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. 



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.  

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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.  πŸ˜‰

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

Until next time,


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. πŸ’• 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. πŸ‘€πŸ˜

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

Women's Health: Today I Visited My GYN

October 2, 2018

Hello loves! Today I want to talk about something that I think is very important; women's health.  I don't take my health for granted.  I have always been very active and in the past few years I have understood the importance of a nutritious diet and I have seamlessly incorporated a vegetarian diet filled with green juice, veggies and all that good stuff.  The one thing that I have never been good at is scheduling annual visits to my primary, GYN or dentist.  I will admit the times I have seen a doctor has been when I was sick and needed a diagnoses and maybe some meds.  I typically visit a CityMD Urgent Care office.  They are like ER's in that you can walk in, get a number of tests run, get diagnosed, get your meds and head home.  But that isn't enough.

A real eye opener for me was the passing of NY blogger legend Kyrzayda Rodriguez.  If you don't know her by name, trust me you have seen her pictures.  She was maybe a year or two older than me, last October she was diagnosed with stomach cancer after going to the ER with stomach pain and bloating.  She was such a warrior.  She shared her journey with all of us on her blog and instagram account.  She underwent months of chemo treatment, she lost her beautiful hair, lost a lot of weight and in some ways looked unrecognizable.  The treatments took a real toll on her, she was in pain, she was tired, and scared.  But through it all she shared, she inspired and her courage impacted so many lives.  By all accounts, before her diagnosis, she was a healthy, active woman. She worked out, she was in great shape, she was strong, ate right, traveled, I mean she was living her best life.  When she passed away a few weeks ago the blogger community felt a great loss and I felt a personal loss even though I never met her irl.  Her death became a reminder that health is not guaranteed to anyone, it is fragile and something you have to prioritize because in an instant it can all change.  Disease doesn't discriminate, it doesn't matter if you are a mother, if you are happily married, have a great career, you are in your 30's or any other excuse you might make up to justify putting it off.  Her life and what she shared with us was not in vein.  I decided then that I had to change my approach and prioritize regular check ups starting with a visit to a GYN.

First I had to have a real talk with myself and try to understand what some of my barriers were when it came to my health.  I am fortunate and I know this isn't the case for so many Americans, to have a good health insurance policy through my employer.  So the cost wasn't the issue.  I also have paid time off and a great team that will cover when I am gone.  So that wasn't an issue either.  I think a barrier is finding out that something IS wrong is a great fear but that in and of itself is an illogical reason.  Avoiding a problem doesn't make it go away.  I realized another major barrier and a point of anxiety for me is having a male GYN.  So I decided I would do a search for female GYNs in my area.  I was over the moon excited when I found Dr. Suzanne Greenidge, a Black, female GYN with a practice just a few blocks away from home who took my insurance. (Ask my husband and friends, I was REALLY exited!)  Her practice is located on North Broadway in Yonkers and is called, Woman to Woman OB/GYN .  Her website included her bio, I learned she was a receptionist at a doctor's office when she decided she would become a doctor, she is a SUNY graduate (a sister university to CUNY, where I am graduated and am currently employed), she is an author and an all around bad ass.  I booked immediately and the anxiety of having such an intimate examination melted away.

I am happy to report my visit went well. The staff was great.  The new patient paperwork is all done on a tablet (fancy, right??).  I had a pap smear, she checked my breast for lumps, drew some blood to check my hormone levels and my sugar and did an ultrasound to check for fibroids she thought she felt in the examination.  The ultrasound was fine, I don't have fibroids.
Full disclosure: I am a little nervous that I might be diabetic.  I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my son which is a good indicator of future diabetes, plus my grandmother was diabetic.  I have been dealing with cotton mouth and frequent urination for the past few months. I didn't know if it was due to my diet change since I am now vegetarian.   I disclosed that to her and she thought it would be smart to run some tests.  I have a follow up with Dr. Greenidge in two weeks.  I will keep you posted.  Next on my list of to-do's: find a Primary Care Physician and schedule my annual check up!

Takeaway: Prioritize your health ladies.  We are important to so many people and we can't be there for them if we aren't taking care of ourselves.  I hope my story inspires you to make that call and schedule that visit.

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Thanks for reading loves. Don't forget to subscribe and follow me on instagram.

Until next timeπŸ’‹

By LifeStyledbyErica

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