Category Archives: Uncategorized

One day a girl realized the relationship between food and happiness.

Sun In Bloom in Brooklyn is CLOSED for Memorial Day and we re-open Tuesday, May 27 at 8:30 AM.

“One day a girl realized the relationship between food and happiness. She then set out to share this with the world. Chef Aimee’s vision came to life in this space we now know as Sun In Bloom. And with you, we continue to bloom.”

Founder & Chef of Sun In Bloom Aimee Follette; Photo by @ktrap

Founder & Chef of Sun In Bloom Aimee Follette; Photo by @ktrap

Oh my! It’s been over 2 years since I’ve shared a post. And this most recent post below is not only completely out-dated, but because my life moves at such a high speed and I grow & transform leaps and bounds everyday, I read the post and it feels like another lifetime. So I feel it’s important I share that although I’ve weathered many seasons presenting challenges and hard lessons…I am grateful for it all. Today I stand strong, confident, healthy, and deeply rooted in gratitude and unconditional love. I will soon take the time to share how I overcame my sugar addiction! It’s so much more than simply changing food habits.

Tree of Light. Photo by Aimee Follette

Tree of Light. Photo by Aimee Follette

Awe, there’s a lot to share… but most importantly, we opened a sister takeaway cafe in Tribeca. It’s beautiful! Stop by and say hello at 165 Church Street (corner of Reade and Church).

But for now, I am riding waves of the electric feel… in the kitchen with my amazingly supportive team, preparing for another weekend brunch. Saturday & Sunday – 10 AM – 5 PM

Fridays are my favorite day to be in the kitchen. Everything we serve at Sun In Bloom is hand-crafted. Everybody who chooses to work at Sun In Bloom is here because they love working here. We make your food with LOVE. And Friday’s long punch list brings us together to be in harmony, dance through the day to our beats (we turn the music up!), and remind us why we are so dedicated to bring you clean food, green juice, food made with love.

Thank you for support us over the past 4 1/2 years!

Sun In Bloom in Brooklyn is CLOSED for Memorial Day and we re-open Tuesday, May 27 at 8:30 AM.

 Photography: © Kate Lewis 2013 and a hyperlink to http://kk-lewis.com

Photography: © Kate Lewis 2013 and a hyperlink to http://kk-lewis.com

Sun In Bloom’s Gluten-Free Vegan Apple Pie

I can’t believe the holidays are here and Sun In Bloom is coming up on its 2 year anniversary, entering into its 3rd year of business, and 2012 is upon us.  Time to take a deep breath and bring my attention right back this very moment!

I want to share with everyone that there is an opportunity to order our most delicious gluten-free vegan apple pie.

Apple pie is my very favorite holiday dessert and brings me back to the days of yore, fantastic innocence of my childhood, and the sweet delicious aromas of “home.”  I always looked forward to being in the kitchen making apple pies with Mom.  I’ll never forget these sweet memories.

If you desire to share one of our hand-made apple pies with your family and friends, call today to place your order.  I guarantee they will just be surprised by the delicious pie made with a lot of love!   Our telephone is 718-622-4303.

Happy Holidays!

Much love, Aimee Follette

Brunch #49 – BIG news… Tearing the House Down!

Good morning!

Everyday represents a new opportunity for each of us to make new choices to live our best life possible.  And as my Bikram teacher, Bikram Choudhury says,

“It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, and you’re never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again…”

       “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.” – George Orwell

I am not a poster woman for the perfection of balance and health.  This path I am choosing, running a restaurant, is not easy or glamorous, and I often find myself reacting to the challenges rather than seeing each challenge as an opportunity.  Then I fall out of balance, rather than move through the challenge to stay the course.  Sometimes I feel angry because I was born into this world with a wound-up tortured mind that never rests…yeah, that’s ego, playing the “victim” role.  (I think I should take up surfing, as it a sport that is the ultimate symbol for remaining present to surf the challenge). But, honestly, every time I shift myself back into being present, I swell up with gratitude, and love… all the struggle melts away and I am in awe of life.

