What My Mother Taught Me

 

For mothers, guilt management

can be just as important

as time management.

Sheryl Sandberg

 

What’s better than a beautiful loving daughter to celebrate you on Mother’s Day? Having two daughters–or more!

One day when I’m a wise old owl, I hope to gather disparate notes on life and human nature to bequeath my granddaughters. For now, I’m busy biting my tongue being diplomatic around teens, praying for the strength to hang on to my charm and sense of humor until they produce those grandchildren. Then I’ll be busy keeping a straight face as I watch them take their turn with the joys of parenting–aka Payback Time!

Excerpt from Lynn Wadani’s “75 Things My Mother Taught Me About Life on Thought Catalog:

      1. Nothing that’s handed to you on a silver platter is worth having. And nothing worth having will be handed to you. Fight for what you want.

      2. If you have to fight, hit first. And hit hard.
      3. There is no such thing as having too much fun.
      4. Fall in love as often as you can. Fall in love with songs, with books, with places, and fall in love with people. But above all, fall in love with yourself.
      5. Don’t get into a relationship because you don’t like being single.
      6. A relationship can only end two ways: You will either break up with that person or marry him. Don’t waste your time with someone unless you can accept both outcomes.
      7. While drunk, don’t give your number to anyone you wouldn’t talk to when sober.
      8. When in doubt, don’t text him. But don’t be afraid of texting him once in a while.
      9. When people act like they don’t care about you, believe them.
      10. If he doesn’t accept you for who you are and he makes you cry, walk away.
      11. You were lovely long before he loved you. You will be lovely after that, too.
      12. Mondays are good days. Maybe it’s your routine that sucks.
      13. There is a big difference between listening and being quiet while waiting for your turn to talk.
      14. Running away from your feelings is a race you will never win.
      15. If I repeated the same joke ten times in a row, you wouldn’t laugh at it after a few times. There is no reason for you to cry over and over again for the same reason.
      16. Your friends will give you all sorts of advice. Listen to them, take their point of view into consideration, then do whatever you want. Because your friends are great, but you need to make your own mistakes and learn from every single one.
      17. If you like that dress, wear it. Life is too short to choose depending on other people’s opinions.
      18. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
      19. When someone does something wrong, don’t forget everything they did right.
      20. Travel as often as you can.
      21. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
      22. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.
      23. People can only stab you in the back if you hand them the knife.
      24. Always do the right thing. And when you can’t, convince yourself that what you did was the right thing.
      25. Actions speak louder than words. But (typed) words are pretty loud, too.
      26. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
      27. Painted nails and red lipstick can immensely improve your mood.
      28. Own a leather jacket and wear it out every time you want to explore your inner rebel.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you’ll want to pass on to your granddaughters. Forever grateful to the women who have mothered us and to daughters who make everyday Mother’s Day!

xoxox

 

 

 

xoxox

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

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Touring Indochina

 

Adventure, yeah.

I guess that’s what you call it

when everybody comes back alive. 

Mercedes Lackey

 

Early at Angkor W(h)at?!

 

This week’s weather has officially done away with winter and please let’s not start complaining about the heat because this is nothing close to how summer gets in Asia. April and May are the warmest months in that region of simply ‘dry or wet’ seasons and ‘hot-hotter-hottest.’ So if you’re keen on heading that way this year, wait after the cooling monsoon rains blow off some of the heat.  And if you must travel solo, tours like National Geographic Adventures will make sure you’ll have the best time and never feel like you’re traveling alone.

Here’s a glimpse of the fun I had in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia with an active and erudite group of engineers, doctors and lawyers:

 

 Hue, Vietnam 

Stopping to hang with locals going about their day as we bike through town and rice paddies.  Whatever calories we expended was well rewarded with great meals including  a very special private lunch at Tha Om, a century old garden house made from local timber that didn’t require the use of a single nail.

 

Indochina Sails, Ha Long Bay

Cruise Ha Long Bay on a traditional-style wooden junk boat. Kayak around karst formations, visit caves and local fishermen’s boathouses. Just to be on the safe side, I waited until our cruise was about to dock before attempting this Titanic themed shot.

So grateful to our petite yet fearless tour leader who was completely unflappable and generous with her loving kindness and Buddhist wisdom.

Waterfalls at Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is a World Heritage site chosen by an ancient king for the protection provided by its surrounding hills, rivers and mountains. It sits at the junction of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers.

We spent a day visiting some Buddhist shrines then joined a local family for a Buddhist Baci ceremony followed by dinner in their home.

Another day we hiked up a hill, stopping by the school of a Khmu village to play with the children and with its traditional houses, water buffalo and farm animals, the farmers and master blacksmiths dealing with their daily tasks.  We wound up at Ban Thapene, a village with a butterfly park founded by this courageous Dutch couple who seek to educate children on the importance of small bugs and insects in the world’s ecological balance.

 

I made an exception to my religion of waking up as late as possible and rose before the sun to catch the enchanting sight of hundreds of saffron-robed monks walking silently through town to collect offerings.  Even more impressive–since I’d rather not be in the kitchen–are those who have committed years of waking even earlier than these monks to cook hot food to offer them.

Ancient Temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Explore one of the most ancient temple sites in the region: the Roluos Group. Bike around the countryside and make a stop at local house to enjoy snacks and meet the locals. My favorite temple is the ancient Ta Prohm Monastery, where humongous tree roots weave their way through the temple walls—hence the “Jungle Temple” nickname and more popularly “Tomb Raider temple” after Angelina Jolie’s movie.

Angkor Wat is  the Times Square of Cambodia and you’ll find yourself in traffic at 4:00 am in the morning as tourists hurry to snag a prime spot for catching the sunrise behind the temple. The vernal equinox on March 22 is THE DAY to see the sun rise exactly at the center point of the highest temple spire. Genius math for such ancient architecture!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what’s on your travel bucket list.

xoxox

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

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

In Her Closet

 

I try not to make a good first impression

because for me that’s

the same thing as lying.

Anonymous

 

 

What gets you going in the morning? Coffee doesn’t do it for me as well as the pleasure of walking into my closet mulling over the infinite possibilities of “What shall I wear today?” When the weather is dreary and my eyes refuse to open or my To Do list is heavy on things I’d rather not do, it is taking the time to dress well that picks up my mood.

In the age of ripped jeans and athleisure, why deny the power of dressing well that automatically commands respect and authority–even from ourselves?

Clothing and posture are the primary requisites for a good first impression. They speak volumes before you say a word. In presentations and social situations, what you wear and how you groom yourself influences how your message is received. Without being consciously aware why, people will pay attention and trust you when you’re respectably dressed and carry yourself with confidence.

This is the psychology behind advertising (backed my millions of dollars in marketing research) that prefers white lab coats for actors to wear. We may know they’re actors, but in looking the part of a scientist or doctor whom we associate with intelligence and research, they subconsciously gain our confidence for the product they endorse.  Following this logic–and you know I’m no prude–it baffles me why women get indignant if they’re treated with less chivalry when they dress in the skimpiest dresses with plunging décolletage. Duh?!

How you dress yourself changes who you are. It complements the value of what you have to say to those who are watching and listening. You tend to perform better when the bar is raised and your audience is unknowingly primed to agree that you deserve to perform better. Regardless of what you do and whom you work for, if you’re well dressed, you make yourself useful and ready to represent business by being presentable to step into a meeting with a client, customer, or supervisor at a moment’s notice.

Whether you want to get a promotion at work or the chance for an upgrade on your next flight, talk your way out of a traffic ticket, or start a worldwide movement, the way you dress and present yourself plays a major role. We can waste our breath arguing over this in the age of sweatpants and casual Fridays, but wouldn’t it be easier to use this understanding of human nature to your advantage?

When life feels unfair, my closet is a haven of true democracy and justice. Solids mingle with prints of all stripes,  a wide swath of colors and hemlines to remedy any mood, and there is always the chance of catching myself smile at the sight of a familiar purse, dress or accessory that conjures happy memories of far away travels, shared meals, and past adventures. The assumption that a well-dressed woman should be treated with respect is best tested by the person you see in the mirror.

Related blog posts:

Stacy London: Top Tips for Dressing for Your Career

Real Simple: Dress For Success For Women

InStyle: 50 Best Fashion Tips of All Time

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share the item in your closet that brings back fond memories.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

 

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

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

Iconic Art and Beauty

 

Mona Lisa’s famous smile hints at

embarrassment that so many people

bother coming so far to see her

when she’s really nothing special.

Alison Pearson

 

Instead of another selfie, how fun would it be to recreate your favorite iconic artwork?  Harper’s Bazaar November 2017 features five unstoppable and trailblazing models in a tableau of iconic paintings. (Photographs by Pari Dukovic/Fashion Editor Anna Trevelyan)

Winnie Harlow as Mona Lisa

The Canadian model of Jamaican descent (above) helped demystify the skin pigmentation condition vitiligo. She knows what it’s like to have strangers make assumptions based solely on appearance.

Candace Huffine in The Birth of Venus

A top plus size model, Candace Huffine felt a special connection to the painting of the Roman goddess of love since she first set eyes on it as a teen. For her, the fashion world’s expanding parameters are merely a return to form, “I have a body like Venus, and it’s well past time we acknowledge this is a body type that’s always been beautiful.”

Hari Nef as Madame X

Transgender model and actress Hair New is an emblem of contradiction. In highschool, she wrote a paper on John Singer Sargetn’s famous woman in black and made one of her first trips to New York just to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see this painting.

Erika Linder as Egon Schiele

Androgynous sexuality is Swedish model Erika Linder’s commonality with the Austrian painter Egon Schiele. This is her interpretation of Schiele’s Self Portrait With Peacock Waistcoaat. Erika continues to build her career as a menswear model.

Halima Aden in Girl With a Pearl Earring

As the first hijab-wearing Muslim model signed to a major agency, showing even a little sliver of skin and her pierced ears was something new for Halima Aden. The young woman in Dutch master Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring appears seductive precisely because of her restraint.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite iconic artwork.

 

xoxox

 

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

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

 

When Santa Gets Naughty

 

Santa has the right idea:

Visit people

once a year.

Victor Borge

 

 

Imagine if every Santa said “No, thanks!” to doing all the things people take for granted, can’t be bothered to do, or simply deride: planning gatherings, putting up holiday decor, shopping and wrapping presents, sending holiday cards, cooking, hosting, and cleaning up after parties, stroking egos, playing diplomat between factions and generations, being the invisible glue that binds family and friends together?

Just sayin’.

Happiest of Holidays with enormous gratitude to every Santa out there! For a convenient holiday planning guide, see Real Simple’s Ultimate Christmas Countdown Checklist.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how much more interesting the year might get if a Santa this hot promises to (teach you how to) whip naughty into nice?

Keep doing the all the good you do and the warmest of divine holiday blessings to you and your beloveds. Ho-Ho-Ho!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

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

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

Wonder Women

 

 

When I dress up as Wonder Woman,

I actually think that

I’m more powerful.

Olivia Munn

 

Skrull Queen as Spider Woman by Leinil Francis Yu

 

Can’t wait for my teen to drag me to watch Wonder Woman! In fact, I might take a hint from Olivia Munn (quote above) and wear a power costume underneath my everyday clothes.

This most popular female comic-book action hero of all time has given Superman and Batman a run for their capes through seven decades of fame. Like a proper superhero, she has a secret identity. Unlike other superheroes, her history is a secret.

The veil that has shrouded Wonder Woman’s past hides beneath it a crucial story about comic books, censorship and feminism. As her creator put it, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.” Read the full article on The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman.

And enjoy the collection of powerful women on this page by my favorite comics illustrator, Leinil Francis Yu on Facebook and Twitter @LeinilYu.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite super powers!

xoxox

Cable and A Domino by Leinil Francis Yu

Captain Marvel by Leinil Francis Yu

Wolverine by Leinil Francis Yu

Star Wars’ Princess Leah by Leinil Francis Yu

 

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

 

A Poet’s Birthday

Most plain girls are virtuous

because of the scarcity of opportunity

to be otherwise.

Maya Angelou

 

 

 

An ancient soul with a powerful voice that resonates long after her passing, Maya Angelou blessed this world on April 4, 1928, sharing what wisdom she gathered over her difficult childhood yet joy filled life:

Just do right

Though it may not be expedient or profitable, doing so will satisfy your soul and make the world better right where you are.

Be courageous

Without courage you can’t consistently be kind, fair, humane or generous.

Love yourself

Another way of saying this African proverb “Be careful when a naked person offer you his shirt.”

Laugh

If you don’t laugh, you will lose your sense of humor and die of self-defense.

Be a blessing

Maya confessed, “I’ve had a lot of clouds in my life, but I’ve had so many rainbows in those clouds… Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”

Turn struggle into triumph

The 7 year old Maya had to identify her rapist who was soon found kicked to death by protective adults.  Blaming herself of this, she chose not to speak a word for the next five years, spending this period completely immersed in books.

You are talented

 Use what you’ve got for good.

Learn to say NO!

 Keep a place within you that is clean, sacred and inviolate.

Always do your best

  If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.

Keep Rising

   The video below memorializes her in her poem And Still I Rise

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share which woman has been a rainbow to your cloud.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos on this page courtesy of Google Images

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

 

 

 

 

 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: