Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Time for Fun

I have an exam in 1 hour and 52 minutes in a class that is not coming easily to me. Last night, I finished an 8 page paper (with citations and everything!!) and homework for this class then studied until midnight until I just couldn't think anymore. Now typically, I have a difficult time sleeping the night before an exam and wake up before my alarm thinking of nothing but how much more I need to study.

That's typically. Today apparently is not typical. Instead of worrying about induction vs. strong induction proofs and Euclidean Algorithms, I woke up smiling knowing today was one of my dearest friends' birthdays; which led me to getting excited about another dear friends' wedding on Saturday; which led me to remember another dear friends' birthday on Sunday. Then I freaked out about studying and got out of bed.

What does this have to do with my blog? Well, not much on the surface. But I have been smiling all morning thinking of my friends.

It's time for me to make more time for things I love. It's okay to take a break from work and school to take care of me! So I'm going to get back to writing more often. I signed up for an interesting workout program which I will talk about here sometimes just to hold myself accountable. I'm going to commit to finalizing the things I need to get my teaching certificate. I'm going to spend time with my friends and family over the next few weeks celebrating marriages, and babies, and the arts, and music, and girls night out(s?). I'm ready to have some fun again.

Let's roll!

(This brief message brought to you by the Euclidean Algorithm. Now back to my regularly scheduled studying freak out.)

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Eve of My 32nd Birthday



How in the world did that happen? My entrance into my thirties was anticipated and fun. The day was spent looking at engagement rings and going out to dinner with my family and some of my dearest friends. I went to bed that night in a daze, excited about the future and ready to grab life by the horns. And then I woke up and I'm living with my husband in New Jersey and I'm turning 32. Whaaaaaatttttt happened???

This past year has been amazing, but it's been a year of reflection as well. I received the notification that my 10 year reunion for college was this year. (For all of my college buddies, can you even handle the idea that it's been 10 years?) It was rough for me to get that postcard. Ten years ago, on this night in 2004, I was a senior in college and ready to turn 22. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life other than get married and have kids, but the world was my oyster and it was time to go after the pearl. Ten years later, I sometimes have days where I look at my life and think "you're in college, working part-time trying to earn some extra cash, and not sure where life is taking you." What has changed?

Everything, Bethany. Everything has changed. It's so easy to say "you haven't gone anywhere since college!" because the power of negative thinking is stronger than the power of positive thinking. I have fought that urge though because my life has been AMAZING over the past ten years and I would be dishonoring all of the incredible experiences if I let myself drown in negativity. My life has literally gone full circle and these new chapters are being written via God's plan, not mine.

I am writing a list of my experiences since April 2004 so I can look back and remember what I'm capable of; I hope in April 2024 when I'm turning 42, I can add a lot more things to list and smile with pride that I didn't let anything hold me back.
  • Bought my first house
  • Became a licensed investment advisor before the age of thirty after starting my career as a "secretary"
  • Sang in a rock cover band
  • Auditioned for American Idol (twice)
  • Saw the Phillies clinch the NLDS in 2008 then watched them win the World Series
  • Ran a 15k race (and multiple 5k's)
  • Became an aunt two times over 
  • Lost Grandmom and Granddad
  • Was a bridesmaid in three weddings, sang in three weddings, and attended 19 more (there are now twenty kids between those 25 weddings and I'm sure plenty more on the way.
  • Went to Africa, preached to hundreds of Malawians at a village soccer game, and helped prepare bricks that would build a school
  • Traveled to: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Canada.  
  • Met Ped, got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, best decision ever
  • Moved to New Jersey
  • Quit high paying job to go back to school and pursue a career that makes my heart smile
These are the larger things that made an impression but there were so many other daily things that have affected my life and made me the person I am today. In honor of these experiences, and in honor of the people that have experienced these things with me, cheers to us and the last ten years! Here's to the next 10!!!!

Happy birthday to me!!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

An Ode to My Girlfriends

Being a girl is tough. Not in a Mars vs. Venus way or a child-birthing way; not even in a "why can't I look like the models in a magazine way?". Being a girl, in the most general sense, is tough.

