17 December 2011

5 things you should know before dating a journalist

"No, journalists are different beings (which is why you’re attracted to them in the first place), and you should realize — before jumping in — that this isn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill, boring, lame relationship you’re used to." 

Read this brilliant (and oh so spot-on) rockmycar article here.

16 November 2011

i heart seattle

I don't hide my love for my hometown of Seattle. There's no other place I'd rather be (except for maybe somewhere warm and south of the equator for a few weeks during the gray winter months). 

Now, I get to shout what I love most about Emerald City on National Geographic Traveler's Intelligent Blog. Read about my favorite picks to eat, drink, see and stay here

25 October 2011


"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." -  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Thanks, Libby Seiter Nelson for sharing this! 

20 October 2011

blog post: 10 tips for solo women travelers

Most of the time, I'm flying solo when I travel. Sure, living in Philadelphia and Baltimore stepped up my street smarts, but as a woman, I take extra precautions to keep my eyes on my person, space, and stuff. 
For 13 years, I'd traveled as a writer without incident until this past May when my laptop got stolen.  I got too comfortable too fast in a foreign environment with a total stranger.  Shame on me for letting down my guard so easily; as a savvy traveler I should've known better.
This theft made me rethink my personal safety as a solo woman traveler.  And it served as a reminder that you can take 100+ flights a year, stay in dozens of hotels annually, and think you have all the common sense in the world, yet still slip up. 
Since we could all use a reminder every now and again, here are 10 tips to help keep solo women travelers safe.

Ladies, what are you fave stay safe while traveling tips?

10 October 2011

volunteer post-play report: do good bus at nature consortium

I woke up yesterday in a total funk. It was Sunday, my one day off, and I barely managed six consecutive hours of sleep any night the previous week. I’d just started with a new client, had a hard time settling my mind and was tired and cranky.  As to be expected in Seattle in October, the skies were gray, and all I wanted to do was pull the sheets over my head and go back to sleep. Instead, I collected and cleaned myself and hopped on the #28 bus headed downtown to volunteer with the Do Good Bus on tour with Foster the People.

I made the mistake of not checking the address and quickly realized when I arrived at the downtown Showbox, I was not in the right place. I did some quick math in my head (a task pre-noon on a Sunday without coffee) and determined there was no way I could hoof the 1.5 miles and make it in time.

Exasperated, I hailed a cab and soon joined a line of other do gooders patiently waiting behind the Foster the People tour bus outside Showbox SoDo. I still wasn’t feeling it. I wanted a cup of coffee. I wanted to be in bed, and if not bed, in a bar watching the Steelers – Titans game.  I had an endless “to do” list to tackle before the week and desperately needed a day off – all to myself.

The minute the Do Good Bus pulled up, my mood changed and my energy was charged. Rebecca and Stephen, founders of this LA-based philanthropic effort on wheels are infectious in their desire to give back and are all about having fun while doing it. Rocking out to Foster the People (natch), we played a variety of ice-breaker games with our bus mates en route to our volunteer destination – a site that was kept secret until we were minutes away.

We pulled up to Pigeon Point Park, part of the West Duwamish Greenbelt in South Seattle, where staff from Nature Consortium waited for us. Our task for the next three hours: Help with reforestation efforts of coniferous species by planting trees. Potted saplings were spread across a sloped bank, and after a quick safety briefing on how to properly use a shovel, dig a hole and plant for growth success, dirt was flying.

I’m not afraid to get dirty. I love the meditative nature of gardening and getting dirt under my nails, on my clothes, in my hair…I found my calm place and reveled in the quiet repetition as I dug holes, loosened roots and gave saplings a place to spread out, grow and succeed. Time passed quickly, and when it was time to pack up our equipment to go make terrariums with the young ones of the group, we had managed to plant 164 new plants. These native plants would deter erosion and evasive blackberry growth on the hillside.

I got back on the bus with a shiny new attitude.  This was why I volunteer and give back. Not only does volunteering feel good, my experience with the Do Good Bus was a reminder that it doesn't take much to make a difference in your local community. Also, giving back doesn’t always have to be about hardship. As a group, we were able to accomplish so much work in three short hours; work that would've taken days for Nature Consortium’s small staff. That is what community is all about.

the do good bus comes to seattle - seattle times photo gallery

Check out the fab photo gallery Seattle Times' photographer John Lok compiled of our do good efforts yesterday with the Do Good Bus here. Pay special attention to someone you may know on photo No. 8.  .

Volunteers gathered at Showbox in the SODO District to hop on the "Do Good Bus" as part of the tour for the band Foster the People.  The bus, billed as a "transportable community service venture," picked up fans and took them to Pigeon Point Park in West Seattle, where they spent the day in a nature service project with Nature Consortium.

