Up The Vessel

 

Yes, of course, I’m athletic–

I surf

the internet everyday!

Anonymous

 

Though I don’t like walking without a destination that involves shopping or, at least, a snack, I firmly believe that all aerobic exercise should only be done outdoors, breathing fresh air.  Best scenario is when there’s a pretty view and luxury shopping to boot like at the newly opened “stairmaster” of New York City, The Vessel. Conceived by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, The Vessel is made of 154 flights of stairs in a fantastical shape, a welcome thrill for families to share and perfect enticement for anti-exercise heathens like me to be swept away by the adventure of exploring all levels even while wearing heels. When I meet Mr. Heatherwick, I’ll have to ask him if “The Pinecone” or “The Honeycomb” were runners-up in name selection for his creation because it looks to me like it’s waiting for a gigantic queen bee and her drones to arrive.  Humans crawling all over it look like mere ants!

Tickets to The Vessel are free but best reserved ahead (up to two weeks in advance) and since it’s the newest hot ticket in town, don’t be surprised if you find there can be such a thing as having to wait online before you physically wait in line.  Get there before The Vessel opens at 10:00 am if you’re not a fan of crowds and long queues, especially on weekends. Don’t bother hoping for a ride on its elevator–it’s only for the handicapped plus you’ll run out of patience waiting for your turn anyhow.

The Vessel sits in front of the Hudson Yards Mall leaving a sliver of a view of the Hudson River to only two restaurants:  Wild Ink and the second level of Estiatorio Milos.

New York did need an indoor mall for weather that’s wet, too cold or too hot.  But if you’ve heard the dig “The best thing about New Jersey is (it’s proximity to) New York?” Well, let’s just say whoever said that has not seen the elegance of space and light in the hallways of the Garden State Mall (also a Westfield property.) 😉

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite fitness distraction.

xoxox

xoxox

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of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

 

 

 

Painting Center

 

What a wonderful life I’ve had–

I only wish

I’d realized it sooner.

Colette

 

As Women’s History Month draws to a close and the next whatever grabs media attention, let us take a moment to clarify the direction of the story we write for ourselves. Akin to painting on a blank canvas, let us choose the colors of the palette we will continue to create with (or no longer,) noticing what is meaningful now to our own definition of personal success. Goddess knows it’s impossible to be true to our hearts when we are continually surrounded by loudmouthed know-it-alls who believe they can dictate what we should feel, think, want or desire, pegging us all in one convenient mold to mindlessly follow the dictates of someone else’s “paint by numbers” sketch.

With gratitude to the brave women who have won many freedoms for our generation, how can we pay attention to our truth as we navigate the wide range of possibilities in work and play?  I believe feminism can claim success in achieving women’s liberty only when each woman is respected for her own choices without being measured against an often male standard, unwittingly imposed by fellow women.

To take stock of where you are now and which direction you’d like to keep stepping, have a notepad handy (on your smartphone, why not?) to list what comes to mind this week under these four headings:

What I’m Doing That I Like

What I’m Not Doing That I Wish I Would

What I Want More Of

What I Want Less Of

By the end of the week, read through your lists and figure out how to incorporate more of what you want in your days, starting with whatever you need to make things possible brushstroke by brushstroke. I love Marie Curie’s wisdom in “Nothing in life is to be feared, only understood.”  Listening to our hearts must be the beginning of all understanding.

Celebrate each small success that helps us keep on shining from our center!  Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) and share what you love best about where you are in your story already.  You are more than perfect and wonderful!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable two hour photo shoot of up to three people!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Books for Women’s History

 

There is nothing new in the world

except the history

you do not know.

Harry S. Truman

Fortunately for the women and girls of our generation, we stand on the shoulders of courageous heroines–many unsung–who have paved the path of our many liberties.  Add to this list of books on the less known versions of Herstory.

The Monopolists by Mary Pilon. The ubiquitous Monopoly game, widely attributed to Charles Darrow who sold the rights to Parker Brothers in 1935, was designed 31 years earlier by Elizabeth Magie as The Landlord’s Game to help people understand the risks monopolies pose to society.

Who Cooked The Last Supper? Rosalind Miles retells history from woman’s point of view since we can’t blame the all male cast of writers of the Bible and early printed texts for making themselves the star heroes.

Clementine, The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchillby Sonia Purnell. Women get much practice at diplomacy running a home and, fortunately for socially obtuse men like Winston Churchill, he had a devoted advocate and private coach in his wife to overcome both personal and political obstacles.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly on the untold story of black women mathematicians who helped the U.S. win the Space Race.

Headstrong by Rachel Swaby on 52 women who changed science and the world with important breakthroughs in the fields of medicine, biology and the environment, genetics and development, physics, earth and stars, mathematics and technology, and invention. 

Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon. A groundbreaking dual biography brings to life a pioneering English feminist and the daughter she never knew.  Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley were outliers of their time, precursors of the modern women.

Women In The Shadows by Edith Borchardt.  Biographies of five brilliant and talented women born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire: Mileva Einstein-Marić, Margarete Jeanne Trakl, Lise Meitner, Milena Jesenská, and Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. A translation of Charles S. Chiu’s tribute to these women’s accomplishments, which were overshadowed by those of the famous men in their lives.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite book that casts a feminine light on the stories we shall tell the future generation.

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable two hour photo shoot of up to three people!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HERstory Month

 

I’ve always been famous,

it’s just that

no one knew it then.

Lady Gaga

March is as good a month as any to honor the achievements of notable women that shaped history. How differently would our cultures be if women and minorities were properly represented among the authors of the Bible and world civilization; were counted among the first students of universities and politics; were given proper pay and respect for all the (invisible) work that is required of the glue that keeps family and society together?  These are but a few things we can never know so let’s strive to find every occasion to pay tribute to game changers who have downplayed their power behind the scenes, subtly provided the light that allowed others to travel greater paths than her own, or allowed others to brazenly usurp credit for whatever reason. Next blog will be a list of some fun books on fabulous women ranging in popularity in the history we know. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for everyday heroines whose life stories may never get published.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you love best about your true to life favorite heroine.

xoxox

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable two hour photo shoot of up to three people!

 

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 Legendary Karl Lagerfeld

 

You can be the chicest thing

in a T-shirt and jeans —

it’s up to you.

Karl Lagerfeld

 

A quiet moment to commemorate the passing of a genius in the fashion world. Karl Lagerfeld, the most prolific designer whose work touched the lives of many women, defined modern luxury fashion with a career that spanned far more than most of his contemporaries. Despite the fickle nature of hemlines and style trends, he firmly maintained the height of Chanel’s brand power to the 21st century as its Creative Director since 1983. He was also the visionary behind Fendi since 1965, in addition to overseeing his own line. How many designers can claim the ability to speak as many languages as they do with fashion branding?

“More than anyone I know, he represents the soul of fashion: restless, forward-looking and voraciously attentive to our changing culture,” Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue, aptly describes Mr. Lagerfeld. Even in his 80s, he was still designing an average of 14 new collections a year, ranging from couture to the high street, plus collaborations and special projects. “Ideas come to you when you work,” he said backstage before a Fendi show at age 83. I can only hope to grow up to have half his energy.

Season after season, Karl Lagerfeld wowed audiences of Chanel’s runway shows by taking over the Temple of Dendur at the Met Museum in New York and by transforming the Grand Palais in Paris to match his unique vision. Audiences at the Grand Palais have been transported to magical worlds, including a full scale rocket ship that took off as grand finale, a giant lion, a waterfall and a beach complete with splashing waves and lifeguard to look out for the models walking barefoot on the sand.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what magical vision you’d love to come true for you. Thank you for lighting up our world with your ever chic inspiration, Mr. Lagerfeld!

xoxox

All images on this page from Google/Getty.

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable two hour photo shoot of up to three people!

 

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

 

 

 

Loving Thyself

 

True love comes quietly

without banners or flashing lights.

If you hear bells, get your ears checked.

Erich Segal

Valentine’s is the famous feast day of two popular saints: Hershey’s (chocolate) and Hallmark (greeting cards).  While it is not a big deal in France as it is in the United States, the seaside city of Deauville celebrated this day in 2010 with a reenactment of an old romance film:  A Man and A Woman by director Claude Lelouch. The movie ends with the tormented family man and a young woman (cliche, I know) finally reuniting on the beach. They run towards each other with arms outstretched, they hug, he lifts and twirls her in the air. We don’t see them kiss but we assume they will. Director Lelouch recaptured the magic with a couple hundred people–from teens to grandparents–some of whom drove hours to be there. The men lined up facing the women and at this eclectic group’s third try, Director Lelouch asked them to run towards someone they didn’t know.

Wouldn’t this be such a fun international tradition?

Until it is, I dedicate this Valentine to all who long for love to find them, whether too young to date, simply single or even those in a stale relationship. I want to know how you want to be loved and adored. Write a detailed description of all the small acts of kindness, thoughtfulness and caring that you want a lover to do for you. Perhaps an erotic love letter or poem, an finely prepared gourmet meal, a small present that makes your heart flutter, a sunset stroll, a candlelit bath with bubbles of the bottled kind… Then make this Valentine’s Day extra unique by doing what’s on your list for yourself.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you remember that you are the source of the truest love in all the world. Other people may come and go in our lives, but you, Dear One, should never abandon yourself. Ever! And have the happiest of heart days always!

xoxox

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable two hour photo shoot of up to three people!

 

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

 

 

 

 

Family As Strangers

 

If you think you’re enlightened,

go spend a week

with your family.

Ram Das

 

Growing up among cousins is a gift I wish I could give my own brood. While I have fond memories of this in my childhood, I look back as an adult and wonder, “How did my aunts, uncles, and grandparents navigate the politics of living together?” This Powerful Goddess is so blessed by her constant charm, beauty, and a super tight-knit extended family.  I tell my young adults:  That’s the kind of family you want to marry!

What is their magic?

We put our best face forward, stretch patience an inch farther, and find that extra ounce of consideration to bite our tongue around strangers. Yet after a work day wearing the mask of diplomacy around colleagues and clients, some come home to snap at whoever greets them at the door, forgetting that this person has had a long day, too.

When we are around our supposed loved ones, we feel way too comfortable to be ourselves and toss compassion to the wind. Our lives are so intertwined with theirs that we sometimes confuse their choices as personal affront. Who left this cup in the sink I just emptied again?!!!  It is scary knowing that they see all of who we are, they’ve seen us at our worst, and they know the precise combination of buttons to push us over the edge. Then there’s our human tendency to slack off and stop trying even as we expect these same people to hang around us in tough times.

Venting, while convenient in the moment, will naturally corrode any relationship over time. Pressing the pause button instead of exploding? There’s a gift we all can use more of!  If nobody is in the mood to see the situation from a different perspective, take a deep breath, go for a walk in the woods, and do what you need to distract and reboot.  Later, when everyone’s in a more receptive mood, preferably well-fed and rested, explain to the person how you feel when they act a certain way and what you prefer they say/do next time instead.

While who we are and whom we live with may already be baked in personalities, I hold on to the hope that each time I take a deeper breath and bite my tongue a bit shorter, the next generation might be watching and learning how to make a habit of compassion and assume the best of intentions in the closest of their relationships. Self-compassion and empathy are essential ingredients in this magic brew.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you stay cool and collected when it’s dark and stormy indoors or out.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people!

 

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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