Virtual Assistant Services

Well guys, I have some pretty exciting news to share! After a LOT of thought and prayer, I am very proud to share that I will be offering virtual assistant services to my fellow small business owners, bloggers, and entrepreneurs!

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Why the change to a virtual assistant?

Well, it’s not so much a change as an addition. My other programs are still very much available. You can still purchase Ballet Body Bootcamp, Shakeology, or other fitness programs. But what I will be putting the majority of my focus into moving forward is virtual assistant work.

I have always been a huge lover of details. I LOVE getting into the nitty gritty, playing with the back end of this website and changing the design, organizing emailing campaigns and content calendars, keeping track of finances in Excel (I’m a nerd about this with our own household finances), and pretty much anything else you can think of in this area.

I realized recently, in kind of an A-HA moment, that since I love doing that and am very good at it, I should just do it.

So, for those of you reading this who are entrepreneurs yourselves, I need your help! If you need a full time assistant or know someone who needs a full time assistant, I’m your girl. If you or someone you know needs help with anything administrative, I’m your girl.

I’m SUPER excited to be getting started in this area, since it’s an area I willingly work in for fun. Not joking.

For more information about services and rates, visit my virtual assistant page or contact me at info@melissakolbeck.com.

IdealFit Review & Giveaway

Hey friends! I’m very excited to share a couple of new products with you and also give you the chance to win a full size product! If you are a fitness junkie like me, I think this will be right up your alley.

I was recently sent two products to try: IdealLean BCAAs for women and IdealLean Fat Burner for women. If you aren’t familiar with either of these kinds of products, here’s a breakdown for you.

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BCAA stands for branch chain amino acid. The reason these are so important is they aid in muscle growth and recovery and can help you burn fat. IdealLean BCAAs are geared toward women specifically – each serving has 5 g of BCAAs to help with muscle soreness and muscle building. There are no calories or sugar in IdealLean BCAAs either, which is a definitely plus. It also contains coconut powder for increased hydration.bcaa2-3-300x300So now for the taste. Generally I don’t mind green apple flavored things, but I have to say in this case it was a little too tangy for my liking. I also felt like there was a bit of an aftertaste. But it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t drink it or wouldn’t drink it – the benefits outweigh the taste, in my opinion. Between not getting quite enough sleep, working out 6 times a week (in the hot SoCal summer!), and chasing after a toddler, I need all the muscle recovery help I can get!

Now let’s talk about the IdealLean Fat Burner. This product is also formulated for women specifically. It will help suppress your appetite in a natural way using black pepper extract, theobrimine, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). Each of these ingredients work to improve your body composition (i.e. burn fat and increase muscle!). You obviously need to work out and eat right to see results, but IdealLean Fat Burner can give you a little boost along the way.

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Nothing much to report on taste here, since these are in capsule form. I wasn’t able to test them out for long enough to really know how well they aided in fat loss, which was the one drawback. It’s recommended to take them twice a day, but with only 15 in the bottle you only have a week’s worth. In order to really get an idea for their effectiveness you’d need to get the 60 capsule bottle which could get pricey. But, maybe that’s worth it for some women.

Giveaway Time! 

To win a full size product of your own, use the widget below to enter. Contest starts tomorrow and goes through the end of the day Tuesday. Good luck!

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Double Birthday Celebration & this Week’s Meal Plan

Whew! How is it only Tuesday? We had quite the fun-filled weekend over here and part of me is still pooped from it! Last Friday was both Mat’s birthday and my dad’s birthday, and we had both sides of the family over to celebrate on Saturday. I was quite stressed leading up to it, not so much because we were having people over (though that always has a certain amount of stress to it), but because both sides of the family were in cahoots on Mat’s birthday gift and keeping it a secret was torture!

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Because we were in the midst of big stress last year during his birthday (I had just lost my job, we were trying to sell the house, and as a result of all that Mat didn’t go to Nashville with me which was over his 30th birthday), I wanted to do a bigger gift for him this year. He’s had his eye on the new iPad Pro because it’s fantastic for artists, but it has a hefty price tag. He told me to tell our families that all he wanted was Apple gift cards so he could start saving up for it.

Well, that wasn’t good enough for me. I talked with our parents, my aunt, and our sisters and we managed to all go in together and get him the iPad as well as a case for it. He also got some iTunes gift cards which have gone toward purchasing a couple of painting program apps.

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Needless to say, he was floored. Shocked. It was awesome.

And now, after getting a solid night’s sleep on Saturday night and laying low on Sunday, I feel like a huge weight is lifted. Never has a Monday felt so free! Haha!

This Week’s Meal Plan

And now onto what we’re eating this week! Also, don’t forget you can download a meal planning guide absolutely free!

Tues 7/19: Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bake – we’ve had this before and its’ delicious, so I’m making it again!

Wed 7/20: leftovers from yesterday

Thurs 7/21: Tacos

Fri 7/22: Homemade pizza because that’s what we always have on Friday nights

Sat 7/23: Bow Tie Pasta with Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Sun 7/24: Taco leftovers

Mon 7/25: Bow tie pasta leftovers

Question of the Day:

What are you most looking forward to eating this week?

