Special Delivery

Growing up in a small town is an experience I’m glad to have had; without it I would not have the appreciation and excitement for all the glitz and glamour of big cities and foreign countries.

As a little girl, I knew all of my neighbors (we literally borrowed sugar from our neighbors multiple times). I walked to the corner store, to elementary school, and to the snow cone stand without fears of being mugged or kidnapped. I played capture the flag with the neighborhood kids, made secret clubs in the backyard, and played outside all day until the streetlights flickered on, and I was forced to come in for supper.

When I was a teenager I learned to drive a car at 15, worked as cashier at the local grocery store where I learned everybody’s business, and took dance classes at the studio four blocks down the road from my house.

In school, I constantly heard things like “oh I taught your sister”, “I went to school with your daddy”, or “you must be related to so-and-so.” I graduated with the same group of kids who started half-day kindergarten with me. Our football team was a local celebrity. Dairy Queen was a lunchtime staple, and beauty pageants were as common as school dances.

By the time I finished college I started to appreciate and realized what the small town life taught me: the literal meaning of loving my neighbors as myself, how to work hard in order to earn what I want in life, and how to appreciate stormy summer days under a tin roof. I truly valued these lessons, but at the time, I also learned about life outside my small town, and what I was missing.

While traveling a bit, I was introduced to Starbucks, new cultures and customs, Thai food, beautiful beaches, designer handbags, snow skiing, and Sephora. Oh, how Sephora has changed my life.

I was 21 years old the first time I ever went to a Sephora (the closest one was two hours from my home). I couldn’t believe what the rest of the world was holding back from small towns! I could have spent a week shopping through the colorful products. Immediately after getting home from my Houston shopping trip I googled Sephora, signed up to be a V.I.B. (Very Important Beauty), and began my online shopping extravaganza.

After this discovery, Target and Wal-mart’s make-up selections became obsolete. Anytime, I got close to running out of a product, I made an order from Sephora.com, and made sure to add a couple never-before-tried products to my “shopping cart”.

While making my first purchase I scrolled down to the option that asks, “Is this a gift?” and I thought, “Well sure it is! I can buy myself a gift!”. I selected “yes”, and then Sephora.com asked me if I wanted to send the gift in a FREE silk drawstring bag, and I thought “Why not?!”. When, it finally got to the “Write a special message here” directions, I was ready to wish myself a “Happy new make-up day to the prettiest girl in town!”

A week later, my gift arrived and it was the most fun package to open. I even enjoyed reading the card because I’d completely forgotten what I ‘d written to myself. From that point on, any time I ever make an online purchase for myself, I select the “send as a gift” option. Sometimes I even forget that I did it, and for a split second I’ll think “Wow! Who sent me this awesome box of teacher supplies from Oriental Trading???”

Before going to Texas last week, I was low on a few beauty products, and Sephora happened to be offering a special “Free clutch with 8 samples” deal for any online purchase for their V.I.B. members, so I made an order and decided to ship it Texas. (Sadly, Sephora now makes you pay for the pretty silk drawstring bags, but it’s still fun to get a nice card with your package.)

Now, that I’ve moved out of the small town, I hope that I keep all of my childhood lessons with me, and continue to be excited by the many extravagant opportunities around me.  My small town actually has a Sephora and a Starbucks now, which is a little disappointing to me. I’m sure everyone who lives there is thrilled to not have to drive two hours for these treats (and many others), but it does take a bit of the thrill away.

I selfishly wish all small towns would only allow mom-and-pop shops, and act as a small getaway from the bigger cities. Oh well…I guess the plus side to small towns expanding their options is that now my favorite mom-and-pop shops have websites and will ship me whatever I desire. I wonder if I can get them to gift-wrap my purchases and attach a special note? Doesn’t hurt to ask!