Amsterdam Falafelshop in Clarendon: You’ve Gotta Try This Place

 

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Last week Dave, Ella, Logan and I were invited by Amsterdam Falafelshop for dinner. The kids had their first taste of falafel in Paris and loved it, so I knew they would be happy to find out they could get falafel right here in our neighborhood. Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by the co-founder of Amsterdam Falafelshop, Scott Bennett. He was so chill and down to earth as he sat down with our family and shared how he decided to open up the first restaurant.

We really liked the restaurant’s set up. You’re served your falafel sandwich or bowl and then you have a toppings station where you sprinkle or mound toppings to your hearts desire. Ella and Logan had fun selecting their toppings and adding them to their sandwiches. The menu includes: falafel sandwiches, French fries (deep-fried twice– the European style), sodas and “virgin” brownies, a bit of a shout out in reference to the Amsterdam coffee shops that sell marijuana-laced brownies. We ordered fries to accompany our sandwiches and they were outstanding! They really were some of the best fries ever! The falafel is crunchy and delicious and when “smashed”, a ton of toppings can be added. The ambiance is casual and cool. The location is across the street from the Clarendon Metro and close to all of the nightly hangouts. It’s a perfect place for families during the day and an awesome restaurant for late night dining for the college kids and club goers.

Click here for my Tastemade City Guide DC recap of Amsterdam Falafelshop. And for more information, visit www.falafelshop.com.

 

Day Designer by Whitney English For Blue Sky Available Exclusively at Target & Giveaway

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I am super excited that Day Designer by Whitney English For Blue Sky will be available at Target beginning this Sunday, July 12th.

I was searching for a new planner for moms for only a few days when my friend Morgan Fykes of DC Funemployment whipped out her Day Designer at the CARE Conference a couple months ago. She passionately described each amazing feature and how it kept her organized while inspiring her to reach her daily, weekly and monthly goals. I knew I had found my new planner. Not only is Whitney English’s Day Designer perfect for moms, it’s perfect for creative entrepreneurs like bloggers too!

When my kids were born, I stopped using my manual (aka “paper”) planner and began using my Iphone as a schedule organizer for our family’s activities. I thought getting into the “digital age” was better because of the alerts I could set on my phone. And that everything would be best kept in one place—my IPhone. However, I became less organized and very frustrated keeping track of normal daily and weekly tasks and schedules for a family of four all on a phone calendar that was just filled with a bunch of dots at a glance. And every time I was asked to recall when we did something or what date an event was on, I literally had to click on each dot to find out what happened in the not so distant past. I couldn’t wait to get back to planner that had worked for me since college.

The Day Designer is an academic year calendar (from July 2015-June 2016) making it easy for busy moms, teachers, bloggers and other creatives to stay on top of everything during the school year.

The Day Designer is a lot larger than most other planners, but it’s easily transportable in a durable tote because of its very sturdy design. There are several designs featured in the Day Designer for Blue Sky Target Collection: a very polished black and white striped hard cover, a glamorous gold and white striped hard cover, a floral hard cover and two soft faux leather covers in a baby blue and a bubble gum pink. Each planner has high quality interior pages created with soy based ink and printed on 50% PCW recycled paper.

The first few pages of the planner are worksheets designed to inspire you to formulate your core values and goals to guide your business and life over the next year. As a very social mom and blogger, these features are incredibly helpful and truly inspiring.

Each month has an overall month calendar that you can eye at a glance, with spaces on the sides to write out important life goals for that particular month intended to inspire you to pursue your passions and values. I love how Whitney English’s design has a focus on helping you do things intentionally and with purpose—inspiring a purpose driven life.

My absolute favorite part of the planner and daily agenda is that it includes spaces to write out your daily schedule, daily to-do list, the top three things you want to accomplish, as well as smaller sections to help you organize your evening activities (like restaurant openings, birthday parties, get togethers and other events). And there’s even a box to include something that you’re grateful for—a small way to cultivate a life of thankfulness.

I am so happy I was introduced to the original Day Designer, the strategic planner & daily agenda for living a WELL-DESIGNED LIFE. And I’m super excited to introduce you to the collection available at Target!

I’d like to introduce you to it too by offering you a chance to win one! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway Below. One winner will be announced on Friday, July 10th!

Enter To Win

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Cheers to Independence Day & Shopping at Hagerstown Premium Outlets

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I am a self proclaimed shopaholic. And when I think of Independence Day, I take time out to appreciate being an American and anticipate the backyard barbecues and fireworks.  But, I also think about all the amazing end of the season and pre-season retail sales! I had the pleasure of partnering with Hagerstown Premium Outlets, a Simon Center yesterday to check out all the weekend sales they’re having and share my shopping experience live on Twitter, Periscope and SnapChat (Angelica Talan).

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Photography by Lani Furbank. Kate Spade New York Tote Bag 60% Off at Hagerstown Premium Outlets.

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Photography by Lani Furbank. Kate Spade New York Tote Bag.

Most of the stores are offering 50% off their already significantly reduced merchandise. My two favorite stores Coach and Kate Spade New York are offering 70% off of all handbags! These are deals you can’t beat! I found this amazing carry-all tote bag originally retailed at $495 for less than $100!

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The kids corner is offering amazing door busters at Gymboree and Janie and Jack and sales such as buy 2 get one free deals at Carter’s.

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Photography by Lani Furbank. This Ann Taylor necklace is 70% off and the Banana Republic Dress is 50% Off at Hagerstown Premium Outlets.

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Every store at Hagerstown Premium Outlets is offering plenty of discounted items for their summer clearance sales! There is something for everyone in your family here! From the athlete to the cook to the fashionista to the kids, you don’t want to miss! Check out my Tastemade City Guide Video Recap here and to plan your trip and learn more about Hagerstown Premium Outlet, visit their website by clicking here. Stay up to the minute by following them on Facebook and Twitter. Have a wonderful Fourth of July and Happy Shopping!

{This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Hagerstown Premium Outlets, a Simon Center.}

6 Tips for Shopping & Saving at Hagerstown Premium Outlet

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Summer is officially here! The Fourth of July weekend is just a few days ahead, now is the perfect time to rack up some amazing end of the season bargains and save a few bucks on a few upcoming seasonal pieces. Hagerstown Premium Outlets is my favorite retail outlet in the DC area and this Thursday, I’ll be headed there to get some amazing deals!

Here are 6 Tips For Shopping Outlets and Getting the Best Bang For Your Buck: 

1. Make a List. Take a really good look at your closet and write down your top must have items. Have a look at clothes that you no longer enjoy wearing. Consider donating them or hosting a clothing swap for those items so that you clear space for your new finds.

2. Create a Budget. You can really save yourself a lot of money by having a budget and sticking to it. I find it helpful to appoint an approximate price tag to every item on my list.

3. Wear comfortable clothes and stylish, but comfortable shoes. Wear clothes that are easy to put on and take off so that trying on clothes is fun and relaxing. Wear comfortable yet stylish shoes to compliment the look of every outfit you try on.

4. Don’t Rush. Take your time. Really enjoy the shopping experience. Set enough time aside to try on each item and to think about how it fits into your current wardrobe.

5. Snap pictures of yourself in the outfits that you like. Consider using Snapchat and invite your friends to vote on the items you’re considering.

6. Shop the perimeters of the outlet mall first. Just like shopping for groceries, most of the best finds are on the outside corners of the outlets. High end designer brands and some of the highest quality items are located there.

Please join me this Thursday, July 2nd between 12 Noon and 4 PM as I shop Hagerstown Premium Outlets and takeover their social media channels. I’ll be reporting LIVE on Periscope and Snapchat (Angelica Talan) as well as live tweeting on both my Twitter account and the Hagerstown Premium Outlets account. Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook by clicking here and here. I’m so excited to host this social media takeover!  Check back on Friday, July 3rd for a Recap of all the fun and deals available at Hagerstown Premium Outlet!

Questlove Headlines VinoFest DC This Saturday, May 9th

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Did you know that Washington DC residents drink more wine than any other city in the United States? That’s according to VinoFest.  Now thanks to Vinolovers, the District has a chance to show its stripes at the second annual VinoFest DC on May 9th at Storey Park.

Here’s the rundown

  • WINE: Sip and share. The general admission ticket grants you the chance to taste a variety of wines, including local vintages made in neighboring Virginia, classic wines from regions like France and California, and few lesser known places, like Romania.
  • MUSIC: Get your dance on. VinoFest DC will be a full day of live music, headlined by QuestLove—the official Vinofest DJ. Other artists: White Ford Bronco, Black Masala, Trouble Funk, Alison Carney, DJ Adrian Loving, DJ Neekola, and DJ Hazzard.
  • FOOD: Get ready for fab. Local chefs will be showing off their small bites, and it wouldn’t be a DC event without a few choice food trucks! Graze among the likes of Dirty South Deli, Swizzler, Red Hook Lobster Pound DC, Slate Wine Bar + Bistro, Straw Stick & Brick Delicatessen, Snocream Company, Gouter, Puddin’, Timber Pizza, MilkCult and Chaia Farm to Taco. Can’t handle wine all day? No worries–you can also pair your dishes with a hand-crafted cocktail.
  • CHARITY: Drink up, feel good. Proceeds from VinoFest DC benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation Mid-Atlantic, DC Central Kitchen, and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. So cheers to you, do-gooder!
  • GET SOCIAL: Follow the fun with the hashtag #VinoFestDC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see photos, videos and updates of the event.

