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About Stephanie Phillips

Wife, mom, dentist, writer, New Yorker, Southerner, Sydneysider, believer, sinner, overall case study in contradictions. @stephsphillips www.plansinpencil.com

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    All the Life We Cannot See (and All the Death We Should Be Doing)

    Recently my four-year-old son has become obsessed with all things Hamilton: the musical, the person, the coffee table book I bought my husband and repurposed as a spontaneous gift for my boy, who flips through it daily and asks me to sing him the songs. He’s turned his older brother onto the soundtrack, which means […]

    We Were Made for Addiction

    There is an episode in season 3 of Sex and the City called “Are We Sluts?” and, as you can imagine, the premise involves Carrie sitting at her laptop contemplating whether she and her friends are too promiscuous. Away from the computer, Carrie wonders why her new love interest, Aidan, hasn’t yet initiated sex; Miranda […]

    Good Luck with Your Marriage Strategy

    A funny thing happens to me occasionally, even after three years in Australia: I’ll be at the gym, or a cafe, and hear someone nearby speaking, and I’ll startle at their accent. It’s as though I’ve forgotten that I’m still residing in a foreign country — it’s so familiar now! — and the Aussie brogue […]

    Angels in the Architecture: A Defense of Repetition

    A while back, an acquaintance asked me if I was “still writing for that website,” by which she meant Mockingbird. The question was delivered with a smirk that I interpreted as vague condescension from someone I know to be more into DIY than grace. I assured her that I was, in fact, still writing for […]

    Be My Safe Space

    I can’t explain it, but here goes anyway: I’ve been consuming all things Madeleine McCann lately, and by all things I mean two specifically: an Australian podcast called Maddie, and the recent (critically lambasted) documentary on Netflix, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. This obsession is inexplicable because, since being pregnant with my first son eight […]

    Captain Marvel-less

    Recently I had a dream that I could fly. This isn’t an unusual dream, though not as common as the one where I find I haven’t completed my dental school requirements — naked — and am racing against the clock to save my career (which I am not currently practicing, btw). It’s also mentioned around […]

    Dying…with Style

    Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear I wrap my fear around me like a blanket I sailed my ship of safety ’til I sank it I’m crawling on your shores — Indigo Girls I like the pillows on my couch and bed to be arranged […]

    The Mirror Has Way Too Many Faces

    This past New Year’s Eve marked the first one for my husband and me to actually go out in Sydney — though, with two kids and middle age defining our lives, “going out” consists of joining friends at the North Sydney Olympic Pool for a family night of swimming and fireworks. And, it turned out, […]

    A Son Is Born

    WARNING: Spoilers for the film A Star Is Born ahead. Read at your own risk, while remembering this movie has been made four times so if you don’t already know the ending then that’s really on you. In the beginning of the film A Star Is Born, just after Jackson’s raucous opening number, he sits […]

    On Houses, Both Haunted and Absent

    When Jason and I dated, we bonded over a variety of shared interests, but our favorites were the holy trinity of tapas, Jesus, and camp horror. The two of us were among the dozen viewers who kept Harper’s Island on the air for an entire season. (He figured out who the killer was by the […]

    The Easy Judgment of Being Right

    To this day I remain haunted by a story about a woman who lost her eyesight to a microscopic organism that proliferated beneath her contact lenses. This cautionary tale went public nearly five years ago, and I still remember scouring the reports to find out what happened. Luckily for me, a responsible contact-lens wearer, the […]

    The Disappointment of Still Being Me

    I turned forty-one last week, and to be honest, it was a total crock. I woke up that morning and nothing had changed. Actually, I woke up at 4:55 that morning because that’s when my six-year-old lumbered into the room, ready to begin his day. My husband Jason was already downstairs in the boys’ room […]

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