Hoppity Easter Weekend at Fair Oaks Mall

IMG_0947

 

IMG_0940

IMG_0939

IMG_0941

Fair-Oaks-Mall-Bunnyville

Hop into Bunnyville at Fair Oaks Mall

Next weekend, March 28 & 29 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Bunnyville will be having an “eggciting” Family Event! Take the entire family to Bunnyville, a charming, three-dimensional Bunny town featuring the Kid Junction Home of the Ultimate Party Experience, Hare Salon, and 24 Carrot Bank. The last stop in Bunnyville is a professional photo with the Easter Bunny in front of his Bunny House. Customers will receive a $10 or $20 card from Shutterfly with the purchase of select photo packages ($22-44), and all children receive a small gift from the Bunny just for visiting!
Locally presented by Kid Junction. enjoy FREE face painting, balloon creations, spring crafts, and more in Fair Oaks Mall’s Grand Court West. For more information about this event and Fair Oaks Mall, click here.

The Honest Company Introduces Honest Feeding Line

Honest-Company-Organic-Infant-Formula-DHA-Bundle

bottles1

DSC_9397

DSC_6945

The Honest Company is an innovator in the baby industry with its commitment to healthy, eco-friendly products for babies and families. Their trendy diaper designs are effective and aesthetically pleasing. And the auto-shipment bundle subscription adds an element of convenience and efficiency that keep busy moms organized. I absolutely love this brand.

The Honest Company just launched its feeding line including: Organic Premium Formula “carefully modeled after breast milk, nutritionally complete, easy to digest, and meticulously blended using ingredients sourced from trusted organic farms; ‘Honestly Free’ of gluten, GMOs, hexane-extracted DHA, and steroids.”

Honest’s new feeding line also includes a liquid-based fish oil baby DHA, which the company is marketing separately instead of adding to the formula because the synthetic DHA available to the powdered formula market didn’t meet the company’s purity standards. “The FDA is very rigorous, but in this one key category, DHA, I felt there wasn’t the choice that I needed,” says Christopher Gavigan, co-founder of The Honest Company. “So we are offering a pure version as an extra add-on.” For breastfeeding parents, the product line includes a lactation supplement for moms to stimulate breast milk production, as well as aids like a nursing pillow and coverup includes products to support breast feeding as well as the new line created around the organic formula.

The Honest Company has a philosophy that I completely embrace:

No breast versus bottle, no right or wrong: We believe how parents choose to feed their babies is a personal process based on the needs of their families….We’re aware that breast is best, but we also understand that families may choose or require other options. No parent should have to feel guilty for choosing to feed her or his baby one way or another. Parents have been nourishing their children in all kinds of ways since the beginning of time as we know it. With Honest Feeding, The Honest Company hopes to represent the next step in the evolution of nourishment as we help you lay the foundation for a safe, healthy and happy future.

The entire collection includes Nipple Balm, Lactation Plus Vitamins and Nursing Cover + Scarf for breastfeeding moms as well as Nursing Pillow, Formula Dispenser, 5 oz. Bottles and 8 oz. Bottles and Natural Feeding Peristaltic Nipples.

{Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by The Honest Company via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of The Honest Company or Momtrends.}

Faith’s Baby Shower: Event Photography by Big Bash Photo

ClarendonMoms-babyshower-1

ClarendonMoms-babyshower-2

ClarendonMoms-babyshower-4

ClarendonMoms-babyshower-8

ClarendonMoms-babyshower-7

ClarendonMoms-babyshower-3

When my friend Faith’s best friends and family reached out to me to help plan her baby shower, I knew I wanted to hire  professional photographer TC Coffey of Big Bash Photo to cover her special day.

TC Coffey was a professional party event planner when a friend of hers realized that she “had an eye for photography and suggested that TC explore the idea of becoming a professional photographer. TC began her professional photography business almost 10 years ago after taking courses in various mediums, particularly film. Her passion stems from an enormous interest in documenting memories from a family history perspective.

