Holiday Fun at Ventura Harbor

It’s of my favorite times of the year to visit the city of Ventura and Ventura Harbor. Bring the family to one of the most wonderful times of the year at Ventura Harbor Village. Shop local, see live reindeer, stand under faux snow flurries, see boats of all sizes decorated for a special Holiday Boat Parade, and listen to carolers clad in costume warm your spirits

The Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace at Ventura Harbor Village is on Saturday, December 11, featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus with their reindeer. Santa is going to start the day with a Stand Up Paddle at 11 a.m.  

The picturesque harbor shines brighter during the holidays with harbor views while dining on covered patios. Visitors can shop along the promenade to find seaside gifts for underneath the tree. Holiday shoppers can give the gift of year-round experiences with gift cards from Islands Packers, Ventura Boat Rentals, The Ultimate Escape Rooms, Ventura Comedy Club, and Ventura Dive & Sport. The seaside destination entices shoppers with a Holiday Shopping Passport, whereby they can get stamps and enter to win a $150+ holiday gift package plus $25 each week of gift cards from November 27- December 19, 2021.

Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace

On Saturday, Dec. 11, the Ventura Harbor Village is hosting its annual Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace from noon- 4 p.m. Visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus and their live reindeer, enjoy live carolers, a faux snowfall for kids and much more while you shop at locally-owned stores and art galleries. ‘Tis the season for giving, with two opportunities to make a difference to help others this holiday season.

  1. Canned Food Drive benefitting Food Share Ventura County. Bring ten cans and receive a fun complimentary reindeer antler head band, perfect for the holidays, stocking stuffers and photo opps. 
  2. Sock Drive benefitting Ventura Rescue Mission. Get in the spirit of giving by donating socks, the item most often requested by shelters during the winter.

All Aboard the 2021 Island Packers Harbor Light Cruise and Parade of Lights Cruise

  • Island Packers Public Harbor Lights Cruise: View holiday lights with friends/family during a one-hour Island Packers Public Harbor Light Cruise from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Check for dates available on  December 8-12, 15 and 19 and December 20-23, 2021. The cost is $17 for adults, $14 for seniors 55+ and $11 for children. 
  • For those who wish to see the colorfully-lit boats up close, look no further than Island Packers Parade of Lights Public Cruise topped off by a spectacular fireworks on December 17 and 18, 2021 at 5:45 and 6 p.m. The cost is $36 for adults, $33 for seniors 55+ and $26 for children under 12 years old.  Group rates are also available

Holiday Gift: Bokksu’s Enjoy the Seasons of Japan

When I received a Bokksu box filled with artisanal Japanese snacks and tea, I couldn’t wait to show my teenage daughter, because she loves anything Japanese! I knew she would admire the colorful packaging and open each one to taste the exotic flavors.

In my box was sent a personal note by founder Danny Taing thanking me for my interest in Bokksu. “Since my early days of living in Japan, I’ve loved discovering delicious snacks from local Japanese snack makers,” said Danny. “I’m thrilled to present to you this first box curated across the culturally rich regions and seasons of Japan.”

Danny takes subscribers on an adventure, from Kyoto, Tokyo, Okinawa and Osaka with snacks as rich in culture as the people who make them.

Founder of Bokksu, Danny Taing

Each beautiful box includes a ‘Seasons of Japan’ booklet and cultural guide, over 20 snacks, and even a specially curated tea to experience.

It all started when Danny dreamed of moving to Japan and landed a job at Rakuten, a Japanese electronic commerce and online retailing company based in Tokyo. While in their Tokyo office, and learning Japanese, he discovered the richness of Japanese culture, food and snacks. Every trip back to America, Danny packed his suitcase with beautifully designed and tasty treats to share with his friends at home. They loved them!

When he returned back to Tokyo, his mission was to become an expert on hard-to-find Japanese snacks, treats and tea to share with others.

Mocchan Dango Mochi

Next, when he made some good connections with purveyors, he created Bokksu, a subscription based online shop filled with beautiful treats. Danny and his team have doubled their subscriptions in 2020 to over 20,000, and over 400,000 boxes have been delivered around the world with free worldwide shipping.

Bokksu in English is translated to ‘vegetarian’ and many of his snacks will appeal to vegetarians. Each box arrives with an informative ‘Seasons of Japan’ booklet, filled with names and a photo of each item, the name of the snack maker, a story about the treat, its flavor profile, if it’s Bokksu (vegetarian), and common allergens.

It’s not the same as wandering the streets of Tokyo in search for the quintessential treat, however with COVID-19, it’s the next best thing. While being stuck at home during the holidays, experience Japan through Bokksu to titiaate your senses.

Puku Puku Tai: Chocolate

One of the first things you notice is the beautiful packaging. Next when you open one of the Japanese snacks, the aroma will awaken your other senses. Feel the texture, take a bite and try todetest if its sweet, salty or savory.

Most subscription services use mass-produced mainstream snacks that can be readily found in most Asian markets outside of Japan. Bokksu directly sources its artisanal snacks from local snack makers in Japan (some of whom have been around for over 200 years). Bokksu is also the only service that hand selects a tea pairing for each box to complement that month’s flavors. 

