Angel In The House

 

Angels can fly

because they

take themselves lightly.

GK Chesterton

 

 

With so much restless energy long confined, frustration high in the face of 24/7 togetherness and unemployment, school/work from home has been a test on everyone’s patience and sanity, especially for those living in tight quarters or in abusive relationships, and even those who aren’t. With its incessant imposition on the benevolence and diplomacy of the women who run the home, how much longer can we hang on to our wings and halo when we’d rather shrug them off and go on a free fall from grace?

Victorians fondly referred to wives as their Angels in the House, the women who handled all responsibilities that get in the way of a man’s need to focus on his work and personal pursuits.  Twentieth century progress has multiplied that load requiring a woman to prove herself capable of a career of her own while continuing to cover all the domestic bases. She has to tread lightly despite frayed nerves, be tactful around other household members who prefer to remain innocent of chores required to run it.  She is somehow expected to maintain her gentle charm and sex appeal despite the constant exhaustion.

COVID casualties, street riots and black lives protests captivate concern on a global scale. Underneath it all, an even larger but ignored statistic bears the brunt of 24/7 duty, short fuses and stubborn wills on the domestic front.  Who looks out for the well-being of the woman whose capacities are continually stretched in all directions with no reprieve?  How are we to maintain our sanity, never mind the good looks?  Who cares to lighten the load for the tired angel in their house?

In behalf of all the wives and mothers, I send out this universal plea for extra affection, consideration and indulgence when the people we live with find us prickly, bitchy, and positively devilish.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you keep your angel wings and benevolent smile firmly glued on for a Happy Father’s Day!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

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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

 

 

Own Your Love Song

 

It’s easy to play any musical instrument:

all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time

and the instrument will play itself.

Johan Sebastian Bach

 

My young adults, tired of hearing ads interrupt the music streaming on my free Spotify, finally gifted me a family subscription.  I’m proud to report I’ve been enjoying it, keeping their bluetooth speakers busy while they’re away from home, playing loud music until the husband comes home and shuts down my party of one (unless you count the rabbit as fellow party animal.)

When they do come home, I’m always amazed at how quickly they can mouth the lyrics of new pop and rap songs that I barely understand, which is just as well because the few words I do pickup I’d rather not add to my vocabulary anyway. Life is hard as it is and I prefer earworms that remind me to be happy, strong and powerful.  With Spotify’s algorithm identifying global top 200 streamed songs as gloomiest in February, why not create our own playlist of positivity and serenade ourselves with uplifting words and beats that make us want to dance and smile naughtily? I wish someone had told me in my youth that we are better off dedicating love songs to our own reflection on every kind of mirror.

To celebrate true love on Valentine’s, I dedicate my first Spotify playlist to my young adults and to you. May we never forget that the truest love we will ever find on this earth is the love we give ourselves, the truest power that which we exercise starting right where we are!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your favorite song to my collection of happiness on Spotify. Feel free to share the playlist link at the bottom of this page.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy my Best of Happy playlist on Spotify:

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

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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

Merry On A White Beach: A Christmas Wedding

 

I love being married.

It’s so great to find that one special person

you can annoy the rest of your life.

Rita Rudner

 

 

After waiting an entire lifetime for Mr. Right, my favorite sister brought together our nearest and dearest to celebrate her first ever (and I’m sure the groom hopes, her ONLY) wedding. I loved that this most memorable family reunion was on the beach and in a casual setting, attendees dressed in white and the groom was good humored about holding props as requested.

As the bride’s Best Woman, I shared with the cozy gathering a few things I’ve learned from having had a head start of 25 years in this marriage business. Many are easier in theory than practice, but, hey, it’s the thought that counts:

Pick you battles and don’t believe that nonsense about never going to bed angry. Things look different in the morning when you’re better rested. But, of course, if you can’t fall sleep, then stay up and fight!

Being right is overrated.

When your spouse’s behavior is open to interpretation, ascribe the higher motive.

Bite your tongue when tempted to nag or complain, look out for the good, count blessing and express gratitude often.

The louder your spouse yells, the quieter and calmer you need to be.

Your definition of sexy will change over time.

Generosity is the key to happiness.

The most important four words in a marriage: I’ll clean up, Honey.

Be the first to apologize. Life is too short to hold grudges.

Accept apologies graciously.

It takes a village to make a marriage work.

Sweep her off her feet and add fireworks, literally.

Never complain about the food when your spouse cooks.

Wisdom from a Chinese proverb: Big talk, big mistake. Small talk, small mistake. No talk, no mistake.

