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Saturday, November 10, 2018

3 Money-Saving Tips from Boon & I

Hello guys! It's been so, so long. No points for guessing where I've been this whole time!

Been working hard on building The White Atelier, in between juggling mommy and wifey duties on a day-to-day basis. It's been quite a special year for Boon and I, cos ever since we got married 6 years ago (oh yes, we just celebrated our 6th year anniversary last week!), we had been on at least one nice overseas holiday each year. Back then, it was just the two of us and no Tyler in the picture yet, so financially we had more flexibility since there were no milk and diapers to buy, and education fund to save up for.

But now, things are so different. With an addition to the family, we have naturally changed our perspective on money and how we should use it. With Tyler starting school next year in January (which will go on for the next 20 years at least), we have a lot to save up for in preparation for his future. Education fund, savings for his future music and sports classes, and the list goes on.

So this year, we decided to not go for any big holiday overseas and focus on saving up for the future. Apart from one mission trip to Cambodia and a short getaway to Bangkok, we have only made short local trips and staycations this year, which proved to be really nice too! The short breaks in between have helped us to breathe in between the daily hustles, and have enabled us to spend a lot more quality time with our loved ones.

In conjunction with World Savings Day which happened less than two weeks ago, I'm going to be sharing some practical money saving tips that Boon and I live by, especially in this year alone.


1. Fancy Food for Fancy Occasions

This one is something Boon loves taking credit for. I'll admit that I was one of those who would only opt to have nice café brunches on weekends, and hang out at hipster café joints for drinks at night. But ever since we got married, I guess I was somehow influenced by Boon to love cheaper street and hawker food (well, according to him at least!). It's either I was subconsciously influenced or my taste buds did evolve after all these years, but I am loving my Char Kuey Teow, Prawn Mee, Chicken Rice, Mixed Rice and Chili Pan Mee a lot more than fancy café food and big breakfasts these days. These local delights are yummy AND at least 3x cheaper than a café brunch meal.

Don't get me wrong, I still love a bit of fancy café brunches every once in a while, but those have become an occasional affair instead of what used to be a weekly one! It may not seem much, but over time it does save us a lot of money.


2. Redeem Them Points!

Got a credit card that enables you to save points that are redeemable for purchases? Remember to use it! I can't remember just how many items we have purchased using Boon's points that he collected from his credit card usage. He used to travel a lot for work, and the paid for his hotel stays and flights using his credit card. I think with the accumulated points we have bought our washing machine, oven, etc, and more to come!

We've also redeemed many stays at hotels and got flight tickets with his points too! Many a times we are drawn to the perks of a credit card and sign up because of them, without remembering to actually use them. So here's a reminder that you can truly save a lot of money if you use your credit cards wisely!


3. Keep Them in Your Cart

Is Retail Therapy real? If you asked me, I would say hell yeah!

After a long week at work, it's only natural for me to start browsing online and start adding stuff to my cart cos I absolutely deserve it 😂

There had been so many times that I just impulsive shopped and ended up with things I actually would not use or wear. Especially when there's a sale and everything seems super cheap and worth it.

So what I've learned is to keep those stuff in my shopping cart first without actually checking out and purchasing them. If I truly want or need those items, I will definitely head back and buy them. But if I forget about them after a while, it means I don't actually like those items as much as I thought I did.

.

These are just some of the tips from Boon and I! Nothing exceptionally profound, but practical everyday tips that you can easily practice too.

Saving up and spending less is becoming a rare practice in our generation these days, because it's just so easy to buy and spend with just a few clicks. But it is extremely important if we want to have a secure future. Those few hundreds that you save each month would amount to much if you keep the habit for the next decade :)


Together with VISA and AKPK, I'm here to encourage everybody to start saving and practice spending wisely! I've been running a Giveaway Contest on my Instagram account where I'm giving away 1x Apple Watch Series 3! It's very easy to participate:

Simply take a quiz at www.treatyourmoneyright.com and find our which of the 4 Money Management Personalities you are:


Are you a...

1. Ringgit Sayang
2. Denial Boss
3. Tak Mau Cents
4. Big Spender?

It's a very fun quiz to find out which group you belong to, and understand your money management habits a bit more to know how you can improve!


For me, I am a Ringgit Sayang! I love my hard earned money, and now that I'm a parent and running a business, I value money a lot more because I know how much we can do if we use them wisely!

How about you? Let me know which one you are on my Giveaway Instagram post below!




