Monday, February 28, 2011

The Bachelor: Week IX

We're getting so close to the end, boys and girls!
Next to the hometown dates, final three is probably my favorite episode of the season for one reason: Fantasy Suites. Everyone tries to be coy and pretend like they're not going to go, but in the end everyone accepts. Then ABC makes some fantastically cheesy innuendo of a volcano exploding or waves crashing or an animal crying out in the night. And this episode didn't disappoint! In this crazy world to change it's nice to have something steady you can rely on.

So here we are in South Africa. Once again I am ridiculously jealous. It's like the real life Lion King! Except instead of starting with The Circle of Life it started with Brad ruminating on his relationships with these women while he watches monkeys picking at each other.

Chantal's Fantasy Date
I can NOT believe they're going on safari. That would be so amazing! Brad was so funny and excited, like a little kid on Christmas. The best line of the date was when he mentioned how amazing it was "Exploring the South African bush." ...Insert obligatory joke about Chantal's bush. Insert obligatory joke about inserting things. All in all, Chantal and Brad's date was nice but I guess I don't really see the connection there. I see a friendship, like two good buddies hanging out and joking around, but I don't see any romance there. And I see Chantal trying so hard to make there be a romance that it's almost uncomfortable. While their treehouse is INCREDIBLE, the whole thing felt forced to me.

Emily's Fantasy Date
She looked SO cute! The girl's got great style. More than that, Brad looked so genuinely excited to see her. His surprise for her...I CAN'T EVEN! RIDING AN ELEPHANT! Emily's reaction was so adorable with all her little Southern Belle sayings: "Oh my goodness, oh my dear lord, oh my gracious, Oh mercy." One of the things I like about Emily is that she doesn't let Brad get away with any BS. I was very glad to see her put him on the spot by asking if he is actually ready not only for her, but an instant family. Even more impressive was Brad's answer and the look on his face when he said it. Later, when she really put herself out there and told him that she loves him, he looked so humbled and gracious. He told her he is falling for her as well, but I wonder if he just said that in the moment or if he really meant it. Only time will tell!

Ashley's Fantasy Date
Ashley's description of South Africa: "It's a very large land filled with very exotic animals." No shit. Brad said something I felt was very telling. He said he wants a relationship with Ashley, which means he doesn't feel like he really has one now. If Chantal and Brad's date felt forced, this one was just downright painful. It was obvious that she didn't like Brad asking her all those questions because she is not ready to answer them. It was exhausting hearing her dance in circles around the subjects at hand! The second Brad pointed out that in her vision of her life she never once mentioned Austin, or him, I think they both knew it was over.

I commend Brad for letting Ashley go the way he did. He tried to talk to her about the situation and how he was feeling, but she seemed to really be on the defensive and didn't want to hear it. She claimed to be shocked when he said he was sending her home, but if she was actually listening to what he said she would have understood. They did have a great connection at one point, but they just cannot communicate with each other and I was glad to see her go.

So now we're down to the final two! I won't be writing next week since it's the Women Tell All episode and I don't feel the need to rehash the same things I've already written about. I'll end this by pointing out something I feel is very telling. Chantal keeps telling us how hard she's fallen for Brad, how giddy she feels around him, how he makes her want to be a better person. All these things she says she's feeling for Brad, Brad has openly admitted he feels for Emily. Most telling of all was the fact that he said, "I want Emily for my wife." Never once has ever mentioned feeling like that about Chantal. I'll leave you to think about that and I'll see you in two weeks!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Bachelor: Week VIII

Hometown Dates!

Mercer Island, WA - Chantal
I hate to be that girl, the one that points something like this out, but it must be said. Chantal has gained approximately 20lbs over the course of this show. I mean really. What is going on here. I digress. Let's move on to more important things like her dog. HER DOG. I die. And her parents palatial property. And her dad's purple shirt and jet black hair. All incredible. Also worth mentioning: that ridiculous sculpture, her cougar mom and stoner brother. Finally, that wine cellar. Christ! Oh, what's that? I didn't mention about Brad and Chantal's relationship? That's because I don't think there's anything to tell. She's in love with him and he wants to bang her.

