How easily can I influence you?

After one of my Instagram posts (below), I got an offer to promote a clothing line. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you anything and they didn’t see me as the next Top Model. They wanted me to buy their expensive clothing at a 20% discount and then better discounts as I sold more clothing to my Insta-friends. I’ve seen Insta-friends promote what they were wearing and now I know the deal.

A post shared by Aixa (@muchospanish) on

Google’s news algorithm sent me this story: Instagram Influencers Are Driving Luxury Hotels Crazy. Hotels are getting a lot of requests for free rooms from real and wannabe influencers. This Medium.com story only has Twitter and Facebook share buttons because it’s viral or nothing!

I’m not an Instagram influencer, although it doesn’t sound like a bad job. My favorite Instagrammers are people I have mutual relationships with.

@Emlee7 is one account I follow, though, and she doesn’t follow me back. She has just 29k followers and only gets about 1k likes per photo, but Emlee’s clothing is designer and she takes photos in luxurious locations. Her photographer applies a filter to make the colors very subtle.

Here I am, climbing similar stairs in Montmartre 😂 I’m pretty sure Emlee took a taxi to the top and then walked down a couple of steps.

@baluevama could easily have influenced me to stay at Shangri-la Paris hotel during my recent stay in Paris.

A post shared by Maria Balúeva (@baluevama) on

Just for fun, I checked the hotel’s website and the Terrace Room, with just a garden view, costs $1,655/night (breakfast included). When I saw that price, picture me with the same face as when I was climbing up the stairs in Montmartre 😂. So instead I stayed at a budget Ibis hotel by Gare de L’est and still paid over $300 per night, with breakfast. What a change from two years ago when we paid $160/night for the wonderful boutique Idol Hotel, but that hotel now costs $750/night!

Who Is Being Influenced By The Influencers?

A lot of Instagram is double-tapping a ♥️ as you scroll through the feed. Many people don’t even read the captions. So I’m not sure how much sway even @baluevama.

As I said, this was my second trip to Paris. The first time was two years before I had my Instagram account. I still count it as a visit to Paris, even though my photos were landscape instead of portrait 😉

For my recent trip to Paris, I created a folder and started saving some of my favorites photos of Paris so I could take pictures similar ones. These accounts influenced me but nobody made a penny.

My husband once bought me a beautiful @montavenue watch and not so expensive through an account on Instagram. I love it and the company asked me to tag them in a photo with the watch. I did it for free, just because I was so happy with the watch. I’ve bought a few apps from the sponsored ads in my feed.

So how easily can someone convince you to buy something or stay somewhere special? Let me know in the comments… And follow me Instagram: @muchospanish 👍

Did you read my previous blog post?

Aromatic Lavender Fields, Tall Sunflowers & Lily Pads: The Impressionists Come Alive!

Aixa-en-Provence: Instagram Myth Breakers In The Lavender Fields! Goodbye FOMO

Warning: this is an Instagram myth breaker post. If you love your feelings of FOMO, then do not read any further.

Two years ago driving to Nice in the south of France, I saw signs for Aix-en-Provence and thought, I have to visit this town named after me! Two years later, here I am. It’s also near the home of my favorite store, L’Occitane (the full store name is L’Occitane en Provence).

The factory is here, the official company store and even a museum dedicated to the history of this company that so many women love!

Provence is such a beautiful region, full of flowers and herbs and some of the most picturesque towns you will find anywhere on earth. If you know where to drive, you will pass rolling lavender fields!

The best time to visit the lavender fields is from the last week in June to the first or second week of July. Harvest is a little earlier because of the heat.

Hundreds of people go to the fields every day to take their Instagram photos. Some go with organized day tours and others go on their own… but remember, this is private property. Even the organized day tour companies don’t get permission from the owners, although the guides make sure you don’t damage any of the lavender.

Instagram Myth Breaker No. 1

A post shared by Aixa (@muchospanish) on

Instagram is full of photos like mine, rolling purple hills of lavender fields and women with a bunch of fresh-picked lavender in one hand. They buy these lavender bunches and bring them to the fields for the photo. I didn’t think that far ahead, though, and when I saw someone else get off the bus with hers, I knew I should have put more thought into this.

I walked into a row of lavender ready to be harvested, the bees buzzing all around me, and I started to pose, I saw a bunch of lavender that someone else left behind. Look at the color in the photo: it doesn’t even match! And there’s a rubber band around the stems.

