Karaoke Fun in Northwest Portland

When you rent out a room to do karaoke, group singing is inevitable.

From left to right: Ian and Bri singing, Jesse on tambourine and a beardless Grady hamming it up.

Sometimes you just have to sing some Coolio, Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel back-to-back in order to have a good time. Add some friends, good beers and Jell-O shots to the mix, well, that’s when you have a really good time.

A few weeks before that picture was taken above, Ryan O’Leary invited me to a mixer at Voicebox karaoke where three different organizations battled it out for supremacy in karaoke skills. The American Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America and the Portland Advertising Federation all had members in attendance who sung well (and poorly) to a mystery song drawn out of a hat or bowl or… something. However, it wasn’t until the event was over that the real fun began.

We still had another couple hours on the clock and made the most of it playing songs we wanted to sing and it hit an epic moment of the night when at least nine people were all singing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the top of their lungs. That’s when I knew that we had to go back with some close friends and experience this again.

Fast forward back to the Gangstas Paradise and Jell-O shots. Ryan and I were the first to arrive and we got a couple Cyclops IPAs before entering the room and warming up with some Deftones. As Ian and Brianna arrived, we could tell they were unsure of what was going down. I’m pretty sure beer was invented before karaoke, but you could make a chicken or the egg argument for it. By the time Grady showed up, we were deep into singing everything from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Zero” to Eve 6’s “Inside Out.” Yes, we have no shame and we didn’t care because we all sang the songs. (It might also have something to do with a second round of Jell-O shots Ian bought us, but I’m not totally sure.)

I highly recommend finding a place like Voicebox that lets you rent out rooms to do karaoke, especially for the shy person who doesn’t want to sing in front of strangers. Even if only two people have microphones, it’s a blast when you all can sing or let friends without microphones be back-up singers. I can easily say that I had more fun spending a little over $20 for the two hours I was there than in a crowded club trying to dance to bad music. If you live in Portland, you need to do this.

The Best Animal Experience Ever: Feeding and Petting Lemurs and Sloths

Sloth loves potatoes!

Hanging sloths love eating potatoes

Another bucket list item checked off; I got to feed and pet my favorite animal – a ring-tailed lemur. And sloths. And baby wolf cubs. And a colobus. What’s a colobus you ask? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

As Yaicha’s birthday was creeping on up in the horizon, I needed something that would be so epic that she would forget all her worries for at least a couple hours. My friend, Sarah, told me of a little conservation center in Rainier, Oregon where there are sloths you could pet and feed. Now, if you know Yaicha, you’d know that she loves sloths almost as much as Kristen Bell, so I knew I had to let her experience this place. It took a huge proportion of restraint to keep it a surprise, but it was worth it.

The drive was a meager 45 minutes from Portland, so we got there a little early and ended up hanging out with some owl monkeys and an adorable & rambunctious howler monkey named Farrah. Yaicha had no idea what we were doing there and was stunned when she saw the primates. As we waited for another couple to arrive, we had a long conversation around the animals and I let slip that there were sloths waiting to be fed. Yaicha might have cried a little when she heard this news. Once the couple arrived, we started the tour around the conserve which included feeding black & white ruffed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs and porcupines in one area. There was even a baby lemur clinging to its mother’s belly, which was probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

We passed by a bobcat with dread locks on the way to the colobus monkeys, which are some of the most interesting mammals I’ve ever encountered. After a lesson on how to groom them, we each got a small one-on-one session with one of the more social monkeys of the group. He was really nice and I’m pretty sure he had a crush on Lorien. From there we arrived to what Yaicha was waiting for – the sloth room. It took a few minutes for the sloths to wake up, but once they did, they were happy to hanging out with us. It was amazing to see animals like this so close. We got to see so many more animals, that it was a surreal experience I can’t sum up without going on and on in this blog. Check out my whole photo album of the experience and if you want more information about  Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center, you can find them on Facebook and Yelp.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!