Although summer is technically over, I still hold my feeling for the pink sweet feeling of the lovely sunshine , bubbly rose and the yummy ice-cream. I made this pink sweets print to remember the summer and also to cheer my self up whenever I feel bit down. You just need to dress cute sometimes and cute style can be cool as well.
I chose cotton batiste for this DIY design. This fabric is very lightweight and comfortable, it is semi-sheer and has beautiful illuminous look. They are popularly used for making linings or loungeries. However, with some fun and unique prints, they can be great for day wearing. I made a matching crop top and pants with this fabric and I love wearing them.
I believe the best way to style this DIY matching sets is to have fun with it. The funky sweets print of the fabric already stands out itself. I just need to mix and match the top and pants with some different clothes and accessories to create more statement looks 😛
The fun & bitchy 60’s Mod look
Pair the DIY top with mini skirt, mini shoulder bag, ankle boots and retro cat eyes.
The Happy Go Lucky Vacation Look
Pair the DIY pants with crop top, hand bag, mule sandals and chained sunglasses
The Back to School & Work but still cool Look
Pair the DIY top with boyfriend blazer, cross body bag , sneakers and metallic shades
*All outdoor photos taken with no one else around. Keep safe social distancing.
The Garden Explorer
I remember when I was a kid, every day I woke up with excitement and anticipation. The outside world always seemed colorful and magical. A park, a playground, a plot, a back yard, even a sidewalk can make me stop and wonder for a while, and of course, there is the wonderful light from the sun, mystical clouds, aromatic herbs, the pleasant sound of birds……I was always interested in and inspired by the simple things around me. I could make many places my secret garden, a hidden alter for me to paint and write all the untold stories.
Find Inner Peace & Joy
As I’ve got older, for a long time, I felt I lost the ability to sense and explore the charms around me, because life got too busy and complicated. I either did not have time or I did not have the energy to cherish the lovely little things around me, instead, I was stressed with other things, the same stuff all adults stressed with, I felt just stuck in repeated circles…….Till one day I realized it is actually pretty simple to get myself grounded again.
I have noticed that when I choose to listen to my heart and allow myself to enjoy the things around me, allow myself to be simple again, I automatically let go of unnecessary anxieties that distract me. The same simple things inspire me and present new ideas if I allow myself to be open. The desire to explore and create, which not only brings me joy but also brings me inner peace. The secret garden is always there.
The Secret Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded in 1910, a beautiful estate located in between prospect park and Brooklyn Museum. The combination of exotic plants and the unique ‘Garden within the Gardens” design highlights the whimsical charm of this place. I visit this Botanical Garden every year, every season. Every visit brings me something new and refreshing, the smell of flowers & trees, the sound of birds and bees, the cross-cultural architectures …… maybe they are exactly the same plants, the same buildings, but there is always something different when you let yourself to explore.
The truth is, no matter where you are, no matter how many times you pass through the same things and situations, you are not trapped. It is up to you to discover the beauty around you and you can build your own secret garden.
Summer is short this year in New York, it is probably short in other places in the world as well. The virus “Covid” is like a hidden lock, closing the usual activities and entertainment. Without beaches, vacations, and parties, summer seems never really begins, the fall is already here. But it’s ok, I am not all that disappointed, I started my journey of wonder, I simply find there is no time for feeling down.
One thing I do a lot during the pandemic is free my imagination to wonder. It might sound a bit easy and lazy, but when you put your ideas into action, you will push yourself to learn and create. The process of wondering and creating generates magical and positive energy.
(*Note: All outdoor photos taken with no one else around . Safe social distancing, safe photoshoot.)
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war with reality.”
Alice started her adventure with curiosity, wondered through the rabbit hole, she explored the most bizarre and exciting world. I often wake up with odd and funny dreams, which add lots of colors in my night world. While the day-time is filled with routine, I would think about how to turn magic into reality, it turns out there are many ways. One way is to be open to your wondering imagination, get inspiration, then take action. Before the pandemic, I knew nothing about pattern making (Patternmaking for Fashion Design)or sewing, now I can not stop creating my own clothing designs and transferring them into digital art. It is a learning process, I explore, I make mistakes and I enjoy it very much.
The baby doll dress for the curious kids
This cotton baby doll dress is a wonderful piece for me. I found the cotton fabric online and they are actually meant for kids’ wear. However, I immediately had the look of the baby doll dress in my mind when I sew the fabrics, it is a perfect type of dress for the forever kid in my heart.