Because love conquers all and bind us no matter what, click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your relationship advice for living happily ever after. My young adults won’t likely have the patience to wait around as long for their own fairytale, so the one strategy I’d pass on to them is to be the kind of spouse their husband/wife will be foolish to leave.

Through the holidays, keep friends and family close, your enemies closer along with receipts of all major gift purchases. Ho Ho Ho!

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 photo shoot for up to three people!

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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

Beauty in Hindsight

 

Being absolutely certain that one is right is part of growing up

and so is realizing years later

that the truth may be more nuanced.

Rebecca Meade

 

As you gather with loved ones this Thanksgiving, what will you count among your favorite blessings?  I am thankful for great health and the freedom to create happy memories, the constant love of friends and family, the joy of working with the inspiring and generous women featured on this blog.  I am most thankful for the wisdom that comes from looking back on my life and seeing the big picture, how things eventually work out for a good reason, if we hang on to our sense of humor through the desperation and disappointment of not getting what we want. Then there are the the many little things we may take for granted, like the first one on this list of comforting quips from What I Wish I’d Known in the book compilation The Most of Nora Ephron:

The empty nest is underrated.

If the shoe doesn’t fit in the shoe store, it’s never going to fit.

When the children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.

The plane is not going to crash.

There’s no point in making piecrust from scratch.

Anything you think is wrong with your body today you will be nostalgic for a decade later.

Write everything down.

Keep a journal.

Back up your files.

Overinsure everything.

Whenever someone says “Our friendship is more important than this,” watch out, because it almost never is.

Take more pictures.

You can order more than one dessert.

You can’t be friends with people who call after 11:00 pm.

The world’s greatest babysitter burns out after two and a half years.

The last four years of psychoanalysis are a waste of money.

Overtip.

Never let them know.

If friends ask you to be their child’s guardian in case they die, you can say no.

There are no secrets.

You never know.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what hindsight makes you thankful at last. Happy Gobble Gobble!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

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

Fearless in Style

 

People often ask, “You have so much confidence.

Where did that come from?” It came from me.

One day I decided that I was beautiful then

carried out my life as if I were beautiful.

Gabourey Sidibe

 

Aside from Halloween, I don’t do therapy.  I am completely capable of boring myself with my own whining, obsessive worries, and  old stories that other people mistake to need resolution or absolution. I do all this with a journal because, unlike friends, pen and paper take it all in without compounding my complaints with worse versions of their own. Besides, if I had to dress and drive somewhere, I want to be the one charging for the hour. When it comes to overcoming fear and trepidation, this witch swears by these style tricks that thoroughly complements the essential broomstick:

Own one fabulous coat (or jacket.) When you have to run out of the house in pajamas, a long dress coat hides many sins while allowing effortless elegance.  Barbara Corcoran launched her real estate empire wearing the same red coat to all her client meetings.  This power coat was her biggest investment as a small town waitress starting a new and very foreign career in the big city. And when you’re done torturing yourself teetering on stilettos, find a comfy pair with an inch or two of sturdier heels with rubber soles that’s kind to your spine while still encouraging good posture.

Color is my coffee  Wake yourself up with a bright, light or white top. Color has healing properties, perks up your face and makes you smile when you see yourself in the mirror. There is one other reason why I don’t wear black: No one has died yet.

Perfect eyelashes   The purpose of having a daughter and girlfriends is to have people you can count on to glue on your lashes when you’re no longer capable of doing this yourself.  Whether it’s lipstick, a blowout, or a facial, indulge in whatever makes you feel better about what you’ve got. My life may not be perfect, but my fake eyelashes can be.

Wonder Woman  I love this film starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  She was no helpless Barbie Doll in real life as an Israeli citizen with the requisite military training. As Wonder Woman, she ventured out of her tiny cloistered island, overcoming great fear of leaving all that she loved behind to venture into the unknown for the sake of saving the planet. When I need a push to get out of my comfy world, to travel somewhere or to attend an event where I know no one, I dress well and coax myself with the thought that I can show up for just a wee little bit. I promise myself that I can leave anytime I feel like and dangle a treat as reward after. More often that not, I end up staying at the event for much longer and have a great time meeting or simply observing a different world and its people. Amy Cuddy shares a life hack to quickly boost your confidence through Power Posing.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you say BOO! to fear.

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 photo shoot for 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

Alone Need Not Be Lonely

 

Your child’s life will

be filled with fresh experiences.

It’s good if yours is as well.

