Blooms On This Earth

I believe in God,
only
I spell it Nature.

Frank Lloyd Wright

I love seeing Mother Nature get all dressed up with Spring blooms (and not much else)!  May we always remember to celebrate our amazing bodies as microcosms of our wondrous planet, to be thankful for how it serves us so well we tend to take it for granted. May we stay attuned to its magic and treat it with great love and kindness.

And when we forget we do live in paradise, a toe curling verse on Flowers and Bees by @primalnightss:

How long would I
The ever thirsting supplicant
Dote upon the tender folds of spring
And with my breath
Awaken her from winters sleep
How might her petals unfold
If gently stroked by a wet
And patient tongue unyielding
And how sweet would be
One drop upon my lips
Of Morning dew so gently taken
From pink and tender buds
That I with nectar in my mouth
Would buzz and hum
To see your petals unraveled.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your gratitude for this amazing Eden we live in!

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

Best Headshot Tips

I always wanted to be somebody,

but now I realize

I should have been more specific.

Lily Tomlin

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While I enjoy creating artsy glamour portraits the most, I have fun working with those who need  headshots for their businesses and careers, too. Here’s what you need to make the most of what you’ve got for such a shoot:

Makeup  You want to be recognizable the way you present yourself at work but with tweaks in consideration of the lighting situation at your photo shoot. Choose good coverage oil-free liquid foundation that is evenly applied to match your neck and chest.  Apply setting powder more generously than you normally would and bring blotting paper and powder to touch up right before your shoot. Even if you want a natural look, go for heavier shades on the lips and especially on the eyes and eyebrows because (artificial) lighting tends to wash out features.  Use black mascara that does not clump or smear. If wearing false lashes, choose the kind that looks natural with uneven lengths. Wax eyebrows a day or two before and darken them for the photo shoot. It’s all about the eyes! And shall I say it? Avoid (fake) tans.

If makeup is not among your strong talents, invest in a professional artist that, ideally, you’ve tried and liked before.

Hair  Clean and styled your best.  A headshot photo shoot is NOT the occasion to experiment with a new cut or color. Retouch (roots) a day or two before and schedule a maintenance haircut or color a week prior. While matte is what you want for your face, shine is what you need for your hair. There’s a selection of hair shine sprays for women at your local  drugstore like Biosilk spray. For my own wash and wear hairstyle, I just rub my palms with less than a quarter size drop of oil and run them through my hair while damp.

Nails  Clean nails and if wearing polish, choose clear, french manicure or pale neutrals so they don’t distract from your beauty.

What to wear  Choose outfits in solid colors for a classic look. Regardless of your size, shape, and how you feel about your body, form fitting is the most flattering. Highlight your best features and cover what you’d rather not show. Avoid distracting patterns and too much cleavage. V necks and long sleeves are flattering in general. If you’re an artist who needs to be quirky, express yourself through  a single piece of bold jewelry. Skin tones in the olive, brown, to dark shades are better flattered by pale or bright shades of the colors you like. To be clear, dark outfits look better on pale skin. Picking from my client’s favorite wardrobe selections is one of my small pleasures.

Accessories  You want people to notice your face so keep jewelry simple and stick to one statement piece or none at all. Best to wear a piece that can be your “signature” to give your client/prospects something to distinguish you from your peers in your industry.

Take care of yourself in the week before your headshot:  Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, avoid alcohol and smoking, and give your reflection in the mirror kind compliments daily.  All these habits help relax lines and wrinkles, undereye circles, and make you glow. Get extra sleep the night before your photo shoot so you’re energized and perky in the morning.

I like to keep lighting bright, soft, and even to fill shadows and smoothen wrinkles. Daylight by a window is most flattering for women and on gray rainy days or windowless rooms, continuous lights are kinder than flash. As I photograph, I ask for the woman’s “best side” and keep a conversation to draw out her personality. Have fun with yourself and enjoy the experience! Angling the head, posture, as well as getting a twinkle in her eyes all help in capturing a woman’s unique best.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your bright ideas to this list.

xoxox

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice In Wonderland

 

 

Everything in the world

is about sex except sex.

Sex is about power.

