It Takes a While to be Amazing.

This video has been floating around among my brilliant ad-colleagues.
It’s the perfect part II to yesterdays “On Rejection” post.
A pleasant kick in the ass before we embark on the weekend.
During which you should DO SOMETHING AMAZING.

(Sorry the video isn’t embedded here, but you can click on the picture below, or here, to watch.)

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And please send my little sis good, healing wishes! She’s getting her “whizzies” (as she’s calling her wisdom teeth) taken out today. Eeep.

Love,
A

On Rejection

Rejection is nothing new.

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via We Heart It

My first really painful, burned-in-my-subconscious, experience with rejection – besides never being liked by my first major crush (BURN) – was getting rejected from Columbia. My dream school of years and years. I always knew it would be stretch, but when I got that rejection in the mail, I remember literally screaming and then bursting into tears. I know, this sounds dramatic. But as a 17-year-old, on the brink of such a scary change, your dreams are all you have.

Rejection in always a step in front of you. It’s what holds you back. It’s why you don’t stretch the limits of the world and apply to a dream job, or decide to be the first female president, or follow in Jack Kerauoc’s footsteps. It’s debilitating. Because failure is so damn hard.

And the late-twenties are interesting years. Where people finally start to follow (and succeed at) their dreams. I’ve seen friends and acquaintances accomplish phenomenal things, and I couldn’t be happier – or more proud. And I know it was probably a long road, and that they probably tried really hard, and they probably got 100 nos for every yes. But since people don’t talk about the hardships, we assume that only we have it hard.

On that note. In December I finally got up the courage to submit one of my short stories to a few literary journals. I had been working on it for about three months, and realized that if I kept editing it, it would lose some of its magic. So I bit the bullet and just did it. Sent it along to four journals, made stupid ass mistakes in my cover letters because I was that nervous, and then immediately shut down my computer and walked away from it. And have been too scared to write (short stories) since.

And yesterday was the nail in the proverbial coffin. My first rejection letter. It wasn’t personalized (the top percent sometimes is), it was clearly a mass form that they sent out to all the writing fools. And my heart legitimately stopped. I mean. I knew the chances were slim, and there are a thousand and one journals out there, and that I will still have a chance to get published, but that first rejection just set an awful precedence.

But today was different. I woke up and came straight to my computer. Unearthed another short story that I’d written (and love), and got it going. At some point, if you believe in yourself, things are bound to start happening, right?

From now on, I’m going to force my rejections into resilience. Maybe then they won’t hurt so much.

Love,

A

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I Just…Can’t

But…I literally can’t.

One of my oldest friends, M, always makes fun of the way I talk. I actually think he’s been doing it since I was an awkward 85 pound fourteen-year-old with braces, so it’s really nothing new and I never take it to heart. Plus I make fun of his frat-boy antics just as much!

Anyways, recently I was texting him about something and my response was, “I can’t.” And he was like, “You can’t what, Kaveri?” Then he went into this huge long prologue about how “chiggs” (that’s what he calls girls…don’t ask me, I clearly don’t understand today’s slang. I’m still like “Wow! That’s so neat!”) always say “I can’t even” and he just doesn’t understand what we can’t do. And my response was, “Deal.” I can’t even deal!

There are a few versions of it, actually…

When something’s funny – I just can’t

When something’s sad – I really cannot

When something is hard – I can’t deal

When something is unbelievable – I can’t even

But after reading, and hysterically laughing at this link, I realized, this needs to stop! Honestly, I couldn’t even find a way to react because first I started typing “OMG dying” and then I was like ahh no. Then I started typing “I can’t.” Seriously?!

The best part? I sent it to all my friends and all of their reactions were along the lines of “Hahaha I can’t!”

I’m not sure where this trend came from or why it even came from anywhere. All I know is that it needs to end.

But I just can’t.

Hope your day is filled with flawfection,

K

How To Deal: When You Become an Unintentional Workaholic

I would have never considered myself a workaholic. Work-life balance is gospel to me. GOSPEL. I need to have a healthy bit of life in my life, in order to feel normal. God only knows why I chose to go into advertising (I blame 21-year-old Ambika), but alas here I am. And I love what I do. I really truly love it. But strategizing, and then noodling your strategy, and then re-wording your words, and re-visualizing your visuals can get gnarly.

And considering that even on a normal 9-7pm schedule, my brain turns to mush by EOD, I’ve been living a nightmarish, brain-dead, extreme.

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I know people out there can do it. I have friends who have done it and continue to do it and more power to them because Lord, it is hard (although I guess if you’re making bank it’s probably easier to stomach, i.e. why investment banking still exists).

But regardless of my trials and tribulations, I’ve been doing my damndest to stay positive and on top of my life game. Because with a wedding to plan, a guy to love, and a family that will never stop calling (please don’t, I love you!), no one’s going to let me off easy.

Here are some ways I’ve been staying afloat:

1. Retreating to my work besties. Often.

There is nothing better than a work BFF break during a long work day. They’re like a pool of cold water in the Sahara. A lone umbrella in the rain. A pair of mittens during a blizzard. Those peeps are important peeps, and they will save your sanity time and time again.

2. Planning what I’ll do on my day off when the crazy ends.

This is what I’m thinking right now. Take a day off. Go to Brooklyn. Find this new creepy cool new age store that I’m intrigued by. Purchase a book. Purchase a fancy lunch. Sit and read. With my phone in my purse on DO NOT DISTURB MODE (which if you haven’t discovered I literally don’t know how you live).

3. Getting something really tasty for lunch everyday & keeping treats at my desk.

I had enchiladas FOUR times this week. This is not an exaggeration. And each time, for some reason, my meal got the slightest bit bigger. Oh Guac? Of course! I need chips with that! Oh an ELOTE appetizer? Please. Game over.

4. Sending my fiancé work-selfies.

K can attest to this. I have ONE documented full-face selfie. That shit’s just not my thing. But when it comes to making weird faces at my fiancé – I just can’t resist. And even if he doesn’t respond (which he doesn’t), at least I can have a little (or huge…) laugh at myself and realize that life just isn’t that serious.

5. Not making any plans after work.

For some people, this isn’t a thing. In fact, they need to go to a fancy dinner and then drink cocktails until 4 am to feel better. Not this gurl. I need a cup of chai with fresh ginger, and my bed. Enter apartment. Change into PJS. Wash up as fast as possible. And in.to.bed. NETFLIX.

6. Journaling moments in my crazy as F days that give me a sense of fulfillment.

There are some really good moments in my bad days. Moments when I finally crack a tough question, or figure out the perfect chart (1. you know you’re a strategist when…) to fit the campaign architecture in my head, or help a brudda/sistah out. I can’t lose sight of the things I love about my job. They make the crazy hours feel less crazy.

7. Using whatever downtime I have to write blog posts like this that will make light of my situation.

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Even if it is just plain crazy.

Hope you’re all staying afloat!

Love,

A

How to Survive the Polar Vortex of 2014

So I’m sure a number of you have noticed that it’s, erm…bloody freezing outside. Here in Chiberia (yes, apparently that is the latest Chicago nickname) we’ve been through what now seems like almost a month of temperatures way too low to really sustain a happy life. Forget frequenting Hubbard Street at night, I can’t even muster up enough courage to drive to Trader Joe’s and stock up on goodies! I’ve had to shovel way too much snow, slush, and ice recently. And while I appreciate the forced arm workout (that’s a lie, I don’t), I’m sick and tired of this, guys! I’ve honestly caught myself (very profanely) cursing the harsh winter weather for killing my social life all too often this year. But we can’t change the weather, so how can we roll with the punches (to the gut) from good ol’ Mother Nature?

If you know me at all, you know that I love love love lists. I make at least one list per day. Really. I’ll find excuses to make lists. So, below I’ve compiled a list of ways you can all enjoy life in the great indoors as the polar vortex continues to kill your happiness, friendships, and pantry.

