Brentwood Country Mart is having its’ annual sale with merchants offering up to 50% off starting today through the end of the month. Aside from the deals at the merchants like James Perse (the greatest soft T Shirts), Eidelweiss Chocolates, or the feminine haven Marie Mason Apothecary, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the One Voice Emergency Relief organization. One voice provides funds for families who need to pay utility bills, medical bills, they provide resources for children go to better schools, and offer opportunities for kids to go to a summer camp for the first time. You can also donate clothes and furniture directly (in good condition please because they do not refurbish or repair donations before delivering them).

After shopping in town, it may be time to go out of town, say the beach in Nice, France or maybe something closer to home like Hermosa Beach, CA. Gekko is a great website when your favorite hotel in your favorite city is booked for the dates you want and you want the next best choice. Just type in the city and country you are traveling to with the dates and the name of your favorite place to stay, and Gekko will find you a similar style/star/location. I tried it for Nice, France and found some hotels not included on the travel search engines, like the three star Grand Hotel Le Florence, starting at only 43 Euros ($62) a night! They have a helpful photo gallery view so you can see a the picture of the hotel before clicking for more information on the hotel facilities, location, and amenities. For hotels closer to home, I sorted the results by a map view to see what hotels were nearby and when I specified a price under $150, Gekko found the Hotel Hermosa in Hermosa Beach for $109 a night. The website is still in beta, so not all hotels are profiled yet, and there are many large chains featured in some cities, but I did find some gems and great prices, so I’m passing the resource along even in it’s “unfinished” state, it works better than many established sites.