Archives for November 2021

Hunter, Dec. 2nd Pet of the Week

Here’s Hunter, all leashed up and ready to go! Not hunting, of course, as he isn’t a hunter at all, but for a walk, after which he’ll lie on his side and gladly suffer an extended belly rub. Hunter’s just 2 years old and loves to be with humans. He’s also doing great with dog reactivity, on which the volunteers work with him daily. If you think that a German shepherd is not lap-dog material, think again! Adoptions are now conducted through appointment only, so call 562-570-PETS or email to meet Hunter. Ask for ID#A665323.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Sunday, Dec 5: CicLAvia – South LA, Another Exciting Day of Car-Free Streets

CicLAvia-South LA presented by Metro

On Sunday, December 5, CicLAvia will open up 5.3-miles of streets in South LA connecting the neighborhoods of South Central, Exposition Park, Leimert Park and Crenshaw. For all ages and abilities, the public is invited to bike, skate, scooter, run, walk, skateboard, hitch a free ride on a pedi-cab, spectate and enjoy the route. CicLAvia is a free, open event – show up anywhere along the route at any time, and have fun!

CicLAvia turns public streets into public parks for a day. Instead of building permanent infrastructure, CicLAvia builds unifying social fabric, joyously connecting culturally diverse neighborhoods and neighbors to each other through open streets. Whether one bikes, walks, strolls, skates, or jogs, CicLAvia creates more incredible moments and experiences enjoying our city streets together. Inspired by Bogotá’s weekly ciclovía, CicLAvia temporarily closes streets to car traffic and opens them to Angelenos to use as a public park.

Only people-powered vehicles allowed. No electric scooters, skateboards, hoverboards, unicycles, motorcycles and other non-people-powered vehicles allowed at CicLAvia. Class 1 e-bike pedal-assist allowed. Class 2 e-bikes allowed when throttle is powered off. Class 3 e-bikes allowed when pedal-assist is powered off. Motorized wheelchairs are allowed. Learn more here.

We’re closely following LA County Public Health guidelines as we approach the event. Masks are now required on public transit and in all indoor public places in Los Angeles County, as well as at events with over 10,000 attendees. If you forget your mask, we will have complimentary masks available at our Info Booths and CicLAvia branded masks for sale if you want to add one to your collection.

Participants assume all known and unknown risks of participation in CicLAvia. More information regarding participants rights can be found here:

Local Gems: Miles of Food & Culture in South LA Near and Along the Route:

·         Parks on and around – Rancho Cienega Recreation Center, Exposition Park, MLK Jr. Park, Gilbert Lindsay Recreation Center, Central Ave Jazz Park

·         Lula Washington Dance Theater

·         Vision Theater in Leimert Park Plaza

·         Museum of African American Art on Crenshaw

·         Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building for Architecture buffs

·         Ralph J. Bunche House, first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize

·         Thomas Jefferson H.S. which has produced more prominent jazz musicians and composers than any other public or private H.S. in California   

·         Dr. Maya Angelou Community H.S., the campus has become an outdoor art gallery of incredible ‘street artists’

·         California African American Museum, California Science Center, Natural History Museum and Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (under construction) in Exposition Park

·         University of Southern California

CicLAvia – South LA Hub Highlights:

·         Vaccination Clinic with Shared Harvest Fund, including boosters and shots for children 5-11

·         LACMA and Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to give out Art Kits

·         California Science Center hosting “Shell Stories” activity

·         A Place Called Home hosting art activity and photo opportunity

·         SoCal Gas hosting photobooth

·         CHP and City of LA’s Office of Traffic Safety to provide free bike helmets to children, while supplies last

·         Las Fotos Project hosting photobooth

·         Santa Monica Mountain Foundation

·         Community Services Unlimited to offer self-guided tours and mini-workshops at their Urban mini farm

·         Los Angeles Public Library giving away free books when you sign up for library card


Free for all, CicLAvia connects communities to each other across an expansive city, creating a safe place to bike, walk, skate, roll, and dance through Los Angeles County. CicLAvia is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that catalyzes vibrant public spaces, active transportation, and good health through car-free streets. CicLAvia engages with people to transform our relationship with our communities and with each other.


