Things That Are Awesome: videos by @maidensuit

Much as I adore YouTube, I don’t make a ton of time for watching content there. There are a few channels in my subscriptions that I try to watch everything, but mostly I dip in and out and don’t worry about completism. I have started my own channel on YouTube and found out recently that there is a way for buying youtube views. It really helps grow your channel.

One of my new favorites is @maidensuit‘s channel, where she publishes doll-related videos that are awesome in a number of ways. They are produced in a way that really suits me: the sets and production are not complicated and they’re shot in a really intimate way that enhances the feeling that you’re right there in the room seeing what she’s showing. The background music is relaxing, her voice is soothing, and the pace is so unhurried that it truly stands out from almost everything else I see on YouTube.

How comforting is that! Seriously. It’s maybe even a little ASMR-inducing. She also has a great wardrobe of Blythe clothing, which is fun to see and inspiring for me – I always get a few ideas of things I could make or colors I’d like to use. (Not to mention shoes and other accessories I’d like to acquire!) She also explains her thought process and the things that appeal to her in terms of Blythe fashion and such, which I love to hear. It’s so fascinating to find out the things that drive a passion you share with someone else. She also seems to have a great sense of humor.

You can find @maidensuit on twitter, instagram, and of course YouTube.


Things That Are Awesome: Manhattan Nest

There are plenty of home improvement-focused blogs out there, but so many of them are just product/brand-placement in disguise and/or feature such pricey projects and objects that they are completely out of my world. Not so with Manhattan Nest!

Manhattan Nest

This home blog has it all. Manhattan Nest is the story of a DIYer, Daniel, working on his home (and other projects), learning by doing, and putting it all out there – successes AND projects that didn’t go quite as planned. Throughout everything, he provides a hilarious narrative and manages to maintain a positive attitude regardless of what happens.

It’s so refreshing to see a blogger post pictures of their yard when it’s a complete mess, full of weeds and all uneven – EXACTLY like every yard I’ve ever had has started out! Maybe because so many other blogs are heavily sponsored, they’re afraid to post the ugly before pictures? Or the bloggers start out with something professionally landscaped and then just change it up? Well, in the world I live in, we start out with a neglected or at the least imperfect mess – and so does Daniel. And he manages to incorporate sponsors with ease, so it’s not obtrusive at all.

He’s got an immense appreciation for restoring and salvaging historical details BUT he also balances this with a realistic approach. Not every awesome detail can be saved, no matter how much ones loves it, and he provides a ton of examples of situations where he figured something out to preserve the character if not the original materials. He’s also not afraid to do things the way he wants them. Not sure the neighbors will love your black-stained fence, but truly believe it’s the best choice? DO IT.

Most of all, his candor about that feeling one gets partway into a big project – you know the one, where you feel like you have taken on far too much and the idea of it ever being completed or even just salvaged back to a usable state seems impossible? He gets that feeling! And he admits it! And he sees the humor in it, which helps me, as the reader, to feel a bit better when I have that feeling myself.

If all this isn’t enough, he also has adorable dogs. Just go look at any post – you won’t regret it!


Things That Are Awesome: Bellwether Friends

This week in Things That Are Awesome, it’s another podcast, because I adore them and you should too: Bellwether Friends.

Bellwether Friends

Bellwether Friends is “definitely not the first podcast featuring a discussion on pop culture and why we think you should like what we like, but perhaps the first hosted entirely by librarians.” So you can see already that I am going to be biased here, because (a) pop culture and (b) librarians, but in addition, (c) both Anna and Carolyn are true friends of mine who I already admire and respect and want to listen to all dang day long.

The conversational style that Carolyn and Anna use invites you in, making you feel like you’re part of the discussion – more than once I have had to pause the podcast so I don’t miss anything while I chime in to them on Facebook or Twitter – and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. After they released their latest episode, everyone and their sister spoke up on Twitter to name their favorite pop culture from their home state. Or not-favorite but still from that state. Or not from their own state, but from a state no one else had spoken up for yet. Seriously, check it out on their twitter stream. They’ve even got a map going!