How to Survive the Polar Vortex

1. I highly highly recommend the buddy system. Yes. Roads are scary, parking is a nightmare, and you should probably go equipped with jump cables. But having a paly waly by your side makes everything better. In fact, the first time we were held hostages to the weather, I made sure I was with two of my best friends for the entire time. And we had the time of our lives. Sometimes being trapped is really fun if you’re trapped with someone you love.

2. Light your fireplace. I could probably conduct an actual scientific experiment on this and prove to you that by lighting a fireplace, your mood will improve at least five fold. But science really isn’t my thing so I’m going to just go ahead and tell you to light your damn fireplace and hope you listen to me. It looks pretty and gives off a lot of heat. Now that’s what I call a win-win situation.

3. Drink (a lot of) hot chocolate. Much like a nice toasty fire, a warm, filled-to-the-brim, mug of hot coca will surely boost your winter spirits! And you can get really creative with this. I’m talking adding candy canes for a little peppermint flavor, extra marshmallows, or even making it a little more adult and straight up spiking that already amazing goodness.

4. Build a fort. I am always trying to get people to do this with me and I don’t know why no one will. Dozens of pillows and blankets. Movies and magazines. THIS IS THE GREATEST IDEA EVER! If you’re trapped in the house, you might as well let your inner child out for a little play time.

5. Movies. Lots and lots of movies. This is a god-given “catch up on pop culture” opportunity for you.

6. Use the weather as an excuse not to go to the gym (hooray!)

7. Call up old friends and reminisce about how happy snow days used to make you as a child. Um, hello. The polar vortex is an excuse for you to relive your childhood (please reread #4 because I just cannot emphasize this enough).

8. Turn to your hobbies. Do you even know what your hobbies are?! Last week we were playing the typical classroom icebreaker games (another fun fact about me: I hate these. I really hate when people try to force me to have fun. Like…this is not fun. This will never be fun. Yes…even if you make it a Jeopardy! game) and the question, what’s your favorite hobby came up. And my group and I made a joke about how no one has time to learn what their hobbies are, let alone engage in them. Use this time to figure out what you like to do when you have some time off! Cook. Knit. Write. Learn how to give yourself a blow out. Read. Take photographs. Become cooler.

9. Order really cute winter gear online and have it shipped right to your doorstep! This is a great excuse to shop. You actually need new sweaters, gloves, scarves, and hats in order to survive this!

I suggest trying these places because of free-shipping and/or free returns: Shopbop – Zara – ASOS – Piperlime – Topshop

10. Nap. Nap like hell because I know you need it and you deserve it. Nap on the couch because it is so fun. Nap with three pillows and three blankets and maybe even your pet for optimal comfort. Nap nap nap.

I promise that if you take at least some of my advice, Mother Nature won’t seem like such a huge bitch. Ha! Jokes on you, gal pal (referring to Mother Nature, not you of course!)

Unless you have class on Mondays because, uh, schools are open. In that case, double up socks, grab those Uggs, put your leggings under your jeans, and grab that parka. Then go ahead and cry and complain to your mom, I know I will.

Here are a couple of my favorite memories from the snow/cold storm earlier this month:

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Slow sippin while staying toasty with one of my greatest friends, S!

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Catching up on (Bollywood) pop culture and giggling like a maniac when this question was asked!

Anyways…

Stay warm and bundled!

Love,

K

Getting To Know The Gautams

You have no idea how long we’ve been waiting to use this title…

Welcome to our first ever Honesty Hour on Jointly! To get our relationship (you + us = love) off to the right start, we decided to dig deep into our souls and bare our truest selves. Each of the below questions was answered with the utmost honesty, so you can truly get to know us and so we can set our precedence of down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness TRUTH.

A

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1. What do your days look like?

My days right now look like utter madness (“and you’re starting a brand new blog WHY?!”). I work like I’m a workaholic (but I’m not because work-life balance is THE most important thing in my world) who’s planning a wedding, hanging with my boo, trying to call my friends, gchatting my sister and cousin, journaling, trying to squeeze some exercise in there (or at least keep my core tight as I sit and type all day), and finally eating Indian food while watching Jeopardy (I’m literally 55), and other mindless TV until I start to drift.

2. What can you not live without?

I cannot live, die, breathe, thrive or survive without my family and friends. This is obvious. But I’d lose my mind without my fiancé, I’d lose my job without my dad, I’d lose my grip on adulthood without my mom, and I’d lose my excitement for life without my sisters (K + Cousins).

I also can’t live without moments of peace. In the last year or so I’ve realized that a big part of me is a total homebody. And man, do I embrace that part. Especially in a manic city like New York (<3), it’s essential to find peace.

3. First thing you do when you get home?

I keep my trusty mason jar filled with dried sage leaves right near my front door, and every night when I get home I grab one, strike a match, and let the smoke surround me. Sage is said to have healing and cleansing properties (ever heard of Smudging?), and I totally buy it!

4. One word that only people who know you well would use to describe you?

Gullible. I will trust someone to the moon and back. Even if they’re not worthy of it. I wear my heart on my sleeve and get hurt often. But I’m working on it!

5. If you were on death row, what would be the last thing you ate?

SOMETHING GLUTENOUS. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in November of 2012, and MAN do I miss my old favorites. But if I had to choose one thing, it’d be New York’s Artichoke Pizza. If you’ve never had it, look it up, and then book a ticket to New York.

6. What is your dream?

My dream is to do something I love, come home to someone I love, travel to places I love (or think I’ll love), and be near the people I love.

7. When asked to “think happy thoughts” where does your mind take you?

To my wedding day! I get chills just thinking about it. The picture is coming together so nicely (finally! Wedding planning is NO JOKE), and being able to finally visualize that day is wild.

But, when the wedding is stressing me out, my happy place is in my Mom & Dad’s living room. Fire place on, wine in hand, hanging with the entire Gautam clan with the pup in my lap.

8.  5 years ago. 5 years from now.

Five years ago, I was in my senior year of college. It was such a crazy time with super lows and super highs. My now Fiancé and I were broken up (low), I was living with three of my best friends (and future bridesmaids!), dancing on the Bhangra team, and trying to do my final college year justice.

I hope five years from now I’m a better version of myself – more understanding, more patient, more accepting. I’m lucky enough to know who I’ll have by my side five years from now, but I hope to be closer to our family and friends. And be on track to having a family of our own (MADNESS). I hope to still be pursuing my individual dreams, too. I find so much fulfillment in what I do. And maybe just maybe… I’ll be writing a novel. #truth.

9. What’s the best compliment someone can give you?

The best feeling in the world is to write something that people relate to. I once wrote a blog post on my old blog and a few of my friends sent me an email, thanking me for talking openly about something that they too had been feeling. It was AMAZING. It’s like when you finish a book and hold it to your heart because it just spoke to you. That is epic.

10. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To take what life gives me and make the best of it. To not let things get me down – I’m built to be resilient and persevere. (Thanks, Papa).

11. What’s your current life mantra?

“Slow progress is still progress.” We are so hard on ourselves all the damn time. It’s okay to take things slow as long as you’re moving in the right direction. This whole “instant gratification” mindset has got to change sometime! Work hard, put in the time, try your best, and you’ll progress.

K

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1. What do your days look like?

Honestly, most of the time my days end up looking like a mass of struggles and chaos. During the week I rush between work (the Loop) and class (Rogers Park). On a good day I’ll fit in some time at the gym, or I’ll spend some time blogging or catching up on Netflix. On the weekends I paint the town red (and blue, and green, and even purple) with all my best friends.

2. What can you not live without?

First and foremost, I cannot live without my family and friends. They are my life and the reason I am who I am today. Also, I know it’s so 21st century to say this, but I cannot imagine life without my laptop. Everything is on it and it connects me to the world! And if you know me, you know I can’t do without some Chipotle.

