Best Books for Grads (and Teens)

 

If you think you are too small

to be effective, you have never been

in bed with a mosquito.

Bette Reese

 

With June just around the corner, graduation has been on my mind–Tick Tock! I am sure my teen would rather get a sexy new car as his gift, but I’m equally certain our young men and women are much better served by the enduring wisdom imparted by those who have gone before them. May this collection of powerful books inspire and ignite a fire in their bellies to make their own dreams come true!

Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal.   For those who have grown deaf to their own parents’ talk, this book distills pearls of wisdom from the inventor of Spanx to finance whiz, Bloomberg and good old Warren.

 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. Why making a personal commitment to doing something hard at an early age grows our power to overcome hardships later in life.

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter by Meg Jay. It’s never too early to plant seeds for your career and relationships early.

I Need Your Love–Is That True? by Byron Katie. How to deal with people who disappointment, frustrate, and anger you.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Demystifying the genie of creation as something more accessible than we’ve been led to believe.

7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. Begin with the end in mind, eat your biggest frog first, seek to understand another point of view,… Steven Covey’s son translates his dad’s pillars of humanity for the younger set.

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski. For a proper and enlightened understanding of female sexuality.

Free Women, Free Men by Camille Paglia. Straight talking and sharp shooting, Camille Paglia speaks of the kind of feminism that owns up to its power without hiding behind cries of victimhood. Real adult talk, at last!

The Four Agreements by Paolo Coelho.  Even those who have sworn off reading can skim this short and sweet manifesto simplifying how to live in peace with each moment.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your life changing favorite(s)!

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session 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

 

A Love Note for Mother’s Day

 

My mother had a great deal

of trouble with me, but

I think she enjoyed it.

Mark Twain

 

One of my great pleasures in photographing women is hearing about their life journeys and the remarkable people who have blessed their path.  For Mother’s Day, this extraordinary Powerful Goddess graciously shares:

When I was five years old, my parents’ divorce left my mother in dire financial straits, yet I never heard her complain or say anything negative or prejudiced about anyone. She accepted my lifestyle choices through the 60’s/70’s including those that pushed far beyond limits even for today’s parents. At 15, I wanted to join a cabaret act because nothing makes me happier than performing so she let me use her clothes and makeup and looked the other way. And that was just the beginning of my storied adventures!

She loved the latest fashions, hot pants, go go boots, gowns, etc. While she took my brother clothes shopping at discount stores, she went out of her way to take me to fancier boutiques because she knew how much I loved beautiful things.

My mom is an extraordinary human being, truly a great beauty inside and out, caring, charming, stylish.  Her heart is huge and she loves beyond the unconditional. I love speaking to her freely about my life and problems, including matters I would never reveal to friends.  Thank you so much, Mom, for loving me for who I am, imperfections and all!  You are my life’s greatest blessing and I am eternally grateful!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your love for your favorite woman on this earth.  And make your Mother’s Day happy!

xoxox

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

Blooms On This Earth

I believe in God,
only
I spell it Nature.

Frank Lloyd Wright

I love seeing Mother Nature get all dressed up with Spring blooms (and not much else)!  May we always remember to celebrate our amazing bodies as microcosms of our wondrous planet, to be thankful for how it serves us so well we tend to take it for granted. May we stay attuned to its magic and treat it with great love and kindness.

And when we forget we do live in paradise, a toe curling verse on Flowers and Bees by @primalnightss:

How long would I
The ever thirsting supplicant
Dote upon the tender folds of spring
And with my breath
Awaken her from winters sleep
How might her petals unfold
If gently stroked by a wet
And patient tongue unyielding
And how sweet would be
One drop upon my lips
Of Morning dew so gently taken
From pink and tender buds
That I with nectar in my mouth
Would buzz and hum
To see your petals unraveled.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your gratitude for this amazing Eden we live in!

xoxox

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 Poet’s Birthday

Most plain girls are virtuous

because of the scarcity of opportunity

to be otherwise.

Maya Angelou

 

 

 

An ancient soul with a powerful voice that resonates long after her passing, Maya Angelou blessed this world on April 4, 1928, sharing what wisdom she gathered over her difficult childhood yet joy filled life:

Just do right

Though it may not be expedient or profitable, doing so will satisfy your soul and make the world better right where you are.

Be courageous

Without courage you can’t consistently be kind, fair, humane or generous.

Love yourself

Another way of saying this African proverb “Be careful when a naked person offer you his shirt.”

Laugh

If you don’t laugh, you will lose your sense of humor and die of self-defense.

