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'.

Blogging 101: How To Stay Motivated About Blogging

This post is inspired by a friend who has recently decided that shutting down her existing blog is the way to go, because it is not making her money and is taking up too much time and effort, leaving her with “no life”. She is, however, starting a new blog around the topic of motivation, which I found quite ironic.

It appears that she chose her existing blog’s ‘niche’ based on what was popular at that time. And it was not due to passion.

In fact, I had asked her why she agreed to attend events which were not in line with her blog theme, did not pay a cent, and essentially took up a lot of time and effort. She had no answer for me.

SO how does one stay motivated about Blogging?

1) Ensure you are passionate about Blogging

I have over 600 posts on this blog now. I truly love to write and I do love reading my own blogposts. (If this sounds strange to you, please know that it shouldn’t) An artist should, well, enjoy looking at his own artwork, right?

2) Stop when you are feeling tired

Have I ever felt like quitting? YES! So, I “quit” for maybe 2 days to a week, till I am feeling better about blogging and I continue.

And when I get into the groove, oh boy, my blog subscribers know this – a sudden avalanche of blogposts will hit their email inboxes. :D

Blogging is not work. You are your own boss. You state the rules. It is ok to feel tired. Just have a break!

3) Learn to say No

Don’t accept all invites, even if they pay! If an invite doesn’t come with a paycheque, then it had better add tremendous value to this blog. If it doesn’t, I’m definitely saying no. I’m not trading my youth and energy for invites to events I don’t care about.

In fact, if the invite comes too late, e.g. two days before the event happens, I’ll turn down the invitation even if I have absolutely nothing to do that day, simply because I expect that people respect my time. I am at nobody’s beck and call. Either send me an invite in advance, or don’t. And definitely do not invite me just because some other blogger pulled out (Not that this has happened before. Just saying.)

4) Keep a list of draft blogposts

You don’t know this, but this blogpost was actually a draft I put together some time back. And now, I’m writing this paragraph in point number 4, and I’m publishing it shortly.

Whenever you have an idea for a blogpost, just create a draft and write down any points you have in mind. If the post ends up complete, publish it. If it still lacks something, save that draft till another time when you’ll complete it. :)

Blogging really is a lot of fun (for me, at least). Don’t do things just because others are doing them. Someone else might really LOVE doing beauty product reviews and make a living doing them, but if I were to attempt that, I’d most certainly end up hating blogging.

Have a question? Feel free to send me an email. I just might publish your question (and my answer) so bear that in mind. :D

Tiger Uncage: Tiger Beer’s Global Brand Repositioning

[Disclaimer: This blog supports responsible drinking and in no way seeks to promote the consumption of alcohol]

I’m no fan of beer, and I happen to think that people who liken beer to horse piss might be right, though of course, I do not also happen to know what horse piss tastes like. :P I did find the press release sent over to me pretty interesting. It’s about Tiger beer’s ‘global brand repositioning’.

“In May this year, Singapore’s national icon Tiger Beer underwent the biggest transformation in the brand’s history, where only the world-acclaimed brew remained unchanged. The global brand repositioning, Tiger Uncage, runs counter to traditional beer advertising themes, speaking to young adults in a personal way, to inspire them to realise their potential.

For many young adults in and beyond Singapore, conforming to societal or family expectations and taking safe, well-trodden paths is the only way to go. Tiger is thus portraying itself as a symbol of courage – encouraging people to ‘ignite the Tiger inside’ and take the leap to follow their passions and dreams.”

I was born in the year of the tiger, and I happen to believe in taking the path not traveled, so this is why I’m blogging about Tiger Beer’s campaign.

I like their three (ad) videos.

The first one I watched is about female Tattoo Artist, Joey Pang:

Expectation vs Passion

Often, society (and family) expect certain things from us that if we were to give, would end up making us miserable.

I can understand this thoroughly. My mother wanted me to be a teacher. While respecting her wishes, I was secretly rebellious. Usually ever-punctual, I was late for the interview at MOE, was unapologetic, and didn’t get the job (WOOHOO!!!).

This video has got it right - “Life is about following that fire inside you”, and not about trying to match up to society’s expectations or trying to trod down that path your parents have decided for you.

The 2nd video I watched is about Anthony Chen, acclaimed Film Maker. I watched Ilo Ilo and really hated it. Michelle Chong’s spoof of it on The Noose (the “movie” became ‘Milo Milo’) was wayyy better. Sorry bro. :D

I love these lines: “So I wrote my own story”, “hearing it can’t be done just pushes me harder”.

Exactly.

At the start of my blogging journey, it was tough. People were quick to tell me that it is not going to be the bed of roses I imagine. And in a Pizza Hut restaurant, a fellow blogger told me point-blank to look around and see for myself; no one in the restaurant knew who I was.

That made me want to prove him wrong.

I’ve been featured on TV, radio, the papers, magazines, even on a Malaysian radio station. And at random events now, I do get people coming up to me to ask if I am Grace from WorkingWithGrace. :D

Tell me something can’t be done. So I can enjoy that look on your face when I accomplish it. :)

The 3rd video is about Charlie Ruedpokanon, a stuntman.

“We all have cages. Mine was a university degree that led to an office cubicle”, “Of course there’s fear. That’s like the most natural feeling you get”, “Everyone has a cage, some just choose not to live in them”.

Freaking inspiring.

I must say I’m impressed by this “global brand repositioning”. Who knew one could create such stories around… beer?

75 Simple and Powerful Ways to Influence Anyone – ‘Win People Over’ by Karen Leong

{ Book Review }

I do not usually do book reviews. But as my publisher had gotten in touch regarding this new book, I said I’ll review the book if I like it. ;)

Win People Over

I was impressed by the title – “Win People Over: 75 Simple and Powerful Ways to Influence Anyone’ – then found it was not exactly the kind of tips I was expecting. Each ‘tip’ is more like a summary note after each chapter. You just have to read the entire book from cover to cover, and not expect to be able to “pluck” out one tip from the book, apply it in isolation from the rest and have it work for you.

What are some things I learnt from this book?

1) The extent to which people like you and respect you determines how much influence you have over them.

2) I have a bit of a Power Distant character (pg 35), which occasionally causes people to perceive me as being arrogant. Thing is, I do spend time building relationships with people I care about. I’m indeed “competitive”, “go-getter”, “demanding” and “critical” – some not-too-friendly traits of Power Distant folk. Having said that, I’m nice most of the time lah. :P

[The book grows on you as you get beyond the first few chapters. I could tell the author was slowly getting into the groove of book-writing. I love the examples presented, by the way.]

3) I think everyone should read the 10 tips for making great first impressions (pg 84). And also tweak some of the questions we tend to ask people we don’t really know yet: Instead of “what do you do?”, ask “what do you enjoy about the work you do?”. Also, “how do you manage to keep a work-life balance?” and “how can I help you?”.

4) We have a “word” to describe each person in our social circles. And this word determines how we behave towards the person and therefore, also determines how the person responds too. If you ever find yourself labeling someone as “selfish”, for instance, try changing that word to “misunderstood” and see how things work out.

5) In Part Three of the book, the 5 Cs of Compelling Influence are extremely valuable. You absolutely have to read this segment. :)

I can tell that this book is indeed Karen’s ‘labor of love’. What I found missing from a book about connecting with and influencing people is a segment on body language and posture. I thought these are essential. But Karen does present a lot of useful information in this 160-page book and I do highly recommend you read it. :)

Retail Price of this book: S$23.54 (online discount here)

Singapore Blog Awards 2014: VOTE and win a LEGO Friends set!

