yyc

Calgary and why we love it

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What is it about Calgary that draws people from across the country and makes people from around the world choose to call it home?  Is it because Calgary has been ranked the 5th most liveable city on earth for 6 years in a row by the Economist based on 30 metrics? For those of us that were born and bred here, it’s easy to overlook the many reasons. We’ve heard people lamenting its shortcomings, we may have even done so ourselves. When we ask people why they love this city the results can be illuminating. My 11 year old daughter often tells me she loves this city because its busy, but not too busy. I know exactly what she means. As a born and raised Calgarian, it is unusual to meet someone who exhibits the same enthusiasm for the city as I do and I was eager to talk with Cody about his love for Calgary and about his online boosterism @calgaryism.

The instant I met Cody I quickly discovered his energy for Calgary cannot be contained and he easily lists the reasons why we need to stop criticizing Calgary. It was more than refreshing to hear about this city from another proud and loyal Calgarian. When asked what was best about Calgary Cody quickly replied with:

The opportunities!

We all remember the days of 100$ oil and the perception that Calgary was a gold mine, but even in a cooler environment there are opportunities for all those ready to try It is the opportunities mixed with the optimism and energy that elevate Calgary to much more than a temporary boomtown. We all love to criticize however lets run through the top three ways Cody shows off this amazing city to friends and family that visit.

The excuse that downtown Calgary is boring is bunk.

1) Tour of downtown. Calgary gets a hard time for our perceived lack of downtown culture. We’ve all heard the cliché that downtown is “dead” after 5pm. Nobody is going to confuse Calgary with Paris but when we take a deeper look at the claim that Calgary is a cultural wasteland, we realize that that’s nonsense! We have festivals galore, the Riverwalk, the Peace Bridge, the third largest Chinatown in Canada, the burgeoning East Village, the Core shopping, rafting on the Bow! The list could fill volumes.

Our vistas are one of the best in the world.

2) Have you seen the mountains? The Rockies are truly a treasure and Calgarians are fortunate to be able to see them every day. As Cody points out, there are so many vantage points in the city to see the mountains. Understandably the Rockies get all the attention, but as a southern Albertan the sight of the prairie is breathtaking too. They say that Montana is “Big sky country” but gazing upon any landscape in Calgary will make you appreciate the beauty of this place.

Pathways!...Have we talked about pathways?

3) Calgary has more park space and pathways than most cities in North America and has consistently been named one of the worlds cleanest cities. That fact might not seem very impressive but we want you to sit and think about it. From the wild parks like Fish Creek or Nose Hill to the manicured lawns of Central Memorial Park, there’s something for any and every taste. Do you want musical festivals? Prince’s Island Park has you covered; Do you want to watch a cricket match? Riley Park is the place for you; Want to learn about Calgary’s past? Heritage Park!; what about Opera? Enmax Park plays host! On and on it goes. Calgary’s parks are an under appreciated gem.

Having heard so much positive from a Calgary cheerleader I was made to wonder why people don’t seem to appreciate it all. So I had to ask the tough question: What is the biggest struggle Calgary has? Cody was unhesitating in his reply, "The excuse mentality!"

This made me pause because I’ve heard it frequently from my generation. People my age have been incredibly lucky to travel the world and we instinctively compare Calgary to those places. Often these comparisons are unfair. Cody continued "Calgary is one of the best places you can live. The more you travel the more you realize how great our parks are. How great our food scene is. How Calgary is one of the greatest places you can live.”

Sitting down with Cody made me proud to be Calgarian again. It’s easy living in this city to take it all for granted, but when we slow down and take a moment to think about it we see things big and small which make Calgary a great city. "I love Calgary, I love life, and I truly believe we are all blessed to be Canadian.

Jessica Barkwell

ESMÉ, YOU'RE 2!!

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ESTEEMD LOVED,...