Stay tuned for my post-play blog post! 

24 September 2011


“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
Carlos Castanda

23 September 2011

mark your calendars! november 5th is green seattle day

Without a coordinated effort, Seattle is at risk of losing 70% of its forests in just 20 years.

Join me and 1,000 of your neighbors for Green Seattle Day to kick off the 2011-12 planting season.

For more information about this celebration of nature and community, please click here.

21 September 2011

september 21st is world gratitude day

The United Nations Meditation Group created World Gratitude Day to express appreciation for the great things that individuals and groups do. According to their website: "World Gratitude Day presents an award to someone who we feel has done something outstanding in the spirit of Globalism." This group also suggests that you find something to be grateful for and remember the feeling.

On a smaller scale, seek to give gratitude and appreciation to people in your life who have done good deeds. It could be something as simple as a "thank you."

On this dedicated day of thanks, what are you grateful for?

19 September 2011

do-good designer vivienne westwood

Do-good designer, Vivienne Westwood, recently unveiled a new fashion venture, which benefits fashionistas and those living in poverty. Read all about these fab bags here on Mission Hot Mama.

18 September 2011

september is hunger action month

moment of zen

Today, I saw this photo on Twitter and it took my breath away. Like an out-loud, "Oh wow, that is amazing." As much as I'm an on-the-go urban girl, sometimes I crave silence, solitude and natural beauty so powerful, it puts life into perspective. This image took me to that place.

Where do you find your moments of Zen in the world?

read: let them eat junk: fast food chains now accepting food stamps

California, Arizona, Michigan and Florida are the first four states now accepting food stamps at several leading fast food restaurant chains.  This decision disturbs me for so many reasons - mainly because fast food industry wallets seem mightier than the interests of those who should care about the health of Americans. Read more here. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I believe in empowering people with education and giving them the tools to succeed, but no one is going to find health or wellness in the bottom of a Happy Meal.

09 September 2011

blog post: give, take and get to know a destination with voluntourism

When you think of voluntourism, do you think of traveling to far flung places and making a costly commitment? I do. Which is why I keep returning to a very simple "ah hah" moment I recently had while volunteering at home in Seattle.

Read my latest column for Wyndham Worldwide's Women on Their Way Jane Air Crew here and find out how you can give back when you're on the go.

30 August 2011

media mention: travel writing 2.0 - a conversation with charyn pfeuffer

Take a quick minute to check out this interview on yours truly conducted by Travel Writing 2.0 author Tim Leffel and edited by Kristin Mock.  Thank you, Tim and Kristin for being such pros and for giving me this opportunity to talk travel writing with your readers.

26 August 2011

dear writers: this is *not* volunteering

@charynpfeuffer Hello Charyn, My name is Adryana, and I want to you to ask if you would be interested to colaborate and be part of the team Woman's Essence Magazine as writer. Please write an email to womans-essence@live.com for more details.

@ButterflyLady_ Hi Adryana! Thanks for reaching out. Can you tell me what per word rate you pay writers to contribute to Women's Essence?

@charynpfeuffer It is a volunteer opportunity but credits are given in the form of providing your name.

@ButterflyLady_ Why exactly would I want to "volunteer" my writing to your site when I've been paid for my writing for 13+ years?

Oh goody! Exposure! RT @ButterflyLady_: @charynpfeuffer It is a volunteer opportunity but credits are given in the form of providing your name.

@charynpfeuffer oh well.. i made a question to you after seeing in your description that you do volunteer too .. sorry if that offended you

@ButterflyLady_ I volunteer for NGOs & humanitarian causes. Writing for free is not volunteering - it's taking advantage of writers.

@ButterflyLady_ Yeah, I find it offensive when people try to take advantage of hard working writers who make a living off their time/talent.

@ButterflyLady_ Do you get paid to recruit writers or do you "volunteer" too?

@charynpfeuffer ok thank u for your replies.

@charynpfeuffer oh well.. i apologized , thank you as well for your time, take care

03 August 2011

my weekend wilderness adventures

For the next few days, I'll be at Sonora Resort in B.C., Canada.  Sonora Resort has been on my travel wish list for quite some time, and since I could really use some unplugged idyll in the wilderness, the timing of this trip is perfect.  Plus, I get to go relax, wine, spa, explore and dine with some of my fave women. Of course, I'll post the play-by-play (and lots of pretty pictures) when I get back. In the meantime, if you want to follow the adventures, find me on Twitter at @charynpfeuffer or follow the hashtag #SonoraVisit.

P.S. Full disclaimer: Yours truly is a hosted guest of the resort for the weekend.

