The Starting Point: My Weight Loss Journey- Week 1

Here I am at the starting point of a whole new journey….one where I let go of the failed attempts for postpartum weight loss up to this point, start fresh and give it my all. So where am I starting at? Let’s see, shall we…

Starting weight: 174

Starting Pant Size: 10

Starting Shirt Size: Large

And what are my goals?  My first BIG goal is to hit 145lbs and also be back into a single digit pant size.  No, numbers aren’t everything, but they are part of my personal goals, so why not track it…right?

I also created a little incentive program for myself for every 5 lbs and when I hit big milestones like 20lbs lost…I have little incentives like getting a new workout top or a bigger incentive like getting a new wardrobe (at a certain $ value) when I hit my ultimate goal. Hopefully that will also keep me on track.

Each week I’m going to track my weight, workouts and progress here to help me stay on track along the way.  I’d also LOVE to find an accountability partner to chat with who’s also looking to loose the baby weight once and for all. Plus, it’s always fun to have more mama friends who get it, am I right?!

So for Week 1, I’m doing Body Beast workouts with the hubby and focusing on eating mainly vegan. Here goes…

Disclaimer: I also want to make it clear that this is just for fun and to keep me on track. I am NOT affiliated with any direct sales company. I’m just a mama trying to get back in shape.

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Time to get back on the wagon…

That’s right….it’s that time again.  I’ve been feeling it and fighting it for a long time, but it is time to get back into a fitness and healthy eating routine.  I’m tired of being tired, tired of feeling overweight and complaining about all the clothes in my closet that aren’t anywhere close to fitting.

Here’s where I’m at now…

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BUT some major things are different this time around.  Back in 2011, when I first started my weight loss journey and went from 194.4lbs down to my lowest at 125lbs, I was not yet married with non baby in sight, I had waaaay less responsibilities and I was easily self-motivated.  Now, I’m a super busy wife and mom with lots on my plate. That’s not an excuse, just a different place than I was when I originally lost weight.

So for me, it’s all about having a plan and sticking to it.  So today I want to share my plan and then later this week I’ll be back to share my Week 1 progress.  On to the plan…

For my meal plan, I am going to eat mainly vegan and allow myself 3 non-vegan meals per week including the weekends. No more all-out fast food nonstop weekends!!

For my workouts, I am committing to the Body Beast program until we leave for vacation at the end of June. Plus, I am going to try adding in some quick 10-15 min morning workouts when I can.

For my motivation, I’ve printed out a weight loss tracker, set goals with incentives for every 5lbs I loose…like getting new workout pants or a manicure, etc and will track my progress all along the way.  I’m also doing all of this along side my husband, so that helps a ton too!

My 1st big goal weight is 145lbs, which is what I was before I got pregnant in 2016. I did great maintaining my weightloss and even getting more tones from 2011-2016.  Since having Eli in 2017, I just haven’t gotten back in gear, but that just has to change. I can’t keep complaining without taking action. It’s to frustrating. SO here we go…time to give it my all again!  Also, I really wanna get to my goal before getting pregnant again, so that’s some extra motivation too!!

I hope you’ll follow along as I do my best to get back in shape!

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Top 10 Kid-Friendly Events in North Texas This Month

Our family likes to make the most of our weekends by getting out and doing fun things together as a family. Whether it’s something simple like a walk at a park in our neighborhood or going to a community event, it’s been a great way to reconnect as a family and spend some quality time together.

So I’ve been doing a little research to see what fun events are coming up this month and I thought I’d share it with you too. Take a look at the top 10 kid-friendly events going on in North Texas this month.

  1. Mary Poppins Jr. Live

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With performances still running from March 1 through March 4th, there are still a few days to catch this great play.  If you were a fan of the movie and would like to share the fun with your kiddos, then this play will be great for your whole family.  Ticket prices are pretty reasonable too: Adults $14, Students and Seniors $10 and Children 9 and under $9.  To get more info and to purchase tickets, visit https://getintotheact.org/.

  1. Visit the Easter Bunny at Grapevine Mills Mall

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The Easter Bunny will be at the mall for photos March 2nd through March 31st in the courtyard near the Converse store. This year, you can even skip the line and book your family’s reservation with the Easter Bunny online at simonbunny.com. Booking in advance is a great way to skip those long-wait induced toddler tantrums, am I right?

Easter Bunny Photo Times are Monday-Saturday: 11am-8pm, Sunday: 11am-7pm and then Saturday, March 31: 9am-8:30pm.

