Xtend Barre Grand Opening Tomorrow, June 14th in Old Town Alexandria

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10338585_902823073076882_4089953379944242946_o xtend-barre-pilates-and-dance-old-town-alexandria.jpg Photo Credit: Maria Jose Ovalle (VeryBusyMamaBlog.com)

Photo Credit: Maria Jose Ovalle (VeryBusyMamaBlog.com)

“Meet Us At the Barre, We Will Be Waiting For You”. Xtend Barre is Pilates and Dance…Amplified!

Featured in FITNESS, SHAPE and SELF magazines, Xtend Barre is a high-energy total body workout that combines serious sculpting exercises done at the ballet barre with lively music and cardio where clients can have fun while achieving very serious results in under an hour. Created by former dancer/choreographer and Pilates expert Andrea Rogers, Xtend Barre workout doesn’t stop at pirouettes. Its’a dynamic, no-holds barre (get it?), low-impact/high performance workout packed with isometric exercises that make your guns, buns, abs – and everything else – scream with delight. Exercises at a professional ballet barre with precise concentrated movements and light weight training target small muscle groups while wide reaching motion is designed to lengthen your physique. An array of props like resistance balls, weights, stretch bands and more also keep you on your toes. The result? A strong, sculpted, coveted “dancer-like body” without the unwanted bulk, and increased stamina and flexibility.

I had the most amazing opportunity to attend the fun (yet challenging) sneak preview of Xtend Barre Studio earlier this week where I  met the beautifully sculpted mother of two, my new fitness icon Andrea Rogers and studio owner Natalie Strahorn, who is also beautifully sculpted and inspiring. The Barre workout is phenomenal! I loved everything about it: the stretching, the sculpting, the breathing, the weights, the band, the barre… I especially enjoyed how I felt hours following the workout. I literally glowed and could feel my body improving.  It was so much fun.

Andrea Rogers is full of exhilarating high energy motivating everyone to do their best. The studio itself is brand new, bright, fresh, clean and minimalistic zen. Studio owner Natalie Strahorn discovered Barre while working in Fashion in New York City and decided to bring it to Old Town. I’m so happy she did! The class left me so invigorated I felt like picking up Andrea Rogers after the class. I was pumped up and feeling great! Xtend Barre is the perfect place to get in shape for the summer!

What makes them even more unique is that they offer more than just barre class! Beginning next month, they will be introducing Barrecamp, a hybrid of barre class with added cardio sequences and HIIT (high intensity interval training), which helps to get your heart rate up for extra calorie burning. For all the fabulous mamas out there, they also will be offering Babies on Board, where moms can wear their babies in their carrier while working out at the barre. Share the excitement!

Xtend Barre Old Town Grand Opening is Saturday, June 14th. Classes are at: 8:30 AM, 10 AM and 11:30 AM. Open House from 12:30 PM to 2 PM.Enjoy healthy bites and drinks courtesy of Whole Foods, Flat Iron Steak & Saloon, Barre Protein Bars, Yogurtini and South Block Juice Company. 

 

Sign up for an MVP Card & Enter To Win a $25 Food Lion Gift Card

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Shop, Swipe and Save using your Food Lion MVP Card. Clarendon Moms has partnered up with Food Lion to offer four lucky readers an opportunity to win a $25 Gift Card between June 5th and June 15th. SIGN UP NOW for your free MVP Card and save even more each time you visit Food Lion. When you register for an MVP Card you immediately gain valuable access to: Low MVP pricess on an ever-changing array of products, special promotions only available to MVP card holders, an online tally of how much you’ve saved with your MVP card, automatic savings every time you swipe your MVP card and personalized coupons generated just for you based on your preferences and past purchases. Become an MVP Card Holder by clicking here.