Dr. Margaret Rutherford

 

 

Happy new school year and Hurray for Empty Nest!  While our young wannabe adults are happily settled in their respective college dorms, I am skipping around the house, thrilled to have it all to myself at last. No more waking to other people’s alarms, slamming doors or heavy footfall. No mess in the kitchen sink that isn’t mine.  No one else’s junk spilling out of one less cupboard. The only thing I miss is a compelling answer to that question well-meaning friends and family never tire of asking: What next?  Why–Do they imagine being stripped off the mantel of mothering depressing? That I’d mourn its relentless martyrdom?  Rush to fill the void of being needed?  Au contraire!  I am quite content admiring the empty spaces in my internal and physical landscape, reveling in the freedom of a blank slate, stillness and quiet. I feel so much excitement bubbling over no specific reason. It is an exhilaration not unlike  jailbreak!

Aaah, that blank canvas–it is intimidating even as it promises much possibility.  In this culture of relentless achievement, how can I possibly look people in the eye and admit I do not have a grand plan?  Yet, yet my heart feels full and so very excited over what appears to be absolutely nothing.  I take pleasure in this time to embrace and circle back to the self I have ignored for too long in the service of family. I am seduced by the attention I can give to the woman whose voice has been drowned out by everyone else’s wants and schedules at work and at home.  This could be a scary chapter indeed. What if that blank canvas remains just that?  At least, I am cushioned by the confidence that I have been in this familiar place of new beginnings many times before. Since then, I have acquired riches over the years in wealth and clarity about what makes me happy or not.  I can choose to narrow options or expand creatively, seeing the old with new eyes.

As unread books on the shelf wink at me complicity and travel adventures beckon, I dream of new crafts awaiting to be learned, beautiful objects to be found in cultures and traditions that I’ve taken for granted.  I may yet learn Mandarin, find the patience to paint like a renaissance master, write that darn book that stubbornly refuses to write itself. Who knows what doors I’ll open or what doors I’ll build if opportunity doesn’t knock?  Great expectations include plotting my escape from cooking for two (without resorting to divorce,) going back to college for the sheer joy of learning, and why not a gap year from all adult responsibility?!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what a blank canvas means to you.

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 photo shoot for up to three people!

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fathers On Love

 

Learn from other people’s mistakes.

We will never live long enough

to make them all on our own.

from “Human Engineering” by Harry Myers and Mason M. Roberts

 

Happy Father’s Day!  Llittle Daddy’s girls grow up too quickly into gorgeous women!  What life experience would you pass on to our daughters as wisdom on men and relationships?

Prince Charming is not coming.  Do you really want to get involved with a dashing self-absorbed Mama’s boy who’s obsessed with slaying dragons and chasing damsels in distress?  This can only mean he’s unemployed and is on serious medication to believe dragons exist. You won’t be the first nor last damsel in distress he’ll want to rescue and his thirst for constant adventure won’t make him a happy helper with the kids at home. There is a price to pay for everything so clarify the manly qualities that are most important to you, as well as your deal breakers.

Handle your own money. Set up your bank accounts so an automatic percentage for every dollar you earn goes to a savings account that grows.  No matter how attractive credit card companies make the terms of their little plastics, do not spend more than what you have.  Most importantly, avoid marrying other people’s debts and drama.

Be happy alone. Whether in a relationship or not, keep time alone sacred and romance yourself each week to enjoy your own company. Even when demanding children start popping into the scene, your primary relationship should always be with yourself.

Great sex ain’t good enough.  A relationship needs conversation, laughter and shared values to make it through tough times. Before those sex hormones cloud your thinking–making you obsessive and attached–establish ties that bind common interests outside the bedroom.

Actions speak louder.  Falling in love is delusional. When we’re interested in someone, we will interpret other people’s words to skew for intent. If his actions don’t back up what he says, learn from Ariana Grande: Next!

Something is not always better than nothing.  How does he make your life better? If you know he’s not good enough, but he’s the only one who has asked you out in awhile, don’t waste your time nor his. Both of you are better off asking other people out whom you may be better matched. Don’t be lazy.

Keep your relationships rich and varied. Many women brush off girlfriends in the thrill of being a couple.  Rookie mistake!  Maintain breathing room to acknowledge your individuality and he will appreciate your confidence in giving him time to himself and to hang with his boys. Value each other’s disparate experiences and influences that you bring to the table. At the very least, make sure you like his friends and family because you’ll be spending time a lot of time with them, too.

Your sad story is boring. Whatever and whoever shows up in our lives are meant to draw out qualities like wisdom, strength and courage. Find the gift of a breakup, never abandon yourself, and move forward in life with greater self-compassion and understanding. There is never a wasted experience and there is no dignity in being identified as victim forever.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share wisdom from your dad or your own, if you’re a dad yourself. You’re too lucky to be loved by many divine Goddesses!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

PowerfulGoddess@me.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!

