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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!

    To stay up to date with everything she'll be sharing, sign up for the newsletter!

Learning to take it slow, much slower than I ever have before. Of enjoying the spring sun make it’s way into our bedroom, of lingering longer and letting breast milk soak into the sheets instead of waking while Mister takes care of our bebe, for unexpected quiet mornings at home with a sleeping babe on my chest.

I am diligent to make sure our home is calm and relaxing for the three of us. Some days personal items are all over the living room and I trip over a grey and white polka dot blanket as I make my way to her, but most days I’m able to start the day with the dishwasher whirring, the floors swept, and toys tucked away until the next play time. When I spend those few minutes preparing our home I find I am way more productive the rest of the day and I can go to sleep knowing my home represents us.

Fresh tulips on a glass table. An orchid plant still thriving. A small grey and white child’s toy on a cream rug. An extra large pillow purchased in Vancouver next to a black and white graphic pillow from London both placed on top of a sheepskin rug from Holland. These are some of my favourite pieces of home.

Every day we bundle up against the elements and walk around the city. A latte in a cardboard take away cup we wander the city popping in and out of stores, her in her black on black pram, me in black ballet flats, black cigarette pants paired with a creme knit top and curled hair.

I observe how having a babe attracts older men and women to peer into her pram and pass such loving and knowing smiles in our direction. When I notice other pregnant women in the city I pass along the loving and knowing smile. It feels like an elite society that I have been initiated into and am now welcoming others. I have experience and knowledge in the area of parenthood, childbearing, and babies. A man walks along beside me on the street asking where we got the pram, how I like it, and how is parenthood so far. He is expecting twins in just a few weeks. I see the anxiety and excitement in his face and realize I was recently there, chasing down other bugaboo owners asking their opinion.

Holding a smiling cooing babe in my arms while walking around a store a young handsome man in a dark wool coat and a freshly cut side part catches my eye in the window. He looks at me, bottom to top, staring intently then smiles his approval all the while continuing on his way. My stomach drops, even with a babe in my arms and a 7 week postpartum body, he made me feel beautiful, sexy, feminine, attractive in that fleeting moment.

Soaring and feeling beautiful I stop at the wine store and pick out a bottle filled with soft elegance and intensity of fruit for me to enjoy, it fits perfectly into the cup holder of the pram.

I enter our empty warm house and play relaxing ambient music. I spend a few moments playing with our babe before putting her down for the night then pour myself a glass of Merlot while reading a beautiful testimonial from a past client.

As I crawl into our bed with clean white sheets I feel like the universe is telling me, it’s time. I have a purpose, I need to step into it.

I’m already sucked into my own vortex of having an expectation that I’m going to blog. How am I supposed to start writing after almost eleven months of saying nothing to saying something at least once a week. Today when I woke up I thought, I’m supposed to blog. I feel like I have so much and nothing to say at the same time. I almost get upset with myself with how I am already putting myself through a guilt trip of expectation?

You would think that I’ve given myself enough grace that if I have something to say, I’ll say it. If not, I won’t. But for some reason I haven’t…and I can’t. Grace cannot be found in my expectation of writing.

So here I am, blogging. Fulfilling an expectation that I’ve put on myself.

And you know what? It feels so good to write this out. To just put thoughts and emotions out. Yes I’ve put an unnecessary expectation on myself, but having it there means that I’ll write what is on my mind. It will sometimes be raw, sometimes it will be thought out. It might be unedited and full of mistakes, I might make it perfect. This is life.

When we place expectations on ourselves, before we start acting them out we need to analyze if they are for our benefit or not. Have they been around for so long that we don’t even recognize the feeling that is associated with it? Or are they new, and the resistance we’re feeling towards it is because it’s unfamiliar or because it doesn’t belong in our life?

Design your lifestyle assignment
What sort of expectation have you put on yourself that perhaps aren’t serving you? Which ones are and you need to be paying more attention to? Figuring out what expectations to let go of or hold onto can take some effort, but it’s worth it to really check in with yourself. Whenever I’m faced with a task I need to start or finish I always check in to see how I feel about it. Sometimes I have huge resistance to it and need to figure out where that resistance is flowing from and other times I can’t wait to start working on my task!

