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cougs vs. huskies

a rivalry settled


Feeling Good is Good to Feel





Happy Holidays In the Spirit of the Season we extend a heartfelt Thank You for your continued support and business with the warmest wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year

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Features 12

Real Life: Gypsy Road Trip

Find your passion and live it

Real Near:

18 Bicycle Tacoma The power of two wheels


Real Tasty

Put a little scallop on your potatoes

Home 58 Real & Garden Natural and neutral


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DECENCY GOES A LONG WAY! AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, we here at Living Local stay away from the “sensational” stories, the ones that usually take a side to pit one against another. We refer to it internally as “negative,” and as policy, we will only participate in the positive; meaning nothing negative, divisive or political. We share the stories that matter to us all, no matter what or who you believe in, they have no bias, are color blind but always stand for something positive and decent!

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Celebrate the Holidays! Gather family and friends and take a ferry to tour this charming little community. You’ll find art galleries, shops, bakeries, pubs, micro-brews and dining options for everyone. Dec. 3 - Kingston Cove Christmas Details at and Book Your Kingston Getaway Today! Blue Water Inn - In the Heart of Kingston 360.697.4400 | Phoenix Bed & Breakfast - 360.297-8175 AirBnB - Search “Kingston, WA” Visitor Info Next to the Kingston Ferry Terminal

I was personally able to share our vision with a new client the other day and again at a conference in Gig Harbor last month, explaining that our mission is to positively impact the community by writing heartfelt, inspiring pieces. The reception to all of those that hear our message is welcoming, “fresh and uplifting” I was told recently. This brings me to the recent election and the profound impact it has had on our country. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has done a masterful job at dividing some of us, causing strife in our homes, neighborhoods and communities. We “seem” to be more divided than ever before. It’s so bad that people are rioting and protesting all over the country, high schoolers are marching out of classrooms, college students refusing to complete course work because of emotional distress and the media can’t get enough of it. I saw a post from the Seattle Times where they were asking people to write in and report “hate” crimes. They are actually seeking it out as opposed to reporting on it. In order for change to occur, it must come from us, the people. We have to ask more from our media, our national and local. Let them know that we won’t support this any longer. Let them know that the “negative” no longer appeals to us. Demand real, honest news and while opinion pieces are welcome, we prefer them to be accurate and would like to read, hear from all sides and not just one. Ask for a balance, ask for decency to be restored to our media. Once we get back to balance and decency, we as a country can heal, unite, move forward and continue to work together in making not only our communities and nation, but the world a much better place. As Christmas approaches, stop to reflect why we all celebrate, rejoice in each others unique abilities and perspectives, extend a hand, and lead with grace. Wishing you and your family the very best this Christmas season. Creating. Connecting. Living Local.

Steve Russo

Kitsap Peninsula

Steve Russo |

the Natural Side of Puget Sound 6 REALLL


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pg. 50




50 Tacoma 52

Calendar of Events


The Singing Christmas Tree


The Power Of Two Wheels


Purple Reign & Not Cougin’ It


Gypsy Road Trip


Santa Al Switzer


Wright Park


Holiday Belly Ache


Peaceful Places


Real Tasty Real Home

58 & Garden 8 REALLL

GET REAL! This beautiful photo by Diane Fetzner captures the Crystal Towers at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. The Crystal Towers rise 40 feet above the Chijuly Bridge of glass and serve as beacons of light. There are 63 large crystals in each tower made from Polyvitro. Be sure to see more of Diane Fetzner’s beautiful work on her Facebook page and put the Museum of Glass on your list of places to visit in the Pacific Northwest!

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TY RAY WHAT ARE YOU MOST THANKFUL FOR THIS YEAR? I am forever grateful for the health of my family. As the youngest of the small group, I feel blessed to have all of us still together. We may be a tiny family, but we have big hearts. We always make sure we are together during the holidays! It’s always family above everything else. There’s is nothing more in life I could possibly want than the love of these special people. • 253.355.5595

JULIE REED WHAT ARE YOU MOST THANKFUL FOR THIS YEAR? This year, I am most grateful to have support from family, friends and co-workers in my everyday life. I’ve never had such great people surrounding me and I know I’m very fortunate. I have a big family and we are all friends that enjoy spending time together throughout the year which is pretty amazing! • 253.273.8524


Washington Marketing Director Jamie Taylor | 253.906.4735 Sales and Marketing Executive Ty Ray | 253.355.5595 Sales and Marketing Executive Denise Comfort | 253.503.9134 Washington Director | Julie Reed 253.273.8524 |


Managing Editor | Patty Hutchens

Editor | Jani Gonzalez

JAMIE TAYLOR WHAT ARE YOU MOST THANKFUL FOR THIS YEAR? This year I am thankful for my little community - family, friends, colleagues, and other people who’ve I’ve crossed paths with. In a global world we can sometimes get disconnected from what matters most and I want to take the opportunity to be present in the moment and to be connected with my little community. • 253.906.4735

DENISE COMFORT WHAT ARE YOU MOST THANKFUL FOR THIS YEAR? I am thankful for my family, dear friends, my cat and the support of my co-workers. I am very blessed to have people around me who continue to make me laugh and enjoy life. When they share their funny stories, jokes and emails with me, it is by far the best gift of all and for that I am thankful. • 253.503.9134



Creative Director | Whitney Lebsock Senior Designer | Jessica Herbig Designer | Maddie Russo


Photographer | Diane Fetzner f DFetznerPhotography


is brought to you by To submit articles, photos, nominations and events, email us at Living Local Magazine is published monthly and distributed freely throughout the Pacific Northwest and Inland Northwest; Edmonds, Gig Harbor, Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint, Dover Bay, Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, Rathdrum and the Spokane Valley. Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Living Local Magazine is not responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. Living Local Magazine is produced and published by Living Local 360 and no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without the permission of the publisher.


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n this world of pressures, fears and even survival, the enjoyment of life can easily get lost. It seems difficult to find the time to relish in those things that truly give us joy. And in the world of technology, it becomes even more difficult to disconnect from the stresses of life. It is my hope that you will be inspired by my story. You will be encouraged to sit back and reflect on one simple question — what in life provides you with the greatest joy? Being in the outdoors, spending time with family, writing that book you have always wanted to write but never found the time? Or maybe it’s a bucket list item: skydiving, skiing in the Alps or taking a cruise. Whatever it is that brings you enjoyment, peace and fulfillment, hopefully you will find the time to do it. For me, I have found that my passion is flying. And the great part is that it is something my wife enjoys as well. Skimming through the air is one of mankind’s greatest achievements — not


for war, not even for fast travel, but in pursuing the dream of man to fly and to see and experience something similar to that of the life of a bird. As a pilot, I really do get to fly! We have already had many exciting adventures and have made it our goal to fly around the world in the next five years. When we are not working, that is.

hp, round gauges, RNAV (an area navigation that provides more lateral freedom and greater use of available airspace) and an Aera 500 GPS. The plane is relatively light in weight and handles like a sports car. My wife, who is a student pilot (C-152), is my only co-pilot and serves as navigator and preflight specialist.

Always wanting to put safety first, I chose to fly our plane to Tampa during the fall months to avoid any potential bad weather that could come with a cross-country flight during the winter months. We later took a commercial flight to Tampa to take advantage of the blue sky flying that the Caribbean brings during the months of December and January.

