Tag: videos

What I’m Listening, Reading, Viewing and Doing

Sorry it has been a few days since my last post. I have been a little overwhelmed getting ready for my upcoming trip to Spain. I am trying to make sure my youtube channel isn’t dormant during that time so I am trying to get my Family Movie Night, Friday 5’s and Disney Canon Project videos all pre-filmed and scheduled before the trip. Of course, this requires watching all the films, taking notes, filming and editing the videos. No small task. Last weekend I finished all of the Friday 5s for when I’m gone.


I also did last week’s Friday 5 which was songs not in your native language and I went with Hawaiian music!


So last weekend I filmed the Friday 5 for a lot of fun upcoming topics. And I also filmed reviews for Finding Nemo, The Goofy Movie, Independence Day, Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron and 3 unboxing reviews. You can see the Finding Nemo review here.  I should be able to see Finding Dory tomorrow and post the review so keep an eye out for that.

On Monday I got to see an early screening for a new comedy called Central Intelligence and that was really funny. I genuinely laughed a lot.

And then today I did a podcast with my friend Tom on the 3rd Star Trek Movie- Star Trek 3: The Search for Spok

Not only have I had video reviews but also written reviews for my blog http://54disneyreviews.com and my column for LDSBlogs.com .Make sure you check all of that content out.  In addition I have done some posts for Rotoscopers.com including a review of Make Mine Music and a piece that got a lot of discussion going on The Lego Movie and The Other Pixar Films. I’m tired just reading all of that! Nobody can accuse me of not creating enough content!


But it’s not all viewing I also have done some reading.  Recently I read Lady Susan and Love and Friendship the more obscure Jane Austen novels and loved them. It’s so funny with Love and Friendship Austen feels like a teenager of today complaining about her parents (she wrote it when she was between 11-15). Lady Susan has Austen’s most devious and selfish heroine but she is hilarious. I loved the book and the movie. Check out my review of the movie here. 

I have also finished reading I Am Malala for book club and found it very moving. Here’s my goodreads review:

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the TalibanI Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s not going to win any awards for great writing but sometimes life is just captivating on it’s own. I really loved learning about Malala’s family most of all. Her Dad seems like the coolest guy and her Mom as well. The fact they all spoke out at great risk and then had to deal with their daughter getting shot in the face is pretty remarkable. I felt like I got to know her well and that it wasn’t just a fluff type biography. It worked for me.

View all my reviews

I also read Burning Glass a fairly mediocre YA novel but it had some campy fun and good kissing scenes:

Burning Glass (Burning Glass, #1)Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I started out hating it as another YA love triangle, strong mystical woman book but after a while it won me over. It’s extremely silly but I felt it embraced the campy world. The kissing scenes were fun and it was all very over the top with auras melding together and an extremely silly bad guy. Definitely too long and drawn out for how silly it is but I had some fun with it. I don’t think I enjoyed it in the way the author was intending however. It’s pretty dumb. So if you are expecting a great fantasy read than you will probably be disappointed. If you want an over the top campy romance with fantasy elements than you might have fun with it.

I got my first taste of open water for the year last week with my friend Etsuko. That was so much fun! I can’t wait to be in Spain and swimming my heart out.

etsuko and rachel

I got 3 new swimsuits for my trip and I think they are pretty cute!

3 swimsuitsAnd I got my new passport so I am ready to go!

passportFinally I went and saw the Broadway touring company of Newsies and it was everything I wanted and more. I have a lot of nostalgia for the film and the Broadway musical has made it even better. It was so much fun! I also got to do it with the Utah Theater Lovers who I’ve wanted to meet up with for some time. I hope I will continue to be able to see more things with them.

newsies2Finally we had our first meeting Sunday of the new Midsingles Ward and it was amazing! I felt such a good spirit there and I know it is where I need to be. I can’t wait until some activities start and things really start going.

So all in all things are going pretty good in my life. I’m certainly staying busy. I hope things are going well for you.


Pegs and My First Interview

I’m really excited to share with you my first interview I’ve done on my youtube channel!  My friend Heidi was kind enough to let me interview her for my channel.  She is an artist that paints these peg dolls that are so adorable.  I am really proud of the video so would LOVE if you checked it out and gave me a thumbs up if you think it is a good effort.

I’ve certainly learned a lot and will continue to learn about videography, speaking before a camera, editing, creating thumbnails in photoshop etc.  Still, I think it is a good effort and anything you could do to promote it I would be so grateful.

To learn more about Heidi’s pegs you can follow her at instagram https://instagram.com/pegsinasquarehole/

If you know of other local artists that might be interested in a profile or anyone who would make a good interview please let me know.  I’m also at 499 subscribers so if you aren’t subscribed you could be 500!  Please subscribe! Thanks so much!

Youtuber Confessions

I usually try and keep my youtube channel and this blog separate but since this is just about me and my videos I thought I would share it with all of you.  Thank you so much for all the support.  I couldn’t have gotten this job without all of you reading this blog over 7 years.  Thank you , thank you, thank you

Why Be Online?

Why blog?  Why be online? Why facebook, tweet, chat, instagram and vlog?  Why bother with it all?

Why deal with the online rat race?
Why deal with the online rat race?

I remember when I first started blogging my brother in law couldn’t figure out the appeal.  He’s more of a practical person so putting so much effort into something that was just a hobby and didn’t really create anything to use seemed confusing.  (or at least that’s was my take of what he thought I could be wrong).

Others have thought it was a huge waste of time.  Others embarrassing or ‘brutally honest’.  Some thought I did it for my ego or at the shot of being famous.  I’d be lying if I said there isn’t that momentary reason but that’s not something that will keep me blogging for 6 years.

Why plaster myself all over twitter, facebook, and youtube?

It’s actually kind of a hard question to answer because it changes from day to day.  But here are some of the reasons I have found it great to be active in all things online (in no particular order):

(Also I am the only one in my family that is an active personal content creator. 2 of my sisters do not even have facebook accounts, my parents don’t have active presences online and none of my in-person friends really do outside of facebook and private blogs)

So benefits of being online and some advice-

-To work through my life choices and receive guidance.  I cannot benefit from others experiences and perspectives when I write in my journal but I can in my blog.

– Keep in touch with people I never would have otherwise.  And do relationships sometimes feel a little shallow from facebook? Yes.  Do I prefer one-on-one interaction?  Yes.  But, life is rarely the choice of one great thing vs one horrible thing.  Usually it’s picking from 2 less than perfect options.  Given the choice between updates online from friends and a yearly Christmas card I’ll take the updates online!

– I have a literal social network- This week I am going to Tampa and visiting my friend Kim.  Kim and I were friends in high school but she wasn’t one of my 3 best friends (Amanda, Cay and Meredith).  However, we were friends on facebook and it turns out we totally have the same political beliefs and ideas so we’ve had some great conversations.  I needed a vacation and she was kind enough to invite me.

Last year I visited with my friend Samantha in Seal Beach, CA and we met on twitter.   I have legitimate friends all over the place and the main reason that network of friends exists is because of my internet presence. 2 years ago I visited DC and most of the people I saw I had maintained the friendship because of social networks. Hurray!

– It helps you fine tune your opinions.  Writing movie and book reviews and being challenged on those ideas makes you think more deeply about them and why you are drawn to certain things.  While yes sometimes things should just be enjoyed I find I enjoy them much more now that I have pondered what moves me and why.

– Having an online presence makes you realize that yes there are trolls but for every troll there are a 1,000 wonderful people.  It’s really quite heartening.

– Creating an online presence allows you to manage the content.  Ever read that blog and there are the incredibly idiotic trolls in the comments and you’ve wanted to delete them?  I have and on my blog I can! For the most part if you are thoughtful and interesting I’ll put your thoughts but if you are just calling me a ‘fat #$%%$#’ than no, I will not put that comment.   It’s great to be the one to be in charge.

– Being a content creator allows you to be a missionary of sorts for things you love.  Sometimes that is literally missionary work for my church.  Other times it is just a movie I love or a book that moved me.  Even if I get one other person to read a book they might not have otherwise read that is exciting.

– Developing content teaches you so many useful skills.  I have become a much better writer through blogging than I could have ever been through school classes.  Same thing with video editing and even acting.  Things like removing filler words is a useful skill for everyday conversation. I would not have had the skills to get and attempt my new job if I hadn’t decided to learn as much from both blogging and vlogging over the last 6 years and it never stops.  I have so many new techniques and skills I want to learn.

– It can actually make a difference. I’m a 33 year old single woman from Utah. My life is very small but being a content creator I get to all of the sudden be big.  In the world of blogging I realize I’m still small but think about it.  I get to say to 150-500 people daily that someone living their small life is awesome.  I can tell the kid being bullied, or the big girl she is beautiful, the non-athlete to start swimming, the person to start believing. All of those moments have actually happened many times over 6 years and it is humbling and wonderful. Makes it all worth it.

– It’s honestly a ton of fun.  If creating videos or blog writing becomes a chore than take a step back and give yourself a break.  It should be fun.  It is fun (intermixed with some tough times and venting but even that can be fun).  Even if it is not necessarily fun it should be rewarding. If you start looking at it too clinically and hoping for great numbers and views you will lose enthusiasm very quickly and probably won’t produce good content. Just be yourself and have fun.

– Find your niche.  I started on youtube with box reviews because you have to focus on something and then expand from there. This blog is a little different because I treated it like I was the editor of my own magazine.  What I find interesting I post and some of my favorite posts (Carousel of Progress or the 5 Favorite Films) almost nobody read.  That’s ok. I enjoyed writing them and that’s what matters.

– Realize your ideal audience.  It is very easy to start to focus on the numbers, especially when you have a post that gives things a spike. It’s exciting and feels good to know people are viewing your content.  However, don’t become too focused on it.  I would love to be a fulltime youtuber and blogger and have millions of monthly hits because I think I could make even better content but if you are looking at it through only that dream lens you may discount 100-300 hits and if you think about it that’s a lot of hits.

If you were in a store and had 300 people come in and look around you’d feel great.  Plus, with a core audience who follows your content you can create bonds with them that you can’t do at the fulltime viewership levels.  Some of my favorite youtubers have actually expressed nostalgia for the beginning when they knew the fans and could respond/interact with them.

– Produce content as often and as regularly as you can. Don’t worry about the content being perfect.  Try to make it as high in quality as you can but you are going to look at old posts and cringe.  That’s ok.  You build an audience (small as it may be) by producing content regularly and having good ideas no matter how unattractively wrapped they may be.  People are amazingly forgiving to the hobbyist writer/vlogger if an attempt at quality is being made and the ideas are good.

– In history never was it easier to be a creator.  Authoriship was reserved for the few, reading for the rich, movie-making for the well connected and talented but now anyone with ideas can create, so find out what you like and go for it.  I guarantee you tapping into that part of yourself will be an eye opening experience.

– People criticize nanowrimo because a lot of junk is created they are missing the point.  People are creating stories and when they engage in that process their stories become better, the world becomes better and we all tell better stories.

How’s this for interesting-

Princeton University did a study where they followed the brain activity of 2 people, one telling a story, and the other listening to said story:

“When the woman spoke English, the volunteers understood her story, and their brains synchronized. When she had activity in her insula, an emotional brain region, the listeners did too. When her frontal cortex lit up, so did theirs. By simply telling a story, the woman could plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listeners’ brains.”

So that is why being online is a good idea.  Even in a a 140 character tweet I can tell a story and that story sparks a thought in another person and then our literal brains are enlightened together.  That is awesome.

Is it a waste of time? It can be for sure but I’ve found even talking about silly things like Survivor or a recipe I’ve tried connects me with people that are engaging, funny, and worth the time.

-And finally every once in a while you will produce something truly special. I felt that way about my Heroism and Weight Loss piece.  The idea came to me after my writing conference and I got more excited as I thought about it.  I even tweeted it was going to be epic.  After I wrote it I was so glad I decided to be online back in 2008 because it led me to write that piece. A week or so later I got a message from one of my Survivor chatting buddies and she told me how she had struggled with an eating disorder and my words really meant a lot to her.

It doesn’t get better than that my friends. So go be online and have a blast. Create something great.

Youtube Glory!


I am proud to announce the new and improved Smilingldsgirl’s youtube channel- Rachel’s Reviews.  Over the last month or so I have finally taken it upon myself learn as much as I could to make my youtube channel as good as it could be.

There is still room for improvement so I’m not there yet but I’m very happy with how it is coming along.  Today I got the youtube channel art done.  This was created by my friend Joan at  http://www.bitsycreations.com/

In addition to stationairy, posters and cute designs she calls kidlet’s, she has done my custom Christmas and Valentines and my logo for my reviews.  Pretty much anything I’ve thrown at her she’s done, so check out her site for all your graphic design needs.

So cute right?
So cute right?

This is what my channel looks like.  I think it looks pretty professional especially for as little as I’ve had to spend.

YOUTUBE 4My videos are getting better too! I’ve still got to work on the focus shots of the product but if you look at previous videos this is definitely better.

It seems to be working too.  My viewership has gone up 35% in one month.  Not bad!  It’s still very small fry but I’m having a blast doing it, learning a lot and so it’s been totally worth it.

Plus, I’ve also gotten great constructive feedback and some meaningful comments like this:

One lady said  “Anyway, I really like your videos and was just telling my sister tonight she needed to check you out on youtube. Unlike most people on youtube your real, not all made up like it seems most of them try to be, that and your never negative. I love your unboxing videos and between my sister and you I do believe a monster has been created…I now have 5 of them!!!”

That just made my day! (And it made me realize if you ever wanted to do a little service that’s free go onto random youtube channels and give them some praise it really does feel good!).   There is so much negativity out there that sometimes you need extra thick skin to put yourself out there but it is worth it.  100% worth it.

My greatest desire with this blog is to show my life and that I am not ruled by my weight. I can get on youtube, read, write, vacation and swim 5ks, and so can you!  Last year I had an epiphany where I realized ‘what if this is the way God wants me to look?’

I had been pushing a boulder up a mountain my whole life and never quite getting there.  This left me feeling like a failure when I had success after success in my path.  Don’t get me wrong sometimes I would talk the talk of being big and bold but inside I knew I had tried really hard and was still obese.

What if this is the way God wants me to look?  You know, I’m finally able to move beyond the weight loss rut and say, ‘OK Lord. Give me your next challenge’.  I try to focus more on having a healthy life and being happy (and you know what’s funny is I think I’ve been more fashionable and beautiful since this realization.  Beauty is so much more than lbs)

I’ve tried to be completely honest about my life on this blog.  Some people think that is crazy but it has served me quite well.  Even on youtube people can tell when you’re putting up a front, when you are:

‘real, not all made up’.

Could you give a higher compliment?  Not to me.

I know I have my bad days, but that’s part of being human.  However, deep down inside there are always things I am smiling about even when life seems to punch me in the gut. (or leave me sleep deprived for 2 months…sigh)

It’s a good life and  an awesome adventure in blogging and vlogging! 🙂  To learning more each day and having fun! Cheers

(And if you haven’t checked out the site go to http://www.youtube.com/user/smilingldsgirl and please subscribe.  That’d be awesome!)