a day in the life

I once had a photography instructor who told me everyone should, at least once, have a “day in the life” photo-series done, where a photographer documents their day from the time they rise to the time they pass out. I immediately thought, “I’d need to have veto power over all those double chin photos.” Then I thought about wearing makeup to bed the night before the big film.

I know a woman who refuses to allow her significant other to see her without makeup. The true testament of how close they are has nothing to do with letting one rip or having the spits and spins. For her, it means no concealer, foundation, or powder. And, it makes me angry. The idea that someone is out there, rushing to the bathroom before he wakes up, to quickly pat down her face with pressed powder and cover up, makes me sad. There are far too many medical advances for anyone to live that way.

So in a bold move of solidarity, I plan to have Phil (and other unsuspecting participants) photo-document a day in my life. No makeup, double chins, the whole thing. Though I cannot promise anything exciting, and given that he works, too, I might need to do a few self-portraits. I’ll only use Photoshop for color-correction and cropping (because he’ll totally have to shoot a shower scene. I mean, a girl has to have a few thrills). That is, when I actually shower.

As promised, here are the photos (just click the actual photo to scroll through… and if you can’t see the full photo, you can drag it around). I actually have more, but I’m too tired to post them now. Will have to wait for morning.

First thing in the morning, I cleaned baby bottles. Said hi to the family. Brushed the teeth. Changed Abigail’s diaper, then went downstairs to check email and took these photos of myself with the camera inside my mac. Then I baked cookies for a cookie swap I have tomorrow  (by the way, I bet you can still catch me on the TV FOOD NETWORK, when they filmed my last cookie sway. Their 12 days of cookies programing should still be on). I took photos of the tree, ate way too many cookies, raw and otherwise. Cranberry, white chocolate, macademia nut cookies, and chocolate chunk walnut cookies. Cleaned the kitchen. Then upstairs for Lucas’s physical therapy session, where Abigail and I went into my closet. Mommy needed a bra! So I got dressed, put on makeup, then came downstairs to write. Filmed a short video, then worked on Moose until it was time to head off to CHOW (a foodie club where you meet new people). Now I’m home, posting the photos. Somewhere in there, I also put on deodorant…and my wedding rings. And I only put the scarf on my head to listen to Phil tell me it looked ugly. But he never said that. I never actually planned to leave the house with a scarf on my head. I’m just sayin’. Now I’m off to bed but don’t want to wake Phil just to ask him to take a photo. I can’t wait to dive into bed!

day in the life of stephanie klein


  1. My college roommate could not leave our dorm room without putting on makeup. I cannot stand it when people cannot walk outside without being in their natural state of being. I just don't get it. Why do some people mess up their beautiful faces with all that crap caked on? I'm not talking you Stephanie, just making a generalization.

    I think when it comes to makeup and beauty supplies and hair products, less is definitely more.

  2. I was about to say "what a terrible way to live!" when I realized that my beloved has never seen me standing up naked. There is a reason for that. Sad, indeed. Good luck with your photo essay. You are the Brave One.

  3. "There are far too many medical advances for anyone to live that way."

    No, there are far too many ways a woman is made to feel such little self-worth that she deems herself unworthy of being seen for her natural beauty.

  4. Interesting idea. I'm interested to see how it all turns out. You do a great job on this blog. I thoroughly enjoy your writing. Great job.

  5. That is an awesome idea! I took a photographic communications class (basically the first class you need at UT if you want to be a photojournalism major, though I just took it as an elective) and we had a self-portrait assignment one week. It is some of my favorite work I did the entire class because it's so personal. I did some nude self-portraits, which were strange at first, but they turned out better than I thought they would (photography-wise, not body-wise). My favorite though was a shot of just my feet in my pointe shoes in my boyfriend's bathroom. Anyway, have fun with the project! I can't wait to see the results!

  6. To be fair, imagine a heavy case of acne. And when the acne is gone, skin so dry it flakes. Still, it makes me sad. I wish more people could walk around showing off their "ugly," or at least saying, "this is who I am. Deal!"

  7. What do you mean by "there are far too many medical advances for anyone to live that way"? What medical advances obviate the need for makeup for the insecure… Botox? Spray tans?

  8. Seriously, this woman you speak of must wake up daily with raccoon eyes. I'd rather be seen without make than wake up looking like I just got off a bender. Not too good for the skin either.

    I love this photo essay idea. It gives you a chance to see how everyone else views you. I want to do this.

  9. to Lee: there is nothing natural or beautiful about acne scars. Let's get real here. am all for the less is more approach and the let your natural beauty shine stuff, but some peeps just need a little more than gloss and mascara.
    Yay to modern "medicine"!

  10. Ah Manic Mummy, how glad you are that you don't have skin like mine. For a few weeks a year it is clear and there is no rhyme nor reason to when they occur. Sometimes, even with dermatological intervention and medical advances, there is no way of preventing acne.

    The rest of the time, my beloved loves me as I am, but I can be reduced to tears by the face I have to face the world with some days. I do it, and I embrace the world in truth, but I wouldn't be able to without some makeup. The odd clear week I get here and there is bliss.

    Careful how you judge, self-esteem is sometimes predicated on strategies to cope with human interaction.

  11. Good for you. I wish I could do something similar, but I just don't think I'm quite there yet. I feel like I'm coming to a point in my life where I feel more comfortable w/o makeup, but I don't know if it's a change in me or just a change in my environment. I'm in grad school, and it seems like here people sort of look down on you if you show up every day with a full face of makeup (you could have been studying instead of perfecting your smudgy eyeliner!). That's definitely part of it, but I like to give myself a little credit for growing up and accepting that this is my face and 'who do I think I'm fooling anyway?'.

  12. 'I wish more people could walk around showing off their "ugly," or at least saying, "this is who I am. Deal!" '

    This attitude does work, for about 5 minutes until you realize that people really do judge others harshly on their appearance. How about "I don't care if you think I'm pathetic or project self-esteem issues onto the fact that I like to always look the way I feel is my best." I think that's more confident, and more realistic.

  13. Poor friend..is it a testament to her insecurity or her fear that he will love her less somehow seeing the real her. That in itself is a burden she doesn't deserve. He probably would be fine with it if given a chance to see her without the makeup.

    I remember what a big deal it used to be when I would let a new boyfriend see me without my makeup. I never wore full war paint but it still leaves one feeling vulnerable. A lot of us women have years of marketing and slick advertising on how we 'should' look calcified into our psyches. Takes some getting over.

    Do you find that you are less worried about how you appear now that you have the babes? Not a total lack of pride in appearance or tendency to be slattern- but do you find that you don't worry about how others might see you now you're a mom? I was talking about this to a friend the other week and it seems that becoming a parent almost shifted that instantly for us; there is much less obsessing over that kind of thing.

  14. My parents have been married for 33 years and my father has never seen my mother totally bare faced. She sleeps with her head in the pillow and wakes before he sees her to apply just a smidge of gloss, brush her teeth and hair, a swipe of blush. I think its terrific that someone just wants to look what they consider to be their best. It is not a reflection on depth of relationship, in my opinion.

  15. I did this for a scrapbook class taught by Ali Edwards. It was a week in the life and it was amazing. It still is one of my favorite albums to look back at. It was during my time as a single stay at home mom with my son and those moments caught remind me just how powerful and strong I really am.

  16. Oh, that kinda makes me sad too, that woman with the makeup before he wakes up thing. I mean, I sometimes run to the bathroom to tousle my hair a bit, to give more of a sexxy morning, JBFH hair rather than the mop I wake up with. But makeup? Not so much.

    Can't wait to see your photos!

  17. Some people, like me, have horrible skin and want to cover it. I would love to be a lip gloss and mascara girl, but I had cystic acne as a teenager and have hideous scars now. When I go out without make-up people ask me what happened to me, or just stare. And I take better care of my skin than all of my friends and always have. I understand how she feels and others would do good not to judge.

  18. i'm always amazed when i hear your voice w/o a trace of nassau county nasalosity. have you been coached? c'mon, spill.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Ha. No coaching here, just pure disgust with the accent. It amazes me when I go home and hear, "Gotta go waaawk the dawg." Shivers.

  19. LOVE the shirt you are wearing in the video and LOVE the idea of the transparency over the photos.

    thanks for sharing a little bit of your day with us!

  20. love love the white shirt -where did you find it!

    FROM STEPHANIE: Anthropologie is my new best friend. For starters, they let you return anything for any reason, at any time. Jeans got too big? Return them. "Really?" I asked the personal shopper who works there. I was hesitant about buying a pair of jeans, worried that they'd stretch, and I'm trying to lose weight, and then soon they wouldn't fit. She tells me, "Just return them." "Even if I've worn them?" "Absolutely."

    So I go in the other day and see a few of the purchases I made were now in the sale area (white shirt in video included), and they gave me price adjustments on all my purchases that were now on sale. Awesome (as long as they go on sale within 14 days).

    So the white top in the video is on sale, right now, at anthropologie.

  21. Can't wait to see the photos OH and I loved the video blog thing– have you thought about making them a part of this blog? It think it would be a nice touch to see those from time to time!

    Loving your scrapbooking ideas too– so cute! Makes me want to bust out all my crafting supplies and get busy!

  22. looove the top you are wearing in the video! so perfect on you. the video makes me miss you so much chica!

  23. Does no one else see the irony here? You say you wish more people would show their "ugly," yet you get all fixed up for that video. (Or do you always write wearing makeup, your hair down, and a silk shirt?) Just a tad hypocritical, if you ask me.