You may not be surprised to learn that a bright red airplane attracts attention everywhere — a red star in a world of white planes! We quickly discovered that people go out of their way to comment on it. The age of the plane also makes it seem attainable to many people working at airports that pose questions such as how much it cost ($27,000) or how it flies. It also opens up a discussion for them to share about the planes they own.

On one segment of our travels, we flew from Tampa, Florida to Colombia, South America and back —traveling through the Bahamas, Antilles and Grenadines with stops in many places along the way. Our flying machine is a bright red 1947 Bonanza with 260

Part of the joy of flying is in the discovery of new places; cities and towns we never imagined would bring such adventure. Barranquilla, Colombia is one of those places, an unexpectedly cool city that

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should be included in any Caribbean tour. Grenada is the must-go place, but I am starting with Colombia because it was an unexpected joy. It was with a bit of trepidation that we flew there, but if you are going to be a gypsy you have to take risks. Another concern was that the planned route coming and going was over a lot of water. Unexpectedly, we found Venezuelan air traffic control willing to clear us to fly over its north coast and through the restricted areas. That enabled us to avoid flying the over water route to Aruba. Barranquilla was hazy, and we didn’t have the airfield in sight until we were within a few miles. Arriving, we were directed to follow a truck to the terminal where the narcotics police and others visited us. I speak fluent Spanish (I was general counsel for U.S. companies in Mexico for 17 years), so when the search got a bit ridiculous, I told the officials that we were flying into Colombia not out of it. They laughed and it ended the search. A woman named Claudia staffed the airport civil aviation office. She warmly welcomed us and insisted on taking us to her favorite hotel — the Barranquilla Plaza. On the way, we took a detour so she could introduce us to her child and parents. The hotel was an unexpected pleasure, and we were grateful for Claudia. Had it not been for


her guidance, we probably would have ended up at one of the rather sterile international hotels. When traveling, it is always fun, and usually more adventurous, to get the locals’ perspective. The Plaza was a local business, a tourist hotel of very good quality. There was delicious food, a swimming pool and they even provided rooftop rumba dancing to a live band. We went up to the roof about midnight, danced and left before closing at 3am. My wife and I can fake anything — even the rumba, and once we got up and danced, we quickly became part of the group, which included the cute waiters and waitresses who were dressed with stylish Cuban hats and clothes.

Magdalena River meets the ocean; we saw the colonial section of the city, the outlying areas, and Javier’s favorite — anything to do with Carnival, Colombia’s most important folklore celebration. It begins forty days before Holy Week and includes four days of activities. While Carnival is celebrated in many places throughout the world, Barranquilla’s celebration is one of the largest.

Also at the hotel we enjoyed café con leche — hot coffee and hot milk poured from separate containers in your preferred mix — and a variety of delicious and unique breakfast food. I enjoyed fried platano, a food similar to a banana that was served with chocolate bread rolls and eggs. All of this was included in our room price, which was a mere $78 per night.

A fun side note Javier shared with us was the history behind Juan Valdez coffee. According to Javier, Juan Valdez is a real person who came from humble beginnings. We have all seen the Colombian coffee ads with the guy with the burro. That is Juan. His coffee venture went big, and he started the Juan Valdez coffee houses a la Starbucks style. The Juan Valdez coffee houses were nice and served good coffee, so we felt right at home since we are Seattle area people. Good coffee, pastries, Juan Valdez coffee mugs and people with laptops connected to the Internet.

Barranquilla is a modern and clean city. I encourage anyone who visits to walk everywhere within reach. For the out of reach areas, we hired a taxi driver, Javier, who was a local and was very proud of his city. He gave us the grand tour! There was the tram transporting people out to the spot where the

Barranquilla is also an industrial city with a solid economic base. I was first there years ago when people had revolvers stuck in their belts — that has changed. Now iPhones are in their belts. I have to say, I missed the Wild-West feel.

If you are looking for a next great adventure, I encourage you to visit Barranquilla; it is very

When traveling, it is always fun, and usually more adventurous, to get the locals’ perspective.

“ Did You Know?

• Food tastes different when in flight: Studies show that our ability to perceive salty tastes is weakened by the cabin pressure. For example, tomato juice, which is high in sodium, will actually taste sweet to those who drink it in flight.

• Meals in the cockpit: On commercial airline flights, the pilot and co-pilot never eat the same meal. The reason for this is in case of food poisoning brought on by a certain food, one pilot will still be well enough to fly.

• Control towers: Because those in the aircraft control towers need to be able to see the entire airfield at all times, the glass in control towers is installed at a 15 degree angle to prevent glare and reflection.

• The 24/7 industry: At any given moment, there are 61,000 people airborne over the United States mainland, with over 29,000 flights operating daily from the U.S. each day.

• Flight attendant standards: In the late 1930s, flight attendants had to be under the age of 30 and weigh less than 118 pounds. In fact, there was even a requirement at one time that all flight attendants had to be registered nurses.



“ While I love adventure, when leaving Colombia it was with a bit of apprehension that I filed my flight plan to fly direct to Barahona, Dominican Republic. There were gale warnings and the marine forecast was grim — a semiperfect storm due to 40 mph surface winds, but the sky was clear for the first 200 miles and then the satellite photos on the Internet showed 150 miles of clouds with low tops. With Visual Flight Rules — a set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going — at 10,500 feet, we hit the clouds just about 200 miles out and flew around a few high tops. We had smooth sailing until my auxiliary tank went dry about 20 minutes early. I was quickly reminded that our lives depended on a running engine. Landfall near the Haiti and Dominican coast was spectacular. There were mountains and a


breathtaking coastline — flying up the coast to Barahona was worth the trip across the sea. Arriving from Barranquilla, Colombia, we had four different types of officials that looked us over and wanted to look at the plane. I told them that I was honored that they knew we were coming and sent a welcome party to greet us as VIPs. I asked why the president didn’t show up. The formality ended with laughter. One of the officials even gave us a ride to a local hotel, welcoming us to Barahona. Flying is something we love to do; it is not for everyone. I encourage everyone to do things they enjoy —even if a bit risky and pushing the economic envelope. I am not saying that we should live just for ourselves — much to the contrary — we should live and do right. A part of what makes the trip through life enjoyable is to live it with at least some activities that make it fun and enjoyable. So go out and enjoy the life you were blessed with!

Caribbean and only about 850 miles from Saint Georges, Grenada, another must stop if you travel to the Caribbean.

Part of the joy of flying is in the discovery of new places; cities and towns we never imagined would bring such adventure.




“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.” - Susan B. Anthony


ince the 1870s, the bicycle has reigned as the utilitarian machine of independence. It came before the automobile and has had a positive, lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of us bipeds. This passage from Aldous Huxley’s 1921 novel, “Crome Yellow,” highlights our ongoing connection to self-propelled machines: “A bicycle, a bicycle!” he said breathlessly to the guard. He felt himself a man of action. The guard paid no attention, but continued methodically to hand out, one by one, the packages labeled to Camlet. “A bicycle!” Denis repeated. “A green machine, cross-framed, name of Stone. S-T-O-N-E.” For me, as a kidney transplant recipient, riding a bicycle has helped maintain the function of my graft and kept me dialysis-free for fifteen years. And besides, riding a bike is fun and empowering.


