I don’t even know where to begin so I’ll start by saying ‘m deeply sorry for disappearing. My blogs mean the world to me, but 2021 kicked my butt. PERIOD. Drama went down at my retail job, & when I could no longer handle the stress mentally & physically, I put in my two weeks. The cherry on top of being unemployed was not getting a job I really wanted three months after applying. I made the decision to enjoy the last two months of the year & do something I never do: enjoy family time during the holidays! In typical Lauren form, I didn’t keep my promise. Well, technically my family did make some great memories in November & December. However, my workaholic tendencies reared their ugly head, & I worked myself into the ground. I’m so exhausted & need a vacation from my two-month vacation, as ridiculous as that sounds. Going into the new year, I have one potential job on my radar. I’m terrified & want to throw up every time I think about going through the application process again, but my sad bank account is pushing me forward. I have no choice! I have to get a job NOW. I’m feeling a fresh wave of nausea talking about this so let’s move on & take a look at what productivity I did manage during 2021:
Let’s take a look at the numbers: I ended 2021 with 488 art blog followers (down from 497), 475 lifestyle blog followers (exactly the same), & 322 subscribers + 154.3K views (up from 293 & 140,868).
I could let those numbers discourage me, but there were things in 2021 that were beyond my control. It wasn’t possible for me to be more active unless I wanted to make myself sick so, in the wise words of Elsa, I’m choosing to Let It Go. I’m currently looking for a work-from-home job which would give me more freedom to be creative on the side. If all goes well, you’ll hear from me again very soon. 💕
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.
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
“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
You know how the Diffys, a family from the 22nd century, use instamorph for disguises?? Today we have social media filters that change our faces. We’re still making our way through the 21st century. Mind blowing! 🤯
4pm – Blogging + Pixel Perfect 💻
In this movie you will spot Raviv Ullman, a familiar face from Phil of the Future, & Tania Gunadi from Go Figure. Also, another awesome soundtrack! 😭💕
Final thoughts for the day: I was supposed to end the day with a hot bath & Now You See It, another movie starring Aly Michalka. Unfortunately I got distracted with work, & now it’s 1am. I’m off to bed so I can wake up & head straight for Disney+. Tomorrow this marathon hits the one week mark. Hopefully you’re enjoying my blog posts every day! If you’re not, don’t tell me. 😉
I tried dry brushing for the first time last year, and the following is my review posted on amazon.com:
⚠ Disclaimer: Minamul contacted me to review their product, and I chose to do so because I was genuinely interested. This is an unpaid & honest review.
📝 Note: I have yet to use the konjac sponge therefore I have no thoughts regarding that product.
Information – There is a helpful chart that demonstrates what directions to brush in; it also has instructions for using the konjac sponge. Other than that, there is no information on what each brush is for or the benefits of dry brushing. I had to do outside research to fill in those gaps. It would be beneficial for the company and convenient for the customers if that information was provided in the bundle.
Brushes – I have sensitive skin, and the brushes, surprisingly, did not cause any irritation. With even pressure, you should feel a tingling sensation, not pain.
Side Effect – Not long into the process, I developed a painful breakout on my legs, specifically my thighs, which forced me to stop dry brushing below the waist. Because this product is meant to clean out the body, I don’t fault the company in any way. I just want future customers to be aware.
Results – After each dry brushing session, my skin felt softer and rejuvenated, and my mood was calm and relaxed. Even though the breakout on my legs was painful, it proved that the dry brushes work efficiently to clean out the body. It’s difficult to define the results because most of what is expected to happen is internal, not external. However, what I experienced is enough to know that these products are effective.
My main issue with this product has to do with the lack of educational information. Also, I am less likely to make another purchase from Minamul because I don’t need the entire bundle again, just some of the individual products. However, I assume that over time they will expand their product line so I will definitely be checking for updates. Overall, I think this bundle is great quality and perfect for first-time dry brushers.
I feel like a bear who hibernated through the spookiest month of the year and awakened just in time for the holiday season. I am currently watching Christmas movies on Hallmark whilst enjoying open windows & a cool Autumn breeze. Allow me to elaborate on where I’ve been. I had a cold for two weeks in September; when it went away, I thought my illness quota for the year was fulfilled. WRONG!! A little over one week later, the flu took me by the throat and refused to let go for a few weeks. A lingering cough wrecked my throat and made it really hard to talk. Of course that has no effect on a blogger, but it sure does put a damper on Youtube productivity. I still have a little bit of a cough, which is annoying beyond verbal description, but I am healthier and more energized than I was last month. I have a few more updates for you so keep on reading.
