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  • Do you desire a life where you know and live your inner purpose? That instead of floating through life you know exactly what your true desires are and living to your fullest potential? Do you feel like what you are longing for is just hidden under the surface and once you discover it there will be no holding you back?

    Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of.

Inspiring-Women -Desiree-Cluff

D esiree Cluff is the founder and operator of Rockababy. Born and raised in beautiful Vancouver, B.C, and educated at Erickson College. Desiree studied Life Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming, an approach to Psychotherapy based on the awareness of the power of language to affect behaviour and stimulate the mind. She is valued addition to the Inspiring Women Series.

Inspired by her desire to help others, Desiree knew from a young age that she wanted to work with children. She brings to the table superb communication skills, warmth and empathy and over a decade of experience with newborns, infants and toddlers. Her satisfied clients (well rested mamas!) claim she possesses magic pixie dust that she throws on their screaming and sleepless babies transforming them to great sleepers, sleeping 12-hour nights. The real key to her success has always been her personal touch. She spends quality time with each family and puts together a customized training program for them that she knows they can succeed with. 

Name: Desiree Cluff
Occupation: Baby Sleep Consultant, Toddler Behavioral Coach, Parent Mentor
Website/Blog: http://www.rockababy.ca/

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

  1.  I cannot live without green juice, with an added shot of E3Live and lots of ginger!
  2. My personal trainer is amazing and I couldn’t do it without him; I’m the kinda of person who needs to have someone kick my butt or I may as well not even bother.
  3. Coffee, it’s the first thing I do every day!

 Who are you inspired by, and why?

My mother. She hasn’t had it easy by any means, yet she never fails to show me the value of positive choices no matter how difficult the circumstances. She has taught me to believe in things working out as they are supposed to, and knowing deep within my being that no matter what, I will always be okay. I am so grateful for her.

To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply quit?

Haha, oh boy! Yes, I know the quitting feeling all too well. I think it’s normal and I know I struggle with perfection, so I want to produce something and make sure it’s the best it can be before anyone else sees it. This is soooo unrealistic! I always tell myself it’s going to work out, I know the right people and the right plans will somehow fall into place as they are supposed to. I try not to force things. 

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

I feel like I lose my marbles a little sometimes. In my job, time sensitivity is so crucial because I am constantly adjusting behaviours, modifying sleep plans and I’m talking to sleep deprived families. I always want to give them my best, and sometimes I can’t balance it all as quickly as I’d like to. Responding to emails, returning calls and making sure I haven’t missed something is tough. I’m not the best at blocking time for myself, so sometimes I feel I can go too long without taking “me time” to recharge. If I don’t do that I’m burnt out, and useless to my clients. I make it a priority to schedule a walk in the forest with my dog, a coffee with my Mom, and dinner with my guy, that’s a priority!

What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

This is a funny question for me because I’m in transition with a lot right now. Trying to implement new habits, like writing things down, are changing my must-haves. Everything is stored in my head, I don’t write anything down (I can’t believe I’m telling you this, it haunts me!) and I really want to start! I have a beautiful agenda but it’s pretty much empty… I am pretty addicted to my iPhone! 

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?

I think I started living intentionally after I lost my Dad a couple of years ago, and got divorced at the same time. It was devastating in so many ways, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone and into something unknown and scary. I think I was trying to live intentionally before this, but I couldn’t find myself fully. As horrible as my experience was, and as much as I would do anything to have my Dad here, I am now the best version of myself because of that journey. It’s a beautiful thing really and I am so grateful, but it’s also a choice, and not an easy one I might add. Trust me, there were days I just wanted to crawl into a dark hole and never come out! When I see those major struggles in others, I know it’s an opportunity for their greatness to come through!

How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

Opportunity comes knocking all the time. Good things happen, serendipitous things happen that you kind of have to look at and say yeah, I did that! It all makes perfect sense, when you have an open awareness about what’s really going on in your life. I know I am the creator of my life, and when I live intentionally, I get exactly what I wish for. That doesn’t always mean good things, haha. Sometimes I create a bunch of garbage because that’s what I’ve been thinking about, I can get stuck in a negative place (not too often) and life sure will show up and huck lemons right in my face! That’s when I laugh and realize I’ve somehow managed to do this to myself, and it’s time to pay close attention to where I’m letting my thoughts go. I’ll often go see my energy healer, let her wave her big crystals around my body, and clear my chakras.

