Instinct on a Full Moon

 

 

I felt it in my heart.

I held it in my gut.

He whispered to me—

The truth before you told me.

Before you mustered up enough

Strength, courage, boldness.

To let me know yourself

 

How did I know?

Is it because I’m woman?

And you’re male.

Is it because I hold a heightened power of intuition?

(That’s too reductive).

 

Or, is it because I’ve seen you before?

You’re a déjà vu of other men,

Who didn’t have the tenacity.

To hold the truth. To tell the truth

So instead covered it up with half-truths

And an opalescence that they thought was

so distracting, I couldn’t see through the shimmer and the shine.

I do like shiny things.

But

that’s why I’m a connoisseur of the real from the fake

Did you not know? You can tell a real pearl by its grit

When you bite down on it.

That’s a fact. For real. Proof of authenticity.

 

Let me tell you the truth.

It will set you free.

I saw it before you knew it.

I saw it coming weeks in advance.

Because I hold intimate knowledge of you

I’m no fortune teller. I don’t have the gift of foresight.

But—I am a woman who runs with the wolves.

Insight told me, miles ahead of you

Because I am not afraid of the wild,

Or the rhythms of the moon, that dictate change in the tides.

Does it frighten you?

Because I see you for who you are, and I’m not afraid of it.

I don’t walk away without asking you first to look me in the eyes.

Because I could push you stratospherically out of your comfort zone?

“Maybe nothingness is to be without your presence,
without you moving, slicing the noon
like a blue flower, without you walking
later through the fog and the cobbles,” (Neruda)

—I guess you will see, as you feel me walk away.

 

By Jennifer McGeever

Written on the night of a full moon, feature image taken by Florence Chau in Vancouver, Canada.

Catch The Vision

‘Where there is no vision, people cast off restraint’ Proverbs 29:18

Vision has been at the forefront of my mind recently. Maybe it’s because it’s towards the start of the new year, in fact, I’m still in the midst of celebrating the Lunar New Year (celebrations officially last 15 days). However vision isn’t just for new beginnings, it can also help to realign us in the midst of doing something or when we feel we’ve lost focus. As Proverbs states, those without vision cast off restraint, and it can become so easy for us to give up on something we used to feel so strongly about, whether it be our purpose, a relationship, or a goal merely because we lost sight of why we began it in the first place.

 

It is key to write down your vision. And actually write it out with a physical pen and paper, the act of writing it manually sears it into your brain and makes it more memorable and real. I actually wrote out a vision for this space last year. Note that vision is not just about what is, in fact it is much more about what will be than what is right now. I wanted to share my vision for this space with you all, so that we can clearly see the aim and where we are heading towards. Sometimes you need to cast the vision, state the intention to those who are along the journey with you in order to connect and resonate with those who catch and support it, and can contribute to its community moving forward. Sharing a vision to begin with isn’t necessarily always right, some things are birthed in our hearts and in order to protect them, we need to be very choosy about who we share them with. Don’t cast your pearls before swine (another Proverb, it’s the book of wise sayings for a reason), in other words, don’t take what is too precious and valuable and put it in front of those who will not fully understand or appreciate it.

 

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Photo: Jennifer McGeever, January 2017

 

In its foetal stages, vision needs nourishment and care. One of the most powerful women in the Bible actually didn’t reveal key information about her background, as she had been advised not to do so (“Esther had not revealed her people or family background, because Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it.”
‭‭Esther‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

In fact, if she had revealed this information at the wrong time, her entire purpose would have been thrown off course. Revelation is God’s timing and domain: ‘It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, it is the glory of Kings to reveal it’ (Proverbs 25:2).

SS Vision Statement:

« This is a space for those who don’t see a division between intelligence and investment in style. Who know their taste but are equally informed about the human heart. A place for art and acquiring knowledge, a place where artificial separations are demolished, as SS stands for style with substance and understands that the creative is in every one and every walk of life. In that vein you will find essays on faith alongside articles on where to find the showrooms of the best independent jewellery designers in the world. Feminism alongside food, the best breakfast in Bali side-by-side with informed writing on the mixed race experience. As a 25 year old woman who has lived in both hemispheres and is educated, inquiring and aesthetically astute, I find it harder and harder to find a space and words that combine both style and real substance, that talks to me not only as a peer but as a human, not enticing me with clickbait or SEO-friendly headers but honesty and integrity. I have set out to create media that I want to read and that resonates with my peers who are changing the game in their respective fields.