Oscar Wilde

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Scarier than zombies, ghouls and witches, my Halloween thoughts wander down the rabbit hole of sexuality having three know-it-all teens curious about tricks and treats. Excerpts from Deborah L. Spar’s Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection:

Until the shift in social norms that Helen Gurley Brown captured and Erica Jong brought to conclusion, women were still bound by the contractual nature of courtship: sex in exchange for a husband/protector, two cows or true love.

Women may lead themselves to believe that now that they can have casual sex, they are truly playing the same game as men. In theory, hooking up means men are now commodified as easily as women. In practice, though, it also means women are no longer in a position to ask for anything but sex in exchange for sex–not marriage, not a date, not even a phone call the next morning or a ride home.

Unless women actually enjoy casual sex, they may have struck a deal that works against their own best interests.  Women may like sex as much as men. They may want it as frequently and in the same infinity of permutations. But the link between sex and relationship is stronger for women, as is the social penalty for promiscuity.

Ultimately, the question is whether women truly enjoy the freedom of uncommitted sex.  Are women equally content to give and get sex for nothing, or have they given men what men want (easy and cheap sex) without getting much in return?

The widespread embrace of the hooking-up norm may be one of womankind’s greatest gift to men: No real commitment. No real feelings required. This is like a man’s paradise!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you have gained in pursuit of this liberty.

xoxox

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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 Wife & Mother

 

Hail, The Non-Olympians!

Whenever I feel like exercise, 

I lie down until the feeling passes.

Robert Hutchison

Today, I swam my first mile faster than Allison Schmitt–thanks to a lifejacket and the downstream current of the Kennebec River, Maine.  One of the blessings of having three kids is that I can’t excuse myself from all family activities and had awesome fun whitewater rafting with http://www.NorthernOutdoors.   Like a true Olympian, I set my eyes on the gold:  if I survived this day’s epic adventure, the kids will let me have the rest of the family vacation in peace!

I am not sporty.   The one thing I care to do with a pool is to strike a pretty pose or host a party.   The only marathon I’d join would be sleeping.  Even in watching the Olympics, game technicalities can’t distract me from the sheen of muscles, the gentle curves on impossible abs, and the colorful makeup on the women athletes’ determined eyes.  As they struggled to calm their rush of adrenaline, I struggled to recall if  my body was ever that lean in my teens?   I was probably busy bemoaning how I didn’t have curves in the “right” places.

While the champions get all the glory and publicity, I’m interested in those who don’t get the gold.  What makes these men and woman dedicate a lifetime to a chance at winning and mostly losing?  What’s a life determined by the persistent ticking of the clock, the whistle, and measuring up?   How do they get over losing by a millionth of a second or a single misstep after giving their all?

And for mere mortals like us who don’t have the urge to compete,  or can’t stick to the persistence required by strict discipline, deprivation and diet, are we to consider ourselves less than?  In judging everything by a singular standard, are we blinding ourselves to the natural variations of strength and beauty as well as ignoring the effort it takes to participate in life without accolades?   Does happiness have to be derived from supremacy and other people’s opinion?   Can there be only one perfect tree in the forest?

In the adulation of youth and extraordinary achievement, are we more inspired to do better or dismay at our ordinary lives?  One thing I know is that Oscar Pistorius leaves me with no excuse to bitch about the size of my calves.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your thoughts on the Olympics.

 

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

http://www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Model : Katrina Amato
Styling : Rosy Justo
Makeup : Tomoko Miyamoto
Hair : Yulitzin Alvarez Funes

 

xoxox

Evita on the Peso

Give me a balcony in every town and 

I will win their hearts.

A deposed president of Ecuador cites Eva’s success

The iconic Evita Peron has been honored in song, in film, on Broadway, and last week, on the 60th anniversary of her death, her face now graces Argentina’s 100 peso currency–the only woman to be honored in this very manly country’s banknotes.

From “Simply Irresistible” by Ellen T. White:

Pale, humorless, and uneducated, she used the only capital she had at her disposal–an uncanny ability to seem heaven sent.  Some say Evita slept her way to the top, but if sex were all it took, any number of women might have taken her place.  What was the magic dust she sprinkled on their eyes?

Evita’s lessons for every Goddess:

1. Take the higher road.   Keep a physical, as well as psychological, upper hand.  Always stand tall and establish a regal presence by throwing your shoulders back and keeping your chin up.

2. Create an air of quiet mystery.  Evita had no talent for conversation, but it seems the less said, the better.  Her unexpected silences made others a tad nervous and eager to please, yearning for more, curious to know what’s on her mind.  Leave a lot to the imagination and set yourself apart from the reality TV crowd that’s eager to tell all.

3. Overdress for success.  She charmed the masses by addressing them as “My descamisados” (shirtless ones) while maintaining a closet that was very far from empty. Even if you don’t own designer clothes or a crown, make an effort to look queenly.  Always wear what makes you feel like a million–and never tell where you got it for less. 😉

4. Choose your words.   Evita’s rise to power erased records of her mongrel birth.  Officially sanctioned accounts of her early years began to sound like myth: “Like Venus… Eva Peron was born from the sea.”  Jobless?  No, my dear, I’m between opportunities. Held on drug charges a decade ago?  That was a wild experiment in spiritual growth.  Divorced more times that you can count?  I’m passionate and tend to leap before I look.  As they say, “It’s never too late–in fiction or in life–to revise.”

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to tell us what makes you feel like a million.

 © Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

PowerfulGoddess@me.com

http://www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Makeup by Kristen Pickrell

xoxox

Woman, Like Water

Someone showed me a glass of water and asked,

“Is this glass half full or half empty?”

So I drank the water. No more problem.

Alexander Jodorowsky

 

A wet and happy photo session with the Goddess Katrina inspired this poem I dedicate to every woman:

Like water, she is buoyed by joy

tranquil in self knowing

flowing with the current of what is.

Often told she’s but a fragile raindrop

she knows she has the wisdom of the ocean.

Stronger than a raging wave, she gushes

 submerged passions and

creativity swelling from the depths of her soul.

She floats over adversity

Soaking in pain that wakes her to action.

No, no, no

her brave heart won’t sink into surrender.

Woman, like water and life itself,

seeps unstoppable through all creation.

Drink her up.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Model: Katrina Amato
Makeup: Tomoko Miyamoto
Hair (pre-dunk) : Yulitzin Verenice Alvarez

A Very Blessed Birthday

Age is something that doesn’t matter,

unless you are a cheese.

 Billie Burke

“Show me who’s taller!”  My teen asks his little sister to mark his height standing head to head with his younger brother.  He turns around dismayed to see his sister’s hand inches short of his brother’s top.

I tried to console him with a version of Hallmark greeting cards, “You know, it’s not how tall, it’s how happy…”

And his brother–the same one who never lets their sister win an argument–chimes in, ‘Then you win, Dude!”

I am blown away by the fullness of this past year!  I may not have grown an inch taller –without platform heels– but I have definitely reached new heights by coming home to my native talents and strengths, woven together seamlessly in service of chronicling a woman’s many joys.  I’ve been richly blessed by those who have inspired and nourished me:  friends, family, clients, models, teachers, fellow creatives, and fans, people who have given generously of their time, talents, wisdom and praise.  I feel full with gratitude that my art helps a woman celebrate who she is beyond her roles of mother, daughter, and wife.  I most love soaking in the memory of laughter shared at photo shoots, stretching comfort zones in embracing a woman’s beauty, telling her story for posterity, and honoring her amazing body that serve so many, so well in one lifetime.

THANK YOU, All, for the gifts you are to me!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your blessings here.

xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

PS  Many thanks to Sumit for this sparkly 4th of July photo…

xoxox

Many Thanks, Many Mothers

 There is no way to be a perfect mother,

and a million ways to be a good one.

Jill Churchill

These photos of 5 generations of mothers are mere copies of photocopies, their originals lost to the gods of posterity.  In the first, I’m the screaming baby on my elegant mother’s lap and, in the second, I’m the chubby new mom showing off her firstborn to her 104 year old great grandmother.   These thin slips of paper are priceless treasures, photography’s unrivaled power to bear witness to our journey of growth.  I am thankful for the many women who have helped get me to where I am today with their love, example, and counterexample.  It all works and it’s all good!

My grandma taught me that gratitude is the key to happiness, my myriad talents are worth exploring without apology, funny is in the irony, and today IS the special occasion for my best dishes.  She taught me to be generous with praise towards myself when others can’t, to forgive and choose to put my attention on what I want more of.

My mom taught me to mind my own business and give advice only when asked, to celebrate myself instead of waiting for others to do so, to have my own money, to speak well of my husband and to be present for my kids.  And if I can’t be the mother they want, that’s ok, too.  One of life’s greatest gifts is that we all get the mother we need.

