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

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

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Reunited, & It Feels So Good

Last night I stayed up late reading. In my mind I knew I should be a responsible adult & go to bed, but my heart told me to take advantage. It’s been awhile since I devoured a book so I resisted sleep for as long as I could, specifically until 1:30am. Goodbye reading slump! For those that are curious, I’m currently reading Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco. It is the sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper, and I am loving it so far. Speaking of books, my family visited Barnes & Noble Sunday night. I always know how depressed I will be looking at all the books I can’t afford, but I go anyway. My parents were kind enough to buy me a new book. THANK YOU!!!!! I chose Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero, a novel I’ve been dying to read for months. I am a HUGE Scooby-Doo fan so I hope this mystery gang-inspired story lives up to my expectations. In regard to my Tuesday agenda, I am currently blogging on my typewriter while watching my favorite Almanzo & Laura episodes of Little House on the Prairie. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. Happy Tuesday! :)

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

I have waited all year for this movie! Part of my birthday celebration was seeing the first showing at my local theater. As a passionate Agatha Christie fan, I have thoughts both good and bad so settle in for a semi-bumpy Orient Express ride.

Many people had doubts about Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of beloved detective Hercule Poirot. If you’re a doubter, I want to put your mind at ease. Mr. Branagh is hands down the best part of the movie. He kept the spirit of the Poirot we all know and love while adding humor and his own unique touch to the character. He is a constant source of smiles and laughs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Overall the ensemble cast did not disappoint. Johnny Depp is fantastic as always (SPOILER) even though his part is short-lived. Michelle Pfeiffer and Penelope Cruz have some shining moments, and Dame Judi Dench’s monologue about little Daisy Armstrong made me tear up. Lucy Boynton and Sergei Polunin’s respective portrayals of Count & Countess Andrenyi are dark, a hidden gem that is impressive considering their inexperience. Josh Gad was good for the most part, but the chase scene involving Poirot felt awkward. The conflict between Hercule and Dr. Arbuthnot also felt clumsy. Daisy Ridley acted well, but I did not like Mary Debenham’s demeanor. In the book, she is polite and reserved which leads Poirot to suspect she might be the mastermind behind the murder; his suspicion makes little sense in the movie because Mary is much too bright and happy.

The book’s methodical layout is not perfectly suited for a movie. Some may find the added action irritating, but I understand the necessity to shake up the format onscreen. That being said, some of the clues got lost in the shuffle due to a speedier pace. As far as I remember, all the clues from the book were included, but they weren’t given the time they needed to simmer and encourage the audience to consider possible outcomes. Perhaps the extra, non-book stuff could’ve been trimmed to accommodate character interviews and clue discoveries, making the final reveal much more grand than it actually was. I also want to mention that I don’t remember Biniamino Marquez being named at the end. (SPOILER) The twist relies on the shock of twelve people being involved, each with a specific connection to the Armstrong family. The cast may seem large, but those who know the story well won’t miss anything, even if only one name is passed over. This goes back to details being muddled at the end. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the greatest stories ever written in the mystery genre. If you don’t lay it out correctly, you spoil the thrill and fun of the twists and turns.

I love two-thirds of the movie, but the ending is a disappointment. Things can surely get better from here so I hope Kenneth Branagh is giving the chance to continue the series, perhaps with a book that has less adaptations. I truly believe he can do great things with Poirot. The final scene hints at a sequel based on Death on the Nile. How great would that be?! 😄

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boSSSZpAkyw&t=25s

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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Turn that frown upside down because, for once, Monday isn’t so bad. Today is Harry Potter’s 20th birthday. Actually it’s the book’s birthday, but you get the point. In honor of J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book turning twenty, I’m sharing some amazing art with you as well as my experience with the series. The tribute will continue from this blog post to my art blog and end on my YouTube channel. Make sure you read carefully and use the provided links so you don’t miss anything. Hop on your broom and AWAY WE GO!!!

P A R T   T W O   ➡️   ➡️   ➡️   ➡️   ➡️   G O L D E N   T R I O   A R T W O R K

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Once Upon a Time Season 6 Finale

📖 ✨ 🤴🏻 💘 👸🏻 🍎 🏹 💚 👶🏼 🐊 🌹 ⚓ ❤️ ⚔️ ✨ 📖 ✨ 🤴🏻 💘 👸🏻 🍎 🏹 💚 👶🏼 🐊 🌹 ⚓ ❤️ ⚔️

I know this is a sad and confusing time for Oncers. I want to try and shed some positive light on the situation. When I first heard that Jennifer Morrison was leaving the show, I didn’t want to believe the news was true. Once it was confirmed, my heart shattered into a million pieces. To make life even better, it was not long after confirmed that five other cast members were departing (for a variety of reasons). My mind was blown, but not for the right reasons. What would the show be without the faith of Henry, the love of Charming and Snow, the strength of Belle, and the wit of Zelena?? All those characters bring something unique and special to the main cast. I went into watching the final episode of season 6 upset and a bit bitter towards the turn of events. However, I couldn’t be happier with the finale. The departing cast members were sent off with an ending worthy of a neatly tied bow. Before the actual ending played out, I was ready to hop on the bandwagon and protest that the show end there. [ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D  ! ! ! ] During the first scene, I had a strange feeling the dad was Henry. My suspicion was proved to be correct during the final scene. The show started with a little boy in possession of a book finding his mom and taking her on a mission to fulfill her destiny. After six seasons, the focus shifts into the future, a future where a little girl finds her dad and gives back his book entitled Once Upon a Time. I wasn’t expecting this twist, and I’m intrigued to see where season 7 leads. I know it feels lousy right now, but when have Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis ever let us down? Oncers, let’s put on a brave face and trust that OUAT will remain the same show we’ve all loved for the past six years. We still have Hook, Regina, & Rumple, and there are sure to be many new fairytale characters ahead.

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Farewell to Emilie de Ravin, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jared Gilmore, Jennifer Morrison, Josh Dallas, and Rebecca Mader. Each of you will be dearly missed by the OUAT community. Should the door open for one or all of you to return, Oncers will welcome you back with open arms. 💕

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📖 ✨ 🤴🏻 💘 👸🏻 🍎 🏹 💚 👶🏼 🐊 🌹 ⚓ ❤️ ⚔️ ✨ 📖 ✨ 🤴🏻 💘 👸🏻 🍎 🏹 💚 👶🏼 🐊 🌹 ⚓ ❤️ ⚔️

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– Lauren Michele <3

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I’m a Bad Blogger | Blogmas 2016 🎄

❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄

13 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS

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Sorry guys!  I am failing miserably at Blogmas this year.  Because I work in retail, my schedule has been ridiculous these past few weeks.  For example, I worked until 11pm last night and opened this morning at 7am.  Needless to say I am exhausted and enjoying some much needed couch time.  Anyone else watching the New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys game??  GO BIG BLUE!!! 💙 What else is new in my life??  Let’s see… One of my friends asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  I am honored to be asked and ecstatic to be involved.  Obviously I can’t look like an oompa loompa so I’ve been working extra hard to get into tip top shape.  I’ve started drinking green tea every day because it has so many health benefits.  I’m not a huge fan of the smell and taste so I add lemon which also has numerous health benefits.  Problem solved!  My body is starting to feel much better, but it goes deeper than that.  Working with holiday shoppers has taken a toll on the joy I usually feel this time of year.  Sipping a hot cup of tea and being still for a few minutes each day has been a great way for me to recharge.

❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄

VLOGMAS – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUvowXnQBLryeHcwz801Rsx7d1upOgV8k

❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄

6 DAYS UNTIL ARTMAS – https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com

❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄 🎁 ❄️ ⛄ 🎅🏻 🎄

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– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: The Balloon & the Zipper | Blogmas 2016 

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Limited Edition Jumbo Disney Pin | Pin Mail

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I did it!  I bought a jumbo Disney pin.  Call me insane if you must, but I feel good about my purchase.  I know that not everybody will understand the draw of Disney pins and the desire to spend money on them.  Honestly, I can’t tell you much more than “It’s just plain fun.”  This particular pin holds a lot of significance with me as a Disney fan.  Keep reading to find out why!  My Youtube video is provided down below for those of you who want to watch the opening process and see more of the pin.

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💘 DisneyShopping.com – Heroes & Girls (Jumbo) 💘

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I tried my best to take a picture that did it justice because this pin is heavy, glossy, colorful, and magically beautiful.  Moving on to the moment of truth.  I will keep you in suspense no longer.  Can you guess the significance of this pin?  Drum roll please…

Tarzan, Aladdin, and Hercules are my top 3 favorite animated Disney movies!!

How cool is it that I found a pin featuring the couples from those three movies?!  As long as I live, this pin will remain in my possession.  I want to mention a couple more cool facts.  All three of these movies feature male protagonists.  Interesting!  I am obviously more fascinated by heroes than princesses. ;) Tarzan, Aladdin, and Hercules had shows on Disney Channel respectively, and I watched them every week on the TV at my grandma’s house. <3

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• Heroes & Girls on Pin Pics

http://www.pinpics.com/pinMT.php?pin=55751&keyw=heroes+girls

• Disney Trading Pins Website

http://www.distradingpins4u.com

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• Disney Pin Collecting & Trading Blog Post

https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/disney-pin-collecting-trading/

• Disney Pin Collecting & Trading Video

• Disney Pin Mail Part 1

Limited Edition Disney Pins | Pin Mail

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Farewell Rizzoli & Isles

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I know I’m a little late to the party, but wild horses couldn’t stop me from paying tribute to this show.  Rizzoli & Isles will always hold a special place in my heart because it is one of the few TV shows, if not the only, that I have watched from episode one to the show finale.  I finished what I started, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.  The cast did not get half as much recognition as they deserved for their unbelievable chemistry.  There were many tears and many laughs, and I enjoyed every single moment.  To the cast and crew, thank you!!  I will forever be a Rizzoli & Isles fan. <3

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Hyun, Doug. Rizzoli & Isles - Season 2 - "Rebel Without a Pause" - Lee Thompson Young, Bruce McGill and Jordan Bridges. Web. 14 Sept. 2016. http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/rizzoli-isles/photos/304667/879191.

Hyun, Doug. Rizzoli & Isles – Season 2 – “Rebel Without a Pause” – Lee Thompson Young, Bruce McGill and Jordan Bridges. Web. 14 Sept. 2016. http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/rizzoli-isles/photos/304667/879191.

* * * I want to say a special thank you to the Rizzoli & Isles crew for including a mention of Barry Frost in the finale.  Lee Thompson Young will always be a member of the R&I family! <3

https://www.instagram.com/p/BH5LiAFDDlw/?taken-by=adamrsinclair

 

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BH5LiAFDDlw/?taken-by=adamrsinclair

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfEG7vKXwNw

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BE6pDK6zd5v/?taken-by=thesashaalexander&hl=en

Hyun, Doug. Rizzoli & Isles - Season 2 - "Sailor Man" - Angie Harmon, Sasha Alexander and Lorraine Bracco. Web. 14 Sept. 2016. http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/rizzoli-isles/photos/304667/838943.

Hyun, Doug. Rizzoli & Isles – Season 2 – “Sailor Man” – Angie Harmon, Sasha Alexander and Lorraine Bracco. Web. 14 Sept. 2016. http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/rizzoli-isles/photos/304667/838943.

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– Lauren Michele

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