Support the Irish Arts

As I was writing this blog post, the Gilmore Girls episode currently playing on my iPad, season 3 episode 7, referenced Riverdance. That is the best possible sign that today is a great day to support the Irish arts! Former Riverdance dancer Kincaid Stringer & his mother Shannon Kincaid, a painter, have teamed up for a great cause. They’re selling seven of Shannon’s paintings through Indiegogo for a COVID-19 relief fund; all proceeds will support Irish actors, artists, backstage workers & crews, clubs, concerts, cultural & event spaces, dancers, dance schools, festivals, musicians, performers, singers, theaters, & writers. I grew up dancing & singing so the arts are very important to me. Riverdance is the reason I asked my mom to sign me up for dance classes at the age of four so the Irish arts are also very important to me. Let’s not forget my Irish ancestors! 🇮🇪 The arts have done a lot for us in quarantine so it’s only right that we give back. You can choose to only donate money or receive a painting or two or seven in exchange for your donation. If it’s not already obvious, I’m buying “The Dancer.” Can’t wait to have a gorgeous Irish dancing queen above my bed! 👑 Please consider setting aside $25, or more, to support a great cause & get a piece of Ireland for your home. 💚🤍🧡

*NOTE: The Indiegogo campaign ends on September 17th, & the paintings will ship in November. Because of COVID-19, please consider that shipping could be delayed.

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Irish people’s love of dancing has been well documented throughout their written history. In fact, one of the earliest references to dancing details a visit between the Mayor of Waterford and Mayor of Baltimore in 1413. The modern Irish dancing of today is no longer merely a processional combination of singing and dancing as an act of celebrating, but a sport that produces athletes that are physically strong, as well as creative and artistic. What was once a tradition specific to Ireland (as well as England, Scotland, and some parts of America) caught like wildfire in 1994 with the debut of Riverdance. The theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional Irish music and dance took the world by storm and has been a global phenomenon ever since. Now, twenty-five years later, the Irish dancing community consists of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world today. Teachers from around the world have committed themselves to spreading their love and passion for Ireland’s traditional form of expression. Regardless of how far a dancer progresses competitively or professionally, being an Irish dancer is something that is inextricably bound to their identity forevermore. In this piece entitled “The Dancer,” you feel the excitement, the confidence, and the artistry that comes from expressing a centuries-old tradition that has touched the hearts of many.  – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland and Scotland combined have a rich culture within the performing arts, which has resulted in a thriving gig scene. Musicians are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to create new and fresh work that is often steeped in tradition. Many are staunch believers that musical traditions must be preserved as they always have been – the “play it like my father used to” kind of sentimentality. Yet, every generation brings a new wave of talent that feels that this attitude discourages progress and evolution. This debate between tradition and innovation is a tale as old as time. Still, many feel it is possible to honour your origins while also exploring and adapting to the future; they are not mutually exclusive. Irish music legend, Míchéal Ó Súilleabháinn, believed that traditions are never frozen, but rather are fluid. He believed that the idea of authenticity originating from a pure source located in antiquity was bogus! This painting is for the new wave of artists and musicians who are creating some of the most incredible new-age folk / Trad music in the world. Project Smok, Beoga, Talisk, Ímar and the like are leading the way for the future of Irish music. – Kincaid & Shannon

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  – George Bernard Shaw

Ériu is the goddess of sovereignty and the mythological mother of Ireland. She is often interpreted as the modern-day personification of Ireland. Along with her two sisters, Banba and Fódhla, Ériu was a part of a triumvirate of goddesses. Before their final defeat, each goddess requested that the island be named for her. This was granted to all of them, but Ériu became the chief name in use. The old Irish name Ériu evolved into Éire in modern Irish and depending on the case is spelled Éireann or Éirinn. This is how we finally arrived with the English name for the country, Erin. The painting has been imbued with symbols to depict all that Ériu embodied within pre-Christian Irish culture. Ériu represents the sacred feminine, as illustrated in the column capitals, or the decorative element at the top of a column, that represent the three phases of a woman’s life cycle – the maid, mother and crone. The stars behind her and the lunala around her neck evoke her role as a lunar goddess. Her hair bleeds into the trees, depicting her connection to the earth and its bounty. She holds this bounty in her hand as a glass of mead, which was served at the feast of Goibhniu, and offered immortality to those that drank it. Around her head is a ring of knot work encasing the land, which is topped by the stone of divisions from the hill of Uisneach, the symbolic and sacred centre of the island in Irish mythology. Ériu’s bones are said to have been laid to rest on this hill and serves as a gateway between the Underworld and the world above. – Kincaid & Shannon

There is much more to an Irish pub than just having a drink. In Ireland, pubs are central to the way of life. Similar to a church, they represent a pillar of Irish social life and community. A place where pints, comfort food, live music, and sport can be always be found; somewhere you can meet friends, neighbors, or even complete strangers, in an inviting atmosphere. It’s for these reasons that recreations of Irish pubs can be found in any city around the world. O’Connor’s was opened as a pub in Galway in 1942 by Thomas O’Connor, and is currently operated by third generation O’Connors. Every inch of it decorated in eclectic memorabilia, the pub has become famous for its hospitality and world-class live music. So much so that Ed Sheeran used it as the location of his music video “Galway Girl” in 2017 featuring actress Saoirse Ronan, furthering the pub’s world-wide recognition. – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland has a rich tradition of various festivals taking place throughout each year. The Rose of Tralee was first held in 1959 and has since been held every August in Tralee, County Kerry, to select a young woman to be crowned the Rose. Cities all over the world host their own selection balls to determine who will represent them in Ireland. The festival bills itself as a celebration of the “aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility, and Irish heritage” of modern young women. Bursting with music and dancing, this festival celebrates the very best of Irish culture and the future of Irish relations worldwide. The winner and their family become a part of a global network, showcasing how Irish culture is thriving amongst the Irish Diaspora. They say, “Once a Rose, always a Rose.” – Kincaid & Shannon

A session is a casual gathering of musicians playing traditional Irish music, usually taking place in a pub, but has also been known to take place on street corners or even in someone’s kitchen. Irish “trad” music has garnered a deep appreciation, not just in Ireland, but also around the world. It’s important to note that a session is more than just a casual jam between musicians – the focus is on the instrumental tunes found within the Irish tradition – reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slip jigs, and the like. Whether it be in a pub or someone’s home, sessions are times of brilliant music and ever-flowing drink that have a certain habit of continuing late into the night, if not into the wee hours of the morning! – Kincaid & Shannon

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

These are just two quotes from one of the biggest literary personalities in Ireland’s history, Oscar Wilde. A literary treasure, Wilde was a hugely popular playwright and poet in the late 1800s. Besides well-known works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lady Windermere’s Fan, his biting wit and flamboyant style gained him notoriety as well. As a people, the Irish are known for their good sense of humour, which has bolstered them during periods of great hardship throughout history. Wilde embodied this intrinsically Irish trait to the very end. Even as he faced death, he was cracking jokes and reportedly said, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” A collection of art in support of Irish culture would be incomplete without paying homage to Oscar Wilde. – Kincaid & Shannon

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHAx8IE3PTk&feature=youtu.be

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Disney Pin Collecting & Trading

*Note: I am a newbie so feel free to correct me if the need presents itself.  I don’t want to give people false information.  Please & thank you!

Hello hello hello!!  It feels like forever since I’ve written a post, but in reality it’s only been 9 days.  I am back with a very interesting subject to discuss.  Ever since my first trip to a Disney park in 2002, I have been a Disney pin collector.  I buy at least one pin to commemorate each of my visits.  I was aware that other people were collectors like me because so many pins are available to the public.  However, I didn’t know there was another large part of the Disney pin world: Disney Pin Trading.  I’ve seen cast members with pin lanyards, but I assumed those were for show.  I didn’t realize people could bring pins into the park and trade with cast members.  There are also numerous pin boards (boards with pins) located around Disney parks.  There is a limit per board and cast member, usually 1-2 pins, and any pin can be traded regardless of the value of the pin being acquired.  What do I mean by that?  Pins have different values based on characteristics such as release occasion and rarity.  For example, when trading with a fellow trader, exchanging a Mickey Mouse rack pin for a Hunchback of Notre Dame pin with an LE of 300 would be ridiculous and unfair to the person receiving the Mickey pin.  It is fun to trade outside of Disney parks, but many people prefer trading inside because no rules apply regarding value.  You can buy an inexpensive set of pins and potentially trade for a limited edition pin.  What a deal!  Cast members and the majority of traders do their best to keep the pin flow pure, but fake pins have unfortunately made their way into the mix.  I will go into more detail about fake pins later in the post.  Now let’s go over some important pin trading terms.

• Artist Proof Pin (AP) – A high quality pin made during the manufacturing process as a test run.

• Fantasy Pin – An unofficial pin made in the likeness of a Disney character or scene, usually something that is not available in the official circle of Disney pins.  Disney is not associated with fantasy pins, and these pins are not allowed to be traded within the parks.

• Limited Edition Pin – A pin that was made in one and only one batch.  An LE of 300 means only 300 pins exist.  An LE of 1500 means only 1500 exist.  And so on…

• Limited Release Pin – A pin that is available for a limited period of time.

• Pre Production Pin (PP) – A pin made during the creation process to test design.  These pins may differ from the final version.

• ProPin – Disney pins made in Germany.  They usually have gunmetal gray backs whereas most American pins have gold or silver backs.

• Rack Pin – An open edition pin sold on the racks of Disney stores.  They are neither limited edition nor limited release.

• Scrapper – A pin that is fake.

This vocabulary list is by no means extensive, but it is enough to get you started.  Now let’s look at some procedures for identifying scrappers.

1.  Scrappers are made at low prices so the paint is low quality.  The colors should be vibrant and true to the characters.  Any color that looks dull and/or odd may indicate that the pin is fake.

2.  The text, no matter how small, should be legible.

3.  Most of the time, there is one or two prongs on the post that keep the pin from spinning.

4.  Official pins have a stamp of the pin trading logo on the back.  The stamp is often faked so look at the sunburst, the border around the stamp made up of triangles.  A fake sunburst has sharp lines, and a real stamp has soft edges.  The only exceptions are pins sold at locations outside of Disney parks such as the Soda Fountain in Los Angeles; those pins have the logo of their respective store.

5.  Disney pins are made of metal so they should be thick and heavy.

6.  The pattern on the back of pins is called a waffle pattern.  There are different variations; the ones I know of are ice cream cones, Mickey Mouse heads, and sorcerer hats.  The pattern should go off the edge of the pin; there should be no border around it.

7.  Pins should have a glossy finish.  If a pin lacks shine, it could be fake.

8.  Pins should never have rough edges.

9.  If the paint job has defects, your pin might be fake.  This is not a surefire method because older pins could have been mishandled or dropped.  But, keep in mind that Disney wouldn’t sell new pins that show sloppy craftsmanship.

10.  PinPics.com is a database full of Disney pin pictures and information.  The numbers and images provided are helpful for identifying authentic pins and scrappers.

Scrappers have evolved therefore one method is not enough to tell if a pin is fake or not.  It is better to do an exhaustive investigation and use every method you know of.  Another way to fight against the scrapper business is not being a part of it.  It is frustrating to buy or trade for scrappers, but don’t turn around and sell or use them for trade.  Help yourself and your fellow collectors and traders by keeping them out of circulation.

Here are some other links that might interest you:

• The Disney Pin Tag by ImSarahSnitch, the video that introduced me to pin trading:

• Everything Disney Pins, the company that fueled my love for Disney pins

Youtube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyPinsFacebook

Website – http://everything-disney-pins.com

• eBay is a good source for pins, but make sure you do your research.  Many pins on eBay are fake so check the seller reviews and product photos.  On top of that, be aware that any purchase is a gamble.  I would like to take this time to address eBay sellers.  If you are vigilant in inspecting pins and feel confident in your status as a legitimate Disney pin vendor, PLEASE provide more than one photo of the pins you are selling.  Images from different angles would make your customers feel more comfortable making a purchase.

http://www.ebay.com

• Pin Pics

http://www.pinpics.com/index1.php

• I made a Youtube video about collecting & trading Disney pins.  Give it a like & subscribe to support my channel.  Please & thank you!

