What’s for Dinner: Sunny Day Salad

Last night was another one of those nights where I opened up the refrigerator, took a look at what was inside and just grabbed at what looked good.  Mumbles had been gone for a week and he’s a huge salad fiend so I knew there was going to be a whole lotta lettuce involved in his first dinner being back home.  And, since I missed him while he was gone and wanted to prove to him that he shouldn’t ever leave his doting wife for that long again, I decided to make the presentation impressive too.  Not only did the salad come out looking superb, I also donned my “honey, I’m home and don’t I look sassy in our kitchen makin’ you dinner” apron.  Okay, that’s not really what I call it, but that’s totally the message it sends.  It’s this here lovely from Anthropologie but in the half version (which totally defeats the purpose of an apron to protect your clothes, but looks super cute on, especially with heels. Write that down.).

So, here’s the final beautiful bowl of salad that we munched on together – two forks, one bowl.  [side note: should I ever have my own cooking blog/show/book, I will totally call it Two Forks, One Bowl. Cute, no?] 

Salad contents include: spring mix lettuce, celery, gala apples, sunflower seeds, pistachios (which i shelled myself because let’s be honest: isn’t it so much more gratifying?), two strawberry slices made to look like a pair of hearts [swoon, I know. although it doesn’t look like the hearts in this photo] and darling little yellow tomatoes sliced in half rounding the perimeter of the bowl like a frame, finished with a drizzle of grapeseed oil and balsalmic vinegar.  On the side I melted pepper jack cheese on some triangle slices of pita bread to help fork the salad goodies onto our forks and also because cheese really makes everything taste better. 

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The Bachelorette Recap, Final Episode & After the Final Rose

Ashley meets her family at a resort and sits down to tell them about the guys. She says she’s in love and she’s ready to get engaged but can’t make up her mind. I call BS.

JP arrives on the beach with wine in hand, noting a proposal is right around the corner. They need to get out of the sun…everyone is sweating like crazy, which is really unattractive and there’s just one poorly placed umbrella as far as we can see.  Everyone is literally wiping their faces with towels they’re so drenched. Gross. Ashley says she was excited and proud to introduce JP to her family and mom gives a toast to welcome him to the family. Ashley’s sister asks some “tough” questions and later tells Ashley flat out that he’s not the one. Mom says they are “ok” together. Wow, what a reception!  Sister says that Ashley is too much for him and she doesn’t think JP can handle her, being the much older man.  Really? I think he’s in his early 30’s.  Ashley immediately starts crying when she realizes that her sister will like Ben a lot more. I think we have our clear-cut winner.  Ashley just wants people to like her so she’s heartbroken that her mom and sister weren’t wowed by the man she’s fallen in love with (not that she’s said it yet). 

Sister tells JP that she’s very skeptical and “doesn’t see it” between them. JP says that he can’t stop smiling when he’s around her and he’s 100% in love with her. Sister is hung up on JP being so much older and will not be happy if JP proposes. And tells him so.  The clincher: Sister says she saw more between Ashley and Brad. Ouch.

“I just have to figure it out.” -Ashley
“I thought you had it figured out.” -JP
…oooohh!  This really leads me to believe Ashley has been telling JP he’s the one for quite some time, which then gets me really angry on Ben’s behalf because the poor guy is getting strung along.  

Ashley has a sit down with the sister to let her know she is not happy and flat out calls her a bitch. Sister says she is protecting Ashley from herself.  I must interject here and say I am not entertained. But then again, I haven’t been all season so I don’t know why I’m surprised. 

Now it’s Ben’s turn and he brings wine to the party too. He is sweaty, sweaty, sweaty… and not the good kind. Earlier in the show BFOTB proclaims that Ashley reminds her of a jack russell terrier. We find out that Ben has a jack russell named Hopscotch. Ahh, it all makes sense. Ben says he is absolutely in love with her and believes that Ashley is in love with him because nothing is forced between them.  Really? Not like the television cameras and awkward silent moments?

Oh, surprise, surprise, sister is a divorcee. That explains a lot. Sister seems content with Ben.

“Ben should win. But he won’t. Just like every other season when they pick the wrong person.” – BFOTB’s husband via text message

For their last date they take a helicopter ride aroundFiji. Ashley says Ben is perfect for her. They arrive at a healing mud bath and get each other all muddy, which they both proclaim to be very sexy. Later in his hotel suite they toast with champagne as Ben tells Ashley that he got her parents permission to propose to her, and he tells her he is in love with her. They kiss. No tongue. Never any tongue. Not a good sign.

Ashley wraps her legs around Ben and all we notice is the bug bite on her butt. 

Now it’s JP’s turn again and as always, she is looking to him to solve all her problems and she again needs reassurance so they have a somewhat difficult conversation. JP tells Ashley that he is madly in love with her, and already told her whole family. JP asks/warns her not to break his heart. Then there’s lots of making out with lots of tongue and JP unravels Ashley’s sarong like he’s done that before. I’m not surprised.

JP gives Ashley a photo and journal scrapbook. Uh oh, Ben didn’t give her a gift. No tongue, no gift. I think we all know where this is going.

“I get lost in JP; I’m completely infatuated with him.” -Ashley

Ben is meeting with Neil Lane to pick out an engagement ring because his heart is set on proposing. He says it wasn’t hard to pick out a ring. I wouldn’t think it would be if you don’t have to pay for it.

JP puts on pink and goes to make his selection. Neil asks him what he’s going to do if she says no. Haha. But whoa, the ring he chooses is gorgeous.

Ben is the first one to land. Ben is crying talking about losing his father and how happy he is to be adding Ashley to his family.  I am so angry at Ashley for letting him get down on one knee. I am writhing in anxiety. So awkward. Why couldn’t she have cut him off before he got down on one knee and actually proposed? What. A. Jerk. Having to stand back up in shame, Ben leaves angry and she runs after him. Ben doesn’t want her to sugar coat it and informs her that there is no way to leave this situation on good terms.

“Good things don’t end unless they end badly.” – Ben
“JP is a wonderful guy. I’m sure you’ll have a nice life together.” – Ben

Rejects get sent home on a motor boat, not a plane. Write that down. And, salt in an open wound: Ben sees JP’s plane flying overhead and then has to pass by Ashley standing there waiting for JP. Seriously, where is that boat taking Ben? Out to the middle of the ocean?  Getting rejected really sucks.  Hope they put a bottle of booze in that boat for him.

This better be an epic proposal. BFOTB and I both have a dark thought; somewhat hoping JP’s plane takes a nose into the water. It doesn’t.

Ashley and JP exchange “you look great” small talk.  JP starts at the beginning, rehashing what it was like getting out of the limo. Two peas in a pod, JP tells Ashley he is scared she doesn’t love him back but this is his leap of faith.

 “I smile because of you. I am madly in love with you.” -JP

Ashley tells JP she has wanted to tell him for forever that she is in love with him.

He gets down on one knee and says “Ashley, will you marry me?”
She says “yes.”
And cue the music…”I can’t fight this feelin’ anymore…” I told you!
And JP gets the last rose. 

At the end, my favorite part:
Ashley asks something along the lines of “can you believe we’re here?” and JP responds, “When you walked in the first rose ceremony and said ‘my husband is in this room,’ I was like ‘what the f&$@ is she talking about?'” hahah!
Ashley exclaims “It’s you!”

After the Final Rose
Ben says that after he was rejected he had to fly home fromFijistraight to his best friend’s wedding. Ooh…ouch. 

Ashley comes out and Chris asks Ben what he’d like to say. Ben’s response: “Nice ring.” Bahaha!  Man, this guy’s a hoot.  It’s the usual boring stuff…”thanks for helping me get to where I am now” and Ashley saying “he’s such a great guy, I’m always going to respect him.”

Ashley flashes that ring as Chris proclaims that she and JP are still engaged. JP comes out and not to disappoint her declaration that he’s a really great kisser, lays some big smooches on her. Chris asks the “why do you love each other?” questions, “how hard has this been?” …blah blah blah.

Ashley’s sister comes up on stage and apologizes for being so overprotective, exclaiming she’s on Team Cupcake (JP’s nickname) now and she can’t wait to introduce him to her kids and celebrate Thanksgivings and Christmases together. Ashley says “well, uh, Hanukkah.” ha, oh, right, yeah.

Where they’re at now: Ashley is finishing school, and then she’s moving toNew Yorkand they’re getting their own place. And as if that huge ring wasn’t enough, the show is sending them back toFiji. 

Well, I confess I’m glad it’s over. What did you think?  Are you going to watch The Bachelor Pad?  

Looking forward (with hope for a better Bachelor/Bachelorette) to next season. Until then – cheers!

The Bachelor Recap: final episode & proposal, season 15

Brad is reunited with his family in South Africa and starts crying uncontrollably, unable to contain himself enough to sit down.  I chuckle when I see Brad’s twin brother Chad because all I can remember is Brad’s first season when he tricked the girls by having his twin take his place, pretending to be him.  Good stuff.

Brad says he’s falling in love and is 100% considering proposing. His family feigns dramatic shock and emphasizes how much of a new man he is.

Chantal arrives first.  She tells the story of how they fell in love in Costa Rica in the pouring rain running back to the hotel room to…uh, well, just talk for hours…

Wes thinks Chantal clicks with the family and that she’s very attractive and vibrant.  Wes and Chad get some alone time and they tell her that Brad said he is planning on proposing. 

Mom asks what everyone wants to know: “how could you fall in love so quick?”  Chantal says it’s easy to fall in love because of what she went through in her divorce working to find herself, now knowing what and who she wants is what led her to a place where it was easy to fall in love with Brad because he’s everything she wants and needs.

That seems to get the stamp of approval from mom.

Brad says he wasn’t nervous about Chantal but he is a bit on edge about them meeting Emily because of her past. I did notice that Emily didn’t get hugs but Wes explains that Emily seems much more reserved than Chantal.  Then again later Wes, as a parent himself, is concerned about how much it would affect Emily and her daughter to move to Austin.

It gets really emotional around the table as questions unfold in a natural way about how Ricki’s father would feel about Emily and Ricki moving to Texas.  Emily shares her story and there are tears welling up in everyone’s eyes, with a new found respect for Emily and what she’s been through to get here.

Brad reassures his brothers that he welcomes the opportunity to be a father.  His brothers are surprised. Wes says “I left this place yesterday feeling like my brother was ready to be a husband and now I realize that he’s also ready to be a full blown father.”

