

Day One Progress...so much better!

I forgot to take a proper before picture of the porch but lets just say there was a very dead Christmas tree on the front porch up until about 4 days ago. Whoops.

I forgot to take a proper before picture of the porch but lets just say there was a very dead Christmas tree on the front porch up until about 4 days ago. Whoops.

So basically I was no real help at all on day one. And let that be a lesson to all you young lassies out there who have their hopes pinned on marrying some pretty city boy with manicured nails. City boys are overrated. You need a man with Midwestern, working class roots. These men believe in manual labor. They believe their pregnant wife should sit back and take it easy while they lift and cart and haul. They (and by they, I mean Brado) are awesome! My advice: get you one!

When we got to day two, the making it pretty stage, I was all hands on deck. Well, I least had one hand in there. Or maybe we can just say that my hands got dirty…a little dirty. Okay not that dirty. Damn.

I did plant these three flowers

I did plant these three flowers

Let’s just say, I am NOT a tough pregnant woman and I am not afraid to admit it. I am freaking exhausted and I do not feel like I have anything to prove. I really believe that my only job right now should be to sit on the couch with my feet elevated and watch episode after episode of Nashville.

The good news is that I live in China where things like gardening and home repair aren’t so much about DIY. It is about PSETDIFY or ‘paying someone else to do it for you’. It is amazing that way. So really my whole job consisted of driving to the flower street, picking out some flowers, telling them in very broken Chinese where I live, and forking over some cash (and not even that much). They do ALL the delivery and planting and digging and carrying etc. I know, I agree…DIY is for suckas!

It is a good thing that this was my only real job because it was hard enough, I tell you. Maybe I am alone in this but I am thoroughly lost when it comes to garden stuff. When it comes to picking out flowers or planning a garden bed, I have no idea where to even begin.

How does one choose?

How does one choose?

I’m clueless as to what would look good in what pot or even what I like. I’m like a guy in a lingerie shop. It all looks beautiful and exciting but strangely foreign and ultimately very overwhelming.

They are all so pretty

They are all so pretty

As I had just been standing in one spot just staring for at least 20 minutes, I decided I needed a plan. And here it was:

Genius Plan: this pot of flowers

Genius Plan: this pot of flowers

I just pointed to this pot and said something in Chinese that probably sounded like this:

“I two pots big want same. How much?”

Of course what I wanted to say is, “I have two big pots at home that I want filled with a similar assortment of flowers. How much would that be?”

Amazingly, she understood. I picked out a few other random things and off I went. She came by 2 hours later and went to work.

May I remind you that I just sat on the couch during this time eating ice cream. It was awesome. Here is the progress after day two:

Ahhhhh... a little better

Ahhhhh... a little better

Christmas tree be gone!

Christmas tree be gone!

A glimpse at the back porch

A glimpse at the back porch

While she was there I asked her if she would just pick out some flowers and come by the next day to fill the big planter, you can see it in the picture below:

Big Planters need love too

Big Planters need love too

She asked, “What kind of flowers?”. I responded in my best Chinese, “Pretty”. Gosh. I am so specific and fluent.

This is her handiwork:

Do you know how long it would take me to do this myself?

Do you know how long it would take me to do this myself?

Admittedly, this is not really my style. It is a little out of control but WHO CARES! I didn’t lift a darn finger and it sure beats staring a pile of dirt.

So while there are still a lot of things we want to do to these spaces, they are looking WAY more alive, clean and springy now.


Such an improvement... who wants to have a barbeque?

Such an improvement... who wants to have a barbeque?

So. Much. Better.

So. Much. Better.

I only wish I could take more credit for its improvement. Just kidding! I am totally okay with having almost nothing to do with it. I might even be giddy. Not doing things can sometimes be the most amazing things to do.

You think about that.

Mus...ACCKKKK, HELP!

Mus...ACCKKKK, HELP!

Pure Unadultureated Awesomeness

Pure Unadultureated Awesomeness