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   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Mad Dash

I need you to sit down & settle in for part two of my blog post from yesterday. About 15 minutes after it was published, my phone rang. Thanks to caller i.d., I knew it was one of the managers from my retail job. Forgetting that my phone was charging, I grabbed it only to have it ripped from my hands. While the ringing continued, I frantically searched my room on hands & knees. I finally found it on my bed (hold your laughter), but the ringing had already been replaced by a voicemail. I will now take you back to about one hour earlier. While eating dinner, my mom implied that I had to work that evening. I replied that she was thinking of my closing shift on Friday. I was 100% sure that I had two days off before my two weekend shifts so I didn’t even bother to check my schedule, which is something I do religiously. Fast forward to my manager’s voicemail. I was 15 minutes late for my closing shift, and she was wondering if I was ok & still coming in to work. In an outright panic, I called the store to let her know I would be there as soon as I could to replace a fellow associate who couldn’t stay much longer. Feeling like a horrible person, I got ready as fast as humanly possible, which is no easy task when you’re shaking like a leaf and clumsy. It would’ve been  much easier if I hadn’t had a ton of coconut oil in my hair. I didn’t want to look like a greasy mess at work so I had to wash my hair, two shampoos required. I put on as little makeup as I was comfortable with and braided my hair, all of which looked as effortless as it actually was. A hoodie, jeans, and boots completed the look, and I was out the door. I received the call around 5:15 and made it to work right before 6. For the first hour my body was shaking uncontrollably, but I eventually settled down. It wasn’t the restful night I had planned, but everything turned out ok in the end. On the bright side, I am free as a bird today. Go ahead & laugh now. I am.

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Farewell Rio

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

With sadness, I bid farewell to the 2016 Olympics.  I have been filled with pride and joy watching my teams compete these past two weeks.  Yes, I said teams.  Of course USA is my number one, but I also support the countries that make up my heritage.  After all, they are underdogs compared to team USA.  No harm done!  Let’s take a look at the medal count:

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

• Team USA 🇺🇸 | 121 Medals | 46 G – 37 S – 38 B

• Team Great Britain 🇬🇧 | 67 Medals | 27 G – 23 S – 17 B

• Team Spain 🇪🇸 | 17 Medals | 7 G – 4 S – 6 B

• Team Israel 🇮🇱 | 2 Medals | 2 B

• Team Ireland 🇮🇪 | 2 Medals | 2 S

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

What were your favorite moments in Rio?? I have so many I could mention, but I will try to narrow it down.  I felt like a proud mother watching Michael Phelps have one last successful Olympic games after the rough few years he’s had (maybe he’ll be back!).  The USA women’s gymnastics team kicked butt and made me feel more patriotic than I have ever felt in my entire life.  Shout-out to Michael Phelps (5G, 1S), Katie Ledecky (4G, 1S), and Simone Biles (4G, 1B)!!  According to Google, they are the top medalists for 2016.  Team USA made me proud all around, but it felt good to dominate artistic gymnastics and swimming.  After a rough start, I am so proud of Spain for getting the bronze in men’s basketball.  Also, a silver in women’s basketball.  Top 3 in the world.  Not too shabby!!  I watched Marc Lopez & Rafael Nadal win gold in men’s doubles.  I’m pretty sure I grew gray hair during that match.  The stress was real, but Lopez earned his first medal, and Rafa now has a gold medal in singles and doubles.  I watched Team GB get the gold in women’s field hockey.  It was a stressful but thrilling game.  Well done ladies!  I did not have the pleasure of watching Ireland at all, but I am nonetheless proud.  Last but certainly not least, I want to express my admiration for Team Israel.  My heart breaks knowing that the Israeli athletes continue to be treated like trash.  However, they held their heads high, maintained composure, and walked away with two medals.

Farewell Olympics!  See you in Tokyo!! 🇯🇵

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

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– Lauren Michele <3

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The Power of Makeup

*** If you like this beautiful illustration by Joanna Baker, click the Etsy link to purchase it. ***

*** The Power of Makeup Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcMU-S3eZYg ***

I saw this tag on Youtube and immediately wanted to be involved.  This topic is important and needs to be discussed.  Makeup is a powerful thing and should be used with care.  With great power comes great responsibility!  Here is my story:

Growing up as a dancer, one of my favorite times of year was the annual recital.  The downside, however, was having to wear makeup.  The worst part was the eyeliner and mascara.  I would yell at my mom for poking me in the eye even though it was my fault because I was complaining and fidgeting.  I hated makeup!  Then, sometime between junior high and high school, I fell in love with makeup.  My mom eased me into it, but I was already head over heels.  I rarely left the house without wearing it.  As a college student, I had more important things to focus on therefore I was barefaced 75% of the time.  Even though that was merely a season in my life, I learned a lot from something as simple as not wearing makeup.  Fellow students still looked me in the eye and talked to me.  That may sound lame, but the experience broadened my comfort zone.  I have struggled with insecurity for as long as I can remember.  I had this idea that if I didn’t cover up my blemishes and under eye circles, people shouldn’t look at me lest they be disgusted.  Nowadays, I have no problem walking out of the house with as little as mascara and lip balm on my face.  There is nothing wrong with makeup, no matter how much or how little you prefer to wear.  The message I want to emphasize is using makeup to enhance the face God gave you.  Don’t use makeup to hide behind.  You are beautiful!!  Please do not listen to hurtful words and ignore those who try to push you around and make you feel guilty about loving makeup.  There is nothing wrong with makeup, and there is nothing wrong with how you look.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

“Put your makeup on, Get your nails done, Curl your hair, Run the extra mile, Keep it slim.  So they like you.  Do they like you.  Get your sexy on, Don’t be shy girl, Take it off, This is what you want, To belong.  So they like you.  Do you like you.  You don’t have to try so hard.  You don’t have to give it all away.  You just have to get up get up get up get up.  You don’t have to change a single thing.”

“Try” by Colbie Caillat – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8

 

“Days will come when you don’t have the strength.  When all you hear is you’re not worth anything.  Wondering if you ever could be loved.  And if they truly saw your heart they’d see too much.  You’re beautiful.  You’re beautiful.  You are made for so much more than all of this.  You’re beautiful.  You’re beautiful.  You are treasured, You are sacred, You are His.  You’re beautiful.”

“Beautiful” by MercyMe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vh7-RSPuAA

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

*** If you are interested, I made a “Power of Makeup” video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcMU-S3eZYg ***

The Power of Makeup

The Power of Makeup

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– Lauren Michele :)

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Don’t Forget Me

Don't Forget Me

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. Jonathan Crombie, best known for his movie role as the beloved Gilbert Blythe, passed away on Wednesday, April 15, at the age 48; the cause was a brain hemorrhage. I grew up watching the Anne of Green Gables movies and dreaming of meeting and marrying my very own Gil. Me and my friends were so smitten with him that we had to designate an area specifically for freak outs; the “Jonathan Crombie Couch” will forever be a treasured memory of mine. I received an Anne of Green Gables music box for Valentine’s Day this year. At the time, the gift was thoughtful, but now it holds so much more meaning. God knew I would need a special reminder of Jonathan, my own personal piece of Gilbert. The following is a short statement given to the Canadian Press by Crombie’s Anne of Green Gables co-star Megan Follows:

“He was incredibly funny, Jonathan just had an amazing sense of humour,” she told The Canadian Press. “Truly I just remember at times just laughing so hard that you’d just be crying. He was so playful and silly and, as I said, really bright, so his humour was always informed with that, which made him even funnier.” Follows called Crombie a “sweetheart” and said a lot of the chemistry onscreen was natural during the filming of the movies. “He had that beautiful face. He was a lot of fun, he was very open so you just felt he was someone who really wanted to play and it really was a new experience for him,” she said, adding that the project was one of Crombie’s first. “We were all just in it to do the best that we could and we had a lot of fun.”  (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/04/19/jonathan-crombie-megan-follows_n_7095258.html)  I think it is safe to say Jonathan’s version of Gilbert was not far from his true nature: playful and endearing.

It seems all too appropriate to mention some of my favorite Gilbert and Anne scenes from each movie. I have more than one in each film, but, for the sake of attention spans, I will keep the list short. In the first movie “Anne of Green Gables”, one of my favorite moments is the very last scene in which Gilbert sacrificially gives up the Avonlea school so that Anne can teach there and stay at home with Marilla. They exchange the following dialogue, recalling fondly what was originally an explosive and classic moment:

Anne: “Aren’t you worried? I’m liable to break another slate over your head.”                                                                                                     Gilbert: “I’m more worried I might break one over yours, carrots”

The scene starts at the 9:57 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPREdzRRRlY

In “Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel”, one of my favorite moments is when Gil and Anne are FINALLY a couple, and they are standing on a bridge discussing their future:

Gilbert: “It’ll be three years before I finish medical school. Even then there won’t be any diamond sunbursts or marble halls”                     Anne: “I don’t want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you.”

The scene starts at the 9:20 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZW6eBrWH9w

In the third and final film “Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story”, my FAVORITE moment has to be, of course, the scene when Anne and Gil are reunited after her arduous search during World War I. Anne is on a stage with two friends singing for soldiers; they are singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”, Gil and Anne’s wedding dance song. As she is scanning the crowd, Anne spots a familiar, beloved face. Running ensues as well as a heartwarming reunion. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8dc9kqaXBI

Quotes Source: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0040057/quotes

I want to give my condolences to all of Jonathan’s loved ones. My heart goes out to you, and you are in my prayers.

Jonathan: You embodied a classic book character, a portrayal that was truly a gift to the film industry. You will always be remembered and loved as Gil in the hearts of your fans. Rest in peace.

Don't Forget Me

The “Anne of Green Gables” family could never forget you!! <3 <3 <3

– Lauren Michele :)

” You know, every day I would pick a different memory of you and play it over and over and over again in my mind, until every hair, every freckle, every part of you was exactly as I remembered.” – Gilbert Blythe, “Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story”

Music Box: http://shopatsullivan.com/love-music-box.html

25 Times Gilbert Blythe From “Anne of Green Gables” Melted Your Heart: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/gilbert-blythe-forever#.nrVw65xlB

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