Barely There

 

Forgot to make resolutions?

Just write everything you did last night

and at the beginning, add the word “Stop.”

@PeteHolmes

 

A most beautiful and tender welcome to 2019! I shall leave resolutions for others to make and break. Instead, I extend this invitation for all to embrace the new year with a gentle remembering and a return to the womb of woman.

Let us remember the moment of our birth, the time of owning nothing yet knowing that all is well. Remember screaming loudly for our desires without worry that they might  cause shame, guilt or regret. Remember not knowing that there could be some standard or measurement more correct than our own, that there can be separation between us and them, between our bodies, our planet and the heavens. Remember not knowing that we can possibly be unworthy.

Let us take this moment to remember when we knew we are true love itself, that all of who we are is good, whole and complete without missing or undesirable  parts. Let us remember why we have chosen to be a light on Earth, to be with the people who are in our lives right now, and to welcome those we wish to add to our circle of care and influence. Let us recognize and own once more our power to inhabit our bodies and desires fully, to choose peace, love, action, to keep an eye on the big picture, to remember that what seems to good or bad today may yet prove to be its inverse down the road.

While we may appear to be an inconsequential drop in the very wide ripple of consciousness and consequence, let us remember that we are like leaven unto bread and we make a difference anyhow, no matter how bare our little lives may seem.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what makes you feel grounded and powerful. Continued courage in your journey and thank you so much for loving on!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

‘Tis The Season To Be Extra

 

I want to thank all the people who walked into my life

and made it outstanding,

and the people who walked out of it

and made it fantastic.

Anonymous

To bring 2018 to a resounding close, nothing beats making a list of what I’m grateful for. I share this tradition with my family using pen and paper on New Year’s Eve because a Gratitude Journal makes it easy to remember all the good for posterity. It’s also handy for a quick pick-me-up in moments of feeling down-dooby-doo-down-down.

Among my proudest moments this year was witnessing my teens act like adults who bring something to the table, chip in and help out without being asked. I was extra  proud overhearing the one who didn’t bother with presents last year ask his siblings first, “What do you want for Christmas, Guys?” I’m taking this as a sign I can retire from being Santa–though I doubt I’ll ever want to stop wrapping pretty things with red bows.

I  am honored by the kind and loving women who made the experience of creating the portraits shared on this blog a true pleasure! I am grateful for the devoted blog fans who spoil me with sweet comments, gifts and bright ideas.  I am blessed with great health, enduring love, and a world mostly at peace, by people who inspire me with their happy hearts and laughter, pride in their work, their gentle self acceptance. I admire those who persist and commit to what/whom they love even when that doesn’t love them back with equal passion, those who hang on to dignity and grace through hard times refusing to be identified as victim. I thank Arianna Grande for inspiring the young with her positive spin on heartbreak with the song Thank U, Next! (as soon as I got over my older generation shock at a word I deem unnecessary in the vocabulary of a beautiful woman. 😉 )

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you’re extra grateful for this year. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me and have the merriest 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!

 

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

The Nutcracker: Helen Mirren

 

I like the plot of

The Nutcracker–

not at all.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

 

Photo by Zoey Grossman for Harpers Bazaar

‘Tis that season for the Nutcracker! Helen Mirren, one of the actresses I adore for style, substance, and fearlessness, has had a career spanning longer than my time on this earth. She continues to be hot commodity at 73 with Oscar winning roles ranging from Shakespeare, Hitchcock, sexpot, detective, grand dame, royalty and tough as nails villain in Disney’s latest The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.  

For a woman who has always drawn to a challenge, someone so seasoned and accomplished, you’d probably never imagine her saying “I consider myself a scaredy cat” but she admits, “I’m constantly nervous… always worried that I’m not going to do it right. But you have to just jump and then the adrenaline kicks in.” (Harper’s Bazaar October 2018)  How necessary for the young to hear such honesty! The rest of us easily assume we are the only ones capable of feeling inadequate and afraid.

I love opulence, period costume and strong women so I’m very much looking forward to seeing her next year as Catherine the Great on HBO.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite woman of great style, substance, and a tough nut to crack.

xoxox

Photos below from Google Images

 

 

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!

 

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

When I Grow Up

 

I want my children to have

all the things I couldn’t afford.

Then I want to move in with them.

Phyllis Diller

 

Photo by Matt Licari

Speaking of ageless glamour, meet the grandmother I want to be.  Maye Musk, the 70 year old mother of SpaceX billionaire founder Elon Musk, still graces fashion magazines as a model, as the face of CoverGirl and a major airline, and has appeared in Beyonces music video Haunted.

But her past life as a single mother of three was very far removed from her lifestyle today, sharing many hardships of working women struggling to make ends meet. They  had to live with peeling wallpaper and no furniture so that when she finally bought their first computer, Elon had to work on the floor with it. Their weekly treat of red meat was courtesy of a friend’s kindness and Maye’s foresight and ingenuity in splitting the monthly gift of a roast into four parts.

I adore women who pack their own sunshine in style through thick and thin. Forever hip, check out her instagram @mayemusk. and click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share the grandmother you want to be when you grow up.

xoxox

 

Photo by Matt Licari

Photo by Matt Licari

 

Photo by Dennis Leupold

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

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:

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© 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:

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© 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

 

 

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