Tag Archives: Aimee Follette

USHER arrives… pockets of thoughts.

Life in the fast lanes…


Sun In Bloom has undergone magical transformation.  If you have not experienced Sun In Bloom since our renovations, I encourage you to stop by to experience the delicious inspiring and creative space we’ve unveiled.  It’s everything I dreamed it would be.  With patience and hours of hard work and determination, I now walk into Sun In Bloom feeling that I’ve arrived home. It is a reflection of me and everything I always wanted you to experience.

We are all very proud of our work at Sun In Bloom and the gifts in return have been so fun.  Most recently, USHER walked into the restaurant to sit down for our weekend brunch. Yes! Usher. Humble and quiet at first, he soon felt at home, released his guard and expressed how much he was loving his experience.  His favorite food was clearly the Strawberry fudge cake.  Hands down my favorite dessert too!

And last weekend I attended the Vegetarian Food Festival at the Met Life Center to introduce Sun In Bloom to 3000 expected attendees over the course of two days.  We prepped all week leading up to this event and arrived with 3000+ gluten-free vegan cookie samples.  I had so much fun watching the delighted responses to our samples, especially children trying these delicious healthier cookie option and parents beside themselves with the bright-eyed happy responses they witnessed.  It was simply an energizing weekend.  We also raffled off a $50 gift certificate and after drawing a business card from over 200 that entered…the WINNER IS…..Jaclyn Barth.

We are so blessed to be here with this opportunity to be part of the change we hope to see in the world.  And it is all because of your support.  Always grateful.  Always thankful to all of you!

And here’s my most recent personal journal entry…

Can you imagine what a daily log would look like if you recorded every thought that passed through your conscious, but you chose not to speak or share because of an insecurity or doubt?

10 years ago I was diagnosed with systemic candida.  It explained my history of chronic fatigue, constant stomach aches, severe bloating, constipation, anxiety, depression, memory loss, and a serious sugar addiction.  And even after being diagnosed with something so damaging to every system in my body, I continued to maintain all of my unhealthy habits that supported the growth of yeast.  I just couldn’t find the strength to face everything this “dis-ease” was supporting me to hide from and somehow found comfort living in a heavy fog.

Eventually I did hit rock bottom.  And it was this fall that pushed me forward in my journey. 

Although my awareness for the importance of what foods I was choosing to nourish myself with became increasingly present in my thoughts, it was discovering Bikram yoga that nourished me with the strength I needed to begin deconstructing the walls I had surrounded myself with.
I sweated out years of abuse and faced my fears in the studio mirror every day.  The transformation was significant.  My light turned ON and it was so bright.  Just like a baby bird chipping away at it’s egg shell, every day I was chipping away at mine until eventually I stepped out from the dark into the light.  This moment I will never forget.
 
But as soon as I stepped out of my shell, my desire to shed layers I was clearly still withholding grew deeper.  Also, Candida continued to show up present in my blood stream.  This is when I turned to my choice to live a raw food lifestyle.  As soon as made this commitment, I began to cleanse at an even deeper level – on both physical and spiritual planes.  And the combination of practicing yoga daily and consuming beautiful organic live foods opened the curtain to a life of truly being ALIVE. Life became an exquisite show.
My experiences were extraordinary and I never imagined the possibility of falling down again.  But the reality of my story is that I have… I’ve fallen hard again.  And although my sabotaging habits are leaps and bounds “healthier” than those I was choosing 5-10 years ago, I’ve continued to live with a secret.
I am addicted to sugar. 

Definition of addiction: Physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.

Since opening Sun In Bloom (2+ years), I have become 100% physically and mentally dependent on sugar (agave, dates, fruit, grains, rice, cookies, cupcakes, muffins) to support me in powering through my days and the loneliness I experience in holding up all of the responsibility of owning a restaurant.  
And although I drink green juice religiously and now very consistent with creating space for my yoga practice and gym routine, my secret is that I find every way to sneak sugar into my blood stream because my reality is that as soon as I inject, I can go another mile.

And in my quest for living the most full life possible being in alignment with my higher self, I am more aware than ever of the pocket of thoughts I hold onto.  They are my secrets.  Thoughts that enter into my consciousness and I hide them away because for whatever reason I do not have the courage to share them. I might feel self-conscious or that I need to protect someone from hurting their feelings.  The reasons for justifying why not to share are endless, but all stem from fear and insecurity.

So, here I am… making a commitment to a sugar-free lifestyle for the next 90 days.  No fruit or grains, dates or sweet treats of any kind and very low glycemic vegetables. Serendipitously I started started just 90 days before my next birthday.  Living my life again fully is the perfect prize to keep me motivated on this journey.  And if I can succeed, this will be the first time in 10 years since my diagnoses of candida that I’ll truly accomplish doing the anti-candida diet and on the path towards living an candida free lifestyle.  I just know the light is going to be brighter than anything I’ve ever experienced!

 

 

Brunch #1 – 2012:

Good morning, Happy new year!
This year feels open to infinite possibilities.

It was many years ago when the seeds for Sun In Bloom took root in my consciousness. The year prior to opening Sun In Bloom I was in the process of building a large scale 2 room yoga studio with a small cafe in the middle of Manhattan on 34th Street. Blue prints, building permits, financing, contractors, schedules… everything was in motion and we were just about to start build out when the landlord of this building pulled the plug and reneged on all his promises.

After over a year of pouring my heart, soul, time and money into this project, it was the quintessential jaw-dropping moment. But to my surprise, I experienced an overwhelming sense of peace; I had no doubts that I was being guided.


When the stars align and I feel that ZadaZadaZing electricity, I fall in love quickly and hard. In my experiences of heart break, my body aches and I think for a moment I’ll never fall in love again. But, I know now that not anything or anybody has the power to completely snuff my light. My despair does not usually last long before I wake back up and celebrate life – the constant movement, opportunity and the endless possibilities that exists. So, it did not take much for me to become vulnerable again and decide to invest my heart and soul into the idea of Sun In Bloom.

Here we are 2 years into this project. This weekend marks our 1st brunch of 2012 and our
2nd year anniversary!

It is also a significant personal turning point. With a goal to release my fear of failure and trust this path, I decided to invest all of my salary, sweat, blood and tears from the past two years into remodeling Sun In Bloom so that everyone can experience the kitchen I’ve always imagined us to celebrate life in together.

Moving into a space that had already been set up to serve food was a wonderful opportunity to launch Sun In Bloom and explore my vision, but after two years it became clear to me I was trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

Resistance became more obvious and on a personal level, I became more aware for how the space was holding me back from reflecting my true spirit and creativity. And in this awareness, I acknowledged my commitment to living a life that embodies balance, health, and happiness. At the end of the day, money is energy; it will come and go. Letting go of this fear and trusting my path with Sun In Bloom was truly a remarkable way to end 2011.
Just 3 weeks ago, Jodie (Sun In Bloom’s manager) and I spent many late nights in our space with a tape measure and yellow pad measuring every inch of the space to prepare for the carpenters who were scheduled to spend just 2 weeks remodeling. The 2 weeks of remodeling was quite busy and I had to make most construction decisions on the fly. But at the end of the day, “winging” this project forced me into a 6th gear – following my intuition.

It is truly remarkable how we succeeded at actualizing my original vision for Sun In Bloom to occupy a space that looks and feels like the beautiful urban, rustic, reflective, clean kitchen I’ve always imagined it to be. It’s uncanny how our space now resembles the vision board I created three years ago for a space I had no idea would today be Sun In Bloom.
And it is the kitchen that is the hearth of our homes – a space in which everyone can relate to and find comfort in. It is my dream that we can recreate our space for the “family dinner” and make it an experience that nourishes us with love, happiness, and joy while supporting our bodies to age with strength, vitality and grace, and our mind to feel comfortable living our truth and always being in full expression.

Although we are still remodeling, we are thrilled to be open and back to work making and serving delicious health conscious food.

In order to open Sun In Bloom, I had to release my natural desire for immediate gratification and perfection. So this project has been about the process, evolution and organic growth of a living breathing conscious company. So please enjoy this process of evolution with us and treat yourself to delicious healthy food. I feel confident in my guarantee that choosing to nourish your body and soul with healthy food will support you in manifesting dreams too!

Cheers to a healthy and fabulous year.

Love, Aimee

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 #50… 8 Days until we tear the house down, rebuilding thought patterns, choosing love.

Good morning,

How much fun would it be if we tear down the framework of the titles we box ourselves into to explore pleasure and be more playful in our lives?  

I am so humbled by my experience at Sun In Bloom.  Everyday I receive notes and messages from people who’ve discovered Sun In Bloom and write to share how their experience affected them.

“Sweet Aimee! i just got back from overseas and am craving your amazing #glutenfree chocolate chip cookie sandwich like *crazy* tonight (usually it is your kale salad, sweet lady greens, impossibly delicious raw sauerkraut, etc) … just thought i would let you know, you fuel the desires and dreams of many…..” – Sun In Bloom Guest, Ford

COURAGE

“Hello! This might seem a little odd, but I ate at your restaurant once over the summer, and I fell absolutely, 100% in love with the food — so much so that I almost wanted to skip my plane out of New York that afternoon and just ask to volunteer and help you out for a while ;) (unfortunately, didn’t have the courage to ask!)” – Sun In Bloom Guest, Sarah

Falling into the traps of my self-limiting belief patterns that focus so intensely on the challenge, sacrifice, long hard road comes very easy to me.  But, life is just too short to succumb to old belief patterns that eclipse possibility.

Releasing these beliefs is my biggest desire and always a work in progress.

But in just 8 days, we are tearing the house down to rebuild.  I am so excited!  This is monumental for me and a symbol for letting go of inhibitions and fear to create space for possibility, growth, love and build a new structure for my personal beliefs.

Sun In Bloom – Brunch #50

Saturday & Sunday, December 17 & 18, 2011

10 AM – 5 PM

This weekend is big… it’s our 50th brunch in 2011!  I am in awe of what Sun In Bloom has brought to the Park Slope community and all of the support and love that you extend to us.  I am deeply grateful for the team we have here who give their all to ensure your experience is amazing.  And, I am thankful that everyday you encourage me to continue because of your deep gratitude for the color we add to your life.

My intention was to create an inviting space that offers people the experience of delicious food – food that is created with the intention to nourish and support a healthy body, mind and spirit, and a space you can just BE in.   

Although I choose to live a vegan lifestyle because this is what feels right for me, I am not here to judge you and say what works for me is right for you.  And what has been most fulfilling in my journey is that 98% of our repeating everyday guests are NOT vegan.  Yes, they eat meat and they LOVE Sun In Bloom’s cuisine!

So, I just want to extend the invitation to you to introduce Sun In Bloom to your friends and family who are ravishing meat eating self-proclaimed carnivores… they might discover that veggies, fruit, bean, and whole grains are quite delicious and satisfying and that they can eat meat and veggies too.   

Shitake Mushroom BLT

The Shitake BLT always wins the “meat-eater” over, as every weekend people tell me it tastes just like bacon.  Even mushroom haters love it!

It might be a fun experiment to spend a day where you tear down the framework of titles to explore pleasure, release judgement, and do things that stretch you to be completely playful.  

Happy holidays!

***Just an important reminder… 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.  It’s important we know in advance that you will want Sun In Bloom food during these weeks so that we can staff appropriately.
Sending this with so much love,  Aimee

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!

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!

Brunch #40 @ Sun In Bloom – A Delicious Fall Brunch Menu, Courage, Growth & a Powerful Shift.

While in savasana in my Bikram yoga class today, I was crafting a letter to my teacher, who I hold as one of my most influential teachers.  Every time I am in her class, I reflect on the space of encouragement, truth, and unconditional love she holds for her students that ignited my flame back in 2005.  6 months later I quit my job, gave up my NYC apartment, unloaded all of my belongings, and packed 2 duffle bags for my journey to LA where I would learn from Bikram Choudhary.  It was the first journey in my life I’d embark on without a plan.  I only knew I’d be living and breathing yoga for 9 weeks.  It was a journey of letting go, releasing my story of trauma, choosing sobriety, all in hopes that I could learn how to love myself. 

Almost 7 years later (today), I walk out of my loving teacher’s class and she thanks me with deep gratitude for being a seed of courage for her – for my understanding of what this means, how the courage takes root, feels, and manifests deep within the fibers of our being. 

I giggled and shared with her that throughout the class I was reflecting on how she feeds me courage.  And here’s just another event in my life that reminds me how we are all one.  When we are open to each other, we are each other’s teachers.  We are mirrors for one another.  If we are willing to release our fear to stand in our own truth, I believe love becomes abundant, accessible, and spills into every facet of our life.  With this vulnerability, we begin to love ourselves.

My goal was to go 60 days on just juice.  After 31 days I stopped counting.  I think I juiced for 35 – 40 days.  During the juice feast, I experienced profound shifts.  I’ve maintained almost a daily Bikram yoga practice.  I’ve been making it to the gym 3-5 times a week.  I’m nourishing my body from the inside out.  I’ve been in constant action.  My body is opening up.  Everyday in yoga, I’m in awe of my increased flexibility.  I recognize my reflection in the mirror.  The bags under my eyes are disappearing.  I feel reconnected to my faith.  I feel more trusting to the process.  There has been a letting go of fear.  I’m more at ease.  Everyday challenges no longer throw me off.  I feel deeply connected to my gratitude.  Where I’d normally turn my back and run, I’ve stood in my discomfort and created an opportunity to grow.  I know I have a lot of love to share and I’m not holding back.  I also allow myself to feel my pain and move through it until I come back to that special sweet spot of unconditional love… for myself and others.

My intention for just drinking juice was to create space for me to come back to feeling aligned and confident with my purpose.  I did not want it to become a count down to the day I could chew solid food again and treat myself to something sweet.  It was about creating positive patterns; re-training myself to nourish my body, mind, and spirit and drinking the magic juice.

So, when I started to experience some weakness in my yoga practice and with my workouts somewhere around day 35-40, I decided to transition slowly back into consuming food with fiber – first with just juice and shakes.  Today, I’m drinking 1-2 quarts of green juice everyday with a midday meal.  My body craves our Sweet Lady Green and I now treat myself like a Sun In Bloom guest and put my order in for a week supply of juice every Monday.  I know this juice is a key to me living my best life possible.

And just after I made this contract with myself to drink at least 2 organic cold-pressed Norwalk green juices everyday, I received an email from my special teacher requesting to purchase a month of Sun In Bloom’s green juices to support her in drinking 2 a day.  Yes, we are all connected. 

We look forward to seeing you this weekend for brunch or whenever the time is right for you to return to Sun In Bloom.  We are always here for you.  And, now open 7 days a week!

Wishing you abundant joy, pleasure, and love in your life.

Love,

Aimee

Brunch #39 @ Sun In Bloom – Magic, Synergy, Green Juice & a Record Breaking Saturday!

 Written Sunday, October 2, 2011

I’ve been meaning to sit down all week to construct this newsletter, but I’ve been in a magical dance of being present… allowing each moment to move me forward.
 
I’ve also been juice feasting and on a journey I refer to as the HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure and somewhere on day 35 or so. I’ve lost count.
 
In my latest blog post, I wrote about the challenges I faced when Sun In Bloom’s head line chef was out sick for a week. I shared how I steered my challenges from self-sabotage to opportunity.
 
For me, everyday is a challenge. But, what I’ve finally come to feel deeply re-connected to is how much joy, happiness, and freedom I feel when I choose to see all the possibility and opportunity that is presented in every challenge. 
 

Brunch Tart – Butternut Squash, Shitake Bacon, Caramelized Onions

I remain very committed to my juicing, but I’m also super dedicated to Sun In Bloom and my commitment to offer the most delicious experience. I guess you can say I’m an extremist. When I do something, it’s ALL or NOTHING.
 
So, with the shift in seasons, I’ve been working on some new recipes and dishes. When I decided to taste a recipe, for a moment, I felt that I sabotaged the juice feast. Like I was no longer clean and would have to start all over again…
 
But something deep within me profoundly shifted and I started relating to myself in loving, gentle, and accepting way. It was in this shift that I decided I can continue my juice feast while tasting recipes when it’s appropriate and necessary. I can continue detoxifying my body and mind, and experience all the healing from this juice feast even if I have to taste a soup recipe or new sauce. This shift from living with an extremist perspective (all or nothing) to being gently and loving with myself marks an evolution in the fabric of my being. I really feel that I am turning the page to a new and exciting chapter of my life. Thank you Sweet Lady Green Juice! (btw, I created a new recipe with green apple and lime – SO delicious!)  
 


Today was a record breaking Saturday at Sun In Bloom. We now have to maintain a wait list for brunch!
 
I can’t explain the depth of gratitude I feel for what I witness happening at the restaurant. I can see the vibrations of our guests rise in reflection to their experience eating our food. And the love and gratitude we feel from each guest is fueling Sun In Bloom to go higher and give it all back in the food we create and serve. Together we create this amazing synergy. Thank you for participating and sharing your energy with us. Together, we can create change in our world and support each other to live our best lives possible. 
 
If it’s been a while since you’ve dined at Sun In Bloom, I hope you will come soon to say hello and witness the magic that is being created. 
 


Also, if you are interested in learning more about cleansing, my wonderful friend John Rosania of Dr. Junger’s CLEAN team and I are going to lead another CLEAN cleanse. Please email me (info@suninbloom.com) if you’d like to join us. It’s a 21-day cleansing program that includes food, shakes, and juice. 
 
CLEAN is the cleansing program that I attribute to saving my life when I hit rock bottom. I found it to be completely accessible at a time when my attention was focused on how sick and tired I felt and there was no hope. My experience with the CLEAN cleanse gave me my health back and helped me see that if I make my health my number one priority, everything else in my life will fall into place. 
 
Love, Aimee
 
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 11: HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure… Releasing sabotaging beliefs.

Day 11: HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure.

Yes, life is an adventure! And the story we tell ourselves is the basis of our lives.

Over the past couple days, I’ve felt this powerful letting go of attachment to both how I identify myself and sabotaging beliefs.  It feels like the clouds are separating after a big storm and an awe inspiring light is beaming through; a mesmerizing light that captures only what is present and all fear, worries, and the chattering mind become still.

Clouds Light

Before opening Sun In Bloom, my identity was Aimee Follette, the Bikram Yoga teacher. Previous to teaching yoga, my identity was Aimee Follette, the publicist and marketing director for the Fox Theatre, a music venue in Boulder, Colorado. And prior to this identity, I was Aimee Follette the girl who was going to go to medical school and become a doctor.

In college, I was living multiple lives as I juggled my identities of being a talented art student, psychology student, 4.0 pre-med student, girlfriend to an extremely abusive boyfriend, domestic violence counselor, and secret addict on the side.  A dark multi-identity, I know –  not the woman I see myself as today.

High school was another confusing chapter. My parents and I clashed. They didn’t understand me; I did not understand them. We were all frustrated, angry and it was just a really sad era of my life as I tried to navigate my identity as a teenager, balancing my desire to be the “smart” girl and the “popular” girl. Being an over-achiever and wanting to be liked turned into a mega-mess.

Amazing moment captured of me in awe of my little sisters tiny fingers. I am 5 years old.

I am the eldest of 3 sisters. I can recall my parents telling me at seven years old that I was suppose to be the “good example” for my sisters. I always felt wrong. I was responsible for all of the bickering, fighting, conflict, and unhappiness in my family.

Growing up in Lexington, Massachusetts for the first 5 years of my life, we had a beautiful back yard that met up with 4 neighbor’s yards. My parents tell me I was visiting with neighbors from the time I could crawl.  And some of my fondest memories are with these people that I only knew in my earliest years of life.  I also remember imagining and wishing at this time that I had a different family. I wanted a perfect family with happy parents who acknowledged me and gave me attention and affection.  I wanted to feel loved.

Pictures capture a very different story! How could this little girl possibly feel unloved?

This is a story – a little girls interpretation of a series of events that she strung together to create the basis of her life.  And from my interpretations, I created a belief that my parents did not love me the way I wanted them to.  This led to complex insecurities that I’ve carried with me through out my life and that have played a large part in the story I’ve created.

My parents are amazing – the most intelligent, loving, and generous people I know.  I revere both my Mom and Dad for their individual talents and accomplishments in life as both parents and active members in society. And I feel gratitude every day to them for giving me life.

Our relationship today is a different story from the one I tell above. It’s the story of a girl with two perfect parents who love her very much.

Family dinner at Caravan of Dreams... look at all the orbs! Yes, we are truly happy.

As soon as I became conscious of my true identity, the essence of who I really am, I freed myself of the “baggage”.  It’s been amazing to experience life living out-loud, standing in my truth, and being me. Sharing my life without apprehension or fear that I am not living up to the “identity” I imagined my parents wanted me to have has opened up the possibility for me to experience a truly loving relationship with them.

But, when I opened Sun In Bloom, I relapsed back into insecurities, as I attached meaning to events, like the criticism, judgment and feedback I received from the public.  And as I allowed negative beliefs to take root in my body,  I succumbed to their power to cause dis-ease (in my case – hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, candida, chronic fatigue).

Breaking free of sabotaging beliefs can feel like you are taking on a massive war by yourself – you against a zillion powerless thoughts that consume your mind at every moment.  But as I became more aware that I was allowing these beliefs to control my life in every aspect, I listened to my gut and followed the calling I felt to juice for 60 days and take control for how I feel in my life.  Day 11, I can’t even begin to explain in words the love and courage I feel and how they overshadow the moments of fear I continue to experience.

Waking up on this rainy day was magic. My body, mind and spirit were equally energized. I drank 32 ounces of green juice, tacked my messy room and made it to my 10 AM yoga class.

Practicing Bikram Yoga has saved me at different points in my life and today’s practice was very special.  For the first time since I returned to my practice after being out of the room for nearly a year, I felt empowered as I looked into my reflection in the mirror.  My body felt strong and flexible.  Pre-cleanse, I’d have minor panic attacks looking at my reflection when I would see a body that was inflamed and tired.  My mind didn’t give up in eagle.  I went into the depth of the posture where I had left off two years ago.  My spirit felt happy, joyful, and love.  I’ve practiced nearly every day while drinking only fresh pressed organic juice, which is what my body has desired.  I know I want to experience my life having a mind-body connection.  It is in this space of connection when I am not only feeling optimal health, but I am happy.

Love is a powerful experience.  Detaching from the meaning we’ve given to events in our lives will make room for new beliefs and the possibility to create a story we want to tell the world.  And I dream everyone will allow him or herself to be vulnerable enough to feel love, see that events have no inherent meaning, and experience the story they truly want to live.

Love, Aimee

P.s. My Mom just informed me that my Dad is moving towards a vegan lifestyle. Amazing! I do not push my beliefs onto my parents. I only share my experiences and information. And my Mom is making green smoothies in the Vita Mix she gifted herself with the one she gave me as a birthday gift three years ago. If you read this Mom and Dad, I love you!

Welcome to Sun In Bloom!

Q & A with owner Aimee Follette


1) What inspired you to open Sun In Bloom?

I’ve been dreaming about creating a loving and nourishing community space for most of my life.  But I can specifically remember the moment my friend, Stacey Shay, and I discovered Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco.  For years, I bounced back and forth between living in NYC and San Francisco.  I always resonated with Park Slope and felt at home here, but was chasing my dream of living a more healthy, balanced, conscious lifestyle that I believed only a place like San Francisco offered.

Stacey and I sat down at Cafe Gratitude and I loved the space immediately. Our server approached us and mentioned that he had just moved from NYC to San Francisco for the lifestyle.  The light bulb flashed and I knew that moment I had to return to New York and create a space that would offer everything I imagined desiring in the California lifestyle.

Another amazing note to my story is that when I returned and told my Grandfather I was going to settle in Park Slope, he said, “Oh yeah, there’s a street in Brooklyn named after our family… Jerrolomon Street.”  So, I guess you could say, I was karmically drawn to Park Slope and Sun In Bloom is the manifestation of something spiritual that has been coming through me for a very long time.

2) You call Sun In Bloom “a holistic eco-eatery.” What does that mean to you?

An eco-eatery is a restaurant that uses earth-friendly practices to reduce waste consumption and promote sustainable solutions.  Holistic means looking at the whole rather than parts.  At Sun In Bloom, we focus looking at every person who walks through the door as a unique whole being.  It is then our priority to nourish that person on multiple levels with the intention to create a ripple effect and nourish the entire community.


3) What is Sun In Bloom’s best-selling dish? Your favorite dish?

The best selling dishes include our Bloom Burger, Southwestern Burrito, Reuben Special, Macro Bowl, Rockin’ Veggie, Bella Divine…hmm… I could list our entire menu.  What I find most exciting about Sun In Bloom’s menu is that people come in and try a variety of our dishes.  They will just go down the menu and I have not received one complaint!  My favorite dish is the Bella Divine.  This is a sesame-ginger marinated kale salad with SIB’s raw sauerkraut, sunflower sprout, dulse, and avocado.  I’m partial to this dish, because I created this recipe in my home kitchen one night when I was pulling together my favorite ingredients after a long day of teaching and practicing Bikram Yoga.


4) Why vegan (or raw, as the case may be)? Veganism still being in the minority where dietary styles are concerned, how have you come to appeal to people with such a variety of food preferences, omnivores included?

Our goal is to nourish the community and after you remove all ingredients that might be toxic to our bodies, the cuisine is vegan.  I am not here to promote everyone to become vegan, but I do hope to inspire everyone to try a LIVING vegan EXPERIENCE and integrate this delicious and pleasurable cuisine into their lifestyles.  It’s always inspiring to see a customer come in for a burger and sit down with our living raw burger to then come back the next week and order the Bloom Burger.  Part of the process of appealing to people with a variety of food preferences, I believe, is to create a space that is inviting and welcoming, with no judgement.  Again, we are not here to tell anyone how the live their life, we just hope people will try Sun In Bloom’s cuisine and delicious treats to taste the abundant flavors that are infused in food that has been prepared with organic, local ingredients and a lot of love.


5) Why is the ‘i’ in Sun In Bloom capitalized?

The “i” is capitalized because I want to emphasize that the Sun is In Bloom. We are all on a journey and constantly blooming.  This name came to me one day several months before I committed to opening an eco-eatery and one day everything came together and the puzzle was complete.