Mom pulls Emily aside and tells her how much she respects her for being hesitant about letting Brad meet her daughter and also for allowing him to.  Emily expresses her gratitude in meeting Brad and how much of a blessing he’s been to her even in this short time together.  Mom loses it when Emily tells her that Brad is her angel. She knows Emily has had a very difficult time so Brad’s mom is rooting for her, hoping she’ll have a happy ending.

As for the brothers, I know they are on Team Emily too.  I can see the restraint in Chad’s face because he totally wants to blurt out “she’s way hotter, dude!” …trust me. I can see it in his eyes.

 Mom gives her vote on Emily.  Brad says if his mom could pick a woman for him it would be Emily.  At this point it’s in the bag. 

On his date day with Chantal Brad says his family thinks Emily is the one but he’s looking for Chantal to show him she’s the one today.  It’s totally over and I know it when she goes barreling towards him and tries to jump in his arms and he is struggling.  Not romantic, and quite frankly, kinda scary. As my smart friend Matt Prince stated so eloquently on Facebook yesterday, “No matter what decision Brad makes tonight he will be dealing with 50 unexpected lbs…for Emily it’s her daughter, for Chantal it’s the weight she’s gained since the first episode.” It’s true. It also may explain why Brad chose to take Chantal swimming with the sharks. Either he knew they’d go for her meaty body first or he wanted her covered up in a wet suit.  Just like with the snorkeling on their first one on one date, he took her to face her fears and she overcame them for him. 

Chantal gives Brad a map she made showing all the places they’ve been – she says it shows that she has traveled the world for his love.  She also wrote him a mushy love letter – front and back (but not 18 pages, a la Rachel Green).  Brad says it was very sweet.  Chantal says she needs Brad to tell her he loves her. He calls it a night and never said the “L” word so she’s desperately holding onto hope that she’ll hear it the next time they see each other.

Brad’s family chose Emily and he says he is still exploring his feelings with Emily – he needs to feel confident at the end of today. He takes Emily to the Cape of Good Hope via helicopter, naturally. It’s really windy and I’m pretty sure every guy in America forced into watching The Bachelor is sitting on the edge of the couch, eagerly hoping for the wind to blow her short shirtdress up. He tells her that his family really loved her and Emily realizes that she is letting her insecurities get the best of her and it’s all downhill from there.  What seems to be the most serious, real conversation they have and should be having is going disastrously.  Brad seems upset that she’s looking for the reassurance that he’s actually thought about what it will take to become a stepfather. Brad makes it very clear that he wants to be Ricki’s dad and Emily comes back with a lot of warnings that being a parent isn’t always fun or glamorous. Brad is very frustrated.  He asks Emily if she’s ready to let somebody in. She says “not somebody, but you.” It seems as if his anger is getting the best of him so now he’s trying to push the blame onto her for these hesitant feelings.  Emily knows her head is sabotaging her heart and Brad walks away defeated from his night with Emily.

Neil Lane arrives the next morning with the rings for Brad to choose from. Brad picks out a stunning sparkler of rock with a split shank band.

Brad is very confident, excited, scared, and happy about being in love.  The clue to his choosing Emily is when he says he knows he’s in love and he just hopes she loves him back.  I think everyone in America is confident that Chantal loves Brad. 

Chantal, it appears, is doomed to be the first girl out of the limo yet again.  And yeah, that’s sad and all, but all I can think is “Chunky gold shoes with that dress? Really?” 

Brad gives his “you’re so great” speech and then transitions into the “here’s where it gets tough” part and explains that he has stronger feelings for someone else and immediately the tears fly.  Brad tries to reassure her by asking “are you alright?” which at this moment in time is probably the worst thing he could ask. No, Brad, no she’s not alright.  I wish that Chris Harrison would’ve popped out just to say that.  Would’ve been perfect!  Brad continues to tell Chantal that the connection they had was very real and she didn’t do anything wrong. I think Brad might have to call Chantal’s dad and break up with him too. If you’ll remember, they too had quite the connection. Chantal wonders how she could have felt Brad was The One when Brad didn’t even love her. Someone get this woman a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s, stat!

Now that the sad part is over, Brad is all smiles when he sees Emily walking toward him.  It takes him quite a while to get out his rehearsed speech, telling her about a promise he made to himself to take a leap of faith if he found even just a glimpse of love. He says, “And all it took for me was coming here and finding you. You’re it; you’re The One. You’re so much more than a leap of faith. You’re my once in a lifetime.”

And his proposal went like this:

Please give me your forever.
Please let me be your best friend.
Please let me protect you and your beautiful daughter,
And please give me the opportunity to love you for the rest of your life.
I love you, Emily.
(on bended knee)
Please make me happier than I’ve ever been in my life and marry me.”

And she says “I’d love to!” and has to do the awkward bend at the waist to kiss him. She straightens up and he puts the ring on her finger. She says she loves it and it’s perfect.  Cue the montage of their love story unfolded in Bachelor episode clips to the tune of Train’s “Marry Me.”
So, what did you think? Were you rooting for Chantal? Did you know it would be Emily?    How do you feel about them not really dealing with the real issues of what their life will be like together as a family with a daughter?

