Phenomenal Woman

I have no filters,
no class, no poise,
no decorum.
Just fun!
Kathy Griffin

xoxox
One of the most influential voices of our time, Maya Angelou led a fulfilling life to a ripe old age despite a traumatic setback very early in her childhood. She inspired many through her autobiographies, poetry, and work as a civil rights activist.  From her collection published as And Still I Rise, this poem Phenomenal Woman reminds us that looks need not be our source of confidence:
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your favorite poem that invites your inner powers to come out and play.

xoxox

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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 Books About Her Story

Behind every great man

is a woman

rolling her eyes.

Jim Carrey

In honor of Women’s History Month, these novels celebrate the women who didn’t quite make it to our history books as well as their husbands did.  The stories are well researched, parallel real life events, and read like memoirs. Excellent gifts to pass on to your favorite women!

The Aviator’s Wife

How Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the dutiful wife and daughter who married aviation’s first hero, came to realize she had been the brave and fearless one all along

The Other Einstein

Not a great deal is known about Mileva Maric’s scientific contributions, since her husband, the genius Albert Einstein, was careful to relegate her to the shadows.

The Paris Wife

After reading Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, author, Paula McLain, was moved to write about Hemingway’s little known first wife, Hadley Richardson.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Would you mind very much having your own work published under your husband’s name?

Loving Frank

Would you leave your children and devoted spouse for one great love?

 Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your favorite memoir or novel about a woman whose story needs to be told.

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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

Her Story

If women ruled the world 

there’d be no war,

just a bunch of jealous countries

not talking to each other.

@itsWillyFerell

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In celebration of Women’s History Month, I give thanks to all whose bodies have given comfort to babes and lovers, who pondered “What’s the point of all this?” while humbly  working second and third shifts after taking care of their families without a paycheck, stayed vigilant through a beloved’s illness, felt guilty for everything that goes wrong in her world, despaired at her thighs and wrinkles, whose own toils never made it to the history books that her own children and grandchildren study, who labored without recognition in the kitchen or the backrooms of offices and factories and volunteered elsewhere, who uprooted themselves for a fresh start, who endured the hell years of raising teens–at times alone, maintained her dignity despite society’s double standards, loved beyond human understanding, and battled the darkness or surrendered to it after or without a fight.

This world is more joyful, meaningful and all the more beautiful because you lived. Thank you for persisting to show up no matter what, for being the pillar of strength and making the most of what you’ve got, for adding laughter, love and tenderness to our days (and nights.) You matter way beyond words and you are inspiration to the rest of us making the journey!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your tribute to the women in your life–include yourself!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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

Italy With Teen

A good holiday is one spent

among people whose notions of time

are vaguer than yours.

J.B. Priestley

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Winter break now and Spring break soon! With Milan offering the best airfare accessible to favorable climes by train, here is a quick week’s itinerary if you can travel light with your teen.

From Milan’s Malpensa airport, take the Malpensa Express train to Milan Centrale and connect with the fast train (Trenitalia.com) to Rome.

In Rome, book a hotel (at least 3 nights) between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon so you’re in a lively area in the evenings near restaurants in any direction.

Some Rome tour options are on my When In Rome Again blog post.

Take a morning train to Florence Santa Maria Novella and before exiting the station, leave your luggage for a small fee at the depot along the wall where you see the sign for Track 16.

Florence in a day: You can’t miss the outdoor sculptures at the Piazza Vecchio, the fantastic embossed door of the Baptistry, museums galore, Pitti Palace, if the weather is lovely, catch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo for panoramic views of Florence and to say hello to yet another David statue.

Take the evening train to Venice Santa Lucia station and book an overnight stay at one of the hotel’s across the canal so they can hold your bags while you sightsee the next day.

Venice in a day: Catch the vaporetto to St. Mark’s Square and feed the pigeons, admire the golden mosaics of the cathedral, climb up the bell tower, shop a bit, walk to Rialto Bridge and if you’re an early bird, catch the vendors setting up shop at the open air market. If you haven’t had enough of churches and museums yet, there’s the Accademia, the Scuola Grande and the Doge’s Palace. If you’d rather row a gondola than sit in one, check out Row Venice.

Take the evening train to Milan and stay near the Golden Triangle of designer shopping (ie, Via della Spiga, Via Sant’ Andrea and Via Montenapoleone). You’ll be within easy walking distance to the very well preserved Sforza Castle that holds a good collection of museums.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your Italy travel tips.

xoxox

Ceiling at the Vatican

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Even a very tall man appears to be a midget at the mini-Hall of Mirrors of the Doria Pamphilj mansion in Rome

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Michaelangelo’s David and work in progress at the Accademia in Florence

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Rape of the Sabine Women at the Piazza Vecchio, Florence

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Would you rather ride or row?

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Sunset in Venice

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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

Queen of Heart

Honesty is the key

to a relationship.

If you can fake that,

you’re in.

Richard Jeni

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Esther Perel, sex and relationship therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, says we often confuse love as a state of enthusiasm. “To love” is a verb, and verbs are dynamic implying action, intention, and responsibility. If our ability to love ourselves well determines our success in loving another, what can these verbs mean for our relationships?

To Give.  Is it better to give what we believe the other person should have or what that person wants? True giving is being attuned to someone’s needs, to make that person feel special and that they matter. Assuming your partner is not a self-absorbed despot, giving from a place of confidence and generosity frees us from the chains of expecting acknowledgement or getting something in return. With this we allow ourselves the freedom to feel complete joy and empowered by a simple action. Giving when we’re at low points of our lives can also be therapeutic, too, lifting up our own spirits when we channel our energy towards seeking out those who need our help most. Of course, giving to ourselves first is essential to replenish the well.

To Receive. How do you respond to a compliment or a kindness?  If you feel obligated to respond in kind or wonder what that other person wants in return from you, take a moment to feel worthy and simply say “Thank you.”  Being a gracious receiver is a gift in itself.  Allowing others to give to us lets them feel good about themselves, too.

To Take.  Women can learn a few things from male assertiveness and entitlement.  Assertiveness is what we need to land jobs, get a better deal in negotiations, and evolve our (sexual) relationships. Since only you know what pleases you best, share that knowledge with your partner. We save ourselves a whole lot of grief when we surrender to the reality that mind reading is not a very common talent.

To Refuse. From the kitchen, the boardroom and the bedroom, women do things to please others that they don’t necessarily want to do and end up not liking themselves for it. Say no without closing possibilities by giving options and alternatives. If establishing boundaries is essential for a healthy relationship, should it be a stretch to say “I feel free to be speak my mind around him?”

To Play.  Playing lets you be creative and dream together, circumventing the hardships of reality. The ability to laugh and play strengthens a couple’s bond, especially amidst the incessant demands of parenting. Being silly, mischievous and unpredictable is a big factor in keeping your sex life fun. The freedom to be unselfconscious around someone is empowering. When you feel like you’re in a stalemate, think of ways to create happy memories and new adventures together. Great for couples, but even more necessary around moody teens. I grew up hearing “The family that prays together, stays together.” As a mom, I now realize “The family that plays together, stays together” is big.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what the sweetest  Valentine verb means to you!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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 Asian Goddess

To sit for one’s portrait

is like being present

at one’s own creation.

Alexander Smith

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To celebrate the Chinese New Year, I am thrilled to feature this Powerful  Goddess who has made incredible strides in the past year, welcoming changes that have surprised and amazed herself–not the least of which was learning to befriend the camera lens.  She writes:

My Powerful Goddess shoot was no ordinary photo session. It was an experience every woman should have. Sharon was meticulous about every detail, putting her heart and soul in everything she did. She made  me feel like I was the most beautiful woman in the world! I used to hide from the camera but since Sharon taught me how to pose and feel photogenic, I am now comfortable when friends take my picture and feel confident they will turn out beautifully. Every woman should have this experience of feeling like a Goddess!

Sweet! I am deeply honored by your love and appreciation, Birthday Goddess–Many, many more wonderful blessings to you this year!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you have surprised and impressed yourself, too.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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 First Woman of Dior

Fashion is what you’re offered

four times a year by designers.

Style is what you choose.

Lauren Hutton

maria-grazia-chiuri-vogue-2

Photo courtesy of Vogue

Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first woman in the history of Dior to head the storied fashion house. Her runway inspirations bring together Flemish paintings, fencing, boyish girl themes with the talismans of house founder Christian Dior: stars, hearts, four-leaf clovers and tarot motifs. For someone who heads a trendsetting powerhouse, she wears no nonsense outfits possibly two days in a row, a testament to her pragmatism and tight focus on the work at hand.

In an industry where designers are notorious for last minute revisions, Chiuri is exceptionally calm in sticking to her original design from the first day it’s submitted to the pattern makers. She attributes single mindedness and zero drama in her work process to age and experience. Her runway dress rehearsals are organized and run ahead of schedule with few big pronouncements other than “Bellisimo!”

The staging of her runway is the opposite of theatrical, the minimalism calling attention to the details and nuances in her designs. She gave Dior a more female focus through the Instagram campaign “The Women Behind My Dress” which showcases the female employees and the warm family work atmosphere from its tailors to the PR team. Chiuri says, “I like women as they are. I don’t have an idealistic view of them. I want our merchants to dress a woman with a vision of what’s consistent with herself, not a brand.” And what’s her view on fashion’s cut throat competition? “You have to fight for what you really want in life. As in fencing, you don’t kill the other person—you touch the heart..” Evviva, Maria!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share the style that’s right for you.

xoxox

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Photo courtesy of Vogue

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Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar

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Photo courtesy of Valentino

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Photo courtesy of VS Magazine

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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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