Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tomgirl's Picks of the Week, Dec. 29, 2009

This weekly installment of Tomgirl Tours' favorite people, places and websites is a sort of year-in-review; the best of the best from 2009. These fabulous friends, writers, bloggers and services are great resources for women and travelers...

In the Media
  • Big Blend Magazine is an e-zine dedicated to educating and informing readers about the various parts of the United States and beyond. While their subject matter ranges from leisure to music to fashion to special interest, we (of course!) adore their travel section. Run by mother-and-daughter team Nancy Reid and Lisa D. Smith (one of our favorite Twitter friends, too!)
  • Afar magazine, is a gorgeous publication that is right up our alley, with a focus on experiential travel... in their own words: Today's travelers want to get beyond the superficial, the mass-produced, the mass-consumed, and the mass-experienced. They look for the authentic in people, places, and things. Bravo!
  • Travel with Julie is one of our absolute favorite blogs. Writer Julie Gilley offers travel tips, ideas and opinions, all with the educated voice of someone who has been there (and everywhere!) Fantastic content; a must-read!

People to Know

  • Our friend Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach, keynote speaker, bestselling author, and host of the weekly Life Keys radio show on Hay House Radio. She has risen to international prominence by developing Illumineering, a groundbreaking coaching method that integrates family systems work, psychodynamic psychology, and coaching to help people free themselves from the shackles of their life conditioning, and create the personal and professional lives to which they aspire. Check out Lauren’s blog.
  • Vivvos designs and produces brazilian inspired underwear that makes Tomgirls like us want to indulge in their girly side! Vivvos is produced in in Vancouver with Italian fabrics. As their tagline perfectly summarizes: take away the danger and remove the constraints and the wayward spirit runs free. Love it!
  • Single Gourmet is a sweet (or savory!) way for single foodies to meet others. This great concept blends socializing with with food, offering a chance to meet new friends, enjoy great conversation, and sample top restaurants... talk about our favorite things! Check out their Metro New York and Rhode Island/Connecticut groups.

Hope you enjoyed our list of favorites this week, and will drop us a line with some of your own. Meanwhile, a safe, happy and prosperous New Year... See you in 2010!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday reflections on family and shared adventures

This holiday season has me, like many people, in a warm and nostalgic state of mind. Sharing time with family makes me cherish memories, both old and new.

I just came across some photos of me with my beautiful niece Brandi; and they made me smile and remember one of the reasons why I started Tomgirl Tours: my love of sharing outdoor experiences with other women... especially when they are family!

Brandi and I started our outdoor adventures long ago... as cowgirls:

Fast forward a couple decades, which landed us on opposite ends of the United States... she in Arizona, me in New England. So, last year, when she decided to join me for a zip lining adventure at Bretton Woods Canopy Tours in New Hampshire, part of Tomgirl's White Mountains Adventure, I couldn't have been more thrilled to take those cowgirls memories of yore and create new Tomgirl memories!

Brandi rarely gets to experience the cold and snow, but she was a trooper and loved it, especially in my fur hat!

We had a fabulous time. I feel very lucky to have these memories and such an amazing shared experience with Brandi. Reflecting on our adventure, I remember why I so often encourage family members--sisters, aunts and nieces like Brandi and I, cousins, or mothers and daughters to take a Tomgirl adventure trip together. The bonding experience is beyond description...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tomgirl's Picks of the Week

In the course of each week, we come across so many great websites and blogs relating to women’s and adventure travel, read interesting news stories we want to share, meet other fantastic women and discover exciting new companies. So, I decided to start giving fellow Tomgirls a one-stop spot where I’ll share some of my favorite news, people, places and updates in a weekly “Picks of the Week” blog post. I hope you’ll enjoy my picks each week (and, please share some of your own!) Here are some of my favorite things this week:

In the News

  • A couple new media sites for travel lovers and those, like me, who enjoy exploring: First, togfrog.com, a compilation of adventure reviews and videos from adventure travelers around the world (and a nifty map to help you locate them); Second, Signature Magazine, a new magazine celebrating those over 50 who enjoy travel and exploring the world around us.
  • This report that luxury travel is rebounding, meanwhile, is reason for those of us in the travel industry to smile as we head into 2010!

Interesting People and Places

  • Bloom With Barb is a site by Barb Scala, a certified coach, speaker and spokesperson for women in transition who want to sprout their dreams and grow their life and career. I was lucky to meet Barb at a recent event and, given her positive outlook and desire to empower other women, we instantly clicked. The Bloom With Barb site is filled with insightful, inspirational posts and information.
  • Holiday Goddess is a fantastic editorial site focused on women’s travel. Beautifully designed, easy to navigate, and filled with great info!

From Tomgirl Tours

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Join Tomgirl to Help Prevent Breast Cancer Through Education & Early Detection

The last of our four holiday gift certificate partner charity profiles is one Tomgirl Tours and I have long supported: the National Breast Cancer Foundation. While there are many organizations that help in the fight against breast cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation has a proactive prevention-focused approach that I am especially drawn to.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation's mission is to save lives through early detection and to provide mammograms for those in need. They strive to increase awareness through education, providing diagnostic breast care services for those in need, and providing nurturing support services. The organization was founded by Janelle Hail, now its CEO. Hail faced breast cancer when she was only 34 years old. At the time of her diagnosis she was living a healthy lifestyle and had no family history of breast cancer.

Long an advocate of women's health, which is a fundamental element of our own mission statement at Tomgirl Tours, this organization speaks to me. And I encourage all to join me in supporting it.

To help, I've made the National Breast Cancer Foundation one of the charities you may select to receive a donation when you purchase a Tomgirl Tours Gift Certificate this season. For more on how to purchase a gift certificate and help the National Breast Cancer Foundation in the process, see here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Join Tomgirl in supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters this season

The third of our four partner charitable organizations in Tomgirl Tours’ holiday gift certificate program is the amazing Big Brothers Big Sisters. I’ve long been an advocate of mentoring young girls to help them grow into strong, confident women (Tomgirls, you might say!) And, as the country’s oldest and largest youth mentoring program, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes such a vast impact on our greatest resource: children.

Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors children, ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. Their mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with mentors that help create brighter futures, better schools, and stronger communities for all.

National research has shown that positive relationships between youth and their Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentors have a direct and measurable impact on children's lives. By participating in our youth mentoring programs, Little Brothers and Sisters are:

  • More confident in their schoolwork performance
  • Able to get along better with their families
  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school.

We are proud to support this organization, and saw this commercial on a local network this week showing Laura Bush doing the same!

Purchase a Tomgirl Tours gift certificate this season, select Big Brothers Big Sisters as your charity of choice, and we will make a contribution on your behalf. Your gift will both give a special woman an amazing Tomgirl tour while, helping special children receive the support and mentoring they need.

For more on our gift certificates, see here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The National Forest Foundation: Preserving Our Precious Outdoor Spaces

In our series of "profiles" here on the charitable organizations we've teamed with for our gift certificate program, up next is one near and dear to outdoor-adventure-loving Tomgirls like me: The National Forest Foundation.

A Congressionally chartered organization, the National Forest Foundation engages Americans in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System, and administers private gifts of funds and land for the benefit of the National Forests. In other words... it is the group that makes sure we have those wonderful outdoor spaces in which we can explore, enjoy nature, and breathe clean, fresh air. We are especially appreciative of their efforts because two of our tours, the Green Mountains Escape in Vermont

and the White Mountains Adventure in New Hampshire,

are set in National Forest areas (more on the National Forests here and here, respectively).

For those who purchase a Tomgirl Tours gift certificate this season, if you select the National Forest Foundation as your charity of choice, we will make a contribution to this wonderful organization. Your gift will both give a special woman an amazing Tomgirl tour while, as the National Forest Foundation so perfectly summarizes: help ensure a sustainable future for the many resources your National Forests provide to us all - fresh air and clean water, outdoor recreation experiences, diverse wildlife, and wild places to roam.

For more on our gift certificates, see here.