{TRIBUTE}

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

For the Love of Tea

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At ESME Beautiful, we love our tea so it seemed fitting to talk about our obsession! In today's blog post we are talking about various types of tea and the associated benefits. We're sharing the basics, but if you're interested, there is SO much more to learn. If you have social media, you've likely seen that tea detoxes (or teatoxes) are all the rage. But, in our humble opinion, tea shouldn't be a trend. There are many types of tea, each with their own unique benefits. Tea can help to heal the body, hydrate the skin, stimulate your metabolism, etc. or simply be an enjoyable, healthy drink (warm or cold). Keep reading to see what teas we love  (and why) at ESME...

  • HERBAL TEA - One of the best things about herbal tea is its hydrating benefits. Many people are dehydrated and are not drinking enough water. Some people don't like the taste of water (or the lack of flavour), so if thats you, increase your water intake by drinking more herbal tea. On top of being hydrating, herbal tea also has various other benefits. For example, ginger tea is good for settling the stomach and reducing nausea. Peppermint tea is also good for digestion (especially after a big meal) due to its soothing properties. Chamomile tea is good for creating feelings of physical relaxation and can help to promote better sleep.
  • BLACK TEA - The caffeine in black tea can help to increase energy and alertness (similar to coffee). But, black tea also is rich in antioxidants - which is great for your skin and detoxification systems. It's important to keep in mind that caffeine is a stimulant that can impact your energy, mood and metabolism. Caffeine is also dehydrating, so to counteract the dehydrating impact of caffeine / coffee, I suggest drinking an additional cup of water for every cup of black tea consumed (this is in addition to the 8-10 cups I recommend drinking daily).
  • GREEN TEA - Green tea is a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Green tea contains a significant amount of antioxidants which are beneficial for your skin and organs. These antioxidants also support and help our bodies detoxify. Note, green tea does contain caffeine (much lower amounts than black or pur'eh tea), but if you are sensitive to caffeine enjoy your green tea earlier in the day.
  • WHITE TEA - Here is a great article from Mind Body Green that highlights and shares some of the benefits of white teal. For example, white tea is a rich source of antioxidants - with as many as 3X as many polyphenols as green tea. Plus, the article quotes that there have been studies that have shown that white tea can help in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight by boosting the breakdown of fat cells. There is also an antioxidant in white tea that triggers the release of fat from the cells and helps speed up the livers ability to turn fat into energy. If weight loss is one of your health goals, incorporate more white tea into your diet!
  • ROOIBOS TEA - There is a powerful flavonoid in rooibos tea which can reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage. Again, if weight loss is your goal - add in more rooibos tea to inhibit the formation of fat cells.
  • PUR'EH TEA - Research suggests that pur'eh tea can help to increase your metabolism and break down fat cells. Be careful, pur'eh tea contains caffeine, so if you're sensitive to caffeine, avoid drinking this later in the day.

At ESME we love serving our guests Ollia teas (its local and oh so delicious). Some of our personal favourites are the Madame Grey, Marrakesh Mint, Jasmine Blossom and Summer in Paris. Enjoy a cup at your next ESME appointment.

10 Tips for Beautiful Skin

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You may have seen on our website that ESME, in old french, means "esteemed" or "loved" - and this is what we're all about at ESME beautiful. To us, beauty is about esteem, self-esteem, and love. Which is why through our services and products, we aim to make you feel beautiful. And today on the blog we are talking all about beautiful skin. Did you know that the skin is the bodies largest organ? Since we can absorb the the products we put on topically, it is important to be picky of what we are using. Just as we recommend with food, steer clear of ingredients you cannot pronounce and use natural & organic products, where possible. We also recommend that regular facials are part of your beauty routine. BUT...we can only nourish our skin so much with external practices and products. It is equally important that we nourish our bodies from the inside, out. Nutrition for beauty means cutting some foods out, while adding in some beauty superfoods (we promise its nothing too extreme or restrictive).Beauty foods are often high in antioxidants, low in sugar and very hydrating.

Here are 10 tips to nourish your skin from the inside, out:

  1. Cut out all refined sugar. Refined sugar spikes your insulin levels, causing an increase of inflammation in the body (and on your skin). Inflammation is responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin, which keep your skin tight and wrinkle-free.
  2. Add leafy greens to each meal. The vitamins and minerals in leafy greens like kale, spinach, parsley and cilantro are essential to detoxify the body. Boost your smoothies and salads with extra kale (for antioxidant benefits) and spinach (good source of omega-3s, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and other vitamins).
  3. Drink a glass of lemon water each morning. Warm lemon water boosts your metabolism and detoxifies the body. Contrary to popular belief, lemons are alkaline and help to balance the pH levels in your body (which in turn, reduces skin inflammation and breakouts). Check out this blog post on the top benefits of lemon water.
  4. Make your midday snack a healthy one. We recommend having sliced cucumbers, carrots and celery on hand to eat with healthy dips like hummus and/or nut butter. Cucumbers are especially good for your skin as they are hydrating and nourishing (great for your skin from the inside and topically).
  5. Amp up your parsley and cilantro. Parsley is great for supporting the liver & kidney, boosts metabolism and effectively removes toxins from the body. Parsley is great to add into smoothies, juice or sprinkled on salad. On the other hand, cilantro is rich in antioxidants and helps to naturally cleanse the body. If you like cilantro, add to smoothies, juice, salads and dips.
  6. Stay off soy. Soy is full of phytoestrogens that can cause breakouts on your skin. You may notice these hormonal blemishes around your mouth, jaw line and chin.
  7. Cut the coffee. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that too much will dehydrate your body. Signs of dehydration include headaches, lack of energy and under eye circles. For many people, drinking coffee is a habit. Try swapping your morning coffee with green tea. Green tea does contain a small amount of caffeine but it green tea is also high in wrinkle-fighting antioxidants.
  8. Cut out all processed foods & dairy. Processed foods are often filled with chemicals which can cause inflammation in the body and breakouts on your skin. Try to eat as natural as possible and limit your intake of packaged foods. If buying packaged foods, make sure you can pronounce all of the ingredients and aim for foods with less than 5 ingredients. Many people are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to dairy. If this is you, dairy may cause havoc on your skin through inflammation, breakouts or small red bumps / skin irritation. Cut dairy out for a couple of weeks and observe any changes.
  9. Drink 8-10 cups of water every day. Being dehydrated can cause irritated skin, a slowed metabolism and an increased appetite. Ensure your body is hydrated and drink 8-10 cups of water each day, throughout the whole day. If you are active, drink more water to account for water lost through sweat.
  10. Eat lots of healthy fats. Especially avocados, your skin will thank you! Avocados are full of moisturizing monosaturated fats, are a great source of antioxidants. The antioxidants in avocados help to protect your skin from damage causing fine lines and wrinkles. Tip: if you have avocados that are soft - peel, remove the pit and slice into quarters. Freeze and add to smoothies. 
What beauty swaps are you going to make this week?
 
[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

[Recipe] : Detox Turmeric Soup

tumericsoup

As the weather cools down and the daylight gets shorter - a big bowl of delicious soup always feels like a good idea.

This recipe is not only full of naturally cleansing veggies - but also adds in the powerhouse of turmeric to fight inflammation and a flavourful punch!

INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, diced 1 medium carrot, finely chopped 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 1 tablespoon McCormick Ground Turmeric 2 teaspoons garlic, minced (about 4 cloves) ½ teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 1 32-ounce carton vegetable broth 3-4 cups water 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste 3 cups cauliflower florets, chopped 1 15-ounce can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed 1 bunch kale, chopped 1 7-ounce package shirataki noodles, drained*

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large saucepan or pot over medium-low, warm oil.

Add onion; stir. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onions begin to brown.

Add carrots and celery; cook for 3-5 more minutes, until the vegetables soften.

Add turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cayenne; stir until the vegetables are coated. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add broth, water, salt, and pepper; stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low.

Add cauliflower. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.

When the cauliflower is fork tender, add beans, kale, and noodles.

Cook until the kale is slightly wilted.

Serve hot.

Curl up under a blanket & enjoy....

#ESMEINK : "August Awakening" Day 28

awakening

{AUGUST MOON}

This is a delayed posting - but still words beautiful to digest....

