Coming Up Roses


May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early!

My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue,

so that I triumph even when I fall.

Alaister Crowley



Exciting new decade and new worlds of possibility to you! Among my resolutions is to refer to my sons and daughter as “young adults” instead of “kids” or “children” which they no longer are or should act like.  2020 marks their Defining Decade and because our culture loves to associate turning  21 with drunken abandon–any monkey can do that!–while headline news and social media are rife with people steeped in money and power who have grown old without growing up, can someone please tell me what qualities truly define an adult?

I feel relief as I wave them back on the bus to their respective colleges. I feel the need for a conscious shifting of gears when they are home for extended holidays while hanging on to dear charm, keeping irritation on a low simmer over the household dynamic that tends to revert to how things were when they were adorable little cutiepies. The transition is difficult for both sides entailing diplomacy and patience on thin supply as we shift from automatic overplayed roles to a reversal that isn’t fun for those who have relished being  given to and taken care of.  Small wonder the pervasive marketing of the myth of martyrdom with motherhood!

On New Year’s eve, I told them 2020 is a wonderful decade to plant their feet firmly on the ground so “No babies please.”  What I really mean to say is “No more acting like babies please” but even if they were to take me literally, any juggler knows better than to add another ball to one’s act before getting good at one ball first.  Perfecting the growing act takes while, so I’ll hold on to my rose colored glasses with tiny resolutions meanwhile:

Stoke a passion  Indulge a hobby or learn something new. Nothing is sexier than a woman with a glow in her eyes that comes from inner joy and purpose. There’s much that cosmetics and surgeries get credit for, but you can’t buy authentic beauty that shines from an inner light.

Make movement a part of your day Take the stairs (instead of elevators/escalators) to use the ladies room in the farthest floor of a building. Park farthest from the door of the office, gym, restaurant, grocery or mall. Let dance music move you while you’re doing chores or getting dressed. Stretch those quads while brushing teeth and use each door frame you walk through as a reminder to roll shoulders back, chest out, and chin up.

Check texts/email/social media only after meals  The diet mindset is best applied to our relationship with tech devices. As for food, you’ll never have to worry about weight if you eat regularly, choose fresh over processed, pass on gluten/sugar/liquor and eat your vegetables like mom always said.

Act with kindness  Do something random for someone you may not get credit for. Keep a running gratitude list of how you got lucky and feel blessed at least before bedtime to sleep happy.

Go someplace you’ve never been  Learn and experience something new, welcome new influences through a new club/group, travel and even reading a book can take you somewhere magical.

Give 2 compliments each day One for someone you live or work with. Another for the person in the mirror.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add what being an adult means to you. Happy and healthy 2020 and make this your best decade yet!







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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

A Jealous Husband’s Lament


When you’re young, you think

your dad is Superman.

Then you grow up and realize

he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.

Dave Attell

What woman would not prefer a man who wines and dines her with a more refined sartorial sense? A man who’s not afraid of feelings and can look her deeply in the eyes while holding meaningful conversation? All these after years of togetherness and familiarity. Nor do I mean a gay friend either.

Happy Father’s Day to the superhero we live with–May we never grow blind to your  unique superpowers through the years!

Excerpt from Devin Friedman’s article “A Jealous Husband’s Lament” in GQ’s May 2018 issue:

Why, as the family man ages, does he become more reclusive, sedentary, ursine? Meanwhile, it’s different for women, I discovered recently  that my wife has been having all these affairs. With her friends. She goes out and drinks wine and smokes secret cigarettes with April and Melissa and Robyn and Krista. They’re in love with each other.

They get plowed on natural wines and eat fine European cheeses and tell each other everything. They tell each other about their periods, about early menopause, about sex and what their husbands’ penises look like, about the terrible fears they have about their children and how we’re all going to die in the end.

And I have to admit that I’m jealous that my friends and I aren’t like that. I think part of the reason for this state of affairs is that, at this point I kind of don’t want another relationship in my life. I relate to my kids. I relate to my wife. I relate to my wife about my kids. I relate to my kids about each other. I relate to the people I work with. All I want to do at night is drink a Negroni and not relate to anybody.

And I think the other part is that men are brittle, ego-obsessed little freaks. I know virtually nothing about most of my friends’ sex lives, wifely relationships, erectile dysfunctions, fears of death and bankruptcy. That, at least for me, is because we care too deeply about seeming like we’re doing okay. That we’re winning. That we have achieved a place in the world. That we are not failures. But how much fun is it to meet your friend for a drink and lay out an argument for how awesome you are?

So here’s a proclamation: I’m going to get more intimate. I’m going to have an affair with my friend. I feel like the way to do it is to be forthright and real. As a gambit, but also maybe as a better way to live. I expect middling success. But look out, Zach’s wife, because I’m about to know everything about you.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’ll celebrate Father’s Day and a super kiss to your favorite superman!








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

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

The Story of a Happy Marriage

I love being married.

It’s so great to find that one special person

you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

Rita Rudner


“Five decades and five children ago…” is how my parent’s love story would begin to be told. Today, as they celebrate their almost half a century together, I wonder what requires greater strength and courage: keeping it together or walking away?

