Visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for its annual holiday lights festival, ZooLights, powered by
Pepco. ZooLights is a free event, and this year half-a-million environmentally friendly LED lights
will illuminate the Zoo for 37 nights—from Nov. 23 through Jan. 1, 2019 from 5 to 9 p.m.
NEW THIS YEAR: GINGERBREAD VILLAGE, REINDEER GAMES FUN ZONE
Guests can look forward to some new eye candy at Gingerbread Village, a magical area of
frosted cookies and lollipops, giant gingerbread people cut-outs and a gingerbread throne
perfect for friend-and-family photos. Visitors also can pause outside the Elephant Community
Center to see a dazzling laser-light show, sponsored by Pepco, or board the Smithsonian’s
National Zoo Choo-Choo, sponsored by Metro by T-Mobile, for a journey around the Kids’ Farm.
At the new Reindeer Games Fun Zone, sponsored by GEICO, try a holiday-themed obstacle
course and twirl on illuminated rides. Each night of ZooLights will also boast a live music or
dance performance in the Great Meadow beneath a light canopy that responds to sound and
Visitors will be able to enjoy special winter treats, sweets, coffee and a selection of seasonal
spirits. The recently completed Conservation Pavilion Patio will feature six fire pits where guests
can roast s’mores or grab luminous cotton candy served on glowing sticks.
DATES TO REMEMBER AT ZOOLIGHTS
In 2018, GRUMP will double in size, featuring more vendors with unique gifts for all
ages, from handmade clothing and accessories to artwork, handcrafted toys and sweet
treats. GRUMP will start at the Zoo’s Connecticut Avenue entrance.
rides/attractions and BOGO popcorn when they present their membership card and
ZooLights does not feature the Zoo’s animals—all indoor animal exhibits will be closed to allow
animals to get a full night’s rest. Visitors will be able to warm up in the Zoo’s Visitor Center,
Panda Plaza Gift Shop, Mane Grill and Great Cats Gift Shop.
Admission to ZooLights is free. A flat-rate parking fee of $15 for Friends of the National Zoo
(FONZ) members and $25 for nonmembers will apply. Proceeds from ZooLights concessions and parking sales will benefit animal care and conservation science at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.
ZooLights will not be held Dec. 24, 25 and 31. For more information about the event, go to
As we make our way through the last of Thanksgiving leftovers and the dash for checkmarks on our shopping lists we turn our attention to the highlight of all holidays and the star of the show. Kids of all ages, from 1-99, excited to see the jolly old elf will kick-off the Christmas Season this Saturday, December 1, 2018. Santa Claus is coming to Lake Anne! From flight to float, Santa and his elves will make a grand entrance by boat and paddle board at noon.
Bundle up with everything holiday spirit and enjoy making an ornament, decorating a cookie, the
craft market and listening to live music – special performance by the Lake Anne Elementary
School Chorus & Orchestra. Make sure to have your wish list ready and space on your phones
for your 2018 photo with Santa. Santa will be sure to stay until every boy and girl has their turn
to share their wishes and take a FREE photo.
8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Craft Market
10:00 a.m. – Noon Cookies and Kids Crafts
11:00 a.m. – Noon Lake Anne Elementary School Chorus & Orchestra
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Author, Watt Hamlett and Illustrator Jill Olinger Vinson of the
book “Reston A-Z” will be available to sign purchased copies. Proceeds to benefit Reston Historic Trust & Museum.
Noon SANTA ARRIVES! Pictures with Santa
Noon – 2:00 p.m. Music on the Plaza
Jingle on the Lake provided by The Lake Anne Merchants.
Annual Jingle on the Lake
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Lake Anne Plaza (Waterfront) - 1609 Washington Plaza, Reston, VA 20190
Free, Rain or Shine
Cirque Dreams Holidaze is a critically acclaimed extravaganza that is a Broadway musical and new Cirque adventure wrapped into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family. Over 300 imaginative costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, the finest singers, original music and seasonal favorites celebrate Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas and New Year's in a 2 hour breathtaking spectacle.
Audiences of all ages will marvel at soaring acrobatics, gravity defying feats and extravagant theatrical production numbers the Boston Globe hails “Entrancing … Las Vegas meets family entertainment." Experience this unique multi-million-dollar live stage production that dazzled at the Kennedy Center, sparkled at the Grand Ole Opry House and Broadway World calls “The Perfect Holiday Gift…a show that everyone will enjoy.
CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE
The Theater at MGM National Harbor
CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED COUNTER CASUAL EATERY ‘DIRT’ TO OPEN FIRST LOCATION OUTSIDE MIAMI AT BALLSTON EXCHANGE IN 2019
Celebrated Miami-based counter casual eatery DIRT has announced that it will open its first location outside Miami in Ballston, VA within the highly anticipated Ballston Exchange from Jamestown LP. DIRT Ballston will be located at 4121 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 102B, Arlington, VA 22203, and plans to open in spring 2019.
Following visits to various parts of Washington, D.C. and the greater DMV area, DIRT Co-Founder Jeff LaTulippe noticed quickly that Ballston encompassed a unique and rapidly expanding community, one that DIRT could call home and grow with. LaTulippe and Director of Operations JJ McDaniel were immediately attracted to the energy of the neighborhood. Ballston is an active area that fits DIRT perfectly, and the duo has plans to connect creatively with the community, including neighboring gyms and boutique fitness studios, so they are thrilled to be located within close proximity to Sport & Health, Gold’s Gym, Orange Theory, VIDA Fitness (also opening in 2019), Ballston CrossFit, and Bash Boxing, to name a few. Furthermore, LaTulippe and McDaniel felt that DIRT would be the perfect complement to their neighbors CAVA, Shake Shack, and Philz Coffee, three concepts that they have admired from afar.
Featuring a variety of breakfast dishes and toasts (both served all day), salads, bowls, plates, smoothies, juices, vegan “mylkshakes”, pastries, and a full espresso bar and tea program, DIRT is an inclusive concept that offers something for everyone: omnivores, vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free diners, or those who are simply seeking delicious, high-quality food.
“DIRT was borne out of necessity,” says Jeff LaTulippe. “Having overcome my own personal weight loss struggles (I lost about 60 pounds in my early to mid 20s), it was important to me to create a menu that was more than just kale and quinoa and grilled chicken. We wanted to strike the right balance of ‘health-conscious’ and ‘delicious’ at any time of day, an all-day restaurant that wasn't solely focused on salads and bowls, but could offer a variety and keep the dining experience fun and enjoyable. We couldn't find a place like this, so we created it.
“The menu was designed with flexibility in mind, so you can be really healthy if you’d like, but you can also indulge and feel good about what you’re putting in your body. We’re naturally very ‘vegetable-focused’, but we also offer many sustainable proteins, including grass-fed steak, Faroe Island salmon, wild-caught tuna, organic free-range chicken, and pasture-raised eggs. One of the best-selling items on our menu since the day we opened is our DIRTy Steak + Cheese sandwich, our take on a Philly cheesesteak, made with grass-fed steak, provolone, sautéed peppers and onions, pepperoncini, sriracha, and a house-made horseradish Greek yogurt ‘aioli’ on fresh locally-baked bread.”
DIRT also takes a different approach to service with a “counter casual” operating model. “We have a different service model than the omnipresent Chipotle-style assembly line that people have become inundated with,” says JJ McDaniel, DIRT Director of Operations. “You order at the counter, and although we don't have formal servers, from there it's very much a full-service experience. We bring your order to you, with real plates and silverware and linen napkins, check on you during your meal, and clean your table after you leave. Trays and bus tubs are purposely absent from the DIRT dining experience.”
Featuring 1,800 square feet, DIRT Ballston has enlisted local architecture and interiors firm //3877 to spin a design evocative of DIRT’s roots in Miami and Ballston’s rich character. Welding clean, strong geometric forms with storied textures and industrial-chic materials, including concrete and blackened steel, DIRT’s persona is reflective of its defining narrative, placing a heavy emphasis on clean eating and great taste coexisting. Espousing a sleek and contemporary aesthetic visually connected to DIRT’s seasonally-inspired menu, emerald green and natural elements will be weaved throughout the space, playing upon the eatery’s dedication to all things natural.
Within the restaurant, 33 seats will offer guests an opportunity to relax and enjoy their meals while a grab ‘n go window is designed accommodate guests who are on the move. A large marble order counter will be available for easy ordering and an intuitive flow of space. Separating the ordering station from the food prep center, a modern glass block wall will be revealed, opening the space’s floor plan visually without sacrificing food prep standards. The back of the space will be illuminated by a sculptural neon sign denoting DIRT’s ‘Eat Clean, Talk Dirty’ message while providing an eye-catching element that dictates the fresh, fun, and playful ambiance. White oak, maple, and subway tile detailing will create a seamless approach to imbuing airiness throughout the space. Oversized basket weave pendants will flush the concept out in full, creating a statement piece that generates a narrative without taking attention away from the food.