Many of these pieces are like transcribed extensions of conversations I have had with incredible friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, social stratas and ethnic backgrounds. SS is authentic and representative not because diversity is trendy (*cough cough* every major fashion and beauty brand who is only now diversifying their nude range) or commercially viable, but because this is the world in which I have grown up and thrive within, the world as it should be, is and can become where it is lacking. Style with substance: let’s be men and women making strides to embody this. »

When it is right, casting and sharing vision can allow something to ascend to its next natural progression of growth. Everything growing needs to see the light of day at some point in order to evolve. Thank you for allowing this vision its space to breathe, sit and soar. I hope it resonates with you.

Always in love,

Jennifer McGeever

x

Women of Style & Substance: Jessica Lee

Jessica Season Lee, a name as beautiful and unique as the girl herself. I would say what first bonded us was art. We’ve both always loved to paint and draw naked people (formally known as life-drawing) and although we went to the same school, we were in different forms throughout our time there. If it wasn’t for our love to create, we may never have bonded the way that we did. We are both a little whimsical, and away with the fairies at times (disclaimer: we may both still believe in fairies). Our artistic tendencies brought us on art department trips together to Paris and New York (which was a school trip for the history books on the scale of hilarity and sheer number of things that went wrong) and solidified our bond.

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Jess snapped by me in Jaipur, India. Candidly beautiful

She is one of my absolute favourite women in the world, my travel buddy (adventures include burns from bad boys on motorbikes in Langkawi and getting trapped in a bear-roaming National Park after-dark), confidante and someone I can be 100% myself with without fear of judgement. She is my go-to gal for matters of the heart; I remember after one particularly bad break-up I got a handwritten card in the post from Jess with a Seneca greeting on the front: ‘Thank you for being’ it read. So beautiful and so quintessentially Jess (I still have that card on my wall today, it will forever be the right word at the right time in the right place). One facet of her character which I don’t think she even fully realises is her inner resilience and quiet strength; she is living testimony to the reality that kindness isn’t weak and that living with whimsy isn’t congruous with not understanding pain, she inspires me with her unassuming tenacity in both personal and professional spheres more than she will ever know. Soul twin, oriental sister, partner in trying to make voice notes cool (seriously y’all should try it), without further ado here’s Jessica Season Lee and a little insight into her captivating and oh-so-beautiful mind…

A post shared by Jennifer McGeever (@j_wenghan) on Mar 26, 2015 at 8:20am PDT

 

SS: What did you last Google? 

JL: I last googled ‘Sustainable Fashion Academy’. I want to enrol in a Sustainability Fundamentals course which will give me more of an insight into the sustainability challenges and opportunities we face within the fashion industry, and identify how I can improve processes within my own job. Working at a company that promotes fast fashion has really highlighted the importance of being environmentally and ecologically mindful – I feel somewhat responsible to ensure I am doing all I can to help and educate myself.

SS: Name one app you love that we might not know about: 

JL: I share a food blog called Galstronomy with two of my best friends so I’m on the hunt for good editing apps. I’ve recently discovered Foodie which specialises in filters catered to photos of all my food snaps.

 

SS: What is your happy place?

JL: My ultimate happy place is enjoying good food with good company – for me, it’s definitely the case that the way to my heart is through my stomach.

SS: What book are you currently reading or did you most recently finish? 

JL: I’ve just finished reading The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett which follows two people and three different versions of their future – both together and apart – as their love story takes on different incarnations. I would highly recommend this book – I love how it illuminates themes of fate, relationships and how impactful the choices we make can affect our lives and the lives of those around us [Ed note: This has just gone on my reading list.]

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SS: Who embodies style with substance for you?

