Our little family has three different views of holiday light shows. Me, I’m in love… going to see lights was one of my favorite things growing up. I remember being a teenager and driving up to the highest hill in my tiny little town to look out on the city full of lights. It is awe-inspiring to me. My husband on the other hand doesn’t understand it. Now, mushrooms growing out of a tree stump is the most exciting part of his day, but holiday lights that twinkle and glow? He just thinks about how cold it is or how hard it must have been to put out all of the lights. My son is just now at the age where he seems to enjoy them.
When it came to deciding whether or not to go to the Oregon Zoo for ZooLights this year, me and the kid won out! And, I am pretty sure the hubby had just as much fun as we did. The whole family decided to head out to ZooLights for the Media Night and had a brilliant time!
We went on a week night at it was not too busy. The train line was pretty long, but it was my son’s favorite part of the whole thing. Personally, I loved the tunnel of lights! So pretty.
The coolest part about the Oregon ZooLights? It isn’t all “Christmas” themed! There are lots of animal lights, fiction story lights, and more. It was nice to enjoy the lights for the holiday without being inundated with Christmas. It also works out for the after-holiday crowd to still be able to enjoy the lights even though Christmas is over!
ZooLights runs until January 4, 2015. The lights open up at 5PM. However, you can get your tickets as early as 4PM. Check out the Oregon Zoo ZooLights info page for more information.
The Oregon Zoo provided my family with tickets to attend ZooLights media night this year. All thoughts are my own.
(Say that ten times fast!)
ClassPass is a fitness membership program that allows members to try several different types of classes and studios in the area. The ClassPass in Portland just launched mid-November and I was asked to try out the membership this month. Just when I was trying to push myself to work on my fitness more this opportunity landed in my inbox… I couldn’t say no even if I wanted to!
I’ve not been thrilled about group fitness classes in the past and was very nervous reserving my first class. But, the experience was awesome and I can’t wait to go again. My goal this month testing out ClassPass is to try as many different studios as I can fit into my schedule both to see how the process goes and to try out new-to-me fitness styles.
I signed up for Candlelight Yoga at The Art of Movement on SE Divsion in Portland. The later start time was perfect for my work schedule and the idea of doing yoga surrounded by candlelight sounded incredibly relaxing. It was an all-levels class which worried me at first because I am most definetely a beginner. I had nothing at all to worry about. The instructor was fabulous about suggesting (and showing) different moves that might be better for beginners and then working her way up for the class members who needed more of a challenge. She also took care in suggesting different moves to avoid back pain, wrist pain, knee pain… etc.
Checking in was a breeze. Since it was my first time at that location I had to sign a standard release, but my name was on the list and I didn’t have to explain that I was part of ClassPass.
A big thank you goes out to ClassPass for giving me the opportunity to try out their services. I will try some more classes and post again about my experience near the end of my month!
You thought I spelled it wrong in the title, didn’t you? “How”loween was the Oregon Zoo’s costumed, Halloween themed educational scavenger hunt. We visited different areas of the zoo to learn about many of the animals and get stickers and treats! Kiddo dressed as a crab and had a lot of fun roaming the zoo as one of the animals!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to bring my little guy, my visiting mom, and husband to participate in Howloween at the Zoo. The educational scavenger hunt was fun for the kid and kept us moving along throughout the zoo. It is no secret that I’m a fan of the Oregon Zoo. So, I won’t wax poetic.
I will say that it gets my vote as a fabulous way to spend the day with the family. I’d highly suggest renting one of their strollers if you have a little one. It saved us from having to schlep our stroller in and out, the kid thought it was fun, and it made the whole experience much better than the times we’ve gone and tried to walk around with a toddler.
Trick or Meat: See an Amur tiger get fed pumpkins at 10:31 AM on 10/31!
Zooliner: The Zooliner is BACK! Well, almost… the Zoo just announced that the Zooliner Locomotive is “on track” to be ready to be back in November. I’m excited that it will be back just in time for Zoo Lights!
Disclaimer: I was provided with complementary tickets by Portland Center Stage so that I may experience Dreamgirls before sharing my experience with you here on the blog. All opinions are my own. Keep reading for a discount so that you can see the show as well!
A little tidbit about me that you might not of known… I’ve ALWAYS been interested in theater. I love watching the lights go down, hearing the hush of a crowd, and being delighted with the talents of people that have prepped and worked all towards that performance. There is just nothing like watching live theater. I’ve never really been someone to act in a play. I auditioned once in college… let me tell you, an Irish accent is NOT easy. Though I was never really quite right for the onstage talent, I loved participating in the creation of a show and watching how everyone worked together to change reality for the course of a show. So, when Portland Center Stage asked if I wanted to check out their production of Dreamgirls I jumped at the opportunity. I’m so glad I did!
I had never seen Dreamgirls before, either on stage or in movie form. I knew that it was a musical about a trio of women loosely based on The Supremes. But, that is about it! Now I want to see the movie and any and all productions of this show going forward. It was such a treat, and not for the reasons I originally assumed it would be! If you are in the Portland area, and like musicals, then I’d highly recommend this production! But, don’t let your location stop you from reading on… you can always watch Dreamgirls the movie!
I expected to go into the show and be wow’d by some spectacular female voices. And, while I was wow’d by some pretty talented women (get to that later) I was unexpectedly blown away by some beautiful and FUN male-led songs! The beginning of the show the ladies didn’t quite have their voices yet. (Little did I know, because remember I had never seen this before, that was part of the plan!) I enjoyed the first number with the women being introduced to the stage. But, when Calvin Scott Roberts playing C.C. (Claridge Conrad) White and Rodney Hicks playing Curtis Taylor, Jr. began to sing Cadillac Car with David Jennings playing Jimmy (James Thunder) Early– WOW. I loved each and every song that these three men sang together. Each had great stage presence and really sold their characters all while hitting their songs out of the theater.
In the beginning I wasn’t entirely impressed with the songs that the women were singing. Little did I know… that was part of the play! As the show goes on the women really start singing. While they clearly had talent in the beginning, they just hadn’t hit their groove as a group! They had me hoodwink perfectly. At the end of the first act when Nattalyee Randall playing Effie Melody White belts out “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” I had tears in my eyes. All the women brought it on stage and I wasn’t disappointed by a single performance. The most exciting performance, for me, was by Mary Patton playing Deena Jones. (I don’t want to give much of the story away just in case you, like me, had never seen anything about the show. I want you to be as surprised as I was!) When Deena, one of the background singers of the trio is given the opportunity to step up as a lead there is a lot to discover. Patton plays demure, quiet and sweet Deena Jones so well in the beginning and hides her powerhouse of a voice during her first song as lead so well that I honestly didn’t see how this fictional group would ever be convincing as a popular musical trio. As she starts to take hold of her inner diva (just a bit) her voice suddenly takes over the entire room. It is gorgeous and powerful.
Portland Center Stage is offering my Portland area readers a chance to see Dreamgirls with a discount! Use the code “PDXBLOGS” to get $5 off any showing. Or, select a Tuesday show or the Halloween showing to receive your ticket for just $20! Click here to buy your ticket today!
The Typographers Dream is showing in the Ellen Bye Studio from Oct. 4 to November 16.
“The Typographer’s Dream follows the story of a stenographer, a geographer and a typographer. During a career-oriented presentation, it becomes hilariously clear that their personal issues just so happen to correspond with their jobs. As with his hit play The Receptionist, playwright Bock tackles the everyday environment of the workplace from a completely unique, and very witty, perspective. ”
Tomorrow, Saturday, October 4, is the Autumn Harvest fundraising event for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Some of Portland’s top chef talent will join together to give a progressive Autumnal tasting in hopes of raising funds and awareness for the hospital. The evening will feature live entertainment, flights from local mixologists, and an auction and the chance to experience St. Jude first-hand through local patients. It will also showcase Portland’s finest during a tasting led by 2014 James Beard Award recipient Naomi Pomeroy of Beast. Other featured chefs include:
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a hospital where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel or food. They believe that all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
Personally, I can’t even begin to tell you how important this is… this last year we have been dealing with possible health problems with my toddler son. Our doctors thought he had Cystic Fibrosis . We spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices and even more time on the phone trying to get in to see specialists and dealing with insurance. Now we will be paying off those bills. It has been a lot of worry and stress in our lives. We recently got the news that he does not have Cystic Fibrosis, but they aren’t sure what is causing him to get sick so often and so badly. I felt a small (minuscule) part of what many families are feeling and my heart will be forever changed because of it. Any and all support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will go far in helping families who are in a world of hurt and worry.
I’m excited to be able to share my experience with readers. Look for a blog post about it soon! But, in the meantime… check out more information about St. Judes by visiting the St. Jude website or click over to donate to this cause today.
Nothing against these awesome ninja socks and the fabulous jelly fish design… but, I think some of my readers can do better! I know I’ll be trying for sure… What the heck am I talking about? Well, the Sock It To Me sock design competition of course!
The first place winner receives 15 pairs of socks, has their design put on socks AND wins $5,000 — not shabby!
Sock It to Me, a Portland-based designer of fun and fashionable socks for women, men, and kids, is inviting sock fanatics from around the world to submit a unique sock design for a chance to win $5,000, $1,000 and $500 in cash and products – and have their design manufactured in Sock It to Me’s next collection.
Yes, you read that correctly… you could have socks made with YOUR DESIGN.
The contest runs from September 5 – 26 and is open to artists of all ages and talents. Click on over NOW to download your design form and get entered!
PS. I love socks. Like, a lot. I’m super excited that Fall is coming and with that is sock and BOOT weather! I’ll be sharing another post soon with free printables for those out there that share my love of socks!
Disclaimer: I was sent some complementary socks in exchange for sharing about this contest. Nothing was promised and all thoughts are my own. I will be entering the contest just like anyone else that thinks socks are awesome. I hope you do too!
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and today’s blog is in hopes of helping shed a little more light on the desperate need for more funding and research on pediatric cancer. Cancer remains the most common cause of death by disease for children and adolescents in America. Growing up my best friends family dealt with the impact of pediatric cancer on their world when her sister was diagnosed. A local girl and her family are experiencing the hardships that pediatric cancer brings with it and the community of Milwaukie, Oregon are banding together to help!
The local Milwaukie community is pulling together to host an outdoor family friendly benefit, silent auction and rock concert for a local girl living with a very rare brain tumor. Leah Merklin, a 4-year old girl has one of the rarest forms of pediatric brain cancer, primarily affecting young children, the brain tumor called DIPG is both inoperable and incurable.
On Wednesday, September 10th, local Milwaukie business owners, Portland DJ Ron Rouse, Chris Carpenter & The Collective, a local band, and Good Roots Community Church are joining arms to host an outdoor community fundraiser for Leah.
Banding together, local vendors are stepping up to offer locally sourced, delicious food at the event: Pronto Pizzeria & Kitchen will be selling grilled pizzas and farmer’s market fresh salads. Schoolyard Farms, a local nonprofit educational farm, will be offering build you own kid salads. Pepper & Salt will be selling butternut squash infused mac + cheese and lettuce turkey wraps. Painted Lady Coffee House will be selling hot coffee, Italian sodas, and homemade delicacies and Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery will be whipping up batches of their custom made ice cream.
There will be stenciled face art by Sweet Cheeks Airbrushing; handmade necklaces and headbands offering proceeds back to the Merklin family; and a bouncy house, henna tattoos and a stilt walker for the kids!
Ron Rouse, who works for Portland Fire & Rescue and is also a popular local DJ named DJ Rontourage, will be donating his time at the event. Local band Chris Carpenter & The Collective will be playing live music from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Event goers will be invited to pick out a favorite song from the band’s play list and the band will play songs for donation.
Finally, there will be a silent auction featuring locally procured items, with 100% of the proceeds going back to the family.
Connect with the Rock for a Reason Facebook event or connect with the Support for Leah Rose Merklin and Family Facebook Page!
Disclaimer: I attended a tasting of Raft Syrups and received a sampling of their syrups. This post is not sponsored by Raft. I happened to really enjoy the syrups and have created a recipe (or few!) using their syrups. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago I was invited over to the home of the creators of Raft Botanical Cocktail and Soda Syrups with a few blogging friends for the opportunity to try some of their syrups and cocktails made with them. I was incredibly inspired by the passion and dedication of the women behind Raft Syrups. They spoke about their syrups and the process of creating and selling them with such authentic enthusiasm.
If you’ve ever read Anne of Green Gables then you’ve read the term ‘kindred spirits.” That is exactly how I felt sitting down with a few of my blogging buddies and Sook & Roslynn of Raft. I was reminded of the line:
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.
Anyways, we tried SEVERAL tasty drinks that night. (Many of which you can actually find the cocktail recipes over on the Raft website. ) Admittedly, the tasty drinks might have contributed a little to the warm fuzzy feeling that I got from the evening. However, I’m going to think now and forever that I’ve found another pair of kindred spirits out there.
Upon tasting their Lemon Ginger Syrup the first thing I thought was…. wow, this would make for an AMAZING lemon drop. And, because I like to toot my own horn, I WAS RIGHT.
The lemon drop is a funny drink for me. Typically they are too sickly sweet for me to enjoy. However, when mixed with just the right proportions of sweet and sour, I am in love. The ginger syrup gives the lemon drop just the right mixture of sweet and sour… and, as a bonus, a fun little kick of ginger at the end. If you like a little spice in your cocktail then definitely try this drink.
More about Raft Syrups: Raft Botanical Cocktail and Soda Syrups are made in Portland, Oregon. The syrups are not only just about quality ingredients and great flavor… but, also about a healthy well-being! Check out the Raft About page to learn more about why they are creating these syrups. It is a good read, I promise! They currently stock three different syrups: Hibiscus Lavender, Lemon Ginger, and Smoked Tea Vanilla. The syrups are stocked in some stores throughout Portland and can be purchased ONLINE! These would make a fantastic gift for anyone building their bars.
I’ve been to a lot of wine tastings in my day. Heck, I’ve even hosted several in my job as a trainer at an Italian restaurant. However, this was my first time ever experiencing a wine tasting quite like this… the Pairings Portland Wine Shop invited myself and my fabulous friend Bee to try out their Pairings Basics tasting class so that we could share the experience with readers. I’m so glad I got to experience it!
I’ll start by saying that there is nothing typical about the Pairings Portland Wine Shop. As soon as you walk in you get a feel for the different type of wine experience that you’ll be getting. Instead of wines categorized by variety and price point, the wines sold throughout the store are paired with moods, foods, TV shows, music, weather, and more. When signing up for the Pairings Basics class, be aware that you aren’t signing up for a typical tasting either! You’re signing up for an experience of learning a lot more about what you like about wine and why you like it. You aren’t going to sit there listening to someone talk about the things YOU should be tasting or things YOU should be smelling. Oh, and you’ll only be tasting ONE wine.
That is what I thought too… but, you’ll be tasting that wine over and over again and trying it with different things. Without sounding completely over-the-moon about things… this was a revelation to me! It was amazing seeing how one wine was changed between the simple change of an acid or a fat. To me, someone who throws a lot of parties that include wine and food, it made me realize how I can modify a dish that just doesn’t quite match a wine the way I want it to!
The description of this class says, “you’ll discover the magic of wine and food pairing.” I think the class totally delivers on that description.
More about the Pairings Basic Class:
Wanna see Bee’s review of the class? Check out her thoughts on the Pairings Basic class at The Spicy Bee!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary class in exchange for my honest opinion of the experience. All thoughts are my own. I am a big believer in trying out and supporting local businesses as I am able and I think will interest my readers.