Mindy Kaling's Blog
January 27, 2012
If you're like me, you wake up in the morning and put on your exercise clothes immediately so that you incentivize yourself to actually do something athletic. This way, I'm always constantly prepared to break out into a run if I need to. This works about 60% of the time, which is a pretty good percentage for me.
I wish I looked like Eva Longoria when I worked out. Jeez Louise.
The only problem is, if I looked this good working out, I wouldn't work out. It makes no sense to me. I'd be in Miami picking up dudes at the Standard pool in a neon pink Brazilian cut bikini. Right?
Over the years, I've discovered certain items of clothes do not fit me no matter what. A greatest hits list include: Bell sleeves, peasant dresses, light colored denim, turtlenecks, and mostly, capri pants. The capri pants thing is a little sad because I love workout capri pants. Runyon Canyon is full of hot little runners zipping around in them. Unfortunately, they don't work on me because they accentuate my thighs in an unflattering way, and also because they reveal my socks, which aren't cute little girl bobby socks; they are bulky mens athletic socks I buy from Costco once every five years in 48 packs with my dad. No one wants to see them.
The best, most comfortable, and most flattering sports pants I have ever bought and worn are the Lucy Hatha Yoga Pant.
Fitted on the hips and through the thighs, with a small flare at the bottom, they are so comfortable and completely cool to run around town in. I once ran into baller movie studio head Ron Meyer while I was wearing these. It was during the NBA finals so I was also in a Celtics hoodie and neon green plastic frame sunglasses I got at the carwash-– in LA no less– and I actually felt kind of like a cool LA person with my shit together because of the pants.
I'm also the kind of person who thinks that following washing instruction labels on clothes are an insult and a total waste of time. I've been throwing these pants in the wash with abandon on various settings over the years and they always maintain their shape. Way to go, Lucy. Thanks for making workout clothes for girls like me.
January 26, 2012
Maybe it's very Margot Tenenbaum of me, but I love little polo tshirts.
My ideal style of dressing is 80's aerobics coach meets Maasai tribeswoman, so a really prim, preppy look is not something I do too often. But just as I would wear a House of Harlow headdress jewelry piece to work to see if I could pull it off, I also like to rock a preppy look now and again.
At work, I've been told over and over again by various (male) writers that their favorite way a girl dresses is in a plaid button down and tight dark jeans. I obviously get why guys like this: it shows you're not trying too hard (instant turn-off) and that you're conceivably a girl who could have grown up across the street form them (instant boner).
I was in Jonathan Adler on Melrose two weeks ago because I had people coming over for dinner and I wanted to get new decorative pillows for my sofa. I love Jonathan Adler. It's cheeky and colorful and chic, and the furniture equivalent of having a great gossipy conversation with my gay best friend.
I needed new sofa pillows because my current pillows were threadbare and the tiniest bit greasy from hours of my hair and body laying on them watching Academy screeners. Whatever, a small price to pay for seeing War Horse in the comfort of my living room. I ended up buying these pillows:
Yeah, it spells love. Yeah, I'm a fan of love. You want to give me shit for publicizing my love of love. Fine, go ahead, mean fascist.
And as I was checking out, I spotted these special edition polo shirts perched on the corner of the store. I've always loved the Lacoste alligator icon, because it is a technically vicious creature that Lacoste has made cute. It's one of the only "branded" things I don't feel like a walking ad wearing around. What I loved especially about these ones were:
a) the alligator was enlarged and extra statement-y,
b) the shirt is slim fitted and curve-accentuating, and
c) Jonathan Adler gives you a free tiny alligator pillow if you buy a shirt.
Kind of amazing, right? They have them for guys and girls.
January 23, 2012
There are many times when my tastes do not match my lifestyle.
Here are some examples. I love insane clutches, like this Alexander McQueen one.
But I don't have this cool Paz de la Huerta life where I'm alternately getting whisked off on private jets to red carpet affairs, or using my purse as a weapon in a street fight against rival models. For Paz, it would make sense. I only use tote bags. Another example is that I love heart shaped baking pans, but I don't cook or bake really (and am even less likely to do it on Valentines Day).
