Lifelong Cubs Fan and Former Wrigley Field Usher Wins $70,000 Player-Grade 2016 World Series Ring

Geneine Dietz, a lifelong Cubs fan who spent 10 seasons ushering games at Wrigley Field, plunked down $10 on a raffle ticket and scored an authentic, player-grade 2016 World Series ring valued at $70,000.

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Dietz's winning ticket — #001907 — was drawn randomly from more than 25,000 entries. Fans paid $10 per entry to have a chance to win a Cubs championship ring that boasts 5.5 carats of diamonds, 3 carats of genuine Burmese rubies and 2.5 carats of genuine sapphires in a handsome red, white and blue design.

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Ironically (and somewhat eerily), the winning ticket number matches the year the Cubs won their first World Series. The club also won in 1908, and then suffered through a championship draught that lasted an agonizing 108 years. The number "108" was so significant that Jostens designed the 14-karat white gold ring with a slew of symbolic elements, including 108 diamonds surrounding the bezel on all sides.

“My friends and family are giddy with excitement and I can’t wait for them to see the ring for themselves,” the Wilmette, Ill., resident said in a statement. “For generations to come, I know my family will take special care of the beautiful World Series ring.”

A photo of Dietz provided by the Cubs, shows the dedicated fan trying on her enormous ring. It's probably fair to say she won't be wearing it around the house.

During the 2016 World Series, the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games after coming back from a 3-1 deficit. The final game went into extra innings, but the Cubs prevailed 8-7.

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“Last year’s World Series journey was remarkable and so is the dedication of our fans," Cubs executive vice president of community and government affairs Mike Lufrano said in the statement. "We launched the ring raffle to give them the unique opportunity to win arguably one of the most prestigious championship rings in all of sports with proceeds benefiting Cubs Charities. We are thrilled to share this special player-grade ring with a lifelong Cubs fan who will get to treasure this piece of history with her family and friends.”

When the 2016 World Series rings were originally revealed at the start of this year's baseball season, a Jostens vice president noted that the company had the responsibility to create a once-in-a-lifetime ring for the Cubs organization.

“This iconic piece of jewelry uses intricate craftsmanship to tell the unforgettable story of the Cubs’ World Series victory, which now takes its prominent place in the history of all professional sports," said Chris Poitras, Jostens Division Vice President, College & Sports.

The World Series ring raffle, which ran from July 7 through September 4, generated more than a quarter-million-dollars for Cubs Charities. The charities are dedicated to improving the lives of children and families across Chicago and beyond. They provide increased access to sports opportunities and target improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk.

Credits: Geneine Dietz images via Twitter.com/Chicago Cubs; Ring image courtesy of Jostens.

Music Friday: Cut Like Precious Diamonds, TobyMac Reflects the Sun in 'Lights Shine Bright'

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you inspirational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Christian hip-hop recording artist TobyMac collaborates with American Idol contestant Hollyn on "Lights Shine Bright," an uplifting tune about making the world a better place.

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In "Lights Shine Bright," TobyMac wants to "make this third rock glow" by magnifying God's light with the brilliance and intensity that only a perfectly cut diamond could achieve.

He sings, "I wanna magnify Your light / I wanna reflect the sun / Cut like precious diamonds / With the colors by the millions."

Written by David Garcia, Truett McKeehan and Solomon Olds, "Lights Shine Bright" was the fourth track from TobyMac's 2015 release, 
***THIS IS NOT A TEST***. The album zoomed to #4 on the Billboard 200 and scored a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album in 2016.

TobyMac's official website explains that the songs on the album provide an essential reminder that "we only have one shot at life."

“What hits me now more than ever is that you really don’t get a practice run at life,” he explained. “This is it. In my friendships, raising my children, loving my wife, loving people, performing with my band and stepping on stage at arenas, I want to make every moment count.”

"Lights Shine Bright" features the vocal stylings of music-industry newcomer Hollyn, who is best known for her successful run on 
American Idol during Season 12. A native of Waverly, Ohio, the 20-year-old, whose birth name is Holly Marie Miller, released an album this year called One-Way Conversations.

Born Kevin Michael McKeehan in Fairfax, Va., in 1964, TobyMac has sold more than 11 million records and has earned seven Grammy Awards. He first came on the Christian music scene in 1987 as a member of the vocal trio DC Talk. In 2000, the group announced a hiatus and TobyMac embarked on what has been a successful solo career.

Please check out the official video of "Lights Shine Bright." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Lights Shine Bright"
Written by David Garcia, McKeehan, Truett McKeehan and Solomon Olds. Performed by TobyMac, featuring Hollyn.

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people, makin’ music for the people

I wanna magnify Your light
I wanna reflect the sun
Cut like precious diamonds
With the colors by the millions
This is the only world we know
And for now this rental’s our home
If we gonna be a reflection
Gotta make this third rock glow
(Just so you know…)

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people, makin’ music for the people

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people
Jesus music for the people

Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright
Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright

Lights in the city might be more than pretty, pretty
That freaky shine might be more than meets the eye
Anytime you see that sparkle in the dark you might look deeper, deeper
It might be more than simply theatre

Yo, that smile might be joy that’s connected to the spirit
The spirit might be contagious if you dare, you dare come near it
I remember, can’t forget, peace that you can’t second guess
Sparkle as the light reflects we writin’ pay it forward checks

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people, makin’ music for the people

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people
Jesus music for the people

Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright
Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright

The lights in the city shine bright
The lights in the city shine bright
So let your heart light shine tonight

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people, makin’ music for the people

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people
Jesus music for the people

Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright
Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright...



Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Royal Treatment: 3,500-Year-Old Tomb of Egyptian Goldsmith and His Wife Discovered in Luxor

Ancient Egyptians were captivated by gold. They considered gold "the skin of the gods" and associated it with eternity. They wore elaborate jewelry to enhance their beauty, indicate their social status and to express their spirituality. Egypt's connection with gold dates back more than 5,000 years, and the goldsmiths who worked with the precious metal were held in the highest regard.

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On Saturday, Dr. Khaled El-Enany of the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry announced the discovery of a 3,500-year-old tomb built for a prominent goldsmith named Amenemhat and his wife, Amenhotep. The tomb is located near the Nile River at the cemetery of Dra' Abu el-Naga in Luxor, an ancient city often characterized as the "world's greatest open-air museum."

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Hieroglyphic inscriptions found inside the tomb affirmed the name of its owner and his profession. Buried with their parents were two adult children.

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Archaeologists, led by Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Director General of Luxor, used a ladder to descend 20 feet into the tomb. The entrance led to a square chamber, where a partly damaged sandstone statue depicted Amenemhat sitting in a high-back chair next to his wife, who is wearing a long dress and a wig. Between them, in a smaller scale, is a figure of one of their sons.

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Objects, such as gilded coffins, vessels, death masks, obelisks, statues — and jewelry — were often placed in Egyptian tombs to accompany the deceased to the afterlife. Amenemhat's tomb included jewelry, but the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry has yet to release photos of these items.

Dr. El-Enany explained that the distinguished couple and their two sons lived in the 15th century B.C. Archaeologists believe that the tomb was also reused during the 11th and 10th centuries B.C.

Ancient Egyptians' affinity for gold was bolstered by the vast natural resources that were being mined in Egypt's Eastern Desert and Nubia ("nub" is the Egyptian word for gold).

Credit: Tomb photos courtesy of the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry; Luxor temple photo by Hajor, via Wikimedia Commons, released under cc.by.sa.

Bounce, Bounce, Plop: Anxious Suitor Fumbles Engagement Ring on Picturesque Footbridge in KC

With his hands sweating and his heart thumping, Seth Dixon became an accidental media star early this week when he fumbled a diamond engagement ring through the planks of a wooden footbridge in Kansas City. The 26-second video of a marriage proposal gone horribly wrong has caught the attention of major media outlets from coast to coast and around the globe.

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The Kansas City resident had planned to surprise his girlfriend, Ruth Marie Salas, by popping the question on Saturday at picturesque Loose Park.

"I knew I wanted to propose [at Loose Park] just because it's kind of our spot," Dixon told local television station KSHB. "We just kind of fell in love with the park and the beauty of it."

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With a friend documenting the momentous event on her cell phone, Dixon went down on one knee at the crest of the bridge. The anxious suitor popped open the black ring box, but couldn't keep a grip on the engagement ring. Dixon and Salas looked on in disbelief as the $4,000 diamond ring bounced twice on the bridge, disappeared through a gap between the boards and splashed into the pond below. Circled in the photo, above, is the ring just before it falls through the bridge.

"It ping-ponged through the crack and I hear it plop in the water," Salas told KSHB. "I didn't know what else to think but, 'Oh my goodness.'"

Dixon, Salas and the friend made an attempt to rescue the ring, but the poor visibility and deep silt made the search very difficult.

They returned Sunday morning with a metal detector enthusiast, who came up empty because the water was too deep.

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At 11 a.m. the couple attended a church service and told the congregants from Lifegate Church in Independence about their plight. By 3 p.m., more than 25 friends from the church had donned goggles and swimming gear to join in the search. Fellow parishioner and professional wedding photographer Staci Dabney captured the water-bound excitement on Sunday.

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Despite the outpouring of love and support from the community, the ring could not be found.

On Monday, a GoFundMe page was established on behalf of the couple. The funds were earmarked for a replacement ring, but by Tuesday afternoon, the campaign was marked completed after only $261 had been raised. It looks as if the viral video will be generating enough cash for the couple to purchase a new ring. Major media outlets will be paying a fee to use the video. As of today, the video was still available to view on the Facebook page of Staci Dabney's Photography. 
Click this link.

The internet stars, who had been dating for four years, plan to wed October 21.

Credits: Screen captures via Facebook.com/Staci Dabney's Photography. Photos courtesy of Staci Dabney Photography.

Wildly Divergent Hues Are the Stars of Pantone's Fashion Color Trend Report for Spring 2018

Wildly divergent hues unbounded by traditional guidelines, seasonal borders or gender norms are the stars of Pantone's Fashion Color Trend Report for the spring of 2018. The "untypical" palette reflects the top 12 colors seen on the catwalks during NY Fashion Week, which concludes tomorrow in Manhattan.

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Meadowlark / Cherry Tomato / Little Boy Blue / Chili Oil

Pantone, the global color authority, publishes its report to give consumers and retailers a sneak peek at the color stories that will emerge in all areas of design and fashion in the coming year.

Among 2018's "uplifting shades" and "feel-good tones" are Meadowlark, a confident and outgoing bright yellow, and Cherry Tomato, a tempestuous orangey red. Other favorites include Little Boy Blue, reminiscent of a clear blue sky; Chili Oil, an earthy brown-based red; Pink Lavender, a soft and romantic violet rose; and Arcadia, a cooler, cleaner take on green.

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Pink Lavender / Blooming Dahlia / Arcadia / Ultra Violet

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Emperador / Almost Mauve / Spring Crocus / Lime Punch

“The color palette showcases an appreciation for the complexity and distinctiveness of color and the expression of it, which is something that evolves and can be played with,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Consumers need more variety, and this expanded palette embraces the lack of gender and seasonal borders we are seeing within the fashion industry.”

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Sailor Blue / Harbor Mist / Warm Sand / Coconut Milk

In additional to the 12 "call-out shades," Pantone also revealed four "seasonal classics." These more subdued tones provide the mainstay of the wardrobe and the foundational core upon which consumers can start building their own personal style. Seasonal classics include the dark navy Sailor Blue, dove grey Harbor Mist, neutral Warm Sand and off-white Coconut Milk.

In early December, we will announce Pantone's Color of the Year for 2018. Previous winners have included Greenery (2017), Rose Quartz/Serenity Blue (co-winners for 2016), Marsala (2015), Radiant Orchid (2014), Emerald (2013) and Tangerine Tango (2012).

Credits: Images courtesy of Pantone.