Novelist Ann Patchett was a child of divorce and suffered through an early divorce of her own.  In the midst of the turmoil of her first marriage, she recounts (in her collection of essays This is The Story of a Happy Marriage):

Standing waist deep in the swimming pool, I received a gift–it was the first decent piece of instruction about marriage  I had ever been given in my 25 years of life. “Does your husband make you a better person?” Edra asked.

There I was in that sky-blue pool beneath a bright blue sky, my fingers breaking apart the light on the water, and I had no idea what she was talking about.

“Are you a smarter, kinder, more generous, more compassionate, a better writer?” she said, running down her list. “Does he make you better?”

“That’s not the question,” I said. “It’s so much more complicated than that.”

“It’s not more complicated than that,” she said. “That’s all there is: Does he make you better and do you make him better?”

This conversation cleared Ann’s resolve to leave her husband. She vowed never to remarry to save herself from any more pain, not even after she met a wonderful man whom she dated for 11 years.  Until the day he suddenly fell terminally ill and she realized her logic could not save her from losing him in other ways:

The fact that we came so close to missing out, missing out because of my own fear of failing, makes me think I avoided a mortal accident by the thickness of a coat of paint.  We are, on this earth, so incredibly small, in the history of time, in the crowd of the world, we are practically invisible, not even a dot, and yet we have each other to hold on to.  When we do things differently, and very often we do, I remind myself that it is early a matter of right and wrong.  We are simply two adults who grew up in different houses.

I continue to think back to Edra, standing in that swimming pool on a bright day in summer. “Does he make you a better person?” was what she asked me, and I want to tell her, Yes, with the full force of his life, with the example of his kindness and vigilance, his good sense and equanimity, he makes me a better person.  And that is what I aspire to be, better, and no, it really isn’t any more complicated than that.

Ann’s reply is exactly how this lucky Powerful Goddess describes her own gem of a husband.  And he’s tall and handsome, too!

Click on “Leave a comment” (above left) to describe what you love best about yours.












© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


What I Love About Men

For Father’s Day, tips and quips from Rita Rudner, a favorite comedienne who (st)ages with glamour and style:

1. On gift ideas:  If you buy your husband a video camera, for the first few weeks he has it, lock the door when you go to the bathroom. Most of my husband’s early films end with a scream and a flush.

2. On guilt:  When a woman tries on clothing from her closet that feels tight, she will assume she has gained weight. When a man tries something from his closet that feels tight, he will assume the clothing has shrunk.

3. On memory:  Men forget everything, women remember everything. That’s why men need instant replays in sports–They’ve already forgotten what happened.

4.  On diets:  Men who can eat anything they want and not gain weight should do it out of sight of women.

5. When you find yourself wishing he were someone else:  No man is charming all of the time. Even Cary Grant is on record saying he wished he could be Cary Grant.

6. Don’t try to teach men how to do anything in public. They can learn in private.  In public, they have to know.

7. Men are self-confident because they grow up identifying with superheroes. Women have bad self-images because they grow up identifying with Barbie.

8. On movie selections:  Men are less sentimental than women. No man has ever seen the movie THE WAY WE WERE twice, voluntarily.

9. On planning what to do together:  Most men hate to shop. That’s why the men’s department is usually on the first floor of a department store, two inches from the door.

10.  Men hate to lose. I once beat my husband at tennis. I asked him, “Are we going to have sex again?” He said, “Yes, but not with each other.”

11. Don’t take clothing too seriously. I’ve never seen a man walk into a party and say “Oh, my God, get me out of here!  I’m so embarrassed–There’s another man wearing a black tuxedo.”

12.  Accept compliments graciously.  Example: “Mitch, you look great.” Mitch: “Thanks.” On the other side: “Ruth, you look great.” Ruth: “I do? Must be the lighting.”

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to tell us what you love about your man.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


To Baby or Not to Baby

Simply having children

does not make mothers.

John A. Shedd

Would you believe this photo series is the celebration of a Goddess who turned 43?  She wishes looking a decade younger could silence the deafening tick tock of her biological clock and the nosy nags at family gatherings.  Elusive Mr. Right continues to hold hostage the children she may never have–despite the parade of Mr. Right Nows who volunteer to be sperm donors.

Friends, celebrities, and experts provide a mixed bag of social proof on the matter of her biological imperative.  She’s heard the cynical declare “Having kids is overrated!”  She has witnessed older friends regret not having kids, single mothers who juggle an act for two, women who snob adoption for the pain of freezing eggs (aka, hope) or fertility treatments at a king’s ransom.  Some unwittingly bind themselves to a lifetime of indentured parenthood with offspring who are forever dependent whether by illness or lack of ambition.  She’s seen women agonize over the destiny of their yet unfertilized eggs while others plop kids out without a thought.  Some consider kids as social security in their old age.  Others acquire them as the  latest luxury “must have.”  There are those who would fare better taking a parenting license exam not just driver’s ed.  And how can she not admire women who truly enjoy the thankless role of mothering? — That mythical ideal both inspiration and curse to the many of us who can’t measure up.

Childless or not, what moves you to have children?

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

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