• Dharma Nemani

Meet my mom friend: Emily Schiller, founder, The Style Du Jour

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

Emily and I were desk neighbors during my PR days in Chicago. I would take diligent notes from Emily’s outfits to work because she was the most fashionable executive on our floor. So it comes as no surprise that she’s currently the creative mind behind The Style Du Jour - a thriving sustainable fashion and lifestyle destination. Emily is also a registered dietitian nutritionist who is passionate about mindful toddler food choices. We chatted about toddler fashion, beauty foods and more.

Hi Emily! Can you share a little about yourself?

I’m thrilled to be featured, thanks for having me Dharma! So here’s a little about me: I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist and I’ve always worked in nutrition communications/PR, but for the last four years my full-time job has been staying at home with my three littles: Teddy (six), Sloane (four) and Sebastian (14 months). We’ve lived in the Chicago area for almost 15 years and have called the North Shore our home for the last two and a half. A few years ago I created The Style Du Jour as a creative outlet and to share tips on topics I’m passionate about and that I believed could provide something of use to my friends and readers (most of whom are women and moms with young kids) - from tips on easy family-friendly meal and snack ideas to where and how to make sustainable fashion choices.

What is sustainable fashion?

“If everyone in the U.S. bought one used item instead of new this year, it would result in saving billions of pounds of carbon emissions…”

These statistics that break down the environmental impact of retail purchasing choices are quite alarming, right?! For many years, I’ve enjoyed shopping from thrift, vintage and secondhand shops, but in recent years, as the environmental impact of consumerism becomes ever transparent, my mindset on shopping has definitely shifted. Buying second hand is more important to me given the impact it has on the planet and the “treasure hunting” aspect has become the added bonus.

I’m always looking for some toddler style inspo. What are your fav. places to shop for the little ones?

My kids are all into comfort these days so when buying new I can find comfy and cute items from stores like GAP Kids, J.Crew, Patagonia and Zara. Durability is key and these brands stand the test of time so I can donate or re-sell them after the kids grow out of them.

You write a lot about mindfulness - which I love! Can you share more about what mindfulness means to you and with your toddlers?

Honestly, the concept of “mindfulness” is something I’m continuing to learn and practice every day. Now that my youngest, Bash, is sleeping through the night, I like to wake up every morning before everyone else to have just a bit of time to myself to get ready in the morning and enjoy a cup of coffee before our crazy morning routine begins. I think being in tune with the present is becoming a priority and, as a family, simple things like turning off the radio on our daily car rides to and from school and activities to talk to each other (or not) and observe the fall surroundings has become a way to provide some calm.

As an RDN is a) the pressure always on to be eating the healthiest foods b) can you share some day-to-day breakfast / snack / meal ideas that are your go-to?

When people first learn that I’m an RDN, I think there’s sometimes a perception that I only eat certain foods or am the “food police,” but I’ll be the first one to say that I became a RDN because I adore food and the entire eating occasion and social aspect surrounding it. We generally eat plant-based meals, but my family loves dairy foods (my husband is from Wisconsin after all) and weeknight bolognese or short rib are cold-weather favorites.

Go-to breakfasts for my kids these days include overnight oats, frozen whole wheat mini pancakes or a bowl of Cheerios with fruit. The kids love a “snack” themed lunchbox where I try to include a variety of their favorites while including a whole grain, fruit and veg, plus a dairy and protein option. Some go-tos include popcorn, pea crisps, fried and freeze dried fruit, shredded cheese, and yogurt tubes. I use silicone muffin cups to add color and help make the presentation fun and appealing for them.

When we chatted on the phone, I told you that I find myself focusing on getting Mishka to finish all her lunch that I packed. But we spoke about how meals are about more than just fuel... they have a social component …. Can you share more about your thoughts here?

I can totally relate to that because our littles are busy at school all day and with minimal time to eat we want to make sure they eat enough to get them through the afternoon! Mealtime with piers provides such an important social aspect as well so while I hope my son gets enough at lunch to keep him energized, I always have plenty of snacks ready at pick-up. :)

Growing up in my parents would tell me about beauty foods, i.e., things you can eat to get healthier hair, skin, nails, etc. As an RDN, I want to verify some of these claims with you.

- Collagen-boosting foods like garlic, help support healthy skin

- Curry leaves, rich in beta-carotene help your hair grow stronger and healthier

I love how staple ingredients used in other parts of the world for thousands of years are now considered mainstream. At home, I like to sprinkle in Turmeric where I can like in a latte or stirred in with my kids macaroni and cheese. I also love to see food companies use spices and ingredients like Turmeric or beet as natural food colors. Rainbow Goldfish crackers are a staple in our house and I feel good knowing the fun fish hues come from natural food sources.

Avocados are a perfect first food for babies - it was a personal favorite with my oldest when he started eating solids - because of their creamy texture and good-for-you fats. (Side note: He once cried when I offered him a donut and begged for avocado. That was a true RDN moment hah!) Overall, I try my best to serve a variety to my littles every day so they can benefit from all the nutrient-rich benefits from all foods, herbs and spices. When I look at the plate or their lunch, I try to include a rainbow of colors, textures and food groups. On a #momlife note, not every meal or snack I’m serving is spilling over with kale and berries, and that’s perfectly ok. For me, it’s more about the big picture rather than focusing on one particular food or one meal.

Do you encourage your toddlers to practice self-care? Any examples you’d like to share?

I think the self-care practices we really focus on are perhaps more “basic” day to day things, but we’re empowering them to do them on their own as they grow more independent. Things like washing up in the morning, brushing their teeth and combing their hair. We talk about taking care of our bodies and also feeling and looking our best as we start the day.

You used to work an agency job, before freelancing and becoming a WFH / SAHM. Are you willing to share a little more about this transition? How it made you feel? If you find yourself longing for traditional gig, etc? If there were times when you questioned your decision, etc?

This question may require another week entirely, but here’s where I am today: Staying home full-time with my kids is an arrangement that I believe is best for the kids and for my fam right now. Like we take parenting one day at a time, we’ll see where and how my nutrition and communications passions take me in the future. Until then, I’m rolling up my mom jeans, stocking up on dry shampoo and making the most of my days in the trenches. :)


© 2020 Love, Mishka