{Tracie’s Story} No “Steps” in this House

During the month of October, The Real Wife Movement™ will be featuring stories from wives who have blended families. They will share what they did to ensure their families thrived beyond 10 years.

Be inspired by Tracie’s Story.

Donnell and I met in 2005 and we married in 2006. (Yes we dated only a year before we got married.) When I met my husband, he was a single father of two young children and I was a single mother of one son.

When people find out we are a blended family, they wanted to know how we made it work. They asked questions such as: Did you let him discipline your child and vice versa?

I want to share our story to encourage you:

Donnell, Tracie, Antonio, Bria and Tyson

When Donnell asked me to marry him, one of the things we did was what we called a pre-family meeting with our children. We wanted to create an avenue where they could be open and honest with us from the beginning.

Now don’t get me wrong, we had our challenges with all three of our children, however we let them know up front that they would be treated the same, to include discipline. We agreed they were all our children.  We let them know when someone asked us how many children we had, we would proudly say we have 3 children; (2) Boys and (1) Girl.

My husband and I both came from blended families and it was obvious who the step-kids were and who the biological kids were: we were made to feel that way.

Because of this, we agreed to allow our children to make the decision about how they wanted to address us. We never pressured them to call us mom or dad and we made it very clear they had already had a tracie-and-hubbymom and dad. Our role would be that of an assistant, alongside  their parents. We never liked the words “step kids” or “step parents”. To us, it indicated they were the outsider and no one wants to feel like an outsider, right?

Donnell and I decided that even though we were blending our family, we would be a family with “No Steps.”

Tracie Douglas is a personal stylist, blogger, wife and a mom of three. She enjoys encouraging people and teaching the next generation of teen girls. Instagram @tracienichole_ FB: tracienichol Blog: tracieslookbook.com
Tracie Douglas is a personal stylist, blogger, wife and a mom of three. She enjoys encouraging people and teaching the next generation of teen girls.
Instagram @tracienichole_ FB: tracienichol
Blog: tracieslookbook.com

4 “RIGHT NOW” STEPS for a Successful 2016

Make-up/Custom Jewelry: Keshua Hunt * Photo Credit: E.Y.E. Imagery Photography
As I look back over my life, I realize that for most of it, I was living according to what I could do and sheer willpower. 2016 flew by like a whirlwind and I quickly realized I had to do things differently.
I took 4 simple steps that were critical to my growth and maturity as a woman, wife, mother, and as an entrepreneur. Even though these steps were simple, they were not always easy. I had to make a mental shift to be consistent and persistent as I kept my goals in mind.
  1. PRAY – It’s that simple. I had to pray. I had so many things happen to me. I could only get through them with prayer. They weren’t bad things, but definitely different from my norm. Once I began to pray first, the stress level decreased tremendously and I was able to see clearly the tasks before me.
  2. FOCUS – Because of prayer, I was then able to focus on the tasks at hand. My nonprofit, Forever Free Books, grew and my new business, The Real Wife Movement™, was born. I had to get focused and not side tracked by what others thought or what other people were doing. I had to focus on the steps I had to take to complete the things I had before me. Focusing on a holistic me, helped me to say “NO” to things that were distractions and to say “YES” to things that would turn my life in the right direction to begin my journey to walking in my purpose.
  3. GRIND – What do I mean by grind? I mean putting in the hard work and time needed to grow. Plain and simple! I began attending educational events that helped me gain the information I needed to grow as an entrepreneur. I also began spending money on classes to help me become a better me. Not only that, I connected with like-minded, purpose driven people and asked someone to mentor me. That was the best decision I ever made. She pushes me beyond my mental capacity which causes me to grind. In my grind I now have results!
  4. REPEAT – I know you are probably thinking, “Well, that’s dumb.” On the contrary, repeating these steps is crucial for continual growth. If I stop at grind, I can go no further than that place. Repeating these steps causes us to go to the next level, the next business deal, the next phase in our life. Growth is a continual process.
If we get stuck in only one phase of this process, there will be no change. Imagine being stuck in either the prayer phase, the focus phase or the grind phase. This creates an imbalance in the flow of progress and growth.
So, as we face the last 2 months of 2016, what steps are you taking  towards staying successful?
Want ways to improve your marriage? Pick up a copy of my book, Being a Wife Just Got Real by clicking book.
Want ways to improve your marriage? Pick up a copy of my book, Being a Wife Just Got Real by clicking book.

