Sparkles For Santa

A wonderful gift 

may not be wrapped

as you expect.

Jonathan Lockwood Hule

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In addition to framing your fabulous Powerful Goddess portraits as gifts you and your loved ones will treasure forever, here are some fun stocking stuffers to add a twinkle to Santa’s eye:

Monogrammed Headphones Case

No more messy tangles in her purse with one of these compact cases in her favorite color.

LP Player

Yes, Spotify works well enough, but how about a little romance and nostalgia with an LP Player with her favorite album in vinyl?

My Life Story So Far

Journaling is my favorite therapy. It is amazing how our mind works and  what eventually pops up when we write out musings, feelings and pay attention to questions we ask ourselves. My Life Story So Far offer pages of prompts to inspire you to write about past, present and what you envision as your future.

Tinder Nightmares 

Unspirational documents the warped and hilarious world of Tinder exchanges that are often awkward, sometimes hideous, and rarely romantic, serving as fair warning for women intrigued by casual dating apps.

Polaroid Zip Mobile Photo Printer

Instant prints fro her smartphone to share and spare anytime, anywhere.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your own bright ideas to make Santa smile.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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 Thanksgiving Birthday

I figure that 

if the children are alive by the time I get home,

I’ve done my job.

Roseanne Barr

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If there is one person we owe gratitude first, it is to the woman who gave us life in this magical world. And to have a mother who is the ideal many of us have only heard about and can only strive for?  Such a life is golden!

This Powerful Goddess celebrates her Thanksgiving birthday with a beautiful tribute to her dearest mother. And  please, please Ssshhh! don’t tell my kids someone has a mother such as this. 😉 She writes:

My Mom is one of the purest souls I have ever known–slow to anger, tremendously patient, forgiving, and selfless. She has done so much for me without ever asking for anything in return. She doesn’t seek or draw attention, but deserves much recognition and praise. Never nagging or critical, hard working and loyal, devoted to her husband and children, she continues to give the best of herself to five decades of marriage and being a mother of seven adults, succeeding remarkably at it. She instilled in me values such as kindness, first and foremost, modesty, and the importance of family. I am blessed and so very proud to have a mother like her.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share whom you’re thankful for. And have the Happiest of Holidays counting your blessings! I am thankful for you!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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

 

Germany Travel Guide

Travel makes you understand

that you should not think

you’re always right.

Christian Louboutin

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Linderhof Palace is a most adorable mini-Versailles in the alps for one royal recluse

It is the season for Christmas markets soon and if you’re headed to see some in Germany, here are other sights I enjoyed the most:

Prettiest hotel bar at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich. They also have a little nightclub in the basement with a great band playing pop and classic dance tunes.

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Bumped into dream cars from every decade at the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart

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Made sure my crown jewels are still where I left them… was this at the treasury in Munich?

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Try a horseless carriage ride through a small town, scenic woods and farmland

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Rothenberg is a medieval city that survived the war unscathed by sheer luck of circumstance…

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…Hear how from Rothenberg’s Night Watchman. History teachers can learn a thing or two from him on how to dress the part while regaling the crowd with humorous narratives.

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Though it wasn’t on my original wishlist, Dresden was a lovely surprise , turning out to be my favorite city this tour. Bombed for no good reason during the war, the women of the town saved what they could from the rubble and re-used these to restore the city center back to its former glory.  The Zwinger Palace is now home to three museums with its restored courtyard of elegant fountains and sculptures. I loved strolling through its upper level walkway, imagining how many women were subliminally seduced in an afternoon stroll surrounded by the countless sculptures of fat cherubs, lovers, women holding food or children, all suggesting fertility and love.

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I felt positively royal in my room at the Crown Prince Suites of the Kempinski Tauschenberg Palace Hotel. With very high ceilings and space wide enough for dancing, both sides of my bedchamber had double connecting doors to adjoining rooms–perfect for the discreet entry and exit of guests or lovers. Standing right in the heart of town, this palace was originally built as the residence of the king’s favorite mistress. Below is what the bombed shell 😉 looked before and after restoration.

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One of the amazing treasures at the Residenza is this galleon carved in pure ivory. Do you see the tiny sailors climbing the ropes? The middle mast has the royal seal “embossed” on its thin billowy sail.

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Berlin was too, too modern for me. I like to travel to Europe for old architecture and they are doing a great job restoring the few structures that have remained standing like this Cathedral by the river.

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A very modern Holocaust memorial

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Found Cinderella’s carriage at the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich

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Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your own German faves.

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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 Femme Fatale

To a smart girl

men are not the problem,

they’re the answer.

Zsa Zsa Gabor

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A bit of noir for Halloween?  This series is a tribute to the femme fatale, French for “deadly woman,” that mythical figure in film and literature of the irresistible woman who lures men to their downfall with seemingly supernatural powers. On my recent cruise down the Rhine river, she’s Loreley whom careless sailors blamed for their sunken ships. In Biblical history, she’s the one Adam pointed a finger at, whining, “She made me eat it!” She’s famously associated with noir films: glamorous, sexy, strong, duplicitous, sometimes lethal. She uses her charms on a male protagonist, usually a lonely man grateful for her attention and is willingly manipulated into unscrupulous acts.

Now that contemporary women are bent on professional success, women may bristle at the thought that they can only get what they want through entrapment, artifice, and seduction rather than through meritocratic achievement. We want to downplay, if not deny, the power of our sexuality as a tool to employ in navigating our place in the world.

Not the femme fatale.

She is at ease with her femininity and hold men in her thrall. She brings out their chivalry, the hero, the protector they want to be. She may want them to commit irrational acts yet they’ll be eager to please.  The femme fatale may be a man’s nightmare, but she is also his fantasy: a woman in charge of her own sexuality who’d take charge of his as well.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite femme fatale. Happy Trick or Treat!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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 Man Named Slim

Never give a woman

anything she can’t

wear in the evening.

