How To Thank The Thanksgiving Hostess

 

There’s turkey ham, turkey bologna,

turkey pastrami… Someone needs to tell the turkey,

“Man, just be yourself!”

Mitch Hedberg

 

When I grow up, I’ll look forward to being the guest for Thanksgiving. Until that day comes, I soldier on hosting for the sake of keeping my teens engaged in the kitchen and leaving them with good memories of tradition and togetherness.  A bit more fun than being sad and lonely tech zombies on their individual cellphones and laptops, yes?

My wish for them is to be wanted as guests in other people’s homes, too, and here are a few clues to what it takes to be the hostess’ favorite whatever your age:

Arrive on time–no excuses. No asking for pickup from the bus stop if you have legs that can carry you the distance.

Send a lovely flower arrangement before the event or visit.  It is always wise not to show up empty handed but bringing a bouquet of flowers only gives the hostess one more last minute thing to do (find and fill a vase) when she already has more than enough on her plate.

Clean up after yourself and help clear the kitchen sink.  If the hostess protests. tell her it’s against your religion and you’d rather make it to heaven.

Bring the entertainment.  Being a good guest can simply be as fun as bringing a game, activity (eg, face painting with young kids) or teach a magic/card trick or skill that entertains all.

If you’re a weekend guest, make/bring breakfast one morning and pay for at least one meal out while you’re there.

After you leave, mail an old fashioned thank you note with prints of your best photos from your time together. Nobody makes time to print but, truth be told, in our age of constantly changing technology and infinite digital photos, only prints count for posterity.

Surprise the hostess with a gift she will enjoy (a board game her family will love, a wireless speaker for their porch, etc).

Pick up the phone and invite them to be your guest when they’re in your part of the world.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you like to add to the Thanksgiving table.  Happy Gobble Gobble and know I’m thankful for you!

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

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

Moving to Mars

 

They say love is entirely a matter of chemistry.

This explains why

my wife treats me like toxic waste.

David Bisonette

 

 

 

My teen has determined that between a government that doesn’t care and irresponsible commerce and consumption, we simply must move to Mars.  Why such a  complicated solution and, more importantly, why give up on this planet? How can we use our circle of influence, however small, to make a difference?

Ride the bike or walk.  Get your workout (and make memories if you do this together) along the way to school, lunch and running errands in town.

Donate used clothes and books. Look for local Thrift Shops and the nearby bins for donations.

Leave re-usable bags in the trunk of your car so they’re handy for grocery and shopping trips.

Use washable plates and cutlery.  Ok–I hear the groan especially for parties! Make clean up a snap by soaking used ones until you’re ready to tackle them. Learn to use bamboo chopsticks!

Grow a garden. Getting fingers dirty and familiar with the source of all life is necessary for us to remember that we are not superior but interdependent with all creatures, including the humble earthworm and even germs. Start with a pot of herbs by a sunny window if going outdoors sounds too daunting.

Unplug and opt to be outside.  Good luck convincing teens but if they must know, fresh air and movement are the best antidotes to depression. Assign each member of the family to think of a fun activity outdoors that everyone can do together at least once a week.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share on Earth Day and everyday, how we can give our young a deeper awareness of their role in protecting the oceans, the land, the creatures of our one and only planet.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Wives

 

If love is the answer,

could you please

rephrase the question?

Lily Tomlin

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Coming Of Age

 

Being an adult is mostly just

going to bed when you don’t want to

and also getting up when you don’t want to.

Pinterest

 

Happy Back to School Whew!  Grateful to send two sons off to colleges (albeit in opposite directions) and now wondering how to sell a tighter driving radius to my daughter for her own university prospects.  Not that I’ll insist she visits me often–though that can’t possibly be such a bad thing, no?

From Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From The Sea:

Woman must come of age by herself.  This is the essence of “coming of age”–to learn how to stand alone. She must learn not to depend on another, nor to feel she must prove her strength by competing with another. In the past, she has swung between these two opposite poles of dependent and competition, of Victorianism and Feminism. Both extremes throw her off balance, neither is the center, the true center of being a whole woman. She must become whole. She must, it seems to me, as a prelude to an “two solitudes” relationship, follow the advice of the poet to become “world to oneself for another’s sake.”

In fact, I wonder if both man and woman must not accomplish this heroic feat. Most not man also become world to himself? Must he not also expand the neglected sides of his personality, the art of inward looking that he has seldom had time for in his active outward-going life, the personal relationships which he has not had as much chance to enjoy, the so-called feminine qualities, aesthetic, emotional, cultural and spiritual, which he has been too rushed to fully develop. Perhaps both men and woman in America may hunger, in our material outward, active, masculine culture, for the supposedly feminine qualities of heart, mind and spirit–qualities which are actually nighter masculine not feminine, but simply human qualities that have been neglected.  It is growth along these lines that will make us whole, and will enable the individual to become world to himself.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how being a world unto yourself has meant for you.

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

How To Raise An Adult

I think

if I make it to 40,

I can be pretty amazing.

