My Bear Strength Clothing Company Journey

Hurricane Irma visited Florida forcing a mandatory evacuation in our area of Northeast Florida. We traveled to Pine Mountain, Georgia to ride out the storm. When we returned home, thankfully to an intact house, I downloaded the pictures from our trip. I discovered the picture below that my daughter had taken on one of our afternoon hikes. I packed one suitcase with essentials to evacuate, my Bear Strength Hoodie was in my suitcase.  I began to reflect on my own personal journey with Bear Strength Clothing Company.

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My journey started in 2014. I spotted Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser on Outlander on the Starz network, wearing the Fear The Beard T Shirt in his Twitter avatar. The message of strength resonated with me immediately as I had been praying for strength at the time.  Graham McTavish, Dougal MacKenzie on Outlander, rocks a Fear The Beard T Shirt as well.

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I began blogging in October, and on November 28, 2014, I posted the following about Bear Strength, For the Exercise Enthusiast, I will direct you to Bear Strength Clothing Co. I have ordered a shirt and a vest, and they are so soft! The web site is user-friendly, and converts to US currency. You can find them at http://www.bearstrength.co.uk, and they ship to the United States. I had a wonderful experience the first time I ordered from the company. They carry men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel. (P.S. – They ship internationally too.)

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Falling in love with the clothes was inevitable after I placed my first order. My respect for the company, founded by two brothers from Wales, increased when I read about the company’s charity collaborations. I reached out to The Bear Cave and asked if they would like to contribute to Cooklander To the Stove, a cookbook created by fans and friends of the show Outlander. Their Welsh Cakes can be found on page 239 of this amazing cookbook, not only do the bears know about functional fitness, but they cook too! Smart bears! The proceeds from sales of the book benefit Bloodwise UK, World Child Cancer, and NPH USA. You can still get your paws on a copy at www.cooklander.com.

 

2016 proved to be an action packed year along my journey.  In January 2016, I joined the 13 week challenge at Titan up Fitness in Jacksonville Beach, FL. My trainer’s nickname for me was “Bear Strength” because I always had something from their line for my workouts: leggings, T Shirts, sports bra, not pictured. I swear I had better workout days when I wore their clothing.

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Coincidentally, I wore the Bear Strength Baseball Shirt when I celebrated Burns Night in January.  My friend, a food photographer, was taking pictures of the haggis, “You get in one and eat some.”

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April was a challenging month.  My father had emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor.  Floridians do need sweatshirts and jackets. Most buildings are so well air-conditioned, you bring something to wear inside. I spent many hours at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.  If you guessed that I took my Bear Strength Hoodie, you would be correct.

My dad is such a tremendous example of strength.  The picture below was taken a month after his surgery.  He was doing PT five days a week at 76 years old.

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Naturally, he needed more gear.  I ordered this Tri Blend T Shirt for him.

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I’ll admit, from April 2016 to the present, life has been rough, both of my parents have had a difficult time health wise.  I wanted to help take care of them, but I forgot about myself.  My workouts have not been consistent, I haven’t blogged as much as I have in the past.  However, I got back on program August 1, 2017.  I’ve started walking on the beach again and working out at home.  I gave up Coca Cola and started eating healthier.  I started making time for me again, and I feel better. My parents have good days and bad days.  As of now, dad is cancer free.  Yea!!!  I came to the conclusion that if I want to be ready to take care of them on the stressful days, I need to be healthy too.

Obviously, I need new workout clothes.  I checked out Bear Strength’s new range at http://www.bearstrength.co.uk?rfsn=729098.f1414.  I would be happy with any item, but some of my favorites are below.

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If you would like to find out more about the founders of the company, please read this wonderful blog which appears in ThePeakPosse Post, and I reblogged on my site, https://inspiredbyoutlander.com/2016/02/12/meet-bear-strength-the-gents-behind-the-growl/.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my journey!  I’m so proud of the fact that almost three years after I started blogging, Bear Strength Clothing Company is still one of the most popular search terms on my blog.

Don’t forget to follow all things #TeamBearStrength on Twitter @BearStrength and on Instagram @bearstrengthclothing.

Jenny Mc

inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com

@jennymcinspired – Twitter

Outlander in the City

I had the opportunity to attend the event, Outlander in the City, Saturday June 3, 2017.  It was held at the Papillon Bar & Bistro in New York City.  I flew from Jacksonville, Florida to New York City the day before the dinner.

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Image via Facebook Outlander in the City Event page

The Outlander in the City event was wonderful! I felt honored to meet so many of the actors from the show, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  The unique event was a fundraiser for the charities chosen by each of the actors.  I met fellow fans and friends that I have only “met” previously online.  At one point, I said, “I feel so close to you even though we just met.” Although, it is true we have KNOWN each other much longer. When I first joined Twitter, Pelly @pellicott1, said, “I can “hear” your voice on Twitter.”  I agree.  I was thrilled to meet Cooklander friends, Florida Outlander Fans, ThePeakPosse members, and My Peak Challenge participants in person. I really loved seeing the familiar faces of friends that I met when I marched in the 18th Annual Tartan Day Parade in 2016.

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(L to R: Kendra, Me, and Kathryn)

Image via http://www.terrisquires.com

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(L to R: Pelly, Me, Bouton)

The organizers did a terrific job! My hat is off to you. I moonlight as a PR Consultant which includes celebrity handling and event planning. This event was a huge undertaking, and I’m so proud of everyone involved in the planning. Thank you again so much Carole Braun, Dorianne Panich, Liz Mercado, Laura Michelle, Lisa Michelle Woody, Bonnie Terbush, Sandhya Dawar, and everyone at Outlander Homepage @OutlanderHome!!! Kathryn Elliott served as raffle ticket saleswoman extraordinaire.

Reconciling my PR Girl persona and my Fan Girl persona is still an ongoing process.  My Fan Girl status has been written about in previous blog posts.  If you’d like to read more, check out “To be a fan girl or not to be a fan girl, that is the question…” https://inspiredbyoutlander.com/2014/11/19/to-be-a-fan-girl-or-not-to-be-a-fan-girl-that-is-the-question/ and “To Be a Fan Girl, or a Cougar, or Go shopping for a Billionaire, That is the Question…” https://inspiredbyoutlander.com/2015/08/17/i-am-not-a-fan-girl-a-cougar-or-shopping-for-a-billionaire/.

During the event, I realized that everyone does Fan Girl in their own way. Partially due to my personality and partially because old work habits die-hard, I determined that I much prefer to sit back, watch people, and take in everything around me.  I didn’t get photographs with all the actors that attended the event.  It wasn’t for lack of interest, I was entranced with watching them.  I never would have imagined that I would see Stephen Walters, Nell Hudson, and Steven Cree singing songs by The Beatles.

Steven Cree, who plays Ian Murray, wore a kilt to the event.  I follow him on Twitter, and in person he is exactly as you would expect him to be based on his tweets and interviews.  He has a clever sense of humor, and is very charming.  The evening was more fun because of him. He talked of his project, The Little Princess.  I read an article from The Herald which discusses his role in Churchill, and other future projects. Check it out at http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts_ents/15340652.__39_I_was_devastated__39___Churchill_and_Outlander_star_Steven_Cree_on_the_day_his_acting_career_nearly_came_off_the_rails/?ref=twtrec.

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Nell Hudson, who plays Loghaire MacKenzie, was so sweet! She has a beautiful singing voice, truly a highlight of the evening.  In addition to Outlander, Nell can be seen in ITV’s Victoria.

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(L to R: Deborah, Nell, Patty)

Wil Johnson was the surprise guest at dinner.  He plays Joe Abernathy in Season 3 of Outlander.  The guests were delighted to meet him, and he circulated throughout the restaurant.  I saw him outside after the event, and he was quick to offer a smile.

Duncan Lacroix portrays Murtagh Fraser.  He received a thunderous round of applause when he was introduced at the event.  Everybody needs a Murtagh.

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Grant O’Rourke plays Rupert MacKenzie.  He was in front of the restaurant after the event when I approached him. He smiled, and gave me a big hug.  Grant just announced he was nominated for Best Actor (theatre) at the Sunday Herald Culture Awards, and can be seen in August at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Gary Lewis is a very genuine and kind person.  He gives the best hugs!  I was so pleased to meet him.  Researching this blog, I realized I have much of Gary’s work to binge watch.  This article from The Herald describes his role in The Level as well as what’s up next for Gary, http://www.heraldscotland.com/arts_ents/14803823.Gary_Lewis_on_leaving_Outlander_and_a_new_role_in_ITV_drama_The_Level/.

 

Richard Rankin is incredible!  I was so impressed that Richard stayed late at the event to make sure all 270+ women were able to have their picture taken with him.

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(L to R: Kathryn, Me, Richard, Patty)

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Before I share my conversation with Richard Rankin, I’d like to pause and refer back to a blog I wrote, People are People, https://inspiredbyoutlander.com/2016/06/16/people-are-people/. In the blog, I share my relief that celebrities are people just like us.  I can add my conversation with Richard to my list of “open mouth, insert foot” moments relayed in that blog.

Richard: Where are all of you from?

Me: Florida

R: Do you know that Florida is the only state that begins with an “F”?

Me: Really?

R: Yes, only one “F”.

Me: I really should have known that.  (Proud resident of the state of Florida since 1981)

R: You learned something new tonight.

Richard also knows how many states start with an “A” (4) and with “N” (8).  I applaud his perceptiveness.  As an educator, I do like to learn something new every day.  I used to think of myself as a Brainy Fan Girl.  In that moment, I didn’t feel very brainy, more like a shy coed talking to the star quarterback.  Richard has been very busy with several projects.  I’ve binge watched Thirteen and I am in the middle of The Crimson Field.

Stephen Walters performed songs from his Charity Ditty Album (CD).  You can still purchase the album at www.bathgateregal.org.  It was such a treat to see him belting out tunes with Steven Cree and Nell Hudson.  Stephen took to Twitter after the event to announce his project Humpty Dumpty with Andrew Gower.  For more information about the film or to donate to the Kickstarter project go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1840778365/humpty-dumpty-film.

 

Bruce Devlin was the emcee for the evening.  I have to be honest, he cracked me up throughout the dinner.

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For more information about the charities or to donate to the charities chosen by the actors, please see the JustGiving links below. The links will stay open until December 31, 2017.

Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity (chosen by Gary Lewis and Grant O’Rourke):

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OutlanderInTheCityGCHC

Save the Children (chosen by Nell Hudson):

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OutlanderInTheCitySTC

World Child Cancer (chosen by Stephen Walters and Duncan Lacroix):

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OutlanderInTheCityWCC

International Animal Rescue (chosen by Steven Cree):

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OutlanderInTheCityIAR

Macmillan Cancer Support (Chosen by Rik Rankin):

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OutlanderInTheCityMac

Thank you so much for reading!  I hope this is the first of many Outlander in the City events that Outlander fans are able to attend.

Jenny Mc

Jenny Mc @jennymcinspired – Twitter

inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com – Email

Jennifer McAfee – Facebook

 

Barbour The Shirt Department

As I was scrolling through Twitter this morning, I clicked on the Barbour web site link in their tweet about The Shirt Department.  Barbour is a “120 year old brand defining the essence of true British style.” I noticed the paragraph starting with, “Inspired by Barbour’s countryside credentials since 1894…”, naturally the phrase, “Inspired by” grabbed my attention.  Full disclosure, the paragraph wasn’t the first thing I noticed.  Sam Heughan is Barbour’s Global Brand Ambassador.

http://www.barbour.com/shirt-department?utm_source=social&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=ss17_shirts

The Barbour Blog is very informative.  I did actually read the entire post, “Introducing the New SS17 Shirt Department” as well as other posts that didn’t mention Sam Heughan.  Barbour is the Platium Sponsor of the 2017 Tartan Day Parade in New York City.  I marched in the parade in 2016.  I know the parade will be a success with Barbour providing clothing, accessories, and dog accessories.

