Fresh From the French Press

The best thing about London

is Paris.

Diana Vreeland


Who says your closet is the only place to find something to wear for glamour portraits?  This Powerful Goddess looked in her mailbox instead!  The day’s headline happened to be perfect for this charming British native who has been a hip Parisienne in the past decade.  I huffed and puffed struggling to keep up with her boundless energy as she zipped nonstop through venues that were meaningful to her.  Then she headed off to pick up the kids from school and assume the mommy hat (beret?) the rest of the day.  How does she do it?  All I know is that I needed a giant nap afterwards!

With her cheerful optimism, there’s no guessing that this brave woman is in the middle of a life transition that would throw others into a tizzy.   I am in awe of the courage and strength packed in her petite frame, her ability to graciously welcome another stage of growth, exploring career possibilities while juggling her roles as woman and mother.   One of the great blessings of my work is meeting inspiring women like her and being appreciated for the love I put into what I do.   She told me she adores photos with the 70’s finish so I gave her portraits that faded polaroid look.  A very special hug and merci beaucoup to this Powerful Goddess for showing me the true meaning of “Avec plaisir!”
Click on “Leave a comment” (above left) to share who/what gives you pleasure.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Old Polaroid Portrait by Sharon Birke

Scene on the Seine

It’s good to do uncomfortable things.

It’s weight training for life.

Ann Lamott

Mark III (my camera) and I are off on another European honeymoon, photographing who and what make us happy.  Friends who have never traveled or dined solo ask, “How do you do it?”  I say it’s my fun version of silent meditation, time to play voyeur–like watching reality TV without the TV, listening in on conversations in a variety of languages I don’t understand.  It’s about curiosity and freedom in solitude.  Even if you don’t travel for work, every mom should leave their adorable cutiepies home at least once a year and give herself the gift to go wherever she wants, wake and sleep when she feels like it, and pay attention to her own pleasures.

First stop, Paris!

With all the walking up and down countless staircases in buildings and metros, gym membership is unnecessary here despite the baguettes, croissants, and frites. Getting lost is the perfect excuse to ask for directions and practice speaking French–I’m just amazed that some locals don’t understand their own language?! 😉  Today I felt like I won the megamillion lottery finding someone off the street who spoke English and knew the train transfers to get me to a little known destination for which I had mapquested the wrong address.

And you know what’s so great about  traveling when it’s still chilly?   Your toes are too numb to feel how much they hurt from all the walking!

Paris Travel by Sharon Birke

What I love to do in this town:

Tear up (or snore) listening to live classical music at the glorious Sainte Chapelle

8 Boulevard du Palais 75001 Paris
01 53 40 60 80

Paris Saint Chapelle by Sharon Birke

Drool over well heeled desserts…

French high heels in chocolate by Sharon Birke

…and chic Pariseinnes!

Paris Travel by Sharon Birke

Dine fancy like

the Cristal Room at the Baccarat Museum

11,Place des Etats Unis

(Ok, this one’s not that close to the Seine)


Gape at the architecture

Notre Dame at night by Sharon Birke

Stroll through the Tuileries and walk for miles and miles


Catch some Louvre

or my favorite is it’s petite neighbor, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs

107 Rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris
01 44 55 57 50

Paris Travel by Sharon Birke

Do a little dance at

Le Caveau de la Huchette for swing dancing with the locals and a live jazz band–it’s a cave of a wine cellar below street level.

5 rue de la Huchette

Barrio Latino for salsa (not next door to the Seine)

46 Rue du Faubourg St. Antoine

Paris Salsa Barrio Latino by Sharon Birke

Travel back in time and read some at Shakespeare & Co. while someone may serenade you on the old piano.

37 Rue de la Bucherie 75005 Paris
01 43 25 40 93

Paris Shakespeare & Co. bookstore by Sharon Birke

Glimpse my future European mansion

Paris Hotel de Sully by Sharon Birke

Stay away from the Eiffel–

except when it glitters at night

and toast it with fresh squeezed orange juice and Salad Chaillot at Cafe du Trocadero.

8 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre 75116 Paris
01 44 05 37 00

The Trocadero is where you get the best view of the Eiffel.

Paris Sightseeing by Sharon Birke

Without the Eiffel, wonder what else might be Paris’ icon?

Paris Vespa by Sharon Birke

Stalk a mystery Frenchman 😉


And pose for a self-portrait

(You know I mean my reflection on the glass window, yes?)

Paris Travel by Sharon Birke

An early Happy April Fool’s and a bientot!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what thrills you in the City of Light.


© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


Feminine Mystique in History

I have a brain and a uterus

and I use both.