The Average Girl’s Guide to Living an Above Average Life

Good morning! I have some very excited news to share with you! My friend Heather Montgomery has written an amazing ebook called “The Average Girl’s Guide to Living an Above Average Life.”

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After having her baby (who was born just three weeks before my daughter Ellie), Heather was overwhelmed by life and the new responsibilities that come with juggling a baby and a career. Fast forward to now, and the wisdom she shares in this book will help YOU to overcome similar challenges and stresses. Here’s what Heather has to say about the book and what inspired her to write it:

I want to let you in on a secret. A secret that really, you probably already know, but for whatever reason choose not to believe: no one that you know has it all together.

In the age of social media and oversharing, it may appear that everyone around you is thriving while you struggle to keep your head above water. The truth of the matter is that most people are playing the “fake it till you make it” game.

The struggle comes when we feel like as average people, we have to do it all to be considered above average.

Y’all, that is EXHAUSTING.

I want you to be confident in your own skin, and wake up in the morning ready to tackle the day instead of dreading it. I want you to realize it’s ok to have a family and also have goals and dreams to chase. You can still achieve so many great things! It’s going to take some honest, hard reflection and a little bit of work, but I have faith in you, because you are awesome.

Our specific struggles may differ, but no matter what, we all face challenges.

In my own not-so-distant past, I felt as if I were drowning, and might be an average girl forever.

With a beautiful and brand new baby, I had plenty of things to celebrate and yet, I felt like a mess, inside and out. I had weight to lose after pregnancy but found myself eating all the time. My house was a disaster. I was forgetful because I never wrote anything down, and that made me feel overwhelmed with work, schedules and making sure everyone around me got taken care of.

 lived this way for a while, wallowing in self-pity, and feeling isolated. I was miserable, and felt completely trapped by my circumstances.

Eventually I let go of the pity I was intentionally seeking, and decided I didn’t want to be like that anymore. Little by little, I began to make small changes. I realized that I had control over the way I felt about my circumstances, and that I could change things if I didn’t like them.

It didn’t happen overnight, but I slowly came out of the fog and saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Making one small lifestyle change at a time, I learned how to thrive in the midst of chaos.

And I don’t want to keep the secrets to myself.

Here’s What You Get.

18 chapters to inspire you to believe that you can do amazing things. I’ll share stories from my life as examples, plus everything you need to go out and live an above-average life yourself.

The book is available for preorder right now for $9.99 at this link. You can only get that price until July 19th, and on July 20th the price will increase. So go preorder yours now! I know she will impart loads of wisdom to you and it will be an incredibly valuable source of information for you both now and in the future.

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Exciting Family News!!

Hey hey! How’s your week going? Mine is going well so far, largely because we’ve had some VERY exciting news in our family!

My little sister is engaged!!
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Conor proposed last week on Wednesday and she announced the news publicly on Friday. If we’re friends on Facebook you probably already knew that because I shared the above picture after she posted it. We are all so excited for Amanda and Conor. I’m excited to do the whole wedding planning thing again! Just not as involved as the first item around, of course.

Fun fact: Both Amanda and I chose guys with normal names that are spelled not normal. I married Mathew (one “t”) and she’s marrying Conor (one “n”).

I’ll be sure to keep you updated on wedding details as they happen!

And now on to our meal plan for this week!

Tuesday 7/12: One Pot Mexican Skillet Pasta

Wednesday 7/13: Chili

Thursday 7/14: Mat will make turkey burgers for himself and Ellie since I’m having dinner with a friend

Friday 7/15: Homemade pizza, per usual

Saturday 7/16: Family BBQ for Mat and my dad’s birthdays which were both yesterday

Sunday 7/17: Mexican Skillet Pasta leftovers

Monday 7/18: Chili leftovers

We’ll have either a vegetable or salad alongside the main dish, as we do every night. I may make cornbread with the chili but haven’t decided yet. Since it’s summer and I can get melon or berries more readily (and cheaper), we’ll probably have that instead of cornbread.

Question of the Day:

Any big news for you lately?

How to Lose Weight

How to lose weight. It’s a topic that I think everyone thinks about at some point. Some people think about it constantly, others on occasion. Either way, it’s definitely a thing. Everyone wants to know the greatest weight loss secret and googles the very phrase “how to lose weight” every year in January.

Ok then. So, how do you lose weight? Honestly, how to lose weight is as simple as calories in < calories out. There are other factors that play a role (the speed of your metabolism, medical conditions, other genetic factors), but if you are not looking to do anything “special,” like build a lot of muscle in a short period of time, the formula can truly be as simple as burn more calories than you allow your body to store as fat.

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Let me be clear: I am not against doing special eating and workout programs to achieve a specific goal. For example, for a long time Mat was following the Body Beast nutrition guide alongside the workouts in order to put on a lot of muscle and then burn off any excess fat. Also, a friend of mine runs a very effective carb cycling/intermittent fasting program (www.amandatress.com if you want info on it) to build muscle and speed up your metabolism. These kinds of programs are perfect for some people. I have considered participating in Amanda’s carb cycling program, but I know my obsessive tendencies and I don’t feel it’s a good fit for me right now.

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How to Lose Weight

  1. Eat whole foods in reasonable amounts. You truly can listen to your body when it comes to what to eat. If you are preparing meals at home, using whole food ingredients, and eating slowly and savoring the food you are eating, your body WILL tell you when you’re full. Listen to it! If your meals are balanced, you can rest assured that not only are you getting what you need from a nutrition standpoint but you won’t eat more than your body needs either.
  2. Move! Get off the couch, put on some shoes, and get outside. You don’t have to pump iron every single day, but you do need to move. There are days when I can’t do a formal workout, but if that’s the case I make sure we get outside for a walk. You should too.
  3. Ditch the liquid calories. The soda? Ditch it. Alcohol? Ditch it. (Well, except for that occasional drink with dinner, let’s be realistic). The “fruit” juice? Ditch it. Your body doesn’t need it. Drink lots of water throughout the day, especially if you’re a coffee drinker, and that’s all you need. On the note of coffee, be careful that you don’t add tons of creamer to it. A little nonfat milk or almond milk and stevia is perfect and is what I use every day.

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And there you have it: how to lose weight. Eat real food in normal amounts, get off your butt, and don’t drink your calories. It sounds simple, I know. But truthfully, it IS simple. But what is simple is not always easy.

If you are struggling with losing weight and are confused by all of the options out there, please reach out to me. I’d love to chat with you and help you figure out the best approach for you.

Meal Plan Week of 7-5

Hello! I hope you all had a lovely 4th of July weekend. We had a great date night for our anniversary on Saturday night and went to an outdoor concert yesterday. It was so nice to have a low-key weekend with our little family, it was much needed!

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That said, here’s what we’re eating this week!

Tues 7/5: Pasta Fresca – Mat’s own creation (penne pasta, chicken sausage, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar)

Wed 7/6: Turkey burgers

Thurs 7/7: Pasta Fresca

Fri 7/8: Homemade pizza

Sat 7/9: BBQ chicken

Sun 7/10: BBQ chicken salad using chicken from yesterday

Mon 7/11: Black bean burgers

You can see I was a bit lazy with the plan for this week. I just wasn’t in the mood to search for anything super unique.

Question of the Day:

What did you do for 4th of July weekend?

Musings from My Head

Sometimes I like to write a blog post that’s candid and open and bares my soul, if you will. This may come out as a bit of a ramble, so bear with me.

As so many people know because I’ve shared it before, we’ve had a heck of a couple years. In hindsight it doesn’t seem like it was SO bad, and hindsight being what it is has shown us that things could have been worse. Dealing with icky things and having to adult definitely teaches you how to have faith and trust that everything will work for good.

Not too long ago I shared our good news about Mat’s job situation. It is still a very good situation because he is now home every evening and on the weekends. We feel normal! And I have to add here that I fully recognize that a lot of families do not have this kind of “normal” – firefighters, doctors, nurses, and other similar professions don’t have normal schedules. And I have so much respect for those people because they put others before themselves on a daily basis. But for us, the non-normal schedule that was caused by a less than stellar job just wasn’t right.

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But here’s the kicker about the new job: the money isn’t really any better. And you might say, “Oh but you have a business, so you must have plenty of money!” Um, not so much. Most of what I earn in my business right now goes right back into the business. I’m not netting a cushy income yet. I’ve made a lot of changes in the last year in how I run my business which has resulted in less money in my pocket. But in the grand scheme of things those changes are very worthwhile.

And really, do I want to net a cushy income? Yes and no. When you’ve had money struggles in the past the natural response is to say that you would love to earn a gazillion dollars so you just don’t have to worry anymore. So yes, I’d love a “cushy” income if it means I can have peace of mind. Who wouldn’t? But I don’t want to get caught up in what society says I need to have to be happy.

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But I also want to net a cushy income so I can give more. I want to give more to church. I want to give to charities that help put the arts in kids’ hands. (More on that in a future post). There are so many things I want to do.

What’s been interesting this month is that while our income is tighter due to me doing a lot less tutoring, I’m actually not panicking. Yeah, I’m a little worried, but the Melissa of two years ago would have flipped out. I’m not doing that. I think it’s a combination of things: knowing that if we got through worse situations we can get through this (after all, school will start before we know it and if this year is anything like last year, I’ll have plenty of students who need tutoring), and having a much stronger faith than I had two years ago.

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Also, Mat is on the verge of freelance offers. We just know it. Both in our guts and also based on the communication he’s had with some key people lately. It’s just a matter of time.

So what’s the point of this ramble? I guess to share that while it may seem on the outside that we’ve got it together and everything’s great, it’s not always great. But at the same time it is great, because I know in my heart that God’s got our backs. He always has and He always will. There’s so much peace in that knowledge.