DISCOVERY DEALS-I don’t know why it took me so long to find the Discovery Shop. It has only been in the same location for the past 10 years on Wilshire Blvd and 9th Street, prior to that in the Brentwood Country Mart for 10 years. But now that I have found it, I try to stop in as often as I can to check out new merchandise. It is easy to find treasure and I love the shop’s most enthusiastic volunteers. True, it is a second hand store, but definitely not your typical resale thrift shop, it feels more like a boutique. With As Ruby, a volunteer, says “a little of everything, something for everyone.”

When you come in, you feel compelled to spend money knowing the Discovery Shops are a part of the American Cancer Society and 100% of the profits go toward cancer research, education, advocacy and service. Most everybody feels personal and emotional about that.

The store is not big, more like “cozy”, with items beautifully displayed and immaculate that includes shoes, handbags, jewelry, books, collectibles, furniture, antiques and, of course, clothing. The clothing is of distinct quality, mostly designer brands, clean and ironed.

On this visit, I found some real gems: a pristine brass 12-light chandelier that would look great in my dining room for $200, originally costing $2,500, also found 4-place settings of Swedish blue glass dinner and salad plates. I also found a white long sleeved blouse for $15. S­­­ince it had a blue tag, it was marked 75% off, discounted to $3.75. Always, there are promotions to keep the inventory circulating within the month. 

Besides the great merchandise, the shop’s most enthusiastic volunteers also keep me coming back. The 40 store volunteers work tirelessly making sure that quality merchandise is put out on the racks, and they are part of a community and network of support. I always leave the store giving hugs to the sales clerks and cashiers. 


In addition to the store, the Discovery Shop has a semi-annual ONLY THE BEST SALE. Only the Best Sale is made up of donations of high-end designer handbags, shoes, jewelry and clothing, coming up soon on Friday-Sunday, October 7- 9, 2016 perfectly timed for October, the Breast Cancer Awareness month. There is also a pre-event providing early access to the store on Thursday, October 6, from 6-8 pm for a donation of either $10 or a bag of jewelry to be resold. 

According to store manager, Tonya Wagner, there are some very generous contributors who donate fabulous clothing, shoes, jewelry and handbags. With designers like Chanel, Michael Kors, Gucci, Coach, Ferragamo, Prada and Hermes, you cannot go wrong. This is a total win-win situation, buying very expensive designers at affordable prices. At the last OTB Sale last May 2016, the shop raised over $18,000.

The regulars know to come early to line up at the door, just like a Black Friday Sale, chanting “open, open, open!” (Btw, the shop opens at 10 am.) Here are some photos of the kind of items at the Only the Best Sale. You can see why people get so excited about it. Is that a Chanel purse? Pretty cute, huh?


  • There are 40 Discovery Shops in California.
  • Shop at one of three Discovery Shops in the West Los Angeles area: Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, and Beverly Hills which all have semi-annual Only the Best sales. There are also stores in the valley.
  • Visit the wig bank the ACS, Culver City office. For info, call 1-877-227-1596.
  • Need transportation or lodging near a treatment center? ACS can help the patient, caretaker or family members find a ride or a place to stay.
  • Call for free mammogram testing and other cancer screening tests.
  • Get involved and be a volunteer, and join this enthusiastic bunch.
  • Donate your gently used items to be resold in the shop.
  • Shop at the Discovery Shop and the Only the Best Sale. You will be sure to find wonderful treasures that will keep you coming back for more.  


To get an idea of services the American Cancer Society provides:

  • Over 100 years of experience providing resources for research, patient and family education, referral and support.
  • Funding for research. $4.3 billion has been invested in research grants since 1946.
  • Call the information hotline: 1-800-ACS-2345, anytime, 24/7.
  • Browse the website for comprehensive information In 2014 alone, over 61 million people have visited this site.
  • Through ACS grants, 47 research scientists have won the Nobel laureates in science.
  • Provide information, through 12 million books and brochures, online education classes, personal health manager kits.
  • Create awareness and education about screening guidelines, aimed at risk communities, individuals, caregivers and medical professionals.
  • 5 million volunteers are helping to save lives from cancer  


Each individual shop has their own events. You may want to check out the location closest to you. Call for hours and special events:


920 Wilshire

Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 458-4490


Facebook: American Cancer Society Discovery Shop/Santa Monica




2460 Overland Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90064

(310) 287-1156



844 S. Robertson Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90035

(310) 360-4894


(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.)


It's back to school time and varsity sports are gearing up. Back where I come from, varsity sports is number one - pretty much like it is on "Friday Night Lights." The entire community gets all riled up. Rivalries continue through the years and decades as trophies like the cowbell get passed from town to town. There's nothing like a night of high drama, screaming at the top of your lungs and banging on the bleachers for your home team - all for only about five bucks! 

Hasta el Taco Siempre! 

Some of you may remember Beshoy, the Jesus look-alike who accompanied Sue and I to the Bernie Sanders rally back in June. Sombreros off to him for being the first to clue me in to the joys of Revolutionario. We never made it to the taco place that day; but Beshoy assured me they were divine. I forgot about it all until the other day, while scrolling through my disaster of an inbox, I happened upon an invite from a foodie Meetup group. It said: 

Tomorrow: Join 5 Foodies at " Hillulah and Sephardic Tacos" 

Divine guidance was obviously leading me to the source of inspiration for the grand finale of my “Let’s Taco ‘Bout It” series. After all, it was a guy who looks a lot like Jesus who told me about it in the first place. 

The foodie event was an invitation to a night of Middle Eastern Tacos and Judeo/Arabic music at a place called Revolutionario – North African Tacos Sin Fronteras. That’s “Without Borders” in Spanish. How could I say no? 

With hope in my heart and tacos on my mind, I headed down to the USC area. After driving around the location a few times due to the predicament of the parking lot being used for the band and the dancing, I found a spot and strolled in. 

Holy Tomatillo Batman, this is place is sick! The walls are covered with dollar bills and money from other countries alongside loving notes on the awesome food and friendly atmosphere of the place. I was looking at all that for quite a while. It was pretty obvious I’d never been there before; but I didn’t care. It was awesome. 

Alongside the money and the notes are pictures of revolutionaries from around the world with quotes which they may or may not have actually said – about TACOS! Images of everyone from Marcus Garvey to Ingmar Bergman can be found, alongside their most profound thoughts on the delectable edible, including Malcolm X stating, “By any taco necessary.” 


Turning my attentions from the remarkable décor, I was greeted by the friendly young people behind the counter. Revolutionario is a family business run by the Zadis - Kamilah, Farid and Susan; and Brian Kim. They were happy to supply me with a menu which is filled with delights. In addition to the meat offerings, including cilantro yogurt chicken, beef brisket and a pozole tagine (vegetables, hominy, lamb, beef and chicken), this radical joint has amazing veggie options. 

I ordered up three of the gems: a tagine made up of chickpeas, spinach and potato; a charred veggie; and my favorite, a black eyed pea falafel. I poured some of their own lemon garlic yogurt on the beautiful falafel. It was the perfect combo. I also put some of their green harrisa on the tagine taco and I was singing all the way out to the parking lot to listen to the styles of Bizarre Ensemble. 

Bizarre Ensemble is a fusion band, mixing east and west, old and new. They’ve got a funky backbeat combined with Judeo/Arabic sounds and a bass player who made it very clear he really likes tacos! In between songs, he literally was yelling, “I love tacos!” Everyone felt the same I think. 

The whole group plays many instruments including the oud, violins, saxophones and drums. You can check out their debut EP “Shabasi” at  

The entire experience was truly spiritual. I know I’ll be back. I didn’t have any dessert. With options like almond cigars with hibiscus lemon syrup, cashew samsas with blood orange marmalade and something called Makroud (Algerian date newtons with orange honey) – well, it’s pretty obvious why the place is a favorite of Trojans and neighbors alike. 

Take my word for it, folks. You owe it to yourself to eat more tacos. At Revolutionario, you’ll be in for a real treat. Plus, you might see Jesus there, or someone who looks like him. 




North African Tacos Sin Fronteras 

1436 West Jefferson Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90007 


Open 9:00 am-9:00 pm Tuesday-Sunday,

Closed Mondays


(Jennifer Caldwell is a an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Her column at is dishing up good deals, recipes and food for thought. Jennifer can be reached at  Facebook: - Twitter: @checkingthegate ... And her website:  


SICK OF DRIVING?--Have you ever found yourself in Santa Monica wanting to run errands, but were afraid to lose your parking space? Or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic restless out of your mind? The Santa Monica Breeze Bike Share program is the perfect solution to run errands around town, with the Metro Expo line in at our backyard; Bike Share provides short-range transportation to and from the train station and buses. Commuter biking is a great way to enjoy our So Cal weather sunshine.

TRY A SMART BIKE--These smart bikes are super cool, painted bright neon green with a bold HULU logo and stocked with advanced technology such as a GPS location device to lock, unlock and track the bike’s location. The system is integrated with the “social bicycles” app to be downloaded on your smartphone. Through, you can reserve a bike in advance, get an annual or monthly membership, and rent a bike daily or hourly at a specific station. If you do not have a smartphone, many of these services can be done at the kiosk at the bike station. 

Besides the fancy technology, the bikes have adjustable seats, kickstands, a bell and basket. Making it perfect to get around town to run errands. BYOH-There is no helmet rental yet, for now at least, so don’t forget to bring your own. 

SUPPORT--The SM Breeze smart bike program seems to be getting a lot of support since it rolled out in November 2015. The City of Santa Monica budgeted $1.2 million per year to keep this program running, with Hulu has contributing $675,000 annually for the next five years, and $2 million in grant funding to get started. With over 800 bikes in use daily, and 76 bike stations with an additional 8 being added over the next few months. Residents want the bike share system to work out as an alternate mode of transportation. In addition, the city is adding or has added bike lanes and paths to many streets to accommodate more cyclists. 

DEBBIE DOWNER NEEDS TO BE PATIENT--All residents are not exactly thrilled about all of this. The streets are already extremely congested and there is so much construction at any given time. But we all need to be patient to give this program an opportunity to catch on. After all, this pilot program is the first of its kind in LA County. 

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST--There are three basic plans: 

MONTHLY PLAN: $25/month includes 90 minutes daily riding time 

ANNUAL PLAN: $99/year, promotional rate for the month of August 2016 only

Includes 90 minutes daily ride time. 

STUDENT RATE: $7 includes 90 minutes of daily ride time, must sign up through .edu email 

Additional charges:

  • Overtime rates by the minute
  • Return bike to a non-Breeze hub location within the system area, $2
  • Leave bike out of the system area, $20
  • Return “out of hub” bike to hub location, $1 credit  


  • Imagine being able to use the bikes everyday for 90 minutes at a time. Seriously, I have had three bikes stolen after being locked up near my home. This is a so easy to use, a great value and convenience. The annual membership is only $99!!!
  • Also many employers are offering memberships to their employees to promote good health and exercise – so you many want to ask.
  • There are several low-income options for SM residents, so you may want to ask the Breeze Bike Share office.   


Website: - Check out the website from time to time as terms are subject to change. 


Twitter:      @breezebikeshare 

Contact:     Kyle Kozar, SM Bike Share Coordinator, or Bike Share hotline (310) 458-8341 



(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.)


More Articles ...