Beautiful Promise

Like charity,

I believe glamour

should begin at home.

Loretta Young

beautiful carole kind on broadway

Two house seats and a backstage tour of Beautiful-The Carole King Musical

Though my teens may disagree and take the opportunity for granted, I value education as the path to a better future.  For the less privileged, giving children a chance at such a future eases the lives of the women who raise them.  So for Mother’s Day this year, let’s make it easy to surprise ourselves and our mom by bidding on the array of unique gift ideas on auction to support The Promise Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping underserved children with learning disabilities.

A glamour portrait party for you, your mom, and/or girlfriends are among the fabulous gifts you can choose from on Charity Buzz’s online auction to benefit the Promise Project.  Below are a few other exciting offers.  

A live silent auction happens on May 6th, 2014 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC, but don’t be shy about bidding online until May 13th. Thank you so much for empowering women, making children feel loved, and do tweet, share, pin, instagram your favorite picks!


Lunch with Nicole Miller and take home a look from her new collection


Two Tickets to the Spring 2015 Fashion Shows of Carolina Herrera or Badgley Mischka at New York Mercedez Benz Fashion Week this September


Two nights in a Club Level King Suite at The Prescott Hotel in San Francisco plus dinner at Postrio Restaurant

Jet Blue Airbus A320NEO neo

Two round trip Jet Blue tickets to fly anywhere in the US


Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Water Is Life


There are only three things

women need in life:

food, water and compliments.

Chris Rock


On Earth Day, this Powerful Goddess dances with gratitude for Mother Earth’s generosity, paying homage to the source of all life: Water.

FIT’s Niki Lars turned me on to the youtube video First World Problems Read by Third World People for the charity organization  Haitian adults and children mouth the minor gripes and irritations that first world citizens post on Twitter–a witty role reversal calling our attention to the blessings we take for granted while many parts of world do without the most basic yet very critical comfort like clean drinking water.

Having been to places where running water is not 24/7, I still cringe when my husband runs the tap while shaving or brushing teeth, when my teen stands under the shower full blast for a half hour, when I hear about an entire reservoir being emptied of millions of gallons because a surveillance video spied a kid peeing into it.  A few decades back, who would have bet money that tap water might become captive to bottled commerce?  Maybe this is how we can begin to value what nature intended for all her creatures to freely enjoy.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how you’re a guardian of Mother Nature’s abundance.

Ask me for a portrait session with your loved ones when you donate to 

Niki Lars is a founding father of the Morning Salon, a sustainability forum open to the NYC community hosted by the Fashion Institute of Technology for companies who seek earth friendly solutions to their products and processes.






© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Warm Memories in Dishes

If it’s so beautifully arranged on the plate,

you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.

Julia Child


Today I’m thinking of a dear friend whom I have not seen in a long while.   We met almost two decades ago as wives of expats in Tokyo.  She was the dedicated mother of two young children with a Cordon Bleu degree tucked under her apron. I was a new bride who was a virgin in the kitchen. Motherhood has since led me to settle in suburbia, to give my children the roots I never had.  She continues to live the free life of a very stylish gypsy, moving to a new country every couple of years when she and her husband feel like it.

Like sunbeams in cupboards and closets, gifts and mementos around my home bring warm memories of our friendship.  When I cook, I’m grateful she tipped me off on All Clad stainless steel cookwarethey last forever and have spared me the clueless journey through aisles of the cheap and the non-stick.  Pretty dishes remind me of our foray into Kappabashi Dori, Tokyo’s restaurant supply district, where she helped me bring home heavy blue and white ceramics up and down the subway stairs.  When it came time for my family to move on from Japan, she hosted a sayonara lunch with the international group of ladies we had gotten to know in our brief time together.

In my closet is a bouquet of colorful pashmina shawls from her stint in Singapore. In my memory are recipes she taught me like the sweet sticky rice dessert when I visited her in Florida.  Her favorite classic A Well-Seasoned Appetite by New York Magazine‘s Molly O’Neill is the only photo-less cookbook allowed on my bookshelf. She would casually toss quick recipes into our conversation then I’d report with dismay that my results turned out far from hers.  She immediately knew to ask “Did you add salt and pepper?” because sure enough, the newbie needed every little ingredient specified.

Her invitation to visit them in Monaco was what opened my eyes to the joys of solo travel, a more life affirming version of gambling and living dangerously I say!  It gave me the “Aha!  I can do this every year…” revelation, and since then maybe twice a year and why not more?!

Countless more adventures to us, Powerful Goddess Ana!  And count me among those who have been very blessed by your loving kindness and generosity.  Anyone who can soothe her nerves by whipping up a multi-course gourmet meal for the person who annoys her is worthy of a custom pedestal at every city she lives in. Domo Aregato for the many happy and delicious memories, the wisdom of adding salt and pepper to my life no matter what–without having to be told.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your appetite.












© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother



The Story of a Happy Marriage

I love being married.