30 July 2011

giving feels good at new belgium brewing's clips of faith tour

As most of you know, I’ve been in a less-than-stellar mood since my father passed away unexpectedly on Father’s Day. Even though everyone in my world has been so wonderful with sweet words and kind wishes, I’ve been a bit hermit-like this summer as I try to work through the sadness and grief. I’ve been perfectly okay soaking up Seattle summer from the emotional safety and comfort of our Zen bungalow and hanging out with a few select friends, but for the most part, I’ve spent a lot of time alone thinking. I keep testing the waters to see how I fare in real life social situations (as in, do I fall apart?) and the results have varied from complete meltdowns to respites of feeling okay. Not great, but good enough to think clearly and carry an intelligent conversation.

Right now, I’m not trying to force myself to do anything, other than to be present with my feelings on a day-to-day basis. I’m okay with skipping summertime BBQs and birthday parties, but I have missed volunteering. Giving back is something that always makes me feel good, so I decided to volunteer last night at New Belgium Brewing’s Clips of Faith Beer & Film Tour at Gasworks Park in Seattle. The 18-city tour benefits a different local nonprofit in each destination, and Seattle’s tour benefit Nature Consortium.  A short walk from my house, I figured how bad could it be to spend a summer night outside, in eyeshot of the most amazing view of Seattle’s skyline, slinging beer, in the company of friends? It did not suck.

Shannon Edris and Ryan Witcher joined me for the hopped-up volunteer festivities and we deftly poured draft after draft of 15 of New Belgium Brewing’s finest brews for hours. Amongst the chaos of having to constantly replenish 3oz. “samplers” and 12oz. beers, there was something oddly meditative about the experience. Pouring beer was such a simple task, yet the repetition completely distracted my mind, and after five hours, I realized that not a single sad thought had creeped into my mind. It was a small victory in my process of healing, but a glimpse of hope that everything will be okay, and that eventually, I’ll be okay.

Sampling new (to me) brews like La Folie Sour Brown Ale, Le Terroir, and Somersault Ale may have had something to do with my good mood, but I believe that volunteering and the simple act of doing something is to thank, because giving feels good.

26 July 2011

before i die

Candy Chang likes to make cities more comfortable for people. She is a public installation artist, designer, urban planner, TED Fellow, and co-founder of Civic Center. Enjoy her projects here.

foster the people announces partnership with the do good bus

This Fall Take Part In Local Community Service Efforts With Foster The People And The Do Good Bus Which Will Make Stops In All Of The Band's Upcoming 22 U.S. Tour Dates

NEW YORK, July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Foster The People have announced a partnership with the transportable community services venture: The Do Good Bus. In effort to pay it forward, Foster The People have asked the Do Good Bus to join them in participating in local community service work on their fall tour, which starts September 13th in Scottsdale, AZ and ends on October 20th in Los Angeles, Ca. In each of the 22 cities on the tour, The Do Good Bus and Foster The People will work alongside local do-gooders to give back to the community.
With the recent success of the band's debut release, Torches, Foster The People have chosen to relay that success into creating an extended sense of community by asking fans to support local causes. Each day-of-show on the tour The Do Good Bus will transport local do-gooders to a secret location to participate in community service.
"We've been looking for a way to help the communities we visit on tour by giving back locally. We're really excited the Do Good Bus can help us achieve this and also get our fans involved at the same time," says Foster The People.

To kick-off the Do Good Bus' adventure on the road they are asking for fans and supporters to help make the trip happen by supporting their cause via Startsomegood.com. Check out the site for more information on how you can support the cause and give back locally with your favorite band and their fans!


The Do Good Bus promises altruistic adventurism to a bus full of passengers by taking them to a mystery volunteer activity to help local causes in a fun and social environment. During each ride, The Do Good Bus strives to create awareness for local causes, create community amongst passengers and encourage continued support of the causes we visit. For more information, please contact Rebecca Pontius at rebecca@dogoodbus.com or visit http://www.dogoodbus.com/.


Los Angeles based indie-pop trio, Foster The People, released their chart-topping, acclaimed debut Torches this May. The album made its Billboard debut at #8 and includes the bands certified gold single "Pumped Up Kicks." Foster The People will continue to tour the world this summer and well into the fall. With sold-out shows in nearly every market and a live set that's undeniably energetic, this is a band who you won't want to miss in 2011! For more information on Foster The People visit: http://www.fosterthepeople.com/

SOURCE: Foster The People

quote: ayn rand

"Why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It's the hardest thing in the world - to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want." - Ayn Rand

18 July 2011

blog post: sharon tewksbury-bloom and jay holt are service driven

It was an honor to be able to share Sharon and Jay's voluntourism story in this month's Women on Their Way by Wyndham Worldwide Jane Air blog. Read all about this couples' do good efforts here.