Oscar Wilde

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Slim Aarons wasn’t born photographing beautiful people. He started as a combat photographer during World War II. After years of witnessing death and destruction first hand, he vowed to live on the sunny side of the street and determined that his mission would only be to photograph “attractive people in attractive places doing attractive things.” Sound like my kind of life!

His first stop was the farthest from reality he could imagine getting: Hollywood. Aaron’s pictures of high society introduced the world to all sorts of gorgeous locales, deliberately standing far from his subjects so his camera captured their surroundings. He thought of himself as a photojournalist and a storyteller so his subjects are usually seen in their milieus–their gardens, offices, living room, with their books and pets. Despite all the glamour, the opulence, however, Aaron remained detached, never wanting to be a member of the jetset.

His archive (including those on this page) is now owned by Getty Images so the public could enjoy how he documented society during his time, allowing the likes of us from the reality TV generation, the relief of revisiting my favorite stylish and gracious eras. Thank you for the inspiration and lots of good fun in the sun, Slim!

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

xoxox

 

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 Credit: Hulton|Archive by Getty Images


Credit: Hulton|Archive by Getty Images

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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

Key To The Labyrinth

Getting lost is 

just another way of saying

“Going exploring!”

Justina Chen

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Excerpts from Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter:

When you’re in the middle of initiation, when your “old” womanhood is dying away, you may think you’ll be stuck in that dark place forever. You cannot see your way out. It is hard to keep moving, to put one foot in front of the other, because they are always landing on some new and unfamiliar ground, and half the time, that place is a swamp.

In a Greek myth, Ariadne gives Theseus a saving thread to drag into the labyrinth so he can find his way back out after he slays the Minotaur monster within. For a woman, the thread is the life cord that sustains you as you move through the spirals of life. Your Ariadne thread is the thread of your feminine Self.

We each have an inner destiny, one imprinted in the soul. Each of us also possesses a very goal directed energy that seeks to bring the seed of ourselves to fruition. It pulses inside use, trying to complete who we are uniquely meant to be. In science, this energy is called entelechy. This is the wise force that spins the Ariadne thread, wanting to take us toward our fulfillment as women. When you deny it or refuse to trust, refuse to pick up the thread, you feel lost, afraid, off center.

The way to find your thread again is to be still and remember who you are, to listen to your heart, your inner wisdom, as deeply as you can and then give yourself permission to follow it.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share who your best permission giver is.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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

 

Best Headshot Tips

I always wanted to be somebody,

but now I realize

I should have been more specific.

Lily Tomlin

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While I enjoy creating artsy glamour portraits the most, I have fun working with those who need  headshots for their businesses and careers, too. Here’s what you need to make the most of what you’ve got for such a shoot:

Makeup  You want to be recognizable the way you present yourself at work but with tweaks in consideration of the lighting situation at your photo shoot. Choose good coverage oil-free liquid foundation that is evenly applied to match your neck and chest.  Apply setting powder more generously than you normally would and bring blotting paper and powder to touch up right before your shoot. Even if you want a natural look, go for heavier shades on the lips and especially on the eyes and eyebrows because (artificial) lighting tends to wash out features.  Use black mascara that does not clump or smear. If wearing false lashes, choose the kind that looks natural with uneven lengths. Wax eyebrows a day or two before and darken them for the photo shoot. It’s all about the eyes! And shall I say it? Avoid (fake) tans.

If makeup is not among your strong talents, invest in a professional artist that, ideally, you’ve tried and liked before.

Hair  Clean and styled your best.  A headshot photo shoot is NOT the occasion to experiment with a new cut or color. Retouch (roots) a day or two before and schedule a maintenance haircut or color a week prior. While matte is what you want for your face, shine is what you need for your hair. There’s a selection of hair shine sprays for women at your local  drugstore like Biosilk spray. For my own wash and wear hairstyle, I just rub my palms with less than a quarter size drop of oil and run them through my hair while damp.

Nails  Clean nails and if wearing polish, choose clear, french manicure or pale neutrals so they don’t distract from your beauty.

What to wear  Choose outfits in solid colors for a classic look. Regardless of your size, shape, and how you feel about your body, form fitting is the most flattering. Highlight your best features and cover what you’d rather not show. Avoid distracting patterns and too much cleavage. V necks and long sleeves are flattering in general. If you’re an artist who needs to be quirky, express yourself through  a single piece of bold jewelry. Skin tones in the olive, brown, to dark shades are better flattered by pale or bright shades of the colors you like. To be clear, dark outfits look better on pale skin. Picking from my client’s favorite wardrobe selections is one of my small pleasures.

Accessories  You want people to notice your face so keep jewelry simple and stick to one statement piece or none at all. Best to wear a piece that can be your “signature” to give your client/prospects something to distinguish you from your peers in your industry.

Take care of yourself in the week before your headshot:  Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, avoid alcohol and smoking, and give your reflection in the mirror kind compliments daily.  All these habits help relax lines and wrinkles, undereye circles, and make you glow. Get extra sleep the night before your photo shoot so you’re energized and perky in the morning.

I like to keep lighting bright, soft, and even to fill shadows and smoothen wrinkles. Daylight by a window is most flattering for women and on gray rainy days or windowless rooms, continuous lights are kinder than flash. As I photograph, I ask for the woman’s “best side” and keep a conversation to draw out her personality. Have fun with yourself and enjoy the experience! Angling the head, posture, as well as getting a twinkle in her eyes all help in capturing a woman’s unique best.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your bright ideas to this list.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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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