Here’s to looking forward, and reflecting back. From the inside out, Esme is a place of self-care. With holistic nutrition focusing on one’s transformation into health, aesthetics being the icing on the cake-allowing their guests to feel ah-mazing, and flowers to brighten ones spirit-there are no gaps to fill between inner and outer beauty. Supporting local, and small businesses, Esme boasts a wide range of products, including some of their own. Over the past 2 years, this part of the business has grown enough to create an online store, available for product ordering-thanks to the support of loyal guests who believe in the same thing Esme does-organic, whole, natural alternatives, and products that provide outstanding results. It doesn’t end there. From its conception, Esme has been on point with service. From the beautiful teas and coffees, crazy delicious popcorn, chocolates or macarons, there is always something to engage your taste buds during this experience. Private parties, a wide range of aesthetics, floral classes, holistic nutrition seminars, weddings, really any occasion is a reason to be touched by Esme-it’s a special thing. And it shows no signs of stopping. Esme. Where the end goal is that guests feel esteemed and loved. Where you get more than just health, beauty and floral. Where the vision is clear and the visionary becomes a true part of revolutionizing what the standard of beauty is.

{SHE} She creates her own path, gathering like-minded individuals to walk with her. She treats guests and Esme staff with much consideration, respect and honour. Serving them the best bites, and creating a welcoming, comfortable setting. She is tolerant of those who are lost on their path. She forgives those who make mistakes. When something doesn’t work, she works to fix it. She doesn’t give up when it gets hard, and is pulled in 10 different directions at once, and that’s inspiring. She practices optimism, and strives to create only an optimistic environment. She loves her staff like family, constantly building a strong foundation. Her staff is amazing, diverse, caring, hard-working, and talented. She’s always looking to maintain balance-in life and business. She is true to herself first, never straying from her dream. This, is why she is able to nurture and help them to reach theirs. She shares good fortune with others. She gives….and gives, and then gives some more. She inspires us to become our best version of ourselves. She is strong enough to stand alone, She’s herself enough to stand apart, And wise enough to stand together.

Team Esme-may you continue to grow, prosper, inspire, help others feel esteemed and loved. You are legendary at year 2!

Team ESME…. Angela, Meg, Andee, Robyn, Katie, Sarah, Jess, Jojo, Becca, Sara, Sora, Jill.

Written by:

Lise Johnson

Soul Q's


SELF-LOVE{an inventory of the soul}

There is a deep, true connection between our spiritual being and our physical body. The importance of feeding our bodies with the right foods is a piece of the big picture, for sure. But today, I ask you to take a look inside. Nourish your spirit. Get a pen and paper. Create positive pathways in your brain by repeatedly focusing on a life of fulfillment, and what that means to you. Write it down, make it real. Create your destiny.

Fulfillment; To witness the fulfillment of a dream; to achieve fulfillment of ones hopes.

Do you live a life of fulfillment? Are you living a life for you? Do you live to serve others? Do you live to serve one? Is your soul satisfied with how and to whom you are serving?

Do you grant yourself time for self-love? How do you practice this ritual? What does your heart desire today? What is sacred to you? What do you want to change in your life? What is a quote that resonates within you? What is the best advice you have received recently? What advise would you give yourself today? What are you grateful for? What will you do to feel you are leading a life of fulfillment?

