KILTED UP 2015

Nov 9, 2014 by

Give the gift of our KILTED UP 2015 calendar this year!

Chocolate candy is good, but kilted AYE CANDY is the BEST gift!    Kilted Up 2015 is chock full of AYE candy, featuring twelve REAL men, wearing real kilts, and looking irresistible!

 

Just $17.99 now at Lulu.com– this year’s calendar sales will go in part to support The Wounded Warrior Project, a well-known charity which benefits America’s wounded veterans.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER Kilted Up 2015 now. You can’t give a man in a kilt as a gift–how would you wrap him?- but you CAN give our  calendar bursting with kilted hotties.

KILTED UP 2015 is the perfect gift for anyone who loves A MAN IN A KILT!  Get a daily dose of KILTY pleasure with our handsome men in kilts — all ages, all professions and all MAN ENOUGH to don the kilt.


Beat the Black Friday Rush–order KILTED UP 2015 now to give as unique Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers, or as a special treat to yourself. Preview KILTED UP 2015 here and see for yourself why this calendar is so popular!

kilyed up 2015-why women love men in kilts!
So, show off your Celtic heritage and support a great charity –buy KILTED UP 2015 today!

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Be Thankful For Your Celtic Heritage

Nov 26, 2014 by

Are you thankful for your Celtic heritage?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US, a day for feasting and celebration, recognizing our many blessings and being grateful for family and friends, whether near or far.
All in all, it’s a traditional day not unlike ones celebrated by our Celtic ancestors, pagan and Christian alike.

Celtic heritage thankful

So, when you are counting blessings before the Thanksgiving meal, be sure to count the unique cultural gift we share and hopefully will pass down to our children and grandchildren: our Celtic heritage.

 

 

 

 

Then, after you’re done with all the “stuffing”, relax with the simple gifts of the Celtic harp:

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

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Jameson Irish Whiskey For the Holidays

Nov 21, 2014 by

If you’re looking for a good blended Irish whiskey to serve this holiday season, Jameson Irish whiskey may just be the elixir for you.

I’m frequently asked to recommend a whiskey to serve out of town guests who are visiting for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Although I’m partial to smokey, peaty Scotch whisky like Laphroaig, sometimes an all purpose whiskey–which in no way implies ordinary or cheap– that can be sipped with pleasure or added to a cocktail (such as Irish coffee) is the way to go.  One of the best known Irish blended whiskies in the world, Jameson Irish whiskey is my choice for a Celtic holiday gathering: smooth enough for sipping, flavorful enough for cocktails, reasonably priced, and available at most liquor stores.

Jameson-Irish-whiskey-ad

Jameson Irish whiskey makes a wonderful gift for the host or hostess of a party, as well as a stocking stuffer or under the tree surprise for a whiskey aficionado. In addition to the original, there are several other vintages of Jameson Irish whiskey from which to choose.  Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve, Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve and Jameson 2007 Rarest Vintage Reserve are all mature blends with more refinement and different flavors than the original, but you will pay a significantly higher price. Click HERE or HERE for reviews of these specialty vintages of Jameson Irish whiskey.

By the way, in case you were wondering about my changes in spelling,  Irish whiskey is spelled with an “e”, while Scotch whisky has no “e”.

 

 

Jameson-Irish-whiskey-collection

A selection of Jameson Irish whiskies to peruse

One of the most popular uses of Jameson Irish whiskey is as an ingredient in recipes for cocktails and food.  I use it in Irish coffee, a simple, but delicious treat on a cold night by the fire.

There are hundreds of variations on Irish coffee, with many calling for whipped cream on the top of the drink.  Here’s the original recipe, which I prefer–the cream is not whipped, just carefully poured on top:

Ingredients (serves 2-3 people)
1 cup Jameson Irish Whiskey
2 cups hot black coffee–I like it strong, but brew to your preference
3/4 cup fresh heavy cream–do not use half and half or your recipe will fail
1 TBS sugar–I use turbinado, but you can also use brown sugar or white sugar**

Directions
Pour coffee, whiskey and sugar into large pan and heat over medium -high heat til sugar is blended. Do not boil.

** The tablespoon of sugar is NOT optional; if you leave out the sugar, the cream won’t float on the top. If you don’t want to use sugar, buy a can of good whipped cream and use that as a topping instead of the heavy cream.

Pour equal amounts of mixture into two Irish coffee glasses (click HERE to see the type of glass preferred), leaving an inch or two of room at top.

That was easy, right?

Now comes the tricky part. There are two methods for getting the cream to float on top of the coffee; both require a wee bit of skill and practice.

1) Take a metal teaspoon, hold just above the surface of the coffee and then gently and carefully pour the cream over the BACK of the spoon, gradually raising the spoon until you have about an inch or so of cream on top. This is my preferred method (learned it from a bartender back in my college days) and is easy to master after a few tries. I promise–if you added the sugar as indicated, the cream WILL float on top of the coffee.

2) Using a teaspoon, hold the spoon facing up and just touching the surface of the coffee. Carefully and slowly, pour cream into spoon until it overflows, raising the spoon gradually as needed to keep it just touching the surface of the coffee. Again, the dissolved sugar will allow the cream to float atop the coffee mix.

Now that you’ve created your masterpiece, drink your Irish coffee by sipping it through the cream layer.

The experience is heavenly!

 

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Sean-nós Dancing

Nov 14, 2014 by

Sean-nós dancing is a traditional style of solo Irish dance. Outside of Ireland, it is not as well known as stepdancing (popularized by Riverdance). On the Emerald Isle, however, sean-nós dancing is a big crowd pleaser.

In Irish Gaelic, sean-nós (sha[rhymes with Da]-nohs[nohs rhymes with dose]) means “old style” and can be applied to singing as well as dancing.  Some say sean-nós dancing originated in the Connemara region, but as the dance style predates modern records, it’s likely that different regions of Ireland had their own, unique sean-nós dance styles.

 

 Stepdancing is a choreographed Irish dance style, where the costumed dancers hold their arms firmly at their sides and do intricate foot movements and high kicks, using either standard soft ( ghillies) or hard (reel and jig ) shoes.  Sean-nós dancing is almost the direct opposite:  one or two dancers wear casual clothing and street shoes, are free to mover their arms, and impromptu, casual dance steps are the name of the game.  Sean-nós dancers do low to the ground foot movements( as opposed to the high kicks of stepdancers) in rhythm to the music, in style called a battering step, which is similar to tap dancing and Appalachian buck dancing.  Stepdancers move across the entire stage, but sean-nós dancing is meant to be performed on a small, hard surface, such as a table, overturned barrel or a door off its hinges.

Sean-nós dancer Seosamh Ó Neachtain moves to the music of Laoise Kelly’s harp– watch how his steps change to match the tempo of the music:

Sean-nós dancers like to show off their skills by dancing on small surfaces. Click HERE to see All-Ireland sean-nós champion Emma O’Sullivan and Gerard Butler ( no, not THAT Gerard Butler) battering a barrel.

Sure, barrel dancing is tough, but not as tough as sean-nós dancing in a FRYING PAN!

 

Think you’d like to try a bit of sean-nós dancing? You don’t need elaborate costumes or fancy shoes, so anyone can do it. Here’s an easy how-to video to get you started:

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Happy Birthday, Gerard Butler!

Nov 13, 2014 by

Happy Birthday, Gerard Butler!

Handsome Scottish actor Gerard Butler was born this day, November 13, 1969, in Paisley, Scotland to a Catholic family of Irish descent. Although he graduated from law school, Gerard went on to choose a career in acting, for which we should all be truly thankful.

We can do without another lawyer, but not having The Butler to gaze upon would indeed be a tragedy.

happy-birthday-to-you-gerard-butler

Want to say Happy Birthday, Gerard Butler in Gàidhlig?

“Co là breith sona dhut” is Scots Gaelic for “Happy Birthday to you”.
Roughly, it’s pronounced KO-la brey sunna ghoot.
I was too lazy to look up the Scots Gaelic for “Gerard”,  but I think it’s Gearóid, or pretty close to that.

A short video to show why Gerard Butler takes our breath away:

Fancy yourself a Gerard Butler expert?

Ah, but did you know that Gerry was beaten to the Top Scot Of The Year award in 2009 by… Susan Boyle?

Click HERE to take the Gerard Butler Birthday Quiz.

happy-birthday-gerard-butler-cake-meme

Aye, I’ll take a slice, Ger.

 

Wishing you a most Happy 45th Birthday, Gerry–we love ringing for The Butler, ye ken.

