The story behind Sonny Daily
It's not uncommon for people to see me and exclaim, 'Sonny! I mean, Amy!" I laugh every time and I get it. We get used to seeing each other's handles and that's how we reference one another and know one another.
So where did Sonny Daily come from anyway?
Sonny Daily is a reference to two different things. First, it's a nod to my Arizona roots, where it literally is sunny daily...the graphic designer in me, just liked the way the 'o' looked better than the 'u.' Second, it's also a nod to my personality. I'm quite possibly the most optimistic person you'll ever meet. I actually have a little habit where whenever I'm dealt a lemon, I'll lay in bed and think about that lemon, turn it over a bit and then say to myself, "On the bright side...." then fill in the blank.
You can guess that my husband loves this game. I come home from Target, doing what we all do at Target and he'll roll his eyes...I'll respond with, "On the bright side, I didn't go to Nordstrom." :)
I know it sounds silly, and perhaps naive, but I dare you to try it. I've done it for so long that I don't even notice myself doing it anymore. After a hard something, I'm usually the first to say, 'man, that was rough, but holy cow, I learned SO MUCH!' Last year, I had a lot of those moments and while I didn't like it when I was in the trenches, I LOVED when I was to the other side and could look back and see where I had come from. Loved it so much, I made it my New Year's resolution to do more hard things.
Don't get me wrong, I still spend a fair amount of time on the front end of those hard somethings looking for an easier way out. Negotiating with God, trying to convince Him I can learn it another way. I usually lose this negotiation and then, then I'll succumb and get to work.
While Sonny Daily began solely focused on real estate, I've learned something about myself and you probably already know this, but I can't edit myself. I'm just not good at it. I'm not good at only sharing only one specific thing. Yes, I love real estate and it's a big part of my life, but I also love entertaining and good food and better books and home and I just have to share all the things. I guess I'm one of those people where you get all of me, or none of me. So while real estate will still be a huge part of this space, I hope you don't mind seeing a bit more of everything else going on around here.
It's nearly the weekend! A few things that I've had on my mind this week that I'm loving. I'm really gravitating more and more to a more natural looking wood floor. One with a bit more ruggedness to it and this one hits it just right. Also loving a butcher block island...a lot.
Because here it is again looking good in this kitchen too! Wondering how practical it is? Any experience with it? This kitchen has similar footprint to the one above, but did you see the windows on the ceiling?!? I don't think this would work in our overly hot and sunny climate, but in Southern California, sign me up!
You know how much I LOVE natural light & steel front doors so this image stopped me in my tracks. This front door looks a lot like the one Jenny used on the Gentry Project. While I loved the modern hacienda of that, I really like this aesthetic with a more traditional exterior.
Of course, since it's almost the weekend, I've got weekend open houses for you! For those of you that love walking houses as much as I do, these links will show you all the homes that will be held open this weekend across the Valley. If you haven't used these links before, I break each list into different cities, then they are sorted by price, so you can find what you're looking for fairly quickly. Once you find a property you want to walk, click on the 'open house' tab at the top right to see the date & time of the open house...and be sure to let me know if you find a gem!
MESA || GILBERT || CHANDLER || SCOTTSDALE
When my kids were little it seemed we were always doing 'arts and crafts.' Oddly enough, now that they are old enough to actually be helpful, it seems we've done less and less. Liv had made some bath bombs at a little church activity and since her's broke on her bike ride home, she was determined to make them again.
I did some quick research and once I realized how easy they were, I was on board!
Here's what you'll need to get started. Epsom salt, coconut oil, cornstarch, citric acid (found mine at Sprout's), baking soda, food coloring & essential oils. For the molds, I used these ones from Amazon and they worked really well.
First mix your dry ingredients, then gradually add your wet. I went slow here in case I didn't need all the wetness. Then add your food coloring. My kids picked green. The mixture will appear crumbly, so check it while you're stirring to see if you can begin to mold it. Once it is sticking with a little bit of pressure, you've reached a good consistency.
