Summer 2013 Newsletter

Our Mission
Everchanging Woman, LLC (ECW) is dedicated to empowering women in various stages of life through sharing experiences, best practices and advice captured in research, dialogue and documentation.


It’s been a while since our last newsletter. Sorry, Life Happens! As Everchanging Women, that is something we can all understand. The complexity of stress, work, family and all things planned and unforeseen can cause delays and even create new life tracks. Sometimes, we just have to understand that is okay. We can still pursue our passion, it may just happen in a different manner or timeframe than we originally expected.So with all that being said…Please enjoy this newsletter!


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Current Research: Blended Families
The last ECW newsletter discussed the relationship between the step parent and the other biological parent of the (step)child. Many of the blended family women we surveyed did not find it necessary for stepfathers to be friends with biological fathers or mothers to be best buddies with the stepmothers of their children. Amicability seemed to be desired and preferred, but not necessarily friendships. Here’s what we found:

  • 50% of women said the stepparent and the other biological parent should be amicable
  • 39% said they should get along
  • 11% said it is not important for the stepparent and the other biological parent to get along.
On February 16, 2013, Jada Pinkett Smith posted one of her many “A Letter to a Friend” entries on Facebook. In this particular post, she gave her thoughts on biological mother/stepmother relations and provided a modicum of insight into her relationship with her stepson’s mother. Jada seemed to be speaking to someone specific about a particular incident or issue. She did not claim to be an expert on this subject matter, but spoke from her experience, much like the women surveyed by ECW. The letter was poignant, well stated, positive and sincere. It also seemed to be well received in the social media world.


In the post, she gave her advice and opinions to her “friend” on her situation as a stepmother. She noted that blended families are never easy, but people choose to enter them. She also mentioned that she and the biological mother of her stepson, Trey, learned to love each other.


It is a fortunate situation when the biological mother and stepmother in a blended family can become friends. But, on both ends, it takes maturity, being genuine, humility, appreciation for drama free relationships, and a mutual agreement that all parental figures should maintain healthy, appropriate friendships. It fails when one of the women will not respect boundaries, is dealing with insecurity or unresolved feelings, or is outright disrespectful and perhaps encourages the kids to be so as well. Jada’s letter does not mention these things, nor does it touch on the reality that much of the relationship between the biological mother and stepmother is predicated on the relationships the father has with the biological mother and his wife/the stepmother. If the relationship between the biological parents is tenuous or the stepmother does not feel supported by the husband in dealings with the children or biological mother, it will be extremely difficult for the biological mother and stepmother to grow to a status of friendship and mutual love.


Whether the relationship between the biological parent and the stepparent is positive as in Jada’s case or is more challenging as in some of the stories told in the ECW survey, all women in blended families can strive towards having happy and healthy marriages and creating positive environments for their children. Jada Pinkett Smith is applauded for giving a brief glimpse into her blended family in such a public forum.


In addition to this topic, Everchanging Woman is still working diligently on arranging the data from the survey taken by women in blended families into key blended family topics. Another area addressed in the survey was whether or not women in blended families were products of blended families. Of the women surveyed, 31% had a stepparent as a child. When asked about what their childhood experiences were like in a blended family, the responses varied from negative to positive. The survey asked this question to see if being raised in a blended family was a substantive variable in determining whether a woman would enter into a blended family marriage. Given only 31% had, it does not seem to be the case.


Please stay tuned for more information on the topic of blended families and the results and stories from the research about mothers and stepmothers in blended families. The data is being arranged to create a publication to share. The release of the information will be publicized.


Featuring Lori Hall & Sandra Negrete

In this newsletter we will highlight two women of change with interesting and inspiring stories. One of the ladies is a savvy, single lady on the go and the other woman is a courageous and caring cancer survivor who is a blended family step mother.


Lori Hall's Feature
Lori Hall is commonly dubbed the “radio chick”. As a Marketing Director for Radio One in Atlanta she is responsible for marketing and promotions for three radio stations. As a master multi-tasker and brainstormer, she leads teams in creating great events and promotions that aid in gaining and maintaining listenership.Lori earned her Bachelor Degree in English from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and went on to earn a Master’s Degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication. She always had a desire to have a career in some sort of media. Between school and internships, she found her niche in radio.A typical day for her includes many emails and meetings, but she is much more than just work. This dynamic single woman is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Although she currently lives in Atlanta, she has worked in the D.C. and Miami markets as well. She enjoys hanging out with her friends and dating with a pinky promise in mind. Lori also is a self-proclaimed lover of all things beauty related- make-up, nail polish, facials, etc. Her love of beauty has led her to becoming a glambassador for Glamour Magazine.
Let’s hear more from Lori…
What has led to success in your career?
I would say that my willingness to move around has led to my success. In this business, often times you will be asked to move to a different market and when you are ready, willing and able, it just propels you further up the ladder. Plus you gain a lot of multi-market experience.
What do you love most about your career in the radio industry?
I love that my job is essentially about being creative and entertaining people. I also like the interactions I have with so many different people from celebrities to listeners to clients.
Explain what you do as a Glambassador for Glamour Magazine. How did you get this role?
I am the Atlanta Glambassador for Glamour Magazine which means I help them promote different products from beauty and hair treatments, to food and drink. Also, if they are having an event in my city, it is my job to promote and host it. I was selected as a Glambassador a few years ago. Glamour had an ad in their magazine soliciting for people to apply. I applied and was selected. I love being a Glambassador and sharing all of my perks with my girlfriends and social networks.
What is the best part and worst part about being an independent, successful, single woman?
The best part is the freedom I have to do what I want, when I want. If I come home from work and I just want to eat chips and salsa and not cook dinner, then that’s what I’ll do. The worst part is not having that special someone to share the high and lows of my day with on a daily basis.
What dating advice would you give to other women?
DATE! Do not become so locked into one guy (unless you are committed). Make sure that you are dating/interviewing a variety of men. I made the mistake (often) of getting all into one guy and then when that didn’t work out, I was left. Also, do not give husband treatment to boyfriends. You hear people say this, but I believe it.
What is Pinky Promise? How did you get involved and why are you so passionate about it?
Pinky Promise is a promise to honor God with your body and heart. Whether you are single, engaged or married, it is a commitment to God to do right in all aspects of your life. It was founded by a young woman named Heather Lindsey. Heather experienced a series of bad relationships where she was doing things her way instead of God’s way. One day, she decided her way was not working and made a vow to commit herself to Christ and let God lead her in all areas. She created bracelets to remind her of this promise, thus Pinky Promise was born. Her dream was to have women all over the world praying together in small groups and bonding with one another. I was introduced to Pinky Promise via T witter. After doing things “my way” and getting dumped yet again from someone I really liked, I came across Heather and decided I wanted to lead a Pinky Promise group in Atlanta. I am passionate about this organization because it’s very encouraging for women such as me who seek to be in a committed relationship one day. I get inspired and encouraged by other women (young and old) to let God write my love story.
What is your next major goal? 
At this point in my life, my next major goal is to be married and possibly have a child. (smile)
What suggestions do you have for women on creating a healthy work/life balance?
Once you realize that the work will always be there, you are a better woman. You have to leave work at work. Spend ample time with friends and family AND take care of yourself. Just as you schedule meetings at work, schedule family time and other things that are important for a well-balanced life.
What do you do for fun or relief?
For fun, I enjoy relaxing! My work is so hectic that whenever I have some down time, it brings me such relief to just do nothing but relax. I also enjoy going to the bookstore. Even though I have a Kindle, there’s nothing like going inside of a book store and browsing through all of the books and magazine. Ahhh heaven!!


Sandra's Feature

Sandra Negrete knows the benefits of having strong support systems. She has seen the benefits personally and professionally. As a Site Coordinator for a non-profit agency that offers mental health services to disenfranchised children and their families, she sees daily how services and support can assist those in need. The clients she serves are children that have experienced some form of trauma (sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence, physical abuse). As a cancer survivor, Sandra also has experienced drawing strength from her loved ones as she did during her battle with breast cancer.Sandra was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA to immigrant parents from Mexico. She obtained her a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Cal State Los Angeles and she also has teaching credentials. She taught for 7 years and then decided to transition into working with children in the non-profit arena.Sandra is also a blended family step mother. She met her husband through her brother and they dated a year before getting married. It was the first marriage for her and the second for him. Her husband brought two young children into the marriage and she graciously transitioned into the role of a step mother.
More from Sandra about her story…
What does your work entail?
I am responsible for providing supervision to program case managers as well as assigning clients to appropriate therapists based on clients’ needs.
What do you love about your job?
I love my work because I am surrounded by very caring professionals. All of the therapists are very dedicated to their clients. It’s amazing to work with such wonderful people.
Tell us about your cancer diagnosis and fight. 
I found out I had cancer when I went to the doctor for something totally unrelated. There was no lump and I had absolutely no symptoms. I did however feel what I thought was a muscle. It felt long, not “lump” like at all. I happened to mention it to my doctor and she knew right away that it was a tumor.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. There is no history of breast cancer in my family so my diagnosis was very shocking to say the least. My husband and I had been dating for about a year when I was diagnosed. We were both devastated by the news.
I began chemo soon after my diagnosis. I was treated very aggressively; I had 8 rounds of chemo. But through it all I always had my husband’s support. He went to every single one of my doctor’s appointments. He took notes, he did research. He was positive for me when I couldn’t be. After chemo I had surgery (a mastectomy) and then 6 weeks of radiation.
What helped you through your cancer fight?
I was lucky enough to have a very strong support system. My family and friends were with me through it all. They were like angels sent from heaven, fighting with me and fighting for me. They advocated for me when I wasn’t strong enough to advocate for myself. I have always been a very independent person, so it was difficult for me to allow people to take care of me. But once I allowed myself to be vulnerable and allow my love ones to help me, my fight became a little bit easier.
What is your advice to women battling serious illnesses?
Allow your love ones to help you and accept all the support being offered to you. Let them do research for you on the internet. Let them cook for you, clean for you, shop for you. Whatever you need help with, let them do it for you. It’s so important to allow your body to rest and to get strong again. I had a really difficult time following my own advice because I was in denial about my situation. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I was fine. But I wasn’t. Also, find resources- look into support groups, therapy, and religion. Anything that gives you encouragement and mental strength is vital.
Did you have any reservations about marring a man with children? 
In my husband I have found the most amazing, loving man I have ever met. What attracted me about him the most was the way he spoke about his children (he has 2 kids). He bragged about them non-stop. We would talk about them for hours. It was very obvious that he was a proud dad and very involved in their lives. That was definitely a quality that I admired. One of the many reasons that I fell in love with him was because I knew that he was a committed to his children and committed to being an amazing father.
Since you inherited a child in your marriage and became a stepmother, what has been the hardest part and the best part of becoming a blended family? 
I inherited 2 beautiful children when I married my husband, a 4 year old and a 6 year old. I have been very lucky, the children and I have gotten along great from the beginning. We have a wonderful bond. They are loving, friendly, well-adjusted children. I couldn’t have asked for better kids. With that being said, there have been some challenges. The biggest challenge that I have encountered being in a blended family has been the fact that I have no control over decisions being made about the kids because they are not my biological children. They have two great parents that love them and are actively involved in their lives. My husband and his ex-wife make the decisions regarding education, religion, extra-curricular activities and so on. I don’t get to attend parent-teacher conferences, open house at school and other important social functions, and that can lend to feeling left out at times.
The best part about being in a blended family, I have 2 beautiful kids that love me and can’t wait to see me. I don’t have any biological children of my own, but I do have two great kids that can’t wait to see me every other weekend. I will never forget the day my husband and I told my step-daughter that I was cancer free. With tears in her eyes, she gave me the biggest hug and told me that she loved me and didn’t ever want me to be sick again. Being in a blended family isn’t always easy but it is definitely worth it.
What is your general advice for women?
My advice to women is to put their health first. It’s so easy to forget about ourselves because we get so caught up taking care of everyone else; our spouses, our parents, the kids, work. But we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves to be good to our bodies and our minds. That means not putting off doctor’s appointments, not skipping the gym or that Yoga class you love so much. Self- care is so important. My lesson learned: We are, to ourselves the most valuable possession we have!

by Terry Scott of

summer2013 fashion

One of the easiest ways to detect a woman’s age is by her neck. As a woman matures in age, the neck can develop lines, wrinkles and even begin to sag. Avoid this by thoroughly moisturizing your neck, as well as the rest of your décolleté area (upper chest and shoulders) twice a day.


by Monique Bickham of
There are a few things that every woman should have in their closet this summer. Here are a few quick 2013 summer staples.

summer fashion

Jumpsuit – Find one that is in a great summer color like the one above in tangerine, which allows you to be a burst of fresh air when you enter into a room. Not only will you burst, you will float because of the beautiful detail at the ankle where satin chiffon has been gathered to create a puddle…embrace the exaggerated genie pant!
Maxi Wrap Dress – They complement all shapes, are very sexy, and in this beautiful printed silk with a burnout treatment it will glide with you while you walk, and leave a little room for imagination, which is always more tasteful!
Maxi Skirt – Creates a long silhouette, minimize heavy bottom, and balances out a heavy top. Maxi Skirts are comfortable yet fashionable and are a classic item, they never go out of style. This skirt above is made out of a beautiful printed silk you can wear it with flat sandals for day and high heel sandals for evening.
Clothing is from Monique Bickham Spring/Summer 2013 Collection. If you are interested in purchasing items from the featured collection, visit, or send an email to


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Fall 2012 Newsletter

Our Mission
Everchanging Woman, LLC (ECW) is dedicated to empowering women in various stages of life through sharing experiences, best practices and advice captured in research, dialogue and documentation.
visit website
Current Research: Blended Families
Everchanging Woman is working diligently on arranging the data from the survey taken by women in blended families. The data is being arranged into key blended family topics to create chapters for the book. One of the topics to be discussed is the step mother’s relationship with the “ex”/child’s biological mother. Per the ECW survey, 50% of women said the step parent and the other biological parent (step mother and biological mother or biological father and step father) should at least be amicable when interacting with each other. 39% said they should get along, but 11% said it is not important for the step parent and the other biological parent to get along. In fact, one woman clearly stated, “I am married to him. Not his ex. There is no reason for us to have a relationship of any type.” The reasoning of the surveyed women varied as to why they felt the biological parent and step parent should at least get along. The responses included: aspiring to set a good example for the children; a desire to maintain a civil environment; and wanting to create a cohesive parenting team.
Recognizing that it is ideal for the step mother and biological mother to have a good relationship, but it not always feasible for various reasons, the respondents were also asked if they have ever had issues with the “ex”/child’s mother. Unfortunately, most of the women said they had. Of the women surveyed, 65% said the biological mother of their step children has caused or attempted to cause problems in their marriage. Some of the issues were minor, but others were simply mind blowing. ECW realizes there are two sides (if not more) to every story, but there were some similarities in respondent stories regarding this topic, which leads us to believe there are some challenges in step mother/biological mother relationships. How to overcome these challenges if both women are willing to make the effort and what role of the husband/father has in this are the follow up questions also asked in the survey and to be discussed in the book.
Please stay tuned for more information on this topic and the results and stories from the research about mothers and stepmothers in blended families. We will publicize the release of the information.
Revised Logo
You may have noticed that ECW has modified the logo. We feel the new logo better reflects the concept of woman constantly evolving or better stated, an Everchanging Woman.

We have two successful and inspirational women to highlight. One woman is a dynamic marketing and public relations maven and the other is an author who recently married the love of her life and became a stepmother. Both women have been able to find peace, success and joy after previous divorces proving that happiness can exist after hardships.

ECW’s Women of Change Spotlight features Jennifer Kaplan & Tracy Lowe Berry.
Jennifer's Feature
Jennifer Kaplan is owner of Evolve PR and Marketing with clients such as Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, Sprinkles Cupcakes, HomeSmart Residential Real Estate, Clean Air Cab, and Yelp. Her company works with businesses and individuals to build their brand and recognition in the community through the media and cross promotional opportunities. A typical day for Jennifer includes dealing with various producers, editors and reporters, as well as facilitating introductions and enhancing relationships for her clients.
Jennifer earned a degree Bachelor of Science in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from Arizona State University. Her professional accomplishments and civic engagement has led her to receive accolades such a Cystic Fibrosis AZ’s Finest Honoree, the Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 under 40, and The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 2011 Women of Distinction Rising Star Award.
A divorcee, Jennifer likes to maximize her spare time as a single woman with community activities, exercise and fun. Jen is also enjoys working out. She is a runner, participating in up to 3 half marathons a year, biking, swimming and lifting weights. She finds the workouts an outlet mentally and physical, as a way to find balance with work and play.
What is the best part and hardest part about owning your own business?
The best part of owning my own business is having the sense of ownership and knowing that every decision you make directly effects your business. The hardest part is managing and wearing many different hats, being able to juggle various areas that are crucial to operating and growing a business.
What drew you to the PR and marketing industry?
I don’t think anything in particular drew me to the industry, I think I was born doing PR and Marketing, it is something that comes natural and totally encompasses who I am every day.
What is the best part and worst part about being an independent, successful, single woman?
The best part of being an independent, successful business woman is to be a role model for other women (and girls) that have the desire and ambition to follow their passion and dreams. The worst part is that it can be intimidating to men, most men.
What dating advice would you give to other women?
Ahhh…dating advice? The forever question – I would say that it is important to be open minded, however, I also feel strong about not wasting your time (or his time) by trying to make something work that truly doesn’t exist.
What is the hardest part of surviving and rebuilding after a divorce?
The hardest part of getting through the divorce is realizing that you have the strength and power to survive on your own and don’t “need” someone else to make you who you are, you can create that success on your own…the added bonus is having someone to support you and share it with. Going through the divorce actually proved to be liberating and motivating towards pursuing my dream.
What advice do you have for women who are going through or have experienced a divorce?
I didn’t have kids when I went through my divorce, so I am extremely sensitive to families that have kids when they go through something like that. However, without kids, it is still emotionally draining. It is important to spend time by yourself and not getting too consumed in others, it is important to reconnect and find who you really are, it will help you grow!
What is your next major goal?
Ha! As a serial entrepreneur, I wake up every day with a new idea and challenge to conquer. I have a few things brewing, as of now, getting ready to launch a new business…more to come if we get to chat again soon.
What suggestions do you have for women on creating a healthy work/life balance?
First of all, make sure you have balance, whatever that is for you. Balance will truly make you a better person in whatever you do. Find an outlet/hobby that is just for you, find time that is special with your family and or friends and make sure to carve out that time consistently.
What do you do for fun or relief?
I believe in the saying “work hard play hard”! It is often difficult to maintain it, but I make an effort to make it happen. My first choice is escaping to San Diego for a long weekend. I can usually make it there once a month. Otherwise, I enjoy a good food and drinks with friends and family. Lastly, I can’t resist retail therapy, I can always be found running into the mall for a quick fix!


