24 November 2010

23 November 2010

media mention: we tv do good, feel good

Big thanks to Britt, WE tv's WE Volunteer blogger extraordinaire for this fantastic post on "Do Good, Feel Good."  Really appreciate the online love, Britt!

22 November 2010

passports with purpose. donate now and help build a village in india.

I am knee deep in the spirit of giving back, so when Passports with Purpose’s annual Travel Bloggers’ fundraiser rolled around, I was pretty stoked to participate.

Passports with Purpose was founded in 2008 by the Puget Sound kitten squad of Debbie Dubrow, Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman and Michelle Duffy as a way to build community among travel bloggers and to give back to the places we, as travelers, visit. Last year, 90 bloggers participated and raised almost $30,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia (complete with a school nurse and a kitchen garden that provides each child a daily meal).

This year, the social media savvy gals-on-the-go have raised the bar and are hoping to raise $50,000 to build a village, brick by brick, in rural India through our partnership with Friends of Lafti.

Here’s how PWP works: You, dear, kind, generous donor, make a tax deductible donation directly to the charitable organization (LAFTI International in 2010). For each $10 you donate, you are entered to win a prize of your choice.

The Global Citizen Project has donated a Bachmann Trains' Golden Spike Train Set (MSRP value $180). This 163-piece train set commemorates the historic event when the world's first transcontinental railroad was completed with the driving of the final Golden Spike. This set features Bachmann's exclusive E-Z Track snap-fit track and roadbed system plus a diesel locomotive with an operating headlight, open quad hopper, plug-door box car, single dome tank car, stock car, off-center caboose, 63" x 38" oval of snap-fit EZ track including 12 pieces of curved track, 6 pieces of straight track, 1 plug-in terminal rerailer, 1 manual turnout-left, undertrack magnet with brakeman figure, 1 Hayes bumper, suburban station, signal bridge, 48 figures, 36 telephone poles, 48 railroad and street signs, power pack and speed control and an illustrated instruction manual.

Donations for PWP prizes close December 13th (Note: PWP will still take donations, but you won’t be entered into a drawing after December 13th). On December 17th, PWP will notify prize winners and host bloggers.

It truly is an honor to be part of this fundraising event and to feel like, in some small way as a travel blogger, I’m able to help make a big picture impact so much greater than myself. So thank you, PWP.

20 November 2010

media mention: kirstenalana.com "woman doing good"

Let the waterworks begin.  Again.  The stars aligned on Tuesday night for travel writer and photographer, Kirsten Alana to join me and a handful of friends I haven't seen in ages at the WE Do Good Awards in New York City.  I've been a fan of hers on Twitter, but she is even lovelier live and in the flesh.  I am so thankful she was able to come kick up her heels with me and look forward to continuing a real life friendship. 

I was a nervous, emotional wreck for most of the actual WE Do Good Awards ceremony, but Kirsten captured all of the highlights oh so eloquently here.  Thank you 100 times - this is too sweet for words. XO

18 November 2010

women who rock. in other words, the we do good awards in new york city.

Deep breath. I’m not really sure how to recap the past 48-hours in New York City for the WE Do Good Awards. Morgan (my BF) and I arrived at JFK Monday afternoon and were whisked via sedan car service (read: sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic for two hours) to the swank Central Park digs of Trump International Hotel & Towers. Starved and not wanting to stray too far, we opted for cheeseburgers and martinis at Nougatine, the most casual of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s three onsite restaurants. Greg Andres joined in the evening’s festivities and was every bit as wonderful as I knew he would be.  Random side note for the food geeks: Several years ago, I crossed paths with Jean-Georges at an after hours party in Aspen and he made me a grilled cheese sandwich, which I’m sure, staved off a potentially disastrous hangover. The thought of calling in a similar late night culinary booty call did cross my mind during our stay.

Later that evening, we headed to the Rodeo Bar to see one of Morgan’s childhood friend’s, the fabulous Hugh Pool play. In typical New York City, anything is possible fashion, we were out until 4:30 a.m. and I more than made up for the absence of Yuengling in my west coast world. My basic grooming paid the price, since I opted or an extra hour sleep the following day instead of a manicure. Oh well, I'm a girl of certain priorities and fashion and beauty does not top them.

