My Recent Phenomenal Success With Facebook Postings

I’ve hosted two giveaways on Facebook recently (one uploaded this afternoon), and I am taken aback by the phenomenal number of likes, shares and comments that the posts have garnered!

I currently have 10,758 fans on my facebook page. But this Herbal Essences giveaway post has been shared 1740 times! On top of that, the post itself was viewed by 14,896 people! <- That is even greater than the number of fans I have. The post also received 493 likes and 440 comments.

Herbal Essences giveaway

Similarly, this Cornell Hello Kitty Toaster giveaway, uploaded this afternoon, has been well-received with 592 shares, 334 likes and 203 comments. The post has already been viewed by 9296 people!

Cornell Hello Kitty Toaster

Both these posts were not “boosted” and I did not take out any ads to promote them either. So I am pleasantly surprised at the number of people taking part.

I guess my takeaway (to share with all my fellow bloggers reading this) is to keep giveaways simple. Avoid having too many steps for people to follow, i.e. too many hoops for participants to jump through, before they can win the prize.

A ‘like’ plus a ‘share’ is something most people are willing and able to do. :)

The Entertainer App: Great Discounts, When It Works

Late last month, I made my way to Extra Virgin Pizza at United Square, and together with a group of fellow bloggers, was introduced to the Entertainer Singapore app.

What I like most about this app is that it can tell you which stores are offering you 1-for-1 deals based on your current location. So, if I’m in Punggol now, here’s what I see:

The Entertainer Singapore

For certain locations, there are limited choices available.

My blogger pal, Steven, and I did utilize the app when we had dinner at Marriott Hotel’s Pool Grill previously.

Marriott Hotel Pool Grill

The 1-for-1 main course deals available via the Entertainer app are thus pretty attractive. Steven utilized the app installed into his phone when settling the bill after dinner as I was worried the app in my phone would fail once again.

What happened was this: At Extra Virgin Pizza, I just *could not* redeem the 1-for-1 pizza deal that all the bloggers present were encouraged to redeem. After I keyed in my 4-digit code, and the restaurant staff keyed in hers, the redemption code just would not show. So I ended up maxing out all 4 redemption opportunities at Extra Virgin Pizza, with no idea what went wrong:

The Entertainer Singapore

It would have been pretty embarrassing if this problem had occurred in another restaurant and my meal companion and I had to pay full price instead of the 1-for-1 deal we had gone to the restaurant for. I haven’t used the app since. Though Steven has told me the app has proven very useful to him, and the amount he has saved with these dining offers has exceeded the purchase price of the app! The app can be downloaded for S$95 and you can key in this discount code for 20% discount: @huppy6 (valid till end-April).

[Click HERE to read a detailed account about Steven's experience with the App. It has saved him a lot of money!]

What we ate at Extra Virgin Pizza:

Extra Virgin Pizza

4 very-thin crust pizzas that 4 people couldn’t finish

Isaac Tan, the Senior Marketing & Communications Executive wrote to all the bloggers after the event, expressing hope that we’d enjoyed the pizzas and asking if we’d like any more information or photos. My email reply to him did not get a response. But if you are curious, here it is:

Extra Virgin Pizza

No need for a review about Extra Virgin Pizza now. And I won’t be back either. There are many other places to go for better pizza in Singapore. ;)

Blogging For A Living: Workshop at Civil Service Club on 12 April 2014

[This post was featured in my workshop at Civil Service Club on 12th April]

Blogging

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Selfie with these kawaii participants:

Blogging For A Living workshop

Add Me On Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/thegracetan

Tip #1: Network – “Who You Know” Is As Important As “Who Knows You”

Note Names and Occupations *Psst: Grab A Card*

Grace at i.Dental

~

~ A Bit About Me: How My Blog Was Started ~

yay

Tip #2: Pick the RIGHT niche FOR YOU

Sri Mariamman Temple

Tip #3: Unleash Your Passion and Creativity

Recent Blogging Contest – my blogpost 

Prizes for the Winner: Title of influr ‘Influencer of the Month’, 1-night stay at Marriott Hotel (worth S$390++) and Laneige White Plus Renew Hamper worth S$306

Laneige BB Cushion Pear Experiment

Tip #4: Face your fears.

croc hunter

Tip #5: The quitters never win. And the winners don’t quit.

Receiving my award from Minister Lawrence Wong

-> Setting Up Your WordPress Blog <-

Blogspot or WordPress

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~

Upcoming Workshops:

(1) Module 1: Creative Blogging For Winning Contests & Competitions

- Learn what makes an award-winning blogpost and an award-winning blog

- The 3 Crucial Elements Your Blogpost Must Have

- The Creative Thought Process

(2) Module 2: Blogging Strategies For Success, Effective PR, and Blog Monetisation 

- How to get noticed by the media and get instant traffic to your blog

- My blogging secrets: 3 Little-known Ways To Get Advertisers To Pay You MORE

- That Shortcut to Blogging Success that no other award-winning blogger will share with you

Dates: Module 1 on 11th May and Module 2 on 25th May (Sundays 10am to 5pm) *Lunch and refreshments will be provided

-> For early bird pricing, please email gracewwg [at] gmail [dot] com

Herbal Essences Touchable Smooth Range – Smooth But Still Frizzy Hair

Herbal Essences Japan Series

Herbal Essences shampoos are well-known for their lovely scents, and now they have a new range which promises ultra-long-lasting fragrances! Under the Japan Series, there is the Touchable Smooth range and the Touchable Moisture range.

I was given the Touchable Smooth range for review and I found a most willing volunteer in Barbie! :D

Herbal Essences Touchable Smooth

To test if this range truly works, I backcombed (or teased) Barbie’s hair. Truth be told, her hair was already frizzy when I took her out of the box. There were split ends and all, and backcombing made it worse.

Bad hair day, Barbie?

Barbie Hair

I then wet her hair before the shampooing began…

Barbie Shampoo

I used the Touchable Smooth range of shampoo, conditioner and treatment:

Barbie Shampoo

This range, with fusions of camellia oil and pink rose truly smells heavenly.

Then the pat dry with a towel and a comb through:

Barbie shampoo

And just for fun, a blow dry:

Barbie Shampoo

The Outcome & A Giveaway:

Herbal Essences Touchable Smooth

Barbie’s hair looks and feels really smooth till about three-quarters of the way down, where it is still frizzy and with split ends. Her hair smells wonderful though! The scent lasts for about 4-6 hours easily, but definitely not for the whole day.

The other range in the Japan Series – the Touchable Moisture range – is the one that is said to be able to combat frizz and manage flyaway hair. This particular Touchable Smooth range just gets hair smoother. So I guess you just have to buy both? Or wait till there’s a 2-in-1?

In any case, here’s a giveaway!

{ Giveaway: Herbal Essences Touchable Smooth travel set }

How To Win:

1) ‘Like’ my Herbal Essences Touchable Smooth giveaway on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thegracetan

2) ‘Share’ my giveaway post on facebook.

That’s all! It’s that simple! :)

*This is an international giveaway! The prize will be mailed to the winner.

Gucci’s Made To Measure EDT for that Dream Date

Gucci Made To Measure

[All images are the property of workingwithgrace]

When I took the bottle of Gucci Made To Measure EDT out of the box, what captivated me first of all was the interesting cap and how heavy the bottle is – it would make a good paperweight one day!

Even before finding out if the scent was pleasing, the fiance asked if he could have the bottle as he is a fan of the brand. So… no giveaway this time! :D

My thoughts about the scent: It’s for the more distinguished gentlemen, so if you are below the age of 30, it’s probably not that suitable. It belongs to the man who has earned his place in society and is unafraid to flaunt it. [Wow. I should go write those cryptic descriptions for perfumes! Ha!] I’m not sure if this scent will be a hit with the ladies, so, guys, it’s best if you ask your girlfriend or wife for her opinion about the scent before you make that purchase. [Prices below]

Gucci Made To Measure

Pricing: EDT 30ml (S$88), 50ml (S$112), 90ml (S$146), Aftershave lotion (S$103), Shampoo (S$50), Deodorant (S$45)

Together with the bottle for review, I was also asked what I thought would make a “dream date”. It’s definitely important that my date must smell good (or, at the very least, not smell bad). An ex-boyfriend used to douse himself in cologne before stepping out of the house, and anyone within a 5m radius would end up choking. So, guys, moderation is key.

Also, let’s not forget about basic grooming and hygiene, clean shoes, and clean clothes. There. It’s not that difficult. At least guys have no need for makeup or elaborate hairdos. :D

My Experience As A Ben & Jerry’s Scooper On Free Cone Day

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day

Yes, that’s me!

I didn’t announce this beforehand but I was at the Vivocity outlet of Ben & Jerry’s on Tuesday as a Scooper for Free Cone Day. It was an interesting first-time experience, but let’s just say that I never want to be a Scooper on Free Cone Day ever again.

I don’t want to whine or complain about anything. I made the best of it, and left when I felt there was nothing else for me to contribute.

For the first time, B&J offered 18 flavors on Free Cone Day, which is a big headache if you are new to scooping, and have no idea which of the 3 brown mounds of ice cream in front of you is Chocolate Fudge Brownie. There are no labels for staff to read.

Also, there is no “standard’ amount of ice cream for each cone. Some scoopers will give you a large dollop of ice cream, while others won’t. In the midst of frantic ice cream scooping, I was told to scoop more ice cream onto each cone. Later on, I watched in horror as an experienced scooper handed a cone with an overly-large scoop of ice cream to a lady… only to have the ice cream mound fall off. So… what amount is just right? It would be SO much easier to just hand out cups of ice cream.

When the other blogger and myself were ushered out so the rest of the crew could pick up the pace, I decided that I would help give out Children’s Charities Association of Singapore brochures to those standing in the queue… under the hot sun at 12 noon.

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day

And lo and behold, I spotted people queuing while eating their ice cream. Get this: BEFORE they had even finished eating their first cone, they were queuing for the second! And in case you think it is only penny-pinching Singaporeans who would do that, I spotted a trio of angmohs standing in line with their ice cream cones!

Why people would queue under the hot sun (at 12 noon on a Tuesday) TWICE for free ice cream, I know not. Well, maybe because it is free.

And here are the stats for the event:

1) Over S$5000 raised for The Children’s Charities Association of Singapore

2) Nearly 50,000 scoops of ice cream given out (which means, on average, people paid 10 cents each for their ice cream)

You know what? It would be way more effective to just charge S$1 per ice cream. And S$50,000 would be raised for charity, ten times what was collected!

Value-For-Money Set Lunch and KTV in Johor Bahru

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng

If you visit JB on weekdays and frequent KSL Mall, you might want to pop by Wong Kok Char Chan Teng at L1-99. Located next to Old Town White Coffee and near to Popular bookstore, it offers set lunches from RM9.90 each!

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng set lunch

Once seated, you will be given the usual ala carte menus. So ask for the set lunch order sheet (as pictured above). Select your main, choice of soup and a drink. The Borsch soup is the most tasty and I usually go for the iced HK milk tea. You will also get a small plate of fruit (I had two small pieces of honeydew, and three thin slices of sweet watermelon today).

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng lunch

(top: Lemon Grass Pork Chop with Rice for him, bottom: Noodle with Fruit Honey Sauce Chicken for me)

The noodles and chicken were definitely yummier! :D

Our total bill came up to RM25.10, which is S$9.70. (@_@)

~

For KTV, we went to Song City (Level 5) at Plaza Pelangi. We signed up for their lifetime membership at RM38 and paid an additional RM28 for 4 hours of KTV today. Even if I include the membership fee in today’s KTV bill, it is a mere S$25 for 4 hours. The membership allows us an additional hour at each visit, on top of getting a special members-only price.

*We like sussing out the best bargains in JB. If you have a recommendation, please leave me a comment! :)

Blogging For A Living: SIM HQ Book Talk 2nd April 2014

[This post was featured in my Book Talk at SIM HQ on 2nd April]

Bannerman Blogging Comic

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Add Me On Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/thegracetan

Tip #1: Your NETWORK is extremely important!

Grace at i.Dental

~

~ A Bit About Me: How My Blog Was Started ~

yay

With MP Penny Low

Penny Low

Minister Sim Ann

Blogger Grace and Minister Sim Ann 2

Tip #2: Follow your passion. The money (and rewards) will come.

BRANDS Essence of Chicken

RWS Dolphin Island

[*Read my blogpost about my visit to Dolphin Island. Initially I felt that dolphins should just be left in the wild. After the visit, I came to understand how the dolphins are being cared for at Resorts World Sentosa.]

MILO Champions League 2013

MILO Champions League 2013

Tip #3: Find your passion and work hard at it. If you want something badly enough, you will get it.

Receiving my award from Minister Lawrence Wong

Tip #4: Face your fears.

croc hunter

Tip #5: The quitters never win. And the winners don’t quit.

~ Monetisation ~

(1) Advertorials

(2) Ads – sidebar, banner, social media mentions

(3) More in my book ‘Blogging For A Living’

A picture with the all-female organizing team :D

Book Talk at SIM

Join me at upcoming events HERE.

5 Things Only The Eldest Kid In The Family Will Understand

me and JJ

Me and my (non-identical) twin godsons

Having visited my godsons two Sundays in a row, I have come to the conclusion that I am definitely biased as a godma – the one on my left (John) is closer to my heart (pun fully intended). Also, if I were to have kids in future, I’ll stop at one, thank you very much.

Here are 5 things only the eldest kid in the family will understand. Based entirely on my experience as the eldest kid in my family and from my interaction with my twin godsons, of course:

(1) No matter whose fault it really is, it will be your fault. Always. 

Even if you hit your younger sibling because he/she provoked you FIRST, you are at fault. Even if you did not initiate the fight, you did not “give in” to the tyranny of the younger one, so you are at fault. Period.

Once the younger one hollers / cries, you can prepare to be scolded / whacked. Resistance is futile and explanations are useless. Just suck it up. No one ever said life is fair.

(2) There is absolutely nothing you can do to win the affection of your parents back once you have a sibling.

Your mum used to sing you a lullaby before bedtime and cuddle you to sleep? Sorry, move over now. Your position as princess or prince has been usurped by this annoying fella called your sibling.

Even if you do extremely well in school and come home with your report card with perfect grades, nothing is going to change. You will just be lauded for setting a good example for the younger child. EVERYTHING is about the younger one.

One consolation is that the eldest kid usually has the “better” genes and is relatively smarter and more good-looking (though this point can be debated :D).

(3) Possibly the most annoying thing your parents can ever say to you is that they got you a sibling “because you looked lonely”. 

How is it possible that being the king of the palace makes one lonely? Getting kicked off the throne and being replaced by this younger chap is what makes one truly feel lonely… and alone.

If parents would just admit they had an “accident”, or were tempted by a ‘baby bonus’ doled out by the government, or felt they had too much money and could definitely afford to have another baby, or wanted to have a second child as “insurance” if the elder one somehow got himself or herself killed, or they wanted to “try” for a child of another gender… ALL of these reasons would be way more acceptable.

If a child looks lonely, the child needs more of your attention and love… not another sibling. What gave you that idea?!

(4) Possibly the only good thing about being the eldest is to never have to wear hand-me-downs.

You will usually be given new clothes and shoes, unless your mother accepts items from a relative or neighbor or church friend. Your sibling(s) will wear your old clothes and shoes, play with your old toys and probably sleep in your old bed as well.

*Note: If you get a new toy and your sibling wants to snatch it from you, let the bugger have it. Do not try to resist or fight. Refer to Point 1.

(5) If you are smart enough, you can make your younger sibling your minion.

The younger one always tries to mimic what the elder one does, from the way you speak to the way you walk. And the younger child likes to get “approval” from the elder one.

Getting your sibling to fetch your toy or bag for you is not impossible. *wink*

Sure, it can be pretty annoying to have someone follow you everywhere you go, and mimic what you say, but it will make you feel rather important. :D

~

I definitely treat the older boy, John, a lot better. At 22 months old, he is such a darling – so affectionate and he ‘clicks’ with me. However, it is easy to forget that he needs his parents’ love as much as his brother does. I am told that he cries when he has to sleep in his cot while his younger sibling gets to sleep in-between Daddy and Mummy on their bed. I feel it is grossly unfair. But what to do?

If I get to take one kid out to an amusement park in future, I’ll bring John. I’m biased too because it takes one “eldest child” to understand another. And this is what godmothers are for, methinks. :D

We Should Raise Productivity, But Are Bosses Ready?

[Giveaway worth S$82 at the end of this post: WIN one of two Limited Edition Moleskine notebooks!]

There has been so much talk about “Productivity” – how some industries are productivity laggards, how we should bring mature women back into the workforce, etc. But what exactly do bosses THINK productivity is all about? And are they ready to implement changes which may not necessarily be comfortable?

In my previous job, my manager did not allow sales people to work from home. He wanted us to physically “check in” every single day, even though our jobs could be done at home, as only a phone is required. I detest the train commute to work (and back) as trains are always packed and I get to the office not in the best of moods. Also, there are distractions aplenty, such as colleagues stopping by my desk for a chat, or worse still, an invitation to an overly-long lunch or coffee break. Lunch or a break can last as long as 2 hours sometimes, and ironically, it’s perfectly fine. As long as your laptop’s on your desk, your bag is on your seat and people know you have come into the office today, all’s fine.

In some ways, yes, it does sound like a dream job, but I could most certainly have done more if I could work from home. I could have made more calls (in my PJs), taken shorter breaks, and had a healthier work-life balance by investing more time in reading and exercise, for instance. I wouldn’t need so many days of annual leave just to “recharge” too!

But the strange thing is, the manager needed to ‘see’ his people in the office to think they are at work. (Of course, they could be checking their facebook feeds)

Here’s a quote from the (really quite fabulous) book ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook: “Still, the traditional practice of judging employees by face time rather than results unfortunately persists. Because of this, many employees focus on hours clocked in the office rather than on achieving their goals as efficiently as possible.”

Exactly!

And when one employee quits, they don’t hire another immediately, and just let the remaining employee(s) take over the person’s job. Same thing happens when someone goes on maternity leave, or a holiday. The other employees cover the person’s duties. They think that is productivity, I guess.

I think this whole notion about raising Productivity deserves more attention, especially since even coffeeshops are harping on Productivity!

Last weekend, I had lunch at a coffeeshop in Pasir Ris Drive 6. Pasted on the pillars were notices like this one:

productivity poster in coffeeshop

“Please support our productivity drive. It will be faster if you order and collect your drinks at our counter, thank you.”

I believe this to be a lie. Will I get my drink FASTER if I order and collect it from the drinks counter? If everyone starts ordering AT the drinks counter, a queue will form and I will spend more time waiting in the queue! This is why I sometimes forego drinks altogether – just eat my food and leave. Usually what happens is I’ll just get my food and if the drinks uncle or auntie comes by to take my order, I’ll place it with him/her and eat my food while waiting for my drink, which usually is served before the end of the meal!

I am worried that this coffeeshop’s “productivity drive” might mean the coffeeshop staff who come round to our tables to take our orders might lose their jobs. Of course, it could be that their enlightened employers give them other tasks to do, such as collecting the glasses or serving those customers who don’t wish to place their orders at the counter. But I highly doubt it.

I don’t know what they think “productivity” is. Perhaps it means “more profits” for them, but waiting in line at the drinks counter is not a productive use of my time.

And what can employers do if they DO want to raise productivity levels?

In The Straits Times on Wednesday last week, I noticed two almost-full-page ads about productivity:

Straits Times ad on productivity

Polar Puffs & Cakes has found that their pastries can be heated up 10 times quicker using a microwaveable bag. I’m not a fan of microwaved food (I got Mom to dump the family’s microwave oven some time back) but I guess this is an instance of how more food can be prepared in a shorter period of time so as to serve more customers, without necessarily reducing the number of service staff.

The Way To Go site is pretty informative too. And the case studies are pretty cool, such as this one about Han’s (F&B) Pte Ltd, which had a compliment to complaint ratio at 1:10 back in 2006, and by 2009 managed to improve this to 1:1.5! I applaud Han’s incentive programme: “Han’s also implemented an incentive programme, which distributes 15 per cent of the group’s profit as staff bonuses and provides comprehensive insurance coverage and staff benefits. In addition, cash grants received under the Jobs Credit Scheme are paid back to employees.”

The e2i site also has a Sakae Sushi case study: The lack of communication between service staff and the kitchen caused long waiting times for food. With the use of equipment like walkie-talkies and cameras to improve communications and monitor operations, waiting time has been reduced and productivity increased, with 1 staff serving 33 customers instead of the original 25.

And here’s the other ad:

Straits Times productivity ad

The EnterpriseOne site will put you in touch with business advisors so you can get all the help you need with regard to raising productivity levels.

~

In the Budget Debate speech by Minister Lim Swee Say, he notes that many industries have embraced the move towards higher productivity.

“For example, in conservancy cleaning, with ride-on sweeper, cleaners can now clean pavements, drains and grass patches easier, smarter and safer. Much faster and at the same time, save labour and earn higher wages.

ride-on sweeper

In landscaping, workers can now cut grass using a remote control grass-cutting robot. Again, faster with less labour and higher salary.

In hotel, hydraulic pumps under the bed helps the mature worker to clean the hotel room easier, smarter, safer, and faster too. Being able to clean more rooms means more pay for the workers and at the same time, it means less need for manpower for the hotels…

In food factories, installation of packaging machines has improved productivity by many times. Again, higher wages with fewer workers.

In F&B, the use of mobile ordering, installation of up-to-date kitchen equipment, nurturing of management trainees are helping some F&Bs to grow faster and more profitable too. Workers are, at the same time, paid better…

Lim Swee Say fb

An F&B outlet, Eighteen Chefs, has recently installed a machine [that] will produce eggs after eggs at 64 degrees Celsius, and it will always turn up eggs that are perfect every time. It makes the jobs of the workers easier, faster, safer, and yet at the same time, because of higher productivity, they are paid more too.”

Eighteen Chefs

I think it is great that the companies and industries mentioned in the speech have raised the wages of workers even after investing money in machinery and all. It is my hope that more (if not, all) employers will follow suit.

{ GIVEAWAY }

WIN one of two *limited edition* Moleskine notebooks worth S$41 each! :D Take your pick: The Hobbit notebook OR Star Wars notebook! To take part, provide ONE TIP for raising productivity in your workplace.

Moleskine Notebook giveaway

One great tip I like sharing with friends is to come up with a list of 5 things you MUST accomplish in each particular day, and don’t head home till you complete all 5. This To-Do List will help you get through your day with laser-sharp focus. One of the items on my list could be “Call 40 customers” when I was in my sales job previously. :D This is why the prizes for this giveaway are moleskine notebooks – for you to craft your to-do lists every single day! :D

How To Win:

Step 1: ‘Like’ my Moleskine giveaway on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegracetan

Step 2: ‘Share’ my Moleskine giveaway post on Facebook

Step 3: Comment on THIS blogpost and provide one tip for raising productivity in your workplace, e.g. “Log out of Facebook during office hours / Schedule a power nap during lunchtime”. I’ll pick my favorite 2 comments/tips! :)

Giveaway ends 15th April, 2014.

*International giveaway – all are welcome to take part!

*Make sure you have liked my facebook page to receive my winner announcement notification! :D