Thankful Wishes

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Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings,

one by one,

as each relative goes home.

Melanie White

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A friend texted a holiday letter I barely recall sending out when my ducklings were little. Thumbnail photos surrounded the upbeat paragraphs, full of bright eyes and ready smiles with the extended family, my daughter and her friends in Hula outfits, a son on stage starring in his elementary school production of “Guys N Dolls,” a son on a Venetian gondola in Las Vegas a dozen years before I showed him Italy, a moms’ trip for my 40th, white water rafting that looked like a level too dangerous had our family spilled over.

The photos gave me pause, reflecting on how much has changed since. The grandmother and an aunt have passed, my sister who was sure she’d never marry actually did, and I wiped myself out exploring NYC’s nightlife before vaccine cards and sidewalk dining got fashionable. After countless trips abroad–some by myself, some with the family as well as separately with each son and daughter–I haven’t hankered for a plane ride even after lockdowns were lifted.

More recently, I adopted a grandma in the next town because she’s 95 and lives alone. I often catch myself in pajamas early and am content to admire the Manhattan skyline from this side of the Hudson. The ducklings have sprouted magnificent wings, going off on adventures in their expanding worlds. Two of the three have flown the nest, stopping home to roost only for the holidays like proper adults.

The satisfaction of witnessing them thrive makes the freedom of empty nest even more delicious. Now I can enjoy time as I please. Alarm clocks and driving destinations are all my choosing. I cook only when I feel like it and though my husband still steers clear of the stove, we have inadvertently switched roles and he is now the magic behind our self-cleaning sink. He keeps busy with domestic chores and grocery runs while I dress up and go out into world.

As we give thanks for all that we’ve been through, I believe I share every parent’s hope that our eaglets learn to trust and be gentle with themselves as they manage the dips and highs of life’s air currents, remembering as they soar that challenges and fumbles are how we grow in this adventure. May they know that all feelings–both good and bad, uplifting and painful–are best embraced as guides, as helpful information nudging us towards what we need to change or accept. In these times of superficial yet compelling social media, may they recognize that genuine happiness is not loud nor flashy and doesn’t need the spotlight nor approbation outside one’s own. May they find meaning and great satisfaction in engaging work that surrounds them with the best of inspiring people.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you’re thankful for and know that I’m thankful for your lighting up my journey!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

Text 201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

How To Take Better Selfies

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It’s OK

not to have

selfie control.

-Anonymous (usually a woman)

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Curating fun and varied social media posts can be a full-time job for the dedicated (unlike me.) Whether you’re sharing life at home or adventures on the road, try these easy tips for more engaging selfies with the help of your smartphone’s timer. Handier than a portable tripod, my phone’s leather folio case makes it easy to prop it up on any available surface to compose a shot. It also keeps credit cards and cash tucked conveniently inside its flap while protecting the phone’s screen from nicks and cracks when dropped.

Perfect the Pose.  Point toes of one foot toward the camera to elongate the legs, roll shoulders back for elegant posture, then stretch the chin forward and down to minimize the double chin. Before asking someone to take your photo, show the person a sample of what you want included in the shot first to give them an idea of your composition.

Capture the Mood. Make-up and better outfits definitely elevate a picture, but the one thing that makes a moment stand out is the feeling and memories it conjures. Aim to catch an emotion whether it be joy, a pensive mood, chutzpah, etc.


It’s All In the Eyes
. If the camera is held below your eye level, keep your gaze slightly above it to catch some light. For a genuine smile regardless of how you feel about your teeth, always show them anyway and let the twinkle shine through the crinkle in those eyes.

 
Easy on the filters. Less is more with photo edits. When the lighting is good on the face, I simply lessen shadows and add a touch of contrast.  Cloudy days can use the pop of a brightening filter which will need minimized color saturation. If the best available light is tungsten yellow or some other funky color, go close to the light source for the best contrast then see how the photo looks in black and white. 


Curate and print, print, print! No matter the size of your iCloud storage, your grandkids will not scroll through your digital pictures as they would enjoy flipping through printed pictures in a box or album. Make a habit of emailing your best shots to yourself with descriptive words on the subject line to make them easy to find for a print run–say, your Top 10 favorites each year.


Go Pro.  To mark a milestone occasion, honor someone you love or simply celebrate life, find a photographer who shares your aesthetic and makes you feel comfortable with your preferences. You want someone who is organized and dependable, someone who makes your life easy by planning ahead for outfits, concepts, and logistics.  Even better if they print and matte the best of your collection for you!

I wholeheartedly agree with the saying that the best camera is not necessarily the biggest or the fanciest but the one that you keep handy and actually use. I am a big fan of the convenience of the iPhone camera which does its best job with full sun. In low light and less than ideal lighting conditions, it still has a way to go to catch up with the picture quality of a full frame DSLR or mirrorless cameras.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (tope left) to share your most memorable selfie moment.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

Text 201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

(Life or) Death by Plastic

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Use it up, wear it out

make it do

or do without.

New England proverb

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Yesterday, I made an exception to my rule of never wearing black (when nobody has died) to join a pretend funeral procession on Fifth Avenue in New York City. “Death by Plastic” is a performance art call-to-action by artist, Anne Katrin Spiess, who aims to continue touring the world with this event to raise global awareness on the inevitable consequence of our indiscriminate use of disposable plastics. 

In “Death by Plastic,” Anne Katrin embodies Mother Earth in a casket, suffocated by single use plastics we often stuff into even larger plastic bags before sending them off with the garbage collector, as if this were all it took to magically make plastics disappear off the face of the earth. But plastics are virtually indestructible and ubiquitous for being cheap so, though we’ve been led to believe in the fairytale of recycling, it is essential we open our eyes to the reality that 91% of plastics canNOT be reprocessed. Even China, the world’s designated garbage dump, has recently declared Not here… No More!

Anne Katrin Spiess first performed “Death by Plastic” the Summer of 2019 in Moab, Utah– a community that has been among her favorite destinations as an artist who works with the natural environment. On her annual visits to Moab over a couple of decades, she witnessed how the seasonal deluge of tourists left behind large quantities of plastic trash in their wake, littering the expansive land that once sat proudly pristine.  Haunted by this insidious environmental degradation, she suffered sleepless nights feeling alone with her concerns until she resolved to channel her feelings of helplessness to create a statement project that might call attention to this global cancer. She commissioned a plexiglass casket where her body could lay in to symbolize Mother Earth inundated by non-recyclable plastics.

In November 2019, Anne Katrin arranged for a gondola to perform “Death by Plastic” across the canals of Venice, a veritable Sleeping Beauty covered by a sampling of the water bottles and food containers dumped by its 36 million tourists each year–a major cause of pollution in Venice, as it is in the rest of the world.  

While plastics are unarguably useful, their use requires more thoughtful consideration beyond our customary nonchalance. Every elder who remembers the time before plastics (Was there ever?!) needs to share their wisdom on how to live a more earth-attuned existence. Corporations can look beyond navel gazing over quarterly profits to make more responsible choices in materials for packaging and the products they peddle. Social media influencers can wield their power to endorse something natural and earth-friendly for every sponsored product they hype. Policy makers, entrepreneurs and philanthropists can orchestrate a global push that we can all contribute to and help reduce and re-use.  This concerted effort, though Herculean, has got to be easier than convincing Mars to become human friendly when it’s decidedly not.

Great hope also lies in engaging our young in the conversation, empowering them with the confidence that they, too, are capable of thinking of ways to make a difference.  In encouraging them to think outside the box we’ve nailed ourselves in with our ingrained plastics habits, we can sow new seeds of possibility and they may surprise us yet with ideas we’ve never thought of or forgotten. May their identity revolve around protecting precious Mother Earth. May their priorities be about memorable shared experiences with people, instead of the endless accumulation of things. May their lifestyle choices be about co-existing in harmony with nature, built upon a conscious desire to minimize waste altogether.

Before “Death by Plastic” becomes the reality for our generation, how can each one of us make a difference with our daily choices to say No or, at least, repurpose single use plastics?  As mothers and guardians of this planet, let us gather quickly for a pre-mortem, rub off the sleep of ignorance and blind indifference, acknowledge that when we are not part of the solution, we are slowly killing ourselves and our children. Margaret Mead did say Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.

Thank you, Anne Katrin, for leading the parade, reminding us that if human determination landed us on the moon and Mars, we, too, must be capable of saving this wondrous planet that has given us so much and so selflessly. May we bravely keep stepping forward, toward life affirming choices no matter how small. Every day. Right here. On Earth.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you choose to re-use and be kind for all of humankind.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

Text 201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Ms. French Gates

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Divorce isn’t such a tragedy.

A tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage,

teaching your children the wrong things about love.

Jennifer Weiner

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“Why would he want a divorce?” My husband wondered aloud, having just read about Bill and Melinda’s decision to part ways. “What’s he going to do at his age,” he added, “Chase 30 year olds?”

“What makes you think he wants the divorce?,” I asked, skimming the headline and noting that we, like the Gates, have been married 27 years. “She must be the one who’s tired.”

Goddess knows what women silently endure in their youth or lifetime, socialized to serve and be agreeable; politely allowing others to claim the spotlight and get the credit we deserve; letting them be right and believe they have the right to define our happiness; allowing them to steamroll our priorities in the name of peace, love and family harmony. We carry the extra burden of diplomacy in much of the relationship, blaming ourselves for the subtle or overt abuse we take and enable, unable to articulate and act on our own wants and desires–making a mystery of what gets masked as the illness of depression. Often, our kindness and willingness to be accommodating get mistaken for weakness, too.

So when a woman’s patience runs out, it can appear unexpected and unreasonable. Especially by those who have benefited from our silence, our bending backwards and forwards to make everyone else’s lives easy. There comes a time when we simply grow too old to keep up the charm and the charade required of the unpaid slavery called marriage and motherhood.

While many continue to live in the shadows, playing second fiddle to the spouse’s plans and schemes, efficiently cleaning up the messy consequences of their bright ideas, I applaud the woman who finds her voice and the courage to stand in her own light, speak her mind, and pursue her own agendas. One might say this is easy for a woman with billions in settlement to make such a move, but we know that not all women who have the means actually do.

Thank you, Melinda French Gates, for rising, for creating your own true Moment of Lift. In your wake, the rest of womankind is lifted by your inspiration and courage, your leadership through your foundation and Pivotal Ventures, your drive for contraception gives women worldwide the gift of control over their destinies. Thank you for walking the talk, standing up for the rest of us while creating possibility for those who don’t or can’t–yet.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you have honored your voice and strengths thus far, married or not. Melinda’s photos on this page are my favorites from Google Images.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

Text 201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Fanning Hope

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If we had no winter,

Spring would not

feel so pleasant.

Anne Bradstreet

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As the blooms of Spring remind us never to cut down what appears to be a dead tree in winter, each day brings us closer to the possibility of our lives returning to some new normal.  Elizabeth Dias and Audra D. S. Burch in this weekend’s The New York Times took a look at how the past year has changed us. Excerpts from their piece Who We Are Now:

Everyone has a personal “before” and “after.” It has been a collective near death experience, for those lucky enough to survive. People have found themselves close to life’s deepest questions… Questions about how we live, how we suffer, and how we make meaning of our short time here on this earth.  For some, facing trauma feels too hard. Others have found unexpected resilience and courage, rage or stillness. Transformation was forced on some, and for others it was chosen. For many, the suffering of this past year has birthed an awakening. The process of reflection is just beginning. Where it takes us remains to be seen. But the clarity that comes with intense suffering often clouds as time moves one. We have a window now to look at our lives anew. This is the story of how America is beginning that journey, in her own words.

This year has stripped me from so much, but it also allowed me to focus on and evaluate the big picture of my life. What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind? – Beca Bruder

I no longer have any clear trajectory, and I am learning to make peace with that. -GJ Hodson

When my husband died, I fought with God again “Why me?!” But afterward, I forgave him. I didn’t fight with him anymore. I just go on. If a job comes along and I get it, I say thank you. If he takes it away, I say ok. – Maria Judith Alvarez

I realized emotions can’t wait for another day. I’m calling my parents more and expressing my love and gratitude to them. -Vaneet Singh

I am not going to try to be polite anymore. I am going to become a less behaved, less likeable, ballsier, more outspoken, more dangerous woman. All these rules I had followed, these rules will not save me. -Aline Melto

This is what is driving me forward. There is nothing I can do about the stuff that burned up. I can look at this as the end of the world, apocalypse, but really our worlds all end when we die. And in the meantime, I am alive, I am still here, and what can I do about it? -Ramah Commanday

I like who I am becoming, I just haven’t fully met her yet. I don’t want to give 2020 credit, but I feel it put me on a conveyor belt to transformation that I wouldn’t have had without it. – Mary Fugate

I am falling back in love with myself: How I plan to live my life morning forward, no more doing for others what I do not want to do. I am centering my attention on the things that give me peace. – Jeffreen Hayes

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’ve been fanning the flame of hope as we look forward to celebrating Mother’s Day and graduation of all kinds.

xoxox

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xoxox

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Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

Text 201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Annotating Fairytales

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We can’t all be princesses…

Someone has to clap

when I walk by.

Girl Two Doors Down

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Among my favorite treasures is this photo of my daughter and her Disney equivalent in matching costumes, both dark haired and wide eyed, beaming broadly in recognition of a kindred princess. She wore her Snow White costume for much of the year she was four years old until it grayed and frayed around the edges. Fast forward fifteen years later, she begins to find that honoring her own needs isn’t always high on the agenda of a prospective Prince, so it might as well be on hers.

While Meghan Markle‘s dilemma has provided entertaining distraction from our prolonged and heavy real world concerns, it is high time we edit the fairytales we’ve innocently fed our daughters’ imaginations so that they might stand a better chance at the elusive “Happy Ever After” they have been told to expect after every grand wedding.

Food for thought for our young–and not too young–to consider:

Entitled women need not suffer royally. Fairytales have scientifically proven that the best brides for a prince are those used to being invisible slaving away at the hearth, grateful to wear rags and hand-me-downs, and have a knack for diplomacy around the varied temperaments of (s)even very short men or a couple of wicked stepsisters. Such brides never talk back at evil stepmothers or in-laws and would never dream of demanding that her prince make the heart-rending choice between her own happiness or that of his family.

Every parent wants their son/daughter to marry up. What sane parent–even those whose blood isn’t blue–will want less than the best for their own son/daughter? When a royal family concedes to an “unexpected” match, should we then assume that they will happily surrender all other stringent protocols and stifling roles that have governed everyone living under their palatial roof throughout history? Is there to be no price to pay for entry into that magical kingdom of fancy ballgowns and dress up parties?

No one is a victim. This is a tough sell with our culture firmly hooked up by (social) media onto the IV drip of glorifying victimhood as the surest way to more thumbs up and shares, fame and publicity, book publishing and movie deals. May we strive to be adults who: (1) take responsibility for our choices and acknowledge the quid pro quo in getting what we want; (2) embrace dark emotions as natural and necessary human experience, fertile ground for growing our own understanding, strength and resilience; (3) open our eyes to the fact that no matter how much we chafe at the injustice of reality, the caste system is alive and well even in first world nations–only made difficult to swallow under the egalitarian spell cast by democracy. Oprah herself covered this with her bookclub choice Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.

A true modern princess wields her power over social media responsibly, aware of the influence her example sets on young minds. Knowing the animals, prince, and system she has to live with, she seeks to bring together nations, using her understanding of the rules that govern the terrain to navigate her way with dignity, never pandering to other people’s pity nor glamorizing helplessness.

Click “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your tips on how to keep feet squarely on the ground while making our dreams come true.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

Text 201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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They say love is more important than money.

Then why can’t I pay my bills

with a hug?

Anonymous

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My young adults survived another romance free Valentine, reminding me of the pang of those “wonder” years, wondering when/if/how love will ever find me. Long after it did, I have since learned that love is so much more expansive and all-encompassing that limiting it to romance is its ultimate disservice. This past year has become the true test of our ability to let those we care for feel special even when they’re not in a relationship, or are in unsatisfying ones, or are simply lethargic from the limited options of living in separate islands of isolation.

Among the women who successfully broke free from tyranny that often gets confused with love is the iconic Tina Turner. Her memoir My Love Story tells her tale of self-love conquering all if we just keep stepping through tough times (with fabulous hair and glamorous outfits!) It is a reminder that we can choose to begin anew wherever we are (or elsewhere) with what we have, no matter what age. And when we keep our eyes open to the myriad sources of love around us–if not from family–then the friends we choose, the people we work and collaborate with, the projects that excite us, then the possibility of stumbling upon romance–in Tina’s case, with a man 16 years younger i–can merely be sweet icing on our satisfying and love-filled lives.

Expanding our awareness of love’s forms outside of romance is the best way to liberate ourselves from the tyranny of all this social distancing, because each of us is a conduit of love that requires expression. We all have so much love to give and there’s simply no room in our closets to hoard any more hugs and kisses. More high heels? Maybe.

Save March 27, 2021, Saturday, for the premiere of HBO’s documentary on Tinas life, available on demand the next day.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you give or want to be loved. Make every day a celebrate your heart day!

Photos on this page from Google Images

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Quit and Go

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Always remember

the most important rule of beauty is

“Who cares?”

Tina Fey

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A new year and new beginnings might mean a fresh start for many, 2021 in particular might bring with it a new appreciation of our beauty without (or less) makeup and gratitude for the simplest of life’s daily pleasures. But creating space for possibility requires us to take a farther step back, challenging us to set boundaries because work and home have now relentlessly merged, to carve time for solitude even when the house is full, or to graciously let go of old ways of being and thinking even as the pandemic has made some automatic choices for us.

A few thoughts from James and Claudia Altucher’s The Power of No:

We beat ourselves up in ways in which we would never beat up someone we loved. Filtering the people we allow into our lives is probably the most important factor in determining whether we will live a happy life or not. Because if we let the wrong people in, we will be drained, and if we are drained, how can we expect to have abundance or creativity? Choose your family, your friends, your colleagues, your tribe, your life.

Luck equals (1) diversification plus (2) persistence. Excuses are leaks in a boat. When you cover one, another pops up, and it’s even bigger. It’s hard to keep the boat repaired and get safely to shore if you have an excuse mind-set. Replace a complaint thought with one of gratitude or compassion.

Time it takes to reinvent yourself: Five years. Here’s a description of the five years: Year One: You’re flailing and reading everything and just starting to do. Year Two: You know who you need to talk to and network with. You’re doing every day. You finally know what the Monopoly board looks like in your new endeavors. Year Three: You’re good enough to start making money. It might not be a living yet. Year Four: You’re making a good living, and you can quit your day job. Year Five: You’re making wealth. Sometimes you get frustrated in years one through four. You say, “Why isn’t it happening yet?” That’s okay. Just keep going. Or stop and pick a new field.

Someone who is reinventing always has spare time. Part of reinvention is collecting little bits and pieces of time and carving them the way you want them to be. That is the Power of No in action: you say no to the superfluous distractions because you must find some time for you. When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.

Optimism, humor and grit will see us through 2021 and all other unexpected turns life ahead might take. Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’re drawing the line in 2021 for Happy New Possibilities!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

At Santa’s Workshop




The best gift you can give is a hug–

one size fits all

and no one ever minds if you return it.

Marge Piercy


It’s that time of a very odd year, having had the rug pulled off from beneath us, leaving us scrambling for ways to land on our feet somehow and thrive. Aside from my Empty Nest interruption, 2020 was wonderful in peeling away the non-essentials of our harried lives, less so when we consider the deeper implications of all this isolation and the slow but sure corrosion of our personal ties. We are starved for human touch and the Zoom-minimized opportunities for random connections, though we’d have to consider ourselves lucky when such starvation is not from lack of food on the table. For those more fortunate to have fewer worries than most, life and shopping must go on if only to help the economy and make your favorite people smile –at a distance, of course.



For Him

Take “Family Tree” literally with an original and timeless portrait that you can make into wall art, include in an album for generations to enjoy, blow up as a large puzzle to keep the family entertained through the winter or as an all-occasion greeting card for the many friends and family we’re not allowed to see.




For the Young Ones (and the young once)

Delight in flights of fancy and imagination with unique creations from Etsy.com. For my Game Of Thrones fan, I ordered dragon eggs and a 3D printed necklace as a proper Mother of Dragons should.




For All

One-off gifts or create your own themed collection of stocking stuffers from the practical to the simply fun. Amazon Prime delivers rain or snow, Covid or no, faster than reindeer.




For Her

Can you think of half an occasion when Chanel wouldn’t be a thrill?




For Santa’s Workshop

For quality that’s easier on the pocket and hours of entertainment while saving the planet, you’ll find unique, antique and vintage treasures on 1st Dibs or Facebook Marketplace. Among my favorite finds to cheer up my office is this sleek Italian marble coffee table–fabulously glamorous even if I don’t drink coffee.


Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best gift ideas and favorite things of 2020. And have the merriest of Ho-Ho-Hos!

xoxox


Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Books by Kamala Harris

You may be the first

to do many things, but make sure

you are not the last.

Kamala Harris’s mom

This year we learned that time flies even when you’re not having fun so why wait? This year we found much to be grateful for even as we pivoted to pursue new interests and ways of being thanks to Covid-19. This year we welcome with great expectations the fresh possibilities Vice President Elect Kamala Harris brings to our nation, young girls and the women of the world. I can only imagine the pride of her mother in watching her daughter blaze trails, going where no woman has gone before in US history, and inviting us all to “Dream with ambition and live with conviction.”

Her books will be among my better gift ideas for the holidays for both young ones and the young once:

Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, a memoir

Superheroes Are Everywhere

We are thankful for the breath of hope that she brings to our nation in this brave new decade, as she paves the way for more female and immigrant voices to take their well-deserved seats in government.

Click on “Leave a Comment” to share your Kamala love and what you’re thankful for in 2020. I am thankful for women like Kamala and you!

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Touch Me (Not)

 

Laughing together

is as close as you can get

to a hug without touching.

Gina Barreca

 

 

Among the happy citizens of our brave new world is my darling husband who no longer needs to mask his jealousies with admonitions like “No hugging, No kissing” now that this has become the social norm with friends and neighbors. He can sleep fitfully knowing there are no tango, hustle, or salsa dance parties beckoning me out of pajamas.  My skin has been happy to forego makeup and frequent showers, my toes happy to forget the ache of high heels that sit forlorn in the closet, wondering when or if they’ll ever get to come out and play again.  Despite our attempts at shrugging off and making light of our small privations, we will eventually have to acknowledge the true cost of this extended skin hunger to our sanity and emotions. How long can we deny our primal need for touch to thrive, to feel connected and comforted? Susan Orbach wrote in her short but sweet little classic Bodies:

In the last twenty years or so, the significance of human touch has come to the fore as being crucial to psychological well-being. Touch is the most basic and fundamental of human experiences. Before we can suckle, before we can even see, we are enveloped by the welcoming arms of our mother. As we nestle into her body, feel the steadiness of her heartbeat, breathe her smell, we embed ourselves with her as our beacon. Her body, her voice, her skin, her touch became the way we orient ourselves as we make our personal journey through infancy, childhood and beyond. And touch is the most crucial of these elements, not only providing us, in the case of loving touch, with a sense of security and ease in our bodies, but shaping our biology and our neuro-circuitry in ways that will affect our tempers and personalities throughout our lives.

We are accustomed to thinking of our bodies as just existing, propelled to grow by reasonable nutrition and our genetic inheritance. Psychotherapists working with troubled bodies show that the kind of touch we receive are crucial to the development of our own body sense.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you stay connected and comforted while living in this no touch world.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

My Grandma’s Life In Five Objects

 

Grandparents are intended

to help a child get into mischief

that she couldn’t have thought of on her own.

Gene Perret

 

 

September is the birthday month of my maternal grandmother to whom I owe much of my sense of style and expansive range of talents. She loomed large as family matriarch and when I think of home, I think of her busy, extended household full of aunts, uncles, cousins, house help and a revolving door of pets. The woman I’ve become and how I relate to the world are born from watching her be or not be, from marveling at her idiosyncrasies and ironies, from hearing my mom and aunts gauge their choices by “What would Mama think?”  We shared the love of constant learning, of evolving artistic expression from the sartorial to the mundane, as well as an affinity for collecting beautiful objects. She kept her best under lock and key, displayed behind glass panels as curiosities, while mine have to double duty as pretty and functional that must survive good, if not daily, use.  To this day, objects are how I remember people, places and events that have generously blessed me, given as gifts or as conjurors of memory, remembrances of who and what helped shape the person I’ve become.

Before I left for college, she couldn’t wait to tweeze my eyebrows and share her makeup palette, teaching me the art of making almond eyes appear wider with at least four shades of eye makeup that became my daily uniform. Who would recognize me now that motherhood had made me surrender the good fight?  My grandma loved red lipstick while her more conservative sisters wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing anything racier than pink.  With masks required at public venues these days, making lipsticks go wasted on covered lips, I wear my Very Prive Louboutin (above) as a pendant instead.

 

A Purse Gone Fishing

My absolute favorite from Grandma is this fish purse that was her souvenir from a trip to Japan before my own parents met. I can imagine the excitement that pulsed through her house as she and her husband planned their first major flight out of their home islands. I don’t know how I got to be the lucky keeper of this treasure considering I have a sister, aunts and a slew of girl cousins.  But I can’t think of anyone else who would have enjoyed it as much as I do. For better or worse–because plastic never dies–this purse looks as new today as it must have been when she first spied it at a shop window in Shibuya or Shinjuku.  As she wandered those streets, did she imagine that one day, her first granddaughter–who, at that time, was yet a mere twinkle in her eye–might birth her a greatgrandson in that country?  This fish purse perfectly melds our love of travel and irrepressible sense of humor, ever ready to share a clever anecdote or joke, usually with a poker face (as any sensible fish would.)

 

 

To Bed, To Bed

My fun fashion flair and insistence on dressing better when everyone else is wearing ripped jeans definitely comes from Grandma’s genes. Though there are limits to the heights I’d willingly suffer. Before COVID-19, I used to tease that women endure enough pain already without our toes needing to get pinched into stilettos, that 4-inch heels should only be worn to bed.  Now that dress up parties and gatherings are few, the bed has proven to be my Private Number Louboutin’s most dependable destination indeed.

 

 

All That Glitters For No Occasion

To whoever decreed “Don’t eat after 6:00 pm,” I have only one question: Why not?!  This may make sense for Early Birds, but someone must speak up for the night owls of this planet!  When my Empty Nest is quiet late at night, I think of those just-the-two-of-us moments with my grandma, rare in her full house, silent except for the crack and crunch of freshly carved watermelon, punctuated by the less than discreet spit of seeds in those long forgotten days before the needless invention of all things seedless. Other nights might be the season for mangoes and more exotic tropical fruits, cookies or a sandwich with the slurp of hot cocoa or milk coffee as our midnight snack. I have since been converted to the rituals of tea because there’s such an irresistible selection of adorable cups and teapots, satisfactions you just can’t get from a coffeemaker.  No good reason to save glittery things for special occasions that may never come either so I delight in feasting like royalty during the day or when I’m burning the midnight candle alone in pajamas. As Virginia Woolf put it: One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. And I always, always feed my eyes first.

 

 

One Pet, No Pets

Despite growing up with my grandmother’s ever changing menagerie of pets from goldfish, to turtles, parakeets to chicks that grew into chicken soup for lunch, dogs from chihuahuas to poodles, etc, I never felt the desire to own a pet myself. I was clear about wanting children though, and when they begged me for a pet, I assured them most confidently they can have all the dogs and cats they wanted when they got their own apartments. Somehow my daughter succeeded in persuading me to compromise with a rabbit when her brothers flew the nest, but very soon after, her attention drifted to boys and friends and the rabbit got relegated as her dad’s bestie. He’s great company for me now that she’s left home, tirelessly staring with adoring eyes much of the day and happy to cuddle at night.  You know I mean the rabbit, not the husband, right? 😉

 

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what makes you smile when you think about your grandmother(s).

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

 

 

Peace and Party At The Farm

All animals are equal,

but some animals are

more equal than others.

George Orwell

Now that travel to other continents is not feasible for many of us in 2020, I’ve had to re-consider my aversion to long drives (ie, anything beyond 7 minutes) and to explore the joys of what’s within driving distance.  Two hours from Manhattan is the Peaceful Windhorse Farm, an idyllic party venue for those with the “return to nature” sensibility or those who want relief from all this isolation and regroup under open sky. When public transit comes back in style, the Metro North is another romantic way to get there as you soak in the zen Hudson River views along the way.

The farm’s gracious overseer guided me on a tour of its 108 acres with her handy plant ID app. That afternoon, she discovered that the wide variety of foliage on her land included a liberal sprinkling of olive trees and bushes which could be fruitful if warm weather were more fashionable year round in the Northeast.

We meandered over grassy pathways through woods and prairies that have hosted memorable candlelit parties on long dinner tables under the stars, gatherings around breathtaking bonfires, happy hour on a hill at sunset with a bartender or two possibly serving drinks from a rustic hunter’s hideout.  Its main house has a pool that can host a family for the summer.  Its expansive barn has been converted into a spacious event space for weddings or family reunions. Guests are thrilled to pet and feed the Noah’s ark stable of local residents:  2 enormous pigs, 2 handsome goats, 2 bucolic horses, 2 sheepish (I couldn’t help this!) sheep. There may have been more than 2 chickens, but we all know extra eggs always come in handy.

After harvesting the mulberry tree as far as our fingers could reach and a few futile attempts at convincing the goats and pigs they’ve had enough feasting underneath it, we sat for a picturesque dinner overlooking the pond. To my hostess’ delight, what appeared to be a little rock tucked next to the candle on the table was a live frog. She let her ravioli get cold as she excitedly searched for and downloaded the Frog ID app, determined to identify the species of this Frog Prince before we deemed it worthy of a kiss. She snapped the frog’s photo and we held our breaths while the app searched its data base. We waited… and waited some more… until, at last, the app made up its mind. This creature, the app decreed most assuredly, was a mushroom.

For inquiries on hosting your next memorable party event or family reunion at Windhorse Farm Events, contact ‭(212) 807-9642‬. And enjoy making the best of this summer of our new normal!

xoxox

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Angel In The House

 

Angels can fly

because they

take themselves lightly.

GK Chesterton

 

 

With so much restless energy long confined, frustration high in the face of 24/7 togetherness and unemployment, school/work from home has been a test on everyone’s patience and sanity, especially for those living in tight quarters or in abusive relationships, and even those who aren’t. With its incessant imposition on the benevolence and diplomacy of the women who run the home, how much longer can we hang on to our wings and halo when we’d rather shrug them off and go on a free fall from grace?

Victorians fondly referred to wives as their Angels in the House, the women who handled all responsibilities that get in the way of a man’s need to focus on his work and personal pursuits.  Twentieth century progress has multiplied that load requiring a woman to prove herself capable of a career of her own while continuing to cover all the domestic bases. She has to tread lightly despite frayed nerves, be tactful around other household members who prefer to remain innocent of chores required to run it.  She is somehow expected to maintain her gentle charm and sex appeal despite the constant exhaustion.

COVID casualties, street riots and black lives protests captivate concern on a global scale. Underneath it all, an even larger but ignored statistic bears the brunt of 24/7 duty, short fuses and stubborn wills on the domestic front.  Who looks out for the well-being of the woman whose capacities are continually stretched in all directions with no reprieve?  How are we to maintain our sanity, never mind the good looks?  Who cares to lighten the load for the tired angel in their house?

In behalf of all the wives and mothers, I send out this universal plea for extra affection, consideration and indulgence when the people we live with find us prickly, bitchy, and positively devilish.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you keep your angel wings and benevolent smile firmly glued on for a Happy Father’s Day!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

 

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

Making Mother Happy

 

There are three ways to get something done:

do it yourself, hire someone to do it,

or ask your kids NOT to do it.

Malcolm Kushner

 

 

“It’s for Mother’s Day!” I hollered in exasperation.  To cajole those who believe themselves too busy and too cool for school, I’ve had to use all possible enticements from “This won’t take long” to the more pointed “I wouldn’t even ask you to be in the picture if you weren’t family!”  By the time I’ve convinced the last of them to agree to coordinate calendars, wear similar outfits, deafen my ears to the manly banter while they bicker about who gets to wear which pants or shoes, plus persuade the one who loves ankle socks to part with them just for this occasion, my well of charm and patience has gotten thoroughly dried out. And this is all before I’ve set up equipment!  Don’t ask how I manage to smile in front of the camera after what goes on behind it–herding cows may be far easier.

