We know it may come as a surprise with our bouncing curls and in-sync attitude that we aren’t twins or even sisters, but we are sisters at heart and we’ve embraced the nickname our beloved friends have given us: the Sunshine Twins. (Feel free to embrace it too ;-} )
Our story: Well, pardon the brevity but it kinda goes something like this…we both almost died, we met in Italy, and now we are on a quest to spread light and love through simplicity.
Let us rewind a bit.
In January 2012, we both were chaotically trying to pack our luggage for our college study abroad experience in Florence… separately that is, without knowledge of who the other person was. We had one thing in common at that point though: we both knew we were going to be roommates because that’s exactly what was emailed to us before our departure. (Today, we are forever grateful to our program director for this magical arrangement and convinced it had to be because of the hair!)
Only recognizable by name from that email, we had no idea who Alexandra Santiago was and who Katerina Miras was. Alas, we stuffed our suitcases anyways with everything we could possibly think of (one with a little more clothes than the other), frantically getting last minute supplies and with feelings of excitement and giddiness, we were off (one a bit earlier than the other, one forgetting her passport at home mid-way through and being forced to turn back around), but luckily, we both made it there eventually. Phew!
Somehow seated perfectly on the airplane, one in front of the other, we slowly began to understand the other curly haired twin. And in due time, we became best friends who came to the life-changing belief that we had a responsibility, a higher calling to educate young women about living authentically, challenge modern cultural expectations and help women of today embody a deeper sense of purpose.
So how did we come to this motive together?
You probably read all of the above thinking, “when are these gals going to get to the part of them almost dying? That was thefirst part of their story and we still haven’t heard a peep about it!” (You’re curious, we know.) Bear with us.
It was during one of our late-night philosophical whispers on the steps of the Duomo in Florence that we came to understand how precious yet simple life really is when we both shared our personal experiences that almost lead us to death. You would think it’s this part that would ignite us to do something with our life, dream higher, create more, make us more enlightened (and maybe it is always in the back of our heads as a driving force) but the truth is what really gives us fire in the belly is the living part. We may have almost physically died, but we’ve found a trend of people who feel dead inside on more accounts than none, us included at times.
We see too many young women today losing respect in themselves and others, vandalizing their own bodies and minds, and losing touch with a greater good. We can certainly relate. We definitely aren’t perfect, and we know that being a woman comes with crazy amounts of expectations: you’re too pretty, not sexy enough, you have cellulite, your waist needs to be two inches thinner, your clothes are too tight or too loose, you’re not nurturing and caring, you should be more aggressive in this instance but in this case you should be more passive…when does it end?!
Being slutty has somehow become the new sexy and unconscious living has turned into reckless destruction. Girls are being bullied for how they look, how they act, and for what they believe in and women grow to feel insecure, not good enough, confused, unloved and sometimes resort to masking these emotions with addiction and self-sabotage. This is a SERIOUS problem. And we want to bring vigor and verve, grace and poise back into the sweetness of your life.
That’s where we are right now: on a mission to help transform other women’s lives as we journey through our own.
As 23 year old Graduate Students going for two completely different degrees (Katerina: getting a Master’s in Art History and Criticism at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts; Alex: getting an MBA in Sustainability at Bard College), we sure did hit our fair share of ups and downs wondering if we were pursuing these degrees because of want or pursuing them because of expectation and need.
It was when we leaped into the conventional hub of Graduate School that we realized how unconventional we both are. We love school, we love learning, we love teaching and truly do believe in the power of education and knowledge (all the perfect ingredients for a Graduate Student recipe), but we also love people and helping others be the best they can be. We noticed that our own peers would come to us for advice, not in our respective academic quests, but in terms of their personal pursuits whether with relationships, health, positive thinking, and overall confidence. That’s when we decided we wanted to dedicate ourselves to helping you and your own individual conquest. We will provide you with personal insights, resources, and tools that we’ve found valuable to guide you on how to accept what station of life you are in and then jump-start your journey to master yourself.
What does it mean to be a master at something? Can we really put a price tag on it too?
We pay thousands and thousands of dollars today, spend numerous hours studying and memorizing, writing and researching to be masters in a particular subject or field, but when do we take the time, the energy, and the will to master ourselves? This is a different type of Masters Degree we are talking about. This is about investing in yourself, who you are, not what you are or what you will be. This is about loving yourself and accepting the beautiful, bad-ass being that you are. This is about YOU.
We are recording our own personal wellness journey and sharing our best findings–in mind, body, and soul– and you’re invited! Want to come along? ;-}
Be sure to check out our About Renaissance Swag page to get the full scoop on this fun movement. You can connect with us on Instagram @RenaissanceSwag–because sometimes pictures speak more than words. Don’t let these lion-manes fool you, though. We don’t bite, we swear. We’ll just nudge you a tad if we see you losing your zesty-self.
We look forward to meeting you!
With love and light,