Birchblogger Review: Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?


The monthly subscription service for beauty products, Birchbox, partnered with Mindy Kaling on their August box as well as a social media campaign that concluded with a live twitter chat with Kaling. As part of this campaign, Birchbox sent out several copies of Mindy Kaling’s bestseller Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) to members of their Birchblogger network to review. I was one of the bloggers who received a copy, and the following is my take:

 

Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a fast-paced and pithy showcase of Mindy’s comedic talent, and the balance of frivolity with depth Kaling carefully curates showcases her craft. Reading more like an anthology of humorous anecdotes and hip-yet-provocative editorials than a chronological autobiography, Kaling’s book is always trendy and occasionally poignant. Furthermore, despite protestations to the contrary, Kaling subtly calls out sexism through critiques of the comparisons of female comedians, as well as through personal anecdotes about industry beauty standards. One example used is when she learned other actresses would be auditioning to play her in an unsuccessful television pilot, “[…] I could convincingly play Ben Affleck but not Mindy Kaling”.

Kaling’s writing is hilarious, and if familiar with her work on The Office and The Mindy Project it is impossible to read the book without hearing the cadence of Kaling’s own voice. (Rumor has it she narrated the official book on tape, and if the online customer reviews are to be trusted four out of five say it’s amazing). Scattered between anecdotes of growing up as, “a child who wore cardigans”, and strong opinions on the importance of male chest hair, fans of Kaling’s work will also be excited to get a quick peek behind the curtain in the writer’s room of The Office and Saturday Night Live (one of which turned out better for Kaling than the other).

Despite the frequent and blasé name-dropping of Kaling’s contemporaries such as Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, B.J. Novak and her “frenemy” Rainn Wilson, Kaling comes across as instantly relatable. Kaling shares many of her personal struggles with weight, body image, rejection, hot-headedness, and romance—not to mention romantic comedies—in a way that is genuine and normalizing. Oh yeah, and truly funny.

It is interesting to note that Kaling thanks B.J. Novak in her acknowledgments for his feedback, including his recommendation that she work on not “sounding racist” in her book. While the thank you is humorous, there are a few moments in the book where jokes about race flirt with the border between provocative and tasteless. However, there are many more that land flawlessly.

From the first page Kaling is endearing, and comes across as someone who would make a really great best friend. Not a seminal read by any means, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a fast, effective compilation of the inner musings of Mindy Kaling. The book is entertaining for everyone, and a treat for her fans. Kaling shines through her unique mixture of drama, genuineness, and comedic timing, easily winning the hearts of her readers. After all, there is something delightfully charming in her willingness to confidently state, “I’m kind of a mess”.

Sincerely,

Emilie

 

P.S. If anyone is considering signing up for a Birchbox subscription, click here for a referral.

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Exercise, cupcakes, choir retreat, no sleep


As many of you know I often lament about my physical appearance, and while I’ve had every intention of being proactive and working on the problem, until now I have been remarkably unproductive on this end.

Not so anymore, dear friends.

Because, now I have found myself a reliable workout partner (not to mention friend) in Emily and a “personal trainer” in Jake.

He was kind enough to write out a workout schedule for us that should keep us healthy, help us become toned, and keep us balanced.

Because I am not sure if you are aware of this, but singers have to be extremely balanced in order to be at full potential and not cause tension.

Worried, Emily and I asked the advice of our Vocal Pedagogy teacher Charles (who is an amazing teacher and singer himself, and one of the best pedagogues in the area).

He advised us not to do sit ups, because people whose abdominal walls are too firm find it very difficult to expand their abdominal walls in a way that is necessary for proper diaphragmatic breathing for singing.

He explained that it is very important for singers to be in shape, but not to be bulked or overworked.

Also–in lifting weights a singer must be extremely careful to procede properly, breathe, and NOT GRUNT OR CREATE NECK TENSION which almost everyone does. Breathe out when lifting and it is better to do more repetitions at a lower weight rather than less at a higher.

It’s very important to observe these things, because every day a million and one things can screw up your voice, and I don’t want to add another thing to the list.

Wow, I wasn’t expecting to say all of that…

Anyway…

Our workout routine is as follows:

3 days a week (it’s all we have time for)

Day one: Upper body and cardio

Day two: Legs and cardio

Day three: Core and cardio

It is about an hour each session, and there are specific exercises and repetitions specified (by our friend Jake) for each session.

We have just started on the official program, and so far have completed Days one and two. Day three is today.

It is strange how good I feel afterwards.

We are also eating a certain amount of each food group at every meal with only one treat a week.

Theoretically.

The choir retreat last night was death on that, but starting today it is back on the straight and narrow, I hope 🙂

When we showed up the first day to work out, we had on identical outfits. Not on purpose.

Proof positive:

We are apparently eerily similar, and people are starting to notice.

We stayed up until 2am two nights ago making cupcakes for the choir retreat.

Last night I stayed up until 2am watching 27 dresses and then talking with friends.

Today I have dance rehearsal for the musical, then workout time, then concert with world-renowned guitarist Paul Gilbraith.

Tomorrow I am *drumroll please* hosting a superbowl party.

I am less than thrilled.

But apparently all of my freshman boy residents really love football, and the TUB is not putting on a party like they were supposed to, so I am it.

I wonder how mad they will be if I bring my sewing down there? Maybe knitting is a better idea. And definitely homework. Blegh.

Oh and I am learning all sorts of things in vocal pedagogy, and I love conducting. I have two lovely batons, and it is very possible that I whisper spells under my breath at the other people in conducting when the teacher isn’t looking, and I am not the only one.

Oh and earlier this week I made the reapplication posters for RES LIFE with Ande, they were modeled after THE OFFICE.

See ya!

Sincerely,

Emilie