This full moon seems full of forward momentum. While just a couple of weeks ago, I felt that things within me and around me were moving at a slow pace, that has quickly changed. I'm seeing through a new window. It is clean and clear. I have realized where I need to make some changes in order to progress. Sometimes I just have to take a leap of faith, and trust that making a change will serve me better. There is such a fiery ball of momentum within me. I've been planting soul seeds for the past couple of months in preparation of a beautiful harvest. This full moon, on August 18th can be a time of realization, awakening, rebellion, and seeing things from a new point of view. New understanding and directions. Big picture visioning. Taking risks, and diving into self expression is all a part of it. This is the perfect time to tackle any tasks and decisions I've been putting off. (like my basement spare room project, or small work projects.) Cheers to today, and the near future!

{Mantra}May my eyes be able to see,
And my ears be open to hear,
The beauty of all creation,
And the Spirit that brought me here.”

augustmoon

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Aloneness" Day 27

deepakquote

{ Aloneness }

"To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are  afraid of, because in the silence, you hear the truth and know the solutions."

-Deepak Chopra

Alone time is a sense of freedom in my eyes. I think its' a prerequisite for happiness. I've been needing a lot of it lately. Probably because my mind is still so busy. So much ahead in the next month-and-a-bit.

It's really tough to sort out my own thoughts without it. Knowing how to be alone isn't easy for everyone. But for me, it's easy. I revel in it. It is a time of great personal growth for me. Whether it means listening to my music, reading, crying, writing.

I am not afraid of the dark, of solitude. I don't fear bing alone for days at a time. Never have.

I think moms can get so caught up in caring for so many other lives, that before we know it, years have passed. We lose our identity. Who the hell are we anymore?

My goal as a mother, is to not let that happen. The more time I can spend self-loving, growing, caring and nurturing, the better I will love my clan. Aloneness brings me peace.

I've made my list of things I need to do to spruce up the spare room downstairs to create my little sanctuary. This project excites me so much!

Last night Pinterest-ed the "she-shed".  A female variation on the man cave. This idea is amazing! While space for one is not currently in the cards, it may be in the future.

"Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape."

-bell hooks

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson 

#ESMEINK : "Precious Life" Day 25

{ PRECIOUS LIFE }

"The trouble is,

you think you

have time."

-Buddha

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

buddah

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Life & Power" Day 24

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happiness

LIFE & POWER

I begin with a quote today. I love it, and I question it at the same time;

"YOU WILL NEVER BE HAPPY IF YOU CONTINUE TO SEARCH FOR WHAT HAPPINESS CONSISTS OF. YOU WILL NEVER LIVE IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE".

This quote reminds me that, what really matters, is right NOW. This very moment. Being present, once again. Finding peace amongst the bit of chaos I have in my life right now-today-this evening. I know that I'm not alone, when I feel like I'm always searching for more of a meaning to life. A purpose.

But how lost in this should a person get? And how far away from it does one get without seeming like they don't give a damn? And then, on the other hand, I also love searching for what happiness means to me. Questioning if I'm happy, and making necessary adjustments in my life to become so. My journals have helped me begin to reveal a part of this grand question.

I have felt, that the more I unravel beneath my skin, the more work I create for myself, and the busier I've become. I wish I didn't have to sleep at night. I wish I didn't tire. Truly, wishful thinking.

So, what is happiness to me? What is happiness to others?

{Power}

Everyone has power symbols. For some it's money. For others, it may be status. Maybe it's to be physically fit. Maybe its a career. Whatever it may be, we usually feel in control of our lives when that thing is present and abundant. When it's not, walls can crumble, our relationships can fall apart, and life seems less grand. Some people dive into a depression. It's different for everyone.

Power symbols. Are they learned from observing members of our clan from a young age? A sum of our experiences thus far? Probably both, I think. When and where in our lives did they become significant, and can we change them? I think yes, but not without a lot of work, love, and self-trust. That's where I'm at.

Money is definitely a power symbol to me. Not that I've ever had an abundance of it. I have made the connection to my happiness, or lack of it when money is either present or scarce. So thats where I'm starting. My first power symbol. Why this one? Because often, I feel like money is the root of all evil. Boom.

I'm starting to create change-new habits and beliefs that ultimately pave new pathways in my brain. A re-wiring (so to speak). I want my brain to understand that this power symbol, is truly symbolic. I want to physically not feel frustrated, scared, or stressed over money. I will rewire my brain to understand, that, when money is not abundant at any given time, that it's OK. This would be the time to reflect on life's simple, and often free treasures. Like mother earth. Love. Peace. Health. This will serve me better.

I love turning lemons into lemonade. Literally and figuratively.

As I work towards creating new habits, new thoughts, and new beliefs that ultimately create happiness, the one thing I can't forget to remember is, let go, and live! Because the more I live, the more the meaning of life will reveal itself!

I'm choosing a mantra today, that translates to releasing obstacles. It will help me let let go of that which is blocking my path.

{MANTRA}

Om Gum Ganapateyi Namaha

mantra

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Traditions" Day 23

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{ TRADITIONS }

This weekend, my family and I were honoured to attend a wedding that included a traditional Chinese Tea ceremony to honour the bride's elders, and bless her as she departs from her family name, and takes on a new one.

The ceremony was in a beautiful setting, on the Seymour river in North Vancouver at my cousin's house. Just breathtaking.

The ceremony itself, was full of tradition and quiet emotion. It seems that in our culture, weddings seem to be getting so far away from tradition, and resemble more creativity and diversity. The more different a wedding is, seemingly, the more praise it gets. (Of course this is not always the case) I'm not sure that's not a bad thing, but I do feel sad when tradition becomes watered down, or lost. Tradition to me, resembles roots, foundation for future, and strength in clan.

The ceremony began with an introduction explaining why this ceremony takes place, and who it honours. From there, each elder-mother, father, grandparents, aunt's and uncle's from both the bride and groom's side sit, and A red envelope is presented to the bride and groom (containing money for granting them a start on their new journey) as they kneel before their elder(s), and exchange greetings and blessings. They then sip on traditional tea (or a liquor-although I'm not sure if that's a choice, or for any specific reason) It was so refreshing to be part of such an amazing experience!

My hope for the future, is that marriage remains sacred. That traditions are upheld, and that it's not just the "wedding" with all of it's bells and whistles that a bride or groom looks forward to. Because the road ahead of us all is not an easy one. That's not to say that it's not beautiful, but there needs to be a large foundation built in order for a marriage to grow upwards and outwards in love.

A common, traditional short poem that may be said to the bride and groom goes something like this one below; (To my cousin Joe, and new wife, Lisa, I hope I've got this right);

zhù nĭ men
xīang jìng rú bīn
xīn xīn xīang yìn
huā hăo yuè yuán
băi nián hăo hé

(Translates to): Wish that you two
 May you respect each other like honored guests.
May you always see heart to heart.
May fragrant flowers bloom and full moon shine over your life together.
May your joy and happiness be forevermore.

sacredmarriage

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "On the Road" Day 22

moments

{ ON THE ROAD } 

Im on my way to B.C. with my sweet husband and children for a visit with family, and my cousin's wedding.

This trip is going to boost my spirit in ways I need so badly right now! Having our BC escape once or twice a year will satisfy my heart. Especially in light of the soul work I've been doing to find peace with staying in Calgary, and making it home for longer.

The mountains. Ocean. Rivers, and lakes. Home in my heart. It feels so right to be going there for the weekend.

This drive is so breathtakingly beautiful! The mountains hold such spirit and mystery. I'm drawn to them like a magnet. I'm in love with the fierce wildlife, the mystic rain, glaciers, sunny days and hikes, and the thought of survival among them.

I can't wait to see my clan. To get my hands on my nieces and nephews. I've been focusing a lot on family and building clan, and strengthening my root chakra. This encourages my roots to grow deep into the foundations of my soul and earth. Having strong roots and beliefs help me to feel like home is wherever I hang my hat.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. In all aspects-people places and things. Maybe, having B.C. close enough to visit, yet far enough that it's an effort, will make me appreciate it so much more.

