where the real magic (now) happens

I went to couples therapy alone last week. The Suitor was out of town, in New York, giving me a rambunctious case of food jealousy with his updates about Nobu 57, Bobby Van’s, The Brandy Library, Spring Lounge, Onieals Soho, and The Kingswood. Bitch.

office space

A source of friction in our marriage is reconciling our very different styles of doing things. Phil is a planner and can see turns five, ten, steps down the road, so he becomes frustrated when I don’t think the way he does, don’t plan ahead (despite really trying). I simply can’t think the way he does. I’m more circular, and he’s linear. I don’t know what this means exactly, but it feels right. Overall, everyone would agree that he’s all about utility, and I’m about creativity. I want a life of moments, memories captured. I do things for the fun in them. Phil does things to get them done.

office space stephanie klein details

One of the benefits to therapy is having an outsider’s opinion, someone trained, who can with some certainty, call bullshine to the statement, "Well, too bad, this is the way I am." We’re then forced to reevaluate our behaviors and actually work on changing the dynamic by changing "the way I am."

Last week our therapist asked me how things were going, how was I managing without Phil. "Relief" was the word of the day. It’s all I was feeling. It felt like spring with him away, and with spring comes spring cleaning. "All I want to do now that he’s away is live a life of lovely. Of iced lemon water on a coaster." Because there was no one to consult, I could do everything my way. No compromise. I could take charge: the very thing Phil wishes I did more when he’s around.  So why don’t I do it more often?

We fall into roles, living in patterns, creating familiar. And now we’re trying to leave familiar and work on restructuring. I left things to Phil because he’s a planner, and he gets shit done faster than I do. He’s better at it, and whenever I did take charge, he’d always have a comment, a suggestion, a criticism, asking why I did things that way, why I hadn’t thought of X. So, I finally threw up my hands and let him do it himself.

"Spring cleaning?" The therapist said.

"Yes, Phil is a mess!"

"But he’s mister planner! You’d think he was the orderly one."

"Nope. My closet is always organized, neat. His looks like picnic grounds after a family reunion. And don’t get me started on office space."

office space papersSo the irony is that as much of a planner Phil is, he’s a pig. Whereas I can’t seem to get anything done unless my surroundings are orderly and clean, everything in its place. "He thinks I’m procrastinating when I feel the sudden urge to reorganize the scrapbook room, but the truth is, if I don’t do it, it weighs on my mind, and I can’t get anything else done."

After therapy, I canceled happy hour plans and spent the night organizing (view photos in my galleries). And it felt glorious. I want to believe that Phil appreciates all the effort, but in truth, I’m sure he’s happier with things everywhere. But bottom line, I feel more organized and productive now, like I’m ready to take on the world… or the three writing projects I have before me: a new book, Moose movie, and a network pitch for a new TV series I created (heading to LA again soon).



  1. New book?! TALK!!! I have read Straight Up & Dirty at least 3 times, and Moose changed my LIFE. I am desperate for your next! How exciting!!!

    1. Author

      Agreed, it’s still clutter. But the clutter is contained, and I know where everything is. It would be different if it were just my room. Just a writing room, or just a craft room, or just a brainstorming room. But it’s a multi-tasking room for me, AND for phil… and for Mr. Bikini. There’s definitely room for improvement… and for art on the walls!

  2. Chris and I have the exact same disagreements about each other’s time and priorities, he is a work in progress or am i?..either way… You look beautiful in the picture!

  3. It’s great to hear what you’re working on! And, of course, to see where that happens :) I guess now that there are more big projects you can’t tell us readers about them all the time, but I hope it is all working out well!

  4. Seriously, organizing makes me the happiest! I am always “pretend busy” organizing something and I freakin’ LOVE it!
    I am ultra jealous of this room and now feel the need to go home and create a room solely for creation and inspiration.

    Quick question, I know you’ve posted about this, but I can’t seem to find it. I need some help choosing a printer.
    May I ask which printer you use? I also remember something about borders on photos…does this printer solve that issue?

  5. you look so pretty! that’s a really good color on you, and im loving your hair!

    so many good things in store with the new book, new show, etc. (btw, is there any more scoop on the straight up and dirty-esque show?)

    my boyfriend was away this past weekend. at first i was bummed that he was gone all weekend, but i ended up soaking up every minute of it. then it’s refreshing when they return. glad you got to have some free time too. i think that’s good for a relationship.

