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. :)

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! :)

Results: 22nd April, 2014.

Giveaway: New Arrivals From Japan!

Update:

Thank you all for your participation! The winners for this giveaway have been selected at random. My heartiest congratulations go to:

1) Robi: Hoover Cole Mon
2) Masks: Yap E Chin
~ Congratulations! ~

Read my blogposts about the New Arrivals From Japan fair happening at Isetan Scotts and my meeting Mr Tomotaka Takahashi, Founder and CEO of Robo Garage and you’ll know I’ve been given some pretty cool gifts this week.

I want to share them with you! :)

Here’s what is up for grabs:

New Arrivals From Japan

Original PREMIUM Robi Sticker set and Limited Edition collectible, AND the Milk Essence Masks from Jozen Mizuno Gotoshi – the masks contain sake, rice bran and collagen to make skin resilient and supple!

How to win:

1) ‘Like’ My Facebook Page

2) ‘Share’ my giveaway post

3) Comment on this blogpost and tell me which you want: Robi OR Masks

Giveaway ends 1st March, 23:59hrs. Winners will be notified via email by 3rd March.

BRAND’S CNY Gift Hamper: For The First 20!

BRAND’S sent over a gift hamper yesterday! :D It contained BRAND’S Essence of Chicken and Bird’s Nest, with a pack of angbaos. YOU can win a CNY Gift Hamper too! (Details below)

BRAND'S Essence of Chicken

BRAND’S Essence of Chicken:

  • Contributes to a relaxed mood
  • Increases mental concentration
  • Improves short-term memory
  • Regular consumption helps improve immunity;
  • Alleviates task-induced stress;
  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Boosts energy
  • Increases levels of stress tolerance

BRAND'S Bird's Nest

BRAND’S Bird’s Nest:

  • Glycoprotein helps enhance immunity, cleanses lungs
  • Prevents ‘internal dryness’
  • Helps maintain youthful, smooth and wrinkle-free skin
  • Helps stimulate appetite and aid digestion

WIN a BRAND’s CNY Gift Hamper!

Be one of the first 20 customers to flash this invite on your mobile phone at the BRAND’S roadshow:

BRANDS roadshow

Can’t make it on Jan 16 or 17? Then head over to any of the other roadshows for a chance to win from BRAND’S 8 treasure boxes. Details at BRAND’S website:

http://www.brandsworld.com.sg/

Have a roaring good year! :D

BRAND'S CNY Hamper

Packeverything: My Gift Packaging Sponsor

Because it’s the Christmas season, and because I love giving people presents, a sponsor like PackEverything.com.sg is most welcome. :D

I recently gave away 3 boxes packed with goodies – from energy bars to cosmetics. :D Here’s one of them:

pack everything

And here are presents wrapped with kraft paper:

kraft paper singapore

I received everything from boxes and tissue fillers, to gift seals and stickers from packeverything! :)

You can register as a member online to enjoy $5 off a minimum purchase of $50 for your first order! There’s also free delivery for purchases above $200.

Packeverything provides a wide range of packing solutions. You can purchase a cake box, zip lock bags, and even glue guns and silica gel online!

For all your packaging needs: http://www.packeverything.com.sg/

Winner Announcements: Watsons, Olay and Tiramisu Boutique giveaways :D

Congratulations, all of you! I’m beginning to feel like Santa Claus once again. Hohoho! :D

Watsons Giveaway

Watsons Giveaway

As stated in the giveaway blogpost, this giveaway is open *only* to Singaporeans. If I have (unknowingly) picked a winner from overseas, he/she has the options of paying for postage, picking up the prize in Singapore, or forfeiting it altogether.

Set 1) BeautyBiotics UV White Sunscreen + Whitening Mineral Powder SPF50 PA+++ AND Brigitte Glamorous Volume Mascara

Winner: Lu Siu Ching

Set 2) Dr. Vincent Auchane Hydra+ Active Spring Moisturizing Serum AND Collection’s CreamPuff Moisturizing Lip Cream and Hotlights Lip Gloss

Winner: Sheryl

Set 3) SkinBiotics EVEN+WHITER Skin Booster (21 capsules)

Winner: Siew Feng

Emails have been sent to the winners. Please respond by 21st Nov, 2013, 23:59hrs to claim your prize. Prizes left unclaimed by the stated date and time will (strictly) be forfeited. ;)

Olay AquAction giveaway:

Olay AquAction

Winners:

1) Toner: SY Tan

2) Moisturizer: Jade Almazan

Emails have been sent to the winners. Please respond by 21st Nov, 2013, 23:59hrs to claim your prize. Prizes left unclaimed by the stated date and time will (strictly) be forfeited. ;)

 Tiramisu Boutique Giveaway:

Tiramisu Boutique Giveaway

Winners:

Set 1: Tan Kim 

Set 2: Ash Jain

Set 3: Ng Qi Yan

Set 4: Queenie Zhang

Set 5: Ben Oh

Set 6: Rena Ismail

Emails have been sent to the winners. Please respond by 23rd Nov, 2013, 23:59hrs to claim your prize. Prizes left unclaimed by the stated date and time will (strictly) be forfeited. ;)

But wait… there’s MORE!