Instagram Myth Breaker No. 2

If I did try to pick this lavender, I would have gotten dozens of bee stings. The lavender at the point that it’s ready to be harvested, is full of bees. None of these women there in the fields is so infatuated with the beautiful flower in the moment the photo is being taken.

Other fields have blotches of yellowish wheat mixed in and this is to make the fields less attractive to Instagrammers, like this field below.

My photo below in this mixed field is interesting because of the snails climbing on the lavender. They come after it rains.

Instagram Myth Breaker No. 3

There are two types: Lavender and lavandine. Lavender is lighter in color and has less of an aroma. Lavandine is a hybrid, has a much deeper purple color and a much stronger aroma. They serve different purposes but the point here is that those deep purple colors in your favorite Instagrammer’s photo are saturated with an app. Even lavendine isn’t hat deep a shade of purple.

So why do such a fake stunt?

Instagram has millions of photos like mine. I met a Brazilian woman named Mariani in the fields. She’s a doctor and was in Provence for a conference. She didn’t think of bringing a bunch of lavender either, so I lent her mine when I was done with my photos. We both love lavender and we’re part of the L’Occitane cult. We both wanted the chance to see some lavender fields and go home with some photos.

Photo licensed for free use

Anyway, the impressionist painters like Van Gogh and Cezanne thought the fields were worth paining.

Instagram Is An Amazing Community Of People

Instagram is an amazing community where you can learn a surprisingly lot about people through their short captions and comments. Then there are times you can learn even more, like when my beautiful Insta-friend @monicaspassport listed 10 fun facts about herself and then tagged me to do the same!

Here are my 10, the more in-depth version than I was able to put on Instagram:

😆 How do you pronounce my name???


Aixa is three syllables: ai-EEK-sa


My name is a spelling variant of Aisha, the first wife of the prophet Mohammad. My mom didn’t know this when she named me, but she had read the name in a book and she liked it.


😱 I have been bitten twice by scorpions.


The first time, I was 14 years old and was asleep in bed. It hurt but, before I could even think of taking care of this, I turned on the lights, woke up my sisters and we spent an hour hunting it so it wouldn’t bite any of us again. We found it and put it in a matchbox.


The second time, I was ironing clothing. When I put my arm in the pant leg to pull it inside-out, I knew right away I was in trouble! I pulled my arm out as fast as I could but too late! The scorpion went flying and I was never able to find it.


😮 I learned to drive when I was 13 years old.


My friend’s father taught us, and then I usually had to drive to pick him up when he was drunk.


😆 I can imitate most Spanish accents, including a few from Spain and a lot of Latin American accents.


😆 I love visiting different supermarkets.


Even when we’re traveling, we make sure to stop at any supermarkets we find. Going to a supermarket for me is like other people going to the movies.


😮 When I was 17, I met a numerologist I met at a friend’s house when I went to pick her up.


The numerologist asked me to empty the contents of my bag and then told me a lot of things about myself that she would have had no way of knowing.


Then she told me that one day I would cross earth and sea to meet the man of my life. I never thought about that one again until I left Venezuela for the United States and met him 😍


She also said that I met her and we were delayed from going out that night for a reason. When we finally left, we saw that there had been a bad car accident a little earlier crossing Avenida de Pozuelos.


😍 If I love you, I will defend you from anything 😖 but if you betray me, I will never forget… ever!


😋 I will eat anything, even insects! I ate them in Puebla, Mexico.


😱 There is only one thing I am afraid of…


…frogs. When I lived in the wilds of Venezuela, I would find them everywhere, including the kitchen and the toilet.


😉 My Instagram profile picture was a selfie my husband took in our rental car in Paris!


Are you on Instagram? Join our community. Leave me a comment over there so I make sure to follow you back.

Finding friends on Instagram is simple. I’ll write a post about how to do it very soon.

Here Is Why I Love Instagram 😍👍 … And Why I Hate It: 😫💦

I’ve ended up with more Instagram followers than I ever expected but the numbers aren’t satisfying. Remember the Instagram rule: Like4Like, Follow4Follow. So I spend a lot of the day tapping ❤️s  and following back. So what’s to love about it?

Continue reading “Here Is Why I Love Instagram 😍👍 … And Why I Hate It: 😫💦”