Patricia Schroeder

Old World Glamour Portraits by Sharon Birke

“I’m the best cook and baker.  I love to clean the kitchen and do the laundry.  My husband will be so lucky!”  My daughter beams.  I squelch the “Yikes!” I feel inside and smooth the wrinkle between my eyebrows.  My mom once sported a chic bob with a thriving banking career that helped send 5 children to college.  Now she looks like a farmer’s wife with hair as long as the skirt ordained by the fundamentalist religion my dad has adopted since they retired.   How innumerable have a woman’s choices grown since the days of illiteracy and candlelight?   How few do we consider possible for ourselves anyway?  And how strong is our need to tell others what we believe is right for them?  All for their own good, of course!

To bring to a close Women’s History Month, I thought I’d pick up on a conversation Betty Friedan started half a century ago in her book “The Feminine Mystique”–which remains relevant despite certain biases in perspective.  Staying home has become an option even for men.  Women can choose to be single, childless, work, pay someone to  have or raise her kids.  We may make our own money yet our financial independence remains hostage to the sway of media and commerce that thrive on feeding our fears and insecurities.  As for personal fulfillment, who really wants to be that responsible?  It’s far more convenient to blame someone or something else for the choices we (don’t) make.  So the mystery continues…

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to give a big hug to the teacher or advocate who ignited your power to choose and write your own history.

Old World Glamour Portraits by Sharon Birke



Old World Glamour Portraits by Sharon Birke


Corset Glamour Portraits by Sharon Birke

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Money and Women by Sharon Birke


Romance and Fools

Life Is Too Short–So Kiss Slowly,
Laugh Insanely, Love Truly,
And Live With Passion.

Andy Vogt

Paris Romance Portraits by Sharon Birke

If there is truth in Oscar Wilde’s line that men want to be a woman’s first love while women want to be a man’s last romance, where does this leave a woman who discovers she isn’t?  I laughed and cried through If I Were You, a film starring Marcia Gay Harding as a long married woman who serendipitously saves the life and career of her husband’s mistress.  They agree to do what the other says (including pretending that she, too, is having an affair) and they end up starring in a Shakespearean production with Marcia as King Lear and the mistress as the  King’s Fool.

Lear’s Fool is a blend of wit, shrewd innocence, wicked glee, truthful humor and devotion.  It represents our freedom to challenge assumptions we hold dear about justice, the nature of humanity, and the rules of society.  Lear blames everyone and everything for his sorrow (except himself, of course) until he is caught in the middle of a storm stripped and alone.  “Is man no more than this?,” he asks over and over, “Who am I?” then for the first time, places his Fool’s comfort before his own.  Losing everything we hold dear and losing our wits clear the fog of petty pretenses, false virtue, ambition and indifference to what truly matters.

Click on “Leave a Comment” above left to share how you romance your own Fool.


Paris Romance Portraits by Sharon Birke

Paris Romance Portraits by Sharon Birke


© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Paris Romance Portraits by Sharon Birke


Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn?

If I’d followed all the rules,

I’d never have gotten anywhere.

Marilyn Monroe

The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke

The solo play Jackie off Broadway is a witty yet disturbing exploration of submission, power, and the hypocrisy of everyday life by Elfriede Jelinek.  When I think of Jackie’s respectable public persona, I can’t help wonder how she denied her Marilyn inside.

From Pamela Keogh’s book Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn?  Timeless Lessons on Love, Power and Style:

Jackie and Marilyn came of age in the 1950s when socially acceptable roles of women were few.  Yet they both moved beyond the strictures of their time to become icons. In terms of style, Jackie and Marilyn are opposites–light and dark.  Day and night.  Sophistication and playful naiveté. If Jackie symbolized well-bred propriety, Marilyn was sex.  While this way of thinking dictates that women are one of the other, the fact is that most of us, really, are a mixture of both.

The Jackie woman is strong, intelligent, socially impeccable, well married, and likely a mother who takes care of others.  The Marilyn Gal is vulnerable, emotionally unpredictable, enjoys sex and high living, celebrity, glamour, fake lashes and champagne.  She has seen both the glamorous and unseemly sides of the world so she is understanding of the foibles of human nature.  She takes people and situations as they are:  hoping for the best, but not that surprised when things don’t work out.  Plus, you know she’s got a few gorgeous photographs of herself stashed somewhere.

…like this Powerful Goddess here! by the Women’s Project Theater runs until March 31, 2013 at the New York City Center.  You’ll love Tina Benko–a powerhouse of a solo performer!!!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how you channel your inner Jackie and Marilyn.


The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke

The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke

The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke

Another big Thank You to Wendy Boiardi for glorious makeup!


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