If you think this is it, and that there are no more giveaways, ha! You don’t know what’s coming your way! :D

Another Mega Giveaway will be launched in a bit so keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned! :D

Till later!~

 

Hello Kitty EZ-Link Cards: Where To Buy Them

Hello Kitty EZ-Link cards Classic

If you don’t already know, the Hello Kitty EZ-Link cards were launched on 29th October 2013, in Classic designs as well as Limited Edition designs.

There are a total of 12 designs – 8 Classic and 4 Limited Edition.

*The Limited Edition cards have “special effects” like etching and glitter. Every Hello Kitty EZ-Link card comes in a gift box and is accompanied by a free mobile screen cleaner exclusively designed for EZ-Link.

Hello Kitty ez-link Limited Edition cards

Cost of the cards:

Classic: S$14.90

Limited Edition: S$19.90

*The cards have no stored value, and each card has a lifespan of 5 years from the date of encoding.

Where to buy them:

www.myezlink.com.sg

OR

At selected TransitLink Ticket Offices:

Transitlink Ticket Offices selling Hello Kitty EZ-Link cards(Snapshot from the press release I received)

Delivery charges for online purchases:

By TA-Q-BIN -

1 to 3 cards: S$6

4 to 8 cards: S$7

Problems?

If you encounter problems, or have feedback regarding the Hello Kitty EZ-Link cards, call Cust Svc at 6496 8300 (Mon-Sun, 8am-6pm, excluding PH).

Hello Kitty ez-link Classic Cards

Contest:

“Me & My Classic Cards” contest: Collect all 8 Hello Kitty Classic ez-link designs and 3 winners will each win a 30-inch giant Hello Kitty plushie.

www.facebook.com/myezlink

Hello Kitty EZ-Link cards

[Hello Kitty EZ-Link cards that fellow blogger, Flore Leng, received at the media launch. I was given the one on top! :D]

#AmazingZespri ‘Blogger-Inspired Kiwi Creations’ – #4: Hello Kitty Kiwi Chocolates

If I hadn’t run out of gold kiwifruit, I would have made gold kiwi Hello Kitty chocolates, and named them “Heart Of Gold Kitty Chocolates”. Hehe!

In any case, I think green kiwifruit goes well with desserts which are sweet. ;)

My vegan friend and fellow blogger, Amanda, recently gave me a Scooby Doo Chocolate Mud Spread that she specially got for me from Australia, among a whole lot of other chocolate gifts! So sweet right this girl? :D

Presents from Amanda

So I used the Scooby Doo Mud Spread to make Hello Kitty chocolates with a green kiwi center. :)

The Making Of

And these chocolates are inspired by fellow blogger and fellow Hello Kitty fan, who goes by a fictitious name ‘Ai’.

My first meeting with Ai was at the Greenwich V Amazing Race back in 2012. She kinda stood out from the rest as she was wearing her Hello Kitty spectacles. And there was an awkward moment ‘cos she caught me staring. *OOPS!*

Ai Sakura

I was looking (alright, staring) at her because I couldn’t quite figure out whether she’s local or Japanese. And the Hello Kitty specs sure did not help! But as it turned out, she was so friendly, and she actually smiled at me when she saw me looking in her direction.

I was SO shocked! Most people would just stare back and give you the “what-are-you-looking-at?” glare, right? I can’t even remember whether I had the courtesy to smile back or not! LOL!

And like my previous blogger inspiration, Daniel, Ai sticks to her principles as a blogger. I even wrote about her in my upcoming book ‘Blogging For A Living’! Ok, now you so hafta buy the book, right? :P

So, for my fellow kitty fan, I came up with Kitty chocolates. And you know what, I seldom make these Kitty chocolates and only 2 people have received them thus far (one of whom is Ai herself!) :D And to answer my own initial query, Ai [not her real name] is definitely local and she has stayed in Japan before, hence the many Japanese references in her blog. So these chocolates symbolize getting to know someone better – my first impression was that she’s Japanese, but I later realized there’s more beneath the surface! :)

Maybe I’ll make more chocolates for her! LOL!

Using kiwifruit this time…

Fresh out of the freezer, and looking a little frosty (HAHA!)

Kitty Chocolates

But soon, Kitty starts perspiring in this SG weather!

