Since Sasha Pieterse said goodbye to her Pretty Little Liars character Alison DiLaurentis, she’s taken on a new role: entertaining guru.
The actress recently released her first book, Sasha in Good Taste, a collection of recipes and party tips to show her fans that organizing social gatherings is anything but daunting.
“I wanted people to know how to entertain and not be stressed out about it. The core of the book was entertaining, but at the same time, I also wanted to share this side of me,” Pieterse tells PEOPLE. “I was hoping that the fans would connect with me on this and I’m so glad that they do. It had a double meaning.”
Though she’s been acting since a very young age, Pieterse, 23, has loved cooking, baking and hosting nearly just as long. For Pieterse, the idea to put it all down on paper turned into a passion project that took about five years.
“I was collecting recipes, I was adding party planning tips and figuring out what I actually just in general wanted to say,” says Pieterse. “I love party throwing. I love just having guests over, having family and friends over, and I just wanted to share that with people.”
Throughout the year, she and her husband, Hudson Sheaffer, whom she married in May 2018, throw numerous get-togethers, ranging from regular dinner parties to hosting Halloween and their annual Friendsgiving.
“What’s great about it is that you bring people together. It creates a community,” she says. “Whether it’s your friends, your family or the family that you choose, you’re creating memories together and it’s about spending that quality time and really being grateful and appreciating each other.”
The Pretty Little Liars star taught herself how to navigate the kitchen by garnering inspiration from big names in the industry like Martha Stewart, Joanna Gaines and Daphne Oz. She also picked up a little bit of knowledge from her grandparents who liked to cook when she was growing up in South Africa, she says.
Sheaffer, 30, is also there behind the scenes to lend a hand. “He’s the one that I try everything out on. He is such a big help with all of our party planning,” says Pieterse. “We do it together. I do a lot of the creative stuff, but he’s definitely got his own flair. He’s a great host as well and we make such a good team.”
With the conclusion of PLL in 2017, and, more recently, its spin-off series The Perfectionists this spring, the actress will now have more time to focus on expanding her new lifestyle brand, which includes an online blog and YouTube channel.
“I definitely want to continue with this side, whether it’s more books or just more creative stuff, there’s a lot planned on that side,” Pieterse tells PEOPLE. “Obviously acting is always something that’ll be a part of my life and I hope to continue that always, but I think Sasha in Good Taste is going to be a big part of the next couple of years.”
Even with the show off the air, PLL fans are still extremely supportive. “I think a lot of [them] kind of grew up watching Pretty Little Liars. I grew up with them,” she says. “It’s an end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. I am so glad that they’re interested just in general. It’s been nice.”
“We’ll always be like family. I don’t think anything like that will ever change,” adds Pieterse. “We shared so much time together and I think we’re all like sisters. We’ll always be that way.”
Sasha in Good Taste is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.