“DIRT has a unique approach to clean, beautiful, fresh food in that they offer a wide variety of dietary options, invigorating the D.C. fine casual scene,” says Meghan Scott, Interior Designer at //3877. “They have a strong brand aesthetic which provided a solid basis for the design. At the same time, they were open to new ideas throughout the collaborative process allowing creative freedom to push the concept. Jeff and JJ’s excitement about coming to D.C. was infectious and we are more than excited to be a part of the team.”
The opening of DIRT Ballston is a homecoming of sorts for LaTulippe. His wife is from Silver Spring, MD and the pair originally met in Washington, D.C. – with their first date in Georgetown in 2010. They are excited to return home and share DIRT with the D.C. area. “We're very community-focused, so we’ll take the same approach in D.C. that we've had in Miami – we’ll make friends in Ballston and the greater D.C. area and support local farms and food artisans as much as we can.”
PAYING HOMAGE TO THE CULINARY HERITAGE, RECIPES & HOME-STYLE COOKING OF THE CHANG WOMEN - WINTER 2019
Featuring 7,787 square feet, Mama Chang will serve as a culinary tribute honoring the Chang women including Peter’s grandmother, mother, wife and celebrated Chef Lisa Chang, and daughter Lydia Chang. The space will debut a crisp, feminine, and modern design with bright whites, and cool shades of green, all of which will be framed by lush green plants throughout the dining room. Mama Chang will be located on the first floor of 3251 Old Lee Highway, recently renovated and the winner of the 2014 NAIOP Award of Excellence for Best Building Renovation/Capital Improvement.
The menus will place a heavy emphasis on Hunan, Szechuan, and home-style Chinese cooking and recipes, many of which have remained in the Chang family for generations – including dishes the family enjoys at home and some that Peter Chang’s own mother and grandmother used to prepare for him and the family. Signature dishes at Mama Chang are slated to include a Smoked and Cured Platter with Smoked Chicken, Smoked Sausage, Cured Fish, and Sweet and Sour Pickled Cabbage, Stir Fried Braised Pork Belly with Deep Fried Green Pepper, and Tea Braised Egg Pork Belly Stew w. Bean Curd, just to highlight a few. The beverage program is slated to feature a variety of beers and wines. Mama Chang plans to open serving both lunch and dinner with plans to launch a dim sum brunch shortly following the opening.
With the opening of Mama Chang, I’m really looking forward to sharing simple, natural, and delicious food like my mom and grandma used to make for me with love in the past."
"Cooking to me is second nature”, said Chef Lisa Chang. “In spite of my professional career as a pastry chef, I always enjoy cooking up a meal for my family and friends. When friends come to our home to visit, my mother in law and I would quickly run to the market to buy the freshest produce and the most lively fish. And in case of any unexpected visits from family and friends, I always had cured meats available, which we made together to make a quick stir-fry. Everyone loves it. I still remember one time after a holiday gathering, all of our friends said they couldn't believe what a great chef my mother in law is, that she's the best in the family. That's the magic of home-style cooking and we’re very excited to be able to share this with our guests."
During the course of the last 15 years, he has created signature dishes like dry-fried eggplant, bamboo flounder fish, etc. And as wonderful and delicious as some of these signature signature dishes are, the food at Mama Chang will focus more on regional and refined home-style cooking but in a relaxed, modern, but upscale casual dining setting. And to thank our long time fans and followers, they will have the opportunity to experience a few similar dishes paying homage to my father’s China Star days. We're very excited to return to Fairfax City and make our family’s culinary journey come full circle beginning with the start back in 2003."
As the name suggests, Mama Chang’s design will evoke a feminine touch, paying homage to Peter Chang’s wife who is herself a celebrated chef. As a counterpoint to the darker, more masculine Q by Peter Chang in Bethesda, Mama Chang will feel light, bright, crisp, modern, and airy. It was important to the Chang family that the design be “unexpected” for a Chinese restaurant. Nahra Design Group accomplished this through the use of clean lines, bright white tile, light oak wood, and natural fiber rope draped and woven over the banquettes. Chinese elements were introduced in subtle ways, such as the feature wall of which will be made of stacked traditional clay roof tiles, and pops of red, symbolic of good luck.
