You might think that because I spend my professional time creating and producing television, I would want a break from video in my down-time. When I’m not making TV, I’m watching it. And I increasingly watch online-exclusive content. Video production gets better every day, thanks to advances in technology. Creators get better with every video upload (practice!) Great video is inspiring to me! When I watch, I learn, and believe me… I’ve done a lot of both.

This my friends, is the Best of YouTube 2017:


SKIP TO: All of the short videos < 02:00 min.
I want to see high-quality, artistically shot video, with cool edits and great music, which are features that ALL of my favorites have. I’m not a fan of talking to the camera you’re holding. Sometimes the selfie vlog has good info, but that is not what I’m here for.
^ WHY – Composition, editing, etc. PLUS, I love the skateboard shots. Rob uses them a lot…

^ WHY – CREATIVE… Rob was just on a random trip in Hawaii, caught some amazing videos of kids being awesome and…here you go.

^ WHY – COLLABORATION is king! I love when my favorites get together and create content this amazing!

– STELLAR COMPOSITION, editing & music pairing
– Personal story VO about his decision to quit school weaved into the video 


Sam Kolder is an excellent videographer who actually tours with The Chainsmokers and shoots video at their shows. He doesn’t post a lot, but what he does put up is super high quality.

 ^ WHY – The Chainsmokers!

SKIP TO: All of the short videos < 03:00 min.

>YouTube commercial – This one is cool because while this video is certainly sponsored by and created because YouTube requested it, the content is impeccable…as usual. 


Sawyer and his adorable girlfriend Angelique (who also has a channel!) just finished a year of daily vlog posting. While not every one of those videos was my favorite, it is obvious that that much content creation MADE Sawyer really good at what he does.

SKIP TO: any Thru My Eyes videos – Amazing music, shot composition, editing and VO (that’s Voice Over for you non-industry kids) 

SKIP TO: Chapter Videos | Currently two installments – amazing editing and footage. Special bonus on these? a great story, written and VO’d by Sawyer.



This was my first YouTube love! Her channel has changed quite a bit since having a baby almost a year ago. If you’re a momma, about to be, or thinking about it, I’m sure you will be obsessed Mimi’s recent videos, many of which feature her and hubby Alex’s new life with baby, Alexa Love. For me, it’s all about travel!

SKIP TO: Best Of 2015 – This one was personally inspirational to me because it came out right before I went on my first big trip. **”Best of” videos are usually a really good bet, since they are the creator’s BEST.
 ^ WHY – Looking more closely, I mostly enjoy her intros and interstitial content. Again, I’m not a huge fan of talking to the camera. Sometimes it’s great information but usually I just skip the talking to the camera bits if they’re more than 20 seconds (in all videos.) ^ WHY – 
Obsessed with Mimi’s music selection. It’s always something I’ve never heard that is both exciting and chill at the same time.


NEW FAVORITE! Found her because of her BF Saywer, and in a short time she is really developing her style as a video creator. She has workout videos, a lookbook all of the usual, but this one really caught my attention:

Skip to: “My Trip of a Lifetime”
^ WHY – She explains in an earnest and poetic way what trip meant to her. The extra work that it took for her to write the copy, read the VO, and edit all of this footage together really brings this one up in the rankings.


There are thousands of gorgeous girls on YouTube with videos about what their outfits are and how #blessed they feel. Don’t get me wrong, I love a well-shot lookbook, but I can only watch so many (like 3) before I get bored…

Mimi is the queen of the Lookbook:

^ WHY – Mimi goes through a good variety of outfits for a specific occasion or season. Always paired with great music, clean shots and fun edits. 

What are your favorites? >>>


If I learned anything in 2015 it was to learn.

Find someone who inspires you. As I embark on a new adventure in the coming days I feel myself coming alive. Sleepless with excitement.

Watching this video brought me to tears.
The realization of a dream is the most powerful feeling in the world.
Its anticipation is the most profound.

Mimi inspires me.
Venture. Exert. Love.

My heart throbs with thankfulness to God. What have I done to deserve this feeling of wonder? It is truly in myself that I find the greatest proof of His existence. He has crafted in me a spirit of wonder. I marvel at the excellence of His creation of ME. To be given the ability to feel is surely the greatest treasure to be blessed with.

Top 5 – Instagram


If you read my last post about wasting time on your smart phone you might wonder why today I’m writing about Instagram, one of the top time-wasting apps.
If you enjoy spending time on your phone cruising certain apps, you don’t have to eliminate it! Just be more conscious about what you’re looking at and why.
Instagram is one of my favorite apps to tap when I have a down moment during the day. On it I find beauty, encouragement and inspiration for my life. Making sure that I’m not wasting my time looking at pictures that I don’t care about is really important to me, so here’s a list of my favorite accounts. I’m always looking for new ‘grammers’ to follow so let me know your favorites in the comment section!

Top 5 Instagram-ers:
@SheReadsTruth – devotional / inspirational / Bible verses
@MimiIkonn –  style / fashion / travel
@LesleyAnneMurphy – travel / photography / inspiration
@HeyHails – photography / family
@BeautifulDestinations – travel / photography

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.22.57 AM@SheReadsTruth is the Instagram account for the devotional website This is such a wonderful resource that I found because of a long lost acquaintance. That’s something I love about social media: connecting with people from my past! I somehow reconnected with a girl, Ashley (@newdiolsen), from my figure skating childhood on Instagram. Ashley re-posts @shereadstruth photos all the time which I finally checked out one day. It’s a treasure of beautifully crafted images with sweet little captions. She Reads Truth is not just an Instagram with great photos. They have an app, a devotional book, and a daily devotional reading plan geared toward women. Every little gem they post is always a encouragement and a reminder for me to take time out for some Bible reading and prayer.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.27.11 AM@MimiIkonn is super fun. All of her posts are a visual treat. Each photo is full of light, life and color. She posts great outfit ideas, fresh and healthy snacks and great office décor concepts. Whether she’s working in her London office or traveling the world, she always brightens up my Instagram feed. Part of why I find her work inspiring is because I know her incredible entrepreneurial story. She and husband Alex started Luxy Hair, hair extension company, years ago and have worked hard to grow it into the successful business it is today! Seeing someone work hard and achieve their dreams gives me the encouragement to pursue my own.

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@LesleyAnnMurphy is a world-renowned traveller. You never know what part of the world her next post is going to come from but each and every picture is flawless. I initially found her because she was a contestant on ABC’s the Bachelor. She never posts a poor quality photo. Its a great reminder to me to do everything well. There is never a good reason to do things poorly, even if its just posting grainy, out of focus picture. Seeing all of the amazing places Les travels to excites me to save money when I can and plan my next trip to see the world for myself!

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.34.32 AM@heyhails happens to be my cousin’s lovely wife so I am definitely biased to like her Instagram. The daily pictures of her and my cousin’s sweet family of two little boys never get old. Having ridiculously cute kids helps, but her mastery of light is her true super-power. The great angles, expressions and moods that she catches with her camera offer a glimpse into the human soul. The cute, no-nonsense comments she Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.35.44 AMadds enhance your understanding of what’s really going on in the picture but more importantly also offer some real insight into the struggles of being a mother today. This is a great time to mention that when optimizing or cleansing your social media you don’t have to only follow the most popular Instagram-ers. Sometimes your own family and friends are the most creative and insightful. You should always follow family and friends that are close to your heart.



Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.23.25 AM
Mcway Falls

@beautifuldestinations is a top Instagram staple for me. They are one of the most prolific travel Instagrams with over 4 million followers. Sometimes their photos feel a little over-produced and commercial, but I stick with them because of the variety of places they highlight every day. Whether its Uttar Pradesh, India, Albuquerque, New Mexico or Mont Saint Michele, France I’m intrigued by the crazy places in the photos. I also really appreciate the information they post in the caption about where the photo was taken and by whom. The dreams I have of seeing the world are refreshed and renewed every time I see one of their photos.

I’ve crafted my Insta-experience to give me the inspiration, encouragement and visual refreshment I desire. When I tap that brown lens on my phone screen I want to know that I’ll see something that will encourage, inspire and uplift my spirits.
Don’t be afraid to un-follow someone whose not adding to the experience you want to have and always search for new posters that can inspire and teach you about something you never knew!

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Oh and hey, follow me!!! @janakates_ (don’t forget that dang underscore at the end! Whoever stole @janakates, why did you take it if you’re not going to do anything with it… )