Holiday Home Tours Open Doors for Local Charities

With Christmas just around the corner, two nonprofit organizations are once again presenting holiday home tours showcasing elaborately decorated private residences and more with the overall goal to raise money for local efforts.

Local Celebs Shout Out for Favorite Charities

‘Tis the Yuletide season when visions of charitable giving dance in your head. Wondering where to volunteer or send donations? Find inspiration in these local celebrities’ favorite organizations:

Big Brothers Big Sisters Brighten Spirits with Holiday Angels Program

Many of the children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County live in economically challenging situations, making the holiday season an especially difficult time for these youngsters and their families.

5th Annual Ventura County Farm Day: Celebrating the Land & Hands That Feed Us

On Saturday, November 4, more than 20 Ventura County farms will open their doors for the public to experience a day of agricultural activities and tours during the Fifth Annual Ventura County Farm Day. Agriculture is Ventura County’s No. 1 industry, with some 100,000+ acres of crops harvested in the county in 2014, according to the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner’s…

Surfing Sparks Sea Change for Special-Needs Kids

A Walk On Water provides children with special needs the chance to do exactly that—walk on water.

For the Love of Wine: Santa Ynez Valley Vintners Score Points with World-Class Wines

Our area’s many benefits include its proximity to Santa Barbara County, some 90 minutes away. Those who enjoy excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah will find the Santa Ynez Valley to be a world-class wine aficionado destination. In fact, the Pinots from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA are so distinctive, you know where they come from the moment you taste…

Ladling Out the Love

The Conejo Valley and its environs are wonderful places to live, but finding affordable housing for our homeless and low-income residents is often an issue. In fact, the dearth of affordable housing in our area has been an ongoing topic of discussion for nearly 40 years.

Locals Unite in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and since 1993, millions of passionate participants have joined forces to take steps against breast cancer in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer annual 3- to 5-mile walks each year.

Journeys of Hope: Breast Cancer Survivors Share their Stories

Cancer-free for 24 years, Harriet Sheinberg’s breast cancer journey began in 1986, when her younger sister was told that her tiny little bump was “nothing” because she was too young to have breast cancer. “The needle biopsy proved she was not too young,” Sheinberg recalls. Beverly had surgery to remove the tumor and radioactive seeds implanted in her breast—and at…

Cancer Support Community Paints the Town Pink

Serving about 3,000 individuals affected by cancer each year, the Cancer Support Community thrives on the belief that no one has to face cancer alone. “There is no other organization like us in this area,” says Kayo Matsumoto, program director of the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara.

Diagnosing, Treating & Surviving a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

More than 200,000 women nationwide are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Most commonly, breast cancer is detected by screening mammogram. When found and treated early, breast cancer is usually curable. When not curable, breast cancer may still be treated to prolong and improve quality of life. Ongoing improvements in detection and therapy continue to incrementally drive better patient outcomes.

Community Rallies to Clean Up Sea of Debris at 33rd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day

This month on September 16, thousands of Californians will join to clean up their local beaches, creeks, rivers and lakes for the 33rd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. Last year’s event drew some 60,000 people who removed more than 8,000 pounds of trash from beaches, rivers and parks throughout the state.

Piping Pastor Served Community with Heart & Soul

When Gary Alan Dickey began as senior pastor at the United Methodist Church of Westlake Village 14 years ago, he memorized the church pictorial directory so he could call everyone by their names the first Sunday he was there. “That was about 500 people,” recalls Dickey, 71, of Westlake Village. “The first Sunday I preached I told the congregation that…


Smaller in landmass than the state of Texas, the country of Thailand is near bursting with culturally rich activities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the tenacious traveler. This peninsula in Southeast Asia crams a variety of landscapes into its small borders. From sprawling urban developments to sparse and sweeping rice fields. Thick wooded mountains reside in the North while a lush…

Honoring Teachers who Make the Grade

Raised by two educators in the Ventura Unified School District, Trudy Tuttle Arriaga started following in her parents’ footsteps when she became a teacher’s aide in the classroom. During this time, “someone was kind enough to say, ‘you’d be a great teacher’,”’ remembers Arriaga, of Ventura. So, she returned to school to earn her master’s degree in Educational Administration and…

Michael Towbes Leaves a Living Legacy

Santa Barbara’s Michael Towbes built a legacy of giving back that continues, despite his recent passing last April. The 60-year Santa Barbara resident wore many hats—beloved civic leader and philanthropist, award-winning builder, successful property manager, head of Montecito Bank & Trust, and devoted family man—and touched thousands of lives and hundreds of nonprofits with his generosity during his lifetime.

Mastering Teenage Stress

Every year, the American Psychological Association takes our emotional temperature and reports the results in a research study titled, “Stress in America.” This year, for the first time, children were included in the survey and asked about their stress levels. The conclusion: Not only are our kids feeling more stressed, but unfortunately, parents aren’t aware of the stress their children…

Local Ladies Jazz Up the Summer

The many benefits of living in the Conejo Valley include the numerous talented musicians that deliver top quality performances, treating locals to A-list music without ever having to leave town. Jazz vocalists Bonnie Bowden, Lola Haag and Daniela Spagnola—a few of the area’s favorite performers—share a little about their love of Jazz. Be sure to catch their upcoming performances this…

Family Fun in the Conejo & Beyond:

Summer is here and things are heating up in the Conejo Valley with activities for the whole family to enjoy, from horseback riding and hiking to exploring nearby beaches and catching a live concert. So grab the sunscreen, pack a lunch and gear up for some summer family fun with these ideas to get you started!

