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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!


A week filled with late sleep ins and early wake up calls. No matter what, they are beautiful moments of us squinting at the morning light then staring and smiling at each other.

Each morning as we go through our morning routine I notice how Mister and I have a particular song and dance that we move to. Weaving in and away from each other, smiles, flirtatious eyes, and helpful hands. This dance particularly takes place in the kitchen and always ends with a kiss and saying good-bye for the day.

We celebrate our babe’s two month birthday by meeting together for an afternoon latte together at a cafe near his work. He takes her from the pram and holds her with such love and admiration and she willingly falls asleep in his arms. Sip after sip we enjoy our foamy lattes we discuss the little details of life and the anticipation of my upcoming birthday.

Later in the week, her and I shop along Robson and walk away with two small white sleepers for her to grow into wrapped in tissue and then placed in a white paper bag. It’s the small luxuries.

I have a couple of hours alone to myself with no babe to care for that I walk the brick lanes of Gastown and find myself thinking of Europe. A feeling buried deep within me bubbles up as I admire the architecture, that here – Vancouver, is home and so is Europe. I know I will never be able to combine the two, that no matter where I am living I will always miss the other, but I set my heart on visiting Europe as soon as we can. I pick up two white boxes filled with treats; a chocolate covered cheesecake and the other a earl gray infused sponge cake with lavender and vanilla swirl frosting. They are decadent and beautiful to look at, and sugary sweet on the tongue.

I start an evening bedtime routine that relaxes both the babe and I. Starting a warm bath the smell of vanilla and rose fill the room. She coos and smiles as she enjoys the water and our slick skin next to each other. When we step out of the bath I love seeing her pink body wrapped in a white towel and her tiny toes sticking out the end as she kicks and squirms before I apply lotion all over her. We end the routine with her at my breast, her arm thrown across her eyes in relaxation as her breathing goes deeper and deeper before I put her down for bed.

We end the week with a walk as a family through the city to select my birthday gift. It’s wrapped in tissue and placed in a box even though I know what it is. I love requesting to be pampered and the luxuriousness of the packaging. We slip into a dark restaurant with our sleeping babe in the pram next to us as we order birthday eve drinks and discuss our future holiday in London, careers opportunities and dreams, finances, feelings, and priorities. It’s a great conversation and a time to connect to one another.

As 2014 started I decided on the word that describe my intention for the next 365 days.

EXPAND.

2012 was move (I traveled extensively then picked up and moved back to Vancouver)
2013 was settled (I truly settled into my life in Vancouver by purchasing a new condo, becoming pregnant, then building a home for us)

2014 is Expand, and I can’t wait to see where it will take me.

In all honesty I’m a little bit uncomfortable with this word. I really felt comfortable with settled and creating a simple life around me. It concentrated on centering myself and planting my roots, but now that I’ve done that…I’ve settled into the soil I’ve been placed in I feel ready to expand myself further.

Expand is so much more than I can describe. It’s already pulling me out of my comfort zone, pushing me back into places I didn’t think I wanted to explore, and essentially opening my heart to my dreams that I felt were under lock and key.

It’s also forcing me to think about how I want to implement Expand. Move and Settled I just let happen, but I want to be more intentional with Expand. It deserves to have a purpose and to have my attention. I feel the depth and simpleness of this word and want it to envelop me as much as possible. I want to live an expanded life this year.

With Expand as my word for 2014 I have a willingness to grow further and outward than I ever have before. To expand into spaces I didn’t even know existed or knew possible. On expanding on who I think I am as a woman and who I want to be. Expanding myself and allow myself to become a mother. Expanding my network and my networth. Expanding my relationships and my friendships further than what will viably bring me happiness…but what will also bring them happiness.

It’s also expanding my inspiration and my passion. I want to take it further than just what I know but continue to look for layers of honest beauty, between dirty fingers, messy floors, hanging laundry, words undone, pages left empty, coffee stained tables, and untucked white linen sheets.

I want to expand my horizons and keep on pushing further and beyond what I imagined possible. I want to keep exploring the possibilities and continue to break the chains that bind me.

This is my intention for 2014, to Expand who I am and see all the beauty and possibility before me and go after it with confidence.

Design your lifestyle assignment
Have you chosen a word for this year? I don’t really have a step-by-step method for choosing my word for the year, I just feel in my gut for it and it pops up. I encourage you to find a word to live out this year, one that gets you excited about and somewhat scared of. It’s amazing to see where life takes you when you decide to live it intentionally.

Please feel free to share your discoveries in the comments below! I would love to know what your word for 2014 is!

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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