• CicLAvia-South LA; Sunday, December 5, 2021; 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. – The 5.3-mile open streets route connects the neighborhoods of South Central, Exposition Park, Leimert Park and Crenshaw, encompassing Crenshaw Blvd. between West Exposition Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., and along MLK, Jr. Blvd. to South Central Avenue.


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Credit: CicLAvia-South LA presented by Metro.

Celebrate the Holidays with OC Parks at Heritage Hill Historical Park

Image courtesy of OC Parks.

Celebrate the holiday season at OC Parks’ Heritage Hill Historical Park over two weekends this December with Candlelight Walk and Holiday Lights.

The 35th annual Candlelight Walk will take place over three enchanted evenings December 10-12 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Stroll through the festive grounds and enter historical buildings adorned with décor fitting for the time period. Enjoy live musical performances, holiday-themed crafts for kids, and a visit with Santa! Light refreshments will be available for cash purchase.

The family-friendly fun continues December 17-19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with Holiday Lights. Immerse yourself in the twinkling lights as you walk along the grounds taking pictures at the various holiday-themed photo opportunities. Holiday Lights welcomes pets outdoors on leashes no longer than six feet. Please note that additional entertainment and refreshments will not be provided.

“We are very excited for the return of Candlelight Walk and Holiday Lights to Heritage Hill Historical Park this year,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Fifth District. “This is a wonderful way for families and friends to experience the magic and spirit of the holiday season as they stroll through one of our beautiful historic sites in Orange County.”

Both events are free, with free parking. Inclement weather may cancel the events.

Heritage Hill Historical Park

25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest, CA 92630 

(949) 923-2230 

35th Annual Candlelight Walk

Date: December 10, 11 and 12

Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: Free

Holiday Lights 

Date: December 17, 18 and 19

Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: Free

Credit: OC Parks.

Top Five Reasons To Go Little Tokyo This Holiday Season

Little Tokyo Christmas tree in Japanese Village Plaza. Photo courtesy of Go Little Tokyo.

This season, Go Little Tokyo for the Holidays to shop and support one of Los Angeles’ most historic and iconic neighborhoods. Whether dining in or ordering takeout from Little Tokyo’s beloved restaurants, discovering one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list, capturing the perfect holiday moment in a photo with Shogun Santa, or enjoying the festive scene with roaming carolers and Christmas tree in Japanese Village Plaza, there are a number of ways to show love to Little Tokyo this season.

Skip the mall and shop small at Little Tokyo’s many historic small businesses by picking up or ordering unique items not available anywhere else in LA! Celebrate this special community and make new memories in the heart of Downtown LA with the top five reasons to Go Little Tokyo for the Holidays.

  1. Deck the Halls With One-of-a-Kind Gifts: Browse Little Tokyo’s annual Holiday Gift Guide for a convenient way to discover unique gifts while supporting beloved local businesses like Anzen Hardware with Sustainable Little Tokyo’s Annual Holiday Gift Sale. 
  2. Delight in the Spirit of Giving: Give back to the Little Tokyo Community Council with curated gifts from the LTCC Online Pop-up Shop including limited edition pins, totes, sweatshirts and greeting cards. Make a donation in your loved one’s name, and they will receive a limited Little Tokyo print in the form of a holiday greeting card on your behalf. Cards will be mailed out the first week of December to ensure that they arrive by the holidays.
  3. Make Your (Restaurant) List and Check it Twice: Use Go Little Tokyo’s online directory of restaurants to map out where you’ll be picking up holiday meals or refueling during your Little Tokyo shopping excursion. Pick up gift cards from favorite restaurants to check off gifts for all the foodies on your list. 
  4. Shogun Santa is Coming to Town: Snap the perfect holiday card photo with Shogun Santa next to the Japanese Village Plaza Christmas tree during his visits on Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19 from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. For the health and safety of Santa and visitors, there will be a barrier around Santa, and sitting on Santa’s lap will not be permitted. Shogun Santa is brought to you by the Little Tokyo Business Association (LTBA).
  5. ‘Tis the Season to be Festive: Take in the historic neighborhood’s magical atmosphere with twinkling lights and showstopping Christmas tree in Japanese Village Plaza. Enjoy the sweet sounds of roaming carolers, JTOWN JINGLES presented by Go Little Tokyo and East West Players, featuring Filosophy as they serenade the neighborhood on Saturday, December 4 and Saturday, December 11 from 2-4 p.m. Stay to experience the free, public full set performance at JANM Plaza at 5 p.m.

Shop and support Little Tokyo’s small businesses for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to your favorite Little Tokyo business. Simply submit your receipts from Little Tokyo businesses at to enter. Two winners will be chosen, and multiple entries are encouraged. Receipts must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on December 31.

Businesses in Little Tokyo continue to monitor and adhere to guidelines put forth by local and state agencies and the CDC. It is recommended that unvaccinated guests wear masks when not actively eating or drinking and that all guests, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask when in line or when not able to maintain a six-foot physical distance from other guests. For more information about the holidays in Little Tokyo and to view the Little Tokyo Gift Guide, visit


Go Little Tokyo is a community-led effort aimed at highlighting the unique cultural programs, community events, and dining and shopping experiences found in Little Tokyo. As one of Los Angeles’ most vibrant cultural hubs, there is an abundance of destinations and landmarks in and around this historic walkable neighborhood and Go Little Tokyo will help you uncover them. Go Little Tokyo is a Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) project developed and produced by Community Arts Resources (CARS) and made possible with support from Metro. For more information, visit

Encanto * Amazing Film Filled With Great Emotions And Lessons That Bring Big Surprises

The Madrigals are an extraordinary family who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a charmed place called the Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift — every child except Mirabel. However, she soon may be the Madrigals last hope when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is now in danger.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Anna Clara B. comments, “Encanto is an amazing film full of teachings that brings big surprises and great emotions to the public. You´ll be thrilled with the many beauties and magic in this film.” See her full review below.


By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Encanto is an amazing film full of teachings that brings big surprises and great emotions to the public. You´ll be thrilled with the many beauties and magic in this film.

The film tells the story of Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz), a girl who is part of  the Madrigal family, a family where everyone has super-magic powers. But, is Mirabel of the same alignment as they are? An unexpected event that puts the family in danger, can change everything.

The storyline is well written. I really love the characters. They are funny and nice and the kind of people that everyone likes. My favorite parts are when Antonio Madrigal talks to the animals. I love animals and have always wanted to understand them. Watching this film gave me a greater desire to communicate with animals. This is magical! I also like the part when Mirabel is going to save the family and she says something funny. The special effects are terrific. Everything is super colorful. The background music is extraordinary; the music I like most is the adventure song when Mirabel takes off on her adventure. I love the adventure genre and this music accentuates it. As for costumes, I particularly love the costumes that show their tradition, yet at the same time, are contemporary outfits. They are so beautiful!

The message of the film is that we need to believe in ourselves, Never give up, because in the end you’ll find a light.

I give Encanto 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Encanto releases in theaters and on Disney+ November 25, 2021.<p>By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

King Richard * A Heart-Warming Bio-Drama About Family And Perseverance That Will Inspire The World!

Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California’s neglected tennis courts–rain or shine–the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Based on the true story that will inspire the world, “King Richard” follows the uplifting journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world’s greatest sports legends.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “You will experience many emotions while watching this film – pride, inspiration, sadness and happiness. My favorite part was watching the family support each other by making the best decisions for the overall family, whether it was getting mentors for Venus and Serena or just figuring out how to survive and strive in everyday life.” Katherine S. adds,” I have a million reasons why I feel this is an incredible movie. The first amazing thing is the acting, which is so believable and so natural that I felt as if I was watching a high-quality documentary. While all the actors have very notable performances, one of the strongest performances is from Will Smith, who plays King Richard. His struggles are so visible as he gets his girls to the top after being rejected so many times.” See their full reviews below.

King Richard
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST Film Critic, age 11

King Richard is a heart-warming bio-drama film about family and perseverance that will inspire the world! Director Reinaldo Marcus Green and Writer Zach Baylin deliver a great film about achieving the impossible when you don’t give up. It’s based on the true story about tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams and how they rose to fame and the role their father played. Tennis fans are sure to love this, but anyone that loves inspirational films will appreciate it.

King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams (Will Smith), the father and coach of famed tennis players Serena Williams (Demi Singleton) and Venus Williams (Saniyya Sydney). It shows how, even without having a background in the sport, poor equipment, outdated tennis courts, and limited financial resources, he was able to guide his daughters’ careers and turn them into some of the best athletes in the history of tennis. Williams was an undeterred, driven father with a clear vision and plan to turn his girls into talented superstars using his own unusual methods.

The main characters are Richard Williams, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Demi Singleton, Oracene ‘Brandy’ Williams (Aunjanue Ellis), Paul Cohen (Tony Goldwyn) and Rick Macci (Jon Bernthal). While this film is two hours long, you can’t tell due to the amazing writing and the hilarious comedic delivery of two-time Oscar winner, Will Smith. You will experience many emotions while watching this film – pride, inspiration, sadness and happiness. My favorite part was watching the family support each other by making the best decisions for the overall family, whether it was getting mentors for Venus and Serena or just figuring out how to survive and strive in everyday life. The music is amazing and Beyonce’s feature song “Be Alive” really sums up the journey the girls went through on their rise to the top.

The message throughout King Richard is to never give up and believe in yourself and your family, no matter your circumstances or background. The Williams’ sisters came from a rough neighborhood and their family didn’t have the money and resources needed to properly train them, but did not let that stop them from working hard and eventually dominating the world of tennis. Their father, Richard Williams, had a dream and a plan and he stuck to it. He also taught his family to dream big, despite any obstacles. Parents should be aware that there is mild violence.

I rate King Richard 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 8 to 18, plus adults. King Richard serves up in theaters November 19, 2021 and on HBO Max for 30 days after the theatrical release.

King Richard
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

King Richard is one of the best movies of the year! The movie tells the incredible story of the childhood lives of two of the most famous female tennis players ever, Serena and Venus Williams. The acting is stupendous, and the portrayal of the Williams’ story is extremely accurate. I love how there is so much subtle humor that keeps you laughing throughout the movie.

This storyline follows the lives of the Williams’ family, specifically Serena (Demi Singleton), Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and their father, Richard’s (Will Smith) journey to the top of the tennis world. You learn about their home life, their victories and their struggles.

I have a million reasons why I feel this is an incredible movie. The first amazing thing is the acting, which is so believable and so natural that I felt as if I was watching a high-quality documentary. While all the actors have very notable performances, one of the strongest performances is from Will Smith, who plays King Richard. His struggles are so visible as he gets his girls to the top after being rejected so many times. Other strong performances come from Saniyya Sidney (Venus Williams) and Demi Singleton (Serena Williams) because they both portray their character very accurately and you really feel their passion for tennis. Another terrific thing about the movie is its accuracy. Almost every detail stays true to the real lives of the Williams family – from the dialogue, to the outfits, to the sets and locations. One more thing that stands out is the cinematography, which is breathtaking. There are many exceptional camera shots that show varied points of view and add to the film’s uniqueness.

The messages of the movie are that family is everything and you should always follow your passions. This movie will definitely inspire future tennis players, and other future athletes. There is some offensive language, mild violence and mention of drugs.

I give King Richard 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Tennis fans will most certainly love this. This movie releases in theaters and on HBO Max November 19, 2021.

Assisted Living: 5 Commonly Asked Questions Answered

Seniors downsize and sell their homes to obtain safe and affordable housing during their golden years. Many move into independent living communities that provide them with a wealth of amenities. Some residents will need a bit of help with small tasks. By reviewing FAQs about assisted living, loved ones can find a great place for their elderly family member to live. 

1. What Is the Difference Between Assisted Living and A Nursing Home?

Residents in assisted living communities can live independently but need help with daily tasks such as dressing and bathing. The seniors live in their own apartments, but service providers, including in-home nurses, housekeepers, and maintenance workers, come to their homes to provide services.

A nursing home facility is for individuals who cannot take care of themselves and need around-the-clock nursing care. The residents who stay in the nursing home aren’t focused on independent living. They have illnesses that require careful monitoring, or the patients must stay in a secured wing if they have advanced Alzheimer’s or dementia. Seniors or their families can learn more about assisted living near me by scheduling a tour today. 

2. Who are Good Candidates for Assisted Living?

Seniors who are not too frail to manage most aspects of daily life can stay in an assisted living setting. As long as their nursing care doesn’t exceed simple tasks like grooming, getting dressed, or showering, the resident can live on their own.

In the communities, the seniors can get some services they need through in-home nursing and won’t have to move to a nursing facility. If they start to experience severe mobility issues, the seniors may need to stay at a nursing home through respite care if they are recovering from surgery.

3. Does a Nurse Manage The Senior’s Diet?

With assisted living, the residents can order meal preparation services, and a nurse will complete all three meals for them. The meal preparation services follow the doctor’s recommended diet for the individual that won’t cause issues with existing medical conditions. The residents can set up food delivery to their apartment or prepare their own meals if that is preferred. 

4. Are Family Members Allowed to Stay With the Residents?

Yes, family members can stay with the residents in the assisted living community. Some areas may have restrictions on how long a guest can stay, but guests can stay overnight with their loved ones. Most settings do not allow long-term visits of more than one week unless family members are in town for holidays. 

5. What Services Come With Assisted Living?

Among the services available to residents in assisted living communities are medication reminders, laundry washing, garbage removal, housekeeping, and meal preparations. Some communities host social events and offer transportation for individuals who can no longer drive themselves to doctor’s appointments or to shop.

Exercise rooms and swimming pools are available in certain communities to keep seniors in shape and promote a healthy lifestyle. Fitness programs such as yoga are also hosted in the community to give residents a well-rounded experience.

Assisted living opportunities focus on helping elderly residents continue to live independently when they need a little assistance. The individuals must be able to take care of themselves and only need aid with tasks such as dressing, bathing, or grooming. If the person’s medical condition requires 24-hour care, they must enter a nursing home. By visiting a facility, seniors and their loved ones find out more about the communities. 

Third Street Promenade Celebrates Hanukkah, Nov. 28th – Dec. 6th

The official City of Santa Monica 24-foot-tall holiday tree welcomes guests to the Third Street Promenade. Photo provided by Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM) brings the holidays to the Third Street Promenade with the return of Winterlit, transforming the downtown district into an immersive, festive experience. Tens of thousands of colorful lights, decor and garland will deck the Third Street Promenade, 2nd and 4th Streets, illuminating convenient shopping and cozy outdoor dining experiences. Santa comes to the Promenade on Friday, November 19 at 6 p.m. for the annual lighting of the official City of Santa Monica 24-foot-tall holiday tree. 

Nightly menorah lightings will celebrate the Festival of Lights during the Hanukkah season from Sunday, November 28 through Monday, December 6. The lighting of the menorah will begin at sundown and take place on the 1400 block of Third Street Promenade (located between Santa Monica Blvd and Broadway).

For a one-stop holiday shopping destination, the Conscious Night Market will be on the Promenade, Saturday, December 4 from 4 – 9 p.m. hosted by Fit Girl LA. The pop-up artisan market features unique goods from over 40 local vendors, elevated and sustainable brands in addition to live music and free kombucha. The SoCal Etsy Guild comes to downtown for two dates: Saturday, November 20 and Saturday, December 18 from 2 – 9 p.m., featuring local Southern California-based artists, crafters and designers. Shoppers can support local businesses while finding something for everyone on their gift list. 

Steps from the Promenade, Santa Monica Place will offer an array of festive activities for the whole family to enjoy this holiday season. Santa Clause will be in town and available for photos  November 19 through December 24. Visitors and shoppers can also catch special performances by the dancing sensation, Santa Monica Beach Belles, and the 14-foot larger-than-life Snow Globe. Bring your furry friend to a special pet night and “sit” for a photo with Santa on December 15 and 16. Visit for more information.

DTSM remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of the community, visitors, and staff. Face coverings are recommended when visiting the Third Street Promenade and all guests are encouraged to practice physical distancing. For more information and a full list of events, visit or follow @DTSantaMonica on Instagram and Twitter or DowntownSantaMonica on Facebook.

Credit: Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.