Looking for upcoming events around Tacoma? Try these cycling groups. Tacoma Wheelmen began developing a trail system in 1898 with trails extending to Longmire in Mt. Rainier National Park. The development of the automobile decreased interest and upkeep on many of their trails declined. New trail projects emerged, like the BPA Powerline trail, in the 1990s. Increased public interest and support from the National Rails-toTrails Coalition fueled new development.

A local group for women riders, VeloFemmes, has a number of planned events. On December 5, 2016 at 6pm, join the fourth annual “Yuletide Ride”. “Set for a slow and casual pace, the 45-minute ride will be a great vehicle for viewing twinkling lights of the season.” Meet at Bluebird Coffee Roasters on 2201 6th Avenue.


Jamming my cycling shoes into the toe clips, I quickly adjust the leather straps so my feet are locked in good and tight—on a fixed-gear bicycle, this helps with speed control and skidding by maintaining a strong connection between your feet and the pedals. After a small climb from the parking area at my apartment, I make a right turn and join the bike lane along Bridgeport Way in University Place. In the greater Tacoma area, some streets have designated lanes for bikes and some don’t. When riding with car traffic on a road without lined bicycle lanes, sharethe-road is the rule of thumb. In my experience, riding as far right as is safe works in most circumstances, except when preparing to turn, navigating an intersection or when passing a slower vehicle. A list of bicycle traffic laws for Washington is located on the Tacoma


Wheelmen’s Bicycle Club website: Vanessa Fiorwolf of Shoreline told me recently, “It’s funny, as a kid, I would sometimes ride around just to make friends, and that hasn’t changed at all.” Bikes, she says, are good conversation starters. Now, Fiorwolf rides a folding bicycle and doesn’t own a car. Often, when carrying her folded bike onto the bus, others will show an interest by asking questions. She loves dispelling the notion that one has to be really fit, wear certain clothing, and own an expensive bike to enjoy cycling. With paved streets and pathways, as well as dirt and gravel trails, Tacoma has an array of choices for bicyclists of all skill levels. Point Defiance Park, the largest city park in Pierce County, boasts miles of roadway that riders can share with cars and pedestrians (and raccoons).

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Washington football teams are back on top BY COLIN ANDERSON

Editor’s note: This was written and had gone to print before the Apple Cup was played this season and is meant as a reflection piece on how both teams played leading up to the game.


t was only a few seasons ago the Apple Cup, the annual end of season rivalry game between Washington and Washington State, was dubbed “the biggest pillow fight you’ll see all year.”

Fans were suffering through several years of cellar dwelling in the Pac-12 conference, and it was hard to find anything resembling hope. Even the most die-hard crimson and purple wearers seemed more interested in who could out drink who in the parking lot than what was happening on the field. University of Washington suffered through suspensions of many of its top players plus the departure of many elite recruits who left campus early for the NFL, something that makes building a championship caliber team very difficult. Whenever the Cougars blew a lead, it was almost expected with fans utilizing the well-known adjective in Eastern Washington synonymous with blowing a lead; “Cougin’ it.” True fans will stick by a program thick and thin as it struggles and triumphs, however there have been no Rose Bowl appearances for the Cougars since 2003 or Huskies since 2001, and that patience is being strongly tested. One of those streaks has a very good chance of coming to an end this year as patience, new coaches, and a few top tier players have turned both programs around and put the state of Washington back on the map in the world of college football. After being stuck in mediocrity for years, both programs decided to make splashy coaching hires. In Seattle, when previous coach Steve Sarkisian


decided to bolt for USC in 2013, it took just a few days for Washington to secure one of the most sought after coaches in the game in Chris Petersen. Petersen put Boise State football on the map in 2007 when the team took an undefeated regular season into a BCS Bowl showdown with heavily favored Oklahoma. What most still agree to be one of the most amazing college football games in history, Petersen made a play call of a hook and ladder on fourth and 18, which ended up scoring the game, tying with a touchdown and only a few seconds left. The Broncos would go on to win in overtime on another trick play. With huge money on the line both for coaches and their salaries and athletic departments and revenues, the leash on new coaches is often very short. Petersen inked an initial five-year deal, but if he didn’t start winning he might not make it to the end of the contract. College football analysts often say that a coach usually needs three years before you can evaluate the job they’ve done. That’s because a new head coach is inheriting the previous regime’s recruits. These players might not fit what a new coach wants to do, some players transfer schools, and it also takes time for players to learn a new style and play calling language. This is year three of Petersen’s contract, and it’s shaping up to be his best yet. In Pullman, the Cougars also made a headline-grabbing hire to bring on former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach to begin the 2012 campaign. Leach’s “air-raid” offense puts the game on the shoulders of his quarterback, as many games the offense will pass more than 80 percent

of the time. Leach’s system is another that needs a very specific player especially at quarterback and wide receiver. Plus, student athletes need to be in phenomenal shape in order to continue the fast-paced offense attack even if they’ve built a substantial fourth quarter lead. Leach’s first three seasons did not go well going 3-9, 6-7 and 3-9. Many around Pullman and across Eastern Washington were getting more than antsy, especially considering the multimillion dollar contract not typically dished out from Washington State. Year four Leach got the Cougars bowl eligible and as we look at year five, Coug fans are celebrating a season like they haven’t seen in some time. How We Got Here: College football insiders started talking about the potential of the Huskies this past summer. Usually not in the same conversation as Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State and other perennial powerhouses, most weren’t ready to give the Huskies a playoff berth, but many thought they would be in the conversation near the end of the season. A soft opening schedule meant the Huskies could make a statement early with the potential high-

power offense ready to explode this year. The team did not disappoint, putting up a total of 148 points against the likes of Rutgers Idaho, and Portland State. Once Pac-12 play started, most thought the near 50-point average would take a significant dip but the offense was in no mood to slow down. Over six straight Conference wins, the Huskies averaged just a shade under 48 points per game and dismantled teams they have often struggled with in the past including a 44-6 drubbing of Stanford then ranked seventh and hanging 70 points on the road in Oregon. Rattling off nine straight wins certainly got the national media and college selection committee’s attention, and when Texas A&M suffered an upset at the hands of Mississippi State the Huskies slid into the fourth College Football Playoff spot and a potential chance to play for a National Championship. Week 11 brought Washington the chance to prove it belonged in the playoff conversation as it could justify its rankings with a home victory against the rising USC Trojans. ESPN’s morning kickoff show College GameDay broadcast live from campus and fans were up waving signs and cheering at 6am. Unfortunately for the Huskies sometimes you



catch the hot team at the wrong time. USC came into Seattle and the upset-minded Trojans walked out with a 26-13 win. The Trojan defense held the Pac-12 rushing leading Huskies to just 17 yards on the ground and only three plays of 20 or more yards all night. The move temporarily knocks the Huskies out of the playoff, but with losses by the second- and third-ranked teams as well, winning out the season could put them back in the conversation. At the end of last season, Cougar fans were generally happy with a third place finish in the Pac-12 North and a Sun Bowl victory over the University of Miami. Momentum was gained and WSU would have a lot of their star power on offense back the following year. The schedule provided some tough games and fans were confident this was the year it all comes together, and then they lost to FCS opponent Eastern Washington. (Note: Eastern Washington is currently ranked third in the FCS Poll and has Cooper Kupp, a former walk on from Yakima who now holds 14 NCAA records including yards, receptions, and touchdowns at the FCS level.) Talks of ‘Cougin’ it’ were rampant. A second close loss on the road at Boise State meant the Cougars were 0-2 and fans’ optimism was drained yet again. Since that loss the Cougs are a completely new team, rattling off eight wins in a row for the first time since 1930. Senior Gabe Marks has a real shot of passing the 1,000 yard make in receiving, and Luke Falk is clicking in Leach’s system especially late in the season as the Cougars put up 69 and 56 points against Arizona and California at Martin Stadium. Washington State finds itself in the top five nationally in passing yards per game and hovering around the top ten in points per game. Despite the two early season losses, the Cougars found themselves back in the polls in week 10 and will almost assuredly find themselves in a more prominent bowl game this year. The Pac-12 North Championship is coming down to the Cougars and the Huskies, meaning this year’s Apple Cup will be played for much more than just state and school pride as in years past. If Washington is the winner it will be a big boost to their chances of getting back into the college football playoff conversation. If the Cougars come up with the victory, they’ll have a shot at the Pac-12 title and a return trip to the Rose Bowl. A victory in the Rose Bowl would be the first for the Cougars since 1931.


Fans often dictate how good a season was by championships. While this is the ultimate goal of every team when it takes the field on day one of the season, it’s important to reflect back on positives throughout the season and each of our in-state programs has plenty to celebrate already. It’s rare for the Cougars or the Huskies to be discussed in such prominence and even a rarer occurrence when it happens in the same season. To start a season 9-0 and to rip off an eight-game winning streak after two devastating losses are both incredibly impressive feats. A lot can and will happen in the final few weeks of the college football season. There will be upsets, surprises, and controversies. As our teams get better so do the expectations. At the beginning of the season, Coug fans would likely be happy with making a more prominent bowl, and Husky fans would likely be thrilled with making a New Year’s Six bowl. As both teams find themselves in the rankings, Washington in the playoff talk and Cougars in Rose Bowl talk, fans will be disappointed if either of these doesn’t happen. As the season winds down, remember how your team got to this point and remember that building something special didn’t happen overnight. Fans of Washington and Washington State know that these types of seasons historically don’t come around as often here as say USC, Florida, Michigan or Oklahoma. With stable coaching regimes in place and recruits matching up with their systems, this could very well be the start of some very good years for both programs, but as fickle as the world of coaching and college football is the ride could be short lived as well. As you get ready for your team’s final game this season, don’t forget to take a look back to see what transpired to get them there. Remember the seniors as this will be the last time you’ll see them don the uniform. Remember where we were just a few seasons ago when the Apple Cup’s only implications were team pride for the year. It’s been an incredible season for both teams as they’ve put the State of Washington back on the College Football map. Now, let’s hope there’s a little bit more magic left as they close out a memorable 2016 season.

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By Jani Gonzalez Photos of Al courtesy of Jeremy Switzer

HOPES AND DREAMS OF THE SANTA-MAN Switzer hopes to create a new tradition in Tacoma that will exist for generations. He’s organizing a group of “elves” who not only help with the parade but will also reach out to senior neighbors.


hen Al Switzer answered an ad to be a store Santa, he never thought it would be his calling. That was more than 30 years ago. Today, the lawn mower repair man has been Santa to thousands of Tacoma area children. He has seen them grow up and bring their own little ones to see him, and now they can see him in a new Tacoma tradition — the Christmas parade on 6th Avenue. “I’ve had parents show me 8x10 photos of their kids over the years. I have people who drive over two hours to wait in line to see me for another four. That tells me I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Switzer said. Switzer, who owns Lawn Equipment Repair of Tacoma, began his indoctrination of Christmas at an early age. Growing up in a large family in Tacoma, his mother loved Christmas and decorated the house with thousands of lights. After the store Santa gig, he continued dressing as Santa each year, having the neighborhood children visit him at his mother’s home, the children’s hospital and at local stores. For the past 15 years, he has been spending the holiday weekends at The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse where the line extends out the door, and people wait two and three hours to visit with him. He’s been Santa for so long that he’s grown his own white hair and beard. In 2014, he added planning a parade to his holiday repertoire. The event was a slow drive that year on 6th Avenue with 300 people in attendance. It wasn’t until last year that he and the 6th Avenue Business Group had an official parade route. “Having a business on 6th Avenue is perfect. We think we had close to 3,000 show up





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last year. Gray Lumber Company had 1,500 candy canes to hand out, and they were finished before we were half-way through the crowd,” he said. This year, he and the 6th Avenue Business Group have teamed up with the Tacoma School District as part of the Whole Child Initiative. The schools help promote the parade and in return, there will be a 60/40 split between the school and the group. Older students can volunteer for graduation credits. He’s also planning an apprenticeship program with area businesses. The parade keeps growing because everyone wants to be a part of it. Switzer has units from the Coast Guard participating as well as some hometown heroes: Vince Coby and Phil Carter, both who played college football and Leo Randolph, a 1976 Olympian who won gold in flyweight boxing. Moreover, Switzer hopes to create a new tradition in Tacoma that will exist for generations. He’s organizing a group of “elves” who not only help with the parade but will also reach out to senior neighbors. He’d like to have a group help year-round too. Oh, and some of the elves are grounds crew for the Seattle Mariners! “I want to put a smile on people’s faces in a time when it’s hard.... I look forward to seeing the kids’ faces. I see it in the faces of adults, they turn into little kids when they see Santa. If you could be in my shoes¬it’s a passion,” he said. The parade begins at 6th Avenue and State Street at 6pm December 4, and they will be accepting donations for the food bank and Toys for Tots.



Plan your nearby escape soon and enjoy all that Wright Park has to offer!

A Tacoma Treasure Wright Park offers something for everyone BY PATTY HUTCHENS



t’s not only beautiful, it’s historical. Wright Park, located in the Stadium District at 501 South I Street in Tacoma, is a beautiful 27-acre arboretum that provides not only a peaceful setting in which to walk, it also has recreation for kids and adults, music and much more. A playground invites children to explore and play while the lawn bowling and bocce ball green has people of all ages trying their hand at what may be to some unfamiliar sports. For those exceptionally warm days, there is a “sprayground” where people of all ages can come and splash, play and get relief from the summer heat.


Wright Park has been a place for locals and visitors to enjoy for well over a century. It was first established in 1886 when the Tacoma Land Company donated a 20-acre piece of land to the City of Tacoma to be developed into a public park. Now 27 acres in size, it is equivalent to 10 city blocks and is a place for people to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. This beautiful setting is not only a place to relax and recreate, but it is a place to enjoy culture as well. With everything from music performed on the second Sunday of each month from 1 to 2:30pm to the beauty of the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory full of

breathtaking floral displays and unique plants, there is always something for people to enjoy. Tired of the busy city life? Escape to Wright Park for a few hours and become rejuvenated.


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A call for artists for 2017 window scapes will begin in January and applications will be due in February.