This stop of the wonder journey is The Max Family Garden, located in Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY. This open-air garden shares a wall with St. Ann’s Warehouse, a performing-arts venue. The original brick walls and the scenic archways represent an industrial and rustic aesthetic, they also provide access for community members and visitors to come together for exploration and inspiration. I have visited Dumbo many times before, this garden corner always fascinated me. The Max Family garden, any garden in-fact is a wonderland if you want it to be.
I decided to make this Chai Tea White Russian mocktail after craving for my old-time favorite cocktail: White Russian. Back to a couple years ago, I would just go get the liquors and make a cocktail in no time. However, the more I drink tea the more I feel it is more fun to try to create tea-infused mocktails. The process is whimsical and profound.
This mocktail is combined with chai tea and homemade coffee liqueur. It is very easy to make, and you can even make it a decaf version with decaf chai and decaf instant coffee. The taste is still as wonderful!
Chai Tea is a black tea mixed with aromatic Indian spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and black pepper. Chai tea has a distinctive fragrant. It is known for helping digestion, lowering blood sugar and boosting immunity. It can also be a coffee substitute due to the caffeine content of chai tea.
Chai tea tastes great by itself, is a balance of spicy and sweetness, it also goes well with milk, cream or non-dairy nut milk. You can enjoy it hot or cold.
Non-alcoholic Coffee Liqueur
This homemade coffee liqueur is easy and delicious. Even without alcohol, the combination of coffee and cocoa definitely gives you a nice buzz. With the sweetness of brown sugar and the aroma from vanilla extract, this coffee liqueur stands up well next to anything shop-bought.
Chai Tea White Russian
With some fresh cream on the top and pinches of cinnamon powder, this Chai Tea white Russian mocktail is finished. The taste of it is smooth and aromatic. The sweetness and spice from chai perfectly balanced with the chocolate coffee liqueur, the final touch of cream just makes everything smooth and gentle.
“Violet Fizz” is a non-alcoholic drink that is extremely delicious and dreamy. The magic blue-purplish color with the creamy white foam is just beautiful and tempting. It takes a bit of time to make this mocktail, but the process of making it is full of fun and surprise. It certainly encourages me to be creative, and I found that if I try to be creative, magic is everywhere.
This beautiful herbal tea-infused mocktail gets a magical appearance and a tasteful flavor. The components of this drink are made from three main parts: blue butterfly flower tea; egg white and cream; sugar and citrus.
The Violet Color
The dreamy violet color of this drink comes from butterfly pea flower tea. It is known for its ability to change colors depending on the PH level. Since there is a combination of lime juice and lemon juice in this drink, the acidity changes the tea’s color from blue to purple. In this drink, I made some blue ice cubes from the butterfly pea flower tea first and crushed the ice, so when I pour the lime and lemon juice infused mixture into the crushed ice, it turns a magical violet color.
The white foam
The lovely white foam comes from cream and eggwhite. For a rich foam, You can do a dry shake first and then do a shake with ice. I chose to shake with ice directly because the last touch of club soda really did the trick for foaming up the top. However, It is important to give the egg white and other ingredients a thorough shake. ( shake about 2 mins) I used a copper cocktail shaker.
The taste of this drink is rich, refreshing and full of layers. It is Sweet and citrus, fruity and creamy. With the fragrant of butterfly pea flower tea and the aroma of orange blossom, this mocktail drink is simply indulging!
Blue butterfly flower tea ( butterfly pea flower tea) 10 g
Lime juice 1/2 oz
Lemon juice 1/2 oz
Simple syrup 1 1/4 oz
Heavy cream 1 oz
Egg white 1
Orange blossom water 1/6 oz
Orange Peel 1-2
Boil some water.
Put the dried butterfly pea flower in a glass or cup, add boiled water. Steep for 5 mins and let it cool down.
Pour the blue tea into an ice cube tray, freeze the tray about 4 hours.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour in lime juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, heavy cream, egg white, and orange blossom water.
Shake, shake, shake ( about 2 mins).
Pour the mixture into a tumbler glass.
When the blue ice cubes are ready, take them out from the tray and put them into a high-speed blender.
Crush the ice with high-speed mode.
Add the crushed ice into the tumbler glass.
Top with club soda.
Add orange zest on the top.
Enjoy it with a straw.
“Mermaid Cat” Digital Art by Terrisa Chen
Check Out Tea Drink Recipe with blue Butterfly flower Tea & Oolong Tea:
This blue milk tea recipe is inspired by a spring-feeling Sunday afternoon. After months of cold wind and grey sky the bright and warming sunlight just reminds me spring is right around the corner and there will be color outside again, and of course happiness.