My aunts, my sister, my friends teach me the pleasures of love without obligation, to bring joy where I am and to welcome more of those who remind me of my fabulousness when I forget, to explore possibilities that thrill my heart, to respect other people’s choices because acceptance and breathing room feed the soul.

My daughter teaches me that no one’s ever too young to want to mother, no one’s ever too old for mothering, and no matter what else I do for my kids, I hope they see that in mothering myself they, too, are the first reliable guardians and mothers of their own happiness.

Happy Mom, Happy Wife, Happy Life!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share with us:  How do you mother yourself well?  

xoxox

Let’s celebrate what you love about your life today!

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

Send In The Clown

 

Housework can’t kill you,

but

why take a chance?

Phyllis Diller

 

Joan Rivers’ live standup show was packed to overflowing last week.  It was my very first time to witness her firecracker mouth other than the few times I’ve seen her blast the hapless who walk down the Oscar’s red carpet on her watch.  I laughed in hysterical disbelief– How does she get away saying what she does?!

Having grown up in Asia and having given up TV since my kids started rolling in, I’ve only been recently “introduced” to two trailblazing comediennes through their film biographies:  Joan Rivers in “A Piece of Work” and Phyllis Diller in “Goodnight, We Love You.”  Their humanity and vulnerability impress me beyond their courage to say it like it is, holding no one and nothing sacred.  Like Phyllis, I want a life full of laughs and I want to be remembered for my kindness.  At the very least, I’ll settle for their high energy on high heels when I’m 80.

This series is dedicated to the clowns who dare say and do what we don’t.   May we always laugh out loud and be so bold!

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fools Rule

Assuming women can be altered cheaply, painlessly, & with no risk,  

is that to be what we must want?

Naomi Wolf

Aside from being an occasion to pull someone’s leg, April Fool’s is a good day as any to wonder what leg our beliefs stand (or sit) on.

The sculpture Contro Natura by Salvatore Crita (1828-1912) at the Pitti Palace in Florence makes my Inner Fool grin.  What IS against nature:  A pregnant nun or a woman who swears off her natural biological function?

In the Boboli Gardens, a giant reclining figure covered in blue bandages stares into the distance.  Why do we call it cosmetic or plastic surgery when it involves pain beyond mere cosmetics and human flesh isn’t plastic?

Closer to home in our land of anti-fat, Botero’s sculptures stand proudly curvaceous and unapologetic.  Who determines the “correct” size and shape of all women?   Who wields the power to define beauty and who profits from feeding our insecurities?

A skinny ballerina “sculpture” blows me a kiss, a wink and a smile.  She’s not telling who’s fooling whom.

What does your fool wonder about?  Find the comment link beside the title of this feature.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

Madame Butterflies Are Free

You cannot say to the sun, “More sun.”

Or to the rain, “More rain.”

Arthur Golden in Memoirs of a Geisha

Madame Butterfly’s latest run at the Metropolitan Opera ended last week fluttering on to other world stages, for who isn’t fascinated by the exotic?  Who isn’t intrigued by the mystery of the geisha?  Who doesn’t want a faithful lover who pines for our return–when and if we feel like it?

My young daughter tells her brother “I love you” and waits for him to reciprocate.  He–brothers being the way they are–rolls his eyes and she cries indignantly, “But he’s supposed to love me back!”

I assured her that loving someone doesn’t make him obligated to love you back.  And to remind them that childhood sibling squabbles are practice for dealing with their future spouses, I added, “Even when you’re married.”

“Ha!” My son laughed incredulous, “Even with my wife?!”

Yes, we are free to love as we choose.  And there’s no greater freedom than in loving simply because.

Special thanks to Mountain for the quote he shared in response to the “Love After Love” poem on this blog’s “Be Divine” page:

True love begins when nothing is looked for in return.  -Antoine De Saint-Exupery

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

In Praise of The Artist

True artists work for pleasure.

Auguste Rodin

I love the drama of black and white, the glamour of the roaring twenties, the memory of good old days when movies didn’t require censorship and guaranteed wholesome family fun–except for all that smoking.

