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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A Quick Look At The American Music Awards 2013

The AMAs (as they're fondly called) aired yesterday and by chance I turned on the TV just as it was about to show on Astro. I decided to watch it after seeing highlights all over Twitter, and I have to say, as all awards shows go, there were both high- and lowlights to the event.
Pitbull aka Mr 305 aka Mr Worldwide
Pitbull was surprisingly good as a host, even though I don't like him (mainly because his songs are always about one thing and one thing only, aka how many girls he can sleep with, and because he just comes off as a dirty old man to me. Anyway.), I have to give credit where credit is due, and he was quite natural and entertaining on stage.

The opening act was actually the one thing inspired me to write about the AMAs. I came across a few articles about Katy Perry's Unconditional performance, like this one from the Daily Mail:

This is so stupid. I'm so sick of everything being "racist". I'm not a big Katy Perry fan, and yes when I saw her performance I thought it was a really strange outfit choice seeing as it has nothing to do with the song, but did the word "racist" come to mind? Not for a second! How was it racist? Maybe she just likes wearing traditional outfits, I do too! They're gorgeous! If I were to wear a baju kebaya out, would I be racist? What about different ethnicities the world over wearing "American" clothing? Are we all racist now? Here in Malaysia, if you go to a studio to take pre-wedding shots, you can choose to wear cheongsams or kimonos or hanbok for the photos, no one has ever found a problem with this! Or is it because we're all "Asian" that it doesnt count? Newsflash: "Asia" is made up of many nationalities and races!

Katy Perry aka insensitive geisha
I was more concerned about her obviously-lacking vocals that night. But not once during that performance did she say/do anything that would have made it the slightest bit racist. I think the world would be a better place if we didnt try so hard to be "sensitive" all the time.  *fumes*
One Direction
Moving on, I am starting to like One Direction, their songs are pretty ok, they seem like ok guys, and some of them are quite good-looking *cough* Zayn Malik *cough*.
Yes, yes you may.
Hate on me all you want, but I dont see any need to dislike these boys. It's gonna take a while before I would admit to being a full-blown Directioner though.

Naya Rivera aka Santana Lopez
Photo credits: JustJared.com
Naya Rivera looked drop-dead gorgeous as usual. No words needed.

Kendall & Kylie
Photo credits: PerezHilton.com
As did Kendall & Kylie Jenner, they're definitely the lookers in the family!

5 outfit changes, with 3 of those on stage, I have to say JLo looks absolutely stunning in this one.
Jennifer Lopez killed it as always - there is nothing this woman cannot do; gorgeous, sexy dancer, great voice and just downright amazing!

Rihanna with her mom (& award!)
Rihanna was awarded an all-new award called the Icon Award, which was presented by her mom. Does she really deserve such an award, given everything that's happened, and, btw, she's only 25. Sure she's had tons of hits, everyone and their grandmother knows her name but, is it all because of how wonderful she's been? I went from feeling indifferent when she first came out, to loving her during her Disturbia period, to losing any respect I had for her after the whole Chris Brown debacle. I know it's hard when you feel like you're obsessed with love for someone, but I'm really glad she seems to be coming back now, with songs like Stay and What Now (as opposed to repetitive lyrics sung to a bunch of noise).

One of the biggest highlights for me was the discovery of this amazing song:
A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera - Say Something

It's so beautiful, and I'm sure a lot of people will be able to relate to it.. Searched for the video as soon as the performance ended, and just fell in love!

Hmm.. What else was note-worthy.. Let me see.. (Judging by Perez Hilton's twitter, I think some scenes were cut from Malaysian TV, but I'm not 100% sure)

Taylor Swift all bright & shiny
Taylor Swift was looking gorgeous as usual, and no matter what you wanna say (sure she may not be the greatest singer), she deserves all the awards she gets, because she knows how to capture everything many girls around the world are feeling, and give them something to relate to in her songs. Artist of the Year over and over again, I think it proves that no one is ever really alone in heartbreak.