JL: It won’t be a surprise to many that I think my mother is the ultimate embodiment of style with substance [Yes! Yvonne is the epitome of chic and all of our woman crushes ❤ ). She is chic, elegant and artistic with a distinct sense of style – her love for fashion has definitely filtered down to me. She is generous, brave, strong, a dreamy mother and completely beautiful inside and out – I’m so lucky to know her.

Jess
Actual twins no? The Lee ladies ❤ #TheUltimate, blessed to know you both

 

SS: What is one lesson that you’ve learnt in the past year?

JL: You have to go for what you want unashamedly. I have never been good at shouting about my achievements, nor am I vocal enough about telling people what I feel I deserve. Being new to the working world has been a huge learning curve for me where I haven’t always backed myself with conviction when it comes to things like promotions. I think women in general need to be better at this, and being brave and bold is something I’m trying to focus on – let’s close this gender pay gap! [Floored by all the wisdom here, amen, amen, amen! We are both huge fans of Lean In, the recent ’20 Percent Counts’ campaign they ran has loads of practical insight and wisdom on negotiating pay and the bottom line benefits for businesses in closing the gap, see more here.]

SS: Do you have a favourite podcast?

JL: There are so many good podcasts out there, but my favourites would probably be Desert Island Discs and Strangers. I am known as someone who asks endless questions because I want to know all the little things about the people I meet [lol YES this is such a J Lee trait that we all know and love, the most eternally inquisitive girl I know]. These podcasts provide unique insights into individuals and their stories which I find so interesting.

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‘Each episode is an empathy shot in your arm, featuring true stories about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren’t even who we thought we were.’


SS: The first thing I do when I wake up is:

JL: I’ll hit the snooze button about three times and then check Instagram before getting up. In my dreams I’m the ultimate morning person who does sun salutations when I wake, has time to eat my breakfast at the dining room table and goes to the gym before work – sadly I’m more of a night owl than a lark.

SS: What is your guilty pleasure?

JL: Word play, cheese jokes, emojis and memes – they’re things that brings me so much joy but annoy the people around me endlessly… [Jess has a meme for every situation and will send them accordingly – classic example below – it’s a talent].

View this post on Instagram

Buzz buzz bitch @mybestiesays

A post shared by Lola Tash and Nicole Argiris (@mytherapistsays) on

 

SS: If you could travel the world in a day, what pitstops would make and why?

JL: I would start the day with breakfast in the company of giraffes at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya [Omg this looks insanely magical], pop over to Japan for my favourite sushi and ramen with friends for lunch, and then visit my family in Singapore for dinner. Time in between would be spent sunbathing in the Maldives. Dreamy times.  

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Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, image by Travel For Senses

SS: Any final words of wisdom?

JL: Roald Dahl once wrote ‘watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it’. Where we live in a world of so much sadness and uncertainty, and where many of us end up stuck in the same old routine life, I think it’s really important to look out for the magic that surrounds us and take note of even the little things that bring joy.


Wow, couldn’t think of more perfect and adept words to end this interview with than the above. A lot of people don’t believe in miracles, but there is actually miraculous in the everyday, we are just too often distracted to see it. Thank you Jess, for reminding us to unravel the mysterious and the beautiful in the moments of each day.

Follow Jess @instagramjessica and Galstronomy @Galstronomy 

A Woman’s Worth

You are, actually, worth fighting for
You are worthy of selfless friendship
You are worthy of unexpected kindness
You are worth a good night’s sleep

 

You are better than giving them another day of your life
You are more than less than

 

You are allowed to take up space (especially when you got there first)
You are allowed to be more educated
You are allowed to walk in your desire
Be entitled to.

 

She is worthy of shelter
She is worthy of freedom to bleed
Without interruption to her everyday month
She is worthy of understanding the world
She is worthy of still being able to feel
Electricity between her thighs
Unmutilated.
She is worthy of owning
She is unworthy of being owned

 

No, you don’t have to always make room for him
No you don’t have to accommodate
No—it actually doesn’t mean yes

 

You are worthy of not crying yourself to sleep
You are worthy of being accommodated
You are worthy to serve

 

You are worthy of taking the time
You are allowed to take a breath
You are allowed to be breakable
You are allowed to dream, please do
You are allowed to not know

 

You are worthy of not being prey

 

She is entitled to your respect
She is entitled to her feelings
Yes, she is worth your unadulterated fidelity
She is every woman you love
Yes, maybe she is better off without you

 

You are worthy to serve
One another in love
You are worthy to be treated
In love as you treat others

 

Yes, you are.