 

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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

 

 

 

 

Barely There

 

Forgot to make resolutions?

Just write everything you did last night

and at the beginning, add the word “Stop.”

@PeteHolmes

 

A most beautiful and tender welcome to 2019! I shall leave resolutions for others to make and break. Instead, I extend this invitation for all to embrace the new year with a gentle remembering and a return to the womb of woman.

Let us remember the moment of our birth, the time of owning nothing yet knowing that all is well. Remember screaming loudly for our desires without worry that they might  cause shame, guilt or regret. Remember not knowing that there could be some standard or measurement more correct than our own, that there can be separation between us and them, between our bodies, our planet and the heavens. Remember not knowing that we can possibly be unworthy.

Let us take this moment to remember when we knew we are true love itself, that all of who we are is good, whole and complete without missing or undesirable  parts. Let us remember why we have chosen to be a light on Earth, to be with the people who are in our lives right now, and to welcome those we wish to add to our circle of care and influence. Let us recognize and own once more our power to inhabit our bodies and desires fully, to choose peace, love, action, to keep an eye on the big picture, to remember that what seems to good or bad today may yet prove to be its inverse down the road.

While we may appear to be an inconsequential drop in the very wide ripple of consciousness and consequence, let us remember that we are like leaven unto bread and we make a difference anyhow, no matter how bare our little lives may seem.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what makes you feel grounded and powerful. Continued courage in your journey and thank you so much for loving on!

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!

 

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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

 

‘Tis The Season To Be Extra

 

I want to thank all the people who walked into my life

and made it outstanding,

and the people who walked out of it

and made it fantastic.

Anonymous

To bring 2018 to a resounding close, nothing beats making a list of what I’m grateful for. I share this tradition with my family using pen and paper on New Year’s Eve because a Gratitude Journal makes it easy to remember all the good for posterity. It’s also handy for a quick pick-me-up in moments of feeling down-dooby-doo-down-down.

Among my proudest moments this year was witnessing my teens act like adults who bring something to the table, chip in and help out without being asked. I was extra  proud overhearing the one who didn’t bother with presents last year ask his siblings first, “What do you want for Christmas, Guys?” I’m taking this as a sign I can retire from being Santa–though I doubt I’ll ever want to stop wrapping pretty things with red bows.

I  am honored by the kind and loving women who made the experience of creating the portraits shared on this blog a true pleasure! I am grateful for the devoted blog fans who spoil me with sweet comments, gifts and bright ideas.  I am blessed with great health, enduring love, and a world mostly at peace, by people who inspire me with their happy hearts and laughter, pride in their work, their gentle self acceptance. I admire those who persist and commit to what/whom they love even when that doesn’t love them back with equal passion, those who hang on to dignity and grace through hard times refusing to be identified as victim. I thank Arianna Grande for inspiring the young with her positive spin on heartbreak with the song Thank U, Next! (as soon as I got over my older generation shock at a word I deem unnecessary in the vocabulary of a beautiful woman. 😉 )

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you’re extra grateful for this year. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me and have the merriest Ho Ho Ho!

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

Me And My Shadow

 

The eye is always caught by light

but shadows

have more to say.

Gregory Maguire

 

 

I’m baaaaack! Hope you didn’t miss me too much while I had the grandest summer being inspired by other ways of thinking, seeing and being in Europe. My shadow could barely keep up with my nonstop packing, unpacking, getting up bright and early to see the next town or city’s delights. Despite my aversion to the diet of worms, I must concede that without the early bird schedule of our tour group’s itinerary, I would have easily missed half of what we saw/did if I were left to my own devices.

It was the kind of vacation that needs a “real” vacation afterwards, the kind where you can simply lay comatose on a beach and catch up with peace and quiet. To stay grounded anytime anyplace, here’s an excerpt from Pema Chodron‘s When Things Fall Apart:

One of the best practices for everyday living when we don’t have much time for meditation is to notice our opinions. When we are doing sitting meditation, part of the technique is to become aware of our thoughts. Then, without judgment, without calling them right or wrong, we simply acknowledge that we are thinking. It’s an exercise in nonaggression toward ourselves. it is also an exercise in bringing out our intelligence: seeing that we’re just thinking, but with no attached hope or fear, praise or blame.

Opinions are opinions, nothing more or less. We can begin to notice them, and we can begin to label them as opinions, just as we label thoughts as thoughts. By this simple exercise we are introduced to the notion of agelessness. All ego really is, is our opinions, which we take to be solid, real and the absolute truth about how things are. We don’t have to make these opinions go away, and we don’t have to criticize ourselves for having them. We could just notice what we say to ourselves and see how so much of it is just our particular take on reality which may or may not be shared by other people.

Notice your opinions. If you find yourself becoming aggressive about them, notice that. If you find yourself being nonaggressive, notice that. Cultivating a mind that does not grasp at right and wrong, you will find a fresh state of being.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you make peace with your shadow.

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

Out Of Office

 

I want a vacation

so long

I forget all my passwords.

@CapGenius

 

 

This divine summer is slipping away oh so quickly!  A woman who is 24/7/365 in the heat, constantly on call for work and her family’s never ending demands better make time to kick off her shoes, get away from it all and pay attention to her inner wild woman. For it is only in nurturing her sacred connection with the earth that she can heed its eternal wisdom, the well she draws upon for the strength and courage she needs to guide her son(s) and daughter(s) through the thicket of life.

Excerpt from Paula Caplan’s Don’t Blame Mother:

Remember the value of silence and time: allow both your daughter and yourself periods of silence during which to consider what you have heard, how you feel, and what you want to do about it. Many unnecessary troubles come from feeling we have to rush to respond to criticism or a request. Both daughters and mothers need to ask for time to be silent, time to wait, time to think and feel things through before responding. Asking for silence or time is a way to show respect for each other, a way of saying, “Making our relationship better matters enough to me that I want to accord it time and energy.” Since we live in a culture that values quick comebacks and snappy patter, we don’t often think to ask for time, but learning to do so is invaluable in working out problems in relationships.

It is important to talk first to other women partly to rehearse what we want to say or ask for, partly to learn that our feelings are not unique or weird, and partly to brainstorm. This included hearing out how other women feel about their mothers, how those feelings have changed and what changed them, and how other women feel about being mothers.

Fundamentally, most of us want to be less angry, want to feel closer and more relaxed in our relationships. But we lose sight of this goal because we easily get caught up in laying blame or withdrawing altogether. Saying and acknowledging this is absolutely crucial, because it puts you and your mother in the same team.

Why is knowing you’re on the same side so important? Because we become defensive or paranoid if we believe that the other person wants to hurt us or to protect herself no matter the cost to us. Once a daughter commits to improving her relationship with her mother, her mother is likely to sense that commitment even before the daughter talks about it. If mother and daughter both want to improve their relationship, their shared vision of a better future can take them a long way. Hanging on to the knowledge of your commitment to this goal will help your through rough times, the struggles and intermittent backsliding.

Sage advice for any relationship, no?! Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what has helped strengthen your mother daughter bond. A very hot birthday to this earthy Goddess whose life has been blessed by adoring parents!

And as the old song goes, “I’ll see you in September when summer is gone…”

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:

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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

Patriots and Poets

 

In America,

anyone can become the President.

That’s the problem.

George Carlin

 

 

Patriots need never rush rolling out of bed when it’s hot out and you’re wrapped up in seductive poetry such as this–thanks to a favorite blog fan. And with Google translate, who says Americans can speak only one language? 😉

 

Je t’aime, dans ma peau

Je t’aime du sang d’une

vigne proche de ton village,

le soleil de la mer est dans tes yeux,

une chaleur qui m’enflame

et brule nos corps

Je t’appartient… la vie.

 

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your delicious plans for a happy summer!

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

A Jealous Husband’s Lament

 

When you’re young, you think

your dad is Superman.

Then you grow up and realize

he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.

Dave Attell

What woman would not prefer a man who wines and dines her with a more refined sartorial sense? A man who’s not afraid of feelings and can look her deeply in the eyes while holding meaningful conversation? All these after years of togetherness and familiarity. Nor do I mean a gay friend either.

Happy Father’s Day to the superhero we live with–May we never grow blind to your  unique superpowers through the years!

Excerpt from Devin Friedman’s article “A Jealous Husband’s Lament” in GQ’s May 2018 issue:

Why, as the family man ages, does he become more reclusive, sedentary, ursine? Meanwhile, it’s different for women, I discovered recently  that my wife has been having all these affairs. With her friends. She goes out and drinks wine and smokes secret cigarettes with April and Melissa and Robyn and Krista. They’re in love with each other.

They get plowed on natural wines and eat fine European cheeses and tell each other everything. They tell each other about their periods, about early menopause, about sex and what their husbands’ penises look like, about the terrible fears they have about their children and how we’re all going to die in the end.

