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.

 

Update
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.

 

spotlight
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!

beauty
AVOIDING A DETECTABLE NECK
by Terry Scott of ezrioni.com

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.

 

SUMMER MUST HAVES
by Monique Bickham of evolve4style.com
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 www.evolve4style.com, or send an email to evolve4style@aol.com.

 

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