Monday, September 1, 2014

What Not To Miss With Kids At The Oregon Zoo

By Meg Hodson

My family and I made our annual summer pilgrimage to the Oregon Zoo. We've done this many times over the years. My oldest is now 10 and I have noticed the gradual shift in what she likes to do on family activities. The ooh-aah factor of seeing the animals is definitely waning, but I was determined for her to have fun at the zoo, as well as my 2 younger children. 

So, I've compiled a list of the must-do activities that will please all children in your family at the Oregon Zoo.

1.  The Polar Bears. I am not sure what child wouldn't like seeing polar bears. It is hit and miss when you visit them....they might be active or not out at all. So, be sure to check the sign posted on when there will be a feeding (they usually post a specific time). We made a point to come back for that and it was worth it.



2. Lunch By The Zoo Stage. I always make a point to have lunch out on the lawn in front of the Oregon Zoo stage. They always have live shows, usually involving birds, during the lunch time hours (on the day I went, they had shows at 11:00am, Noon, and 1:00pm). My kids love it and it provides some entertainment while we have lunch. Below, my son offers his donation to Pierre, the vulture.


3. The Elephants. Well, nothing says "Oregon Zoo" like the elephants. While the exhibit was under major construction while we were there, we were able to catch a few glimpses of them. My kids actually really loved looking at the plans for the amazing expansion that is launching in 2015. And they are spectactular! Between being able to squirt the elephants to the train running through the elephant exhibit, this will surely be a not-to-be-missed new addition to the Oregon Zoo.


4.  The Seals. To me, there is something magical about seals. My kids thought so, too. They seem like such simple creatures, but seeing them glide through the water is peaceful. Meet Gus. At 30+ years old, he is the oldest seal in captivity in the United States.


5. Gift Shop Fun. Whether you are planning to buy a souvenir or not, there is bound to be something that makes a memory at the gift shop.


6. Flamingoes. Well, my daughter said they were "stinky", but we were forced into the flamingo pond after looking at the alligators. She enjoyed learning a few fun facts about how their legs work.....and I captured a cool shot.





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Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Idol Tour Hits Portland!

By Meg Hodson

I have fond memories of attending concerts, dating back to grade school. My parents were cool. I got to see stellar acts like The Captain & Tennille, Neil Diamond, and Andy Gibb.  I vividly remember my first concert by myself, The Stray Cats at the Paramount Theater in Portland, Oregon (now the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall) in junior high. INXS opened up for them. I was in concert heaven. 

This eventually led to a high school and college concert career. I went to so many concerts, I honestly can't remember the exact number. Music inspires me and going to a concert by a favorite band is thrilling.

I have had the BEST time this past year with American Idol. Deep down, in all I do on social media, I am a true fan. I respect, admire, and am in awe of the process of being a performer. So, getting to go behind the scenes to watch the process and meet the people involved has truly been a a gift. 

American Idol Tour IdolTweethearts

As you might expect, then, I was excited to be attending the Idol Live 2014 tour stop in Portland, Oregon last week. I had lived and breathed the lives of these top ten singers during season 13 of American Idol as one of the IdolTweethearts. I was excited to finally see them L-I-V-E. 

The show was top notch. While it took me a little while to get used to the fact that there wasn't a live band, the singing was definitely live and they sounded amazing. It was a nice balance of group numbers, duets (with an amazing one by Caleb and Jena singing "Gimme Shelter"), and solo performances by the top ten. 

After the concert, we got the chance to meet and chat with the top ten. While these are performers on their way to being monumental entertainers, it's easy to forget they are human. Meeting them was a nice reminder that they are just that. 

American Idol Tour IdolTweethearts Majesty Rose

American Idol Tour IdolTweethearts Majesty Rose Malaya Watson

American Idol Tour IdolTweethearts Sam Woolf Alex Preston

American Idol Tour IdolTweethearts Caleb Johnson Jena Irene

American Idol Tour IdolTweethearts Jess Meuse

American idol tour caleb johnson idoltweethearts


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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Color Run Hits Portland!

By Meg Hodson

This is a sponsored post for Shout. While I received compensation for my post, all opinions, beliefs, and writing remain my own. 

My running and walking career (and what I also like to call my "walk/run" career) has certainly had it's ups and down. I've had stretches where all I can do is run. I've had stretches where I don't do that at all! And still other times where it's a mix of walking, running, or a little of both at the same time. Some of this has been an emotional decision. Some of it has been injury-induced (I wish plantar fasciitis on no one!). Even as I write this post, I am dealing with some heel problems. It's always something, right?

I've been trying to get motivated again, to get to one of those "do it all the time" stretches. It's important for me to carve out time for myself. I've never done any sort of organized race or run. So, when I had the opportunity to participate in The Color Run and create a Shout team for the Portland, Oregon Color Run on September 6th, I got excited. I was going to be able to try something I had never done before and quite honestly, it makes me a little nervous. But it's a challenge.....and that's a good thing.

And how cool is is that Shout is the sponsor of this event?! Of course, you know Shout as a trusted stain remover. But Shout is also on a mission to get Americans to have FUN, even if it means making a mess. And that's exactly what will happen at The Color Run!

The Color Run Shout It Out

There are a few things that I love about The Color Run. First, it is not a timed race and there is no pressure to run. Participants can walk, skip....whatever strikes them! It is also not a timed race. The emphasis is on having fun and being healthy....and I think that is a really positive thing.

So, just how "colorful" will you get at The Color Run? In addition to the color blasts at each kilometer, Shout will have an orange color throw, where you can toss orange packets of color into the air. Want all this crazy color to last a little longer? Stop by the Shout tent for a misting station that will lock in your color. But don't worry, if you don't want to fuss with all that incredible color post-run, you have the option to hit the Shout Clean Zone to have excess color blown off of you.

The Color Run Shout It Out

Feeling like you are ready to let go, have fun, and get some color in your life? If you are in the Portland area, you can enter my giveaway below to be part of my team on September 6th! Additionally, you can post a photo to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #ShoutItOut and #enter for a chance to win a dream vacation in New Zealand and a chance to run in The Color Run there. Hurry, contest ends September 30, 2014.

To learn more about Shout, visit their website, Facebook page, Twitter page, and on Instagram.


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