And I have to admit that I’m jealous that my friends and I aren’t like that. I think part of the reason for this state of affairs is that, at this point I kind of don’t want another relationship in my life. I relate to my kids. I relate to my wife. I relate to my wife about my kids. I relate to my kids about each other. I relate to the people I work with. All I want to do at night is drink a Negroni and not relate to anybody.

And I think the other part is that men are brittle, ego-obsessed little freaks. I know virtually nothing about most of my friends’ sex lives, wifely relationships, erectile dysfunctions, fears of death and bankruptcy. That, at least for me, is because we care too deeply about seeming like we’re doing okay. That we’re winning. That we have achieved a place in the world. That we are not failures. But how much fun is it to meet your friend for a drink and lay out an argument for how awesome you are?

So here’s a proclamation: I’m going to get more intimate. I’m going to have an affair with my friend. I feel like the way to do it is to be forthright and real. As a gambit, but also maybe as a better way to live. I expect middling success. But look out, Zach’s wife, because I’m about to know everything about you.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’ll celebrate Father’s Day and a super kiss to your favorite superman!

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

For the Brave and Brokenhearted

 

To truly laugh,

you must be able to take your pain

and play with it.

Charlie Chaplin

 

 

In 1862, April 16 went down US History as Emancipation Day, an Act by good old Abe to abolish slavery.  Yet headlines to this day reveal that we, free citizens of a great country, prefer to enslave ourselves to stories of victimhood.  More power to those who bravely make the best of whatever life deals them, owning their power to move forward and choose how their story unfolds, even as the weather insists on Winter when the calendar says it’s long overdue for Spring. 

This poem by Nayyirah Waheed inspired the title of Brene Brown‘s book Rising Strong:

 

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’d write your own daring ending.

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

 

 

In Her Closet

 

I try not to make a good first impression

because for me that’s

the same thing as lying.

Anonymous

 

 

What gets you going in the morning? Coffee doesn’t do it for me as well as the pleasure of walking into my closet mulling over the infinite possibilities of “What shall I wear today?” When the weather is dreary and my eyes refuse to open or my To Do list is heavy on things I’d rather not do, it is taking the time to dress well that picks up my mood.

In the age of ripped jeans and athleisure, why deny the power of dressing well that automatically commands respect and authority–even from ourselves?

Clothing and posture are the primary requisites for a good first impression. They speak volumes before you say a word. In presentations and social situations, what you wear and how you groom yourself influences how your message is received. Without being consciously aware why, people will pay attention and trust you when you’re respectably dressed and carry yourself with confidence.

This is the psychology behind advertising (backed my millions of dollars in marketing research) that prefers white lab coats for actors to wear. We may know they’re actors, but in looking the part of a scientist or doctor whom we associate with intelligence and research, they subconsciously gain our confidence for the product they endorse.  Following this logic–and you know I’m no prude–it baffles me why women get indignant if they’re treated with less chivalry when they dress in the skimpiest dresses with plunging décolletage. Duh?!

How you dress yourself changes who you are. It complements the value of what you have to say to those who are watching and listening. You tend to perform better when the bar is raised and your audience is unknowingly primed to agree that you deserve to perform better. Regardless of what you do and whom you work for, if you’re well dressed, you make yourself useful and ready to represent business by being presentable to step into a meeting with a client, customer, or supervisor at a moment’s notice.

Whether you want to get a promotion at work or the chance for an upgrade on your next flight, talk your way out of a traffic ticket, or start a worldwide movement, the way you dress and present yourself plays a major role. We can waste our breath arguing over this in the age of sweatpants and casual Fridays, but wouldn’t it be easier to use this understanding of human nature to your advantage?

When life feels unfair, my closet is a haven of true democracy and justice. Solids mingle with prints of all stripes,  a wide swath of colors and hemlines to remedy any mood, and there is always the chance of catching myself smile at the sight of a familiar purse, dress or accessory that conjures happy memories of far away travels, shared meals, and past adventures. The assumption that a well-dressed woman should be treated with respect is best tested by the person you see in the mirror.

Related blog posts:

Stacy London: Top Tips for Dressing for Your Career

Real Simple: Dress For Success For Women

InStyle: 50 Best Fashion Tips of All Time

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share the item in your closet that brings back fond memories.

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

 

 

The Good Wives

 

If love is the answer,

could you please

rephrase the question?

