31 March 2012

r.i.p. the best brown dog ever - gus

Our sweet brown Boxer mix, Gus, lost his all-too-brief battle with transitional cell carcinoma of the prostate on March 25. He was my heart and is greatly missed. Life will not be the same without my trusty sidekick.

21 February 2012

article: how an art school student became a freelance writer

Thanks, Brandi-Ann Uyemura for including this quick interview with me on your blog, "Creative Non-Fiction Writer." Read about my path to becoming a freelance writing and my biggest industry pet peeve here.

12 February 2012

blog post: employers do good and help employees give back

Employers who give employees paid time off to volunteer get big props in my book. According to VolunteerMatch.org, a website that connects people with volunteer causes, about 27% of Americans donate time to a nonprofit, and 35% of U.S. companies have a formal volunteer program. 

Read the rest of my latest Wyndham Worldwide Women on Their Way voluntourism column here.

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