To those of you interested in Disney pins, I hope this post was helpful.  I have a couple more Disney pin posts headed your way in the next few weeks so stay tuned.  Now I send you off into the pin world.  Go forth and collect/trade with valor & honor readers! ;)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Thumbs Up & Subscribe

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Let’s get down to business readers.  I am serious about this Youtube endeavor.  I have no expectations for immediate success because I’m a newbie, a baby youtuber with a measly 16 subscribers.  It would be nice to be successful, but I sincerely enjoy what I do.  Youtube reminds me of my dance days.  You put in blood, sweat, & tears and receive nothing in return.  I have nothing to show for the hundreds of hours of planning, filming, and editing I have done, but I could not be any more thankful for my 16 subscribers who chose me for me.  All that being said, I want to step up my game and make a run at being a successful Youtuber.  You follow my blog for a reason, and perhaps that reason will translate to Youtube.  In regard to my video content, my personality and style are down-to-earth and laid back; I discuss all aspects of my life including art, beauty, books, fashion,movies, etc.  I won’t beg you to check out my Youtube channel and subscribe.  However, if you are curious, watch this:

Take a peek at my channel:

* https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA *

I sincerely appreciate your support of my blog and hope we can continue to be online friends on Youtube.  If my videos do not suit your tastes, I completely understand.  We can still be blog friends. ;)

📷 💻 <3 📷 💻 <3 📷 💻 <3 📷 💻 <3 📷 💻 <3 📷 💻 <3 📷 💻 <3 📷 💻

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele

Previous Post: We’re All in This Together

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I Need Coffee!!!

Starbucks Nelson, Mitchell. Starbucks Illustrations. 2011. Web. 15 Apr. 2015. <https://www.behance.net/gallery/Starbucks-Campaign/2142577&gt;.

Just in case you did not understand the title: I need coffee!!!!!!!!!! There is some repairs going on in my family’s house. One of the bathrooms being worked on is in my bedroom therefore I had to get up early in order to accommodate the workers. WHY WHY WHY??? This is so cruel. Waking up at 9am is not okay with me. I feel like a zombie. As you can tell, I am having a dramatic morning, which is why I am blogging. Drama is so much more amusing. Well, from your point of view. I am not so amused at the moment. I could be encouraged with, oh I don’t know, maybe some COFFEE. A muffin would also be lovely. The funny thing is I drink decaf coffee so my need is not so much for caffeine as it is for taste. The taste of (flavored) coffee energizes me. Sorry! I am not a purist. If anyone is curious, my current staple drinks at Starbucks are hazelnut frappuccinos (Tall, decaf, sugar free, soy) and iced caramel macchiatos (Tall, decaf, iced, soy).

Have a great day readers. Drink some coffee in honor of me! Please & thank you.

– Lauren Michele :)

11:35 am Update: I got my tall, decaf, sugar free, iced, soy caramel macchiato and a blueberry muffin. Yay!!

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Reflection on 2014

December

December. 2014. Web. 31 Dec. 2014. <http://portfolios.sva.edu/gallery/21622125/December&gt;.

Please support the artist by checking out her websites:
http://portfolios.sva.edu/CHANGjennyhttps://www.behance.net/CHANGjenny

It is that time of year when everybody reflects on the past year and looks forward to the new year.  Here is a timeline of my 2014:

January 19 – I started my Youtube channel with this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB_E0apNmos

January 24 – I went to The Roadshow with my mom and best friend Lydia; our favorite bands were We as Human, Third Day, and Skillet.  Afterwards we had a late night dinner at McDonald’s. Fun times!    – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTJkvirgnbI

March – I started my internship with Shakar Photography.  I loved working with my boss Ambreen, her husband Shalin, and her other assistant Kayla.  I not only met new friends but also experienced my first Indian wedding.  This is a job I will never forget!    – http://shakarphotography.com/#

May 1 – God performed a miracle, and I passed my driving test.  Bonus: I still HATE driving!!

August 22 – I had my very first photo exhibition at Calvary Chapel Garland.    – https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/tag/nymph-exhibition/

September 22 – My wisdom teeth were removed.  Not too bad!

September 29 – God performed yet another miracle, and I graduated from The Art Institute of Dallas with honors.  My degree was bachelor’s, my major was photography, and my portfolios were conceptual (Nymph) and landscapes (Deep in the Heart) respectively.    – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/lauren-michele-photography-portfolio/ –

October 5 – Greg Laurie brought Harvest America to the American Airlines Center in Dallas.  It was a fun night with my mom.    – http://harvestamerica.com/

November 5 – I turned twenty-one.  So much power, so much responsibility!!