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Paris With Kids (A Parents Guide to a Parisian Family Vacation)

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Visiting Paris With Kids

When my husband invited me eight years ago to accompany him on a business trip to Paris, I was over the moon. We had just gotten engaged and while he had been to Paris before, this was my first time traveling to Europe. Like most people, I fell in love with Paris. I fell in love with the opulent architecture, the monuments, the statues, the world class museums and the authentic live music (which ubiquitously consisted of an accordion, a violin or a harp). I fell in love with the iconic buildings (i.e. Eiffel Tower, The Louvre…), the painters selling their art on the streets, the history and culture of Paris, the romantic Seine River, the patisseries, the food and the fashion! Can we talk about the fashion for a moment? Paris has the most world-class high-end boutiques, the most luxurious, yet affordable boutiques as well. And the more “commercial stores” like Zara and H&M are far more glamorous than their American sisters because they have different items in stock that are only available in Europe. To say I was in heaven is a very serious understatement.

Over the last three years, we’ve taken the kids to Paris for a week vacation. I’ve researched the best places to create a family friendly vacation and I’d like to share my favorite picks.

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The kids at The Fountain of Warsaw/Jardins du Trocadero during our family’s first trip to Paris. Summer 211. © ClarendonMoms

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The kids at our hotel (Passy Eiffel) during our first trip to Paris. 2011. ©ClarendonMoms

STAY

Apartment Rentals are a fantastic option. Here are my top two websites to find a nice family friendly apartment.

© ClarendonMoms Dave and Ella peering into the window of Breakfast In America (Marais/Paris)

Dave and Ella peering into the window of Breakfast In America (Marais/Paris) Winter 2012. © ClarendonMoms

EAT

My husband and I consider ourselves foodies. We enjoy dining out at laid-back establishments as well as formal establishments—even with our kids. We enjoy trying a variety of different cuisines, especially while on vacation. However, French food is our absolute favorite. And although we appreciate experimenting with our palate, our kids tend to want a slice of home. So we do make it a point to treat the kids to a couple of American meals every time we travel overseas.  We’ve found a couple good restaurants that are sure to make you feel like you’re back at home as well as a couple places to find items for a picnic.

Grocery stores to pick up items for cooking at home away from home or to pack for a picnic:

  • Monoprix: Comparable to a Big K-mart in the US, Monoprix doubles as a very unique grocery store with fresh produce, freshly baked goods, basic dairy products, French bottled water, pre-packaged sandwiches, inexpensive wine, standard groceries while offering knock-off gourmet snacks and very interesting knick-knacks that can be purchased as souvenirs or as toys for your children. Every arrondissement has at least one large Monoprix store in addition to smaller shops, called Daily Monop’.
  • Picard: The store’s modern ice-blue colored Snowflake is powerful enough to catch your eye as you’re perusing the shops on every street. Opening the doors, you are immediately impressed with the frigid, minimalistic white ambience, as staff stroll the corridors in white lab coats, pushing silver insulated shopping carts. You have entered Picard, a grocery chain in Paris selling only frozen foods. These are not your standard American tv dinners. These are the type of gourmet meals that are made in Italy, Spain and various parts of France and flash frozen so the consumer can whip up a delectable meal in two shakes of a lobster tail. It kind of reminds me of Trader Joe’s, but dare I say it: even fancier and more delicious!

