Adult Homesickness

Yesterday, Abi asked me who came to drop me off when I started college in 2005. I retrieved the memory from my brain effortlessly. I remember the day so clearly. I was wearing a really ugly red shirt (hindsight is twenty twenty), and my mom, dad, and K all came to drop me off. Dad did all the heavy lifting, and Mom set up my room (a single, because if you know me at all, you know I love my own space), and when they left, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

I was a really social kid, and felt like I already had 50 friends at Miami because Facebook had just rolled out across the majority of colleges, but I was precociously aware that my parents and sister leaving my dorm room that day marked the end of something major. And I knew it would never be the same.

This all sounds incredibly dramatic, but take a second to think back to this moment of your life. Was there a single kid that was anything less than ecstatic to be starting college? If so, I didn’t know any…

I’ve always been aware – too aware – of closing moments. Those last time times. Like moving to my college dorm, like getting my first apartment knowing I’d never live at “home” again, like having almost my ENTIRE family together during the wedding, the majority of my friends, pretty much everyone in the world that I loved. Walking down the aisle with my dad, knowing that once that moment ended, my entire perspective on family would shift.

Not all of these moments are sad. Ends come with beginnings, after all. But they are certainly bittersweet. And sometimes, I still feel what 17-year-old Ambika felt when her family drove off campus that day. Impending homesickness. Or moment sickness? That imminent missing. That inevitable pang of nostalgia. Knowing that even if things are wonderful (perhaps MORE wonderful than they’ve ever been), they’ll still never be the same. And even as we grow our own families, and build our own homes, and create our own lives, we’ll still sometimes yearn for the moments that have passed, even if they’re now completely inapplicable.

I woke up today from a hilarious text from my uncle that included this picture:

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And it just made me miss home. Sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and aunt, having tea. Taking ridiculous photos with all of the Gautam Girls. Starting the fire-pit in the backyard with the dads. Talking sports with my grandfather. Hearing stories from my grandmother. It made me miss all of my old friends, from back in high school, and even before (sorry to those of you who have been getting ridiculous comments from me on Facebook posts from 2005).

I’m a month out from my 28th birthday, and here I am, wishing I was sitting on the floor in our Solon living room while my mom braids my hair, watching some crappy Hindi movie, that K is WAY too invested in, and Dad’s laughing at. Even though my home is now in New York, with my own husband, and my own puppy, and I love that more than anything, I don’t think I’ll ever stop being homesick.

xx

A

Daddy’s Girls

To be totally honest, I’ve been thinking about writing this post for quite some time now, but I’ve been putting it off. Why would I ever want to put off something that’s for our dad? The reasons are two-fold:

1. Even though A and I are normally pretty good at finding the right words – when it comes to our good ol’ Papa, there are literally no words that can do the man justice.

2. Because any time I even think about my dad for more than five seconds – I start to cry. It’s a strange reaction really. Normally that would indicate that we don’t have a good relationship or something. But it’s actually quite the contrary.

Our mom has always been our best friend. A and I both talk to her at least once a day. We call her when we’re happy. Sad. Bored. Hungry. Confused (typically paired with the hunger as we go to her for cooking help). And when we just need to complain. Our dad has always been a little envious of this relationship. There’s been a number of times where I’ll be whispering something to our mom in the kitchen and our dad will scream from the living room, “Huh? What are we talking about?!”

When you’re a girl, your mom will always be your best friend, your locked box of secrets and your role model.  But your dad will always be equally as special and necessary. I can’t speak for A (I know she feels the same but would probably articulate it differently) but for me, our dad is both my biggest weakness and my biggest strength.

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Like most good oxymorons, it’s hard to understand. How can my greatest strength also be my greatest weakness? I’ll try my best to explain…

We have a strong connection, my father and I. He’s the one who pushes me – without even meaning to. He’s the reason I strive to be bigger, better, and more mature in matters of the mind and the heart. In my moments of weakness I think of him and know that he would never want me to shed tears or feel hopeless – and so I try my best to brush it off and stand up tall, because I’m Samir Gautam’s daughter. But so often, it is this very thought that kicks me even more. To know how my father would feel knowing that I’m a part of the big, real world now and thus, how hurt and cut up I’ve been at times.

I guess it all comes back to dad’s wanting to protect their baby girl’s from the harsh realities of the world. I know as teenagers we all went through that phase where we thought our parents were overprotective and wouldn’t give us enough space to grow.

(A quick rush of ghost arguments came back to me just now. “I want a later curfew”. “But all my friends are going to this concert”. “I can drive six hours by myself”. “These shorts ARE NOT too short”. And as an adult I’d like to say – the concerts were always sketchy. The six hour drives got lonely. And now that I see teenage girls prance around as an outsider…the shorts were most probably too short.)

