Sunday, July 20, 2014

Community versus Master Planned Community

We love going up to Chico. It's a quick one hour trip north, but yet feels a world away. It provides a reprieve from a world of professional demands and restores a sense of calm, reassuring me that everything will work out, be okay and this too shall pass. One would think that I grew up in Chico, technically, I did not. But, I did grow up in Chico. It gave me the distance from my actual "home" to grow into the woman I wanted to become. For all intensive purposes, when you study the feelings conjured when thinking of home, Chico is my home. My family - my parents and my brothers - were going through such a difficult time dealing with mother's illness when I was there, that Chico also became a refuge for my dad. It allowed him the distance to take a breath and become hopeful again. My dad spent a lot of time visiting me in Chico, so much so, that I realize one of the reasons I like to go so much is because I feel so close to him there. I feel closer to him there, than when I'm home in Orange County. Isn't that funny. 

Mostly, I love what Chico is all about. I love it's relaxed approach to life where material riches really aren't a focus. And, I love it's approach to community.......

I grew up in a master planned community and now live in a master planned community. Living in a master planned community certainly has its benefits, but recently its occurred to me that master planned communities can also be synonymous with isolation. Take our current master planned community. Our master planned community is one of four in a city of about 40,000. When you think about it, that's crazy. There is a master planned community for active seniors, a more affluent, a custom-home master planned community and two middle-class master planned communities. Depending on your view, a master planned community can either be a mechanism for inclusion or EXclusion. This is my master planned community, that is yours, our communities never touch. A true sense of community to me, is one that brings together people from all walks of life. Much like what happens at 1 Mile in Chico and Second Saturday Art Walks in East Sac, or a Farmer's Market, or a city park. All my most favorite things, especially now that I have Xander. Don't get me wrong, we certainly participate and enjoy in activities thrown by our own master planned community like movie nights and barbecues at the pool, but I want Xander to understand that there is a whole big world outside of our master planned community that is wonderful and filled with people that are unique and gritty and kind and have all sorts of special talents that make our universe rich.

So Saturday was a Chico 1 Mile day and we had a blast. Sure, we could have easily gone 1 minute away to our master planned pool, but it's not the same. It's a pool in a master planned community, this a natural creek set amid the nation's second largest municipal park after Central Park. Totally not the same. 

This picture captured a really poignant moment. After swimming around for about an hour, Xander said he was hungry. I had brought some snacks with us so we found our spot, set our towels down under the big trees and started snacking, counting squirrels, spotting blue jays and listening to three different languages float up from parties surrounding us. We don't get that at our master planned community clubhouse & pool.

The picture above shows the creek from one side of the bridge below.....


And this is the view from the other side of the bridge...

And after some lunch, ice cream, and a little shopping, someone was TIRED...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Birchbox: July

Another SWEET Birchbox completely right up my alley chockfull of stuff I heart. First of all, look how adorable the box is....this one and the Kate Spade one I had to repurpose because they were just too darn to cute to toss. So in addition to all the great products I received this month, the box also included a FREE, yes FREE, 1-yr subscription to Women's Health. AND, if you didn't want it, you could write in and get a refund! What the hell? Of course, I won't know about THAT because I actually want the magazine subscription, but I'd seriously never seen such a thing. Okay, so here's what else I got.....

Up close and personal below.....In particular I was loving the Benefit Posie Balm, Ruffian polish (especially because the color is called Rosary and I like that), magazine subscription (of course) right off the bat. I'm interested to see what I think of the other samples once I try them. I predict I'll love them too!

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

Agave Healing Oil Treatment - 2 oz.

RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer - Rosary

RUFFIAN Dressing Room Nail Lacquer Remover Towelettes
Benefit Posiebalm

Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream

So, I'm almost coming up on my year anniversary with Birchbox and I think Alex has become jealous of my box every month, so tonight he asked if I could sign him up for the guy's box. Swoon. Yes, I can. I love my husband.