25 Books On My Reading List

You all know that reading 25 books is Number 2 on my 25 Things Before 25 challenge. Well, I decided to come up with a reading list of 25 books that I want to read for this part of the challenge so that I have a plan in line. I have already read the first book, which means I have 49 weeks to finish 24 more. Here is what I will be reading this year:

1) Dodging Energy Vampires by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

2) Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

3) Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life beyond Your Wildest Dreams by Gabrielle Bernstein

4) Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

5) Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life by Barbara Stanny

6) The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

7) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

8) Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown

9) Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

10) The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny  by Robin Sharma

11) Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

12) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

13) The Art of Less Doing: One Entrepreneur’s Formula for a Beautiful Life by Ari Meisel

14) Playing the Matrix: A Program for Living Deliberately and Creating Consciously by Mike Dooley

15) Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D.

16) Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back from Living A Better Life by Gabrielle Bernstein

17) The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein

18) Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

19) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

20) Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther and Jerry Hicks

21) Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon by Dr. Joe Dispenza

22) Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

24) The Energy Codes: The 7-Step System to Awaken Your Spirit, Heal Your Body, and Live Your Best Life by Dr. Sue Morter

24) Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

25) The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

Have you read any of these books before? What other books are you reading and loving?!

Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

25 Things Before 25: Week 3 Update

10/11/19-10/17/19

What a week! I am so thankful that after a week of craziness, I am finally feeling better and I had so much fun!

Weekly Updates

As some of you may have noticed, the weekly updates I have been posting are for Friday through Thursday because my birthday was on a Friday. I thought that it would make more sense doing it that way since this challenge lasts for one year–from September 27, 2019 to September 27, 2020. The only funny thing will be Week 52 which will be September 18 to September 27. If I could go back and change it to a Sunday through Saturday week, I, honestly, think I would. Since I have started it this way, though, I will likely stick with it for consistency.

Work Work Work Work Work Work

I am having my last day at the golf course this week, which will hopefully give me two days off per week! For those of you who didn’t know, I took a job at a beautiful golf course for part of the summer. Two of my best friends work there. They told me they needed help for a specific tournament and I had some free time, so I ended up taking on extra hours on top of my full-time job.

In the golf world, most people get a different job in the winter because it is centrally a Summer sport. For me, that means I can basically be on “pick-up” status where I only work when they call and ask me to help out, or a big event is happening. While finding a balance hasn’t seemed to be too much of a challenge, I am excited to have that time opened up to focus more on my blog and my dog!

What I Have Accomplished

Just like last week, my illness and busy work schedule did get the best of me when it came to completing these tasks. When you’re sick, it is important to give your body a break, but I always think that I can make it to the gym if I am still going to work. I completed 8 tasks and really hit the gym hard once I was feeling better. Here is what I accomplished this week:

  1. Completed 5 of my routine workouts (Number 8)
  2. Went to a concert–Josh Abbott Band (Number 11)
  3. Had a first–went to a concert alone (Number 16)
  4. Saw a new movie–Hustlers (Number 22)

My Progress in Perspective

I have a running total of 30 tasks completed in 3 weeks since I have turned 24. In last weeks update, I told you all I needed to average between 17 and 18 tasks per week with 5 to 6 being my routine workouts. This week I did meet the average for my routine workouts, but did not meet the 12 to 13 that I needed outside of that.

Again, I am being hard on myself as I am just getting started. I think when I began, I thought that I would be on it every week, but some weeks you do more than others. For instance, I recently booked a few trips that I am planning on having coffee dates with people I love, seeing out of state family members, going to museums, having a lot of “firsts,” and so much more. Plus, I love to read on airplanes or in the car or any ride-along form of transportation, so I know that I will be able to knock out 24 more books easily.

This week has been so full of fun and friends with many hours of work sprinkled into the mix, so I can’t be downtrodden about that. PLUS, I am feeling so much better, and I am so grateful! Outside of my challenge, I got to spend time with my niece and her mom and we did a fun fall photo session at a bridge near my house and had a nice lunch date. It was so great to have some family time with them!

I told you all that while 25 Things Before 25 will be a big part of my life this year, I am not going to let it take over my life. I want to incorporate my family into as many of my new adventures as possible, but that won’t always work out.

Goals for October

As I previously mentioned, I am not ecstatic about my progress this week, but I did make progress towards my October Goals this week. My October Goals are:

  1. Have at least one thing in each category completed by the end of the month, since I had 14 categories with nothing in them after the first week.
  2. Post 2 or more blogs per week describing these adventures.
  3. Add videos of my experiences to Instagram!

