How to Style Patent Leather

December 23, 2018


Hello loves!  Can you believe we are at the end of 2018? Are you tired of hearing other people say the exact same thing? LOL , same.  Let's jump into this post, shall we?  I have wanted patent leather pants since forever but I never thought I could pull them off.  They seemed tight and tight for me equals uncomfortable.  But after seeing a few bloggers rock them, specifically scouthecity I thought to myself you don't have that body type but ahh what the hell get them anyway! ๐Ÿ˜Ž I found the pair I am rocking on H&M's website for $30 and I had a 20% discount code so SCORE!  Check out how I styled them in a video I shared here. For reference I ordered them in a size 8 because I really worried about them being too tight, turns out sizing up was a good idea.  These hit right above the belly button and have give in the hip and thigh area.


1) Classic Blazer








If you have been reading my blog for some time now you know that at least one style will include a blazer!  Blazers make any outfit look instantly put together.  Patent leather pants are a great alternative to jeans.  I can't say that I would wear this look to work but I would definitely rock this look out for dinner a girl's night or maybe a dress down Friday, if you think you can pull it off!



2. Oversized Sweater









Leggings + an oversized sweater is a no brainer.  Pair this look with pumps or booties and you are instantly chic AND you can hide that food belly you will surely have after living the holiday life for the past month. No judgement.  ๐Ÿ’‹

3. Denim Shirt Over a Tee








This is a great way to dress down a pair of patent leather leggings but still look like you tried.  Great for all of that holiday travel and holiday lounging.  I prefer this look with sneakers and a back pack to fit all my holiday snacking.  

Shop My Pants

Take a risk, buy the pants. If I can pull it off so can you!

Thanks for reading babes!
XOXO

 Until Next Time.

 LifeStyledbyErica

2018 Holiday Party Look Book

November 30, 2018




Hi loves! Coming at you, after scouring the internets๐Ÿ‘€, with some great holiday style inspo that I hope will help you with all your holiday party circuit needs.  I don't know about you but December is a busy month.  There is my office party, my husband's office party, colleagues holiday parties, dinners and then of course the actual holidays!  This year my family will be heading south for the holidays and by south I mean good ole Atlanta, Georgia!  I have never been and I am excited to spend some time with family but also doing some exploring while we are there.  Anyone have any recommendations? Leave them down below.  Anyway back to the purpose of this post.  My head spins as my calendar fills and I try to find looks that are appropriate for all of these occasions and of course finding things that can work for my professional engagements as well as my family engagements.  I am showing you how I styled these pieces on the gram, so go check that out.  Now lets jump in, shall we?

1. The Suit

Suits are soo versatile and worth your investment.  The suit I am wearing I purchased from Asos three years ago and I have never stopped incorporating the jacket or the cigarette pants into my office wear. You can style these pieces a hundred different ways and that alone justifies the price tag.  Here are some comparable options. 



2. Classic Jumpsuit 

I just added this jumpsuit to my wardrobe.  It is a thrifted find and it fits like a glove.  I love the built in support it has and I recently wore this jumpsuit for my Friendsgiving cocktail party.  It was hit and the best part was it was SOOO comfortable.  Adding a jumpsuit to your lineup is the easiest way to look put together and classic without any fuss at all.  Now, if you are thinking of wearing this strapless number to an office party I would recommend throwing on a blazer.  I work in higher ed and conservative is the name of the game.  Shop some comparable options. 


3. Show Stopping Body Con Dress 

This is also a new addition that, yes, I thrifted on thredup.com! I am telling you before you buy a cocktail dress, check out their options.  They have everything from cocktail to gala event styles for a fraction of the price.  I am talking about almost BRAND NEW designer dresses for a steal!  I think every woman should have a dress that just fits them like a glove that they can pull out for a night out on the town.  This is a great option for a New Years party or a fun girl's night out.  Shop some comparable options below.  




I hope you enjoyed this post and find it helpful when planning your holidays looks this year.  

Until next time, don't forget to subscribe to my blog and follow me on instagram and facebook so you can stay in touch between posts. 


by LifeStyledbyErica ๐Ÿ’‹

Currently In: Media and Entertainment November Round-Up

November 16, 2018



I realize this is only my second installation of "Currently In" but can I say it is my favorite series yet! In case you missed the first one Ive linked it here.  So "Currently In" is where I share my monthly finds in all things entertainment i.e. books, podcasts, movies, tv shows, online articles, clothes, makeup..basically any and everything I can get my hands on.  I love doing the leg work and scouring the internet for things to share with you guys.  So lets jump in shall we?

Current Read: Frankenstein 







I will admit I never read this classic before.  I had seen a few versions of it on the big screen before decided I should add it to my list after it was referenced in another book I shared with you in my first currently in post.  It is a classic novel written by Mary Shelley at a time when women weren't believed to capable of such an act!  She actually told by her, would be publisher, that a woman could never think of such a story and so her husband must have written it! I know don't get me started.๐Ÿ‘ฟ  I thought it was the perfect read especially as we are moving into the fall where the days are shorter, it feels like a bit of a scarier time all around so why not introduce some horror into my reading?  Let me start by saying the monster isn't the monster at all.  If you haven't read this book, what are you waiting for?

Current Podcast: Radiolab







WNYC's Radiolab is a GREAT podcast to add to your favorites.  They talk about all sorts of fascinating topics and what I love the most is they don't seek to explain it, only probe the question leaving listeners to see a topic in a totally different way.  A close friend of mine had recommended I listen to a three part series called, In the No, where they explored sexual consent, specifically times when a woman is with a partner and doesn't want to have sex but her male counterpart doesn't take her no as final and so continues his advances until they ultimately have sex.  I found this conversation to be fascinating, I mean who hasn't been in that type of situation? You like a guy, you want to hang out with him but you aren't interested in doing anything more than maybe cuddling and some kissing and he decides he is turned on and continues to pursue the issue until you concede.  It is thought provoking and upsetting if I am honest, but I love that these things are even being discussed in mainstream culture.  They also have a series on sexuality, it is a great podcast to check out I promise!


Currently on Netflix: Five Foot Two







You know last month I was all about Lady Gaga after seeing A Star is Born and obsessing over the soundtrack so when I saw this documentary on my netflix queue I was all about it! So "Five Foot Two",  follows Gaga as she adds the final touches to her 2016 album Joanne and prepares for her 2017 Super Bowl performance.  She is completely bare in this documentary although in my opinion also a little, oh whats the word, self serving, maybe?  I am no newbie to the documentary genre and they can really shape public perception.  I know honesty when they see it, but I felt this seemed a little forced, a little scripted.  When Gaga first dropped on the scene I found her completely over the top with all of her crazy costumes, seeking attention not so much for her talent, although she is full of it, but for her shock value, she admits to that and she is asking that we allow her to grow and evolve from that persona.  I get it, do you boo boo.

Currently on HBO:  Insecure Season 3

 







I LOVE me some Issa and Molly and while I will admit the first episode of Season 3 did not grab my attention, even though I had a viewing party to commemorate the occasion, this season was the best so far!  The season is only 8 episodes and all episodes are 30 minutes long so I decided to to just binge watch the whole season on one Saturday morning.  I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long because this season was amazing!  If you haven't seen season 1 and 2, DO IT!  Season 3 digs deeper into their friendships, relationships, careers while exploring themes of gentrification, racism and sexism.

Currently in Music: Chicano Batman Freedom is Free



This Mexican American band out of California is everything and a bag of chips!  Their music is unapologetically political and a big F.U. to this government's demonization of our immigrant population.  While the lyrics are emotionally charged, the music is upbeat and infectious.  My favorite is their bilingual spin on This Land is Your Land which they shared in a commercial for Johnnie Walker's Black Label which you can watch here .  They are definitely a band to watch out for.

Currently in Mental Health: Why Do I Feel Sad for No Reason?








This is a little bit different but definitely worth a share!  I stumbled on this article and shared it with a few friends who loved it!  This article introduces the concept of an emotional cold, you know those times where you feel melancholy for a spell with no good reason.  You aren't going through anything at the moment that might cause this sadness and yet there it is!  It happens and this article proves it is more than ok.  Enjoy loves!

Currently Purchased: 

Finally I can't leave you without sharing some of my latest acquisitions!  If yesterday's snow storm in NYC was any indication of the winter we are in for you better start filling your carts with warm and cozy coats, hats and knits! Shop my favs including my look with the shoppable links below! 


So there you have it my, November round up.

Until next time, don't forget to subscribe to the blog so you can get my posts sent straight to your inbox and follow me on instagram and like my page on FB.


XOXO ๐Ÿ’‹

by LifeStyledbyErica


Practicing Self Care During the Holidays

November 14, 2018



Holidays! You either love them or you hate them and that pendulum can swing back and forth every year.  The truth is, the holidays can be an especially difficult time for many, many people, myself included.  This time last year I hated the question, "what are you doing for the holidays?" easy enough question, right? Harmless even? But the truth is this time last year I was in the very beginning of the most difficult time of my life.  I shared some of it in my last post which you can read here.  It was right around late October that things were falling apart with my son compounded with the biggest falling out with my mother, sister and father so having them over for the holidays was not an option.  This is life, right?  Throwing curve balls at you around the most "wonderful time of the year".  I want to share with you a few things that helped me get through the holidays last year in the hopes that this reaches someone who feels alone and distraught.  I will preface this list by saying that pain is very real and the only around past the pain is right through it.  This list is in no way meant to undermind a struggle or a loss in your life right now, these are merely things I learned to practice to help keep my head above water.

1. Take a Social Media Break

This seems like a no brainer and it might seem cliche by now but stay off of social media.  Last year when I would go onto FB or instagram and scroll through pages of happy faces filled with laughter and warmth, big families, big feasts and not a care in the world it made me feel bad.  Don't get me wrong, I was happy for all of my friends but it made me feel my own perceived loss even more.  Everyone else has this, why can't I? Why is this simple thing unattainable to me? Why can't I have these relationships with my family?  I mean it can really make you spiral into an endless rabbit hole of comparison and shame.  Why do it to yourself?  Sure those photos are real, they are happening but it is the best of what is happening, you don't know what they are really going through.  Life is much more complicated and messy but we seem to forget that as we are scrolling.  Just unplug, be present in your life.  

