The Classy Holiday Gift Guide


If men are God’s gift to women,

then God must really love

gag gifts.

Maya Angelou


December snuck up and caught me completely unawares this year! Fortunately, like Santa prancing with reindeers, we can skip traffic completely and let our fingers be the elves doing all the ordering, packing and delivery.  For gifts to impress or easy stocking stuffers, may you find something uncommon for everyone here:

A rich robe for her. Silk keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. This buttery soft robe is made from ethically and sustainably sourced silk and cashmere–easy on the conscience and likely to become your favorite at home while doubling as pajamas when you travel. Khimori silk cashmere, $175 at

Coffee, tea or (water in) me. Sleek, stainless steel, insulated bottles in fun colors that keep beverages warm or cold for at least 12 hours. Now all we need is for Starbucks to offer discounts to those who bring their own stylish recyclable. HAY George Snowden water bottles from $35,

Sleek folio. Elegant leather pouches to protect your devices in colors that make you smile while impressing clients. Leather iPad case, from $75 at

Luxe lunch bag.  This chic Insulated vegan leather bag just might be the inspiration we need to be kinder to the planet and pack our own lunch with reusable containers. The Luncher $149 at

Game night with style.  Playing cards for those who appreciate handcrafted quality, $30 at


For the crafty. Measuring tape too pretty to sit in a dusty toolbox. Geometric wood tape measures, $36 at


And, of course, books never fail!

For the Francophile foodie. This fun book on all things related to French food will make an excellent conversation starter on your coffee table. Let’s Eat France: 1,250 specialty foods, 375 iconic recipes, 350 topics, 260 personalities, plus (everything) you want to know about the food of France, $50 at

Inspire wanderlust with wonder. This book transports you to the world’s most unusual and obscure places you may not find in popular guide books. I’d recommend this for the young gentlemen on your list: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, $35 hardcover at For an illustrated version for budding adventurers (age 8-12) The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid, $20 at

For the fiction reader who loves travel.  I’ll let the title tell you what this book is about. Novel Destinations: A Travel Guide to Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West. $16 hardcover at And an airplane ticket hidden amongst the book’s pages might be the surprise they’ll remember for a lifetime!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your uncommon and bright gift idea this year.


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 Good Wives


If love is the answer,

could you please

rephrase the question?

Lily Tomlin



When you’ve seen every hole and gnatty stain on each other’s favorite pajamas, how do you keep the romance going?  Author and TED talk speaker Esther Perel insists on our agency, our vitality and our complicity in making the best out of our long term relationships. From her book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity:

Infidelity has a tenacity that marriage can only envy. So much so that it is the only sin that gets two commandments in the Bible, one for doing it and one just for thinking about it. Lovers today seek to bring under one roof desires that have forever had separate dwellings. Our expectations have gotten all out of hand. Our obsession with transparency, total disclosure and suffocating intimacy stanches desire — fire needs air!

All this before the stigma from choosing to stay in a compromised relationship?! Ayayay!

No better day than Valentine’s to practice compassion for villains and victims alike. They may not always be what they appear, for they are equal in the opportunity to use power to their advantage–overtly and otherwise. In the double standard of society, a man’s exposed dark side becomes a witch hunt for the woman who chooses to stand by him. And I don’t even want to know what price she’s had to pay long before we come around to shame her. Who’s the bully then?

When we focus on blame, we beg the question of what we lead ourselves (and teach our young) to believe. Can there really only be fifty shades of human behavior? Until we move to Mars, power and sex are tradable currencies and commodities on this planet. There is no shame in being a victim but there is also no dignity in incessantly playing the “Poor me, too!” card. There are gallant knights, ogres, wolves and monsters–sometimes all rolled into one person, at times not always male nor blatantly powerful, some more irresistible than others–lurking in the shadows of brightly lit offices, classrooms, cheerful houses, fancy restaurants and especially hotel rooms. The question “What would you say (or do) if someone you trust and respect takes advantage of you?” should be fair game at family gatherings.

Raised by parents who were both sole survivors of their families from Holocaust concentration camps, Dr. Perel learned to distinguish between two types of people: those who were alive and those who didn’t die. Her parents “understood the erotic as an antidote to death.”

There is no greater love than allowing people to choose what’s right for themselves–even between spouses. There is no greater love we can give ourselves than deciding to fashion a full and meaningful life despite difficult and unwanted experiences. That which we don’t allow to kill us, will buy us time to understand the gift it was meant to bring.  If there is one true power that nobody can ever take away from us, it is our talent for alchemy: to take the darkness of pain, hurt and suffering and allow it to push us towards the light of strength, power, wisdom and goodness as we move forward with our lives. This power is the one true guarantee of fairness in the world that we can always count on.

