On The Beach

The ant is knowing and wise,

but he doesn’t know enough to take a vacation.

Clarence Day


If you have more than 7,000 islands, you run a pretty good chance of making the list of the world’s best beaches.  Boracay Island in the Philippines is renowned for its powdery white sand and clear blue waters.  Though its main stretch now feels more like Miami’s South Beach with rundown buildings sandwiched among the new, this island and many others in the archipelago have beaches that remain untamed.  My vote for best beach always goes to the one with soft sand, calm waters, tree lined shade and service with a smile nearby.  After almost a decade away, even I am impressed by Filipino hospitality.

To me, paradise means basking in loving kindness and cheerful helping hands, a dinner table that stretches as far as the horizon full of friends/family, and large platters of my favorite seafood!   Neither luxury nor squalor, relentless heat nor humidity gets in the way of everyone sharing an easy laugh and a lilting accent.  Among the variety of cultures I’ve observed in my travels, wealth always brings many comforts that are easy to love.  The indomitable Filipino spirit and charm are  powerful reminders that happiness exists with or without it.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your definition of paradise.

To get to this beach, you must…


Cross a deep ocean or two,


Brave flipflop traffic,


And risk being charmed by the locals.


What is a beach without palapas and coconuts?


My kind of charcoal grill has style


Tinikling is the traditional Philippine dance between 2 bamboo poles

that relentlessly snap at your heels


My favorite breakfast, snack, drink, shade, souvenir, etc…


Catch of the day


A little shell of a crab poked my toe–

making sure  this night owl wasn’t just sleepwalking on the beach at sunrise


Not all crabs are created (or cooked) equal


Many happy returns!


© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me


Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


The Mermaid

I must be a mermaid.

I have no fear of depths and

a great fear of shallow living.

Anais Nin


As we schemed on concepts for her portraits, Powerful Goddess Cora Poage said, “My husband loves to play on the beach.”  Visions of her fair skin on blue captured my imagination, her body graceful as she “swims” while I keep my camera dry.  For what man can resist a mermaid who beckons like this?!

I asked if she could stay out of the sun until her portrait session–quite a challenge through the summer, no?  Marvel of marvels, she did!

Cora walked onto the set I created with the biggest smile, thrilled to find her favorite shade of blue as the fabric of our pretend ocean.   Having heard she loves her chest and shoulders, I draped the fabric on her to reveal these favorite features while accentuating her delicious curves.  Giant conch shells must double as nautical telephones where cellular service can’t reach.   And when she confessed that “The Little Mermaid” was her favorite story as a young girl, I had to hand her a mirror and give her hair that Disney swirl, too.

Gee, Mom, your “Little Mermaid” is all woman now!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your siren’s call.






© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me


Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Goodbye, Summer!

In the depth of winter,

I learned that there was in me 

an invincible summer.

Albert Camus


Another summer ends and those of us who have been holding in our tummies throughout bikini season can finally exhale with relief–not only because the kids will be back in school soon! 😉

The late humorist Nora Ephron griped about aging in I Feel Bad About My Neck:

There are all sorts of books written for older women.  They are uniformly upbeat and full of bromides and homilies about how pleasant life can be once one is free from all the nagging obligations of children, monthly periods, and in some cases, full-time jobs.  I find these books utterly useless, just as I found all the books I once read about menopause utterly useless.  Why do people write books that say it’s better to be older than to be younger?  It’s not better.  Plus, you can’t wear a bikini.  Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six.  If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you may regret (twenty years from now) not appreciating today.





© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me


Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


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