The Great Escape

Since White Heat was the first movie filmed on the island in 1934 to 2015’s Jurassic World, Kauai has been the stunning backdrop of more than 60 movies. Check out some of the views featured in the films, including waterfalls and the Na Pali Coast sea cliffs on a relaxing helicopter tour, or dive deep into a more intimate view…

Lauding Leaders

For 50+ years, the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce has honored individuals and organizations that better the Conejo Valley. “The winners embrace everything that defines the Conejo Valley: they are collaborative, innovative, superbly talented individuals, who carry great brand names with pride and a strategic vision for the future,” says Chamber President and CEO, Jill Lederer. “All have made…

Pursuing Passion: 3 Men Share their Stories of Success

Lucky for us, Conejo Valley is bursting with talented, capable leaders, modeling success in business and emphasizing the importance of serving others. Here, we profile three outstanding entrepreneurs, who share their experiences and advice for living a life full of meaning and joy. While their paths are varied, ranging from a realtor/Rotarian to a chef/entrepreneur and a luxury car sales…

The Perfect Match

Your wedding day is the beginning of your new life and every couple deserves this experience to be perfect. On February 25, 2017, a memory to last a lifetime took place for a local couple here at North Ranch Country Club. Los Angeles Firefighter Jack Albert and Children’s Hospital Child Life Specialist Brittany Kramer first met through mutual friends during…

Mercedes-Benz Metris

The name Mercedes-Benz has long been synonymous with luxury and performance cars, but did you know they are also the world’s largest producer of commercial vehicles? In fact, the Benz company invented the cargo van in 1896, setting the stage for what has become a revolution in the automotive industry.

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.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

Soaring Eagles in the Conejo Valley

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Since 1910, Boy Scouts throughout the world have been striving to uphold these traits, a mission recognized and celebrated on National Boy Scouts Day, Feb. 8.

On the Menu: Fine Food & Drinks Served with a Splash of Sound

Dining out is not reserved for Valentine’s Day alone. Anytime is the perfect day to enjoy a delectable dinner in a relaxing environment. In the Conejo Valley, choices for fine cuisine abound, with area eateries offering mouthwatering fare to satisfy every palate. What better way to make the most of a meal than to pair it with live music and…

Power in Numbers:

If fitness tops your list of priorities for the New Year, consider teaming up with others to boost your resolve to get and stay in shape. Offering 116 group workout classes per week, the Bay Club in Thousand Oaks is known for creating an atmosphere where members reach their fitness goals through motivation and encouragement from their peers.

Financial Health Adds to Peace of Mind

Financial health is a key part of complete wellness, so putting your estate in order is essential for true peace of mind. One often overlooked aspect of a balanced estate is appointing a trustee to take care of your affairs in case you ever need them to. Undoubtedly, when it comes to picking the right fiduciary/trustee, it’s important to get…

Relax & Recharge: Favorite Spots to Refuel Body, Mind & Soul

Taking time out of your busy schedule for a little self-care may be the best investment you make all year. Here are a few favorites for winding down and blissing out.

Celebrating Cristina Ferrare

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.

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.

Westminster Free Clinic:

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…

Tuscany’s Villa Lucia:

Lucy (Lucia) Luhan never imagined that the 500-year-old abandoned farmhouse she saw while visiting Tuscany in 1985 would become her home, a cooking school, a wedding location for Americans and a bed and breakfast for the next 30 years.

Local Farms Feed Families Far & Wide:

mong the many benefits of the Conejo Valley is the abundance of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Many are surprised to learn that Ventura County is actually one of the top-producing agricultural regions in the nation, with 100,594 acres of crops harvested in 2014, according to the Ventura County
 Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

Remembering the Heroes:

To many Conejo Valley students and parents, Veterans Day is a school holiday that brings a welcome break between Halloween and Thanksgiving. But to the almost 10,000 military veterans living in the area, November 11 has a much deeper significance—as a day to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism and service.

Cycling Tribute Fuels Community Spirit & Support

For firefighter Jack Nosco, November 3 will forever burn in his memory. On that fateful day in 2004, his beloved younger brother Mike tragically died in a terrible car accident. Jack was devastated. On each anniversary of Mike’s death, Jack would become despondent. He couldn’t shake the feeling of despair. Then, in 2008, he made a conscious effort to turn…

Beating Breast Cancer

A cancer diagnosis strikes fear in the hearts of so many every year. Statistics say 1 in 8 women may be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in their life. The good news is early detection and advances in treatment have lowered breast cancer deaths, numbering about 1 in 37, and more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors are alive today…

Conejo Valley Community Steps Out to End Breast Cancer

The American Cancer Society has been saving lives for more than a century. Every day, 500 lives that would have otherwise been lost to cancer are saved. None of it would be possible without the generosity of donors like you. Your dollars contribute to our efforts to help people who are fighting breast cancer in every community, while working to…

Tennis Pros Create a Program to Love at North Ranch Country Club

Tucked away in the rolling hills of Westlake Village, North Ranch Country Club is well known for its beautiful homes and challenging golf courses. Many are surprised to learn the Club is also home to one of the top-rated tennis facilities in Southern California.

Dining Out With a Really Hard-to-Please Guy

When I wrote about dining out a year ago, I made it a point to let our readers know that Conejo Valley Lifestyle would only accept advertisement from restaurants that we would recommend to friends and family. That still holds true. I am a royal pain when it comes to being satisfied when dining out. Being a pretty good “home…