The Bachelor Recap episode 6, season 15

Well hello there.  Let’s get right to it and helicopter on in to Costa Rica. Ashley H, the artist dentist is ready to get down and dirty in Costa Rica. They arrive at Springs Resort & Spa in Costa Rica to see its gorgeous grounds and a sweeping panoramic view of a volcano in the distance.  In the foreground is Brad, also looking like he’s ready to explode with [insert any boring emotion you can think of].  The girls say he’s ready to let loose and I completely disagree…he is so rigid and forced.  In the voice of the great Chandler Bing: Could he be any less excited?

One-on-One Date: “Close your eyes, hold on tight, love is in the air tonight” -Chantal O.
“All I can do is be patient and hope Chantal gets attacked by monkeys. Or apes.” – Michelle, the crazy

Chantal is concerned that this date means Brad is second guessing her because she let out a bit of her jealous crazy side last week.  Someone should tell her Brad likes crazy and jealous [see every reference to Michelle in this blog].

Surprise! More helicopter transportation.  For their date, Brad and Chantal will be taking on the longest zip line in the world, six hundred feet off the ground.  Brad says they’ll be taking their relationship to new heights.  Oh, brother.  And just as they get ready to take the plunge, the rain arrives.

“The rain comes your way and you make the most of it. That’s what you do in a relationship.” -Chantal O. being profound, comparing the weather raining on her zip-line parade to her relationship with Brad.  Very ominously we see Chantal spot a monkey in a tree nearby and for a split second I think Michelle might get her wish, but alas, it just led to more kissing.  Sorry, Michelle.

Now for a picnic dinner by the river with fresh coconut. I’m uber jealous.  Especially because the coconut is all cut in half and perfect. No need for your husband to drill holes with a power drill and crack it open with a hammer.  Oh, that’s not how you do it? Hmm…I’ll have to talk to Mumbles about that.  Chantal says she’s feeling things tonight that she’s dreamed of feeling but has never felt…ever.  Next thing you know, it’s pouring down rain on her dinner parade.  This girl can’t catch a break.  Maybe it’s foreshadowing…every time she thinks it’s going well the rain comes…nah, this show’s not that deep. So, Chantal and Brad ditch the cute picnic dinner to find cover and head straight to the hotel room (don’t mind if I do, right?!) 

“It makes me happy to think that the rain has completely ruined their one-on-one date. There’s a chance it could be the worst date Brad’s been on [Michelle also said this about Shawntel N.’s date, which turned out to be a shopping spree in Vegas] but I just…it’s hard to know; I’m not there.” -Michelle, the crazy.

Back in the hotel room Brad gives Chantal a Risky Business-esque white shirt to get comfy in. Chantal says she likes this casual, on-the-fly date. Brad says he thinks it’s their best date yet, then brings up her crazy mind games last week and her only defense is to say that she was just in a bad place. 

“I feel so good with you. I want more of it. Every day.  Forever.” – Chantal says then embarrassed, with a childish laugh, followed by a passionate kiss.
“This could happen every night.” -Brad
“I want it to.” – Chantal
Which earns Chantal the rose.   

Brad is confident that Chantal isn’t overly dramatic now.  He says “it just works” with her.  Chantal confesses that she fell in love with Brad tonight.

Group Date: “Love springs eternal” – Jackie, Michelle, Emily, Ashley, Shawntel N., and Britt

Now Britt is the only girl left that hasn’t had a one-on-one date.  And, in case you weren’t already aware, Michelle hates group dates.  Here’s another thing to add to the list of things she hates: rain and cold.  And that Chantal came home in Brad’s shirt after her date last night.  Man, what a good ploy!  [Heidi, when you become a contestant on The Bachelor, be sure to bring a stash of men’s dress shirts and pack one in your purse each date so you can come home wearing it and make all the girls crazy and jealous!  Write that down.]

True: there’s nothing sexy about a harness and a helmet.
They will all be repelling down the waterfall to prove to Brad that they’re adventurous. Most of the girls are freaked.  The girls are comforted by how encouraging he his, proving that he’ll be a good husband and father.  I think it proves that his expensive therapy sessions are giving him good one-liners to use.

Here are the highlights from the group date:

  • Jackie is deathly afraid of heights. She doesn’t like ferris wheels.
  • “Jackie may have soiled herself.” – Britt. haha.  I’m sad because I think she may be going home and that was funny.  This show needs all the funny it can get.
  • Michelle is pissed that Brad broke the vow he made to her on their one-on-one date. Brad acknowledges that he made a pact with Michelle, Michelle throws a few punches at Brad to give him a hard time, and then she jumps around giddily once he tells her that they will be repelling down together, thus not breaking his vow. Now Brad is worried about not spending time with the other girls and the fallout it will cause later in the evening. 
  • Soaking in the natural hot springs Michelle eloquently shares that “Watching Brad take his shirt off makes you like want to go home and [insert sexual expletive of your choice].”
  • Brad pulls Jackie away and takes her into a little nook of the hot springs pool and she calls him out on not going down the waterfall with her since she was the one that needed his consoling. 
  • Brad complains about how hard it is to keep all the women happy.  And he thinks he’s ready for marriage, huh?
  • As if we didn’t believe her before, Michelle says she is seriously starting to get bugged by the other girls.  She even calls out Alli and she’s not even on this date.
  • Emily warns Brad that she usually does things in relationships to sabotage them.  Then she jumps in the water and comes back up with black raccoon eyes.  Sabotage?  No.  But definitely not her best look. 
  • We get a close up view of Brad’s HUGE back tattoo and suddenly Emily’s makeup doesn’t matter so much.

