Iris, The Ageless

 

Nothing makes a woman look old

as trying desperately 

to look young.

Chanel

 

 

How do you get 750,000 Instagram followers without owning an email account? Iris Apfel explains that it’s really quite simple: have a devoted fan who knows how.

At 96, Iris makes no secret of her age, stays relevant to the times modeling for ads in fashion magazines, saying, “Young people today need direction. They have to learn to be themselves, to develop a sense of curiosity, and not to live vicariously through characters with no personality on social media.”

Like Iris, I believe that we owe it to our fellow (wo)men to dress better and look as pleasant as possible. None of this sweat pants and athleisure stuff! Let us feast our eyes on beauty and make the effort to look our best. She puts it succinctly, “If you want to lounge around, then don’t go out.” I can’t agree more! But before you think we sound like style tyrants, consider the democracy in her wisdom:

Express your individuality, don’t be a fashion victim and allow brands with their marketing power dictate your style sense. To make this world a better place, be as self-respecting and interesting as you can be. Cultivate potential from your own interests and talents by trial and error. Find out who you are, what works best for you and what to avoid. Nothing takes the place of experience.

Look out for her book Iris Apfel; Accidental Icon this March on Amazon and at Bergdorf Goodman NYC.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share whom you want to be when you grow up.

xoxox

 

 

Photo by Franco Vogt

 

xoxox

 

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of 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 Good Wives

 

If love is the answer,

could you please

rephrase the question?

Lily Tomlin

 

 

When you’ve seen every hole and gnatty stain on each other’s favorite pajamas, how do you keep the romance going?  Author and TED talk speaker Esther Perel insists on our agency, our vitality and our complicity in making the best out of our long term relationships. From her book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity:

Infidelity has a tenacity that marriage can only envy. So much so that it is the only sin that gets two commandments in the Bible, one for doing it and one just for thinking about it. Lovers today seek to bring under one roof desires that have forever had separate dwellings. Our expectations have gotten all out of hand. Our obsession with transparency, total disclosure and suffocating intimacy stanches desire — fire needs air!

All this before the stigma from choosing to stay in a compromised relationship?! Ayayay!

No better day than Valentine’s to practice compassion for villains and victims alike. They may not always be what they appear, for they are equal in the opportunity to use power to their advantage–overtly and otherwise. In the double standard of society, a man’s exposed dark side becomes a witch hunt for the woman who chooses to stand by him. And I don’t even want to know what price she’s had to pay long before we come around to shame her. Who’s the bully then?

When we focus on blame, we beg the question of what we lead ourselves (and teach our young) to believe. Can there really only be fifty shades of human behavior? Until we move to Mars, power and sex are tradable currencies and commodities on this planet. There is no shame in being a victim but there is also no dignity in incessantly playing the “Poor me, too!” card. There are gallant knights, ogres, wolves and monsters–sometimes all rolled into one person, at times not always male nor blatantly powerful, some more irresistible than others–lurking in the shadows of brightly lit offices, classrooms, cheerful houses, fancy restaurants and especially hotel rooms. The question “What would you say (or do) if someone you trust and respect takes advantage of you?” should be fair game at family gatherings.

Raised by parents who were both sole survivors of their families from Holocaust concentration camps, Dr. Perel learned to distinguish between two types of people: those who were alive and those who didn’t die. Her parents “understood the erotic as an antidote to death.”

There is no greater love than allowing people to choose what’s right for themselves–even between spouses. There is no greater love we can give ourselves than deciding to fashion a full and meaningful life despite difficult and unwanted experiences. That which we don’t allow to kill us, will buy us time to understand the gift it was meant to bring.  If there is one true power that nobody can ever take away from us, it is our talent for alchemy: to take the darkness of pain, hurt and suffering and allow it to push us towards the light of strength, power, wisdom and goodness as we move forward with our lives. This power is the one true guarantee of fairness in the world that we can always count on.

With or without pajamas, best to leave expectations of seeing everything in black and white to photography.

Click on “Leave a Comment” to share how you keep the bedroom fire burning. True love IS always with you! Kiss! Kiss!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

 

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of 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

 

 

 

Iconic Art and Beauty

 

Mona Lisa’s famous smile hints at

embarrassment that so many people

bother coming so far to see her

when she’s really nothing special.

Alison Pearson

 

Instead of another selfie, how fun would it be to recreate your favorite iconic artwork?  Harper’s Bazaar November 2017 features five unstoppable and trailblazing models in a tableau of iconic paintings. (Photographs by Pari Dukovic/Fashion Editor Anna Trevelyan)

Winnie Harlow as Mona Lisa

The Canadian model of Jamaican descent (above) helped demystify the skin pigmentation condition vitiligo. She knows what it’s like to have strangers make assumptions based solely on appearance.