Making Vacant Storefronts Vibrant Spaceworks Tacoma bringing art to downtown INSTALLATION BY ARTIST “CARTER”.



s you stroll the streets of downtown Tacoma, colorful, vibrant and creative works of art will stimulate your senses. Thanks to Spaceworks, a program of the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce, artists throughout the Pacific Northwest are given a unique opportunity to display their work at storefronts whose windows would otherwise remain vacant. “Spaceworks was started six years ago by the City (of Tacoma) and the Chamber to activate vacant storefronts for artists,” said Heather Joy, the manager of Spaceworks who explains that window scapes is part of the Artscapes program for Spaceworks. The primary location for display is the former Woolworth’s building, now occupied by AT&T, but there are also a couple of other sites that they are consistently filling with artwork throughout the year. According to Joy, the call to artists for their window scapes spans the Pacific Northwest and includes Tacoma, Seattle, Portland, Spokane and North Idaho. The artwork is not of a



specific medium. With everything from twodimensional photos to art created specific to the dimensions of the site, there is a vast array of creative pieces on display. “They bring their own vision (to the project),” said Joy of the artists. The artwork is rotated every four months, and with set up and take down time the work is displayed for approximately 3 ½ months. There will be a great opportunity with Tacoma’s First Night Celebration on New Year’s Eve to view the creations and many more. The lively event takes place near the windows of the old Woolworth building, but has a much larger footprint as well. According to Joy, the organizers of First Night also have displays at other storefronts on the night of the event. Joy also encourages attendees to stop it at the Spaceworks Gallery on First Night to check it out and warm up with hot cider and cocoa. A call for artists for 2017 window scapes will begin in January and applications will be due

in February. Spaceworks Gallery currently has a call for artists or curators to apply to host an exhibition. The deadline to apply is January 5, 2017.


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Happy Holidays! Uh oh…belly ache, bloating, burping By Heidi Jo Rickard, NTC, Nourish and Revive, LLC


olidays are a time when sugary treats and refined carbs are lurking around every corner. This can be a great stress on our digestive system. In addition, there may be other stressors: cooking, baking, cleaning, entertaining, traveling and expenses oh my! A happy holiday SHOULD NOT include decreased motivation, staying awake at night, forgetfulness, increased irritability and sheer exhaustion. You may ask, “Can I eat through the holidays and still feel great?” Instead of feeling bloated and tired, follow these easy 1,2,3s to feel holly and jolly! Stress can cause digestion to slow, lose energy, create moodiness and slow or halt serotonin production. What is serotonin? Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, sending signals between nerve cells in the brain. Serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, memory, learning, temperature regulation and behavior. Poor digestion can have an impact on your mood and emotional health – especially considering that 80 to 90 percent of the body’s serotonin, the neurotransmitter most commonly associated with happiness, is made in the gut. Follow these 1,2,3s to help to you keep you healthy and happy:

A happy holiday SHOULD NOT include decreased motivation, staying awake at night, forgetfulness, increased irritability and sheer exhaustion. 34 REALLL

1. Eat slowly, calmly and chew your food well. Chewing well speeds up digestion. Your stomach would like me to remind you that it does not have teeth. Digestion starts with the saliva in your mouth, which contains enzymes that help break down sugars and starches. 2.  Drink plenty of healthy beverages. Caffeinated drinks cause dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration often include fatigue, muscle cramps, brain strain,

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Electrolyte drinks aren’t just for athletes. Many minerals, such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium, all act as electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes are important for everyone’s health to help regulate hydration, blood pH, the heart, muscles and nerves functions. Coconut water is an excellent source of electrolytes. Are you on a budget? You can make your own electrolyte drink. In a glass of water mix together: 1 Tbl. organic raw apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbl. organic raw honey, juice one lemon and add a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. 3.  Take nutritional supplements for adrenal and stress support. What are adrenals? They are the two small organs located above each kidney that help regulate the body’s stress response. The following supplements are excellent at supporting the adrenals: Ashwagandha, fish oil, magnesium, B complex, vitamin C, vitamin D3 and zinc. Talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner to find high-quality supplements and the right dosage for your bio-individuality. With December here, you can plan ahead for the projected stress train heading your way. But don’t worry, the 1,2,3s help you head into the holidays with a bright spirit, good digestion and energy to bring in the holiday cheer!

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oung children explore the world using their senses. As a pediatric otolaryngologist, I see children who inhale or swallow all kinds of things, including coins, peanuts and small plastic toys. Add button batteries to the list, and seek help immediately if a child swallows one. Button batteries are small, flat and round, and typically 5 to 25 millimeters in diameter. They have become ubiquitous due to their usefulness in powering small devices—everything from remote controls to toys and greeting cards. In the last 15 years, the number of injuries from ingested button batteries has increased ninefold. Some of these batteries are small enough to fit in and damage little noses and ears. Children under 6 are at the highest risk, with most major injuries reported in children under 4. In all cases, button battery inhalation and ingestion are medical emergencies that require immediate attention. Recognize the symptoms A child may swallow a button battery without anyone witnessing the event. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice acute onset of the following: • • • • • •

Button Batteries: a hidden hazard By Jonathan C. Kopelovich, M.D. 36 REALLL

Airway obstruction or wheezing Drooling Vomiting Chest discomfort Difficulty swallowing, decreased appetite, refusal to eat Coughing, choking or gagging with eating or drinking

Extracting a button battery Call 911 if you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery or placed one in another orifice, such as the nose or ear. The emergency responders will divert you to a hospital nearby and alert the appropriate physicians. The first step is usually an X-ray to assess the location of the battery. If the battery is in the child’s stomach or beyond, it may be left to pass. Otherwise, the sooner the battery is removed, the better. The window of opportunity for injury-free removal of a fully charged, new lithium battery is under two hours. This procedure should be performed under general anesthesia by a skilled endoscopist. The endoscopist will assess any damage and stabilize the child’s airway. The child may need a temporary feeding tube while the esophagus heals.

Recovery can be complicated

Children under 6 are at the highest risk, with most major injuries reported in children under 4.

The full extent of injury may not be apparent for one to three weeks. When damage is seen during the initial endoscopy, the child has a high risk for stricture, or narrowing, of the esophagus. Multiple endoscopies and/or dilations may be required. Severe complications have been reported as late as 18 days after removal of a button battery. If a child swallows a lithium button battery and it goes undetected, the battery could cause a perforation or hole in the esophagus, create a scar tract that connects the esophagus to the trachea, and/or injure nerves that power the vocal cords. The most severe injuries may cause part of the esophagus to disintegrate, posing the risk of significant bleeding and death. When a button battery ingestion causes injury, a physician will need to closely monitor the child during healing. Keep children safe Adults can take these steps to prevent children from being hurt by button batteries: Check your toys and devices. Know which ones have button batteries. Keep devices that have button batteries in safe locations and/or make sure the battery cases are closed and not easily opened by little fingers. Dispose of used batteries properly. While depleted batteries pose less of a risk, a residual charge may still cause harm.

Act quickly if a child does swallow a battery. Call 911 immediately or get the child to an emergency room as quickly as possible. Speak up My rabbi was rewarding children for good performance at synagogue with light-up toy dentures powered by button batteries! Needless to say, he was mortified when he found out about the danger these batteries pose. The bottom line is that most people are unaware of the harm that can be caused by swallowing a button battery. I encourage parents to tactfully educate others and spread the word! Working toward prevention The Button Battery Task Force is a collaborative effort of representatives from industry, medicine, public health and government working to develop and implement strategies to reduce button battery ingestion injuries in children. Researchers at MIT have developed a protective coating for button batteries that insulates at low pressures such as the pressure inside the esophagus, but will conduct electricity at the higher pressures found inside the devices they are intended to power. This was effective at protecting the esophagus from harm when tested on animals.