Tuesday afternoon, I finally met my lit agent live and in the flesh who doled out a much needed smack of reality on where this project was (or wasn't) going. I left his office with Julie Klausner’s new book, I Don’t Care About Your Band, which has pretty much rocked my world and I’ve only read the first section. Scott's advice, coupled with Julie's sass and some pretty big "Come to Jesus" realizations during this trip have left me wanting to take this book in a bold new direction and I think I can pull it off.

Completely inspired, Morgan and I raced back to the hotel for a primping frenzy (well, I primped – he’s a  low maintenance soap and razor only kinda guy). I’ve been living in third world countries the better part of the past five months and all beautification has gone to the wayside. I’m lucky if I throw on a bra on most days, much less worry about if my clothes match or if my cuticles are looking a little ragged. Stressed to the max and mouthing my speech in the mirror, I managed to pull it together within minutes of our driver’s arrival.

Nothing could have prepared me for the scene at Espace. Upon arrival, I was shuffled through so many people, checking in here and there and making countless introductions, until I was finally assigned a handler for the evening. Morgan and I were taken to a VIP area, where trays of tasty looking hors d’oeuvres and Champagne were passed around. I was way too nervous to partake (so very unlike me). And then the mayhem began. Myself and the two other WE Do Good Award winners, Hilari Scarl and Theresa Lucas, were escorted to the red carpet for what seemed like 10,000 photos. A sea of photographers snapped away, instructing us to look here and there, move closer, tilt this way, etc. I also got to work the red carpet in the company of the Travelocity Roaming Gnome and a super-sized check for my grant.

Then came the interviews. Reporters lined up at the end of the red carpet and we moved through the roster giving rapid fire interviews. I’ve given my fair share of interviews, but never in this wham bam thank you ma'am succession. It was pretty amazing.

The awards ceremony was fairly quick – about an hour. Sherri Shepherd hosted the festivities, rocking some of the most drop dead sexy heels I’ve ever seen and had me in stitches from start to finish with her irreverent personality. We share the same birthday (April 22, Earth Day) and I had some doubts about her, having read that she once expressed doubts as to whether the world was indeed round. I’m not even going to go there. Andie MacDowell also presented an award, as did Marlee Matlin via satellite. Other celebs on hand included Ally Sheedy, fashion designer Barbara Moses and professional poker player, Beth Shak. I’m sure there were others, but my head was swimming with giddy excitement the entire event.  Big thanks to my friends who came out to share in the celebration: Jody Diamond, Jessica Rodriguez and her lovely friend, Allison, Marisa and Adrian Carstens, Kirsten Alana Larsson, and Gregory Andres.

My award, the Travelocity Travel for Good Award was given to me by Kelly Rutherford of current Gossip Girl fame. As a thirty-something gal, I have fond memories of her role as Megan Lewis on Melrose Place back in the early 90s. She was very sweet and stunningly Grace Kelly-esque gorgeous and set the stage for me to deliver my speech --- all choked up.

Since I know you’ve all been dying to know which project I picked, Morgan and I will be volunteering for Globe Aware in Costa Rica in February. Travelocity has kindly allowed me stretch my $5,000 voluntourism grant dollars to include another person, and the way I see it, is that Globe Aware gets an extra sets of hands to help. My boyfriend has been so patient with me being an absentee volunteer girlfriend the past many months. I’m excited he gets an opportunity to share in something that is so important to me.
All in all, the event was a smashing success. It was kinda annoying that after telling official event planning powers-that-be no less than 10 times how to pronounce my name that it was botched throughout the entire ceremony. I even heard Sherri deliver it correctly during her rehearsal, but somehow, someone managed to screw up the phonetic spelling on the teleprompter. (For the bajillioneth time, it’s pronounced like Michelle Pfeiffer, not like Feffer. Sigh.) What’s not to love about getting flown to New York City for a very all-about-me whirlwind trip, spending quality time with some friends and being recognized for my volunteer work in the company of so many other like-minded and amazing women. It was a humbling experience and exactly the feel good fuel I needed as I embark on the second half of TGCP.