Please feel free to share your discoveries in the comments below!

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  • March 10, 2014 - 1:26 AM

    Jenny - thanks for your post. I think everybody is faced with expectations that we put on ourselves. Sometimes I have an insanely long to do list and I expect to fulfill everything. At the end of the day the disappointment is big though I finished a lot just not everything. Sometimes I expect from myself to live more healthy, do more sport and be everything at once a good housewife a goon entrepreneur and a good friend. I think those expectations doesn’t serve or help at all. One thing at a time allows me to finish something and be happy that I reached my own expectations.ReplyCancel

I’m now a full time mama, and the emotions I’ve felt over these past few weeks has been the lowest of the lows, and the highest of the highs.

During the nine months of being pregnant I didn’t have the energy for blogging, business, or even dreaming for that matter. I felt like I was putting myself and my life on hold while I grew a baby inside of me. It was probably one of the most difficult seasons in my life, as I didn’t even have the energy to write through it to help me gain perspective.

However, within five days of giving birth I felt like a fog that I had no idea I was walking around in had lifted and I’m rediscovering who I am, the dreams I have, and the direction I want to take my life.

Through rediscovering who I am, I realize I’m unsure where my blogging will go, but I am blogging again!

I’m learning the balance of living out the life of my dreams and taking time to just enjoy it.

Images from Amish Solanki

  • March 3, 2014 - 11:58 PM

    Jenny - welcome back Lesley !I love those images of the three of you.ReplyCancel

    • March 6, 2014 - 2:20 PM

      Lesley - Thanks Jenny!ReplyCancel

  • March 13, 2014 - 2:29 PM

    lily - so lovely to see these pictures adn updates Lesley :) i’ve missed your posts! hope all is well.ReplyCancel

    • March 13, 2014 - 7:54 PM

      Lesley - Thank you Lily!ReplyCancel

  • March 26, 2014 - 9:49 PM

    Halley - Small steps win. every. time. :) ReplyCancel

In the five and a half months I’ve been silent here, much has changed in my life. I finished my schooling and said good-bye to another chapter in my life, we packed up our familiar condo and moved across the road to a new one, we went on a spontaneous trip back to Europe where we visited London, Paris, and the region of Normandie in France. But the biggest change was realizing that my life would never be the same again, that whatever I attributed ‘normal’ to, I would never fully experience again. From that moment forward I would forever be a different person.

In the middle of May on the same day we found out that our offer on a new condo was accepted, we also found out we were expecting. In the middle of finishing up my program and working with wonderful clients I suddenly found myself dealing with being constantly hungry and no energy to dealing with the a month a half of intense morning sickness where I couldn’t hold anything down. It was so bad that I didn’t even get out of bed most days and when we were packing up our home and moving into a new one, my mum had to come and help while I laid on the bathroom floor hoping the cold tiles would cool me down.

I won’t go into the details, but it was one of the most frustrating moments of my life.

Once I felt like I could get out of bed, I suddenly found myself working back in corporate. None of my ideals of what my life would look like if I happened to ever to get pregnant were coming true. I went through probably another month of dealing with what I thought my life would look like to what reality really was. If I’m honest, I really resented being pregnant and the changes it was putting on me that were completely out of my control.

Once I thought I had morning sickness and my resentment under control, my body has been wrecked with migraines. I’ve dealt with them before, but being pregnant has left me with no way to take medication other than rest and a dark room.

Then, in the middle of it all, there was a moment when we thought our baby was sick and we didn’t know if our future would have our baby in it or not. I have never felt so completely helpless than those three weeks of stressful waiting.

Yet through every single step of this season in my life, this has been the only time I have ever felt so confident and peaceful about the decisions I’m making. Call it mother’s intuition or instinct but I’m so at peace with everything this pregnancy has brought me. It is not the pregnancy I dreamed of (mostly because I never dreamed of being pregnant nor wanted children) but I do believe that this is the pregnancy I’m supposed to have. I’m being shown something: that through this all I’m still living a gorgeous life, that I’m surrounded by positive, beautiful, and loving family and friends. That life isn’t always what we expect it to be, but that the beauty is still there if you’re willing to look for it.