Oh Miley, I do wish I could spend some time in your head..
The only thing I can think of worthy of ending this AMAs post, is the strange, strange mind of Miley Cyrus. I love the song Wrecking Ball, but her singing-cat-who-cries-diamond-tears was a bit too out there.. Better than her twerking all over Robin Thicke again I guess.

Til next time,
Calista xx

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Thursday Tunes: The Pretty Reckless - You

I had a talk with someone who really means a lot to me last night, and, to save being way too personal in such a public domain, I came away from the the situation feeling pretty.. Lost.

"Our attraction, or addiction, or whatever, was strong."

I dont know why, maybe I'm just weak sometimes, but the thought of things being different, makes me sick to my stomach. Not that things are perfect as they are, far from it, but it's something. I dont know what I've gotten myself into, I just know that things are not the same as they used to be, and I dont like it.

"Serendipity"

What would I wanna take away from this in the long term? Can't say for sure, but then again, I feel maybe I do know, it's just locked up behind my walls, to protect me from the obviously stated fact that it's not anywhere near to how far you want it go.

"You dont get to break somebody's heart and still say you care about them."

I actually had a short list of songs - this was gonna just be text of a playlist, with songs like Wrecking Ball, Give You What You Like, What Now, Back To Black, Give Me Love, The Last Time & Torn. But as I was writing the lyrics, I realised, only one song actually says what is going through my head, taking into consideration that no single song can encompass the unconventional situation we're in.
So here it is. You.

  

You don't want me, no
You don't need me
Like I want you, oh
Like I need you

And I want you in my life
And I need you in my life

You can't see me, no
Like I see you
I can't have you, no
Like you have me

And I want you in my life
And I need you in my life

You can't feel me, no
Like I feel you
I can't steal you, no
Like you stole me

And I want you in my life
And I need you in my life

Til next time,
Calista xx

"I'm just sad because I really like you more than I've liked anyone in a long time.
Tonight I got slapped in the face with the reality that I'll never be able to call you mine
and that it isnt a very big deal to you.
"

Friday, 15 November 2013

Hualu Flower Farm - Taiwan Leisure Farming with Air Asia 花露休闲农场 - 与亚航去旅行!

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently went on a trip around Taiwan with Air Asia and the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association.
Many thanks for a memorable trip!
Leaving Kota Kinabalu at 6.10am (yes that means we were at the airport at 4.30am zzz) with the rest of the media (bloggers Ana Jonessy & Sherrie Pui, Chun Tak from Asia Times, Karen from and Shirley from United Daily News), we breezed through the check-in and boarding process like VIPs under the care of Ka Mei and Joanne of Air Asia (also known as our babysitters haha). Having checked us in online the day before, we were given Red Carpet treatment and skipped the queue to drop our bags and get through to immigration. At the gate, we got to skip the queue again and board first! Haha.. I also got my favourite seat - window only please people!
The up-side of flying so early - you get to witness the breathtaking sunrise against Mount Kinabalu!
Now I have to clarify before I start: I had some bad luck throughout September, which finally came to a climax the 2nd night in Taiwan - my micro SD card became undetectable, causing me to lose every photo I'd taken at and before Xian Hu Leisure Farm. 2 wonderful people have fortunately come to my rescue, so all photo credits on this blog are to Ana and Chun Tak! Much love you guys for saving my skin!

Upon arrival at the Tao Yuan airport, we were warmly welcomed by our tour guides for the trip - Shinny and Jicky - then boarded a huge tour bus: Our 2nd home for the 5 days and 4 nights! (Seriously, we spent more time on this bus than anywhere else; but for a good reason - we were travelling all over Taiwan!)

