Playroom January 2017

Take Five: Julianna Bright

Northeast Portland musician, mom and artist Julianna Bright received rave reviews for her 2013 album for kids, The Cat Doorman Songbook. Her latest single, Light as a Feather, a collaboration with New York artist Alexis Gideon, will raise funds for children caught in the Syrian refugee crisis. Look for it at


Q: What got you motivated to release a single with all proceeds going to Save the Children’s Syrian refugee fund?

A: Everyone I know is reprioritizing our money this holiday season to include generous gifts. I chose Save the Children’s Syrian refugee fund for this project because I knew I wanted the money to be focused on children. And the crisis in Syria has absolutely torn at my heart. Cat Doorman is a whimsical project for me, but all of the songs come from a heartfelt place, a hopeful place that we can see the good in ourselves and one another, and take care of our kin at the margins..

Q: How did you get artist Alexis Gideon in on the act?

A: Alexis and I have been musical collaborators for years. He’s a dear friend and rascal who now lives very far away from me. So this project actually took place largely through the mail!

Q: Did you write Light as a Feather specifically with the Syrian refugee crisis in mind?


A: No, actually. Because the song was written in a kind of pen pal exchange with Alexis, it’s something that’s unfolded over the last year.

Q: In 2013 you released The Cat Doorman Songbook, your first album for kids.
Why did you make the leap to kids music?

A: I was collaborating with a local company on an illustration project. As it went along, they decided they wanted music as well and I composed a piece for them. The process was so delightful, so fun, I found myself writing more and more songs until I had an album’s worth. My husband and I had been in bands for years, but things slowed down considerably after our daughter was born. This was a nice way to keep my hand in music, and to write from this new perspective as a mom.

Q: You’re also an artist. Do you have any art shows on the horizon?

A: I was part of the Portland Art Museum’s Piano Push Play exhibit in which I was given a vintage piano to paint on. Right now I’m building a body of work with accompanying music that will premiere at The Quiet Music Festival at Disjecta in North Portland in June. — Denise Castañon

Pay Attention: In Our America 

Like most people in progressive Portland, the results of the 2016 election left PDX Parent staffer Ali King feeling emotional, furious and terrified in equal parts. Unlike most people, she’s actually doing something about it. With two friends, King has founded an activist group called Nasty Women Get Sh*t Done, which aims to engage head on with the politics and policy of the next four years. Their first act? Working with a local artist and graphic designer on these amazing yard signs, which are popping up all over the city. (And orders are rolling in from other states, too.) It’s $10 per sign, or $3 for either a poster or a bumper sticker version. One hundred percent of proceeds go to the Lutheran Community Services NW Housing Emergency Fund, which subsidizes rent for incoming refugees. The time to stand up and be counted is now — get your sign by emailing or at kid-friendly retailers Books with Pictures, Upper Westside Play Gym, The Craft Factory, Hopscotch Toys in McMinnville and Black Sheep at Orenco. For even more retail locations, visit — Julia Silverman

TOP 5 …Kid-friendly Brunch Joints


➊ The DIY pancake format at Slappy Cakes was so popular that they’ve since opened locations in Maui, Japan, Thailand and Singapore. 4246 SE Belmont.
➋ An Instagram-ready (and super-tasty) brunch is served at Poa Cafe until 4 pm, every day. Grab a table near the spacious play area. 4025 N. Williams.
➌ Yummy scrambles and egg sammies, plus a well-stocked play area, make New Deal Cafe a go-to in NE Portland. 5250 NE Halsey.
➍ Two thumbs up for the homemade granola and buttermilk biscuits at Bushel and Peck Bakeshop, from the same folks who run Hammer and Jacks toy store. 3907 NE Martin Luther King.
➎ Kid-sized scrambles and challah bread french toast are just $6 at Down to Earth Cafe in Multnomah Village. 7828 SW 35th. — J.S.

Kids to Know: The Band



Some teens might get a less-than-thrilled response from their parents when they lay out plans to start a doom metal band. But not so for 17-year-old Ethan Conrad, guitarist and vocalist of SAOLA. “My parents were extremely supportive, especially once we got serious and started playing shows and writing music,” says Conrad. “Our drummer’s parents let us rehearse in his basement once a week, and loved listening to us jam. Seldom do we have a show that there aren’t at least two or three of our parents in the crowd.” The band’s lineup currently includes Conrad, bassist Holden Larson, 14, drummer Patrick Powers, 18, and guitarist/vocalist Zack Trani, 17. The group met while pursuing their passion for music at School of Rock Portland. In April 2016 they recorded the album Black Canvas, all screaming guitars with a dark, deep-space vibe. (Conrad got a job and the rest of the crew did yard work to raise the $2,000 needed to record and print the album.) All the band members are still in high school and they live all over the Portland metro area, but they try to get together for practice at least once a week. And it has paid off. Willamette Week described their level of musicianship as “far beyond most shredders 20 years their senior” and remarked that their slot at PDX Pop Now was “the heaviest set of the weekend.” What’s up next for SAOLA? They’re gearing up to record an EP. Visit for info on their
January 27 show at The Raven, 3100 NE Sandy Blvd. — D.C.


Ask Dr. Corey: Thwarting Warts

Q: My son has warts on the bottom of his foot. Should we treat them over the counter, or visit our pediatrician?

A: Despite the annoyance they can present, warts are one of the most common skin conditions and almost exclusively appear in children and young adults. In fact, warts probably affect somewhere between 10 and 30 percent of all children.

Most parents of kids with warts are interested in treatment options to remove these pesky growths. What most people don’t realize, however, is that given enough time, the warts will eventually go away. It can take quite a while, years even, but they will go away. However, pain or concerns about appearance may make waiting impractical.

When it comes to treatment, I typically recommend one of two methods. The first, more labor-intensive method can be administered at home. This method tends to work well if you can stick to it. The wart is soaked for five minutes, treated with a pumice stone to remove the overlying callus, and an over-the-counter salicylic acid compound is applied and covered with duct tape. With daily treatments, the wart will usually disappear within six weeks or so.

The second method is administered by a medical provider in an office setting. After cleaning, the callus overlying the wart is removed. Typically, liquid nitrogen or another similar product is applied for about 40 seconds. This procedure can be repeated if the wart persists.

Both methods have their pros and cons. Method one works well, but is labor intensive and takes time. Method two is quick, but can be a bit more uncomfortable.

There are many other wart treatments, but these often involve more complex medications with higher risks of side effects and often require referral to a dermatologist. 


Gear Guide: Bike it, Baby!

Your kids can spin their way down the Eastbank Esplanade or the Fanno Creek Bike Trail in style with these great, bite-sized biking accessories (and not to worry, smaller fry — they’ll work just as well for a tricycle, too.)

OTTOLOCK Your kid needs a bike lock, especially if you’re investing in a sturdy Specialized Hotrock or similar. But they’re usually so bulky and kids will lose the key ASAP. Enter OTTOLOCK, a PDX-based startup with some serious Kickstarter love behind them. Their cinch locks, which hit the market in March, are super lightweight and much more secure than a cable lock. $50 at

Wheelbritz Light up your kiddos’ bike through these dark winter days. These nifty LED lights form a bright ring around your kid’s wheel, making sure that even distracted drivers won’t be able to miss them. $14.99 at New Seasons Markets.

Nutcase rotary bells Eventually, your kid is going to learn to ride fast enough that she’ll want slowpokes to get out of her way. Solution: these nifty rotary bells by PDX-based Nutcase, which peal out a satisfying “ding-a-ling-a-ling!” We’re partial to the “rainbow friends” one, ourselves. $15 at Clever Cycles. — J.S.

Chalkboard: Healthy Kids



Here at PDX Parent world headquarters, we sadly have no crystal ball, so we can’t tell you what’s going to happen to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, under the country’s new president. But “politically, it’s pretty difficult to kick kids off of health insurance,” notes Janet Meyer, the executive director of Health Share of Oregon, which works with Oregon Health Plan members in the Portland metro area. And besides, by any measure, the Oregon Health Plan’s children’s initiative, known as Healthy Kids, is a big step in the right direction. A family of four that earns up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $70,000, can sign up for no-cost insurance for their kids; no premiums, no out-of-pocket, no deductible. The plans cover everything from well-child visits and immunizations to vision care and a full complement of dental services; it also include prescriptions and hospitalization costs. “I don’t know of any pediatrician that doesn’t take it,” Meyer says. (Note that it can be difficult to access highly specialized care under the program, like transgender care or applied behavioral therapy for those on the autism spectrum, but that’s partly because there’s a small number of such providers in Oregon, even for those that hold private insurance.) There is one catch: Parents need to make sure their children remain in the program by re-registering them each year. If you miss the deadline, don’t despair — your kids can sign back up, but you don’t want to risk a break in their coverage. So fill out those forms when they come in — changes may be coming for the grown-ups, but the kids among us should be safe, sound and healthy. — J.S.

We Recommend

The commercial-free Portland Radio Project broadcasts from Southeast’s Foster-Powell neighborhood and plays a local artist every 15 minutes. The mellow, bluesy, rock/folk mix is the radio equivalent of curling up in a cozy chair with a cup of hot tea on a rainy afternoon. Listen at 99.1 FM or online at — D.C.

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