Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon 2017

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood

I'm nursing a sickness I picked up at Comicon or that Sean possibly brought home from work.  Basically, I feel super run down, scratchy throat, stuffed nose, no focus.  I rarely get sick, so when I am it really kicks my butt and also makes me really mad.  But I'm trying to push through and get a few things done at least.

In today's post, I am recapping my whirlwind weekend in Seattle for Emerald City Comicon.  Sean and I went to the con on Friday, March 3rd, so I could participate in all the Outlander-related goodness.  I found out the lead actors of Outlander, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, were going to be at the con via a Facebook video a few days before we left for our vacation in January.  As I have become quite Outlander obsessed, I looked at Sean and said, " I have to go. I just have to."  Seattle is roughly three hours away, so it isn't like it is that far in the scheme of things.  We snatched up all the tickets we would need for the event and booked our hotel right away.  And then suddenly the day was here.

I've been trying to practice being very present in the moment to help alleviate some of my anxiety and worry about all things, all the time.  Since we've gotten back from Maui, I've been more mindful about trying to keep my thoughts in the present and keep them from drifting too far to the past or the future.  And I gotta say, I think it is helping.  Am I as prepared for future events that come up?  No.  Do I feel as prepared for future events?  No.  But I do feel that it has diminished some of my constant worrying.  I bring this up because typically I would be obsessing about all the things that could or couldn't happen at an event like this and freaking out over whether people I met would like me or not, whether I would look like a dumbass or not, etc. etc.  (And honestly, I was really worried about how tired I would be with such a long day and busy schedule.  Days like this are hard for me since not having a thyroid, but I do reasonably well on vacation so I was hoping I could push through all day.) It helped that I joined a couple Facebook groups of Outlander fans going to the con, so I got to know other fans a little better beforehand.  So many of them felt the same way I did.  So many of us have issues with anxiety in all its forms.  And I felt more comfortable in knowing that others knew how I felt too.  But in trying to practice a more present mindset, I didn't have time to freak out about my gyno appointment the week we left for the con.  I didn't have time to stress out about what I may or may not say to Sam or Cait.  I didn't have time to dwell on how I would come off to other people.  This was new to me, and I kind of liked it a lot.

On Thursday night, we met up with a group of fans at The Whisky Bar for a tasting flight and chit chat.  We tasted four whiskies and were served fries with our tasting.  We tried Monkey Shoulder, Macallan, Glenmorangie, and Sam's favorite, Laphroaig.  Each one was a bit different than the next. It was really fun and interesting to taste the notes of flavor in each.  We liked the Macallan best for its slightly smoother taste and caramel notes.  The Glenmorangie was totally new to us and had notes of vanilla, almost a toffee-like flavor.  Sean and I have both tried Laphroaig before, but the smokiness of it is just not for us.  I actually met quite a few people who like it, so tastes do vary.  To me, it tastes a bit like that canker sore numbing medicine.

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood

The little alcove was packed with folks, so there wasn't a lot of room to mingle.  The folks we did talk to were so nice and welcoming though.  This was my first time being around other Outlander fans so I was super nervous, but tried to be friendly in spite of it.  As people cleared out, we stayed and ordered some quick food for dinner. We had the Scotch eggs (eggs encased in sausage and fried) and Reuben Mac and Cheese (white cheddar, swiss, topped with corned beef and sauerkraut).  Both were extremely tasty!  The Mac and Cheese was super rich though. I couldn't finish my half.  We shared a Lyft car with another lady who was staying at the same hotel and headed up to get ready for bed and the huge day ahead of us.

This was actually our first time taking a Lyft, or anything of the sort.  We were pretty impressed with how quick and easy it was.  Our first driver was great, though later we did have some issues with drivers being a block off. We had to walk to meet them.  They would call and describe where they were.  The last driver we had was kind of creepy and drove too fast, but we survived.  I felt safe having Sean with me, but I would have been on edge as a woman alone.

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood
Sean and I during the course of the day.  Dress: Torrid  /  Cardigan: Modcloth  /  Shoes: Comfortiva via Zulily  /  Necklace: Brooch from Etsy seller NinaCancerSurvivor turned into necklcae

The next morning, we got up super early and started readying ourselves for the day.  I had planned on being at the panel line-up at 9am (the panel started at 11), but it was a little bit later when we finally arrived.  The first people in line had been there since 6am.  I did that kind of thing too much in my early twenties, so I wasn't too keen on doing it in the rain.  I spent my extra time making sure my makeup would stay put all day and look good for photos, and I'm glad I did.  It was a long, long, tiring day.  Eventually, we filed into the huge panel room where Sean and I chose to sit in the very back.  My plan was to cut out slightly early ahead of the crowd, make my way out of the giant convention center, and down the street to the Sheraton for the autograph line.  I wanted the autographs done early so I wouldn't have to carry around my giant 11x17 mat all day.  I wanted to get Sam and Caitriona's autographs on the mat so I could frame the 8x10 photo I was getting later in the day. The mat fit in my new Jamie bag from Zazzle perfectly and wasn't too bulky, but I still wasn't planning on having to carry it all day long.  I'm usually not an autograph-seeker, but the VIP package I bought came with autograph tickets for both actors.  And since it gave me a little extra time in their presence, no complaints here.