With or without pajamas, best to leave expectations of seeing everything in black and white to photography.

Click on “Leave a Comment” to share how you keep the bedroom fire burning. True love IS always with you! Kiss! Kiss!








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




Jeff Masters Louis


Mona Lisa’s smile hints at embarrassment

that all these people bother coming so far to see her,

when really she was nothing special.

Allison Pearson

At a Halloween party this year, everyone arrived in costume except for a woman who wore the pedestrian all black clothing with this Mona Lisa purse on her shoulder. She began to apologize profusely for not having had time to think of a fun outfit. I assured her, “Don’t put your purse down and if anyone asks what your costume is, say ‘I’m the Louvre, of course!'”

Can you imagine how much fun Jeff Koons had collaborating with the ever evolving Louis Vuitton for its Masters Collection? It features the King of Pop’s favorites in renaissance art from the landscapes of Monet and Van Gogh to the literally cheeky Reclining Girl by Boucher. Which one might your Santa have on the list?

Titian’s Mars, Venus and Cupid 1550

Van Gogh

Monet’s Water Lilies 1916

 Boucher’s Reclining Girl 1752

All photos on this page from Louis Vuitton

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what iconic painting you’d love to wear and how.



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


Sparkles For Santa

A wonderful gift 

may not be wrapped

as you expect.

Jonathan Lockwood Hule


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.







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

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Met Museum Hack

I went to the museum

of the heads & arms from the statues

that are in all the other museums. 
Steven Wright


What’s a very unique and fun twist to your next visit to NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art?  Museum Hack‘s Badass Bitches Tour of the Met!  Not your grandmother’s idea of a museum tour, but she’ll enjoy it anyway with your mom and all your favorite women.  Enthusiastic, educational and entertaining, a dynamic duo will explain art pieces by women in ways you have never known them before.

From defining feminism to incorporating untold tales of women represented in or who made the featured artworks, this tour guides you through objects, sculptures, paintings at the Met Museum that  reclaim women’s rightful place in history and return our pride in the distinctive shapes of our bodies.

Without giving much away, here are a few photos and questions to get you curious about the fun difference a badass tour of the Met makes…


Outstanding women who never got their due: Who was really behind the success of Tiffany lamps and stained glass windows? (The ladies in front of it are our awesome Museum Hack guides, Mindy and Bex.)


While there are hundreds of penises on display throughout the Met, can there seriously be only three properly represented vaginas?  And have you heard of the UK based sculptor whose work  helps counter labiaplasty by giving women an understanding of how wide the spectrum of “normal” is in female genitalia?


A memento moment with my favorite sculpture at the Met, The Vine by Harriet Whitney Frismouth. Big thanks to Museum Hack and FujiFilm’s Instax Share SP-1 Mini digital polaroid printer.


Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your bright Mother’s Day gift idea!


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

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

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


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


Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

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Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Schoolgirl Santa

Thank goodness I was never sent to school…

That would have rubbed off some of my originality.

 Beatrix Potter  

This Goddess was a little anxious.  She had never done anything like this before and she worried about all the things she thought she needed to fix about her body to look good in photos.   She had given up a career in the corporate world to adapt to the demands of multiple sclerosis while raising two small children.  Thanks to the help of her loving sisters, she prevails over adversity and has given birth to, a jewelry line dedicated to raising awareness on various afflictions, what truly matters, and how we can support each other in our struggles.

Imagine her thrill at how her images exceeded  her expectations!  She tells me, “My favorite part of the experience had to be your laugh.  It lightened up the whole session making everything feel safe, fun, and delightful!  Your patience with an amateur like me was amazing, too…  You made me feel pretty the whole time.  Thank you for sharing your creativity and changing the way I see things about myself.”

Imagine her husband’s surprise when he opens this Christmas present he’d never expect from his demure wife.    Oh, joy!

Let’s marvel at what truly matters and the gifts of 2011 that can’t be wrapped.  In the school of life:

Where did I go in my travels and introspection?

Where have my choices led me?

What did I learn from my successes and failures?

What meaningful connections did I make?

Whom did I cherish?  How generous was I with praise?

How have I given myself appreciation and gratitude?

Be the HAPPY in your Ho-Ho-HOLIDAYS!



© Sharon Birke

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

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