Category Archives: Personal


What are you living for? This thought has been swirling around in my mind of late, wondering what exactly are we living for?

And I don’t mean “what is your passion or purpose”. Those are completely overused and overrated, even if I do believe we should know our purpose and our passion.

It isn’t the be-all, end-all.

It is just a component of what we are living for.

My question is what are we living for to help this world become an even more bright and brilliant place. Perhaps I’m asking this question more of myself, but I encourage you to dig deep and ask yourself the same question. “What am I living for?”

And I mean, how are we helping the communities around us gain notice and assistance? The news has been full of absolutely heart-wrenching stories of needless bombings, killings, and attacks. I can’t go a day without wanting to fold up with sorrow at what the world is faced with.

How do we help those across the world dealing with civil war, poverty, or getting a proper education or nutrition?

How do we help families rebuild their lives after fleeing their country looking for better opportunities? Or helping the endless women, men, and children who are brought in to sex slavery every single day?

We weep with those who are weeping. We grieve with those who are grieving. But are we doing anything about it?

I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen myself as an advocate. I’ve been guilty of seeing the horror on the news then turning around washing the dishes in my sink, thinking of those who are in need, but then eventually moving on.

I feel like there is a shift happening inside of me. I challenge you to join me, to lift our heads from under our soft blankets and give the world what it needs. Our strengths to bring change to this world.

If you’re already an advocate for something that is dear to your heart, please share who or what you advocate for and how other’s can come along side you in support.

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It has been too quiet here, and I once again apologize for the silence. I now realize that when I am pregnant, I cannot function to the full capacity that I usually run at, and I had to give myself permission to let things slide while I grew another precious baby.

I am so amazed and impressed with those women who are able to work full time jobs, or run their own businesses, or even launch a business while pregnant. I am done by 10am!

Blogging, creating newsletters, group coaching, and individual coaching took a back seat.

If you are in a similar position where you feel like you need to continue doing anything and everything while pregnant or with a brand new baby, I give you permission to let things go. They will be exactly where you left them when you are ready to pick them up again. And it is okay if they collect dust because it has been years, and it is okay if you never look at them again.

Image by Melia at Lucida Photography

Lesley Stefanski, Vancouver
We wake up to the cool crisp December air and it instantly feels like Christmas. After travelling for over 28 hours we linger over breakfast and slowly put ourselves together before heading to our final destination, our downtown condo.

Once we’re packed, for the last time, and secured into the vehicle we make the trip West and as we descend the hill to our home I take in a long breath then sigh, a restorative sigh. We are home! And I am so happy.

After years of wondering where home was, and even though we knew earlier this year that we would be staying in Vancouver longer than the initial anticipated 3 years, we now know that Vancouver is home. And always will be home.

We walk into a home that smells of lemon and cleaning solution and a fridge stocked full of groceries from my mom. There are white flowers placed in a white milk jug to celebrate our return. And the view! We stand at the window taking it all in while memories of the past two and a half months flash in front of us. What a life we live!

Setting to work putting our belongings away and starting the laundry everything feels just right. We stop for a quick lunch at one of our favourite cafes before heading back home to a setting sun. There is piano music playing, as always, and when I dim the lights memories from last year come to mind. The anticipation of our baby and celebrating our last christmas alone. Then there was the memory of different piano music playing but the way the lights dimmed memories of Isla’s first days with us with the dark night sky and sleepless nights. Everything becomes a glittering memory with the cool crisp December air.

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Our last few days in Porto flow easily into one another as we finish off with three different Port tours as well as a visit to the Bolsa Palace near the river bank. We take walks along the river’s edge in the sunlight taking in the city that we called home for a month in as much as possible. We visit our favourite restaurants for the last time to enjoy our favourite meals as well as to say goodbye to the ones who have served us. On one of our last evenings we venture to a new restaurant and the whole way Isla is awake and crying – we think it might be a horrible evening and consider cancelling our reservations. However we are greeted with smiles and helpful hands who whisk our baby away to entertain her while we enjoy a three course meal. It is one of the most relaxing meals we’ve had in awhile.

Our last night in Porto the city begins the Christmas celebrations with christmas lights, antique markets, marching bands, outdoor ice rinks, as well as beautifully displayed Christmas markets. We walk around one last time enjoying all the sights and sounds, walking one last time up the steep hills before stopping for one last family selfie in front of the lit up Christmas tree. It was the perfect send off.

We begin our journey home with a happy smiling babe, who everyone calls the most happiest well behaved baby they have ever met. We are asked time and time again if she is always like this and we answer with pride “yes”. We are calm and relaxed, knowing there will be moments of tears and cries from her. When we are standing still in a lineup for over two hours she is awake and somehow happy, always looking for the next person to smile at, to spread some cheer and make their day.

Then finally, after many many hours of travelling, we crawl it into a familiar bed and we all fall asleep together. When we wake up at 7am the following morning on December 1 we realize our European adventure has finally come to an end, but our life as a family is still beginning.

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We prepare for our trip south and we are packed into one backback before jumping in a taxi and then on a train within an hour. As we settle into our seats we smile at each other that being the well seasoned travellers that we are it takes no time to fill a bag with only the things we need for a weekend getaway. She sleeps soundly on the train and when she does wake she is happy to enjoy sitting on our laps playing with our faces and hands.

We arrive into Lisbon and instantly feel the pulse of the city and the warmth of the sun on our faces. What a change from stormy Porto! A quick walk from the station we enter into a luxurious apartment right in the centre of the city with a view down a famous street that meets the water. We unpack and settle in before placing her in the stroller to grab a quick bite at a nearby cafe. With eclectic furnishings and the friendliest baristas Mister and I eat in silence while they entertain Isla so we can enjoy our meal. I grab a cup of fruit salad and savour every single bite of kiwi, pineapple, mango, and grapes. It is so delicious I cannot help but smile.

We stroll through the city to another nearby station and hop on a train West. We step off the platform in the most magical of places where there is a beautiful flowing energy that makes you think of secret gardens and fairies dancing in beams of light. We walk the cobblestone path through a thick forest that smells of fresh rain and spring water, the air thick with humidity but a coolness of dew on your face. We make our way to a beautiful and majestic country estate with an indian influence. Everything is simply romantic filled with light and open spaces. We spend as much time as possible walking through the house and through the gardens before we have to make our way home. Throughout the whole experience Isla babbled and exclaimed in her excited way whenever we walked through a passageway in the home or through the forest, completely happy with our excursion. And while we made our way home she fell asleep in his arms, completely at peace to be with us. We place her in the pram later that evening to go out for dinner at a nearby restaurant and have a delicious meal that once again we savour and enjoy completely. We talk excitedly about the past few weeks together, how much Isla has grown and the little person she is becoming, we talk of our plans for the next couple of weeks and most importantly our last week in Europe. When we finally crawl into bed we are tired, full, satisfied and completely energized.

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The next morning we are awake early and ready to start the day with anticipation. We leave the flat and walk across the street to a nearby hotel lounge where we enjoy a delicious breakfast and a latte while Isla sits in her highchair, content and happy. She gravitates everyone towards her with her smiles and willingness to giggle and play peek-a-boo with ease. We walk the streets towards Igreja do Carmo and take in the beauty of the old ruin and the magnificent stone carvings and the view of the city below. Our afternoon is slow wandering around the city, the air thick with the smell of roasting chestnuts as we make our way through the streets taking in as much as possible. We stop into a lingerie store where I stock up on beautiful italian lace bras and then later I stock up on classic cardigans in grey, navy, and black. We take a tram to nearby Mosteiro dos Jeronimos where the building is filled with such intricate architectural details that everything looks like lace. Once again everything is breathtaking. We head out for dinner later that evening and under a candle lit dinner where the room smells of delicious vanilla we sink into deserts that leave a lasting flavour on our tongues.

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Sunday morning we take our breakfast once again in the hotel lounge where they are excited to see Isla. We linger over bowls of fresh fruit, buttery croissants, and tangy orange juice. With our stomachs full we explore the castle above the city, spending as much time as possible before the rain sets in and our train whistle blows to take us home. She sleeps almost the whole train ride home while him and I sit in our seats next to one another we hold the other’s hand filled with love – for each other, for her, for travel, and for this experience of living abroad.

The evening we return from Lisbon we feel a jolt of energy run through our system as we realize it is our last week in Porto and our last week in Europe. We place her in her pram late at night and wander until we find a restaurant that is open and find a french influence tapas restaurant that delights us completely. We savour each bite and sip a smooth yet bold Portuguese red wine. While she sleeps next to us we talk of traditional elegance and how we want that to look like for us. We also talk of a chateau in the mountains where we celebrate future Christmases together, starting our own traditions and way of doing life.

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