You can watch the whole panel here.

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood
Jaime Bag: Zazzle  /  Celtic Knot Lanyard: Amazon  /  Bracelets: Etsy seller NikkiandNibby
Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood
Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood

I left the panel about ten minutes before it was over and booked it down the various escalators and out into the cold, rainy weather.  My big Claire cowl did help a bit with keeping the rain off of my hair when I flipped it up as a hood.  I ended up going down the wrong street for about a block and met some other folks looking for the Sheraton also.  We all hoofed it as fast as we could once we hit up Google Maps.  However, upon arrival to the autograph area, we were told that both morning sessions for Sam and Cait were full and we would have to come back in the afternoon.  So not only did this make it so I had to carry the mat all day, but it also meant I wouldn't have any extra time to look around at the actual con in the afternoon.  I really wanted to see the artist area.

I had about an hour to kill before I needed to head back to the Sheraton for my Sam photo op, so I power walked back to the convention center, up all the escalators, and into the show floor with vendors and booths.  I left Sean there so he could look around the con while I did my Outlander thing.  I text him to tell him I had some free time to hang out with him, look around, maybe get a coffee. By now it was past noon and I had only had two bananas and some water back at the hotel before I did my makeup.  We finally found each other and hit up a few booths I wanted to see, then headed up another two levels to Artist Alley to pick up a piece of Outlander art I had reserved with the artist.  It was nice meeting Ashleigh and talking to her for a quick minute.  Then I quickly used the restroom and touched up my makeup before Sean and I headed back to the Sheraton for photo ops.

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood
Clockwise from top left: Outlander-inspired necklace: Sparkle Designs  /  "Outlander - Kiss" by Brian Roll  /  My framed group photo and autographed mat  /  Jaime and Claire at the stones: Ashleigh Popplewell

This is where things got more hectic.  There were SO MANY PEOPLE and the company running the photo ops seemed ill-prepared and unorganized.  It was a friggin' madhouse and hot like a sauna in there!  The lining up portion was super confusing, but I did run into a lady I met online in the process.  We were able to hang out together and chat for a few while we waited.  The lines and people kept getting moved around, so we weren't together for too long.  Because of all the people and the un-organization of it all, the photo ops themselves were running late.  My Sam photo was scheduled for 2pm and my duo photo was scheduled for 2:15pm, but I wasn't out of the Sam line until after 2:30.  I raced back down to the lower level to get Sean because I wanted him in the duo photo with me. (For each photo op, you are allowed 3 more guests and yourself in each photo.)  He was in another line downstairs thinking I was in the 2:30 group.  I had to pull him out of line and race back upstairs for the next photo.  More waiting and sweating and waiting and waiting and then we were finally ushered in for our photo.  It is far too fleeting of a moment, but I am really glad I was able to do it.  Sam was pretty quiet, though very nice (and tall!).  Caitriona complimented my dress and Sean's t-shirt.  Sean's tee is a reference to a line in the show.  The actor who said the line had these tees available to benefit a children's charity.  Anyway, the moment was fast and I was kind of in awe of these two beautiful creatures, but I am glad Sean was able to experience it with me.  We received our printed photos immediately, which was cool.  I love watching people excitedly showing each other their photos.

One of the things I love about my photo with Sam is that both sides of my neck muscles are working!  It was two years after my thyroidectomy before the right side of my neck muscles started to emerge again and be visibly stronger.  So SQUEEE, it's Sam!  But YAY, my neck is getting better! haha

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood
Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood

After the hours of waiting and standing and sweating, I seriously needed a breather.  It was some time after 3pm by now, so Sean and I headed back over to the convention center to grab some food and coffee.  We had to stand in line for a while to get our chicken and veggie crepes.  By now, my feet were killing me.  We lucked out and found an empty seat in the lobby to share while we ate.  I added another pair of socks to my feet, ate my crepe, drank some water, guzzled a coffee, and then said goodbye to Sean.  He was going back to look around the con and I was headed back to the Sheraton to wait in the autograph line.  I got in line around 4pm. My feet were so sore by this point that it hurt to be on them.  I did a lot of stretches and toe-wiggling as I waited.  By this point I was also super tired and took to zoning out.  Around 6pm, I finally got to the front of the line to get my mat signed and say hello again.  Caitriona asked me what color of pen I wanted her to use ("Oooooh, gold!  I like shinies!" I said).  She commented that it looked classy and we both did a little foo-foo face at each other.  Have I mentioned how nice and wonderful she is?  I adore her even more now.  I was a bit speechless for Sam.  His attractiveness and the way he listens to people is disarming.  He asked how my day was and I said, "Busy" like the goober that I am.  It dawned on me he'd been here for all this and I said, "You know, like yours...sort of."  He said, "I bet", and winked at me as I was being ushered away because some lady was up my ass already.  *FACE PALM*  I felt stupid, but whatever.