Madawaska, ME - Ashley
"Isn't that cute?" If heard that phrase one more time tonight I was going to lose it. Ashley is like a yippy little Chihuahua. Even so, their date got off to a cute start. She's seems a lot more relaxed and normal away from the house and the other girls. But my god, was that not the HAPPIEST family on the face of the earth? I want whatever drugs they're on. Overall the date went well, but there was one very telling moment. Her brother asked her if she would marry Brad and instead of clapping her hands and screaming, "Yes!", she danced around the subject. She never said no, but she definitely never said yes or even hinted that it was in the realm of possibility. Innnnteresting.

Chico, CA - Shawntel
What. The. Hell. Was that commercial?! Oh my god, so uncomfortable. And that 45 seconds of torture set the mood for the entire hometown date. I could not believe she made him lay on that table! I felt she was going to make him the first link in her very own human centipede. Poor Brad was beyond uncomfortable but he stuck it out. As bad as the tour of the funeral home was, dinner with Shawntel's parents was even worse. There's a very real chance her dad is a flaming homo. And then when Shawntel seemingly sprung a possible relocation to Austin on her family I thought he was going to lose it. If I could feel the tension sitting on my couch, I can't imagine what it must have been like actually being there, and I'm sure none of that was lost on Brad.

Charlotte, NC - Emily
It was very sweet seeing Emily and her daughter together. And I think that the way she explained Brad to her daughter as being a new friend like the ones she made at school was perfect. She is a wonderful mother and that was obvious. And look at "Mr. Brad!" I thought he did a great job of making a very shy 5 year old feel comfortable. What I thought was really great about Emily's home town date was that it really represented a day in her life. Playing Candyland, making dinner, putting her daughter to bed. And as simple as it was, Brad seemed to be in awe of Emily in a way that he isn't with the other women. I thought it was sweet that Brad was unsure about kissing Emily with her daughter being upstairs, but it was even better how Emily wouldn't let him leave without kissing her. Get it girrrrl!

In the end, it was no surprise that Shawntel was sent home. How can you ever feel sexual attracted to someone who made you lay on a table in a morgue?

Steak a la Ina

A simple truth of life:
Everything I know about cooking I learned from my family and Ina Garten.

Melanie and I took a trip to Russo's in Watertown, aka Heaven, and I bought some amazing fresh veggies. Gorgeous fingerling potatoes and the most adorable baby brussels sprouts.

I decided to buy a nice filet mignon and make a feast of it. I love steak. LOVE it. But it's not something I cook at home. So who else would I turn to but Ina when making my feast? I used her recipe for filet mignon and it turned out incredible.

Pat the filet dry with a paper towel, the coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Sear it for 2 minutes on all sides in a very hot pan.

Then top with a tablespoon of butter - yes, a tablespoon of butter - and finish cooking in a 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Take it out of the oven and cover it with foil to rest for about 10 minutes. I decided to top mine with gorgonzola crumbles before covering it with foil. It comes out juicy and amazing and looks a little something like this:

With brussels sprouts and roasted fingerling potatoes and a nice glass of red wine, it's pretty much the perfect meal.
I die.

Thank you, Ina!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shopping and Cupcakes!

I do not have a car. As a city dweller a car is not something I really have the need for. And besides, that's why God invented ZipCar. So Melanie and I decided to take a special trip this past Saturday and go to one of the happiest places on Earth.
A place where you can find everything you never knew you needed.
A magical place where dreams come true.
A little place called Target.

Ah, just typing the word puts a smile on my face!

An hour (and one shopping blackout) later, I stood at the register putting $200 on my card and said, out loud, "What the hell did I just buy?!"

One purchase that I can fully stand behind is a whimsical, sweet little cupcake stand. I saw it in the bakeware aisle and I think it actually waved at me. It wanted me to buy it and take it home. So I did. And then promptly baked cupcakes to fill said cupcake stand.

I turned this:

Into these.

Whimsical, sweet little Oatmeal Banana Cupcakes with Banana Cream Cheese Frosting to go with my adorable new cupcake holder.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Bachelor: Week VII

Every week I get more and more jealous of the places these women get to go.
Anguila, and their private villa, look AMAZING.

Miss. Emily had the first one-on-one date this week. No surprise there. By this point we all know these two have an amazing connection. I love that he broke protocol to tell her that he's giving her a rose and he wants her around. As incredible and romantic as Brad and Emily's story is shaping up to be, I'm growing increasingly wary of this relationship. There are spoilers all over the internet saying who Brad picks in the end, and it's not her. But the way ABC is portraying this story, I don't see how it could be any body but Emily. I can't help but wonder if Emily is going to leave of her own accord, forcing Brad to go with his second choice. Only time will tell, I suppose!

All I could think while watching Shawntel's one-on-one was, "What if I was on The Bachelor and he told me I had to ride a bike?" Let's face it, I'd get sent home in 2 seconds. Their date was super fun, but I just don't see any chemistry there. They had this serious conversation where they talked about how much they like each other, but their body language was so off - they were literally leaning as far apart from each other as they possibly could.

Britt. Ohh, Britt. The thing is, in a lot of ways, I feel like I understand her completely. I'm right there with her when she told Brad that it's very hard for her show what she's feeling. I know from my own pitiful experience that just because you're not able to vocalize or show what you're feeling, doesn't mean you don't feel it. In the end, the connection just obviously wasn't there. I respect him for sending her home, but it's kind of pathetic how she had to leave right then and there on the boat. Even worse that she had to go back, tell the girls what happened, and pack her bags. Poor thing.

This week's group date was EPIC. I loved how Brad woke them up before the sun and how stressed out they all were. I seriously could not believe they got to be in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. Way to pull out the big guns and bring the dramz, ABC! This was one of the dates were you tell just how drunk the girls were, at least Ashley and Chantal. I'm thinking that may have had a lot to do with why they immediately pulled their tops off. Christ. I've got to be honest, I thought Michelle was very smart in asking for photos with Brad. Brad obviously let it go too far, but I've got to give Michelle props for even thinking of it. All's fair in love and war, babe. Even better was that the second the shoot was over, Brad knew he was in for a shitstorm. The whining, the crying, the Michelle not talking - it was the worst, most uncomfortable group date ever and I loved every second. I don't know how or why Brad puts up with Chantal's crying. As I mentioned, she was very obviously intoxicated, but come on girlfriend. Control yourself. Your man's patience is wearing thin and it's starting to show.

Very happy to see the Preying Mantis finally go home. Her exit did nothing to dispel the rumors swirling around that she's an actress. If she really cared for him, don't you think she would have wanted to talk to him and know why he was sending her home. Especially when she's been so quick to confront him in the past. And Michelle has never been one to hold back in front of the camera. It just makes me wonder. Either way, I'm glad she's gone. Now it's on to the home town dates. Shit's getting real!

Final Thoughts: Chantal has some serious junk in the trunk. Daaaaayum.
Also: Enjoy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Ahh, another Valentine's Day is here. I love this day. I truly love it. And yes, I while totally agree with the people who say you should be romantic and celebrate love every day, I still think it's so wonderful that we have one special day set aside for it. You know, just in case the other 364 weren't enough.

For those of you who know me - or who have been reading my blog! - you may (not) be surprised to learn that although a year ago I had high hopes that 2011 could be the year I received my very first Valentine, it turned out not to be my year after all. I think 2012 could be it though, I really do. Tr
uth be told, I am feeling more heart broken than starry eyed these days. I know I could write what's actually on my mind, but it's too much. Too personal and, for me, too sad. This is not the place and I'm not ready yet. So, instead of waxing poetic about why I'm single and how I'm feeling about it, I'm just going to share with you four things that, to me, represent love, celebrate love, and are, yes indeed, romantic.