[GIVEAWAY: Apple Watch ⌚️] It’s World Savings Day today guys! 💰Took a short quiz and discovered which type of Money Management Personality I belong to at www.treatyourmoneyright.com, and I’m glad I belong to the group that has a balanced approach to money management *phew* (swipe left to see which!) . In collaboration with VISA and AKPK to highlight on the importance of treating our money right, I’m giving away 1x Apple Watch Series 3 to the winner of this giveaway! Here’s what you gotta do to win: - Like this post and tag 3 friends - Take the short quiz at www.treatyourmoneyright.com - In the comments below, share with me (1) Which of the 4 Money Management Personality you belong to + (2) what your best money saving tip is! - The best and most creative answer wins 1x Apple Watch Series 3 (38mm Black)! - You may post multiple entries with different answers to stand a higher chance of winning. - Winner will be announced on my IG on Nov 14, 2018, so stay tuned! . It’s that simple, guys! Don’t miss this chance to learn more about Money Management, and winning an Apple Watch omg! Looking forward to all your entries! 😍 . #treatyourmoneyright #VISA #AKPK
A post shared by Careen Tan (@careentxy) on


Contest ends on Nov 14, 2018 so hurry and participate if you haven't already!

All the best, everyone! 💪



Love, Careen.
This post is filed under AdvertorialLifestyleFamily

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

MamyPoko Omoiyari & Air Fit Review


Hello everyone! Tylerboi says hi 😚

Am back this time to share on a new change in our family:

WE HAVE CONVERTED TYLER TO DIAPER PANTS IN THE DAY WOOHOO!

And I have a legit reason for it. More on that later in this post but first! 


Here's our diaper counter with only the essentials. I'm pretty proud of this little corner because it's finally looking so tidy with only the things that we truly need and will use.

Been so busy that it's only lately that I took the time off to remove a lot (A LOT) of things from our home. All these years of keeping stuff that we thought we would use some day, which clutters our space and makes it so hard to look for things when we need them, and not to mention subconsciously cluttering our minds too.

Been inspired by Marie Kondo's motto of keeping only things that Spark Joy to us. So these days, I try to not keep too many things, and only use products that truly Spark Joy.


Boon and I are not one of those couples that are super adventurous in trying our new brands for the products that we use every other month, because when we find something good, we will just stick to it. 


And one of the things that we have been sticking to is MamyPoko's Air Fit diapers for Tyler! We've been trying this range of pants diapers for Tyler for months and it's so far so good! It's been suitable for his sensitive skin, and we're pleased with the overall quality! It truly sparks joy to us for many reasons.

And of course, MamyPoko is undeniably one of the top diaper brands in the market, and the No.1 baby diaper manufacturer in Japan! And the MamyPoko Air Fit is the top range of MamyPoko products, which is fully made in Japan.


Apart from that, I recently learned that one of the things that make MamyPoko stand out from the rest is that the brand practices Omoiyari, which is the Japanese way of being 'caring, considerate and compassionate' towards the needs of others.

In fact, one of the reasons why Boon and I LOVE Japan so much is because of the courtesy of the people. The Japanese have a beautiful culture of courtesy and putting careful thoughts into their service and inventions. 

Some of the examples would be heated toilet seats (God-sent during winter!), restaurants providing baskets to put women's handbags and providing blankets to warm our laps during Winter, and providing pregnant mothers with a tag so that people can be aware of their pregnancy and look out especially for them by letting them have a seat in the train or go on a priority lane in queues. These are just some of the examples I can think of at the top of my mind, but I'm sure there are many others!

MamyPoko combines science and technology with the Omoiyari philosophy in their production, which is reflected in the quality of their products, and diapers that are effortlessly convenient for the parent, and reassuringly comfortable for the child.


The MamyPoko Air Fit diapers have a leak prevention design that fit snugly and softly against baby's inner thighs for maximum comfort! And not to mention it's very soft to touch. There won't be hard marks on Tyler's thighs when we remove his diaper after a full day wear!

With its breathable cotton-like cover, the MamyPoko Air Fit diapers remain dry and help Tyler with his sensitive skin. Sometimes certain diapers that he wears will result in redness and itch on his butt and at the side of his thighs, but with this he doesn't have any issue!

One of the reasons why we have converted Tyler to diaper pants?

THIS!