All of that being said, it's time for some soul-kissing fun times!

travel1

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Culture" Day 21

fermentedfoods

{ CULTURE } 

When I talk about culture, many things come to mind. Ethnicity, food, travel, etc. But today I dive into my love for fermentation (culturing).

What I think I love the most, is the representation that fermenting has to cultures around the world.

So many cultures have used fermentation practices around the world for years and years.

Actually, the word 'culture' comes from the Latin language, and means to 'cultivate.'

The cultivation of our land-animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc is pretty important-maybe even essential-to culture.

Sandor Katz,-a world renowned fermenter and author- puts it all into perspective, and I believe he is right when he says that taking back our dignity and power by becoming creators and producers of food from the earth, rather than depending on commercialization is key to thriving and surviving. It's also crucial to keep culture alive.

The further away we get from creating our own food, the more we lose culture. We lose interaction with other humans. We miss the sharing experience of creating something beautiful. Not just a meal,-I mean we lose out on relationships. The sit down meal with family and/or guests.

We need to slow down. Grow food, grow our souls. Create bountiful meals full of whole foods and nutrients. We need to thrive. It's all our bodies really want to do. We need to uphold traditions so that our children, and their children can not just survive, but thrive as well.

Learning from elders around the globe, and continuing to uphold traditions and food preservation techniques are really a big deal!

The moment I learned that our healthy bacteria outnumber the cells containing our DNA by 10 times, (and most of that is found in our intestinal tract), made me realize how important gut health really was. Gut health is such a large topic these days, and I understand why.

I've become very passionate and creative with fermentation lately, and I feel the urge to share this knowledge with others because it's so freakin' exciting!

I learn more every day. Each food is so unique in the fermenting process. I could talk about all of the characteristics I like about ferments, from kombucha, to kvass, kraut, meads, and everything in between, but I think my favourite part of fermenting, its truly the culture of it. Obviously.

I can't wait to grow more knowledgable and healthy, with fermentation and culture being a driving force.

So I say, lets stand up for what we believe in as humans. Support local food, and grow our own. take back control of our lives. The need to be responsible for our well-being is more important now more than ever.

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Little Frustrations" Day 20

dailyencouragement  

LITTLE FRUSTRATIONS

{rant}

Day 1 of going to bed early-fail. Things came up in the evening after work, and I find myself finally sitting down to write my day 20 journal at 11pm. I'm already tired. My head has been pounding since  3pm.

I've also been a day behind in my journals for a few days now, since the Canada Day long weekend was so busy. It's playing on me! I don't like being unaccountable.

 I didn't get yoga or a workout in today, which I was really hoping for.

I feel discouraged tonight for some reason.

{praise}

Thank goodness though, I don't have bigger worries in my life tonight. If this is my only issue at the present time, then I'm ahead in life. Winning.

It was an amazing, busy day at work, with lovely clients.  Another win.

My kids had such a fun day at day home today, that they wanted to just stay for a sleepover! But we came home, and had lots of snuggle time before bed. Win, win.

We have another showing on our house tomorrow. Win.

I have the day off tomorrow to stay home. I will find time for yoga when the kids nap, or we'll do some yoga together!  {which would actually mean, I'm a mountain. Kids climb said mountain}

My candles are lit, and I'm finding calm in my head as I write. Win.

I'm going to crawl into bed in a minute to snuggle the man of my dreams. Huge win!

Good night world, that is all I have tonight.

dontstop

#ESMEINK Journal by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Sleep Habits" Day 19

sleep

SLEEP

I've always been a bit of a night owl.

Going to bed early, to me, makes me feel like I'm going to miss something. I have such clarity in the evenings. I'm kid free in the evenings. It's quiet. Peaceful. I think I've developed a bit of a bad habit, and I'm starting to feel the effects.

I've not only noticed how tired I feel lately, but I've had troubles with weight gain-and bouts of anxiety-even though I'm meditating, and grounding as much as possible.

My nervous system is stressed, due to lack of sleep, causing me to feel this anxiety. It's Raised my cortisol levels causing my body to store excess weight. I'm feeling physically not myself, and so i'm forced to really evaluate my sleeping patterns-which is something I have avoided for a long time.