Be a blessing

Maya confessed, “I’ve had a lot of clouds in my life, but I’ve had so many rainbows in those clouds… Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”

Turn struggle into triumph

The 7 year old Maya had to identify her rapist who was soon found kicked to death by protective adults.  Blaming herself of this, she chose not to speak a word for the next five years, spending this period completely immersed in books.

You are talented

 Use what you’ve got for good.

Learn to say NO!

 Keep a place within you that is clean, sacred and inviolate.

Always do your best

  If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.

Keep Rising

   The video below memorializes her in her poem And Still I Rise

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share which woman has been a rainbow to your cloud.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos on this page courtesy of Google 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

 

 

 

 

 

Phenomenal Woman

I have no filters,
no class, no poise,
no decorum.
Just fun!

Kathy Griffin

One of the most influential voices of our time, Maya Angelou led a fulfilling life to a ripe old age despite a traumatic setback very early in her childhood. She inspired many through her autobiographies, poetry, and work as a civil rights activist. From her collection published as And Still I Rise, this poem Phenomenal Woman reminds us that looks need not be our source of confidence:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your favorite poem that invites your inner powers to come out and play.

xoxox

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

Her Story

If women ruled the world 

there’d be no war,

just a bunch of jealous countries

not talking to each other.

@itsWillyFerell

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In celebration of Women’s History Month, I give thanks to all whose bodies have given comfort to babes and lovers, who pondered “What’s the point of all this?” while humbly  working second and third shifts after taking care of their families without a paycheck, stayed vigilant through a beloved’s illness, felt guilty for everything that goes wrong in her world, despaired at her thighs and wrinkles, whose own toils never made it to the history books that her own children and grandchildren study, who labored without recognition in the kitchen or the backrooms of offices and factories and volunteered elsewhere, who uprooted themselves for a fresh start, who endured the hell years of raising teens–at times alone, maintained her dignity despite society’s double standards, loved beyond human understanding, and battled the darkness or surrendered to it after or without a fight.

This world is more joyful, meaningful and all the more beautiful because you lived. Thank you for persisting to show up no matter what, for being the pillar of strength and making the most of what you’ve got, for adding laughter, love and tenderness to our days (and nights.) You matter way beyond words and you are inspiration to the rest of us making the journey!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your tribute to the women in your life–include yourself!

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

Italy With Teen

A good holiday is one spent

among people whose notions of time

are vaguer than yours.

J.B. Priestley

italy-rome-coliseum-sharon-birke

Winter break now and Spring break soon! With Milan offering the best airfare accessible to favorable climes by train, here is a quick week’s itinerary if you can travel light with your teen.

From Milan’s Malpensa airport, take the Malpensa Express train to Milan Centrale and connect with the fast train (Trenitalia.com) to Rome.

In Rome, book a hotel (at least 3 nights) between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon so you’re in a lively area in the evenings near restaurants in any direction.

Some Rome tour options are on my When In Rome Again blog post.

Take a morning train to Florence Santa Maria Novella and before exiting the station, leave your luggage for a small fee at the depot along the wall where you see the sign for Track 16.

Florence in a day: You can’t miss the outdoor sculptures at the Piazza Vecchio, the fantastic embossed door of the Baptistry, museums galore, Pitti Palace, if the weather is lovely, catch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo for panoramic views of Florence and to say hello to yet another David statue.

Take the evening train to Venice Santa Lucia station and book an overnight stay at one of the hotel’s across the canal so they can hold your bags while you sightsee the next day.

Venice in a day: Catch the vaporetto to St. Mark’s Square and feed the pigeons, admire the golden mosaics of the cathedral, climb up the bell tower, shop a bit, walk to Rialto Bridge and if you’re an early bird, catch the vendors setting up shop at the open air market. If you haven’t had enough of churches and museums yet, there’s the Accademia, the Scuola Grande and the Doge’s Palace. If you’d rather row a gondola than sit in one, check out Row Venice.

Take the evening train to Milan and stay near the Golden Triangle of designer shopping (ie, Via della Spiga, Via Sant’ Andrea and Via Montenapoleone). You’ll be within easy walking distance to the very well preserved Sforza Castle that holds a good collection of museums.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your Italy travel tips.

xoxox

Ceiling at the Vatican

italy-rome-vatican-art

Even a very tall man appears to be a midget at the mini-Hall of Mirrors of the Doria Pamphilj mansion in Rome

italy-rome-hall-of-mirrors

Michaelangelo’s David and work in progress at the Accademia in Florence

italy-florence-david-michaelangelo-sharon-birke

Rape of the Sabine Women at the Piazza Vecchio, Florence

italy-florence-sculpture-sharon-birke

Would you rather ride or row?

venice-gondola-sharon-birke

Sunset in Venice

venice-sunset

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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