The most longing I've had for something that doesn't work with my lifestyle are chandeliers. I freaking love chandeliers. They're so dramatic and feminine, and buying one is like looking for a dope necklace for your ceiling.
They can also be frightening.
Look at this insane one made of bones and skulls in Sedlec Ossuary!
(photo credit Chmouel Boudjnah)
Here are some gorgeous (and far less scary) ones I found online.
I would live in a house with chandeliers, in like, my shed if I could afford it. It would be nuts. I figure, it's best to live your life and decorate your house such as if you ever become mega famous and died, people would have a lot of fun touring your crazy house. It would be like if you went to Edgar Allen Poe's home and he had bookshelf with a secret lever that opened and led to a spooky staircase down to a dungeon.
Unfortunately for my chandelier-loving lifestyle, I have a cute little Spanish style house in LA, and not some crazy Jessica Lange plantation where I'm descending stairs slowly all day long. To solve the problem, I purchased a modified pendant version of one for my bedroom from my reliable pals at Lamps Plus. It's the Silver and Gold Foil 18″ Wide Ceiling Light Fixture. This is what it looks like online.
And here's a terrible photo of it with my camera phone while I'm lying in bed.
It's gorgeous. I am so happy I have it. Every morning when I wake up, I feel like a tortured opera singer, in the very best way. And it gives dazzling bright light, and was under $300.
December 14, 2011
I work on a show with an awesome ensemble cast. As a writer, it's so fun to dream up combinations of interactions when you have such a big cast. I love when certain characters interact with each other who don't very often, like, say, Ryan and Oscar, Dwight and Phyllis, or Creed and a ghost or whatever. John Krasinski and I do about three scenes a season together, and they're always terrible because we both break a lot and there's only one usable take.
Some other favorite TV ensembles are: The West Wing (Josh and Sam? Come on.), Modern Family (Eric Stonetreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson slay me), Cheers (Woody! Cliff! Frasier!), and most recently, Shameless on Showtime.
There's a specific tiny hell of working on the American remake of a popular British sitcom. First of all, usually if it's being remade for the US, the original was awesome, and you as a writer love that show and don't want to fuck it up. Secondly, there's legions of smug Anglophilic acquaintances and reviewers who couldn't possiby stand to live in a world where anyone might deign to remake their beloved British show. ("You can simply watch it on BBC3!" They say. I'll fill you in on a small embarrassing secret about me: I had to watch of the British Office with subtitles on, I simply didn't understand 30% of what they were saying at first.)
So I love Showtime's Shameless so, so much. It was just my absolute favorite show of the year. William H. Macy is the star, but the secret star is the frighteningly good ensemble cast. Emmy Rossum– whom I'd only known as the pretty-voiced, Phantom-hassled girl in Phantom of The Opera– is unreal as the oldest sister and matriarch (at 19!) for her brood of siblings.
And what a brood of siblings! These kids can aaaaaact. And not in that way where they're cute kids phonetically reciting lines that have been foisted on them. Like, acting the shit out of these hilariously written scenes (many penned by the little-known newcomer, John Wells.)
Watch for Jeremy Allen White and Cameron Monaghan, who play oldest brothers, Lip and Ian.
These two guys are just so awesome. Vulnerable and appealing and, teenage boys. You feel like you're watching their Jodie Foster-Taxi-Driver vehicle and you're so stoked they're not even grown-ups yet.
$50 gets you season one. I'd have paid much, much more.
I'm only annoyed it wasn't available in time for Christmas and Hanukkah presents. Showtime, what's your deal, man?
December 12, 2011
One of the best recurring visual jokes on the British comedy Absolutely Fabulous was how Patsy and Edina were such fashion victims.
Patsy was always squeezed into couture in a way where she looked eternally like one of those colorful old ladies at Loehmanns with the liver-spotted decolletage but who have active dating lives.
I'd rather look back at photos of myself and say: "Holy shit, why did I wear that fringed suede vest? I look like Shaggy from Scooby Doo," than, "Oh superb, I always looked perfectly acceptable my whole life. Time to die now."
So when I can find a fashion trend that is also totally flattering, I am. So. Freaking. Psyched.
Let's talk about jumpsuits now. I love them so much. I would have hated living in the 1970′s for many reasons (rampant serial murderers, no real chick flicks, I hate disco, no Twitter, Bradley Cooper was only a toddler) but I do thank the 70′s and Halston for the jumpsuit. Goddamit they are so great.
A simple jumpsuit is all I want to wear to anything. Obviously the KIND of jumpsuit will make or destroy my look. I will look like I stepped out of central casting for My Name Is Earl if it's a weird color, strapless, terry cloth, or too tight (camel toe central!).
But this Rachel Roy 54 jumpsuit is the most flattering and awesome one I've ever owned.
Black (awesome), v-neck (amazing), jersey (hoorah), and belted (vuvuzuela sound), this might be the single most flattering and versatile piece of clothing I have in my closet.
Um, it's also $129. I know. I KNOW.
November 30, 2011
I once heard an interview, years ago, with Nelly Furtado. She was talking about who inspired her, musically. She mentioned Green Day as being influential on her, along with some other present day artists around her same age, and some even younger. She added that it bothered her when musicians were asked that question and they only cited older, or dead, musicians as inspiration, and not contemporaries. (Again, this is all my cursory memory of the interview, I couldn't find it online. My apologies to Ms. Furtado if this summary wasn't as accurate as it could be.)
I loved this sentiment. So many comedians and writers talk about their inspirations, and they're people older than them, or from another generation. Yes, Mark Twain is great. Yup, Bill Murray is amazing. So is Jim Downey. No arguments there.
It's harder to admit sometimes, that your contemporaries are killing it. It's an ego thing. It's so much safer for my giant fragile writer-ego to talk about how funny Dorothy Parker was than, say Simon Rich or Lena Dunham. (True confession: I don't exactly get why Dorothy Parker is so funny. She's kind of wry, I guess. But like, funny? I don't know. I'm willing to say that it's just something about me that I'm not getting, because legions of college freshmen girls who have Dorothy Parker posters up in their dorm rooms would disagree with me. I also don't think Caddyshack is funny, though, as I've said, I love Bill Murray. See? My tastes are all over the map.).
Why am I talking about all this? Well, it's because one of the most inspirational people to me is Tavi Gevinson.
Tavi is a wunderkind in the fashion world, who started out as a fashion blogger.
A great thing to watch is her lecture on The Unpredictability of Gen Y.
That's right. A lecture. She's giving a lecture.
Tavi is fashionable, cosmopolitan, articulate, funny, but still, a kid. Yes, an entrepreneurial kid who started her own already-influential site thestylerookie.com, but just an awesome plucky girl who hasn't seemed to lost the feeling of "I'm so psyched Mom and Dad are letting me do this!"
I'm totally inspired by Tavi. I want to be more like her. When I see the actress Michelle Williams (with whom Tavi bears more than passing resemblance), I want Michelle Williams to have Tavi's personality and am disappointed when she's not her, because being pals with Michelle Williams would be more age-appropriate for me.
I feel lucky that Tavi read my book. She posted a video of herself singing Joni Mitchell's A Case of You and dedicated to me on Hellogiggles, in an adorable recurring segment they do called "Videochat Karaoke". It made me cry (as I said anything off the album Blue will do). Here it is. Try not to cry when you watch it.
November 25, 2011
Welcome to my Black Friday Holiday Gift Round-Up! I spent a long time compiling some of my favorite gifts for the year in a variety of price ranges.
"Not unlike the drug meth, Breaking Bad is completely addictive!" I'm so sorry I wrote that, that was so dorky. But I just couldn't not write it once it popped into my mind, like some drivel-spouting blogger for a bad pun-loving entertainment site. Remember when your coolest friend made you watch The Wire and they now have eternal cred? That's what you'll become when you give your pal Breaking Bad season one. Giving them the entire four seasons is presumptuous and expensive, not to mention basically hands them a cumbersome assignment to feel guilty about. The first season is a "gateway drug" to even more seasons. "Once they're hooked" on the show, there's no looking back, hahaha. I'm so sorry.
So I love the trend of one piece bathing suits, but I hate when they're also, like polka dotted or have a prominent skirt or something. That's too much kitsch piled onto an already retro look. This black Betsey Johnson one piece is a perfect execution of this demure, beguiling style of bathing suit. It is so confident in its demureness, it's ultra sexy.
L'Or Céleste Starry Loose Powder $68
What it is: A shimmering powder to illuminate the face and décolleté.
I have a complicated relationship with body shimmer on adult women. Part of me thinks this is only for strippers or pop hip-hop stars playing Madison Square Garden; no real woman should wear body shimmer, that's cheesy. But then I tried this Givency powder on at Sephora and I basically doused my décolletage with it. The quality of the glitter is very high. It's a very fine glitter, not that bachelorette party kind. It makes you look like a sophisticated kaleidoscope. A great gift because a woman might not buy this for herself, because it's so fun and frivolous.
Are you the most insanely awesome husband ever? This is simply the best gift you could give your wife. (I say wife and not girlfriend because these gorgeous, mindblowingly comfy comforters are only gifts to be given to someone who is so important to you, they've committed to maybe carrying your baby.)
As far as I'm concerned, there is no other way to carry cosmetics than in Stephanie Johnson's wildly pretty, blingy, and totally affordable makeup bags.
Terrific stocking stuffer for almost any hair type. I have fine, long hair, and this served as a thickener and also gave me great shine. Also, I love Charlotte's packaging.
A splurge worth splurging for. My pal Charlie Grandy and I both have VitaMixers and 40% of what we talk about at work is our VitaMixers. Besides being no louder than a purr (which actually makes a difference if you make smoothies every morning and hate being woken up to the sound of a horrific blender), the VitaMixer is so easy to use and intuitive. It also comes with a great recipe book. I honestly have never used a blender that comes even 1/10 to cool as this one. And I know I'll never, ever, ever need another one. Makes a great gift for someone trying to jump-start a healthy lifestyle.
Did you ever hear how Lorne Michaels loves popcorn so much he has a professional grade popcorn machine in his office at 30 Rock? I love popcorn so much too, but I'm not a big enough baller to pull that off at The Office. People would be worried about my finances and stuff. Plus, it only works with Lorne because he has a huge office with like, many assistants to make and deal with the mechanics of making popcorn. Having that would essentially turn my day in one giant popcorn-tending grind. So I have this mini popcorn dealio from Crate & Barrel.
If I ever had a company of all women, my annual holiday gift to them would be a bottle of Josie Maran Argan Oil and a 3 pack of Hanky Panky stretchy lace underwear. No other two products work so well with so many women. Josie Maran's Argan Oil is one of those miracle beauty products that when you put it on your face, it addresses every problem (acne, acne scars, dry skin, oily skin, wrinkles) and just makes your skin supple with a terrific subtle glow. Argan oil has gotten rid of some very stubborn old dark marks form pimples I popped before their time.
What aunt would not love these colorful, playful, but totally elegant Darby earrings by Kendra Scott? Kendra Scott makes the kind of playful and colorful statement pieces that when you have one piece, you wind up having it in every color because you get so many compliments on it.
Ponchos are usually the pits. Shapeless sacks that look like they were built to make shoplifting produce easier or something. But a poncho with a defined waist in an elegant color? A terrific gift for a fashion-forward mom.
Have a girlfriend or sister who likes simple jewelry that still has a big impact? These Melinda Maria Vanessa Pod rings are a terrific evening ring that is both unusual but not too much of an announcement.
You love your little sister and want her to sparkle. This is a great, pretty little bracelet for her to rock and say, "My older brother got this for me." It really just seems like you have the best relationship ever.
I was first introduced to the line Wildfox when I saw a stylish wardrobe department girl, Sommer Terry, wearing a pink No. 9 shirt of theres on the set of No Strings Attached. Sommer is one of the best dressers I know in Los Angeles. She's has that effortless, layer-y, chic L.A. girl style where she seems both put-together and also that she didn't spend a minute of time worrying about her outfit.
Later I of course couldn't miss the reign of Wildfox in Beyonce's wardrobe. Every time Beyonce was rocking that sexy Girl Next Door look (rather than foxy Diva of All Time or Lady Mogul), she was in Wildfox. Whenever Beyonce looked freshest and young, and like a cool girl from Houston, she was in Wildfox. You could kind of tell Jayz liked her best in it. I can style this great tshirt a million ways (over jean cut-off shorts with a scarf for summer, or under a blazer and dark rinse jeans for winter), and I always feel sexy and feminine.
A brown watch? With brown crystals on it? Have you ever seen crystals in brown before?! What a mix of restrained/chic and bling.
GIFTS FOR GUYS
I used to fancy myself a good person to ask for gifts for men, but then I realized I actually completely stink. I'm so that girl who advises you to get a guy a bold pink dress shirt and neck jewelry. I wanted to include some gifts for guys though, so I asked my three most hip guy friends, Jeremy Bronson, Danny Chun and B.J. Novak. They aren't stylists or graphic designers, just three successful, unpretentious, heterosexual comedy writer friends of mine with innate good style and cool stuff. Also they are funny and all helped me with my book.
Here is what they look like in what I can't believe isn't a staged photo:
They had really great recommendations. Here were my favorites.
Jeremy Bronson is the head monologue writer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He gave a really funny and heartfelt toast at Danny's wedding this year that I liked a lot. It wasn't a mean roast of Danny, but it was also had great one-liners. Asian aunts and uncles and hipster college kids alike enjoyed it. You know that kind of person who has never met your parents but you would feel totally at ease if they had to spend time alone, like in a long elevator ride with your parents for some reason? Jeremy's this guy.
I don't drink whiskey but I love these shrewd little things. They keep your whiskey cold without watering it down. Which, while, again I don't drink whiskey, seems like a nifty trick.
A great company for a statement sneaker.
My friend Danny is wonderful and also a tiny bit scary. He's the head writer on The Office and has a bit of "not funny until proven funny" subconscious way about him (which I am too, by the way) so you are always trying to impress him.
He is also scary because sometimes he will leave the computer in the writers room to do like fifty pull-ups, and then come back and run the room more. Also he is a foodie and an environmentalist and is married to an architect. The whole thing is just a collection of intimidating life details that make you wish you could fast-forward 6 months until Danny is your pal. Luckily, Danny is my pal. Here are his guy holiday gift recommendations. He wrote his own blurbs:
I love when cheap things are better than expensive things, and this chef's knife is really popular among people like me. A really excellent, cheap gift for someone getting into cooking.
It's hard to pull off being manly and still be a neat freak. Leathercoasters bridge that divide nicely.
I am at the point where I don't really want to accumulate more things, so the best gifts I get are upgrades over existing things. These nice Dunderdon hoodies are like that– you get one and you can give your old hoodie to goodwill.
For cocktail lovers. Less surface area means your drinks get less watered down. (NB from Mindy: Funny! This is the second ice cube recommendation. Keeping drinks cold is something guys are into thinking about a lot, I guess.)
Most men like the really peaty stuff. Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 year old is really intense, manly scotch.
The downside is that after the months run out it's up to them to continue the subscription or not. But the excellent thing about this gift is that it takes up no space. Nobody likes having to make room in their house for a gift they don't even want.
B.J. is one of my oldest LA friends and just an all-around dashing guy. He spends money in a cool way: he doesn't fritter it away on trendy junk (like I do, hello Forever 21), but then, like, buys a Jil Sander jacket or takes out 20 people to dinner at a fancy restaurant on a whim.
