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   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

When It Rains, It Pours

It has been a rough few days in my household. After my cheerful blog post on Tuesday, things went downhill. My mom got really sick & went to Urgent Care which turned into an emergency room visit. She used to be a nurse so sickness rarely affects her unbelievable threshold for discomfort & illness. I knew the pain was serious when she sought treatment from a doctor. Approximately fourteen hours later, all tests had come back negative, and my very tired parents were back home. I was worried sick about what the illness might be, but nothing major appears to be wrong. My mom is strong & healthy, and I have no doubt she’s going to make a speedy recovery. I swear she is a living, breathing superwoman. The day she got sick, she bought groceries & dinner despite the pain. After everything was unloaded from the car, she said the following to me: “Here’s the food. Please fill this container with dish soap. I’m going to Urgent Care. I’ll be back.” If you think that sounds nonchalant, you are correct. She might as well have said “I’m going to the nail salon. I’ll be back.” I want to be her when I grow up! 💪🏻

In the midst of being concerned for my mom, I received a distressing email early Wednesday morning from YouTube. According to their new standards, I am no longer eligible for their YouTube Partner Program. This means I lose out on making money from my videos as well as helpful features such as creating my own thumbnails & scheduling upload times. I wouldn’t still be a YouTuber if money was my main motivation, but what little I do make helps me to continue creating content. It is so motivating to watch my monthly income increase month by month thanks to increased viewership & support. Right now the news feels like a punch to the gut, but I refuse to let this stop me. I am here to stay for as long as I feel inspired to make videos. If you want to support my channel, thank you from the bottom of my heart! <3

The cherry on top of this emotionally draining week is a bit more humorous. Thanks to the amount of clothing I have jammed into my teeny tiny closet, the right pole flange (look it up) broke. I had to remove one of my hanging shelf organizers on the other side of the closet, no easy task when you’re angry & tired, and make space for some of the clothes about to fall to the floor. Just what I needed to cheer me up! 🙄

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Change Just Ahead

Hello readers!  Can you believe it’s already February 2016??  I’m still mourning the loss of Christmas 2015.  My year has been interesting thus far.  Just as I was feeling comfortable at my new job, I was informed in advance of my last day.  I knew up front that my job was seasonal, but I had reason to believe my chances of attaining a permanent position were good.  On the positive side, I might be able to get my job back in the spring.  Meanwhile, what am I to do?  I could embrace this time off as a vacation, but that would get me nowhere in life.  I am a creative, passionate person.  I need to feel as though I’m doing something significant in order to sleep soundly at night.  I decided, after my panic attack, to face the change head on and see the opportunities it presented.  I have been keeping myself busy and giving tender, loving care to both of my blogs and my Youtube channel.  I love what I do, and now I have the chance to do it all day, every day (at least for now).  I hope each and every one of you has been enjoying the content.  Feel free to leave comments below!  Any and all feedback is welcome. :)

You’re familiar with what I post on this blog but here are links to the recent content on my art blog and Youtube channel:

Rachel Ryle

Best Dressed | SAG Awards 2016

Grease: Live! | My Review

It is now 1:36am, and I have had a lovely evening.  When my brother got home from work, we ate chicken & salad while watching “Talladega Nights: The Balled of Ricky Bobby” followed by some episodes of “Parks and Recreation.”  He went to bed at a decent hour while I stayed up to watch “The Biggest Loser.”  Three hours later and I’m watching “Friends” on Netflix.  I know it sounds like I’ve been unproductive, but I promise you I have been working this entire time. ;)  I’m going to sign off now.  Good night, sleep tight readers!

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: Sisters of the Quilt | The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | 2016 Reading Challenge

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pent being idle.

Dear Younger Self

(Image Source: https://worthyofagape.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/dear-younger-self.jpg)

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!”

(Image Source: https://img0.etsystatic.com/024/0/6604282/il_570xN.509481350_gcnr.jpg)

(Image Source: https://fightingchronicpain.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/never-stop-fighting.jpg)

(Image Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/qwj1znuklIGc0/giphy.gif)

“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.”

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

                                   (Image Source: http://frenchpressmornings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Hebrews13.5.png)

(Image Source: http://megansmidt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/jeremiah-29-11.jpg)

“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.”

“I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfveawSAHJA

(Image Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IFBiMPMV-jQ/VTb70apiEZI/AAAAAAAAS_M/wk8D5yENqM0/s1600/just-keep-swimming.gif)

(Image Source: http://24.media.tumblr.com/c3a6fcfcb0fc5843efd73dd3e2a394ee/tumblr_mz4anao6Pn1rd0hedo1_500.gif)

(Image Source: http://s1064.photobucket.com/user/kaitlinleighs/media/tumblr_m7utqjHJzL1r9fcwro1_500.gif.html)

(Image Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/13uNYQRS1U6mTC/giphy.gif)

I hope you feel better!  Feel free to talk and/or vent in the comment section.  This is a safe environment.  “See” you soon readers.  :)

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/the-fickle-and-the-faithful/

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Take a Bite Out of Lyme Disease

Take a Bite Out of Lyme Disease

Hello hello hello!!  I hope you have all had a lovely Sunday.  I know I did.  I went to church, filmed two Youtube videos, cheered on the Anaheim Ducks (They won!!), did a little tanning, and swam laps.  Very productive!  Speaking of Youtube, I did the “Take a Bite Out of Lyme Disease Challenge.”  I would really appreciate if you would take the time to either watch the video or visit the website to find out what the challenge is all about.

My Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6T5oJ3x4lY

The Website: http://lymediseasechallenge.org/

If either of those options does not interest you, here are the instructions for the challenge:

1. TAKE A BITE: Bite a lime and TAKE A PHOTO OR A  SHORT VIDEO of the act – the more sourpuss your face, the better (and funnier!).

2. SHARE A FACT: State ONE BRIEF FACT ABOUT LYME DISEASE, such as the facts provided below. You can say them in your video, write them on your photo, or include them in your post. Help us spread the true facts about Lyme Disease!

3. PASS IT ON: Keep the campaign going — CHALLENGE THREE OTHER PEOPLE – your friends, family, whomever! – to take a bite! Mention them in your video or if you do a photo tag them in your post.

-Take the challenge, spread the word, do something to help the cause-

If you feel like you might have Lyme Disease, here is a list of symptoms:

Pain: in the muscles or joints

Skin: bull’s eye pattern rash or red rashes

Joints: stiffness or swelling

Whole body: malaise, fever, or fatigue

Also common: redness, weakness of limb, or headache

Do not wait!!  Even though Lyme Disease is treatable, it is more manageable when caught early.  It can cause severe health conditions if caught in a late stage of the infection.  Cases with prolonged symptoms are labeled as “Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.”

Stay aware and stay strong readers!!

– Lauren Michele :)

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/busy-bee/

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Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night

SNL 40(Source: https://www.facebook.com/snl/photos/a.10150716644436303.459282.10714086302/10153109418346303/?type=1&theater)

Hopefully I am not the only person whose life has revolved around the Saturday Night Live marathon on VH1 Classic for the past  three weeks.  The mega marathon is leading up to the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special airing tomorrow night at 8/7 central on NBC.  Because my mind is consumed with all things SNL, that is what we are discussing tonight.

Favorite Era: The 90s & 2000s

Favorite Host: Justin Timberlake

Favorite Cast Member(s): Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Bobby Moynihan, Cheri Oteri, Chris Farley, Jason Sudeikis, Jimmy Fallon, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Nasim Pedrad, Rachel Dratch, Taran Killam, and Will Ferrell.

Favorite Impression(s): Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, Andy Samberg as Nicolas Cage, Justin Timberlake as Jimmy Fallon, Kate McKinnon as Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch, & Penelope Cruz, Maya Rudolph as Beyonce & Donatella Versace, Nasim Pedrad as Arianna Huffington, Taran Killam as Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt, Eminem, & Michael Cera, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and Will Ferrell as George W. Bush & Robert Goulet.

Favorite Character(s): Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle, Cheri Oteri as Rita DelVecchio, Chris Farley as Matt Foley, Dana Carvey as Church Lady, Jason Sudeikis as The Devil, Kristen Wiig as Target Lady, and Mike Myers as Linda Richman.

Favorite Sketch(es): “Chippendales”, “Get Off the Shed”, “Homelessville”, and “More Cowbell.”

Favorite Sketch Series: “Bronx Beat”, “Celebrity Jeopardy”, “Delicious Dish”, “Get in the Cage With Nicolas Cage”, “The Californians”, “The Culps”, “The Lovers”, “Two A-Holes”, and “Wake up Wakefield.”

Feel free to comment with your favorites.  Have a great Sunday & don’t forget to clear your schedules for 7 pm, NBC.  “LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!!!”

– Lauren Michele :)

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/happy-endings-and-midnight-madness/

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