Onward & Upward!

Last year, our May issue featured several leading women in our Conejo Valley community. It was so well-received by our readers that we decided to see if we could do an even better job this year. I believe we did. I hope you all agree. Many, many thanks to our wonderful Editor Tracy Marcynzsyn. She pulled it all together, interviewed…

May 2017 Around Town

Local award-winning screenwriter/producer, author, food and lifestyle journalist, and TV host (“Simply Delicious Living,” PBS-TV) Maryann Ridini Spencer announces the hardcover release of Lady in the Window, her new novel about hope, healing and the mother-daughter bond.

A Performance of Biblical Proportions:

On Saturday, May 20, Pacific Festival Ballet will present an encore performance of “Noahʼs Ark,” a multimedia presentation featuring ballet, contemporary dance, aerial work, video and special effects performed by guest artists and select students from California Dance Theatre, the companyʼs training school. Another bravado is the original 90-minute score recorded in Russia with a 60-piece orchestra.

Teaching to the Middle & Why Halstrom Academy Exists

"Teaching to the middle” is a widely used characterization of a teacher’s efforts in a classroom environment. Sadly, this notion has taken on a negative connotation rather than a positive one. So, if you’re a classroom teacher with a class size of 15 or more, would you assume it’s appropriate to bend your instructional approach more toward accelerated students or…

Leading Ladies:

A Chamber Ambassador since 2012, Esther Bleuel currently serves as a team captain on the executive committee, sharing her extensive business knowledge and inspiring the group. The founder of Tough Talk Coach, Esther provides executive coaching and training to empower employees to resolve conflict successfully, to have difficult conversations with ease and confidence, and to deal with challenging people effectively.

Get Fit for Life at My Health Studio

In an unassuming 3,600-square-foot studio located across from the Four Seasons in Westlake Village, life-changing transformations and personal breakthroughs are familiar occurrences. During its nearly 10 years in business, My Health Studio has provided an alternative fitness environment where those who would rather not attend a big-box gym have successfully made great strides to achieve healthy, fit bodies.

AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881

In celebration of Women’s History Month, five young ladies portrayed five women who have earned a reputation for leading their lives with conviction—including a marine biologist, politician, author, ballet dancer and shark expert. The portrayals were part of this year’s Women in History Project, presented by the Thousand Oaks chapter of the American Association of University Women. The presentations took…

4 Steps to Investment Success

In the first two parts of this series, we explained how InvestableBenchmarks.com uses leading exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to deliver extraordinary performance. In fact, these efficient investment portfolios may enable you to grow a “free retirement nest egg!”

Creating Community

Growing up in a theatrical family in Vermont, Kim Maselli developed a love for the arts at a young age. “My father loved to sing and my mother was a professional dancer. One of my first childhood memories is sitting in the corner of my mom’s dance studio watching the ‘big girls’ dance,” Kim recalls, whose passion for the stage…

What’s Your STRATEGY for the Next Downturn in the Market?

With the stock market at record highs, it’s a great time to review the strategy you have in place to deal with the next market downturn, whenever it comes. Let’s start here: Hope is not a strategy. Hoping the losses won’t be too big, or hoping the market will come back up does not qualify as a sound financial approach.…

Be Your Own Hero

In a world filled with so many expectations for women, I like to live in a world full of unexpected surprises, where we can all choose our lifestyles and our careers according to our dreams. For as long as I can remember, my mom always did her best to help out in my childhood classrooms, as well as offering to…

Leading the Way

When picturing a conductor, most people conjure up the image of someone standing on a podium dressed in a tuxedo, baton in hand, and decidedly male. Like many professions, the world of music has a glass ceiling few can crack. Oak Park resident JoAnne Wasserman faced discrimination on her path to becoming a conductor of note. She made history when…

Lifting Limits: National Association of Women Business Owners 18th Annual Bravo Award Winners

As a child, Marta dreamed of being a stewardess, but changed her mind as a teenager, deciding to pursue engineering instead. “I loved math and science and figuring out how things worked,” says Marta, who aspired to have her own company throughout college. “I worked at various companies and government agencies from junior high through college trying to really figure…

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Wow!! Spring has really sprung this year. Plenty of rain, lower water bills, happy unstressed plants. As long as you do not live downstream from an overflowing dam, life is good—at least as far as your garden is concerned.

Hear Here!

Conejo Hearing Center, Inc. presented the latest state-of-the-art diagnostic hearing technology and their beautiful Westlake Village facility at a recent Open House.

A Lovely Celebration

Sweethearts celebrated Valentine's Day at Sunland Vintage Winery's big and beautiful recently remodeled and expanded tasting room. Great wine, delicious food and upbeat music made for a fun time for all.