    FROM STEPHANIE: I haven't yet posted the images of me earlier in the day, where I did the exact same thing. And yes, typically, I spend part of the day without makeup, writing. Then I get dressed, put on makeup, and write (both in and outside the house). Jeepers.

  24. You look great! On the subject of "Moose," have you seen any of MTV's "Fat Camp." They did a two hour show last year and another this season. It was interesting to see the dynamics among the kids. The guy who runs the place is wonderful; very compassionate but also knows when he's being played. He also knows when to call the parents as a recourse, particularly for bullying incidents. I'm sure they would send you a DVD since you're a well-known author and this is the subject of your latest book.
    Your scrapbooking is very cool– not too busy and overdone– and the photos are terrific. Abigail and Lucas are gorgeous.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Thank you. Yes, I've seen them. And the owner of that camp was once… well, one of the owners of one of the very camps I attended. I know him well.

  25. Wow–you don't sound at all how I guess I imagined…:) You are gorgeous and I LOVE your makeup—also, love the cards that you are making with pics of the beans…très creative!

  26. Great Holiday ideas (love the scrap book ideas). Very cute top…remember where you bought it from? Can't wait to read the new book…estimated sales date?

  27. Ok, let me preface this by saying I am so not gay but I really could not take my eyes off your cleavage. Tres distracting…why all the boobage for your bloggerettes? I thought you were cold?

    FROM STEPHANIE: I got dressed for the day. Didn't plan on doing the little video thing. That just sorta came to me later in the day. Didn't change before I went out tonight… who has time to change twice? It's a luxury I don't have anymore. I went out tonight in those same clothes. And for all the people saying I'm a hypocrite for posting that video because I'm wearing makeup? Hello? What about all the damn no makeup, bra, anything photos? Like I said, it's not like I planned to make the video. I just thought it was a fun addition, so I did it. Sometimes people overthink shit.

    I was just being me. There are photos of me grabbing my boobs, and flyin' free, because that's what I do around the house sometimes. I make dumb faces in the mirror, too. I can be a ham, even when the only one watching is me. Deal.

  28. Stephanie, you crack me up. A post about embracing yourself as you are and then a video in full makeup, hair styled, and massive cleavage. The hypocricy is so transparent, yet you are somehow totally unaware. This is why I read your blog.

  29. Stephanie, you clearly never had acne. There is something so horrifically all encompassing about acne, that the fear of being seen with naked skin is nothing short of a nightmare. You need a huge dose of compassion. I cant believe you are even blogging about this woman, who clearly has to deal with such a burden. You just lost an avid reader in me, for hitting an all time low.

    FROM STEPHANIE: That's the thing, I do have compassion for her. I think it totally sucks for her, and I wish she didn't have to go through it. It makes me feel sad. I didn't say I judged her for it. It must be very hard, and it makes me sad that anyone suffers that way.

  30. The beans are beautiful, and I love to see pictures of them, but it's so nice to see you! BTW you look fabulous;)

  31. Oh how delightful! A web cam! My son just bought one on the QT to talk to his um…young lady friend? (Can't be a girlfriend if I've never met her). Must be strange to have conversations over the internet where everyone can see everything.

    I was talking to my cute parents (The Aged P's) last night about it as they cuddled on the couch (as they have done almost every night for the last 47 years) – and they said 'god, when we were dating, we hardly knew what a phone looked like'. Imagine.

    Thanks for sharing, I look forward to seeing more.

    Oh – by the way – you look incredible – not like you popped out two babies a year ago.

  32. Very much looking forward to more photos! But the video was fantastic!! Love to actually get to HEAR you speak – hope you do more of those too. Great idea! :)

  33. This was fun to watch and see the pretty cards and great ideas. For those who thought it was not so great…they haven't had the benefit of meeting you in person and knowing you are even cooler in person than on this video. :)

  34. Ah Steph. The few times I have heard your voice it makes me smile and I have been surprised at how sweet it is. Not that I expect it to be harsh!!! It is just a sweet, soothing voice and I am sure your beans love hearing you sing to them. Thanks for sharing the video with us, you are beyond beautiful and most importantly, you look so happy.

    I've got pages and pages of writing staring in front of me at the moment and the task of editing is beyond daunting. When you mention going to starbucks, do you ever do any of your "Moose" work there? I find I go with the best of intentions, but I always get side-tracked and end up with writing, but usually about things the people around me have inspired.

    Can't wait to see the photos, and I love that you will ask the stranger if they are happy. Hope the rest of your day went well..

    And 3 teens mom: I second the comment about loving you talk about your kids. Please start a blog already!! I'm 22, and love my mom more than anything. Your stories remind me how amazing moms are!

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