We pressed ours tightly to make sure they would hold. Let the mix stay in the molds for about 5 minutes, then remove and let dry for 24 hours...this is the painful part!
Homemade Bath Bombs
1 C baking Soda
1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 C epsom salt
1/2 C citric acid (this is what makes it fizz)
8-9 tsp coconut oil
2-3 tsp water
2 tsp essential oil
Pretty sure this a craft we'll make again! If you try it, be sure to tag me (@sonny_daily) so I can see your results.
A quick run-down of all the 'things' I'm loving...and by things I don't actually mean things you need to buy, I mean thoughts, shows, songs, routines & chubby babies in diapers. Happy Friday.
1. It had been over a year since I had been in the gym and this past week I finally made my return and it felt gooooood. It didn't come without its sacrifices though. Fitting in the gym means giving up on some sleep as my alarm is now going off at 5 am, but in all honesty, it doesn't feel like much of a sacrifice. I'm enjoying that hour so much. Also in all honesty, I held off until it had warmed up just a touch because I knew waking up in the cold of February would deter me. Just like to set myself up for success I suppose.
2. Have you watched Splitting up Together? It's our new favorite show, and every week it has me laughing...and maybe wanting to cry a bit. The main characters are played by Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson -- which if you're anything like me, you'll remember from the show Wings. I honestly, scratched my head for a bit when I saw him thinking, that can't possibly be him because he looks exactly the same. Tuesdays on ABC -- set your DVR and watch it with your spouse.
3. On repeat? 'Meant to Be' by Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line. This tune will definitely find its way to my summer playlist. Apologies in advance to my neighbors that have to listen to my music all summer long.
4. I'm trying to drink more water...it's one of my goals that is always my goal. Kind of like trying to stop saying so many 4-letter words. hah. When I was pregnant and nursing I used this cup to carry around with me. After a year of use it got dropped one too many times and broke and you know how it goes, life gets busy and I never replaced it. Then I find myself at 8 pm realizing I haven't had a sip of water all day. Finally got a similar cup at Target earlier in the month and it's helped to have a designated water cup. I fill it up and keep it with me. What do you do to drink more water?
5. Also managed to head back to the chiropractor this month. Remember when I was having sleep struggles? Well I stopped taking those supplements while I was pregnant and nursing. Headed back to re-evaluate since sleep was beginning to be a struggle again. Got my hip flexor worked on and came away with my sleep supplements and I'm pretty sure they are the reason I can get myself out of bed for the gym each morning. I take 2 supplements each night and they help me fall asleep & transition to a deep sleep. The best part is they don't leave me feeling groggy in the morning. Previously, after 2 or .3 nights of struggling, I'd take 1 Advil PM (which is half the dosage amount) and while I'd sleep good, waking up was a STRUGGLE. Let me know if you have similar sleep problems & I'd be happy to refer my chiropractor to you.
I love simple traditions the gather the family and this year we've begun Sunday lunches that look just like this. In the past I used this board to create a build-your-own-bruschetta bar and for Luke's blessing we used it to create a build-your-own grilled cheese. Naturally it morphed into a charcuterie board. Each week it shifts a bit, but we always keep it kid-friendly.
I love to include cucumber wedges and hummus for dipping along with all sorts of berries and grapes on the vine. We've made it enough that my kids can really help put it together. They pull all the ingredients, I chop anything that needs chopping and then they help arrange.
This past week I made a big one when they had half day at school & I knew friends would be in and out all day. I'm always a little surprised when friends are over and it's lunch time & I give them a few options...this one always gets picked. To keep the dips separated from the rest, I use little dishes. It makes the board stay relatively tidy and makes for an easier clean up.
To make your own, be sure you include things that you know your kids love. Max loves pistachios so we almost always grab some of those. Liv loves a Colby-cheddar mix, so we get that & Zack always eats all the blackberries.
Here's what usually makes our list:
grapes on the vine
your favorite deli meat, just roll it up fancy & your kids will be all over it
tomato basil wheat thins
whole grain crackers
asiago cheese slices
Sometimes I even include apple slices + peanut butter to dip them in. In my book, there really aren't any rules, so we switch it up quite a bit.
This time I included pretzel crisps with a cream cheese dip...quite possibly my favorite addition! To make the dip just mix whipped cream cheese with some strawberry jam. You'll want about a 3:1 ratio of cream cheese to jam -- an yes, I mean jam. Perhaps you heard me on my IG stories refer to it as strawberry dressing. ha! Glad so many caught me.
I found my board at Home Goods, but I like this one and this one too. The bigger the better! I honestly use it multiple times a week to serve.
We are hitting record heat here in the Valley and as such, swimming is on the brain. I've fielded a lot of phone calls, text messages and DM's this month all about building the perfect pool, so I thought I'd round up my top 5 tips for building it right the first time. For a little tour around our pool, head here.
#1: Just like they say in real estate, location, location, location, is the most important thing when building a pool. Often times when you walk model homes the pool is smack dab in the middle of the yard, so perhaps they've convinced you that is a good idea. It looks pretty from the windows, but other than that, it's a horrible idea. Homebuilders will ALWAYS put the pool smack in the middle of the backyard of their models because their goal is to create a feeling within that model home, the pool is part of that, so it goes right where you will see it when you walk in the door. Having your pool right in the middle of your yard by way of function, is a bit of a nightmare. When the pool is placed right in the middle it divides your yard into three different sections, as opposed to two, when you build it to the side. So instead of having 1 big lawn or entertaining area, you have two smaller ones. It also tends to box in your patio space. In short, if you can avoid it, avoid it.
My own pool was build right in the middle of the yard, and while my pool and yard is beautiful, I'd pay a hefty amount to be able to pick it up and put it off to the side. Instead of having one big lawn and play area, I have two small ones. It makes entertaining in the winter months a bit awkward and doesn't allow me any room to extend my patio space any more than what it is.
When choosing which SIDE of the yard where your pool should be placed, you'll want to take into account a few variables like which windows you'll be able to see the pool from -- I love that I can see the pool from my office window, it makes watching the kids in the summer really easy. Another to consider is how the sun sets and how it shades your yard. Afternoon shade on the pool is never a bad thing in our climate
#2 Shape matters. I tend to prefer the clean lines of a resort style pool, but if curvy and organic is your thing, go for it. As you're choosing the shape, you'll want to think about how you'll use the pool & separate it into zones. A play zone, a relax zone and deep dive zone, etc. Depending on your needs, the shape and size of your pool will change. If it only needs to accommodate a few, a simple rectangle with some fountains will do. My pool, on the other hand, needs to do some heavy lifting and accommodate a lot of babies, kids and adults at the same time. So we have a big step with umbrella sleeves to keep moms & babies wet & shaded, an area for water basketball & sliding and a diving board for deep diving. All four of those things can be happening at once, making it suitable for a crowd. I've heard from lots of people that they hate the way diving boards look, so instead they are adding raised platforms for jumping off of. I think its a great alternative, but in my mind, nothing compares to a diving board and it is by far the accessory that is used the most by kids and adults. We play all sorts of games off of it. Who can jump the furtherest, who can make the biggest splash, who can sink a shot with the basketball and who can catch the football.
#3 Poolside Lounging. As you're determining your shape of the pool, it will impact how you entertain around the pool. Ask yourself how you intend to use the space. Are their areas for tables and chairs? What is the flow of movement around the pool? The only thing better than swimming in the pool in the summer is sitting by the pool. Make sure you have room for lounging poolside, as you do, pay attention to how your yard shades throughout the day because no one is sitting poolside in the sun in July.
