Stargazing : Stephanie Klein


It all started in law school. Back in 2005 I started reading blogs as a way to escape the rigors of case briefs and also find a connection with people, even if they had no idea who I was. I loved reading about their lives, idiosyncrasies, and shortcomings. I loved it all. The first blog I ever RSSd belonged Stephanie Klein. At the time, she lived in New York City, chronicled her dating life, and was excruciatingly honest in her writing. I was shocked someone could be so raw on the web. And I was hooked.

Since then, Stephanie married, moved to Texas, wrote a bestseller, and had twin babies. And I’ve remained reading. When I decided to start the Stargazing posts, I contacted her to say thanks (she, essentially, taught me how to blog) and wonder if she’d write a little sumthang, sumthang to explain who she is and why she blogs. I’m honored to introduce famed blogger, Stephanie Klein.

–I wet the bed until I was in sixth grade.

–Growing up, when we played spin the bottle, it landed on me, and the guy asked for a do-over.

–My nickname was Moose, and my parents shipped me off to the fatty farm.

–I once kept two therapists at once and cherry-picked from their advice.

–I’m a storyteller.

Before the publisher of my first memoir Straight Up And Dirty became my publisher, she’d read my book proposal about moving on after living in an awful relationship with a husband whom I came to refer to as the “wasband.” Then, she scoured my blog. She read writing samples, saw that I photographed red carpet events, and noted that New York’s Hotel Gansevoort furnished all it’s rooms, suites, and corridors with my photography. She wanted to know, “Now, wait. Are you a photographer or a writer?”

Rather than responding, “Both,” I simply told her, “I’m a storyteller.” Sometimes I tell it with a lens, and sometimes it comes out in words. Really, it depends what I have on hand. Photography and writing are simply different vehicles, different mediums of storytelling. And yeah, they utilize a different skill set, but the attention to detail is the same. Capturing that gesture takes technique, but noticing it takes talent. Technique you can learn, but talent is instinct.

What I’ve learned as a storyteller is that it takes courage (and a modicum of confidence) to move in the direction of your dreams. It’s not about finding your “voice” or your unique “style.” It’s not about mimicking the style of those you admire. It’s about having the courage to do it your way, without apologies. It’s about taking risks. Letting go of the familiar, pushing your boundaries and exploring. Taking a different path home each day, sitting at a restaurant alone for dinner, leaving what you know, so you’re forced to see things differently.

On my blog, I write about things that everybody thinks about, but doesn’t have the audacity to admit. And I put my name on it. We all have secrets, things we’re ashamed of, things we really don’t like about ourselves, devious things we have done or that have been done to us. Instead of hiding them in a journal with a lock, I expose them under a macro lens. I don’t do it to shock people, or just for the sake of it. I do it because I think our vulnerabilities are what make us human, and quite frankly, the truth is never boring.

Do I ever worry about what people will think? Hells yeah. But then I remind myself that this is my life, not theirs, and I’ll have no one to blame but myself if things don’t work out the way I’d hoped. At a certain point, you cannot be walking around worried about what people will think of you. At the end of the day, all that really matters is what YOU think of you. Even if people say great things. Horrible things. Their opinion shouldn’t matter more than your own. And that’s the story I try to live.

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  1. terri zollinger

    January 31st, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    thank-you so much for sharing … i see how you would keep going back for more jasmine…i could spend all day on stephanie’s blog 😉

  2. Anh

    January 31st, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Wow! what a raw and beautiful writer Stephanie is! I’m too hooked just from reading what’s here. I too wet my bed until I was in 7th grade! Good to know I’m not alone 🙂

  3. kerri banyas

    January 31st, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I LOVE the new Stargazing posts! Such an inspiration….I can’t wait to spend hours blog-stalking Stephanie….she sounds amazing! 🙂

  4. Leora

    January 31st, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Just as Stephanie was the first blog you read and helped you blog- your blog has helped me blog better, more raw emotions, and just share whatever I want! Thanks!

  5. Rebecca

    January 31st, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Wow, I really needed this today! Thank you!!!

  6. Meg

    January 31st, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    "Do I ever worry about what people will think? Hells yeah. But then I remind myself that this is my life, not theirs, and I’ll have no one to blame but myself if things don’t work out the way I’d hoped."

    Sometimes its hard to be vulnerable but that’s life. You are who you are!

    Thank you for this!

  7. paige Butcher

    January 31st, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Absolutely LOVE this 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Inland Empire Wedding Photographer

    January 31st, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Wow thanks. This post and your blog are inspiring me to keep it real n my blog

  9. Em Heizer Photo

    January 31st, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I can see how she would be the one to have inspired you Jasmine… I can see the whisps of your philosphy in her- because she is esentially your roots…. Thanks for introducing us to your inspiration!

  10. MelissaFoscardo

    January 31st, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    This post made me cry. So many times I’ve read comments from other commenters that say, or imply "I want to be you." I’ve also thought, "wow, it would be so cool to be Jasmine. I want her life." This post made me realize that what I really want is the comfort and knowledge of being my authentic self the way you do and the way it seems Stephanie does. I’m getting there…slowly, too slowly for me…but getting there nonetheless. I still think it would be pretty cool to be you, Jasmine, but I’m also starting to believe it might be pretty cool to be me too 🙂

  11. Greer Rivera

    January 31st, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Awesome.. just awesome!
    Can’t wait to start reading her blog as well! I love her honesty.

  12. Amy Clifton

    January 31st, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Oh wow, I’m blown away by the "I’m a storyteller" paragraph. Beautifully described.

  13. Nori

    January 31st, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you for this. With this little snippet about her, I think I’m now hooked. She’s fascinating =o)

  14. Jeanette Sanchez

    January 31st, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Stephanie has hit the nail on the head. Awesome post. These simple truths speak volumes to me. Thank you Jasmine, for connecting all of us here on your blog.

  15. allyson magda

    January 31st, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Maggie Hendrix

    January 31st, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you Stephanie, for being so transparent. It really is so enlightening when someone else opens up about who they really are on the inside. It empowers me to know that I can do the same and love myself regardless of what others think. It is so freeing to just be open about what is going on underneath. Thanks J* for sharing Stephanie with us!

  17. Angel Pope

    January 31st, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Seriously. There are so many blogs out there to read. How can I possibly keep up with them all!!! Now I have to say, J* is the only one I read every day and ‘hmpf’ at when I log on and you haven’t posted, but I really love reading the honest and open blogs. I love the different writing styles…especially the ones that don’t use proper sentence structure. 😉
    Thanks for the introduction.

  18. kay*

    January 31st, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    wow. even just from reading this post i can tell i’ll be hooked to stephanie’s blog. i find myself drawn to blogs/bloggers who write honestly & open themselves up-despite what others may say or think…some very wise words in this post. thank you! off to check out stephanie’s blog now.

  19. allyson randle

    January 31st, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    First I think you are stunning. Second, I think my favorite line(s) is "capturing that gesture takes technique, but noticing it takes talent. Technique you can learn, but talent is instinct".
    Simply put, brilliantly said. Now here’s to learning some technique! 🙂

  20. Narrelle

    January 31st, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Gorgeous. Totally gorgeous. I seriously want to come back as her in my next life. What a fabulous philosophy she has – maybe I just need to learn to live it myself in this life… Thanks for sharing. x

  21. Cat Watson

    January 31st, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Wow, she definitely has a talent and way with words. I love her honesty, it’s captivating.

  22. Laura Stone

    January 31st, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I think I can feel my courage growing a little right this moment. Thanks for this post and everything it says!

  23. Amamda

    January 31st, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Dang. Stephanie’s articulate words cut right down to it. Thanks Jaz.

  24. B

    January 31st, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I really loved how she said that she was a "storyteller" rather than saying that she did both. I really identified with what she had to say about writing and photography.
    Thanks for Stargazing on her!

  25. Noa

    January 31st, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I’ve been pretty much addicted to blogging (and forums) since 2002. LOVE it and made such an amazing community of friends! Just made a transition to a public blog and its scary putting yourself out there. Reading Stephanie’s words here are inspiring to continue being a storyteller.

  26. I'm Kristen

    January 31st, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Awww, good post 😀 Keep tell your stories… and someday I’ll be like "I’ve been reading Jasmine’s blog since I was 15, and now she has twin babies!" 😉 haha kidding

  27. Diandra

    January 31st, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Totally gonna check her out. She sounds fantastic. I love what she said!

  28. Caitlyn

    January 31st, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Jasmine – thank you so much for introducing me to beautiful people like Stephanie. I have followed your blog for several months now, and I am a huge fan! Stephanie – you write so eloquently and inspire me to go deeper with my blog. Thank you. I admire you both, keep living your dreams!

  29. julia Azcona

    January 31st, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I’ve been a follower of Stephanie for a long time too. Her first book, SUD helped me so much… she’s awesome, and so are you!

