Not feeling the holiday spirit this year? Pull up a chair and sit by me. This year has been exceptionally difficult, for me and for many people around the world who are dealing with sickness, climate change, and the pressure of everyday life. At times I want to crawl under the covers and wake up in January when the lights and music disappear.

Despite this, I try to remember the lesson from this season: find the light (however small) in the dark. I’ve been doing this in many ways: visiting Zoolights in Tacoma (see image below), baking my favorite cookies (recipe below), watching my favorite Christmas movie, and spending time with the people I love.

I hope you all can find the light in the dark this holiday. If even that is a struggle, reach out to me and I’ll help light the candle.

This competitive real estate market is not going away, even with the seasonal winter slowdown. In Pierce County (and across the country), we’re seeing prices continue to rise and homes continue to sell in record times. The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.24%. While there are indications that interest rates will increase toward the end of next year, there’s still much uncertainty in 2022. If you’re planning to buy or sell a home this coming year, reach out to me for localized data and insights to help you understand the real estate market.

Download Pierce County Market Report

Tired of plain sugar cookies? My recipe for ginger cookies packs a flavor punch. It’s time to share one of my favorite holidays baking recipes, which I’ve been adjusting and improving for years now. The spices and crystallized ginger give strong flavors, and the sugars and molasses make a very chewy texture. It’s my favorite, one that I hope you’ll make and enjoy this season.

Makes about 15 cookies

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1/3 cup molasses
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup chopped crystallized ginger
Granulated white sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rack in middle. Sift flour, baking soda, spices, and salt into a small bowl and mix together. In large bowl combine sugars, oil, and molasses. Mix until well incorporated and mixture becomes slightly lighter and fluffier. Add egg and mix until smooth. Scrape down sides and bottom with spatula for an even consistency. Stir in dry ingredients. The dough will be very thick and stiff. Stir until well incorporated, and then fold in crystallized ginger. Grab a small amount of dough (walnut or golf ball sized), roll in your hands, flatten, roll in sugar, and place on a baking sheet. I like to make them into little hockey puck shapes, but I don’t think that’s necessary, I just do it because I like it. Bake for exactly 13 minutes and then let cool for a few minutes before trying. They will be very gooey when warm, and they will cool to a nice chewy texture. Keep in an airtight container.

Many of you already know this, but on October 16th I lost my love, partner, and best friend Lino very quickly and unexpectedly. Grief has been an eye opening experience and continues to evolve as I understand the loss more deeply with each day. We loved spending the holidays together, and this first Christmas without him is painful.

I’m so grateful to have parents, friends, and clients who have supported me through the last couple months. Thank you to everyone who’s given me advice, soothing words, help, food, love, hugs, and patience. This experience has taught me that tomorrow is not guaranteed, and we don’t get to choose our final words or actions. So make sure to enjoy the present and tell the people you love how you feel every day. Don’t be afraid to reach out, make that call, and say, “I love you.”

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and much love to all of you.