Lily Tomlin

 

 

When you’ve seen every hole and gnatty stain on each other’s favorite pajamas, how do you keep the romance going?  Author and TED talk speaker Esther Perel insists on our agency, our vitality and our complicity in making the best out of our long term relationships. From her book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity:

Infidelity has a tenacity that marriage can only envy. So much so that it is the only sin that gets two commandments in the Bible, one for doing it and one just for thinking about it. Lovers today seek to bring under one roof desires that have forever had separate dwellings. Our expectations have gotten all out of hand. Our obsession with transparency, total disclosure and suffocating intimacy stanches desire — fire needs air!

All this before the stigma from choosing to stay in a compromised relationship?! Ayayay!

No better day than Valentine’s to practice compassion for villains and victims alike. They may not always be what they appear, for they are equal in the opportunity to use power to their advantage–overtly and otherwise. In the double standard of society, a man’s exposed dark side becomes a witch hunt for the woman who chooses to stand by him. And I don’t even want to know what price she’s had to pay long before we come around to shame her. Who’s the bully then?

When we focus on blame, we beg the question of what we lead ourselves (and teach our young) to believe. Can there really only be fifty shades of human behavior? Until we move to Mars, power and sex are tradable currencies and commodities on this planet. There is no shame in being a victim but there is also no dignity in incessantly playing the “Poor me, too!” card. There are gallant knights, ogres, wolves and monsters–sometimes all rolled into one person, at times not always male nor blatantly powerful, some more irresistible than others–lurking in the shadows of brightly lit offices, classrooms, cheerful houses, fancy restaurants and especially hotel rooms. The question “What would you say (or do) if someone you trust and respect takes advantage of you?” should be fair game at family gatherings.

Raised by parents who were both sole survivors of their families from Holocaust concentration camps, Dr. Perel learned to distinguish between two types of people: those who were alive and those who didn’t die. Her parents “understood the erotic as an antidote to death.”

There is no greater love than allowing people to choose what’s right for themselves–even between spouses. There is no greater love we can give ourselves than deciding to fashion a full and meaningful life despite difficult and unwanted experiences. That which we don’t allow to kill us, will buy us time to understand the gift it was meant to bring.  If there is one true power that nobody can ever take away from us, it is our talent for alchemy: to take the darkness of pain, hurt and suffering and allow it to push us towards the light of strength, power, wisdom and goodness as we move forward with our lives. This power is the one true guarantee of fairness in the world that we can always count on.

With or without pajamas, best to leave expectations of seeing everything in black and white to photography.

Click on “Leave a Comment” to share how you keep the bedroom fire burning. True love IS always with you! Kiss! Kiss!

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

 

 

 

Iconic Art and Beauty

 

Mona Lisa’s famous smile hints at

embarrassment that so many people

bother coming so far to see her

when she’s really nothing special.

Alison Pearson

 

Instead of another selfie, how fun would it be to recreate your favorite iconic artwork?  Harper’s Bazaar November 2017 features five unstoppable and trailblazing models in a tableau of iconic paintings. (Photographs by Pari Dukovic/Fashion Editor Anna Trevelyan)

Winnie Harlow as Mona Lisa

The Canadian model of Jamaican descent (above) helped demystify the skin pigmentation condition vitiligo. She knows what it’s like to have strangers make assumptions based solely on appearance.

Candace Huffine in The Birth of Venus

A top plus size model, Candace Huffine felt a special connection to the painting of the Roman goddess of love since she first set eyes on it as a teen. For her, the fashion world’s expanding parameters are merely a return to form, “I have a body like Venus, and it’s well past time we acknowledge this is a body type that’s always been beautiful.”

Hari Nef as Madame X

Transgender model and actress Hair New is an emblem of contradiction. In highschool, she wrote a paper on John Singer Sargetn’s famous woman in black and made one of her first trips to New York just to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see this painting.

Erika Linder as Egon Schiele

Androgynous sexuality is Swedish model Erika Linder’s commonality with the Austrian painter Egon Schiele. This is her interpretation of Schiele’s Self Portrait With Peacock Waistcoaat. Erika continues to build her career as a menswear model.

Halima Aden in Girl With a Pearl Earring

As the first hijab-wearing Muslim model signed to a major agency, showing even a little sliver of skin and her pierced ears was something new for Halima Aden. The young woman in Dutch master Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring appears seductive precisely because of her restraint.

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

 

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

 

 

 

Sitting With Dignity

 

If you can’t beat them,

arrange to

have them beaten.

George Carlin

 

 

This Powerful Goddess greatly inspires many, keeping her cool through life’s challenges with quiet strength and constant optimism. She embodies equanimity in her elegant stance, reminding me of this excerpt from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are:

When you sit with strong intentionality, the body itself makes a statement of deep conviction and commitment in its carriage. A dignified sitting posture is itself an affirmation of freedom, and of life’s harmony, beauty and richness.

Even when you feel depressed, burdened, confused, sitting can affirm the strength and value of this life lived now. It can bring you in touch with the very core of your being, that domain which is beyond up or down, free or burdened, clearsighted or confused. This includes a deep knowing that whatever is present, whatever has happened to shake your life or overwhelm you, will of itself inevitably change, and for this reason alone, bears simply holding in the mirror of the present moment–watching it, embracing its presence, riding its waves of unfolding just as you ride the waves of your breath, having faith that you will sooner or later find a way to act, to come to terms, to move through it and beyond.

Happiest Birthday, O Powerful Goddess!  This earth has been greatly blessed by your gracious beauty and light. Wondrous possibilities await you in 2018, your best year yet!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you keep your feathers unruffled.

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

 

New Year, New York!

 

There’s no room

for amateurs in New York,

even in crossing streets.

George Segal

 

NYC-NJ-umbrella-corset-glamour-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-140726

 

A most grand welcome to your exciting 2018, My Sweets–How thrilling to imagine the  brave adventures and fun people you’ll meet simply crossing over to the other side of the street!

So proud to feature this Powerful Goddess who truly embodies the great courage behind the New York anthem, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere!” Having left the comforts of home to move to this far away continent and be with the man she adored, she’s had to keep stepping forward after Prince Charming turned out to have too much baggage for anyone to bear. A finance whiz with fabulous charm, graceful curves, and a natural magnet for fun, her 2018 definitely looks better than bright.

What’s her secret, you ask? Style wise, it’s not terribly hidden since she wears it with elegant nonchalance in her portraits here. She attributes her divine posture to corsets and swears they always make her feel hugged, protected, and even strengthened in low moments. Her shopping advice: Be careful with cheap corsets sold on Amazon and on Corset Story. They aren’t comfortable, dig in the skin and don’t give a good curve. They can turn you away from using corsets at all. Better wait for discounts on Timeless Trends (see resource list below)!

Choosing The Best Corset

Style

Why suffer in the 21st century?  Choose comfort first in corset style and see which works best for you:

  • Over bust – can be worn as an elegant top (as seen on the Powerful Goddess here)
  • Under bust – sits under the bra line, can be worn over clothing as a wide belt
  • Long Line – for the longer torso length
  • Short style – for the short torso
  • Rubber or Latex compression cinchers – good for working out

There are so many beautiful choices in fabric and design to fit your mood from sweet ruffles and bows to taunting leather and buckles.

Sizing

To discover your best size, note the following measurements pulling the tape measure taut, but not tight:

  • Your waist just above your belly button. Determine where your waist naturally bends to match the bend of the corset.  Choose a corset size larger than your waist so you can breathe, eat as you wish and wear a shirt or dress underneath for styling options.
  • Your upper hip if you like long corsets
  • Your torso circumference under your bust line
  • If you like the over the bust corset, measure your bust at the fullest part

The right corset length depends on your torso length, not your full body height.  In the end, it’s a matter of personal comfort and choice.

Breaking in your Corset

  • Lay the corset out flat and gently open the laces until fully extended
  • Put your corset on by closing the front busk, starting in the middle and then working your way up and down the length of it
  • Position the corset so it sits on your torso comfortably
  • Now pull the laces until the corset is snug, not tight, and create your best shape

Your corset will slowly adapt to your body and you will be able to wear it as long as you choose. Just have fun with it!

For your convenience, these are the best corset shops online:

  • Orchard Corset  Offers a great selection of steel-boned corsets for both the beginner and the experienced waist trainer
  • Timeless Trends  Their corsets are made with high-quality steel busks, spiral steel stays, and boning with a lifetime guarantee.  Check out their men’s collection.
  • Hips and Curves   Plus size corsets from Southern California
  • Meschantes Corsetry  Their website has an easy to shop photo layout
  • Isabella Corsetry  Special order and in-stock Victorian, Edwardian and bridal items in velvet, brocade, silk, and lace fabrics
  • What Katie Did  The worlds’ leading brand of Vintage Lingerie, 6 Strap Garter Belts, Corselettes and Girdles, Steel Boned Corsets and Fully Fashioned Stockings.
  • Dark Garden  The best in custom & off-the-rack corsets, dresses & wedding gowns
  • Vollers  Classically designed & handmade in the UK since 1899. The finest range of luxury corset tops, black corsets and fashion corsets online.
  • Fairy Gothmother  Another British company   

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best hopes for the year ahead!

xoxox

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NYC-NJ-umbrella-corset-glamour-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-140692

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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