Ho-Ho-Holiday Family Cheer

Parenting is mostly 

informing kids how many minutes

they have left of something.



As another year brings us closer to another teen leaving home for college,  it becomes clearer to me that creating happy family memories has got to be the most important job of parenting. Best if you print proof to remind them of the good old days when many changes of technology later shall have voided today’s digital files.

If you don’t get to print a family album for Christmas, print a few of the best of photos off your smartphone and pack a “time capsule” box for each kid to sift through with their own (grand)children later.

These pictures are from our day tour to see Dad’s office then taking the train to the city to marvel at the white marble and fantastic design of the Oculus, walking through Central Park, and surprising them with a gondola ride while waiting for dinner at the Boathouse.

I’ve been around the world and there’s no gondola ride more royal than after dark at Central Park when you get the lake, the NYC skyline, and the heavens above all to yourselves. The gondolier serenades you with his witty renditions of Italian arias personalized to the occasion you’re celebrating.  Add this adventure to your own family treasures!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best memory with  the family this year. Warmest of holiday wishes and many more merries!










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



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Keira Knightley on Broadway

To be well dressed

you must be

well naked.

Oscar de la Renta


In Pride and Prejudice

I have a weakness for costume–the more romantic and dramatic, the better. Double that weakness when it’s combined with beauty and triple the fascination when there’s courage to do without it.

Keira Knightley, whose coming of age has been sumptuously chronicled in movies like Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and the tragic Anna Karenina, now dares herself to grow further by facing her fear of live theater. On October 1st, 2015, Keira debuts on Broadway in Roundabout’s Theater Company’s Therese Raquin

With exemplary fearlessness for a photo shoot with Patrick Demarchelier for Interview Magazine, Keira agreed to pose topless under one condition:  the image could not be altered or edited in any way.  She said, “I’m fine doing the topless shot so long as you don’t make them any bigger or retouch. Because it does feel important to say it really doesn’t matter what shape you are,'” the actress said. What greater romance can there be than loving what you’ve got?

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share the courage of a woman you admire.



In Pride and Prejudice


As Anna Karenina

Keira Knightley stars as Anna

As Anna Karenina


by Patrick Demarchelier


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



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

The 5 Classiest Cocktail Bars of NYC

I drink 

to make other people

more interesting.

Ernest Hemingway

Thank Goddess It’s Friday! Alcohol may not like me, but I do love the concept of extending “Happy Hour” to “Happy Days and Nights” where there are high ceilings, fancy chandeliers and lovely decor and/or views to go with it.

My absolute favorite for elegance is The Baccarat lobby bar, a glamorously French interpretation of the American long bars of old. It is the sparkliest new addition to New York City since cut crystal and its picture can do all the talking. The Baccarat Hotel is right across the Museum of Modern Art.

Baccarat Bar

Baccarat Hotel, 20 West 53rd Street, NYC

(212) 790 8800

Baccarat New York Bar

The Top of the Standard with live jazz most nights is Art Deco with virtually 360 degree views of Manhattan–even the Ladies’ Room has a view! Get there before dinner or stay and enjoy their light menu so you don’t have to  bother with queues for “The List” after 8:00 pm.

Top of the Standard Hotel

848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014
(212) 645-4646

Top of the Standard Hotel

The lobby lounge of the Mandarin Oriental is my favorite for views of Columbus Circle and Central park. Get there before sunset to see very far.

Lobby Lounge of the Mandarin Oriental

80 Columbus Circle, NYC

(212) 805-8800


Spyglass is a small space on the 22nd floor of the Archer Hotel with a personal view of the Empire State building. Fancy toasting your latest international caper with James Bond as you sip Joe Goglia’s specialty cocktails and mill among a better dressed crowd.


Archer Hotel, 22nd Floor, 47 W 38th St, NYC
(212) 730-0538


The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Hotel is pink and sexy with velvet seats and pretty waitresses. Get there before 10:00 pm to skirt “The List.” You can order from the menu of the Gramercy’s restaurant, Maialino, if you get hungry,

Rose Bar

Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010
(212) 920-3300


Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your favorites. Cheers! (Photographs courtesy of Google Images.)


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



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Queen Of The Night

The whole point

of being queen

is to be original.

Freddy Mercury


“Say Yes to everything!” is fair warning and the only way to make the most of any experience, yes?   At Queen of the Night, Broadway’s cabaret of connection and seduction, you’re immersed in dance, performance theater, circus, magic and bacchanalia, with dinner that makes a grand entrance from the stage. Say Yes when performers want to sit on your lap, invite you to who knows what or where, or dance on top of your dinner table.  Say Yes to teasing, touching and being spoon fed dessert.  And if you can’t say Yes to the roasted suckling pig on a spit, lobster served in birdcages, or the most delicious ribs, just ask for their vegetarian table.