LEGO Friends

Help vote for my students – Steven Lek and Simon Chan – to win at this year’s Blog Awards and you stand to win an exclusive LEGO Friends set with a Friendship Diary! :)

Step 1: Go to the Singapore Blog Awards site, click on Editors’ / Judges’ Choice

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 2: Log in with your facebook account so they know you are not a robot. Your info will be kept secure! :)

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 3: Decide whether you want to participate in the Lucky Voters’ Contest [if you do not reside in Singapore, choose the second option]

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 4: Scroll down till you see the Best Individual Blog and Best New Blog categories

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 5: Click on the circle to reveal the list of finalists and vote for Steven

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 6: Click on the circle for Best New Blog and vote for Travelled Paths

Singapore Blog Awards

To Win The LEGO Friends Set with the Diary

Send your screenshot to voteforstevenlek@gmail.com, with subject title ‘Win LEGO Friends’. Your screenshot should look like this:

Singapore Blog Awards

If their pictures appear in the circles, it means your vote has been counted. Also, I should be able to see the date and time in your screenshot of your desktop! :) [Mine's in the bottom right hand corner!]

OR if you are using your handphone to vote:

Singapore Blog Awards

THANKS for voting! You Are AWESOME!

You Can Vote Once Per Day Till End July 2014! :D

*The more votes you send in, the higher your chances of winning this prize! :) Get your friends and family to vote, and send in their screenshots together with yours!

Remember: the email address to send it to is voteforstevenlek@gmail.com.

Vidal Sassoon Premium Color Care Range

I’ve recently concluded the giveaway for Vidal Sassoon’s Premium Color Care range. :) After 15,952 views, 1,018 shares and 601 likes, a winner is born! Congratulations, Riz Low!

Vidal Sassoon Premium Color Care

 I’ve sneaked a sniff and found that the range smells really good. However, the shampoo and conditioner bottle caps are diamond-shaped and thus, not very user-friendly as it is a bit difficult to open for daily use.

Vidal Sassoon Premium Color Care

I have kept the Magic Style Activator and Intensive Hair Mask for my own use. :D

The Magic Style Activator (For Curl) really smells very good. It is a leave-on treatment to be used just before styling – 2 to 3 pumps is enough.

[ Vidal Sassoon PINK SERIES mini 25mm Ceramic Curling Iron and 13mm Ceramic Straightener ]

Vidal Sassoon Ceramic Curling Iron

Vidal Sassoon Ceramic Straightener

These travel-friendly, almost-pocket-sized devices are too pretty in pink. But do they do the job?

Some features:

* Fast heat-up

* Worldwide voltage for worldwide usage

* 150degC and 200degC setting for curling iron and straightener respectively

Review: The Curling Iron doesn’t work very well on my hair, as I can’t even achieve very limp curls with it. Perhaps it’s just too tiny or doesn’t produce enough heat. The straightener works as stated and is definitely for keeps! :)

Pricing: Shampoo (190ml) S$8.50, Conditioner (184ml) S$8.50, Treatment (169g) S$13.90, Magic Style Activator For Curl (30ml) S$.90

Lady First Ep 7: Online Shopaholics Unite!

This episode is about Online Shopping and I am surprised that I managed to learn something new. On this episode are gurus Kevin and Keith, with Love, Bonito boss, Rachel. For a list of all the products recommended in this episode, click here.

Lady First SG [Santa Maria Novella Rose Wax Tablets recommended by Kevin]

16 Tips For Online Shopping:

1) Look out for items you cannot readily find in brick-and-mortar stores locally

2) To prevent getting Hayley’s “romper-caught-at-crotch” predicament, always get an outfit slightly bigger than what you’ve measured out so there’s space for movement

3) Don’t buy pants online unless you are confident they will fit

4) Get measurements of something you are comfortable wearing, then use it for online shopping

5) Over-sized items are in style this year

6) If the leggings you have bought are thin, ensure your underwear doesn’t show, especially at the back. Wear a long top!