The worst thing for me is when why it's tough is classified. You know what classifications do? They create expectations; and unfortunately, often times with expectation comes great disappointment.
  • Pre-teen girls are the worst. Just wait until you get into high school and the drama should die down a little.
  • Teenage years are rough. Wait until you're in your twenties where you can truly discover who you are.
  • The twenties are so hard for women. You don't really understand where you fit in this world. Things will be much more clear in your thirties.
Seriously? Okay, I'm 31. My path is much more clear, yes, but I still have times where I feel like I just don't know how to deal. More classifications and standard answers as to what will fix me:
  • Grumpy? PMS only lasts a week.
  • Sad? This is just a season of change. It will pass.
  • Anxious? You should work out. 
  • I still care about what other people think? You should just let those things go and understand how beautiful you really are, inside and out.
Garbage. If I could just "let things go", don't you think I would have tried that back in my teens or twenties? And what happens if I'm grumpy or angry or sad and, God-forbid, I'm not PMSing or on my period??? What happens if I work out every day and I still feel anxious??? What happens when my mood is not because of some blanket reason and it's just because I'm feeling something that I can't understand? Enter: girlfriends.

It wasn't until my late twenties when I realized the importance of good girlfriends. It was an epiphany for me. My life was good for many reasons - amazing boyfriend, great job, fabulous home, loving family. But my life was better because of a handful of girls that I could call at any moment of any day to discuss any topic. If I didn't want a response, I wouldn't get one. If I didn't want advice, none was given. If I just needed a hug, or a dance party, or a glass of wine, they would provide it immediately. Most importantly, they never judged. Ever.

Being a girl is tough. Being a girl with my girlfriends around make it not as tough. For you ladies, I am forever grateful:

Amanda - Because of you, I know what the inside of a police station looks like, slept on the couch in a complete stranger's house, and don't remember New Year's Eve 2010. You were a horrible influence on my good girl status and helped me learn not to be so uptight. I admire everything that you are and everything that you have become. Our friendship only became stronger when you moved away and our phone calls instantly make me realize how truly blessed I am. The world is a better place because you're in it and my world would not be complete without you.

Jessica - We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same high school, hung out with the same groups of people, but we never met. Our friendship was meant to start later in life when it wouldn't get overlooked in the trials of growing up. You share my love of booty-dancing and snack food, as well as the overprotective and unbreakable love of family. Seeing you interact with your dad, your brothers, your uncle and your grandparents has helped me strengthen the bonds I have with my own family, and I know you are an incredible role model to many out there (even though you would be too humble to ever see it yourself). I'm so happy meeting each other didn't get lost in the shuffle, because I plan on being involved in your life for a very long time.

Lauren - Our path started in the nursery but it took over 20 years for me to truly understand the value you have been to my life. You believe in love even though it hasn't been good to you, you persevere through the unknown even when you're scared, and there's a truth and vulnerability in what you speak that every woman should strive to own. You have been my voice of reason, my role model as a Godly woman, and I would still pick you over anyone else to back me up in a bar fight. I pray that God's plans for you will become clearer with each passing day, and I'm excited to be by your side as they unfold.

Megan - It was hard not seeing you like a little sister when we first met. You were going through things in career and love that I thought I had mastered and I felt like you could use my guidance. Once my ego got out of the way, I realized that I needed your friendship more than you needed my advice. You never let a situation get you down, instead confronting it head on and literally running right over it. You strive to be the best person you can possibly be and I admire your conviction. You are so comfortable in your own skin that it inspires me to see beauty in myself (and makes me realize it's okay to be the second whitest person on the beach.) I cannot wait to see where this incredible passion for life takes you and I am honored to get to be a part of it firsthand.

Tina - When we met, I thought we were so different that our friendship would remain strictly in the workplace. We bonded over the idiots in our lives - our coworkers at first; then our significant others; then we even got comfortable throwing our family members under the bus. I always knew my opinions were safe with you; no matter what was said as I was ranting, it was a fleeting moment and you never held my rants against me. While our friendship is now so much more than complaining about other people, you are the first one I call if I need to vent. You are the sweetest, most naive, ghetto rockstar I know and I trust you with everything.

And finally, Kim - You are my sister. You are my best friend. You have seen me at my best and loved me at my worst. I didn't always look up to you because I was jealous of your successes. I still wish I could have rocked the Sandy leather jacket, but I look at you now and all I feel is pride. The absolute hardest thing about moving to NJ was being farther away from you (even more than the boys) and I am still adjusting to not being able to see you every day if I need you. You are strong; you are honest; you are supportive; and you encompass everything that a little girl could ask for in a big sister and a big girl could ask for in a best friend.

It's so easy to express to my husband how much I love him. I am able to strive to show him this every day (though the grumpy days may be a little harder than others). It's much harder to let everyone else around you know how important they are to you without sounding cheeseball.

So ladies? I love you and when being a girl gets tough, don't you worry. I got your back.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


As I was getting ready this morning, I decided to take some pictures of my haircut. I did that annoying Facebook thing and solely posted about my hair for about 2 days straight, completely playing into the "look at me" culture. It's by God's grace that I still have Facebook friends when I get into those moods. 

Anyway, it was very nice that people requested pictures of the hair. Through about 20 minutes of research, I have come to the conclusion that selfies are stupid. I even put special lipstick on to try and spice it up a bit, but alas, selfies are still stupid. I love my haircut, I feel pretty - then I look at a self taken picture and all I can think "how pale am I?" and "Did my nose get bigger?"

Thus, my inability to take a simple front facing picture without making a face. But you get the idea of what my hair looks like:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Top Dresses from the 2014 Golden Globes

Ped appreciates a good hobby. Given mine is fashion, he appeases me by giving me his opinion on certain styles I show to him. Red carpet dresses may not be the manliest thing to comment on, but my husband's not stupid. I'm asking him to look at beautiful women in beautiful, sometimes revealing dresses. He goes with it... He's not here at the moment so I'll be interested in whether the man's point of view is similar to mine.

Best Dressed:    Margot Robbie -

Best Maternity Wear:     Kerry Washington -

The Where Did You Come From? Award:    Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita is 30. She graduated from Yale last year, appeared in an Oscar nominated movie this year, and is on everyone's fashion watch list. She's everything I've ever wanted to be with the perfect haircut and the most enviable clear chocolate skin. -

Best hosts:   Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
I love funny women. These ladies are strong, they're over 40, and they look better then they have every looked. I don't have a link, but they deserve one.

Honorable Mentions: High-fives to the over 40 crowd.

Sandra Bullock: Age 49 - First of all, Sandy's 49???? She ventured outside her normal go-to column dresses and it paid off. I love the style and colors on her.

Julianna Margulies, Age 47 - I typically am not a fan of Julianna's style. I think it's because of her hairstyle which is most often in retro wave with bright red lips or a very slicked back bun with a nude lip. Tonight's regime was a soft pulled back twist-thingy which really softened her face. This was actually my runner up to best dressed.

Julia Roberts: Age 46 - I will always love her. When your beauty is so thoroughly worn through your smile and honest love of laughter, what wouldn't look good on you? She has had some homely looks in the past but Stella got her groove back.

Sofia Vegara: Age 41 - The woman can wear a dress. I'm so glad it wasn't another mermaid gown.

Leslie Mann: Age 41 - Are you kidding me? These girls make me want to be in my 40's. Leslie's look is far from risky but it's beautiful and classic and could be brought up 20 years ago or 20 years from now and it would always be a best dressed on my list.

Kate Beckinsale: Age 40 - Bombshell. Always has been, always will be. -

Other thoughts:
Could Helen Mirren be more beautiful?? She's 68. Unbelievable.

I don't like doing worst dressed just because it's kind of mean. I did have some least favorites, but I'm only going to say because it wasn't my style. You can look them up if you want but I won't be providing links: Uma Thurman, Zooey Deschanel (her quirky style is something I admire but I feel like she's been getting work done and I don't like it), Drew Berrymore, Zoe Saldana, Paula Patton.

2014 Golden Globes Fashion Report - Part 3

7:44pm - Rita Wilson typically plays Tom Hanks' plus one these days. I hope when I'm her age I will have the cajones to wear a flapper dress and look that good.

7:45pm - Slicked back hair is horrible. Hayden Panettiere and Jessica Chastain are the two I've seen so far tonight. They are so beautiful and I appreciate a fashion risk, but it just looks dirty to me.

7:51pm - Zoe Saldana is a huge risk-taker on the red carpet. She's very thin, has amazing skin and is just beautiful. Everything looks good on her. Tonight's dress is a little ridiculous though not over the top

7:52pm - Shocker - Sofia Vergara is not wearing a mermaid dress. It's a gorgeous black ball gown with an over the top bib necklace. And then she opens her mouth saying she's wearing a tent that's hiding Columbians underneath. Whatever, she looks like a princess.

 Time for the show to start!!!

Tina and Amy have both lost weight. Neither one had to but they look extremely healthy. The opening dresses are really good. Good job funny ladies!

2014 Golden Globes Fashion Report - Part 2

7:24pm - I'm not 100% on Olivia's dress, but it's not horrible.

7:27pm - Not a fan of Drew Barrymore's pregnancy style either. It's totally her boho chic vibe, but it's a little too crazy for me (oh my gosh I had to stop typing to look at Chris Pine on the TV. Yummy.)