Look at this cheeky boy who refuses to get dressed after bath! He's so active these days that I struggle dressing him, especially after bath when he just wants to roam free and roll on the bed nekkid 😪

Sometimes I give up and just let him roam nekkid on the bed while I quickly put away his laundry, only to find that somebody has peed on my bed while I was gone...for 2 minutes 😑


So these days, what I do is that I'll dry him with his towel and then quickly pull up his MamyPoko Air Fit diapers while he's standing and trying to escape my grasp. And then I'll let him roam free in his diaper pants while I get my stuff done, until he happy then I'll wear his clothes for him 😒


Yeap, this is how we wear his diapers these days- with him standing while playing with this and that. Not kidding when they say toddler boys are very active. My son is like a worm 😅


Which reminds me of a meme I saw a while ago. When I saw this I really laughed cos I can relate 100% 😂 Okay sorry, I mean my son is like a crocodile hahahaha!!


See! Change him halfway come and sayang me 😅 Okay this one I don't mind hehe.


And then turn round and round, and I just have to be agile follow him. Thank God for diaper pants!!! It makes our lives as parents so much easier 😂 Change him in public also don't have to worry whether the changing counter is clean or not, cos we will change him standing anyway 😂🙌


Oh, and one of the best things about the MamyPoko Air Fit is this!! See the blue clear strip of sticker in the middle? It's not just part of the design...


It's the most practical thing ever! Did you know that you can easily tear the sides of the diaper pants for easy removal, especially when your baby does a no.2 💩 and you don't wanna risk the stools bouncing off the diaper when you remove it? Even if you don't tear the sides, it's still difficult to dispose the soiled diapers if the pants aren't wrapped nicely (unlike tape diapers where we can use the tapes to wrap the diaper together).

So for diaper pants, you can simply just roll it up and pull the sticker out to fasten the diaper before disposing! Such a genius idea. I don't know who came up with this but thank you!! 😭


Sometimes I also just let Tyler roam around the house with just his shirt and his MamyPoko Air Fit pants on, especially on a hot weather! It works perfectly as a pair of pants too since it's super comfy and secure!


Can pass as a baby fashion look or not? 🙈


Once in a while he will pick up his diaper packet and have a long hard look, reading the alphabets...


And smiling at his Japanese friend... 😂


A happy baby makes a happy mommy!

I strongly recommend trying out MamyPoko's Air Fit diapers if you're toying with the idea of switching to diaper pants (for any of the reasons above)! 

'Til the next post!
xx



Love, Careen.
This post is filed under AdvertorialLifestyleFamily

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Hello July, Hello Judah!


Hello July, you arrived sooner than I had expected!


This year is seriously the craziest yet. The meaning of 'busy' has taken a whole new meaning, but it's all good. The White Atelier is growing well, which also means I'm spending more time working, meeting clients, sketching designs, working on the gowns, fittings and replying enquiries on all our platforms! I would say I'm literally working everyday except Sunday (which I still have the habit of replying work messages cos I simply can't stand the thought of someone waiting for my reply hahaha).

But I know it's not good to be working ALL the time. Had tried working daily previously (taking appointments on Sundays after church) and man, it wore me out sooner than I thought it would. I started to dread work cos I would feel so exhausted, and I would miss spending time with my loved ones so badly that I questioned why I started the business in the first place.

Slowly I started pacing myself a little better, and was firm about leaving my rest day untouched. Cause if I'm not well rested and recuperated, I can't be inspired and creative- which is necessary for me to create beautiful designs. One thing I've learned in the first half of 2018 is to 'Protect My Rest', even for just one day in the week. And so far it's done wonders and helps me carry on and hustle for the rest of the coming week.

Another change that has taken place this year is the very fact that I'm spending a lot less time on social media these days. I used to post a lot more regularly on Instagram, IG Stories, Dayre and even on this blog. But each year my number of posts are declining 🙈 Not because I'm lazy or not keen anymore, but simply because I don't have the time.

My day is usually so packed that I can't even spare 5-10 minutes updating my IG Stories. If I have to choose between replying the 101 work messages waiting for me vs. updating my IG Stories, I would definitely choose the former cos #priorities. And also, what would my clients think if I can update my IG Stories but not reply their messages right? I'll be upset also lo if I were them 🙈

But that's only one of the reasons why I hardly update as much anymore. So when I do have the time, I'll do lots of throwback IG Stories all at one go. It's like micro-micro-blogging of my week like that 😂 Whatever works these days, you know. Hahahhaha.

