The Phear

As of July 11 (my wedding anniversary, 8 months to the day), I am a different person. Officially. My last name has been legally changed to Phelps (!!!) with all government agencies. “Signature here please,” …  “sit up straight for your photo now” … “What was your maiden name again, ma’am?”

Maiden name. A mix of emotions surfaced when the DMV clerk said those words. After all of the wedding planning, doing, honeymooning, crossing T’s and dotting I’s, I guess I forgot I would just be another lady with a ‘maiden name’ when all was said and done. There was never a question as to whether I wanted to take my husband’s name or not, I’m traditional like that. (“HELL YES I’M YOUR WOMAN!”) But I never stopped to think about how much ye old maiden name meant to me in the first place. I was never really connected to its rightful owner. I disengaged from the name when I was an adolescent; the only joy I received from it was having the chance to say it to Irish elderlies who would get a kick out of a little girl named Casey Murphy. “Doesn’t get much more Irish than that, young lady!,”  they’d say. Alas, the only honor I could find in the maiden name game was letting go.

Those emotions were replaced by excitement and happiness when I was told to pen my new last name for the first time a few moments later. Ack! I hadn’t practiced or anything, I didn’t even remember that was part of the process. But I signed, and it worked. A cute, curly, scribbly mess. Mess. Flash-forward to a month, when I’ll be turning 30. I’m ready. I’ve been ready for like, 15 years.

30 seems like the Holy Grail of age for women (in my generation). “How old are you?” … “30.” BAM!  No more questions asked. Stripes earned. Get off my back, yo.

But as life has it (again), approaching another milestone, I’ve got no solid direction as to where I’m going. Embark on a freelance career? How steady is that? I don’t know. Another bartending job? Wait…seriously? I’m even considering this? I AM TALENTED AND WELL-SEASONED AND EXPERIENCED. WHY AM I LOST WITH NO DIRECTION? Get OUT OF HERE, FEAR. You are not welcome. (But I keep you, my enemy, closer…because it’s easy.)

As long as I show up and do my homework every day and turn it into the teacher, the Universe — and hustle, with gratitude and relentlessness, then good things will happen.


“When do you think it will all become clear, ’cause I’ve been taken over by the fear….”


A Filofax, A Baby Bobcat & A Miracle

O hai! Here is a weekend re-cap, because I need something to do with my twitchy limbs whilst waiting in anticipation for the season premiere of True Blood!

* * * 

+ Friday +

Friday evening was spent compulsively organizing my new Filofax on the couch. Nerd alert! This is particularly exciting because of how long I pondered making this purchase before taking the plunge (over a year). Every time I tried to order it, either they (Filofax and other misc. stationery shops) were out of stock, I changed my mind, or my preferred color choice (Raspberry) was out of stock (again) when I changed my mind (again). Finally, I chose the Filofax Finsbury Personal in Yellow in an attempt to spice up the variety of my Pepto Bismol-shaded existence. The delivery of this new organizational system tickles the cockles of my OCD-tattered heart, mostly because I refuse to put my trust (and appointments, addresses, birthdays, brainstorms and misc. livelihood) into the i-Verse. Pen plus paper, always.

O happy day!


Virgin inserts! Bless.


The guts of my old wallet, notebooks and annual calendar.


The “dashboard” (unfinished), front zipper pocket (lotsa flare!), personalized tabs & month-to-month calendar (2 pages for each day, 1 business & 1 personal – good idea husband!):


Having everything, systematized, in one place has made a significant difference the last 2 days — so much easier than attempting to keep track of to-do’s and whatnots, which were previously contained in multiple locations. If you are also a little Miss Scatterbrain, I recommend making the investment and treating yourself to the gift of harmonic standardization!

+ Saturday +

The husband and I made our annual (this was our 2nd time, so now we can call it “annual!”) pilgrimage to the Portland Rose Festival. We saw a few roses, but mostly we saw lots of strollers and carnival folk. We also saw (and by “saw” I mean snuggled) a BABY BOBCAT!