My Inner Eternal Optimist is consoled by the thought that three agreeable ones out of five is not so bad for a family average. That with our eldest packed to venture out of lockdown and leave for his first full-time job out of college while the younger ones look forward to summer jobs elsewhere,  each day of being ignored in favor of their devices is mere training for the return to Empty Nest. So I grin and bear it, prevailing over any and all objections, aware that none of us can really know when we’ll have more of these special moments to take each other for granted again.

I dedicate this time capsule to my future grandchildren. When their parents ask them to gather for a family photo shoot, may they dutifully take revenge on my behalf.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’re making your Mother’s Day happy.  Keep smiling!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

 

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

The Young and The Restless

 

In lieu of shaking hands and hugs,

you may simply kneel, bow or curtsy to me

at a safe distance.

Anonymous (who is usually a woman)

 

 

My 21 years old is certain that this lockdown has got to be every mother’s dream with the family gathered at home, having nowhere to go and no friends to visit. He has no clue how Empty Nest had been not unlike heaven for me!

If we must lead this virtual Amish lifestyle until who knows when, leaving us with few options, how shall we keep from spiraling into darkness and despair?  How do we remember to consider ourselves fortunate that we can still take strolls to enjoy the Spring blooms, how we are lucky if we have no greater worries than enduring boredom, the torment of what to cook next, and the anguish of wearing masks and gloves that don’t match? Goddess knows many have more serious cares and there shall be more concerns not yet apparent.

As we struggle with feelings of fear and helplessness, let us count the ways how this unexpected pause might be just what we need, taking comfort in this excerpt from Pema Chodron‘s When Things Fall Apart:

Underneath our ordinary lives, underneath all the talking we do, all the moving we do, all the thoughts in our minds, there’s a fundamental groundlessness. It’s there bubbling along all the time. we experience it as restlessness and edginess. We experience it as fear. It motivates passion, aggression, ignorance, jealousy, and pride, but we never get down to the essence of it.

Refraining is the method for getting to know the nature of this restlessness and fear. It’s a method for settling into groundlessness. If we immediately entertain ourselves by talking, by acting, by thinking–if there’s never any pause–we will never be able to relax. We will always be speeding through our lives. We’ll always be stuck with what my grandfather called a good case of the jitters. Refraining is a way of making friends with ourselves at the most profound level possible. We can begin to relate with what’s underneath, all the stuff that comes out and expresses itself as controlling, manipulative behavior, or whatever it is. Underneath all that fear and edginess, there’s something very soft, very tender.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your new discoveries while home bound. Be gentle with yourself and no matter what happens next, keep finding the good, the possible and the funny right where we are, one day at a time.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

 

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

 

 

 

How To Be Zoom Ready

 

The best thing about telecommuting is

not having to dress for work–

And nobody has to know if you’re naked below the waist.

Anonymous

 

 

Now that we can live 24/7 in pajamas for the duration of this enforced lock down, all we need is one well pressed shirt for meetings and interviews on the Zoom App. To maintain professionalism, you want your viewer(s) to focus on what you have to say and avoid distracting them with what’s going on behind you.  Here are some handy tips to look your best on video:

Room Set Up  Pick a room with a door that you can lock so kids and pets can’t run in while you’re in the middle of a meeting.  You want a plain blank wall as background and a firm chair that encourages you to sit tall without swiveling/rocking–not the comfy sofa, your favorite armchair, and certainly not the bed. Remove wall decor, picture frames, plants, and close any door (closet/bathroom) that may be visible to your audience.

 

 

Camera Setup  Raise the camera of your laptop/smartphone to the level of your eyes or higher so you look alert and awake. In the picture below, leaving your laptop/camera at a low angle is not flattering at all–unless you have a particular fondness for your double chin. Either lower your seat or use a stack of books (or a box) to get the camera to a height that allows your face and neck to fill the screen, leaving about an inch above the top of your head and a couple of inches below the shoulder line. Have your pens and reference documents within reach. To avoid spills on devices and paperwork, keep your beverage in a covered cup or bottle.

 

 

Lighting  Face a window to give your face the best natural light during the day. In the absence of a window or for evening meetings, set up a small video light, a ring light or switch the light bulb of your desk lamp to a 40 watt daylight bulb.  If your light source cannot be dimmed to your liking, adjust brightness by moving it nearer/farther away or move it to your side instead of straight on to your face.

 

Ring Light with smartphone holder

 

What to wear  A plain V neck shirt with long sleeves always looks respectable. Choose the color of your top to contrast with the wall behind you. A black shirt on a black background will give the spooky effect of a floating head. Have a jacket handy in case you feel chilly in the middle of an extended discussion.  If you wear eyeglasses, make sure they are non-reflective.

All photos above from Google Images. This is my simple lighting setup with a desk lamp.

Click on “Leave a comment” (top left) to share how you keep your focus on the good stuff no matter what. (All photos on this page from Google Images.)

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Full House, Fool’s Belly

 

I know a great joke about CoronaVirus

but you probably

would rather not get it.

Anonymous

 

There goes my empty nest celebration as the husband sets up two monitors to work from home and the young adults fill the garage and basement with their dorm stuff to finish the semester online.  I have only one question for all the universities Where’s my tuition refund?!!!  A son who is a 6’4” lump of inertia at home wondered out loud What’s so bad about this (enforced 24/7 togetherness)? Hmmm… Let’s see…Your mother might kill someone if the virus doesn’t?

An interesting fact from The Economist:  The Coronavirus kills not by destroying cells, but by overstimulating the immune system’s inflammatory response. While all this virus hoopla might pass soon enough, a more serious concern that won’t go away by itself is this: How do we unknowingly stress and overstimulate our immune system on a daily basis?  How can we give our bodies the best chance of weathering future storms?

Gluten, sugar and dairy cause inflammation that may not trigger the shrill bells and whistles of a pandemic. Their symptoms appear quietly and innocently enough as a variety of illnesses such as allergies, diabetes, celiac, autism, MS, Crohn’s, and depression. Most medical professionals resort to medication as the first response and when symptoms are suppressed (which are our body’s means of asking for help), we forget the need to understand the underlying causes. Symptom suppression is akin to saying to our body “Shut up!” when it’s begging for our attention to change something in our diet and lifestyle. Making a change gets doubly tricky because these foods are not only widely popular and convenient, they charm the tongue and comfort the psyche, triggering that corner of our brain which induces addiction.

Should you feel like locking yourself up in a closet to get away from everyone else at home in the long days ahead, one of these books might be good company:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise outdoors, open windows as much as possible and keep breathing deeply. Like all of life’s troubles, this, too, shall pass. Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you pay attention to what your body is saying.

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

The Woman With Many Plans

 

It’s better to be interesting

than

to be beautiful.

Maye Musk

 

Reading A Woman Makes A Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty and Success by Maye Musk kept me awake past my bedtime in admiration of this indomitable spirit.  She’s the woman I want to be when I grow up!  When we see women all dolled up, it’s easy to tell ourselves that she probably hasn’t been through the hardships we’ve had. Not so! Making a fresh start–often from scratch–and moving to nine cities in three countries over her adult life, Maye has had to pick herself up one extra time after circumstances had pushed her down yet again, holding her head high with positive attitude and the willingness to do whatever it takes to show up and make the best of whatever cards life dealt her.

She speaks of her parents who set the example of “Live dangerously–carefully.”  Her mother was another incredible woman who packed up five young kids with all their food/water supply to survive three weeks of driving in the African desert–their family adventure for eight summers. She reinvented herself as a prolific artist in her 60s to 80s after her beloved husband’s tragic death; then learned to make art on the computer at 94.  This reminds me to keep stepping forward in life with grace, to always embrace the new, and to be supportive of the decisions my young adults make for themselves.

At 71, Maye continues to make plans, sharing her accumulated wisdom from motherhood, modeling, and her other lifelong profession, nutrition. She explains her sensible guide to eating based on small healthy snacks/meals when you’re hungry so as not to stress your body with starvation. Plan ahead what to keep in your fridge and your day bag and be kind to ourselves on occasional indulgences, never punishing nor going to extremes with severe restrictions that are impossible to maintain. Best of all, pay attention to our feelings that goad us to eat mindlessly and understand what changes we need to make.

I want to be surrounded by people like her who don’t complain nor obsess about looks, who are unafraid of aging and wearing silver hair, people who keep themselves engaged doing interesting things and giving their best for the people they love and work with. I want to look to the future with enthusiasm, always eager to learn and have fun no matter what shows up and despite severe pain, setbacks and heartache.  I’m not planning on Mars so I’m thankful for the inspiration of your beautiful light on this earth, Maye!

Click on “Leave a comment” (top left) to share what you love about the woman you want to be when you grow up. (All photos on this page from Google Images.)

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

I’d Rather Be Reading

 

 

Some of my best ideas

are born

of envy.

Anne Bogel

 

 

To welcome Women’s HERstory Month, a very small book “I’d Rather Be Reading” by Anne Bogel, speaks volumes of my feelings, dilemmas and longings as a devoted reader, nerd, and bookworm. It called attention to how my enthusiasm for a book might be a literary sin, perceived as book bossiness by others. It explained why I covet bookshelves of old grand libraries more than shoe closet space. Best of all, it underlined my desire for a circle of fellow book lovers, or at least a book twin, who can sift through the thousands published weekly and streamline my never ending queue of what to read next. All this while suggesting a good chunk of book titles I’m compelled to look up.

I can trace events and milestones in my life from the list of books I’ve bought or checked out of the library. My bookshelf has a collection that includes what I’ve received as gifts, what I’ve loved, as well as what patiently awaits attention.  A recurring fantasy is to find the list of all the books I’ve read since I was introduced to this great pleasure in fourth grade by another change of schools that surrounded me with classmates who loved to read, immersed daily in the adventures of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. This reading list would reveal how I started off reading what friends and my favorite aunt enjoyed, what schools and colleges required, until I began to define my own reading path. This list would map the splayed trajectory of my learning, career explorations and personal growth aspirations; the countries I wanted to or eventually visited; the romance and lifestyle I longed for; the parenting advice I sought; the books I read to keep the conversation going with our young adults who live out of the house now.

As a photographer, I strongly recommend printing a dozen or so of your favorite pictures each year because your great grandchildren will not have the patience to sift through the thousands on your smartphone–assuming the unlikely scenario that their technology would be in sync with ours. Like a good photo collection, my fantasy reading list showing book titles and reading/checkout dates is an emotional diary of sorts, that celebrates what’s important in my life at that moment. They serve as a reminder of both what happened and what it meant then, bringing back memories that are hopefully perceived by the lens of appreciation for their gifts of growth and learning.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share the collection of books that shaped your own fabulous history. As our lives keep getting busier, consider audio books a secret weapon that allows you to keep reading while driving, working and doing chores.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

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