In it to win it

It’s getting down to the wire – just tonight’s episode and we’re down to the final two, The Women Tell All, and a possible proposal. 

A big announcement came today from Reality Steve, the man known for reality show spoilers.  He said he was wrong (again. He was also wrong about Ali’s final choice) about how this season ends.  The new revelation makes me happy and sad all at the same time.  I’m sticking with happy, though, because I just like hoping he’s wrong and thinking I’ll be surprised.  Here’s the link to his website if you want to cave in and read his new predictions about who Brad will pick and who the next Bachelorette will be.   I hate how the producers recycle contestants and you all know how boring I think Brad is. For that reason, I’m really holding out that Emily will be the next Bachelorette contestant. It would be a smart move since all of America is smitten with her and her sweet southern charm. 

So, since we’re so close…who’s your pick to win it?
(uh, i mean, fall in love and live happily ever after with Brad?)

P.S. Next season, we’re totally doing fantasy picks (no, not guessing who says yes to the fantasy suite, for as my wise friend Sarah G. points out: it’s practically required to say yes) to pick who will be given the final rose.  I don’t know what the winnings would be other than a happy kudos from me, but hey, it’d still be fun.

Get out your libations because – as Sarah G. also pointed out – the fantasy suite episode is always full of blubbering awkwardness and rolling around.  Cheers!

Judging books by covers

Books make me happy.
Pretty things make me smile. 

The book store chain Borders has filed for bankruptcy (sad face) and my fabulous friend Sarah told me to get on over to the location near us before the masses had picked through all the good stuff in their huge “we-need-to-get-rid-of-everything” sale. 

I was looking forward to getting books that I love but don’t own and I’d had my eye on some editions with newly redesigned covers to add to my library collection.  After being in the store for an hour perusing the disorganized store I realized my arms were sore from the growing, toppling stack.  I set down my selections and looked at many of the ones I’d scooped up.  Some didn’t excite me much but were protectively cradled in my arms nonetheless for fear they would be picked up by the other book-worm eating vultures scavenging through the eerily picked-through shelves…like Bridget Jones’ Diary. I didn’t really need to have Bridget Jones’ Diary sitting on my bookshelf at home nor did I actually want to read it (a rare occasion - I’ve never read the book but seen the movie a million times. Fact: books are always better than movies).  As it happens, I was just taken with the stunning cover illustration. 

Instead of frivilously buying all the books with pretty covers to keep on my bookshelf where no one but me will admire them, I had a novel idea (see what I did there?!): I’ll post a few of the ones that I’m pretty obsessed with so you can see for yourself what fabulous taste I have whilst I save myself a heap of money. 

“Couture Classics” edition of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, jacket illustration by Ruben Toledo

Penguin Ink edition of Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding with jacket illustrations by Tara McPherson

"Couture Classics" edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

50th Anniversary edition of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"Classic Couture" edition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, cover illustration by Ruben Toledo

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol, illustrations by Camille Rose Garcia

The Bachelor Recap episode 8, season 15

In New York Brad has the following nuggets to share about the four women left:

“Chantal is unlike all the other girls. I don’t hold back a single bit with her. I see a very real life with her. In a lot of ways I do want her to be my wife. She’s emotional. What I can’t deal with is an emotional roller coaster.”

“Ashley…the very first night I spent with her I knew there was something there. So outgoing, energetic, and bubbly. She has what any guy would want.  Ashley has second guessed things. Instead of moving forward we have to keep reassuring each other. We need to move forward.”

“I know Shawntel is wife material. We just have this unsaid connection. No roller coaster, no games, no drama. I like where I’m at with Shawntel.”

“And then there’s Emily. There is so much love that Emily has for her ex, and rightly so, but it sets the bar very high for anyone else to come in. I’m gonna try. There’s something very real between Emily and I. She’s what I want in a wife – she just is. I’m falling so hard for Emily. How can I propose to a woman if I haven’t met her daughter?”

His overall view: “My feelings are so much deeper. One of these women is going to be my wife.”

It was a bit piecey this week so here are the highlights of Brad’s hometown time with each of the women…

Seattle for Chantal O.