Go to http://www.barbour.com for more information about their clothing.  You can also follow Barbour on social media.

Twitter – @Barbour

Instagram – @Barbour and @Barbourdogs

Facebook – @OfficialBarbour

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/officialbarbour

Instagram led me to this video posted on the British GQ magazine web site announcing a partnership with Barbour.

http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/four-ways-to-keep-smart-and-stylish-with-barbour

Thank you so much for reading! Shirts have never been so inspiring.

Jenny Mc

Twitter – @jennymcinspired

Facebook – Jennifer McAfee

Email – inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com

Burns Night Supper for Bloodwise

I’ve been blogging about the show Outlander and its stars for over two years.  In the process, I have learned more about Scotland and Scottish culture.  Wednesday, January 25th is the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns.  Burns Night is a celebration of the poet and lyricist.  A traditional supper includes haggis, tatties, neeps, and a dram of Scotch whisky. (Tatties=mashed potatoes, neep=turnip)  For this Florida girl, haggis is a foreign concept.

I’m part of the committee that published the cookbook Cooklander To The Stove.  This wonderful book is a collection of 550 recipes submitted by fans and friends of the show Outlander.  Originally, a recipe for haggis wasn’t included among the hundreds of recipes submitted. I am now dubbed “Haggis Hunter” by fellow committee members because all of the haggis recipes, with the exception of the Vegetarian Haggis, are the product of my extensive search.  I must admit to becoming strangely curious about haggis the more I looked into how I would find a recipe.  Below is the story of my search for the elusive haggis, found on page 323 of the cookbook.

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Hunting for Haggis

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A wee bit elusive

The Cookbook Committee received recipes from all over the world, however two weeks prior to the target date to go to print, we still hadn’t received a recipe for haggis. 

Haggis is not an animal.  It is actually made from the innards of a sheep, oatmeal, suet, herbs and spices cooked in a sheep’s stomach.  I messaged a friend from Glasgow and a friend of a friend living in Tampa from Edinburgh.  One reply stated, “In Scotland, people usually buy the haggis ready to go as it is made from all the leftover parts that aren’t used after the slaughter.”  Hmmm…where would a Florida girl buy haggis?  I Googled, and was amazed at what I found.  I read a very interesting article published in “The Guardian” on January 22, 2015 by Adam Gabbatt entitled “The hunt for black market haggis”, http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/22/-sp-the-hunt-for-black-market-haggis-us-burns-night.  My mind reeled at the implications of a ban on importing the sheep’s lung, a crucial ingredient in a traditional haggis, in the United States.  Haggis can be purchased on www.amazon.com in the US, however, substitutions have been made for the sheep lung.  Americans can also buy haggis in a can at local Scottish festivals.  I couldn’t believe my own eyes when I saw the cans at the Lannadoo Celtic Festival in NE FL. 

In my quest, I posted on Twitter and Facebook.  I called, texted, and emailed every chef or restaurant owner I know.  I may have even tagged a certain actor from Scotland in tweets enlisting his help.  I knew I was getting desperate when I asked a friend who owns a restaurant that specializes in Baha Mexicana for a recipe for haggis. I might have even promised to make haggis, taste it, and to organize a skirling salute complete with pipe band if I received a recipe. 

A fan sent me two recipes for haggis which appear in this cookbook.  One recipe came from “A Little Scottish Cookbook”, by Paul Harris.  Harris’ book is listed in Diana Gabaldon’s bibliography in “Outlandish Companion.” The recipe’s directions include, “Boil the heart, liver, and lung till tender, hanging windpipe out over the edge of pan so that it drains into a bowl.”  One recipe from the book, “Cooking with Elizabeth Craig”, states, “After cooking, haggis can be hung in a cool dry place until required.  When wanted, boil up again.”  Perhaps my declaration to prepare haggis was premature.  I’ll be honest, I can count on one hand the people for whom I would be willing to make and taste haggis.

When followed on Twitter by Haggis Society, I knew I had officially made it to the big time of haggis circles!  I followed back, however, I’m fairly certain this is a parody account.  As I said, haggis isn’t an animal, and there really isn’t an official hunting season. 