At this point, I could barely walk because my feet hurt so bad.  I probably would have started crying but I didn't want to mess up my makeup.  I went out into the lobby to put my mat back in my bag and put on my scarf to protect myself from the rain.  I sent Sean a text that I was headed back to our hotel (about four blocks away) and began my hobble in that direction.  When I say my feet hurt, I mean my toes were numb and the entire bottoms of my feet felt bruised and raw.  I mean, these shoes are pretty damn comfortable and I am surprised they got me through as long as they did, but I was in major pain.  About a block from the hotel, I had to stop and lean against a wall for a few minutes.  I took some Ibuprofen then as well.  Eventually, I made it to the hotel room and decided I needed to change my outfit for the Meet and Greet because I could no longer function in the oxfords.  Sean made me prop my feet up and drink water.  Before I knew it, I was running late.  I freshened up my hair and makeup, changed clothes, and Sean walked me back to the Sheraton where we parted.  He went to grab some food and I headed up to the Meet and Greet.

Now this VIP thing was supposed to start at 7:30.  Usually late me arrived at 7:20, but it felt like I was walking into the middle of a party that had been going on for a bit already.  These Outlander fans are punctual AF.  Far too punctual for their own good, if you ask me.  I have been a New Kids fan for longer than the Outlander books have been out, so I mainly only know the New Kids fandom.  And timing is different with them.  As it was, I knew no one and there didn't seem to be any seats.  Then a super sweet lady called out to me.  I did not know her, never met her, but when I realized she was talking to me I went over.  She pointed out that that had an extra seat if I needed a place to sit, so I did.  I was really impressed with how kind and welcoming most of the fans were.  If this lovely fan hadn't reached out to me, I would have felt really out of place.  I grabbed some food and water and listened to the other nice ladies at the table talk.  I was happy to have friendly faces around and just share in this experience with them.  Once Sam and Cait arrived, they took turns hanging out at each table for 10 minutes maybe and just talked to us.  It was a really great experience to hang out with them, see them interact with other fans and each other, laugh, listen to their stories and experiences.  I loved every minute of it.  One thing that made me laugh was when the lady next to me (Caitriona was on the other side of her) mentioned that Sam twirled his kilt and showed some cheek and there was a photo of it, Caitriona and I both leaned in to her and said "WHAT? Show me!" 

We weren't allowed to take photos at the VIP, but our table managed to get a selfie with Sam halfway through.  Because not all tables were able to get a selfie, Sam and Cait went back around to each table at the end of the night to take a photo.  They were both very fun, kind, gracious, thoughtful people.  I feel like I went in with a love of Outlander and the work they do on the show with a very limited knowledge (but respect) for who they are individually, but I left really loving them as people.  And that is a great thing.  Even after all the hassles of the day, I would still do it again.

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood
Top right and bottom left photos from Wendy Nay

After the event, Sean met me back at the Sheraton and we took a Lyft to another fan meet-up at a restaurant.  Apparently, no one was aware that the kitchen stopped serving food at 10pm, which is when we arrived.  We were starving and exhausted.  We stuck around a little longer and then walked down the street to Il Bistro, an Italian place, to get take out.  I was too pooped to eat dinner there.  We grabbed our food and took another Lyft back to the hotel.  The food was very delicious.  I had the ravioli on special, which for the life of me I cannot remember now.  I know it had toasted pistachios on top and a creamy vodka-type sauce.  We were so hungry!  We watched some T.V. while we ate, got ready for bed, and immediately fell asleep.

I was happy to sleep in slightly the next morning.  We ended up checking out at noon.  Since it wasn't raining, we walked a few blocks down to a seafood restaurant for lunch.  Blueacre Seafood was really pretty inside. I loved the warm wood, blue glass, and green walls.  We were seated at a booth and reflected on our previous day.  This food was also really delicious, so I wanted to make sure to mention it.  After the previous day of hurried small meals, it was nice to sit down to a nice meal and enjoy it.  We ordered the Dungeness Crab and Bay Shrimp Tater Tots.  They were moist and so, so good.  They came with a horseradish dipping sauce that made me so happy.  I love, love, love horseradish!  Sean had the Fish and Chips, which was also very good.  The tartar sauce had some malt vinegar in it, so it had more flavor than your typical tartar sauce.  I had the Grilled Alaskan King Salmon with brown butter and rosemary, smoked almonds, and port soaked cherries.  I never would have thought of that combination with salmon, but it was so incredibly yummy.  My meal came with steamed veggies, which helped me refuel after the previous day's hectic schedule.

Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood
Outlander at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle Recap, with stops at The Whisky Bar and Blueacre Seafood. - DivineMrsDiva.com #ECCC #ECCCOutlander #Outlander #samheughan #caitrionabalfe #seattle #thewhiskybar #blueacreseafood

Before heading home, we stopped for coffees and picked up our luggage back at the hotel.  Now, a week later, my feet and calves are still a little sore.  I would really like to go back to ECCC next year and experience more of the actual con, shop the artist booths, and check out some more panels - all while wearing my trusty and comfy Reebok hiking shoes. hahaha

Have you been to a comicon?  If so, what was your favorite thing about it?  Are there any celebrities you really want to meet?  Do you have any more Seattle recommendations for me?  Let's chat in the comments!!

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