Queen of the Night is on limited engagement until December at the Diamond Horseshoe Theater of the Paramount Hotel.  Plan a different holiday celebration with the ladies, fun couples, or make new friends when you get there. Appoint yourselves Queens of the Night by adding bling and fur to that long dress that’s been sitting in the back of your closet!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what makes you feel royal.


FullSizeRender copy 8

Where sitting IS setting the table

FullSizeRender copy 2

Dinner makes a grand and handsome entrance

FullSizeRender copy 4

Which is more delicious?



FullSizeRender copy 9

Declare yourself the Queen of the Night!

FullSizeRender copy 3

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Summer Fun In The City

Deep summer is

when laziness finds respectability.

Sam Keen


When the heat is on, the fun turns up around New York City!  Here are a few things to add to your summer calendar if you’re lucky to be in town:

The 9th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party

The Jazz Age Lawn Party was originated by Michael Arenella, the leader of the Dreamland Orchestra, steeped in the hot-dance band tradition of the 1920s and early 1930s. On Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 11:00 am (Governors Island 10 S St Slip 7, New York, NY), Governors Island steps back in time to celebrate the Jazz Age era with attendees wearing their flapper vintage best.

Shakespeare in Central Park

This is really the summer to brush up your Shakespeare. Before the endless lines begin for the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park production of “King Lear,” starring John Lithgow, observe Simon Russell Beale as directed by Sam Mendes. “King Lear” hasn’t been staged in Central Park since 1973 with James Earl Jones. Annette Bening as Goneril ups the ante (July 22-Aug. 17, publictheater.org) at the Delacorte Theater.  And when I’m in Central Park, I simply must dine at the Boathouse!

Etiquette School of New York

Make your first impression count by polishing your personal brand and mastering the do’s and don’ts of cocktail parties at the Etiquette School of New York (200 East 64th Street, Manhattan, June 26, $575, etiquette-ny.com).

Outdoors at Lincoln Center

If you missed the best outdoor dance parties of Midsummer Night Swing, Lincoln Center continues the summer celebration with a variety of shows and concerts the rest of the summer:  Dan Zanes and Peter Yarrow are among the singers for a Pete and Toshi Seeger memorial concert (July 20), Roberta Flack (July 26) and Rosanne Cash (Aug. 9), and nights of poetry and dance (July 20-Aug. 10, free, lcoutofdoors.org). The classical music heard during Mostly Mozart, of course, is not all Mozart. The monthlong extravaganza begins with the premiere of John Luther Adams’s Inuit-influenced “Sila: The Breath of the World” and makes room for a premiere work by the Mark Morris Dance Group (July 25-Aug. 23).

Queen of the Night

On Broadway until August, treat yourself to intimate encounters with the comely cast members of Queen of the Night. Every individual’s experience will be different if you happen to be chosen by any of the “butlers”–show wranglers who spirit customers away for private encounters. Your hand may be kissed, fondled or perhaps placed on a naked hip. You may find yourself  familiarly stroked as you wander the rooms of the lavishly restored Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe nightclub in the basement of the Paramount Hotel on West 46th Street.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add what’s on your NYC summer calendar.  Stay cool!

xoxox _S5A4216NYC-NJ-Empire-State-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke _S5A4092NYC-NJ-Empire-State-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke _S5A4239NYC-Summer-Sharon-Birke-Glamour-Boudoir-Portraits   _S5A4328NYC-NJ-Empire-State-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Gentleman’s Guide to Love

Men should think twice

before making widowhood women’s only path to power.

Gloria Steinem

Lisa O'hare Bryce Pinkham Genleman's Guide to Love on Broadway

Lisa O’Hare and Bryce Pinkham (Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

How low would you go to better your circumstances?  What if bumping off a few inconvenient relatives could secure your fortune?

In Broadway’s new musical comedy, the Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bryce Pinkham plays the part of penniless Monty Navarro, who is desperate to keep his socially ambitious love from being snagged by a more well-heeled suitor. He sings and frolics on stage while hacking his way up the family tree to be the next Earl of Highhurst.

This musical score delivers chuckles rich with witty lines and turns of phrase.  I was completely riveted by the virtuoso, Jefferson Mays, who plays the parts of all the eight D’Ysquith family members Monty sets out to eliminate.

A Gentlemen’s Guide To Love And Murder
At the Walter Kerr Theatre
219 W 48th St.
New York, NY 10036
Run Time: Two hours 20 minutes

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) if you’ll dare take your Valentine on this date.  And if you want to impress with seats in the two front rows, bring an umbrella to keep yourself dry from the performers’ passionate oratorical “showers.” 😉


Photo by Joan Marcus

Lauren Worsham for Gentleman's Guide to Love on Broadway

Lauren Worsham (Photo by Caitlin McNaney for Broadway.com)


One of the characters played by the incredible Jefferson Mays (Photo by Joan Marcus)


Joanna Glushak, Lauren Worsham, Bryce Pinkham, Lisa O’Hare, and Jefferson Mays (Photo from TonyAwards.com)


Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me


Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Bergdorf Holidays on Ice

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season,

a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in our own way,

by going to the mall of our choice.
Dave Barry

Forget tree lighting at Rockefeller Center.  My favorite NYC tradition to welcome the holidays is marveling at the glamorous windows of Bergdorf Goodman.  This season, they feature a retrospective of the year’s holidays, all interpreted in “ice.” Guess which holiday for each photo that follows…


Valentine’s Day features a delectable boudoir of roses, lilies, pastries, bon-bons, jewels and a glistening, icicle-laden chandelier.  If I were dressed in Giambattista Valli Couture and Oscar de la Renta gown and fur, I’d be smiling coyly like the mannequin, too.


April Fool’s is a glamorous upside-down garden party including an Oscar de la Renta gown that defies gravity.


A peek a boo masquerade in Halloween high Gothic by evening designer Naeem Khan’s custom onyx plumed gown.  A Swarovski crystal-flecked spider web drapes across a haunted mansion glazed in black ice–a replica of what was once the largest home in America, the Vanderbilt mansion on 5th Ave and 58th Street.


Arbor Day would have been a sunny day in April dressed in Alexander McQueen Resort, but since it’s winter, this tree’s leaves and flowers are icy crystal.


Note this fellow at her feet who eyes her heels with serious relief, “Whew!  Thank Goddess that isn’t me!”


Fourth of July is a parade of patriotism across a full-scale Colonial building facade.  The drummer woman is in Rodarte and her dapper soldiers wear Thom Browne New York.  


Don’t miss the small window for Groundhog Day with this little colleague and his scaled to size retro camera.


No regrets as we look back on New Year’s Eve!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your favorite holiday tradition.


© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me


Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


Almost Famous Like Pippin

Don’t confuse fame with success.

Madonna is one, Helen Keller is the other.

Erma Bombeck


“I’d love to watch Pippin!” my husband said and I pretend not to hear–quietly thrilled to get a birthday gift idea straight from the horse’s mouth.  His parents used to take him to watch all the original Broadway productions in his teens.  It was like coming full circle dragging our own teens–wondering “Who/What is Pippin?”–to watch this revival of a young man’s search for fulfillment and happiness.  For who wants to be famous?  Apparently every human with the urge to eat and procreate.

My favorite characters in the show include the grandmother who drops her old crone cape for a trapeze act with a muscle man, the stepmother who artfully insists  that even a queen is just another housewife and mother “Just like all you housewives and mothers out there!”, and the not so young widow who lets herself be bullied by the narrator, aware she’s getting old and can easily lose the part.

Ah, the yearnings of youth… the hankering for excitement and success that always remains a distant mirage!  As we grow older yet continue to feel the occasional pangs of such longing, what do we tell those  who miss the point of a grand finale stripped off fancy glitter and spectacular fireworks?

And what’s great about being less than famous?

1. You can be yourself–or explore your many selves–without worry if your choices fit the persona you’re supposed to be selling.

2. You’re not a commodity that’s hostage to arbitrary social rules and trends.

3. Your friends still like you even if you don’t tweet, post, comment, share, like,… at all.

Click on “Leave a comment” (above left) to add you take.






© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me


Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Kinky Boots

It’s a good thing I was born a girl,

otherwise I’d be a drag queen.

Dolly Parton


What’s not to love about a Broadway show saved by the glamour of drag? Especially since drag queens live and breathe the power of fighting for one’s passion, overcoming prejudice and transcending stereotypes.

Based on a little seen movie from 2005, with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots is about a bloke named Charlie who inherits his father’s outdated shoe factory.   He finds inspiration in Lola, a drag queen, who loves to dress up but could never find heels to hold her manly weight.  Their collaboration to develop fetishwear that captures this market niche saves his factory from the depths of red–in finances and frumpy style.

Harvey Feirstein who writes the book version says his interest in Kinky Boots is the question “What is a man?”   Swishy Lola and seriously straight Charlie may be the unlikeliest of friends, yet life dealt them similar cards, parental expectations inflicting shared wounds.  Is it any less difficult to forgive others as ourselves?  Feirstein recommends drag as the best mask for all:  “When I take it off, nobody knows who I am.  When I put it on, I can be anyone I want.”

