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.


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.


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.

elsa (2)

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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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

Jenny Mc

Jenny Mc @jennymcinspired – Twitter

Jennifer McAfee – Facebook


Outlandish Gatherings 2016


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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


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).


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.







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. 😉


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