Sweating Kitty

Still cute! :)

I’d have loved to do a Hello Kitty Kiwi Chocolates giveaway. But the chocolates would have melted into a very sweet mess by the time they reached the intended recipients. So… I’m having a Hello Kitty Giveaway instead:

Hello Kitty Kiwi Giveaway

Just hop over to my Facebook page to participate! :D

*Meow*

Have You Met ‘Ang Ku Kueh Girl’? :D (Part One Of The ‘Local Creations’ Series)

[Part One of a 'Local Creations' series]

The character, Ang Ku Kueh Girl, was designed right here in Singapore by Ms Sheryl Wong and her team. Inspired by a local pastry, the Ang Ku Kueh Girl has distinctive Singaporean characteristics, such as wearing her slippers everywhere she goes. She also has a brother, Ang Ku Kueh Boy, and friends like Png Kueh Girl! How cute! :D

Some products featuring Ang Ku Kueh Girl also involve a creative interpretation of Singapore’s national campaigns in the 80s, such as the “Stop At Two” and “Speak Mandarin” campaigns.

Besides the A4-sized folders and eco-friendly notebooks, there are also bags and wristlets with the ang ku kueh designs outside, and ang ku kueh girl printed fabric inside. The attention to detail is fantastic!

Sheryl sent me some of the products and I instantly fell in love with them. You’ll see why:

Folders: S$3.90 or 3 for S$10

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

I’ve never owned prettier folders! I’d initially thought I’d give at least two away but no, I’m keeping all three ‘cos they are so cute!

Eco-friendly notebook: S$6 or 2 for S$10

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

Ang Ku Kueh Girl Notebook

Ang Ku Kueh Girl Wristlet! I’m so gonna bring it with me during CNY visiting!

Very roomy! It’ll be great for stashing all my ang pows!

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

AKKG Tote and Wristlet

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

I asked Sheryl about why she decided to create Ang Ku Kueh girl.

Here’s what she said:

“I have always been interested in creating Singapore-themed products. I started doing it as a hobby from 2004, making Singapore-themed red and white rings and necklaces, complete with stars and the works.

Gradually, the idea evolved into Ang Ku Kueh Girl when I thought it will be fun to incorporate Singapore’s food culture into a cute cartoon character; this is something that Singaporeans can relate to and which showcases a part of our local culture to visitors from overseas. I thought that it would be interesting to create a character with a local flavour.

The team behind Ang Ku Kueh Girl is led by me; I provide the creative direction, ideas and concepts”.

Sheryl also shared that the ang ku kueh signify longevity and good fortune, besides being one of our favorite kuehs.

And here’s an Ang Ku Kueh Girl + Ang Ku Kueh Boy + Png Kueh Girl Birthday Card

You’ll have to get one to ooh and aah over the details, such as Png Kueh Girl’s white school shoes! ;)

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

To purchase the Ang Ku Kueh Girl products or to find out more, head over to AKKG’s Facebook Page by clicking HERE

*I’m looking for more local companies with interesting Singapore-themed creations to feature here. To get in touch, email me at gracewwg[at]gmail[dot]com. :)

Stay tuned for Part Two of this ‘Local Creations’ series!

Canon’s ‘Be Festive, Be Creative’ Workshop

On 10th November, Canon and Omy organized a craft workshop for kids, parents and some *ahem* “big kids” aka bloggers. :D

I’m not the arty-farty kind of person but I do think I can be quite creative at times so muahaha… I signed up for the workshop.

Venue: Chef Daniel’s Kitchen at Bugis+ Level 7

The blogger hosts were fab! The kids did everything they were told to do! :D

That day, we designed our own photoframes, plastic plate clocks and party hats.

 

The materials we were given:

And what I designed with the help of this printer:

This printer (the PIXMA MX897) prints beautiful photographs – I love the vivid color! :) And since the workshop is all about creativity, I cut some strips of blue paper and made a ‘basket weave’ design for my photoframe and also added the words “Creatiivity In Bloom” using the letters I cut out from the *ahem* instruction ‘manual’ we were given. :D

Since my Epson printer at home has unfortunately died on me, I am considering getting a Canon printer. The newest printers have many functions* but the one I adore most has to be the software called ‘My Image Garden’. It helps categorize and organize photos (great for locating that graduation album!), help you locate all the photos with a particular person (e.g. all photos with Grace in them! :D ) and it also provides templates for all sorts of crafts you can design with photos of the people you love (think scrapbooking, calendars, etc). I bet you’ll love the Fun Filter Effects and Full HD Movie Print too!

Here’s a quick video that demonstrates what My Image Garden is all about:

And here’s one craft project I undertook with the aim of being creative this festive season…

 

Because the fiance has two baby showers to attend, I helped wrap the presents he’d bought. I made full use of the wrapping papers and let little of it go to waste. With the excess paper, I made gift tags, ribbons, paper stars and flower stick-ons. Waste not, want not. :) A little creativity goes a longggg way. ;D

You can unleash your creativity this festive season too! :) As the folks at Canon would say, “BE FESTIVE, BE CREATIVE!!!”

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

*For those who love paper crafts like origami or 3D paper sculptures, find out about Creative Park at www.canon.com/c-park

If you’d like to make your own holiday ornaments, go to www.canon-asia.com/pixmatown