So now that we’ve grown we can tell you this, dad – we will always want and need your protection. No matter how old we get. The world can be scary and no one’s armor is stronger than yours.

Lots of love,

A + K

We Got Baked in San Francisco

I’ve been in a mood this week. A crappy mood. Did you know bloggers could have bad moods? Yeah, this is the real shit people. In fact, the lack of bad moods in the blogosphere (like the lifestyle blogosphere) was exactly why I was hesitant to start another blog. Where’s the realness? But I made a deal with myself that I could be as real as I wanted here. So even if it doesn’t make for the most uplifting, inspiring, enjoyable content, life isn’t all cupcakes and crinkle chips, y’all.

I think my mood stems from vacation-withdrawl. It has been just a few days since mom, K, and I returned from what I now know as undeniably amazing San Francisco. K and I had never been before, and it was RESPLENDENT. Like drop dead delightful. Coming from New York and Chicago (and Mom from Cleveland), the weather played a definitive role. Seventies, and not a cloud in the sky. No fog. Just crisp, clear, freakin’ California.

We really had an incredible time. The Gautam Girls hadn’t taken a trip in quite some time (if ever?). And we’re just GOOD travel partners. We enjoy the same sorts of things – wine, tacos, ice cream. We get tired around the same time. We don’t push each other to do more. We don’t hold each other back.

We got in late Thursday night and spent Friday roaming around The Mission. Taking snaps with murals, wandering into interesting stores, drinking coffee.

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And then we walked up some mad hills to the Painted Ladies. Which were okay. But the walk itself, the fresh breeze, the sunshine, was so so pleasant. And laying on the hill after all that huffing and puffing was also pretty great.

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We had Mexican for dinner, obviously. And they had this amazing gluten-free beer from Moonlight Brewery… so I had my first ever Michelada!

On Saturday we were super touristy, and went to the Golden Gate Bridge, which is truly a sight to see. It’s more impressive than I expected. We also look super touristy. In fact, my husband, after a boozy brunch, quite eloquently told me I looked like I belonged in the FBI. In retrospect, that’s exactly what I looked like…

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We then stopped in Sausalito.

From there, Mom, K, and I explored the Marina. We walked along the water and marveled at all of the extremely fit people of San Francisco (there were SO many six-packs). We stopped at the Palace of Fine Art, which is incredible, and then had an amazing lunch with a massive pitcher of margaritas, and… TACOS. We ended the afternoon with an insane walk all the way to North Beach, the Italian District.

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We slumped home sweaty and sore, and then took some time to recharge before some drinks and a really tasty Thai dinner.

Sunday was specially for me – wine country! We drove to Sonoma, stopping briefly at Lands End where I happened upon a very serendipitous “A+A” carving, and missed Mr. P.

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Sonoma was amazing. It was almost like being transported to Italy. It was extra special to me because my best friend got engaged in Sonoma, so the whole time I had this warm, lovey dovey feel (though it could’ve also been the wine). We had chocolate wine shots, gluten free burgers, and then drove home with the windows down playing Ne-Yo and Rihanna (dream).

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And then, sadly and suddenly, it was Monday. We were all in a slump, but our uncle (who is seriously the best host), took us out of the house for a final look around town. We stopped by Union Square, got baked at Mr Holmes Bakehouse (see Instagram here hehe), and then had one final delicious meal together.

The meal was super memorable, because something BIG happened while we were there… Super big. So big that it merited this face from K.

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She’ll be sharing in our next Jointly post.

Love,

A

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Goodness. TGIF, am I right? This week has been an intense one. Who would’ve thought 2015 would get off to such a crazy start! In honor of a weekend off to play, explore, and get inspired, we wanted to share a few things that we’ve been loving lately.

A

Since the only places I’ve been exploring lately are my work email inbox and my client’s conference rooms, I’ve been low on the Jointly-acceptable fun-stuff. But one thing I’ve still be on, is stalking my favorite personalities on Instagram (primarily during plane taxi-ing). Here are a few profiles I’ve been loving (both new loves, and old loves):

1. R.M. Drake brings poetry into the world of Instagram. He’s a writer and Etsy shop owner, and his work is just beautiful. Such a welcome interruption to the regularly eye-candy oriented content. Makes you stop, read, and consider life.

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2. Witchoria does the same thing as @rmdrk for me. Makes me break out of my idle scroll. Her content is just as haunting as it is beautiful. It’s dark, but I’m okay with that. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and I appreciate people who can address the good and the bad.

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3. Protect Your Magic is actually an online shop with amazing products that all don the line “Protect Your Magic.” A friend of mine from Mother actually re-grammed a photo recently, and I spent the next hour (and stayed up way too late) looking at all of the awesome products in the PYM shop and pondering her message:

We all have a magic about us. A magic that we should project but protect at the same time. Mine is my loyalty.. thats my magic. Whats your magic and how do you protect it? 

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K

1. This face map that tells your exactly why you have that random breakout

2. Can you imagine cuddling in this sweater, wooo-eeee!

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3. This empowering article for women and minorities found on Cleveland Craine’s – it’s just a perk that it’s about my dad!

4. Thanks to my lovely friend R, yesterday I discovered that the Apple Store hosts a ton of great events. I switched my night plans around yesterday to attend Eating with Your Eyes: Chicago Food Authority. Basically this was a Q&A hosted by the super charming Samantha Roby. Topics covered included, but were not limited to – her path to creating Chicago Food Authority, how to take the best photos for Instagram, and how to not give a sh*t when you have to stand on a chair at a 5 star restaurant to get a good photo. As I like to say, #doitforthelikes.

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While I can’t say that I learned anything new, it was super inspiring and exciting to be in a room filled with many of Chicago’s finest content curators. That being said, I’ve already cleared tonight to attend another similar event!

Hope you find some time to get inspired this weekend.

Jointly yours,

A & K

23

A few weeks ago I entered my LeBron year (haha…a little NBA humor for you all who are going to come at me for saying that). I turned the big 2-3. And…there’s no song about it.

In order to make up for the lack of “23” songs to jam to, I had to make sure I rung in the next chapter of my life in the perfect way.

I ditched the usual “me and my 160  closest friends” theme that I had been running with the past few years and called on only my closest local friends to help me make 23 the new 21.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of photographs from the occassion – sign of a good night, right?

This past weekend, I hit up Brooklyn NY to celebrate my birthday the way it was meant to be celebrated – with my best friend and my sister (and my brother!). Can you believe that I hadn’t visited them since their big move to BK?

Anyways, we ate amazing food, overdosed on the complementary coffee their building offers, watched Friends, and bought matching rings – I guess you could call that the usual.

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It truly is always better when we’re together. I’m now in the slump I always get trapped in after coming back to Chicago after family time. Luckily A and I have a trip to SF planned in March, so at least there’s something to look forward to – right?

Lots of love,

K

Better Together | Chicago Adventures

We are bumming hard today. A real case of the Monday doldrums.

It’s always so difficult to get back to the usual after an amazing weekend, especially when that amazing weekend is spent with each other, and some really close friends.

I hadn’t been to Chicago since a work research trip in the Spring, and Mr. P hadn’t been in almost a year, so we were due for a visit. Ask K… she had been on our case for months (with reason!).

We got in late Friday night (after catching up on NPR’s Serial for the entire flight, with wide-eyes and dropped jaws), and because we were desperate to eat at as many amazing Chicago restaurants as possible during our short trip, headed to The Girl and The Goat for an 11:30PM reservation. Of course, it was poppin’ and the food was exceptional, and it was totally worth the half-asleep ride home.

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Saturday was jam-packed with food, drinks, conversations, anddd more drinks. First, we went on a quest to find a gluten free donut (after I watched K, KM, and Mr. P grub on Do-Rite Donuts in the AM). We came up empty-handed, but stumbled upon Big Star, and hello… TACOS, Margaritas, and a big booth that got more and more stuffed as best friends arrived. Excellent.

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(Those peace signs are obviously meant to be ironic)

After a crazy amount of food, we walked around Wicker Park, stopping in record stores, bars, second-hand clothing shops, and more bars (we were with our college friends! No judgements, Judgies). It reminded Mr. P and I a bit of Williamsburg – except slightly more charming, slightly less gritty.

At night I went to hang out with my dear dear friend N, and her group of lovely and interesting friends. We had a delicious dinner at Travelle, in the Langham Hotel. It was seriously beautiful.

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We had so many insightful conversations – from love, to business ideas, to Ted talks. We ended our night out dancing, of course.

Finally at the very end of the night, which of course lasted another few hours – until about 5AM… I caught up with one of my college besties, L. Mr. P took to the floor for the night, giving us time to “pillow talk,” as he called it.

Overall, Saturday was one of my favorite days. With some of my favorite people.

On Sunday morning we lazed hardcore. K trekked around to find me the perfect gluten free donut (bless her, it was not as easy as you’d think), and me, Mr. P, K, and L all ate donuts on the top floor of K’s building and talked about urban planning, 3D printing, and what the world will look like in the future. But since we were so sleep deprived, and so happy, we just ended up laughing a lot. Sigh. The best of times.

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On Sunday, we met up with some family at The Publican. K and I both had the Red Wine Poached Eggs and they were pretty incredible.

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Sadly, our Sunday was cut short. I WAS GLUTENED. Beware that the Publican Mimosa is made with Orange Juice and Beer, NOT champagne. Womp womp.

So K and I just hung out, talking about life, and Jointly, and making plans for the future.

See what I mean about the Monday doldrums?

xx

A

Honesty Hour | Things We Like About Ourselves

Today, as I was doing my daily advertising research at work, I came across Dove’s latest film, Legacy. I know that body image, especially women’s body image, is something that has taken over the media in the past few years. But what I’ve never seen before, is the impact one’s body image can have on other generations.

I guess I’m so far removed from my childhood, that I forgot the impact my mother has had on me. Lucky for me, I don’t remember ever hearing my mom complain about her appearances (props to you, mom!), though I can’t say I’ve never done so. I think in a world that’s so focused on comparing and improvement (improving homes, pimping rides, getting makeovers, teaching others what not to wear), we often forget to celebrate the things we like.

I know both A and I are much more likely to complain about things than to celebrate them. So I figured today, despite our complete discomfort in doing so, for the sake of our pledge to honesty, we could share with you guys some things we like about ourselves. Here’s to self-esteem week, starting October 9th!

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Let me just start off by saying that K prefaced this post by telling me that I wouldn’t like it. And I don’t. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been really critical about my looks and my body. I had the pinnings of an eating disorder in high school, wanted to get a nose job for years, felt awkward about my height (I remember specifically being told by a cute boy that I was “too tall” and that “the perfect woman is 5’6”), and was conscious about having the “typical Indian thunder thighs.” I was bullied quite a bit when I was young, but in that weird, back-handed, it’s just a joke because we’re friends, sort of way. But it wasn’t a joke, and it hurt.

Growing up has been good for me, because I’ve slowly realized that while I care what people think, I care a hell of a lot more how I feel. Sure, it’s lovely to have a six-pack, and chiseled Michelle Obama arms, but it’s even more lovely to have healthy skin and hair, a happy demeanor, energy, and a bit of junk in the trunk – IMHO.

Which brings me to what I like about myself. Here goes.

My waist. I like it. It’s small and sits between two other parts of my body that aren’t as small, so it all works pretty nicely together. I am a curve enthusiast, so anything that ties, cinches, or sits at the waist, send em my way so I can put em on! Peplums? Yes please! Coats with belts? Get on me. Oh, those high waisted jeans from the 80’s are back in fashion? I’ll take 10 pairs.

My hair. I’m a hair person. And a bad hair morning can seriously ruin my day. But in general, my hair is on of my favorite parts of me. It’s shiny and healthy, whether it’s long, short, colored, straight, curly. Knock on wood. I can randomly cut my own bangs on a Tuesday mornings, and not only will it work (DISCLAIMER: Do not try this at home! I’ve had bangs before so I know a thing or two), people will tell me I look like Hannah Simone! Which literally makes my life (because have you seen her Instagram?! It and her are effing amazing).

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K

While I introduced this post to A telling her she’d hate it, it’s only because I knew I already hated it. Not just because my insecurities and the things I don’t like about myself, but also because I am not one to brag. Our dad raised us in a way that anytime we would talk about appearances, whether it be our own or a celebrities, good or bad, he would tell us to not be “so vain.” So I repeatedly had to tell myself while writing this post that it’s not vain or self-absorbed to like yourself. It’s actually good and healthy.

That being said, I’m proud to share a few things I like about myself.

I think the first thing would be my eyes. While I often tell my mom that if she had had green eyes like both her brothers do, I probably would have too. But now I’ve come to embrace my brown ones, though they’ve often lead to some very awkward moments. Namely the time I was getting my hair washed before a cut (so I was in that weird laying down position) and my hairdresser just looked into my eyes the entire time. It was weird. But it was also fun and I (well now not-so) secretly loved it.

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My legs. I got ’em from my daddy. I actually did and to me that’s hilarious. But for someone who’s just shy of 5’5 (I just discovered this, I always thought I was like 5’7. It was kind of heartbreaking), they’re pretty damn long. When I’m not suffering from thoracic output syndrome and other insane things, they also allow me to run and squat – which is just great. They’ve taken me around the world, they’ve allowed me to walk head-on into many experiences, all while looking pretty okay in short shorts. So, thanks dad!


While this post was insanely awkward and uncomfortable for us to compose (to the point where we repeatedly asked each other whether our sections were too braggy and over the top), we did it for the greater good, Dumbledore style. We want everyone to know that it’s not just okay, but amazing, to love yourself. We’re tired of being down on ourselves, comparing ourselves to others, and not feeling like a million bucks.

Hope we inspired you to think about what you love about being you! We know it might give you the creepy crawlies, but if you’re open to sharing, we’d love to hear. #LUVYOSELF.

Jointly yours,

A & K