I did add to 1 new category (Number 11) by going to a concert! I have been thinking about how plausible it is to reach the goal of completing one thing from each category before the end of the month, and I just don’t know if I can do it.I am not doubting my capability, I am just thinking of how it may not really be an option to climb a mountain this month because it has been so cold.

Also, for Number 24, I could complete 25 blogs in one month this month because I am absolutely on track for that; however, I want to stick to my rules and have the blogs not be in the 25 Things Before 25 category. Including this blogging challenge may be what keeps me from completing at least one task in each category before October ends because it is 25 blogs to count towards completion. We’ll see how it goes!

I did post 3 blogs this week so I exceeded the second goal for this week! These blogs are Going to a Concert Solo, Do the Shuffle–How I got Stung by a Stingray in Clearwater Beach, and How I Turn Around My “Off” Days. For me, blogging comes easier when I feel as though I have a story to tell in which I learned a lesson. Each of these blogs featured an anecdotal story that I sincerely learned from. And I had so much fun writing those blogs!

Finally, I definitely went full force with the third goal. For those of you who watched my Instagram or Facebook stories while I was on my way to the concert, you know that I thoroughly embraced this goal. Whenever I have some potentially stressful situation occur, I find it best to make myself or others laugh. Well, that evening I was definitely laughing at myself, and I hope you were, too!

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this month has in store for me and to share it all with you! Thanks for following along!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

Click here to read more about 25 Things Before 25!

Find products that I find essential to my daily workouts by clicking on the pictures below!

Going to a Concert Solo

I am a huge fan of Texas country music! Some of my favorite artists and bands are Cody Jinks, Casey Donahew Band, Cody Johnson, Stoney LaRue, TurnpikeTroubadours, and Josh Abbott Band.

Tradition

My sister, Monikka, and I have actually been following Josh Abbott Band for about 7 years! They have some widely known songs like “She’s Like Texas” and “Oh, Tonight” featuring Kacey Musgraves. Almost every time the come to Denver and play at the Grizzly Rose, my sister and I have tried to make it to the concert. We would make a whole sisters date night out of it: getting dolled up, going to dinner, and enjoying the concert.

Why alone?

As most of you know, Monikka recently moved to Florida, so I didn’t have my built-in concert buddy to accompany me when Josh Abbott Band came to town this month. I asked a few friends, but it was late notice and so many people already had plans set. In reality, I wasn’t sure if I was up to going because I had been so sick all week. I had actually made alternative plans that didn’t end up working out. As I sat at home pondering how I would spend my last Friday night free before work really kicks into high-gear, my mom said, “Why don’t you just go by yourself?” And, you know, I couldn’t really think of a good excuse. I changed my clothes, made my brother take a few pictures of me, and went on my merry way.

The Drive

I think that the reason most people in my area don’t go to the Grizzly Rose is because it is further than you think. When you live in a suburb like Parker, you can get to DTC (Denver Tech Center) in less than 20 minutes, Downtown in 30-35 minutes, and the Grizzly Rose in about 45-60 minutes. So when you say “Denver,” it could mean a variety of things. From my house, the Rose is about 25 miles, but anyone who knows Denver knows that traffic always plays into a commute like that.

I was about 30 minutes into the drive when I noticed a large accident on Southbound I-25–approximately 7 miles from my destination. I heard a strange noise and immediately knew that I had a flat tire. Like a courteous driver, I turned on my cautions and tried to pull over to the right as other cars in traffic would allow. This was around 8:15 pm and, yes, there was still traffic.

When I finally got into the lane furthest to the right, there were so many other cars pulled into the shoulder so I couldn’t pull off the road. I was coming up on the exit to 6th which is a smaller highway with narrow shoulders on the side of the road, so I figured I better take my chance and pull off into the small shoulder area I had left on I-25 before entering that exit lane.

Flat Tire

When I pulled to a stop, I actually had to crawl over to the passenger side to get out of my car. I went to the rear passenger tire to confirm that I did indeed have a flat. Of course the second thing I did was call my mom. Luckily my dad has owned an auto body shop for over 30 years and used to race stock cars and late models, so I have someone pretty much around the clock to help me with anything car related.

In moments like these, you really realize how prepared (or unprepared) you actually are for this type of emergency. I realized a few things while pulling out my spare tire that I never have checked in the 5 months I have owned this car: (1) I have a full sized spare tire, (2) my jack is extremely hard to get out of trunk, and (3) I don’t have a tire iron. I am so thankful my dad was willing to come help me, although I am absolutely capable of changing a tire myself with the proper tools.

