Sylvan Points at Stuff: Favorite YouTube Channels

Been a while since I pointed at anything, so let’s have some videos!  

I am a woman of odd enthusiasms, as are, I imagine, many of my readers.  Looking at the channels I subscribe to on YouTube or the Instagrams I follow would be pretty instructive to those trying to figure me out – just, um, don’t read too much into my Tumblr, I’m really not *that* into gay porn.

I think the entire internet just gave me this face:

While Instagram for me is mostly pretty things and food, however, I actually use my YouTube for some practical purposes, including getting the hell to sleep.  I follow a number of meditation music channels and ASMR-related channels to help my anxiety and help me sleep, so they make up a significant chunk of what you’d see on my feed.  I also have several art-related folk I follow, particularly devoted to art journaling and the like, and remarkably few planner-related bloggers, although I used to follow a bunch. A lot of planner-related channels pay way more attention to things like dieting than I really want to hear about, not to mention some of the ones I used to really enjoy have stopped updating (the eternal YouTube struggle).

Here then are some of my favorite YouTube channels, in no particular order.  I’m not listing some of the more obvious ones, like Maru – I wanted to point out YouTubers you might not have heard of.

ASMR Rooms

This channel is brilliant – the creator has built a variety of “rooms” that are basically soundscapes, combining nature sounds, ambient sounds, occasionally voices, and the background noise of a particular location.  In this example she’s captured the Ravenclaw Common Room at Hogwarts, but she’s done rooms from Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Hobbit, and others.  They’re all incredibly soothing and evocative.

Peaceful Cuisine

Another ASMR-ish sort of channel, this one combines lovely cooking noises with vegan recipes.  There are usually two versions of each recipe, one with music and one just with the cooking sounds so you can listen as you watch.  I’ve always found cooking sounds – like dicing, pouring, and stirring – really soothing, and the videos are beautifully shot.  The creator is Japanese and occasionally appears on camera but the emphasis is always on the food and the process of prep and cooking.

YellowBrick Cinema – Relaxing Music

A prolific channel for meditation and relaxation music.  They post at least once a day.  Some of their posts are classical music, some acoustic, some ambient, and they range from 15 minutes to 6 hours in length.  There are also videos meant to help soothe babies to sleep, and music for reiki and healing practices.

Vicky Papaioannou

Vicky is one of my favorite art/craft YouTubers, partly because of her wonderful Greek accent, partly because I enjoy the bright exuberance of her style, and partly because her cat Ginger makes periodic appearances walking around on her work table.  I’m not into making handmade cards, but I enjoy watching her try new techniques and show off new supplies, and her art journals are a totally different style from what I originally found online.  It’s obvious how much she loves doing what she does.  

Yoga With Adriene

Adriene is from right here in ATX, which was my impetus for clicking on her “beginners’ yoga” video when I was tooling around YouTube looking for videos to start playing with.  I loved her almost immediately – her teaching style is a good combination of woo-woo and pragmatic, asking students to meet themselves where they are and “find what feels good.”

She’s definitely not a plus-sized yogini, and there are a couple of weight loss videos on her channel, but she typically doesn’t bring up that sort of thing unless that’s the subject of the video.  Since that’s not what I’m there for, I just steer clear of those and stick with what inspires me.  She has videos that focus on all sorts of needs, from yoga for your back and shoulders, to yoga for swimmers or cyclists, yoga for migraines, anger management, yoga for those in wheelchairs, you name it.  There are also meditations and some videos that focus on getting deeper into a particular pose.

I also love her dog Benji.  You know you’re watching an Austin yoga video when the teacher’s dog is in it.

Molly Roberts: HerSpeak

A relative newcomer to my lineup, I happened across Molly when looking for meditations, and I don’t know if it’s her voice, her enthusiasm, or just her flat out adorableness, but I was hooked.  I’m planning to go back to the beginning of her channel and watch anything that sounds appealing.

Molly’s a Pagan YouTuber, and does videos on magick, ritual, and some of my favorite subjects:  BoS/Grimoirekeeping and altar building.  To be perfectly honest it had never occurred to me to look for BoS tours and altar show-and-tell the way I’ve watched planner-walkthrough videos, and how could I have been so blind?!?  Those were always some of my favorite aspects of the Craft, and if I had a remotely video-friendly bone in my body I’d do a walkthrough of my old, hand-drawn BoS just to show how much work and love went into it way back when.

Anyway, thanks to Molly I have a whole new YouTube rabbit hole to fall down, and I’m looking forward to it.  But in the meantime I just love listening to her talk (her voice is an ASMR trigger at times, which only makes it that much more awesome) and love her ideas.  Not to mention she combines magick with something else I love hearing about:  Bullet Journaling.

Incidentally, do you have any mystical or spiritual YouTubers you love?  Pretty much any tradition, as long as it’s non-conservative.  I’m a soul-slut, as you know.  What I’d really love to see are more Pagan planners, bullet journalers, or BoS-keepers.  Recommend away in comments, on Facebook, or Twitter.  

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Just a Quickie

Thanks to everyone who’s already joined my Patreon!  You guys rock my socks.

Meanwhile, here’s this week’s Agenda Journaling pages from the e-course offered by Hope at Besottment:

Agenda Journal April 6-12


I’m still trying to work out what I want to use my Agenda Journal for – it’s definitely a diary more than a planner, but I don’t know if enough stuff really happens in my life to need that much space to doodle about a day.  Then again, there are times when I’m crazy busy for weeks at a go, so, maybe it’ll get more crowded as time goes on.  Regardless, I’m having fun with it.

(Just in case you wonder:  I rate my mood level every day on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being “I just committed suicide, how are you?” and 10 being a state of bliss no human can reach.  When I’m hella depressed I hover around 3; when I’m hypomanic I sometimes get as far up as 7.  5 is a state where I feel pretty stable and able to get stuff done.  It’s not happy, really, but it’s functional.  I’ve had a nice string of 5 days lately and hope it continues, though I have had a few emotional whiplash moments.  But given I spend most of the year at a 4, 5 is good. We like 5.)

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Thinky Thoughts and Silly Doodles

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately – perhaps more than usual, which given my tendency to overthink and overanalyze even the slightest gesture on the part of the universe or people or, hell, random pigeons, is saying something.

This time, however, the thoughts have an unusual flavor – this sort of minty, sort of cool undertone that I realized is actual utility.  Yes, I’m thinking in circles about some things, but slowly a few things are clicking into place – my brain is playing Tetris with itself.

Screen shot 2015-04-06 at 2.31.13 PMMy guiding thought this month has thus far been “know thyself.”  I recently finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Better than Before, which discusses the nature of habits:  how we create them, why we break them, and strategies for forming new ones.  And though Rubin herself has one of those Type A personalities that drive me bonkerdoodles, she emphasizes that her way of doing things is atypical, and that no single approach to change is the “right” one, just the right one for you.  Her big thing is, as you might guess, knowing yourself, and considering both how your personality can set you up to fail and how you can take advantage of it to succeed.

One important thing I learned reading the book is that I’m what Rubin calls an Obliger:  I need external accountability and validation to keep me committed.  I’m great at starting things but dreadful at follow-through, and I have a really hard time self-motivating.  I run in a grey area between valuing people’s opinions too much and becoming resentful that I care about those opinions at all.  Obligers like being leaders and role models – having people look to them and support their ideas.

At first I thought that was terrible.  External validation?  What kind of screwed up self-image is that?  I shouldn’t need other people’s approval for anything! But then, I realized, it’s not about upholding the image of the perfect self-actualized woman.  Craving validation isn’t a sin.  We all do it to one degree or another; I just have a personality that finds external accountability a big motivator.  If you just leave me alone with a list of changes to make chances are I’ll make a nice fat to-do list out of it and then lay down and watch Chopped.

Basically I’m equally likely to join a cult or lead one myself.

This was a valuable insight. Because of all the woo-woo self-helpy philosophy I’ve ingested over the years I believed that only I could keep myself on the straight and narrow/bi and swervy; now when I consider the habits I want to adopt in various arenas of my life (there’s a chart) I’m considering ways I could go public with them, ways to use my creative talents to both inform/entertain people and give me a framework for change.

That’s a big part of why I’m working on a Patreon in which subscribers will have access to my book chapters one by one – the old multipart fan fiction approach always provided the feedback I craved to keep me going.  This whole thing where a book takes a year to get done and I have to hold back what happens from the world is no more fun for me than it is for you!

As you might imagine, based on my delightfully extroverted personality and my warm and fuzzy countenance (SARCASM SIGN), this is kind of a terrifying thought for me.  I’m not what you’d call a joiner; I’m not good at sharing, except in writing.  I’ve lived a lot of my life in secret, hiding the truth even when it was easier to be forthright than to make something up.  Some of that was a survival mechanism, but I find that here on the edge of 40 I’m so closed off I’ve pretty much stopped trying to do…anything.

One of the things I always told people about The Circle Within was that it wasn’t a book written by a knowledgable Elder of the path.  It was written for myself as much as anyone else, to help me crystallize and make sense of my way of practicing.  The Body Sacred was the same way; I wrote it first and foremost because I needed it, not because I’d come through my body image journey and was now ready to dispense my vast wisdom to the masses.

Now I’m trying to figure out what exactly I need here in 2015 and how I can create it.

I’d like to say I have a Big Idea to share, but I don’t, not yet.  However, I figured out that I used to blog a lot more when I was just talking about my life experiences and touching on larger truths rather than trying to “say something.”  I’ve been trying too hard at what doesn’t matter, and it’s drained the energy I had for things that do.  So, here I am, and since I don’t have any earthshattering insights, I thought I could at least share where I’m at, as well as this:

Here’s the first week in my agenda journal from Hope Wallace’s Daily Musings course.  First, I decorated the title page with various bits of paper and a scrap of text from Shadow’s Fall.  I stuck a library pocket inside the front cover to hold whatever paper flotsam I need.

2015-04-06 12.48.27

By contrast, my actual agenda pages are not exactly a vintage themed outing; since I didn’t really go anywhere last week, I didn’t have any of the receipts or cards or ephemera that Hope usually does in her journals, so I just went with my own little doodles, my new pens, and a bit of Prismacolor here and there.

2015-04-06 12.47.52

I think now that I’ve got more of a feel for what it takes to fill up a day’s entry I’ll make more interesting pages.

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A New Month, a New Form of Insanity

A couple, actually.

First, if you signed up for my email newsletter, you may or may not get one for April. I’ve made the decision to discontinue it in favor of a Patreon site – the simple reality is that if I’m not going to be traditionally published for a while, I need to find other ways to keep the wifi on and the coffee flowing (and the cat food, Owen would like me to mention), and a Patreon seems like a good way to do that where you guys will get stuff frequently if you sign up.

The site is not set up yet, but you may be familiar with artists like Amanda Palmer doing the same thing.  I’m not quite that ambitious, but subscribers will receive chapters each month, the final book itself for free, and access to all my extras, printables, new projects, and such before anyone else (and sometimes exclusively).  My books will still come out in hardcopy and digital just like normal, but you’ll have the opportunity to read them as they’re written, the way I used to write back in the day. (Hell of a day, right?)

I’ll have more details and hopefully the whole thing ready to launch by April 15.  

Secondly, I’ve signed up for a new e-course this April called Daily Musings: Agenda Journaling by Hope Wallace, the lovely talent behind  I really like her way of using a daily agenda as a diary – I had intended to do that in my planner, but it turns out I actually need my planner to plan things, so if I want to keep a journal or diary of what goes on in my life I need another format.  I’m really excited about it.

I don’t plan on posting my pages every day – maybe once a week, or just once in a while.  It depends on how well it goes.  But I wanted to show you where I’m starting off.

For my agenda I found a cheap-ass Moleskine 2015 Daily Diary, which was cheap for two reasons: one, 2015 is already a quarter gone, and two, it was this heinous shade of pink:

If you've seen the BBC Sherlock's first episode you can imagine the true horror of this pink. It's actually way uglier in person.  Sort of Pepto Bismol meets Barbie on acid.
If you’ve seen the BBC Sherlock’s first episode you can imagine the true horror of this pink. It’s actually way uglier in person. Sort of Pepto Bismol meets Barbie on acid.

I mean, damn.

I had no intention of leaving it like that, however.  A couple of hours and a lot of glue later, I have a sort-of-vintage looking agenda that I actually love looking at:

2015-04-01 09.13.02

Much better!

Moleskines have a pocket inside the back cover, and I added a library pocket I found while rummaging through my endless paper stores.  I crumpled and then inked up the “spine” of the book before gluing it down to give it a more old-book-feel.

Most of the materials were pulled from my scrap bin and stash so I have no idea where they came from, but I’ll list the ones I know:

The Paper Studio Tattered & Worn paper stack –

I’m not going to link to the product page as it’s an exclusive Hobby Lobby line and I refuse to shop there.  I bought this about 7 years ago before they had pissed me off.  But there are other cheap paper collections with the same sort of thing going: fakey vintage and worn out old paper.  The background patterned sheet, the green, and the brown papers all came from this same stack, which I’ve used extensively over the years:

You can get it on Ebay, though,
You can get it on Ebay, though, if that’s better.
Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Ornate Plates and Long Fastener Brads

1_35743_FS 1_45025_FS


Tim Holtz Distress Ink (by Ranger)


Colors used:

  • Vintage Photo
  • Black Soot
  • Old Paper
  • Pumice Stone

The dragonfly embellishment is by K&Company but for the life of me I couldn’t find it online.

Elmer’s Craft Bond Extra-Strength Glue Stick

1/4″ Scor-Tape (double-sided hella strong tape)





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