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Restaurants

  • Le Relais de l’Entrecôte: A fantastic family restaurant suited for casual tourists offering impeccable service and steak grilled to perfection. Serving only steak and fries, this is the perfect place for omnivores.
  • Drouant: Facing a very pretty city square, the restaurant has been around since 1880. Managed by Antoine Westermann, the menu offers elegantly updated classics with an emphasis on seafood.
  • Chez Georges: A popular, old school bistro serving classics like frisée au lardons, jambon persillée, escargot, and tarte tatin.
  • Le Petit Vendôme If you really want to lunch as the locals do, visit this old fashioned Auvergnate casse-croute.
  • Benoît: Opened in 1912, Benoit celebrated its 100 years anniversary. It’s a venerable age for the only one Parisian Bistro to get starred by the prestigious Michelin Guide. The restaurant has still a lot of vitality and remains the traditional Bistro cuisine in the heart of Paris.
  • Le Grand Colbert: Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Jack Nicolson made this historic brasserie made (more) famous in the movie Something’s Gotta Give. And if you know anything about me–I’m a sucker for a Hollywood staples.
  • Ma Bourgogne: Serving humble French fare in a location that is anything but, Ma Bourgogne brings hearty classics to the Place des Vosges.
  • Korcarz: A kosher Jewish deli on Rue des Rosiers offering an epicerie full of nosh and a lovely terrace
  • Chardenoux: This is a 100-year-old belle époque bistro with your classic French bistro menu. It’s a quiet neighborhood restaurant, not cheap but worth it, for the food is a cut above. Charming service.
  • Le Tournesol: a modern French bistro that serves delicious, light meals at the foot of the Radio France building in the 16th Arrondissement.  The crowd is 90% locals with a few tourists lucky enough to find this trendy and chic restaurant.
  • Breakfast in America: The owner, Craig Carlson is from Connecticut with quite an interesting story. This is our “go-to” place for breakfast at least once or twice during every trip to Paris. Our kids are reminded that eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, toast and pancakes can be served anywhere in the world and yes, even in Paris.
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Ella & Logan checking out the macarons. ©ClarendonMoms

Patisseries

Patisseries are like 7 Elevens in America. They’re just about on every single corner. It’s almost impossible to find a bad one. But, these two in particular have been around forever and are two of the most popular patisseries in all of France.

  • Ladurée:  One of the top premier sellers of the double-decker macarons. 15,000 are sold every day. They are one of the oldest and most reputable makers of macarons in the world.
  • LeNotre: This is our absolute favorite patisserie in all of Paris. The pastries are very fresh and it offers a very family friendly atmosphere.
  • PAUL: is a French chain of Bakery/Café style restaurants established in 1889 in the city of Croix, in Northern France. It specializes in serving French products including breads, crêpes, and sandwiches, macarons, soups, cakes, pastries, coffee, wine, and beer.
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@ClarendonMoms

Our favorite little tot playground (suitable for 1-5 year olds) near The Fountain of Warsaw/Jardins du Trocadero/Eiffel Tower    ©ClarendonMoms

Our favorite little tot playground (suitable for 1-5 year olds) near The Fountain of Warsaw/Jardins du Trocadero/Eiffel Tower ©ClarendonMoms

PLAY

There isn’t a shortage of beautiful, elegantly landscaped and solidly built playgrounds in Paris.

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©ClarendonMoms

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Cultural Enrichment (thru Sight Seeing)

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Shopping

Rue Vavin is the shopping mecca for stylish moms. Near the Luxembourg Gardens, this quarter mile long narrow street has more than a dozen children’s clothing boutiques, including Catimini, Jacadi, Petit Bateau, Froment LeRoyer (kids’ shoes) and Marese. At the top of the street is a FNAC Junior, packed with French educational toys, books and DVD’s. Make sure to stop in for a gelato at Amorino, 4, rue Vavin (our absolute favorite gelato place in all of Paris).

Rue Cler, a cobbled pedestrian street in the seventh arrondissement, is packed with small shops for the perfect picnic (wine, cheese, bread, olives and French specialties), is truly a sensory experience for the entire family. Children will be drawn to the colorful macaroons in the windows of LeNôtre, as well as the sweet-smelling crêpe stand, where a Nutella and banana crêpe is only 3.50 euros.

Children’s Boutiques

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Women’s Fashion

 Men’s Fashion

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©ClarendonMoms

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©ClarendonMoms

TIPS

Getting Around

Getting around Paris is very easy! The best way is to walk. Paris is surprisingly easy to navigate on foot and it is only in the Montmartre district that there are any hills. Walking is the best way to see the city as you go from arrondissement to arrondissement. Paris is a compact city, no more than six kilometers at its widest point. However, when the kids begin to get tired, there are several transportation options including: Metro, Buses and Taxis. The Paris metro is one of the oldest in the world which also means that only very few of the stations have lifts or escalators for strollers. Buses are easy to access with a stroller but much slower depending on traffic and you are above ground and can really get an awesome tour of the city without the stress of driving. After living in the DC area for the last decade, we’re quite spoiled with the modern escalator and elevators. The Paris metro system is just as nice, but prepare to lift the scrollers. I recommend baby carriers if you can get away with that. The final option is to hire a taxi. The prices are very comparable to those in any major U.S. city and quite worth it.

What to Pack

Paris may be considered the fashion capital of the world. But, it’s certainly nothing to get anxious over when packing. I’ve noticed that most Parisians have a kind of “uniform” formula that they use to get dressed every morning creating a very polished, chic and classic look. It consists of: 1. A Blazer 2. a Button Down, Turtleneck or Classic T-shirt 3. A Scarf 4. Jeans 5. Flats This look is standard for both men and women throughout almost all four seasons.  For Summer: Dresses, dresses and dresses with very pretty feminine flat sandals is the perfect go-to outfit for women as well as little girls. A neutral colored tee and black or colored shorts with masculine sandals is the best go-to outfit for men as well as little boys. Here are a couple more tips:

  • Black is The New Black: It doesn’t matter what season it is, black is always in style in Paris. Black is awesome because almost everything looks dressier in this color. The kids spills and dirt don’t show up as easily and black goes with everything.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Parisians do a lot of walking. Contrary to American culture, the fashion set in Paris wear flats over heels, especially during daylight hours. Ballet Slippers, Gladiator sandals, and dressy shoes with a low heel are great. The kids can wear absolutely any footwear and get away with it.
  • Think layers.  The weather in Paris is fickle; temperatures can swing wildly during the day, particularly in spring and fall, while the sun plays peekaboo.  Blazers, light cardigans, sweaters and hoodies are great items to pack for the whole family. And bring socks and a light anorak.
  • Jeans: Yes! Skinny jeans are very popular, especially in colors. Cherry and mustard are especially popular. And yes, even the men wear jeans in skinny cut and in colors.
  • Dress Up A Little: What’s considered dressy in the states could be considered casual in Paris.
  • Carry a Cross Body Bag with Zipper: There are tons of signs around touristy sections of Paris warning you to be aware of pick-pockets. Wearing a small cross body bag with a zipper closure is one of the best ways to ward off these petty criminals.  Men and women would do better only carrying one credit card, just the necessary amount of cash for the day and only one form of identification. Leave all the extraneous credit cards and passports in the hotel safe.
  • What Not to Wear: Workout Clothes or Yoga/Pilates GearParisians never go out in workout clothes or yoga wear. I don’t even think Parisians even know what Lululemon is. And white sneakers just screams “frumpy Americans”.

Happy Traveling!

If you have any questions or tips about Paris that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give Mom Some Peace at Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel For Mother’s Day & Enter To Win

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Whether mom wants to sleep in, sneak off and read stacks of magazines, have drinks with the gals, or binge watch Scandal, Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel is giving her the freedom to do as she pleases for Mother’s Day. The Leave Mom in Peace Package lets dad take the kids on a fun overnight stay in DC so mom can truly relax.  See the city and even engage in a day of espionage at the Spy Museum (tickets included in package) while you’re at it!  Dad can even enjoy a little cozy retreat with room service, while the kids take full advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi for all their devices.  Sleep in (if the kids let you), then check out late the next day, just in time to surprise mom with beautiful bouquet compliments of Renaissance Dupont Circle.

Rates include valet parking, breakfast at M Brasserie for 1 adult and up to 3 children, up to 4 tickets to the spy museum, complimentary Wi-Fi, 3pmnext day check out and flowers upon departure. With a package like this, dad may just want to stay an extra night.

Rates are per room, per night based on availability and exclude tax and gratuities.  Offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more, other terms and conditions apply.  For more information or reservations, please call (888)-686-5214 or visit www.renaissancedupontcircle.com. Refer to promotional code: P51

Follow Renaissance Dupont Circle on Facebook.com/RenaissanceDupontCircle to learn how you can win a Leave Mom in Peace Package.

ABOUT RENAISSANCE DUPONT CIRCLE HOTEL:

Renaissance Washington DC, Dupont Circle Hotel is a distinctive hotel located in south of end of Washington, DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood at 1143 New Hampshire Avenue and M Street, NW. Situated blocks from Dupont Circle’s restaurants and energetic nightlife and close to historic Georgetown, the hotel is minutes from the metro and legendary city sites.  The stylish hotel flaunts a cosmopolitan lobby bar featuring a rotating exhibit of contemporary art from local arts organizations, conveying class and provoking guests’ sense of discovery, while 10,800 square feet of event space appeals to business travelers with state-of-the-art meeting facilities.  Discover a city favorite, the Renaissance Washington, DC Dupont Circle Hotel.  For more information or to make a reservation, call (888)-686-5214, or visit www.renaissancedupontcircle.com

About Renaissance Hotels

Renaissance Hotels encourages guests to Live Life to DiscoverSM  at more than 155 hotels in 35 countries around the world.  Expecting to open at least one hotel per month this year, the brand should reach nearly near 170 hotels in 40 countries by the end of 2014.  Each hotel is unique and every stay offers an opportunity to explore local discoveries exclusive to the destination.  At every hotel, Renaissance Navigators are local experts ready to assist guests in discovering local flavors and activities.  Signature live entertainment events are designed to showcase emerging talent in music, the arts, culinary and more to inspire discovery. R.E.N. Meetings offers groups an experience beyond a traditional meeting rooted in creative sensory meeting design, RLife LIVE networking events and custom curated local Navigator excursions.   At Renaissance Hotels, we work to ensure that every trip is transformed into an eye-opening, unforgettable journey. You spend your life working; you should discover the world as you go. To discover more visit www.renhotels.com

The Scent of a Baby (Antica Farmacista): The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

A beautiful soft scent, inspired by the purity and freshness of baby. Built on notes of soft peach, sparkling citrus and sheer floral notes of lavender, may rose and bigarade. A powdery hint of white musk, honeyed almond and creamy Tahitian vanilla round out this sweet, calming scent reminiscent of baby fresh.

A beautiful soft scent, inspired by the purity and freshness of baby. Built on
notes of soft peach, sparkling citrus and sheer floral notes of lavender, may rose and bigarade. A powdery hint of white musk, honeyed almond and creamy Tahitian vanilla round out this sweet, calming scent reminiscent of baby fresh.

The Scent of a Baby…A Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

The irresistible smell of a newborn baby offers a really soothing, mood boosting aroma-therapeutic reaction, according to a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology. The study surveyed both, women that were mothers and women that had never given birth. In every case, the brain’s reward center lit up after sniffing pajamas worn by newborns much like it would after consuming chocolate.

The study also indicates that most people (women, children and even men) can benefit from smelling the scent of a newborn baby by experiencing the mood boost that the baby scent provides, but mothers in particular seem to have a stronger sense of attachment to their children after smelling a baby scent.

The scent of a Baby would make the ultimate Mother’s Day Gift. And Antica Farmacista has found a way to bottle it perfectly.

Antica Farmacista offers diffusers in several sizes and also a room spray ranging in price from $26 to $96. For more information or to purchase, click here.

{Disclosure: Antica Farmacista provided a line of products to sample and review. All opinions are authentic and my own.}

You’re Invited: Side Yards at The Yards May 10th 5 PM to 10 PM (Free Family Event)

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COME ONE, COME ALL!

ASTONISHING ‘SIDE YARDS’ SPECTACLE HITS DC Sword Swallowers, Acrobats, Fire Breathers and More
Head to The Yards Riverfront on May 10

The Yards Park, DC’s leading riverfront living, shopping and dining destination.

