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

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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

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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

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Half a lifetime ago

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And now a bit too big for Grandma’s lap

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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

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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.

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

Rent a Ferrari

This IS Italy! Why not?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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…

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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

In The Woods

Now it is up to me to take the first step myself–

to listen to the child in me.

Alice Miller

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This Powerful Goddess celebrates her first birthday as mother to herself, recently having lost the woman whose love has been a refuge since giving birth to her.  It is a dark and tender time nursing her grief, remembering her mother’s comforting free spirit, so far ahead of her generation in providing a literal haven for women whose life choices defied the simplistic black and white.

She feels bereft in the woods without the familiar guiding hand that had always held hers.  The hand that had given her a firm, gentle push through the rough brambles, the muddy patches, through the forks in the road.  Now  it’s a strain to hear her mother’s voice when she wonders “Where do I go? How do I go on?”

Yet she does.

She ventures forth with small, hesitant steps at first, her spine eventually straightens, finding the strength to keep on.  She is her mother’s daughter after all.  Her mother’s courage lives within her forever, making sure she continues to keep her sights always true to her own North.

What is a woman’s life after all if not to serve as map and compass for other women to find and understand themselves?

To complete the Alice Miller quote from the top of this page:

…and this meant exposing myself

to all the pain once inflicted on her,

which she had had to bear all alone,

without witnesses, without words,

without hope of ever being understood.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share who has lent you strength to keep going when you couldn’t.

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xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Angels Among Us

I feel that there is an angel inside me

whom I am constantly shocking.

Jean Cocteau

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“What if I don’t like any of my pictures?,” this Goddess asked when she hired me.   She had never liked any photo taken of her in her entire life and was happily surprised–paying me the highest compliment 😉 –when she just had to bring home so many of my photos from her shoot.  She swears every woman should give this experience to herself!

This Goddess dedicates her photo shoot to her favorite angels–her beloved mother and sister.  She holds them close to her heart and not a day goes by that she doesn’t wish they weren’t an ocean away.

She tells me her mom is the most elegant woman who takes great pleasure in dressing up.  On one of their shopping adventures years ago, they found a vision in white silk they couldn’t resist.  This dress sat in the back of her closet patiently waiting to see the light until this moment!   And what a perfect complement to the pearl necklace her mom had given her on her wedding day.  Almost two decades later, these pearls are as timeless and ageless as the angel they adorn here…

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to honor those who bless your life greatly…

© Sharon Birke

Let’s celebrate the angels in your life today!

201 697 1947

http://www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

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