What I do represent, is a woman who has experienced life waking up feeling sick and tired everyday but with an insatiable desire to play a role in making this world a better place and live with purpose.

Celiac disease, a killer sugar addiction, Candida Albicans, hypothyroidism, stress, insomnia, and workaholicism are my challenges.  However, prior to opening Sun In Bloom, I discovered what feeling alive tastes like.  And it was my personal experience healing myself with food that led me to aligning with my potential and opening Sun In Bloom.

I want to say THANK YOU! I am incredibly grateful that you choose Sun In Bloom on a daily basis and feel energized every day by the exchange of support and collaboration Sun In Bloom truly symbolizes. Hand-crafting the most nourishing foods to support you to live a health- conscious, nourished, and beautiful life enriches my life.

Jodie & Matthew


Sun In Bloom is moving into its 3rd year in business with an extraordinary, talented, experienced and passionate team behind it.  We are a healthy family here and each member is a stand-out character.  With this support behind Sun In Bloom, I’ve decided it’s time to release all personal inhibitions, embrace my fear and unveil the space I imagine being in everyday.  So, we are tearing the house down to rebuild.  I think you will LOVE it!

Sun In Bloom will serve its last brunch of 2011 on Christmas Eve, December 24. We will be closed Sunday, December 25, 2011 through Sunday, January 8, 2012 and reopen Monday, January 9th, 2012 at 9 am.

Liz Neves, Founder of http://raganella.com/

Because renovations will not affect our kitchen, we want to create the opportunity to support you to jumpstart 2012. We will be here to help you make healthy food choices by offering juice, meal plans and orders to-go. You can either pick up food or we can deliver. Norwalk pressed juices are fresh for 3 days and most food can be packaged and is delicious for 3-5 days. Please stop by to pick up an order form and help support us through this transition.  You can also email us for a copy.  

We are all extremely excited for the boundless possibility this will create and everyday I am deeply touched by gratitude for your continuous support.

Love, Aimee Follette

p.s. If you are on Facebook, please support us by LIKING our page. You can also follow Sun In Bloom on Twitter @suninbloom.  

This is where I share everyday news and pictures of our dishes.  I’m having lot of fun connecting with like-minded people and meeting wonderful new friends.  It would be fun to connect with you here too!

Day 31 – HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure… Did I say Sabotage? No, I meant to say…Opportunity!

As soon as I started to feel myself taking off for flight, life presented challenges.  Seriously, it was like I lifted off the runway only to then realize my gas tank was half full.  So, I had to touch down, put my wheels back on the runway, and turn around.

Due to the nature of how I started Sun In Bloom, with my piggy bank filled with pennies I had saved from teaching yoga classes over several years, if a Sun In Bloom team member calls in sick, it translates to me working a very long day.  Or, this is the story I’ve written based on my fear of the penny jar becoming empty.  So, last week, as I was entering my bliss in my 4th week of juice feasting, and was taking flight, a team member called in sick each day.  Which means, I am on my feet, without break, for 14 hours.

Looking back on all the chapters of my life, I believe it was working in the Emergency Room (ER) that led me on my meandering path seeking wellness. My body never adapted to the 12-hour graveyard shifts I worked 4-5 times a week.   And to cope I developed an addiction to sugar and caffeine.  You would never believe the quantities I ingested and how I’d find ways to inhale these chemicals.   I basically hooked myself up to an IV pumping caffeine and sugar directly into my blood stream.  Looking back, I can’t believe this was my life.

It was not long after I developed these habits that I started to feel very sick, tired, and depressed.  I constantly battled fatigue.  I was always constipated, bloated, and suffering from severe inflammation.  I stopped menstruating.  My body hurt and I was literally living in a fog.

