About Grace Tan

Grace owns the award-winning business and lifestyle blog, WorkingWithGrace.wordpress.com. She is also the author of the best-selling book 'Blogging For A Living'.

Behind The Scenes: Grace Tan x The Sunday Times

Blogger Grace Tan The Sunday Times

Earlier this month, I met up with a journalist from The Sunday Times for an interview. After which, we had a photo-taking session during which even the fiancé pitched in and helped with the ‘lighting’ (see picture above).

Slightly over a week after the meet-up, the journalist, Rachel, sent me the draft to look through before it would be readied for publication. I discovered the importance of going through the draft first as there were a few errors that might have occurred due to mis-communication. Hopefully they do not make it to print.

  1. [About my previous job at AKLTG] For one, I did not work late every day. Just during the peak sales periods when there were previews, and when the kids’ camps were being run. I did “burn” weekends when there were previews though.
  2. I did not do cold-calling all the time. Just put calls through to potential customers when it was on my to-do list for the day. I could make over 40 calls a day sometimes, as not all calls would be answered anyway.
  3. On those days when my (working) mother would be cooking dinner on her ‘off days’, and I couldn’t make it home in time due to work, I’d be quite heartbroken. I was really quite sick of eating food bought outside, which usually came with too much salt, oil and MSG. Now, I always make it home for Mom’s hearty, home-cooked meals. :D
  4. I also did not binge-eat to get really quite plump while working at AKLTG. It was just due to insufficient exercise. I must have weighed about 5kg heavier than I do now. Read my book ‘Blogging For A Living’ and you’ll spot that picture of me and my ex-boss, Adam Khoo. My face was round like a mooncake back then [You have my permission to laugh], but it is now much ‘sharper’. I work out twice a week these days, with my trainers from Quantum Fitness. :)

I’m definitely looking forward to reading the interview in print. It will be yet another milestone in my blogging journey! :D

If you are visiting my blog for the first time (due to The Sunday Times’ interview), I would like to extend a warm welcome to you. :) Feel free to browse, and drop me an email at gracewwg [at] gmail [dot] com should you have any queries.

*NOTE: I have received many emails regarding products that can “help” my grandmother deal with diabetes. Unfortunately, she had already passed away before I was born!

Reader Email: “Seeking Advice On Deciding For The Future”

Reader Email

I usually receive interview request emails from students. But this one is a first – someone asking me for advice about which course to take after the ‘A’ levels. :)

[ If the screenshot isn't clear enough ]

Dear Ms Grace Tan,

I am so sorry for contributing to the accumulation of mails in your inbox. I am not writing for official purposes (i.e. Ads, sponsorships, interviews) as stated on your website and once again I apologise for contacting you for personal reasons.

I am a A level graduate currently dreading deadlines in June and August where I have to decide between SMU business and NTU comm studies. I have been reading up on local opinions, blogs and brightsparks for months. I came across your blog recently and have been reading it for a couple of weeks.

What drove me to start reading your blog was actually your self-intro page. For someone who chose not to be dictated by money or degree, I was very inspired by your courage and achievements, which is why I would really value your personal take on life decisions and career paths with regards to choice of uni courses.

Throughout my life, I have always made the “right” choice, whether it was to study in the top schools or to spend holidays interning. Over the years, I realised the “right” choice was not necessarily what made me truly happy. However, at this point in life, I worry that I would not be able to live life the way I want anyway if I finally choose to just follow my heart, which is to opt for a fun life in NTU mass comm, rather than the promising future that most people believe SMU business offers.

Thank you so much for actually reading everything up to this point. Sorry for taking up so much of your precious time. I really appreciate your work and what you do from what I’ve seen on your blog, I look forward to the day when ellen degeneres appears on your webpage! :)

I look forward to reading your reply.

~

I definitely do not think I am qualified to dispense advice on what to do after the ‘A’ levels. During my schooldays, I was pretty certain I was headed to the University to major in English Literature. But alas, I graduated with a History degree (the hows and whys are best left to another blogpost). Then I was absolutely lost regarding what to do after Uni.

Often, we follow what our heart says we should do, and then connect the dots much later. Things don’t always work out as planned, but we do whatever is best at that particular point in time. It will only “make sense” in the end, with the benefit of hindsight.

So my reply to this student was to follow her heart, take some risks, and work her ass off to become really good at what she has chosen to do. “The money will figure out its way to get to you. But if you don’t figure out what makes you happy, and choose to do it, then NOTHING will give you lasting happiness. Regret sucks.”

I also shared a video link with her: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/01/07/this-is-what-happens-when-a-kid-leaves-traditional-education/

It does not matter what you want to BE in future. As long as you have decided that you want to BE HAPPY, first of all.

Motherhood Rescheduled: Why Women Freeze Their Eggs and Why You Should Too

Motherhood Rescheduled

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning, New York City-based journalist, and the author of ‘Motherhood Rescheduled’. She has also written many articles about Social Egg Freezing and the preservation of fertility.

In this insightful article posted on The Wall Street Journal, Sarah shares about this “baby insurance” in the form of egg freezing she underwent between the age of 36 to 38.

In the article, she explores some of the benefits of egg freezing:

1) Removes the “punishing pressure to seek a new mate and helped [her] find love again at age 42″

2) Avoids ‘buzz kill on dates when you feel compelled to ask the guy sitting across from you, clutching his craft beer, “So do you think you might want kids someday?” ‘

3) Offers peace of mind that “babies born from frozen eggs… had no more risk of birth defects than those conceived naturally”

4) Rather than causing women to put baby and dating plans on hold, egg freezing involves an investment of “time, energy and money… The combination puts the issue front and center and makes you commit to your goals”.

5) Allows one to be “more relaxed” in a relationship instead of being pressured by a ticking biological clock.

6)  Makes women more open to using science to explore alternate routes to creating their families. One woman decided to stop waiting for the right man at the right moment and explored using donor sperm to have a baby on her own, using her frozen eggs. Some other women began the egg-freezing process because they were opposed to using donor eggs. However when their own eggs failed, they turned to donor eggs as a last resort.

7) Gives career women “options for fitting a family into their work lives”

And over at Eggsurance.com, women share about their egg freezing journeys. For one, Wendy froze her eggs at age 42 and here is her advice to women who are considering egg freezing:

“I still have no regrets. I know younger is better. But, I achieved amazing results and I only have one ovary. They told me going into this I would likely get no more than 5 eggs. I ended up getting 16 eggs, 15 were viable for freezing! I would encourage women to freeze their eggs at a younger age than I did. Age will have an impact on the quality of your eggs and your overall success rate. I had one fertility clinic even turn me down, because of my age. They didn’t even examine me. They said that they did not accept patients over 40.

Egg Freezing is the best thing I have every done. I know that there are no guarantees, but I’m so thankful to be able to empower myself and ultimately not give up on my ability to choose to start a family with a partner.”

Other related articles:

1) On the Huffington Post is an article about how IVF pregnancy rates using frozen eggs are comparable to IVF using fresh eggs. The article also notes that if you are in your 20s, you have a high chance of getting pregnant naturally, and do not need to freeze your eggs.

2) CNN interviews Dr Jeffrey Steinberg on egg freezing HERE.

~

Consider egg freezing if you are in your 30s or early 40s, have not met Mr Right yet or want to focus on your career first, but you know you want to have kids in future. I have also put together another blogpost about 5 Things You Need To Know About Social Egg Freezing.

Should you have any questions, you may like to contact fertility specialist, Dr. Charles M P Lim, at dr.charles.mpl@gmail.com.

Forever Young

Kim Kardashian

{ Picture credit: segmentnext.com }

Ladies, do you know that a part of you can be kept forever young? That part is your eggs and your ability to produce healthy babies.

With the new breakthrough in cryo-technology, your eggs can be vitrified and stored in liquid nitrogen below -196⁰C forever. This maintains your ability to remain fertile even when you become menopausal.

The younger you store your eggs, the higher would be their fertility. Generally the fertilizing ability of a woman’s eggs would have already begun to deteriorate at the age of 35. After 40, egg aging would speed up and after 43, the potential for producing healthy babies would be very low.

If you want to keep your fertility options open and not be constrained by time and social factors, you may like to explore egg storage.

It is now becoming fashionable for modern women to store their eggs. One of the most famous women in this category is none other than Kim Kardashian. If you are a fashionable woman who values her fertility potential and refuses to be constrained by time, you may like to join the likes of Kim in storing your eggs now before the window of opportunity passes.

Kim Kardashian baby North West

{ Picture credit: abcnews.go.com }

What options open up with egg storage?

You can continue full-steam ahead in developing your career and postpone childbearing to a time when you have achieved your ambitions.

You do not have to settle for a less-than-desirable man to be your husband just because age is catching up. You have the assurance of continued fertility and remain confident of your self-worth as you conduct yourself in dating situations and when meeting your potential mother-in-law.

You can choose not to be saddled with a man and wash his dirty socks and yet have a baby of your own to take care of you in your old age if you also use sperms from a reputable sperm bank. You can choose the father of your child to be of any desired physical and intellectual attribute if you use a reputable sperm bank.

You can also choose not to get out of shape with a pregnancy by having the fertilized egg implanted in a surrogate woman.

Egg storage would liberate you from the march of time and give you the freedom that men enjoy in reaching your full potential.

If you are already over the age of 35, don’t worry. There is now a youth hormone called Human Growth Hormone which can make some women’s eggs ‘younger’. Better still, if you want to postpone egg collection you can start receiving this youth hormone now to slow down the egg aging process.

Sarah Elizabeth Richards shares her experience on social egg storage in her book, ‘Motherhood Rescheduled‘.

You can also see the experience of others in the blogs on their egg freezing experience.

The main risk of egg storage is the necessity of producing multiple eggs. This may cause ovarian hyper-stimulation.

Egg storage is relatively safe nowadays because this complication can be considerably minimized.

The cost of egg freezing in the USA is about USD10,000 per attempt. This is about SGD8,000 in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.

Social egg storage is not permitted in Singapore. The nearest locations are Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

If you want to know which are the best centres for egg storage, you may like to email Dr. Charles M P Lim at dr.charles.mpl@gmail.com. He is passionate in promoting fertility preservation.

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

{ source }

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

{ source }

~

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!