 

 

— Jennifer McGeever

Ed note: The symbol on the envelope above is a (badly scribed) Chinese character for ‘female’.

Women of Style & Substance: Alice Trow

Feature image: Jack Sain

 

Alice is a fireball of energy and light. It’s hard to describe unless you have met her in person, but she one of those rare people whose energy brings warmth to a room and radiates positivity. Funnily enough myself and a good friend who doesn’t know Alice very well but has met her a few times (via me) mentioned how incredible an aura she has just the other day. I think you will see what I mean via her words on this page.

As a general rule of thumb, I avoid saying what people ‘do’ in a 9-5 sense in this series as I think we tend to place too much value today upon the identity of someone through their doing rather than their inherent being. However, in this unique case, Alice’s passions and personal interests overflow so much into her work life that I couldn’t help but mention them. She is an incredible actress who I love watching in her element, an inspiring yogi (check out her classes at Blok, Frame and more via ClassPass where she unsurprisingly has rave reviews), part-time fairy (yes, wonderfully and seriously) and a full-time giver who sprinkles a little glitter and fairy dust wherever she goes. She inspires me as she is beating her own path and breaks every and any preconception you may have of how life and work should look and intertwine. She has the hardest work ethic of anyone I know and her energy is effervescent.

 

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Image by Naina Bajekal. Taken at the amazing art-deco era Bouillon Racine bar in Paris
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Alice and I in Paris, 2012 (I remember that spectacular skirt or hers made her the subject of a fashion blogger’s street style pics that day!)

 

We met through mutual friends way back when we were about 16 (!) and were also in some of the same dance classes, becoming sisters in a friendship that has endured, deepened and blessed my life in countless ways ever since. Crazy to think that it’s been almost a decade since our stars aligned, but she is most definitely someone who I know in my bones I was meant to meet, a kindred spirit, fellow fighter and a woman who has blossomed and flourished before my very eyes. She is someone I can enjoy getting my nails done with as much as I can sharing a bottle of wine and an intense DMC (deep, meaningful conversation). We’ve shared many adventures together and she’s graced me with her presence in my adopted homes of Paris and Singapore over the last few years. My love and respect for this woman are ever-growing; I hope the little and large things that shape her thinking below will resonate and inspire you. She is so generous and giving in every way, that I am truly privileged to be able to honour her in this small way.
SS: What did you last Google?
AT: The actress Emma Thompson. I was explaining how amazing she is to someone who knew little of her. She is definitely one of my idols. Infectiously adorable and powerful on and off screen/stage. She’s one intelligent woman, effortlessly beautiful and elegant. She’s managed to balance an incredible career with family life that I feel is in itself so impressive and inspirational.

 

 

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Emma Thompson, image courtesy of Hamilton Hodell

 

SS: What’s one app you love that we might not know about?
AT: I have so few apps. I’m an old fashioned girl and try and embrace the ‘less is more’ approach to most of my life, including my phone. I avoided all dating apps, for example, for numerous reasons but mainly because I didn’t want or need another reason to look at my phone! I would say though that I’m a fan of ‘Y plan’. It gives you great, alternative day or nighttime ideas on how to spend your time. It’s also great for date inspiration too, for when you meet people in the actual flesh right?!

 

SS: What is your happy place?
AT: Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath have always been my happy places in London. So close but yet so far from all the hustle and bustle. I’m a born city girl but have a thirst for nature and need space to clear my head and simply breathe. Primrose Hill gives me a bit of both. A patch of serenity and space in what feels like a snow globe city.