  • After they run to each other across the grass Brad says he missed her.
  • Chantal lives four streets away from her parents. She lives by herself with cats and dogs.
  • Brad is up front about living in Austin but tells Chantal that he’d be happy visiting Seattle a lot. She seems absolutely fine with it.
  • A cute little teddy bear of a pup named Boca greets them at the door.  Boca loves Brad. Chantal says it’s a whole package – she and all the animals are a package deal so Brad might need a big house. Brad says he lives in a small loft. And there’s definitely not enough closet space. Chantal says they’ll have to find another place and he doesn’t disagree.
  • They were lucky to get a blue sky sunny day in Seattle – no wonder Brad likes it so much.
  • The pull up to a HUGE house. Brad says that walking into this VERY large, nice home is intimidating.
  • Brad tells Chantal’s family about getting slapped the first time they met. Mom is mortified, Dad is is beaming with pride.
  • Chantal tells her dad that she “just knew” when she saw Brad – just like her dad did with her mom. Then she lets Dad know she’s in love.
  • Dad takes Brad outside for a little one-on-one time and they come across a statue of a man carving himself out of a rock.  Dad explains that the statue is symbolic of a self-made man. Dad and Brad bond over their masonry family backgrounds, growing up with no money, and not having good relationships with their fathers. Brad affirms that he will make sure he is a damn good father. Dad believes him.
  • Brad tells Chantal’s dad that his intentions are true. Dad gives Brad his blessing on their possible marriage and says he’d be proud to have him as a son-in-law.  
  • Brad says he sees why Chantal is so amazing now that he’s met her family.
  • Brad’s expectations are exceeded and he sees a future with her.

Madawaska, Maine for Ashley, the artist dentist

  • They’re at the restaurant she worked at as a bartender in high school.
  • They’re close to Canadian border so she tells Brad that they speak French and when the waitress comes over speaking French Brad answers “Si”….as in Spanish. Haha. What a winner.
  • When he opens up for the Putzin french fry covered in cheese and gravy she says “did you like it? And i saw your crown!” – totally awkward but he makes it funny when he says “Spoken like a true dentist!”
  • They pick up Maine lobster for dinner and grab veggies from an unmanned fruit stand that operates on the honor system – pay in the box and take what you will.
  • Brad says the small town feel is giving him an idea of what her life was like growing up.
  • Ashley is so excited, feeling very reassured and confident around her family.
  • Her family really likes them together. Her dad seems to like Brad a lot and he is wondering if he’ll be supportive of Ashley’s career ambition. Now Brad is wondering if he’ll be holding her back. Would she be scared of a proposal? Kids?
  • Ashley is feeling that the timing is really right. She’s starting to feel like things are meant to be. Meanwhile Brad is thinking he needs to talk to Ashley about her ambitions to determine how she’d feel about a proposal – would it scare her?
  • I am thinking it is so ridiculous that he’s thinking about proposing and doesn’t even know her stance on marriage, kids, and careers.
  • Brad says he doesn’t want to leave their house, the town, or Ashley.
  • We don’t see Brad ask dad’s permission for her hand, but it could have happened – producers are sneaky like that.

Chico, CA for Shawntel N.

  • Brad looks terrified entering the mortuary and confesses that he’s never even thought of death.
  • Shawntel shows him the crypts, crematory, and the embalming room.  Creepy!
  • Brad is realizing (probably as he lays on the prep table) that if they get married, a lot of their conversations will be centered around death and he doesn’t know if he can handle that.
  • She explains the embalming process, draining blood and injecting fluids in the body.  I’m pretty sure that killed (ha!) any of the romantic thoughts he had about her.  
  • Brad says he doesn’t handle death well. He doesn’t handle saying goodbye to people well. (foreshadowing a goodbye to Shawntel soon, perhaps?!) Brad says he’d cry with the families. I believe him.
  • Shawntel explains how much love she sees in her line of work, even though it’s in saying goodbye and Brad respects her for her compassion. I just don’t think he wants to come home to a woman that smells like embalming fluid every day.
  • Shawntel may be a hot mortician but her dad looks exactly like you’d expect a funeral director to look. Dad explains with pride that Shawntel is gearing up to take over his business. Uh…now it’s a little awkward but she explains to her parents that Brad lives in Austin and she is falling in love with him, which may mean she will move to Austin.
  • She talks to her dad and he explains that shes already established herself as a caretaker in their community, in fact missing an opportunity to take care of the services of her high school teacher’s son who was tragically killed while she was away on the show. Her dad is disappointed and upset at the idea of her moving to Austin and ruining his succession plan. Mumbles thinks he should have had a better succession plan than just having kids. Or maybe he should have had some ugly, socially awkward kids to ensure they wouldn’t get married and move away.
  • Shawntel says she is praying that everything works out for the best.  
  • Dad gives his blessing on their marriage, if that’s what’s in the cards.  
  • Shawntel says she needed him to meet the other part of her – her family – and then says that she isn’t just falling in love, she is in love with him.