We'd had breakfast on the plane, but we were all peckish as soon as we touched down. Our stomachs would have to wait though - It was a 2 hour journey to our first destination: Hualu Flower Leisure Farm!
Ticket Counter
Hualu is located in Miaoli (苗栗), and we were greeted by the sight of nature the moment we pulled into the driveway of Hualu. In awe as we walked down towards the restaurant, we forgot about our growling stomachs as cameras came out and photos were taken.
Just sit down, relax, watch the falling leaves while listening to the fresh breeze...
Take a walk down the road less travelled; leave your worries behind!
Sit and watch fish swim peacefully to the calming sound of flowing water
Everything at Hualu is made as eco-friendly as possible
Before we reached our grub-tub, we were asked to take a look at the men's room. Yes, even the girls! Why? Well, wouldnt you like to see such a sight?
Which one would you choose to do your business in? ;p
Our tummies crying in despair, we finally reached the restaurant where food was served immediately - all 10 dishes ala Chinese dining style! We separated into two table: One for the tour agencies, and one for media - the ones who feed their cameras before their stomachs!
Shall we start with a spot of tea? Easy on the eyes, easy on the throat!
养生蔬果裸虾 Organic Vegetable and Fruit Salad with juicy Prawns
甘蔗草茶山鸡 Pheasant Roasted in Sugar Cane Tea Leaves
迷迭香宫保双味 Kung Pao Pork Belly
鲜炖莳蔬猪排 Pork Chop with Freshly Steamed Broccoli
细香葱鲜鱼蒸 Freshly Steamed Fish
脆皮鱼柳 Crispy Battered Fish
金沙杏鲍菇 Abalone Mushroom Stir-fried with Salted Egg
季节炒莳蔬 Stir-fried Seasonal Vegetables
竹叶一品炊 Stir-fried Bamboo Leaves
 And no Chinese meal is complete without the nutritious soup!
酸白菜鱼头汤 Sour Vegetable Fish Head Soup
Ana, being vegan, had her own special set of food throughout the trip:
素食罗汉斋 Vegan set lunch
*Our group package lunch costs NT4000 for a group of 10
**For a set lunch like Ana's, it only costs NT380 - 680 depending on what tickles your fancy!

After pleasing our bellies, it was time to please our eyes - we were taken on a tour of the farm, starting with the guest house.

The guest house aka the Essential Oil Castle
Window details - those are little bird statues!
The lobby
It's here where the guest rooms are - 3 different types of suites decorated with rich, earthly colours and twisted branches, and an essential oil-filled jacuzzi overlooking nature's very best. With prices ranging from NT$4280 - 9800 a night, you definitely get what you pay for!
王后房 Queen's Room
桐心房Heart Room
香氛房 Fragrance Room
 *Room photos taken off Hualu's official website

We also got to learn a bit about the different plants and their uses, in a session that won me a very useful prize: I got an au-naturale gel that stops any insect bites from itching - my long term enemy the mosquito in particular!
Mystery-shrouded Lake
We had a full explanation on all 4 plants - I actually took videos of the lady explaining, but those are lost too.. =(
We got to feel and smell the essential oils made by Hualu, and also learnt how to differentiate between natural and synthetic oils - If you still get a strong smell after 30 minutes of application, it's probably been "modified" =/
To end the tour, we visited the little shop where guests can purchase products ranging from these cute owl statues...
...to pure essential oils...
...to handmade soap...
...to potted plants!
It was a great experience to have Hualu Flower Farm as our first destination, and it really got us geared up for the rest of the trip. If you're looking to stop and smell the roses on your next trip of relaxation, Hualu should definitely be at the top of your list!
Goodies! The 3 different types of handmade flower soap, and the au naturel mosquito gel I won!
Hualu Flower Leisure Farm 花露休闲农场
Address: No. 43-3 Xiping, Xiping Vil, Zhuolan Township, Miaoli County
              苗栗县卓兰镇西平里西平43之3号
Tel: +886-4-25891589
Fax: +886-4-25897048
Email: flowers.chen@msa.hinet.net
Website: http://www.flowerhome.com.tw/
No trip is complete without a group photo - and yes, the sun was blazing!
Til next time,
Calista xx