Tracy's Feature
In 2011, Tracy self published her first children’s book titled, “How Do I Get to Heaven?” The book details a young boy’s quest to understand Heaven and God and can be purchased on her website or on
Tracy has served as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines for 17 years. She knew her career would allow her to see the world, but she did not expect it to foster the opportunity for her to meet her future husband after her first marriage ended in divorce. She met her husband Geoff, a pilot for Southwest Airlines, in 2008 and they had a beautiful and fairytale-like wedding in 2010 and she inherited a “bonus” son as a result of her blended family marriage.
Tracy, who currently resides in Las Vegas, NV, earned a degree in Communications from Arizona State University and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
What inspired you to write your first book?
A few weeks before my birthday in 2005, I started to reflect upon my life.  I knew I had a God given purpose, but had no idea what my calling in life could possibly be. I prayed to God and surrendered all of my hopes and dreams to him.  I asked that his will be done in my life and to have his way.  I asked God to use my life that he may be glorified.  Two weeks later, I began having vivid dreams of rhyming Christian children’s poems and stories. The Holy Spirit would prompt me to get out of bed at wee hours in the morning and write down the stories and poems.  Before long, I understood that the Lord called me to become a Christian children’s author and share the stories and poems about God’s love with children.
What has been the most surprising or rewarding part of being a published author?
It’s an incredible blessing to hear the stories of how children give their lives to Christ after reading HOW DO I GET TO HEAVEN!  Recently a woman shared a story with me that her 9 year old daughter shared the book with a friend and it led her friend to Christ. It is an honor to be a part of ushering children into God’s kingdom! I put my heart and soul into HOW DO I GET TO HEAVEN. I worked long hours and many years to ensure the words, message, and illustrations were going to be enjoyed by readers and children.  It brings me a lot of joy seeing children captivated by the words and pictures while reading it. Occasionally, people send me photos of the book being read by their children or being read in Sunday schools and preschools.  Putting a smile on children’s faces as well as their parents is definitely rewarding.

How did you balance being an author with your career as a flight attendant?
Fortunately, my career as a flight attendant allows me to have a very flexible schedule.  I don’t have deadlines, meetings to attend, or a rigorous schedule like many of my friends with careers in corporate America. I can bring my small laptop with me on my overnights and type away in my hotel room. A quiet hotel room has very few distractions and allows my creative writing to flow uninterrupted.   I think I have the perfect career pairing-flight attendant and author.  I am able to reach a wider audience to promote my book because I meet and see new people every day while flying all over the country.
What is the hardest part of surviving and rebuilding after a divorce?
Dealing with “the unknown factors of my future” was the most difficult part of divorce for me.  I wondered if I would ever have a fulfilling and loving relationship with a man ever again.  I knew no matter what, God had a great plan for my life and he would withhold no good thing from me. Aside from wondering about what my future would hold, I was happy to live in peace.

What advice do you have for women who are going through or have experienced a divorce?
First, I think anyone that experiences a breakup or divorce should take time to find inner peace and work on themselves. A good scripture to reference is Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Usually after a divorce, we are quick to point fingers and blame our hurt and pain on the other person.  Sometimes, the other person is responsible for a lot of the hurt.  However, it’s important to look inside and deal with our own junk… shortcomings, anger, bitterness and issues that arise from past relationships and old family wounds.  Childhood issues often show up in adult relationships. Although, I thought I was a good wife to my ex husband and an overall good person, I prayed to God to help me see and understand every issue that lurked inside my heart and mind.  I wanted to see the hidden mess God sees when he looks inside of my heart. Dealing with my own crap was no easy task.  I had to look at the ugliness no one likes to face. It was painfully hard to be honest with myself without placing the blame on my ex or anyone else.  I had to own up to my own thoughts and actions.  I didn’t allow myself the excuse of, “I chose to say this or do this because someone did xyz to me.”  During that period, I was surprised at how much I learned about myself. I was amazed to learn that I harbored pain and issues that I thought were gone and buried with time. However, with God’s help, I was able to heal and repair the brokenness inside of me. I gained freedom not only from a painful marriage, but freedom from bondage of past hurts and issues. Resolving my old hurts and disappointments also prepared me to be a stronger and better wife in my current marriage.  This time of reflection and self-examination in my life was certainly a character builder. I think everyone should take time for introspection and resolve their own issues before moving forward in the dating scene or pursing another relationship after divorce.
Did you have any reservations about marrying again or marrying a man with a child? If yes, why?
I love children and Geoff was such an incredible father to his son, so I had no reservations about marrying him.  If Geoff was the type of father that was not involved in his child’s life and avoided his parental responsibilities, I would have run in the other direction.  I enjoyed spending time with my husband and his son and looked forward to having a blended family.  I welcomed having a “bonus son.”  
Since you inherited a child in your marriage and became a stepmother, what has been the hardest part and best part of becoming a blended family?
The most challenging part of my blended family is dealing with the biological mother. Geoff and her were never married and had broken up before the child was born. She tries to create drama and chaos our home in every possible way. She tries to lure my husband by sending seductive pictures via phone, prank calls the house at 4am, sends crazy text messages and emails, calls our phones and cusses at us, and the most damaging thing she does is to try and poison the son against his father and me by telling him horrible lies. She tries to hurt Geoff and me, but sadly she does the most damage to the child.  I don’t understand why she chooses to damage her son with her issues instead of helping him transition to having a healthy happy blended family. More people need to put aside their own unhappiness and issues and focus on what is best for the child.
The best part of becoming a blended family is doing lots of fun things with his son that I would have loved to do if I had children of my own. I loved decorating his room. I enjoy playing with him and baking brownies and decorating cookies with him. One of our favorite summer time activities is making homemade ice cream together. And I absolutely love going snow tubing with my bonus son and husband in the winter! It’s kind of funny; he looks more like me than he does his biological mother. So, I’ve gained a son that looks a lot like me without birth pains or stretch marks. Big Bonus! I also enjoy knowing that I’m helping a young child learn about God, love, and family values.
What is your next major goal?
Currently I’m working on my next Christian children’s release, a book aimed at building self esteem in little girls. I also plan to create a DVD version of HOW DO I GET TO HEAVEN with full sound and animation.
What suggestions do you have for women on creating a healthy work/life balance?
Women tend to focus on everyone except themselves.  Don’t forget “me time.” Light some candles and take a 30 minute warm relaxing bath filled with 2 cups Epsom salt and 2 bottles of Peroxide to detoxify your body.  I also recommend nourishing your body with healthy foods. If you are pressed for time or don’t like to cook, invest in a Vitamix or Nutribullet and make healthy vitamin packed fruit and veggie smoothies. The smoothies are a great way to increase energy and build your immune system. And, they are ready in less than 5 minutes.  They are the perfect concoction for busy moms and career women. Also, take a few minutes to pray and spend some time with God. When your body, mind and spirit are well fed and rested, you can better tackle work and the demands of family and life. 
What do you do for fun or relief?
My husband is a pilot and we work for the same airline so we have the pleasure of hopping on a plane free of charge and enjoy sightseeing, dining, and relaxing away from home quite often.  We especially enjoy attending NFL games in different cities during football season. Working for a major airline certainly has its perks!



sept2012 fashion
by Terry Scott of

Flaky, dry spots on your face and body can be irritating and unattractive. If you have them, try breaking open a vitamin E tablet (use the tablets, not the oil because the oils are not always pure) and apply it directly on the dry spot for a few days until the flakiness goes away.

by Monique Bickham of

This summer was all about wearing bright color, pleats and drop hemlines. Statement jewelry helped women express their inner goddess. Women also complimented their summer style with fashionable shoes. As we transition into fall, you can still make bold statements with your favorite summer shoes. You do not have to put away your favorite heeled sandals, open toe or peep toe shoes. Try pairing them with colorful or pattern tights to keep you warm yet fashionable.


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Summer 2012 Newsletter

Our Mission
Everchanging Woman, LLC (ECW) is dedicated to empowering women in various stages of life through sharing experiences, best practices and advice captured in research, dialogue
and documentation.
visit website
Join Us On Social Media!
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Current Research
Everchanging Woman recently conducted a survey for women who are in, or who have been in, a blended family marriage. ECW would like to thank all the women who participated in the expansive and detailed survey (or let’s be real…it was long!) Your information was very helpful.Two lovely ladies were selected in a participation raffle. Congrats to Cristina L. for winning a $100.00 Visa card and to Jessica H. for winning a beauty package from stay tuned for the results and stories from the research about mothers and stepmothers in blended families. We will publicize the release of the information.

One of the best ways for women to be inspired is for them to learn about the inspirational stories of other women. With this in mind, ECW will highlight a couple of women in each e-newsletter. This inaugural edition will showcase two working mothers, both with three children each, but very different life journeys thus far.
This month’s Women of Change Spotlight features DeShong Perry Smitherman and Erika Caldwell-Meeks.
DeShong's Feature
DeShong proclaims herself to be a statistical fluke. Having her first child at the age of 16, the odds of her becoming an award winner journalist were not in her favor. However, that is exactly what this television newscast producer of over 10 years is. She began her career as a researcher for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and then continued to climb up the journalism ladder. Currently, she produces a newscast at WTHR (NBC-Indianapolis) and has earned two Emmy awards, an Edward R. Murrow Regional award, and a National Association of Black Journalists “Salute to Excellence” award – for the work she has accomplished as a professional journalist. DeShong also at a Phoenix College and she has given media consulting presentations to various organizations. DeShong holds a bachelors’ degree in Journalism from Roosevelt University, and a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana). She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.After 15 years of being a single parent, DeShong met Keith Smitherman and they married and became a blended family in 2007. They now have two additional children, Asha (2) and Nolan (6 months). DeShong’s first child, Codi, is now 20.In addition to being a mother and having a full time job, DeShong, also is co-executive director of the non profit A Girls Gift, Inc. The organization provides a series of seminars for Girls in 5th through 8th grades. The participants also take part in a week long Girl’s Gift Entrepreneurial Institute and Business Plan competition in June. The program culminates with an awards ceremony which honors their talents, achievements, newfound goals, and completion of the program. In 2010, she and her co-executive director, Ericka Gibson, were recognized by Ebony Magazine. She also volunteers her time as the President of the Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists.
If all of that isn’t enough, while pregnant with her third child, DeShong maintained a blog, Secondhand Pretty Preggie, in which she provided advice on discount shopping for pregnant women and allowed the public to partake in her pregnancy journey. So how did she manage to become a statistical fluke and how does she manage her busy life now?
What were the factors that helped you become a success despite having a child in high school at the age of 16?

When I found out I was pregnant – just a couple months after my 16th birthday, I knew I was about to break my parents heart. I was supposed to be a role model for my younger siblings, but here I was knocked up by a guy who’d eventually be locked up! I knew that my parents would be disappointed, and that it was quite possible that they’d kick my butt, so I decided not to tell them. That’s right! By wearing long, bulky t-shirts and standing a certain way, I figured out how to mask my bulging belly. I continued to run track, play basketball and do back handsprings as a cheerleader!
Because I knew I would be up the creek, I started turning around my grades. I went from being a c student to making As and Bs. My parents thought that my turn around had to do with some kind of epiphany about getting my life together before applying to college. The truth was that I was getting my stuff together to lessen the disappointment and possible beat down!
My cover was busted wide open when I came second to dead last in a 100 yard dash race I was supposed to win. My mother finally noticed how I had hobbled down the lane, running like something was between my legs. That’s when she asked me if I was pregnant. It felt so good to tell the truth. I was six months pregnant and 16 and a half!
So, the added responsibility of bearing a child is what propelled me to get my act together and get serious about my life. I’m proud to say I have never gone back to strictly C work and a life of mediocrity. My drive for excellence started the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child.
What advice would you give to young single mothers?
First of all… apply for child support! You may think you don’t need the financial support of your child’s father, but believe me, you will! If you don’t want to use it for yourself, be smart, and sock it away for your child’s college education.
Secondly, look for friends who know your struggle! When I was a single mom, some of my best girlfriends were those who had been or were in the same predicament. We’d pool our resources together for things like babysitting, learning about the best shopping deals, and we were always encouraging each other to reach higher, and attain high-level degrees and jobs…and not to put up with drama and bull from men and other life hurdles!
Finally, don’t be the cow that gives your “man” the milk for free! Don’t live with a guy who is not interested in and has no plans to marry you. The example you set for your son or daughter my haunt you in the future. You want your son or daughter to see you in a positive light as much as possible. The world is a mean and ugly place at times, you want home to feel like home and be a place of pleasant memories and infinite possibilities.
What do you love most about your career?

The opportunities it has afforded me to do the things I wished for as a child: Winning Emmy awards, going to Africa to produce stories, inspiring others with my words, and highlighting people’s amazing stories, businesses, causes and events! I like to be one of the links to other people’s successes and being a producer gives me that avenue.
What inspired you to lead a non profit?

Identifying a need. It was quite simple. After raising a girl – and being one too – I realized that girls needed mentors. I realized that girls needed to see strong, smart, bold and independent women. I realized that the only way to make mentoring a reality in my life was to build an organization from the ground up that not only established a mentorship piece, but also exposed girls to the heroines in our community, and taught them the steps to entrepreneurship through writing a business plan.
How do you balance being a mother, wife and a career woman?

I don’t. I think I’m a good (not great) mother, an okay wife and a moderately excellent career woman. I seriously have to figure out a way to achieve balance. I want to be a great mom and wife, but I constantly have so many things pulling at me. Besides working and mothering and wifing, I also run two non profits – The Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists and A Girl’s Gift Inc. I feel the work is too important to let go of, but I don’t want my family to suffer. Balance is one of the things my life lacks. I am constantly working to find it.
What suggestions do you have for someone who is a mother/wife/career woman?

1. Work out 3-4 times a week to keep your sanity.

2. Girrrrrrrrl, get a crock pot! It makes meal time so much easier.

3. Don’t be super mom! Hire a trusted sitter even on your days off. You must have your “Me” time.
Since you brought a child into your marriage, what has been the hardest part of becoming a blended family?

Differences in discipline. My husband didn’t have kids before he inherited a step daughter. He thought my way of disciplining her were too lax and noncommittal. I actually believe he’s right. But it’s hard to introduce a whole new way of discipline into my life when I feel like, at 37, I’m an old dog – especially since I’ve been a mom since the age of 16. However, I believe we need to parent our kids as a team, and we are working very hard with each incident to come to a consensus. It will never be perfect, but I’m glad my man wants to be a dad, wants to love, wants to discipline, wants to support. These were all the things that were missing from my first child’s life, and I know the absence of a dad created some issues for her even to this day.
What is your next major goal?

