More Growing Pains | A Tribute To My Old Friends

Up until now life has gradually transitioned from one stage to another, without much of a bump in the road. The change from child to teen was pretty painless and the switch from high school to college even more so. At any given point I’ve always been, not just ready, but eagerly anticipating the next stage of life. And until recently – that had always worked out just fine for me. I didn’t just think I was ready, or feel ready, I always was ready.

I was so fond of these transitional, big life moments that I actually sought them out, for no reason other than craving the blood rush it gave me. When I first graduated college, I was ecstatic to be an adult. And once I was, I was even more ecstatic to be an adult in New York City. Nothing new, I thought. But I was wrong.

Twenty-three is still so young, people say to me (especially here where 50 is the new 25). And maybe they’re right. I mean if all goes well I’m only about a quarter-way through with my life. But age is just a number. It’s not the numerical value of the years I’ve lived that’s scaring me, it’s about how much has changed during them. And the fact that for the first time in my life, this change that I can see and feel, is unwelcome.

In the past year or two, I’ve lost more friends than I’ve gained. This isn’t for any dramatic, intentional reason. It’s the mere fact that life keeps moving, faster and faster, and if you don’t stick together, you don’t grow together. And if you don’t grow together, you grow apart. I always thought to “grow apart” simply meant falling out of touch with someone. But recently I realized that growing apart is actually when you fall out of touch for so long that when you try to come back together, you don’t find the same person you once knew.

My parents preached it, but I never believed it: growing up is scary. And what’s even scarier is that sometimes, when you just want to retreat and go back to the people who were once your home, the people that knew you and all your teenage weirdness so well, they’re no longer there. Maybe I’m the only person consumed by a sense of dread and regret over this, but I honestly want nothing more than to pick up the phone and talk to the middle school or high school friends like nothing’s changed. Like we still spend hours talking to each other, watching Laguna Beach, binge eating junk food and then doing crunches to negate the previously inhaled junk food. But everything’s changed.

I don’t mean “change” in a bad way. Don’t think that for a second. Every day I find out that someone else is moving abroad, choosing their life partner (!!), making their first million or doing their part to solve some large scale global problem I don’t know enough about. My childhood friends are nothing short of amazing. I just wish I had been there to watch them go from kids trying to understand themselves and life, to the incredible adults they are today.

* Shout out to everyone who was a part of my journey to adulthood, big or small, from Solon or from Naperville. Every victory of yours fills my heart with so much happiness and I wish you all nothing but the absolute best in life. Hope to catch up with you someday soon. 

Love,

K

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

Being From Believeland

Tonight, we’re going to bed feeling broken in a way that we’ve felt before. In a way that, honestly, we have felt since we can remember. A dull ache in the pit of our stomach. Like watching someone you love suffer. A sinking heart mixed with hands trembling with exhaustion and exasperation.

The feeling of a broken heart from Cleveland sports.

We can handle the loss. We really can. Coming from Cleveland, one is raised tough. One is raised to be proud of effort, hard-work, determination, and fighting until there’s simply no energy left. We know Championships don’t come easy. We know that sometimes, great things that are important to a city, to a community, to a team, are snatched away. That’s just life. Life isn’t fair but it teaches incredible lessons on how to be the best one can be.

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What we can’t handle, is the people on the other side.

The jeering, the jabbing, the unfounded hatred. Hatred is a strong word, but that’s the only word we can use here.

What is the meaning of sports if not to bring people together? If not to unite us in the pleasure of Americas favorite pasttimes? Weren’t you all hoping for a game seven if only just to watch two incredible teams duke it out? Why has an internal appreciation for the sport turned into an external desire for putting each other down?

We can’t say we’ve never jokingly ignored our friends when they’ve rooted for the other teams. We can’t say we haven’t brushed them off, or made faces at them. But we’ve never gone as far as to hate.

Being from both Cleveland and Chicago, we’ve gotten the worst of this. Big sports towns with a lot of heart. Passionate fans with a lot of fire. And haters with an incredible amount of distaste.

But what saddens us most is that when Chicago has a win, Clevelanders let it be. We even applaud our midwestern brothers and sisters. We’re proud of where we come from, and since they’re our neighbors, we’re proud of them, too. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we appreciate a valiant effort. We appreciate exceptional teamwork. But tonight, wearing a heartbreaking Cavs loss on our sleeves, seeing so much negativity and hate from people we spent so much time with in Chicago, at college, etc. was staggering.