Alli is very scared of bugs. Not just any bugs. But bugs in particular that make a crunch sound when you [hypothetically] step on them.  Chantal picks up a beetle in their hotel room with a piece of paper and taunts Alli with it until she screams bloody murder.  Cut to Brad with a very fake concerned look on his face as you hear the screaming in the background.  Now, this is funny television.

Michelle tells Brad that she didn’t think Chantal was coming home last night and she’s pissed about it. Brad seems a little pissed too and he seems to be [finally] getting sick of Michelle’s crap.  When she realizes her crazy gabbing isn’t working she just puts on the sexy eyes and goes in for the kiss.  Brad is frustrated but he still likes to kiss.

According to Brad the roses now mean more to him than ever.  Tonight, he’s not giving the rose to anyone.  Brad explains that he’s “…not just giving this rose to the woman who jumped first or the woman who overcame fears.”  

One-on-One Date: “Meet me at the altar” – Alli
Chantal tries to pull the whole “how do you feel about your date card not having the word ‘love'” bit again but Alli doesn’t bite quickly pointing out that she prefers the reference to marriage. Alli – 1  Chantal – 0

Brad slowly strolls up on horseback to pick up Alli.  He doesn’t look at all natural riding the horse but I’m happy it’s a refreshing change from the usual helicopter. What is up with the tiny little horse babies following them around?!?  How cute is that?!

They’ll be going into a 40 million year-old cave and Alli is terrified of all the poisonous jungle bugs awaiting her inside.  If it wasn’t already obvious that the girls are lined up on dates that align with the fears indicated on their application forms, it’s now fact.  [Heidi, write something silly as your biggest fear and practice making your phobia seem intense and sincere.  Something like karaoke. You’d be so good at pretending to have stage fright and then overcoming your fear!  You’d be like a pool shark but with a microphone instead of a pool cue!] 

“Look at that spider!”…ugh. I hate spiders. Bats, though, come on, bats are cute! Okay, they do make weird hissing/screech noises.  After their dark, long wet hike with all the bugs, they arrive at the altar, natural stairs in the rock where Brad has a little camp picnic laid out.  I wonder what poor production assistant had to climb through that cave first with all the picnic stuff to set that up.  Then later, they sit down for a nice romantic dinner that appears to be floating in the middle of a pool.  I’d be worried about scooting my chair back a little too far because this guy’s in intensive therapy so you never know when you might need to make a quick dash outta there. Girl’s gotta have an escape plan.  [Heidi, write that down.] 

Alli appears to be fighting her food with fork and knife then says, a little frustrated, “What is this, really?” To which Brad helpfully points out: “Chicken.”  Lady, you’re totally going home.  They’re making small talk and Brad is struggling.  Alli starts to list off countries to see if Brad’s never been there. This could go on a while.  Then more stimulating gems like this exchange:  
“Austin is a great city…”-Alli 
“It’s big” -Brad

Brad claims he can make conversation with just about anyone.  You stand corrected, sir.  

All the girls back at the room are placing bets that Alli isn’t coming home.  Brad tries to dig deeper into Alli’s relationship past and he asks about her last relationship, which she shares lasted for two years but as she imagined her wedding and walking down the aisle, she just couldn’t see her ex’s face.  She explains that it was really hard, she really tried to convince herself that there was something there because he was such a great guy…leaving a HUGE opening for Brad to pop in and say “I’m so glad you said that because that’s very much how I feel about you – I’m trying to picture this working and I just can’t see you holding a rose at the end of tonight…” which would have been awesome but he doesn’t say that. Here’s what actually happened: Brad leads into a vague monologue about finding his wife and knowing if not the first date, then very close to the first date, that there’s a very strong connection (which he hopes will lead to his letting her down gently, telling her that he doesn’t feel that strong instant connection like he’s already established with the other girls).  Instead, what really happens is she says “I absolutely agree!  And I want you to know that I feel just as comfortable around you as I think I’ve felt with anyone before…and I think I could hang out with you all day, every day.”  Brad starts into the “let’s be friends” speech and clarifies that he doesn’t think that constitutes falling in love and so he can’t give her the rose.  And that’s where it ends.  Friends it is.  And she thanks him for being honest, cries and gets embarrassed.    Back in the hotel room the girls are all shocked and awed that Alli’s bags are being taken away, which I don’t quite understand. 

Brad is now in his pensive alone time to process what he’s feeling [no doubt good advice for post rose rejection, a la the trusty therapist] when there’s a knock on the door.  “iHola!” and voila, there’s Michelle, the crazy.  Brad says it’s a nice surprise.  They exchange “I miss yous” then kiss for a bit.  Michelle really looks like she’s working out a strategy in those kisses.  She has her eyes on the rose and she asks how it went, full well knowing that Alli has been sent home.  Brad makes a little flub by saying “any others you want me to do?” haha. oops! busted!  Michelle tells Brad who it’s gonna be in the final four: herself, Chantal, Emily and Ashley.  Of course, she predicts herself to be the victor. 