The first ever sideshow extravaganza Side Yards at The Yards, located on the Anacostia Riverfront. The day of amusement and wonder invites locals to let their freak flag fly while taking in the sights and sounds of the DC area’s top circus performers. Three stages of entertainment will showcase the terrifying talents of contortionists, magicians, jugglers, fire breathers, sword swallowers and more. The event will also feature live concerts throughout the evening with music by Drop Electric, Shark Week, and U.S. Royalty. Delicious food on the boardwalk, a photo booth, body painter, fortuneteller, and beer garden by Bluejacket will round out the evening’s carnival delights.

Saturday, May 10 | 5:00-10:00PM

Yards Park | 355 Water Street SE | Washington, DC 20003. Directions here: www.TheYardsDC.com/explore/map

To enjoy a spring evening along the Anacostia Riverfront in the shadow of Nationals Stadium—and to see why The Yards is fast becoming one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the city.

The event is open to the public and free to attend!

NUMARI: Custom Fit Women’s Wear #RealMomStyle

NUMARI: Real Mom Style

NUMARI: Real Mom Style

NUMARI: Real Mom Style

NUMARI: Real Mom Style

Have you ever heard of a women’s wear line that offers custom fit dresses to fit your body? If you’re like me and this is a new concept,  please allow me to introduce you to NUMARI.

I have always thought about how nice it was to get measured for my bridal gown and my bridesmaid dresses. And I thought about how nice it would be to be able to get every single dress I own customized for my ever fluctuating body type. However,  I also thought that getting all of my clothes tailored was just too expensive for me to even fathom.

NUMARI is a new clothing line that offers custom fit dresses that are appropriate for almost every occasion.  NUMARI’s preview collection features high quality garments designed by the talented fashion designer Bert Keeter, a Project Runway contestant. Mr. Keeter has designed for Bill Blass, Halston, Holly Harp, and Arnold Scaasi. The preview collection highlights Bert’s style: minimalistic, sleek silhouettes that can transition easily from day to night. A representative reached out to me recently offering an opportunity to order my very own custom fit dress. I jumped for joy! NUMARI is like a dream come true! You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to go get your measurements. There is an easy step by step guide instructing you to take your own measurements (without any help at all) in just under 15 minutes! After measurements and a few clicks of the mouse, your dress is ordered and on the way to your door in 3 weeks or less! What’s more to ask for? How about the most amazing, high quality fabric and a dress that fits you absolutely perfectly at a price you can afford. Dresses range from $160 to $235 and are available on www.numari.com. 

:: Outfit ::

:: Photography by Rana::

Linked up with #RealMomStyle

For more information or to order your own NUMARI dress, click here.

Note: I will also be sharing more information on the company when I feature them in my Mother’s Day Gift Guide coming soon!

Enter to WIN a Pair of Tickets To The Washington Ballet’s PETER PAN at the Kennedy Center April 16-27th

Win a Pair of Tickets to 2014 The Washington Ballet's PETER PAN

Win a Pair of Tickets to 2014 The Washington Ballet’s PETER PAN

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Eisenhower Theater

Take a high-flying adventure to Neverland with the The Washington Ballet’s NEW Production of Septime Webre’s dazzling Peter Pan. A swashbuckling coming of age tale that pits Peter and the Lost Boys against Captain Hook and his outrageous band of pirates, this whimsical adventure is told through vibrant dance. Peter Pan is a story about growing up that never seems to grow old.

Peter Pan
Choreography by Septime Webre
Music by Carmon DeLeone

Performance dates and times:

Wednesday April 16, 2014 at 7:30PM (Preview Night)
Thursday April 17, 2014 at 7:30PM (Opening Night)
Friday April 18, 2014 at 7:30PM
Saturday April 19, 2014 at 1:30PM & 7:30PM
Sunday April 20, 2014 at 6:30PM
Saturday April 26, 2014 at 1:30PM & 7:30PM
Sunday April 27, 2014 at 1:30PM & 6:30PM

Location:
The Kennedy Center, Eisenhower Theater
2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC 20566
202.467.4600

ENTER TO WIN:

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Contest has ended. Congratulations to the winner: Roxana V.