Have your family/friends been supportive?

I have amazing family and friends. The people closest to me are proud of me. That’s a really important piece in my life. We all tend to push compliments aside, and minimize how amazing things are when it’s you it’s happening to. I’m fortunate enough to have an incredible network of beautiful souls in my life, who make me stop and take it all in.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

I talk to my Dad a lot, I’m pretty open minded and spiritual I guess you could say, so I feel his energy and know he’s there when I need him. I call on him for help and guidance, especially when babies are crying, and won’t go to sleep. I ask for his help with my clients a lot, gotta tell ya, it sure does work.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

Don’t try too hard. Try and let you shine through in everything you do: Instagram, your brand, your personal style and touches. There could be a million other people out there trying to do what you’re doing but they aren’t you. You don’t want to be a second class version of someone else.

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

I have such an amazing core group of women in business! They are always there for me, and we bounce ideas off each other constantly.  My guy, he’s so passionate and supportive of what I do, and always helps me talk out my craziness and find clarity. They always have something valuable to lend, whether it’s an idea, or support. Sometimes you just need a sounding board.

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

Well, as of today one of my big ones came true, I’ve been asked to speak at the Conscious Divas event in October. I went to this event a few months ago and I was so thrilled. I said out loud to my friends “I want to speak at the next one” and I suppose I set an intention! I also am feeling very drawn to write a book. I’m not sure what it will look like yet, but that’s the plan, and the wheels are turning (only in my head so far).

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Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

  • October 8, 2014 - 7:25 PM

    Desiree - It was a pleasure to be a part of this series! Thank you Lesley for including me. XoReplyCancel

Amsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoach

I wake early, just after the sun has risen in anticipation for the day. Isla is awake as well but we get her to sleep for a almost an hour more after a quick feed. When we are all awake we let her play in her crib while him and I connect body and soul. We finally separate sweaty and breathless, but so in love.

I catch the tram easily with her in the pram towards my destination. I walk over canals and through the familiar streets of the affluent neighbourhood of Jordaan where I finally see a friend standing on the corner waving at me. My heart skips a beat and a smile is wide on my face thrilled to see her after two years. We hug, no kisses, as it is true friendship and a hug is much needed. We slip into a café where Isla quickly becomes the centre of attention while we pick up where we left off. Conversation flows easily, with no need to rush words or push silence aside to fill the space. It is easy and comfortable. We walk the streets of Amsterdam feeling like tourists and expats at the same time. We remember moments of spending time together two years before while also filling each other in on the finer details of our lives that we’ve missed that can’t be conveyed through iMessage or Skype. We talk of business, big dreams for the future, fame and what it is like to be ‘known’, having our feelings hurt by our peers, what it means to be inspired and how it feels when inspiration seems to be missing, how living abroad is one of the best things we could have done for our relationships with our loves, how we miss living in another country but love being surrounded by family, and how life is just wonderful even with hardships and hurt.

Before we know it the time has slipped by all too quickly and we’re hugging each other tightly, saying see you soon. As I see her descend the escalator a lump catching in my throat as I miss her already. When I get back on the tram to head to our apartment I feel exhausted, physically and emotionally and wish I could just crawl into bed. When I make it home I find strength to keep going on to prepare Isla for bed, have a conversation with Adam, and also write a newsletter and emails that have been sitting in my inbox for days.

We wake early again the next morning, jet lag finally behind us. We prepare for the day and before 9am we’re out the door and on our way to a café for our morning coffee. We sit and enjoy the smooth taste before heading out into the rain, capturing a few images along the way and just enjoying the time for us. We walk towards the centre and before noon we decide to head home for lunch. As we enter the apartment the rain turns to showers, which by the afternoon turns into a thunderstorm. I decide to stay indoors for the day with Isla where we play on the carpet, have an afternoon nap together, and watch Winnie the Pooh before she heads to bed.