7:27pm - Camilla Alvarez looks like Catwoman.

7:28pm - Can I be Julia Roberts? I was questioning whether to like her dress, but I love it. The white button-up oxford shirt under the strapless black column dress with a silver belt? She is class personified.

7:29pm - J Law just photobombed Taylor Swifts interview with Ryan Seacrest. Meaning J Law is the next interview. Meaning move along Taylor, move along. (Taylor's dress is pretty though predictable -

7:31pm - From my favorite fashion blog since there's no reason for anyone to interview Amber Heard this year - no one should ever wear their hair like this:

7:32pm - Jennifer Lawrence just dropped a bracelet on the ground that probably costs more than all of the houses and cars that I have ever owned combined. Then she pretended to throw it into the crowd. I want to be her best friend.

7:35pm - Usher is a smooth man who can rock a maroon suit. Looking good, looking good.

7:35pm - I don't know who this chick is but I LOVE this dress -

7:37pm - Julia Louis-Dreyfus has a rocking body and she's very pretty. The slip dress with not much else is sooooooo boring though!

Commercial break:
Julianna Margulies is far from my favorite on a normal basis but she is definitely up there tonight. Her hair is much less severe than she normally wears it which softens her face up so much. Her dress is a princess silhouette in black with metallic detail which gives it a little bit of a goth feel. Definitely a favorite.

2014 Golden Globes Fashion Report - Part 1

I LOVE red carpet dresses. Looking back, I truly think it is the reason I felt so drawn to fashion when deciding on my undergrad degree. It's also one of the main reason I've always wanted to be famous, simply to have multiple opportunities to wear amazing creations we call red carpet apparel.

Running dialogue of tonight's red carpet:

7:07pm - Margot Robbins' dress is ridiculous. It's totally sexy without any ounce of overt, in your face, sex. I can't handle the white with the sparkle. Can't handle. Add her flawless tan and perfectly done makeup and hair (no roots thank God), and I'm obsessed.

7:13pm - Bradley Cooper. So hot. So so so so hot.

7:15pm - They just showed Olivia Wilde's head. She is the epitome of beauty in my opinion but has some interesting fashion choices at times. Now that she's preggo, I'm totally excited to see her maternity style....let's go E!

7:18pm - Heidi Klum's boobs don't fit into her dress. Again. And she's wearing a choker. And got bangs. Hmmm.....

7:18pm - What is Sophia Vergara wearing around her neck? Because I want one.

7:19pm - I'm pretty sure I like Julia Roberts' and Emma Watson's outfits, but I'm not 100% sure if I should. Too casual for the Golden Globes? (Like I've been there and have a right to judge)

(Commercial. Thank God, I have to pee.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Update from the Dirty Jerz

Sometime around Christmas, I read a Facebook post regarding a friend's decision to shut down her blog. I don't remember her exact words, but the summary I came away with was she was thinking about how to incorporate her life events into a blog post rather than actually fully living through the live event. It came at just the right moment for me. I really enjoy writing but I was entering into the holiday season actually concerned about fitting in time to blog and considering taking that necessary time away from friends and family. So, thank you Henna. Your words hit close to home and I stepped away from my computer just in time for Christmas with friends and family, living and enjoying every moment rather than worrying about how to describe it.

But I'm back! The decorations are down, the laundry is in the washer, Bones is on the TV, the cat is in my lap (trying to lick my hands which is utterly annoying), and I'm excited to get my fingers back on the keys

Here's some updates:

Did you have a good holiday? It was a wonderful Christmas spent in Delaware. We had a whirlwind tour, starting at Ameh's house (Ped's aunt) for Christmas Eve. Over the next 48 hours, we spent the night at the Daneshgars, ate breakfast at the Tralas, ate dinner at the Simpsons and spent the night, ate breakfast at the Taylors, met family back at the Simpsons, then headed up to Shady Maple Smorgasbord for dinner. We were exhausted, overly full, and ready to head home but we know how blessed we are to have the families we do and appreciated everyone's desire to host us. The only piece that made it a little bittersweet was not spending our first married Christmas in our new home. While we love coming back to DE, I think there's a small part of us looking forward to starting traditions here instead of worrying about the travel.

Once we were home, we had a steady stream of visitors until New Years Day which also made us excited to start having more guests over. It makes our home seem so much more full of love than it already is. Two of my girl buddies and one dude buddy joined us for New Years. While we suggested possibly going out to celebrate, our evening turned into a eat your face off/yoga pant wearing/ping pong tournament/dance party. And I would not have wanted it any other way. Meggo, Jess, and Mike - hope you're wearing more hats.

How's school? Fall session ended on 12/20 and Spring session begins on 1/21. While it's been a nice break, I am actually looking forward to learning again! What a huge difference from September when I cried every night I had to do my calculus homework. Going into finals, my grades were great - an A in calculus and an A- in Math Reasoning. I was so proud of myself for pulling it together. My big accomplishment for the semester though was getting a high enough grade on my exams to finish with A's in both classes (i.e. a 97 on my Math Reasoning Final and a 98 on my Calc Final). I actually felt like a genius! However, classes start up again in two weeks and it's just going to get more difficult from here. Subjects I have never taken and 400 level courses are in my future so I just have to learn to take those one day at a time. One semester down, three more to go!

What about work? It's been eventful. Towards the end of the year, I was "offered" more responsibility at both of my part-time employers. It was great to see my desire to work hard paid off. While I love my time spent at Pier 1, my ultimate career goal is to be a math teacher. I turned down the ability to post for a management position in lieu of additional hours as a math instructor at job #2. I'm hoping things fall into a good routine this semester so I can start incorporating some volunteer and hobby time in. (Hobby Side Note: I'm hoping to get involved in our church's worship team soon. I also joined a book club which I'm meeting with for the first time next week. I'm hoping the girls are uber cool and fun.)

How are you and Ped? With all of the busy-ness that ensued during the holidays, the best part was spending the whole thing together. We are doing really well and, while it's not always easy, we're learning how to work as a unit. Our schedules are full but flexible enough that we get plenty of quality time and plenty of me time. Things will get crazy once school starts, but even that is something we can experience together if we need a support while focusing on our own individual path. I could go on and on but lovey-dovey stuff can get really old, really fast. I'll end this by saying thank you to everyone who has kept us in your prayers these first few months.

Are you going to have kids?/Are you pregnant yet? Haha, cause I would announce something like that in paragraph 8. I actually am only mentioning it to have a soapbox moment since I don't have the balls to say it to people in person. First, the personal answer: Ped and I would like kids. Someday. We would wait to tell people until we knew it was safe. No I am not currently pregnant. Practicing is fun.

Okay, now my soapbox. Many people I know are waiting to get married until later in life. That often means having children later in life. We all know that it's not as fail-safe of a process to get pregnant when you're older as it is to get pregnant as a young, healthy, fertile myrtle. With that being said, if you are wondering if someone is pregnant or trying to get pregnant, only ask them if they would like to have children someday. If they give you a non-descriptive ("hope so") or one word ("hopefully") answer, that is your cue to shut up. If they want to talk about it, they will. If they don't, it's none of your business regardless of whether you are family or a friend. Trying to get pregnant is a very personal thing for many couples and constantly having to make excuses for why they aren't yet is the last thing they should be having to do. I have had many friends who struggled with fertility and the pain I see in them when they unwillingly get pulled into a conversation about it is unbearable.

We don't know if I'm going to be able to get pregnant once we start trying. Maybe it'll be easy, maybe it won't. Maybe I'll post about it, maybe I won't. Regardless, it's a topic that is solely under the ownership of me and my husband and unless you are a sister, a mother, a father, or a brother-in-law to either one of us, what's going on is really none of your business unless we make it your business.

Whew! Was that mean? I apologize if that came off as rude or confrontational. We have not had any issues with people overstepping that line personally. It's just as you start reading articles and hearing others share their stories, it's amazing how much sanity could be saved if you just provide people their private space they so thoroughly deserve.

Anything else going on?
Well my dad is currently in Peru on his first overseas missions trip. I'm so proud of him and happy that he's having this experience. He'll be home soon and I can't wait to hear all about it.
Jess and Mike are engaged and I was asked to be a bridesmaid. I'm so humbled and honored and can't wait until the special day.
Amanda and Jeff had twins and I am DYING to meet them. We're hoping to get out to Portland soon.
Jonathan and Julie welcomed Caleb earlier this month and he is adorable - a little Jonathan mini-me. I can't believe my cousins are having babies. And getting married. Karen got engaged too!
A kid at work made me feel like an idiot, my first experience like that, so I questioned whether I could be a good educator versus just being a good teacher. There will probably be plenty more to write on that topic.
The Eagles lost their first post-season game. What a bummer. Already looking forward to next season though.
Pitchers and catchers report in 35 days. Bring on baseball!!!

This was a long post so thanks for hanging in there with me.