When We Tell Her She’s Pretty

Women want men, careers, money, children, friends,

freedom, respect, love,

and three dollar pantyhose that won’t run.

Phyllis Diller

We don’t have TV, so the only time I see an ad is when I catch up on the latest episode of “Reign” with my daughter on CW.com.  She is thirteen soon and thinks she’s twenty.  She wants the right to roam and bike the streets alone like her much bigger and older brothers. She tests my resolve to mother through reason because she is certain she will know what to do in dire circumstances and that nothing bad can possibly happen in broad daylight.

I admit there is a very good chance  I will always be  more concerned for her safety even when she’s as old and tall as her brothers.  I also recognize the disparity with which we speak and treat  children of either sex as exemplified by this ad I love:

National Science Foundation cites the statistic that while 66 percent of 4th grade girls say they like science and math, only 18 percent of all college engineering majors are female. This powerful commercial is a partnership between Verizon and Makers, narrated by Girls Who Code founder, Reshma Saujani.  Girls Who Code provides free intensive summer programs to encourage girls in their sophomore or junior year in highschool to explore their love of technology and computer science.  Prior computer science experience is not required!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how you encourage equal opportunity among your children.

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Beauty and the Beastie

Everything has beauty,

but not everyone sees it.



“What did you love about Maleficent?,” I asked my daughter after our very happy Father’s Day at the movies without the men.

“She’s very pretty!” she smiled. May we all be as easy to please!  Indeed, what’s not to love about a strong and beautiful heroine–albeit a villain, too?

Maleficent is the wronged and misunderstood woman in this revisionist-backstory fairytale. She suffers the deepest betrayal imaginable from the person she loves and trusts the most, the one with whom she shares her first “true love’s” kiss.  While it is mainly about bloodlust after being violated and stripped of our power, it is also about the journey of moving forward and making the most of what is.  I like how it reverses the pedestrian notion of true love, a necessary expansion of every child’s understanding of what real love can be.

Best of all, I love how it is a cautionary tale against quick judgments and our propensity to take every “victim’s” side.  Like King Stefan, it is human nature to choose the version of the story that makes us look good and pitiful.  It takes courage to notice that when we feel like “Woe is me!,” there is an angle of culpability we’re not admitting.  For in every beauty, there is a beast.  And in every villain, a heroine who can save herself.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share the beauty in your beast.









© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

The Rules

I probably do need to learn to behave.

But I don’t like it.

Elizabeth Wurtzel


That we might learn a thing or two from men on Father’s Day, an excerpt from Elizabeth Wurtzel’s The Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women:

I have no quarrel with The Rules or the advice it gives–it actually seems pretty sound to me–but if we had really come a long way, baby, if men’s perceptions of women had transformed fundamentally and intensely so that we are accepted as full-fledged sexual creatures and romantic operatives who were free to chase or be chased, and if this expanded dimension of women’s sexual personae were not frightening or overwhelming to them, then we would not need The Rules.

So of course the bitch persona appeals to us. It is the illusion of liberation, of libertine abandon. What if you want to be large in a world that would have you be small, diminished? You don’t want to diet, you don’t want to say no, thank you, and pretend somehow that what is there is enough when always, always, you want more. That has been your defining characteristic: You have appetites, and only if you are truly shameless will you even begin to be sated because nothing is ever really enough. Not because you are greedy or insatiable but because you can’t help it, you can’t go along with the fiction that the world would have you believe and adhere to: that you ought to settle and be careful and accept the crumbs that are supposed to pass for a life, this minimized self you are supposed to put up with.

This is about what has become the almost monstrous notion of female desire. this is not about making demands of other people or wearing down those who have their own screams for MORE! to address.  You’d be amazed at how often we are reluctant to indulge ourselves by our own means. It is amazing that the smallness of the space we’ve been told to squeeze into has meant that we don’t even know how to ask or what to want.

How nice it must be to just decide I will not be nice, I am never sorry, I have no regrets: what is before me belongs to me. For men, this attitude is second nature, it’s as much in their atmosphere as snow is in an Eskimo’s. They don’t even know how much they assume.

A very Happy Father’s Day to our favorite heroes!  Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you love about men.







© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Where I Left My Heart in San Francisco


The major advantage of domestic travel is that 

most locations are conveniently situated

right here in the United States.

Dave Barry

In the last two decades, I’ve traveled everywhere else in the world but here.  Guess where?

Garden Court at the Palace Hotel San Francisco Luxury Starwood Preferred Guest

The Palace Hotel

Can’t beat this excellent location between Union Square and the Embarcadero! The BART train to/from the airport stops right at the hotel door (Montgomery station.)  Ask Front Desk for rooms on the 8th floor facing the street for a large arch window.  The room carpet is a bit tired, but the the staff members are kind, bathrobe and  pillows are plump, and their Garden Court is absolutely magnificent! Pianist Gea plays jazz and classical music after 5:00 pm.

The Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco travel sightseeing things to do

The Palace of Fine Arts

My absolute fave in this town and a glorious photo opp!  For best photos, visit early in the morning when the sun shines on the majestic columns and all other people are still in bed.  Or just sit on a bench by the pond and soak in the beauty of the architecture.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco travel bike tour

Golden Gate Bridge

You don’t seriously believe I biked here, do you?  I gave up dodging other tourists to take an unusual shot and on my way back to the car, I spied these bikes posing for a photo.  Climb up the hill on the far side of the bridge to get the best scenic shots of Alcatraz and the city.

Castillo Di Amorosa romantic castle vineyard in Napa Valley

Castello Di Amorosa Vineyard

In Napa Valley, the vineyard you must visit is Castello di Amorosa for the romance of the castle and its adorable little farm.  Dine nearby at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay luxury hotel San Francisco travel

The Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay

Escape the city crowds and take a scenic drive on the Pacific Coast to the Ritz at Half Moon Bay.  Stop for a romantic lunch or dinner, maybe a round of golf with an ocean view or stay the night.

Christian Louboutin Impera red sole pumps heels San Francisco

Christian Louboutin Shop on 29 Maiden Lane

What’s a trip without a souvenir?  And if you can’t find anything made in San Francisco, something bought in San Francisco is quite fun, too!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your San Francisco favorites.



© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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