 

 

SS: What book are you currently reading or did you most recently finish? Would you recommend it?
AT: The last book I bought but haven’t yet read is called ‘Assholes – A Theory’ by Aaron James. I bought it in America at the best bookshop I’ve ever been to – Powell’s in Portland. I was instantly drawn to it by the title and how there is a concept behind people’s behaviour that simply makes them assholes [Ed note: hilarious! Mental note, must visit this bookshop when in Oregon!] I was intrigued. I look forward to reading it. I’ve been studying a lot of yoga recently so my reading time has been taken up by that department [Ed note: Alice is always teaching me so much beautiful yoga knowledge from her learning and teaching. Most recently the sacred heart mudra which acts as a meditation by using a physical gesture to connect with your heart and consciousness.]

 

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SS: Who embodies style with substance for you?
AT: It would be a crime if I didn’t say Sarah Jessica Parker! Being the avid Sex and the City fan-since-birth that I am, it would be fundamentally wrong to not bow down to her on and off screen. She breaks the rules without trying to make a statement. It’s always done with grace and subtlety that I truly admire. You don’t have to be loud to be heard, you don’t have to push to make someone feel and I believe that is the same with fashion. When something grabs your attention for all the right reasons it doesn’t need to be abrasive or aggressive to get a message across. [Amen!!!] Her style is expressive but approachable. However not always affordable. The day I can easily afford 12 pairs of Manolo Blahniks will be a momentous day. [Yes, yes and yes again!]

 

 

SS: What is one lesson that you’ve learnt in the past year?
AT: Patience. Simple as that. Patience really is a virtue.

 

SS: Do you have a favourite podcast?
AT: Yes. Check out Greg Proops – ‘The smartest man in the world.’ I had the pleasure of watching him live in Portland at The Helium Comedy Club and he was both hilarious and fascinating. He’s a satirist and hands down gave me the best low-down of the US election I could have possibly wished for having been there at the exact time that sh!t was hitting the fan. He knows all the facts and is determined to spread them with laughter and anger running through his veins. A truly outstanding three hours were spent listening to the man hammer down on white supremacy, racism and misogyny.

 

SS: The first thing I do when I wake up is:
AT: Look outside.

 

SS: What is your guilty pleasure?
AT: Chocolate. I’m addicted. It’s a problem and I’m working on it. It’s all about control.

 

 

SS: If you could travel the world in a day, what pitstops would make and why?
AT: I would love to spend half a year ‘chasing the sun’. So I would start in Italy where I feel my heart belongs, in the summer (probably the Amalfi Coast) and continue eastbound through Asia and Indonesia. I’d have to spend Christmas on the beach in Australia and then find my way to the West Coast of America, drive all the way across until I find Manhattan and then back home. My yoga mat would be my companion.

 

SS: Any final words of wisdom?
AT: Have me as I am, or don’t have me at all—you are enough. That’s it.

 


I can’t think of a better thought to start the new year with (calendar and Lunar!) Wishing you all a blessed week wherever you are in the world, thank you Alice for sharing so honestly, hilariously and beautifully!

See Alice’s yoga blog and class schedule here. Follow her adventures on Instagram @alicetrow

Namaste,

Jenn

x

Women of Style & Substance: Saskia Bewley

Feature image: Saskia, captured by yours truly on the iconic steps of the Palais des Festivals, home to the Cannes Film Festival

 

We first met back in the autumn of 2010 and our years of friendship since have been so rich in discovery.

A commonality in both our lives is that we are ethnically mixed and it has allowed us to share so many conversations about the beauty, frustration and issues of identity (many of which come from external sources) that are part of the territory in embodying the hilarious and ambiguous tick-box on the form marked”mixed other”. This has taken formal contexts e.g. being interviewed on mixed race identity as part of her Masters in Intercultural Communication for Business and the Professions (yes she’s a modest genius) and attempting to give insight into diversity within the fashion industry for her thesis based around Indian Vogue, to wine-fuelled heart-to-hearts on my bedroom floor.