Thank you to everyone who had a hand in making Tuesday night such a success and for making me feel like a super star. Oh, and a shameless plug: be sure to pick up the current issue of Ladies’ Home Journal to read about me and the other WE Can Do Award winners. And if you want to see more photos from the event, click here or here.

media mention: ladies' home journal

Big thanks to writer Amanda Wolfe for making me look so good in ink. Check out Ladies' Home Journal's feature on the WE Do Good Award winners here. It is such an honor to be recognized like this in their very first awards! Thank you.

12 November 2010

media: fresh-picked seattle "food volunteering: help at food lifeline"

Leslie Seaton, Seattle's go-to gal for all things food and drink wrote this lovely article about food volunteering around the holidays and featured my December project with Food Lifeline.  Hopefully, this will rally a few more volunteers to come help out next month (hint hint).  If anyone has any questions about this volunteer opportunity, please feel free to pick my brain. 

Read what Leslie wrote here!

media: tripbase "100 favorite travel writers"

Wow. This is very cool. Tripbase included me on its "100 Favorite Travel Writers" list, coming in at a very respectable #29.  What I really love is the blurb they wrote about me...always makes me smile when someone "gets" my projects. Thank you for the cyber edit love.

11 November 2010

december project preview: food lifeline in shoreline, wa

December brings me home to Seattle to volunteer with Food Lifeline, a nonprofit food distribution agency working to provide nutritious food to hungry, low-income people in Western Washington state. It was my intention to finish up TGCP somewhere close to home to emphasize the importance of volunteering within your community. But the winter and holiday seasons seem to create additional volunteer needs in Seattle (and most urban environs, I would guess), so I decided to move up my local service project in the grandmaster schedule.

That said, I am using this opportunity to encourage people within the Seattle area community to get out and volunteer during the holiday season. Already, I have 19 people signed on to come volunteer with me at Food Lifeline over the month of December, and it’s my goal to at least double that number. Who am I kidding? I’m an overachiever, so what I really mean is that I’d like to quadruple that number. Wait! Let’s make it an even 100 people.

I recently learned that some companies, like Parker Staffing Services, offer their employees paid time off per quarter to volunteer. How cool is that? (Parker Staffing Service has 10 – yes, 10! – employees joining the food distribution festivities.) If you’re a 9-to-5er, ask your boss if your company offers similar perks – you never know.

Here are the details:
I plan on volunteering in Food Lifeline’s Product Recovery Center (PRC), Monday – Friday afternoons. PRC is open Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30 and needs volunteers help sort, inspect, and repack foods that have been donated by local grocery stores. It is a physical job that requires you to stand on a concrete warehouse floor for long periods, and you will need to be able to safely lift 30-40 pounds. PRC volunteers need to be age 16 or older. They ask that volunteers make a minimum 2 hour per visit commitment, most stay for 3-4 hours, and some make a full 6-8 hour day out of their time. PRC’s morning volunteer session runs from 8:30-12:00, and afternoon session run from 12:30-4:30. Volunteers can commit to a one-time volunteer session, or you can volunteer on a few specific dates, or you can commit to help once per week.

If this opportunity doesn’t sound like your thing, that’s okay, because Food Lifeline has lots and lots of other volunteer needs. And…if you don’t feel like volunteering with Food Lifeline, that’s okay too. The bottom line is: all I want for Christmas (let’s pretend for a second that I believed in the baby Jesus) is for you to get out there and do something nice to give back to your community. Easy peasey, right? Big change doesn’t require a hero’s effort. Just a few hours of kindness can provide comfort and make you a hero to someone else -- especially during the holidays.

To register to volunteer at Food Lifeline:
Please send an email to Food Lifeline’s Volunteer Coordinator, Karen Chernotsky, karenc@fll.org and state what date(s) and time you are available to help.

Please and thank you in advance for your consideration. Seriously, gimme two hours of your time and I pinky swear promise we’ll have a blast. That’s the best thing about volunteering – it feels good.

09 November 2010

media mention: zipsetgo.com "beyond the hashtag"

Every Thursday (when I'm within sniffing distance of an internet connection), you'll find me on Twitter  participating in (and often co-hosting) Travelers' Night In.  Each week, at 3:30 p.m. ET people from around world get together to chat about travel during this ZipSetGo.com-hosted weekly tweet-up, also known as #TNI. Beyond the Hashtag is a series of interviews with #TNI regulars and friends, and follows a similar format as #TNI – 10 questions and answers.

#TNI is hands down, my fave 90-minutes of the week on social media, so it's a big honor to be featured.  Thank you April and the ZipSetGo gals.

Check out the Beyond The Hashtag article here.  See you on Twitter for the #TNI festivities!

03 November 2010

good stuff + a gala

Last week, WE tv sent a film crew to Seattle to film yours truly for the WE Do Good Awards Gala in New York City next week (insert loud squeal of excitement here). Of course, Seattle weather could not possibly cooperate, so the majority of the shoot took place inside my home sweet home. (At least I got to rock my flower-print Bogs for the outdoor segments!) It was truly an amazing day, and Loch and Kris made me feel perfectly at ease, sharing personal, and often tear-inducing stories of my volunteer work over the past five months. I cannot wait to see what visual story they tell from our all-day, show/share and tell experience, but have complete confidence that they “got” what volunteerism means to me.

I have loved every minute of my TGCP volunteer experiences (and I’m only half-way through), but it hasn’t all been easy, and a lot of it has been very emotional in nature. I am beyond honored to be recognized for this volunteer project and my volunteer efforts over the past decade by Travelocity, Ladies Home Journal and We tv. I try to imagine how I will feel when I receive this award next week in New York City and it overwhelms and humbles me. This award belongs to everyone who has played a part in making this dream happen and makes an effort to give back. If I’ve learned one thing over the past five months, it’s that it takes very little to provide comfort to another person – we all have the power to be a hero to someone else.

I plan on live tweeting from the WE Do Good Awards Gala, next Tuesday, November 16th, starting at 5:30 EST (@charynpfeuffer). Also, mark your calendars to pick up the January issue of Ladies Home Journal, which features The Global Citizen Project. So much good stuff in the works – thank you.

02 November 2010

seattleite's unpaid editorial policy burns me to a crisp (and it hasn't even launched)

Seattleite, the city’s soon-to-be “luxury lifestyle magazine and Web site for the Puget Sound region’s younger, affluent professionals” pretty much sums up everything that sucks about the publishing world right now.

Here is Seattleite’s recent job posting on Craiglist:

Date: Sunday, October 31, 2010, 9:53 AM
XXX has forwarded you this craigslist.org posting.
Please see below for more information.
Visit the posting at http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/wri/2034272913.html to contact the person who posted this.
Seattle Writers and Editors Wanted for New Publication and Web Site
Date: 2010-10-30, 3:13PM

Dying to be part of a hip and fashionably edgy in-the-know publication designed for the newest generation of Seattleites?

Introducing “Seattleite,” a luxury lifestyle magazine and Web site for the Puget Sound region’s younger, affluent professionals.

Stylish. Classy. Sophisticated. Well-traveled. Educated. Our readers aren’t your clich├ęd mid-90s flannel-wearing Seattle residents. They’re the new generation of urban dwellers at the social helm of our fair city. And it’s about time that a publication tailored to their needs.

We’re looking for writers and editors to be a part of our highly inspired team in the following categories: Food & Dining, Travel, Culture & Society, Style (fashion), Home & Design, Toys & Tech, and Events. If you have expertise in (or a resolute passion for) any of these categories, please send at least three writing samples (links to online work or PDFs of published articles), a 200-word or less bio about yourself, your resume and a brief explanation of what role you’d like to play – and why you should -- in the creation of “Seattleite” to editor@seattleite.com. (No published work yet? Don’t fret! Just whip up three articles, each 300 words or less, on the topic of your choosing – show us what you’re made of!) We’re aiming for a tone that is sophisticated yet subtly snarky, intelligent yet comical, high-brow but not off-putting…so take that and wow us!