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how you stand up for what you believe in.





© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me


Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother



Lucky Guy

Sometimes I’ve believed 

as many as six impossible things

before breakfast.

Lewis Carroll


Two decades ago, my husband confidently announced the wedding date he had chosen guarantees that he will always remember our anniversary.  Lately, giving him frank reminders 2 weeks prior and 2 days prior only made me feel like an iPhone alert to no effect.   So the night before D-day, I finally asked, “Do you want to go out tomorrow?”  He was still sweetly oblivious to the occasion and asks, “Why?  We’re going out with friends this weekend anyway.”  Grrrr!  I finally confronted my laptop to make dinner reservations and grab the last 2 seats to Nora Ephron’s latest (and last) Broadway play, Lucky Guy starring Tom Hanks–which my Prince Charming had summarily dismissed as unlikely at the last minute.

My daughter woke me up too early the next morning with a three course breakfast on a rolling cart, complete with flower candles, hot tea, and a printed menu.  She couldn’t convince her dad, the early bird, to get over his aversion to breakfast (and lounging) in bed, so she and I fed each other the meal she has lovingly prepared.  She lay her head on my tummy and asked if I remember how a decade ago she was floating around in it.   I meant it when I told her “You are my best anniversary present!” expecting her usual “I know.”  Instead, she said, “I’m your gift for putting up with Dada!”  And so very well worth it!

Lucky I don’t heed my mom’s advice to “marry him first and change him later.”

Lucky the qualities I married him for are still the same qualities I love about him today, despite seeing the other side of the coin.

Lucky I’ve learned to keep eyes open to the beauty of the one I wake up to everyday–because wouldn’t you know, being married to Mr. Early Bird means I usually wake up to me!

Click on “Leave a Comment” to share how you’ve been so lucky.




© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email Me


Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother



Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn?

If I’d followed all the rules,

I’d never have gotten anywhere.

Marilyn Monroe

The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

The solo play Jackie off Broadway is a witty yet disturbing exploration of submission, power, and the hypocrisy of everyday life by Elfriede Jelinek.  When I think of Jackie’s respectable public persona, I can’t help wonder how she denied her Marilyn inside.

From Pamela Keogh’s book Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn?  Timeless Lessons on Love, Power and Style:

Jackie and Marilyn came of age in the 1950s when socially acceptable roles of women were few.  Yet they both moved beyond the strictures of their time to become icons. In terms of style, Jackie and Marilyn are opposites–light and dark.  Day and night.  Sophistication and playful naiveté. If Jackie symbolized well-bred propriety, Marilyn was sex.  While this way of thinking dictates that women are one of the other, the fact is that most of us, really, are a mixture of both.

The Jackie woman is strong, intelligent, socially impeccable, well married, and likely a mother who takes care of others.  The Marilyn Gal is vulnerable, emotionally unpredictable, enjoys sex and high living, celebrity, glamour, fake lashes and champagne.  She has seen both the glamorous and unseemly sides of the world so she is understanding of the foibles of human nature.  She takes people and situations as they are:  hoping for the best, but not that surprised when things don’t work out.  Plus, you know she’s got a few gorgeous photographs of herself stashed somewhere.

…like this Powerful Goddess here!

JackieOffBroadway.com by the Women’s Project Theater runs until March 31, 2013 at the New York City Center.  You’ll love Tina Benko–a powerhouse of a solo performer!!!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how you channel your inner Jackie and Marilyn.


The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

The Marilyn Monroe Look by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Another big Thank You to Wendy Boiardi for glorious makeup!


The Art of Seduction

To love oneself is

the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Oscar Wilde

What I love about Kitty Cavalier’s NYC School of Charm and Cheek is that it uses the Art of Seduction to bring fun women together and, more importantly, to teach you the value of seducing your own delicious self!  Drawing from the pain she endured from a lifetime of learning to make peace with her body, Kitty birthed classes that help every woman transform her own perception of whatever shape, age and size she’s in.  Kitty writes:

All of us can use a little peek at how to  use the art of seduction in our day to day life.  Why?  None of us has been taught how to use this as a way to add more pleasure and success to our existence.  When we hear the word “seduction”, our minds instantly go to manipulation and sex.  But seduction is not just something that occurs between lovers.  True seduction is a way of making life itself your lover, and committing to the truest, most everlasting marriage you will ever have – the Divine as it expresses itself through you.

Kitty’s class Seduction is a Spiritual Practice resumes next week in NYC:  www.KittyCavalier.com.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what or who has helped you love what you’ve got.

© Sharon Birke

Let’s photograph the seductress in you!

201 697 1947


Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


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