The 5-Minute Year-End Checklist

The 5-Minute Year-End Checklist

It’s the holidays. Between egg nogs, mall visits and a jam-packed party calendar, you have very little time for financial stuff. But there are a few things you should not put off until the new year.

Montecito Bank & Trust: Dedicated to the Community

Montecito Bank & Trust: Dedicated to the Community 1

Montecito Bank & Trust’s Abuse and Financial Exploitation (SAFE) program earned it national recognition from the American Bankers Association Foundation, which presented it with a 2016 Community Commitment Award. The award was given to the bank for its efforts in the Protecting Older Americans category and was presented during the ABA’s annual fall convention in Nashville.

Supporting Recovery of Addiction

Supporting Recovery of Addiction

Chances are you know someone dealing with an addiction. We have all been touched by drug and alcohol addictions either personally or professionally, whether it’s a friend, loved one or even yourself. Addiction is an equal-opportunity affliction, affecting people without regard to economic circumstance, education, race, geography, IQ or any other factor. Probably a confluence of factors—a potent but unknowable combination of nature and nurture—can lead to addiction, however, addiction and alcoholism are only symptoms of a deeper underlying cause.

December 2016 Around Town

December 2016 Around Town

The New West Symphony announced two subsidized programs offering discounted tickets for students and families throughout the greater Thousand Oaks, Oxnard and Santa Monica communities.
The VIP Family Club provides subsidized tickets for families with children ages 7-13 to attend the 2016-2017 Masterpiece Concert Series and the CONNECT! Club offers subsidized tickets for high school and college students. VIP members receive specially prepared materials for each concert and the opportunity to meet musicians backstage during intermission. A five-concert subscription is priced at $131 per adult (limit 2) and $55 per child. Individual tickets are $29 per adult and $14 per child.

Bags, Bling & Bubbly Benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters

Bags, Bling & Bubbly Benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters 2

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County’s 8th Annual Bags, Bling & Bubbly Champagne Luncheon featured the nonprofit’s 
Wise, Wonderful Woman of 2016, Cristina Ferrare, and raised funds to help area youth in need of support and mentoring. Learn how to get involved at

Forward Focus: 
Celebrating our Blessings

Support & Rally

As I write this message just two weeks short of election day, I think we can all agree that this has been the most divisive and bitter election season any of us can remember. Being kind of a history wonk, I reviewed presidential election campaigns throughout our nation’s history—both those I have lived through and remember and the ones I can only read about. The closest comparison I can make to this year’s election is the build-up of events leading to the Civil War.

Homes for the Holidays Make Spirits Bright

Homes for the Holidays Make Spirits Bright

Colorful decorations, amazing light shows and spectacular lawn displays herald the holiday season of celebration and giving back. The myriad festivities bringing holiday joy to Conejo Valley and beyond include many events designed to spread cheer and benefit people in need in our communities.

Nutcracker Dreams Come True for Local Teens

Nutcracker Dreams Come True for Local Teens 4

Virtually every little girl that dances dreams of one day attaining the role of Clara in “The Nutcracker.” This dream comes true this December for two talented local 15-year-olds, Lexi Garfinkel and Talia Lebowitz, who will perform this coveted role in Pacific Festival Ballet’s 23rd season of “The Nutcracker” at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza’s Kavli Theatre.

2016 Holiday Gift Guide:

2016 Holiday Gift Guide: 8

With more than 100 years of excellence in dance, Arthur Murray Dance Center offers all levels of dance education, from fun, social dancing to competitive ballroom dancing. Gift certificates available or sign up yourself and get your first lesson free!

Celebrating Cristina Ferrare

Celebrating Cristina Ferrare 3

Cristina Ferrare is many things to many people—an accomplished author, television host, chef, entrepreneur, wife, mother, grandmother, friend and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County’s Wise Wonderful Woman of 2016.

Silver Star Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: Euro Van Invasion for Work & Play

Silver Star Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: Euro Van Invasion for Work & Play 4

Like anyone who does business in Los Angeles, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in traffic. During countless hours spent on the road throughout the years, I’ve observed what can be described as an invasion of sorts of high-roofed European vans with quite a unique look to them. Popular vans for businesses who want a practical, utilitarian means of delivering their services to customers, these vehicles are also often converted and customized to create a comfortable and classy ride for leisure and family outings.

Nativity Scenes on Display to Help Homeless

Nativity Scenes on Display to Help Homeless 4

“Baby Jesus was not a cat,” the young woman said indignantly. She was shocked to see the Nativity story depicted by small barnyard figurines: Mary and Joseph as horses, an angel represented by a small dog and Baby Jesus depicted as a yellow striped cat lying in a manger. The display is one of hundreds of Nativity scenes exhibited annually by No Room at the Inn, a nonprofit group that has donated more than $400,000 to local charities that serve the homeless community of Ventura County.

Taking a Proactive Approach to Prevention

Taking a Proactive Approach to Prevention 1

Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October featured many community activities highlighting good health practices for the early detection of breast cancer. Incorporating these strategies into a monthly routine and getting regular mammograms as well as understanding changes in breast tissue can help ensure breast cancer is found at its earliest stage. While men can also develop breast cancer, it is primarily a disease of women; however, if there is a strong family history of breast cancer, it is important for everyone to take a proactive approach.

Brent’s Deli: Catering to Hanukkah Celebrations

Brent’s Deli: Catering to Hanukkah Celebrations 1

Beginning at sunset on Dec. 24 this year and lasting for eight days until the evening of Jan. 1, Hanukkah is a time to celebrate the Jewish faith and take part in age-old traditions. Lighting the menorah, spinning the dreidel and eating fried foods to celebrate the miracle of the oil are mainstays of this Jewish festival of lights.

Food & Wine Pairing in the Most Deliteful Way

Food & Wine Pairing in the Most Deliteful Way 1

When done well, wine and food pairings are fun for us foodies, especially this “Hard to Please Guy.” Combining wine with fine cuisine provides the perfect opportunity to truly discover what a wine is all about as it complements and completes your meal.

Making the Most of Today

Making the Most of Today 2

We all go through difficult times in our lives, so don’t ever feel alone in your troubles. If you are reading this right now, it means that you have woken up to another chance to what we all call life and a chance to clean your slate.

Westminster Free Clinic:

Westminster Free Clinic: 1

Founded 21 years ago, the Westminster Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks is considered “a medical home” that provides health care to those who wouldn’t have help otherwise.
“That’s our purpose: to give people a medical home that don’t have one,” says Lisa Safaeinili, the clinic’s executive director. “Sometimes this is the only time they access health care. So that’s why we exist.”