05 July 2011

quote: the little prince

In one of the stars
I shall be living
In one of them
I shall be laughing
And so it will be
as if all the stars
were laughing
when you look
at the sky at night
and there is sweetness
in the laughter of all the stars
and in the memories
of those you love
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Thank you, Jeanette for sending sparkly love and the perfect sentiment. xo

30 June 2011

r.i.p. bernhard j. pfeuffer

April 18, 1947 - June 19, 2011

27 June 2011

blog post: sometomes voluntourism is found in unsuspecting places

Read my latest post for Women on Their Way by Wyndham Worldwide about my recent trip on Aqua Expeditions M/V Aria: "Sometimes Voluntourism Is Found in Unsuspecting Places."

22 June 2011

16 June 2011

today's top three happy list

Peonies blooming in my yard

Manita (a.k.a. Mimi), the rescue pup I brought back from Guatemala, turning into such a sweet beast

Wine-on-the-deck-worthy sunsets in Seattle. It's nights like this that make all the winter months of gray and gloom absolutely worth it.

media mention: dog's life magazine

All paws up to Olivia LaBarre at Dog's Life Magazine for featuring my volunteer work with dogs at AWARE Animal Rescue in Guatemala in the Summer 2011 issue.

The article features several voluntourism trips around the world that involve helping our four-legged friends. It's a thrill and an honor to share ink company with Nola Lee Kelsey of The Voluntary Traveler and animal advocate extraordinaire. Be sure to visit dogslifemagazine.com/voluntourism or TheVoluntaryTraveler.com for more animal voluntourism ideas.

15 June 2011

read: tbex 2011 review by go, see, write

Usually, I'm the one who says what everyone else wishes they had the chutzpah to say. Well, Michael Hodson of the blog Go, See, Write beat me to the publishing punch with this spot-on review of this year's TBEX conference in Vancouver, B.C.

"When the guy running the local food cart knows your conference is unorganized, you have a problem" sums up TBEX's dysfunction, although I'd have to put co-founder, Kim Mance's tacky opening remarks pretty high on the list.  During the first few minutes of the weekend-long conference, Mance called out a travel blogger who had demanded the Presidential Suite at a nearby hotel. For free. I've crossed paths with plenty of travel bloggers who behave badly (ditto for PRs), so such a scenario isn't unfathomable.  But, there are two sides to every story, and whether this story is or isn't true, starting a conference on a note of public humilation for one of its attendees is pretty crappy.

Sure, there were many positives to attending TBEX, but for me, the most memorable interactions did not take place within the confines of the conference center. It was about the people and the place, seeing old faces and making new friends. Being in Vancouver for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals was an absolute thrill.  And for those moments, I am grateful. 

But would I do it again? Hmm...I doubt it.

read: is this the future of food guides?

"With the success of films like Food Inc., books such as Fast Food Nation, and shows like Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, people everywhere are starting to learn more about the food system. But what about the specific foods we eat?"

Read HuffPost Food article, Is This the Future of Food Guides? here.

01 June 2011

photos: aqua expeditions m/v aria - amazon, peru

Me with a turtle rescue from poachers

One of the dozens of species of wildlife we encountered on the Amazon River
Aqua Expeditions latest luxury cruise vessel, M/V Aria
View from my spacious suite (#206) aboard M/V Aria
Aqua Expeditions gives back to local rainforest villages/communities in many ways. One way is by offering $5 Toiletry, School Supply or Fishing (above) Kits for passengers to distribute during village excursions.
One of the four naturalists aboard M/V Aria.
Gourmet Peruvian cuisine aboard M/V Aria. Breakfasts and lunches were served buffet-style, while multi-course Tasting Menus designed by Peruvian Celebrity Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino spoiled guests each evening.
View from the dining room.
One of many stunning sunsets.
Children in dug out canoes near the city of Iquitos, Peru
Me and some children during a village excursion.
More super dreamy sunset magic
My suite aboard M/V Aria. Very luxurious with luxe linens, king sized bed, iPod docking stations, gorgeous black and white photography, modern decor, hardwood floors, rain showerheads, Peruvian bathroom products, in-room safe, robe and slippers and floor to ceiling windows.
Children of the rainforest
A local Pacaya Samiria National Reserve ranger and fisherman
Look closely! There's a three toed sloth in the branches.
Ranger Station #2 in Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
Beautiful reflection on a black water river.

Check out the rest of my photos from my trip with Aqua Expeditions on the M/V Aria here.