#4 Architectural Details. If you get the location and the shape right, you don't need to go crazy adding architectural details. On a resort style pool, I love a wall fountain on the backside of the pool or an interesting tile on the oversized step. If you want a slide, I love them built into the pool as opposed to after market. We have an after market slide, and while my kids love it, I wouldn't recommend it. It gives me a heart attack anytime someone under 5 tries to use it and my big boys wrestle at the top...also giving me a heart attack. Perhaps it is my kids who are actually the problem and not the slide?!? When you build them in, they tend to be much more sturdy and you avoid all the issues of the freestanding variety. You can also add big pots that pour water or that can be planted with flowers.
#5 Soften it Up. All that hardscaping can end up looking harsh, so think through your landscaping. Add a tall hedge on the back side, or use artificial turf and checkerboard your decking. If you love big potted flowers, make sure you add drips for those pots.
I'm a creature of habit, structure and routines. While some dread the consistency of the same, I tend to create little daily rituals. Small actionable sequences that support larger and loftier goals. I'm never perfect at performing these rituals every single day, but by creating the routines, it increases the odds in which I accomplish them. We've all heard before that we have a limited amount of decisions we are able to make in a day, so the thought goes if we create better habits, defined as choices made without deciding, we can literally change our lives.
All that to say, that I'm creating some structure and routine for this space with a new monthly series called: The Focus Monthly
My hope is that this series will assist you in guiding your thoughts and actions throughout the month. You know I love to learn and grow and in some ways I've always approached each month with a mantra of sorts to either help me focus on a goal, or to help me get through a difficult season. This series will just formalize it a bit & allow us all to focus our thoughts, time and energy on the same things throughout the month. I have a lot of ideas about this series, but for now, we'll start with a post at the first of the month and see how it develops over time.
This month, my thought and focus is this:
Your difference is your strength.
Over a year ago, this statement was my mantra. It was in a season full of self-realization with a heaping scoop of self-doubt. A time when I looked around and all I noticed was how I was different from everyone around me, my friends, my family, even acquaintances. I'd look around, and all I'd notice was how I was different in so many ways and then I'd mentally criticize all of those differences. I found an old journal entry from that time that reads like this, "For years, I've diminished my abilities internally and questioned my decisions. Berating myself for pursuing a course different from so many around me. Wondering why I didn't just do what everyone else was doing, focusing all my energy on my family instead of pursuing outside interests. I've wondered why I tend to think differently than most. But you know what? Perhaps that is my greatest strength...
I think differently."
This was the moment I woke up, my 'aha!' moment, where I realized that instead of berating myself for seeing opportunities and pursuing them, perhaps I should celebrate them.
I think differently.
And so do you. We all do. We all think and process and learn and grow differently. Furthermore, It is actually in those nuances that our strengths lie. Unfortunately, the moment we realize our thoughts or ideas are different from the 'norm' we begin to discount them. Relying on other people to be experts of our ideas, sometimes people we don't even know! We vet them in our minds, based on our perceptions of what we think someone else might think. Read that sentence twice and realize how ridiculous that process is.
Your difference is your strength.
Instead of discounting what makes you different right away, lean into it a bit. Let it marinate and take shape, then vet it based on what YOU think, based on your own research and experiences, not what you think someone else might think. This is not to say that every difference is to be celebrated, but to say, be more comfortable in your own skin. Embrace what makes you unique, notice your own talents and develop them more fully.
This month let this be your manta. I've created a free download for you to print off. Place it where you'll see it everyday and when you find that inner voice being critical of yourself, stop. Hear what you're telling yourself and question it. Perhaps what you're being critical of is a crucial part of who you are and what you have to offer. Furthermore, when someone you love is critical of you, your shortcomings or ideas, stop again. Hear what they say, process it and determine if it is of worth. If their words aren't of worth, work to prevent them from playing on loop in your mind. Easier said than done, I realize.
Pay attention to those ways in which you are different and ask yourself how that might be an asset instead of a liability. Then think if it's a talent you can strengthen and develop. If it is, take some steps this month to enhance and grow that part of you & share it with us! We all want to grow together in different ways. Leave a comment telling me what you've noticed is different about you and let's see if it is in fact, a talent we can grow.
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.