create yourself

-Lise Johnson


‘E’ is for ESSENTIAL

{BUILDING BLOCKS} We hear a lot about EFA’s (essential fatty acids). The reality is, there are many things that are essential for our physical bodies to thrive. Today, I’m talking about Essential Amino Acids. These amino acid’s are the building blocks of protein. All proteins are combinations of 23 amino acids. Our bodies make most of them on it's own, but eight of those amino's are essential, meaning our bodies cannot make them. When all of these essential amino’s are present in the body, it’s able to produce other amino acids. When some, or even just one amino acid is low or not present, the body is unable to synthesize other proteins it needs-even if we have a high protein intake. Protein, the wonderful macronutrient that it is, is responsible for amazing things like building and maintenance of tissue, for the formation of hormones, blood clotting, formation of milk during lactation, and regulating the acid-alkaline balance of tissues and blood. Amino acids also improve cognitive function. Chemical messengers called neurotransmitters that communicate from cell to cell are dependant on amino acids for that communication to happen. These messengers (there are hundreds of different kinds in the brain and body), affect mood, emotions, sleep patterns, our ability to cope with-and calm down after stress. The’ll keep you sharp, happy, and relaxed-when amino acids are in balance. Serotonin (which is made from the amino acid tryptophan), is an example of a key neurotransmitter. It keeps you happy, improving your mood and banishes the blues. Serotonin is a pre-cursor to melatonin, which is what give us our day/night patterns and helps us sleep.

{PROTEIN POWER} Generally speaking, the better the quality of protein you eat, the less you actually need to be well nourished. The quality of a protein is determined by it’s balance of amino acids. How much protein is enough? Well, that depends on the person and his/her needs. Are they an athlete looking to achieve certain goals? Or a middle aged woman who requires protein maintenance? Some great sources of good quality protein with the right balance of amino acids (aside from protein powders and supplements), are; Quinoa, brown rice, tuna, cod, salmon, sardines, chicken, eggs, organic yogurt, lentils/rice combined, and beans/rice combined.

{GENERAL GUIDELINES} To help ensure optimal intake of amino acids, make sure you are getting 3 protein-rich foods per day. Choose good quality, vegetable and meat sources and include a wide variety. Variety is key. When eating animal proteins, choose organic and grass fed whenever possible. Remember, the 3 macro’s-carbs, proteins, and fats should be consumed at each meal! If you have further questions regarding your protein intake and your lifestyle, or any other dietary needs, contact your personal heath care coach-that may be a holistic nutritionist, personal trainer, or your doctor. Now get building your blocks!

-Lise Larochelle

C.H.N. Certified Holistic Nutritionist

Vélo Café


Introducing Vélo Café

They are at it again! The founders of Cassis Bistro have another delightful offering for Calgary to enjoy - Vélo Café, which opened November 25th.



It all started when Gille Brassart (co-owner of Cassis Bistro and Suzette Bistro) created a Facebook group for cyclists in the city. After weekly rides, the group would end up back at Cassis and Gilles saw the need for a space dedicated to their lifestyle and sense of community.

Brassart teamed up with Joel Goralski (owner of Market 17) and voilà… Vélo (rhymes with hello) Café was created. Goralski brings his passion for cycling (he runs a cycling tour company in Buccerious, Mexico), as well as for good food and coffee.

Vélo Café is in the re-vamped Market 17 in the Casel Marché building, located on the corner of 17th Avenue and 24th Street SW and next door to Cassis Bistro. The cozy space seats 25, with barn doors on either end. From 7 am to 6 pm the door opens for Vélo Café and from 6 pm till close the door opens for a private dining room for Cassis Bistro.

Vélo Café is serving patisserie style french delicacies, including croissant and pan de chocolat, plus a breakfast menu lovingly prepared by Chef Stephanie Bayer (Head Chef at Cassis Bistro) and Chef Kazumi Sato (Pastry Chef, Cassis Bistro). There is a large screen on the wall so enthusiasts can watch live cycling events.

Market 17 is stocking a new Cassis-to-Go line which includes menu favourites such as Quiche, Croque-Monsieur, delicious salads and daily soup and has fine-tuned it’s focus to as local and fresh as it can be.

There is now a dedicated space for hand-picked local creators and their product, including body care and flowers from, chocolates from Master Chocolat by Bernard & Sons and gift cards by They will also be selling the cycling themed pottery used in the café. Check out the pre-assembled gift bags as will as a do-it-yourself option.

