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  • Do you desire a life where you feel beautiful, you know your inner purpose, you travel to exotic places, explore and enjoy local sites and organic food, and your favourite part of the day is evenings spent sipping on your favourite drink while surrounded by inspiration, love, and you feel successful in your life and career?

    This is the story of dream lifestyle and business curator, Lesley Stefanski. Told from her perspective she'll share her insight and knowledge on how she designed her ideal lifestyle and business as well sharing the places she travels to, the images she captures, and the life she creates for herself!

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After days and days of sun, the rain came. There is something refreshing about waking up to rain hitting the windows and feeling like you don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want to. It’s as if the pressure to explore and leave the house is lessened to just enjoy your home while drinking lattes and listening to classical music while candles flicker.

May has become the month of change and getting things done. I’ve revamped our whole kitchen, created grocery lists and am cooking even more delicious and healthy meals than before. It’s also been the month to dedicate myself to a yoga practice, so every morning before Isla goes down for her morning nap we spend time together on my mat and she watches me go through my routine. She smiles at me in plank and gurgles to me in downward dog. As I finally rest in Savasana I thank my body for continuing to be strong even though it’s still recovering and sore, my prayer is that these moments together inspire Isla to live a healthy and inspired lifestyle.

Isla wakes early, too early, so we listen to her talk to herself before she falls back to sleep. 30 mins later she wakes again. I am exhausted from being up multiple times with her that I breathe a sense of relief when Adam gets up to tend to her. I wrap myself in my white sheets and drift back to sleep.

We feed and play with Isla before her morning nap. Just a simple blanket on the floor and the three of us smiling and enjoying each other’s company. Once again I find myself on my yoga mat releasing the tension of a sleepless night and breathing strength into my body. Eventually she begins to fade and Adam asks for cuddle time with her so he takes her into our bed where they both drift off to sleep. I prepare myself a healthy breakfast and enjoy the silence and time alone. Not too long after I realize I need more sleep, so I tiptoe into our room to join them.Adam and I cuddle close together on one side of the bed as she takes over half the bed. Before I drift off to sleep I recognize how precious these moments are…where we have no place to be, no task to complete, no family to entertain.

Lazing around the house we watch the rain pour down upon the city, thankful for a warm home to relax into and enjoy. By mid afternoon we’re a bit restless and think the rain has let up so we prepare for a walk through Stanley Park. We hop into the car, head-to-toe in lulu gear. As we pull of out of the parking garage we realize the rain is falling just as hard and traffic is horrible. We change our plans and head to Granville Island instead. Adam asks if it’s okay, with me being in workout gear, to head to the market instead of doing something active. I adore how sensitive he is to my desire to always be feminine and elegant.

A sense of calm and peace has enveloped me. Maybe it’s the sense of routine, or the fact that I feel like I have my feet under me, or just that I’m actually enjoying motherhood. I’m not sure, but I accept it and am thankful for it none the less. One early afternoon I prepare a delicious and healthy meal…something I couldn’t imagine myself doing even a month ago. But there I am cutting vegetables, sprinkling salt and pepper, and dressing the table. I am fully embracing my role of wife and mother – nurturer to my family of three.

One day, I turn around and realize that she is able to stay up for 2 hours in between her naps and I feel like my little newborn has slipped away. I find myself holding her close, lingering as much as possible beside her crib, cuddling her in the night when she has screaming fit, and being more at ease with her. I’ve realize my love for her was not at first sight but was a constant ember, growing stronger, that has now burst into a flame that is licking around every inch of my body completely consuming me, and I love it.

There is an evening at home, quiet with classical music playing and a babe sound a sleep, and him at soccer. I enjoy more time alone. After a long lingering shower then draped in a lush white towel I lay on our bed to write. It’s hard to believe that I now have time alone and how quickly the newborn phase passes, and really how it all does get better.

As the week winds down him and I have a night out and sit in red plush seats at my favourite theater in the city to listen to Carmina Burana. A full orchestra and choir serenade us with German beer drinking songs. The first movement moves me so deeply that tears well up around my eyes. By the end of the second act we’re all on our feet clapping hard, smiling, and yelling bravo, bravo!! And then, we step backstage to see the tear down of the evening watching musicians mingle with opera singers and the choir. I am mesmerized by the lights and the talent surrounding me. This is enjoying life…everything about today is about enjoying life.

After I wrote How is Motherhood, a friend of mine sent an email where she asked me very sincerely and honestly:

What story do you want to tell?

When I wrote my How is Motherhood post, I wrote it from a place of still trying to figure out my response to the question. I was unsure of the answer I needed to give and the answer I wanted to give. But she simplified it for me, there are no expectations except for the story that I want to tell, and I get to decide how beautifully honest it is. And beautifully honest is what I’ve decided my story is.

Becoming a mother has been one of the most mentally challenging experiences I’ve gone through. When I found out I was pregnant I felt completely detached from the little baby growing inside of me. I knew there was a piece of me that loved her, and when we were told she might be sick I knew I loved her more than I was willing to admit. But I still felt like I wasn’t supposed to be doing this, this wasn’t my dream. When she was born, it wasn’t love at first sight (I had prepared myself for this) and when I looked at her there wasn’t a moment of recognition either. My thought was, ‘there you are, and here I am – let’s do this, I guess’. There was a lot of hesitation and a bit of anticipation.

Then there was the newborn stage, those crazy six weeks of intense crying that seems to get worse with each week that passes. I knew she would cry…but this was something else. Thank goodness someone told me it peaks at six weeks then starts to back off, I had an end in sight to work towards. In between those cries there were sweet moments of just staring at her and cuddling her tiny little body next to mine. Wrapping a itty bitty diaper around her waist and feeling like it was too big for her (new moms, tuck one of those diapers away for a keepsake, you’ll thank yourself later). And in those moments I felt that I can do this, and I can enjoy every moment of the good and bad.

I had assumed, because I had never wanted children, that I’d hate every moment and I had prepared myself for the worst case scenario possible. I had never dreamed of this and knew that raising a baby isn’t easy, that our life wouldn’t just be the two of us, our time and attention would constantly be pulled between our wants and what she wants, that traveling and staying out late will become less spontaneous and more planned, and the endurance, the fact that it never ends, will take a toll on me and my relationships.

But there I was, actually enjoying the simple sweet moments and the hardships of a baby while loving being a mother. It took me awhile to allow myself to admit, that I truly loved being a mother and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I do feel like I was born to be a mother, day in and day out. A lot of what I do in intuitive and from experience of helping raise my brothers. There are hard moments and some days I do want to run away as fast as I can, but somehow I always find myself pulling her close to my chest to breathe in the sweet scent of her instead.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is to take it moment by moment. When I was labour, it was a moment that I knew would end and it helped me get through. When she cried from her digestive issues, I would hold and cuddle her because I knew eventually, perhaps momentarily or an hour from now it would end. When she would sleep on my chest in the first early weeks, I would soak it all up as I knew one day she wouldn’t fit there anymore. When we started sleep training, again, I knew some day she would be able to fall asleep on her own. When breastfeeding was horrible and painful, I cried as I fed her through the pain, because I knew one day she wouldn’t need to suckle from my breast any more.

Each day is somehow filled with sweet joyful moments that shine away the moments of desperation and confusion. Once I started to take away the noise of advice from baby books and expectations of others I’ve flourished into the type of mother I want to be.

This is my story of Motherhood. Something I never dreamed of wanting, but has become the best dream come true I didn’t know I needed.

The month of May I had set out to be the month of changes. I read It starts with food at the end of April and realized that even though I thought I was eating healthy I was still missing the mark, so I dedicated May  to eating healthier.  May is also the month to start my yoga routine of daily sun salutations to stretch out my body and gain some strength back. I had also decided that May was going to be the month that for 30 days I’d document, through video, me working through the fear that is holding me back. I had big plans for May.

So here I am on day 6 and let me tell you, so far I feel like I only committed half way.

The only thing I feel like I committed myself to was my morning yoga practice, and that is due to the fact that on May 1st while putting my babe in her pram I tweaked my back and have been hurting ever since. So each day I find myself on my mat and go through my poses, and I’m so thankful that I tweaked my back because I’m sure by now I might have found an excuse not to spend time in downward dog when my body truly needs it.

My plan to eat healthier has improved. I didn’t set myself on a strict diet as I don’t truly believe in those, but I stocked my pantry and fridge with everything I’d need for meals at home. It’s going out that is proving to be difficult to find healthy choices when I’m surrounded by buttery pastries and sugary bonbons. I have been able to resist the temptation, mostly, but when I’m famished I typically find a sandwich on my plate even though I’m avoiding bread.

The one thing that has me feeling the most frustrated was my plan to document 30 days of me working through the fear. I knew I needed to do this to achieve some goals in my life and knew that fear was holding me back. Day One I sat down and documented it, and the next thing I knew my computer crashed. I couldn’t export my video so I walked away from it all. I’ve been feeling ashamed ever since.

Here I am with a goal and but the first sign of a set back, I walk away. When I wanted to work through the fear that was holding me back, I let it fold me over instead.

I want to say I’ll get back on my feet and start afresh tomorrow, that it was just a tiny set back. But in all honesty I know I won’t. Not this month. I’m being honest with you, I’m not ready to work through the fear yet. I want to be, I really do. But I’m not. Perhaps next month or later this year.

The first step is acknowledging the fear to be able to work through it, so at least I’ve accomplished the first step!


  • May 7, 2014 - 4:29 AM

    Jenny - wow Lesley these are real honest words. Sometimes we ask too much from ourselves and it is the best step back. we are not machines and a wise woman once told me to do the things that comfort me (this wise woman was you). So in the middle of these huge goals of eating healthy, doing yoga each day and recording 30 videos maybe you need something that comforts you. And if you do so maybe the fear might be easier to overwhelm.ReplyCancel

During my pregnancy I didn’t think I wanted a maternity session. There didn’t seem to be a purpose for hiring a photographer to have me wander around a field while holding my belly and posing with my hands shaped like a heart over top. I didn’t feel the need or pressed to document that season in my life and felt completely happy with my decision. Until late November.

As I was getting ready for work I realized that I would be missing out on documenting one of the most transformational season’s in my life, and I would regret it later if I didn’t schedule a maternity session. My issue was doing a session that represented me and how I wanted to feel throughout my pregnancy. I couldn’t see myself doing a session outside with Mister by my side, I knew I needed to do this alone. And I needed it to be done in a feminine and elegant way. I thought of all the photographers I knew and who I would want to photograph me and instantly thought of one who is a good friend and thankfully local to me.

I emailed Jasalyn Thorne asking if she’d be interested in photographing me and the next thing I knew a plan was being created and vendors were being contacted.

In mid-December I woke up early and had one of my favourite hair and makeup artists, Jayna Marie, come to my home where we chatted over lattes and Louboutins. I then stepped into a taxi to be whisked away to the location for my shoot. And there, Jasalyn worked her magic and captured the exact feelings and emotions I had felt throughout my entire pregnancy, plus more. She was able to draw out the feminine, elegant, and peaceful side of me along with the thoughtful, playful, and dreamy side, all in her beautiful editorial style.

When I saw her sneak peek of my shoot, I was left speechless. She captured me, beautifully pregnant, in the most beautiful way I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful I documented being pregnant. I look at these with so much pride, my body helped create and protect a beautiful little baby and I was able to do it with so much grace and ease despite having a rough go at it.

Thank you Jasalyn, I don’t think I will ever find the words to fully express what these mean to me.

  • April 23, 2014 - 5:35 PM

    Jenna Richard - Stunning! Amazing job Jasalyn
    Lesley so elegant…love them!ReplyCancel

  • April 26, 2014 - 1:06 PM

    Jenny - I so so love these images of you ! It is black and white, it is you, it is feminine and elegant just perfect.ReplyCancel

  • April 30, 2014 - 5:50 AM

    Tanja - My dear friend. These images are beyond gorgeous! She captured your elegance in a beautiful way. These photos will be cherished not only by you, but by Isla too for a long long time. XTReplyCancel

  • May 28, 2014 - 12:44 PM

    Vanessa - Those are beautiful photos!!!! Wow!!ReplyCancel

Waking up on a Monday morning when you’ve spent the past eight hours on and off with your babe who thinks that sleep is the last thing we should be doing, can definitely give you the case of the Monday blues. As much as I tried to nap with my babe in the morning, I couldn’t do it, I knew I needed to get stuff done.

When you say yes to the first thing on your to do list, you begin the spiral of yeses for the day.

I hopped in the shower and enjoyed 15 minutes of alone time to just let my mind wander while the water cascaded over my body. Once I finished my shower I could have easily thrown my hair into a top knot, but I decided to spend another 30 minutes doing my hair and applying some makeup. While my babe napped I kept an ear open for any crying since doing my hair takes some time, but she slept perfectly.

After I fed her and let her play for a little bit she quickly went down for her next nap. I thrive off of these naps! It’s more time to myself to do whatever I need to do. Today, it’s continuing to say yes to my to do list. I was on the phone setting up appointments, filling out applications, folding laundry, vacuuming the house, putting away dishes, and now blogging.

With a new babe I’m still surprised I can get things off my to do list, but it all begins with yes.

You see, the moment I start saying yes, it builds and the momentum grows to keep on saying yes to the next task or project. Every day I easily could say no and decide to stay in bed in my yoga pants watching episodes of random TV shows, but instead I choose to say yes and slowly start seeing changes in my life and in our home.

Once I say yes I realize that half way through my day my house is clean and I’m being extremely productive. I also learn that I can’t be productive without a clean house and when I say no, nothing gets done.

See what I mean by it’s a spiral of yeses?

Obviously with a new babe it can be completely thrown off course and I spend the afternoon tucked away in my bedroom with a sleeping babe in my arms, but knowing that I’ve started my day with yes makes a world of a difference.

What do you do to help you stay productive and get stuff done? I would love to hear your method!

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