But I do want to take the initiative to set aside time to still write and blog, to record down special milestones and stories of my life that I can look back on. 

Like this one.


30 JUNE 2018

The first half of 2018 was wrapped up beautifully with the arrival of my baby nephew! My sister Gladys had given birth after a long and arduous labour. What she went through surpassed what I did by many folds, and if mine was difficult, hers was just super tough. I'm gonna leave it to her to share about her experience on her blog, but for now, here are some photos of my baby nephew!

Everybody, meet little Judah :)





This aunty was completely smitten by Judah. 
I don't know if I'm being biased but isn't he such a cutie?? 😭


Love at first sight

Carrying Judah felt a lot like carrying Tyler when he was a newborn. Not sure if it's cos they're cousins or most babies look alike, but they really spot some resemblance!

I mean, look!
 

I mean, they look like brothers leh! 😍
Can't wait to see how Judah looks like when he's older! And totally can't wait for these two to start playing together.

But for now, we know he is already one cheeky and funny baby who has a colourful personality.

I mean, check out these poses.


The most confident and sassy 1 day-old, everyone. 

Oh in case you're wondering, Judah has a bit of jaundice so he had to be placed under Phototherapy, just as 90% of newborns do hahahah.


"You guys are too noisy" 🙉🙉


"Hmmmm yeaaaa this the pose. This the life" 😎


*In deep thoughts*


This face! With these cotton shades look even cuter hahahahaha I cannot!


Excited aunty creepin' up on the nephew.
Can't wait to have Gladys and Judah back home soon!

God has indeed been faithful to us and our families. In this year our family has two additions (Boon's sis has a newborn too!), both healthy and super adorable babies!

And I know the second half of 2018 is just going to get better, healthier, more exciting and beautiful. And let's also hope I get to update here more often too heh.

Wishing you a blessed rest of 2018 too, everyone
'Til the next post!




Love, Careen
This post is filed under PersonalFamilyThoughts

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Realities of Starting Up

As someone who shares her life publicly online, I receive emails or DMs (direct messages) on my social media from strangers pretty often. Some of them just dropping a note to say hi and keep up the good work (which never fails to touch my heart every single time), some asking me where I got my clothes, makeup, or even Tyler's playpen from (yes, many times for the playpen!), and some just leaving remarks along the lines of, "You have such a perfect life, Careen", "I really envy that you have it all- a happy marriage, a cute baby and a thriving business".

Each time I receive such messages, I would pause and reflect if my life were really as perfect as it seems, that if I have unintentionally painted my life to be so perfect that others perceive it that way.

The truth is, my life is not perfect. I admit that I am blessed with a lot of good things in my life- loving families, a great husband, an adorable baby and a business that is growing. But with each and every thing comes its own set of issues and struggles.


For instance, I have a really loving family. We're all happy, healthy and harmonious. People always tell me how they envy our family bonding and dynamics, and that I have a perfect family. However, we're not wealthy and financial struggle is a big things for us, especially for my family since I have a HUGE family (2 parents, 7 girls!). Sometimes it gets really tough, but we have learned to make do and be hardworking from where we came from. Nevertheless, is my family perfect? No. We have disagreements too, and we have our own unique sets of struggles.


I have a great husband. He's loving, hands-on and a dedicated husband and father. But is our marriage perfect? Far from it. We still quarrel, disagree and get angry with each other occasionally. Though yes, over the course of 5 years married (yes, we just crossed the 5-year mark!), we have learned to understand and treat each other better despite our differences, and things have improved significantly. However, our marriage is still a work in progress and definitely NOT perfect.


Tyler is no doubt a very cheeky and adorable baby. Well, not so baby anymore. Toddler now! Most of the time what I share on social media are the happy moments where Tyler's all cute and cheery. But have you seen his tantrums? Maybe not because when he throws a fit I'm usually too worked up myself trying to discipline him than to pick up my phone and Instagram it. 

But here's a photo I managed to capture today at the traffic light of Tyler throwing a fuss in his car seat because he saw me turning left from our condo which means heading towards his grandparents' house. And each time we head towards his grandparents' house he knows I'm dropping him there and heading to work. 

On some days, he will happily cooperate but today, he decided to protest the whole journey through.


Imagine, the whole journey- 15 minutes of nonstop screaming and crying.

Is Tyler a perfect baby? NOPEEEEE. He has his fun and happy side, but just like any toddler he has his fair share of mood-swings and tantrums to boot. 