A poem:
Wild Nights - Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile - the Winds -
To a Heart in port -
Done with the compass -
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden -
Ah, the sea!
Might I but moor - Tonight -
In Thee!
Emily Dickinson

A Painting:
The Kiss
Gustav Klimt

A Song:

*Originally written for Johnny Cash. Who knew!

Some Quotes:

"I have learned not to worry about love, but to honor its coming with all of my heart." Alice Walker

"And unlike many of my doubts, these didn't arise out of my natural and well-developed cynicism. Because while I can be a cynic about many things, you may also have noticed I can be a bit of a romantic about others. I believe in love.
On the list of things I believe in, true love is tops."

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

"You've seen the films, kiddo - it ain't over til it's over."
Love Actually

So I'm taking all the love I have, every last little golden drop of it, and sending it out to you, whoever you are reading this. You are loved.
And I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Things 90s Kids Realize

I've found my new favorite thing.

A new blog called Things 90s Kids Realize. It. Is. Amazing. I literally sat here for 30 minutes reading every post, grinning from ear to ear. The 90s were such a weird, random decade and I love that I can call myself a 90s kid. The overwhelming majority of the posts are pop culture references and revelations. My favorite post far: DJ Tanner's boyfriend, Steve, voiced Aladdin. What?!

More than reminiscing about my favorite childhood TV shows, it just made me think back to my childhood and what a great time I had.
Life was so much simpler back then and my highest ambition in life was to be just like Clarissa from Clarissa Explains it All. Somehow looking back and remembering the things that rocked my world at age 7 kind of puts life at age 23 into perspective for me.

So, if you're feeling a little nostalgic for your childhood, check it out and take a walk down memory lane with me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spring Fever

Another blustery, cold week here in Boston. I love winter, I love the beautiful snow, but this is the time of year when I'm just...kind of...over it. When the snow starts melting and everything looks dirty and grey. Not pretty. Not fun.

I'm so looking forward to spring. Not only is everything green and blooming and sun-shiney, but I love a spring wardrobe. We'll start peeling off our thick winter layers and step out in light, airy springtime duds. I can't wait!

I've been eyeing spring frocks in shop windows and online for weeks now. Here are some of my favorites from ModCloth that I'm jonesing to buy.

Bring it on, Spring!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Bachelor: Week VI

Drama Drama Drama
The claws are out and I can't get enough! There was so much reality TV goodness packed into last night's episode that this post is a little lengthy. Enjoy.

The episode started off by Brad declaring: "I am here with 8 women that I really care about." ...I'm sorry, what? If it's obvious to little old me sitting on my couch who Brad favors, then it's sure as hell obvious to Brad and the girls that are there. Let's stop the bull and cut to the chase, Bradley. I also found it so funny how, throughout the entire episode, he kept saying things like "What better way to fall in love/discover someone's true character/make that deep connection than to [insert insane activity] in Costa Rica?" Like it's the most natural, obvious conclusion. Let's not forget you're living in ABC's fantasy world right now!

Another one on one date for Miss Chantal, oooh lala! This girl gets the coolest dates. Zip lining in Costa Rica?! Incredible! She's very lucky that she got to go back to his place and just hang out. Brad had to pick his jaw up off the floor when she came out in his shirt, but my favorite part was something Chantal said. "I feel that...*thumps chest*...that thing you're supposed to feel." To which Brad emphatically replied, "Me too!" And then Chantal told the camera, "Tonight I felt his love." God, I know that feeling. Exactly. I feel so happy and excited for Chantal, like she's my friend or something. All the spoilers are saying she's the final one and I totally see it.

This week's group date brought the dramz as usual. I could not stop laughing when Brad used his date with Michelle as a tool to make Jackie feel better. I'm still undecided whether Michelle pouted her way to being the last one up there with him or whether Brad intended that all along. Either way, I gagged. Kudos to Jackie for calling him out on the Michelle nonsense! And even more kudos to Brad for actually starting to call Michelle out on said nonsense. Finally. His body language towards Michelle is very telling. He's getting sick of her going off on him, especially when it's about Chantal who he obviously cares about. A final big kudos to Brad for not giving a rose out.