ABOUT MAMA CHANG
Schedule to open in Fairfax City in Virginia in Winter 2018/2019, Mama Chang – an original culinary concept from legendary Chinese Chef Peter Chang – will pay homage to all of the Chang women and their recipes. The modern upscale casual restaurant will be open for both lunch and dinner with plans to launch brunch after the opening. Mama Chang will specialize in offering home-style dishes, and will offer both beer and wine at their bar. For additional information on Mama Chang, please visit www.MamaChangVA.com
IG @_Mama_Chang; Twitter @_MamaChang
ABOUT NAHRA DESIGN GROUP
Nahra Design Group is an award-winning, design-focused, full-service boutique architecture firm based in Washington DC. Founded in 2010 by Architect John Nahra, the firm purposefully embraces design projects of several genres, including residential, commercial, interiors, retail, and hospitality typologies. NDG’s clients goals are primary to what they do and the group is built to deliver. Nahra Design Group’s clients include private residential owners, real estate developers, institutional organizations, business owners and builders. The team is passionate about their work and offering exemplary project solutions that are aesthetically striking and environmentally responsible. NDG prides themselves on their balance of individual creativity, collaborative design process, and responsive, professional practice. They believe it is the spirit and synthesis of these ingredients that allows them to consistently deliver added value to a project team. For additional information on Nahra Design Group please visit www.NahraDesign.com or via social media @NahraDesign.
Join the Village at Leesburg for the biggest kick off to the holiday season Saturday, November 17 from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm!
The free festivities include Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides, Acapella Musical Performances by Clear Harmonies, Holiday Characters, Visits with Santa, Gingerbread House Making with The Conche, Glow in the Dark Activities & Treats After Dark and More Festive Fun!
You are encouraged to bring a toy to be donated to Toys for Tots. We are proud to partner with Loudoun Toys for Toys. The free horse-drawn carriage rides will run from 3-9pm.
Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage to light the Spectacular Musical Tree! This 5-story tall tree with a snowfall topper and more than 15,000 dazzling lights performs daily music and light shows.
Winterfest is coming home - to Nationals Park - for the holidays! The annual weekend-long festival is a celebration of baseball and the holidays with presents and Presidents.
This year's Nat-ivity scene includes both indoor and outdoor programs so fans can enjoy many of your favorite activities from last year along with several new additions only available at Nationals Park.
The event is to be held Saturday, December 1 & Sunday, December 2 at Nationals Park open to Season Plan holders: 10:00am-4:00pm and the General Public: 11:30am-4:00pm.
New Winterfest Events for 2018:
For information on ticket pricing and parking, visit the Nationals website.
All naughty and nice children are invited to stop by Santa’s Suite, with their parents, on Saturdays and Sundays between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Each child will enjoy yummy treats and a holiday keepsake to commemorate the visit. Those writing a letter to Santa, while in his suite, will receive one back. Due to his busy schedule he will depend on the postal service, rather than his sleigh, to deliver his response.
In preparation for Santa’s check-in, Fairmont has partnered with official elves from EDGE Floral Event Designers. They have been busy transforming his suite into a stunningly whimsical winter wonderland. Exquisitely decorated trees will twinkle along with a host of enchanting details, from an elegant, mirrored dining table, set with places for Santa and his special guests, to a letter-writing station for leaving holiday wish lists.
Santa’s Suite is available for family visits at no charge, however guests are encouraged to make a donation to Horton’s Kids during visits.
Guests who post or tweet a photo of their visit using the hashtag #fairmontdcwonder, will automatically be entered to win a number of prizes including a stay at Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown.
Santa’s Suite is also available for small receptions and even wedding proposals. For information on how to book the suite contact Fairmont’s Director of Catering Robert Mikolitch
About Horton’s Kids
Horton's Kids empowers children growing up in one of Washington, DC's most under-resourced communities so that they graduate from high school ready for success in college, career and life. https://www.hortonskids.org/+
About Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown
The newly renovated 413-room Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown is located at 2401 M Street, NW. Adjacent to historic Georgetown, the hotel is convenient to the finest museums and national monuments. Located only five miles from Reagan National Airport and 33 miles from Dulles International Airport, Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown offers a wealth of facilities. An air of tranquility ensured through the design of intimate spaces and natural daylight creates an urban oasis. Learn more at: www.fairmont.com/washington
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
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