Four of the most

Peaceful Places On Earth By Jani Gonzalez

Utah Zion National Park


Make your way through long winding roads and tunnels of Zion National Park’s red rocks to the Zion Narrows where you can hike the Virgin River, admire the other worldliness of the natural hanging gardens lush in comparison to the surrounding desert and sandstone cliffs. Hike the native and pioneer trails or drive the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Check weather conditions ahead of your visit though as the park is prone to extreme weather conditions, in particular the extreme heat experienced there as well as flash floods during rainstorms. With preparation though, you can’t go wrong in visiting this park as one of our country’s natural wonders.



Iceland n e v a e H o t y a w r i Sta

Iceland is referred to as a “country of contrasts.” It’s home to the northern lights, volcanoes, breath-taking waterscapes and massive glaciers. The country is divided into four regions. The East holds much vegetation and has many fishing villages and harbors. It also has “magma chambers” full of mineral deposits. There are mountains to the North as well as lava fields. Here, the sun never sets in the summer and visitors can play a game of golf at midnight if they wish. The South is famous for their seafood, waterfalls and glaciers, and the Highlands are relatively untouched because of accessibility and are known for their hot springs. A good place to start your exploration is in Reykjavík, and don’t visit without planning ahead. A little known online visitor’s fact is that Iceland is also known as a land of books, claiming more books published per capita.


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Fjords & Hills It is known as the Land of the Vikings with a midnight summer sun and a winter that is a perpetual night. Norway’s drastic seasons give us a surreal spin to what we’re accustomed. In the summer, name the summer sport and you can do it at any time of day as the sun never sets. In the winter, it’s not completely dark either as impressive auroras light the sky. Past visitors recommend making the summit to “The Pulpit,” a massive rock table in Ryfylke. Hike to the top and drink in the gorgeous view of the fjords and rock formations. Or visit the ancient glaciers still present from the ice ages in the west. To take a break from the outdoors, visit the chic museums and cafes in Oslo. Norway abounds in scenery to experience and definitely requires repeat visits.


Athabasca Falls Plan your trek to this Canadian wonder of Jasper National Park. There’s no outdoor activity you can’t do here from camping in the summer to sleigh riding in the winter. The falls are 75 feet high and nearly 60 feet wide. In the summer months, the Athabasca River flows white with “rock flour” which is the fine silt of mountain remains released as the glacier melts. In the winter, the river takes on an icy blue hue from infinitesimal pieces of rock reflecting blue or green. The park has protected and accessible walkways. Visitors are strongly cautioned to respect the majesty by staying on these trails for safety.


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6-8 Yellow Finns Potatoes 2 T. unsalted butter 1 Large yellow onion, thinly sliced. 4 C. Milk or 2 C. Milk & 2 C. Vegetable Broth 2-3 Garlic cloves, smashed 1 t. Dijon mustard (or substitue dry mustard powder) 1 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese 3/4 C. heavy cream Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice potatoes into 1/8 inch slices and set aside. In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until they are softened. Add milk (or milk/broth mixture), crushed garlic, mustard and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Add salt and pepper for desired taste. Add the sliced potatoes to the mixture and allow to simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, (approximately 10 minutes). The potatoes should have some resistance when poked with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, scoop half of the potatoes and onions into a greased baking dish. Cover evenly with ¾ of the grated cheddar cheese. Scoop in remaining potatoes and cover with the remainder of the cheese. Pour the cream evenly over the potatoes and cheese. Discard remaining milk/broth mixture. Bake until the top becomes crisp (approximately 1 hour). Potatoes will be very hot when removed from the oven. Serve and enjoy!

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DE LA TERRE The menu is always changing here as the chefs utilize only the freshest, locally sourced goods from fishermen, foragers and farmers. Seasonal specialties feature only organic ingredients and offerings are split into three courses. De La Terra offers a delicious Sunday brunch that includes bottomless mimosas, and dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday evening so make sure to make your reservations in advance.

GRASSI’S RISTORANTE Grassi’s offers traditional Italian offerings with nightly specials rotating each week. Drop in on Wednesdays for half-price bottles of wine or Thursday when you get a complimentary dessert with your entrée purchase. Hand-tossed pizzas are available for those looking for something a bit lighter. Gnocchi, rigatoni, alfredo and ravioli, you’ll find them all here!


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If you’re a soccer fan, this is the place for you. A traditional Irish pub in every sense, there is always a game on one of the many TVs. Half-off happy hour from 3pm – 6pm, and from 9pm – 1am means there’s always affordable eats here. Corned beef, bangers and mash, and Shepherd’s pie are just a sampling of the Irish cuisine.

PEAKS AND PINTS The 28 beers on tap are just a fraction of the offerings available at Peaks and Pints. In fact, there are roughly 650 beers and ciders in bottle, can or draft and this beer lover’s nirvana. Try brews from all over the world, and let the knowledgeable bartenders lead you to some incredibly unique flavors. Watch for special events always on the horizon.


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THE SOCIAL BAR & GRILL Dine outside with incredible views of the waterfront and the artwork outside Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. With both indoor and outdoor seating for nearly 300, the Social Bar and Grill is great for reunions, receptions or other large groups. Fresh seafood and savory sandwiches and burgers highlight the menu. This is the perfect spot to start or end your night of exploring the beauty and history of Tacoma’s Foss Waterway.


eat up!

Beautiful wood accents blend with a modern design at Asado Restaurant in Tacoma. This Argentinean-style steakhouse focuses on grilled meats over mesquite smoke, and you’ll be greeted with the enticing aroma as you set foot inside. Enjoy skewered beef steaks, prawns, market fresh fish and chorizo sausages with traditional Argentinean sides. Craft cocktails and appetizers make for a great happy hour destination.

SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE Cheap eats, great atmosphere, and a place your kids are sure to love. Shake Shake Shake in Tacoma is a retro-restaurant featuring burgers, dogs and well — shakes! Just about everything on the menu is under $6. For dessert, enjoy a traditional vanilla or chocolate shake or perhaps something more adventurous like miso butterscotch, red licorice or peanut butter and jelly. Those looking for an added kick can add a shot to their shake or partake in one of the house creation “boozy shakes.”

ART HOUSE CAFÉ Relax at the Art House Café in Tacoma after a stressful day or week with live music from locals every Friday and Saturday night. Need a mid-week break as well? Sign up for Pouring Picasso; a paint and sip class held several times each week. Enjoy unique pizza flavors from the brick oven or create your own traditional pie. The Art House Café menu is crafted from scratch and features sustainably sourced, locally harvested, organic and house made ingredients.





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253-85-fruit (37848) *Cannot be1234 combined with any Line other offer. Restrictions may apply. See store for details. Edible , Edible Address City, ST 00000 www.edible and marks mentioned herein are registered trademarks of Arrangements , the Fruit Basket Logo, Edible Arrangements, LLC. © 2016 Edible Arrangements, rights reserved. *Cannot be combined with any other offer. Restrictions LLC. may All apply. See store for details. Edible , Edible Arrangements , the Fruit Basket Logo, and other marks mentioned herein are registered trademarks of Edible Arrangements, LLC. © 2016 Edible Arrangements, LLC. All rights reserved. ®





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Experience the Zoo in a Whole New Light


xperience the magic of Christmas at the Point Defiance Zoo now through January 1! See the Zoo transformed into a colorful winter wonderland with over half a million lights gracing the park and dazzling in the night with 3-D animal light displays.

On December 8, Zoolights is hosting Scout Night! Registered Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts can enjoy a discounted Zoolights rate of $8 per person. December 5, 7, 12, and 14, Zoolights would like to honor our military with $8 tickets as well as discounts in the gift shop.