Whether you have a baby shower, kid’s birthday party, holiday party or playmate, I recommend Big Bash Photo to cover your event. For more information, visit www.bigbashphoto.com.

Cool Kid Stationery: Letter Learning Cards & Thank-you Notes

IMG_0528

IMG_0533

IMG_0537

Here’s a neat tip: writing birthday cards, holiday greetings and thank-you notes just became a lot more fun and educational thanks to fellow Arlington mom and former elementary school teacher Ellen Richard.

Letter Learning stationery is traceable stationery designed so your child can write his or her own thank-you notes, birthday cards and holiday greetings all by themselves. Yes! You read that correctly, all by themselves. Your young child can trace the pre-made words so you never have to worry about misspellings, sloppy handwriting or letters that fall off the page.  To ensure personalization, blank space is available for your little one’s artistic drawings, and there is a designated space for the child and recipient’s names.  Letter Learning cards can be customized to offer you fully personalized stationery for your child.  Pick any design on their website and add your child’s name to make it all their own.

Save 20% off right now during Letter Learning’s Spring Sale! Free shipping on orders over $15! To place an order, please visit www.letterlearning.com 

Giveaway: Ringling Bros Presents LEGENDS (DC/Nova) March & April 2015

Logo

Elephants-2-e1425310872296

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey are bringing The Greatest Show on Earth to the DC-area this Spring! This March and April, you and your family can enjoy their fabulous show, which unites iconic circus stars with mythological creatures in a celebration of the LEGENDS that have captured imaginations for centuries. Experience magnificent Asian elephants, a twenty-acrobat troupe perched atop only a pair of bicycles, and a never-before-seen double-wide, high-flying trapeze act.

LEGENDS  will come to life at two arenas in the Washington, D.C. area. The show will be at the Verizon Center from March 19 – 22, and the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. from April 8 – 19. LEGENDS will also perform at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Md. from March 25 – April 5.

An hour before show time, families can come to the arena floor and participate in an interactive, up-close circus experience, the All-Access Pre-show. Free to all ticketholders, the All Access Pre-show allows circus fans to learn juggling and balancing skills, meet the performers, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind Pachyderm Painting.

WASHINGTON, DC SHOW
The Verizon Center | March 19 – 22, 2015
Show times:
· Thursday, March 19 | 7:30 pm
· Friday, March 20 | 10:30 am, 7:30 pm
· Saturday, March 21 | 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
· Sunday, March 22 | 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm

FAIRFAX, VA SHOW
The Patriot Center | April 8 – April 19, 2015
Show times:
· Wednesday, April 8 | 7:00 pm
· Thursday, April 9 | 7:00 pm
· Friday, April 10 | 7:30 pm
· Saturday, April 11 | 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
· Sunday, April 12 | 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm
· Thursday, April 16 | 7:00 pm
· Friday, April 17 | 10:30 am, 7:30 pm
· Saturday, April 18 | 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
· Sunday, April 19 | 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm

Ticket Information: All seats are reserved. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, via www.ticketmaster.com, and the Verizon Center or Patriot Center box office. For group rates and information, call 202-661-5061. Prices: $75 Front Row, $55 VIP, $35.00 (Verizon Center only), $30.00, $20.00 & $15.00

DISCOUNT: Use your SmarTrip Card to SAVE $8 on Tickets. Visit the box office and show your SmarTrip card at the venue box office. Offer expires April 3, 2015. Savings coupon valid for up to six (6) tickets.

I’m giving away a family FOUR pack of tickets to the opening night of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS. The winner’s tickets will be at Will Call at the Verizon Center on Thursday, March 19th before the 7:30 PM showing. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form! I’ll select the winner on March 15, 2015 via Random.org, and they will have 24 hours to respond to my email, letting them know they won.on Wednesday, April 8th, before the 7:30 PM showing. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form! I’ll select the winner on March 15, 2015 via Random.org, and they will have 24 hours to respond to my email notification.

ENTER TO WIN A FAMILY 4 PACK OF TICKETS

a Rafflecopter giveaway

uberFAMILY DC now offers Fahu Nabi 2 Tablets

unnamed

Processed with Moldiv

I have always been a huge fan of uberFAMILY and now uberFAMILY in the Washington DC area just got even better! In addition to offering car seats for our little ones, UberFAMILY will be equipped with Fuhu’s  nabi 2 tablets. No more lugging around the kids tablets or offering up your smart phone. Children can access “console-quality” games and entertainment that lends a hand “developing fine motor skills and encouraging independent play.”

Last week Ella, Logan and I had an opportunity to test the nabi 2 tablet during a round-trip from Arlington to Bethesda. For the first time in ages, I was able to actually sit back and enjoy the ride while Ella and Logan enjoyed playing educational games on the new nabi 2 tablet.

uberFAMILY is the only way my family taxis, especially to and from the airport. It is the best car transportation service available in the DC area. I appreciate the simplicity. You can request a safe, reliable, affordable ride within minutes from the Uber App. For first time users of uberFAMILY, sign up with the promo code NABITABLET for a free ride up to $20.

{Disclosure: I was given Uber credit as a token of appreciation for testing their new service.}

Workout Review: Sensazao Dance Fitness in Alexandria

_J1A6741

IMG_6407

Sensazao Dance Fitness is a total-body workout that has all the benefits of a long run or your most intense cardio workout, possibly even more. In a 1-hour class, you can burn as many as 800 calories. You’ll also tone nearly every muscle in your body, improve balance, boost brainpower and develop a confidence about your ability to dance gracefully and dance sexy.

I gained over 60 pounds with each of my pregnancies. Having been slender and fit my entire life, I was horrified at the sight of my post pregnant body. I was desperate to find something that would inspire me to get fit and healthy again. Not only was I desperate, I was beginning to develop post-partum depression.

At 38 years old and 5 feet, 7 inches tall, I was clinically obese at 205 pounds and I still looked 9 months pregnant. I joined my nearest gym in Arlington. On my second day at the gym, I noticed a huge line (almost 45 minutes wait before the class began. It was for a class instructed by Gabriela Espinoza. Once inside the class, a woman standing next to me asked me if it was my first class. Of course I answered “yes.” Then, she gently touched my arm and said “Just want to let you know that my first time taking the class, I only lasted 30 minutes and I had to leave. It’s okay if you have to leave early, just have fun!”

A sexy, super lean and sculpted instructor (Gabriela Espinoza) came rushing in and plugged her Ipod into the stereo. The most beautiful Latin music (a song by Pitbull) came on and the warm-up began. I was exhausted, out of breath and ready to crawl out of the class after only 3 minutes! I could barely get thru the warm-up! But, I decided to keep trying. I felt like collapsing on the floor during several songs.  It was intense. The moves were sexy, included tweaking, swaying, sashaying, gyrating, salsa, bachata, samba, hip hop and worked every single muscle in my body. Gabriela’s double jointed and firm body moved so effortlessly. Her passion for dance was electrifying and inspiring. I was in love with this style of aerobic dance fitness and determined to learn the choreography,  have fun and lose weight. This class made me feel like myself again, the “dancing self” before marriage and kids, a girl who once danced beside Channing Tatum in the movie, Step Up. And after only 6 months of attending Sensazao Dance class five nights a week, I lost 50 pounds and went from a “Plus Size 16” to a size 8 without changing my diet or doing any other type of workout.

My instructor Gabriela and her sister Jazmin left that local Arlington gym and opened up their very own studio in Alexandria almost 5 years ago and I’m still a huge fan! Fans come from all over the world to take classes here. Singer/Actress Jordin Sparks has even visited the Alexandria, Virginia studio and has endorsed the workout on her “Things she’s obsessed with” on MTV, in several magazine articles and on her Instagram.

The Sensazao (pronounced SENS-suh-Zow) Dance Fitness workout is perfect for those who enjoy dancing or want to learn how to dance in a very safe and fun environment with others who have the same interest and fitness goals as you do. This is the most fun you’ll ever have while losing weight and keeping fit! Moving to music is stress-free and happy. There’s no counting reps, watching the clock or taking breaks in between circuits.

Sensazao recently began live streaming their dance classes and I had the awesome opportunity to interview one of the founders of Sensazao Dance Fitness, Jazmin Espinoza about their latest endeavor and what’s in store for the future.

CM: When did you decide to pursue fitness as a full-time or part-time career?

Jazmin: Dancing was always part of our lives and we were always pursuing a challenge. Once we saw the interest in dance and fitness we adjusted our dance experience and increased the fitness component in our classes. From there on it became a way of life.

CM: When did you realize you had a bonafide BRAND for your company?

Jazmin: From the beginning, epecially when there was always a long line [of people] waiting for our classes.

CM: Are the new Live Stream videos equivalent to your classes?

Jazmin: Technically no, we are live streaming our classes since we have many online followers who want to join us, but these classes are different than our studio classes. The major difference is that it’s not the real experience, which cannot be replaced unless you are there with us. However, our new service allows you to dance with us in the comfort of your own home/gym/studio and with whomever you want.

 CM: How does it feel when total strangers approach you and applaud you for their fitness results?

Jazmin: It feels incredibly rewarding that we were part of their fitness journey and helped them in any way. But it does not feel like we are talking to strangers at all. We are definitely connected to our clients and share the same happy feeling when we dance together.

 CM: Who among your clients is the best embodiment of the Sensazao brand & why?

Jazmin: Our mother Gaby. She has the best time dancing with us, takes sometimes 2 classes in a row, keeps herself in shape and gives us the best feedback when it comes to routines and songs we choose for class.

 CM: What sets your dance fitness class apart from all the others?

Jazmin: Two things: 1.) We have 3 unique styles when it comes to choreographing and teaching 2.) Our instructors training quality

CM: What amount of classes do you recommend for new moms trying to get fit and fit back into their pre-baby jeans?

Jazmin: We recommend 2 to 3 per week. Considering the high to low impact versatility of our routines, anyone can start their fitness journey with us and reach their goals in the most safe and effective way.

 CM: Where do you see your company ten years from today? Any plan for franchising and studios in other cities?

Jazmin: Franchising is a possibility we have considered. In ten years we plan to see official Sensazao classes worldwide and our own charity organization related to dance and health.

 CM: In addition to your classes, what do you girls do for fun?

Jazmin: We like to surf, take dance classes, attend carnivals and mostly travel all over the world.

CM: What announcements and news would you like to share with the Clarendon Moms readers?

JM: We would like to share our passion for life by means of music and dance. We would like to remind everyone that health is the best investment and that happiness is the journey.

Shimmy, twerk, pop and lock your way to your pre-baby body, Sensazao Dance Studio is located at: 5424 Eisenhower Ave.  
Alexandria, VA 22304. For more information, visit www.sensazao.com

Weekend Getaway: Top 5 Ski Resorts for Kids Near DC

all-mountain-skis

IMG_0050

Looking for a quick President’s Day Weekend Getaway? Pack up the kids and enjoy the snow and chilly weather at a nearby ski resort. These are great slopes to introduce your kids to skiing and are less than a 2 hour drive away.

 Ski Liberty (90 Minute Drive)

Ski Liberty is a great place for the kids to discover skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. Just a few miles away from the historic town of Gettysburg, this local ski resort is packed with lots of packages and amenities for parents and kids including: Playcare (an indoor day care available for infants 6 months to children 10 years old). Ski Liberty offers 2-hour lessons and a variety of half- and full-day camp options that include supervised ski instruction, full day ski pass, ski rentals and snacks/lunch. My favorite choice for beginners is “Ski with Me” for kids ages three and up including a private lesson with an instructor accompanied by one or both parents. First Time Skier packages for kids ages 8 and over are available at a reasonable price. Season passes are also available. For more information:

Ski Liberty
78 Country Club Trail (Fairfield, Pa)
717-642-8282
 Website: libertymountainresort.com

Whitetail (90 Minute Drive)

With 400 more vertical feet than Liberty, Whitetail offers one of the steepest slopes close to D.C. It’s programs for new skiers and snowboarders have been recognized as some of the best in the country. Whitetail Resort offers center-based daycare for the little ones (6 months to 12 years) who aren’t interested in skiing. The Whitetail Children’s Program offers a Kids Mountain Camp that includes supervised instruction, breaks (and snacks), rental equipment and full day lift tickets for skiers ages 4 through 12 and snowboarders ages 6 through 12. Full day camp programs also offer campers lunch. Two-hour ski school classes are also available a la carte. For smaller ones aged 3-5, the new “Ollie Alley” at Whitetail helps them get ready for skiing or boarding by learning about balance while having fun out in the snow like the big kids. Kiddos work with skilled instructors using a mini snowboard called a “riglet” and get to experience mini-terrain park features just sized for them. Ollie Alley lessons are available Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 am to 3 pm. Whitetail also has a nice snow tubing area.

Whitetail Resort
13805 Blairs Valley Rd. (Mercersburg, Pa)
717-328-9400 Website:
 skiwhitetail.com

Massanutten

Massanutten is a full service resort that offers ski and snow boarding lessons, night skiing, snow tubing on a “massive 900-foot long hill,” ice skating, a spa, resort activities, go-carting, horseback trail rides, pony rides, serious arts and crafts, as well as onsite condominiums and hotel accommodations. With a vertical drop of 1,110 feet, it is also the steepest of any other ski hill in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and has a solid reputation for its snowboarding area. The Mountain Cruiser’s program offering skiing lessons for kids four to 12 and snowboarding for kids ages seven to 12. Packages include supervised group instruction 9:30 am to 2 pm., 8-hour slope-use ticket, equipment rental and even lunch. Massanutten’s Kid’s Club children’s activity center, which has programs most days and some evenings in blocks ranging from three to six hours. One of the best features about Massanutten is the indoor water park.

Massanutten Resort,1822 Resort Dr. (McGaheysville, Va)
540-289-9441 Website:
 massresort.com

Omni Homestead Resort & Spa

Nestled within the Allegany Mountains, this historic ski resort offers more than 45 acres of well-maintained trails on slopes that are perfect for beginners. Omni Homestead Resort & Spas features warm mineral water indoor and outdoor pools, spa kids packages (ages 5-13), ice-skating at the new Allegheny Springs rink, snowmobiling, snow tubing and tons of winter activities to keep your family happy.  There’s delectable s’mores and a firepit on the Casino Lawn, a Theatre offering classic and family movies nightly, and DownTime, a family game area that includes: mini bowling, a pool table, shuffleboard, air hockey, Wii, Xbox and arcade games. Full and half day childcare is available at the KidsClub for ages 3 through 12. On site, babysitting services are also available for resort guests.

The Homestead
, 7696 Sam Snead Hwy. (Hot Springs, Va) 
540-839-1766 Website:
 thehomestead.com

Wintergreen

A refined resort, Wintergreen provides a comprehensive winter vacation experience that offers more serious skiers a bit more “hill” action and luxury facilities including an indoor Aquatics & Fitness Center with full spa services. Wintergreen offers plenty of family-focused fun, including snow tubing at The Plunge, a ski school for toddlers (ages 3 & up) and childcare options at the Tree House starting at age 2 1/2 that includes snow play, games, arts & crafts, snacks and hot cocoa. Wintergreen’s Ridgley’s Winter Fun Park is open during holidays and weekends, offering one-hour blocks of pre-scheduled snowy fun for the whole family which includes: a mini-tubing carousel, bear paw snow shoes, tunnels, plus a gentle hill for tubing and sledding. Ridgeley the Bear, Wintergreen’s mascot, also frequently stops by and provides some giggles for kids and parents. The Discovery Ridge Center also offers outdoor and indoor activities including a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, mechanical bull, and theatre and game center, providing plenty of activities to keep the little brood happily busy.

