Five Below Store Opened October 12th at the Simi Valley Town Center


Five Below opened at the Simi Valley Town Center on October 12th. According to a recent press release:

Five Below is a rapidly growing specialty value retailer offering a broad range of trend-right, high-quality merchandise targeted at the teen and pre-teen customer. Five Below offers a dynamic, edited assortment of exciting products in a fun and differentiated store environment, all priced at $5 and below. Select brands and licensed merchandise fall into the Five Below special worlds: Style, Room, Play, Tech, Create, Party, Candy and Now. For more information, visit one of the 700+ stores or

There’s also an Five Below store at The Esplanade in Oxnard, near Home Depot and Staples.

Santa Barbara Zoo's Asian Elephant Sujatha Died Yesterday, October 16th

 Sujatha pictured here on the right (Photo Credit: SB Zoo)

Sujatha pictured here on the right (Photo Credit: SB Zoo)

It is with immense sadness that the Santa Barbara Zoo announces the death of 47 year old Asian elephant Sujatha (pronounced sue-JAW-tha) on Tuesday night, October 16th. She was humanely euthanized in the upper yard of her exhibit, surrounded by her keepers, veterinary personnel and support staff.  Immediately following, the Zoo’s other Asian elephant, Little Mac, was given access to Sujatha to grieve her companion of 46 years. Elephants grieving for fellow herd members has been observed both in the wild and under human care.

“Sujatha and Little Mac have been ambassadors for Asian elephants in Santa Barbara for 46 years,” said Zoo CEO Rich Block. “Children who first met them in the 1970s have brought their own children, and some even their grandchildren, to meet these wonderful creatures. They have been loved and cared for by numerous keepers and staff over the years. We are grateful to Sujatha and Little Mac for how they have enriched all our lives.”

The public can make a gift in Sujatha’s memory either to the International Elephant Foundation or the Zoo’s “Greens and Trimmings” fund. Information is at www.sbzoo/sujatha.

Elephants Considered Geriatric at Age 40; Sujatha was 47

The 47-year-old female elephant had been experiencing many challenges related to old age, particularly arthritis and its associated pain. She was able to live comfortably for three years with the aid of treatments with treatment with stem cells, laser, hydrotherapy, physical therapy, and pain medication. But recently, Sujatha’s health began to decline. Keepers closely monitored her and performed regular quality of life assessments. In the last two weeks, she was observed sleeping less, using her trunk to support her weight while walking, and showing less interest in regular activities. She began to refuse food and her medications over the weekend, with subsequent weight loss. 

“We have been concerned about Sujatha, and invited an elephant welfare expert from the Santa Diego Zoo to visit here to give an independent assessment,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s director of animal care and health. “But Sujatha began to go downhill rapidly. Though it was a difficult decision, her behavior and condition told us that it was time to say goodbye. ”

According to data from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the median life expectancy in Asian elephants in U.S. zoos is 46.9 years. That means that half the animals live less than that age, and half live longer. At age 47, Sujatha was very close to the median. An Asian elephant is considered geriatric around age 40.

Sujatha’s body was removed by crane to a truck for transport to a necropsy performed at the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory in San Bernardino which is run by U.C. Davis. “Performing a necropsy is important because it contributes to our knowledge and understanding of geriatric medical conditions in elephants,” said Dr. Barnes.

Future for Little Mac

Little Mac could live at the Santa Barbara Zoo or be moved, depending on the results of welfare assessments by staff and outside elephant experts. No decision about her future will be made until these assessments are complete.

At the very least, Little Mac will remain at the Zoo until she is trained to comfortably enter a transport crate for relocation to join a herd elsewhere. She was last transported when she and Sujatha were moved to and from the Fresno Zoo during their exhibit’s 2004 renovation.

The Two Elephants Arrived from India in July 1972

Sujatha and Little Mac arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo in July 1972, at the age of 1½ years. They stood less than four feet high. Sujatha was born to a working mother in an Indian logging camp, and Little Mac was discovered nearby in the forest, apparently orphaned.  The Zoo received them from the city of Mysore, India, in exchange for six California sea lions. 

The elephants’ first home at the Zoo was in a former barnyard area, now the restaurant courtyard.  Their first barn was located where the public restrooms are now.  But as they grew, so did their need for space. The current exhibit was constructed in the late 1970s, and the height of the barn was raised twice as the elephants grew to maturity. 

Over the years, various exhibit improvements were made, such as a heated floor installed in 2000, for example, partially paid for with the proceeds from that year’s Zoo-B-Que and the Zoofari Ball.

In 2004, a major renovation increased the animals’ space, enlarged the pool, improved sight lines for guest viewing, and brought the surrounding pathways into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. During construction, Sujatha and Little Mac were boarded at the Fresno Zoo. 

A 30-foot tall permanent umbrella was installed in 2009 to encourage the elephants to reach up with their trunks to large bundles of “browse” (leaves or hay) or enrichment items high above their heads, a behavior commonly seen in the wild. A digital scale was also installed just outside their barnyard door, which allowed keepers to weigh them daily instead of yearly.

In 2009, the elephants were put on a special diet to promote weight loss, as they were aging and developing geriatric medical conditions, particularly their aging joints. Each elephant lost approximately 2500 pounds over the past six years.

The two elephants lived together at the Santa Barbara Zoo virtually their entire lives. Neither cow was bred or produced offspring.

About Asian Elephants

Asian elephants are found in densely forested regions, hilly and mountainous areas of Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and Sumatra, and are widely used as work animals in India and Southeast Asia. They are smaller than African elephants, and only male Asian elephants have large tusks.    

Asian elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their main threat is the disappearance of natural habitat due to human development and agriculture. Male Asian elephants have also been reduced in number due to ivory poaching.   

The Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA endangered species programs for Asian elephant, California condor, Channel Island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others. A private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Santa Barbara Zoo depends on community support, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements. Visit

Westlake Shake Shack in Thousand Oaks to Open Its Doors on Tuesday, October 23rd


We made it to Westlake! Shake Shack® is thrilled to announce it will open the doors to a new location in Westlake Village on Tuesday, October 23th, 2018.

The Westlake Shack will be situated at 120 Promenade Way, Suite A, Thousand Oaks in The Promenade at Westlake,

Shake Shack is a critically acclaimed, modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, chicken sandwiches and griddled flat-top dogs (no hormones or antibiotics – ever), fresh-made frozen custard, crispy crinkle cut fries and more. A fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal, Shake Shack has earned a cult-like following around the world.

In addition to the classics, the Westlake Shack will be spinning up a unique selection of frozen custard concretes:

  • Pie Oh My: Vanilla Custard with a slice of Cake Monkey Bakery seasonal pie

  • Snap, Crackle Crete: Vanilla custard, marshmallow fluff and crispy crunchies

  • S’more Please: Chocolate custard, Mast Brothers Chocolate chunks, graham cracker and marshmallow fluff

The menu will also feature the Los Angeles-exclusive Roadside Double, a double Swiss cheeseburger topped with Dijon mustard and onions simmered in bacon and beer.

Guests can wash their burgers down with local brews from Angel City BreweryBootlegger's Brewery  Barley Forge Brewing Co. and Lagunitas Brewing Company plus Shake Shack’s exclusive Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister® Ale. Wine lovers can enjoy a glass of Shack Red and Shack White wine from the Gotham Project.

As part of Shake Shack’s mission to Stand For Something Good®, The Westlake Shack will donate all proceeds from soft opening, as well 5% of sales from the Pie Oh My concrete throughout the life of the shack to Baby2Baby, a nonprofit that provides low-income children, ages 0-12 years, with diapers, clothing and all the basic necessities that every child deserves.

The 3,482 square foot Shack will feature an outdoor patio and ample seating for guests. In keeping with Shake Shack’s commitment to green architecture and eco-friendly construction, the Westlake Shack’s tabletops will be made by CounterEvolution using reclaimed bowling alley lanes; chairs will be designed by Uhuru using sustainable materials; and booths will be crafted by Staach using lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Sweet Treats! When doors open at 11AM, the first guests in line will receive a free Pie Oh My concrete- on us!

Shake Shack is now hiring full-time and part-time team members – no previous experience required! Apply online at

SoLé SoupS to Open Location at Oakbrook Plaza in Thousand Oaks

SoLé SoupS is opening a location in the Oakbrook Plaza on Avenida de los Arboles in Thousand Oaks in the next few weeks, next to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, on the DMV side of the plaza. They currently and will continue to operate at their Agoura Hills Soup Studio at 28708 Roadside Drive, Ste H, Agoura Hills as well as at the Calabasas Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings.

With origins in Italy, the SoLé family has been making premium soups, stews, sauces and more since 2012. Crafted daily in Agoura Hills from local produce whenever possible, all-natural elements and grass-fed, free-range meats. Their soup formulas contain: no preservatives, no soy, no fillers and no sugar-added.

SoLe’s soup offerings include yellow split pea, tomato, “Green Detox,” carrot-ginger, beef bone broth, hearty turkey chili, hearty beef stew, claim chowder, cauliflower, butternut squash, lentil and more.

SoLé also offers fresh-frozen soups made daily.

Learn more at and stay tuned for grand opening date.

Shake Shack Westlake Village Looks to be Opening Soon


No official date as of yet but from the outside, it looks like the new Shake Shack at The Promenade at Westlake is in the final stages of construction. Looks pretty good to me!

They are in recruiting mode. Applicants may stop by for on the spot interviews at the Homewood Suites, 28901 Canwood Street, Agoura Hills, weekdays from 9am to 5pm or can apply online at THIS LINK. Or visit


The Pallet Westlake Village Do It Yourself Shop Opened in Sept; Grand Opening Event Oct 14th

The Pallet Westlake Village is a one stop do-it-yourself shop that makes succulent arrangements and hosts workshops and private crafting parties. The shop also sells mugs, candles, succulents, garden supply items, pots and more, almost entirely from local crafters. Owners of The Pallet have lived in the Conejo Valley their entire lives and are excited to share their love of gardening and crafting with the community!

The Pallet is located at 950 Hampshire Road, #104. Visit for more information.

The Pallet is hosting an official grand opening event on Sunday, October 14th from noon to 5pm, featuring raffles, treats and product giveaways.

Rokabab Mediterranean Grill in Thousand Oaks Appears to be Closed


Rokabab Mediterranean Grill originally opened in the Northstar Plaza at 1321 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks in June 2015. We noticed yesterday that no one answers the phone. So we checked Yelp. Yelp indicates Rokabab is closed.

But there was a comment from the owner in May that the eatery was temporarily closed due to construction. And their website is up and running and looks good.

Their last Facebook page update was August 13th and indicated “Yum, fresh is back.”

So, I had to stop by to confirm with my own eyes if Rokabab is indeed closed.

Apparently it is. Or perhaps they are just taking a break.