The 3-D light displays for this holiday season include animals such as hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, carnivorous plants and their insect prey, a whimsical 30-foot-wide underwater landscape, a majestic polar bear family, and a gorgeous giant Pacific octopus.

Zoolights would also like to point out that this is the season to recycle! Their goal is to keep old Christmas lights out of the landfills, so drop off your old broken lights at one of the designated bins. If you don’t have any lights to offer but still want to make a difference, help decorate the carousel with wreaths made completely from recycled materials. You could win tickets to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or our sister zoo, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Go to pdza. org for more information.

Besides viewing the magical lights, enjoy pictures with reindeer, rides on camels, tasty treats and carousel rides. Last minute unique gift shopping is always an option with their adopt an animal program, Zoo memberships, and eye-to-eye shark dives. There is always something new to do and see at Zoolights.

Zoolight hours are from 5 to 9pm, 7 days a week; although take note that they are closed December 24.


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Date: thru 12/10

Date: thru 1/1

Based on the motion picture, a young boy named Ralphie Parker only wants one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB gun. However, he is not sure he will ever make it to Christmas, between his brother Randy and the school bully Scut Farkus. A classic holiday favorite that will be playing at Paradise Theatre this holiday season. Visit for ticket information.

See Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo transformed into a colorful winter wonderland with more than a halfmillion lights. The holiday spirit comes aglow in this magical world of dazzling 3-D animal light displays. Animal light displays for 2016 include hammerhead sharks and sea turtles, carnivorous plants and their insect prey, a whimsical 30-foot-wide underwater landscape, a majestic polar bear family, and a gorgeous giant Pacific octopus. While you’re there have your photo taken with reindeer, ride a camel, enjoy tasty treats and take a spin on the carousel. More information can be found at

WONDERLAND Date: thru 1/29 Wonderland is a whimsical holiday cabaret and burlesque show that promises “a glittering parade of nostalgia, exploding with dance, laughter, and all the cheer of yesteryear” at small Can Can theater in Pike Place Market. Visit for more information.



THE NUTCRACKER Date: 12/1 - 12/28 Pacific Northwest Ballet performs The Nutcracker by George Balanchine, with a live orchestra, magnificent sets and costumes, and a huge cast in McCaw Hall. More information can be found by visiting

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT Date: 12/2 - 12/18 Julia Dowling has an unexpected visitor who intends to escort her off to the afterlife. Infusing comedy into the classic Death Takes a Holiday, The Christmas Spirit is set in contemporary Long Island. Julia persuades Death to give her one more day to enjoy Christmas and invites him to be her guest at a festive party. Moments of high farce, drama and even romance arise as bright holiday fantasies collide with a not-so-merry reality in this play given at the Phoenix Theatre in Edmonds. Ticket information is available at

LEAVENWORTH Date: 12/2 - 12/18 Enjoy Christmas lights twinkling on snow, roasted chestnuts, sleigh rides, and caroling at the annual Leavenworth Christmas Lighting. On Friday evenings, live musical performances of your favorite Christmas songs fill the streets, interrupted briefly at 4:30pm for the arrival of St. Nicholas at the Front Street Gazebo, as he welcomes children young and old with the story of his legacy and “gold� for the good boys and girls! On Saturdays and Sundays the festivities kick into full gear at 12pm with the arrival of Santa and costumed holiday characters in a march from the Festhalle to the Gazebo! Visit for more information.




Date: 12/10

Date: 12/11

It’s the 12th year to celebrate Dickens at the Stadium Historic Business District from 11am to 6pm. This wonderful English novelist has given us comedy, pathos, and a revival of the Christmas holiday traditions of tree lighting and helping to consider others more needy than ourselves. Join us this year under the big top, as the Dickens Festival embraces its Piccadilly Holiday Circus theme! Visit for more information.

The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is a fun way to get out, get moving and raise funds and awareness to cure America’s #1 cause of disability. In communities nationwide, this annual event brings together people from all walks of life to shout “Yes, we will live life to its fullest while searching for a cure!” As a Champion of Yes, kick off your holidays by helping conquer arthritis once and for all! So come to Seattle and wear a holiday-themed costume, tie jingle bells to your shoelaces and show off your ugly Christmas sweater as you complete a 5-kilometer run or walk with your team members, spreading smiles, good cheer and a winning spirit … and be a Champion of Yes! Visit for more information.

CHARLIE BROWN Date: 12/11 A Charlie Brown Christmas. The Jose ‘Juicy’ Gonzales Trio returns to Strawberry Theatre Workshop for the jazziest Christmas party in Seattle. Groove to the fresh sounds of Vince Guaraldi’s holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, played in its entirety. Now in its fifth year, Charlie has jammed its way onto the list of the region’s most hip holiday traditions. Sip your cocktails at the Cornish Playhouse. Dress in your favorite jazz threads and step back into 1965, when the music was fly, and Snoopy was still just a drawing on the comics page. Featuring a silent auction of holiday gifts and the uniquely fine chocolates of Margaret Savas. All proceeds to benefit Strawberry Theatre Workshop programs for 2017. Visit for more information.



THE CHRISTMAS REVELS Date: 12/17-12/18, 12/20-12/21 Bring family and friends to our lively concoction of folk tradition and high art. Full of spirit, humor and beauty, it’s a funny, open-hearted, mysterious, joyous celebration for all ages.This year they’re reveling in Wales – a nation steeped in music, magic and mythology where everybody sings! It’s also the ancient Celtic nation that brings us magicians Merlin and Taliesin. It’s a perfect place to set a Christmas Revels! Expect shape-changers, ghostly horses, and dragons (of course), singing, dancing and storytelling. More information is available at

FIREWORKS Date: 12/31 The Space Needle at Seattle Center is the tallest structure on earth to launch fireworks and the best place to view the show. Be sure to wear a winter coat to watch the free show whether it’s from the ground or upstairs.

FIRST NIGHT TACOMA Date: 12/31 First Night Tacoma fills the last day of the year with family-friendly entertainment, including a short parade, fun run, music and dance shows, puppets, and a fiery midnight spectacle in downtown Tacoma. Visit for more information.





elebrate the miracle of the holidays with the Life Center’s 54th Singing Christmas Tree production. Since its beginning in 1963, this dazzling production has become a treasured holiday event for many families throughout Western Washington and beyond for 54 continuous Christmas seasons. Known for being one of the largest and longest running Singing Tree productions in the United States, Life Center’s rendition has brought both holiday joy and hope to thousands of people. They are bringing an all new show this season with a trip to the big city and Harper’s Toy Store. See the toys in this magical world come to life and bring a renewed hope to Mr. Harper himself as he discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Experience a brand new story, new sets with new and even more spectacular costumes and music. If you have seen the Singing Tree before, you haven’t seen it like this. This seasonal extravaganza features festive Christmas carols, dancers, singers, thousands of twinkling lights, elaborate sets, a full orchestra,


original music, and a dramatic storyline. Experience the aweinspiring grandeur of the living Nativity; the birth of a baby born in a lowly manger, surrounded by live animals, kings and angels. This year’s family-friendly production features live action sequences, an epic battle scene, and thrilling production numbers you won’t soon forget. Come sing along to your favorite Christmas classics as well as enjoy new songs and sounds that are sure to put you in the Christmas spirit! This presentation is a treat for everyone young and old, so bring your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors and get your tickets early so the spirit of Christmas will be with you all season long! Tickets are on sale now; be sure to get a few extra as they make awesome Christmas gifts! Visit for more information.

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or me, the holidays are not complete without the festive decorations of the season. And as much as I love to shop and see the stores stocked with goodies, I’ve made a habit the last few years to skip pricey ready-made décor in favor of more natural materials. This not only saves me time and money, but it allows me to refocus the holidays on what is most important to me: spending time with the people I love. The perk to this is that decorations in neutral colors and natural materials establish a good base that can take you from Thanksgiving all the way to New Year’s. This year, why not challenge yourself to use what decorations you have and create the rest? Get the kids and family involved and turn it into a fun activity for everyone. If you find that you are still in need of some staple items, look for them locally. Some of the best places to find unique vases, frames, and decorative bowls are at your local thrift and antique stores. This is where you can find the classic (and sometimes even blue-colored) Ball mason jars, funky vases in greens and purples, and other decorations you can guarantee no one else will have. Here are some decorating ideas for each holiday using materials you can find around the house or yard, that are inexpensive and fun to create. Christmas Decorations:

Natural and Neutral Decorate for the holidays using materials you already have By Jesse Wurm


When I think of Christmas decorations, I think of my old family home lit up with candles spiced with scents of ginger and pine, oozing comfort and warmth. For me, Christmas is all about creating a cozy environment for family and friends to gather. Think of ways to create warmth with lighting and candles. Include scents into your décor with pomander balls (oranges pierced with cloves and dried) or cinnamon sticks tied with ribbon and hung on the tree. Go beyond the Christmas tree and mantle too, window sills, bookcases, bedside tables, and entry sideboards are great areas to set up smaller trinkets like Santa Claus figurines, jars of holiday candy, and handmade goodies from the kids. Here are a few other ways to deck your halls this Christmas. Silver and Gold: Christmas doesn’t have to be all about






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red and green. I have always liked how silver and gold bring in the beauty of the wintery landscape. Spray paint branches or pine cones with silver or gold and throw them in a decorative bowl or vase. Or line the mantle or table with a collection of metallic vases or tchotchkes. Candles: Winter holidays are all about nights by the fire, consider illuminating your home with candles to give a more intimate feel. They also can dress up a room and make the place appear fancier. Try topping your holiday table with candle sticks and candelabras, or an arrangement on a decorative metallic plate. Garlands and Wreaths: Add your surname to


a wreath on the front door with a glittered or colored letter and ribbon to welcome guests. Still have that Costco-sized bag of bows? Stick the bows in a circle on hard backing like cardboard and cut out the center for a homemade shimmery wreath. Evergreen garlands easily set the tone for Christmas, whether you adorn your mantel, kitchen cabinets or railing. Try a nontraditional material like your holiday cards, hung with clothespins and string along a mantle or wall. Ornaments: Use ornaments in places other than the tree. Fill vases and bowls and hang them along the stairway, from interior beams, or place them on the table as runner.

Spread the Cheer: Do you have a chalkboard or dry erase board in your home? Spread the holiday cheer with your favorite holiday song lyrics, or a message of peace and good tidings. Or, let the kids (and adults!) draw a wintery wonderland landscape. Bring out your creative side and have fun this holiday season!

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Where you can go when the Seattle/Tacoma real estate market seems too tough


By Jessica Herbig


t’s well known that the Seattle real estate market is tough. Tacoma, not so much, but it’s growing, and with growth comes crowding, less supply and more demand. They’re considered a seller’s market, in that the supply is low and the demand is high. When a residence becomes available, you can almost hear people beating the pavement to check it out. I imagine would-be buyers throwing their offers at their Realtors as they race through downtown traffic, only to lay on the horn as someone else cuts them off to get there first. Even as all of this is happening, those in the know have been casting their eyes beyond the city limits. The following are six of the best suburbs around Tacoma to buy your first home when you’re being beat out of the Seattle real estate market.

beautiful suburb encompasses the second largest city in Pierce County; 58,000 residents can’t be wrong. It must have something to do with the gorgeous views of the many lakes dotting the landscape. Lakewood is the ideal starter neighborhood, with more than 42 percent of the households in the area housing children 18 years or younger. Settle down in Lakewood, and start your family with peace of mind!

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The average list price for homes in this area is up to 13 percent lower than the whole of Washington state, making it possible to purchase a modest, affordable home. The good schools, low crime rate and stable real estate market in the suburbs amps up the appeal of living slightly outside the rat race of Seattle.

your morning coffee without having to rush out the door to beat commuter traffic? University Place could be the place for you. This suburb houses approximately 31,000 residents, many of whom enjoy the short 15-minute commute to Tacoma for work or school each day. There are many commuter options available here, whether you carpool, bus or drive into Tacoma. University Place offers a balance of business and residential, with waterfront views of the Puget Sound, open green spaces, and even a well-loved Scottish links-style golf course. 3. Puyallup - Best Public Schools When you plan for the future, do you look at the local schools for your children? Puyallup, located just 10 miles outside of Tacoma, is home to one of the top-rated school districts in the area. They boast high test scores and an 86 percent graduation rate, which is right in line

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with Washington state numbers. Puyallup is also one of the more affordable suburbs in the greater Tacoma area. These two facts make Puyallup a great place to raise a family. 4. Gig Harbor - Read To Scale Up? If you’ve already tried out the humble starter homes in other areas and feel you’re ready to scale up, make the trek across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and get a feel for Gig Harbor. Its stable housing market, excellent schools and a variety of local amenities make this affluent Tacoma suburb appealing to motivated home buyers. As a new Gig Harbor resident, you’ll be able to take in the Puget Sound, sprawling green spaces, boutique shopping and fine dining along the waterfront. Wonderful year-round views are an added bonus, as well as being able to reach Tacoma in as little as five minutes or Seattle in under an hour. 5. Auburn - Are You A City Person? If you just can’t say no to the city, Auburn might be calling to you. It acts as a middle ground between Seattle and Tacoma. With just under 70,000 residents, the city of Auburn is currently ranked as the 14th largest city in the state of Washington. Urban couples and young families alike are able to enjoy an active lifestyle in the city without the traffic, congestion and chaos that can sometimes come to mind when you think of Seattle. When compared to other similarly sized cities in the Sea-Tac area, Auburn could be a much safer and welcoming community. The area boasts high graduation rates, high income per capita and a ton of local amenities. Auburn is an affordable and stable housing market to explore. 6. Edgewood - Country At Heart The small, centrally located suburb of Edgewood rounds out our choice of six area suburbs. With a small population of just under 10,000 residents, it has a distinct small town country feel, but is still just 15 miles from the heart of Tacoma, with easy access to I-5 and WA-161. A small community brings a close-knit feel to the area. This community is one of the most stable and affordable housing markets in the Tacoma metro area, making it an ideal location to get away from it all without really getting away.



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When it comes to your retirement — lifestyle, security and location should be key. OPENING SPRING 2017. Reserve your keys now to the area’s only lifestyle with the financial security and peace of mind of true Life Care – Heron’s Key at Gig Harbor. Located in the walkable Harbor Hill neighborhood, future residents are getting to know each other and looking forward to being neighbors. Make plans now to join them. Call 1.866.642.0556 or go to to learn more about our informational workshops and see construction updates.

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December 2016 REAL Northwest Living Local  

December 2016 REAL Northwest Living Local

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