Sheryl Jesin


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An Interview with Jordana Silver

Readers – today you are in for a treat. I recently had the opportunity to interview an up- and-coming new footwear designer, Jordana Silver. Jordana is the brains behind an ingenious new concept in footwear – basic black ballet flats that can be customized with an array of unique shoe clips, called bisous.

I am so proud to call Jordana my friend. We met over 15 years ago when we both attended the University of Toronto as undergrads. I’m in awe of Jordana and what she has accomplished since then. I’m continually impressed by her courage, her creativity, her passion and her drive.

I’ll let Jordana tell you more about herself and the concept of her shoes. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Tell us a little bit about your background in fashion and design.

My love of fashion actually began when I was a little girl and my mother took me to Creeds on Bloor Street every weekend. Growing up, I had aspirations to be a lawyer and then when at University of Toronto I had a change of heart and wanted to pursue a career that I felt would offer me more creativity. I applied to Parsons School of Design in NYC. While in school I interned for established designers like Eskandar, Cynthia Rowley and Michael Kors. Once I finished my degree I was hired by Michael Kors. I worked on several of their design teams with Michael over the course of 7 years and also worked in corporate sales for the brand.

How did you first come up with the concept of the bisous?

I have a true love for shoes! When I was traveling for Michael Kors I would visit different stores and always found myself stealing a few minutes in the women’s shoe departments. Unfortunately, I would always leave disappointed. The shoes I coveted were out of my price point. I could not purchase as often as I wanted either and when I did in fact buy the shoes were black and basic because they were so versatile. I felt like I was missing out on the latest trends and not having fun with my shoes and ultimately fashion is supposed to be fun! I knew if I was feeling this way, so too were other women. I also knew the economy changed over the last few years and that the trend of accessorizing had become huge. My solution to create a brand around the shoe clip seemed like an amazing solution and worked with what was going on in the market place.

Where do you find inspiration for new bisous?

I find inspiration everywhere. The bisous can be sophisticated or fun and whimsical. I definitely pay attention to current trends and those on their way but I also will see someone wearing something down the street and an idea will come to mind. I had the opportunity to vintage shop this summer in Paris and that was such a treat!

How do you think that the Jordana Silver shoe can play a role in the life of a busy mom?

I cannot think of a better shoe collection for busy moms. The flats were designed to have a great shape but we paid careful attention to comfort! There is memory foam in each shoe and everyone tells me they live in the flats because they are so comfortable. Beyond comfort, what could be more appealing to moms on the go than a shoe where you play designer and get the latest trends without sacrificing quality or design for a fraction of the cost of designer shoes?! Moms still want to be on trend. When all my friends started having babies, I repeatedly heard that their priorities changed. This is a product where moms can indulge without the guilt and do something fun and luxurious for themselves.

Do you have any quick and easy fashion tips for moms?

Absolutely. I actually use these for myself and think they are universal for all women including moms.

  1. Show off your assets. Sounds simple but figure out what you love about yourself (everyone has something) and show it off. My waist is the smallest part of my body so I wear flattering silhouettes that draw attention to my waist.
  2. Stay true to yourself and don’t be a victim to trends. If you wear something you are uncomfortable in you will be pulling at your clothes all day long. Don’t worry about trends. Wear what works for you and makes you feel your best. Fashion is supposed to accentuate the positive and make you feel great.
  3. Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessorize! I may be partial but accessorizing helps keep things simple and on trend. Color is making a statement right now. Get a colorful scarf to pop any outfit. Buy an amazing bold necklace you love and it will update any outfit. Or have fun with your shoes and accessorize them with bisous. 😉 Accessorizing is a great way to feel like you are on trend without over spending.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting your own business?

There were so many challenges. I really had to learn everything as I went. Probably the biggest challenge was tackling everything predominately on my own. I had some mentors I could call on for guidance and that was great but a lot needed to be learned and figured out as I tackled issues. You never understand how much is involved in a business until you launch one.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs? Especially women entrepreneurs?

  1. I would encourage female entrepreneurs to trust their gut. Just like moms know what is best for their children, you probably know what is best for your business.
  2. I would suggest you view each problem as a minor set back with a solution. Every time an issue arises, I know there is a solution and I go into problem solving mode. Being an entrepreneur is a lot about one’s ability to react quickly and calmly.
  3. Lastly I encourage female entrepreneurs to stay passionate and positive. People react to the energy you project.

What do you like to do when you are not working?

I definitely appreciate downtime and simple pleasures. I enjoy spending time with friends, trying great restaurants, and exploring the streets of New York.

Where do you see yourself 5 or 10 years from now?

I would love to see my business grow. I have a few exciting projects I am working on that hopefully I can share with your readers soon enough. The truth is I am really open to seeing how things develop. One never knows what opportunity will present itself and that is part of the fun of having your own business.

Where can my readers purchase your shoes? When will they be available in Canada?

My shoes will be available on Fab.com from today (Saturday) for four days only. Fab.com ships to Canada and the US. You can also purchase shoes and bisous from my online store www.jordanasilver.com. Also, you can email info@jordanasilver.com and someone on my team will be happy to help with your orders.

Thank you so much Jordana for taking the time to answer my questions. I love the tip you provided about looking at problems as minor setbacks with solutions. I think this can be applied to any problems that we encounter in life. It can be so beneficial to think positive and look at obstacles we face as learning opportunities.

Readers, I hope you take a look at the Jordana Silver website and purchase a pair of shoes and some bisous. The shoes really make a stylish yet practical addition to any mom’s wardrobe.


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Pistachio failure

While driving up to the cottage tonight, we stopped at a grocery store along the way. I hadn’t really eaten dinner and wanted to pick up a few things. Shopping with the kids in an unfamiliar store at 8pm isn’t the smartest move, and I’m not surprised that I made a bad purchase. I wanted to buy a few nuts to snack on as I knew that the healthy fats and protein would fill me up. I spotted a bag of pistachios and put it in my cart. When went to eat them later, I took a look at the nutritional information on the back of the bag and I was appalled!

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I couldn’t believe all of the ingredients. I have no interest in eating sugar, garlic or onion powder, or dextrose. Even natural flavor has no place in my diet. But worst of all – the deal breaker for me – the pistachios contain yeast extract. Sadly, yeast extract is MSG. Most shoppers these days are savvy enough to avoid MSG, since it is associated with reproductive disorders and headaches, among other nasty thing! So the food industry hides the MSG by labeling it as yeast extract. So sneaky. So wrong. These pistachios will not be eaten by me and will be returned to the store. I am saddened that even an innocuous bag of nuts contains unhealthy ingredients.

So dear readers, learn from my mistakes – check your labels carefully at the grocery store! And don’t buy anything that contains yeast extract!!


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Training for Half-Marathon #2

It’s official! Training for my second half marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, began last week. Only 14 weeks til the big day – Sunday, October 14, 2012.

I’ve been running, biking and dabbling in some yoga since my first half marathon, which was almost 2 months ago. I’m excited to get back into some serious training. I had some fun working out my training plan. It is a bit more intense than my first plan as it involves more mileage, and more cross training. I plan on running 3 days a week, biking 3 days a week and resting 1 day a week. I know I need to do some upper body strength training and core work too – haven’t quite figured out when I will do that…maybe on my rest day and one of my bike days?

I want to improve upon the time I achieved in my first race, 2 hrs and 36 mins. However, I worry about pushing myself too much and getting an injury. Then I remind myself that there are athletes out there training for marathons and even Ironmans, and a half marathon is really not such a crazy endevour. So I’m going to throw it out there. I want to finish in 2 hrs and 15 minutes. I will re-visit this goal as I work my way through my training plan and adjust as necessary.

I will update you, dear readers, as my training progresses. It’s hard to believe that just around this time last year I was just starting to run, training for my first 5k. So much has changed in a year.

Are you training for any fall races?


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Lessons learned from a half marathon

It’s been a month since my half-marathon.  Sometimes I still can’t believe that not only did I run 21km, but that I also found time to train properly for it.  I’ve been trying to keep up with my running, but I find that it’s not the same without a race looming in the future to motivate me to get out there.  I bought a new pair of shoes which got me running right after I bought them, but their lure is waning.

I’ve been experimenting with other forms of exercise, and went to my first Zumba class, which was a lot of fun.  It was a great cardio workout and I liked that it could be as high or low impact as you want.  I’ve also gone to a few free classes at my local Lululemon.  I’ve enjoyed their BOGA class – 1/2hr boot camp and 1/2hr yoga.  I realized by going to these classes that I have really increased my fitness level astronomically in the past year through running.  The Zumba class and the BOGA class were quite easy for me and I felt so happy about that!

I miss the burn and the feeling of exhaustion that I felt after my half marathon.  I miss the sense of accomplishment that I felt after the race and that I felt after my long training runs.  It’s hard to find time to go out for long runs.  I am definitely going to sign up for another half marathon in the fall.  I know that I can increase my speed and lower my time dramatically.

My half marathon was an amazing experience, and I learned a number of lessons that I would like to share with you.  They are as follows:

  1. Chafing happens – I always read on other blogs that runners experience chafing during long runs.  I never experienced this during my training and thought that I was immune to this problem.  However, at about mile 11 my armpits started to burn from my shirt rubbing against my skin.  The pain was real and I did my best to not think about.  Mind over matter, right?  However, for future races I will be using BodyGlide.  There is no need to experience the pain of chafing.  The burn in my legs at mile 11 was pain enough.
  2. Refueling after a race is not optional – I knew that I needed to eat after the race and packed up a few things for Jake to bring down to the finish line.  This included a scoop of Vega One and some water and a shaker cup, and some ShaSha Buckwheat snacks.    However, with all the excitement in finishing the race, I neglected to eat either of these things.  I had a banana, a couple slices of orange and that was it.  I didn’t even drink water until I got home a couple hours later.   This was a terrible idea.  I had a splitting headache for the remainder of the day after the race, and I attribute this to not drinking and eating properly right after the race.
  3. Employ babysitters post race – the only thing harder than running a half marathon is taking care of little kids after running a half marathon.  Jake had a full morning taking care of the boys, and bringing them down to the finish line, and was understandably done with them once we got home.  In hindsight I should have asked the grandparents to come over and watch the boys in the afternoon so that I could have a nap and veg out for the rest of the day.  Instead, I ran around with them outside, and did other things that did not aid in my recovery.  This did not help with my splitting headache.
  4. Start out A BIT faster – I wish that I had started out faster.  I was so worried about beginning too fast and burning out that I ended up running with people who were….slow.  This slowed me down.  For example, there was a girl near me wearing long yoga pants, a sweater, a very unsupportive bra, and her long hair was loose.  I didn’t get it.  It was so hot out.  Needless to say, she wasn’t very speedy.  I have no idea how she finished 13.1 miles like that.  I wish I had run with people who were faster (and dressed properly), so that I would have been motivated to go faster.

Have you run any races?  Have you learned any lessons from them?


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Meal Plan Monday

Nothing says springtime like fresh herbs growing on our balcony.  Right now we have parsley, thyme and basil, and I am enjoying incorporating them into my cooking.  I had some fun in the kitchen today whipping up a pesto with some parsley and basil from our garden and some baby kale I picked up at the farmer’s market.  Added in some olive oil, garlic, blanched almonds, salt, and mixed it all up in the Vita Mix.  Turned out great – can’t wait to eat it on Tuesday night!  My pesto has no cheese – and it is so flavourful that you don’t miss it at all.

Here’s this week’s meal plan:

Monday – out

Tuesday – Salad with baby swiss chard and baby kale, pesto pasta with white beans, steamed broccoli on the side.

Wednesday – Choosing Raw’s Lentil Loaf, potato salad, steamed french green beans

Thursday – same as Wednesday

Friday – out!

What are you cooking this week?


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Meal Plan Monday

I have jumped back on the FlyLady  bandwagon.  I’ve been Fly-ing on and off since I first started her program in November.  I stopped getting her emails when we went away in January and kept meaning to start up again.   I finally did last week and I am finding that the emails are so motivating!  I love all of her little saying – “A load of laundry a day keeps the C.H.A.O.S. (can’t have anyone over syndrome) away!” or “You can do anything for 15 minutes” or “Make it fun and it will get done”.    Last week’s zone was the master bedroom and I successfully cleaned up a lot of “hot spots” and did a nice closet purge.  Always feels good to de-clutter!

Part of the whole FlyLady routine is meal planning.  So here it is, Sunday night, and I’ve written out my meal plan and my grocery list.  The week is off to a great start!   Here is the meal plan for the week:

Monday – at my parents’ for dinner

Tuesday – Mixed bean and veggie soup, salad, asparagus, Kelp Noodle Bowl with Almond Chili Sauce (a new recipe I am trying from the Whole Foods to Thrive cookbook).

Wednesday- Soup and salad again, Quinoa pilaf with swiss chard (another recipe from the  Whole Foods to Thrive cookbook).

Thursday – Homemade falafel, roasted cauliflower, salad

Friday – out for dinner

Dylan is off school tomorrow so I am going to attempt to take both kids grocery shopping to my favorite store, Whole Foods.  Wish me luck!


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The night before my half-marathon

It’s 10pm the night before my half marathon.  I should be in bed, but I know if I go to bed too early I will just toss and turn.

I’m feeling nervous and a bit worried.  The farthest I’ve ever run is 11 miles and tomorrow I have to race 13.1.  I’m trying to trust my training and know that I followed my plan and that adrenaline will keep me going during those last unknown 2.1 miles.  My ankle has been bugging me so I’m hoping that it behaves tomorrow.   The weather is supposed to be absolutely perfect – 10 degrees Celsius, sunny, no wind.   Some of my race day nerves have  been tamed because I had a great experience during my 10k two weeks ago, so I know what to expect.

Whatever happens tomorrow, I want to have fun.  I have no time goal and just want to finish!  No matter what happens, I am proud of myself for training and for giving the half marathon a shot.   This past week I’ve been tapering and letting my legs rest up.  I’ve only run 2 miles 2 times, and I’ve really missed running.  My head has been a bit foggy and I’ve felt lethargic.   I’m looking forward to exercising again on a daily basis once this race is over and enjoying the endorphins again.

Time for me to head to bed.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure!