The Upside of Failure

February 26, 2018

When the universe speaks to you you must listen and if you are a blogger, you must share!  I am in the middle of an evolution and in the last few weeks the universe has been beating me over the head with positive messages redefining my perception of failure.  Signs have come to me in books, a conference I attended last week, youtube videos, on my social media feeds oh and lets not forget Will Smith!!.. I mean they have literally been everywhere.  We define failure as a negative experience.  I was raised on, "failure is NOT an option". Have you heard that one before?  Well, I 100% no longer agree with that.  Failure is where it is at!  You want to fail and as Will Smith so wisely put it, Fail Early. Fail Often. Fail Forward.  I am no stranger to failure or what I have defined as failure, whether its in a personal relationship, parenting or navigating my educational and professional goals.  But I am nothing if not resilient and as an eternal optimist at the very core I wanted to share some insight I have learned about the upside of failure.

1) Its a Beginning.

I know that seems counterintuitive but it isn't.  We have all suffered through heartache right? And while in the middle of it life seems hopeless, you don't want to eat, you don't want to see friends, you just want to curl up in bed and sleep.  You can do that for a few days but what starts to happen after a few weeks?  You start to think of things that will get your mind off of the heartache.  You might start going to the gym, or try a dance class or get out there and meet some people.  You heal and at the end of it a new you emerges.  A stronger you, a smarter you, a more resilient and grounded you.  And you thought you would never get through it alive.  Pssh

2) A Fear Once Realized, Frees You.

Are there things that you think, "oh my god, if that ever happened to me there is no way I could get past it."  That is fear talking.  I have all sorts of fears, one of my biggest has to do with my son and his eventual growing up and moving out.  I have been his mom for half of my life, it was a sense of identity.  I remember telling my husband, "I don't know exactly who I am without him".  Parents can relate, once you have a child your life, your choices,  are not your own.  You realize that every decision you make impacts someone else and you are conditioned to think not just about yourself, but your child.  That is the deal.  I have been using this time to rediscover myself.  Call it "empty nest" syndrome if you'd like but this realized fear has cleared up space in my head to explore who I am, now as a woman in her late 30's with time, precious time on her hands.

3) Failure or Perceived Failure, is Where the Growth Happens.  

I am still very early in this "growth" stage as I am not completely out of the woods.  However, I have observed certain things that have changed in the last few weeks.  Gratitude, nothing makes you more grateful than failure.  It just puts life in perspective in a way nothing else can.  You look around when you are at your lowest and take note of the people around you. I am eternally grateful to the people in my life and I say it to them often (maybe too much?).  I have also let myself and others "off the hook".  We put all this pressure on how things should be, how a family should act or look and at the end of the day, who gives a fuck?  Really?  Who cares??  Why do we drive ourselves and our kids insane creating an image we think the world wants to see?  I am currently, really exploring this question.  We are all so special in our own ways, if we just allowed things to happen naturally without the complications of expectations we might be happier adults with happier children.  Just a thought.

I am beginning to think this post is a stream of consciousness and those normally don't make sense to anyone but the person experiencing it.  I hope this makes sense to someone out there. That is all for tonight.

Share your thoughts below.  I'd love to hear them.


My Husband, Michael

February 13, 2018

I got the idea to pen this some time ago after reading "You May Want to Marry My Husband" in the Modern Love column of, where else, The New York Times.  It is sort of a dating profile written by a wife who after being married for 26 years, and raising three children discovers she is dying of ovarian cancer.  It brings me to tears every.single.time I read it.  Here is why.  I am a romantic to the very core.  I feel things very strongly, other people's pain but also their happiness too.  It also strikes a cord with me because I married my husband "late" in life, a second marriage for both of us, but before I met this man that I was fortunate enough to meet and fall deeply and madly in love with, I had given up! I remember, it was just three short months before I met my husband that I cried in my mother's lap and declared that maybe love just wasn't for me.  It would be just me and my son and that would have to be ok.  She comforted me, of course, and assured me there was someone out there who was probably at this very moment thinking he would never meet anyone either.  She was sure we would meet each other, fall in love and live happily ever after.  I didn't believe my mother, I wanted to, but I was too jaded.  Too many "bad" guys in my life to ever be able to envision a good one that was worth me sticking around for.

Enter Michael stage left. 

When I first laid eyes on Michael I was smitten.  We met at a gym in the Bronx called Musuko's MMA and Boxing gym.  The first thing  I saw was his beautiful brown eyes.  Sounds cliché but if you know Michael you will know what I am saying is true.  He smiles with his eyes.  I remember feeling 100% safe around him, protected.  I had never felt that around another man, not saying that I hung out with the swarthy type, but I always felt like they all had an angle to play, I never felt that way around Michael.  I just didn't.  He always seemed to just genuinely enjoy me, my conversation, my quirkiness, just me. (tip for my single ladies, if you ever check in with yourself when you are around a guy you are dating or thinking about dating and you feel safe, thats a keeper!) While we were dating I would often define Michael as "the best human being I had ever met" and I STILL believe that today.  We fell fast and hard for one another.  It was the stuff that romance novels and lifetime movies are made of.  Truly.  And when he asked me to marry him after a year of dating I said YES, check out the video here.  No really, you are going to want to look at this video!  This man loves hard...and thats good cause, so do I.

We planned our wedding together and we were a team.  We barely disagreed on any of the plans except for one..the wedding cake topper. Michael wanted an old fashion, 1980's plastic wedding party climbing stairs..yeah it was a definite NO, in my book.  That was it.  That was what we argued about.  I loved him then but I had no idea how much more I would come to love him nearly four years into our marriage.  (While I write this my tears are welling up. I told you I am a big ole romantic).  Allow me to elaborate on what has taken me collectively 7 years to truly understand about the man I married, my husband, Michael.

1)  He is THE most honest person I have ever met! Sometimes to a fault, like for example, when I woke up one morning upset about a dream I had the night before of him having sex with another woman in front of me and his honest response was, "who was the woman?"  I wanted to hit him on the head with a pillow but instead I bursted into laughter because that is Michael.  He says what he thinks, honestly, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

2) He makes life fun!  I mean it.  I can come home after we both had a long day at work and he always asks, "so what do you want to do tonight?"  I don't know why, but I love that question, it makes it feel like our options are limitless, there is nothing off the table! Although it normally means (because we are both exhausted and have to work the next day) cuddling up, watching some show on tv or a movie on netflix.

3) He hides things around the house to surprise me with at THE perfect time!  More often than not, and maybe this should be part of number 2 "he makes life fun", but at any moment he will turn to me and say, "I have a surprise for you". To which the five year old girl that lives within me smiles from ear to ear and bursts out, "what is it??"  I love that about him.  He surprises me all the time.  And it can be as small as chocolate covered pretzels or some other swoon worthy snack, a plant, or a perfectly planned surprise birthday party to reveal my real surprise which is a trip to Paris, like he did for my birthday last year.   Anything that I might have mentioned in passing or that he sees and thinks I might like, no matter the cost, he will get for me.  Can I say, in seven years, he has never missed the mark.  I love that about him.

4) He is fiercely loyal.  I mean that.  He protects my heart. Nurtures it.  Four months after we were married I started an accelerated graduate school program.  The two year program broke me one hundred million times, you know who NEVER lost faith in me? Michael.  Did I mention a week into the program we were told by our landlord that we would have to move our entire family?  Yeah, I remember saying, well I guess I have to postpone grad school, I can't let you handle finding a place and moving us by yourself.  To which Michael replied, no, you aren't postponing grad school.  I will handle everything.  He believes in me.  He is always proud of me and I could never be able to thank him enough.

5) Micheal gives THE best hugs.  I am a hug addict. The more hugs I get from Michael, the more I want.  There are moments when I am so bothered by, I don't exactly know what, can you feel me ladies? and the only thing that can calm me is a hug from Michael.  I sometimes run downstairs into the "mancave" to use the bathroom and catch a glimpse of Michael playing a video game and I am overcome with the urge to crawl into his arms, between the remote he is holding and just get a hug.  To which he NEVER gets angry or annoyed, he will just pause the game and let me hug him and hug me back for however long that might be.  For no reason, just a hug.  I can't tell you how that feeds my soul.

6) Did I mention how patient Michael is?  OMG he is probably the most patient person I know, really he is and I guess I would know cause I have been told by several people that one needs a lot of patience to "deal" with me.  But that is just it. Michael doesn't "deal" with me.  He loves me.  I know he does cause I am the kind of person who sings along to songs in the car with no regard to key or song lyrics like I was singing FO' MY LIFE!  I leave cups all around the house, dirty tupperware in the sink, bury my ice cold feet under his thigh in bed at night and will often interrupt him in the middle of a show, a book or a game to show him a video that made me laugh or cry and without hesitation or rush and with real interest, he watches with me.  And sometimes as we watch together, me sitting on his lap a tear will stream down his cheek from a love story we have just witnessed together.  Or in my not so sweet moments when I have turned into a monster when I haven't eaten or I am tired.  I will nag and nag about a dish in the sink or shoes on the floor and try to pick a fight (I don't know why) and do you know how Michael reacts?  He doesn't.  He says, (and I am not kidding, this JUST happened on Friday night), he says with a bit of a chuckle, ok babe, you are tired, how about you take a shower and get into bed.  I will take care of that.  And the best part, he holds no grudges!  Ever.  Sometimes, like this past Saturday, I will wake up feeling awful about the argument I tried to pick the night before and text him to apologize and he will respond with a GIF (below) and an "at least you are a cute monster."

I can write all night about this husband of mine named Michael, how he lights up a room and my life.  He is still the best human being I have ever met and more so after almost four years of marriage.  He makes me believe that anything is possible.  Anything at all.  I love that about him.  Happy V-Day my love!  Cheers to 100 more valentines together! 💓💓💓💓


David Hockney Major Retrospective @ The Metropolitan Museum

February 11, 2018

This is a visual and video love letter to David Hockney!  I fell hard for him, his work is vibrant, innocent, and accessible.  My friend and I went to the MET for the Michelangelo exhibit and stumbled into the Hockney and the rest is history.  I was especially taken by his use of an iPad to create a time-lapse of seasons through his window (included in the video above).  The show closes on February 25th, if you are in NY, run and catch it before its gone. Thank me later!

Read more about the exhibit here.

Thanks for stopping by.


I Am a Bad Mom, Chapter 4: Wedded Bliss

February 9, 2018

If you haven't read chapters 1-3 STOP and start here.  Ok, you are a faithful reader of my first series thank you and please continue.  Full disclosure: I didn't give Chapter 3 the love I have given chapters 1 and 2, why? Well I work in higher ed and the beginning of the spring semester hit me like a ton of bricks.  I didn't plan to be wiped out after work and so I crammed a post on Thursday night. Sorry. Lesson learned.  I am learning a bit about discipline and learning to factor this series into my schedule as I would any deadline.  While I have your attention I would like to thank my husband for calling me out on it and pushing me forward. Love you babe.  Ok, so on with chapter 4 (cause the hubby I have is not the one I marry in this post, keep up).

To recap, my abusive, cheating, lying, father of my child, boyfriend asked me to marry him and I said yes.  I have spent very little time trying to understand why I would ever think, knowing what I knew about him, he would make a good husband.  Ladies, a word to the wise, children and marriage don't make an abusive man better, or a cheater better or a liar better.  It just doesn't and if you think it does you are kidding yourself.  This was an especially confusing time in my life.  I thought that I had limited options and I thought I was doing what was best for my son, for our future so I agreed to marry him.  I can't say I understand why my boyfriend proposed.  It baffles my mind when I think about it.   My parents refused to participate in all wedding preparations and threatened to not attend as a sign of protest.  This was hard for me, but still, I carried on.  Now if I have any parents reading this post I would like to share some insight here.  When you take a hard stand against something your adult child has decided to do, there are only two ways that can end.  You will isolate her and create an "us against the world" dynamic that will have her look past ALL signs that this is wrong and she will do it anyway. Or two, you might guilt her into not doing it but you might be robbing her of an important life changing experience that will grow and teach her.  Remember our children's lives are not our an extension of our own.  They don't "owe" us anything, having them was our choice, not theirs. Advise, but more than that love them unconditionally even when it goes against everything you know that is right. Let them be.

I was the biggest I had been in my life and my general unhappiness made dress shopping especially difficult.  My mother refused to go dress shopping with me.  This was especially hard for me.  I needed her support more than I could have ever expressed.  I felt alone in what was suppose to be a happy and joyous time.  I dragged my high school bestie with me to a local David's Bridal to shop for a dress in my very small price range.  I burst into tears many times during my appointment, the poor saleswoman.  I was emotional for so many reasons.  After trying on two or three dresses I settled for a dress and called it a day.  My fianće was not interested in wedding plans.  Picking the date, the venue, the menu items, the church, the guest list, the tiny little suit for our almost 1 year old son; all the planning that goes into a wedding was left to me.  Sure, he would cart me around from place to place but he would stay in the car or drop me off, he had no interest in any of it.  The day I decided on a venue I asked my fianće to come see the place and help me with the deposit.  For most of the meeting, he was off on a phone call.  I had my son in my arms and my fianće outside.  The days leading up to the "big day" were uneventful.  There was no bridal shower, no bachelorette party, nothing to celebrate this union.  I spent most of my time staying over his place with the baby.  As you can imagine home life with my parents was intense.  They loved their grandson so much and they worried for both of us.  They felt powerless, so they said nothing.  When I was there I would stay to myself in my room.  It was a house divided.  They asked no questions about the wedding, about my fianće, not a word.  They wanted no part of any of it.

The wedding was a week away.  I gave notice to my weekend job supervisor that I would be out.  I had a coworker who was probably about my age now tell me something that haunts me til this day.  She said, don't do this.  You are only 20 years old, you don't even know who you are.  In a year you won't even recognize yourself, in 5 years in 10 years, you will be a completely different person.  I smiled and told her thanks but I know what I am doing.  Another lie I told to myself added to the pile of lies that would soon bury me alive.  The day before the wedding I suffered what I realize now to be a mild anxiety attack while running last minute errands.  I was driving in a neighborhood I grew up in and knew like the back of my hand but I was lost.  I couldn't recognize a street name, a landmark nothing.  I was overwhelmed with anxiety, my heart was beating out of my chest and I began to sweat.  I pulled my car over and tried to collect myself and cried.

Wedding day.  I got ready for my big day at home.  My sister supported me from afar but she was deeply unhappy with my decision to marry.  She stood by my side and played my maid of honor while I stood across from my fianće and exchanged vows.  Long, worried faces made up the 20 people in church attendance. My parents reluctantly attended the ceremony.   My fianće was nervous and dripping in sweat.  Our son looked on from my father's lap as we became husband and wife.

Our reception was small, we had about 60 guests.  I don't remember many details of the event.  It honestly is a blur. I can't even fully bring my husband's face into focus in my memory.  I think we had a handful of pictures from the event.  It remains the strangest memory to date.  My new husband was distant and unaffectionate.  He also seemed to be confused about what we had just done.  We focused a lot of our attention on our one year old who was just the cutest thing in his little white tux.

I don't want to blatantly make anything up so full disclosure I have no memory of our wedding night. I don't know where we spent it our if we even spent it together.  Seriously, not a clue. We had a lot ahead of us.  The first thing was living arrangements.  Married couples should live together.  During our separation, he had allowed his mother to take over our old apartment and moved in with a roommate to another apartment that was on the other side of the world as far as I was concerned.  It was not close to any public transportation so moving in meant I would be stranded if he disappeared as he was known to do for a night or two.  It was a typical bachelor pad with mattresses on the floor and sheets doubling as curtains to cover the windows.  I hated that place.  I didn't think a new family should have a roommate and that was to be the first of many battles in our epically short marriage.


Check back in next Friday for the continuation of my series. Subscribe to the blog in order to get notifications when a new post is up.  Hey, do you like this story? Share it! Comment Below! Share the goodness with your network! It would mean the world. 


The Big Sick: An Amazon Prime Movie Review

February 7, 2018

👍👍👍👍out of 4👍

The Big Sick is based on an actual-true-life love story and can I just say, why oh why did I not see this in the movies?!?! I am ALWAYS late on these things. For example, Silver Linings Playbook, yeah I didn't see that movie until after it had been nominated for a bunch of oscars and I cried out of pure happiness after my hubby and I saw it!  Don't you love movies with heart?  I have always believed in the power of love and I love a good true-life love story.  The Big Sick delivers!

This is a story about Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and American graduate student, Emily Gardner (they co-wrote the script).  They meet and are quickly drawn to one another and without  realizing it, they fall in love.  Kumail's strict muslim family would disown him if he married a non-muslim American and he succumbs to the pressure and breaks Emily's heart in a terrifically, honest and heart wrenching scene.  Soon after their break-up, Kumail is contacted by Emily's friend and told she was in the hospital and he should get over there until her parents can come be with her.  Kumail goes.  Emily's life is threatened by an unknown virus and being the only person in the hospital he is asked to sign off on what the doctor's believe is the only chance to fight the virus and save Emily's life; a medically induced coma.   Enter Emily's parents played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, I will leave it there.

The cast is absolutely magical.  They lend a real human touch to some insanely serious themes.  The takeaway?  People in love aren't perfect and that is ok.  This movie gives us all hope to strive to be better for the people we love; you know "grow in love".  Oh and did I mention this film is FUNNY? Yeah it had me in stitches from the very beginning.  Kumail playing Kumail was amazing. 😍

Looking for something to see this pre Valentine's Day weekend, check out The Big Sick, free with your Amazon Prime subscription.  I mean it will have you smiling from ear to ear. I promise.

Trench Coat Diaries

February 5, 2018

 January was what some might call my epiphany.  You know that moment, where it just becomes so clear?  Three weeks ago to be exact, I decided that I would fully commit to my blog.  Now, I have said that before and you wouldn't see a blog post from me again for another month.  I get it.  But here is the thing, I think you grow into blogging.  It starts as something you want to try out, you are curious about and you think "hey, I have presence, I can acquire a million followers in 6 months!"  Ok, I might be exaggerating, but its true in my case.  I thought that I had to build the following before I could commit to creating the content, boy was I wrong.  I missed the bullseye completely, not only was it an egg before a chicken dilemma but it was a major distraction.  Growth takes time and patience, it takes trial and error and a ton of mistakes and I am open to all of it!  First thing up, discipline.  I am carving time out of my weekends and weeknights to write.  I walk around with a little notebook, just writing notes throughout my day with leads on future posts about marriage, family, style and culture, a taste of NY.   I revamped my site to allow room for growth, discovery and all of my musings.  I am glad you are here.
I hope you have enjoyed the first three chapters of my first series, I am a Bad Mom.  This series is teaching me the discipline that I so desperately need to meet the demands I have placed on myself for this space.  I committed to a new chapter every week and last week was a hectic week at work and I did not carve anytime out for the post.  I wrote my last chapter the night before it was due and it wasn't my best work.  It felt rushed and short and my closest readers (my hubby) called me out on it.  As a wise professor once told me in grad school, feedback is a gift!  Lesson learned. Have you subscribed to my blog yet? I already started working on this week's chapter and I might hit publish on Thursday night, if you were subscribed you would get it straight to your mailbox. Just saying'.

About this look: I thrifted this trench from where else? Thred-up!  I was in the market for a structured, quality trench coat.  I started online shopping and a good one can run you up to $150, I popped into thred-up's website and found this beauty for $40!!

Use this code for $10 off your first purchase.  I highly recommend navigating the site using their filters.  I normally log on with an item in mind and use their filters to narrow down brand, size and color.  Happy Thrifting!  Cant find what you need, check out some dups and the EXACT jeans to this look below:

Thanks for reading! XOXO LifeStyledbyErica

I Am a Bad Mom, Chapter 3: Year One

February 2, 2018

Year One.  Now I promise I am not going to write a chapter on every year of my son's life, but year one is a significant one.  Keep reading.

You can always tell the difference between a woman who has just given birth naturally versus a woman who has had a c-section.  Everything was difficult; getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, walking upright, sneezing, showering, everything.  The c-section left me physically broken and my new reality left me emotionally broke.  They released us from the hospital after a week.  My parents picked us up.  They carefully packed us up in their car and off we went, all of us nervous for different reasons.  I was quiet on the ride home, pensive, heavy in thought and emotions.  The few weeks leading to the birth I dreamed I would forget to feed my baby or I would leave him behind in a store or he would be born fully grown.  All of my insecurities would bubble to the surface while I slept and now here he is helpless, vulnerable and needing me for his survival.  Would I measure up?  Could I be a good mother?  Was I up to the task?  When we arrived at my parent's house I was surprised with a beautiful nursery in my old bedroom.  I was grateful my son was being received with such open arms but worried too.

After our conversation in the hospital about my son's father I knew where they stood.  They wanted me to have nothing to do with him.  It wasn't a condition of my new living arrangements but I didn't want to further complicate a difficult situation so I didn't push it too much.  I needed to heal my body and my spirit before I broached that conversation.  I honestly don't know what I would have done without their help those first few weeks, especially my mother.  I knew nothing.  I was afraid to bathe my son and dressing him seemed like a task I did not have the skills or stamina to complete.  My son didn't fit any of his clothes and that would make me cry.  Everything was an exploration in patience, endurance and emotions. A trip to the store, which was the only time I got out of the house for the first three months, took an hour lead time.  Packing everything a newborn needs or might need, especially when you are a new mommy, is exhausting.  I would be ready to finally head out, and when I would pick him up to place him in his carrier, he would throw up his last bottle.  I would burst into tears.  Everyone's focus was rightfully on the baby, but the mommy was in serious distress.  At the time of my hospital discharge,  I was 216 lbs trying to become familiar with a new, unfamiliar post-baby body.  These feelings were compounded with the feelings one feels after being cheated on.  There was no time to process anything, I was on autopilot.

After a few weeks, when I felt physically stronger, I reached out to my son's father.  I missed him and longed for the dream I had of us raising our son together and sharing these moments I was now facing alone.  The sleepless nights, taking turns feeding and changing our son, the three of us falling asleep together.  All of it, I wanted it all.  I wanted a family and what I had was not what I wanted.  After a few phone calls, a few outings together with our son and many, many apologies for cheating I started to soften to his pleas and declarations of being a changed man.  He would say most of what I wanted to hear, but mostly it was a narrative I concocted in my own mind of who I wanted him to be. This part always makes the "18 years older Erica" cringe, but I remind myself to be kind to "20 year old Erica" and her decisions.  She was just a girl who had become a single-mom who was trying to create what she thought was expected of her.  The more time spent with my boyfriend, the more tense home life had become with my parents.  I wasn't born into a family that sat down and talked things through, our version of communication included yelling, walk-outs and the silent treatment (a crushing, slow death for someone like me).  As the parent of a young adult, I now understand how conversations with your children can end that way, but as a child myself at the time, it just pushed me into the arms of the man they hated.  My boyfriend and I had tons of issues to work out and none of the tools to work with but during that time it felt like it was us against the world.  I wanted to will into life the family I longed for and so when he asked me to marry him, I said yes.

Subscribe to the blog in order to get notifications when a new post is up.  Check back in next Friday for the continuation of my series, I Am a Bad Mom, Chapter 4: First comes love, then infidelity, then comes baby in a baby carriage, then comes marriage? (It's a working title 😕)

Hey, do you like this story? Share it! Comment Below! Share the goodness with your network! It would mean the world. 


Iceland Visual Itinerary Wishlist

February 1, 2018


If you follow along on instagram then you already know that my christmas gift to my husband was a trip to Iceland next month.  We are both so excited about this trip.  We have traveled mostly in the Caribbean and last year we did Paris!  Iceland will be the most adventurous place we have traveled to to date. We will have five full days to take in a fraction of the beauty Iceland has to offer.  We will be taking a five hour flight out of New York and scheduled to land in the capital, Reykjavik.  They will be in their winter season but their days get longer around the time we will be visiting, that means if we start out early (and we will) we can fit in two excursions to make the most of our time.  I have been following the Iceland hashtag on instagram and OMG the pictures are just absolutely stunning.   I thought I would put together a visual guide, a travel inspo board of the sights we are hoping to see on our trip to channel my excitement and maybe inspire the travel bug within you!  

1)  Husavik Whale Watching

2) Geysir

3) Reynisfjara Beach

4) Seljalandsfoss

5) Northern Lights Hunting (pray we can find them)

6) Blue Lagoon

7) Golden Circle 

I mean need I share more? This place is incredible, I may never want to come home..but we will cause you know we have kids, a house, jobs etc etc..

With love,


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