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On a Personal Note

What a different year this has been for all of us. Although many will say 2020 will go down as the worst year ever, I think we can all agree that a lot of wonderful things came out of 2020. Here is my tumultuous list from 2020.

Good Bad
  • Graduated college
  • Bought my first home (condo)
  • Married the love of my life
  • Parents got a new puppy
  • Spent extra time with family
  • Sister got engaged
  • Missed out on many Disneyland vacations
  • Wedding venue canceled on us 3 months before
  • Husband was out of work for 10 months
  • Husband was out of work for 10 months
  • Lost my first job opportunity due to Covid
  • Honeymoon canceled

We all have this list going on in our heads around this time of year. We want to compare the good and the bad to see what kind of year 2020 really was. I want to urge everyone to focus on the things we gained instead of the things we lost. Yes, my wedding venue really did cancel on us 3 months before, but the wedding we put together in the backyard was far greater and more fun than the venue could have ever been. When we focus on what we have lost, our minds are incapable of accepting something that could have been better!

What I’m trying to say is that life is all about perspective and you have the choice to choose joy every single day. I challenge you and your family to make a list of all the great things that happened this year and share it on your social media!

 – Sarah (Swanson) Nannini

The holidays are filled with traditions we practice without thinking about them. Here’s how we got 5 of the most common…

Hanging Stockings. Before we had dryers, people hung their stockings by the fire to dry. Someone decided that would be a good place to put a surprise for the kids on St. Nicholas day eve. The tradition might have begun with putting treats in shoes that were placed outside the door.

Caroling. Victorian-era England put two traditions together…singing Christmas hymns and visiting the neighbors. They called it caroling, after the word caroles, which were circle dances to celebrate the winter solstice. The word transformed to carol, meaning any Christmas song.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters. This very recent “tradition” might have stemmed from donning a hideous sweater knitted by a great aunt because it’s the only thing you have to wear to the Christmas party. According to the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book, the ugly sweater party trend can be traced to a 2001 gathering in Vancouver, BC.

EggNog. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would be inspired to chug a raw egg-based drink, but historians agree that ‘nog was probably inspired by a medieval drink called posset, made with raw eggs, milk, and sherry.

Mistletoe. This plant has been associated with fertility since Druid times because it blossoms even during frigid winters. Kissing under the mistletoe was a Nordic tradition, popularized in Victorian England among servants. The word mistletoe is Germanic, referring to the parasitic nature of the plant, which chokes off the life of the tree it clings to. How ironic.


This month we are doing something a little different. Instead of a quiz question, we want you to ..

1. Post a list of the things you are grateful for this year on Facebook or Instagram 
2. Tag us  

FB @SwansonRE.Team 
IG @SwansonTeam

Winner will be direct messaged and announced in next months newsletter!

6310 Rubicon Ave, Newark

1461 Saybrook Road, Livermore

1010 Vista Pointe Cir, San Ramon


With prices at an all time high, it’s common for home buyers to stretch their budget to reach higher mortgage payments. Unfortunately, a higher mortgage may not be the only increased cost, and buyers can find themselves spending more than they thought they’d need to.

Before leaping into a more expensive home, here’s how to test drive future housing expenses…

  1. Add up current expenses: Add your current full mortgage payment (piti + pmi) or rent, HOA fees, utilities, and routine maintenance (landscaping, snow removal, minor repairs, etc.).
  2. Add the cost of the same items for your future property. You can use an online mortgage calculator to help with estimates. You may need to research property tax and utility rates in your target location. For maintenance, it’s typical to spend .5% to 2% of the home’s price annually, depending on condition, style, and price. Divide any annual costs by 12 months.
  3. Subtract your Current from your Future expenses. These should be monthly costs.
  4. Open a savings account and put the difference into savings each month, so you can’t easily spend it. Do this for as many months as you can to get a true reading on how comfortable you are with the higher monthly costs.

Doing this experiment is also a great way to save more towards the down payment!

This year would have been so different without our fantastic clients. A special thank you this month to… 

Brian and Tina Gruendell
Roger Oliver and Michele Hurlbut
Samuel and Elizabeth Lyall
Jenner and Jacqueline Stimpfig


A 2020 study published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine warns us that very high levels of uric acid in our bodies can lower lifespan by as much as 11 years. Uric acid is a waste byproduct. It’s formed when our bodies break down purines, which are found in some foods.

Uric acid is processed by the kidneys and leaves the body in urine. If your body retains more uric acid than it should, the result can be painful arthritic gout, kidney stones, and complications of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately, overindulgence in many “healthy” foods can contribute to high uric acid, including salmon and spinach. Other less healthy foods that contribute include red meat, high-fructose corn syrup, beer, and wine. 

How do you reduce uric acid? Eat foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid excesses of foods like those mentioned above. Drink lots of water to flush the kidneys. How much water? Doctors generally recommend eight 8-oz glasses of water per day or about 2 liters. The amount you actually drink may be less if you’re smaller, or greater if you’re large or doing a lot of physical activity.


According to mammologists, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.

Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, every one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be female.

We should have known…only women would be able to make it all around the world in one night and not get lost. (From a woman’s point of view, anyway!)

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2300 First Street #316
Livermore CA 94550