  1. TexFest Carrollton

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Carrollton is proud to announce the return of TEXFest, a free festival honoring Texas Independence Day. The festival takes place Sunday, March 3rd from 3-9pm and features local artists performing Texas music on the streets of Historic Downtown Carrollton.

The entertainment lineup includes local Texas loving bands and performers. There will be lots of good food, memorable photo opportunities, vendors, yard games, and much more. Bring your boots and buckles for a Texas-sized good time!

  1. Patrick’s Day Photos with a Leprechaun

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On March 10th from 8:30am-12pm, the Coppell Humane Society is setting up at the Coppell Farmers Market for St. Patrick’s Day photos with a leprechaun. The leprechaun will take center stage with you, your kids, and even you dog, if you’d like.  The farmer’s market is located in Old Town Coppell at 768 W. Main St., Coppell, TX 75019.

  1. Paddy’s Texas Style

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Texas twist with the City of Lewisville on Saturday, March 17, from 2-10 pm at Wayne Ferguson Plaza. This FREE event includes kids’ activities like a 40-foot zip line and other inflatable attractions, live music, plus food and more.

Be sure to check out these live performances:

* 2 p.m. – Maguire Academy of Irish Dance

* 3 p.m. – Reel Treble – traditional, up-tempo Celtic & bluegrass music

* 4:30 p.m. – Rathmore – Celtic Rock (last seen at Rocktober)

* 6 p.m. – Two Tons of Steel – Texas Country

You can follow the event on Facebook for event reminds and event updates. For additional information, call 972.219.3401.

 

  1. Visit the Easter Bunny at Vista Ridge Mall

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The Easter Bunny will be at Vista Ridge Mall for photos March 17 through March 31st Monday-Saturday from 11am-7pm and Sundays 12-6pm. You can find the bunny on the lower level near JcPenny.

  1. Just Between Friends Sale

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They understand that we all want the best for our growing kids, but we don’t want to break the family budget while doing it.  That’s why Just Between Friends has created awesome community events like this one where you can save money on gently used kids’ clothes, toys, shoes, and equipment all in one place.

The sale will be open to shop during the following days and times:

Friday, March 23 – 9am-7pm

Saturday, March 24 – 10am-6pm

Sunday, March 25 – 9am-Noon

To snag a FREE ticket to the event, just register HERE!  

You can also snag a pre-sale pass to start shopping on Thursday, for just $10 HERE.

  1. Easterville

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The City of Corinth is hosting their annual Easterville celebration on Saturday, March 24 from 9am-12pm at Corinth Community Park. There will be fun for all ages from a petting zoo and bounce house to food trucks and, of course, the Easter egg hunt for kids up to age 10. The hunts will be divided by age groups, so all the kiddos can have a chance to fill their baskets with goodies. Be sure to bring your camera to take pictures of your family with the Easter Bunny!

Easterville egg hunt times are as follows:
Ages 1-2 9:30 AM
Ages 3-4 10:00 AM
Ages 5-6 10:30 AM
Ages 7-8 11:00 AM
Ages 9-10 11:30 AM

For more info about the event, you can visit their event page on Facebook HERE.

  1. Underwater Egg Hunt

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Hop on over to the CAC for an Underwater Egg Hunt on March 31st! They’ll have tons of activities to keep your kiddos engaged include a visit by the Easter Bunny, arts, crafts, and games. You can even stayafter the egg hunt to play in the pool and enjoy all the other activities available at the CAC.

Parents, be sure to have you swimsuit on, because you’ll need to be in the water with all non-swimmers. Pre-registration is required, so be sure to call 972-874-6280 to reserve your place. Price listed as the member/non-member rate.

They’ll also do separate egg hunts for each age group as follows:

3-4 years 10:00am

5-6 years 10:20am

7-8 years 10:40am

9-12 years 11:00am

  1. 7th Annual Rabbit Hunt and Easter Event

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The Colleyville Lions Club is hosting an awesome family-friendly egg hunt at the beautiful Delaney Vineyards in Grapevine on Saturday, March 31st from 12-4pm. There will be food, prizes, raffles, bounce houses, face painting and even a petting zoo. Plus, admission is FREE!

There will also be lots of characters at the event including Elmo, Foghorn Leghorn & The Peeps, Mad Hatter, Alice and The Ringmaster! Your family can watch the arrival of Mr. & Mrs. Bunny is a Chauffeur-driven Mercedes and then have their photo taken with the bunnies. Sounds like a great time!

Well, that wraps it up for this month! Any more family-friendly events you know about that are not on the list?  Comment below and share in the fun!

Also, be sure to subscribe to the blog to find out about fun North Texas events happening each and every month along with kid-friendly crafts and much more.

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The Nursery: Part 1

The nursery is a BIG deal for me….I LOVE to decorate, love doing DIY projects and, hello, it’s my 1st baby. AHH!!!  I am so beyond excited to make his room a little baby haven.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I know he’ll barely sleep in there his first few months, but I still want it to be all prepped and ready to go.

Before I even became pregnant, I had a Pinterest board choked full of travel/adventure themed nursery decor.  I just love all the fun quotes, DIY projects, etc that you can do with that theme.  When we found out we’re having a boy, I just knew that’s how I’d be decorating his nursery.

I found most of my inspiration from a BEAUTIFUL baby boy’s nursery that his mom, Kerry, an awesome interior designer, created.  Check it out HERE!  Isn’t it fabulous?!

So we decided to turn our guestroom into the baby’s room and then turn our old office into an office/guestroom combo.  We had already painted the guestroom a fun army green color that will work perfectly with the theme, thank goodness!  (We’re not big fans of painting walls around the Taylor household. lol)

So if you’re anything like me, you’re probably ready to see some pics….so here’s a little sneak peek of what’s going on so far….

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Here’s a set of arrows for his wall or to put on a shelf, not sure yet. Plus, the bedding I registered for at Babies R Us….aren’t those little foxes so cute?!

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I also snagged a ton of cute prints and things from Hobby Lobby that I plan to use for his gallery wall above his changing table/dresser.  Above is a rough draft plan of how it will be laid out.

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I’m also in the process of making him a triangle mobile super similar to the one shown here, just with a little different color scheme.  And I snagged some orange fabric to make a sign to hang above his crib….now I just need to make the final decision on what quote to use for it.

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I got the globe above from Target….it goes perfectly with the room’s color scheme and I just LOVE it.

We also have his crib, which we need to put together, and are in the process of redoing an old dressing to use as his changing table/dresser.  I still need to get a fun printed rug, curtains and a glider, but we’re getting there.  I can’t wait till it’s all put together and I can share the BIG reveal. STAY TUNED for that!

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Budgeting for Baby

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When you first start thinking how bringing a baby home will effect your budget, I think it’s TOTALLY reasonable to have a minor (or even major) freak out.  I mean, you’ve never done it before…and if you’re anything like me, the budgets been your hubby’s job….but now he’s turning into an all new shade of stressed.

Take a moment, have your freak out, but DON’T live there…..give yourself a time limit, then pick yourself up off the floor and start making a plan.  Plans (even if they don’t end up working out just they way you thought they would) can really give you a sense of peace and relief.  So how do you even start planning?  Well, here’s how my hubby and I do it.  (Obviously, this is just one way, but it totally works for us.)

Print out a budget worksheet.  We use THIS ONE by Dave Ramsey, because we did his Financial Peace University course and loved it.   (For more info on his budgeting methods, check THIS out.)

I’d suggest using the first month to see where your at and track your spending.  Then when you set down to do your budget for your next month, you will, most likely, see several places where you can cut costs to make more room in the budget for things like diapers and daycare.

Besides adjusting our budget, I’ve also set out on a new little adventure–>> Couponing.  No, I’m not planning to have a stockpile of hundreds of items we don’t even need…..my goal is to simply get our weekly grocery budget to $50 or less consistently.  I’m planning to try a few different stores and, hopefully, over the remaining months of my pregnancy, get into a couponing routine that will help the budget even more when Baby gets here.  If you want to follow my couponing journey, let me know and I’ll be glad to share along the way!

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So how do you plan your monthly budget?  What type of things did you cut back on to save for your baby’s arrival?  Have you ever tried couponing?  Let’s chat about it in the comments!!!

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Oh boy! How do we choose the best daycare?

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We’re just in the beginning stages of choosing the perfect daycare for Baby Elijah who’s due April 2016, but we’ve already gather a lot of great info…..and, of course, I want to share that with all of you as we go.  So let’s get started:

STEP ONE:  Make a list of all the places you find online that look/sound good and are located in an area that works for you.  (We’re choosing a location based on it’s distance to our job, so that helps to narrow the search options a bit, because…..who knew there were that many daycares on every stinkin’ corner?! HAHA)

STEP TWO:  Call the places on your list so you can narrow it down to places that fit your price point. Also, check your state’s website for daycare records to ensure the places on your list don’t have violations.  If you’re in Texas, like me, click HERE.

STEP THREE:  Start scheduling tours of the remaining day cares on your list and get to touring.  Well, Step 3 really isn’t that simple….this is where a bulk of your time goes. When heading to tours, it’s best to walk in prepared, so thanks to my awesome hubby, I have a GREAT list of questions to ask along with things to watch for during each tour.

Want to check it out?  Just click HERE!!

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As you tour, keep a list of possible day cares and mark off anyone of them that don’t fit the bill.

STEP FOUR:  Narrow it down and make your choice!  This is the time where you look back at all the notes you took during the tours, chat about what’s most important and pick a place for your precious little one.

So do you have any top tips on choosing the right day care?  What’s your #1 priority when choosing a day care for your little one?  I can’t wait to chat with all of you in the comments…Yay!

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****Breaking News****

This election promises to provide the greatest candidate ever. One who isn’t controlled by special interests. One who guarantees to bring unending love and joy back into America’s homes again. This candidate isn’t thinking about making America great again. No. They are thinking about making the world great again…

Scheduled to make their first public appearance April 2017!

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I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you…..Yay!!!

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Stylebook App Review

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If you’re anything like me when you saw the movie Clueless, your favorite part was her amazing organized closet.  She could mix and max her outfits in endless combinations with just a swipe….and guess what?!  With the Stylebook App you can do just that.  I am LOVING it!!

So, how does it work?

 

You start by uploading images of the clothing in your closet to your Stylebook closet.  This process takes a little time, but after a few pieces, I got the hang of it and it was smooth sailing.  Plus, I love that it gives your images a white background so everything looks nice and neat!

Once you’ve uploaded the images of your clothing to your Stylebook closet, you can start mixing and matching to your hearts content. To create outfits, open to ‘Looks’ section and click on the ‘+’. Then choose items from different sections of your closet to complete your look.

Want to plan your outfits for the upcoming week?  Just go into the ‘Calendar’ section and click on a date, then it routes you to the ‘Looks’ section to choose a look for the selected date.  I plan all my outfits for the upcoming week on Sundays.  It saves tons of time throughout the week and takes away a little morning stress.

Another feature of the app that I love is the ‘Inspiration’ section.  Find pictures that inspire you on Instagram or  anywhere…..just snap a pic and upload it to the ‘inspiration’ section.  Then you can use those pics to inspire upcoming looks.

Here are a few looks I’ve created using the app:

So far I have created over 140 outfits using just 64 items of clothing….and I’m not done yet! The outfit possibilities are endless.

So now  want to hear from you….Have you tried the Stylebook app?  How’d you like it? How many outfits have you created?

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My Journey Into Minimalism

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I like to think this little piece of the internet is a place that houses my thoughts, loves and the story of my own evolution.  From over-weight wall flower to outgoing wife, dog mom and vegan entrepreneur. You all have been by my side through a ton of changes. Whether you have been here since the beginning or just joined in on the fun, thanks so much for all of your support….it totally motivates me to keep pushing forward!!

So let’s talk about minimalism….it all started a few weeks back when my hubby started doing research on the topic and his clean-home loving self fell in love with the idea of transforming our home into a more minimalistic space.  Basically that means getting rid of anything we don’t use, don’t need or aren’t in love with. When we started the clean out process, I thought that’s all it would be….a thorough clean out of all the junk, but it’s become soooo much more than that!

This move towards minimalism made me realize a few important things:

-How much I collected things simply because they were on sale.  (Quantity over quality)

-That I had a closet jam packed full of things I liked, but didn’t truly love.  

-That all this clutter was suffocating me and causing me to get stressed.

So now this little journey is about a whole lot more than a simplified house…..it’s about moving to a more simplified life. A life where our calendars aren’t over crowded, our home has plenty of space to just be and our time is built around what we love.  Along with all the decluttering at home, I’ve taken a little breather from my personal social media pages this week, unsubscribed to about a million email lists that I never read and have been planning the perfect-for-me capsule wardrobe.

This less-is-more lifestyle is already helping me actually be on time, have more time for self-reflection and it’s brought my hubby and I even closer.  So now that you know what I’ve been up to, why not share how my minimalist journey evolves along the way?  What will I be sharing?  My capsule wardrobe, how I declutter my closet, how I conquer FOMO and much more.

I would love to hear what you think….Have you ever heard of or tried minimalism?  Do you think you could live with less?  Are there any areas of your home or life that need to be decluttered?

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It’s Her Evolution with Becky Mollenkamp

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From coloring books to newspapers and magazines, Becky’s always been a writer. Want to learn how she transformed her love of writing into a career and the struck out on her own?