Vélo Café welcomes non-cyclists as well!!!


~Jill Forsyth~




C is for chlorella. At least for all intents and purposes right now.

Have you gotten your hands on some yet? You should. The health benefits are off the hook. It's virtually a complete food with the highest level of chlorophyll per ounce than any other plant, as well as protein (it's actually 58% protein-that's more than you'll find in meat!) and carbs. It contains all of the B vitamins, and vitamins C, E, and amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks of protein), high enzyme content to assist in your digesting food, and some rare trace minerals that are hard to obtain from the diet. It contains more B12 than liver, and has a good amount of beta-carotene.

What do all of these nutrients mean? It means that it will strengthen the immune system, promote healthy bowels and digestion because it adds to the "good" bacteria in the gut, aid in detoxing the body, help to alleviate ulcers, fight general infection, support cardiovascular health, give you healthy glowing skin, and even help to build and maintain muscle. This green beauty also helps to counteract fatigue and mood swings associated with PMS.


What should you do with it? First, because chlorella is potent and very effective for some of it's uses, consult your doctor to ensure there are no contraindications with any medications or conditions you may have.

Use it as your "love" ingredient. Add it to smoothies and juices. Start with small doses, keeping in mind it's "cleansing" effect, and let this powerhouse green superfood balance your body, and your heart chakra!


Author: Lise Johnson

Recommended Read:


{The Biology Of Belief}

As I read this book again for the second time, I find more inspiration! It's one I just have to share. Whether you already understand how a healthy mind equates to a healthy body, or you're a bit skeptical about how the power of thought can heal our bodies, this book is a good read.

Bruce H. Lipton, author of The Biology Of Belief, gives such detail in his writing. He bridges the gap between science and spirit so perfectly, that in my opinion, he can persuade even the skeptics, who don't believe that our cells can respond to our thoughts and have an impact on our health, that in fact they can. He explains how, scientifically, we are not victims of our genes.

Bruce Lipton prefers to call his book a "self-empowerment" book, rather than a "self-help" book, and that seems perfectly fitting to me.

Throughout the chapters, Lipton discusses "smart" cells and how they control our bodies, how genes do not control our biology, how the cell membrane is the true brain of cellular operations, quantum physics, how our positive or negative thoughts and emotions can control our physical biology and how to change certain pathways in the brain, and conscious parenting-so we can better influence our children and lead them on a path towards their own self-empowerment!

"It is my sincerest hope the you will recognize that many of the beliefs propelling your life are false and self-limiting and you will be inspired to change those beliefs. Understanding on a scientific level how cells respond to your thoughts and perceptions illuminates the path to personal empowerment."

-Bruce.H. Lipton


Get it, and a cuppa-something hot, and enrich your life!

Author: Lise Johnson

Recipe: Coconut Curry Refrigerator Soup

COCONUT CURRY "REFRIGERATOR" SOUP This is a great end-of-the-week-use-up-what-you-have-in-your-fridge soup. Hence, the name "refrigerator soup". I find soups and salads the easiest way to use up leftovers, and this time of year, it's so nice to cozy up with a mug of warm, creamy, whole body supporting soup!

THE HEALTH HI-LIGHTS Why is it whole body supporting? Well, to begin, it's supportive to the digestive system. When our digestive system is working at full capacity, it will utilize the foods we put in our mouths, and transport those nutrients to all of our other body systems for nourishment. Healthy gut, healthy everything else!

Bone broth is supportive not only to digestion, but also bones, connective tissue, skin, hair nails and more.

This soup will support your immune system going into the cold/flu season, so keep incorporating a variety of vegetables, fruits, garlic, and lots of greens on hand!

Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, as called for in this recipe, are essential to our heath. Consider the fact that our cell membranes are actually made out of fat! The cell membrane is vitally important because it separates the cells in the body from their outside world (the rest of our body). Fats (lipids) also allow for the exchange of nutrients. Our cell membranes cannot be working in top condition without healthy fat from the diet. Our brain is also almost entirely fat, so you can see the connection between a healthy cell membrane and cognitive function! The topic of healthy fat is vast, and this is just a tidbit of info in connection with the ingredients in this soup recipe.


1 tsp coconut oil 1 onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp grated ginger 2 cups bone/vegetable broth (or any other broth) 1 can organic coconut milk any leftover veggies/meat, chopped 1 tsp curry powder or paste (or as much as you like, to taste) pinch of salt and more to taste Splash of passion

In soup pot, melt coconut oil. Add onion at med-low, add a pinch of salt, and cook gently until unions are soft-about 10 minutes. Add chopped veggies for about 5 minutes, then add garlic and ginger. Once garlic and ginger are fragrant, (about 30 seconds), add the curry powder or paste, and stir in for another 30 seconds or so. (if it's a bit dry, add a couple of teaspoons of your broth). Salt to taste. Turn up heat to medium, and add broth and coconut milk. Simmer on med to low until veggies are the desired tenderness, and the taste is to liking. If you want to take the extra step to blend your soup until it's creamy, no one is stopping you. Enjoy the love you just provided to our body and soul!


-Lise-Marie Johnson


Esme Culture

{A reminder-or in case you didn't know and were wondering….}

Why Esme? Because of the vision. Because of a dream. Because it offers something unique. Because of diversity and strength among women, community, health, and to feel esteemed and loved.

There is something for everyone at Esme. But the end goal is that our guests feel esteemed and loved, as the term "esme" goes.

Whether you are a garden fairy who believes in an all natural, from the earth regime, to the result driven, make me look 20 years younger beauty, we believe that you are unique and beautiful just the way you are.


Our first effort goes to offering a unique, all natural approach to esthetics. Esthetics is generally a world of chemicals and toxins, not only potentially harmful to the client, but also the esthetician. Esme thrives to promote and use products less harmful to the environment, staff and guests. That's why we make our own lotions, scrubs, cuticle oils, and some facial products here in house.

Whenever possible, you will see us use products we make, or that we have sourced from local creators who also believe in the importance of natural products.


We're serving up love here, folks. We serve love in our teas, coffees and snacks-taste them and you'll know! We'll love you the minute you walk through the door. We'll build relationships, and keep them strong. Come see us for a healthy dose of it-you deserve it!

When life gets put on hold...


This is where I am at today in my life. The 30 days of Esme Ink has been on a hold for far too long, and it was never intended to be a long drawn out project. It was intended to be 30 journals, within 30 or more days, keeping me in check and being vulnerable-inspiring people to do the same, or to just follow along.Life has changed, and things were put on hold until today.

My family and I have relocated to beautiful British Columbia. Over the past 6 months, whether we were moving B.C., or staying in Calgary, was an on again/off again possibility that so quickly turned into a monumental, provincial move. With a closing date of 2 weeks, It all still seems like a dream. It some times hits me-"Wow. We are really here!" But for the most part, We all still feel a bit overwhelmed, displaced (while we search for a home that we can call our own), and a bit scared.

What do I miss the most? Being a part of something special. Esme is special. And I realize it now even more being away. The concept. The people. The surroundings. Angela's passion to create something unique. But I bring a piece of all of that with me, in my heart and it inspires me as I move forward.

This is the life journey I've needed. A shake up. A wake up. A breath of fresh air-literally, this mountain air I have missed! So, needless to say, life has sort of been on hold for a few months now until we knew exactly what was happening. Now, to move forward for REAL. These next weeks are going to be a time of spiritual growth, a test of personal strength and patience. It's going to require a lot of effort, positivity, and passion. It's an opportunity to push my career to the next level. I'm going to "Mount my mission!" Take control, and grow.

How am I going to keep my self in check? Physical self care through exercise. Hiking, running, yoga, work outs. Adaptogens-yes please Surrounding myself with only positive humans Ample sleep Meditation Good quality whole foods

My mantra today is a very simple one, and I will apply this to everything I do. There is so much to be done, and in order to stay stress free, and calm, this mantra will help simply my life in the upcoming week(s).

I will, Start Where I am. Use What I have. Do What I can"

#ESMEINK : "Precious Life" Day 25


"The trouble is,

you think you

have time."


Today's journal is short. It's a reminder to love deeper, life more passionately, breathe more deeply, and cherish moments. Even the thoughts in between moments. Because-as if I need to say it-life is short.

My husband and I had a scare tonight.

Our son, 5, nearly fell out of his bedroom window. It's high enough that It could have taken his life.

Thanks to our backyard neighbour, who saw him climbing out, -unlocked our gate, ran up to the back door and started ringing the doorbell and knocking frantically-he was ok.

My first thought was something happened to her. Then she yelled up at my son (as nice a she could as to not scare him) to get in the house.

 I saw him half out of the window, and very thankfully, he quickly got back in the house.

My husband had ran up the stairs to see him while I thanked her, in shock.

We are the lucky ones tonight.

I squeezed my kids longer tonight and explained more than ever how much we love them.

It's so important that they understand.

"Guard your time fiercely.

Be generous with it,

But be intentional about it."

-David Duchemin


#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Saying No & Going with the Flow" Day 17




I have learned to say no. I am getting more comfortable with setting boundaries. I'm done feeling guilty for wanting what I want in life. This is self love! It's not selfish, and it's not hurting anyone else. I try my best to take care of other peoples feelings, but not to the point that I shove mine aside. Remembering…..In order to love others, I have to love myself first.

I've considered lately, creating a sacred space. A physical one. I have begun creating a scared space in my heart, where I can go when I need peace. It's where I ground myself, and meditate. It's where I find clarity. But, amidst the craziness in my life-and by crazy I mean amazing but busy-I would love to have a sacred space in my home that is mine. Where I can light candles. Read my favourite book. Soak my feet. Do my yoga, meditate. Really, whatever I need at the time. I want to feel like I have a place that feels far from home, that's not. Growing up, my mom had her sewing room. I remember her wanting a sewing room for years before she finally had one. A space of her own. Where she could make something beautiful. For herself. For her soul. It was kind of like a sacred space, that was just for her, not for us kids. Of course, as a kid I didn't realize that having a sewing "room" meant actually having a sanctuary that was kid-free, noise-free, stress free, and a place where she probably felt at peace, balanced and centred. It was a world of her own-just for her! So, I've decided. Now that our teenagers both no longer live here, I'm going to work on turning the spare room downstairs into a room that I can use whenever I please. I'm going to decorate it, maybe even paint it-it could use a fresh coat anyways- Put up pictures that inspire me. Gather my books and trinkets, cozy blankets and essential oils, sage, and set up shop for my soul.

Wow-So here I thought I was going to write about how "saying no" is empowering, self loving and important to health. I've touched on it, but felt more inspired to go with the flow today. And now I'm pretty set on beginning a new project. See, nothing is certain. The only thing certain in life, is change. Life is beautiful! Buckle up and just enjoy the ride they say.

I'm going to created a sacred space. Dive deeper into my spirit and bring more joy into my life.


And a quote…..

"I now take my power back as I choose to respect, honour and love myself." -Trudy Vesotsky


#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "OH Canada" Day 16



How blessed are we, to live in a country of peace. So much chaos in the world, so much to frighten us. Today for my family, is an absolute celebration of not only a beautiful country, but a celebration of life within it. We are lucky to be alive to smell the mountain air. The Grassy nights. Being able to meditate in peace and hear nothing but nature, or humans going about their daily lives.