  6. I thought you had enough space that you 2 could have separate offices. Don’t you have something like 6 bedrooms and studies and a library and whatnot? I work with my husband at our home, and our house is small. But we each have our own small office, separated by a larger open space. There’s no way we could work in each other’s faces, in spite of the fact that my husband could not in the least care how I arrange things, whether it’s neat or not (which it always is), etc. Let Phil have his space & you yours and then everyone can be happy.

    1. Author

      Phil doesn’t work in this room with me, BUT it is his “base.” He needs to fax from here, to file papers, print, use letterhead, etc. He works out of a different room in the house, though. AKA: The Guest Room, or “The New York Room,” where he watches finance TV and has conference calls… in bed, in his pajamas.

      1. So he IS the disorganized party here! He needs a fax/printer combo & his own stash of letterhead in HIS office. Add a nice TV for finance sitcoms & a great phone system & he gets ONE complete room to work from. Throw in a futon for jammy time. If he needs THREE (3!) rooms to work from, he’s the one with the problem here, not you. You each need your own turf, but he doesn’t get 3 turfs! Also, I too hope there’s another book in the pipeline. & Mr. Bikini’s a very handsome fellow.

    1. Author

      I have the HP Officejet Pro K850. I LOVE that it fits big ass scrapbook paper in it, and that I can print really large photographs. I know there’s a way, but I haven’t figured it out yet, to print full-bleed, with no edge to the photos. Something about telling lies to the printer, telling the computer the size paper in the printer is larger than it really is.

      1. I just got the same printer this week from a friend who wasn’t getting any use out of it! Question, do you print on cardstock by sending it through the back? Mine doesn’t appear to allow it (it only came with a duplexer not a back paper feed) and I find I can manually feed it through the front but it distorts the card/printing a bit. Just wanted to hear a from a real person who uses one because HP just read off a script and couldnt understand what I was asking them :( thanks! P.S. LOVE the photos…I could browse photos of studio spaces all day long :) Also love the inclusion of a photo of Linus!

  7. Love the color, the celadon green, the chocolate (and the photo of Linus, or course).

  8. “The first time that I went to the Spring Lounge was my first visit to New York City for a week of horrible software training (both the software and the training were eye-burningly bad).

  9. It is a luscious room…I imagine great things will stem from the delightful surroundings. I keep my office at my office tidy, beautiful and organized – making sure to put everything away when I leave at night so I can come in and face the new day with a clean desk, clear conscience and purpose. Then the party begins! Woo! Glad you had a nice break.

  10. Seriously, this room would be HEAVEN for me. LOVE IT! Sadly, I don’t have that kind of space.

    And I totally agree about the organizing issue. I feel so uneasy when things are not in place, clean, and organized. Good job!

  11. Thinking and life-evaluating are accomplishments! Here’s to fruitful results.

  12. First, your hair looks great. Question – why do you have a towel over your table with the lamp? Love the lamp. Does Phil have a mancave / garage where he can do the same?

    1. Author

      Phil needs a mancave! He’s not the “fix it” toolbox guy, so he’d find the garage insulting. He’d want no part of a shed. I consider the movie theater room the closest he has to a man cave. I mean, come on, it’s ALL about stereo sound and confusing equipment, with seating that converts into some type of ridiculous lie down and don’t move bed. And it’s nice and dark in there. Hell, that’s a cave, right? If only he found it as exciting as I do!

    2. Author

      Oh, as for the towel… the white chest is a French antique of sorts, but the top was removed by the previous owner. I never got around to repainting, so I use the white towel to cover the exposed brown wood top.

  13. So this is where all the magic happens? After reading your blog for years, I am glad to see your space is pretty, too.

  14. Like you, organization is something that stops me in my tracks and demands my full attention until I feel as if my surroundings can harbor all my creative (and sometimes spastic) energy. Seriously, I have been running through plans in my head on how to organize a new home that I HAVEN’T EVEN MOVED INTO YET.

    Your space is definitely one I could spend some time in! :)

  15. Loved this post. And I loved seeing inside your world. (I run a PEEK series on my blog that is just like this because I love to see inside peoples spaces) and it totally makes me want to go organize something. I must say that I’m the same way. I CAN’T do anything if I have something to clean or organize. It’s to my detriment though because I rarely get anything “fun” done. But I just can’t hellp it!

    Loving your blog.

  16. Thanks for sharing photos of your workspace! I’m constantly wondering how other creative people work and what kind of environments might be good for me.

    And secondly, I’m really looking forward to your new writing projects! Any hints on what the new book will be about?

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