What My Mother Taught Me

 

For mothers, guilt management

can be just as important

as time management.

Sheryl Sandberg

 

What’s better than a beautiful loving daughter to celebrate you on Mother’s Day? Having two daughters–or more!

One day when I’m a wise old owl, I hope to gather disparate notes on life and human nature to bequeath my granddaughters. For now, I’m busy biting my tongue being diplomatic around teens, praying for the strength to hang on to my charm and sense of humor until they produce those grandchildren. Then I’ll be busy keeping a straight face as I watch them take their turn with the joys of parenting–aka Payback Time!

Excerpt from Lynn Wadani’s “75 Things My Mother Taught Me About Life on Thought Catalog:

      1. Nothing that’s handed to you on a silver platter is worth having. And nothing worth having will be handed to you. Fight for what you want.

      2. If you have to fight, hit first. And hit hard.
      3. There is no such thing as having too much fun.
      4. Fall in love as often as you can. Fall in love with songs, with books, with places, and fall in love with people. But above all, fall in love with yourself.
      5. Don’t get into a relationship because you don’t like being single.
      6. A relationship can only end two ways: You will either break up with that person or marry him. Don’t waste your time with someone unless you can accept both outcomes.
      7. While drunk, don’t give your number to anyone you wouldn’t talk to when sober.
      8. When in doubt, don’t text him. But don’t be afraid of texting him once in a while.
      9. When people act like they don’t care about you, believe them.
      10. If he doesn’t accept you for who you are and he makes you cry, walk away.
      11. You were lovely long before he loved you. You will be lovely after that, too.
      12. Mondays are good days. Maybe it’s your routine that sucks.
      13. There is a big difference between listening and being quiet while waiting for your turn to talk.
      14. Running away from your feelings is a race you will never win.
      15. If I repeated the same joke ten times in a row, you wouldn’t laugh at it after a few times. There is no reason for you to cry over and over again for the same reason.
      16. Your friends will give you all sorts of advice. Listen to them, take their point of view into consideration, then do whatever you want. Because your friends are great, but you need to make your own mistakes and learn from every single one.
      17. If you like that dress, wear it. Life is too short to choose depending on other people’s opinions.
      18. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
      19. When someone does something wrong, don’t forget everything they did right.
      20. Travel as often as you can.
      21. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
      22. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.
      23. People can only stab you in the back if you hand them the knife.
      24. Always do the right thing. And when you can’t, convince yourself that what you did was the right thing.
      25. Actions speak louder than words. But (typed) words are pretty loud, too.
      26. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
      27. Painted nails and red lipstick can immensely improve your mood.
      28. Own a leather jacket and wear it out every time you want to explore your inner rebel.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you’ll want to pass on to your granddaughters. Forever grateful to the women who have mothered us and to daughters who make everyday Mother’s Day!

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

When Santa Gets Naughty

 

Santa has the right idea:

Visit people

once a year.

Victor Borge

 

 

Imagine if every Santa said “No, thanks!” to doing all the things people take for granted, can’t be bothered to do, or simply deride: planning gatherings, putting up holiday decor, shopping and wrapping presents, sending holiday cards, cooking, hosting, and cleaning up after parties, stroking egos, playing diplomat between factions and generations, being the invisible glue that binds family and friends together?

Just sayin’.

Happiest of Holidays with enormous gratitude to every Santa out there! For a convenient holiday planning guide, see Real Simple’s Ultimate Christmas Countdown Checklist.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how much more interesting the year might get if a Santa this hot promises to (teach you how to) whip naughty into nice?

Keep doing the all the good you do and the warmest of divine holiday blessings to you and your beloveds. 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

 

 

Gifts From The Sea

 

One can collect

only a few seashells on the beach,

and they are more beautiful if they are few.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Travel and Leisure ranks 3 of the Philippines 8,000+ islands among the top 5 in all of Asia.  Having had to live most of my adult years raising a family away from the turquoise seas, coconut trees and soft sandy beaches of my childhood, I keep memories of these far away pleasures alive with seashells around the house and in the studio, a handy prop for abstract studies in chiaroscuro.

In her classic, Gift From The Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh parallels her favorite shells with essays on the spirals of life, youth and age, relationships and marriage, solitude and contentment, commitment and creativity. This book is a true gift to be re-read and pondered at different stages in our lives. It opens:

I began these pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships. But as I went on writing and talking with other women, young and old, with different lives and experiences – those who supported themselves, those who wished careers, those who were hard working housewives and mothers and those with more ease – I found that my point of view was not unique. Even those whose lives had appeared to be ticking imperturbably under their smiling clock-faces were often trying, like me, to evolve another rhythm with more creative pauses in it, more adjustment to their individual needs, new and more alive relationships to themselves as well as others.