For The White Atelier, I have many people coming up to tell me how well we're growing despite only being officially 11-month old (we opened our doors in March 2017)! To date, we have an organic Instagram following of 5.3k without having spent a single amount on advertising the page at all. No doubt we have received a very good response from brides in the country and also across the region like Singapore, Brunei and even London and Australia. God has given us so much favour and I'm truly grateful.


With growth also comes sacrifices like these, that nobody likes to talk about.

Most entrepreneurs only show the glorious and glamorous sides of their ventures- the media interviews, magazine features and achievements. But nobody really likes to talk about the sacrifices along the way- the times spent labouring late into the night, having to say no to social events and hangouts cos you have too much work piling up, not having the time to eat cos appointments run longer than expected and a whole day becomes back-to-back appointments, staying in to work on a happening Friday night, and the list goes on.

BEHIND THE SCENES // Sharing with you what goes on behind the shots of #TWAshoes- lots of experimenting with different props, angles and backgrounds to highlight our custom made shoes, all taken by yours truly cos...save money so do everything myself 🙈 More than that, I wanna share with you what truly goes on behind the scenes of running a business. Too often we're shown the glamorous sides of business, how business owners often appear in the media limelight, featured in interviews and articles and seem like they have it all together. But what people don't talk often enough about is that along with the fulfilment of starting something you can proudly call your own, the stress, self-doubt, anxiety, and heartaches that come along with it are inevitable and real. No matter how confident you are about your products and your team, self-doubt creeps in and then you find yourself questioning if you're truly good enough to begin with. No matter how well you're progressing, you will always wonder if you'd be getting the same response the following day, weeks and months. What I've learned over time is that our minds are more powerful than we realize. The moment our thought life is compromised, we will be defeated. It's difficult to stay positive and motivated all the time, so it's important to surround yourself with likeminded people who are also working hard to achieve their goals and dreams. Feed your mind with knowledge and inspirations. Do whatever it takes to keep your mind healthy. Your mind is powerful, so guard it and feed it well 💪🏻 #thewhiteatelier 📷: @loveentxy
A post shared by Careen Tan (@careentxy) on

This really bothered me for a while because I felt like people are often misled into thinking that it's glamorous to be an entrepreneur or business owner, because what they see is the flexibility in working hours, not having to work under a boss, and doing what they love.

But what people often miss out is the stress of not knowing what tomorrow brings- on whether we will be as lucky as we are this month, on whether we are able to pay rent and salary, and continue to grow as we have been. And people definitely hardly talk about the nasty customers who disrespect you and speak to you like you're a nobody simply because they're the one who 'pay'. The list of struggles for a business owner is endless and is unique to each business, but we're learning each step of the way. Nonetheless, it isn't as perfect as everyone seems to think at all. No, not at all.

My point is, everyone has their unique sets of struggles. One very common struggle that most of us face is no doubt financial struggle, especially if you're like me, just starting a new family, building a home, and building a new business all at once.


This video put together by Citibank really hit home for me because I can really relate. The realities of starting a family is rough. Financial struggles are real and as much as it is a taboo in our society (people still regard finances as a sensitive issue), I believe it should be addressed openly.

Sometimes we just need to know that we're not alone in our struggles. And sometimes, we just need to know that it's okay to seek help.

My personal stance is that there is absolutely no issue seeking for financial help or funding to kickstart something- a new family, a business, a new investment, as long as we don't get ourselves into debts. Good money management is vital and as long as you're able to portion out and payback your loan in time, you're all good. And there should be nothing to be worried about.




In partnership with Citibank, I'd like to share about some of the benefits of their personal loans, which include:

- Loan up to RM150k or 10x your gross monthly income
- Low flat interest rate from 7.9% per annum
- Loan repayment tenure up to 60 months
- No processing fees
- No collateral or guarantor required
- Instant online approval in just 5 steps

You can find out more about Citibank's personal loans on their website here!

I know it's a rather long post, but if you don't remember anything you read here, just remember these two things:

#1: You're not alone in your financial struggles. You and I, and many other are struggling to make a living and to create a future for themselves too.

#2: Financial struggles are real, and it is totally okay to seek financial help as long as you seek from the right, credible sources like official banks, and as long as you plan your money wisely and not get into debt!


Hope this post has been helpful in one way or another.
'Til then!



Love, Careen.
This post is filed under Advertorial, Personal.

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