Bokksu has a specialty grocery section, the Bokksu Market, where you can purchase individual hard to find snacks including limited edition Kit Kats in flavors like Sakura Nihonshu Sake, Otono No Amasa Citrus Mint, and Salt Lychee.

Send a Bokksu box to a loved one or enjoy Bokksu treasures monthly.

8 Favorite FounderMade Consumer Discovery Show West Gifts

Recently at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, a  summit of more than 200+ innovative consumer brands and leaders in the beauty, wellness, and food introduced their latest consumers products.


FounderMade attendees got a chance to glam up with a manicure from GlamSquad, enjoyed a detoxing armpit facial and complimentary refreshing coconuts from Kopari Beauty, cooled down with Cryo facials from CryoZone, and kept their energy levels up with B12 shots from The Hydration Room.

Here’s 8 products I received at the event and enjoy at home-


1. Navitas – Organic. Plant-based. Superfoods. This line is super-simple, super-nutritious superfoods company that gives you the energy you need to live each day to the fullest. Navitas is Latin for ‘energy.’ They  search the globe for the highest-quality organic superfoods to keep you energized.


2. Lifeway Foods – Lifeway Kefir is a tart and tangy cultured milk smoothie. It’s high in protein and calcium and has 12 live and active probiotic kefir cultures. Organic SKYR offers less sugar and more protein in 5 flavors. The Organic Kefir Cups have their own spoon.


3. Tosi – A health, wellness and weight management program that is affordable, simple to use and you feel healthier and better by balancing your body chemistry.


4. The Perfect Granola – Gluten-free bagged granola and granola bars. The company shares 5% of profits with Homeless shelters, Outreach Centers, and Food Banks. They hire students and give them the skills needed to break the poverty cycle that fuels hunger.


5. Brewla -Coffeehouse Inspired Ice Cream Bars in 5 different flavors. This ice cream bars are made with high-quality ingredients, combining premium teas and organic fair-trade coffee with hormone-free milk and cream, and organic cane. Caffe Latte, Caramel Macchiato, Caffe Mocha, Chai Latte and Match Latte.


6. Love. Sun. Body – The world’s safest and highest quality sunscreen. This is the first and only sunscreens in the US Certified by Ecocert Cosmos Natural. It’s vegan, reef-safe, hypo-allergenic, no eye-stinging ingredients and non-comedogenic. The Broad Spectrum is SPF 30 and SPF 50.


7. Kopari Beauty is a luxury line of coconut oil beauty products that are made with all things natural. Hawaiian-born co-founder and certified organic chef, Kiana Cabell, created a  line with no parabens and sulfates. They have a coconut deodorant that really works! This healthy, aluminum-free deodorant glides on clear, is never sticky and will outlast your longest days, leaving you smelling like fresh coconut milk.


8. What’s Your WORD – Washer bracelets stamped custom your personal word or intent with a choice of color. The bracelet is adjustable and they also sell a dainty necklace.

Chocodiem Belgian Artisan Chocolates

With holiday party invitations arriving, this is the time to gather a few small thoughtful gifts, to hand to the host and hostess upon your arrival, as a token of appreciation and holiday cheer.


For a sweet gift, the holiday Chocodiem Gift box is pretty in pink and chocolate brown. The uniquely crafted Belgian Artisan Chocolates are made in small batches by Belgian chocolatier Jean-Paul “JP” Hepp. As the founder and co-owner, he makes beautiful chocolates and truffles, and boxes them in elegant signature 12, 9, 6 or 3-piece gift boxes.

Holiday flavors include Gingerbread and Peppermint along with Pearl Truffle w/ a Dark center, Raspberry, Espresso, Cappuccino, Hazelnut, Belgian Rocher, Milk Chocolate Caramel and Orange Cayenne.


Other unique flavors include Red Wine truffles using Tolino Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Espresso truffles made with Fieldstone’s Kickin Goat espresso, and craft beer truffles infused with the delicious Cacao Porter from Shawnee Brewery.

The two chocolate boutiques are located in Easton, PA and another in Clinton, NJ. Go online to see and order Holiday Gifts starting at $7 for a gift bag of Almond & Espresso Beans. Chocolate Gift Boxes are $11 on up. or call (610)829-2722.

Holiday Artisan Shopping This Weekend

(Photo courtesy of the little market)
(Photo courtesy of the little market)

Six artisan companies are joining together for a unique holiday gift shopping experience one block west of The Grove. Shop this weekend only on Friday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Buy one of a kind home decor, women’s apparel, accessories, cosmetics, baby items and artwork. Vendors include The Little Market, Ariel Gordon Jewelry, Gray Malin, Ilia Beauty, Paper Crown and Sugar Paper.

(Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla – Photo courtesy of the little market)

Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla’s The Little Market offers beautiful items handmade by women artisans from around the world. Go online to see the beautiful gifts they offer  –


This special holiday shopping is at 7960 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles.

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