April 2017 Around Town

Enjoy an eclectic mix of hot jazz and cool swing performed on two stages and unlimited sampling of wine, craft brews, boutique spirits and gourmet food at the 6th Annual California Jazz & Wine Fest, Sunday, April 9 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village (2 Dole Drive, Westlake Village). Artisans will also be…

Conejo Valley Guild Celebrates 40 Years of Service

Isa Brente-Shekter knows firsthand the devastation of losing loved ones to cancer. Her husband, father and two cousins died from the dreaded disease. Brente-Shekter found her calling when, 14 years ago, her friend Margarita Horwitz introduced her to the Conejo Valley Guild, the local chapter of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation. She wholeheartedly adopted its mission to provide financial support…

Sowing the Seeds of Service: Ventura County Master Gardeners

When Nicole Vanole became a certified Master Gardener through the Ventura County Master Gardener Program, she didn’t know it would transform her life. “The people I’ve met, the friendships, working in teams—all of it has been very enriching,” says Vanole, now executive co-chair of the flourishing Master Gardener Program. The national program is chartered through the United States Department of…

Los Robles Hospital 1st to Offer Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Replacement

Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center is a licensed 404-bed acute care facility. Fully accredited by The Joint Commission, Los Robles Hospital has the only Level II Trauma Center in Eastern Ventura County and the only Emergency room in both Los Angeles and Ventura counties with the coveted EDAP (Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics) rating. In addition, it is the…

What’s Your Financial IQ?

Try this simple quiz to test your financial acumen. Are you a perfect 10?

Garden Club Nurtures Budding Horticulturists

For the 44th year, the Westlake Village Garden Club’s annual spring Garden Tour showcases the best in landscape design in the Conejo Valley. This award-winning tour is open to the public and features several local, unique “California-style” gardens in celebration of outdoor living and al fresco entertaining.

Sustainable Living to Save the Earth

In honor of Earth Day, officially designated as April 22, the City of Thousand Oaks hosts its 20th Annual Thousand Oaks Arbor/Earth Day Celebration to educate the public about living sustainably year-round. “We want to impress upon people what a beautiful world we have and how we all have to do our part to help keep our environment clean and…

Four Steps to Investment Success (Part 2 of 4)

How would you like a free retirement nest egg or two? Since 2004, some of the world’s largest portfolio managers, including BlackRock, Bridgewater and AQR, have increasingly been employing a new investment strategy that may boost your total portfolio return by well over 2x or 3x, while reducing your risk.

Thousand Oaks Fireside and Design: Sparking Inspiration

When Bob Vartanian was thinking of adding to his chain of fireplace retail stores (Encino, Glendale and Pasadena), he looked northward and noticed that Ventura County was lacking in its offering of a quality fireside, hearth and barbecue store. Vartanian was also aware of the changing role the fireplace and hearth products were taking with regard to interior design. He…

The World’s Abloom at Gardens of the World

With spring upon us, the Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks is alive with an amazing array of flowers, trees and shrubs that define the multiple areas of the Gardens’ 4.5 acres. Annually, the city’s centerpiece hosts thousands of guests visiting the cultural and educational landmark, and one of the very best times to take in all its beauty…

Dream-Ality Travel: Passionate about Making Your Travel Dreams Come True

Everyone dreams of going on a grand vacation at some time during their lives. However, it can be quite overwhelming when you actually sit down to plan your trip. Many considerations go into planning the perfect vacation. Researching on the internet can be daunting and time-consuming and can leave you frustrated.

Celebrating the Magic You Make

Have you ever walked into a hotel where the environment dominates your feelings in a positive or negative way? Does your home happen to be your sanctuary, or for some of you, do you see it as your garden? I want you to take a moment to think about the place that you just love to hang out in, the…

It’s Spring Landscaping Season

Spring is the perfect time to landscape your property. And the recent heavy rainfall (“be careful what you wish for”) makes it an even better time for landscaping and planting. Whether a complete redo or just some partial changes, landscaping your property or installing a garden now is a great way to celebrate spring. Our own garden was so stressed…

Meadow Gardens: Bringing Gardening Visions to Life

Walking through the doors of Meadow Gardens reveals a beautiful oasis of garden fountains and lush flora beckoning guests to explore the peaceful ambiance. Soaking up the soothing sights, sounds and smells relaxes and inspires visitors to create their own garden retreats.

The Cat’s Meow

Our readers may recall last year’s heartfelt tribute to our beloved cat Tuxedo, better known as Tuxie, in the March issue of Conejo Valley Lifestyle. Although he passed away a year ago in January, his spirit remains in our house…sometimes I see a shadow and think it’s him. But it was time to move on. By April, we were ready…

Debutantes Honored at 35th Annual Ball

The Conejo Valley Chapter of National Charity League, Inc. recognized 18 debutantes for their philanthropic endeavors and community service. The girls collectively contributed 8,000+ service hours to 23 local philanthropies. The nonprofit organization of mothers and daughters in Grades 7-12 fosters community responsibility through philanthropy, leadership activities and cultural events.

