photo slideshow


Saturday, 31 May 2014

Kaamatan - When Sabahans Harvest The Love!


That means “Hi!” in the native Kadazan language. A lot of non-Sabahans may not even know that the main races in Sabah, who are the natives of this land, are actually the Kadazandusuns.
Photo credits:
As such, one of our main, and arguably most vibrant festivals is celebrated every 30 & 31st May: Kaamatan, or the Harvest Festival. Being a public holiday here in Sabah, everyone celebrates somehow or other, whether by visiting friends’ open houses, joining the crowds on the street, or most popularly, spending the day at KDCA (Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association) in Penampang.
KDCA, photo credits
Kaamatan is actually a month-long celebration, with events such as beauty pageants, singing competitions, bazaars, and more happening all over the state. The KDCA grounds, which house all the different types of ethnic homes and longhouses, become the biggest celebration venue, and it’s honestly the best, and most diverse, place to be in Kota Kinabalu during that time!
Sumazau dance
Photo credit
You get to participate in traditional dances (like the sumazau or mangunatip), Sabahan songs are sung via karaoke (Tinggi-Tinggi Gunung Kinabalu anybody?), traditional music is played with all different musical instruments (sompoton and kulintangan), and the atmosphere is like no other! Of course, local handicrafts are up for sale, and tapai (rice wine) is never too hard to find *wink*
Sumandak playing the sompoton in a paddy field
Photo credits
An age-old tradition - and one of the most coveted titles in Sabah - the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant is held in every district, until the winners of each district come together at KDCA to compete for the finals, where the fairest of them all will be crowned Unduk Ngadau of the year. Another word you should know when coming to Sabah: Sumandak! This is what we call all the pretty Sabahan girls (kinda like the local version of leng lui).
Some of the finalists in this year's Unduk Ngadau
Photo credits: Jeffie Jeff (the go-to MUA & costume designer for UNK!)
Sugandoi, a singing competition in which participants must sing a Kadazan, Dusun, or Murut song, is a platform not only to celebrate unity, but to also keep the native languages alive, and discover local talents.
A contestant singing his heart out at Sugandoi Kaamatan 2014
Photo credits: Augustine Jumat
Kaamatan is definitely one of my favourite festivals, as every Sabahan, regardless of race, religion, age or gender all come together as one to just celebrate being.. well.. Sabahan! In fact, the only time I realized this was when I was looking back at old photographs and found this: 
A lady at one of the culture booths during Kaamatan, wearing the traditional Kadazan outfit, and a tudung/hijab! I guess we are all just so used to being in sync with each other that we never really notice these small differences between us; it becomes second nature to respect each other first and foremost as human beings.
Some of the various traditional costumes found in Sabah, found on these cute dolls from!
Another reason I love Kaamatan is because every single district has their own twist on the traditional costume – and they’re all so beautiful! Ranging from simple to intricate designs, the costumes are mostly made out of black velvet with gold trimming, and accessorized with heavy coin belts. You get to see each one on display, and worn, in the different houses in KDCA.
2 nights before Kaamatan this year

The Kadazan people are some of the most friendly people you will ever meet, and though still very much in touch with their traditions, they know how to par-tay! The festivities start early in the morning on the 30th, and often don’t really end until late into the 31st. Traditional food such as hinava, tuhau, sinalau bakas and more are prepared the old school way, and enjoyed by all as you can’t find these many of these dishes commercially!
Tapai, served in large jars and shared with long bamboo straws.
Photo credit
Tapai plays a big role in the Kaamatan celebrations, and is also brewed at home, to be passed around in a large jar with long straws to be shared by guests. More commercial brews are also aplenty, with the ‘war cry’ of Aramaitii! being heard throughout the night, and day! Aramaitii is the local version of ‘cheers’, or ‘yam seng’, and is shouted with gusto amidst happy groups of friends (and strangers!).  Basically, Kaamatan is the biggest get-together you can have, as whole kampungs gather in one dewan/area to eat, drink and be merry!
Part of the crowd at KDCA during Kaamatan
Photo credits
Petronas, long known for their heart-warming TV commercials, have actually produced a special webfilm that will give West Malaysians and anyone else who has never experienced Kaamatan, or Sarawak’s Hari Gawai, a deeper insight into the world of the modern yet still traditional East Malaysia. The episodes were filmed in the interior kampungs, to capture the purity of the festivals; but don’t be fooled! Kota Kinabalu and Kuching are the bustling cities of Sabah and Sarawak, creating the uniqueness of harmony between the old and the new within the two states.
Screenshot from one of the Petronas episodes
So if you ever plan to visit Sabah (and trust me, you should!), the end of May is definitely the best time to really experience the culture and the warmth of its people. Tickets can be a bit pricier than usual, and sold out flights are common, so do plan ahead!

For now though, I’d like to wish all my Sabahan friends,
Kotobian Tadau Tagazo Do Kaamatan!

Til next time,
Calista xx

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Attainable Flawlessness, No Knives Necessary!

*Sponsored Post
Flawless. Perf (as in perfect). Victoria's Secret Angel.

Ok, so maybe not the last one. But how many of us crave these urban words being associated with us, whether in photos or in real life?
I woke up like this, we flawless.
- Beyonce. 
As the desire for perfection grows with the advancement of the beauty industry, men and women alike are always on the lookout for easy, inexpensive ways to improve their physical appearance. While some may say looks aren't everything, no one can deny that vanity is an inborn human trait, and as much as we say we don't care, who doesn't like feeling pretty? Besides, looks alone may not carry you through life, but they sure do open many doors!

While plastic surgery is a growing industry, many people, myself included, are way too much of a scaredy-cat to actually go under the knife in the name of beauty. I havent even been able to bring myself to go for Lasik, which would actually be practical and painless! Haha..
A patient getting a beauty jab at iD Esthetic Beauty House
Even though I haven't had anything done, I think we're forever curious about what could be done, or how these things are done, and through friends and the internet, I recently learnt that there is this procedure where they use 'fillers', which can correct minor imperfections (or, quirks which you're not too fond of).
One of the treatment rooms in iD Esthetic Beauty House
iD Esthetic Beauty House was previously located in Puchong, but with the increase of clientele (and you guys probably went "Puchong? So far??" hehe), they have relaunched the company at Berjaya Times Square TODAY! =D The beauty clinic offers all kinds of micro surgery, aka non-invasive beauty treatments, mainly focusing on fillers.
Lip Filler Before & After from iD Esthetic Instagram
So what exactly are fillers? I know, I asked the same question. I thought that maybe they were lip plumpers, or a less permanent type of cheek implants, but that's all I could think of. In reality? You can get chin fillers, apple cheek fillers, 'v-shape' face fillers, nose fillers, placenta injections, breast injections and more! All this with a needle, no knives/lasers required!
'V-shape' face filler Before & After taken from iD Esthetic Instagram
Fillers are actually temporary to long-lasting solutions to wrinkles, scars, or soft-tissue volume loss. The injections are usually collagen, hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxyl, and provide less permanent changes to parts of yourself you'd like to change, but are maybe unsure of the outcome. Thinking of getting a nose job but worried you'd regret it after a few months? Why not try a nose filler first so you can see what you'd look like with a change? Like it? Go back for touch up nose fillers. Don't like it? Just leave it and the effects will slowly wear off and go back to normal.

Ray Eng of iD Esthetic Beauty House is his own best advert, as he himself has gone through cosmetic surgery to look better than before. He also trained in Thailand, China and Korea, arguably the most famous destinations for cosmetic surgery these days!
Ray's name card
Interested to know more? I'm no expert, but I do know how you can contact one! Haha.. Just WeChat your questions to idAesthetic or email them at Better yet, walk in for a personal consultation at their new and easily accessible outlet at 06-12, 6th Floor, Berjaya Times Square, No.1, Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-21410608 to make an appointment! =)
Have you tried micro surgery before? Or even had any type of plastic surgery? Leave me a comment with your experience, I'm really curious!

Til next time,
Calista xx

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Local Sabah Food is Delicious Bah!

Every Sabahan can probably rattle off a list of local food for any foreigner who happened to ask them: nasi lemak, satay, beef rendang, laksa, rojak... The list goes on.  But what about actual local local food? Can you name any Sabahan dishes?

"Err.. Hinava!"
"Err............ Tapai..?"

Didnt think so hahaha! But why? When we go house-visiting in the kampungs during Kaamatan, there's always loads of yummy dishes that I wouldnt be able to name; and wouldnt be able to find anywhere else if I wanted other friends to try it.

Le Meridien is hoping to change all that. Launching the latest edition of it's ala carte menu, A Taste Of Discovery at Circle Restaurant, Tampatan Flavours is curated by local culinary talents and inspired by its destination - Sabah, Borneo.

Traditional Kadazandusun cooking takes a variety of wild jungle ingredients, such as bamboo shoots and palm sago, and spins out unique creations that stimulate your taste buds, accentuating each individual taste, whether it be fresh, pickled, fermented or otherwise.
Hinava  RM26
The most famous Sabahan cuisine is commonly served as an appetizer. Hinava is essentially fresh mackerel marinated with lime, ginger and chili, and garnished with salad. Possessing a distinct vinegary taste, you can eat hinava with rice or bread, and it is deeeeeelicious! I dont know why even I only knew about this amazing plate of yumminess just last year! =O
Pinasakan Sada in Wild Borneo Herbs  RM38
Another fish dish (hey, Sabah is part of the world's 3rd largest island right?), Pinasakan Sada in Wild Borneo Herbs is my favourite dish on the Circle Restaurant menu. Slow braised mackerel cooked in taco baco sour gravy, the sauce was to die for, and the fish was so flavourful! Pinasakan Sada also comes with bambangan (aka wild mango), lime chili, and hill rice (which is so much better than your normal white rice!)
Grilled Tiger Prawn in Banana Leaf  RM46
A more normal-sounding dish, the Tiger Prawn in Banana Leaf is made special by being locally spiced and grilled while being wrapped in banana leaves. The prawns were a very satisfying size, and were so fresh! They comes with steamed hill rice, wild onion salad, and prawn paste.
Ayam Bambangan  RM38
Ayam Bambangan looks a bit like Ayam Penyet. Served with steamed hill rice and stir fried wild fern shoots, this spring chicken is marinated in bambangan lemongrass gravy before being baked to perfection.
Selfie using the Samsung NX Mini. Lighting wasnt too good where I was seated though =(
Look at the size of that prawn! =D
If you're the adventurous kind and usually feel helpless when asked to choose which new dishes to try, you could order the Tampatan Trio (RM70). An exciting combination of the Traditional Hinava, Tiger Prawn in Banana Leaf AND Ayam Bambangan, you're already on your way to being a seasoned Sabahan food explorer! Served with steamed hill rice and discovery condiments, it's also the perfect way to share with a friend who's ordered the Pinasakan......
Sago Discovery  RM26
No meal is complete without dessert, and Sabahans like their sugar as much as the next Malaysian! The Sago Discovery was good enough for me to be able to finish it, even though I was so full from stuffing my face at lunch (dont take my stomach capacity as a guide though)! The chilled sago with palm sugar, coconut milk and Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream to top it all off was the perfect ending to my Sabahan food journey. By the end of it I was wondering where the hell I'd been all these years - how could I have never tried all this before?!  

Next time I have friends come to visit, at least I know where I can take them for a taste of Sabah. It's kinda sad that no one has thought of serving easily accessible local food like this before. As we were saying over lunch, unless it's Kaamatan season, it's virtually impossible to get Kadazan food, and even when it is, asking your friends if you can take tourists to their open houses is not exactly the most comfortable of options haha. 
Interior of Circle Restaurant, Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu.
Photo credit as per watermark.
Circle Restaurant is open from 6.30am - 11.00pm at Le Meridien Hotel, which is situated in the heart of KK city. The Tampatan Flavours menu is already available, in conjunction with this month's Kaamatan festivities.

Kotobian Tadau Tagazo do Kaamatan to my fellow Sabahans, and to my west Malaysian friends, the end of this month is the perfect time to come to Sabah if you want to witness the Harvest Festival! =D

Til next time,
Calista xx

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Prodigy of KL Clubs

Seems like I do most of my partying while I'm in KL nowadays - not a good sign for my KK life! - what with new clubs popping up here and there, and my bunch of party animal blogger friends! =P
During the launch, photo courtesy of Prodigy's official photographer!
Being back in KK is all good, but this public holiday eve, I'm reminiscing about the fun times I had dancing the night away just a couple of weeks back! After the launch of new club Prodigy KL, we ended up partying there at least 3 times; and hey, I was only there for about 7 weeks!
With my babe Yukiko.. Photo courtesy of Zana! xx
Situated in the heart of KL, clubbing at Prodigy was easy for me as all I had to do was walk over from Pavilion - it's located just opposite on Jalan Kia Peng, and you can see the building while walking along the KLCC link bridge.
Prodigy exterior, with ample parking spaces just opposite!
The launch, called Redefine, was literally jam-packed, even though it was by exclusive invite only! Manoah (my party hook-up) got us in with the it-crowd, and it was havoc! A great start to a newly opened club I'd say, cz after all, the more people there to party the better the party will be! It was so much fun meeting even more new friends too!
The Manoah group photo!
The very next Friday, a bunch of us headed over to check out the first of their weekly events: Filth Fortune with Mr Fluff. Grabbing a sofa seat upstairs, we started the night off with selfies and some drinks. Joanna sat next to me and started sipping on a drink, and it wasnt til I noticed that my 'special' glass had gone missing that either of us realised, she was happily throwing back neat.. cranberry juice! Ahahaha! And she wondered why she wasnt feeling anything.. ;p
Our drinks and the waiter helping us pour our first round.. And yes, apparently my butt always gets in the way!
One thing about the service staff in Prodigy though, they really make you feel VIP! When the ice bucket goes to mush, you barely have time to realise before they've already brought you a new one; your drinks are always topped up; there's always a friendly waiter nearby if you need anything.. It was great! We were dancing and laughing without having to worry about anything at all!
This is so awesome.. Just had to steal it from Michelle's post! =D
And to give you a look at the interior:
First 3 pix are as soon as you walk in - and yes that's a swing - Last photo is the VDJ console!
We also got meet Mr Fluff in the flesh! While he was in the midst of spinning, no less.
So guess who's excited? 
I can't wait to go back to KL to party with the girls again; I foresee a lot more Prodigy in the cards? =P See you guys in a few months' time!

For more info on upcoming events, check out Prodigy KL's facebook HERE.

Til next time, 
Calista xx

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Mary Quant Lipstick Giveaway!

The prettified bloggers with their goodie bags!
Just before I flew back to KK, I got to brush up on my sad makeup skills with Mary Quant via an invitation to their makeup workshop by Manoah. What I like most about makeup workshops, other than the lesson of course, is that I get to try out some colours I'd never try on my own! (Ie: All colours which are not black lol.)
The makeup spread!
If you've been following my blog, you'd probably remember that Mary Quant is a cosmetics brand born in the UK but now calls Japan home. I attended the launch cum beauty workshop last September at MUSE by Watson's in Sunway Pyramid, and I dont want to bore you with the same info, so please do check out my past post HERE for more details on the brand and all the products! =)
Before: Makeup-less Julie & I!
We all arrived bare-faced and ready to put our faces on. I went with Julie who said I forced her to join me humph! as it was our last chance to meet up before I left KL, and who better to spend a Sunday afternoon with?
Takaki-san clipping Felicia's hair back - a must before attempting a masterpiece!
As soon as all the girls had arrived, Ms. Takaki (the makeup artist from Japan, also featured in my past post) began her magic on the model of the day, Felicia.
Use via clockwise: Mary Quant Special Recipe Toning Lotion, then Moisture Milk - herbal fragrance;
Mary Quant Oil Zap on T-zone for matte finish, then Moisture Zap for moisture, smoothness, and longer lasting makeup.
Starting off with a clean slate, Takaki-san first used toner and moisturiser to prep Felicia's skin. As I already had sunblock on, I skipped these steps, as did I think most of the girls. I did use the makeup base though: Oil Zap is used on the T-zone, while Moisture Zap is to moisturise the dry areas like your cheeks. I only used Moisture Zap as my skin is quite dry.

Tip: Use Moisture Zap around your eye area, but not Oil Zap. Your eyelids only get oily because of the oil on your T-zone!

Next step is the Eye Gloss, which I absolutely love! It's a treatment eye foundation which covers dark circles and fine lines. The difference was obvious, as you can see in this selfie I took:
Don't think it's necessary to say, but I applied Eye Gloss to the left side only.
Next up, foundation. We tried out Mary Quant's Smoo Make Powder Foundation, and Takaki-san gave us 2 options: a lighter finish, or a natural finish. I chose natural, and Takaki-san picked out O-40 (Natural) for me.
Apply powder foundation with a face compact puff, smoothing evenly.
For a softer finish, apply Loose Face Powder with a puff; but after dabbing the puff into the powder, squeeze it with a tissue before patting onto your face so that you wont be stuck with too much excess.
Loose powder with a fluffy puff! Choose from a shimmery finish or a light finish.
Colouring time! I know, sounds like kids in kindergarten, but hey, you get the jist. We drew in our brows, then went straight into lining our peepers and playing with eye shadow.
Clockwise from top left:
Eyeliner (I used 18 on top, 10 for bottom lashes)
Eyeshadow also clockwise from white (N01 - for base), P06 from outer corner to middle, V01 for shading, R02 for bottom and corner.
Eyebrow pencil (I used charcoal grey)
Mascara aka Action Lashings (I used 2nd on left - Bohemian Purple). Apply with coil side first, then brush side.
What's unique about Mary Quant, is that they definitely have an array of colours, not only in eye shadow, but in eyeliner and mascara too! As our session was more to spring, we were playing with a pink palette, and this was my never-seen-before outcome:
As pink and "sweet" as it's ever gonna get for me! =P
Which brings me almost to the end of my makeover, and what you've all been waiting for: Lips!

Yep, I'm giving away one brand new Mary Quant Moisture Rich Lipstick in V-03, which is quite a rosy pink, to one lucky reader! All you have to do to win is:

1. Make sure you're following my blog (followers list on my sidebar), & my Instagram (@CalistaLeahLiew).
2. Leave me a comment below telling me what makeup item you can't leave the house without applying.
3. Don't forget to leave me your email address in the comment too!
4. Winner will be chosen by on 18th May 2014, and I will contact you via email.

That's it! Mary Quant's Moisture Rich Lipstick costs RM108 each in stores, but if you're the lucky winner, I'll be shipping this to you for free! =D
After: Julie & I forgot to show you our finished look properly, because we were given these words-cannot-describe-how-good-it-is cake! 
Good luck, get your entry in asap so you can start smooching away with gorgeous lips!

Til next time,
Calista xx

Monday, 5 May 2014

But First, Let Me Take A Selfie

Let's be honest.
Garrard ring
Every single person who will come across this blog post has taken a selfie. Whether that selfie was published onto their social media platforms, is another matter, but we've all had that "let's try this" moment, and turned the camera lens towards us in the 45 degree angle we've seen the experts do.

Does a #selfie need any introduction? Well, just to clarify, a selfie is not your run-of-the-mill photo of yourself, oh no. A selfie is a photo of yourself, taken by yourself. The most common selfie focuses on your face, or head & shoulders, but a full body selfie is achievable by pointing that mobile phone/camera at a mirror and snapping that shot of you holding your camera up to the mirror. (Most often taken to show an #ootd, aka outfit of the day)
Left: Common selfie
Right: OOTD selfie
Taken in the fitting room of Pull & Bear - I really love this dress!
The selfie is arguably the most common hashtag on Instagram, and at any given time, you have a 95% chance of seeing at least one selfie as you scroll down your facebook newsfeed. (Statistics 100% made up by yours truly, but also 100% true on my newsfeed, hah!)

The omg-twins-but-not-really selfie.
The world is obsessed with selfies. Many post a selfie every single day on social media, and have perfected the art of taking that perfect shot of their face for the 1000th time this month. Hey, it even has it's own song!

Screencap from The Chainsmokers' hit #Selfie
"That's so ratchet."
There are more & more features/accessories available to cater to this selfie craze, like the monopod, the new Samsung S5's enhanced front camera, and the camera I just got last month: Samsung NX Mini.

My camera is white, and I'm using the lens on the far right.
With a flip-up display, they werent kidding when they said that taking a selfie has never been easier! I mean, even a total noob like me can churn out a pretty ok-looking selfie, and that's saying something! Don't believe me? Have a look through my Instagram - you can count the amount of selfies taken on one hand haha!

Dearest Yukiko & I
Luckily for you though, that's about to change! (Ok ok.. Maybe 'lucky' is too strong of a word..)

The I-can-kiss-you-while-taking-a-wefie
Ta-da! Selfie, wefie (when you take a group selfie shot) galore! I'm loving the sharp colours of the NX Mini, and with its 180 degree flip-up touchscreen, it's literally impossible to take my usual half-head-cut-off selfie shots like I usually end up taking with normal cameras.
Ignore the weird look on my face - I had just realised I was being stalked! =/
As a blogger, taking photos is an essential part of my life, and now instead of just taking photos of whatever I'm wanting to blog about, I can get myself into the frame too!

Tried the famous Boat Noodles with Joanna - 4 bowls each!
The lens I'm currently using is quite wide, so you have no fear of getting a close-up of my nose either nyehehe. The other feature I'm enjoying is the wink shot. A lot of times I find that I have a hard time clicking the shutter button, for instance when I have to hold the camera with my left hand? Now all I have to do is wink, hold for 2 seconds while the camera detects the batting of my lashes, and snap! we're done. It also detects really consistently, which I honestly wasn't expecting. The first day we got the camera, Sandy and I thought you had to actually wink for the shot, resulting in this picture:

No! Haha.. Just wink, and when the timer comes up, you have 2 seconds to give the lens your best doe-eyes before it snaps your shot. Just remember, if you really have the need to post a selfie daily, do mix it up a little:  
The world doesn't need to see the same angle, same make-up, same hairstyle every single day.

Now, to practice getting that perfect shot...

Til next time,
Calista xx

Instagram: @CalistaLeahLiew

Twitter: @CalistaLeahLiew

PS: ONE LAST SELFIE! Why? Because I can! =P 
And cz my brother deserves blog-time.
After looking at this, I'm definitely going back to practicing my selfie skills, lol.