YouTube Tuesday: Cindy Guentert-Baldo

Cindy single-handedly made me stop ignoring YouTube. 

I’ll mark down when this appointment is…

Oh hai, Mark!

— CGB

I met Cindy via the planner community about half a decade ago. Who ever thought that a Facebook group that you join based on one of your random interests would end up completely changing your life? But for me it has in so many ways.

The one dearest to me is all of the amazing friends that I’ve made. Legitimate friendships. People I share my secrets, embarrassing stories, successes, failures, and sorrows with. Through the planner community (PGW, WLEC, and the million others that have cropped up), I have had opportunities to Go Wild (or Geaux Wild, if you’re an OG), traveling to many cities I haven’t seen before, and be able to hug my friends and share experiences with them.

Cindy is one of the people I call my friend. If you haven’t met her yet, just know that she is awe-inspiring, talented, down-to-earth, hilarious, compassionate, honest, and the most *real* person I’ve seen in a while.

You might look her up on Facebook or YouTube for her lettering, watercolors, or vlogs. But – if you are like me – you’ll quickly see what she puts out there for everyone to find: Cindy has an amazing heart. She cares deeply about people. All people. She will have opinions, but she always, always advocates for you having your own opinion and going with that. She is open and honest and real and prefers to see people as they are and not just the perfect image that they project. And she truly loves people for themselves, flaws and all.

I think it’s because of this very basic acceptance of people with all their warts and deficiencies that she is such a sought-after teacher when it comes to creative skills. She will cheerlead your efforts, point out your shortcomings, and accept you where you are. There’s no sugar-coating. She never promises that you’ll have professional-looking lettering or art in a year or after taking a course. What she *will* say is that if you put in the effort and really try, eventually progress will be made. She will say that maybe you don’t want to copy someone else’s art or handwriting, but find what you love about your own and perfect that.

That’s just a small glimpse into her heart. But what about her style, her vibe? What’s it like to hang out with CGB? It’s been blunt and honest, sad, exciting, wildly entertaining, outrageous, and common everyday life. The one thing that you never are is bored. She also has a quality to her voice and her narrative that makes it easy to listen to her for hours on end.

Lucky for me, she not only has a fairly large collection of videos on YouTube (which I’ve almost completely viewed), but she also has a Podcast called The Uncurated Life. I have a long commute and I am happy to listen to Cindy all 3 hours/day.

A lot of people were first introduced to Cindy’s channel via Llamas Love Lettering, a hand lettering tutorial series she created.

Since Llamas Love Lettering evolved from the planner community, we are typically a demographic which appreciates pen and paper, so this naturally lent itself to reviewing pens, art supplies, and planners. Cindy is able to point out both the positive and negative aspects of whatever she is reviewing, give her personal opinion about it, and frequently will also point out what kinds of people may enjoy that product, even if it was not her cup of tea.

Just when I think that I have enough pens and art supplies that I under-use, here comes another review video that makes me go, “Oooooh!”

One of my favorite series that she posts is her Plan With Me or Plan As You Go videos. These will show how she pre-plans her weekly layout, or how she updates her planner(s) throughout the week. It definitely is inspiring to me and I cannot tell you how often I plan my week with a PWM video playing on the computer on my desk.

She is open about a lot of her life and lately has been speaking candidly about the struggles with living with advanced PKD (polycystic kidney disease). As someone who also has a chronic illness, I love how she both advocates taking care of yourself and setting boundaries in what you sign yourself up for in anticipation of times when you are not able to do All The Things… But she also shows you that she – like you – is bad at this and often overextends herself, with predictable results. (Just today, one of my staff had to ask me, “Didn’t you get off work an hour and a half ago?”) I don’t know, it just comforts me to see other people who are also lamenting bad decisions and then scheduling the next long list of tasks with the speed of a dog spotting a squirrel. #irelate #irelatesohard

You may also want to watch Cindy if:

  • You want to gain proficiency in profanity
  • You want to be bewildered and fascinated by how seemingly easy she makes lettering look
  • You want product reviews by someone who is completely honest, and at the same time willing to show both what she doesn’t like in a product as well as what someone else might see in it that would make that product work for them
  • You want to watch art videos that inspire you to test out your own creativity
  • You want to watch content that is entertaining, welcoming, and fun – Cindy always makes the viewer feel like a friend. You’ll quickly come to know the inside jokes about eggplants, “naughty” words like spooge (which usually describe writing utensils – what were you thinking?!), and know which pen would survive in a Gladiator tournament (these things are important, no one wants a weak pen that will be defeated in the first round!).
  • You want to subscribe to someone who makes diverse content. Cindy creates lots of different kinds of art (including watercolors), is known for her hand lettering skills (and does this professionally), talks candidly about her struggles with a chronic illness, has a podcast called The Uncurated Life that discusses being real and authentic on social media, can talk about important issues like social justice without being preachy or judgmental, creates fun challenges for viewers to participate in, vlogs, and has great planner-related content.
  • You are Nicholas Cage.
  • You want to watch someone who is a truly remarkable, beautiful human being.

Non-sequitur: Why was this rather simplistic eggplant my featured image for this post? (**Note: I was able to update the featured image with a photo of Cindy. 1000000% better!)

My eggplant drawing mostly sucks. Like, objectively sucks. But… what might Cindy think…?

First, she would applaud my efforts and the fact that I made an effort at all in the first place. She is always encouraging others and reminding people that skill comes with practice. She would never make me feel bad, even though my drawing sucks and I dashed this off in 30 seconds and took a photo in bad lighting.

Second, it’s an eggplant, which has become an inside joke/mascot between Cindy and her followers. Sometimes, products will be graded with how many eggplants (vs. stars) they receive.

Third, it’s a little ridiculous. Which I feel she would appreciate. Cindy reminds me to not take myself so seriously and that doing something just because it’s fun or you love it is 100% valid.

Okay, I think I’ve rambled on for quite a while, but I still feel like I haven’t done Cindy or her channel justice. Quite possibly I’m just not capable of that daunting task. So, I urge you to take a peek yourself. Here are some ways for you to find her on the interwebs (from her YouTube show notes):

YouTube Tuesday: Danielle Mansutti

My last few YouTube posts have been about BookTubers. Today, I’m going to go in a different direction and talk about a different subject: beauty vloggers!

Dani is a very personable beauty vlogger that I’ve been watching for the past several months. She has a very sweet and down-to-earth personality.

Possibly the first Dani video that I watched.

I’m pretty sure that I found her channel when searching for makeup videos for beginners (me, I suck at makeup, but occasionally want to get better at it). I enjoy the looks that she creates and feel that she explains them well. She also gives good do/don’t advice, as well as describes the pros and cons to different makeup products and formulas.

After watching several of her videos, I feel that I have enough information to know which brands I might want to try next for certain categories of makeup. For example, she is a fan of the Ofra line of highlighters, and they look really good in Dani’s videos, so I will likely buy from this brand when I am next shopping for a highlighter.

Tutorials are not the only kind of videos on her channel. She also has some general life vlogs about cleaning and decorating for Christmas, travel (Maldives, anyone?), hauls and reviews, and some chats about mental health.

Please let me know if there are any beauty vloggers that you enjoy watching!

2018 Reading Stats

My Goodreads Year in Books! <– You can click here to see Goodreads stats for me without my commentary. LOL!

Book and Page Stats

I beat my reading goal by 113%, which was nice. I wasn’t scrambling too hard at the end, even though I had a pretty big reading slump earlier in the year that could have thrown me off my game.

115 books translates into an average of 9.6 books per month; or one book every 3.2 days.

Below is a graphical representation of the number of books that I read per month. You can see that in the first half of the year, I wasn’t really reading too much. Still a decent pace, but for me, it was a slump. June – no books? Really? In August, I was introduced to BookTube and it reinvigorated my love for reading.

Number of books read per month in 2018

Looking at my reading trends over the past several years, you can see that in 2013, I had my biggest reading year, with 200 books read. My goddaughter was born in 2013, and I was reading and reviewing a *lot* of children’s books for her.

Number of books per month from 2007 to 2018
Number of books per year from 2007 to 2018

Looking at page counts over the past several years, you can see how I stopped reading so many short children’s books and started reading more adult or YA books. So, while I had read almost twice the number of books in 2013, my page count in 2018 is greater.

I don’t know why Goodreads has my page count as 33,843 in one graphic and 33,926 in another. Perhaps they are counting some of the pages in books that I have started and marked as “In Progress?”

For the sake of my calculations, I’ll use the smaller number of pages. I averaged 2,820 pages per month, and 93 pages per day.

Number of pages read per month from 2007 to 2018
Number of pages read per year from 2007 to 2018
Number of pages read per month in 2018

My shortest book was one of my goddaughter, Gabby’s, books.

My longest book was “Winter’s Tale” that I felt like I listened to via Audible a lifetime ago. Was that really just last year?

My average book length was 294 pages, which is pretty good!

Star Rating Stats

These are my books broken down by star rating. I did give the majority of my reads 4 stars. They have to really move me to be given 5 stars. I give out 3 and 4 stars fairly easily, and feel a little bad about giving out a 2 or 1 star rating.

According to Goodreads built-in rating scale 2 is “OK” and 3 is “I like it,” but I tend to see 2s as more “meh/not for me” and 3s as more “it was OK.” For me to give out a 1 star, I have to really not like the book for some reason.

If you can see the little thumbnails, yes, I do have two copies of “The Martian” on my 5 star row. This is because I read a copy on my Kindle and I listened to the audiobook separately (not concurrently). I have now read “The Martian” about 29 times and my brother keeps trying to ban me from ever reading it again. So, I purchased the French translation copy, “Seul Sur Mars,” which should be arriving from Amazon France at the end of January 2019. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Also, thanks to Emmmabooks for showing me that I can and should buy and read copies of my favorite books in multiple languages!)

This year, my only 1 star was “Clear” by Jessica Park. It was good for the first 50 pages or so, then went off the rails in a bad way and had a horrible plot resolution. Horrible. Implausible and – are you serious? It took me forever to finish the book and I’m surprised that I slogged through. This doesn’t say anything about Jessica Park’s other books, which I have really enjoyed.

“Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes,” I just couldn’t get into. This isn’t to say that I might not pick it up at some point in the future and like it. I just wasn’t feeling it at the time. This is why I put it on my DNF shelf, but didn’t give it a star rating.

This sounds like a high average for me. But looking at the graphic, it looks like I lucked out with a pretty significantly high number of 5 star books. Also, the lack of 2 and 1 stars….

I wonder if I should adjust my scoring for next year and move some of my 2.5 stars down to 2?

The Popularity Contest

This did not surprise me. I thought ACOMAF was fantastic! ๐Ÿ™‚

I was fairly surprised that “The Girl on the Train” was the most popular book on my shelf. I was *not* surprised about “Gabriella the Superhero,” as I had to add that title to the database. ๐Ÿ™‚ Before “Gabriella,” by next Least Popular title was “Exploring Seeds” – a children’s non-fiction title that I picked up late in the summer when I thought that I was going to do the Harry Potter OWL and NEWT challenges (Herbology, yo!). Alas, I didn’t complete the challenges.

However, I did learn something about my reading habits: I am a mood reader. I will *not* read it if I do not “feel” like it at the time. This actually surprises me somewhat, since I am normally very competitive and generally find challenges to be compelling.

In fact, this changed the way I viewed my goals for 2019. This year, I am not going to sign up for a lot of very strict challenges (like PopSugar or the Quarterly YA challenges with 10 categories every 3 months).

I find that if I try to constrain what books I can read too much, I’ll end up not reading at all. So my goals are more fluid.

To help me reach my goals – and for a fun way for me to track my reading – I purchased “The Bookworm Life” planner from my friend, Monica. It is adorable! You can buy it from her on Etsy, using the link above. (She also has lots of adorable bookish stickers for your calendar, bullet journal, or planner!)

2019 Goals

More Random Stats

  • 48 authors I have read before, but 67 were new-to-me. (I counted the first book in a series as a new author and subsequent books as read-before.)
  • I read 50 books across 27 different series. Of those, I’ve completed (as far as I know) 6 of the series, and would continue with 14 of the series. I really get attached to characters and worlds and like to live in them as long as I can, so series are really attractive to me.
    • Asylum (1)
    • Blood of Eden (1)*
    • Breathing (4) – Completed.
    • Bright Side (1) – Completed.
    • Choose Your Own Adventure (1)
    • A Court of Thorns and Roses (4) – Completed.
    • Crazy Rich Asians (2)*
    • Dash and Lily (1)*
    • Disney’s Frozen (1)
    • The Gender Game (7) – Completed.
    • Hush, Hush (1)
    • Illuminae Files (1)*
    • Kitchen Princess (1)
    • Lisbon’s Misadventures (1)
    • Lux (3)*
    • Malory Family (1)*
    • Marked Men (2)*
    • Origin (1)*
    • The Raven Cycle (1)*
    • The Selection (1) – Completed.
    • Star Darlings (1)*
    • Uglies (5) – Completed.
    • The Vanderbeekers (1)
    • Warcross (1)*
    • Wayward Children (3)*
    • Xanth (2)*
    • You (1)*
  • 65 books I own in some form vs. 50 books I borrowed or read as part of a subscription service (like Scribd or Kindle Unlimited).
  • I re-read 7 books:
    • 100 Ghosts by Doogie Horner (Super cute Halloween read)
    • Jesus-Shock by Peter Kreeft (for A-Z challenge)
    • The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey (Fave from teen years)
    • The Martian by Andy Wier (LOVE!)
    • Once and Always by Judith McNaught (LOVE!)
    • Xone of Contention by Piers Anthony (for A-Z challenge)
    • Zombie Lover by Piers Anthony (for A-Z challenge)
  • 18 books published in 2018.

Thanks!

A big thank you to Kayla from Books and Lala, who inspired me to spend *hours* making this long-winded blog post for y’all! I’m tired, but happy to see all my reading stats for 2018!

If you’ve made it this far, you’re a rock star! Please link your blog/vlog posts in comments, so I can see your end-of-year wrap up!

YouTube Tuesday: Booksandlala

I’ve found that there are so many people/channels that I’ve been enjoying on YouTube, so I would like to share my picks with you on a more regular basis. So, I’m going to be posting some of my favorites on what I will call YouTube Tuesday!

Today, I would like to introduce you to the first BookTube content creator that I started following: Kayla from Booksandlala.

I love how structured Kayla/Lala’s channel is. She typically starts every month with her TBR list and closes the month with a wrap-up video that goes over what she actually read and her thoughts about them.

She also does a fair amount of vlogging, where we get to know her better, and a fair number of readathons (which I appreciate, as it inspires my competitive nature to participate as well, with the result of expanding my reading diversity).

Her haul videos are dangerous, as they always lead me to want to buy far more books than I can read in a month. Watch with caution! But one of the best things about Kayla is that she often buys her books from a resale shop or some online stores like Book Outlet, which sells books at a discounted price. TBH, I started shopping on Book Outlet because of Kayla and I’ve filled at least 3 shelves on my bookcase already from them!

She also films a lot of tag videos, which are videos which are meant to be re-created by different people answering the same set of questions or doing the same challenges. I love the viewer participation that this fosters.

I’ve only discovered her channel midway through 2018, thanks to Monica (IG: @plan_with_monica; Etsy: PeanutButterTaco), but I’ve already watched nearly the complete body of work so far, if that tells you anything about how enjoyable her content is. ๐Ÿ™‚