8-week old Lily + me = ECSTATIC! (Husband: Thank you for making my dreams come true, one real and/or stuffed carnival animal at a time.)*


(*Editor’s Note: I must admit that I had a bit of buyers remorse/guilt after we paid our $10 to handle that caged baby circus animal, and I still kind of do. But one thing is for sure: that little Lily brought a LOT of joy to festival-goers over the weekend. For being an 8-week old, it’d be safe to say Lily’s got a plentiful amount of karma in the bank).

We also spent far too many tickets on the “knock all 3 metal milk bottles off the table” game, which resulted in some aggravation on my behalf; not because we walked away without a Sanrio stuffed animal (because this house desperately needs another one…not) — but because the games are rigged, the carnival-workers know it, and they take your money anyways. The whole thing makes me feel gross. (Except for the funnel cakes. Those are always a good time.)


I settled my frustration associated with knowing most of those stupid games are designed for failure and focused my attention on surrounding happy things instead.


 + Sunday + 

*Enjoyed our weekly (this was our 2nd time, so now we can call it “weekly!”) brunch at The Hazel Room

*Treated m’paws to a manicure

*Brewed the remaining Kona coffee from my Hawaii trip and made ice cubes with it, which will be dropped into a glass of almond milk for breakfast (thanks, Pinterest)!

+ This week + 

I will manifest a miracle.


* * * 

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Things I <3 Thursday

15 minutes left before Thursday turns to Friday! Tick tock! Here are a few things too good not to share this week:

* * *

*Husband bringing me a cupcake for lunch

*Funneling things and not spilling a drop

*Steadily focusing on what I want in the near future and how I’m going to get it

*My Kigurumi dinosaur onesie from JapanLA. It’s the most comfortable thing I own! One day I will have the guts to wear it in public on a day that is not Halloween

*The Hazel Room on SE Hawthorne: An old victorian with homemade delicacies, tea infusions, cocktails and delicious eats. I could sit there with a book for hours. Check out the website (even though those photos don’t depict its magic) and/or GO HERE if you live in Portland. Such a wonderful local business.

*Speaking of books: Perusing the bookstore after a lovely meal, picking out some choice summer reading and jumping right in

ImageBAM! Done! Happy Friday! (In 1 minute)

* * *



Notable Quotable


“There are no accidents. If it’s appeared on your life radar, this is why: to teach you that dreams come true; to reveal that you have the power to fix what’s broken and heal what hurts; to catapult you beyond seeing with just your physical senses; and to lift the veils that have kept you from seeing that you’re already the person you dreamed you’d become.”




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Note To Self

Danielle LaPorte, you so good.

If you aren’t privy to what this woman has to say, and/or you fancy yourself a fire lit under your ass from time to time, please read her blog. Or book. Or both. Seriously soul inspiring stuff. Easily digestible, always relatable.

Here are some of my favorite pieces that she’s penned. For you, for me, for today or whenever…

The Manifesto of Encouragement : “Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. They just can’t see it from where they’re at.”

This is Your Guarantee of Failure. Proceed Anyway. : “Shift your energy from protecting yourself from failure to squeezing the life out of life.”

In Honour of the Fact That Life is Short : “Do not wait for special occasions…make a point to be as encouraging as possible, as much as possible, to everyone possible”

15 Tips For Public Speaking : “Gratitude Is Always The Best Place To Begin”

The Grand Pep Talk: Decide To Rise : “Tell fear to fuck right the fuck off.”

Other tidbits that are easy on the ears:

“There’s nothing to lose when you fully show up.”

“Say thank you before tomorrow comes.”

“Sometimes, the most direct route to appreciation is through the darkness – even if it’s merely imagined. Facts, faced: even in our struggles, most of us are privileged. We have so many rights, must we exercise the right to complain?”

“Pretend that your neuroses are charming.”

word. up. 

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Celebrating Jesse

To my freaking AWESOME husband, Jesse…Welcome to your next 365 day journey around the sun!

Today (and always) I’m celebrating the wonderful things that you bring to this life.


Your exuberance


Your appreciation for literature


Your inner cat whisperer


Your (damn good) hugs


Your softer side

Your competitive side

Your loved ones

Your love!


 Today (and always), let us toast to….

The little things

“Hobo adventures”



BINGO (O, sweet BINGO)

Having our cake (and eating it too)

Roads less traveled

New beginnings


…And old ones, too.


Thank you for being THE BEST life hostage I could ask for.

To be your one and only Cupcakes… icing with joy.

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A Note From The Universe

I’m subscribed to a daily e-mail blast that sends “A Note From The Universe” – just a few sentences that take less than 20 seconds to read, with a positive affirmation/reminder that always plants a positive seed in my head that lasts all day (sometimes longer). There is always something thought provoking and wonderful in each Note, but about once or twice a week I receive one that is insanely on the money. This is what The Universe said yesterday:

The presumption, Casey, at all times and under all circumstances, should always be that you are good enough, worthy enough, and lovable enough. And that you are exactly the right kind of person, in the right place, at the right time. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been instilled with such dreams in the first place.

Love you,
The Universe

See also: The blog I wrote just hours before that popped up in my inbox. (Scroll down.)

Dream on.

Gratitude & Goodwill


In this moment, I feel sadness, despair and frustration. I’ve been stuck in a mental vortex of mistakes, things I should or shouldn’t have said and choices I should or shouldn’t have made that resulted in consequences that have negatively affected loved (and, at times, not-so-loved) ones.

The outward appearance of life is charmed; I have the fortune of doing business in Hawaii this week, expressing my passion with others during the day and falling asleep to the rustle of swaying palm trees in the evening. I have a damn wonderful, compassionate & supportive husband, 3 happy cats and a warm home waiting for me. I do not feel deserving of any of this.

I have hurt & disappointed others, and my heart weighs down through my feet for that. The hopelessness is overwhelming, but I hope believe that the little control I do have in this moment:

A. Forgiveness of the past

B. Conscious gratitude


C. The intention of goodwill, for everything

…In every moment, will come back to me down the road in whatever form and repair these haunting trails of damage.

I believe it.

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Make It Yo’self Monday: 1 Pot Taco Soup

If you find yourself short on time — or any culinary skills whatsoever (like yours truly) — then this recipe is for you, my friend. It’s my ol’ standby it because it takes less than 30 minutes, only 1 pot is needed, it makes a ton of leftovers, it’s great for cold & rainy nights, AND there are just 11 ingredients required (11 is the magic number; for this reason and the others, Taco Soup goes to 11). It’s not vegan or vegetarian but if that’s what you prefer it can be altered GO CHECK OUT ANOTHER COOKING WEBSITE. Here ya go little fella:


+1 lb. Ground Beef

+1 Yellow Onion, chopped

+(2) 14.5 oz. cans Diced Tomates with Green Chiles

+(2) 15 oz. cans Pinto Beans (drained)

+(1) 15 oz. can Black Beans (drained)

+(1) 15 oz. can Cream-Style Corn

+(1) packet Ranch Style Dressing Mix

+(1) packet Taco Seasoning


Meat & Seasonings

All ingredients ready!



Chop the onion and toss it in the pot with the beef, let the two brown together.

*Tip: To avoid eye-watering action while chopping onion, hold a matchstick in-between your teeth. I know this because I just watched The Help, starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis.



Drain the excess grease & add remaining ingredients to the pot. Simmer on medium-low & stir occasionally for 20 minutes.




(If it seems a little thick, add a splash of water while simmering.)



And, um, that’s it!



Serve it up with some or all of the following fixins:



+Crushed tortilla chips

+Sour Cream

+Shredded Cheddar Cheese



+Tortilla chips for the dippin’

+Garlic bread



Bon appetit!

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