I hope you enjoy all the recipes in this cookbook, especially the haggis.  When in doubt, more whisky is always the answer.

In November 2015, I tried haggis for the first time at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  I can honestly say I enjoyed this Americanized version.  It tasted like liver and oats. Glenfiddich whisky was also available at the pavillion, I would highly recommend.

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In January 2016, to celebrate Burns Night, I decided to be brave and attempt to make haggis.  I figured the Vegetarian Haggis recipe would be the best way to go for my first attempt.  I used the recipe on page 167 of the Cooklander To The Stove cookbook.  I made dinner for friends and they said, “It was quite tasty, even without the stuff.” 

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Fast forward to Janauary 2017.  I am proud to be a part of actor Sam Heughan’s My Peak Challenge for the third year in a row.  Participants were given a mini challenge to host a Burns Night Supper to raise money for Bloodwise.  Bloodwise funds research and offers information and support to anyone affected by leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other blood related disorders.

 

 

Video via  Youtube.com

I’m happy to report that the stars aligned and I am hosting a Burns Night Supper with my friend and fellow Salt Life Peaker Carol Swearingin.  Please join us at Culhane’s Irish Pub on Wednesday, January 25th to have fun and raise money for a great cause! The chef at Culhane’s is creating a haggis special, and their menu features a variety of whiskys.

Culhane’s has generously donated a basket valued at $100 as a raffle prize.  Culhane’s also submitted their Dingle Fish Pie recipe, a favorite of Guy Fieri, to the Cooklander cookbook.

Copies of Cooklander will be available for sale during the evening with all proceeds of sales benefitting Bloodwise.  The cost per book is $25.

If you are unable to attend the supper, and would like to donate, please visit my Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/jennymcinspired.

Burns Night Supper

Where: Culhane’s Irish Pub

When: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 6:30-9:30 p.m.

RSVP:  https://www.facebook.com/events/596585330531357/

For more information about topics covered in my blog, visit the following web sites.

Bloodwisehttp://www.bloodwise.org.uk

Cooklander To The Stovehttp://www.cooklander.com

Culhane’s Irish Pubhttp://www.culhanesirishpub.com

My Peak Challengehttp://www.mpc2017.com

For the Burns Night celebration in 2018, should I try the US Version of Traditional Scottish Haggis recipe in Cooklander that calls for “One leg of a pair of CLEAN panty hose, knotted with top end cut off and open”? Thank you so much for reading!

Jenny Mc

Twitter – Jenny Mc @jennymcinspired

Facebook – Jennifer McAfee

inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com

 

 

 

My Peak Challenge 2017


Image via Sam Heughan’s Twitter account

My Peak Challenge, actor Sam Heughan’s global charity movement, continues to be the most searched topic on my blog.  I cannot even express how happy that makes me.  My Peak Challenge 2017 has just launched. All the information you need to know about how to join this program can be found on http://www.mpc2017.com. The new web site is amazing!!

I looked back at some of the blog search terms readers have used to find out about My Peak Challenge.  All of the answers to these questions and more can be found on the #MPC2017 web site.  Here is a list of frequently asked questions and topics:

What is My Peak Challenge?

My Peak Challenge monthly workout and nutrition program

My Peak Challenge recipes

My Peak Challenge workout

My Peak Challenge welcome gift

I just joined My Peak Challenge 2017, and I would love for you to join me and the rest of the #MPC2017 community!!! 50% of funds raised from the purchase of membership go directly to Bloodwise.

Happy Holidays! More information to follow in future blogs. I gave myself a Christmas present by joining My Peak Challenge 2017, and now I need to finish the rest of my shopping. 😉

Thank you again for reading!

Jenny Mc

Twitter – Jenny Mc @jennymcinspired

Facebook – Jennifer McAfee

inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com

Outlander star Sam Heughan announces leukaemia research investment 

Please read this wonderful blog by Steph Cade, a member of the Bloodwise staff.

https://bloodwise.org.uk/blog/outlander-star-sam-heughan-announces-leukaemia-research-investment

In the tweet below, Caitriona Balfe takes the words right out of my mouth.  I couldn’t have written it any better myself.

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I’m very proud to have been a part of My Peak Challenge 2016.  Thank you for reading!

Jenny Mc

inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com

Jenny Mc @jennymcinspired – Twitter

Jennifer McAfee – Facebook

 

Scottish actor Sam Heughan becomes Scotland President for Bloodwise

Please read this inspiring blog post by a member of the Bloodwise staff.

https://bloodwise.org.uk/blog/scottish-actor-sam-heughan-becomes-scotland-president-bloodwise

The blog states, “It is hoped that Sam’s role at the charity will continue to raise awareness of blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.”  I joined My Peak Challenge in 2015 and 2016.  I was thrilled to walk in the Light the Night 5k November 3, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the US and Canada.  It was my first time at that event.  Sam’s success as a supporter of Bloodwise encouraged me to find ways to help in the United States as well.  I look forward to My Peak Challenge 2017 and am honored to support Bloodwise from Florida!

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For more information about Bloodwise, you can also follow them on Twitter @bloodwise_uk, Instagram @Bloodwise_UK, or their Facebook page Bloodwise.

Thank you so much for reading!

Jenny Mc

inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com

Jenny Mc @jennymcinspired – Twitter

Jennifer McAfee – Facebook

Fall in Florida

I’ve been enjoying all the pictures friends are posting on social media featuring beautiful fall foliage, the leaves ablaze with red, orange and gold.  The screen grabs of weather apps proclaiming cooler temperatures is admittedly a foreign concept to me.  I do love fall in Florida.  The children and I go to the pumpkin patch and choose the perfect pumpkin.  Their Halloween costumes have been planned for months, but I have been known to procrastinate and scramble to put together a costume at the last minute.

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I have mentioned in previous posts that I moonlight in PR, and one client that is especially fun to work with is Goodwill of Northeast Florida.  Goodwill is a non-profit organization that accepts donations of clothing, shoes, books, and housewares.  The money generated from the sale of those items in their stores helps people with disabilities and special needs receive job training and meaningful employment.  For more information, go to www.goodwilljax.org.

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In October, they showcase Halloween costumes that have been purchased at the Goodwill store.  These costumes are purchased for a maximum of $10, and purchased at the last minute.  Several lucky models appear on a live morning television segment to show off the creations.  I am one of those lucky models when my schedule permits.

In a blog post written in June, I promised to share the story of how I accidentally flashed Jacksonville viewers.  October 2014, I dutifully reported to the television studio “bare faced” at my call time of 7:00 a.m.  Goodwill teams up with make-up artist Jay Woodley to complete the looks the stylist has shopped for at the store. I was dressed as a princess inspired by the Disney movie Frozen.

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Jay applied “ice crystals” to my face, shoulders, and hands.

“What are those?” I asked.

He said, “You know when you buy a new pair of shoes or a new purse, and they have the little packets that say Do Not Eat, I opened the packets.”

“Ah ha!”

I’ll be honest, my strapless dress was too big, but all parties involved felt it was the best look.  We decided I wouldn’t be shot from the back.  I was also wearing heels 3 sizes too big.

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We shot the segment outside that particular morning.  The camera man announced, “The bump shot is in three or four minutes.”  According to Wikipedia, the bump shot or bumper shot is an element that acts as a transition to or from commercial breaks.  I was prepared to smile and wave for the camera as they teased the Halloween for Less segment.  Thinking I had time, in an attempt to avoid a wardrobe malfunction, I turned to the side, facing the mirrored windows of the station.  I bent over, and was doing a shimmy of sorts, my upper arms pressed to my side, pushing up and together…well…the “girls”, while at the same time pulling up the top of the dress with my hands.  I heard startled voices.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be the person on the other end of the camera man’s headphones.  I don’t know exactly what he said, I just knew that based on his tone, something was amiss.  When I realized what had been captured for the bump shot, I couldn’t help but ask, “What was on camera? I know what I was doing.”  I was immediately reassured with, “Don’t worry about it.  It was fine.  It was fine.” Okaaayyy…the show must go on.   For your viewing pleasure, here is the link to the actual segment below.  My part starts about 50 seconds into the clip.