This cute and jolly tea drink is very easy to make. The combination of the blue milk tea and the candy-coated whipped cream is simply delightful. The milk tea itself is light and refreshing, the topping is creamy and sweet. You can enjoy the drink by using a straw or a spoon.
The Milk Tea
The milk tea is made of blue butterfly flower tea, Oolong tea, milk. The flower tea has a neutral earthy taste, the Oolong tea has a floral and sweet taste. These two together with milk create a smooth, soothing and mild taste.
The topping is made of heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and candy sprinkles. This 5 minutes whipped cream by Bake Often is easy and fast, it is perfect for adding the creamy topping for the milk tea.
Blue Butterfly Flower Milk Tea With Candy & Cream On Top
Dried blue butterfly flowers ( 5 g)
Oolong tea (5 g)
Milk (2/3 cup)
Cold heavy cream (1 cup)
Powdered sugar (3 tbsp)
Vanilla extract (1 tsp)
Candy sprinkles (5 g)
Boil water ( about 2 cups)
Brew the Oolong tea in a teapot, set it aside
Put the dried blue butterfly flower in a glass, add hot water and let it steep for 3 mins
Pour the blue butterfly flower tea into a glass mug
Pour the Oolong tea into a glass mug
In a big glass bowl, add heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract
“Life is not a puzzle to be solved. Life is a masterpiece that you create.”
― Brittany Burgunder
We are at the end of January 2020. After all the post-party blues, the new year will not be a new year soon. But still, it is another year, it can either be the same old year or it can be a different year, a better year, it’s is entirely up to you.
I remember I had ambitious resolutions the past few “new years”, big wishes, big goals, grand visions. Most of the time, I tried to accomplish multiple tasks at once and I was distracted by too many different things. I was restless and desperate. In the end, I often found myself feeling trapped and disappointed because I had a hard time achieving my goals.
Now here I am, at the beginning of 2020. I know I have no time to feel confused, so I decided to make changes. The new year for me is about self-observation. I know what I need to take do in order to make changes in my life, no matter how big or small. I want to develop my potential, I want to feel fulfilled, I want to be happier with myself, I want to live alive. So here are my conclusions for things I need to focus on More and things I should do Less.
More: More courage; More patience; More healthy food; More tea; More action: More yoga ; More meditation; More books; More positive network; More art; More creation: More self-love
Less: Less fear; Less complaining; Less alcohol; Less procrastination; Less stress; Less laziness; Less soap opera; Less negativity in my surroundings; Less ” do nothing”; Less self-pity
This is not a new years resolution note. It is just about small but necessary tasks that need to be done , and if you feel the same, let’s do this together. I believe this year will be a different one. You are entirely up to you.
The inspiration for Ma La Pasta is the crispy, fierce New York winter and also the short busy day time. This is the 10th winter I’ve spent in New York and although February is almost over it is still 100 percent winter here. Grey sky, chilling wind, wet floor. I would define the winter here as tough and fierce, but not depressing. The beauty of living in New York is there are always so many things going on & to explore and you can get stimulated and inspired by tiny little things. A look of street fashion, a piece of graffiti art, a movie, an indie rock song, an exotic cocktail….. Nothing is perfect, but everything can be interesting. This is how I get inspiration for the quick and interesting pasta dish: Ma La Pasta
First things first this is not necessarily a “comfort food”. The taste can be challenging yet intriguing.
Ma La is a combination of numbing spicy taste and is commonly used in Chinese cuisines. Ma La sauce consists of Sichuan peppercorn, chili pepper and various spices simmered with oil.
Pasta is a staple Italian cuisine which is popular worldwide. I choose Linguine pasta for this dish due to the thinner and narrower texture, which can hold strong flavor well.
1 pound linguine pasta
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4-6 garlic cloves (minced)
2 scallions (chopped)
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
4 dried red chili peppers
12 Sichuan peppercorns
Salt & pepper, to taste
Toasted Sesame seeds( optional)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro(chopped)
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Boil the Pasta in salted water for 8 mins. Drain the pasta in a colander. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic, scallion( white parts), ginger, saute till fragrant. Add dried red chilli peppers, saute for a minute, and take them out. Add chili flakes, saute for a half minute, and add Sichuan peppercorns, saute for another half minute.
Toss the pasta in the flavored oil, stir consistently, and make sure the pasta is evenly covered by the oil. Add the reserved pasta water, stir for a minute.