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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Fun Succulents Terrarium Party!

It was great getting together with the girls creating beautiful succulent terrariums recently.  The fun really begins when we all got our hands dirty with the soil, trying to figure out how to coordinate the plants to make it look good, layering the sand, sand stones, glitter sands of different colors, sparkly glass bits, potting soil, mulch, and when they are all assembled, it was gorgeous!  This is one of my favorite girlfriends out activity.

Succulents are getting lots of attention lately.  This is such a hot topic and the thing to do!  It is so calming to have a terrarium of green cuteness in your living or work space.  It does cheer one up especially when you can add messages and words like Good times, Dream, Imagine, Love, or a glow in the dark mini person for Holloween, Happy face, etc.

So this is the next important thing, now that we have this lovely succulent terrarium in our care.  How not to kill it!!!  It is low maintenance, but it still needs some basic care to keep it alive and looking happy!

Succulent plants, can also be known as Fat plant (I like the word Chubby!), since they have some extraordinary thickened and flashy leaves.  They are thick for a reason, to retain water efficiently which is a survival factor for these plants that are mostly found in dry soil condition in arid climates geographically.  They are low bearing ground plants, and have a variety of shapes, colors, and forms. So far, there are more than 200 species of succulents and cacti that are suitable for table top potted arrangements.  With the interesting variety, and low maintenance requirement, no wonder they are one of the most popular items/gift to be enjoyed by everyone.  Not to mention the love it takes to put one together for your family or friends!

Succulents do not behave the same as outdoor plants, it takes over a week for them to need water, and to ensure that their roots do not rot, we do not soak the soil and ensure that we have good drainage in the pot for the water to escape. Part of a successful potted succulent is to maintain layers of sand stone, with sand, and perlite with activated charcoal to prevent bacteria from starting.  The roots will be healthy and dry but not so dry to the extent of thirst.   They do not need direct light, but too little light can cause the plants to loose it's color, and became pale. Too much light can burn their leaves causing spots and marks and they will start to dry out and wither.  Sometimes, the glass terrarium can refract sunlight and so it is good practice to put them in an area that has indirect sunlight.
When watering these lovelies, do not pour a lot of water at the same time, gently seep water onto top soil and let it absorb slowly.  That's it!  You can enjoy them for a long time.

I am in the process of germinating some succulents.  Can't wait to see the baby succulents appear!  Will post some pictures later.

A few tips for succulents:

Use Cactus soil for succulents
Layer with rough pebbles and sand to maintain good drainage
Add activated charcoal to make sure no molds can be formed
Perlite is great for avoiding bacteria in the roots
Get a moisture meter to see how soil is 
Water a week to week and half 
Do not soak roots
Moderate indirect sunlight



HAPPY PLANTING AND ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hi Yummy Asian Food!

This is one of my favourite places to visit with friends. The BellyQ in Chicago do Asian BBQ with packed load of flavours.  I recommend getting at least ten friends together in order to get a variety of dishes to try.  Their tea smoked duck breast which is originated from the Sichuan province of China is awesome! 

I used to have this dish in Hong Kong all the time.  You really have to know what you are doing in order to get the best result.  For the adventurous ones, you can give it a go with the recipe from foodnetwork.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tea-smoked-duck-recipe.html

The baby back pork ribs are succulent and crispy.  All the best to pair it with a chardonnay or even chilled sake.  Check out BellyQ's menu :  http://www.bellyqchicago.com/menus

Talking about Hong Kong, you want to check out the local eateries!  It is difficult to isolate any one place as the best since there is good food all around you!  



Hong Kong people likes to know what they are eating literally.  Salted and braised chicken hung on display, dripping with chicken oil and ready to be served with a bowl of hot white rice and fresh veggies!

Complete a lovely evening with good friends and some fresh strawberry chocolate or lychee daiquiries! 

Awesome ^^





Farm to Table


Sometimes I wonder if we can still get pure and wholesome food without worrying about the additives, preservatives, and unwelcome chemicals,  not to mention the hidden processed kind.  We really can't be too careful and rule out 100% of the good food our world have to offer but we can be selective without compromising taste and quality.  During the summer, I decided to venture to the McKinney farmer market in Dallas, Texas.  In order to do that, an early start on the weekend is a must as most of the farmer and vendors showcase their fresh and fine produce as early as 7:00 a.m. If you are late, a lot of the good produce are already sold.  

Most of the vendors travel at least an hour or more to tend their booths at the McKinney market during the weekend.  I like the real taste of the tomatoes, blueberries, various vegetables and special bakes, chili sauce, and delicious candies and peanut brittle unique to Texas.  There are even tea leaves of different selection for making that one cup of fragrant tea with.  The array of good eats are all over including freshly made taco and farm grown herbs.  I also met up with friends at one of the popular go to restaurants in Greenville, Dallas, that serve organic and farm to table dishes.  HG Sply. & Co. is the name.  Unique right?  Well, the ambiance is excellent full of energy and it was really enjoyable to taste wholesome food with a rebellious pint or two of beer from local brewery.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Origami Party


Remember as a child, sitting with friends and sharing ways to fold with paper?  That is the beginning of the idea of learning about Origami.  It is a fun and simple way to keep a child motivated, while inspiring them to be creative.  It also encourages motor skill and early brain development. The word origami is derived from two Japanese characters, "Oru", meaning fold, and "Gami", meaning paper. This paper folding art form originated from China, known as "Zhezhi", and focused mainly in folding paper boats and hats.  Japanese Origami often involves folding flower, and animals. 

