One day about five years ago, my then 4-year-old daughter and I were enjoying some downtime in the backyard. She asked me to color a page in her princess coloring book while she did the opposite page. As we settled in to share a box of crayons, I recall losing track of time and the world around us while we focused on picking just the right shade for the crown or the castle. She peeked at my work every few minutes—offering the encouragement she heard regularly, “Good job, Mommy!”—and then decided we should wait until we finished to show each other the results.
Why does that hour stand out so vividly? I’m sure it’s because there are few opportunities to live in the moment, and because focusing on an activity I hadn’t done for decades provided a chance to be released from time constraints and adult worries. Clearly other people have seized on similar benefits of coloring because these books, in versions geared toward grown-ups, are flying off the shelves. (Two industry press releases about their popularity came in as I was writing this note.) If you need a little push to figure out why people are drawn to this, read our chat with Nancy Pe’a, this month’s Person of Interest (Page 33), who leads a coloring group at the Tustin Library. We wanted to get in on the fun, so in this issue we feature our own whimsical coloring book based on TV shows that take place in Orange County (Page 113). Whether you use it to relieve stress this holiday season or to spark ideas for the people on your gift list, our irreverent take on local places and personalities will make you smile. Consider it our present to you—a reminder to be in the moment, connect with your family and friends, and have some laughs.