www.news4jax.com/news/morning-show/more-goodwill-costume-inspiration

Just to review, I flashed the audience before the segment aired.  Please be kind when you watch, although I realize I won’t be quitting my day job to pursue a career in television.  I teach preschool, and after the segment, I drove to my four-year old classroom to surprise my students with a visit from “Elsa”.  Some were convinced that I was Elsa, and some were quick to declare, “That’s just Mrs. McAfee in a wig!”  The look on their faces was priceless.

On a side note, for my Outlander, Sam Heughan fans that read my blog, this appearance inspired me to work out.  In my opinion, my look was more like Elsa from the future where she’s found her true love, gotten married, and is expecting the royal heir of Arendelle.  My Peak Challenge was unveiled the January after this appearance.  I signed up as soon as I could.

I haven’t dressed as a character from Outlander for Goodwill, but I dressed as Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones in October of 2013.  Jay Woodley applied fantastic wound make-up for the realistic Red Wedding look from the show.  The process took about 45 minutes to complete.

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I don’t have a video link for that segment, but I did receive some interesting and some nice feedback, “Jenny, your knife skills?” and “I like the way you stayed in character for the whole segment.”

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At the time, I hadn’t seen Game of Thrones, but based on the summary I was given, Catelyn wouldn’t be acting happy about the decision she made.  I’m now caught up on all six seasons of Game of Thrones.

I did not go to my classroom after this segment.  I drove home, and immediately took a shower. The red water droplets scattered on the tiles looked like something out of the movie Psycho.  I knew the blood wasn’t real, but it was disconcerting none the less.

Jay Woodley is on Facebook at Woodley Special Effects LLC, https://www.facebook.com/woodleyspecialeffects/. There is still time to go see him to bring your Halloween ideas to life.  Check out his schedule on his Facebook page.

I am dressing as a monkey for the Halloween Parties in my Preschool classroom.  Sadly, I will be in the classroom when the Goodwill Halloween segment for 2016 airs.  I need to figure out where to wear this pirate outfit though.  Hurricane Matthew swirled too close to Savannah for me to go to the Outlandish Gathering this month.

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Please share photos of your Halloween creations with me.  Thank you so much for reading!

Jenny Mc

Jenny Mc @jennymcinspired – Twitter

Jennifer McAfee – Facebook

inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com

Outlandish Gatherings 2016

outlandish-gatherings2016

I didn’t realize two years ago when I started watching the television show Outlander that I would have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and take part in unforgettable experiences while doing something meaningful to help others.  In less than one week, I will attend the Outlandish Gatherings in Savannah, Georgia.

In April, I traveled to New York to represent the Cooklander To the Stove cookbook, and marched in the New York City Tartan Day Parade.

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When I was in New York, fans were talking about the Outlandish Gatherings in Savannah.  I live in the Jacksonville area, Savannah is an easy drive from North Florida.  I started doing research about the Gatherings, went to the Eventbrite website and thought I was putting my name on a wait list; I was pleasantly surprised when I was directed to a field to purchase a ticket.  Hurrah!

I messaged April Steele, one of the organizers of the event, to inquire about representing Cooklander.  April sent me some wonderful information regarding the history of the event, and I knew Cooklander would be a perfect fit as a vendor.  From the information she sent me, I read, “Outlandish Gatherings was the first to organize a “for fans, by fans” gathering for Outlander fans and has grown to be the largest four-day Outlander fan event in the world.”

As I prepared for my trip, I called to make a reservation at the hotel where the event is headquartered.  Here is the conversation with the reservationist:

R: Are you attending with a group?

Me: Yes, Outlandish Gatherings

R: Oh My God! I love that show! I started reading the books too.  I’m reading book 8.  Is anyone good from the show going to be there?