Cocktail Party:

  • Brad shares that this has been really difficult for him.  Hmm…that therapist doesn’t travel?  No Skype?  Total fail.
  • Brad and Emily take some time away on the hammock.  Brad says he thinks about her a lot. He says he’s scared of her.  Emily regrets telling Brad that she sabotages things.  She tells Brad she cares about him a lot and that she feels vulnerable.  He tells her that he wants her to feel comfortable.  She says she needs his help, addressing his concerns before he could even bring them up. 
  • Chantal asks the group who gave Brad grief about not giving out the rose on the group date. 
  • Brad tells Michelle that he feels he’s taken 10 steps back with her and finally stands up to her confirming that he’s doing what’s best for him.  She tries to spin it back onto him that he asked for it.  Michelle gets a furrow in her brow and I can see the wheels churning in her manipulative mind …hmmm…crazy manipulation isn’t working so let’s try the tears and I’m genuine bit to see if that’ll work for a while…
  • Shawntel N. wants to confront Brad about who gave him grief about the rose but realizes that she’s here to fall in love, not play games with girls.  So instead, she decides to play games with the only boy here.  The Silent Game, which leads to making out.  Lots of making out.  And she should just be sassy and walk away but she screws it up by talking.  Shawntel reports back that someone confronted Brad after the group date and they all continue to discuss and Michelle confesses that she went to Brad’s and spent 30 minutes with him. 
  • Ashley the artist dentist says it best: “There are certain boundaries that I thought we had; it surprises me that we don’t.”
  • Chantal O. tells Brad that she wants to share something with him, especially tonight because she already has a rose and she wants him to know that she isn’t expecting anything in return.  Chantal tells Brad that she has fallen in love with Brad.  They kiss and he asks her if she could explain how she knows she’s in love and she gives a really great response, explaining that a change has occurred in her heart- she no longer thinks about how the experience is affecting her but is now concerned with how everything is affecting Brad.  Aw.

Rose Ceremony:
Chantal O., the first to fall in love
Ashley, the artist dentist
Emily, Southern Belle Barbie (also, did I share my revelation that she is totally Holly Madison’s doppleganger?!)
Britt, the wild card for the night…she gets absolutely no air time!
Shawntel N., the funeral director
Michelle, the crazy

Going home tonight is Jackie, the Wicked/Glee Singer.  Not too surprising.  Brad gives her a lovely goodbye speech and it’s all very classy.  I wish as these girls said goodbye they would say something super scandalous to the Bachelor to really screw with his mind and mix things up.  It’s never that fun.  [Heidi, let’s plan for a really awesome scandalous rumor for you to plant into the Bachelor’s mind just in case you get sent home because of all the awesome advice I’m giving you].

Next week: Anguilla
Hello, paradise! Blue water, boats, sunny skies, romantic walks on the beach, crying, kissing in the sand, hard questions (including a “can I meet your daughter?” and an “I don’t know” response), and, of course, roses.

P.S. To my friend Jessie – this one’s for you. I stayed up way past my bedtime. You’re welcome.

The Proof is in the Platter

Last night Mumbles and I went to our first small group meeting of the New Year which, after a series of events changing our small group’s plan for our next study, was also our first meeting about the new Daniel Plan at Saddleback Church.  A brief explanation is that internationally renowned medical experts Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mehmet Oz (of Oprah fame) have partnered with Saddleback to create a free healthy lifestyle program including a six-week small group study, a website with tools to help track progress, monthly Webcasts with Pastor Rick Warren interviewing leading health experts, an optional healthy choice menu, and new outdoor fitness equipment set-up on the Lake Forest campus. The goal is for everyone to feel better, be stronger, think sharper, and look better a year from today.  After hearing that statistics show a staggering 76 percent of Americans are overweight this sounds like pretty good stuff to be striving toward, yes?  I think so.

The intro to this program was really illuminating for me – I’m specifically interested in the physical fitness aspects as I don’t go to the gym or exercise nearly as often as I should and despite the fact that I’m skinny I could really use more energy to be more productive.  I could also drink more water.  And not sit at my desk for 11 hours straight per day.  On another note, I have a vested interest in this from a professional standpoint because not only am I employed in the health & wellness industry, I’m also working on a special project at one of our spas — a weight loss/healthy lifestyle pilot program.  From what I know about both of these programs, they are extremely similar in that they aren’t flashy, glamorous “get slim quick” tricks – they are truly about all-around wellbeing, making lifelong, sustainable decisions for better health prompted by a physician-developed and supervised program and supported by peer group meetings, nutrition and fitness coaching, healthy lifestyle tips, recipes, and more.  

So now that my work life is crossing into my personal life even more than before, I’d also like to tell a little story.  First I have to start by sharing the verse that was presented at the start of the Daniel Plan:

I constantly pray for you, that our God . . . by his power may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NIV)
 
Proof of this verse and that God puts the right people in our lives to help us succeed: My husband and I walked in the door to our first Daniel Plan small group meeting last night with french fries in hand, having just scarfed down
In-N-Out for dinner and our group hosts had fresh fruit and veggie platters out for us to snack on. God’s perfect timing at it again. ha!  And to take it a step further in calling us out on our love for In-N-Out, when I got home and checked out The Daniel Plan website I found this poem by Pastor Rick:

Lord, grant me the strength that i may not fall
into the clutches of cholesterol

At polyunsaturates i’ll never matter
for the road to hell is paved with butter

Whip cream is cursed and jelly is awful
yes, satan is hiding in every waffle

He appears to me as a cinnamon roll
Eager to fatten and clog my soul

So teach me the evils of hollandaise
Of ribs and pasta and mayonnaise

May I have the presence to realize
that evil lurks in in and out fries

And crispy fried chicken from the south
Lord if you love me, shut my mouth

–Rick Warren

So there it is. 
The proof of God’s love and care for us is in the fruit platter.
Things happen for a reason. 
Life is full of “coincidences” that are planned (just not by you). 

If you’d like more information on The Daniel Plan, visit Saddleback’s website here; it’s full of free resources to help motivate and get you healthy!

To your health & happiness – cheers!

P.S.   Dr. Amen. That’s funny. (How qualified for this church program is that guy – perfect name!)

The Bachelor Recap episode 3, season 15

Explosions, drama, damsels in distress, territory marking, manipulation, tears, and goodbyes…and that’s just the “Tonight on The Bachelor” intro clip! Here’s the skinny on the whole show:

17 “normals and crazies” still left says Chantal O. And that just about sums it up.

First solo date: “Let’s find our love song”
Ashley S., the nanny first impression rose winner

Brad says his nerves went away the first time he met her and that’s why he chose her for this special date. Ashley S. vows that she’ll get Brad to kiss her on the date, which is at Capitol records for what Brad calls a torturous event: recording the song “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal (random). Little does Brad know that she is deathly afraid of singing and has a huge singing complex. Big oops. But, low and behold, “Kiss From a Rose” is one of her favorite songs (where did you find her?!).

They.are.awful. AWFUL. I’m still sick and have not had any wine. My insides are writhing in embarrassment. I hate this date. Brad says he is very comfortable with

Ashley and he is naturally more affectionate with her because of it. Then, surprise! Seal is here singing his famous song that has huge sentimental value to Ashley. I hope that the producers intentionally arranged this because she mentioned the song and her father in her pre-show interview because otherwise this is totally random.

Now they are up on the rooftop of Capitol Records with a stunning city lights view for a romantic dinner. Ashley shares the story about her father passing and how they used to sing “Kiss From a Rose” together at the top of their lungs. Brad moves to consoling her and she brings a positive note to her otherwise very very sad story (especially for a first date). She was really cute explaining how special Brad made her feel despite their incredibly awful singing. She really took Chris Harrison’s warning to heart and Brad noticed, thanking her for being so open and honest. Then, Brad asks her to accept the rose and she misses the perfect opportunity to ask for a kiss from a rose…corny, yes, but, hey, she said she wanted a kiss. Don’t fret, though, they have a little make out session at the end of their date. I’d like to also note that she made sure the camera crew caught it on tape…when they came up for air she totally looked around for the camera!

Group date: “Love hurts”
Lindsey, Shawntel, Alli, Britt, Kimberly, Sarah, Chantal, Ashley H., Lisa, Stacy, Marissa, and Michelle

Michelle has totally been pegged by producers as the crazy sexy chick that will provide the best over-the-top stalker comments, which is evidenced by the small snippets they throw in about every 6 minutes. Example of said funny moments: “our card says love hurts but what really hurts is being on a group date with these women.” what a gem.

Brad is already sweaty when the girls show up and as he is welcoming them he is attacked by ninjas and street hoodlums and manages to fight them all off, impressing all his lovely lady friends. On this group date they’ll be filming their own action movie scenes. Alli probably says it best when she confesses that she would prefer not to sweat in front of brad. True: “pit stains are not hot.”

During the filming Lisa is the brunt of Michelle’s jokes because her grunts sound like birds chirping. Ha! Shawntel N. is really standing out to Brad today because she is really taking the butt kicking seriously. They make out a lot. A lot. And I really wish she wouldn’t have worn those leopard leggings during the closing scene. Not cute.

To celebrate their cinematic debuts, Brad takes them to a pool for a “Woo!!” party, where everything is “yay!” and “woohoo!” But not everything is splashing chicken fights and bikinis…Chantal O. takes Brad aside and starts crying going through the ‘I’m sharing my boyfriend with other women’ phase and she opens up about her relationship with her estranged father who passed away. And (this may sound familiar) Brad comes in to console her and Chantal says that she feels a really strong connection with him, he’s making her feel special. And he says he likes her all puffy and crying because that’s real life. She tells Brad she likes him. He likes her too. She replies “too much.” Then they kiss. It’s pretty steamy.

Alli is inside talking to Brad and crazy Michelle appears in the background slinking in and then acts surprised to be interrupting. Brad stutters through asking Alli to leave so that he and Michele can talk a bit. She confronts Brad about not getting alone time then starts the waterworks by saying she feels selfish for being there and leaving her daughter. Here’s a hint about this show: tears = kisses. Michelle is feeling so accomplished after getting her kiss. Mission: accomplished. After that steamy, manipulative kiss Brad retrieves the rose to go to the rooftop to… tell Shawntel that he is wildly attracted to her and he wants her to be around to get to know her better. Didn’t see that coming!

Then the premiere of Love Hurts, which we don’t really get to see. And its been more than six minutes so Michelle gives another speech about Brad being hers and that in the end it will be just the two of them in Tahiti practicing making babies.

One-on-one date: “Love is intoxicating”
Emily

Emily is terrified that when she tells Brad about her daughter and her daughter’s father he’ll run for the hills. She shares her story with the girls in the house and they are all a big ball of tears. After hearing her story, all the girls forget it’s a competition and are very encouraging about her opening up to Brad and telling him everything.

Best quote of the night comes from Meghan the man, who I’d like to not call the man anymore because I’ve deemed her funny; she explains Emily, Southern Belle Barbie as such: “Like an itsy, bitsy barbie doll with the soul of Mother Theresa so you want to hate her but you can’t hate Mother Theresa, you have to love her… so no one hates Emily. Awesome.”

Brad surprises Emily with a flight to Santa Maria. He is so excited. She is terrified but tries to cover it up because Brad is giddy and proud that the producers set upbsuch an awesome date for them. While lounging in the vineyard Brad asks Emily about herself and she replies that she’s just like everyone else, you know, she gets grumpy when she’s tired…haha. She is hilarious at deflecting his hard questions.

Back at the mansion Madison is reflecting on Emily sharing her story and she sheds a few tears realizing that she wants to find a partner. In life and maybe she shouldn’t be here in this competition vying for Brad’s love when so many women are clearly very invested. Hmmm…very profound and insightful.

Back to Emily and Brad who are having a lovely romantic dinner arranged in a barn.  Brad pretends like he is actually thinking of not giving her a rose because he’s worried about her not opening up. She is too beautiful to not get a rose. I don’t believe you, sir.

Emily senses the awkwardness so she tells Brad about her fiancé Ricky Hendrick, son of NASCAR race car owner Rick Hendrick, and the tragic plane accident. Emily keeps reaching for the wine. I like her. Brad makes the right move by immediately asking about her daughter and Emly immediately begins to open up. Brad seems nervous so he kisses her hand, then her cheek and then Emily leans in to let him know he can go in for the kiss so he does. It’s very special and romantic and I hear my husband, Mumbles, grown from the other room (okay, the couch. Right next to me.) “ugh, I can’t believe she kissed him!  She is way too good for him. AND he just kissed 10 other girls. Eww.”  I’m not even angry at his outright jealousy as I admit, I, too, am quite mesmerized by her – she’s so “gosh dang” pretty and her smile is so white! Swoon.

Every girl tonight has said that Brad makes her feel very special. He is getting really good at this game! Uh, I mean true-quest-for-love-that-just-happens-to-be-televised.

Next we’re introduced to the therapist Brad is working with while he’s in LA. I must admit that hearing him talk to his therapist sounds exactly the same as the conversation he’s supposed to have with Chris Harrison before the rose ceremony reflecting on the past week. This guy is a professional, though, so it’s more credible and a bit more bearable.

The cocktail party:

“I wrapped myself up like a present so I could open myself up to you,” says Alli. [insert inappropriate comment from Mumbles.] She shares that her dad was unfaithful and had a child with someone else. Wow, casting did a great job of finding women with Dad issues just as screwed up as Brad’s but I’m getting a little sick of it and can only imagine that Brad is too.  I mean, really, do they think that a guy with really screwed up history with his Dad also wants a woman with really screwed up Dad issues?  I guess it’s something to bond over, but wow.  Brad and Alli talk about trust and Brad shares that he’s never cheated on anyone. Very important.

Brad pulls Chantal O aside and they giggle over how physically attracted they are to each other and Brad apologizes to her for not giving back enough of what she deserved after opening up about her father and family. They are having a really great, intimate moment when Michelle comes over and rudely asks “am I interrupting?” – yes, yes you are. But you knew that. (why doesn’t anyone ever just say that?! And why is the Bachelor never kind enough to rescue the poor girl getting interrupted?) Michelle announces that she and Brad are in a fight. Hello, crazy. She confronts Brad about kissing other girls and he plays right into her little game by saying she’s a smart alec and playful and she can steal him away any night of the week. Crazies always win (at least in the first 5 episodes).

Madison has a good talk with Brad and opens up about how she’s been feeling after hearing Emily’s story and seeing him connect with other women and how it has influenced her expectations for falling in love. It was a very real conversation and Brad lets on to understanding that she may want to go home so he tells her he respects her for those feelings. I do too. Turns out the girl with the fangs is one of the normal ones!

Brad has a one-on-one talk with Ashley H., the artist dentist, and he senses that she isn’t feeling comfortable which is his therapist inspired mantra for the night and therefore bothering him that he won’t be getting a gold star. It’s really unsettling to him knowing that Madison might he going home and he’s concerned about losing her so he comes back to Ashley on the couch, pulls her up and lays a big kiss on her for reassurance. Can’t be losing too many women in one night, it’ll throw off the crazy v. normal balance in the house.

Roses:

  • Ashley S., the nanny
  • Shawntel N, the funeral director
  • Emily, Southern Belle Barbie
  • Michelle, the crazy
  • Chantal O.
  • Lisa
  • Jackie, the Glee/Wicked singer
  • Ashley H, the artist dentist
  • Marissa, the sports publicist
  • Britt
  • Alli
  • Lindsey
  • Meghan
  • Stacy

Madison walked out of the middle of the rose ceremony and Brad gallantly followed her to understand why she wanted to leave. Commendably, she recognizes that she has put up a facade to guard herself and now other women are being real and making real connections and she explains that she would feel guilty taking a rose away from someone who is here and has been putting their heart on the line from the beginning. Kudos to you, lady.

Sarah and Kimberly also went home tonight, neither of whom seemed too devastated…until they get outside and Kimberly says “f&$! Brad” and Sarah sniffles while advising the women of the world that rejection sucks. Word.

Who do you think has had the best kiss so far? Leave your thoughts below!