Write a book called “Statistical Fluke: The Misadventures of a Teenage Mom”
What do you do for fun or relief?

Loads and loads of SEX! Sike. There’s no time! Actually, the only things I get to do for fun/relief are hit the gym and occasionally attend fabulous house parties and charity dinners with my friends. Unfortunately, my hubby never gets to go. Hey, somebody has to be home with the kids! And yes, we do have a little sex every once in awhile.

Erika's Feature
Erika Caldwell-Meeks is a wife, mother of three children all 5 and under, and a business owner. Erika finished her Master of Finance degree course work from the University of Arizona at the age of 22, and headed back to her home city of Phoenix to begin her career as a market analyst in commercial banking for JPMorgan Chase. She married her college sweetheart, Sheldon, and they quickly began to expand their family. After the birth of her second child, Erika decided to leave Corporate America, and stay home with her growing family. “It became challenging for me and my husband to plan the birth of our children around both of our busy seasons.” In 2009, Erika created Teal Bird Concepts, a graphic and event design business dedicated to turning wonderful ideas into concepts that are brought life in a big way.Erika is also a founding member of The Just Be Project, which is a network of women using their creative efforts (photography, graphic design, song writing, baking, styling, knitting, etc.) to help fill the needs of the women they run across in their everyday life to bring them value, hope, and joy.
More about this supermom in her own words:
What do you like best about owning your own business and working from home?

I enjoy the flexibility that owning my business and working from home provides. One of the things that I missed in Corporate America was the time that I spent away from my family without actually working (getting ready, packing bags for daycare, the commute back and forth, the breaks, the lunches, out of town travel, etc.). Working from home allows me to cut this time out and spend that time with my family.
Do you miss anything from the banking industry?

Yes. I love analytics and commercial real estate. I still try to stay on top of the industry because it’s a skill set that I value and may need in my future endeavors.
What factors led you to leave your banking/finance career?

The path that I desired to go down left very little room for the things that were more important in my life. It was becoming very easy to get “sucked in” by the promotions and climbing the ladder and more difficult to walk away from after experiencing a growing level of success. I simply wanted to put more focus on my growing family and challenge myself to create a work environment that met this criteria as well.
How do you balance being a mother, wife, and a business owner?

Wake up early, go to bed late! That’s a tough one, especially when everyone expects you to be all things. One of the things I had to learn is that success as a mom, wife, and business owner is about being well rounded. My 140% effort in one area, and 30% in another, is still failing in one area. While, 90% sweat equity in one area and 80% in another is better for me at the end of the day, I have to be proud of the overall effort and find efficient ways to improve.
What suggestions do you have for someone who is a mother/wife/career woman?

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Whatever your unique path is, own it and take pride in the hard work that you do for your family.
What advice do you have for stay at home mothers who want to have their own business or supplemental income?

Do what you are good at, do what you love, and don’t give up. That way your passion, consistency, and level of expertise will be evident selling points to your clients.
What is your next major goal?

I would like to open a Teal Bird Center for Arts, encouraging youth (who may not have exposure to arts, music, production, graphic design, dance, etc.) to embrace their creativity, and merge this with the concept of small business ownership through education and mentorship. Participants would be able to sharpen their skillset, receive education on how to market and sell their products (under mentorship), and use the funds to pay for further education.
What do you do for fun or relief?

I love to spend quality time with my little ones and my hubby. Our favorite thing to do is just laugh.


may2012 fashion

by Terry Scott of

You know those nasty lines you get over time around your eyes? Yes, crows’ feet. To avoid developing them, spread a very small amount of vaseline along your temple where wrinkles can develop. You only need to do this at night about three times per week. Remember, do not get it in your eyes! The heavy moisturizer will lend elasticity to the skin and help prevent wrinkles.

may2012 fashion
by Monique Bickham of
Spring is all about rebirth and being lively.  Your wardrobe should reflect this as well.  This season’s fashion trends are bright colors, bold prints, and texture!  That is why it is a must to incorporate a pair of Bright Pants/Jeans into your wardrobe.  Choose a style that creates balance between your top and bottom proportions and fits properly throughout the butt, thighs, and hip area (even if you have to get them altered).  A wide leg trouser jean or pant works well for all body shapes especially for the full figured or “extreme” hour glass shape, the bootleg looks great on long legs with subtle curves, and a straight or skinny leg compliments a tall or petite woman with or without “subtle” curves.  You also may want to try a graphic Printed Dress, just make sure the print matches your stature and plays up your assets while downplaying your flaws.  Last but not least, try a Maxi Skirt they are great for all ages and body types, keep the length to the floor if you are petite, where as tall women can afford to show a little ankle without interrupting the leg line.
A full proof way to mix bright colors, bold prints, and different textures, is to use the same color palette when choosing pieces to wear!
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