Me:  I think so.  Grant O’Rourke who plays Rupert and Stephen Walters who plays Angus.  Gaelic consultant Àdhamh Ó Broin will be there as well.

R:  When do you think season 3 will be televised?

Me:  I believe they are filming now. Maybe Spring 2017? Are you going to be working the weekend of the event?

R: Oh! I’m not in Savannah.  I’m in central reservations in the Midwest.  I’m going to finish reading book 8 over the winter when we get snow.

Me: Sounds like a good plan.  It’s nice to talk to another Outlander fan.  I’m looking forward to meeting more fans at the Gatherings.

R:  Have a great time! Enjoy your stay.

The theme of the Gathering this year is a nautical one based on Diana Gabaldon’s third book in the Outlander series Voyager.  The adventure takes the beloved characters to the high seas.

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Appropriately, the Outlandish Gatherings in Savannah coincide with the Tybee Island Pirate Fest.  Over the course of the Gathering, several activities are planned to help fans get to know one another better, and give fans the opportunity to meet the special guests from the show.   “Popular Outlander cast members Grant O’Rourke (Rupert) and Stephen Walters (Angus) will both make appearances at the Gathering.”

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Multi-instrumentalist/singer/actor Elias Alexander will be providing entertainment with his band Soulsha.  I was so fortunate to meet Elias in New York at the Outlanders United Season 2 Premiere Event.

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Outlander Gaelic consultant Àdhamh Ó Broin will be attending.  Elias and Àdhamh are both making a return visit to the Gathering.

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The Gathering is raising money for World Child Cancer for the third year in a row, “This will be Outlandish Gathering’s third year raising money for the London-based non-profit that provides diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care for children living in developing nations. Outlander star Catriona Balfe (Claire Fraser) is a patron of the organization, which has enjoyed support from fans around the world.”  The goal is to raise $15,000 through all of the activities at the event.  If you are unable to attend the events, please see the online auction at http://outlandishgatherings2016.eflea.ca/.  The auction features over 100 exclusive Outlander themed items. The auction is open until 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2016.  The Gathering’s JustGiving page is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Outlandish-Gatherings1.  It means so much to me to be representing Cooklander at this event.  One third of the proceeds of sales of Cooklander To the Stove are benefitting World Child Cancer.

Vendors at this year’s event include Hamilton & Young (http://www.hamiltonandyoung.co.uk/), The Scottish Mill Shop (http://scottishmillshop.com/), Things Celtic (https://www.thingsceltic.com/), Cherry Picked Signs (https://www.etsy.com/shop/CherryPickedSigns), and Cooklander (http://www.cooklander.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html).

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I’m thrilled to be sharing a vendor table with Cherry Picked Signs.  I’ll have information about the new Cooklander Triple Play Promotion.  Jessie Barbara of Cherry Picked Signs makes Outlander inspired decals for vehicles or any hard surface including wall decor.  Jessie will also have Outlander inspired quilts created by her friend Susan Leidy, as well as steering wheel covers, t-shirts, key fobs, and clocks.  Come say hello to all the vendors.

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Outlandish Gatherings 2016 Roll Call! I am traveling with my River City Sassenach Sister @Fidgitywidget.  I would love to meet fellow Peakers participating in My Peak Challenge, ThePeakPosse members, and Cooklander Club members.  (I am SO excited there is a Cooklander Club!  Follow them on twitter @Cooklanderclb and on Facebook at Cooklander Club.) I look forward to meeting Outlander friends old and new in Savannah.  Here’s a sneak peek at my pirate outfit, I’m not finished yet, need a hat and some bling. 😉

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I ordered my outfit from Aunt MJ Creations.  Mary makes hand-made ladies Celtic and Renaissance clothing.  I met her at the Jacksonville Beach Lannadoo Festival and Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festival.  Check out her website http://auntmjcreations.com.

Press inquiries about Outlandish Gatherings 2016 may be directed to April Steele at april@outlandishgatherings.com.

Thank you so much for reading!

Jenny Mc

Jenny Mc @jennymcinspired – Twitter

Jennifer McAfee – Facebook

inspiredbyoutlander@gmail.com