Editor's note: This is part of a series of stories about the changing American suburbs.
By Rachel Rodriguez, CNN
(CNN) - Ah, the suburban stereotype: The houses that look the same, the big box stores that look the same, the cul-de-sacs that look, well ... the same.
But according to CNN iReporters, the cliché isn't entirely accurate. Almost every suburb has something that makes it a little different or special, from a beloved restaurant to a historical landmark.
Take Kathi Cordsen, who lives in Fullerton, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. She can drive about seven miles from her home and be at President Richard Nixon's birthplace. It's an unassuming little white bungalow that's technically in Yorba Linda, California - another L.A. 'burb. It's so unassuming, in fact, that Cordsen at first didn't believe it was actually Nixon's home.
"It doesn't look like it did when I moved into this neighborhood 22 years ago," she said. "It was actually falling apart and in shambles. I met the people that were living in it because they used to have garage sales there. They told me the story about the house but I didn't really believe them until someone decided to fix it up and put a library next to it."
The house and adjoining property are now home to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.
Niaira Taylor's daughter wants a Baby Alive doll for Christmas, so she stopped at a Toys 'R' Us outside Atlanta to buy the doll. On the shelf, though, she saw that the white doll was $31.99. The black doll - the one her daughter wanted - was $44.99.
The dolls are identical except for their skin colors - Baby Alive dolls are available in skin tones listed as white, African-American and Hispanic.
"The manager, she said, 'Yeah, it's only the Caucasian doll that's 20% off,'" Taylor told CNN affiliate WXIA 11Alive. "So I said 'You mean to tell me I have to pay full price for the African-American doll, but they're all the same exact doll?'"
The answer: Yes.
Editor's Note: Tangela Ekhoff is an inspirational speaker, comedy performer and ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. She blogs about marriage, motherhood and life in Oklahoma at Homegirl on the Range.
By Tangela Ekhoff, Special to CNN
(CNN) - For my husband and me, the crown jewel of success as parents is the shrieks and wanton joy that come when our children open presents on Christmas morning. It’s enough to breach the dams in my eyes. Every year, my husband (the better shopper) picks one big-ticket gift for our boys, the one we call “the Showstopper!”
The Showstopper is the present that is either No. 1 on their wish list or the one they didn’t even know they wanted, until they make confetti of the shiny paper that conceals the happiness wrapped inside. The Showstopper is THE gift. It’s so awe-inspiring that it causes an intermission to present-opening and signals the point when the boys forsake all other gifts to play with the Showstopper. Last year, it was Chuck the Talking Dump Truck.
This year, there will be no Showstopper.
I wish I could say we are avoiding the Showstopper out of solidarity for Americans who are too poor to afford Christmas. I wish we were that socially conscious. This year, the Showstopper will not be part of the Ekhoff family Christmas, because this year, we are the poor.
Read the full story on CNN's Belief blog
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What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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