 

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Plum foolin’ in Cannes

 

Saskia is insanely intelligent, stoically perceptive and profoundly gifted at providing the right word at the right time. She is one of those rare people who speaks directly to your soul (even across continents via Skype) and has delivered me moments of profundity and as she would say, great synchronicity (those connecting the dots, everything interconnects on so many levels ones). Over the years we have somehow developed an unspoken tradition of gifting each other with the words of great men and women in the form of poetry, books and the occasional handwritten quote. Our conversations and shared love of literature always leave me thinking in new ways, challenged and motivated to act accordingly. This interview was no exception!

 

SS: What did you last Google? 

SB: Hand in Hand for Syria’s Aleppo Emergency appeal: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AleppoAppeal [Ed note: Please do donate to this worthy cause if you can, it is often difficult to know if you are investing your money in the right places or organisations, but you can rest assured that this appeal provides direct aid where it is needed].

 

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.

[…]

Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed.
We can be.  Be and be
better.  For they existed.

~ Maya Angelou, ‘When Great Trees Fall’ (shared with me by Saskia)

 

SS: Name one app you love that we might not know about: 

SB: I recently downloaded Insight Timer – Guided Meditations. It’s great for timing meditation sessions and there are some really nice guided options as well. I am pretty hopeless at being mindful so this is good discipline for me. Also, it sounds ridiculous but I often hold my breath without realising it, especially when I’m concentrating on a task, so the app is helping me to be more conscious of my breathing. Overall I’m just trying to be more present. And also not pass out!

 

SS: What is your happy place?

SB: My grandmother’s kitchen. One of my earliest memories is being sat on the kitchen floor whilst my grandmother cooked. She would give me and my brother mini rolling pins and boards so we could “help” make chapatis. She never seemed to mind that ours were any shape but round! And she would always make sure she ate ours first. I suppose ultimately my happy place is wherever stomachs are full and hearts are fuller. [ I couldn’t agree more, Amen!]

 

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SS: What book are you currently reading or did you most recently finish? Would you recommend it?

SB: I recently finished ‘This is How You Lose Her’ by Junot Díaz. It’s a collection of interlinked short stories, predominantly centred around a recurring protagonist called Yunior. The prose is really raw. It’s really interesting as an insight into Dominican American culture, the immigrant story, masculinity and infidelity. In a way I found it quite alienating, and as a woman it left me feeling a little empty afterwards. I think that was kind of the beauty of reading it though. Not all stories are for you so to speak and these challenged me.

 

SS: Who embodies style with substance for you?

SB: Zadie Smith. I think she has an incredible mind. And she carries herself with a humility, authenticity and grace which I find really captivating.

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Author Zadie Smith

 

SS: What is one lesson that you’ve learnt this year?

SB: To pay attention to my mental and physical health – that compassion starts with the self. Something I think I’ve known intellectually for a while but am only just beginning to understand emotionally.

 

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Beauty in her natural habitat, surrounded by books in Paris’ Shakespeare and Company (a must-visit if you’re in the city!)

 

SS: Do you have a favourite podcast? 

SB: I’m a podcast noob! Sporadic listener at best. Very open to recommendations though! If my earphones are in I am usually listening to whichever musician I am currently obsessing over. [Ed note: we both agree Drake is a poet]
SS: The first thing I do when I wake up is:

SB: Check the news on my phone. A lot can happen while you’re sleeping! Particularly in 2016 it seems…It often puts me in a strange headspace but Im trying really hard to replace feelings of despair with hope and feelings of helplessness with purpose and action.

 

SS: What is your guilty pleasure?

SB: Playing the same song over and over until I’m sick to death of it! [Ed note: So glad this is not just me!]

 

SS: If you could travel the world in a day, what pitstops would make and why?

SB: There are a few places that are ancestral homes for me and a few loved ones who I don’t get to see as often as I would like, so I suppose I would go and find all the places and all the people that feel like home.

 

SS: Any final words of wisdom?

SB: I’m going to defer to the wisest of the wise on this one – Maya Angelou – “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.’


I can’t thank Saskia enough for sharing these words and tools of wisdom! Who cannot love a girl who enjoys a little too much wine and dancing as much as she does geeking out? A woman after my own heart, inspiring us to close out 2016 replacing “feelings of despair with hope and feelings of helplessness with purpose and action.” Yes!