Ohh, Alli. Your one-on-one date was such a mess. Let's start with the horse back ride. You know, the horses that were smaller than the people actually riding them. And why exactly are there 2 babies following them? Too funny. Then that cave. No way in HELL I would go in that fucking cave. Have you SEEN The Descent?! I feel like it would have been that combined with the bug scene from The Temple of Doom. And then they have to climb all the way back out! Yikes. And, after all of that, they have zero chemistry. None. They seem like great buddies, but that's it. Their dinner was chem-o-riffic. He definitely made the right decision in sending her home.

And now for Michelle's midnight rendezvous at Brad's pad. I laughed out loud when she called Chantal aggressive. If Chantal's aggressive, then what exactly would you call this? Let's be honest, Brad could not have looked any more uncomfortable when he opened his door and saw her there. And then sitting on his couch, his body language once again revealed everything. He's over it. He was joking when he asked her if there were any other decisions she made for him. That one obviously flew right over her head as she started listing the order he should eliminate the girls. Her insane "remembering" of that conversation was almost too much. I think Michelle herself said it best: "I don't understand, am I crazy here?" Uhh... YES.

Now a question for you all. What do you think of Chantal telling Brad she loves him? I am on the fence. On one hand I think that's way to soon to be saying something that serious, however we're not in real life. We're in Bachelor land where everything is rushed and you're forced to make decisions faster and share your emotions more quickly. I appreciated how she told him because she knew she was already safe and so she wasn't telling him to get anything out of it. Smart. But do you think it was game play? As many times as Chantal claims she's here for love, she's just as competitive as everyone else. Do you think she said it to get ahead of the other girls?

Final Thoughts: My hair would NOT do well in Costa Rica. That humidity would be killer. And HOLY BEETLE on the table! I laughed so hard at Alli throwing a fucking glass of wine at it. Favorite moment of the night by far.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Bachelor: Week V

VEGAS BABY! That suite they're staying in is unreal. I would go on the bachelor just to stay in a room like that.

Shawntel aka I See Dead People got a shopping spree?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! If that were me, ABC would be shaking their heads after 5 minutes saying, "I've made a huge mistake." And the reactions of the other girls were hysterical! Regardless, the two of them are fun together. It seems like they laugh a lot and have a great time, but I don't see anyk ind of deep connection.

The Race Car Date. I would LOVE to drive race cars. I mean I'm not a good driver, at all, but it would still be fun. The fact that Emily is on this date is too much. I honestly can't help laughing because it's
that cruel, that evil, that I don't know what else to do. I mean come on ABC. Poor Brad. I do give Miss. Emily O'Hara a lot of credit for driving the car. I hope that helps her move on and say goodbye to Ricky. I also thought it was pretty ridiculous how little empathy the other girls seemed to have for Emily or that fact that her date was at a fucking race track. They all cried and whined about how Brad spent so much time with her...uh, yeah, because he felt like a jackass and had to make it up to her.

Two-on-One date --
Ashley v. Ashley -- The Dentist v. Pollyanna -- It. Is. On. Hilarious, and yet so sad watching these two women compete over him. I thought Pollyanna would go home, but I hoped that she wouldn't. The girl was just way too young for him. She was wearing silly bands, for Christ's sake. I honestly felt bad watching Pollyanna doubt herself like that, but in the end it was The Dentist who got to stay and perform the most cheesetastic routine ever. Thank you, ABC, for giving us a shot of Brad's beefy man thighs hanging out during the rehearsals. And thank you again, ABC, for playing Are You Lonesome Tonight? and making one of the most pathetic exits ever.

Final Thoughts: Michelle's time with during final rose ceremony. The chick is batshit. BATSHIT.

Until next week!