Candace Huffine in The Birth of Venus

A top plus size model, Candace Huffine felt a special connection to the painting of the Roman goddess of love since she first set eyes on it as a teen. For her, the fashion world’s expanding parameters are merely a return to form, “I have a body like Venus, and it’s well past time we acknowledge this is a body type that’s always been beautiful.”

Hari Nef as Madame X

Transgender model and actress Hair New is an emblem of contradiction. In highschool, she wrote a paper on John Singer Sargetn’s famous woman in black and made one of her first trips to New York just to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see this painting.

Erika Linder as Egon Schiele

Androgynous sexuality is Swedish model Erika Linder’s commonality with the Austrian painter Egon Schiele. This is her interpretation of Schiele’s Self Portrait With Peacock Waistcoaat. Erika continues to build her career as a menswear model.

Halima Aden in Girl With a Pearl Earring

As the first hijab-wearing Muslim model signed to a major agency, showing even a little sliver of skin and her pierced ears was something new for Halima Aden. The young woman in Dutch master Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring appears seductive precisely because of her restraint.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite iconic artwork.

 

xoxox

 

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of 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

 

 

 

Sitting With Dignity

 

If you can’t beat them,

arrange to

have them beaten.

George Carlin

 

 

This Powerful Goddess greatly inspires many, keeping her cool through life’s challenges with quiet strength and constant optimism. She embodies equanimity in her elegant stance, reminding me of this excerpt from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are:

When you sit with strong intentionality, the body itself makes a statement of deep conviction and commitment in its carriage. A dignified sitting posture is itself an affirmation of freedom, and of life’s harmony, beauty and richness.

Even when you feel depressed, burdened, confused, sitting can affirm the strength and value of this life lived now. It can bring you in touch with the very core of your being, that domain which is beyond up or down, free or burdened, clearsighted or confused. This includes a deep knowing that whatever is present, whatever has happened to shake your life or overwhelm you, will of itself inevitably change, and for this reason alone, bears simply holding in the mirror of the present moment–watching it, embracing its presence, riding its waves of unfolding just as you ride the waves of your breath, having faith that you will sooner or later find a way to act, to come to terms, to move through it and beyond.

Happiest Birthday, O Powerful Goddess!  This earth has been greatly blessed by your gracious beauty and light. Wondrous possibilities await you in 2018, your best year yet!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you keep your feathers unruffled.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of 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

 

Best Family Ski Trip: Mont Tremblant

 

I do uphill skiing.

Downhill skiing

is for nerd amateurs.

Judah Friedlander

 

Mont Tremblant Village

It will probably take another lifetime for me to attempt skiing, but when that day comes, I know exactly where the experience is fun for the whole family in the Northeast. Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada has 96 trails from Green to Black Diamond where you have the option of watching your ski bunnies from your warm and toasty hotel room.

Save yourself the trouble of parking the car and schlepping everyone’s skis by staying at one of the ski-in ski-out hotels in Tremblant’s quaint pedestrian village. If not, between the bunny hill and gondola is a kiosk known as the Tremblant Ski Valet where you can keep your skis and poles at the base of the mountain.

The best hotels with the ski-in/ski-out advantage are:

Fairmont Mont Tremblant.   Sits overlooking all the action on Place St-Bernard, a hop to the best coffee shop in the village, Au Grain de Cafe, Centre Aventure (where you pick up your lift tickets and rentals), the tour-booking office, the gondola that takes you to the summit, a chair lift, and the bunny hill that’s converted for night tubing most nights from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The hotel has its own, free valet service on the terrace level where your skis were taken in, dried daily and packed up in your ski bag the day you check out.

Sommet Des Neiges. You’ll get very spoiled by the convenience of having your ski lockers right next to the gondola! All rooms are one bedroom suites with your own washer/dryer and kitchenette. Right below the window of your mountain view room is the bunny slope where there’s all day entertainment watching adorable ski “midgets” (3 to 12 year olds) and their ever patient instructors who help prop them up when they lay helpless toppled over. The $13 overnight parking fee must the best deal in the entire town.

Restaurant options within Tremblant’s village:

La Savoie Restaurant has excellent fondues and wine.

The Creperie (La Maison De La Crepe) has sweet and savory selections–delicious for most though not intended to be held up to the French standard.

The Pizzateria has a fun vibe, with a lovely terrace in summer.

Le Forge Bar et Grill for apres-ski pub far has delicious burgers and grilled salmon on a plank.

If you don’t mind a short drive:

La Petit Cachee (considered a must when in Tremblant) looks like a quaint ski lodge with fine dining and a kids’ menu. Try the grilled salmon with foie gras or their famous Normand’s braised ribs.

Seb L’Artisan for the more serious foodie–it even has its own published cookbook.

Le Cheval de Jade another very well-rated restaurant in a homey atmosphere.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your winter holiday favorites.

xoxox

 

Gondola and bunny hill right outside your Sommet Des Neiges window

Spoiled for choice with 96 Trails!

Top of Mont Tremblant

Cafe at the top of the mountain

Northern View from the top of the world

Looking out at the Fairmont Hotel across the slope

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of 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

 

 

 

New Year, New York!