Raised in the magic of Pixar color animation, my kids unanimously pronounce all black and white films as boring even if they came with a soundtrack.  Now that the Oscar has gone to Michel Hazanavicius’  The Artist, there’s a good chance even my husband will join the family and “Make room for the old!”

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

Giants and Other Winners

If at first you don’t succeed, find out if the loser gets anything.

Bill Lyon

My neighbors’ kids got her hooked on football this year.  Sunday’s Superbowl sealed her conversion to the sport and their family took the day off from school to witness the NY Giants parade down Manhattan.  They dove into an ocean of blue shirts, ducking streams of white paper rolls tossed about like footballs, amazed at the fervor of adoring fans who reveled in their heroes’ success as if they had played the game themselves.

With the lure of big checks, diamond rings, and celebrity perks, it is easy to forget that there could be more to gain from our disappointments and frustrations–if we choose to see them as steppingstones for learning and growth.   Many lose a good night’s sleep fretting over their fumbles, missed passes and Hail Mary’s that went unheard by the gods.  Unsung heroes like my neighbor wonder, “What about MY parade?”

 How can you give yourself a parade for showing up in the game of life?

© Sharon Birke

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

xoxox

The Job of Perfection

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is

giving up on being perfect and

beginning the work of becoming yourself.

Anna Quindlen

No one could put down Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson in my family.   Instead of starting with Chapter 1, my 12 year old went straight for the section on the thing dearest to his heart:  the iPad.  My mom wanted a quick turn to read about the childhood that spurred outstanding success (–and an early demise, Ma!)  I read bits and pieces amidst all this passing around while my husband, who rarely reads anything outside of work, finished the 630 pages in a week!

Steve Jobs’ story is about persisting towards perfection.  My 2012 resolutions lean more towards loving my imperfections:

1. I will see my fabulousness.  A girlfriend in her 40s drove home this lesson when she confided that the sight of her teen daughter’s amazing body (an exact replica of her own two decades ago) makes her wonder “What the heck was I complaining about?”

2.  I will speak to support trust in our own wisdom and the possibility that life is an adventure of learning from our choices, not avoiding mistakes and failures.

3. I will listen for praise and appreciation though critics and know-it-alls tend to have louder voices.

4. I will resist the urge to rip off the little hair left on my husband’s head when he insists on an extended search for the perfect sofa.   Surely being married to someone with high standards can only mean that I am perfect!  😉

Malcolm Gladwell‘s article “The Tweaker” sums up “how effectively Steve put his idiosyncrasies—his petulance, his narcissism, and his rudeness—in the service of perfection” in  the New Yorker.

How are you already perfect with your imperfections?

© Sharon Birke

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

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 www.lula-belle.com, 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!

xoxox

Sharky

© Sharon Birke

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC


Very Koi Body Painting

It is a paradox of creativity that

we must get serious about taking ourselves lightly.

We must work at learning to play.  

Julia Cameron

“The Artist’s Way” by  Julia Cameron  recommends a weekly “artist date” to continually replenish our reservoir of creativity before we dredge a dried out bottom and feel stuck, blocked, or uninspired.   An artist date is any activity that’s fun, enjoyable, akin to childlike play and exploration.  My inner artist happens to be an uptown girl so for a recent artist date, I had to drag her kicking and screaming over the Brooklyn bridge to the new body painting studio of Danny Setiawan of www.DenArtNY.com (he’s matching me in red below.)  And, Goddess, was she glad I did!

Models patiently stood/sat through a couple hours of being a human canvas–whoever wasn’t comfortable being topless covered her front torso with a scarf or halter top .  My inner artist had not touched a brush in months.  She quickly got carried away painting the biggest koi fish possible, extending the design all over my model’s forearms and the contours of her voluptuous body.  After 3 hours of painting punctuated by fits of laughter and dancing, my model and I squeezed into the studio’se tiny bathroom where a wall of painted curls and swirls provided a matching graphic backdrop.  The perfect souvenir for a most memorable afternoon.

Add body painting to your possibilities for playdates and unique gift ideas.  Make a party out of it and ask Danny to bring his art to your venue!

Where will you take your inner artist on your next date?

© Sharon Birke

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

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

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

Age Like Wine

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world,

except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.

Oscar Wilde

Chianti is a region in the heart of Tuscany best known for red wine.  For a bottle to be labeled Chianti, it must contain wine made from 80-100% Sangiovese grapes.  Chianti Classico is the most popular label among seven varieties and almost all of its producers today belong to a consortium that ensures that high quality is preserved in this wine.  A black rooster on the neck of each Chianti Classico bottle signifies the peace between Florence and Siena—two Tuscan cities that were arch rivals for centuries.  Links to the region’s attractions are on http://www.chianticlassico.net/.

I am a water drinker so when it came time for wine tasting on a recent visit,  I snuck out to the vineyard to snack on fresh grapes instead.  A lovely vision appeared among the vines… Did I inhabit my body this comfortably when I was her age?   Who and what has taught me to make peace with my body today?

Tell  us how age has made your life sweeter and thank you for sharing this post with friends, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

@ Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

Hot In The Kitchen

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well,

if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

I envy people who love cooking, people who create magic in their kitchen with gourmet meals and  homemade desserts–sure magnets of warm conversation, laughter and conviviality.  When such a cook looks like the Goddess in this photo series, you can triple my envy.    I used to be torn between thoughts like ” I want a mother like that!” and “I want to be a mother like that!”  until I surrendered to the fact that my talents lie elsewhere–like eating the amazing food they make! 😉

When in the company of passionate gourmands, may we savor everything their table offers and skip talk of our latest diet.   Geneen Roth, author of  “Women, Food and God” and “Lost and Found” wrote in “When Food is Love:”

A diet is similar to an oppressive, authoritarian parent who tells you what to do and when to do it.  Diets perpetuate the child in each of us who was treated with mistrust and restrictions.  Diets keep us focused outside ourselves–on what we are allowed to eat, when we are allowed to eat it, and how much of it we are allowed to have at one sitting.  Diets keeps us dependent on a source outside ourselves for our sense of well-being and self-worth.  With a diet, the anger and humiliation stay forever self-directed, we spend our lives punishing ourselves for not being good enough.

In breaking free from diets and the ensuing self-punishment, we make a choice to stop being a victim.  It creates an awareness of how our culture encourages us to define our self-worth according to externals–what we look like, how much we weigh, how much money we make.  In paying attention to what our body wants instead of imposed rules, we learn that our body is our ally, our instincts are wise, we have many choices, and we can rely on our wisdom to live compassionately with ourselves.

Add what you think, share on Facebook, tweetie please!

© 2011 Sharon Birke

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

Pompadour’s Grace

Often laughing, visibly less calculating, liable to burst out with unpredictable enthusiasm, she was like a breath of fresh air.  

Susan Griffin on Madame de Pompadour

From her ebullience, generosity, humor, and courage, I am certain I would have been charmed by this woman famous for being Louis XV’s favorite.  Beyond the shallow gossip of her status as mistress, Susan Griffin’s describes the depth of a woman who inspired a monarchy and this series of photographs:

Madame de Pompadour was able to negotiate the transformation of herself from commoner to favorite with uncommon grace.  In bringing a more informal and open manner of expression to Versailles, she foreshadowed what was to be a transformation not only of the court but eventually all of society.  Her displays of emotion, her frankness, her loud “forthright” voice, her free laugh, and her familiar language were at odds with standard behavior at Versaiiles.  The ladies in court only giggled or smothered their laughter and everyone habitually hid or dampened their feelings, even when what was felt was joy.  No wonder there was so much intrigue.  The atmosphere of constant jockeying for position that surrounds monarchies and indeed every powerful leader was only made more acidic by by the fact that anger could not be expressed openly.  Hence snide remarks, subtle inferences, small praise, dismissive gestures, indeed every possible form of passive assault characterized the social life of the court.  No wonder that Pompadour’s manner appealed to the king.

The painter Francois Boucher captured her ebullience well.  The spirit that enlivens her rose-cheeked face spills out into the room.  Rendered with colors that are vibrant and soft at the same time, her dresses appear less to hang than to ripple, and the same vibrant energy seems to bless all that surrounds her.  There was a strong concordance between her way of being and his way of seeing.  Not only did they prefer the same bright pastel colors, they both liked flowers.  She was an avid gardener and he embellished canvasses, tapestries, and vases with flowery forms.

As frivolous as both the painter and the mistress may seem today, together they invented an ingenuous version of grace, one that allowed them to erase conflicts that otherwise might have erased them.

Leave a comment, rave, share this link on Facebook, tweets please!

© Sharon Birke

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC


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