Queen of Heart

Honesty is the key

to a relationship.

If you can fake that,

you’re in.

Richard Jeni

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Esther Perel, sex and relationship therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, says we often confuse love as a state of enthusiasm. “To love” is a verb, and verbs are dynamic implying action, intention, and responsibility. If our ability to love ourselves well determines our success in loving another, what can these verbs mean for our relationships?

To Give.  Is it better to give what we believe the other person should have or what that person wants? True giving is being attuned to someone’s needs, to make that person feel special and that they matter. Assuming your partner is not a self-absorbed despot, giving from a place of confidence and generosity frees us from the chains of expecting acknowledgement or getting something in return. With this we allow ourselves the freedom to feel complete joy and empowered by a simple action. Giving when we’re at low points of our lives can also be therapeutic, too, lifting up our own spirits when we channel our energy towards seeking out those who need our help most. Of course, giving to ourselves first is essential to replenish the well.

To Receive. How do you respond to a compliment or a kindness?  If you feel obligated to respond in kind or wonder what that other person wants in return from you, take a moment to feel worthy and simply say “Thank you.”  Being a gracious receiver is a gift in itself.  Allowing others to give to us lets them feel good about themselves, too.

To Take.  Women can learn a few things from male assertiveness and entitlement.  Assertiveness is what we need to land jobs, get a better deal in negotiations, and evolve our (sexual) relationships. Since only you know what pleases you best, share that knowledge with your partner. We save ourselves a whole lot of grief when we surrender to the reality that mind reading is not a very common talent.

To Refuse. From the kitchen, the boardroom and the bedroom, women do things to please others that they don’t necessarily want to do and end up not liking themselves for it. Say no without closing possibilities by giving options and alternatives. If establishing boundaries is essential for a healthy relationship, should it be a stretch to say “I feel free to be speak my mind around him?”

To Play.  Playing lets you be creative and dream together, circumventing the hardships of reality. The ability to laugh and play strengthens a couple’s bond, especially amidst the incessant demands of parenting. Being silly, mischievous and unpredictable is a big factor in keeping your sex life fun. The freedom to be unselfconscious around someone is empowering. When you feel like you’re in a stalemate, think of ways to create happy memories and new adventures together. Great for couples, but even more necessary around moody teens. I grew up hearing “The family that prays together, stays together.” As a mom, I now realize “The family that plays together, stays together” is big.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what the sweetest  Valentine verb means to you!

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

The Asian Goddess

To sit for one’s portrait

is like being present

at one’s own creation.

Alexander Smith

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To celebrate the Chinese New Year, I am thrilled to feature this Powerful  Goddess who has made incredible strides in the past year, welcoming changes that have surprised and amazed herself–not the least of which was learning to befriend the camera lens.  She writes:

My Powerful Goddess shoot was no ordinary photo session. It was an experience every woman should have. Sharon was meticulous about every detail, putting her heart and soul in everything she did. She made  me feel like I was the most beautiful woman in the world! I used to hide from the camera but since Sharon taught me how to pose and feel photogenic, I am now comfortable when friends take my picture and feel confident they will turn out beautifully. Every woman should have this experience of feeling like a Goddess!

Sweet! I am deeply honored by your love and appreciation, Birthday Goddess–Many, many more wonderful blessings to you this year!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you have surprised and impressed yourself, too.

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

The First Woman of Dior

Fashion is what you’re offered

four times a year by designers.

Style is what you choose.

Lauren Hutton

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Photo courtesy of Vogue

Maria Grazia Chiuri is the first woman in the history of Dior to head the storied fashion house. Her runway inspirations bring together Flemish paintings, fencing, boyish girl themes with the talismans of house founder Christian Dior: stars, hearts, four-leaf clovers and tarot motifs. For someone who heads a trendsetting powerhouse, she wears no nonsense outfits possibly two days in a row, a testament to her pragmatism and tight focus on the work at hand.

In an industry where designers are notorious for last minute revisions, Chiuri is exceptionally calm in sticking to her original design from the first day it’s submitted to the pattern makers. She attributes single mindedness and zero drama in her work process to age and experience. Her runway dress rehearsals are organized and run ahead of schedule with few big pronouncements other than “Bellisimo!”

The staging of her runway is the opposite of theatrical, the minimalism calling attention to the details and nuances in her designs. She gave Dior a more female focus through the Instagram campaign “The Women Behind My Dress” which showcases the female employees and the warm family work atmosphere from its tailors to the PR team. Chiuri says, “I like women as they are. I don’t have an idealistic view of them. I want our merchants to dress a woman with a vision of what’s consistent with herself, not a brand.” And what’s her view on fashion’s cut throat competition? “You have to fight for what you really want in life. As in fencing, you don’t kill the other person—you touch the heart..” Evviva, Maria!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share the style that’s right for you.

xoxox

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Photo courtesy of Vogue

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Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar

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Photo courtesy of Valentino

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Photo courtesy of VS Magazine

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

The Year of Yes to “No!”

Let every new year

find you

a better man.

Benjamin Franklin

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I suspect my husband would prefer that I don’t take Ben’s quote (above) about finding a better man too literally. 😉 I also suspect New Year resolutions are just another way of making ourselves feel inadequate and never ever good enough. So how about pledging NOT to make resolutions in 2017?