2016 Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend

Sharon Lucas founder of Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend
Sharon Lucas founder of Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend

The 2016 Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend (BARR) was a fantastic event that I am glad I attended. I was invited by  the founder, Mrs. Sharon Lucas, who conducts book events throughout the Washington, DC area. She has a passion for readers and authors since she is both of those!img_2843

“A few short years ago, if readers wanted to catch up with their favorite author, get a book signed, attend a book launch or simply pick up the most recent book release, all were as close as the nearest bookstore.” An excerpt from “Plan it! The Complete Resource Guide for Authors, Book Clubs & Literary Event Planners” by Sharon Lucas

This event was especially spectacular for me because I was finally able to give Victoria Christopher Murray a copy of my book. She wrote a brief review for it and it was an honor to put it in her hands. I also was asked to teach a session on authors and the importance of social media to connecting with our readers. The other authors, Nigeria and Necole, also dropped some serious knowledge on the use of social media.

2016 Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend
My favorite author, Victoria Christopher Murray

I was also in awe of how many Black Book clubs there were. Each book club had on matching outfits and were just a pleasure to meet.  One book club just celebrated their 50th YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!! I had no clue that book clubs were around that long or traveled far to events like these. I thought it was awesome that Sharon brought both authors and readers together for an entire weekend of fun, food and education. I don’t know about anyone else, but I bought more books than I sold this weekend. It’s cool though because love to read and so does my 16 year old daughter. She now has 5 new books to read.

Friday’s events:

  • Book discussion with Sadeqa Johnson discussing her book “Second House From the Corner”
  • A yummy Mexican inspired dinner and the freshest cake pops and cupcakes by CC’s Cakes & Candies
  • Then we were blessed with wisdom by none other than, Victoria Christopher Murray, NAACP Image Award Winner in Fiction for her novel Stand Your Ground. Her presentation was powerful and informative.
  • We then were educated by  The Three Scribes Share & Teach Brian W. Smith, Pamela Samuels Young & Dwayne Alexander Smith
  • Music and lots of networking

Saturday’s Events:

  • Author’s Expo was all day
  • Early morning Zumba Gold led by Debra Hobb and Meditation with Certified Instructor Sadeqa Johnson
  • Breakout Sessions

    2016 Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend
    Authors Necole Ryce, Nigeria Lockley
  • What Makes “Romance” Sizzle & Pop with Dee Lawrence, LaQuette, Donneil Johnson
  • Shake Your Beauty with Tia Williams
  • Rock Your Kinky Coily Hair with Pamela Samuels Young
  • Smart Social Media Management with Nigeria Lockley, Necole Ryse & Tanya Barnett
  • When Your Book Club Selection Flops! with Lisa Renee Johnson & Sharon Lucas
  • Your Book…From Your Head to a Bestseller! with Brian W Smith
  • Diversity in Children’s Literature with Cerece Rennie Murphy, Natasha & Jabara Khalfani, Michelle Spady and Monica Mathis-Stowe
  •  Lunch was buffet style and delicious
  • During lunch we heard a powerful spoken word presentation by brother Jabari Khalfani
  • The Speaker for the luncheon was Lisa Renee Johnson, of The Sistahs on the Reading Edge book club. She and other members were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine train. While she was sharing their experience, I cried at her pain. Her story was then followed by a Q&A and how we can all combat racial bias.

This event was inspiring and motivated me to begin working on my next book. I made some new Author-sister-friends and was finally able to give Victoria Christopher Murray a hug. I can’t wait to attend next years event.

If you are an author and would like to participate in this event or others like it, please contact Sharon Lucas at http://www.realdivasread.com.

authorauthorsblack authorblack authorsblack book clubsBlack Lives Matterbookbook clubbooksfictioninspirationinspirednon-fictionreadreadersreading

{Shelly’s Story} The Beauty of the Blended Family

During the month of October, The Real Wife Movement™ will be featuring stories from wives who have blended families. They will share what they did to ensure their families thrived beyond 10 years.

Be inspired by Shelly’s Story.

Blended family: a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous relationships.

Shelly and Marc 1994
Shelly and Marc 1994

I was asked by my dear friend Tanya to write about my blended family of 26 years. I was glad to not only give my 2 cents, but any chance to talk about my family that I adore was awesome. There was only one problem, my husband and I never considered ourselves a blended family. Another dear friend told me to just tell my story as I see it.

I had a chunky little one-year-old when my husband and I met in 1990. I did not see my husband as a natural parent to my son initially, we had a few conversations about his “parenting style”. What I realized was, he was interjecting his own military upbringing. I decided to pull back and let him parent his way. I did not want him to feel like a glorified babysitter once we decided to live together, and later marry.

Marc and Ryan
Marc and Ryan

My husband and son created their own bond when I had to work or any other time they spent together. A couple years later we started our own family. When the baby was born we made sure Ryan knew he was a big brother and that was an important job. One baby turned into 2, 3 and 4 more. The philosophy in our house was the same, the work “step” did not exist. There was no distinction, “your child”, “my child”, “our children together”. That was my husband’s rule from day one, “what’s yours is mine”.
A few times the younger kids said anything about Ryan not being my husband’s son, my husband would quip, “I’ve been Ryan’s dad longer than any of you jokers!” Point taken by the younger ones.
My husband was at every parent teacher conference, doctor appointment, football game and track meet. He paid for saxophones, summer camp, and college. He taught Ryan to drive, shave and tie his shoes.

The Family Shelly, Nicolas, Ryan, Marc Jr., Donovan, Chenelle, Marc Sr.
The Family
Shelly, Nicolas, Ryan, Marc Jr., Donovan, Chenelle, Marc Sr.

Some say our family blended so cohesively because my son was so young. While that may be true to an extent, parenting as a unit is most important. Also, I retained my maiden name when I married, hyphenating my name so that Ryan would not feel different in that respect. Ryan is now 26, working on his PhD and loves his dad to pieces. Why? Because he was loved to pieces.


Shelly Brown-Rainey is the proud mom of 5 wonderful young adults, 4 of whom went to college. Her youngest is a Junior in high school. She and Marc have been married for 22 years.

Shelly is currently enrolled at Lynchburg General School of Nursing. She loves reading and vacationing with her husband.

Indie 500 Fashion Week Finale Runway Show

I had the awesome opportunity to cover the Indie 500 Fashion Week Finale Runway Show. Hubby and I made it a date night and surprisingly, he enjoyed it. He loved that there were designers who made men’s clothing.
img_2574Indie Fashion Week  was created by Harley Morgan and Terrance Payton (ROE the Agency, LLC) to create a fresh look at independent fashions who may not be able to gain big recognition when they first launch on the scene. Throughout the week, the color PURPLE was represented throughout all of the events and several songs by Prince were the theme of each individual event.

Most of these designers made their debut at this event, which made it even more special for me. I love seeing young people go for their dreams and make it happen.

The show started with a full homage to Prince with a singer and dancers. I loved the energy of it and the dances were old school dances. After that, the first half began. There was a powerful soliloquy that dealt with Black Lives Matter in between a few designers. The Prince impersonator came out also for a wardrobe change. (Check out gallery for pictures.)

After the 1st half, there was a brief intermission which consisted of  mixing and mingling as well as samples from IZZE Sparkling Juices. I love apple, so I choice the Sparkling Apple, which was refreshing. There was also a snack bar to purchase snacks and beverages as well as a few vendors.

We will definitely be going back to this event and even bringing our 16 year old daughter! I applaud Harley and Terrance for a fun and magical night.

+ Blair Devon Collection
+ Love Candy Apparel
+ Knotilus
+ Toraz
+ “Apocalypse” by King O
+ G Star RAW + Emporium
+ Jon Marc Full Figured Swimwear
+ DJS Lifestyles
+ Twelve 16
+ Klashaa’s Closet
+ “Elevated Opulence” by King O