Then sadly it was time to pack our belongings back into our suitcases and prepare for another journey. Our time in Amsterdam was too short and we thrived having our own space, but soon…oh so soon we will be in London and will settle in once again.

Amsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoachAmsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoach

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

Inspiring-Women-Whitney-EnglishImage by Shannon Ho Photohgraphy

 

I ‘met’ Whitney by clicking through Instagram profiles earlier this year and was completely inspired by her words and her profile. Then I saw she was the creator behind the Day Designer®, and if you’ve been a reader for awhile you know how much I love designing your life around your ideal day. It was like a match made in heaven! She is a necessary addition to the Inspiring Women Series. I’m so excited to introduce Whitney to you today; and then go check out her 2015 DayDesigner too!

Name: Whitney English
Occupation: Creative Entrepreneur
Website/Blog: http://daydesigner.com

Please tell us a little about you:

The basics: I’m married to a great guy, and live in Oklahoma City with our little clan of three kiddos: two boys and a girl. Saved by grace and grateful for mercy.

Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):

  1. My Day Designer®
  2. Diet Mt. Dew
  3. and at least a couple of pages in a (hopefully good) book.

Who are you inspired by, and why?

Currently, authors. I have a wild-fangled notion to write a book so studying how writers write, and tell story, has been a recent fascination. Right now, my two favorite people to read and follow are Donald Miller and Jeff Goins.

To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply quit?

I remember sitting in bed on a Saturday morning, with the finalized first Day Designer® in front of me, and realizing that the time had come to announce the project to the world. I was hesitant to tell people. Literally, I had never poured my soul into a project like that, and there was a lot of hope that it could make a pretty dark spot in life better. As the story goes, some things got worse, and some things did get better as Day Designer® did eventually take off. I think the thing that kept me motivated in the darkest moments was the realization that you can’t do nothing. It’s physically impossible. So I might as well chose to do things that matter. Eventually, and no matter what, that pays off.

We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?

I think the secret to balance is knowing which balls to let drop. I learned in those dark days that I couldn’t let my self-maintenance ball drop, so now I work out religiously at least three days a week. The next ball that can’t drop is the family and relationships ball, so I’ve been very intentional about family time and kids activities. When a ball starts to fall because it just isn’t the priority at the moment, I’ve learned to look at it two ways: I can find someone to delegate the task to, or I can let it fall. I like what Albert Einstein said once: life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance, you have to keep moving.

What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?

My Day Designer®, again. Can you see the theme here? For work, definitely my MacBook. After that, a coffee maker.

Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?

Oh, no, there was definitely a day–actually, several–when I woke up and said, I can’t do this any more. I can’t let life control me like this. When this happens, I usually go into cleaning frenzy, email-answering frenzy, or whole-food-eating frenzy. I think we all occasionally let our “intentionality” slide, and I use an aligned goal-setting method to help keep me in check.

How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?

Well, it’s not perfect. Living intentionally is not the be-all/end-all, as my mother would say. In fact, sometimes it’s harder. The discipline has to be turned on. The choice to put one foot in front of the other, put the candy bar down, or put the iPhone away is sometimes all-too conscious. I wish living intentionally came naturally to me, but I’m grateful for some big-dream ideas that drive me, and for a God that blessed me with a brain to keep me going when the going gets tough.

Have your family/friends been supportive?

I think living intentionally is a personal choice. I don’t think any family or friends has ever come to me and said, “Oh, good to see that you are living intentionally now”. My parents were always supportive with a, “Good choice, honey”, and occasionally my husband will remark about how clean the house looks, if I’ve taken extra care in a certain spot, or made a really nice dinner. But for the most part, intentional living is the tiny decisions that no one ever sees that result in long-term benefits if you keep doing them long enough.

Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?

I meet monthly with a group of women in Oklahoma called Posse. It’s a commitment, but for many of us as busy entrepreneurs it’s the only face-to-face time we get with life-minded women, so we don’t miss it. My husband and I try to make it to church three out of four weeks, as a way to re-balance, re-align, and gain perspective.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?

In the simplest form, intentional living is all about your choices. What do you spend your time and your money on? That’s what your putting first in your life. If you don’t LOVE the thing you are spending your time and your money on, then it’s simple: you’re out of alignment. If you don’t LOVE your job and it’s eating 60 hours of your week, start making tiny decisions that take you in another direction. Intentional living doesn’t have to be cold-turkey, but it does have to be deliberate.

Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?

The Bible. I’m no preacher or theologian, but there’s no other answer for me. Jesus was a pretty cool dude, and I’m aware that He said that following Him wouldn’t always be easy, but love isn’t always easy. Sometimes, I think that’s the only way the path is straight and narrow–it’s just because love can be pretty darn hard at times. (Reference intentional choices, right?)

I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?

Writing a book. Jeff Goins said that if you want to be a writer, call yourself a writer. It’s a title I’m still trying to embrace. And I realize that writing a book is super-challenging. Sometimes I wonder if I’m up to the task. Also, I’m working on some pretty cool stuff for Day Designer®. Stay tuned!

Be Sure to connect further with Whitney:

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Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

Paris lifestyle, Paris lifecoach
We continue our way of exploring cities by finding cafés that serve the best coffee and find one in the Japanese district within Paris. We both order flat whites and entertain Isla as we watch passersby through the traditional Parisian windows. We walk, for hours, exploring areas of the city we’ve never experienced before and places that are very familiar. We stop in parks so that Isla can stretch her legs in a playground and she smiles at us, completely happy to be with us. We walk by the Louvre, Pompidou, Hotel de Ville, Notre Dam, then spend a few moments in the Luxembourg Gardens before heading back to the apartment.

Paris lifestyle, Paris lifecoach, European lifecoachParis-03Paris-06

When we arrive we bath her in the kitchen sink and she soaks the counters and the floors. It’s such a sight, her pink naked body next to the white porcelain…her face completely lit up in happiness.

Our goal the next day is the Eiffel Tower and by the afternoon we are ready to go. We walk the whole way there with Isla cooing at us from her pram. When we arrive we throw down a white blanket and play with her on the grass with the tower directly in front of us. This is what dreams are made of, but this is more than a dream, it is our reality. We walk along the Seine taking in the beautiful slate rooftop houses as the canal cruises go by. We spend the night talking with our hosts till late in the night, them even later than myself.

Paris-07

We leave the next day on the train to Amsterdam and when the train manager comes over the speakers to welcome the guests and begins speaking in Dutch Adam and I look at each other, laughing. The language, not beautiful or eloquent by any means, but so familiar. The train shoots down the track at such speed that before we know it we arrive in Amsterdam and everything comes flooding back. The sound of the tram, the walking signal, the smell of fries with mayo, the flower market, the endless canals, the way the house smells when you turn the radiator on, how the dryer has to be emptied of water after each cycle, and the sound and weight of euros in my wallet.

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It almost feels like we never left.

We walk the streets of Amsterdam, hardly ever using a map as everything is so familiar. Yet we still find streets we have yet to discover and enjoy the new sights and wares through the windows. As  all the boutiques are closed on Mondays we stop into a new cafe, opened recently by Kiwi expats and are welcomed with smiles. Two flat whites in white cardboard take away cups. When we wander into Hema and the V&D I recall why I loved the stores so much, everything is sleek and has such beautiful aesthetics, but without the expensive price tags of North America. As we stroll towards one of our favourite cafes for lunch we run into a friend and laugh at the odds. We catch up quickly before scheduling a time to meet up later in the week, and before we kiss three times on the cheek in farewell, she directs us to a different cafe with delicious sandwiches and amazing red velvet cake.

We stop in the famous Vondel Park where the sun beats down on us and Isla enjoys the freedom from her pram. She crawls all over me before standing, using the pram as her support, then explores the grass some more. Always talking and smiling, no matter what she does.

Once she has been put to bed we put the last pieces of dinner together before settling into the leather couches. Having space to ourselves is exactly what we needed after more than a week of being hosted in different homes. We are forever grateful for those who offer their space, but we realize that after 10 days of sleeping in other people’s beds and using other’s kitchens that there is no place like home – no matter where that home is. When dinner is finished we watch the season premiere of The Good Wife and I think that how lovely that we are exploring familiar cities but seeing it through new eyes, but filling tiny moments with pieces of regular life as well.

Amsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoachAmsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoachAmsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoach

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

T he flight to Europe was good yet tiring. None of us getting the sleep that we need that we spend long moments at the back of the plane swaying her and shhhing her so not to disturb the other passengers. By the end of the flight she has made friends with all the flight attendants and many of the passengers with her smiles and willingness to be friendly with everyone.

A private driver is arranged to pick us up to drive us through London. As we pass by iconic locations we all nod off in the back before we are woken up by our driver once we have reached our destination. Our friend pops her head out the window in a familiar and friendly greeting, it is so good to see a dear friend after many months apart.

After the ‘hellos’ and ‘how are you’ are spoken I sink my tired body into a comfortable bed while holding Isla close to me as we nap after our long journey. I know we both need it and we sleep for 2 long hours with our bodies close. It is a moment I etch into my memory. After the nap we take a walk around the neighbourhood where I am distracted by the beautifully painted doors and the quaintness of everything, oh how I miss Europe.

Later in the evenings we take our babes into the tub and watch them playing and splashing in a bath together. We notice  the way he always wants to hold her hand or kiss her head. The way she smiles easily and enjoys every moment to the fullness that she can.

Once the babes are fast asleep in their white pjs we gather around the table for Indian takeaway. The conversation flows easily despite everyone’s fatigue. When Mister cannot hold his eyes open any longer and I anticipate a long night in front of us him and I call it a night and curl up together on a small single bed.

The next morning we have a late sleep in, 10:30am. Breakfast is prepared for us of warm croissants, toast, as well a tart yogurt with berries to pile on top. When our babes take another nap and our husbands work away on their laptops, we escape to walk around the city easily catching up feeling right at home with each other while we walk the streets of London. All too soon Mister and I need to pack everything back up for our train to Paris.

Another driver is arranged who whisks us right to the front doors of St. Pancreas so that we can easily check-in just as the modern “all aboard” is about to be called. As experienced travellers we easily find our seats and put our luggage away and watch the other passengers board while Isla squeals in delight out the window. As the train departs from St. Pancreas she looks at us with wonder filling her eyes before turning back towards the window to watch the English countryside pass us by. Eventually she falls asleep in my arms, and while he works beside us, I drift off to sleep as well.

We roll into the streets of Paris and the familiarity hits us. We know exactly where we need to go before our driver picks us up to take us from the North of Paris to the South. She sits in my lap completely content to watch the city go by before asking to be held by her Tatuś where she quickly falls asleep. We are greeted with open arms and smiles into our friend’s Parisian flat, where it seems to go on forever, a rarity in Paris. The Eiffel Tower spotlight sweeps into the kitchen as we tour their home and beautiful french music plays on the speakers.

We talk late into the night before we cannot keep our eyes open a moment longer and quickly fall asleep. In the middle of the night Isla wakes unsure of where she is and cries to be held and swayed. We keep her quiet as possible before getting her back to sleep where we all have another late sleep in. We enjoy a typical European breakfast of french baguette topped with honey ham and a sharp cheddar cheese. When we are all fed I take Isla in her pram for a walk to the Luxembourg Gardens where she falls asleep under the shade of a tree while I sit in the iconic chairs watching children push sailboats in the fountain. Her and I make our way back to the Parisian flat walking down now familiar streets and when she is fussy in her pram the French ladies stop to coo and entertain her.

The next morning we rise early and are proud of ourselves, but before long we realize that we aren’t over jet leg yet, so  I prepare our bed and we have a family nap together for two hours. Eventually we make it out onto the streets of Paris to explore a hidden area called The Streets of Flowers where cobblestone streets and quaint houses covered in vines and flowers meet. We make our way to a park to lounge on the grass and watch Isla explore the world around her.

We slowly make our way back and just as we enter the flat the whole city of Paris is caught in a flash thunderstorm. We watch the city get soaked from the comfort of our home as the smell of rain wafts through the open windows.