The web site is currently slated to debut at the end of January, with the print publication to follow shortly after. So we're looking to build a team of writers and editors to help develop a foundation of content as soon as possible! Let us know what you've got!

This is a part-time job.
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
Original URL: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/wri/2034272913.html

Wow. It all sounds so fancy. Before I worked myself up into a possible new outlet tizzy, I thought it best to cut to the chase and talk pay rates, so I fired off this quick email:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Seattle Writers and Editors Wanted for New Publication and Web Site
From: Charyn Pfeuffer
Date: Sat, October 30, 2010 4:04 pm
To: editor@seattleite.com


Great to hear there will be a new local print addition. I have 10+ years experience as a food and travel writer and will gladly pass along clips, bio, etc. if the per word rate is reasonable.  In the meantime, I've attached my resume for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back regarding the pay rate.  Thanks in advance for your time.

Charyn Pfeuffer

Here’s the response I got from Seattleite’s Editor-in-Chief, Allison Robins Lind:

Hi Charyn,

Thanks for your interest in contributing to Seattleite! I wanted to quickly get back to with a "full disclosure" email. I'm currently in "talks" with the publisher/founder of Seattleite to discuss pay rates. Because I come from a long-standing journalism background I understand (and appreciate) the need to get paid. Of course, this is a brand-new start-up publication and site -- meaning we're literally starting with nothing but a vision! At this point all I can get her to agree upon is that once we get an ad revenue rolling, we can "discuss a pay rate" for contributors. Until then we do, however, need to ask for unpaid work to help build editorial content as a way to bring in those ad dollars (chicken-and-egg theory in action...) Please take my word, for what it's worth, that I'm a loyal editor -- once I've established my solid, reliable team, I will FIGHT for an editorial budget for each of them. Sadly, until the money starts rolling in, my hands are tied... I've decided to take the "risk" as an initially unpaid Editor-in-Chief because I truly believe in the potential success of this publication and site...knowing that eventually I will see a paycheck! If you're at all interested in joining me in that risk, I'd be happy to talk further. Let me know your thoughts!


Allison Robins Lind
Seattleite magazine & Seattleite.com (coming soon!)
mobile: 253-223-XXXX

Right now, from wherever you are reading this, you can probably hear my laughter. So let me get this straight: Seattleite wants to create a publication geared toward the city’s young, glamorous market, but can’t even swing a Goodwill budget for its really great “vision.” Uh huh. That sounds like a fantastic idea.

When I last checked, lip service, “risks” and my favorite bartering tool du jour, links, don’t pay the bills. If a writer wants to work for free, that’s their prerogative. It’s not a school of thought I personally subscribe to, but I understand that people write for different reasons (read: some marry wealthy). I'm pretty darn proud of myself for financially supporting myself over the past 10+ years working full-time as a freelance writer. Because I’ve run my career as a business. I’ve been part of countless start-up print and online publications and have experienced the full gamut of growing pains, but providing unpaid work was never one of them.

I liken this request for free work to going grocery shopping without a wallet, but promising the check-out clerk that I’ll invite him or her over for a really kick ass meal once I’ve had some time to perfect some new recipes. Just give me an indefinite amount of time to get it right, and oh, and by the way, you can take my word on that even though you don’t know a single thing about me. Cross my heart and hope to die. Pinky swear. Blah, blah, blah...This scenario would never fly in the real world, yet it seems to be an increasingly acceptable request in our post-recession publishing world. I call bullsh*t. The job of a writer is like any other contractual agreement - a service is provided as requested, then it is paid for. End of story. 

So my advice for writers interested in contributing to Seattleite is simple: Join hands and sing Kumbaya, because it seems like the magazine’s future success depends upon its team's Positive Mental Attitude. Oh, and sweet, sweet free work. I’m sure Allison is a really swell gal, but I really cannot take requests like this seriously, much less from someone with “a long-standing journalism background." Cue more laughter.

P.S. Not paying writers is definitely not "stylish," "classy" or "sophisticated." It's an editorial faux pas and a sham to run your magazine on the backs of hard-working writers while you dream of one day having ad revenues. Good luck with that, because if I had to play fortune teller, I'm guessing that is never gonna happen.