That even though life throws you curve ball after curve ball, your heart will expand to see beauty in moments that you would have hid from. That somehow when you think you can’t take anymore and you are weeping on the bathroom floor praying that someone would make it all stop, you find yourself with more strength than before and you’re able to stand tall (in four inch heels), head held high, hair done and feeling proud, graceful, and so full of love and happiness.

This year, on this Thanksgiving Monday, I am thankful for the life I am living. That I have a wonderful loving husband who has stood beside me (or comforted me when I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore), my family (both his and mine) who have done everything in their power to ease this pregnancy, for friends near and far who check in to see how I’m doing – even when I don’t have the strength or energy to send a response, and also for our baby that is strong, healthy, and growing in my belly – for all the little kicks when I sing, of somehow knowing when I need comfort it does a little tumble in my body, for teaching me that life isn’t perfect but no matter what it’s beautiful and so full of love.

In light of Thanksgiving, before we met up with family, Mister took me for a mini photoshoot to celebrate this season in my life. Even though it hasn’t been easy these pictures reflect internally how I feel: beautiful, elegant, sophisticated, and ready to face the world!

  • October 16, 2013 - 6:54 AM

    Natalie - Lesley, you look stunning – as you always do! Heartfelt congratulations to you, I hope the remainder of your pregnancy is smoother sailing.. goodness, I feel for you the last few months! Take care, best wishes to you xxReplyCancel

  • October 16, 2013 - 5:13 PM

    Tanja - Congratulations to you and your hubby! :) Vancouver is such a wonderful city for a child to grow up.ReplyCancel

  • October 24, 2013 - 12:21 PM

    Anouschka - You look GORGEOUS!ReplyCancel

  • October 30, 2013 - 3:52 PM

    Rebecca Sehn - You look beautiful. :) xoReplyCancel

  • March 10, 2014 - 1:09 AM

    Jenny - you look so pretty !!!ReplyCancel

    • March 13, 2014 - 7:54 PM

      Lesley - Thank you Jenny!ReplyCancel

Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to do what you need to do. All morning I’ve been fighting with myself, my  to-do list, my obligations to sit down with my notebook and pen and write out some very significant details to help me prepare for next month (I’m finishing school!). It’s been on my to-do list for some time now and I know I need to write it out, but instead of sitting down I started doing everything but that.

I cleaned our home.

I washed dishes.

I did the last bit of laundry.

I sat for hours scrolling through internet stories.

I started trolling people on facebook.

And each time I did one of those things other than writing in my notebook, I started feeling guilty and would chastise myself. How could I spend all this time doing other things when planning for my future should be more important. Or at least they should be the most important – it’s creating goals!

I then decided to stop doing everything else to just sit down and write. I would stop feeling guilty then, right?

However, instead of feeling inspired I started thinking about how I should restart my phone, perhaps take a nap, or should I clean the windows? I still resisted writing.

I then decided, that sometimes you need to give yourself permission to do what you need to do. And today I need to give myself permission to do not what I feel is important but just do the things I want to do. Even if that means cleaning the windows instead of planning for my future. It doesn’t mean my future isn’t important – it just means it’s not the right time to figure it out, that clearly my mind and body has other things it wants to enjoy instead of planning and making goals. It just wants to be.

Funny enough, I had been feeling guilty for not creating a blog post for a couple of weeks due to school, but I’ve been feeling so drained and tired by the end of the school day that I feel like I have nothing left to give. But the moment I gave myself permission to do what I need to do, I felt inspired to write this! Magic happens when you leave space for permission.

Design your lifestyle assignment
What have you been feeling resistance to lately? Do you need to give yourself permission to let go? Set some time aside to think about what you’re really needing to do (watch the world go by, clean the floor, take a nap) instead of the things you’re feeling obligated to do, even if you know they are important. Listen to what you’re body and mind are telling you, what are you able to make space for? Give yourself permission to do what you need to do.

Please feel free to share your discoveries in the comments below!

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  • June 12, 2013 - 12:46 AM

    Jenny - your words just fit perfectly this week as I start my day with a full to do list an empty fridge and floor that needs to be cleaned and i just can’t get anything done. isn’t it hard to sometimes prioritize everything in your life – business, the house, yourself and sometimes you even need a little time to rest for a minute? I really struggle with that.ReplyCancel