March 2017 Around Town

More than 150 kids from Oxnard, Fillmore and Santa Paula, along with fundraising volunteers, are in for a day of bowling fun and science education, sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County. The Bowl For Kids' Sake event transports program youth, aka “Littles” to Harley’s Camarillo Bowl for breakfast, a youth motivational speaker presentation and bowling, complete with…

Nonprofit Rescues Hundreds of Animals for the Love of Riley

With her dream to become the first female president, Riley Rolph often professed that her first order of business was to prevent any shelter animal from euthanasia. “She wholeheartedly believed in this and told me often,” recalled Riley’s mom, Julie Taft, of Thousand Oaks. So when Riley passed away in 2009 as a result of an ongoing battle with a…

Grooming for Health

Grooming is essential to your pet’s health, as it prevents matting and discomfort and keeps the skin, coat, nails and ears healthy. Regular baths prevent pollen buildup, a common allergy source, and help avoid skin problems like parasites, ticks, fleas and rashes. In many cases, dogs speak to their owner through their groomers, who often see pets more than veterinarians…

North Ranch Country Club Promotes Family Fun

Located in the hills of beautiful Westlake Village, North Ranch Country Club has a rich tradition of active and knowledgeable golfers, an energetic tennis membership and an incredibly warm and welcoming dining and social culture, offering year-round events fit for adults and families alike.

Montecito Bank & Trust Awards $1 Million to Local Nonprofits

Montecito Bank & Trust hosted its 14th annual Community Dividends Awards at Four Seasons The Biltmore in Santa Barbara to honor 203 local Santa Barbara and Ventura County nonprofits. Awards totaling $1 million were presented by Chairman Michael Towbes and President and CEO Janet A. Garufis.

Adopted Pets Find Forever Homes in Our Hearts

Conejo Valley residents love their pets, and rescue animals seem to hold a special place in their owners’ hearts. The Agoura Animal Care Center, run by the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control, has contributed many of these treasured pets to our community.

Angel Canines Soar for Wounded Warriors

Every year, some 40,000 critically ill American men, women and children seriously in need of medical treatment and diagnosis go untreated simply because they cannot afford the airfare to facilities and doctors who may be able to help them. Since 1999, the Hogan Angel Flight program in Newbury Park has served as a safety net for some of these financially…

4 Steps to Investment Success

Exchange-traded fund (ETF) indexing is widely considered to be the best way to invest. Asset class ETFs are often preferred for their strong relative performance, broad diversification, tax efficiency, ultra-low expenses and intraday liquidity.

Unconditional Love

We all have some loyal friends in this world, but if you have been lucky enough to find a furry friend that honors you, even when you have not brushed your teeth or have gained a little weight, you have been blessed with one of the greatest friendships of all time. Our pets represent the true meaning of unconditional love.…

The Little Angels Project:

When a little kitten named Pirate came down with an eye infection, a Los Angeles shelter placed it on the “red list” to be euthanized. Lucky for Pirate, animal rescue organization FixNation saved the suffering kitten just in time, calling on Darlene Geekie, RVT, and Dr. Gary Latos, DVM, at Veterinary Angels Medical Center in Agoura Hills to help treat…

Borrow from Your 401K?

If you need to borrow a small sum, you may want to see if your 401K is a good borrowing source. In this article, we’ll review the process and some of the key advantages and disadvantages.

Pick Your Passion

February…the month for Valentines and love—and not just the romantic (seemingly ubiquitous when you’re solo) type. So before writing off this love fest of a month as a sweethearts-only celebration, remember that “Love is a many-splendored thing,” meaning it comes in myriad forms.

Holiday Cheer

Good times and Christmas cheer at The Sofa Guy, My Health Studio, Veterinary Angels, Pure Barre, 
Rosemary Allison's and Sunland Vintage Winery. The perfect time of year to share and have fun with friends.

February 2017 Around Town

California Lutheran University President Dr. Chris Kimball delivers a keynote at the State of the University address, Feb. 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at California Lutheran University. The public is invited to attend the talk, addressing the private liberal arts school’s priorities, plans and progress. Some 4,000 students representing 61 countries attend the university, which employs more than…

Sprinter Showcase

The Silver Star Mercedes-Benz exhibition of Sprinter and Metris vans outfitted and uplifted for family, fun and business also featured a drawing benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County.

Student Musicians Tune in to Opportunities

Music programs benefit participants as well as the community audiences who turn out to enjoy the various performances offered by area schools. Conejo Valley high schools, including Newbury Park High School, Oaks Christian School, Thousand Oaks High School and Westlake High School, offer a wide array of high-quality music programs with several performances throughout the year.

Relax! You’re In Good Hands at In Touch Massage & Day Spa

The In Touch Massage & Day Spa at The Bay Club in Thousand Oaks is considered unique for its experienced therapists and technicians who provide a range of services, from the classic European facial to a 60-minute signature massage.

Ventura County Arts Council

Award-winning art education programs, an official Poet Laureate and a gallery viewed by thousands of people a month—the arts are thriving in Ventura County, thanks to the Ventura County Arts Council! Marking its 20th anniversary this year, the VCAC is committed to enriching cultural life in Ventura County and increasing public awareness of its work.