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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Vanessa Hudgens Eat Your Heart Out: Create the Perfect Boho Look with these Tips

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The boho look is a great look for women who want to look pretty and cool, while staying comfortable and casual. It’s the perfect look for a festival or holiday, but you can make it work all year round too! These tips will help you to create the boho look yourself:

Invest in Different Pieces of Headgear

The boho look nearly always has something interesting going on head-wise, whether this is in the form of a flower crown, head chain, bandana, or something else entirely. Having different pieces of headgear to reach for will allow you to keep your looks varied and interesting. You don’t always need to wear something on your head, but it can make a boho look even better. It’s also a great idea for a special occasion!

Use Different Materials and Textures

Different materials and textures will make your look more three-dimensional. Play around with a handful of different fabrics, and use textures like fringing to add more oomph. The boho look is all about creating interest with materials and textures. By doing your clothes shopping online, you’ll find a ton of different textures that work for this look.

Channel a 60s/70s Vibe

Although not always essential, the boho look can sometimes be a great way to throwback to the 60s and 70s. Wear flared trousers, bell sleeves, and anything else that screams ‘boho!’ to you from these decades. Channel your inner hippy chick by looking at pictures and taking inspiration! You can even wear vintage pieces to help you channel the look you want. Just don’t dress head to toe in vintage, as you might end up looking a little fancy dress!


Stick to Earthy Tones

The best boho looks are pretty much always created using earthy, natural tones. You should look for pieces in shades like blue, red, green, yellow, brown, and beige. Anything that has a really natural feel to it, and nothing bright or neon.

Layer Your Accessories

Layer your accessories to create an even better boho look. You should wear multiple necklaces and bangles, maybe even rings. The boho look always includes lots of different jewellery pieces layered in just the right way. Make sure you mix metals and materials here too, so that you create an even cooler look! Just don’t over accessorize, as you can look like you’re trying too hard.

Gladiator Sandals or Boots

Have you ever spotted a boho chick wearing trainers? I doubt it! Gladiator sandals or boots are the usual footwear for the boho style, so make sure you find some that you really like. Gladiator sandals are perfect for summer, and boots are great for other times of year. I just love incorporating cool items like gladiator sandals into my looks!

The more you put these tips into practice, the better you’ll get at channeling the perfect boho look. Vanessa Hudgens will have competition with you in town! Leave any of your own tips and thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you. Come back soon!

Live. Laugh. Love.
Calista xx

*This post was contributed by a guest blogger.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Staycation in the City - Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu

Do you ever feel like you need a break, but can't afford to go abroad, or even have the time to waste on a plane flying somewhere exotic? Well, staycations are becoming really popular right now, and they're the perfect solution for a relaxing weekend right in your own city!

Club Suite
The good people at Le Meridien recently arranged a little weekend getaway for me to get to know the newly renovated hotel, and also my own city just a little better! Nestled right in the heart of KK city, Le Meridien is perfect for both business and pleasure, as well as locals and tourists alike. You may have seen my room review vlog, but if you haven't, here it is:

Be sure to hit subscribe on Youtube

Of course, as a KKian on a staycation, I definitely took full advantage of the 5 star hotel facilities.
The rooms were cosy
The gym was fully equipped with a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi
The pool was gorgeous; there's an outdoor jacuzzi
And the sunset view? Breathtaking.
Le Meridien made sure we were happily fed as well, and the new restaurants feature a taste of Sabah, with their Tampatan "stall" in Latest Recipe, and the best Italian food in town at Favola.
Latest Recipe
Tampatan stall at Latest Recipe: Authentic Kadazandusun cuisine.
L-R: Prawn Hinava (also made with fish), Bambangan, Tuhau (wild ginger).
Favola interior and sample of dishes
Here's some tips to make your stay a great one:

Big points for tourists: Le Meridien is within walking distance from so many of our local
                                        attractions, such as the Sunday Market on Gaya Street, the jetty where you
                                        get the boats to the nearby islands (they're only a 15-minute boat ride from
                                        the city!), not to mention the hotel is directly across from the Filipino
                                        handicraft market, and the Waterfront where the night comes alive.

Big points for locals: It's in the middle of town! Looking for trinkets? Centrepoint is right next door.
                                     Prefer a more branded mall? Imago and Suria are practically the same distance
                                     away from each other, in opposite directions, not to mention everyone's
                                     favourite Saturday night hangout: the Waterfront.

Breakfast - Non-halal: Right next door to Le Meridien is Sinsuran, where the famed Sinsuran Sang
                                        Nyuk Mee originated, a must try as this is a Sabahan favourite! No pork
                                        noodles anywhere else are quite the same.

Breakfast - Halal: Le Meridien Signature Breakfasts. Fusion food with a local twist, with dishes
                                such as Omelette Roulade stuffed with Black Glutinous Rice & Sambal, and
                                Sweet Potato Muffin with Chocolate-coated Tempe & Caramelised Mango,
                                they're definitely something different!
We got to try out copying the food design:
Mom made Poached Egg with Pan Fried Sweet Potato Cake & Lemongrass Hollandaise Sauce,
I made Toasted Layer Brioche with Coconut Jam & Honey Caramelised Banana
Lunch: Laksa/Curry Mee at Seng Hing, Sinsuran; Five Star Chicken Rice at Palm Square in

Coffee: Starbucks is right across the road! If you prefer Coffee Bean, you can find both in Palm
              Square, Centerpoint.

Tea: TWG Teas at Latitude 05, Le Meridien Hotel. Make sure to try the Silver Moon Tea - yum!
TWG Teas & sweets to complement!
Juices/ Desserts: Fruto in Oceanus sells great fresh & cold-pressed juices, while Just Berries has the
                              best desserts - try the mango little balls!
Fruto's Breakfast Bowls - Goodness with a view!
Dinner: Welcome Seafood is cheap, and located not far away in Asia City. For better quality
               seafood, which of course comes with a "better" price, Seremban Seafood in Segama is
               definitely a fave if you have cash to spend. For an all-out tourist experience, try the seafood
               at the Filipino market, right opposite Le Meridien!
Seremban Seafood: Just look at that crab claw! =O
Drinks: Waterfront is the it place for both tourists and locals alike. If you're into clubbing, B.E.D.
               lives up to its name as Best Entertainment Destination. For a Somersby and good pizza,
               Lush is where you wanna be, while if you like playing darts, check out Beer Nest Mixo. If
               you prefer a more relaxing evening, the jazz band and comfy sofas at Latitude 05 are your
               best friends!
Latitude 05 @ Le Meridien
The Good: Both hard and soft pillows provided (have you ever slept in a comfortable bed with a
                    pillow that was way too hard or soft for your liking? Le Meridien fixes that problem!),
                    the decor (loving the lobby now, and the Table of Curiosity is genius!), the service
                    (everyone is super friendly, and genuinely so!), the facilities (pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam
                    room), the food (great variety, and I love that they have hard-to-find local food!)

The Could-Be-Better: The TV in room (too small for such a big bed! But I did hear that the rooms
                                       will all be renovated come next year), housekeeping (didn't replenish face
                                       towels/all toiletries, left dirty face towel in corner), food (while variety is
                                       amazing, quality control needs to be observed such as satay too hard, and I
                                       feel there is definitely room for more desserts choices! =P)

Overall it was a great stay and would definitely go back for more! For those of you who are thinking of taking a family vacation, Le Meridien has also teamed up with Lego, and every child under 12 will receive a free Lego pack upon check-in!
Free Lego upon check-in! =D
Dreaming of my next staycation,
Calista xx

Saturday, 7 November 2015

GIVEAWAY: All Day Dining at Avangio Hotel, Metrotown

By now, Metrotown is a normal part of Kota Kinabalu. Well-known for the eateries and beauty salons, the area is set to get busier with the introduction of the new Jesselton Medical Centre and the elegant Avangio Hotel, managed by Accor.
Night view by the pool
Avangio's all-day dining restaurant Mercato has just revealed their all new a la carte menu, and what better way to introduce these dishes than by pictures:
Appetisers L-R: Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Cake, Hinava, Nicoise Salad
Main CourseClockwise from Left: Ultimate Burger, Salmon Quiche, Spaghetti Bolognese, Fish & Chips
And of course no dinner is complete with a little sugar at the end:
L-R: Sago Gula Melaka, Creme Brulee, Mango Panna Cotta
Stomach growling already? Well have I got a treat for you! In collaboration with Avangio Hotel, I'll be giving away dinner for 2 at Mercato restaurant, and if you're reading this, you're already halfway there! All you have to do to win is:

1. Share this blog post on Facebook
2. Follow me on Instagram @CalistaLeahLiew 
3. Drop me a comment below with the Facebook link and tell me which dish is tantalising your taste buds. Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!
Tag the person you'll take for dinner on my Instagram post (spot the Creme Brûlée!) with the caption FEED ME!

Good luck!

If you don't win, it's ok, because for the whole month of November, all you have to do is mention #MERCATONEWMENU and you will get 10% off your food bill (excluding drinks). So it's the best time to try somewhere new! For reservations, call Mercato at 088-536888.

***This giveaway will end at 10pm on 15th November 2015. Winners will be announced via Twitter @CalistaLeahLiew, so make sure you're following us on Twitter! Winners will be chosen by

Happy Dining!
Calista xx

*This post is sponsored by Mercato @ Avangio Hotel, Metrotown

Friday, 30 October 2015

Discovering Penang, Malaysia with Air Asia

When someone mentions "travel", our minds usually automatically jump to other countries.

"I want to visit the old towns in Vietnam!"
"Thailand has such beautiful temples."
"The food in the Philippines is supposed to be awesome!"

But what about our own country, which is also a big part of the much-loved touristy part of the world called South East Asia?

Well, I got the chance to explore Penang with Air Asia Bloggers Community (AABC), and although I've been there twice before, there was so much more to discover, especially since we were assigned a Penang blogger as a "guide" for every group!
Jian, an aunty who showed us the way, Ana, Ken (our Penang blogger), Diana and me!
There's so much to do and see and experience in Penang, so to break it down, let's use the #AABCPenangTakeover Instagram challenge as a guide:

1. Best breakfast in Penang

According to Ken, Penangites have a lot of choice when it comes to breakfast. Some like roti bakar (toast, usually with kaya and butter), some prefer char key teow, others prefer chee cheong fun Penang style, but whatever you choose, there's one thing everyone can agree on, and that is that they're all YUMMY! We opted to go to MacAlistar Road as a lot of the other groups headed for roti bakar.

2. Penangness
One of the many street art pieces around Georgetown
Apparently, when people think of Penang, they think of the Komtar building. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what the Komtar building was, and was slightly disappointed to find out it was just where the bus station was haha. When I think of Penang, I think of food, the Penang bridge, and the heritage buildings, not to mention the well-known love for art!

3. Penang Essentials
Options: You can take the bus, rent a bicycle, hop on a ferry, or just get around on your trusty two feet!
As a tourist, the most essential thing anywhere is: good public transport! And that's what we found! The ferry ride was especially enjoyable, and it links the island side of Penang to the mainland.

4. Heritage Trail
Old buildings are kept almost pristine..
We spent quite a while trying to figure out what we could do for this one. It wasn't until we stopped focusing on the word 'trail' that we realised: Penang is a heritage city, i.e., everything we saw was part of the so-called heritage trail!

5. Eat Penang Style

Yep, the last challenge was food again. If you're Malaysian, you'd definitely know that Penang is known as the food capital of Malaysia. All kinds of dishes still cooked the traditional way (a lot of street hawkers still operate there), at a significantly lower price than other places in Malaysia, with no compromise on taste. Voila! A table-full of nyonya cuisine was a no-brainer!

Looking for a getaway? Air Asia flies to Penang from Kota Kinabalu twice daily, so no pesky transits to get in the way of you and a great time!

Much Love,
Calista xx

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Africa Travel Tips You Need to Know

Africa has been at the top of my bucket list since I can even remember. These tips definitely make me want to get on a plane and fly there now! 

Africa can be a wonderful place to visit, but you need to be prepared before you arrive. You can’t head over there without doing a lot of research first - it’ll be a totally different world compared to what you’re used to. These tips will keep you safe and comfortable so you can have the best time wherever you are in Africa!

Leave Your Nice Jewellery at Home

You take risks when you visit any country, so don’t let this put you off. There have been incidents where nice jewellery has been stolen from visitors, so make sure you leave your nice jewellery at home. There’s no need to wear it here anyway. Try to get back to nature and embrace the culture - nobody else will be wearing expensive Rolexes or diamond rings, so leave it at home. You would be devastated if anything happened, so don’t risk it.


Pack Much Less

Pack much less than you think you need. Africa is a hot place and you’ll more than likely get there to realise you need half the stuff you brought. Even though Malaysia is hot all year round too, you don’t need to worry about packing for every single circumstance that could occur, so try to keep it to one small bag.

Carry a Snack With You

Carry a snack with you, such as a cereal bar or something that will give you energy. Nothing that can melt, ideally! This is a great trick for when you’re exploring and become hungry with no food nearby. Also a great tip if for whatever reason you don’t want to get any street food that day.

Buy a Cheap Phone

Maybe you lose your phones a lot or you’re worried about having it stolen. It’s simple: get a cheap phone before you leave or buy one when you get there. This way you can still stay in touch with people you’re travelling with and contact home if you need to. It won’t cost you much to replace if you lose it, and there won’t be anything sentimental on there. It’s a no brainer!

Haggle a Lot

When you’re scouring the markets and other places to buy, haggle a lot. Practicing your haggling skills is a norm being from South East Asia. Don’t feel like you have to pay full price for anything - usually paying even 50% of the full price is too much! They expect you to haggle here so make sure you do it. You can usually get stuff for very, very low prices.

Do Try the Local Food

Trying the local food is a must here. The street food is seriously cheap and you can save a fortune on your budget from eating there. Just be sure the vendors are in an area of a lot of people, as this means the food will be fresher and hygiene taken more seriously. Choose some exciting restaurants too - avoid westernised restaurants if possible. Buzz Kenya stories can reveal more about the best food and what to try!

Insect Repellent is a Must

Mosquitos over here are demons, so insect repellent is a must. You might even want to take a mosquito killing device with you, so you’re well prepared if anything tries to attack.

Drink a Lot of Water

One of the worst things that can happen on a trip like this is becoming dehydrated, so make sure you drink a lot of water.

Above all else, have a great time and don’t forget to make some local friends!

Sien jou gou,
Calista xx

(Apparently that's "see you soon" in Afrikaans! =P)

*This post was contributed by a guest blogger.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

6 Ways to Find New Places to Eat


It's no secret: I love food. The good thing is, I think everyone else does too! Even if you're very careful about what you eat, you should enjoy every mouthful you take. Although I like cooking at home, going out to eat is even better. I can have what I want, I don't have to cook it, and there's no washing up for me to do either! I love to try new places, but sometimes I can get stuck in a rut. Finding somewhere new to taste-test isn't always easy. I know you have to take a risk sometimes, but I don't want the risk of a bad meal to be high. Disappointing meals make me cry! So I have a few things I can do to find the best restaurants to try out, whether I'm travelling or at home.

Get All the Apps

There really is an app for everything, so I always make sure I have some restaurant discovery apps on my phone. They can tell me the nearest places to go from where I am, what they're like and how people rate them. They help me find a restaurant when I'm in a hurry and about to starve if I don't eat right now. It's great to have something to help when I'm out and about, and maybe when I'm travelling and don't know the city too well. It's even better if there are offers and discounts available too. I just discovered one for Malaysia,, which is going to expand into other Southeast Asian cities soon.

Watch Out for New Openings

Sometimes the best time to try a restaurant is when it's just opened up. Although it can also be the worst time, for a few reasons: It might be very busy if there's a buzz surrounding the opening, and you might have the best meal of your life, only to discover that the restaurant didn't last more than a month. But, like I said, you have to take risks sometimes. Visiting a restaurant when they're just finding their feet can give you some great experiences. If you want to hear about new restaurants, it's a good idea to sign up for newsletters for local websites. Look at food bloggers, news sites, and more to hear about Monterey restaurants and other places around the world before anyone else. It's also a great idea to set up a Google alert that sends you results for "(your city) new restaurant".


Choose at Random

I love a surprise. And the surprise of a great meal you weren't expecting is one of the best things in the world. It's amazing how you can stumble across incredible food in the most unlikely places. You can walk into a café or restaurant thinking it looks a bit ropey, and the food could change your life. Sometimes when I'm travelling and at home too I just pick somewhere at random. It might be a fancy restaurant, or it could be a street food vendor. It might be a bad choice, but usually it's an excellent one.

Do Lots of Research

Using the internet to research can help you to discover lots of incredible restaurants. It's an especially good thing to do before you go on a trip if you don't know what to expect. You can try starting with the top-rated restaurants on TripAdvisor and similar websites to see what everyone loves. There are other ways to find out the best places to go too. If you're looking for somewhere prestigious, look for restaurants that have Michelin stars. Usually, I don't need something that upmarket, though!

Read Reviews

When you're researching online, reviews can be useful. But I don't listen to them all the time since they can sometimes be all over the place. Some people will always find something to complain about, so you have to know when to ignore a bad review. Sometimes it's better to look at average ratings than it is to read individual reviews. Personal opinions might not mean much, unless they're all exceptionally good or awful. They do help you avoid the terrible restaurants that will only give you food poisoning!

Ask the Locals

If you don't know where to go, whether you're at home or travelling, try asking someone. You can start with family or friends who might have experiences. One of the things I like to do is ask someone local who knows the area well. You can talk to the staff at your hotel if you're on a trip or just walk into a shop and get someone's opinion.

Looking for new restaurants to try can sometimes be a pain, but it's definitely worth it when I discover somewhere amazing. How do you find places you love? Drop me some suggestions below! =)

Living to Eat,
Calista xx

*This post was contributed by a guest blogger.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Travel Tips For A Safe Vacation

As you probably all know I love to travel; exploring the world and experiencing new things is very important to me. Whether for work or for pleasure, when it comes to trips away, safety needs to be a priority. You’ve got to be sensible and ensure you’re going to be safe at all times in this strange new place you're visiting to ensure you have an enjoyable and memorable break.
Where to next? - Bangkok 2015
So, I’ve come up with a short list of suggestions that I think you can use. These will help you to work toward having a safer vacation. Try to bear these in mind when you decide to book your trip, as well as when you’re there.
Travel With Friends
Safety in numbers is the phrase that springs to mind. Sure, if you’re a seasoned traveller you’ll have no qualms about travelling on your own. But, if you’re fairly new to the vacation experience abroad I’d advise you go with friends or family. Many of the places will be very different culturally to what you’re used to. As such, you need to make sure you are in a safe environment, and surrounded by people you know. This will help you transition much better.
Find the Essentials as Soon as You Arrive
One of the first things I do when I arrive at my destination is to scope out the essentials. And I suggest you make this a priority for your vacation as well. You need to think about things that will make you feel much safer. Scope out where the nearest police station is, and where the hospital is. These are essential things that you’ll need to know. Find out where they are in relation to your hotel. Knowing where these things are is going to give you a much better sense of safety.
Research Thoroughly Beforehand
You should never go into anything unprepared, and I look at my vacations in much the same way. That’s why I suggest you research thoroughly before you go. You need to find out about areas to avoid, places that are the safest, and become familiar with where you’re going. For instance, you can use this website to do some research about Africa if you're going there. That way you’ll be knowledgeable before you arrive. I should note that a lot of these places are going to be very culturally different than what you're used to. So you need to know about these differences for your own safety.
Always Let Someone Know Where You Are
Of course, the key to safety anywhere is common sense. And when I’m abroad I always make sure I let someone know where I am. I call a friend or family member each day to check in. If you’re worried about roaming charges, you can always use a pay phone. Or try to connect to the Wi-Fi wherever you’re staying and send a message. This is an essential security step, and one that I now do instinctively.

Okay, guys, you’ve reached the end, and hopefully I’ve given you some useful tips. I love going on vacation, and sometimes I even love to go on my own. But whatever you choose, remember that he point of a vacation is to unwind and have some fun, so you don’t want to be worrying about your safety. Follow these tips, and have the best holiday possible!

Travel safe,
Calista xx

*This post was contributed by a guest blogger