Italy With Teen

A good holiday is one spent

among people whose notions of time

are vaguer than yours.

J.B. Priestley

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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

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

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

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Rape of the Sabine Women at the Piazza Vecchio, Florence

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Would you rather ride or row?

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Sunset in Venice

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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

Queen of Heart

Honesty is the key

to a relationship.

If you can fake that,

you’re in.

Richard Jeni

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Esther Perel, sex and relationship therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, says we often confuse love as a state of enthusiasm. “To love” is a verb, and verbs are dynamic implying action, intention, and responsibility. If our ability to love ourselves well determines our success in loving another, what can these verbs mean for our relationships?

To Give.  Is it better to give what we believe the other person should have or what that person wants? True giving is being attuned to someone’s needs, to make that person feel special and that they matter. Assuming your partner is not a self-absorbed despot, giving from a place of confidence and generosity frees us from the chains of expecting acknowledgement or getting something in return. With this we allow ourselves the freedom to feel complete joy and empowered by a simple action. Giving when we’re at low points of our lives can also be therapeutic, too, lifting up our own spirits when we channel our energy towards seeking out those who need our help most. Of course, giving to ourselves first is essential to replenish the well.

To Receive. How do you respond to a compliment or a kindness?  If you feel obligated to respond in kind or wonder what that other person wants in return from you, take a moment to feel worthy and simply say “Thank you.”  Being a gracious receiver is a gift in itself.  Allowing others to give to us lets them feel good about themselves, too.

To Take.  Women can learn a few things from male assertiveness and entitlement.  Assertiveness is what we need to land jobs, get a better deal in negotiations, and evolve our (sexual) relationships. Since only you know what pleases you best, share that knowledge with your partner. We save ourselves a whole lot of grief when we surrender to the reality that mind reading is not a very common talent.

To Refuse. From the kitchen, the boardroom and the bedroom, women do things to please others that they don’t necessarily want to do and end up not liking themselves for it. Say no without closing possibilities by giving options and alternatives. If establishing boundaries is essential for a healthy relationship, should it be a stretch to say “I feel free to be speak my mind around him?”

To Play.  Playing lets you be creative and dream together, circumventing the hardships of reality. The ability to laugh and play strengthens a couple’s bond, especially amidst the incessant demands of parenting. Being silly, mischievous and unpredictable is a big factor in keeping your sex life fun. The freedom to be unselfconscious around someone is empowering. When you feel like you’re in a stalemate, think of ways to create happy memories and new adventures together. Great for couples, but even more necessary around moody teens. I grew up hearing “The family that prays together, stays together.” As a mom, I now realize “The family that plays together, stays together” is big.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what the sweetest  Valentine verb means to 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

The Asian Goddess

To sit for one’s portrait

is like being present

at one’s own creation.

Alexander Smith

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To celebrate the Chinese New Year, I am thrilled to feature this Powerful  Goddess who has made incredible strides in the past year, welcoming changes that have surprised and amazed herself–not the least of which was learning to befriend the camera lens.  She writes:

My Powerful Goddess shoot was no ordinary photo session. It was an experience every woman should have. Sharon was meticulous about every detail, putting her heart and soul in everything she did. She made  me feel like I was the most beautiful woman in the world! I used to hide from the camera but since Sharon taught me how to pose and feel photogenic, I am now comfortable when friends take my picture and feel confident they will turn out beautifully. Every woman should have this experience of feeling like a Goddess!

Sweet! I am deeply honored by your love and appreciation, Birthday Goddess–Many, many more wonderful blessings to you this year!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you have surprised and impressed yourself, too.

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 Year of Yes to “No!”

Let every new year

find you

a better man.

Benjamin Franklin

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I suspect my husband would prefer that I don’t take Ben’s quote (above) about finding a better man too literally. 😉 I also suspect New Year resolutions are just another way of making ourselves feel inadequate and never ever good enough. So how about pledging NOT to make resolutions in 2017?

Give “More” a break. Declare “I am enough, I have enough!” Focus on your strengths and build on what you’re good at. Love what you’ve got and find a feature to compliment each time you look in the mirror.

Eat what you like. Bless the food you eat instead of worrying about the calories and just choose from what’s made closest to the way nature made it: Fresh!

Don’t go to the gym. If you don’t like working out, don’t! Instead, make movement a normal part of your daily routine and walk to the farther ATM, bike daily to the grocery,  take the stairs at the office, dance when at a party, learn to cook so you stand in the kitchen for at least half an hour everyday.

Enjoy the mess! If you’re simply a fabulous creative thinker who thrives with stacks of this and that here and there, just minimize the clutter and give away whatever you don’t use or wear, want to clean or take care of, and whatever doesn’t spark joy.

If goals you must, set baby sized ones that make you feel like a rock star (instead of a failure shooting for the moon.)

There will always be more to want and do or things we could’ve done better. Swap the “If only…I should’ve…” refrain to “Next time…” Because even when things don’t work out the way we want them to, no one can ever take away our power to choose to find the gift in whatever life brings our way!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your naughty plans for 2017. Happiest of New Possibilities, Dear Ones!

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

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

Extraordinary Destinations

The bags

under my eyes

are Gucci.

@Dory

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My favorite spectacle is here!  Nothing marks the beginning of holiday cheer for me as the windows at Bergdorf Goodman, an over the top visual feast of designer party wear in fantastical settings. May these photos whet your appetite to go see more details!

The Bookclub

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A Bird’s Eye View

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A Scenic Route

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Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your holiday fave!

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

 

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