#FOMO yet? Get your tickets now–general admission, VIP tickets (think two more hours to party, more wine, more food), and specially-priced options for designated drivers are still available.

{This is a sponsored post in collaboration with VinofestDC.  I’m a huge fan of this event and will be in attendance! Please join us!}

 

Yogaso Boutique at Pike & Rose

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Ella “flying” like the butterfly outside of YOGASO.

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Ella & Logan. YOGASO Boutique.

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Alem Beshir & her beautiful family. The inspiration for YOGASO.

Alem Beshir & her beautiful family. The inspiration for YOGASO.

I met Alem Beshir at the opening party of one of DC’s hottest restaurants last year. Her electrifying, positive energy was instantly contagious. We bonded over being mothers, our multi-ethnic backgrounds and our passion for fashion. Alem reached out to me a couple months ago to let me know that her brand new boutique YOGASO had recently opened at the new North Bethesda town center ,Pike & Rose. I recently visited the boutique with my children, Ella and Logan during one of the final snowy days we’ve had this spring.

YOGASO was founded by Alem Beshir. Her vision for YOGASO was inspired by her multicultural background and her three children. Alem designed her boutique from top to bottom without consulting an architect or interior designer. She considered every detail of the boutique herself. The 1700 square foot boutique is bright and beautiful. From the moment you walk in, the wide open space feels welcoming. The boutique is a real showcase for the beautifully curated clothing designed for children ranging from infants to 12 year olds. Architecturally, the boutique is very impressive and showcases the clothes, accessories, books and toys in a way that allows the merchandise to awake your visual senses.

The clothing is imported mostly from Europe, but  the collection also consists of American, Japanese and South American designers. Prices are very affordable at a price point of  $35 to $50 for clothing items, much less expensive than jetting over to another country and buying the clothing there–which is something Alem did regularly while visiting her family abroad and attending expos and trade shows. Alem said she’s attracted to European kids’ clothing because it tends to be higher quality than mass-produced items sold in larger American department stores and I completely agree. Her collection is eco-friendly and sustainable, the style is very classic, very personal to Alem’s distinctive tastes. Definitely a world class boutique.

One of the lines of clothing sold at the boutique is Aleme, inspired by her children, the word “Aleme” means “My world” in Amharic, a primary language of Ethiopia. Her children are her world! “Aleme” is not only a clothing brand; it’s also the reflection of love, culture, and Style. The YOGASO name is derived from the first two letter of each of her 3 children’s names: Yohannes, Gabriella, and Sofia.

Ella, Logan and I really love this boutique because it doesn’t feel like a standard retail store,  it feels like an exhibition, an innovative take on a boutique. The entire space is open, very minimalistic and has that “wow” factor. When we visited YOGASO to see Alem and have a look at the boutique we had no idea what to expect and were absolutely blown away with the boutique. I think you will be too.

YOGASO offers kid’s birthday parties, kid’s yoga classes and fashion events.

YOGASO is located at: 11803 Grand Park Ave, North Bethesda MD at Pike and Rose . For more information, visit www.yogaso.com 

Hoppity Easter Weekend at Fair Oaks Mall

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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.

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

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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.

Entertainment Pick for Kids: Ringling Bros Presents LEGENDS

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Confession: My parents never took me to see the circus as a kid. And last night was the very first time I had ever attended the GREATEST Show on Earth in my entire life! I allowed Ella and Logan to stay up past their bedtime to enjoy one of the most impressive and amazing live shows we’ve ever seen together as a family. Johnathan Lee Iverson treated us with an awe-inspiring performance as a ringmaster. He introduced the most talented acrobats, dancers and circus entertainers!

My son’s favorite act was the motorcyclists. My daughter’s favorite act was the female acrobats that appeared in bubbles. My husband and I gushed about everything!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s LEGENDS is still in town this weekend continuing their tour in Baltimore and Fairfax in March and April. Check it out:

Washington, DC
March 19, 2015 – March 22, 2015
Baltimore, MD
March 25, 2015 – April 05, 2015
Fairfax, VA
April 08, 2015 – April 19, 2015

For schedule and ticket information, click here.

{Disclosure: My family was gifted complimentary tickets to the show in exchange for review.}

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

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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

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