 

There’s no room

for amateurs in New York,

even in crossing streets.

George Segal

 

NYC-NJ-umbrella-corset-glamour-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-140726

 

A most grand welcome to your exciting 2018, My Sweets–How thrilling to imagine the  brave adventures and fun people you’ll meet simply crossing over to the other side of the street!

So proud to feature this Powerful Goddess who truly embodies the great courage behind the New York anthem, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere!” Having left the comforts of home to move to this far away continent and be with the man she adored, she’s had to keep stepping forward after Prince Charming turned out to have too much baggage for anyone to bear. A finance whiz with fabulous charm, graceful curves, and a natural magnet for fun, her 2018 definitely looks better than bright.

What’s her secret, you ask? Style wise, it’s not terribly hidden since she wears it with elegant nonchalance in her portraits here. She attributes her divine posture to corsets and swears they always make her feel hugged, protected, and even strengthened in low moments. Her shopping advice: Be careful with cheap corsets sold on Amazon and on Corset Story. They aren’t comfortable, dig in the skin and don’t give a good curve. They can turn you away from using corsets at all. Better wait for discounts on Timeless Trends (see resource list below)!

Choosing The Best Corset

Style

Why suffer in the 21st century?  Choose comfort first in corset style and see which works best for you:

  • Over bust – can be worn as an elegant top (as seen on the Powerful Goddess here)
  • Under bust – sits under the bra line, can be worn over clothing as a wide belt
  • Long Line – for the longer torso length
  • Short style – for the short torso
  • Rubber or Latex compression cinchers – good for working out

There are so many beautiful choices in fabric and design to fit your mood from sweet ruffles and bows to taunting leather and buckles.

Sizing

To discover your best size, note the following measurements pulling the tape measure taut, but not tight:

  • Your waist just above your belly button. Determine where your waist naturally bends to match the bend of the corset.  Choose a corset size larger than your waist so you can breathe, eat as you wish and wear a shirt or dress underneath for styling options.
  • Your upper hip if you like long corsets
  • Your torso circumference under your bust line
  • If you like the over the bust corset, measure your bust at the fullest part

The right corset length depends on your torso length, not your full body height.  In the end, it’s a matter of personal comfort and choice.

Breaking in your Corset

  • Lay the corset out flat and gently open the laces until fully extended
  • Put your corset on by closing the front busk, starting in the middle and then working your way up and down the length of it
  • Position the corset so it sits on your torso comfortably
  • Now pull the laces until the corset is snug, not tight, and create your best shape

Your corset will slowly adapt to your body and you will be able to wear it as long as you choose. Just have fun with it!

For your convenience, these are the best corset shops online:

  • Orchard Corset  Offers a great selection of steel-boned corsets for both the beginner and the experienced waist trainer
  • Timeless Trends  Their corsets are made with high-quality steel busks, spiral steel stays, and boning with a lifetime guarantee.  Check out their men’s collection.
  • Hips and Curves   Plus size corsets from Southern California
  • Meschantes Corsetry  Their website has an easy to shop photo layout
  • Isabella Corsetry  Special order and in-stock Victorian, Edwardian and bridal items in velvet, brocade, silk, and lace fabrics
  • What Katie Did  The worlds’ leading brand of Vintage Lingerie, 6 Strap Garter Belts, Corselettes and Girdles, Steel Boned Corsets and Fully Fashioned Stockings.
  • Dark Garden  The best in custom & off-the-rack corsets, dresses & wedding gowns
  • Vollers  Classically designed & handmade in the UK since 1899. The finest range of luxury corset tops, black corsets and fashion corsets online.
  • Fairy Gothmother  Another British company   

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best hopes for the year ahead!

xoxox

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NYC-NJ-umbrella-corset-glamour-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-140738

 

NYC-NJ-umbrella-corset-glamour-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-140713

 

NYC-NJ-umbrella-corset-glamour-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-140661

 

NYC-NJ-umbrella-corset-glamour-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-140692

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of 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

 

When Santa Gets Naughty

 

Santa has the right idea:

Visit people

once a year.

Victor Borge

 

 

Imagine if every Santa said “No, thanks!” to doing all the things people take for granted, can’t be bothered to do, or simply deride: planning gatherings, putting up holiday decor, shopping and wrapping presents, sending holiday cards, cooking, hosting, and cleaning up after parties, stroking egos, playing diplomat between factions and generations, being the invisible glue that binds family and friends together?

Just sayin’.

Happiest of Holidays with enormous gratitude to every Santa out there! For a convenient holiday planning guide, see Real Simple’s Ultimate Christmas Countdown Checklist.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how much more interesting the year might get if a Santa this hot promises to (teach you how to) whip naughty into nice?

Keep doing the all the good you do and the warmest of divine holiday blessings to you and your beloveds. Ho-Ho-Ho!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of 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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