FreePeople

The Most Instagrammable Cafe in Taiwan: VVG Hideaway

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Because of the beautiful aesthetics of this one particular Taiwan cafe, I knew I wanted to give an entirely separate review to the lovely VVG Hideaway in Taipei City, Taiwan. In fact, I discovered this hidden gem (it’s literally hidden…we had to park near a random stranger’s house and took a 5-min walk down a random hill to get here) through a blog post written by Singapore blogger, Christabel Chua from @bellywellyjelly, when she visited Taiwan a while back. As soon as she posted photos from this Instagrammable cafe, I knew I had to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit this place for myself!

You know those Facebook videos you find on your newsfeed that have catchy titles such as “The Most Instagrammable Restaurants In Taiwan” or “15 Places You Need To Dine At In Taiwan”? Well, VVG Hideaway would honestly make the cut in any press-related restaurant videos filmed in Taiwan because it is literally #cafegoals when you analyze the exceptional quality and presentation of the entrees and drinks, the clean and minimal aesthetics of the cafe, the customer service, etc. Since I am not from Taiwan and will probably not visit this country often, I would honestly come here EVERY single time because I personally believe it is the ideal location to grab tea/coffee and desserts with friends or a loved one, to catch up on some quiet reading time, or to get that Instagram-worthy shot. If I had to put my finger on it, VVG Hideaway reminds me of one of those quaint, private “treehouses” that is tucked away from the hustle and bustle and noise of any neighboring city.

In today’s blog post, I’ve listed a numerous amount of reasons on why I loved my first-time experience at VVG Hideaway and why you should add this particular cafe to your Taiwan bucketlist as well


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1. This cafe has a very clean, cozy, minimal, & welcoming vibe - both indoors and outdoors.


As soon as I took one step into this lovely cafe, I felt like I was going to star in an Asian drama (LOL, I’ve been watching too many of these as of lately - thanks a lot, Netflix!). The first thing you see upon walking in is are two hostesses to your left waiting to greet you, and adjacent rooms that contain bookshelves, various decor, greenery, and more. In fact, the entire cafe is an open space, meaning there is a lot of walking room and rooms to browse through while you’re waiting for your seat.

With huge bay windows surrounding the entire cafe, it is amazing to see just how naturally lit this entire place is without a huge necessity for what’s normally deemed, “shitty restaurant lighting”. Essentially, you are spoiled with a beautiful view of the outdoors (BTW, the outside is just as pretty as the inside!) as you munch on the cutest menu options that VVG Hideaway has to offer. Plus, this natural light is perfect for bookworms like me - if I lived in Taiwan, this cafe would seriously be my number one work, reading, or study location of all times.

When a cafe provides an ample variety of food/drinks, perfect window lighting, a picturesque view, and plush sofas, you know that you’re about to feel pampered AF.

*Note: Please reserve a table for your party at least a few days to weeks in advance.

See VVG Hideaway’s Yelp page here.



2. A huge variety of menu options to choose from when it comes to ordering food, drinks, and/or dessert. Aesthetic and delicious!


I remember browsing the menu for a few minutes in deep thought before deciding what I really wanted to try! After careful consideration, I ended up ordering their Iced Coffee and Tiramisu Cake.

Honestly, my Iced Coffee was one of the best coffee drinks that I ever had. Not only did I find it super cool that my ice cubes were made entirely out of coffee, but it was also fun to pour the milk and creamer into the glass to see the entire mixture combine into one delicious beverage. It contained the perfect amount of coffee flavor; in other words, it was not too sweet or too bitter, but just right. If only we had this place in America!

As for my Tiramisu dessert, it tasted beyond delicious and I had no complaints at all. It was a combination of sweet, light, decadent, and fluffy. The best part? It didn’t contain too much alcohol (because we know some tiramisus can taste a bit too bitter!) and tasted just like a cake, so that made me a happy camper!

If I had to recall the other menu options to choose from, VVG Hideaway also served sandwiches, spaghetti, soups, salads, alcohol, and more. In terms of the price point, Wendy mentioned that the desserts and drinks ranged from around $6 - 9 USD each, while the entrees were a bit pricier. You can click the link here to view screenshots of the menu.

*Note: Each person in your party must spend at least $16 USD minimum to dine here.


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3. Solid customer service.


Although I cannot speak Chinese, I had no complaints about the customer service. From cordially greeting our party to leading us to our table to taking our order, everything went smoothly.

I do have to say that the menu items do take a bit of time to prepare, so just expect to wait 10 - 15 minutes before you get your order!


4. Photography-friendly policy.


Not only was I able to take a billion photos at this dream cafe without judgment or weird stares from others (sorry Wendy), but I saw other customers taking fun cafe photos here as well.

However, they do have a strict policy against videography so just FYI! I love how the staff was kind enough to tell us about their policy after they spotted us creating content and apologized for the inconvenience, even though they didn’t cause us any inconvenience at all. When it comes to customer service, I appreciate employees who know how to communicate their policies in a clear and concise way all the while remaining respectful and polite to their customers.


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So after reading my review and looking through these photos, are you convinced to add this place to your Taiwan bucketlist? What would you order if you were here?

Talk to me in the comments below - let’s chat!


Outfit Details:

Hat: Irene’s Story

Top: Free People

Cardigan: Uniqlo USA

Skirt: Irene’s Story

Boots: DSW


A Step-By-Step Guide On How I Monetize Through Sponsored Instagram & Blog Posts

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"Wait, you can make money through blogging?"

Yes.

"You do this for living?"

Yes.

"Wait, so this is your full-time job?!"

Uh, so how many times do I have to tell you "yes" for you to actually believe me?! Yes, yes, and yes!

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Photography By:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz) from www.sharinaone.com

Hairstylist:
Lyssa (@hairbylyssa_)


Outfit Details:
Top: Free People
Pants: Kut From The Kloth
Shoes: Zooshoo

Flowers: The Bouqs Co.
Purse: StyleWe


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And yep, that pretty much summarizes a typical conversation that I have with various people when they ask me about my career as a full-time blogger - I kid you not. Since this is such a popular topic that I'm frequently asked about by both peers and strangers, I wanted to shine a little insight regarding how I monetize through my Instagram and blog. This blog post is meant to HELP and ENCOURAGE those of you who are interested in monetizing your Instagram or blog on a professional level. It's definitely a possible feat to turn blogging into your full-time career, but you have to remember that it's not all fun and games like you may think - I'll get to that story in the next paragraph.

First off, let me make one thing very clear. If you're not willing to put in the heart and the hustle or if you prioritize feelings of instant gratification over long-term results, you're better off finding a different job than pursuing full-time blogging. In contrast to society's popular belief, blogging is NOT easy, nor is it fun all the damn time. Like with any other job, there comes responsibilities, deadlines, and tasks that you must complete within a certain time frame. At the end of the day, only a few can really survive this super saturated and competitive industry because they have the ambition and determination to make things work when the results aren't showing up quick enough.

If the previous paragraph didn't scare you off already, then let's get started with this detailed step-by-step guide on how I personally monetize through Instagram and blogging! This post was created to show you how I feed my bank account every month all the while encouraging you passionate creatives to make Instagram and blogging your next part-time or full-time hustle if you're ready for the challenge! Ready, set, let's go!


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1. Approach companies with a mutually beneficial proposal.

As an active fashion and lifestyle blogger for three years and counting, I've grown and seen it all. I've witnessed bloggers reach out to companies, only to put themselves first as a priority and not giving a crap about the companies. So ask yourself this - why would companies want to work with someone who is selfish about their own needs? Exactly.

First and foremost, you should work with a company because you actually admire and support their work or mission statement and not because you want to make it rain in dollar bills or products. You'll learn sooner or later that working with incompatible companies will bite you in the ass later, as they may want to create a long-term partnership with you. Eventually, this incompatible long-term partnership will end up jeopardizing your brand name if your aesthetics and style don't align well with this company.

If I ever reach out to a company, it's because I truly WANT to work with this company and I WANT to create content that will help better their brand image and marketing. Also, I make sure to approach the company in a very friendly and professional manner, share a little bit of background information about myself, my analytics and media kit, and what services I can offer to them.

When a company sees that you truly care about their brand mission, they are more likely willing to work with you. However, if you talk to a company in a way where you look like you'd work with just about anybody, you come across as a complete turn-off and you're more likely to experience a higher rejection rate.

Long story short, work with companies who only add value to your brand and personality, and vice versa.


2. In your proposal, create package deals that a company can choose from.

When you dine in at a restaurant, you always want to look at the menu for various options to choose from, right? The same goes with collaboration proposals. Companies enjoy seeing what you have to offer, why you offer these select services, and how your services will benefit their brand.