7) When purchasing shoes, draw an outline of your feet on a piece of paper while barefoot. If your second or third toe is long, then shoes which are rounder at the toes might be uncomfortable. If you have wide feet, those that are narrow at the front might be tight

8) Read the terms and conditions before purchase, especially those regarding shipping costs if doing returns

9) If you buy items over $400 (inc shipping charges), you have to pay 7% GST. To get around this, have the items mailed to you separately

10) Your branded bag (purchased online) needs repair? You can bring it to a local store here. If certified authentic, they will provide you the same after-sales service but at a fee. If it’s a fake though, you’ll get a fine.

11) Be a smart shopper. If something looks too good to be true, beware!

12) Don’t cut off the tags first. Try the clothes on first. If you bought them from USA, you can get an exchange within 3 months if the tags are intact

13) The Santa Maria Novella range of products recommended by Kevin are bestsellers and popular worldwide. Get their eye and lip makeup remover which has an added benefit of not causing any eye irritation even if applied to the insides of your eyelids with a cotton pad!

14) Keep calm. Read all information before making your purchase (Kevin)

15) Be adventurous at times (a tip from Rachel)

16) Do your research, compare prices (Keith)

Singapore Blog Awards 2014: VOTE and win Rilakkuma Goodies!

Rilakkuma

Help vote for my students – Steven Lek and Simon Chan – to win at this year’s Blog Awards and you stand to win a Samsung Camera, a HD camcorder, SK-II products, and even these Rilakkuma goodies! :)

Step 1: Go to the Singapore Blog Awards site, click on Editors’ / Judges’ Choice

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 2: Log in with your facebook account so they know you are not a robot. Your info will be kept secure! :)

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 3: Decide whether you want to participate in the Lucky Voters’ Contest

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 4: Scroll down till you see the Best Individual Blog and Best New Blog categories

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 5: Click on the circle to reveal the list of finalists and vote for Steven

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 6: Click on the circle for Best New Blog and vote for Travelled Paths

Singapore Blog Awards

To Win The Rilakkuma items

Send your screenshot to voteforstevenlek@gmail.com, with subject title ‘Win Rilakkuma’. Your screenshot should look like this:

Singapore Blog Awards

If their pictures appear in the circles, it means your vote has been counted. Also, I should be able to see the date and time in your screenshot of your desktop! :) [Mine's in the bottom right hand corner!]

OR if you are using your handphone to vote:

Singapore Blog Awards

THANKS for voting! You Are AWESOME!

You Can Vote Once Per Day Till End July 2014! :D

*The more votes you send in, the higher your chances of winning this prize! :) Get your friends and family to vote, and send in their screenshots together with yours!

Remember: the email address to send it to is voteforstevenlek@gmail.com.

Marriott Hotel Singapore: Gym

I knew the Marriott Hotel Dinner Buffet would be a hearty affair. Hence I made my way to the gym after check-in at 2pm. On level 4 of the hotel is the Fitness Centre and Spa.

The gym is of a decent size (fairly large, actually), with free weights and all.

Marriott Hotel Singapore

And if you need personal training…

Marriott Hotel Singapore Marriott Hotel Singapore

Imagine my surprise when I saw this basketball court right next to the gym! It’s been a long time since I last played basketball, so it was a really nice workout today!

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Outside the gym, there is a beverage corner. After sweating it out in the gym and on the basketball court, a cup of milo and some crackers was definitely welcome. :) All free of charge! :D

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Gonna head to the gym again in the morning! I have to. Because of tonight’s dinner *burp*. The dessert segment was awesome! Review will be up soon!

Read Also:

My Review of Marriott Hotel’s Deluxe Room

Marriott Hotel: Staycation Review

Thanks to influr.com and Marriott Hotel Singapore, I am currently on a weekend staycation at Marriott! :D Deluxe Room rates are at about S$390++ per night and I’m not surprised. The location is fabulous – right smack in the heart of the Orchard shopping belt. Now I’m torn between staying indoors and checking out the gym, pool and buffets, versus heading out and hitting the stores. And I’ll show you why…

My room on level 24! :D

I love it when I am given more pillows than I’ll ever need. Hahaha! Good for pillow fights, maybe? :D

Marriott Hotel Singapore

And you can imagine where I am blogging right now…

Marriott Hotel Singapore

The bowl of snacks is definitely a distraction. Thankfully, the prices are steep so I am not moved.

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Here’s the view from level 24. The cars look like little plastic models and I feel like a voyeur peeping into people’s homes. :D

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Marriott Hotel Singapore

My eyes keep landing on the bowl of snacks. Gah. Strategic placement right across the workdesk and in front of the TV. :P Those KitKats are definitely tempting but it’s 245 calories per bar and cost S$5.50 each (twice the price you’ll pay outside)!!!

Marriott Hotel Singapore

The mini bar prices – if you’re curious:

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Lots of drinks, but I’m not about to touch any of them :D

Marriott Hotel Singapore

The bathroom is a let-down. No bathtub! There’s a rainshower. And a vanity desk but… no bathtub. *Also, there’s just one toothbrush in the bathroom. Shampoo and bath foam come in really small bottles too – might be insufficient if you shower more often due to the hot weather.

Housekeeping staff came by around 6pm to give out Marriott horse plushies and top up anything we might need – from toilet paper to additional toothbrushes or mineral water bottles. :D

Marriott Hotel Singapore

Marriott Hotel Singapore

I have hit the gym though, after checking in at 2pm. Review coming up next. :)

Blogger-stalking: Who Is Sherry Ho?

When I won the Luxury City contest last month, someone named ‘Sherry Ho’ left an idiotic comment on the advertiser’s facebook page (which you can read about here), and this month she is back. This time, she has left me three blog comments in a row.

Sherry Ho

Apparently she is both confused and upset.

Confused because she tells me to “stop buying votes” in one comment then in about 18 minutes’ time, tells me to “buy more votes”. I suspect she needs psychiatric help.

I don’t know who gave her the right to be upset about this voting campaign anyway. She’s likely not a blogger. SO it is stupid for her to be commenting.

But I will explain.

(1) It is not new

Bloggers conduct giveaways from time to time to boost the number of page likes, increase the number of followers, help promote an advertiser’s page or product, and also to garner votes for contests.

If “Sherry” is being upset about this, she is obviously not a blogger, or a real newbie.

(2) There is nothing wrong with doing giveaways to get votes

I am a HUGE believer of following ‘WIIFM’ when it comes to dealings with anyone. I don’t ask for a favor from you unless I tell you what’s in it for YOU. Fair?

How can I ask people to vote for my students (it’s a long signup process) without telling them what’s in it for them? And they have to vote every single day till end July!!!

I see absolutely NOTHING WRONG with offering people prizes that my students and I paid for. Please don’t demonstrate your stupidity with such comments.

(3) If it is anyone’s fault, it is the organizer’s fault

The fact that this voting component is involved means the organizer wants as many eyeballs and voters as possible. Coupled with a long voting period, it is OBVIOUS that the organizer wants us to get as many people to vote as possible.

Bloggers can (A) try to mobilize their fan base, (B) set up fake accounts to vote for themselves or (C) get other people to vote for them by offering prizes. Also, they can form an alliance with other bloggers BUT results are not guaranteed.

If Sherry is adamant that votes should not be bought (in which case, I respectfully ask that she donates all pre-election goodies she receives to charity), she should speak with the organizers.

If Luxury City wanted to stop people from buying votes, they should have told contestants to just send in a paragraph or two about how much they love Luxury City. And the best entry wins the prize; no votes needed.

If the Singapore Blog Awards organizers wanted to stop bloggers from garnering votes from fans and yet-to-be-fans, then they should not attribute 30% of the final score to the voting segment!

Who Is Sherry Ho?

I suspect her facebook profile is fake. So I shall not post her pictures here. But check her out if you will: https://www.facebook.com/sherryling2

Thanks to her blogpost comments, I now know her IP address:

218.186.8.12

[Recording all correspondence for submission to the police as evidence of cyber-stalking]