“Bloom & Spark is a place to share information and inspiration on all healthy and happy living content,” shares founder / editor Caroline O’Neill, who grew up in Northport moved to Hampton Bays in 2012. “There’s nothing better than knowing we have the ability to take the best care of ourselves and live to our fullest potential. On Bloom & Spark readers will find recipes, inspiration, and information on food, nutrition and yoga, as well as guidance toward personal development of the mind and spirit.” Learn more abut Caroline in this NEW KDHamptons Lifestyle Diary, below.
KDHamptons: What do you love most about the East End?
Caroline: I love living in the Hamptons because of the natural beauty, beach life, and strong sense of community. My perfect Hamptons day begins with a yoga class at Wolffer estate vineyard, followed by brunch at Topping Rose House with my boyfriend, a bike ride in Sagaponack, then relaxing at the beach with my friends and dinner at home on our back deck.
KDHamptons: What inspired you to launch Bloom & Spark?
Caroline: I began exploring the world of wellness and yoga after struggling with anxiety for years. I knew a complete lifestyle change was needed, for my mind, body and spirit. If you’ve experienced anxiety (and unfortunately a growing number of people these days have) then you know how frustrating and hopeless it can feel. Though it’s a medical condition, you feel like there’s something wrong with you. The social stigma against psychological disorders makes it hard to talk about how you feel, and makes it hard for others to understand. After years of seeing specialists and taking various medications, I decided to seek out a greater sense of deep healing.
Educating myself on nutrition, spiritual development and living happily became my passion.
Bringing what I learned to others became my mission.
KDHamptons: What does the name Bloom & Spark mean?
Caroline: The inspiration for the name Bloom & Spark came from my love for healthy natural foods that come from the earth, especially when I grow them myself (Bloom), as well as my passion for seeking out inspiration, positive energy and joy in the world (Spark).
KDHamptons: Where do you teach yoga?
Caroline: I now teach yoga in The Hamptons, where I live, and share what I learn with this amazing online community. When I come to my yoga mat I’m at church, therapy, and the gym all at the same time. (I know that multitasking is kind of the opposite of being mindful, but I think this one is an exception)
KDHamptons: Do you have a current beauty ritual to share with KDHamptons readers?
Caroline: I’m obsessed with this DIY ACTIVATED CHARCOAL AND COFFEE SCRUB FOR DRY SKIN. If your skin becomes extremely dry as soon as the weather turns cold, you will love it, activated charcoal is worth it’s weight in gold. It helps to soothe the itchiness, as it adsorbs many chemicals, gases and toxins. The charcoal and coffee act as a natural exfoliate helping to remove dead, dry skin cells. While some coffee scrubs may make the problem worse by drying your skin out, the coconut oil helps to lock in moisture.
Ingredients: ½ tbsp. finely ground coffee; ½ tbsp. activated charcoal; 1 tbsp. coconut oil
Directions: Mix the charcoal and coffee together and add 1 tbsp. of coconut oil. Remember when it drops to room temperature coconut oil solidifies so your mixture is going to also solidify making it difficult to work with. It’s best when the coconut oil is liquid. Note: It’s best to apply it in the shower because this mixture is messy.
Place a pea-sized amount on your dry skin and gently rub it in. Let it sit for 3 to 4 minutes, before washing it off. Apply daily until the dry skin has healed. It will be difficult to wash off, the charcoal may leave a grey-ish tinge on your skin but it’ll wash away. The mixture comes off completely with soap but I’d recommend using it sparingly because soap can actually strip your skin of moisture. I recommend that you use Castile soap because it’s extremely gentle, free of chemicals and it won’t strip dearly needed moisture.
KDHamptons: How do you come up with your recipes?
Caroline: My whole philosophy when it comes to recipe creation is to make it as simple as possible in addition to being healthy and delicious. While there is a time and a place for the show stopper recipes, you don’t have drive yourself insane over dinner every night. You don’t need to buy a ton of ingredients you will never use again. Furthermore, you don’t need to spend an hour making dinner. #thelazychef
KDHamptons: Share a delicious fall recipe we should try?
Caroline: Here’s my recipe for SAUTÉED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH APPLES. I think you will love this easy fall dish and how simple it is!
Ingredients:1 apple; 1 small bag or bunch of Brussels sprouts
Optional: craisins, chicken, pork, or bacon.
Directions [about 15 minutes total]: Chop or shred the Brussels sprouts and sauté in a pan on medium heat with some coconut oil for about 5-8 minutes (i’m assuming you have some kind of oil in your house, which is why it’s not listed in the ingredients).
Peel and dice the apple into small cubes and add it to the Brussels sprouts and sauté for about another 5 min with a lid until soft and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Lightly season with salt and pepper to taste.
Optional: Add in chopped up bacon, it will offset the sweetness of the apple, and add a nice crunch…and I just like to add bacon to things. Or, garnish with craisins to make it look pretty. Finally, serve alone or as a side with roasted chicken or pork.
*Be sure to follow Caroline on Instagram @carolinemoneill