My idealized dream of what it meant to be a doctor in our country was quickly tarnished when I sought help and was pushed around the medical system from doctor to doctor with no positive outcome.   As a result, I adapted to getting by in my life being “sick”.

Frustrated and disenchanted with my experience seeking help within our health-care system, I left behind all of my studies and hard work to go to medical school and decided to pursue my photography and passion for music.  And with the flip of a page, I changed the course of my destiny.  But, I was also living with a secret.  And my secret was that underneath my mask of charisma, success, and fun, I continued to struggle with my reality of feeling sick and tired every day.

I honestly forgot what being alive felt like and alcohol and drugs became the perfect prescription to numb me from the pain and support me to live the double life of being the charismatic, successful young woman I was, as well as the deeply depressed and lost girl I had become.  And with a little practice, working hard and playing hard quickly became my routine.

A couple years later, I had a life-changing experience with Michael Franti, an incredibly talented musician and human being who chooses to live a self-aware and conscious lifestyle.  A yoga session in his green room before a Red Rocks show changed my life.  The next day I started a daily Bikram Yoga practice. And within two weeks, I resigned from my dream job, called my Mom to ask for help, and one month later I packed up my sweet condo I had bought and renovated (thinking I’d spend my life in Colorado) and moved home to NY.  I just knew I had to make some big changes, but I had no idea where they would lead me.

My yoga practice sent me down this path in which I developed a deep sense of self-awareness and I believe it has been this self-awareness that ultimately changed the fabric of who I was choosing to be in my life.  My yoga practice saved my life.  For the first time since I had hit rock bottom working in the ER 5 years earlier, I tasted the experience of feeling alive.  And I wanted this to be my experience everyday!

After so many years of feeling sick and tired, I had honestly forgotten how it feels to be alive and what life can be when you are energized, clear and happy.  And then I discovered living foods.  This is when I exceeded all my expectations for what healthy living might feel like.  I opened up spiritually and tapped into an energy resource that was unbounded by the walls of fatigue and depression.  And as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I have no doubt, it was this space of pure potential that opened up the opportunity for me to manifest Sun In Bloom.

But, as soon as I approached this place of personal expansion with Sun In Bloom, I was working extreme hours unlike anything I had ever experienced and felt that everything came crashing down as I relapsed to my state of dis-ease that struck me when working in the ER.

I quickly dug a very deep hole called self-sabotage.

So, as soon as I found myself working 14 hours everyday this past week, an intense fear surfaced.  Is this what my life is going to look like again?  Why does this happen every time I’m just about to lift off this runway?  Is there any hope for me?  Or do I just have to accept I am stuck – this is my life now.  This is what it’s like when you are the head chef and owner of a restaurant.

We were short-handed with staff and I was unprepared for my juice feast.  I had run out of important supplements, did not have time to prepare as much juice as I needed, and did not believe I could fit in yoga or exercise into my 14 hour work day.

However, rather than completely folding in on my fear, something miraculous did happen – I stayed in action.  I posted an ad, interviewed several cooks, invited one to train, and trained my entire team to support me in areas of the business that depended completely on me.  But, I found myself in the situation where I needed to taste recipes.  And because I tasted recipes, I believed I had sabotaged my juice feast.

Yet, with perfect timing, a powerful conversation about self-sabotage with my dear friend showed me that this was simply a beautiful opportunity.

It was an opportunity to be gentle, kind, and loving towards myself.  It presented this perfect opportunity to let go of judgement or expectation for this journey to unfold with perfection.  It provided me with this opportunity to practice creating a new pattern in which I remove the actions of self-sabotage.

As soon as my chef returned Saturday, I jumped back into my yoga routine, prepped my juices and followed my body’s desire to continue juicing.  So, here I am, Day 31!

And I truly continue to feel more alive each day.  I feel closer to my essence.  And my story here is just like a child who falls.  She scrapes her knee, but with a quick wash, she is running through the field again, following her bliss.

Day 22: HOT Raw & Juicy Adventure – Juicing through my Inner Mean Girl

This past week, I wanted to give up.  My “inner mean girl” (a term I’m borrowing from Christine Arylo) took control of every thought I was having.  She critiqued and judged every part of me, every decision I’ve made, and propagated all negative stories I’ve created in relation to myself.   It felt grueling!  And I nearly succumbed to the hold she had over me. 

Self Critic by Corinne Geertsen, "the daughter of a psychologist who discussed his work at the dinner table."

Do you experience anxiety, fear, or find yourself obsessively focusing on an old story? The next thing you know, this story is repeating itself like the echo of a broken record, taking control of your entire life.  For a long time, I thought I was alone in this experience.  Today I think it is universal. 

 It’s been my experience that the change of seasons draws old stories to the surface. Maybe it’s associations I make with temperature, similarly to how different tastes trigger emotional reactions.  Yet, as I move more deeply into my being with the support of this juice feast (today being day 22), a space is opening up that is allowing me the opportunity to develop greater awareness for the vibration my consciousness is operating on. 

And something marvelous is happening.  I’m experiencing the space in which I can witness my experiences, just like you watch clouds moving across the sky.  There’s no emotional response to watching a cloud glide across the sky.  And our experiences are only here for us to experience a lesson, not for us to attach oursleves to them and press reply (again and again).  So, as soon as I witnessed my inner mean girl’s dialogue distort my experience of being love, going to my Bikram yoga class was a non-negotiable.  

Savasana - Surrendering to stillness & Relaxation.

 As soon as I chose going to class over rehashing all the debilitating old stories and reconnected to my breath, I felt a powerful shift.  A sweet delicious balance came over me and the river of life started to flow through me again.  My heart opened and I once again felt infinite potential.   

I’m falling in love with life again.  Day 22 of my juice feast, and what I find most profound with this experience is how my mind continues to feel more strong, flexible, present.  Being the chef / owner of a restaurant is the most challenging project I’ve embarked on, but I think for me the true challenge that I’m feeling is being on the road to higher consciousness.  Sometimes it just feels lonely.   

It’s easy to live in our stories and play same record again and again.  But, for me that is not my happiness.  And, I want to implement a life practice for choosing to play with thoughts that support me in creating the life I want to live.  

We truly can fly free.  For myself, I know I need to continue on my juice feast and prioritize my yoga practice.  For now, these are the tools supporting me to witness my experiences, rather than hang on to imprisoned memories and stories that hold me back from ascending into my truth and the essence of who I really am.    

And I believe that as I gain control of my mind and learn to change the channel more immediately from “inner mean girl” to being love, life is going to get fun!  Our true essence is playful, happy, sunshine… yes, like a child!  I’m ready to embrace her fully. 

Ben... a very special Sun In Bloom guest!

 I hope you are enjoying the delicious shift of seasons.  Stay tuned to Sun In Bloom news… I’m in action and working to solidify some exciting developments!  If you are on Facebook, like us or follow us on Twitter.  I like to play on these platforms.  They allow me to stay present and share fun news, tips, and reflections. 

 Love, Aimee

 P.s. My beautiful friend, Liz Neves, the founder of Raganella, is hosting a workshop at Sun In Bloom –  Make-It-Yourself Cleaning Solutions workshop on Thursday, September 22nd from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Sun In Bloom.  If you are available, come play with us!  Everyone will take home 3 beautiful products. 
 

Day 15: HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure – Vote with your dollar, choose your best life possible!

Today marks a quarter of the way to the finish line – 60 days of just juice.

Fountain of a Radiant Life

I have more energy than I know what to do with.  I’ve completed projects that I’ve procrastinated on for the past year and half.  I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga daily.  I’m  running at the gym.  I’ve even entertained extreme ab exercises with the help of Crunch fitness super-hero, Jake.  (Even when I was in my best shape ever, with a 6 pack, I routinely avoided ALL ab strengthening exercises.)  Oh… And, I continue to work my normal 7-day a week schedule at the restaurant.  Truly… I am doing ALL of this with ease and just juice.

Juice + Weights = HOT

Fasting, juicing, detoxifying… these practices are not new for me.  My body has a lot of experience cleansing and I’ve always had remarkable results.  However, I have not cleansed my body like this since opening Sun In Bloom and frankly, I was terrified. 

How am I going to possibly have the energy to make it through my days at the restaurant and manage all the other balls in the air just drinking juice? 

But, while on this quest to re-align with my true essence, body, and happiness, I followed the calling to just do it.

This past week has been particularly fulfilling for me.  Before juicing, I hid – not just from the world, but from myself.  I had stopped exploring the world, I did not maintain my physical activity, nor did I have any desire to fill my brain any more than I felt it was already full. 

But, I’ve always been a voracious reader and seeker of information on topics that I am passionate about, anything that will support me to live my best life possible.  So, hiding and my lack of curiosity was just part of the deep depression I had allowed myself to fall into.   

A remarkable documentary that will arm you with knowlege and inspire.

This past week was amazing.  I’m in awe of what I’ve accomplished.  A bit taken aback as I write it because I haven’t been keeping track, I’ve just been in action.  

I went to the movies with a friend, took Jodie (Sun In Bloom’s new extraordiary and very special front of the house manager) on a tour of raw food stores in Manhattan during the massive rain storm on Tuesday, read OSHO’s essay on Courage, watched CNN’s program called “The Last Heart Attack” and studied 3 documentaries – Forks Over Knives, Deconstructing Supper, and biography: Ben & JerryAnd I recommend you watch these too!  Not because I want to tell you what to do, how to live your life, what’s best for your family, but because I think we’ve been grossly misled to believe today’s food practices are normal and yet, our beliefs and attachment or addiction to food is what is killing us.  Yes, it’s the cause of dis-ease and emotional imbalance.  And I just want you to know what your options are.

 Today, there’s heaps of accessible information (books, films, blogs, people’s personal experiences, research, yes… loads of both clinical and laboratory research that show us the effects of all the toxins we are eating every day.)

 And I know for many this feels overwhelming.  But, we all have the power to create change.  Everyday, with every purchase, we vote with our dollar.

Your dollar is your vote. Spend it mindfully.

 The more knowledge I arm myself with regarding non-organic and GMO foods, the more energized I become to get involved in the politics to protect our organic foods and to get real food onto the plates of our children.

 The most exciting news I received this week was when Luria Academyconfirmed they will offer parents the option to have Sun In Bloom’s gluten free, allergen free, vegan school lunches delivered to their children at school.  This is just the first of many schools we plan to work with in creating school lunch programs.  And it was just a dream of mine two years ago.  Now it is reality.  Yes, dreams come true!

Wishing you the strength and courage to make choices that support you to live the life you truly wish to experience!  And always look forward to seeing you at Sun In Bloom.

 Love, Aimee

Brunch #33 Newsletter – Flipping the Switch… Exciting & Fun!

Do you ever find yourself spinning 2 completely contradictory stories at the same time and wonder why you are struggling to get ahead or make some simple changes in your life?   
 
A switch flipped for me this week and the light poured in… As soon as I became aware of 2 stories spinning all the time in my head, I realized there is hope to experience the balance I continue to desire. 
 
The 1st story is dismal, kind of pathetic.  I size myself up to be insecure, anxious, fearful, depressed, doomed and forever a lonely single woman.  It’s a story about not having enough and feeling unhappy and miserable.  
 
But I watched an interview with Danny Meyer, a great restaurateur here in NYC (owner of Shake Shack) and he highlighted three reasons to become a restaurateur:
 
1.  Do I really love the whole act of providing pleasure for other people or not?
2.  Do you really love the topic of food?  (and for me it is the conversation that food has a direct relationship to all of us living our best life)
3.  Are you a really competitive person – persistent and willing to stay the course?
 
Check, Check, Check.
 
These are all the reasons I love what I do.  And, then I started asking myself why I show up to my “job” everyday.  This led to the 2nd story, which is that my life is exciting, creative, expansive, pleasurable and that I am living the purposeful life I always dreamed about.  
 
Gosh, I love when the switch flips!  It marks the moment of a new beginning.  And new beginnings are EXCITING and FUN – there’s endless possibility.  
 
So, rather than continue playing both of these stories on repeat… I dug up the root to the unproductive storyline.  And the main contributing factor to this story has been my fear that I do not have enough money to keep Sun In Bloom afloat.  It’s been an absolute paralyzing fear since day 1, when pieces to this project did not come through as I had anticipated.  And the larger problem is that finance is not my strong suit or shall I say where I feel most comfortable.    
 
For example, when I opened I had no idea how to price food and just looked at the basic cost for raw materials and marked it up a little.  
 
I did not take into account that organic vegetables fluctuate in cost dramatically, the cost for labor, all of the time and energy that goes into our unique methods to sprout, soak and prepare food to serve it in highest potential form and make it with love to nourish you, and all the overhead costs for operating a commercial space on Bergen Street in Park Slope.  And, I completely overlooked that I would need to support myself in the venture as well.  (This is a powerful topic for another letter.) 
 
So, I learned quickly that my error would lead to Sun In Bloom going out of business if I did not make changes.  Rather than adjust the prices of our basic menu items (because of my fear I’d make you uncomfortable), I decided to apply the classic food costing rules to future products.  So now all of our fresh pressed juices, beautiful hand made nut mylks, smoothies, raw deserts, gluten free vegan baked goods, and everything else we’ve created beyond the basic lunch menu are truly priced reasonably to account for all the costs involved.   
 
Money is NOT my strong suit!  Naturally, rather than deal with the uncomfortable (my finances in this situation), I keep myself busy doing everything else that supports me to feel comfortable.  And this has all become a big conundrum, as I hardly feel comfort.
 
No more… I’m done pushing my fear and anxiety down.  It’s time to face “Anxious Scared Nelly” (my super-ego chatter- box living in my head) and create a program that will help support me to shine and live in my passion.  Yes!  Exciting… right?!
 
I think the golden key here is to look at your unproductive stories and dig up their roots.  As soon as you know what the problem is, you can choose a solution.  
 
Part of my solution includes weekly meetings I scheduled with Sun In Bloom’s accountant (if you need an accountant, I have found the best accountant!!!) to hold me in the conversation of money and make me more accountable and organized. 

It might become clear that I will need to look for investors/partners who have a passion for what we are doing and will want to be part of our growth. 

I will also analyze our prices and see that all costs reflect a price that can support Sun In Bloom’s overhead.  I want to create food that is accessible and comfortable for everyone to afford, but I want success for Sun In Bloom.  And I want to support you in evaluating your personal relationship with food and money.  Quality food IS expensive and like we choose to spend our dollar on a higher quality watch becasue it will last, I believe we should budget for quality food.  This is our health, our life!
 
The flip of this switch has already led to some powerful movement in both my personal life and for Sun In Bloom.  And the more ease I feel being in conversation with money, I will feel more empowered, space will open, and Sun In Bloom will expand in ways I cannot even anticipate.  
 
I have a feeling this is going to lead to some extra weight melting away too.  Yes, fear and anxiety lead to stress, which is stored in the body as fat.  And gosh, the amount of stress I’ve allowed myself to take on would had killed me with acid, if my body did not adjust itself to deal. Our bodies are amazing and powerful.  I am so grateful our bodies know how to adapt, but now it’s time I make choices that are loving and kind to my body.
 
Thank you for tuning in… Thank you for your support.  I am truly grateful everyday that you’ve come into my life.  
 
Enjoy this beautiful weekend and I hope to see you at Sun In Bloom for brunch!
 
Love,
Aimee