 

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Richard Burton, Man of Wales

Nov 10, 2014 by

Richard Burton, the great Welsh thespian, was born on this date, November 10, 1925, in Pontrhydyfen, South Wales.

 

The son of a coal miner, Burton was born as Richard Jenkins,  the twelfth of thirteen children.  He grew up in a working class, Welsh-speaking household; in fact, the majority of Pontrhydyfen’s inhabitants speak Welsh as their first language.

 

 

 

 

Richard Burton came to be regarded as one of the greatest acting talents of his day, although he never received an Oscar ( despite being nominated seven times for an Academy Award) and was never knighted.  To see a synopsis of 6 memorable performances by Richard Burton, read Wales Online’s new tribute article HERE.

Burton certainly enjoyed the limelight, but didn’t view his profession as a higher calling:

The Welsh are all actors. It’s only the bad ones who become professional.
Richard Burton

After playing King Arthur in the Broadway production of Camelot, Burton replaced another actor as Mark Antony in Twentieth Century-Fox’s Cleopatra (1963). It was on the set of Cleopatra that he met and fell in love with Elizabeth Taylor (both he and Taylor had spouses at the time), beginning a tempestuous love affair that would intrigue the public and the media for decades.

 

 

Burton died at age 58 from a brain hemorrhage on 5 August 1984, at his home in Céligny, Switzerland, and is buried there. To read more about Richard Burton’s life and achievements, visit the Official Richard Burton website HERE.

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Tommy Makem, Irish Bard

Nov 4, 2014 by

Happy Birthday, Tommy Makem–we miss ye.


Tommy Makem, the internationally known and loved Irish musician, poet and storyteller, was born on this day, November 4, in 1932. He died at age 74 in 2007.


I had the privilege of meeting Tommy Makem when he came to the now-defunct Atlanta Celtic festival back in 2000( or maybe it was 2001). He was a charming Irishman, who could tell a tale as adroitly as he played the banjo and tin whistle. Tommy was a legend of Irish music, and he lives on in his songs and in the many musicians inspired by him.  Here’s The Dubliners in 1978 performing The Town of Ballybay, written by Tommy Makem:


Born and raised in Keady, County Armagh, in Northern Ireland, Tommy grew up in a household where both parents were performers of traditional Irish music. Tommy emigrated to the US in 1955, eventually joining with the The Clancy Brothers for recordings and tours, becoming hugely popular in America and around the world.  Click HERE to see an excellent documentary about the history of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers.
Here’s a video of Tommy and the Clancy Brothers performing The Wild Colonial Boy (remember it from “The Quiet Man” film ?) on the Ed Sullivan television show in 1965:

Makem was a prolific composer/songwriter whose compositions often became standards in the repertoire of the Clancy Brothers and many other Irish folk groups. Four Green Fields, one of his best known songs, became so popular amongst Irish Folk bands that many mistakenly thought it was an anonymously penned traditional Irish song. It is an emotional, moving tribute to the hardships Ireland has suffered throughout the centuries:

 


Other well known songs written by Tommy Makem include  Gentle Annie, The Rambles of Spring, The Winds Are Singing Freedom, The Town of Ballybay, Winds of the Morning, Mary Mack, and Farewell to Carlingford.  Even though many people mistakenly believe that Makem wrote Red is the Rose, it is truly a traditional Irish folk song.

Thank you, Tommy Makem, for your deep love of your native country, for your songs of pride and peace that you shared with the world, and for bringing Irish music to so many of us who first felt that magical pull from Ireland when we heard your songs.

 

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Celtic Halloween

Oct 31, 2014 by

Have a Happy CELTIC Halloween!

Here are few memes and videos to get you into the spirit this Samhain eve.  Just be careful which spirits you let in the door!

 

Celtic-halloween-scottish

Celtic Halloween, when the veil between worlds grows thin…

 

A history of Halloween in Ireland:

 

 

Make way for zombies from Wales! Welsh band Peasant’s King just released a tribute to the ultimate Halloween video, Michael Jackson’s Thrillerthat  Danny has a dang good voice for a zombie:

 

 

 

Castle Ghosts of Ireland, an excellent BBC video, explores the bewitching castles of the Emerald Isle:

More castle ghosts for Celtic Halloween, rising out of Scotland’s bloody history:

Wales has its share of haunted castles, too:

For the ancient Celts, Samhain was a night when then the wall between our world and the Other World thinned, allowing their ancestors to walk amongst their descendants. The thinning of the veil also allowed the fairies and fae to walk in the mortal world, though, so people took precautions to protect themselves. Lighting bonfires, dancing, offering sacrifices from the harvest, all were ancient Celtic customs that have evolved over the centuries into the night we modern Celts now call Halloween. As Loreena McKennitt sings, tonight is for fun, but also for remembering our Celtic past:

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Tartan Reading Glasses With Style

Oct 25, 2014 by

Tartan reading glasses are FINALLY back in stock!

My favorite red tartan reading glasses have garnered many oohs and ahhs since I bought them a couple of years ago.  Unfortunately, they’ve been sold out for months. Now, Amazon has them back– the gorgeous, original red Royal Stewart/Stuart tartan readers and new dark blue and green tartan reading glasses in several strengths.

 

I am of an age where I need to use reading glasses, and enjoy picking out stylish and colorful ones to wear. Having Scottish heritage, I thought I’d buy a pair of tartan reading glasses to sport at the holidays and Scottish festivals I attend each year. Finding good quality, visually attractive tartan reading glasses turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated, even when I broadened my search to include online sources. Just as I was about to give up, I searched Amazon and there they were–festive red tartan reading glasses with a matching case!

You can find reading glasses for as little as a dollar at some stores ( I have a few cheapo pairs), but the hinges usually don’t last long and the optics are often distorted. I took a chance, paid $25 for the red tartan readers and have been well pleased with them ever since they arrived, courtesy of Amazon’s free shipping. I’ve used them hundreds of times over the past two years, wearing them to parties, Scottish Highland games, antique shopping, etc.
They’ve been to Ireland with me twice, surviving my crazy packing, Irish wind and rain, and numerous horse races, festivals and hikes through the rough terrain of western Ireland. When you stumble across a rare standing stone or the ruins of an old castle, you need good readers to reveal the tiny details–like 13th century graffiti on an old castle wall or Celtic circular carvings on an ancient megalith–you might otherwise miss entirely. These tartan reading glasses helped me do all that and more, and still got rave reviews from ladies at the local pubs.

Happily, the manufacturer is now making the tartan reading glasses in a lovely blue and green pattern that is similar to the Black Watch tartan and the Ancient Campbell and Campbell of Loudoun patterns.  Not as festive as the red tartan readers, the new blue and green plaid readers are nonetheless distinctive and elegant.

To purchase either color of tartan reading glasses, click HERE.

They are shipped by Amazon, so you can get free shipping with a qualifying purchase of $35.   These tartan reading glasses SELL OUT QUICKLY, based on my experience, so if you want a pair for Christmas or as a gift for someone, you should order now, before the color and/or strength options become unavailable.

Once your glasses arrive, wear them with Scottish pride–and don’t be surprised by all the people, Scottish or not, who’ll want to know where you got those stunning tartan reading glasses!

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Nathan Cirillo, Canada’s National Hero

Oct 23, 2014 by

Yesterday in Ottawa, Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada was killed while standing watch at the National War Memorial.

Cpl Nathan Cirillo (left side of photo) age 24, was armed with a ceremonial rifle that had no bullets. He was shot at point blank range by a Muslim convert, who was later killed at the Canadian Parliament building in a gun battle with police. This chilling attack follows on the heels of another attack just a few day earlier, when a soldier was run over and killed by a Muslim extremist from Quebec, Canada.

Nathan-cirillo-killed by Islam-convrt

Corporal Nathan Cirillo (on LEFT) was killed today at Canada’s National War Memorial

Cpl Cirillo was a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, a reserve unit of the Canadian army. Created in 1903 by Canadians of Scottish descent, particularly the Sons of Scotland and the Hamilton St. Andrews Society, the regiment took part in both WWI and WWII. Part of the unit’s dress attire has always included kilt and bonnet similar to that worn by the the original A and S Highlanders of the British Military.

nathan-cirillo=with btourisy a few days before /cirillo was killed, Image by Meganen

Nathan Cirillo poses with tourist in front of Canada’s National War Museum, just a few days before being fatally shot by a Muslim convert. Photo by Megan Underwood.

Many people have posted social media pictures of Cpl Cirillo dressed in his full kilt regalia. He was a handsome young man who readily posed with tourists to the War Memorial. A Facebook paged has been created in his honor–click HERE to visit the page.

nathan-cirillo-dress-kilt

Nathan Cirillo and friend in full dress kilt uniform

My heart goes out to his family and friends, and to our Canadian neighbors. When one member of the clan falls, we all grieve, though we may be miles and countries away. I am so sorry this brave man’s life ended so young and in such a senseless way.

As the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada motto says “Albainn gu brath–Scotland Forever”!

This Scottish American is proud to stand with you.

 

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The Glenfinnan Monument And The Unknown Highlander

Oct 20, 2014 by

The Glenfinnan Monument stands on the shore of Loch Shiel in the Scottish Highlands, near the town of Lochaber.

This 60 foot tall stone tower was erected in 1815 to honor Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his arrival at Glenfinnan (Gleann Fhionghain) in 1745.  It was in this remote Highland spot that Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his royal standard and began a war that would ultimately destroy a way of life for the Highland clans.

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The Glenfinnan Monument on the shore of Loch Shiel. Image by Bernard Blanc

 

On August 19, 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of exiled Stuart King,  James II of England, journeyed from France to Eriskay in the Western Isles of Scotland. His intent was to lead an army of French, Irish and Scottish soldiers into battle against the English, and place himself on the throne of Scotland and England.   Bonnie Prince Charlie, or The Young Pretender, as he is often called, traveled to the Scottish mainland in a small rowing boat, coming ashore at Loch nan Uamh, just west of Glenfinnan.   On arrival, he was met by a small number of MacDonald clansmen, but within several days more MacDonalds, Camerons, Macfies and MacDonnells arrived to join Charlie’s cause.
Once enough clan support arrived, Prince Charlie climbed the hill near Glenfinnan and raised his royal standard, announcing his claim to the Scottish and the English thrones in the name of his father James Stuart, known as the Old Pretender.

 

Prince-charles-Edward-Stuart-1745

Charles Edward Stuart, by Allan Ramsay, painted in Edinburgh in 1745


The Jacobite cause–and the way of life of the Highland clans– would end in defeat and tragedy just eight months later, at Culloden. The Prince fled after the defeat at Culloden, and was vigorously pursued by the Duke of Cumberland.   After being hidden by loyal supporters, Charles boarded a French frigate on the shores of Loch nan Uamh, close to where he had landed and raised his standard the previous year. He would never set foot on Scottish soil again.  The Prince’s Cairn (Càrn Prionnsa) now marks the spot  where Charles left Scotland, never to return.

 

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The Prince’s Cairn marks the spot where Bonnie Prince Charlie left Scotland, never to return. Image by Colin Smith

 

  The Glenfinnan Monument was erected in 1815 as a tribute to the Jacobite clansmen who fought and died in the cause of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.   A wealthy descendant of a Jacobite paid for the monument and it was designed by famed Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham. The Glenfinnan Monument now is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

 

You might think the figure atop the monument is Prince Charles Edward Stuart, but you’d be wrong.

 The statue is that of an unknown Scottish Highlander in full kilt, an enduring memorial to the tragic results of the Rising of 1745.

This clever video gives you a bird’s eye view of beautiful Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan Monument:

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Surviving the Outlander Drought

Oct 14, 2014 by

 The season of the Outlander drought is now upon us. 

The first 8 episodes of Starz’ Outlander have come and gone and Outlander’s second half is a tantalizing goody bag we can’t open until April 15, 2015.  What’s an Outlander fan to do? 

 

If you are a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books, you already know –generally–what will happen in Episodes 9-16.  Executive producer Ron Moore has shown he’s not afraid to stray from the sacred text of Diana’s book.  Can we all say “wedding ring debacle“?

If you haven’t read the books yet, however, waiting for the second half of Outlander may be even more frustrating for you.  Your cinematic Outlander world is still nascent, showing thrilling promise, but, suddenly you’re cut off from all contact with the mother world.

 

outlander-drought-jamie-claire

The Outlander drought: what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. As Claire well knows.

 

 Wandering in the desert may be good for the soul; it’s hell on an Outlander fan, though. 

If you’ve got Jones on the jukebox and Jamie on your mind, here’s a few suggestions to whet your appetite during the Outlander drought.

 

Outlander-drought-jamie

The Outlander drought: desperate measures for desperate times.

 

Admittedly, for many fans, the worst part of the Outlander drought is the lack of Jamie Fraser, played so well by hunky Scotsman, Sam Heughan.   In fact, Sam’s medieval muscle was just featured in the October 2014 issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine.   So, I say use the Outlander drought downtime to enjoy the myriad of Jamie Fraser/ Sam Heughan pictures on the net.

Try to avoid licking the screen, though.

Why not watch some of the many fan-created videos on YouTube while you wait for the Outlander drought to end?

The Outlander fandom is creative, devoted and TALENTED!

 

 

Tashopolis’ above video is the segue to my next suggestion for surviving the Outlander drought:

  READ. THE. BOOKS.

Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling books are what gave birth to the world of Scottish history, brave Highlanders and romantic, time traveling adventure we know as Outlander.   As I’ve said many times before, Outlander is NOT just a romance novel for women–not that’s there anything wrong with that.  Romance is by far the bestselling genre in fiction, and has been wrongly tagged by some in the so called media elite as lonely-women-with-cats/middle-aged-moms-with-issues pulp unworthy of the “modern”, intelligent female.

Uhm, yeah—NO.

These eight (with a ninth on track) hefty tomes, most over 500 pages, have serious historical cred for men AND women intrigued by Scottish history and-SPOILER ALERT-18th century American history.   Bloody battles like Culloden, as well as 18th century weaponry, culture and daily life (not romantic topics) are all carefully detailed within the Outlander book series.

Keeping in mind that the novels are historical fiction, I think they do a damn fine job on the history side, too.  Gabaldon accurately and movingly (hence the millions of fans) tells the story of the 1745 Jacobite uprising and its devastating aftermath in the Scottish Highlands, a tragedy that echoes down the generations to many Americans whose ancestors fled their native land to escape the brutal reprisals imposed by the British.

My last, but by no means least, recommendation for surviving the Outlander drought is to go to Scotland.

  You may not have time or the means to get to Scotland before Outlander returns in April 2015, but you can start planning your trip.

Notice that I’m not saying you should consider going to Scotland or that you should think about taking a trip to Scotland.   I’m saying you MUST go to Scotland.  Make it happen– start saving your pennies,  win the lottery, find your own circle of standing stones–do whatever it takes to get yourself on a plane to one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

 

 

Nothing short of seeing Scotland with your own eyes, your own heart, can truly convey the story of Outlander.

Scotland is the main character of both the books AND the television series, and unlike Jamie Fraser, it’s a character you can actually touch, explore, feel under your hands.   I can promise you this–once you go to Scotland,  you’ll find yourself caught up in a new,  yet ancient love story even more stirring than Outlander.

A bold statement maybe, but then again, I’ve been to Scotland.  I became part of the love story that is Scotland long before Jamie Fraser was even a twinkle in Diana’s eye.

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The Amazing Race Scotland

Oct 13, 2014 by

Did you watch Episode 3 of this season’s The Amazing Race  Scotland on CBS last Friday night, October 10th?  The competing teams wound up on the Shetland Islands for the first time in the show’s 25 seasons.

Even if you dislike reality shows, you may enjoy this episode of The Amazing Race Scotland, entitled Get Your Sheep Together

I found it amazingly funny (pun intended).

FYI:There are NO SPOILERS in this post–just a few observations, so you can enjoy the show at your leisure. You can see the entire episode online HERE.

 

Upon arrival in Shetland,  the teams’ first challenge was a detour, requiring them to choose to “pony up” or “light my fire.”  Teams who elected to pony up had to cut peat and transport it to the top of a hill via awww, so adorable Shetland ponies.  The ‘light my fire” task required teams to successfully make a Viking torch like the ones used in Shetland’s famous fire festival, Up Helly Aa, a celebration of the island’s Viking history.

 

 

I would have chosen to make the Viking torch–Up Helly Aa, Y’All!!–but quite a few teams choose to cut and haul the peat.

Why?   Because those teams incorrectly thought a) the small Shetland ponies are cute (yes) and b) they must be easy to handle (not just NO, but HELL, NO!).

 

Ask any horse person and they’ll tell you: never underestimate the stubbornness and quick temper of a pony. Shetland Pony-tude is not just a local legend.

The Viking task turned out to be no easy feat, either.  The Guizer Jarl oversaw the creation of a Viking torch, used to set ablaze a Viking longship, in miniature, down at the local harbor. The jarl, wearing a magnificent spotted cow hide coat (want, want, want) was very picky about the wrapping of the burlap layers, causing some teams to rethink their idea of going a-Viking.

Up Helly Aa has always been on my bucket list, but after seeing all the Nordic camaraderie in Episode 3,  I want to be a Viking guizer, not just a spectator!  Not gonna happen because I’m female, but it’s certainly worth a try.

 

The funniest challenge for The Amazing Race Scotland required all teams to herd a group of sheep down a hill and into a pen.

If that sounds easy, you are either a border collie or have never come face to face with a herd of sheep.

Sheep bounce, you know—like wooly balls of fluff on speed–and adhere to a mob mentality of “Panic! Panic! Everybody PANIC!” when faced with loud humans running around the field.  A few teams worked out Babe’s “Baa Ram Ewe” method of herding the sheep with gentle persuasion; other teams tried creative, but ridiculous methods to pen the sheep, who were unfazed by the visitors’ silly efforts.  I was embarrassed on behalf of humans every where after one team erected a wall of clothing to guide the sheep.  You’ll have to see it for yourself to truly understand the complete lack of common sense and engineering skills that were on display to the world.

On the other hand, I was snorting and laughing so hard at one point, my dog got worried and came over to give me comfort!

 

 After penning the sheep, the competitors for The Amazing Race Scotland were given a penannular brooch replica and told to go to the place were the brooch was “found.”  Most teams puzzled out this clue fairly quickly and raced off to be first at the Pit Stop, the final destination for this leg of the race.  As for the teams who had trouble with directions <cough, cough…men…cough>, well, let’s just say it pays to ask the RIGHT people for the RIGHT directions. Or maybe, don’t over-think the clue.  Or how about, go to the nearby museum or local history center and ask them for help because it’s their job to know a lot about the island.

As Episode 3 shows, sometimes staying in the game comes down to survival of the mentally, not physically, fittest.

The Celtic penannular brooch was based on an early Medieval one found in 1958 on St Ninian’s Isle, a small island linked to mainland Shetland by a sandy causeway.  Teams arriving at the Pit Stop on St Ninian’s were greeted by host Phil Keoghan and a dancing Puffin Man. Do you know the Puffin Man? He’s obviously not related to the Muffin Man, but seems to be a mascot for Shetland.

Strange, because puffins do live in the Shetland Islands, but they don’t dance.  At least, I think they don’t.

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Boss Gerard Butler Takes Control

Oct 2, 2014 by

The new Scottish Boss, Gerard Butler, takes control of the Boss Bottled ad campaign this month, in elegant Celtic fashion.

 

 

German luxury brand Hugo Boss AG launched Boss Bottled,  their signature fragrance line for men, in 1998.   Previous spokesmen for Boss  fragrances include Oscar winner Jared Leto of the dreamy eyes and Orlando Bloom, our favorite Tolkien elf.  Definitely not chopped liver, those two.  If you really want to make a fashion statement with cologne, though, ye need to bring in a handsome Scotsman–and that’s just what the company did in choosing Gerard Butler as their Man of Today.

 

 

Boss Gerard Butler Takes Over

Boss Gerard Butler Takes Over

 

 

 I don’t believe in less.   I go all the way…  

Gerard Butler

Click HERE to see a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Boss Gerard Butler commercial.  I know many women who would’ve given a few eye teeth–and more–to be on the set with Ger that particular day.

 

 

Slàinte, Hugo Boss, for choosing a charming man with cerulean blue eyes and a seductive Scottish accent.  And honestly, we like our men to smell nice and all, but no one would turn down Scottish Boss Gerard Butler because of a wee bit of eau de manliness.

Ye’d have to be daft.

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I Need A Whisky Hug!

Oct 2, 2014 by

The Celtic whisky hug–because some days, you need more than a pumpkin spice latte or a Zen moment .

 

whisky-hug

I need a whisky hug!

 

In fact, I’d say selecting the single malt for a whisky hug is a Celtic Zen moment in and of itself.  

Laphroaig or Lagavulin?

Ahhhh…I’m feeling better already.

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