• I turned twenty-three on November 5th. Physically, I don’t look my age thanks to Baby Face Syndrome, but I am right on track mentally; I spend most of my time stressing about adult decisions and responsibilities. Growing up is awesome! 😭 In all seriousness, I had a fantastic birthday. I watched Christmas movies in the morning, ate Greek food with my family in the afternoon, visited Barnes & Noble in the evening (I may or may not have walked out with 2 books), & watched Impractical Jokers with my brother before bed. Not a bad day! 😊
• Allow me to introduce you to my new obsession: zoo live cams! For people who can’t afford frequent trips to the zoo, live videos of eight different animals are available on the San Diego Zoo website. Go ahead! Give in to your curiosity and take a peek! Hint: They are more active during the day, tigers excluded.
• I’m almost done with the 2016 Reading Challenge. I only have two more categories to complete. I will be posting a detailed update soon; in the meantime you can follow my Pinterest board and see all the books I’ve been reading.
• I reached 100 subscribers on Youtube!! From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far. I can’t wait to see what else the future holds. If you aren’t already subscribed, follow the link & hit the red button to become a member of my Youtube family and receive notifications every time I upload videos.
My channel is lifestyle just like this blog so I’m positive you will enjoy the content. Subscriptions are free and only require a Google account, Gmail included. I would really appreciate your support! Blogging brings me so much fulfillment as a writer, and Youtube is the whipped cream on top of a creativity sundae. 😄
• Fear not fellow Christmas enthusiasts! Artmas & Blogmas are already on my radar and officially in production. Due to my retail job, I might be a little more absent than usual this year, but I will be posting come hell or high water. Sit back, relax, & take a trip down memory lane to mentally prepare.
You might be thinking “I don’t hold a position of power. How can I be effective and help eradicate prejudice?” You can talk and keep the conversation going in a civil manner. You can also take action. That doesn’t mean becoming a one-person revolution. It can be as simple as looking someone in the eyes and smiling. I want to share a story with you that furthers my point. Read until the end and keep an open mind. :)
Thank you NikkieTutorials for sharing! Why is Natasha Howell’s story important? The tragedies that have taken place are heartbreaking, and our reactions dictate the future. Reacting in anger and causing a divide changes nothing. If each and every one of us does our part to treat people with kindness, those small puzzle pieces will create a chain reaction and fit together to create something big. Perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I truly believe the people who care about unity outnumber those who allow prejudice to affect their attitude. You might be one person in a big world, but it is better to make a difference in at least one person’s life rather than stand by and do nothing at all.
🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍 🌏 🌎 🌍
I want to share a video that was posted on Facebook today. It made me cry, but it also made me happy and hopeful. You might know Candace Payne as “Chewbacca Mom.” In this moment, it doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is regarding her claim to fame. What matters is that she continues to use her newfound platform to make people smile.
Two nights ago, I had an eye-opening experience. I couldn’t sleep so I decided to read through my old diary, and what I found shocked me. I used vague language and failed to mention most of the significant events from my childhood. There was no substance! I am a writer; when the need arises, I express myself through words to vent and heal. In my poetry journals, I was completely open about what was going on around me and how I was feeling. However, those poems were written within the last five years. My diary was started four years prior to my discovery of poetry. Perhaps I’ve been watching too much “Criminal Minds” because I have an analysis. I wont give explicit details, but I went through a lot mentally and emotionally. My memories are crystal clear, but, based on my diary, I was not aware of how I was being affected. I brushed aside contributing factors as minor annoyances. I believe that repression is why, years later, I react so explosively; I am overcompensating for my silence in the past. I don’t want to drag on so I will end with these words, a note to my younger self and girls who have gone through/are going through similar struggles:
“You feel ugly, fat, alone, and hopeless. You have given up on yourself because no matter how desperate you are to speak up, you are afraid. Let go of your emotions; allow yourself to scream and cry. When you feel better, pick yourself up and start anew with your head held high. It may feel impossible now, but you make it farther than your young mind can imagine. Do not lose the fire inside of you. Never stop fighting!”
“And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain. I will scream them loud tonight. Can you hear my voice this time? This is my fight song, take back my life song, prove I’m alright song. My power’s turned on. Starting right now I’ll be strong. I’ll play my fight song. And I don’t really care if nobody else believes ’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”
“In the midst of deep sorrow, I see Your light is breaking through. The dark of night will not overtake me. I am pressing into You. Lord, You fight my every battle. And I will not fear. I am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me. You will never leave me.”