This is 40

by Stephanie Casher on February 21, 2016

On January 5th, I celebrated a milestone birthday — the big 4-0. If I’m blessed to live to eighty, half my life is officially behind me… which is deep when you sit down and think about it. So naturally I’ve been doing a lot of meditating about what it means to enter this new decade of life…

I didn’t feel different when I turned thirty, but I’m not gonna lie, forty feels different. You have finally reached that age that your ten-year old self considered “old.” You are undeniably an adult, and if you’re not doing adult stuff, folks are gonna look at you sideways, lol. As they should. ;) By forty, one is officially grown, and should start acting like it.

Turning forty may trigger a mid-life crisis for some, but I’m pretty proud of where I’m standing at this moment in time. I have a great job. I found the perfect partner to share my life with, and I married him. My life is filled with family I want as friends, and friends who feel like family. I own a home in one of the most beautiful cities in California, and besides my mortgage, I am debt-free. I’ve written and published two books. I have the means and ability to travel often, and I do. For the most part, I no longer care what people think, and have cultivated a healthy sense of self-worth.  My girlish figure is long gone, but I’m at peace with my womanly curves, even if they take a bit more effort to maintain, lol. And thankfully, I still have my health and mobility. All in all, life has been good to me thus far, and I’m excited to see what the next decade brings.

12605342_10207110689579286_4262707948357475844_oMy best friend, Kelly, turned 40 a week after me, so in mid-January we headed to Jamaica (with our husbands) to celebrate. Cause that’s the kinda stuff you do when you’re grown and have your ish together. ;) For eight, bliss-filled days we were in paradise. Pristine beaches. Warm, clear water. Beautiful people. Fueled by jerk chicken, Red Stripes, and fruity rum drinks, we explored the island at our own pace during an epic vacation that was equal parts relaxation and adventure. Hands down, one of my best birthdays ever.


Pro travel tip: Heading to a tropical island in the middle of winter is always a good idea. While folks in California were braving El Nino, and folks on the east coast were being buried in snow, we were enjoying 80 degree weather in shorts and tank tops, swimming in the ocean every day, fully immersed in island life. Yeah, mon. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

I wrote a series of travel blogs about our trip, in case anyone wants to read more about our adventures or plan their own trip to the islands. Enjoy!

Jamaica – Practical Matters

Montego Bay

Ocho Rios

Port Antonio

Photo Album



by Stephanie Casher on July 20, 2015

BOOK UPDATE:  The Space Between is now available for purchase and download on amazon.com!  Thank you for your patience, and I can’t hear wait to hear what ya’ll think of the new book!



Our Italian Honeymoon

by Stephanie Casher on July 9, 2015


In June 2014, James and I celebrated our foray into married life by taking an epic honeymoon.  For three weeks we traveled all over Italy (after a few days in Amsterdam), immersed in all things Italian.  This was a dream vacation for me, as I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Italy.  I love everything about Italy: the food, the language, the pace of life, the people.  I am eternally grateful to everyone who donated to our Honeyfund – because of their generosity, we were able to do Italy in style.

I’ve finally completed a series of blogs about our travels (complete with videos), for anyone with aspirations of traveling there, or who just wants to live vicariously.  Enjoy!  And feel free to hit me up if you need help planning your own Italian itinerary!

Venice, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Rome, Italy

The Amalfi Coast (Positano), Italy & The Isle of Capri (off the coast of Italy)

Photo Album



Phyllis Estelle Garrard Lewis ~ In Memoriam

by Stephanie Casher on April 2, 2015

AltarThis past weekend, I gathered with family in Maryland to say goodbye to my dear mother-in-law, Phyllis Estelle Garrard Lewis.  It’s been a difficult couple of months for my husband and his family, as we braced ourselves for her passing, gathering to say our final goodbyes.  I will always cherish the memory of my last visit with her… Our last hug was a beautiful moment. She held on long, and tight… both of us knowing… without needing to speak it… that this was goodbye. She whispered “I love you” into my ear. I loved her, too.  So much. Mom raised three boys, and welcomed me with open arms and an open heart when James brought me home for the first time.  She treated me like her daughter, and I loved her like she was my mom. She was such an inspiration to me, and taught me so much about strength, determination, and how to face adversity with grace, dignity, and a positive attitude. I’m going to miss her so much.

Pasted below is the beautiful obituary James wrote for his mom.

Phyllis Estelle Garrard Lewis passed away peacefully at Seasons Hospice in Baltimore, Maryland on March 5th, 2015. She fought a courageous thirteen-year battle with breast cancer. She attended Freedom City Ministries Church until her illness took away her mobility, but never her faith.

Phyllis’s unbreakable spirit left an indelible mark on the lives she touched. Her infectious smile and radiant vitality shined no matter the circumstance, demonstrating a stubborn resilience in the face of opposition. Phyllis displayed a strong sense of independence; yet, she still had an uncanny ability of upholding fierce loyalty to family and friends, becoming a shoulder or ear for anyone who needed her. The people in her circle knew they had an ally for life.

Phyllis, age 63, was born in Newark, New Jersey to the late Mr. William Foy Garrard and Mrs. Theresa Henderson Garrard on September 19, 1951. Besides being preceded by her parents, Phyllis was also preceded by her sisters Muriel Williams, Anna Mae Garrard Dugger, and Michelle Gordon.

Cherishing her memory are her stepmother, Gertraude Garrard of Hopewell, VA; three loving sons whom she adored: Kenneth Daryl Garrard Lewis of Hamburg, Germany, James William Lewis (Stephanie) of Santa Cruz, California, and Quen Durrell Davis of Bowie, Maryland; two grandchildren: Miguel Lewis (Cassie) of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Tyrone Ewing of Hutschenhausen, Germany; one great-granddaughter Caleesi; three brothers: William Garrard (Elaine) of Baltimore, MD, Malcolm Garrard of Richmond, VA, and Jason Garrard (Wanda) of Richmond, VA; and two sisters: Theresa Garrard of San Antonio, Texas and Alfrieda Williams (Freddie) of Newport News, Virginia. She is also survived by a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, friends, and best girlfriends.

Phyllis’s ready smile and bursts of laughter were her personal hallmarks. She valued moments with all “her boys” while watching them become fine young men from afar. She also enjoyed the little things in life, such as watching a crime thriller on her favorite tablet, perusing the Home Shopping Network, and sampling a healthy scoop of pistachio ice cream. Her greatest joy came from holding her beautiful first great-grandchild Caleesi.

Phyllis was unselfish, warm, generous, and extremely loving. A memorial for Phyllis will be held in Laurel, Maryland, where family and friends can celebrate her life and rekindle their devotion to family, which is what Phyllis held in high regard. Her final wish was to have her boys scatter her ashes in the waters of Seaside, California.



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Cover Crisis

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So we’ve hit a snag in the cover design process… and I need everyone’s help. We’ve been working on the design for The Space Between cover for the past few months. This has been a really challenging process for me, because I’m not really visual, so I didn’t have a “concept” in mind for the […]

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The 7-Year Hitch

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Last December, James and I celebrated our seven-year anniversary by getting married. After deciding in late-October that it was finally time to tie the knot, we threw together a very small, last-minute ceremony here in Santa Cruz. While I don’t recommend trying to throw together a “wedding” in under two months, it ended up being […]

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Europe 2012 ~ First Leg ~ Amsterdam

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Europe 2012 ~ Second Leg ~ Menaggio/Lugano

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One thing I really loved about Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport was that they had hotels IN the airport. I spent my fourth night in a very comfortable room at the Mercure Hotel inside the terminal and caught an early morning flight the next day from Amsterdam to Milan, Italy. Oh Italia, how I love you… The […]

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