Personally, I enjoy creating 1-5 package deals ranging from sponsored Instagram posts to Instastory features to Instagram and Facebook giveaways to YouTube videos and more. The possibilities are endless, so be sure to get creative with it and provide them with a few project ideas to choose from!


3. Send me a contract or it didn't happen.

You know the saying, "pics or it didn't happen". The same shit applies here. Contracts are a MUST when it comes to paid collaborations, or any collaboration in general. A formal written agreement ensures that no party screw the other over, whether it's the company or the influencer who's not keeping their word.

With that being said, let me share a previous story of how a company tried to take advantage of my work due to the absence of a contract. We exchanged emails going over various prices and collaboration ideas. Because I didn't have a contract, he "argued" that he didn't understand the collaboration agreement and that I should post for their company for free. In other words, any collaboration without a contract agreement can lead to total manipulation. Eventually, I ended up getting paid for my work, but it took a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth emails that I could have avoided if we had a signed contract to begin with.

Honestly, don't make your contract look like complete shit, but it doesn't have to look like a presidential document either. Below, I've included a few important points that you should include in your contract:

  • what services you will be offering to the client
  • the price of the services you offer (if applicable) & method of payment
  • the payment amount (if applicable)
  • the deadline of the collaboration
  • your business name and the client's business name (don't forget SIGNATURES and DATES!)

After signing under the dotted line, your collaboration is sealed. You're welcome.


4. Follow-ups are important!

Following up with a company after publishing a sponsored post is as important as following up after a job interview. Whenever I publish a sponsored post, I email the client right away with the respective links of my posts and confirm with them when the payment will process. And don't be afraid to ask for payment - you're doing your fair share of the work so you deserve to be paid! Also, if a client doesn't get back to you in a few days, follow up again! I've learned that a lot of employees just happen to be on business trips or experience a "lost in the mail" moment, but most of the ones that I've followed up with truly appreciate the gesture!


5. Establishing a long-term relationship with the company (if desired).

If this is the type of company where a long-term relationship can be fostered, I would almost always jump at the opportunity to create a strong connection with a company that I wholeheartedly support. However, you have to make sure that continuing a (monthly) collaboration also has to make sense on the company's terms. If you're promoting a winter wear company, it would only make sense to promote this client during the winter and not during the summer, right? All in all, the time/season and frequency that you partner with a company truly matters and may negatively affect the reputation of your brand if done incorrectly.

If you had a great time working with a company (I mean at least I hope you did!), be sure to share this positive note with them! Tell the company how much you enjoyed working with them and if they'd be interested in a long-term partnership. If anything, the worst they can do is turn you down or postpone a potential collaboration to a later date in the future. Whenever I am able to work with a company more than once, it brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart because it makes me realize that I've built a professional and genuine relationship with the client all the while staying true to myself and my brand name.


The last topic I wanted to discuss was the use of the popular hashtags #sponsored or #ad.

A question I get asked frequently by both followers and influencers is...

"Are you getting paid if you add #sponsored or #ad at the end of your caption?"

The answer is yes and no. I'll go over more precise details of when to use these hashtags below based on my personal experience.

When to use #sponsored & #ad:

1) Campaign Guidelines
You must hashtag #sponsored or #ad if a brand's campaign guidelines specify that you must include these hashtags on your social media posts. It doesn't matter if the campaign is paid or not; if it's specified, you have to use it.

2) Receiving payment from a client.
Even if the client does not tell you to do so, just include one of the above hashtags yourself. It's like putting your name on the top right hand corner of your assignment - it should be naturally done. Also, if I heard correctly, I believe it is against the law to not include one of these hashtags if you're being paid for a sponsored post. If you're getting paid for your post, do remember to include #ad or #sponsored at the end of your caption. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry!


Whew, now that was a mouthful of the financial side of my career in one post! If you guys enjoy reading more informative and finance related posts like these, please click the heart button at the bottom of this post and leave a comment on what topic you'd like to read next! Thanks for reading, and I'll talk to y'all next week!

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Much Love,

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Six Things That Bloggers & Influencers Should Know

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Photography by:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)
www.sharinaone.com


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Outfit Details:
Top: Free People
Skirt: Thacker NYC
Flowers: The Bouq Co.
Shoes: Shop IPPO

Hairstylist:
Lyssa (@hairbylyssa_)


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1. Sit down, be humble.