Anna and Carolyn also have their own way of going about the pop culture podcast, so it’s different from the others I listen to (spoiler: future installments of TTAA will include Pop Rocket and Pop Culture Happy Hour, plus others). They talk about the things they love and why and their interest is infectious. They don’t analyze things as much as celebrate them, which gives them a unique voice among other podcasts. I am super on board!


Things That Are Awesome: The Dork Forest

The Dork Forest

We’re back with more Things That Are Awesome! This week it’s another podcast. Have you tried podcasts? They are well worth your time. Well, a lot of them are, anyway. Specifically, The Dork Forest should be on your list!

The Dork Forest is hosted by comedian Jackie Kashian. I can’t remember now how I heard about it (most likely someone I am a fan of was a guest), but I hadn’t yet seen any of her stand-up at that point (she has a special called This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux – how could I NOT be a fan?!). I just jumped in and was immediately rewarded!

The idea is that she interviews interesting people about their passions. Usually this passion is something other than what they are well-known for/their profession. Wondering why Ron Funches is super into I Love Lucy? She finds out! (Also you get to hear Ron Funches’ irresistible giggle throughout, which is reason enough to listen). Interested in learning everything there is to know about the James Bond movies with Matt Mira? Done. Curious just how much Guy Branum could possibly know about Canada? Spoiler: it’s more than you expected! Kashian has a knack for asking the right questions to get people to share the most fascinating insights and really convey their enthusiasm – I find it enthralling even when I’m not super into the specific topic at hand. She also manages to ask questions about specifics that I totally want to know when I am intimately familiar with the topic (see: Diva Zappa on knitting) – even when she herself is not super knowledgeable about the topic.

In addition to this, Kashian is so relatable and easy to listen to. I feel like this would be an easy podcast to dip in and out of, too – if you’re limited on time, pick the eps with either a person or topic you’re into. Lastly, I just love the name of the podcast. Check it totally out!


Things That Are Awesome: Wham Bam Pow

I keep thinking about things in my life that bring me joy. It only seems appropriate to share those things, to spread that joy. So here you go! The first installment of Things That Are Awesome!

Wham Bam Pow

Wham Bam Pow is a podcast from the ever-awesome Maximum Fun. It features comedians Rhea Butcher, Cameron Esposito, and Ricky Carmona talking about what they term dick flicks: action and sci-fi movies. Each episode includes movie news, fun facts, banter, and a more in-depth review of a specific movie. Usually that movie is either in the theater right now or is available streaming on Netflix/similar, so it’s easy to watch it after the episode comes out if you haven’t already seen it. I have to admit, though, that even when I haven’t seen the movie I will often listen to the podcast because it’s so funny that it doesn’t matter that I haven’t seen it.

I listen to a fair number of comedy/comedian-based podcasts and it is SO REFRESHING to hear one that is hosted by three feminists, especially since they are aware of and often discuss how ism-filled many action and sci-fi movies have been and continue to be. They super get that, yes, we like things blowing up and traveling to the distant reaches of the universe, but we ALSO want these movies to be more than just the surface level of satisfying. They get genuinely excited about a movie like Mad Max: Fury Road and the fun they have discussing is contagious. More than once, I’ve listened to an episode and then gone back to watch the movie (even though I didn’t think I wanted to) just to see the things that they’ve pointed out.

In addition to being funny people with insightful opinions, the hosts of this podcast feel like, if time and geography had worked out a little differently, they could be in your group of friends. Rhea Butcher’s favorite movies of all time are the Back to the Future trilogy, which – GREAT CHOICE. (Have you heard this awesome BTTF-related song by my amazing pal Dan Louisell? Check it out!)

So, if you’re looking for funny, thoughtful reviews of movies that don’t always get that kind of attention, check out Wham Bam Pow. I highly recommend it!