Wintergreen Resort 
Route 664 (Wintergreen, Va)
 434-325-2200 Website:
 wintergreenresort.com

Celebrate Valentine’s Day: Soothe, Relax & Rejuvenate at Celadon Spa DC

exterior celadon

IMG_0412

Imagine this – walking into a quiet room with soft lighting and a very soothing aroma of lavender and chamomile while sipping a cup of calming warm apple cider. Your mind and body ease into a relaxed state. An esthetician with the softest, most peaceful voice (named Susan) instructs you to change into a cozy, luxurious body wrap in preparation for 90 minutes of pampering with a restorative facial and relaxing facial massage and massage of your neck and shoulders. At this moment, all the stresses of being a busy mom melts away as you write your next gratitude journal entry in your head. For the first time in ages, I was treated to this luxury this week and I want to share one of my favorite DC sanctuaries with everyone in time for Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend.

Located in downtown Washington, D.C., Celadon provides an escape from the busy downtown business district with top quality salon and spa services for men and women. With luxury hair care, up-to-the minute skincare services, massage, and other beauty treatments, Celadon is continually rated one of the city’s finest day spas.

In addition to a full menu of hair and spa services, their retail boutique offers some of the most popular beauty products available today including the latest anti-aging lotions, potions, gifts, and more. A few of the brands they carry include Eminence Organic Skincare, SkinCeuticals, Bumble & Bumble, Dermalogica, Anthony Logistics and Kerastase.

IMG_0411

From spa packages to facials, body scrubs and wraps, nails and hair, Celadon offers a multitude of services that will help you achieve the ultimate in wellness, and experience relaxation and pampering. Celadon is offering a few awesome holiday specials for Valentine’s Day. Gift Certificates are also available. Celadon Day Spa is located at: 1180 F Street NW, Washington DC 20004. For more information about Celadon, visit www.celadonspa.com.

Workout Review: SoulCycle DC

 

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan ™Soul Cycle

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan ™Soul Cycle

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

©ClarendonMoms/Angelica Talan

SoulCycle is a marriage between a cycling boutique, rave, house or hip hop dance party and weight training class. With a cult-ish following, tons of DC residents have been flooding the cycling studio to find out what all the hype is about. I have personally spotted our first lady, Michelle Obama and other local DC celebs tapping into their soul here in DC and have heard Kelly Ripa rave about Soul Cycle countless times. This class promises to burn over 900 calories in one session. Sweating is an understatement for these soul sisters (and brothers).

Upon entering the Soul Cycle studio, a fresh aroma of grapefruit fills your olfactory senses. The light is brighter than the sun. The staff are very attentive and cheerful. I totally understand why this place may be “cultish”. I filled out the liability waiver, rented a pair of “clip ins” and claimed my bike. My instructor was Megan, a pretty and amazingly toned woman with electrifying energy. As the ride began, the music gradually became more energetic. Megan gave the crowd a sort of  fitness/soul affirmation sermon. I definitely felt like I was in the right place of worship! I was inspired more at this moment than I had been at any other fitness studios I had ever visited, especially more than at any other cycling/spinning class. Love at first spin was setting in.

What is Soul Cycle?

Soul Cycle is spinning with handle bar push-ups, crunches, and side-to-side (oblique) dips on the bike while the energy is kept high by receiving little pep during the course of the ride. The class is intense at times, but easily modifiable. There is a weighted arm sequence (on the bikes) towards the end of the class. Mini dumbbells are used to workout the upper body with lots of little, isolated movements reminiscent of barre classes.

The juice:

I have drank the Soul Cycle Kool-Aid and I am truly addicted. However, at $30 a class, I will be taking Soul Cycle only as a “weekly supplement” to my already established fitness routine for 2015.First time riders at SoulCycle get a class for $20, which includes bike + shoes.
After that, individual class: $30 Shoe rental – $3 (frequent riders usually bring their own). Riders are encouraged to bring their own water-bottles. If you forget, they have some for purchase. Regular water – $2 / Large water – $3

Soul Cycle is located at 2301 M Street NW, Washington DC 20037. To learn more about Soul Cycle DC or to register for classes, click HERE.