It’s so great to find that one special person

you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

Rita Rudner


“Five decades and five children ago…” is how my parent’s love story would begin to be told. Today, as they celebrate their almost half a century together, I wonder what requires greater strength and courage: keeping it together or walking away?

Novelist Ann Patchett was a child of divorce and suffered through an early divorce of her own.  In the midst of the turmoil of her first marriage, she recounts (in her collection of essays This is The Story of a Happy Marriage):

Standing waist deep in the swimming pool, I received a gift–it was the first decent piece of instruction about marriage  I had ever been given in my 25 years of life. “Does your husband make you a better person?” Edra asked.

There I was in that sky-blue pool beneath a bright blue sky, my fingers breaking apart the light on the water, and I had no idea what she was talking about.

“Are you a smarter, kinder, more generous, more compassionate, a better writer?” she said, running down her list. “Does he make you better?”

“That’s not the question,” I said. “It’s so much more complicated than that.”

“It’s not more complicated than that,” she said. “That’s all there is: Does he make you better and do you make him better?”

This conversation cleared Ann’s resolve to leave her husband. She vowed never to remarry to save herself from any more pain, not even after she met a wonderful man whom she dated for 11 years.  Until the day he suddenly fell terminally ill and she realized her logic could not save her from losing him in other ways:

The fact that we came so close to missing out, missing out because of my own fear of failing, makes me think I avoided a mortal accident by the thickness of a coat of paint.  We are, on this earth, so incredibly small, in the history of time, in the crowd of the world, we are practically invisible, not even a dot, and yet we have each other to hold on to.  When we do things differently, and very often we do, I remind myself that it is early a matter of right and wrong.  We are simply two adults who grew up in different houses.

I continue to think back to Edra, standing in that swimming pool on a bright day in summer. “Does he make you a better person?” was what she asked me, and I want to tell her, Yes, with the full force of his life, with the example of his kindness and vigilance, his good sense and equanimity, he makes me a better person.  And that is what I aspire to be, better, and no, it really isn’t any more complicated than that.

Ann’s reply is exactly how this lucky Powerful Goddess describes her own gem of a husband.  And he’s tall and handsome, too!

Click on “Leave a comment” (above left) to describe what you love best about yours.












© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


Shrinking Women

I have great faith in fools–

self-confidence, my friends call it.  

Edgar Allan Poe



“Shrinking Women” by Lily Myers

Happy April Fools, Everyone!   These Huffington Post beauty image heroes remind us there are other ways of getting a good laugh without making fools of ourselves–even when it’s not April:


Shailene Woodley, star of the movie “Divergent.” refuses to wear makeup at events after seeing how her photographs published in magazines show bigger boobs, flawless skin, a flatter stomach that she doesn’t have.  “I realized that, growing up and looking at magazines, I was comparing myself to images like that — and most of it isn’t real.”



Artist Nikolay Lamm used CDC measurements of an average 19-year-old woman to create a 3-D model which he then Photoshopped to look like a Barbie doll. There is quite a gap between a “normal” Barbie next to the doll sold in stores.  (Never mind that my neighbor’s brunette daughter asked for a blonde doll, firmly believing she will grow up to be just as blonde one day.)


Plus size model Jennie Runk says, “I remember often feeling like I should be unhappy with my body, but it was confusing, because I never thought there was anything wrong with it until people started talking about it.”  H&M won raves for featuring her in their May 2013 swimwear campaign.  In a piece for the BBC, Runk wrote of her newfound media attention: “This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve always wanted to accomplish, showing women that it’s ok to be confident even if you’re not the popular notion of ‘perfect.’… There’s no need to glamorise one body type and slam another.”


Trina Hall Dallas yoga

Trina Hall, a Dallas-based yoga instructor, abandoned all diets last year to see how her body changed and how people in her life reacted. The results of her project were not what she expected.  She gained 40 pounds but,  “The people who didn’t know, who were just with me in my life — there was no difference in the way that they treated me. The difference came in my own perceptions of myself.  I became very judgmental. Instead of looking at the whole of my body, I would look at different parts and analyze what’s wrong with them. My most shocking discovery through the process is that I’m afraid of not being loved.  I noticed the self-talk was that my beauty is only on the surface.”


Sheila Pree Bright’s photo series “Plastic Bodies” examines how beauty ideals affect women, especially women of color. Her striking images combine doll parts with segments of human bodies, and the discord between the two is startling. She told HuffPost in an email:
American concepts of the “perfect female body” are clearly exemplified through commercialism, portraying “image as everything” and introducing trends that many spend hundreds of dollars to imitate. It is more common than ever that women are enlarging breasts with silicone, making short hair longer with synthetic hair weaves, covering natural nails with acrylic fill-ins, or perhaps replacing natural eyes with contacts.
Even on magazine covers, graphic artists are airbrushing and manipulating photographs in software programs, making the image of a small waist and clear skin flawless. As a result, the female body becomes a replica of a doll, and the essence of natural beauty in popular American culture is replaced by fantasy.
Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share a foolish fantasy.


Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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