New York City: Four Years Down

It’s really weird to admit this. Especially considering the majority of our readers are likely New Yorkers who LOVE being New Yorkers, but New York never used to be my thing. I wasn’t the type of person that dreamed about moving here one day. That fantasized about flying through the New York streets in a yellow Taxi, the skyline of the city creating a consistent sheen of bright light and color. It just never really appealed to me that much. It felt oversaturated, hyperbolic, self-aggrandizing. I just knew it would chew me up and spit me out, and frankly I enjoyed living in a city that skewed herbivore.

I was a softy through and through (and through and through), and when I moved to Chicago, I thought that was as city as I’d go. I loved Chicago. In spite of the harrowing winters, my long commutes, and my bike getting stolen (actually, that one still stings). For one, K and I lived together (every close sister-combo’s dream), in an impeccably decorated, two-bedroom, apartment. I had a balcony off my bedroom, guys. I had two sinks in my bathroom. A bathtub and a standing shower. A desk, a queen-sized bed, two night stands, a TV stand, and a couch all in my room. IN MY ROOM.

I loved my job at FCB. I loved my smart, down-to-earth, genuine, kind, friends. I felt like a part of something. Friday night happy hours, overly indulgent dinners at Portillos (that glutinous chocolate cake though…), karaoke. Life felt pretty great.

But the English language gave us qualifiers like “pretty” great for a reason. For moments and feelings of inadequacy. When something is just incomplete. And there was something very significant missing from my life in Chicago.

Abi.

So after many conversations, job interviews, lonely days, and red-eye flights, I decided to take the plunge, and move to New York (because I couldn’t move my then-finance-boyfriend to Chicago when he was in the finance capital of the world, and I watched enough Mad Men to convince myself that New York was the place to be in Advertising, too).

I packed up my beautiful apartment, made a deal with K that we’d live in the same city again one day (BLESS), and trudged over to the Big Apple.

This was exactly four years ago today. And I can’t believe how much New York has changed my life, but maintained my essence.

It has injected me with confidence, strength, resilience. My skin is much much thicker, but my soul is just as gentle as it always has been. It’s taught me to love myself, and put myself first, and treat myself to everything life has to offer. To take my time growing up. That maturity doesn’t come with stature, or money, or property, or children, it manifests in a mindset. That birds of a feather don’t need to always flock together! And as cheesy as it is, diversity is life! It’s taught me that being weird is f*cking awesome. That I want to have a story unlike any other’s. That I don’t care if people think I’m kooky, as long as I’m being true to myself. Because being true to oneself is the single most important pillar of living the best life. I’ve learned when to say yes, and when to say no. I’ve learned that it’s perfectly fine (/completely amazing) to spend a Friday night on the couch in my dog’s company, watching Charmed and eating boxed mac n cheese. I’ve learned that when something becomes an obligation instead of a pleasure, it’s okay to let it go (within reason, we’re all responsible adults here).

Don’t get me wrong – New York has torn me down. Way down. But, man, has it built me up. If my pre-NYC-self saw my life now, she’d be thrilled. And maybe even in awe. Knock on wood.

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Not to mention, now I’m totally the type of person that looks out of the windows of my yellow taxi at the New York City skyline with gratitude and dreamy wonder.

Love you NYC,

A

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A Search for Beautiful Minds

In 2011, I met someone who was going to change my life. This was the year I moved to New York (almost four years ago exactly!), so I was meeting a lot of people who would impact my life in ways big and small. But this certain person was truly going to transform it, in more ways than one.

His name was Griffin Farley. He was in his early thirties, and was an Engagement Planning Director at BBH New York. I was coming in as a Social Media Strategist/Community Manager (yes, I community managed) that had little to no idea what she was doing. To my ex-collegues – pretend I didn’t just confess that. New York was a intimidating as hell. I was surrounded by some of the most successful people in advertising, I felt like a child (because I always mitigate my experience), and I didn’t have any friends (not because the people weren’t lovely, because the Google account was the busiest and there was little time for niceties). Sounds like a sob story, but this is really how it felt! Of course, it eventually changed, and now some of my closest friends came out of my time at BBH, but the beginning was stressful and solitary.

Griffin was easily one of the nicest people I’d ever met. He maintained a sense of cool composure, even on the most demanding days. Off the bat, he validated my presence at such an amazing agency. He quickly realized my strengths, boasted them to all who would listen, and helped me fill out my weaknesses. He brought me into meetings I had no business being in, and would celebrate my quiet contributions.

Griffin’s kindness was just the cherry on top. His entire being brimmed with brilliance. At the young professional age of thirty, he redefined the communications planning discipline and brought light to propagation planning – “planning not for the people you read, but the people they reach.” Genius, right? Can you believe we didn’t always think that way? He brought this way of thinking to the core of my skill set, and I still use his philosophies every single day. No exaggeration.

In February 2013, Griffin passed away. He had been diagnosed with Mesothelioma in the months prior, and it was grave. At this point, I was an integrated member of the amazing BBH family (much in part to Griffin), and I have to say, we held so much hope. Every time he felt better, or came into the office, we thought he was going to make it. He’d sit as his desk, looking so weak, but so determined. Wanting nothing more than to come to work and do his work. It kept him going, he said. That’s what I call passion! I went to his house and visited one day, the sun was spilling in, it was bright and lively and beautiful. His little girls were sprinting around him, and he looked happy. Fulfilled.  I’m so glad I got to see him in his space – I felt like I truly understood where his love for life came from.

Since Griffin’s death, BBH has been hosting a workshop called “Griffin Farley Search for Beautiful Minds.” It’s the most incredible event I’ve ever been a part of. It’s alive with positivity and passion. It takes his unmatched love for mentoring young talent and injects it into every single participant. It brings together young talent who wants to break into advertising with those who are able to teach, help, and move them forward. Including the head of strategy at Google, 360i, Co:Collective, and more. It’s really remarkable.

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Every year, I sit with myself afterwards, considering how blessed I am to have known Griffin. And how much of him I now see in myself as I grow into the leader he always told me I could be.

All of this is to say, THANK YOU to the incredible team at BBH, and for everyone who’s keeping Griffin alive through their work. It means so much to so many.

Love,

A

Thursday Travels

Yesterday Swarm (aka Fourquare) informed me I had been to JFK six times in 4 consecutive weeks. And I usually fly LaGuardia…

My travel-sized toiletries haven’t left my carry-on bag, I know which shoes are most suitable for both quick removal at the airport AND looking fancy in a client meeting. I know what (very very limited) gluten-free options are available, and I know to wear at least three layers for easy piling on and peeling off.

Now I’m an advertiser, not a consultant, so I wouldn’t claim to be as experienced as those (smart as hell) Deliotte, PWC, Bane, BCG, McKinsey folks. My best friend, bless her, lives the NY>SF bicoastal life (and has mad status). It can be super exciting, and don’t even get me started on the travel perks…

But, despite my line of work, the last two years have been a chockfull of professional and personal travel. Minneapolis, Miami, LA, Chicago, North Carolina, Bali, Singapore, Punta Cana, Austin, India, Cleveland, Toledo, Baltimore, Washington DC, Virginia, Phoenix, Ann Arbor. Next week I’m off to Binghamton.

If you asked me four years ago, I would’ve told you that New York was a two-to-three-year plan. Mr.P and I would work our tails off for a while, and then move to a more livable city. We thought about Chicago. We thought about Portland (even though we’ve never been there). San Francisco (even though I’ve never been there).

In the meantime, we traveled – mostly for work. And although work trips don’t necessarily afford you the opportunity to explore and get to know a city, you naturally get a gist. You see the people, you sense the attitudes, you taste the food. You see the roads, and the greenery, and the fashion.

Every city I visited, I asked myself “could we live here?” And even cities that we used to consider no-brainers, somehow didn’t feel right. They were too cold, or too hot, or too cloudy. The people were too singular, or in-your-face, or asked things like “what do Indian people eat for breakfast?” And every time our trips came to a close, as the plane descended on New York and the Empire State Building was shining, even through the fog (it’s not smog!), we were filled with the undeniable warmth of home.

Mr. P has been here since 2010, and me since 2011, and it’s just getting sweeter as the years go by. Your friends just get closer, your neighbors just get kinder, and you just get more comfortable.

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2013 – When Mr. P and I got engaged in Central Park.

So thank you – employers, friends, family, life – for taking us around, and in turn, making New York home.

Hugs,

A

K’s 2014 Flashback

2014 was a huge year for me. So many things changed, and so much happened that helped shape me into who I am today. It was probably the first year I noticed myself growing up, which was an adventure on its own.

While most people take the new year to focus on the present, I want to spend just a little time reflecting on the past.

Well. In prepartion for this post, I went through all my photographs from 2014 and I’m now experiencing the strangest mixture of over-the-moon happiness and deep sadness. Happy that it happened and sad that all those times are over.

2014 was a little like this for me…

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I graduated college. Which, considering that I just typed “gratuated”, is surprising. I want to take a second to tell those of you who have not graduated yet to really really embrace those years. I miss everything from $2 pitchers on a Wednesday night to entire weekends spent studying at the library (yes, I miss the library and studying). 2014 was the year of late-night talks with best friends, parties, and roadtrips.

FullSizeRender-2I started my first full-time, adult world, job. And let me tell you, it’s been a roller coaster. Firstly, I should say that I absolutely love it.  I get to spend every day in what was voted “Chicago’s Coolest Office”, surrounded by some of the smartest, most inspirational people. I actually get excited to go in every morning and finally do something that yields to more than just a large, red A scribbled at the top of a paper. That being said, I also struggle with the change everyday. I’m having a tough time finding the balance between adulthood and hard work and still having fun and doing things that satisfy a different side of me. I think this will be something I aim to achieve in 2015.

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And to keep away that evil eye...