2. Do More of What Makes You Happy

Pain is real but so is joy and you can find that in the things you love to do even during the difficult times.  Some distraction is fine, its healthy even.   Read a book. Watch your favorite movie and make it special somehow.  I am not kidding you but on Valentine's Day, when I found myself single my favorite tradition was watching Goodfellas!  It was one of the best mafia movie ever made and the complete opposite of love, same thing for the holidays.  I am not saying watch crime movies although I would recommend them, watch some genre that you love.  Don't watch a movie that is going to mirror your pain, if that makes sense.  Plan some friend time.  Last year I made sure to meet up and have a meal or a glass of wine or a cup of coffee with my closest friends before ringing in the new year.  Everyone is busy during the holidays but putting some things on the calendar right around this time before everyone goes off can be so important.  

3. Get and Stay Physical 

I am not even kidding with this one.  Get thee to the gym, get thee to a yoga class, get thee to a soul cycle class, get thee arse up and head to the track.  I know I am making light of this one but I can't tell you how important it is to get your body moving!  You've heard this all before, endorphins, serotonin all of those good hormones, you get them during a good ole fashion sweat session.  If you don't already have a workout regiment or you think you don't have the time, you do!  Trust me, I shared in this post a 28 minute at home workout you can do with minimal equipment.  This time last year I was hitting the gym at least 3 to 4 times a week for a good cardio session and some weights.  It was my sanity.  It was an hour or so that I tuned the world and bad thoughts out and focused on the music in my ear and motion of my body.  Seriously, get physical.  Your whole outlook will change.  


4. Find Things in Your Life to Be Grateful For.  

I know this can be difficult but there is always something to be grateful for every day.  It can be as simple as getting a parking spot in front of your home, or not hitting traffic on the way home, or being grateful for an extra blanket to keep you warm at night.  My point is that where there is life, there is hope so even being grateful for waking up every morning and being able to get out of bed is a win.  The things to be grateful for can be that granular. There are so many things in our lives that we just take for granted, people at work that always welcome you to the office with a smile, or ask you if you want to join them on a lunch order, or take time to share with you pictures of their children or grandchildren.  Those interactions are special, they add value to our lives.  We have to see that and count that as a blessing.  Last year an older faculty member stopped by my office for a chat.  This was an especially rough day for me.  She didn't know it when she stopped in but I had been crying and just trying to keep it together.  She sat down at my table and shared some photos of her 1 year old granddaughter and she was just beaming.  She looked at me and saw the tears in my eyes and asked me what was wrong.  I told her I was going through a very difficult time and my son had moved out.  She held my hand and said, "Oh Erica, I am so sorry." She said when she went through a particularly difficult time in her life she kept a journal.  Every night she told me I had to make an entry and share my raw feelings, a sort of letter to Tyler.  She assured me everyday would be different, some days I would be mad, nostalgic, regretful, reflective and the list of emotions go on, but it would be a safe place to share that pain.  I took her advice and it did help especially on the darker days.  Ok, I realize this is turning into a "start a journal" tip and yes you can take that away from this one, but the point is that she stopped in when she didn't even know I needed it.  I am grateful for people like her in my life and we all have these people in our lives if we look close enough.  Little angels that just seem to swoop in and offer a shoulder when we need it the most.  


I will stop there, four is a nice round number.  For those who are reading and are in a really good place, thats wonderful, honestly you are blessed but just bear in mind that there are others who are not.  Holidays bring out all sorts of feelings, and we can't assume they are all good because that is what the Hallmark channel is pimping out to us 24/7 since October.  Realize life is complicated and tricky and we all need to be kinder, more mindful and more self aware.  With this in mind instead of asking someone at your office party or in passing "so what are you doing for the holidays?" ask, "so how are you doing today?".  A seemingly easy question but a much more generous one.

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Thank you for reading.  

Until next time..

by LifeStyledbyErica๐Ÿ’‹

I Am A Bad Mom: This Time Last Year

November 2, 2018



Where do I start this post? From the beginning, I guess.  This time last year was an extremely difficult time in my life and if you have read my blog you know I have had many, who hasn't? But it felt like this was different, this time would break me and possibly everything I had worked so hard for.  As you all know I am the mother of a 19 year old son and last year lawdy, lawdy.  I don't want to go into great detail but I will say that my husband and I were in a struggle for my son's future.  We had been here before, but when a child turns 18 years old the rules are slightly different.  We can't necessarily ground him for questionable behavior.  We can set ground rules and norms but we have to allow him space to explore himself and who he is becoming, where he is going, what he wants to do, I mean it is a lot for a young person to figure out.  Around this time last year he was working a part time job at a supermarket while he was attending a community college full time.  I thought it was important for him to maintain employment while attending school to keep him occupied and focused on the prize.  His choice in friends were questionable and his choice in lifestyle was also worrisome.  We tried on so many occasions to get through to him and it felt as if it fell on deaf ears.  My husband and I would spend so many hours talking through our feelings, making plans, trying new ways to get through to our young man.  Maybe if we give him some space, get less emotionally charged, allow him the time to figure things out but at the same time setting parameters that would keep him safe.  I recall feeling hopeless at times and other times feeling like I haven't done enough. I haven't thought through this enough, even though it occupied every single waking hour of my day.  It consumed me.  I reached out to my father at a very low time and shared with him what we were up against and tried to recruit him to reach out and talk to our son.  He agreed and tried to reach out but our son wouldn't answer and never returned the call.

Then a family drama that had been brewing for about two years unraveled at my weakest moment.  I had the biggest argument with my mother.  She said terrible things to me, things you just don't say to another woman, a mother, and your own child.  But especially at this particular moment when I was in crisis with my own child it was an even deeper cut in an already open wound.  I was reminded that hurt people hurt people and I could no longer allow this in my life.  I needed to focus on my family and my son specifically.  At this very same time my husband's youngest brother suffered a sudden and shocking brain aneurysm and was rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery.  My husband jumped in his car and took the 12 hour drive to Atlanta to be with his family.  I stood behind to be with our boys until he could send word back.  To say we were in a dark place is not saying enough.  When someone close to you, younger than you suffers this type of medical emergency you realize your own mortality.  Life is not guaranteed to anyone.  It is this precious gift we are given every day we open our eyes to welcome a new day.  You realize in these moments that what you are holding on to or holding against someone else is trapping you and stealing your happiness.  This is all to say that life doesn't wait until you are done with one crisis to throw you with another.  Quiet often you are thrown a few at the same time that will test your resolve.

Back to the original story, my son.  Well a lot was going on in our home, there was a lot of tension, a lot of worry, a lot of everything.  The holiday season approached and it was a lonely one.  I cut off all communication with my family and my in laws where spending the holidays with their son in Atlanta. My husband and I decided to have a small dinner for us at home and I invited a good friend over for dinner.  I tried my best to keep my spirits up but I struggled luckily I was surrounded by people I didn't have to pretend around.  The dinner went well but my son left half an hour before dinner was served.    He had been home all day and didn't mention having plans. I was upset and hurt.  I don't remember much of the rest of the evening but I know I remember crying myself to sleep that night.  The whole thing blew into an even bigger crisis later that weekend, again I don't want to go into too many details because it involves my son's life and that is not my story to tell.  I will just say it got REALLY bad.  I found out my son had quit school and pretend to be going for the past month.  He had no plans of telling me or returning in the spring.  There was a lot I found out that day that I didn't know.  I was devastated and I thought I wouldn't make it.  I was on the verge of losing my only son.  I had no control over anything that was happening.

About a week later I had to make the toughest decision of my life and ask my son to leave our home.  I thought he would move in with his father and this would shake some sense into him.  This plan would show him how much good he had in his life and cause him to reflect and want to come home.  I will tell you now, that this was NOT an easy decision to come to and my husband was not consulted in the making of this decision.  I decided and shared with him what I thought was best and he supported me as he always does.  My son decided to move out the next morning in a hurry with my father waiting outside for him.  I felt betrayed by my parents for giving him an easy way out and not even talking to us about what was going on.  At the same time it gave me peace of mind knowing that he would be safe.  The next few weeks were tough.  I had barely any communication with my child, or my family and I was trying to recover from what had happened.  I missed my son and longed for his phone call or his visit or some sign that he had some understanding of all of this.  My husband and I tried to return to some normalcy but proceeded with caution.  We traveled early in 2018 to Iceland and being able to get away from our routine for that week and take in all of the beautiful landscapes and just being together meant so much.  My husband and my closest friends treaded softly but always checked in to see where I was and how I was feeling which would instantly bring tears to my eyes.  I confessed some days I felt completely hopeless and other days I believed it was all going to be ok.  I was seeing a therapist very regularly and I also started my I am a Bad Mom series  all in an effort to work through my pain and try to understand where it all went wrong.  As the winter past and spring sprang I was feeling closer to who I was and feeling like although everything was not what I hoped for yet, having faith in God and our (my son and I) relationship.  I am his mother, I raised him, I have loved him and taken care of him his whole life, surely that means something.

Where we are a year later. 

I got a call from my son in July right before my birthday, he called to tell me he was sorry for going silent for so long but he had a good reason.  He had just completed his Marine Corp Bootcamp and was graduating in a few days.  He was flying into NY and wanted to take me out for a birthday lunch.  My heart melted and so many emotions flooded in.  When I saw him, a lot had changed but a lot hadn't.  He is currently stationed in Missouri.  We are not where we once were and we are not where I would like us to be but I believe in this process.   I believe in myself as a parent and in my son as a person.   We are working on our relationship.  I am learning boundaries and remaining available and open to my son when he is ready.  He is on a journey all his own, and in a way we both are.  We are living our lives for the first time, separately and its been hard but I also know it is very necessary.

I am in a totally different place than I was this time last year and all I can say is how grateful I am to everyone who picked me up, dusted me off and put me back on my path.  I dont know exactly what I did to deserve except to say I have had my fair share of heartache and maybe this is the universe's way of giving me a break.

I am sharing this because I went through this privately.  I didn't share my pain with the world, only my close circle.  Growing pains are real.  Change is hard and even though it was one of the most painful things I have ever gone through, I am still standing.  It has not broken me and instead has given me a whole new perspective on parenting, love and life in general.  There was so much I thought for sure I had control over.  I have spent the last year letting myself off the hook.  Allowing myself this time of nonjudgemental reflection.  Did I do everything right? Did I make all of the best decisions? That is for no one to judge and personally a waste of time because that time has passed.  Of course I have spent most of this time reflecting because its important to understand how you got to a certain place but I DO NOT spend my time exploring those moments in regret.  I know who I am.  I know my intentions.  I also know I cant undo any of it.  The only thing I can do is learn from it.   I am a different person than I was a year ago.  You don't go through something like that and not be changed by it.  I am a stronger, wiser, much more confident and grounded person.  I am finding my voice in a lot of different areas and I couldn't get to this place without my experience.  I have learned so much about my husband and the strength and resilience of our marriage and I am eternally grateful to him every single day.  I have never felt closer to another human being and so secure in his love for me and his commitment to our marriage as I have this past year.

We all fear the unknown, we fear change, but it is exactly in those times when you are facing those fears that you grow exponentially if you just release control and allow for life to take shape.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post.  This space has helped me so much this past year, it has been a distraction, a creative outlet, an inspiration and so much more so thank you for your endless support!  I look forward to continued evolution.

Until next time.

By LifeStyledbyErica

The Six Scariest Horror Movies of ALL TIME (according to me)

October 27, 2018



Do you love horror as much as I do?  Horror was one of the things my mother and I had in common.  We loved a great horror movie!  Now before you cast any judgement she, like many parents, tried to shield my young and impressionable eyes from anything scary for as long as she could until one day my sister and I wore her down.  She decided if we insisted on watching a scary movie she would show us THE scariest movie ever made! The movie that caused many adults endless nights filled with nightmares after its release in theaters, The Exorcist!  Have you heard of it, of course you have! They have made a million versions of The Exorcist but I am referring to the Linda Blair version released in 1973.  We all sat down in the living room in the middle of a Saturday afternoon when my mother pressed play on the VCR but not before she said to us(she loves building up the drama, something else we have in common), " I warned you, this is the scariest movie ever made! Remember you asked for this so if you have nightmares it isn't my fault!"  (I might be making some of that up, I mean I was a kid but you get the gist.)  My sister and I sat on the sofa together, nervous about what we were about to watch, my mother watched for our reactions with pressed lips.  Well, I don't want to build too much drama here but lets just say we pissed my mother off when we started laughing our butts off as Linda Blair's head turned a full 360 degrees.  After my mother got over her initial anger at our silliness she and I became horror movie buddies.  My sister dropped out of the horror movie club after The Exorcist so it was something my mother and I would do together, just the two of us.  My mother and I followed The Exorcist with one of my all time favorite horror films, A Nightmare on Elm Street, the 1984 version of course!

I am prefacing this post with that story to set my credentials.  I have been watching horror for years, so I know a good one from a bad one.  I don't think horror should be reserved for fall or halloween but I understand we gravitate to the genre as the days get shorter, the nights grow longer, the temperature drops, and the trees are barren, its time to get cozy.  We all know the "classics" some I have already mentioned, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so I am not going to bore you with listing movies that are on everyone's "scariest horror movies" list.  Now this list might include one or two movies you have heard of but I am positive you will find at least one or two you have never heard of cause I have been doing my research!  So without further adieu and in no particular order, my TOP 6 Scariest Horror Movies of ALL TIME:

1. The Babadook


 This movie explores the pain and frustration of a recently widowed single mother with a very unique and strange son with a vivid imagination.  The mother's loneliness is palpable and although this is a horror movie where horrible things happen to this small family, the real horror is the pain and utter loneliness of raising a "difficult" child as a poor working class woman. Trust me when I tell you this movie will haunt you for days and YOU will recommend it to your friends and family around the Thanksgiving table. Available on Netflix.  

2. The Strangers 

 The Strangers is based on a true story and stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a doomed couple staying at a remote family home in the woods after a failed proposal {awkward}.  The location itself is enough to create tension and anxiety but the tension between these two people throws viewers over the edge.  With all this tension cooked into the plot, there is a knock at the door.  A young woman stands on the other side of the door and asks, "Is Tamara home?" weird, but nothing to run for the hills, at least not yet.  I will say this, I have watched this movie several times and every single time I do I have asked myself the same question, "Why do you do this to yourself, Erica?"  Available on Netflix. 

3. The Shining 

Ok, I know what you are thinking, but I told you you would know at least two of the movies on my list!  Also, the last three movies have "the" in the title which I didn't notice until I hyperlinked this last title,  but I digress.  A writer named Jack Torrence, agrees to take care of a resort tucked away in the mountains with his wife and step son for the long, cold winter months.  They are all alone and well really bizarre things happen as Jack begins to have a mental breakdown.  I couldn't leave The Shining off of this list, why you might ask? Simple.  I underrated this movie for most of my life.  I didn't understand the power and the sheer horror of it all, I just thought it was a really long movie that didn't go anywhere until the last 30 minutes.  That might still be true, but director Stanley Kubrick is playing with the audience, he is building the tension and anticipation like few others could.  Side note: This is a blended family, Danny is not Jack's biological son and that complicates the story in ways my younger self couldn't understand or fully appreciate.  Also available on Netflix. 

4. Veronica

This was dubbed Spain's answer to The Conjuring, sure I can see that but the comparison shortchanges this film.  This Spanish film is said to have been inspired by true events and follows a young high school student who is the oldest sister of two siblings she is basically left to raise.  She becomes possessed with an unholy spirit she has conjured up after taking a spin of a ouija board.  This film is emotionally charged and full of horror as she tries her very best to protect her siblings and warn her mother of what is happening.  Most of the film is shot in daylight which can be odd for a horror movie but it adds an eerie quality and reminds us all that bad things can happen at any time.  This movie is subtitled and so worth the work.  It has a fresh take on a old hat trick.  Also available on Netflix.  

5. Inside 

I will admit that I hesitated adding this to my list but my husband insisted it should have a place on my list of "scariest horror movies of ALL TIME" so here it is.  This movie is disturbing on many, many levels.  It is not often that a movie centers around a woman currently in her third trimester and very, very pregnant.  The things this woman endures are horrific, this is a true horror film because the horror isn't perpetrated by a boogey man, it is by another woman.  Proceed with caution on this one, I promise you it isn't for everybody.  

6. Martyrs 

We have come to the end of my list and probably the most depraved film I have ever watched. I know I said in the opening I was listing the movies in no particular order, turns out I lied.   This French psychological thriller is EXTREMELY disturbing and was controversial when it was released in 2008.  The plot goes something like this, there are a group of rich sickos who pay others to kidnap and torture victims to the brink of death in order to find a Martyr, it is hard to explain but it is basically the moment of peace after much suffering and right before your death.  Ugh, it is so disturbing on so many levels, American film makers can't hold a candle to the depravity of French film makers and that isn't an insult.  I love a horror but this film dips its toes in really gruesome, sadistic territory I would prefer never to see the likes of again. 

And there you have it kids, the six scariest horror movies of ALL TIME (according to me).  Tell me what you think in the comments below.  Did I miss a movie you think should have been on this list, drop it in the comments below.  

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together.  

Until next time. 

Love, 

LifeStyledbyErica 





Fall Skin Care Routine

October 23, 2018




Fall is here and yes that means pumpkin lattes, chunky knits, over the knee boots and berets but colder air also means less moisture in the air which can lead to dry, patchy skin, at least for me it does. I have sensitive skin with some redness around my cheeks.  I have to be careful with the products I use all year round but my skin is especially vulnerable in the fall and winter.  In order to combat that  I switch up my skin care routine to meet the demands of the winter air.  Today I want to share those products along with some skin care tips.



You may remember from this post I was head over heels when I discovered argan oil!  I still am don't get me wrong, but argan oil works perfectly for my skin during the spring and summer seasons when my skin tends to be naturally moisturized and even slightly oily.  I realize it seems counter intuitive to add oil to oily skin but trust me, it works for me.  In the cooler months I make a switch to a rich cream moisturizer like A Perfect World by Origins which retails for about $45 and can be purchased online or at any Ulta, Macy's or Sephora.  A good friend of mine who happens to be a kick ass manager at Ulta and an all around beauty guru suggested I try A Perfect World after I had tried the Origins Ginzing and it almost immediately dried out my skin.  The reviews on the Ginzing cream are universally good but in my case with my skin type it wasn't a match.  It could be for you so I linked some options to try below and share with you a step by step morning and evening skin care routine with shapable links.

Products I Use:



Morning Routine = Toner + Origins Cream + Cetaphil Red Relieving Daily Moisturizer (see below) followed by everyday makeup. 

Night Routine = Micellar 3 in 1 Cleanser (to gently remove my makeup) + Clean & Clear Facial Cleanser (in the shower) + Origins Cream + Cetaphil Red Relieving Night Moisturizer (this stuff is AMAZE BALLS and can't be beat for the price!) 






Full Disclousure: These photos are not edited in ANY way, no filters, no face tune, just good light and a simple skin care routine that has been doing wonders!  All I am wearing in these photos and actually all I have been wearing on my skin for weeks is the daily facial moisturizer posted in the carousel above.  I don't use any foundation, I don't need to.  


Shop My Look!

SKIN CARE TIPS

I talked about this on instagram earlier this week, caring for your skin doesn't start or end with an expensive cream.  Skin is the human body's largest organ and like all of your other organs you must care for it from within with proper diet and exercise.  As you have read herehere and here for the last seven months I have lived a vegetarian lifestyle.  I make a green juice almost every morning, recipe can be found here.  I eat a ton of vegetables, fish, nuts, beans, lots of good fats like avocado, salmon, salads dripped with olive oil, just good fresh food.  I drink and have always drank lots of water.  Recently I have been trying to cut back on my caffeine intake and swap out my afternoon coffee for a peppermint tea with honey.  As I shared with you a few months ago in this post I started the Beach Body Program better known as the BBG program.  I am currently in my 12th week and I have to tell you a good sweat session is just what you need to get those toxins out of your body so you can get that natural glow.  

Lifestyle is so important to your the health of your skin, hair, nails and your overall well-being.  

In my next post I will share the reasons why I started the BBG program and what has kept me on the program consistently for the last 12 weeks.  I'll give you a hint, it isn't cause I hate my body.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks for reading oh and don't miss a post, subscribe to my blog AND follow me on instagram


Until next time,


LifeStyledbyErica 

I'm Going in a New Direction

October 15, 2018



You might have noticed from the description in my instagram bio that I am pivoting from defining myself as a fashion blogger into something that has deeper meaning for me.   For a long time, probably since I started this blog, I questioned what I wanted to offer my readers and whether or not it was true to who I was.  Yes, I love fashion. No, I don't live to shop nor do I want to seduce you into buying what I am wearing, although I am happy to share. ๐Ÿ’• Yes, I love skincare and beauty. No, I don't love to spend half my mortgage on it.  I craved to create a space of honesty, vulnerability and self love.  Throughout this blogging journey the posts I have loved to write the most are the ones that challenged me, scared me and in many ways healed me.  I worried what others might think and how their perceptions of me might change after reading my stories of being a teen mom with an abusive boyfriend or whether or not I could share a piece of my story as a sexual abuse survivor or my struggle prioritizing my health and gyn visits.  Turns out those are the posts you love the most.  They are raw and honest and connect us in ways that seem so important now.  I would receive messages like, "oh my god, I had no idea", or "wow, you have been through so much" or "thank you for sharing, your story has helped me" and it made my heart smile.

We are a full year past the #metoo movement and just last week a Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual assault was sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court following a public, televised hearing the world was watching.  It can deflate, stigmatize and further isolate survivors.  I know now more than ever what my purpose is in this online space.  I am an educated, professional career woman, happily married with an adult son who is a US Marine, a teenage stepson and a beautiful pup named Timmy.  I am a full 8 years past the trauma of abusive relationships and in the most healthy and fulfilling relationship of my life but I will never be completely healed of the trauma I endured and still suffer with the residue of those experiences.  I am safe, loved and finally in a place in my life where I can share my stories with women and men who are currently suffering through abuse or beginning to heal from it.

I understand above all that happiness and mental well being is an inside job and it starts with prioritizing yourself, feeding your body and soul with goodness everyday.  I will continue to work on sharing stories that make me feel uncomfortable but know are important and meaningful to you in an effort to break the stigma of a victim of abuse.  And I won't just be sharing those stories, I also care deeply about mental health issues and breaking those stigmas.    I will share my own struggles with self love and body positivity because I believe all of these are connected.   I will share affirmations and daily inspiration that inspire me to love myself exactly the way I am in the hopes that it will inspire you to love yourself too.  I hope you will continue to follow me on this journey and know you have a friend in me.  I know the pain. I know the loneliness. I also know there is light ahead.

For anyone currently suffering through abuse please know you aren't alone.  It isn't your fault.  You are deserving of a life filled with happiness and love.  You can still thrive and live a life of intention and purpose.

Please follow along on my journey by subscribing to my blog and for daily inspiration follow me on instagram.

By LifeStyledbyErica

Currently In: Media and Entertainment Round-up

October 13, 2018



Hello lovies! If you follow me on instagram, you don't? Do it now by clicking here. Ok so I am always sharing movies I am watching, music I am loving, books I am currently reading, podcasts I can't get enough of and all of life's in-between's on my instastories.  There is so much media and entertainment to consume it can feel overwhelming so I love getting recommendations from people and I thought you might too! As we know unless you mark them as a highlight, instastories are gone in 24 hours which I guess makes sense so I thought why not a more permanent home, like say MY BLOG! Let's jump in.


Current Podcast: Serial 

 Specifically the third season.  Serial host, Sara Koenig and her team tackle the entire criminal justice system, well actually the Cleveland criminal justice system but there are similarities that extend beyond the Cleveland system that are comparable to the entire US justice system.  Sara spends time with those accused, the arresting police (sometimes), their lawyers, the prosecutors,  and the judges.  How easily pleas are negotiated by those not affected, the minimal evidence that is needed and the speed in which "justice" is served. series explores the "extraordinary stories of ordinary cases."  I am absolutely LOVING this podcast.  Currently the series is on episode 5, with new episodes released every Thursday.  

Currently Reading: No One Cares About Crazy People

 Author and journalist Ron Powers, explores mental illness with a personal, heartbreaking twist, both his sons are diagnosed with schizophrenia.  I just started this read but as a person who has dealt with mental illness in my own family, this book explores mental illness with such care it is hard to put it down.  Mental illness affects more people in our society then we really care to explore or admit, education is key.  Humanizing the mentally ill and beginning with their humanity is key to supporting and caring for our especially vulnerable.  

Currently in the Theaters: A Star is Born

 A Star is Born was released last week and after all the buzz I knew I had to check it out!  The hubby and I got our tickets and caught a matinee showing over the long weekend.  This movie is everything you have heard and more.  Both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga give Oscar worthy performances.  The movie is beautifully shot and takes a bit of a short cut when exploring mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse although its effects are evident.  The music is, well its my next favorite...

Currently Listening to: A Star is Born Soundtrack

 When the first single, Shallow, was released a week before the movie I scrambled to download it.  I hadn't even seen the movie and the song brought me to tears.  Lady Gaga sings with such vulnerability its hard not to feel it.  Well the soundtrack only got better after I saw the movie and now I am waiting for Bradley to come out with his own album. ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜

Currently On Netflix: Nappily Ever After

 Sanaa Lathan is exceptional in her portrayal of woman who on the surface seemed to have it all until she hit rockbottom and was forced to give herself a closer look.  Nappily Ever After, adapted from a book of the same title written by Trisha R. Thomas, explores black women's relationship with their hair and every women's relationship with their image.  Full disclosure: I cried and you will too.  

Currently Purchased: 

Finally I can't leave you without sharing some current closet adds, can I? My favorite on this carousel are the H&M denim, they are lightweight and easy to move in and most importantly, for me anyway, the color I have been desperately trying to add to my jean collection!  

I think I will leave it there so I can save something for the next installation of "currently in". Until next time, don't forget to subscribe to the blog and follow along on instagram.

Until next time,

By LifeStyledbyErica

Let's Get Candid: My Abusive Ex's Girlfriend Reached Out

October 8, 2018



The last two weeks have been really tough for me and countless of other survivors of sexual assault, domestic and emotional abuse.  I, like many others, was glued to Dr. Ford's testimony of her sexual assault at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh.  Needless to say but I will anyway, I believe her.  I have shared with you my experience with surviving trauma in this post a little over a year ago.  I also shared bits of that relationship in my I am a Bad Mom series but that was just the first relationship I had.  I had a second significant relationship that lasted on and off for about 5 years.  Not only was it 100% dysfunctional, it was also emotionally and sexually abusive.  I won't go into too many details in this post because if I am honest I have not taken the time to unpack the trauma I experienced.  I am a full eight years "past" it and in a loving relationship with my husband, a new life, a fresh start when I was contacted by his current ex girlfriend and the woman with whom he shares a child with last weekend and realized how easily the memories and trauma came flooding back.

As I said before I don't want to go into too much detail but I do want to highlight some of my experience in this relationship because emotional abuse isn't always what we think it might be.  A man or woman yelling, cursing and degrading you privately and in front of others, although that happens too. Abusers aren't always raging alcoholics or drug addicts, although sometimes they are.  They are respected and well liked by others.  They are your neighbors, your co-workers, your classmates, they are your relatives.  They are people you admire. They are well educated and have great careers.   Unlike my first relationship, I was not scared of my abusive boyfriend at least not for my physical safety.   The abuse I endured was often subtle at times and it can be hard to point out while you are living it.  I know that was the case for me and why this relationship lasted for nearly five years off and on.   My ex was addicted to pornography (he would watch hours and hours of porn a day and even make his own videos by cutting and pasting parts from his favorite videos), this "past time" desensitized him and made me a sexual object.  He had unrealistic expectations based on what he was watching.   He was insidiously manipulative and never took anything I said at its face value.  He was convinced that I never meant what I said and he had to decode it for me.  Can you begin to imagine how frustrating that can be?  When he couldn't get a "win" he would say things to break me down.  He knew my abusive past and would use it against me.  He constantly called me insecure and damaged.  He tried to convince me my feelings about our relationship were just residual feelings   from past relationships I was projecting in my current relationship with him.  And while it is true that my relationships were abusive, what I was now experiencing was equally abusive.  His failure to accept his actions and responsibilities distorted and minimized my experience and feelings.

As one would imagine a person like I have just described would be incapable of accepting the relationship is over.  He didn't respect the boundaries I placed on him.  I asked him to not contact me, or stop by my home or job.  He didn't respect any of those requests.  He would call and text all the time, I had to block him.  He would stop by my apartment and make a scene when I wouldn't let him in.  I lived there alone with my son.  It was scary.  He would send emails, dm's, he even joined the gym I started attending.  Things got weird.  He didn't admit to joining my gym to get close to me, instead he lied, per usual.  He would make up excuses and emergencies to get me to reach out to him. None of it was true.  Getting this man out of my life was difficult and not because I couldn't get over him but because he refused to believe it was over.  So when his new, ex girlfriend reached out I wasn't surprised to hear that nothing had changed.  He had just transferred his energy and time into a new "victim".  At first when I read her message I was conflicted.  Do I want to invite this drama into my life?  Do I really want to befriend this woman or get involved in their business.  The answer to those questions were no, but I sensed her desperation and it reminded me of myself all those years ago.  It can be very isolating and not a lot of people really understand the damage unless they have experienced the pain.  So I returned the message.  I assured her she wasn't crazy and this was definitely a pattern.  He had convinced her our breakup was mutual and we ended on great terms.  I assured her that wasn't true either.

We just exchanged a few messages and she thanked me for responding.  She said it made her feel sane.  Those short exchanges haunted me for a few days.  I felt great compassion for this woman, her child and the long road they have ahead.  I also felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  Grateful for the life I now have with a man who treats me with unconditional love, respect and patience.

I am sharing this because I know how important it is to read these stories when you are in the thick of it.  I know it is hard but it has the ability to bring comfort and strength to people who need it the most.  If you need help, there is an emotional abuse/crisis text line you can use to get in contact with a trained crisis counselor.  Follow this link or text CONNECT to 741741.

Thank you for reading.  Please don't forget to subscribe and follow me on instagram.

Until next time.

by LifeStyledbyErica


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