Wendy Wasserstein, Uncommon Women & Others

NYC-NJ-Sculpture-Powerful-Goddess-Glamour-Boudoir-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-6280016-2

Wandering Rome with my teen surrounded by magnificent sculptures, I imagine the discipline it took artists to mold hard stone into flowing robes and graceful figures. They give me a measure of comfort realizing that parenting teens requires as much patience and dedication–while remembering to keep our hands tied behind our back.

Why did parenting change from preparing our kids for life to protecting them from life? How has this shift left them unprepared to live life on their own?

Julie Lythcott-Haims sums up the effects of “helicopter parenting” from her observations as a parent and as an academic administrator working with college Freshmen in her book How To Raise An Adult.

The central aim of parenting has evolved to preparing children for success and every act of nurturing gets judged on the basis of whether it will usher a child toward a life of accomplishment or failure. This standard holds our everyday choices hostage to worries for their prosperity and future. As the New York Times article of Heather Hevrilesky puts it, “A child who soaks in the ambient anxiety that surrounds each trivial choice or activity is an anxious child, formed in the hand-wringing, future-focused image of her anxious parents.”

Much as we want to exempt our children from pain and suffering, Julie Lythcott-Haims underlines that learning through experience is the best way humans learn. If we don’t allow our children to suffer the tribulations of life, we are not doing our job of preparing them to be adults. It is necessary to hold our tongue and stay out of their way as they stumble, learn how to pick themselves up and arrive at their own answers.

This book is both pro-parent and pro-child, well researched, easy to read, and full of comforting and practical advice for parents walking the tightrope of being supportive without being controlling. Tough, I know!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what it takes for your to allow your children to figure things out on their own.

xoxox

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NYC-NJ-Sculpture-Powerful-Goddess-Glamour-Boudoir-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-6280010-2

NYC-NJ-Sculpture-Powerful-Goddess-Glamour-Boudoir-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-6280058

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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 Woman

 

When In Rome Again

In Italy,

they add work and life

to food and wine.

Robin Leach

Rome-Italy-Piazza-Navona-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Piazza Navona on a rainy day last visit

After last year’s whirlwind mother-daughter holiday (see posts London with teen and Paris Charms with Teen,) the older brothers realized that traveling with mom need not just be an excuse to get their pesky sister out of the house.  This Spring break, Brother #1 has signed up for his turn to go on  a mother-son rendezvous.

Argentina was first choice because he’s interested in tango (and the pretty ladies that go with it,) but that’s too long a schlep from Boston for a week off. He got all excited over Iceland, but I refuse to  be any place colder in March. Where can he hop on an easy flight to get to relatively mild weather, see art, architecture, and engineering marvels everywhere he turns, while avoiding hordes of tourists? Why, Rome in March, of course!

Audio tours

Before you even start packing, let celebrity guide Rick Steves’ audio tours stoke your imagination and enthusiasm.

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A few fun things to do in Rome after you’ve covered the basics:

Rent a Ferrari

This IS Italy! Why not?

ome-colosseum-ferrari-car-rental-italy

photo by Conde Nast Traveler

Ostia Antica

Also known as “The better Pompeii,” Ostia Antica is only 30 minutes North of the Colosseum, compared to Pompeii’s 4 hours South. This used to be the bustling commercial port of Rome when the Romans controlled the Mediterranean. Wandering around the ruins today, you’ll see well-preserved remains of ancient brick structures from docks, bakeries, warehouses, apartments, mansions, shopping arcades, baths and sculptures–a peek at Roman lifestyles 2,000 years ago.

And if your travel companions are allergic to museums, a couple of light and lovely options are:

Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

This private mansion off the Piazza Venezia on Via del Corso is also a museum open to the public. An easy walk from the Colosseum past the Typewriter building (aka The Wedding Cake or Il Vittoriano Monument.) I love its rich interiors and their mini version of Versailles’ “Hall of Mirrors.” Listen to the audio guide recorded by a family member of the Doria Pamphilj as you walk through the elegant rooms and art filled halls, pay the extra 5 Euros to tour their more private apartments. Caffe Doria breaks the museum standard fare with its delicious and generous portions for lunch and tea/coffee in old world charm.

Italy-Rome-palazzo-doria-pamphilj

photo by Palazzo Doria Pamphilj

Galleria Borghese

Hike up to this mansion of Cardinal Borhese that is now a small museum for lovers of classical paintings and sculpture. Make advance tour reservations, leave your handbag home to avoid one more queue to check it, get there early before the crowds, and take your sweet time  with their audio guide that is not shy about describing  the underhanded ways that wealth and treasures get acquired. Afterwards, you can stroll through the gardens or rent a bicycle wagon in the park surrounding the property.

Italy-Rome-Paolina-Borghese-Bonaparte-as-Venus-Galleria-Borghese

photo from Google Images

The Galleria Borghese is an easy walk down to Piazza del Popolo with its ancient obelisk and open square. Plenty of restaurant choices along the way as you head down Via del Babuino to the Spanish steps.

Galleria del Cembalo

Between the Spanish steps and the Tiber River at a wing of the Palazzo Borghese, fans of photography can admire exhibits in rooms with ornate high ceilings.

Italy-Rome-galleria-del-cembalo

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) for your Rome travel tips.

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 Woman

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