And to keep away that evil eye…

I moved into my first apartment! I can definitely say, thanks to my parents help on move-in-day, that I’ve never felt more at home in my life. I spent months walking around stores with paint chips and creating my dream apartment, and it actually paid off.

So I guess you can say 2014 was a year of change for me. And as far as I can tell, 2015 will be a year of adjustment and settling. Excited to share another year with you guys on Jointly!

Love,

K

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!

A

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).

New hair-do

New Do

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.

Snapz on snapz on snapz

Snapz on snapz on snapz

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

Adventures in September

Well well,

It’s been quite a while since our last post. As usual, things have been moving at the speed of light, leaving Jointly a little bit behind. But, we’re here to catch you all up on the Gautam (-Pai) adventures!

This past weekend I (K) was in NYC celebrating A’s birthday with her. The weekend was chock-full of awesome places, wonderful people, and a lot of fun.

On Friday Mr. P and I (K, again!) slowly made our way to Gotham West Market where we grubbed on…well, an excessive amount of junk food that we’d rather not disclose. And then, we did something that was sort of a big deal…

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K signed her first official (real adult) job offer! Next Monday I (K) will be starting my advertising career at FCB Chicago (formerly known as Draft FCB). The funny thing is, this is the same company and the exact same position where A started her career. Yet another similarity! And some pretty big shoes to fill.

On Friday evening we celebrating the big job acceptance with a few bottles of Rose on A&A’s rooftop, and then headed to dinner at Nizza – a very gluten-free friendly (and DELICIOUS) Italian restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. Cue more wine, cheese, meats, and pastas, and we were completely fooded out.

On Saturday we ventured over to Williamsburg to look at A & A’s new apartment and familiarize ourselves with the area. Our first stop was obviously Primp & Polish, because it’s not a Gautam Girl weekend without a manicure. I would say it was probably the best manicure I’ve ever gotten. And A’s is probably the wackiest she’s ever gotten (hint: It’s lime green – quite a departure from her usual neutrals).

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After some pampering, we grabbed a quick lunch at The Meatball Shop, one of our usual favorites, and then headed over to see A & A’s new place (which may just become the only place either of us are motivated to use the gym)!

Despite a few encounters with some sour people (from which we surmised that perhaps people in Brooklyn may actually be more stuck up than folks in Manhattan), we had a great time exploring A&A’s new hood.

Saturday night, Mr. P planned a little family dinner for us and the Koitas at Pera Soho. Sadly, it was raining so we couldn’t take full advantage of the gorgeous garden seating, but we had a ton of awesome Mediterranean food and some delicious cocktails. After dinner, we headed to A’s party. She wanted to keep it low key this year, so she hosted it at a Jazz Lounge called B Flat in Tribeca. She had the greatest time – it was clear to everyone who attended. Lots of friends, laughs, and glasses of champagne. What else could a woman ask for?

On Sunday, I (K) got some time to see two of my closest friends who just recently moved to NYC. We grabbed dinner at Bea and then hung around, catching up, exchanging stories about jobs, cities, our moms, and life in general. The atmosphere was amazing for an intimate meet up with close friends.

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The next few weeks will be even crazier than the last few. With two big moves, one big job, and lots of work in between, we’re going to have our hands full. But looking forward to sharing many more adventures as our lives take steps in new directions. It’s going to be a great Fall.

Jointly yours,

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetAnd yay, sisterhood!

A & K

Blooming Breakfasts

Is it just me, or is fulfillment hard to come by these days? Feeling passionate about something, having a fire inside you that is hot and bright and wild. Mine’s been feeling a bit frozen over (and I can’t blame it on the weather, completely).

I had a “Blooming Breakfast” with two of my favorite work ladies this morning. I’m pretty sure D (you can check out her Tumblr here) came up with the name. Isn’t it perfect? We talked about our hypes and gripes from the last few weeks – what’s excited us, and what’s defeated us. People discount the importance of talking about feelings at work, but really, emotions lie at the core of everything we do. And if we don’t talk about them, it’s likely we’ll explode (or at least I will).

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Jobs are hard. Some more than others, of course, but understanding one’s path, and growth trajectory, and weaknesses is serious. We’ve all gone through similar trials and tribulations, and we need to know that we’re not alone in how we feel. I can’t convey the importance of empathy. We all started somewhere, didn’t we?

As I’m sure you can assume, a big chunk of our breakfast turned into us venting. Which was great, and much needed! But we walked away with some “homework” assignments from one another.

The first: If someone were to write an article about you in a magazine, what would you want it to say?

The second: Go through Skillshare’s class roster and pick some classes that interest you.

The purpose of the assignments is to really look inside ourselves and start understanding who we want to be, and secondarily, what we really love. Outside of work, or inside of work. I really believe that these sort of exercises move us towards fulfillment. Because how can you be fulfilled if you don’t really know what you want. Am I right?

If anyone wants to join in and do this “homework” with me, I’d love to do a digital swap! Or we meet up for our own “Blooming Breakfast!” I’m going to make K do it with me, too!

Love,

A