Give “More” a break. Declare “I am enough, I have enough!” Focus on your strengths and build on what you’re good at. Love what you’ve got and find a feature to compliment each time you look in the mirror.

Eat what you like. Bless the food you eat instead of worrying about the calories and just choose from what’s made closest to the way nature made it: Fresh!

Don’t go to the gym. If you don’t like working out, don’t! Instead, make movement a normal part of your daily routine and walk to the farther ATM, bike daily to the grocery,  take the stairs at the office, dance when at a party, learn to cook so you stand in the kitchen for at least half an hour everyday.

Enjoy the mess! If you’re simply a fabulous creative thinker who thrives with stacks of this and that here and there, just minimize the clutter and give away whatever you don’t use or wear, want to clean or take care of, and whatever doesn’t spark joy.

If goals you must, set baby sized ones that make you feel like a rock star (instead of a failure shooting for the moon.)

There will always be more to want and do or things we could’ve done better. Swap the “If only…I should’ve…” refrain to “Next time…” Because even when things don’t work out the way we want them to, no one can ever take away our power to choose to find the gift in whatever life brings our way!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your naughty plans for 2017. Happiest of New Possibilities, Dear Ones!

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

Not So Ordinary Women

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from Huffington Post

Anita Sarkeesian, a TIME 100 honoree, blogger and founder of Feminist Frequency, launched her Ordinary Women video series this week. Frustrated by the way history books weigh heavily on male accomplishment, giving students the impression that only men have made all the strides worth hearing about. Anita took the initiative to engage us through stories of women who dared greatly, so that our young girls may find their own voice, value their female experiences and find more role models as they learn to see themselves as important in their own intrinsic humanity.

The Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History series’ first feature on youtube is Russian political freedom fighter Emma Goldman who shares my sentiment: If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution. This series will feature four other women leaders and innovators from different cultures and fields of expertise who have been largely left out of history books. I’m looking forward to learning about Ching Shih, a fearsome 19th century pirate who commandeered a massive fleet. Yes, women excel even as villains! 😉 May our girls and young women expand their possibilities beyond obsessing about beauty and  being supporting characters in the stories of men!

Click “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you find power in your own voice. Thank you, Anita, for the inspiration every girl needs!

xoxox

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from 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

Like My Father Always Said

Be good

or

be careful.

Dominic, father of Michele

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My favorites from Erin McHugh’s Like My Father Always Said, a collection of memorable quotes and gruff advice, sweet wisdom, and half-baked instructions on how to fix your life:

What other people think of you is none of your business.

You can have as much freedom as you can pay for.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second rat gets the cheese.

Perfect is the enemy of good.

The moment you think you want to change someone you love, dump ’em. You don’t like them for the right reasons and they won’t change anyway.

Never marry for money. Just hang out with a lot of rich people and fall in love.

Learn at least one new thing everyday.

Don’t let your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash.

The squeaky wheel gets replaced.

Before you speak ask yourself: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

The only bad mistake is one you stick by.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite man’s memorable quip.

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

 

Keys to No Makeup

The most beautiful makeup

of a woman is passion.

But cosmetics are easier to buy.

Yves Saint Laurent

Alicia-Keys-Paola-Kudacki

 by Paola Kudacki for “In Common”

Alicia Keys, 15 time Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, producer and accomplished actress, a New York Times best selling author, entrepreneur and activist, wrote on lennyletter.com:

We all get to point in our lives (especially girls) where we try to be perfect.

The harsh, judgmental world of entertainment was my biggest test yet. I started, more than ever, to become a chameleon. Never fully being who I was, but constantly changing so all the “they’s” would accept me.

Before I started my new album, I listed all the things I was sick of. And one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. I was tired of the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked. All of it so frustrating and so freakin’ impossible.

During this process, I wrote a lot of songs about masks filled with metaphors about hiding. I needed these songs because I was really feeling those insecurities. I was uncovering just how much I censored myself, and it scared me. Who was I anyway? Did I even know how to be brutally honest anymore? Who I wanted to be?

I didn’t know the answers exactly, but I desperately wanted to.

I walked into the first shoot for my new album and this issue was front and center. The photographer Paola Kudacki said, “I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be, too!”

I was shocked. Instantly, I became nervous and uncomfortable. My face was totally raw from the gym. This was my run-to-the-shoot-so-I-can-get-ready look, not the actual photo shoot look. So I asked, “Now? Like right now? I want to be real, but this might be too real!!!”

And that was it. She started to shoot me. It was a plain white background, me and the photographer intimately elating, me and that baseball hat and scarf and a bunch of invisible magic. I swear it is the strongest, most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that i have ever felt.

I felt powerful because my initial intentions realized themselves. My desire to listen to myself, to tear down the walls I built over all those years, to be full of purpose, and to be myself!

Once the photo I took with Paola came out as the artwork for my new song “In Common,” it was that truth that resonated with others who posted #nomakeup selfies in response to this real and raw me. I hope to God it’s a revolution.

‘Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your personal revolution.

xoxox

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No Makeup by Paola Kudacki

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 With makeup for “Queen of the Field”

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for a billboard ad

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for “If I Ain’t Got You”

All images from Google.

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

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