A Day in the Garden

February 26, 2017

Hello loves!  So this week I declared the "take-away" of this blog, what I offer.  In case you missed it, I offer effortless, affordable style and life inspiration that will help you style the life you deserve.  I believe you feel good when you look good and if you feel good you want to look your best.  This isn't about vanity, its about putting the same time you put caring into others, into caring for yourself.  I am a mother of two teenage boys, I work a full time job and I care for our home.  When I became a mother almost 18 years ago, I was young and didn't know who I was.  I had no formal education past high school and had never lived totally on my own.  It wasn't an easy road, I was a single mother working very hard to provide my son with a good life. I went to school full time, while working part time and maintaining a home for the both of us.  I am now 37 years old, happily married and my family has doubled.  I recently completed a masters degree in Public Administration and very recently got that promotion Ive been working hard towards achieving.  Why am I telling you this?  So that you understand Ive been where some of you are, Ive been down, hopeless, unhappy with myself.  I recognized the things I needed to fix and read a lot and even started to see a therapist.  I needed to understand why I found myself in the situations I found myself in.  I understood I was not the victim, and understood my role in every situation.  I very purposefully worked to achieve a relationship like the one I share with my husband.  He is a great man and I attracted him because I wanted nothing less than everything I wanted.  That was a choice.  I understood my value and the importance of a good male role model for my son.  It was no accident, it was a choice.  I went through several terrible relationships to get here.  I understand how difficult it can be to look in the mirror and demand more of yourself.  But I can't stress enough how important it is to do.  A very good friend told a very lost younger me, figuring out what you want is the hardest part.  What you envision for yourself is what you will create for yourself.
The hubby planned a very special day for me yesterday.  As I told you in the last post, he is away at a teachers conference for the next three days so he wanted to give me a great day before you left on his short trip.  SO I am a HUGE Golden Girls fan, like I own all seven seasons and watch it whenever its on tv.  My son knows all of the episodes cause he would watch with me when he was younger (poor kid).  Recently Rue La Rue opened in Washington Heights, it is a Golden Girls themed cafe (read review here) and I have wanted to go ever since the project was leaked over a year ago.  Well the hubby surprised me with a trip to the cafe, it is GORGEOUS and just precious complete with wicker furniture pieces.😊  It is one of the hottest tickets in the area so the line was out the door and there was no seating.  The hubby and I peaked in, looked around, snapped some pics and decided we should go to another spot to grab some brunch.  We will definitely be back when the hype has worn off.  Then we headed to one of my favorite places in NY, the Botanical Gardens! The Botanical Gardens is the jewel of the Bronx.  They have special programs and exhibitions including my favorite, the orchid show.  The Orchard Show opened about two weeks ago and the theme this year is Thailand.  I love spending the day surrounded by plants, its just good for the soul.   My favs are the cacti.  They are so strong and independent and need very little to grow.  I just love that about them.  Oh and peep the hot photos of my hubby, yeah he was my model yesterday.  It was interesting being behind the camera and directing him for a change.  He wanted to show me how difficult it was to direct me but he is such a ham, it was a breeze and a lot of fun for me! (Jokes on you babe. πŸ˜‚)

So here is your "homework" if you would please indulge me. ❤️Plan something fun this weekend, visit a cool place you heard about, explore your city or town.  It doesn't have to require a lot of money, you could go for a walk in a park you've never visited (weather permitting) or visit a museum or exhibition.  Plan something that is out of your routine.  Take the kids, or don't take the kids.  The point is do something you will enjoy.  You are worth the effort.  Links to my outfit down below, per usual.

Jacket is from H&M. Similar Coat or use this link here to get $10 off your first purchase on thredup.  Ive talked about the site in this post here, guys I kid you not this site is awesome!  They are my go-to before I shop for anything new and I have NOT been disappointed.  Take the leap, they have great wear to work clothes, outerwear and shoes. PS the metallic flats I am wearing in this post? Yeah they are from jcrew and I paid $20 on thredup! They only accept and sell high quality stuff.   Just take a look! Promise me you will? 😘

Thanks for reading my loves.  XOXO

by LifeStyledbyErica πŸ’‹

Life on the Fringe

February 23, 2017

There is so much going on this week at work!  My team and I hosted a very successful career fair held exclusively for our architecture students.  After two and a half months of planning, networking and prepping students, I am so pleased with the results.  I couldn't be happier with the students that I have the pleasure of serving, seeing them grow and develop into young confident adults is truly a blessing.  I know I am gushing here but I really do love what I do.    Recently my husband switched careers, he went from being a chiropractor with his own office to a high school teacher.  We both believe in the value of education and being able to work with the youth is challenging but also very rewarding.  It has been a transition, teaching requires a lot of work off the clock.  A lot of people look at a career in teaching and think oh you get out of school at 3PM and have summers off, thats so easy!  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He is going to a teacher's conference in Orlando for three days this weekend to network and learn some tools of the trade.  I couldn't be happier and more supportive but I don't know what I am going to do with myself while he is going.  He is the heart of this family and I am going to miss him very much.  That also means I am on cooking duty, HELP! πŸ˜‚  He has planned a special date for us on Saturday, and all I know is I have to be ready by 11am.  I love when he surprises me, I will be sure to check in with you guys and let you know all about it.  My hope, is he takes me to the Golden Girl themed restaurant that JUST opened up in Washington Heights. I LOVE the Golden Girls. I own all seven seasons and whenever Ive got the blues and need a laugh I pop those bad boys in and still laugh at all the jokes Ive heard a million times before.  Links to this look down below.

Got any special plans this weekend?  Share in the comments below.  

Thanks for reading loves! πŸ’‹❤️

by LifeStyledbyErica 

Messy Bun + Cami Dress

February 20, 2017

Hey guys and gals! Just checking in after an absolutely beautiful three day weekend here in New York!  We have gone through some tough weather in the last two weeks so a day in the high 60's was VERY welcomed.  The hubby and I had to take advantage of the warm sun and the optimistic, happy feelings good weather brings and take a few shots of this great little number I snagged while we were home buried in snow just a little over a week ago.  I did a little bit of online shopping but I gave myself a strict $100 budget.  This camisole dress was on sale for $9.99 on zara.com I KNOW! Let me just say this whole camisole trend has been around for a while, but I was skeptical of walking around New York in my jammies, lol.  What I love about this slip dress is there is a lining so you don't feel totally naked AND I love the frill detailing in the front, it adds dimension and interest.  So all in all a great investment, I could easily throw this on with a chunky sweater or a moto jacket, loafers or sneakers, you get the point its pretty versatile.  Now full disclaimer, this exact dress has sold out (sorry) but I link a comparable option down below.  I also scored these lovely mustard color block heels with a metallic detail.  Let me tell you why I am totally digging block heels, cause they are essentially flats with a lift and any girl who runs around in heels from 9-5 can understand why this is a welcome cheat!  Ive linked the exact heels down below!

What do you guys think about the camisole trend?  Wearing jammies to a party? I mean pretty ingenious, am I right?  Ok, now lets kick this upcoming four day work week in the teeth! ❤️

Oh before I forget, sorry I couldn't find a comp for this animal print duster.  I talk about how I scored this gem for $18 in a previous post which you can find here

Thanks for reading my loves. πŸ’‹

by LifeStyledbyErica 

Inject Some of You!

February 12, 2017

Let me tell you a story, I work in higher education as an administrator in a school of architecture.  When I first got the job, I was young and fairly inexperienced.  My predecessor was much older and I worried the people I supervised wouldn't take me seriously if I dropped my detached, business facade.  It took meeting my husband to understand that I could be me and not only keep their respect but maybe even gain their trust. All I had to do was allow myself to shine.  I could break the stereotype of what I thought the position called for and actually tailor the position to fit my personality.  Guess what? It worked!  I did it slowly.  I started by revealing little parts of myself, I allowed people to see my vulnerability, my humanity.  I started adding pictures of my family to my office.  I slowly began connecting with my colleagues AND students on a more personal level.  Recently, I had a conversation with a student who has seen my evolution and told me how unapproachable I seemed at first.  She said seeing my shares on social media and creating this blog has helped her see me in a different light and has allowed her to open up to me on another level.  This change has helped me too, its created a real opportunity to truly engage and have a positive impact in my students lives which enriches my overall professional experience.  Why am I telling you this? I am the sum of my parts.  I can be professional AND be creative.  I can be serious AND be as giddy as a school girl( I prefer the latterπŸ˜›).  I can love fashion AND still have depth.  Why choose, when I can be all of it?  Revealing parts of yourself and being vulnerable to possible rejection is about the most powerful thing you can do.  There is great strength in openness.  "Free your mind and the rest will follow." 

PS you can shop this look in my new Shop My Instagram tab!  I nearly pulled out all of my hair to get it right but I am getting SO good at this whole blogging thing.  

If you need help setting this up, holla at your girl.  I want all of us to succeed. πŸ’‹ Oh and don't forget to subscribe!  

Thanks for the read! XOXO

by LifeStyledbyErica 

Valentine's Day Looks in 1, 2, 3

February 7, 2017

Hi loves! I am really excited about Valentine's Day this year and it isn't clear to me why, cause Ive never really been big on this holiday.  Let me think this through.  Valentine's Day is a day we celebrate love, and not just love in a romantic relationship, although that is the Hallmark emphasis, its love shared in all relationships under the sun.  The relationships we share with others is part of what makes us human.  We are social beings and sharing our time and love with others is the foundation of our happiness.  

In celebrating that love I am sharing three looks with you today.  

Look #1: Fun night with the ladies.
Sort of inspired by Lady Gaga and her Superbowl halftime show oh and the fact that Ive been burning Paparazzi for two weeks!  I pulled this look together.  A pleated skirt is such a great investment piece, I know they are really trendy right now but Ive had this AnnTaylor skirt for years and it is so versatile.  You can dress it up or dress it down, it works with pumps, sneakers, booties the options are endless!  For this look I paired it with a graphic sweatshirt I picked up from Forever21 (sorry its no longer available, but I linked a similar option below) and a distressed denim jacket that I borrowed from my son (yes my son!), a pair of leather booties, sunnies and you are ready for the evening.  Such a fun and comfy look. 

Look #2: Dinner in the City 

I put this look together with a dinner date in a fancy downtown restaurant in mind. Valentines Day is on in the middle of the workweek (bah humbug) this look transitions from the office to a dinner date with really no effort at all.  You know me, I LOVE white! Its so chic, throw on a pale pink camisole under and you've got a soft romantic look your honey is going to love! 

Look #3: Out for Drinks 

Ok, so last but certainly not least, this look is fun, edgy and sexy. Rompers are so fun and easy to wear so when I caught this baby on sale on H&M's website (AKA my second home) from $50 to just $18, I clicked buy faster then you can say lifestyledbyerica! Now the only thing I must say about rompers is they can be tricky and unforgiving so the proper supportive underwear is key (spanx, ladies, Im talking about spanx!).  l

Whatever your status, whatever your plans and whatever you wear, remember this simple truth.  Love should be shared and cherished everyday, we don't need a holiday to remind us to tell someone how special they are and how much joy and happiness they bring us.  The love you share with your children, your spouse, your siblings, your parents, friends and coworkers should be cherished everyday.  There is love in your life in every relationship you have, each brings you a special lesson and adds dimension and meaning to your life.   Enjoy it!

Thanks for reading.  The hubby and I still don't have plans, got any suggestions? πŸ˜›

by LifeStyledbyErica ❤️

Thred-Up - A Love Story

February 3, 2017

I have GOT to let you in on a secret I've been keeping for three months! It's thredUp.  It has quickly become my go-to online site when I am looking to add a new piece to my wardrobe.  So their mantra is #secondhandfirst and what that means is they buy and sell gently used, name-brand clothes for women and children at a STEEP discount.  Their site also includes accessories, bags, shoes, coats...pretty much everything you need to  pull a look together.  I have purchased several items since November and I have loved EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE.  Some of the pieces include a leather Kate Spade shoulder bag, Kenneth Cole pumps and a "rockstar" floor length animal print top coat (I scored for $18!!!) from H&M, all pictured below.  Thinking second hand first not only provides some extra dollars in the bank BUT it is also environmentally friendly.  We have become such a "throw-away" society, we might not think about it since who doesn't love affordable but there is a larger price we pay.  The site provides great photos of the pieces and descriptions of the condition the pieces are in, best part?  thredUp offers easy and free returns within 14 days of receiving your package.  Seriously guys you won't regret taking a (very tiny) risk!  I was skeptical at first but I am here to say Ive blazed the path and I am reporting back..it is safe and smart to proceed.   Use this code here for $10 off your first purchase, full disclosure, I will get $10 applied to my account when you use this code. 

Thanks for reading my loves!  Don't forget to hit follow so you can receive emails whenever I post!  Oh and check out my Instagram for some looks I don't blog about. XOXO

by LifeStyledbyErica πŸ’‹ 

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