December 2 – My family lost a very dear friend, Shelly Bowles.  It was sad for us to lose him, but he is in Heaven now with no more cancer.

December 25 – I spent my first Christmas in California since 2001.    – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/blogmas-2014-all-aboard/

December 30-31 – It snowed in Southern California!    – http://www.newsweek.com/frozen-palm-trees-photos-southern-california-covered-snow-296070

Sadly, many notable people passed away in 2014.  I would like to take this time to remember them, specifically those who influenced my life in someway: Ann B. Davis (Brady Bunch), Casey Kasem (Original voice of Shaggy Rogers), Christine Cavanaugh (A Flintstone Family Christmas, Aladdin, Babe, Darkwing Duck, Dexter’s Laboratory, Hercules: The Animated Series, Recess, Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, The Wild Thornberrys), Chuck Smith (Founder of Calvary Chapel), James Garner (Elderly Noah, The Notebook), Joan Rivers (Fashion Police), Maria von Trapp (Inspiration for Sound of Music), Mickey Rooney (National Velvet, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Black Stallion, Night at the Museum), Norman Bridwell (Creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Hunger Games), Richard Bull (Nels Oleson, Little House on the Prairie), Robin Williams (Aladdin, Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, Night at the Museum, Noel), Russell Johnson (The Professor, Gilligan’s Island), Shirley Temple (Heidi), and Sid Caesar (Coach Calhoun, Grease).

I am not on for making resolutions but what the heck!!  In 2015, I would like to…

1. Get a job (preferably one involving lots & lots of books)

2. Pay off some of my college debt (A scholarship falling from heaven would be nice)

3. Blog more consistently (I am trying!)

4. Write a book (Already started)

5. Get back in shape (the “Freshman Fifteen” has got to go; it is time!)

I made some very realistic resolutions, most of which I really need to accomplish.  It will be fun to come back on December 31st, 2015, and discuss what I accomplished.  I hope you all have a very fun & safe holiday.

Happy New Year readers!   –Lauren Michele :)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  – John 13:34-35

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Blogmas 2014 – All Aboard

"Untitled" by Jeannette Oerlemans

This was meant to be posted on December 26th, but alas it was not.  C’est la vie!  I am about to take you on a journey through my family’s Christmas adventures hence the photograph reminiscent of “Polar Express” courtesy of Jeannette Oerlemans.  I must start with Christmas Eve because we committed the ultimate sin: opening presents.  I felt serious anxiety and guilt after doing so.  However, after some research, I realized that many people open presents on Christmas Eve.  Definitely did NOT know this!!  I feel a bit better but do not plan on making Christmas Eve present-opening a tradition.  It feels sacrilegious!  Moving on to December 25th, 2014.  Since the presents were already opened (Oh the shame!!), we slept in a few hours before getting ready and venturing into the outside world.  We saw our annual Christmas movie which was “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”  Much anticipated and sooooo good!!  A satisfying end to an amazing trilogy.  Fun fact: Each installment of the Hobbit trilogy has been our Christmas movie for the past 3 years.  After the movie, we headed over to our Christmas lunch/dinner destination: Sizzler.  I know, I know.  Holiday meal of champions!  In our defense, not much was open, and we are not able to cook in our current living space.  After the 2 1/2 hour movie, we were starving and ready to chow down.  Bad news.  Sizzler was PACKED.  Apparently that was not a very original idea.  We drove around the shopping center praying that something else was open.  Guess where we ended up?  Eating Mexican food while listening to un televisión.  My parents and brother were almost done with their food by the time my torta came out.  I was pretty annoyed, but it was HUGE and very delicious.  We ended the day in pajamas watching “The Santa Clause” 1 & 2 and eating Christmas goodies from grandma.  Christmas 2014 was definitely unconventional, but it was fun day spent with family.  I will never forget it!

Blogmas 2014 is now officially over.  See you next year! Stay merry readers.  Only 359 until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele :)

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Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

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Works Cited:

Oerlemans, Jeannette. Web. 26 Dec. 2014. <http://1x.com/photo/30341/all:user:12605&gt;. (Image 1)