As creativity progressed, we found ourselves coming across folded art used in our daily lives, such as Origami lamp shades, art decoration, and so forth.

How to multi-use the Origami:

Origami is not limited to just using paper, but you can use fabric, ribbon, mesh, to form beautiful embellishments, or incorporate it into unique pieces of jewelry to wear or as a gift. Origami could be used as a decoration on a gift box, put together as a collage wall decor, head piece, shoe pin, boxes,anything that you can think of.

It is a common practice for store attendants to use origami techniques in their gift wrapping for customers.  That is a first impression to impress!

Since summer is quite warm in Dallas, I thought it will be nice to get a bunch of us Creative Girlfriends and have a theme party indoor at a Sushi place with some origami fun!

Sushi munchies, cocktails, and origami = Pretty Happy Summer!
















Monday, May 2, 2016

Chalk Board Art is Awesome!

Where and when did this art form became popular?  You see them everywhere around the world. Sidewalk chalk drawings on the streets of Sydney, train stations, restaurant signs, poster boards, children drawing on the driveways! It is simply fun!

Pavement artists (also known as "screevers"), are dated back in the 18th century all over Britain.  These artists often paint the streets with their own messages, poems, illustrations, and ideas on the pavements in order for passers-by to see what they intend to convey to the world.

This became a popular art form. Italy host festivals for this activity and encourage artists to express themselves.  You can see people create awesome painting in the streets of New York, at street painting festivals all over the United States.  The idea of being able to express yourselves wherever you are, using chalk to tell your story is very gratifying to the artists.

Creative Girlfriends recently hosted a Chalk board Art activity at the Happiest Hour in Dallas.  It was great fun hanging out in the covered patio, enjoying the cool breeze, great wine, and creativity together.

  Join us for some fun!   



Friday, March 18, 2016

Sushi Crave in Dallas


 

I love sushi in all shapes and form. Especially sashimi, that is just the fish itself in raw form without the vinegared rice combo.  It is everything about having a fresh piece of fine fish/sea produce carefully carved by a Master Sushi Chef presented in front of you with style.  Add some Himalayan salt followed by a zip of chilled sake somehow puts me in a gastronomical moment.

I think the enjoyment of raw seafood is not something that you are born with.  It is indeed a learned way.  I was introduced to sushi/sashimi by some Japanese friends while I was still a teenager.  They were family friends visiting and I was just old enough to have raw fish, I guess.  The sight of it was a bit daunting, but I tried it anyways. 
 I dipped the piece of tuna in some sushi soy sauce and Japanese mustard, wasabi.  I almost had a heart attack from the strong effect of the mustard.  I think my heart stopped a beat!  Now, why did I continue eating I do not know, but let me tell you, it is addictive!  I tried all sorts of sashimi such as tuna, salmon, yellow fin, red snapper, sea urchin, clam, octopus, but my favorite is lobster.  After I moved to Dallas, I have been anxiously looking for a good Japanese Sushi place.  Right now, I have only tried a few, and still exploring, but I got attracted to Tei-An when they mentioned hand pulled soba (like noodles), and fresh sushi.  I have to try them out.  The restaurant is situated in the Oaklawn, area in Uptown Dallas within the Art District. 
Tried a bunch of dishes spanning from fried tofu in broth, Wagyu beef, to their famous ramen and of course the sashimi.  I will visit Tei-An again, have a nice cocktail while taking in the lovely atmosphere on their exclusive rooftop sanctuary.






Friday, October 23, 2015

The Bourbon Experience

Are you a whiskey connoisseur?  I am not but I am at the same time.  I like the taste of Scotch & Malt whiskey such as the Macallan, Glenfiddich, Black & White and the like.  I do have an occasional Jack Daniels, which I paired with my chocolate.  I have grown to like bourbon which is apparently different from whiskey. According to Men’s Journal’s article, all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.
My recent mini-vacation in Chicago, was great.  Good friends, good food, and adventurous pairing of aperitif with appetizers.  I had a wonderful tumbler of Knob bourbon and a charcuterie platter while admiring the splendour of the beautiful skyline of Chicago atop the Roof at the Wit hotel. Bourbon does go well with  tasty cheese and all.  I wonder if I have actually missed out on trying the bourbons in America.   So I decided to also pair bourbon with cuisine such as mussel stew, grilled squid, sushi, sesame jellyfish and the list is ever expanding.
Grilled Octopus with lime juice
Jellyfish with sesame 
Fresh mussels in spicy broth
King prawns with special sauce