Also, he's always quoting books he's reading in interesting ways that connect organically with what's being talked about. I have never been able to do this seamlessly; when I read something interesting I go into work the next day and just upload it to everyone no matter if it's relevant or not.
If you've ever wondered what the deal was with Mark Twain, or why the funniest Americans' highest honor is a prize given in his name, you should watch this. I love tales of get-rich-quick schemers and reversals of fortune, so this was especially fun to watch.
November 23, 2011
In honor of Black Friday, which is basically Christmas for this blog, I'm doing a big holiday gift round-up with special guest star recommendations from some of my splashiest pals.
Happy Thanksgiving, gang.
November 18, 2011
One of the many characteristics I share with Eric Cartman of South Park is our love of pot pies. Here is what I believe is the funniest moment of the South Park pilot, where Cartman's cat begins to angle for his pot pie. It has zero to do with the plot, and is just a little tangential scene written seemingly to use the priceless phrase "No Kitty, this is my pot pie!" over and over again.
Chicken Pot Pies are sneaky junk food. The crust to chicken ratio in pot pies are pitiful– it's basically as much protein as a slice of pepperoni pizza. But it is my favorite comfort food. (I eat terribly but I really hate most comfort foods. Mac & cheese and pancakes are good for one bite, but can you imagine actually ordering that stuff at a restaurant? Isn't that just admitting you're giving up entirely? Who does that besides kids? I'm kind of jealous of this person.)
The Dean and Deluca chicken pot pie is full of juicy chicken and vegetables. The crust is totally flaky and buttery, and the best evening in the world is heating up two of them with your honey, making a salad, a couple glasses of white wine, and eating them on the sofa while enjoying Luther.
You could eat anything while watching Luther, actually, who am I kidding. Dean and DeLuca Chicken Pot Pies make fantastic holiday gifts, as everyone loves getting something frozen in the mail (it's true– isn't it exciting?) and also, a savory pie is a special treat, the kind of thing pitiful Charles Dickens children dream about eating.
November 17, 2011
In terms of time wasters during the day, I almost never turn to Youtube. I will on rare occasion enjoy clicking on a Youtube video link if a trusted source has sent it to me, but even then I'm wary. What I find cute and entertaining in a Youtube video is very specific, and if it's even slightly not right, I am totally turned off of Youtube forever. For instance, I love interspecies friendships. Turtles that are friends with cats, elephants that befriend small dogs, that kind of thing.
But if a friend is careless and thinks, "Oh, Mindy just likes cute videos of animals" and sends me the link of a video of a cat playing inside a bidet or something, I hate it. I hate it so much. There's such a fine line I just think: it's not worth it. And nothing is worse to me, than the feeling you have after you watch a bad Youtube video link. I'm just so disgusted in myself and it just suddenly seems like I'm the biggest loser who can waste all the time in the world. Shudders.
So my favorite time waster is designing personalized stationery for myself online and putting it in my shopping cart, and not buying it. The best design-your-own stationery site is minted.com. Personalized stationery is historically a stuffy affair, popularized by plucky Jane Austen heroines writing long letters to their sisters. I think personalized stationery has become a very "female" thing to have, which is too bad. Personalized stationery makes everyone, man or woman, boy or girl, seem confident in what they have to say, and proud of their name. It's just classy and immediately makes me think this person has their shit together.
And personalized stationery doesn't have to be all formal and cold. Minted seems to specialize in playful, modern designs and spiffy fonts. When my book came out, I had a lot of people to thank, so I purchased these colorful orange-barber-stripe cards to send people.
And if you choose to spend a little more money, you can get extra baller details like shimmery pearlescent paper (yes please) and a pattern on the back of the card (yes, yes, yes).
There's many, many options for guys on here, too.
Good for: Great gifts to recent high school graduations, recent bar and bat mitzvah'd kids, and to just seem like an official person.