  30. Emilie

    January 31st, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Oh wow this is so inspiring… thanks for sharing!!!

  31. Juli L.

    January 31st, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. Love it! I just love the open and honest writing style that both of you have. I write in a journal and still tend to censor myself. I’ve always been afraid someone will read it and judge, but it’s so healthy to just let it all out there and something I have been working on for a while now. Thanks for the additional inspiration! 🙂

  32. Tira J

    February 1st, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Wow. Thanks for introducing her to us Jasmine! The last paragraph really stuck with me. For sure! I had a very humbling day today and this was a great paragraph to finish it off. Off to read her blog.

  33. Domestic Executive

    February 1st, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Reading other blogs makes me more courageous about mine which means it makes me more courageous in life. Both yours and Stephanie’s are definitely and inspiration.

  34. shuhada hasim

    February 1st, 2010 at 1:33 am

    i love everything about this post. of being brave to ourselves!

  35. Bhumi

    February 1st, 2010 at 2:09 am

    She is one *incredible* writer. Her words are heartfelt, and her storytelling ability is astounding. Thank you for introducing us.

  36. Ginette Sundin

    February 1st, 2010 at 3:09 am

    INCREDIBLE! I can see why you were inspired by her. I have just discovered THIS YEAR, the 30th year of my life, to live "REAL" and tell people the truth about who I am and what my struggle is. It is a beautiful way to live. Thank you for this blog post, a total inspiration and encouragement!

  37. feuza

    February 1st, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Great advice even for photographers! love it, the intro was so funny

  38. Jeanette LeBlanc

    February 1st, 2010 at 4:18 am

    Now have totally new but completely genuine cyber-crush on Stephanie Klein. Thanks so much for sharing her with us, cannot wait to explore further.

  39. jasmine

    February 1st, 2010 at 6:05 am

    wow! jasmine great post!
    it is so inspiring and it is a little wierd because i actually feel the same way about you blog. i feel relaxed after i read your blog or see your photography. im a college student and i check everyday to see what is new….:)
    im so glad i found your website! keep up with the good work!

  40. Sissel

    February 1st, 2010 at 6:19 am

    So beautifully, beautifully put. Now-what’s up with the hotel?
    Email me about that……?

  41. Apple

    February 1st, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Wow! i’m an instant fan! she speaks so honestly and so profoundly! i’m even more inspired to work on my storytelling! i could read this post over and over again! thanks jaz!<3

  42. Elizabeth

    February 1st, 2010 at 8:54 am

    wow I also LOVE the last paragraph, so very true.

  43. Judi at Beauty & Bread

    February 1st, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks a lot, J*! Just what I needed–another blog to add to my already-voluminous reading list. It constantly amazes me how much wonderful reading is out there. I really do mean it–thanks a lot!

  44. charlotteelizabeth

    February 1st, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    wow, j*! thank you so much for sharing this with us! it would be so fun to see which blogs you follow! your blog is my escape from the rigors of my "day job" and i want to thank you for putting yourself out there. i know you don’t know me but i love what you do…SO much! you have not only provided me with a daily outlet but your blog has literally changed my outlook on life. thank you!!!!

  45. Michelle Guzman

    February 1st, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Wow. I am heading over to check out her blog today!

  46. amanda thiessen

    February 1st, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    this was awesome! i am checking her out! thank you!!!

  47. Christina P.

    February 2nd, 2010 at 4:07 am


  48. Inland Empire Wedding Photographer

    February 2nd, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Ok I think I have just over dosed on her blog. I just about devoured it in the last 24 hrs. help. Im obssesed.

  49. Colorado Wedding Photographer

    February 2nd, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    J – Love your transparency. It’s always refreshing!

  50. Carrie

    February 2nd, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    I just wrote a blog about your blog about this blog! Thanks so much for sharing about Stephanie. Otherwise, I’m not sure I ever would have happened upon her writing. She’s great!

  51. Dee

    February 2nd, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    WOW! What an amazing post. I’ll be bookmarking her from now on.

  52. Betsy, la Vida

    February 2nd, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    LOVE. IT. Thanks for sharing that!!!

  53. Valerie

    February 2nd, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Wow. I wish I had that courage. I only have it every once in a while when I’m in a bad mood, then it goes away.

  54. Jaclyne - Heavenly Blooms

    February 3rd, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you for this post, it was so refreshing to read this. And I really needed to hear these words of inspiration today.