They chalk it up to a long-standing rivalry. Which interestingly, very few Clevelanders even acknowledge. We reason with them. For Cleveland a championship is more than a win for a team. It’s a win for a city. We tell them they have no idea what it’s like to tell someone where you’re from, and have them snicker and say “Oh…I’m sorry.” (It is here we often want to say, “Oh really? Well I’m sorry that you have that big city skyscraper of yours stuffed up your a**.” But we don’t because that would be mean). We describe the power of believing, the attitude of persistence, and the zeal of faith. We open our hearts and share what a championship could mean for Cleveland. A skip that’s been missing from our step for years. An updated identity. A chance to prove everyone wrong. Isn’t that something we all want?

It’s moments like these that prompt us to wonder. What’s the point of sport? If it brings out the monster in people? The Cavs losing is tough enough. But the lack of respect from people we’ve broken bread with, and the respect that we’ve in turn lost for them, is tougher.

To Cleveland – thank you for a wonderful upbringing. You’ve taught us to hope in the darkest times and to persevere no matter what. You’ve given us a family that crosses zip-codes. You’ve taught us that East and West mean nothing. That when it comes to passion, we’re all one. Thank you for always lifting us up, and not even thinking of kicking us down.

And to the Warriors and all their fans out there. That was a killer series. Congrats, excellently played, and we’ll get you next time ;).

#AllinCLE #Believeland #Cleveland #Cavaliers

Love,

The Gautam Girls

10 Thoughts on Winter

Up until this month, I was pretty content with 2014-2015 winter season. Obviously, it was colder than I’d like (I’m a 70s and sunny girl…but who isn’t?), but I was managing.

And then, February hit.

I partake in the semi-frequent social media “it’s so cold” conversation (posting Snapchat stories with the weather filter, uploading photos of the frozen lake onto Instagram, and tweeting multiple hateful tweets a day while still maintaining a semi-professional voice on Twitter), but it just doesn’t seem to cut it. I need to complain. I need to vent.

So, I have decided to share with all of you, some of my most recent and frequent thoughts on winter and, more specifically, winter in Chicago.

1. The layers

You cannot even imagine how sick I am of piling on layer after layer, adding probably a good 15 pounds to my body weight. It’s the same story every day. Two pairs of socks under my Uggs (with work appropriate shoes in my bag or stored in my office filing cabinet), leggings under my jeans (as if women’s jeans weren’t tight enough, let me just throw another layer beneath them), a tank top, a sweater, a puffy or fur vest, a 600 level NorthFace jacket. And then…no, I’m not done, a hat, a scarf, and gloves.

So as you can imagine, throughout the day I’m peeling layer by layer off, only to pile them all back on around 5PM and waddle back to my apartment,

2. Uber

There is always surge pricing on Uber these days because everyone is too cold to take public transport.

3. CTA

But, everyone isn’t too cold for public transport. Which means that we must go from the freezing cold, onto an overly packed train or bus, with our ten layers and ten bags (including our change of clothes, change of shoes, and gym clothes) and try to stay balanced while the bus goes over those infamous Chicago potholes.

4. My social life

Any commute that isn’t to work or back home falls off the priority list (sometimes those do too – can I just sleep at the office?) I’d love to see ya, but I’d also love to keep my limbs. See ya in April – maybe May or June because, well, you know Chicago.

5. Adulthood lacks snow days

Just because I’m over the age of fifteen, does not mean I can handle below 0 temperatures any better than a high schooler. Science is not my forte, but I’m pretty sure our DNA doesn’t alter after twenty, increasing our chances of surviving freezing temperatures. Adults deserve snow days/cold days too.

6. Iced Coffee

I miss iced coffee. I dream about it. I really do. But I cannot handle drinking it when I’m already frozen to the core.

7. I might as well be naked

The other day I was talking to my mom and listing my layers off to her and she said, “Oh, you must be warm then!” My response? “No, no I’m not. I might as well be naked.” Obviously, I know that that’s probably not the case. But when it’s this cold you’re just like, I can’t imagine any amount of clothing really helping me. I’m helpless.

8. I shouldn’t even go to the gym

Fat keeps you warm. Why get rid of it? This is my survival technique.

9. It just hurts

It really hurts. It hurts physically. It hurts mentally. It hurts emotionally.

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10. I’m moving

It’s been real Chicago. It really has. But I have every intention of this being my last winter here.

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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

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

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