3. First thing you do when you get home

Everyday, as soon as I get home, I change into sweatpants and throw my hair up. Ain’t NOBODY tryna stay cute while relaxing.

4. One word that only people who know you well would use to describe you

I think I have the tendency to come off as a bit of a hard-ass when you’re first getting to know me. Probably because I’m huge on teasing people and calling them out whenever I can…even when I’ve just met them. I think teasing is bonding. But I think people who truly know me know how compassionate I am. When it comes down to it, I do everything with heart. I pretty much never think with my head (this is a huge character flaw actually). I make my decisions based off of love and comfort rather than sense and success. So bold, badass? Maybe at a glance. But really just a sensitive fool.

5. If you were on death row, what would be the last thing you ate?

A nutella long john from Firecakes. Duh.

6. What is your dream?

My dream is life. I dream about life all the time. I want to, as cliché as it sounds, live it to its fullest. I want to travel. Eat. Laugh. Drink. Love. Work. Even cry. All of those are a part of my dream of life.

7. When asked to “think happy thoughts” where does your mind take you.

This is something that changes pretty frequently, depending on where I am in life. Right now I’m consumed by thoughts of my post-grad life. So when I can’t sleep at night, I try to picture myself in my dream job (and obviously in an awesome outfit and a well decorated office…okay fine, I’ll be realistic…cubicle).

8. 5 years ago. 5 years from now.

Five years ago I was 17-years-old. I had just started adjusting to the move my family had made from Solon, Ohio to Naperville, Illinois. I had spent the past year miserable, missing what I knew. But as a Junior in High School, I decided to roll with the punches, and it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me.

Five years from now I’ll be 27-years-old. Oh my god. Hopefully I’ll have that well-decorated cubicle (maybe even a small office by then?) at an ad agency in a city that fills me with life and aspirations. Honestly, I hope I’m at least engaged so I don’t need to call up my grandmother’s older sister in India and tell her to find me some guy (she’s already told me she has a few in mind…my dad was not happy). And most of all, I hope that my family and friends are still in my life the way they are now (see…foolishly sensitive).

9. What’s the best compliment someone can give you?

“I love your writing/blog”. Seriously that is my absolute favorite compliment.

10. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Actually, this is a piece of advice A gave me a few years ago, and since I’ve spread it to a number of people. Let me give a little background on the issue that was at hand. I wanted to reach out to someone because I felt like I needed to get something off my chest, but I was hesitant. You know, you never want to annoy people or come off as clingy. She told me, do whatever makes you feel better. What a simple thought. Why don’t more people think like that? I don’t really care how Person X feels about it. If me saying something or doing something will give me peace of mind or make me feel better, I’ll do it.

11. What’s your current life mantra?

One step at a time. Guys…life is crazy! If you try to take it all on at once you collapse under the debris of it all. One little thing at a time, and we’ll all be just fine!

Hopefully you feel like you know us a liiittle bit better now. Keep an eye out for future Honesty Hours. We promise to always tell it how it is!

Jointly yours,

A & K

Hello & Welcome

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to Jointly. A blog through which we will share our lives, our loves, and our musings, both separate and together, as sisters.

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Writing is a huge passion of ours (perhaps through the blood of our journalistic, freedom fighting, and small-town famous maternal grandfather). And while we’ve both stumbled upon our love for it different ways, we’ve reached a point where our wordsmithing dreams have collided.

We should correct ourselves here, though. The love is not just for writing. But also for food, music, relationships, adventures, work, and all the other things that make life life.

We’re hoping you’ll bear with us, and learn with us, as we navigate through some of life’s biggest experiences this year – carving out a career path, making a new home, planning and having a wedding. This shit’s no joke!

Please come back and hang with us, share with us, and teach us a thing or two on Jointly. Looking forward to getting to know you all.

Jointly yours,

A & K