Enjoy the rest of summer with these shells on landscapes that might as well be sand dunes.  Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite gifts from the sea of life.

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 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

My Grandmother’s Closet

My grandmother was a very tough woman.

She buried three husbands and

two of them were just napping. 

Rita Rudner

 _S5A6660NYC-NJ-90th=birthday-Glamour-Powerful-Goddess

A quiet moment of thanks to commemorate the life of the woman who inspired the mission of Powerful Goddess Portraits: To celebrate every woman’s best by making the most of what she’s got.  My grandmother passed last week at 92 surrounded by everyone who loved and was loved by her.

Corazon (Spanish for “heart”) was my first arbiter of style. Her busy extended household was the home of my childhood. A prudish Catholic upbringing failed to  dampen her sense of humor, her love of retelling (saucy) jokes and collecting gag curios to make you blush. Her womb birthed 6 children, she raised many of 15 grandchildren and 13 more call her Great Grandmother today.  Thinking about her signature dishes continues to have a Pavlovian effect on my mouth.

As the inveterate night owl, she fascinated me on many late school nights with her ingenuity, her hunched figure diligently presiding over the formal dining table filled with accoutrements for her project de la nuit.  When my mom was crowned teen queen, she designed the very first quick change gown the town still talks about–no one had ever witnessed a gown transform into a completely different outfit in the blink of an eye!   When my daughter was 6 and ready for the hula dances I learned at her age, guess who sent us matching handmade grass skirts?   There was a time when Ikebana was the rage, bonsai plants took over the garage, her sewing machine a permanent fixture in the living room.   Her house was a revolving door not only of creative projects, but also of pets from goldfish, turtles, chickens, birds, several breeds of dogs, way before the grandchildren  joined the parade.

You didn’t have to leave her house to get a hair cut or perm because she could do that, too. “Let’s shape your eyebrows…” was my initiation to the wonders of makeup.  You can’t buy my favorite summer purse on 5th Avenue–it’s an antique of timeless design from her closet.  For my recent birthday, my kids were impressed by her sketch of animals kissing, elegant calligraphy lacing through the card decorated with her lipstick kiss marks–Who would guess that this artistic script in impeccable English is by someone who never made it to highschool nor to other countries much?  She rarely steps out of the house these days, but when she does, lipstick has got to match the dress.

It was s  sweet homecoming with the aunts, uncles, cousins I grew up with.  How I wish my kids could enjoy the pleasures of being imposed on, sleeping through chaos, being loved by and required to love noisy and nosey relatives of countless degrees!   I say personal space is overrated and Hillary is right about that village!

Laughter mixed with tears when we had to say “When might we see each other again?” goodbyes and I am forever grateful for a childhood around this doyen of talent and creativity.  I am forever blessed with the strength of my self-defined style, compassion, a keen eye for design among the very many talents I have been so lucky to inherit from this Powerful Goddess.  Daghang salamat, Ama Azon, for the treasures of your closet and the treasured memories and wisdom of a lifetime:

that happiness, like religion, has many faces and true faith means respecting each other’s choice for what best suits our needs

that marriage is not a reform institution.  To make any relationship work, there can only be gratitude and the question “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?”

that today is the day to enjoy what we’ve got and be present for the love and laughter of family and friends

I am grateful for all that I am because of you, Ama Azon!

xoxox

You can swim the deepest ocean and never find a fish like this

NYC-NJ-Vintage-Fish-Purse-Portraits-Powerful-Goddess-9270591-2

These hands make countless memories and things out of nothing–

and yes, may you wear hip nails at 90, too!

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My Birthday Card

_S5A7242NYC-NJ-90th-birthday-Glamour-Powerful-Goddess

Half a lifetime ago

photo

And now a bit too big for Grandma’s lap

_S5A6898NYC-NJ-90th=birthday-Glamour-Powerful-Goddess

xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

When In Rome Again

In Italy,

they add work and life

to food and wine.

Robin Leach

Rome-Italy-Piazza-Navona-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Piazza Navona on a rainy day last visit

After last year’s whirlwind mother-daughter holiday (see posts London with teen and Paris Charms with Teen,) the older brothers realized that traveling with mom need not just be an excuse to get their pesky sister out of the house.  This Spring break, Brother #1 has signed up for his turn to go on  a mother-son rendezvous.

Argentina was first choice because he’s interested in tango (and the pretty ladies that go with it,) but that’s too long a schlep from Boston for a week off. He got all excited over Iceland, but I refuse to  be any place colder in March. Where can he hop on an easy flight to get to relatively mild weather, see art, architecture, and engineering marvels everywhere he turns, while avoiding hordes of tourists? Why, Rome in March, of course!

Audio tours

Before you even start packing, let celebrity guide Rick Steves’ audio tours stoke your imagination and enthusiasm.

701Rome_021.jpg

A few fun things to do in Rome after you’ve covered the basics:

Rent a Ferrari

This IS Italy! Why not?

ome-colosseum-ferrari-car-rental-italy

photo by Conde Nast Traveler

Ostia Antica

Also known as “The better Pompeii,” Ostia Antica is only 30 minutes North of the Colosseum, compared to Pompeii’s 4 hours South. This used to be the bustling commercial port of Rome when the Romans controlled the Mediterranean. Wandering around the ruins today, you’ll see well-preserved remains of ancient brick structures from docks, bakeries, warehouses, apartments, mansions, shopping arcades, baths and sculptures–a peek at Roman lifestyles 2,000 years ago.

And if your travel companions are allergic to museums, a couple of light and lovely options are:

Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

This private mansion off the Piazza Venezia on Via del Corso is also a museum open to the public. An easy walk from the Colosseum past the Typewriter building (aka The Wedding Cake or Il Vittoriano Monument.) I love its rich interiors and their mini version of Versailles’ “Hall of Mirrors.” Listen to the audio guide recorded by a family member of the Doria Pamphilj as you walk through the elegant rooms and art filled halls, pay the extra 5 Euros to tour their more private apartments. Caffe Doria breaks the museum standard fare with its delicious and generous portions for lunch and tea/coffee in old world charm.

Italy-Rome-palazzo-doria-pamphilj

photo by Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

Galleria Borghese

Hike up to this mansion of Cardinal Borhese that is now a small museum for lovers of classical paintings and sculpture. Make advance tour reservations, leave your handbag home to avoid one more queue to check it, get there early before the crowds, and take your sweet time  with their audio guide that is not shy about describing  the underhanded ways that wealth and treasures get acquired. Afterwards, you can stroll through the gardens or rent a bicycle wagon in the park surrounding the property.

Italy-Rome-Paolina-Borghese-Bonaparte-as-Venus-Galleria-Borghese

photo from Google Images

The Galleria Borghese is an easy walk down to Piazza del Popolo with its ancient obelisk and open square. Plenty of restaurant choices along the way as you head down Via del Babuino to the Spanish steps.

Galleria del Cembalo

Between the Spanish steps and the Tiber River at a wing of the Palazzo Borghese, fans of photography can admire exhibits in rooms with ornate high ceilings.

Italy-Rome-galleria-del-cembalo

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) for your Rome travel tips.

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

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

5 Simple Tips for Earth Day

 

I like to take out the recycling trash bin

because it makes me feel like

I’m actually doing something for the planet.

Mike Quigley

 

Earth-Day-Spring-bloom-Sharon-Birke

How can we love our one and only planet? Let us count the small ways…

Double duty. For your party giveaways, choose something beyond lovely to behold. Make it useful and–even better–reusable!  Decorate each with flowers and/or a candle and group these together as the table’s centerpiece. No guest ever goes home empty handed and nothing goes to waste.

submerged-flowers-floating-candle-centerpiece-party-giveaways

Photo from Google Images

Beg, steal or borrow.  In the age of technology that seems to have forgotten reading as a pleasurable pastime, I have had to give in to my son’s “only if it’s a new book” rule and, of course, little sis had to follow his example, creating her own towers of dust collectors. I’m relieved to report that last week, we celebrated her first trip to borrow books from the library. Finally!

antique-books

Photo from Google Images

Bring your own bags when shopping at the mall or at the grocery, picking up books at the library, etc. LLBean canvas totes are indestructible and forever my favorites. They can even hold each person’s  gift under the Christmas tree and save you from gift wrapping. Mix and match your favorite colors.

LL Bean canas totes

Style by recycle. It took me awhile to get past a bias against “used” until I realized the world has turned inexorably plastic. Find real wood and quality materials in furniture, home decor, clothing, accessories from antique, consignment and vintage shops. And, no, you need not buy the entire set…

antique-french-furniture-11

Photo from Google Images

Shorten the shower. 25 gallons for every 10 minutes. You do the math.

Click on “Leave a Comment” to add how you care for this planet that feeds us.

xoxox

Flower photo at top of page © Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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