Nobody likes entitled, and nobody likes overly cocky. Nobody cares if you have 100k if you act like a cold-hearted bitch. In this competitive industry, numbers won't get you as far as a powerful voice and influential platform. Be humble, be appreciative, and be thankful. Trust me when I say that being thankful and genuine with both your colleagues (aka business owners, PR managers, etc.) and your followers will really thank you in the long run.

 

2. Your hustle determines your paycheck.

A lot of bloggers ask me, "How do you get paid when companies won't reach out to you?"

The answer is simple - I reach out to them. Don't wait for the opportunity; act on it. If you have a brilliant and creative idea, find one (or multiple companies) that you would love to involve in this project and craft a proposal around your idea. More often than not, companies are interested in creating content with passionate influencers and the worst they can do is say no.

While rejection may hurt, feelings of regret and not trying new things hurts even more. So what are you waiting for? It's time to get out a pen and paper - let's get them creative juices rollin'.

 

3. People follow you for your influence and your voice, not your numbers.

With the shitty Instagram algorithm becoming more and more intolerable by the second, I continue to hear an endless amount of complaints about how nobody is growing.

However, I learned a long time ago that complaints get you nowhere and change does. Instead of asking "Why aren't I gaining any followers these days?", why not ask yourself "How can I help out my community? How can I create content that will stimulate my readers' minds?"

When people see that you're focused on your goals and actively pushing to become a more effective influencer, you will naturally attract an audience that will continue to support you endlessly. This will be the same audience that will translate among multiple platforms and will follow you wherever you go, whether it's on Instagram or the next trending app years from now.

 

4. Don't feel obligated to work with every company that is interested in your work.

I'll admit that past Michelle used to jump on every collaboration that she received. However, times have changed, young blogger Mish has grown up, and now she knows better.

For anyone who has a clear mission statement for their brand or blog, I would highly recommend NOT working with every company that wants to send you complimentary products and/or a paycheck. The more companies you work with, the more confusing your brand becomes to other companies and your followers. And along the way of accepting collaboration after collaboration, you may lose the trust of your followers in the long run if you cannot explain to them what your brand is really about if you are saying yes to every company.

Only work with brands that align with your blog and push your brand's mission statement even further. Stay consistent, and don't venture off too far from your own personality and comfort zone. When you reject brands that don't fit your style, aesthetic, or feed, you only leave room for better opportunities ahead that do fit your brand.

 

5. If you want to be treated like a professional, stay professional.

If you ever receive an email where a company undermines your work or value, do not send an angry email back. Not only is it a waste of your time, but it also just comes across as unprofessional. Simply ignore them, or tell them your honest thoughts in a calm, but effective manner and leave it at that. As I always say, anger and unnecessary sass never help communicate your point any better than addressing things rationally.

Also, this is a pet peeve or turn-off to me, but to each their own. If I attend a media event that involves gifting or goodie bags at the end of the night, I would NEVER open it at the venue or in front of the host/hostess. I personally don't think it looks good to be gushing over your gifts in public, nor is it necessary to open your gift the very second you receive it. Save the unboxing for Instastories at home, and don't forget to thank the company for their generosity!

 

6. Be aggressive - but in the right way.

In the past and even today, I would craft an extremely detailed proposal of a project I would love to work on with a company, only to receive no response - multiple times.

I thought they were interested? Do they hate me? Did I say something wrong?

More often than not, the employee who manages the public relations or marketing side of the company most likely missed your email. If you think about it, hundreds of other influencers are reaching out to the same company so there's a high chance that your specific email will be lost in the mail. After all, the world is saturated with content creators, and same with the email inboxes of every company that exists.

But you know what I learned while being an entrepreneur? You NEED to be aggressive if you want to get your point across, or if you want to be noticed. Think of it like a recommendation letter or job interview situation - you need to follow up constantly with a professor to make sure that they've sent in your letter or call the employer if they are interested in hiring you for the job. Whether we like it or not, the ones in power may not be the ones who control our future - it's us.

Here's a fun story to remind you to stay positive and focused when your follow-ups are being ignored - it took me at least SIX follow-up emails (one sent every 2-3 days) to finally work with a company that I collaborate with on a regular basis to this very day. If I had given up after the first one or two emails, where would that have left me? Back at square one. If you want to get ahead, you have to think ahead. Be fearless, work hard, and your results will show.

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I hope that these tips resonated with you guys & I would love to write more articles similar to this one - after all, inspirational tips and tricks are one of my favorite topics to share with you all! If you want me to write about any additional topics, please share with me your requests in the comments below or feel free to DM me on Instagram!

Much Love,

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