Well, then come along for the ride! I mean, really, what’s better than seeing women turn their passion into something of their very own?!

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1.) Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with your blog/business.

I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon, but it’s been my living since graduating college 20 years ago. Man, I feel old! I got my bachelor’s in journalism then worked at a daily newspaper and later at very big magazines before striking out on my own. I’ve been a small-business owner for 11 years. I started as a freelance magazine writer, but in the last 2 years I’ve been focusing on content marketing. I’ve had a blog for my business for the last 4 or 5 years, but only truly committed to it in the last 2 months.

2.) What’s the focus of your brand and what made you choose that niche?

My clientele is primarily mid- to large-size companies, typically in the higher education, healthcare, and industrial markets. I focus on these types of clients because, frankly, they can afford me. After 20 years in my profession, my rates tend to be higher than beginning writers.

3.) What do you offer to your followers/clients that’s unique?

With clients, my biggest selling point is my experience. I require very little direction, produce quality work that needs little editing, and understand the importance of deadlines. With my blog, I think what makes me unique is my willingness to be vulnerable and to share my knowledge freely (I’m a firm believer in abundance, so I don’t worry about competition “stealing” from me).

4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your blog/business?

In the beginning, I struggled to keep up with blogging because I never really defined my focus. I was all over the map and eventually got frustrated and quit. Finally, I treated my own business like my customers’ and created a content strategy with an editorial calendar. Now, my weekly blogging schedule is a breeze.

5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?

Truthfully, I’m not a blog loyalist, but rather read a little of everything. I find content to read each day through the Google Alerts I’ve set up for keywords in my field, on the many Facebook groups I’m active in, and via Pinterest. That said, I am a big fan of Neil Patel’s content (http://neilpatel.com/blog/) and Melissa Cassera’s voice (http://melissacassera.com/), and try to catch their posts and read their emails when I have time.

6.) Can you give us your top three tips for staying consistent with your business/blog?

Like I said, I can’t stress enough the importance of creating a strategy and having an editorial calendar. Planning is everything! Also, be realistic with what you can do. Trying to blog daily will burn most people out. Choose a frequency that feels comfortable for your workload. Finally, get help when you need it. I’m on maternity leave until September. Rather than stressing myself out by banking a ton of content before then, I’m lined up guest bloggers to fill the void.

7.) What advice would you have for someone who is thinking of starting their own blog/business?

Just do it. Stop waiting for the perfect time or to have all your ducks in a row or until you are an “expert.” Starting a business is like having a baby—if you wait until the time is right, you’ll never do it. It’s scary as heck, but if it’s your calling to be your own boss then you owe it to yourself to try. I was terrified when I quit my day job 11 years ago, but now I can’t even stomach the idea of working for someone else again.

8.) What’s the best advice you have for someone who wants to launch their own brand/business?

Don’t go it alone. Mentoring is really valuable, even if it is informal. Even better, join a mastermind group. I did this last year and it has really been key in helping me level up my business. These groups not only inspire you and offer guidance on trouble spots, the provide accountability to keep you motivated and on track. If you can’t find a group, you can start your own like I did. I wrote a post about it and you can also download my free startup worksheet. (www.beckymollenkamp.com/how-to-start-a-mastermind-group/)

9.) If you only had $100 to get started with your business, how would you use it?

That’s not enough to launch a business, unless you already own a computer, your domain (with hosting), and have a website designed or the skills to do it yourself. Assuming those basics are in place and you’re not trying to do retail or something with other big startup costs, then I’d use that $100 to get a massage to help manage the stress of running a new business. The truth is, starting most businesses requires more time than money. It’s about putting in the hard work to relentlessly network and market yourself in order to find clients.

10.) How can readers of It’s My Evolution get in touch with you to learn more about you and your blog/business? (social/blog urls)

I’m a big believer in giving more than you get, and this year I’ve been more focused than ever on walking that talk. I’m eager to help others be successful in their businesses, especially those who are in an earlier stage than me. If I can help you in any way, don’t be afraid to ask. You can find me through my website (http://www.beckymollenkamp.com) or on my preferred social media sites: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/beckymollenkampcreative)

LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/beckymollenkamp)

Twitter (https://twitter.com/beckymollenkamp)

Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/beckymollenkamp/)

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Thanks so much for joining in on this series Becky!!  I LOVE that you charge what you’re truly worth and focus on clients who are at that level.  Sometimes asking for more can be tough, but hey….We CAN do hard things!

So what’s your biggest takeaway from Becky’s interview?  Anything you’re going to put into practice in your business or blog?  Let’s chat in the comments!

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