Charlotte, North Carolina for Emily

  • Emily has a happy reunion with her daughter, Ricki.
  • Emily tells her daughter that she met new friends while she was away and one of them is a guy who has come to Charlotte just to meet her.  It doesn’t look like the daughter is too excited.
  • Emily has never introduced Ricki to anyone and she says that if Ricki doesn’t mesh with Brad then it would be like her not meshing Brad.
  • Emily has never introduced her daughter to someone she’s dated.
  • I think it is so darling that Emily calls Brad “Mr. Brad”
  • Ricki is being really really shy. She is not even looking at brad let alone answering any of his questions.
  • The first time Ricki laughs Brad’s heart melts and the awkwardness disappears. Brad is thrilled that he’s still in the running with Emily now that her daughter isn’t going to scream or run away.
  • Brad says he would welcome and cherish the opportunity to be a father figure for Ricki. Emily says she would be happy to have Brad in Her daughter’s life.
  • Hello, gorgeous house!
  • Emily says it feels really good just sitting around the house playing board games. Brad says he feels like he’s in the right place.
  • Emily is oh cloud nine and she’s been waiting on brad to kiss her all day, and therefore is extremely disappointed when Brad says that he respects her enough to not kiss her while her daughter sleeps upstairs. Emily understands that he’s being sweet and chivalrous but it’s hard for her not to get disappointed. She wanted some sugar.
  • Emily smirks and says “Brad Womack is not getting out my front door without kissing me. That’s for damn sure.”
  • Brad revels in how much he enjoys kissing Emily.
  • “This is definitely is the happiest I’ve been in a really long time. I’m definitely ready for brad to change my life forever.” -Emily

Chris Harrison points out that Ashley’s family is maybe the one he felt most comfortable with but Ashley is the only one who didn’t profess her love for him this week.  (Did Emily?) Brad said he’s basing the decision on who to give a rose to on his feelings, not theirs.

Rose ceremony

  • Ashley, the ambitious artist dentist
  • Emily, Single Mom Southern Belle Barbie
  • Chantal O., the Shannen Doherty Doppleganger who for some reason is looking really big during this rose ceremony. Not a flattering dress at all – seriously, what’s the deal? She’s not a big girl. Maybe it’s the camera angle…(“how many cameras are on you?” – Chandler Bing)

Brad really isn’t ready to face death (and especially not being married to someone who lives it every day).  He explains he just didn’t feel the way a guy should when a woman says “I love you.” Shawntel N. doesn’t seem too distraught but she is appropriately disappointed, feeling sad to be losing the first guy that she feels was very perfect. She is super cute and classy even while crying. Shawntel says she’s never been treated like Brad treated her and maybe she’ll find someone like him that treats her like a princess. I hope so. Maybe they’ll make her the next Bachelorette – that would be entertaining and quite likely to attract even more interesting suitors. Haha.

Next stop: South Africa
Stars, sunsets, helicopters, safaris, elephants, and the fantasy suite (x3)

P.S. After the preview of next week’s episode Mumbles is offended that Brad would even ask Emily the Angel to stay in the fantasy suite with him. Repulsed. He’d like to have words with Brad about how out of his league she is. I think this is evidence she would be a great Bachelorette candidate for next season, going against my anti-recycling campaign (only as it pertains to Bachelor/Bachelorette participants). America loves Emily. My husband is proof.

Who’s your pick to win it? Think there’s a proposal coming?  Do you think they’ll use a girl from this season for the next Bachelorette?

Which hometown date are you looking forward to most?

The Bachelor Recap episode 7, season 15

This week I’m a lucky lady to be spending Valentine’s Day with my two favorite people: Mumbles and my BFOTB to watch this week’s episode where the ladies and Brad find themselves in the turquoise, clear water, white sand oasis of Anguilla in the Caribbean. There will be three one-on-one dates with no roses required to stay, and one group date.  Two ladies are going home this week.   

One-on-One Date: “Three things I would bring on a deserted island: picnic, champagne and Emily”

Brad says he doesn’t feel like he deserves to be with Emily so he gets nervous around her.  To take his mind off the nervous of screwing it up with the prettiest girl ever, he blurts out “What do you want to do today?”  And cue the helicopter.  If Emily would have answered “I want to fly somewhere in a helicopter” I’m pretty sure Brad would have proposed right then and there.

Brad takes Emily to Sandy Island in Anguilla – a private island that looks a lot like a phallus from the aerial view.  All alone on this island and they’re still very tense and awkward.  Brad confesses that he gets very nervous around Emily and doesn’t help much on her end either. Brad tries to have a really sincere moment and he tells her that he cares about her more than she knows and “probably more than he should be saying at this point” and they have a nice kiss.  Emily says that she wants to bring Brad home but she still isn’t sure if she wants Brad to meet her daughter yet.  Not a good outlook, Mr. Bachelor.

Brad quizzes Emily about whether he will be allowed to meet Ricki on the hometown dates.  She says she’s nervous about letting her meet anyone. Brad has linked her acceptance of him with meeting her daughter. Brad breaks the Bachelor rules and tells Emily that he’s giving her a rose; he’s going to her home town. He’s such a rebel…a rebel in manpri’s.  Is this the first woman in the history of the Bachelor where the parent is really actually protective of her child? I don’t recall this much drama before – another reason to like Emily.

Second one-on-one date is with Shawntel N. Brad takes her on her ideal date and he doesn’t even know it: the farmer’s market.  A sage Anguillan lady tells them how to be in love and says they’re a cute couple.  Shawntel tells Brad she’s falling in love with him but all he can think about is Emily. She starts asking him about his family and Brad admits that he doesn’t have a relationship with his dad. This is BIG because he can’t talk about these things with anyone (aside from his shrink).  When it starts to rain the magic hits and they both go in for the kiss. But this date gets better because they are about be serenaded with a private show by the Bankie Banx, who, according to Brad (aka the producers), is the biggest reggae band in the Caribbean.  I can’t remember what the date card actually said but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it said something like “Let’s bank on love.”  (was I close?!?)  They also brought in a group of party-goers so when Brad and Shawntel were tired of the crowd they snuck away to frolic in the water, where we get full view of Shawntel’s enormous tramp stamp.

Third one-on-one date: Britt – “Let’s sail on the sea of love. “

Brad says that tonight really is make or break for Britt since they are so behind the other relationships he’s formed, which is completely his fault due to the fact that she hasn’t had one-on-one time with him. 

Brad starts their date by telling Britt how special she is:  “I’ve picked up women in helicopters, convertibles, and a boat…but never in a yacht.”  Then it’s made very clear that Brad doesn’t own the yacht, as they are required to swim out to the yacht to board.  Haha.

Michelle says she doesn’t see Brad and Britt getting married. In fact, she can hardly see Brad friending her on Facebook.  Oh, Michelle, don’t you know as your comments become less crazy and entertaining, your odds of getting a rose also diminish?  Step it up a bit, will ya?

Little Bay in Anguilla is so gorgeous.  Britt confesses that she is willing to “jump right in” but she’s terrified.  She also says that terrified is pretty much her go to feeling when it comes to this show. I can relate: mine is anxiety. Ashley and I understand why she’s a little tentative about jumping off a cliff…for Brad.  We’d hesitate too.  (But hey, we also took turns quoting Forgetting Sarah Marshall “Peter, I can see your hoo-ha!”) 

Brad explains that they’re sitting on the beach having a great conversation, asking all the right questions in the most romantic place in the world but he isn’t getting the urge to just grab her and kiss her.  I can give him that. Britt does seem to be putting out a bit of a little sister vibe. I also note that she looks a little Elvish.  Nothing wrong with that but would Brad know and appreciate a woman with Elvish good looks? I think not.  In what little air time she gets, Britt makes some pretty funny comments and I feel like we could be friends in real life, which means she’s probably not Bachelor material.  (Heidi, you can fall in love on The Bachelor and we’ll still be friends or you can just be really pretty and fun and entertaining – totally your call).

After a few awkward small talk comments over dinner Brad says that there is no romance. She’s a sweet woman, but it’s just not there.  Brad starts his breakup talk but he’s really not good at these.  He doesn’t have a rose to not give to her but he tells her that he doesn’t see a future with her.  She tries to talk rationally (sorry, Britt, I think you forgot you’re on The Bachelor) about taking more time to get to know each other but Brad pulls his best defense: during his last season he was crucified for stringing girls along.  At least Brad has the decency to arrange a boat to pick her up so she didn’t have to swim to the shore.

Britt walks back up to the house and the girls are so happy to see her and ask her about her date…and she has to fight back tears to tell the girls that she’s going home. 

Group date: Ashley, Chantal, Michelle – “This is the dawn of a new love”

Brad wakes up the girls in the middle of the night to tell them they are starting their date early.  Brad says that they’re going to be doing something that millions of women dream of doing…they are going to be in a photoshoot for Sports Illustrated, which just so coincidentally happens to hit newsstands on February 15 – tomorrow.

Chantal is all Debbie Downer “I’m a fatty” and don’t want to be photographed today.  Ashley puts some conch shells over her boobs and the other girls are pissed with envy.  Chantal is not feeling confident and sexy but decides to take her top off anyway.  Brad is looking at the girls with clothes on instead of the ones that are taking their tops off.   Huh? Michelle got ambitious because she didn’t want to take her top off so instead she crawled on top of Brad, really getting the other girls jealous and angry as they now realize they probably didn’t have to go topless for a national magazine and instead could have just had a steamy makeout session with the guy they like.  Oops.

(P.S. What is Ashley drinking that’s bright green?  Scooby Snacks?)  Ashley tells Brad that she feels like the kid sister or the friend.  Brad acknowledges that he hurt her and put her in a bad position.  Now he has to go apologize to Chantal.  Brad asks if her feelings have changed and Chantal says that she is still in love with him and she’d be stupid to ignore it.

Brad tells Michelle he sees a very strong, almost volatile woman and that they might be just a little bit too alike.  Michelle acknowledges her stubbornness and that it is true that they are alike.  Not great quality alone time together.

Chantal pulls Brad aside for more alone time together to ask if everything is okay.  Brad says he’s having a hard time showing emotion because he’s trying to respect everyone’s feelings by not showing any emotion.  Oh, so now I get it! This whole season he’s been boring because he’s trying to respect everyone!  Got it. What a gentleman!

Ashley says she is scared that she screwed up with Brad because she’s retracted in her fear of getting sent home.  Ashley gets needy and desperate and begs “please don’t send me home.”  Brad had to walk all the way back to the cabana to grab the rose right out from under Chantal and Michelle and the moment he turns on his heel the tears have appeared in Chantal’s eyes.  Lots more tears and then Chantal tells Brad that “if you can’t choose me over two other girls then you should just send me home now.”  And I think someone should tell her to watch her words because he did just choose another girl over her. She ends their date all pouty and teary, hoping to push Brad away just enough so that he’d pull her in closer. Not sure that worked, buttercup, but good luck.

Brad and Chris Harrison sit down and Brad says he doesn’t feel that he needs a cocktail party tonight – he made his decision earlier today.  Chris asks if someone might be able to change his mind and Brad says no.  I really would have banked on Ashley but now that she has the rose it seems like it could be Chantal but then again Ashley had a full on emotional pity party too and Brad rewarded her with a rose. So that leaves us with Michelle, which also seems fitting.  He got to enjoy some passionate moments and now he’s done because her craziness is not as entertaining anymore.  

Brad is 100% confident that he’s making the decision. So here it is for hometown dates next week:

Roses:
Ashley, the artist dentist
Emily, Southern Belle Barbie
Shawntel N., the funeral director
(and drumroll as it’s down to the two enemies: Chantal and Michelle. And insert totally pointless cut in from Chris: “Ladies, Brad, this is the last rose of the night.”  Thank you, Captain Obvious!)
…Chantal O. 

After much ado and drama, Michelle has fulfilled her crazy contract and is going home.  Brad asks to walk Michelle out and as they walk he says “can I have your hand or absolutely not?” and she curtly replies “um, probably not.”  Haha.  Then Brad asks if she wants him to talk and she says “no” so we don’t get to hear that awkward conversation.  Brad explains that he had an intense physical connection to Michelle but he realized that would wear off and they would become extremely volatile because they butt heads so much.  Smart man, I guess.  In the limo, I think the producers were very sorely disappointed not to get a big dramatic cry and cuss fest out of Michelle.  Instead, she simply laid her head down on the seat and looked sad.  Kudos to you, lady.

Today’s beverage of the episode: Rockbrook Chardonnay, 2008.  Delicious for cooking veggies and for sipping. 

Next week: home hunting, cremations, and mother-daughter reunions. 

P.S. After today’s bikini-clad, beach bunny episode our dear friend Melanie sent in a fabulous tip for our good friend Heidi: Heidi, when you send in your application make sure to list that you were a lifeguard, look great in a bikini, tan easily, and dive into water as elegantly as an Olympian (minus the broad shoulders).  You’re a shoe in.