I waited and made a few phone calls and posted some funny blurbs about my night on Instagram as cars flew past me. Both of my parents showed up and my dad got to work right away–he brought his floor jack and a tire iron. I waited in my moms car and chatted with her for a little while my dad did all of the work. He actually had to put a lot of effort into getting my flat tire off, but still changed my tire in record time right on the side of the highway. I went back to my car, gave my dad a big hug, and headed for the concert.

There was actually a cut on the side of the tire we noticed once we got the tire off!

I Made It!

I showed up to the concert late, but I didn’t have to wait in line to get in! I figured I would know a ton of people there, but I really didn’t. So I had to put on my friendly smile and make some new friends, although I spent most of my time just listening to the music and dancing! Eventually, I saw one of my good friends I hadn’t seen in years and joined his group. I was so grateful to have made it there at all because I love this band and I love live music!

The Music

I seriously love this band, but I hadn’t really listened to any of their newer songs before the drive on the way to the concert. I am a sucker for their first album, She’s Like Texas, which includes the songs “She’s Like Texas” and “Oh, Tonight” which they played at the concert. However, Josh Abbott Band recently put out a new EP this year and played those 4 songs at the concert: “Little More You,” “Surprise Surprise,” “Oughta Get Drunk,” and “Catching Fire.” They mixed in songs from each of their albums and delivered an amazing set followed by an even better encore.

One thing I love about their music is their way of telling a story while keeping a more traditional format. The songs “Little More You” and “Surprise Surprise” were both written in this style and gave you that good ol’ country way of telling a story and including dialogue–not to mention, these songs are so catchy! The other two songs from the EP are more of anthem-type songs and are, also, very catchy. Overall, the new songs are nothing less than I would expect from such a great Texas country band.

After all of the craziness to get to the concert, I had to have the best night to make it all worth it. It’s kind of funny how it happens when you have just a colossal fail of a time, and then it turns into a funny story and great time after all. I am so happy I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to the concert by myself. SO WORTH IT!

I would definitely recommend to any live music enthusiast to go to the concert of the bands you love even if it is at last minute, and even if you have to go alone.

What is something you have done outside of your comfort zone that you never thought you would do?

Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

Going to a Concert Solo

25 Things Before 25: Week 2 Update

10/4/19-10/10/19

It sure was a stressful week this week with being sick and having issues with my foot from being stung by a stingray while I was in Florida. Here’s what happened:

Back Into Work Full Swing

I just got back from Florida at the beginning of the week, so this update comes to you post-vacation and adjusting from beach life to work life. At my job, you have to sometimes pull a 10 to 11 hour shift on Friday and Saturday nights. While I didn’t have to pull that shift on Friday, I did on Saturday. Everything was going well–it was a steady night, which is good in my world. As soon as it slowed down, I immediately felt a fever coming on and dizziness along with a head ache. I thought I was just tired from burning the candle at both ends with working two jobs and keeping up on social appearances. I was in for a little more of a trip when I thought to check my foot–it was pretty bruised all week from being stung in between the toes.

Remember My Fun Trip to Florida?

So a week prior, I had been stung by a stingray in Clearwater Beach. I wasn’t in any pain after initially being stung and treated at the local fire station. The firefighters did say to watch for infection and I suddenly had thought of this at work when I began feeling sick. I took off my boot and sock to notice that my foot went from a decent sized bruise to extremely inflamed and a large red area around the wound–you can read more about the experience by clicking here.

Once I got into a doctor Sunday, they told me to take it easy and prescribed me antibiotics to treat the infection. I am not one to ever take it easy, but I have been good about taking my antibiotics. All in all, I am feeling better aside from this awful cold I have been fighting at the same time! This week was a bit of a rough one for me, so I didn’t accomplish as much of my 25 Things Before 25 tasks as I was hoping.

What I Have Accomplished

I wrote last week that I didn’t complete as many of my 25 Things Before 25 tasks as I had hope in Week 1… Well, the universe was listening and gave me a little reminder to not be so tough on myself. This week I accomplished 8 tasks and had a tough time doing so! Honestly, I am going to just be proud of myself for getting anything done at all with being so sick and working so much. Also, beyond just working away at each individual task, I worked towards my October goals and got a lot of writing done! This week, my focus and ability to participate in activities was compromised, but here is what I did accomplish:

  1. Completed 4 of my routine workouts (Number 8)
  2. Got a new set of nails (Number 9)
  3. Memorized a bible verse (Number 12)
  4. Tried a new product (Number 18)
  5. Saw a new movie (Number 22)

My Progress in Perspective

As I mentioned, being sick and having my foot injury definitely got the best of me this week. I took the time to crunch the numbers, and while they aren’t looking wonderful, I am still on track to meet my goals. I am trying not to be too hard on myself because we all need a break now and again; getting sick is kind of a good reminder to slow down sometimes. At the end of Week 2, I have completed 8 new tasks and 22 tasks total of 900. I should be averaging 17-18 a week with 5 to 6 being my routine workouts. As you can see, I have not participated in all of my workouts due to being sick. No one wants to be in the gym next to someone coughing and sneezing everywhere, right? I only went on the days I woke up feeling good enough. I don’t think I have been sick all year, so this is really a shock to me.

Goals for October

Although I have spent the week either in bed or at work, I did make progress towards my October goals that I shared with you all last week. My October goals are:

  1. Have at least one thing in each category completed by the end of the month, since I have 14 categories with nothing in them after the first week.
  2. Post 2 or more blogs per week describing these adventures.
  3. Add videos of my experiences to Instagram!

I did add to 2 more categories, so that leaves only 12 categories with nothing in them after Week 2! I began writing 2 blog posts (they weren’t actually published until Week 3). I also, added videos to my Instagram story which brought a lot of feedback! All in all, I am glad I chipped away at each of these goals so that in the next 21 days I will likely have completed each goal!

Thanks for tuning in to see how Week 2 has gone! Check back for the Week 3 Update next Monday!

I’m off to watch my Packers play Monday Night Football!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

Click here to learn more about 25 Things Before 25!

Do the Shuffle–How I got Stung by a Stingray in Clearwater Beach

It was a beautiful day to be in the light blue warm waters of Clearwater Beach: September 27th, a sunny Friday afternoon, and my 24th birthday. I was with two of my favorite people in the world: my sister, Monikka, and my best friend, Dana. We spent most of our beach day in the water because it was just that hot. We were actually playing catch for most of that time with a little beach ball we picked up at Walgreens on our way to the beach. At a certain point, we decided to go back to the beach and layout while listening to some music. Dana found an awesome playlist called The Sound Bar on Apple Music and we just jammed out and relaxed for a while.

Cooling Off

When it came time to cool off in the water again, we grabbed the beach ball and hauled into the water. Dana and Monikka couldn’t have been more than a foot away from me when I felt something sharp grab my foot… or seemed like it. I felt a type of tingling pain shoot up my leg into my hip and really couldn’t understand what had just happened. My sister asked what happened and I said I must have gotten bit by something. I showed her my bloody foot while constantly saying “ow.” As I attempted to explain how it felt, Monikka assumed I was stung by a jellyfish because we were all just unaware of what type of marine life was at Clearwater Beach. My sister grabbed my hand and walked me to shore where she could see my foot bleeding and walking got harder for me due to the throbbing pain in my leg.

Maybe It’s Just a Cut?

I sat on my beach towel by my chair and asked Dana to just clean out the wound as I calmed myself. That’s when this Canadian man approached us and said that I was definitely stung by a jellyfish and pointed out that there was a purple flag out at the beach. Apparently the purple flag indicates dangerous marine life. None of the three of us had a clue–Monikka lives in Florida and Dana frequently visits. We all just knew something was wrong for sure. This kind gentlemen pointed us in the direction of the fire station conveniently located about 60 yards away from where we were on the beach. Monikka and I headed there and Dana stayed behind to keep watch of our belongings on the beach.

Firemen Saved the Day

Once we got to the fire station, I was still in pain but had calmed myself down to explain what happened. We walked in to interrupt the firemen eating dinner–I felt so bad–but they knew right away what had happened. All I said was, “I think I was stung by something.” This (very attractive) fireman asked me if I felt a tingling pain going up my leg and, when I confirmed, told me that I was stung by a stingray.

Getting Into Hot Water

How they treat this was pretty interesting to me. All you have to do is stick your foot (or affected area) into a bucket of extremely hot water. Simple, right? Not so much. Now I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but I did give my sisters hand a painfully tight squeeze as I submerged my foot in the water. You do get used to it after a while… Until they make you switch your foot to a hotter bucket of water since yours cooled down. They firemen were nice enough to splash cold water into the bucket for a little bit of comfort, though. The point of the hot water is to pull out the toxins that the barb of a stingray injects you with when it stabs you.

The Worst Part?

In reality, it wasn’t all that bad–it was mostly uncomfortable. In 90 degree weather mixed with humidity, it isn’t very pleasant stepping your foot into hot water. I was seriously sweaty (more so after the hot water) and anxious and in front of all of these firemen while in a bikini. However, it is crazy that the hot water draws the toxins out that way. I could feel the tingling go away from my hip down to my ankle as if it was was water rolling down my leg. It really didn’t take long to feel a difference. I maybe soaked my foot for an hour or so.

Stab Wound

As we were leaving the fire station, they advised me to keep an eye on the wound because sometimes the barb can break off in the wound. Also, they told me to expect to be in pain because it is like a stab wound. I wasn’t in pain at all by the time I was leaving, but it was likely due to the skin being so irritated around my foot and ankle that I wasn’t focused on the pain of the wound. Over the next couple of days, I did notice some bruising and that is all it felt like to me: just a bruised foot. I still couldn’t wait to go back to the beach!

Telling This Story to Floridians

Before we left the fire station, on of the firemen told us we should check out the place near by called the Palm which is a restaurant/bar right on the beach and semi-next door to the fire station. When we went in, we told one of the employees what happened and I she immediately said, “You didn’t do the shuffle?” And that was the first of many times I heard that the rest of the trip. I suppose it is just common knowledge in Florida. Some of the people that were on the beach and saw what happened ended up being at the Palm, as well, and were concerned about me. They came over to hear what happened and give me well wishes before concluding with, “Don’t forget to do the shuffle!” A few minutes later, we went back to the beach and “shuffled” into the water.

The Shuffle

Apparently, you are supposed to shuffle into the water because you will kick up the sting rays and they will move. What had likely happened in my situation was walking into the ocean and stepping right on the stingray. They sting you as their defense mechanism. Obviously, if they feel threatened by you stepping on them, they will think you are a predator and “sting” you with their stinging spine (barb). Again, none of us ever knew this information before. SO, when people near the beach say do the shuffle, they aren’t talking about a dance…

Once I Returned Home

Everyone kept saying I, at least, have a good story about my 24th birthday. I couldn’t agree more… People at work were genuinely shocked and then would tell me their crazy beach stories–it really created a lot of good conversation. I have never had anything like this happen to me before, so it was definitely surprising. People would ask if I was okay and what it felt like now. I would respond by telling them it felt just like a bruise.

That was up until the Saturday after I got back and began to feel feverish and dizzy at work. I didn’t think much of it, but I eventually checked my foot. Before work, my foot looked fine–nothing but a bruise and what looked like a little scrape. Once I looked at my foot at work, it had swollen up and was red and splotchy. Actually, I could barely put my shoe back on after removing it. I ended up having to go to urgent care the next day because the red area grew and the swelling increased.

**I had just put pain relief ointment on my wound and surrounding area. The swelling went all of the way up into my ankle and lower leg**

The doctor prescribed some antibiotics and told me to take it easy, maybe stay off of my feet for a while. Well, I work on my feet, so that kind of went by the wayside. For the next 48 hours, my symptoms of infection actually got worse–even while taking antibiotics. I decided to go back into the doctors to see what was going on the next day and just continued soaking my foot in Epsom Salt. The next day, there was a huge difference and my foots swelling was going way down. Just goes to show that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.

2 Weeks Later

I am doing very well now (minus this awful cold), and my foot is back to being just bruised across the top and less swollen. These antibiotics are really doing the trick! I am grateful for being so well taken care of at the fire station on Clearwater Beach and at the doctors here at home. And, hey, it is a pretty good story! I don’t hold any resentment and can’t wait to be back in the ocean soon! Next time I will be more aware!

The nice firemen at the station told me it is so common to be stung by a stingray! They, actually, told me that I wasn’t the first one they treated that day and said I wouldn’t be the last. So…

DO THE SHUFFLE!

It could keep you from having the same experience I did!

Have any of you had something like this happen in the ocean?

Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

How I Turn Around My “Off” Days

I am writing to you all from my bed super sick. I have been fighting this cold for a few days now, and I am really feeling it today! Yesterday was interesting for me because it was one of those days where I couldn’t beat the exhaustion and was not feeling 100%. It isn’t often, but when my day starts like this, I have a hard time getting into the groove of things unless I interrupt it early on. Here is how I pulled myself out of this slump and turned my day around:

Workout

My whole day yesterday I felt like I was in a funk. As those of you who read my blogs know, I usually workout everyday at 5 am and yesterday I just didn’t make it happen. I had to work at 6:45 and had a long day the day before, so I let my exhaustion tell me what to do–which is not something I would recommend. Aside from the endorphins and surge of energy, working out just makes you feel good about yourself. When you start your day with a win, it sets a good tone for the rest of the day. As my mom would say, “You’ve already won the day!” That being said, I didn’t win the day until about 8:30 pm yesterday because that is just the way it went. Some days it is just a win to get any type of workout in. I, surprisingly, had an awesome workout, too!

Get Ready

Sometimes we can work from the outside, in. I know that isn’t what most would recommend, but there is just something about doing a little extra on the outside that makes the inside feel better. When I am wearing an outfit that I feel good in and my makeup and hair are done, I just automatically feel better. You know the old saying “Look good, feel good”? Yeah, it’s true sometimes. Sometimes you’re running late, you are self-conscious about your skin breaking out, and you can’t stop coughing, but the one thing you don’t have to worry about is your outfit… because it’s fire!

Hang Out With Good Friends

During this type of day, I would usually get off work and rush into yoga pants to chill out for the night and be slightly productive. Instead, I kind of was dragged out by my own desire to be surrounded by great people who uplift me. When I just wanted to go home, I made myself go out and be around people who make me feel like the best me. The people who know you can have that ability to just make you feel better with their presence. It’s the unconditional love and positive vibes that are impossible to not let in. They don’t need to circle around you and tell you how great you are, just being there for you and wanting to spend their time with you can be powerful enough to lift you out of a slump.

Go For a Drive

Finding a road with no stop lights and lots of twists and turns, putting on a playlist that speaks to your soul, and letting go of the stresses of the world is a wonderful experience. A little seclusion can really mend your attitude, because whatever you are feeling can be processed without taking it out on someone else. Yes, you shouldn’t drive while in an extremely emotional state. But on those “blah” days where you just feel a little down, with the stereo up and windows down, a drive can be soothing to the soul.

Listen to Great Music

Usually, I loop this into my workout and my drive because music is so therapeutic for me. When I find a good song, it seems like I could listen to it a million times. I don’t… But I do use it to guide the rest of the music. Sometimes I just end up downloading the album of that song and giving the other songs a listen to get more familiar with the artists work. Other times, I go on Apple Music where I can usually find a good playlist by searching for that one song. It will suggest other good songs or playlists related to that song. Then, I can just lean back and relax without having to change or search for a new song every 3.5 minutes.

Yes, there are days where I listen to ballads and just belt them out along with the track in my car; however, on these days I find it best to find a more empowering song that makes me feel strong and inspired. For me, I played the song “River” by Bishop Briggs and got so pumped up while I was driving, so I downloaded the whole album and listened to it during my workout. I think I had one of the best cardio workouts ever listening to this album. Maybe it’s the pace of the songs, or the message, or maybe a combination of both–all I know is those songs spoke to my soul and made me feel invincible. Music does that for me sometimes though.

Words of Wisdom

Whether it’s scripture, a good quote, or a talk with your mom, hearing some words of encouragement can go a long way. I used all of these yesterday when I really just felt bad about where I was. Tuesday night I randomly bought a set of prayer cards because I am a sucker for interesting things placed near a cash register. I felt like it was one of those things that I needed to buy. I kind of forgot about these cards until I went into my trunk to find something and saw them still in the bag. I went inside and opened them to only take one card. There are times when I really think there is divine intervention trying to guide you and place things in your path specifically for your situation you are in. This is the card I grabbed:

It was so comforting to read this because it made me feel comforted at I time where I wasn’t feeling secure in myself.

The next thing I would love to share with you all is this app I have had for a while called “Motivation.” I have mine set up to automatically alert me 5 times a day between a specific time window. Just like a text or notification, it alerts me with a motivation quote or saying. It is so perfect because it isn’t something you have to seek out: you set it up for your ideal number of notifications and then forget about it. Then, at those specific times that you already forgot about, a nice motivational quote pops up on your phone. I find it hard to not feel inspired by all of these quotes. All it takes is that little bit of inspiration to change the pace of an off day.

I hope all of these tips are helpful if you ever have an off day! Or–better yet–prevent you from having an off day!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

25 Things Before 25: Week 1 Update

9/27/19-10/3/19

What an epic week! Here’s what happened:

Trip to Florida

So the first week after turning 24 has been interesting to say the least. It began in Florida at my sisters new house in Tampa. My friend, Dana, and I went down there to visit my sister and celebrate my birthday. This trip was nothing short of amazing! For the last few months, all I could dream of was being on a beach somewhere. Dana and I went to Dunedin, Florida on Thursday, and then Dana, Monikka, and I went to Clearwater Beach on Friday and Saturday. I had never been to either before and, while no beach could ever compare to the beauty of Clearwater, we had a great time at both beaches!

First Time in Tampa

I realized that, even though I have been to Florida many times, I had never been to Tampa before this trip! The only unfortunate thing about this trip was that I didn’t get to log a new state by being in a different state than Colorado. I figure that I will be revisiting a lot of states I have already been to throughout the year because of family in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Number 20 of 25 Things Before 25 includes me visiting 25 out of state family members.

What I Have Accomplished

While 25 Things Before 25 is a huge part of my life and things I want to accomplish this year, I am not only centering this year around my challenges that are a part of it. I am centering this year around personal care and growth with adventure sprinkled into the mix. The first week of 25 Things Before 25 included so much adventure, but I did not accomplish as much of the tasks as I thought I would in Week 1. I am, however, very proud to share with you all what I did accomplish:

  1. Read Dodging Energy Vampires by Chistine Northrup, M.D. (Number 2)
  2. Had coffee with someone I love–Miss Dana Swenson (Number 4)
  3. Visited 2 beaches–Dunedin and Clearwater (Number 7)
  4. Completed 1 of my routine workouts (Number 8)
  5. Got a new set of nails (Number 9)
  6. Had 2 firsts–visiting the gulf side of Florida and getting stung by a sting ray (Number 16)
  7. Captured on beautiful sunset on Clearwater Beach (Number 17)
  8. Tried 4(+) new products (Number 18)
  9. Visited my sister, Monikka, out of state–Tampa, FL (Number 20)

My Progress in Perspective

All in all, I completed 14 of what will be 900 tasks! That seems a little overwhelming, right? Well, I am not letting anything discourage me! Also, 300 of those tasks are part of the Routine Workouts (Number 8), because it includes 25 workouts per month for a year. That is one thing that is just part of my daily life after the last 6 months. Adding it to the challenge is more of a way to keep consistency and hold myself accountable rather than adding a far-fetched change in lifestyle. Bringing it down to 600 tasks–now 587 tasks–seems like a lot less!

I spent five of the days in this week out of state, so the non-travel tasks will be more focused on in the coming weeks. I did take Tuesday and Wednesday off of working out because of the hectic combination of travel and work. I can’t wait to push myself more and see what more I can accomplish this month! That being said…

Goals for October

I do have a crazy work schedule this month, so that should add an interesting spin on this challenge! Surprisingly, I think that I am more productive the busier I am… anyone else? Here is what I am pushing myself to accomplish this month:

  1. Have at least one thing in each category completed by the end of the month, since I have 14 categories with nothing in them after the first week.
  2. Post 2 or more blogs per week describing these adventures.
  3. Add videos of my experiences to Instagram!

Thanks for tuning in to see the fun and adventures of 25 Things Before 25! I will have more blogs to come that include the products I have tried, the EPIC book that I read, and stories from my trip (including how I got stung by a sting ray)!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

P.S. You all can expect a weekly update on the 25 Things Before 25 journey every Monday!

Click here to learn more about 25 Things Before 25!

And click on the book below to get your hands on something that has extremely inspired me!

25 Things Before 25: Number 25 Volunteer

Volunteer for 25 days!

Most Recommended

So I asked in my introduction to this challenge what you all thought I should do in multiples of 25, and most responses included volunteering! When I began writing this list, it was the first thing I wrote down. I wasn’t surprised that my followers and supporters had the same thinking in prioritizing service. This is something that I have had a passion for since I was a child have always been super active in. From days spent volunteering to give Christmas gifts to children in the foster system to a mission trip to serve the homeless in inner-city L.A., I have always had a passion for volunteering.

Going back to something I love

I grew up going to church every Sunday and nearly every Wednesday and this really got me involved in volunteer work. Outside of church, I was always involved in activities that were super involved in charitable causes. When I was a dancer, my studio began doing a benefit every other year to raise money for a variety of causes. When I was on cheer, we would do Santa’s Sleigh Ride at DIA every winter. When I was a part of FBLA, we raised money for March of Dimes at every event. When I was a part of DECA, a couple of friends and I created a blanket drive that donated blankets to Denver Rescue Mission. All in all, I was very active in volunteer work and I want to change that to the present tense of the statement.

Ms. Julie Miller

I mentioned that I was very involved in church growing up, and during that time, I had one of the most wise and inspiring youth ministers. The things she taught me about life in general still resonate with me today. But, since we are on the topic of volunteer work, I will just stick with some of the things she said to a group of us on a mission trip to Los Angles: “Don’t expect this to change their lives’, expect it to change your own.” I loved this because it is so true. You don’t volunteer for the gratitude of the people you serve, you volunteer for the pure goodness of doing so. Although you may be providing one meal for one person on one day of their life, you aren’t providing them with sustenance for their whole life. What you are doing, though, is participating in the community of people helping people. Your actions can truly inspire others to act and the whole of that can make a huge difference.

So during this mission trip–I was 14 at the time–I met a man named Jesus. He was at one of the churches my group had gone to in order to buy, cook, and serve a meal to people of the community. We were talking and my friends and I had told him the message our youth minister conveyed to us. His response was something that I couldn’t quite understand at the time because I thought he was telling me she was wrong. He had told us that we changed his life. He said it was so inspiring to him that a bunch of young people would care so much to provide a meal for his community–one in which jobs were scarce and each time he or one of his alley-mates would get a job they would come back with food for everyone. It wasn’t until later on that I had really understood that what Julie had said and what Jesus had said truly aligned with each other. Jesus didn’t leave that day with every situation figured out because of what we had done. He was inspired by the actions of a group of young people. That was the change in him.

Volunteering may be seem small in the grand scheme of things, but it has a greater effect! I can’t wait to get started!

Now, time to do some major planning!

Thanks for following along!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

Click here to learn more about 25 Things Before 25!

P.S. This picture is of myself, a friend, a pastor, and three of the jornalero’s we served lunch to on our mission trip to L.A. in 2010.

25 Things Before 25: Number 24 Blog

Of course I had to add a blogging challenge to 25 Things Before 25! SO, I will blog 25 times in one month!

Blogging for 4 Months

I have never completed 25 blogs in one month before, so I am excited to see if I can do it! I feel like my creativity would dwindle before I completed the 25th blog. Aside from blogging about my 25 Things Before 25 challenge, I’ve only posted 9 blogs since I started blogging again in July. Obviously, I have posted 25 blogs about this challenge since each item has been a blog post. For this specific challenge, I want to do 25 blogs in one month that aren’t centered around this challenge–although this challenge will be blogged about regularly.

Topic Ideas

I mentioned before that I was thinking about adding a “Review” section to my blog, so reviews would be one idea for this challenge. Also, I have been thinking about posting blogs about how I keep myself on a schedule and my daily life. Next, I am thinking about writing more how-to’s. My blog was originally going to be all how-to’s, but I am glad I went a different direction. It may be a good section to have on my blog in the future with more posts. Finally, I will be adding more posts featuring my perfect little puppy, Lady! I think that all of these ideas could easily accumulate to 25 blogs in one month.

This Year of Blogging

For this upcoming year of blogging, I have set some goals for my blog in order to bring my blog to where I want it to be when I am 25. This challenge will absolutely aid in helping me reach my goals, but they do reach beyond this challenge. A few of my goals are as follows:

  1. Create a strict blogging schedule and stick to it.
  2. Monetize my blog.
  3. Feature guest bloggers.
  4. Blog while traveling.
  5. Increase traffic by 100%.

I began 25 Things Before 25 with the idea of challenging myself and working on self-improvement, and I am excited that it will also bring more content and help me reach my blogging goals.

Thanks for all of the support!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

Click here to learn more about 26 Things Before 25!

25 Things Before 25: Number 23 Local Events

Go to 25 local events!

Small Town Feel

I live in Parker, Colorado which is a town of about fifty-five thousand people. That is far more than what is considered a small town and is, in fact, more than double the population of my home town of Superior, Wisconsin. Maybe it’s the friendliness of its people, or maybe it’s the physical smallness of downtown, but there is just a small town feeling in Parker. Anywhere I go, there seems to be someone I know. And maybe that’s because I have lived here on and off for about fifteen years and worked in highly trafficked places. Nonetheless, I know so many people in this town, but haven’t gotten very involved in my own community.

Becoming More Involved

I feel like I see things going on weekly in O’Brien Park, a park just off Main Street. I usually would pass by on the way to work and just wonder what was going on. So, I figure it’s time to actually go to something! First, I need to be more aware of what is actually going on. Second, I need to make my schedule more conducive to actually be able to go to weekend events. And, third, I need to actually go!

Realizing

One thing I was super bummed I missed this year is called Barker Days which is a spin on Parker Days (our town carnival/festival we have every summer). Barker Days happens at the end of the summer at the H2O’Brien Pool which is an off leash dog event where dogs get to swim and play in the parks off leash. They have vendors there and make a whole event out of it. I didn’t even know about this until this year when I got a puppy; hence, why I am sad I missed the event. I want my precious pup to have as many fun experiences as possible, and it’s not just me missing out on things. It made me realize how much more I want to be aware of what is going on in the community and actually go to these events!

I can’t wait to experience all of what my community has to offer and be present at these events!

What small town events does your town have? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Sonja Hoff

Click here to learn more about 25 Things Before 25!

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