How patient I am, or am not with my kids is also a factor in my lack of sleep. I can't do my best when I'm exhausted. I can't be the best mom that I know how to be if I continue down this path.

{old habits}

I go to bed between 11 and 12pm. For lots of people, this doesn't seem late. But when I'm woken by a sweet girl, who crawls into my bed, and rubs my cheek with her hand, and runs her fingers through my hair, and kisses my cheeks and nose and says "I love you mommy," EVERY morning at 630am, I feel unconditionally loved, and unbelievably exhausted.

While the pure joy of her love never gets old, I want to wake feeling more refreshed, not feeling like I need to lay in bed for another hour before I start my day.

I know my husband doesn't like that most nights I'll stay awake downstairs to clean up, or watch a show, or journal, because I'm not ready to go to bed. I could absolutely fall asleep, but for some reason I'm just not ready to end the day.

"Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep."

-Mesut Barasany

{new patterns}

I've always wanted to be up before the kids to either do yoga, meditate, and have myself a healthy breakfast and coffee before the kids wake up. Maybe even get a quick journal done. Maybe start running, or do a workout. Quality self love. Something I talk about almost every day lately. I know I'd feel better throughout the day if I did. I know, because I've done it enough times to count on one hand. It was epic. Every time. But i've never been able to get into the groove.

I think It's time for me to just start building a new pattern. I need to make my self a "bed time." I'll have to make sure that I have done whatever it is that I need to do before that time.

I'll set aside 3 days of the week to begin, when I wake up at 530 to take time for myself before the kids wake up.

I will watch the sunrise in silent. I will find more peace. I will feel better. I will discipline myself, and become a better version of me.

"Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

-Benjamin Franklin

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Life & Beyond" Day 18

dreamcatcher

{Life & Beyond}

I'm opening up today's journal with a native american prayer that I just feel the need to address.

{ THE NATIVE AMERICAN PRAYER }

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world-hear me-I come before you, one of your children. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my People, the lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I see seek strength not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself. Make me ever ready to come to you, with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades as a fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.

This speaks to me on such a deep level.  Ultimately, I believe it means to dedicate one's life to become as attuned and connected as possible to the higher power and self. This is not easy. Daily journals have kept me more grounded and present than I've ever been  in my life.

But when life gets busy, it's so easy to miss out on beautiful things. Like a sunrise or sunset. The stars. The moon. Forgetting to work on self. It's easy to miss life's lessons when I'm not paying attention to those moments in-between thoughts. I must continue to focus in order to grow daily, and pay attention to "coincidences", as well as understand life's lessons when I recognize them, in preparing for whatever it is that may be next. Heaven, reincarnation, etc.

I feel, that this kind of life preparation is like "putting away a pension for the soul."

If I ask myself the question, "Im I prepared to die?", It first makes me cringe, but then also makes me realize that my answer would be "definitely not."

For obvious reasons, such as wanting to spend more time with my loved ones, and having so much I still want to do on this planet, I'm not ready to go. I'm not ready, because I want my soul to be prepared. Because when my soul leaves my body, It will be better prepared for whatever is next.

"Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades as a fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame."

My body is a beautiful vessel that allows me to use my physical senses to experience joy in this life. I may not have those senses in the next chapter, so I want to use them as best as I can.

"let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice."

 

I want to continue to grow my spirit. When this 30 days of ink comes to an end, I do not want to have my efforts fall wayside. I want this to propel me forward into deeper spiritual growth. I want to meet more leaders and elders to learn from in this realm.

Today, I will begin to create a bucket list. I don't know what it looks like exactly, or how many things I will have on it. But I think seeing these things written down, will keep me excited and motivated to use my human vessel to achieve dreams, no matter how big or small they may be.

I'm starting to realize, how beautiful it is, to grow old!  And mostly, it's perspective.

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

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

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sayingno

THE POWER OF SAYING "NO", AND GOING WITH THE FLOW

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.

Halleluja!

And a quote…..

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

gowiththeflow

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "OH Canada" Day 16

CanadaDay

{OH CANADA}

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.

Freedom.

"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

marriage

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!

johnnycashquote

{VOW}

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

#ESMEINK : "Age of Loneliness" Day 13

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loneliness

This one is deep for me. I believe we live in the age of loneliness. I don't care how many Facebook friends I do, or do not have. What I care about, are my real interactive, meaningful relationships. I'm working hard to build them. Real, live conversations feed me lately. I've come a long way from being a very shy kid. I force myself to hold conversations lately, to work on my self expression and confidence. I work hard to build the clan of my dreams. It's even harder to let go of relationships that don't serve me. Seriously, it's F'n hard!  So, when I read this quote (below) today, there are a couple of lines that really stand out. Truthfully, they all stand out. But if I were to take each paradox, and try to write about them all, I'd be up for nights on end.

I feel sad knowing that while some people may seem to have a busy life because of their number of facebook friends and instagram followers, it is possible that they are living in a cyber nightmare. Where real relationships cease to exist, and the fear to be out in public is intense because social anxiety is real for them. Insecurities have been created out of false advertising-false women and men-a competition to gain the most friends on facebook-pressure to date or "hook up". Wondering if these virtual relationships actually mean anything at all. Obsessing over the "friend list number." What thoughts cross that person's mind, when the friend list goes from 875 to 874.

It breaks my heart. There is so much good that has come with the power of connection through technology, yet it still fails some.

I'm not intending to say everyone is lonely. Only that some are. And usually, it's someone we would least expect it from.

{prayer}

If you feel lonely tonight, don't, because my thoughts are with you. This journal is for you. Whoever you are, wherever you are. Reach out. Someone wants you to.

Love, and light.

XO.

THE PARADOX OF OUR AGE

"We have bigger houses, but smaller families;

More conveniences, but less time;

We have more degrees, but less sense;

More knowledge, but less judgement;

More experts, but more problems;

More medicines, but less healthiness;

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour.

We built more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.

We have become long on quantity,

but short on quality.

These are times of fast food

but slow digestion;

Tall man but short character;

Steep profits but shallow relationships,

It's a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."

-Dalai Lama

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Tribe + Loss" Day 10

grief

{Tribe and LOSS}

I'm going back to the base chakra again today. While I'm searching for some answers regarding my heritage and family history, I have been thinking a lot about someone who was a part of my clan for a very short period when I was only a young child, not able to understand.

Today, I mourn my sister, Dana, who moved to the other side-next life-heaven-whatever it may be. She was only a baby.

How strange, that someone whom I do not remember, or barely knew, has such an impact on my heart. The more the years go by, the more I feel connected to her soul. The more I feel the loss.

As much as this is a matter of the heart, to me, it's also a matter of "clan." There are many elements missing from where I came from, but missing a member such as a sister, makes me feel like there is more work at the base chakra before I move to the heart. She was a part of my adoptive family. My true clan. The beautiful people, who gave me strong morals, bestowed acceptance upon me, showed me what unconditional love meant and so, so much more.

I love her so much today. I feel the push to open up this box. To hurt, and to heal.

To grow.

My mom has always said, if I wanted to talk about her, or see a picture, to just ask. I only remember bringing the topic up a couple of times, and it brought my mom to tears. Her pain hurts me more than the loss I feel. A woman, who adopted, because she couldn't have children of her own. A woman, who had so much love to give, she was willing to love and raise a complete stranger, and give her life. And then, the miracle. Pregnancy, and the birth of a beautiful girl. Followed, by darkness. I don't know how a parent copes. I don't' know how they move on. I don't know how a marriage survives. It must be just love. Isn't love the root of all that is good? Doesn't love heal all things?

I'm grateful for the clan I have. I am saddened by the ones we've lost, the one's I have yet to find, and the one's to come.

I invite this sadness in today, to appreciate you, Dana, you young beautiful soul. You are missed, and loved. I hope to meet you once again, and truly get to know you. I invite sadness in today, to help me heal and grow strong. Healing occurs in the present moment. I will build roots, deep into the ground, not forgetting about you, yet honouring you and building a strong clan.

{Mantra} "OM"

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson