Currently Trending: Layering Necklaces

July 30, 2018

I found Mod+Jo on Instagram this past June and immediately fell in love with their jewelry and their story!  Mod+Jo is an American handcrafted jewelry brand based in Dallas, Texas. Not only do I love that the pieces are handcrafted and absolutely gorgeous but to know that I am supporting a woman entrepenuer is just the cherry on top!  I immediately purchased two necklaces worn below which I will link for you.  Both are gold plated so that means they won't change colors if you wet them.  I live my life on the wild side so I wore these babies in the shower to test them out, and they aint lying these won't turn colors on you.

Full disclosure: I haven't taken the long one off since it first arrived in the mail last month.  The shorter one is layered so that does get a little tangled so I don't sleep with it.  Now you are going to pay more for this kind of jewelry BUT it isn't mass produced, so they are unique pieces AND hello, you can wear them like you would REAL GOLD but not pay REAL GOLD money, SIGN ME UP!  I have linked these exact pieces below AND two new pieces I just purchased from their clearance sale.

Saint Benito Coin Necklace

Gold Medal Layered Necklace


Crossroads Hoop Earrings

Mini Ox Horn Pendant

In case you are wondering this post is NOT SPONSORED.  I paid for all pieces out of my own hard earned cash and I just love them!

Shop my look.

As always, thanks for reading and don't forget to subscribe. 

Until next time,

LifeStyledbyErica πŸ’‹

Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body @ The MET Breuer

July 27, 2018

The hubby and I were able to catch this exhibit at The MET Breuer before it closed last weekend (July 22nd) and I am so glad we did!  The show explored how artists have attempted to "replicate the literal, living presence of the human body" and explored the frailty of our existence with themes like loneliness, sexuality, faith, boredom and death. These pieces dated from 1300- present day, so much history, so many interpretations of the human experience, some are strikingly real, think Duane Hanson and his sculptures that look so REAL we lingered to see if we could catch them breathing.   What I admire the most of his work is the portrayal of everyday American working class life.  His work turns the regular Joe into art!  #brilliant 

 Here is a carefully curated selection of some of my favorite pieces.  

I have always enjoyed a day at the museum and can remember dragging my son along with me when he was too young to rebel.  There is so much stimulation of thought and feelings that I experience when I visit.

I hope you enjoyed this visual diary of this wonderful exhibition and I hope it inspires you to visit a museum this weekend!   What was the last exhibit you experienced? What are some that you are looking forward to?  Share in comments below.  And don't forget to subscribe!

Cost: The MET and The MET Breuer are donation based for NY residents.  All you have to do is show your NYState ID and give whatever amount you can afford. 

Want to attend more cultural events but don't know when or where to start?  Ive got you covered, New York Entertainment and Time Out New York are great websites to bookmark!

by LifeStyledbyErica

How to Build a Professional Wardrobe: A Beginners Guide

July 25, 2018

This one goes out to my recent graduates, my entry level professionals and my budding entrepreneurs!  Transitioning from student to young professional can be difficult especially when you are trying to figure out your "look".  We are visual creatures and right or wrong, we make assumptions about one another based on appearances.  Sometimes the way you dress can be the difference between getting that job or promotion or being overlooked.  Think about a time when you have had a complaint and asked to speak to management or a supervisor, if someone skulked from around a counter in ripped jeans or a short, tight skirt you might not feel confident that you will resolve the matter.  You might of course, but you have made a snap judgment based on appearances.  My point is we ALL do it.  On the flip side, I find that dressing for the job can be an instant boost of confidence which can lead to a great interview and a better job performance.

Be patient, it takes time to figure out your look and honestly it took all of my twenties to figure out what works best for my emerging style and body.  (You really don't have to have everything figured out ya know! Sheesh, the pressure!)  However there are some "buildable" pieces you must have in your closet to get started that will help you build a multitude of looks quick and easy!  These are called, "staple pieces" in the blogger world.  

Two misconceptions people tend to have about building a professional wardrobe is that it is expensive AND you run the risk of becoming a generic "suit" and lose your individual style in the process.  Nothing could be further from the truth.   I realize money is an object of concern when you are starting out, and trust me you don't have a lot of it to get started.  Some great places to shop when you are starting to build your wardrobe on a budget is New York & Co because their pieces are affordable, stylish and they ALWAYS have sales, coupons and other incentives that can turn a $140 purchase into a $65 purchase!  That is a big deal right?  Plus they now have some great collaborations with celebrities like Eva Mendes and Gabrielle Union that add a layer of dimension and style they didn't have a few years ago.  Some other great sites to keep your eye on are Ann Taylor and J.Crew , specifically their clearance sales!  They were my "go-to" sites when I started out and can I just say that their clothes are built to last.  I have two classic cut, multi-use dresses from J.Crew that are over 10 years old that I still own and wear all the time!  I will share some examples below so keep reading!

Five tried and true pieces every young professional wants in her wardrobe are two classic dress, two or three pairs of trousers that just fit to perfection, two fabulous blazers, stylish but sturdy and practical heels (enter the block heel stage left) and a great structured handbag!

Start with a great pair of trousers!

FIT is everything here.  If you are between sizes rule of thumb; size up.  You really don't want trousers that are too tight and unforgiving, you want a fit that is comfortable, moves with you while creating a straight flattering silhouette.  Play up your strengths and downplay what you consider to be your weaknesses.  Wide-leg trousers just work for my body type, unless you are vertically challenged, they are universally flattering.  I also prefer work trousers that sit ABOVE my belly button.  Here are a few pieces that run between $16-$60 a pair.

Classic Dress 

When you are building your wardrobe it makes sense to pay a little more for a great fitting dress in a classic cut.  I think a sheath dress fits the bill.  You can wear it on its own with a great pair of heels, some minor accessories or a belt and walk out the door instantly chic.  Or you can style it with a blouse underneath to create a totally different look, think pussy bow blouse, for some visual interest or you can throw on a great blazer.  You get the point this is a great build able item that will stand the test of time and save you a lot of time on those mornings that you just don't feel inspired to throw a look together.  Sheath dresses are the unsung hero here people, TRUST!  Now whatever dress you decide to invest in please do not let it hit you mid-thigh.  You do not want to be fussing and pulling on your dress when you are sitting in a meeting with a client or your boss, opt for a longer dress, one that hits you right above your knee.  Here are some curated pieces.


I have been blogging for two years now and if I have told you once, Ive told you a million times, blazers are a MUST!  They are so versatile and they easily add interest to an outfit and make you look instantly "put-together".  Now don't be alarmed a good quality blazer is going to run you over $100 unless you thrift it (which be my guess, you know I love a good thrift find) or you wait for a good end of the year clearance sale, which I am telling you that is EXACTLY how I built my wardrobe.  Whatever you decide get yourself at least three blazers to start with, a black, a tan or a white and a fun print.  These three are going to be your go-to during the week and will even step up your weekend style game.  Again, fit is everything in a blazer so you don't want a blazer that is too tight, or pulls up your shoulders, too short at the wrists or can't button.  Don't be afraid to size up if you are chesty or have bigger arms or a wider back, its ok, there is a blazer out there for you I promise!  Don't settle for less baby!  Here are some affordable picks.


When I graduated college and started on my professional journey I had to trade in my dirty old converse sneakers for a pair or seven of high heels.  I started out with a kitten heel and worked myself up to a higher heel.  It took me some time to gain my balance and learn how to walk with confidence in a pair of heels but I did it and I can easily walk in a pair of 3 1/2 inch high heels all day long.  Lucky for you, you don't have to!  Block heels are an easy hack to give you that extra height without the pain or balancing act of a pair of heels.  They are great "starter" pieces, they are high heel training wheels!


A great handbag goes a long way.  You do have to invest a bit more in a quality handbag but if taken care of they will last you a lifetime or at least a few years.  It is always a good idea to invest in a sturdy leather satchel for work.  Something mid-priced like Dooney and Burke, Kate Spade or Michael Kors are a great option for those of you starting out.  They are classic and really elevate an entire look making the owner look effortlessly stylish and chic, who doesn't want their handbag working for them?  Stick with your neutrals, think "less is more" when it comes to the "bells and whistles" and size!

So there you have it, my beginners guide to "building a professional wardrobe".  I hope you enjoyed this post and find it useful.  Please feel free to share with someone who is struggling to create a professional wardrobe.  

Thanks for reading!

By LifeStyledbyErica 

Things to Do In New York on a Budget: Summer Edition

July 9, 2018

I am going to let you in on a little secret, the hubby and I are buying a new car at the end of this summer and so we are tightening our belts and getting creative this summer.  For the last two years we have been fortunate enough to be able to arrange between our work schedules, the boys, the pup and our other obligations, two summer vacations. #blessed (lol, sorry had to) This year we did manage a winter trip to Iceland and just returned from a huge family cruise with stops in Honduras, Belize, Mexico and Grand Cayman so I realize a third trip might be a little "greedy" but what can I say? I thoroughly enjoy traveling with my husband, he is the BEST travel mate!  But I digress, this post's working title is "things to do in New York on a budget" not "whoa is me I can't have a third trip"!

As much as I love to travel there is so much to see and do right in my own backyard so I have pulled together some summer romance on a budget guide to get you and your honey out of a "what should we do this weekend" slump and get you out there exploring what New York has to offer!  Most of these free, require a donation or cost you very little money but all are great ideas to inspire you to think outside of the box and get back to nature.

Taken from website 

Yonkers, NY 
Cost: FREE 

Untermyer was once a private estate and garden of a prominent New York lawyer and horticultural enthusiast, Samuel Untermyer.  After his death, it was left in limbo and disrepair until 2011 with a private/public partnership between the City of Yonkers and non-profit organization.  They have transformed the gardens and restored it to its former glory.  This place is beautiful with views of the Hudson, it just can't be missed.  

Date Idea: Bring a bottle of wine and two glasses.  Climb up to the Temple of Love, pop open the bottle and take in the view! 

2) Picnic at Wave Hill 
Riverdale, NY 
Cost: $8 per person 
Cost: $12 per person - Sunset Wednesdays: Live Music Performances 

I will admit visiting this place has been on my list for some time now but as life/luck and weather would have it, I have not been able to check it off yet.  I am determined (hi Michael, are you reading this) to get there this summer!  They have this Sunset Wednesday Picnic Box Supper where you preorder boxed food the Friday before that Wednesday and pick up at the concession stand on the Great Lawn.  I have linked the menu here.  I will admit this can be a bit pricey BUT you can skip the boxed supper, grab a quick bite at home and head over to Wave Hill to just enjoy the live music and the sunset for $12, that's not SOO bad.  

Westchester, NY 
Cost: Free 

Ok, the hubby and I attempted this one on the fourth of July because I have decided I want to soak up nature in my free time.  Rookie mistake? We took the pup.  In fairness it was really hot on the day we went, there was a heatwave last week.  Timmy (the pup) like his parents had never been on a hike, well we have hiked before but not for a while.  As a result, we couldn't go the distance, we stopped a number of times to give him water and treats and try to cool him down but his panting made us nervous so after an hour we split.  Why the Briarcliff-Peekskill trailway you ask? Well its simple, its a 12 mile hike to the Croton Dam which was what I REALLY wanted to see!  It is a gorgeous stone structure (pictured above) that was started in 1892 and completed in 1906.  I love stuff like that. :) We will definitely be making our way to see the dam with our own eyes before the summer is out. 

Tip: Pack plenty of bug spray and water and a few pieces of fruit or energy bars.  

4) Biking via Old Croton Aqueduct Trail 
Yonkers, NY
Cost: Free 

Pump some air in those tires and dust off the old helmet because this trail is a must see!  I have done this trail pretty much every summer and it just gets more and more beautiful each time we take it on.  As the name might suggest, this is the old croton dam before the new one was built and a lot of the structures are still visible on the trail.  They are in terrible disrepair but full of history.  The trail is paved in some parts and not in others so a mountain bike is probably your best bet.  There are some cool stop off areas on the trail that you don't want to miss like The Keeper's House which was where the overseers of the aqueduct lived.  It has recently been restored and is now a museum of sorts with great pictures of the old aqueduct.  We met the cutest women last year who invited us in and gave us a tour.  We gave a small donation and I decided that would be the kind of job I wanted when I retired, caretaker of a historical landmark. :) 

5) Plan a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art 
Cost: Donation

If you are a New Yorker then you already know this place is donation based, meaning you can give as much as you can in order to gain entry to their galleries.  I tend to be a little generous with my donations but again give what you can.  The MET is not only a stunning place to visit that is filled to the gills with priceless art, but it is AIR CONDITIONED! jejejeje, I am just saying, summer in NY can be brutal and its getting worse with global warming so paying a small price to keep cool while stimulating your senses, not a bad idea at all!  We are planning a trip to the MET Breuer   this Friday to check out an exhibit that will be closing very soon called, Like Life Sculpture, Color and the Body.  It looks fascinating and I thought instead of talking to you about it you might want to check out the awesome promo video they released for the show below.  Hurry, the show closes on July 22nd!  

Bonus: They are open late on Fridays!

That is all for now!  I hope you liked these ideas, let me know if you would like me to share a few restaurant ideas in or around Westchester in the comments below.

Dont forget to subscribe to the blog so you never miss a post!  Thank you for reading.


Totally Binge Worthy : The Staircase on Netflix

July 6, 2018

πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘out of 4πŸ‘

I know its summer and technically we shouldn't be staying in and binge watching shows but I mean can we be honest here?  I know there is a big world out there to venture out into (blah, blah, blah) but after a long work week some weekends you just want to curl up on your sofa and binge!!  Am I right or am I right?  πŸ‘€

Are you looking to binge on some truly noteworthy, mind boggling, throw-things-at-the-tv upsetting true crime television?  I have got you covered!  The Staircase, now available on Netflix, 100% fits the bill.  When I was in graduate school I remember two of my classmates having heated debates about this true crime documentary, did he do it? One would say, Yes, without a doubt, maybe. And the other would say, absolutely not, at least the prosecution hasn't convinced me of his guilt..this poor man is caught in the giant, inescapable web we call the justice system.  Every week they would switch positions based on how much they were able to get through.

In 2001, Kathleen Peterson was found covered in blood and unresponsive at the bottom of the back staircase of their North Carolina mansion by her husband, Michael Peterson.  Michael Peterson quickly called the police and sounded shocked and alarmed at his discovery.  He told police, he and his wife were enjoying a few glasses of wine in their backyard on a quiet, unremarkable evening.  His wife went into the house (for reasons we do not know, but I mean people move around, maybe she needed to use the bathroom, maybe she was cold, maybe she went in to grab a sweater, who knows?) sometime after  he went in the house (maybe to check on her) and found her unresponsive.  He assumes she had too much to drink and fell down a narrow, curved staircase.  The police were unconvinced and decided to search the home.  They found gay porn on his computer along with emails from male prostitutes and decided that was his motive!  His wife must have found out he was bisexual and having extramarital affairs, confronted him and a fight ensued leading to her death.  What we follow throughout the 13 episodes is the defenses' preparation and execution of Michael's defense and all the twists and turns the case takes.

The Staircase is just 13x1 hour long episodes but it is a culmination of 16 years of work by director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade.  The footage and deeply private moments the director is able to access between Michael Peterson and his adult children is fascinating and sometimes you feel like you shouldn't be listening in on such private moments.  The family dynamic is a complicated one, they were a blended family and they remain loyal to their father throughout the entire ordeal.

In an interview the director says the purpose was to "follow the way the justice system would treat the case. I was looking at the justice system.  And when the verdict came, to me it was like a shock." You can read the full interview here .  Warning: There are some spoilers in that interview so you might not want to read the article before you watch it.   

Verdict: Did he do it or is he innocent of murder?  I still don't know.  But I highly recommend this documentary.  It will change the way you see the world when you realize truth can be bent and anyone can misconstrue anything based on their own preconceived judgements and bias and THAT is a fact.

Check out the trailer here:

I hope you check it out and tell me what you think!  Shoot me a DM via my instagram while you watch. :)

Thanks for reading and don't forget to subscribe to my blog.

Until next time...


My struggle with my body image

July 2, 2018

Last week I took a small family vacation with about 42 family members😌 for my husband's niece's wedding (that was a mouthful).  It was a Carnival cruise out of Tampa, Florida with four stops in the West Caribbean including, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Grand Cayman.  I wanted to share my dirty little shameful truth that causes a ton of anxiety ESPECIALLY when I travel.  It is my need to control and restrict what I put in my mouth.  Now in my everyday life I eat well, I make healthy choices with the occasional slip up, no biggie right?  But on vacation my "obsession" with food is at a maximum.  I am sharing this with you because it is something I still struggle with and I didn't realize exactly how much until this trip.  If you have ever been on any vacation, specifically an all-inclusive vacation then you know what I am talking about.  There is an endless amount of food, all of it is free and most of it is nutritious but in that hot sun when you are sun bathing and swimming and going on excursions your body or maybe just mine, craves all of the "bad stuff".  I am talking sugary cocktails, french fries, ice cream, PIZZA, the kind of stuff I NEVER reach for at home is all I want! On the first two days my husband and I vowed to work out and eat healthy and we stayed on track but by that third day I "slipped" and had a helping of deliciously crispy, salted fries!  They were sooo good.  That night while getting ready to head to dinner I had a small meltdown.  I felt like a failure, I had let myself down and would pay for my weakness.  I looked at myself in the mirror and saw a fat woman.  I said unkind things to myself and about myself to my husband.  I remember saying that I was a fry away from looking like a sack of potatoes.  My husband assured me I was not seeing myself clearly.  He loves my body and all of its imperfections, I on the other hand, at that moment, DID NOT!

I have always had a terrible relationship with food.  When I was a teen I was hungry a lot and I needed twice the serving to feel full.  I remember being shamed for it.  I was bigger than anyone else in my family or at least I felt that way.  I definitely had more heft to me than my older sister, she was shorter and more petite than I was.  Both of my parents were in good shape, my mother never worked out and had a sweet tooth but she never had to worry about gaining weight because of her late night snack attacks.  I on the other hand was different.  I could pack the pounds and during my first relationship before I got pregnant I had put on a lot of weight.  I was young, had very little money (fast food was my friend) knew nothing about nutrition and was in a dark place.  When I became pregnant I was about a size 12 or 14.  (I realize that is the average women's size, but remember I came from a very "petite" family, no one was overweight and the women in my family didn't wear anything over a size 6).  When I became pregnant I gained over 60 pounds, at the time of my delivery I was 218 lbs and wearing a size 18 in jeans.  A lot happened over the next few years, some of it I have shared here and others you don't know about, but all I had no control over.  Sure I made my choices and that I had control over but what happened as a result of those choices, I had no control over.  Restriction became my form of control.  I would starve myself, abuse pills to suppress my appetite and to increase the passage of what I did allow myself to eat.  I was in a scary place and in a way that I can't fully explain, it gave me comfort.  This restriction, this pill popping all of it was satisfying.  I never sought professional help, I just started opening up to a few people I trusted and taught myself about proper nutrition, began to include exercise into my lifestyle, fell in love and married a wonderful man but the root of my issues are something I STILL deal with.  Not as often and not for as long but when triggered they can be intense.

At the moment of my breakdown, I revisited a dark place that had nearly consumed me 15 years ago. I bounce back a lot faster and I am able to "snap" out of it, but it is always there lurking in the background.  After a night of sweetness and patience from my husband and a stern talking to myself this image I had created that I swore I could see in the mirror faded away.  I saw me again and decided that I would let myself eat whatever I wanted to eat without the guilt.  Did I loose my mind and eat everything in sight?  No! I didn't need to, I just had to allow myself permission to release the control. I have gotten a lot better in my everyday life with my self image.  Actually just before I went away I had gone shopping and had an idea to write a post about why what size you wear at different clothing stores DONT matter.  I was at H&M picking up a few last minute items for my trip and I found myself with three different dresses ALL different sizes!  All of them fit me perfectly but I was in a 6, an 8 AND a 10 and it didn't bother me at all.  I thought, I should share with my readers this "revelation" here I am at my healthiest weight buying three different dresses in three different sizes from the same store knowing that 15 years ago I would have left in tears refusing to buy a dress in a size 10.

On my best days I admire my body for all that it allows me to do and be.  I also allow myself the right to not be perfect or measure my worth and value by what I look like even though everything we see and read tells women differently.  We are constantly told we should be a certain weight, wear a certain size, not allow ourselves to wrinkle, or have stretch marks, or cellulite or grey hair, hairy legs or saggy boobs, a belly pooch, unmanicured nails, flat, lifeless hair or anything else that resembles a REAL HUMAN BODY, it wears a girl down.  I remind myself that my value and my happiness rests in my relationships with others, my ability to positively impact another person's life and my ability to love and care for people.  That is what matters.  Our bodies will wrinkle, will fluctuate in weight and cellulite and eventually they will fail us and we will wither away and die and you know what?  I bet you have never heard anyone say, "She had the tightest abs I have ever seen" after someone has passed away.  That might be a bad joke but my point is we are MORE than what we look like.

I am no expert in this arena and I don't pretend to be.  I was able to get through my more severe and self abusive behavior on my own with support and love from friends and family but if you are suffering with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia and it is disrupting your life and affecting your health you should seek professional help.  I have said this so many times before and you might be tired of hearing it but you are beautiful and deserve a happy and fulfilling life, whatever that means to you.  There is a national hotline you can call 24 hours a day that can direct you to help in your area, the number is 1-866-523-7834.  You aren't alone and it isn't insurmountable.

About this look: I thrifted this beautiful watercolor dress from H&M's The Garden Collection at a few weeks ago.  I have linked a few high end and low end dresses below. 

Thank you for reading.

With love,


Latest Instagrams

© LifeStyledbyErica . Design by FCD.