"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." -Albert Camus

I believe in freedom of pretty much anything, as long as it's not harming anyone else. Religion, speech, sexuality, equality..etc. Nothing is wrong in my eyes. I love canada for how much we embrace all of these things.

I want to embrace life on a deeper level. Do things that scare me more often. Bungee jumping was one of the most freeing things I've ever done. But it doesn't always have to be big like that. I want to dance on a mountain top! I want to take my kids on more adventures. I want to learn how to play more instruments. I want to take up a martial art. I have lots of things that I am completely free to do, and just haven't.

In a world so fragile, how can we not live every day to it's fullest? Time to start pushing myself forward. Momentum, please take the wheel!

Thank you, Canada!

Land of the free, home of the brave.

#ESMEINK entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Reflecting on Love" Day 15


Today Stacy and I are celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary. We have been together for 7 years!

What is marriage? What should it look like?

Truth, I think there is no model. I think it's based on so many things. I think every single marriage in this world looks different. But I also know, I love the way mine looks.

How well I am able to love my husband, is a direct reflection on how well I love myself. In a relationship it's so important to love one's self. That might mean healing wounds from a past relationships. Healing from a form of abuse. Maybe releasing/healing insecurities. Being true to who I am, and not moulding into what I think someone wants me to be. Discovering who I am continually, having someone accept that, and be willing to join him on his journey. Self love has been a work in progress for me lately, opening up new boxes. Really taking time for me. It means that I've put a little less focus on him. I know he feels it, but I also know he's not concerned because we talk about what I'm going through. He listens. He cares. We are both ever changing, and growing on our own as individuals. We love watching each other grow. It's beautiful. I can't wait for the next big thing for him. He's capable of such great things, and touching peoples lives. He pours more passion into everything he commits to, than any one I've ever met.

Inspiration. I've found it in Stacy. He's not afraid to try anything. From jumping off of a building on a movie set, to sleeping under the starts out in the wild chasing sasquatch, he won't let anything get in his way. Not judgement. Not fear. Not physical set backs. If he wants it, he gets it. Isn't that a great way to live?

Believing in someone. And knowing they believe in you too. His words infuse confidence in me. He believes in me. Truly. He pushes me forward when I have an idea. His support is always there, 100% of the time. And It' reciprocated.

Laughter is honestly, is what first attracted me to him. I've never laughed so hard in my life. Daily! It's so good for the soul.

Lovers first. We are always lovers first. When we are not lovers, we are best of friends. knowing that I have a best friend to come home to at the end of every day makes life easy. I'm not worried about coming home and being judged, shamed, feeling like a live in a space that's not mine or ours. It's pure freedom.

Vulnerability. Being able to open my heart and wholly let him in is the most vulnerable thing I've ever done. At first, this was a challenge. I was falling in love so fast, and I was scared. There had been past relationships that caused lots of heartache, and I needed recovery and healing from them. I've been able to do that because he earned my trust, and we have gone down the path of healing together. For that I am blessed.

So marriage, to me, is knowing there is always time for self love. Having someone who inspires and challenges me to become my greater self. It's having a lover, and a best friend. It's having an unbreakable support system that at times, may crack a little, but those are just symbolic of the challenges we overcome. Worlds colliding. Different belief systems that are instilled upon two individuals, coming together and tying to figure out how to exist together-and separately. It's beautiful, and hard, and beautiful again. It's so much more, than I ever could have imagined. It's so different that the picture I always had in my head. That, to me, is true love!



I will love you without judgement because you do the same for me. I will love you for who you grow to become because you love me through my growth. I promise to always give you freedom. Thank you for mine. Growing older with you is fun, and I vow to continue to keep it that way. I will always try to inspire you. Because you inspire me, to be the higher me. I will challenge you. In life, love, friendship and spirituality. I will rise to your challenges too. We've gotten through some of the toughest challenges. We find the lessons. We find the messages. The message that stands out the most, is that LOVE can heal all things. Love is strong. I still DO.

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson