Hi, hello, yes, I’m alive.

Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your smoke flares. I decided to hide from the world for the last 2.5 weeks, and– to be honest– I don’t regret it. I will sum things up for you in a short paragraph:

Wedding errands, Chipotle, spray tan, brunch, tailor forgot about my rehearsal dinner jumpsuit, Starbucks, tailor redeemed herself, rehearsal dinner, macaroni and cheese, happy crying, wedding day, elation, parfait, fake eyelashes, swords, pick up truck, pictures, boats, sunset, almost fainted, Toms, water, singing, dancing, friends, Bride & Groom Break Room, Uber, O’Leary’s, bed, brunch, nap, nap, nap, nap, nap, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, honeymoon, Mexico, joy, food, cuddling, dancing, beach, pool, tequila, sleep, sleep, sleep, Hispanic Morgan Freeman, Willie from Colorado, bubble baths, sleep, sleep, crocodiles, double dinner, airport guac, home, special birthday surprise for Aaron, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, eat, eat, eat, eat, Oliver show tunes night, Christmas, passive aggressive Instagram posts, #dogscantreadgifttags, Breitenberg piano night, wedding gifts, wedding gifts, wedding gifts, nothing, nothing, nothing, Star Wars, Aaron’s actual birthday, Guardians of the Galaxy, say goodbye to Aaron for 2 months, cry, cry, and….now we find ourselves here.

I’m a confusing mix of well-rested and exhausted. Exhausted only because I haven’t had to stand for longer than 15 minutes in about 14 days, and then today I was thrust back into reality by my boss sending me to 7-11 to redeem 47 winning lottery tickets that he squirreled away for the last year, which he then put in his children’s Christmas stockings (10 points for creativity). Not only did I have to stand for longer than 15 minutes for the cashier to scan all of the tickets, but I also had to sprint to my car to avoid the angry mob of people in line behind me/the unsettling men eyeing all the cash I just stuffed into my purse. Toto, we’re not in Excellence Riviera Cancun anymore.

While I can promise you that I will *eventually* write a post about the wedding, and *eventually* write a post about the honeymoon, *eventually* is not today. A) Because I’m tired from adulting today and can’t write anything thought-provoking, and B) Because writing about how much fun both events were, and how crazy-in-love Aaron and I are, does not seem like an emotionally healthy activity after parting ways with him mere hours ago. For the record, two months is not a long deployment by military standards, but that does not make it easy. The only thing that makes it somewhat easy is knowing how much he has been looking forward to this new job. And that The Bachelor starts back up on Monday.

Ah, yes, The Bachelor. Excellent transition into the subject of this post. Like I said: Not thought-provoking. Now, some of you may not watch it, to which I say: Do you not like being entertained? But seriously, congratulations on using your time more wisely than the rest of us. Also, you may want to avoid my blog on Tuesdays until April.

I have decided to take my first stab at TV episode recaps, starting with The Bachelor Season 20. These recaps should prove to be VERY interesting, given that I do not have DVR (“a DVR”? or just “DVR”? Technology is hard), so I can’t rewind or review anything. I want you to imagine me sitting in yoga pants and Aaron’s Coast Guard shirt on the couch, surrounded by Chinese food and unpacked wedding boxes, frantically scribbling notes into a Kate Spade notebook that my stepmom bought me for the purpose, presumably, to do anything but this, as I attempt not to miss a single awkward moment, questionable outfit choice, or new catchphrase. Then, I will piece together the episode based on my notes. Of three things we can be sure:

  1. It will be 80% accurate
  2. I will be very tired on Tuesday mornings
  3. You and I will both laugh a lot

I have a weird connection to The Bachelor, not just because I’m addicted to it like everyone else, but because I’ve known 3 people on the show, and met one of the “winning” couples. A girl I competed with at Miss VA was a contestant on Ben Flajnik’s season, and then last summer, I went to Nashville for a bachelorette party, which resulted in being twirled around on the dance floor by a young man who goes by the name of Shawn Booth. Some of you may remember Shawn as the guy who “won” last season of The Bachelorette with Kaitlyn Bristowe. Anyway, he started twirling me around long before he was famous, and then fell in love with my other friend (also named Shannon…it was a confusing night) on the trip. Once he saw her, he A) used me to get to her, and B) passed me off to his friend Ron. Ron and I talked for about 30 minutes and were pretty cozy before his friends came up and told me that he was on Andi’s season of The Bachelorette. OH! I RECOGNIZE YOU! Yep.

Ron and I talked on the phone once or twice after that fateful night, and Shawn Booth actually ended up showing up at the airport (with Ron) to try and woo Shannon (the other one) before she flew back to Texas. I have some amazing private Instagram convos saved, as well as a hysterical Flipagram set to “When a Man Loves a Woman” that they made for Shannon. It includes a .gif from The Notebook, since Shawn looks just like Ryan Gosling. Obviously they made it into my blog post 10 Reasons Why Nashville is the Ultimate Bachelorette Destination (click link to read).

Well, less than a year later, Ron must have passed Shawn’s info to his producer friends from his days on The Bachelorette, and voila! Shawn also became a contestant. Proud to say that he has a bagillion Instagram followers, and I am still one of the 200 people he follows. #goals

In case you were wondering, Shawn ended up meeting up with Shannon in Texas, but they did not fall in love.

So, let’s kick things off with quick predictions about the young ladies vying for the heart of Ben Higgins, our trusty Bachelor who “lost” last season to my pal (stretching things a bit) Shawn Booth. He will be sure to wow us with his ability to form complete sentences (something at which both Juan Pablo and Chris Soules failed miserably) and– dare I say– his genuine respect for women that we haven’t seen on the show since the likes of Sean Lowe.

Speaking of Sean Lowe, when my brother put together an audition video for me to be on The Bachelor in 2012, Sean would have been my Bachelor. Mr. Lowe ended up with a 5’2″* Asian who likes to run marathons, however, so it’s safe to assume we wouldn’t have worked out. I also read his book For the Right Reasons last summer (try to shame me, I dare you), which only further proved that I’m not his type, given that half the book was about his girlfriend pre-Bachelor. She was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. It makes complete sense that the producers did not choose me as a contestant, though the audition video is now GOLD material for my brother to pull out at family get-togethers, or to send to my husband the day after we wed. Thanks, bro.

* I don’t actually know how tall Catherine is, but I met her and Sean once when I was Miss New York, and she was a small person.


Cuddling with Sean and Catherine at a bowling alley in NYC.

Two more things before we start. 1.) Most of the girls are fetuses because Ben is only 27.  2.) My brother is a talent agent in NYC, and he heard industry rumors that Ben had a “thing” with Tenley from Jake’s season/Bachelor in Paradise, but Ben ended it so that he could be The Bachelor. So, is he in it for true love or for fame? I don’t know, but we should probably remember that he is pretty young. As much as I adore him.

OH! NO SPOILERS in the comments or I WILL KILL YOU. All recaps I write have my own predictions, opinions, and assumptions. Don’t ruin this for all of us. Also, if you know one of the girls personally and she is misrepresented on the show, write a letter to the producers, not to me. I’m sure they’re all lovely people, but I will react to what I see on T.V., and that is it.

Okay, here we go:

AMANDA. 25, 5’3″, Esthetician, has 2 daughters, likes Nutella & Peanut Butter.


This girl will go far. She’s pretty basic, but in the relatable way. She hikes, likes the movie Bridesmaids, always uses SPF in her makeup, and her answer to “If you won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?” was “I would buy a big house by the beach and adopt babies and dogs.” Between her two kids and affinity for puppies, Ben will be sure to use “wife material” every time he describes her.

THE CATCH: She’s 25 and gets botox. I know plenty of girls who do this (and I still love them), but COME ON. You can barely rent a car. You don’t need botox.


AMBER. 30, 5’3″, Bartender, loves The Lion King, can’t live without her teddy bear.


Oh, Amber. Amber, Amber, Amber. This is her 3rd round on a Bachelor franchise show. First, we saw her on Chris Soules’ season, then we saw her on Bachelor in Paradise 2. No guys were interested in her on either show, but I will say that I am very glad she went with some caramel highlights this time around. Nice girl, will be eliminated on week 2. Will vie for a spot on Bachelor in Paradise 3. P.S.- Why did the producers bring her back? She’s never stirred up drama, doesn’t have fake boobs, and– according to the deadness in the eyes of every man who has gone on a T.V. date with her– has very little sex appeal. (I personally think she’s pretty.) Is the casting director her uncle? Someone clear this up for me.

THE CATCH: She is a little too desperate. There’s a hunger in her eyes that will scare Ben.


BECCA. 26, 5’5″, Chiropractic Assistant, loves food, has 2 tattoos.


Welcome back, Bec Bec! Producers have clearly decided that this is the season of second chances, because Becca– like Amber– was a contestant on Chris Soules’ season. I love her. Not only does she look like Carrie Underwood, but she is pretty awkward in a lovable way, and was the only contestant on Chris’ season to feel the exact same way about Chris that all of America did: Chris, you’re a nice guy, but you’re a bit too bumbly and I feel nothing for you other than a cousin-like affection. Chris didn’t understand why she didn’t love him. (She came in “2nd” and was clearly the one Chris wanted, but he knew she’d dump him if he chose her.) Some people said she must be a lesbian since she openly admitted that she’s never been in love. I just think she’s a doll with some brains who doesn’t get caught up in how she is “supposed” to behave for reality television. She will be in the top 4, at least.

THE CATCH: She does not open up quickly, and will have a target on her back since the other girls will be jealous that this is her second rodeo.


BREANNE. 30, 5’7″, Nutritional Therapist, does not struggle in the confidence department, uses hashtags.


I’m honestly pretty scared of Breanne after reading her mini-bio. She is a no-nonsense, Miss Independent, in-it-to-win-it kind of girl. The other contestants will hate her. So will we. She considers he best trip ever a solo birthday trip she took to NYC to network with strangers, practices her smize, says she likes to show off her body, and her favorite movie is Anchorman. Ben will like her until the other girls warn him that she’s The Villain. She will probably stay until mid-season, unless she comes on too strong the first night and gets sent home right off the bat…but I don’t see that happening.

THE CATCH: She wavers between confident and narcissistic.


CAILA. 24, 5’4″, Software Sales Rep., dislikes heavy breathers, half hippie half soccer mom.


This cutie is a top contender. She and Ben have the same career, plus she seems surprisingly normal. She loves Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Game of Thrones, picks up guys on airplanes and at Starbucks, and studied abroad in Germany. She seems like an all around sweetheart, and unless she turns out to be one of those overly energetic girls, I think she’ll really catch Ben’s eye.

THE CATCH: Might get bored with Ben.


EMILY. 22, 5’4″, Twin (??), likes country music, pees when she laughs too hard.


First of all, her occupation is “Twin.” Second, she’s 22. Third, she “lives” in Las Vegas. Fourth, she wants to go to NYC to “see all the people.” Fifth, her answer to “What does it mean to be married?” was “You’re ready to set a good example for your children.” I feel like she is a test Ben has to pass in order for America to believe in his ability to be a mature, reasonable Bachelor. Don’t fall for the trap, Ben. DON’T DO IT.

THE CATCH: All of it.


HALEY. 22. 5’4″, Twin (here we go…), can’t live without spray tans, loves candy.


I’ll admit it. I was pleasantly surprised when reading Haley’s bio. She seems to have gotten all the brains and maturity in this twin-off. Her answer to the meaning of marriage was about protecting each other’s hearts, says she doesn’t party, and likes dogs. That being said, her occupation is still “Twin” (sigh), and she’s still 22.

THE CATCH: Ben will feel like he needs to keep both, or send both home. She will be sent home, along with her wackadoo sister.


ISABEL “IZZY”. 24, 5’6″, Graphic Designer, values family, Taylor Swift fan.


Izzy is a nice girl. She is very in touch with herself, and likes adventures. I like her. She has the potential to blend in with the crowd, but if Ben keeps her past the first night, I think she’ll slowly become a favorite. Maybe too slowly.

THE CATCH: She doesn’t like to read, and she’s a bit tough to get to know.


JACKIE. 23, 5’9″, Gerontologist, listens to rap music, can’t live without her Bible.


She’ll stick around for a while because she’s so great on paper. She’s cute, loves God, went paragliding in the Alps, and one of her favorite movies is the documentary March of the Penguins (so good)She and Ben won’t have much chemistry, but she’ll be okay because she’s only 23.

THE CATCH: Too young.


JAMI. 23, 5’5″, Bartender, looks up to Lil’ Wayne, is an “inexperienced” lover.


Jami is Amber when Amber was 23, and I’m not saying that just because they have the same job, skin tone, hair cut, and caramel highlights. Jami clearly has a bit of living left to do, given that her answer to the lottery question was “go on a cruise, then buy a mansion and live with my friends like in the TV show Entourage.” She also thinks the meaning of marriage is to “go on adventures with your best friend” (sweet, but innocent), basically admitted to being a virgin (fine, but she’ll be eaten alive on this show), and doesn’t think wrinkles are scary…mostly because she’s not old enough to have any.

THE CATCH: Immature.


JENNIFER. 25, 5’7″, Small Business Owner, likes Dolphins because they have sex for pleasure, her “type” is Ben Higgins.


Remember how I just said that Jami would be eaten alive? Yeah, this girl is the one who will be doing the eating. She is a small business owner (could be Etsy, but she looks too intense to bother having a third party run her small business), wants to tan nude on the beach, wishes she had been married 5 years ago (when she was 20…), and is basically a replica of Courtney, winner and Top Villain of Ben Flajnik’s season.

THE CATCH: She and Breanne will battle it out for Top Villain.


JESSICA. 23, 5’4″, Accountant, very smart, likes the movie Dodgeball.


Cute, young, laid back. Gone on the first night.

THE CATCH: Too forgettable.


JOELLE “JOJO”. 24, 5’4″, Real Estate Developer, uses “lol”, makes amazing quesadillas. 


She’s pretty, is proud of her mother’s Persian roots, and capitalizes PIZZA because she likes it so much. I think she will start a girl squad on the show, and Ben will like her because she’s popular. Next Bachelorette?

THE CATCH: She might care too much about making friends instead of focusing on Ben.


JUBILEE. 24, 5’4″, War Veteran, thinks people will judge her for liking Country music, deep thinker.


I was a bit concerned when she was defending her love for country music and that her occupation is something she did in her past (though admirable), but I gotta tell you– the rest of her bio impressed me. She lived in Montana for 5 years, so is a mix of city/country girl, loves the movie Newsies (my fav), and isn’t a party girl. I think Ben will keep her around for a bit, but she’ll be gone in Episode 3 or 4.

THE CATCH: Not enough in common with Ben.


LACE. 25, 5’10”, Real Estate Agent, wants to be richer, hates being cold.


You guys. She talked about her poop in her bio. I just can’t get past that. Bye, Lace. (Like the material, or with a hard E? Guess we’ll find out.)

THE CATCH: Her personality.


LAURA. 24, 5’4″, Account Executive, allergic to rice, listens to R&B.


All-American nice girl who wants to rob a casino so that she can have something to talk about with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Same. If Ben likes red heads, she’ll be a shoo-in the first night. She has the potential to be forgettable though, so it honestly depends on the color of her dress.

THE CATCH: May be too normal.


LAUREN “LB”. 23, 5’5″, Fashion Buyer, has a jealous nature, ex-boyfriend was from Germany.


You are not Lauren Conrad “LC” from Laguna Beach, Lauren. Stop trying to make “LB” happen. It’s not going to happen. But I guess it’s not totally your fault since there are 12 other Laurens on this show. Anyway, LB decided to talk about her bowel movements in her bio, as well. WHAT IS HAPPENING. She seems a bit spoiled and…23. Yes, she seems 23. She might go home on night one, but has a big personality, so Ben might not realize she’s not ready for marriage until hometown dates. Could go either way.

THE CATCH: She has no filter.


LAUREN B. 25, 5’7″, Flight Attendant, sugary sweet personality, likes dance music (?).


Gone the first night because she’s a bit of a wallflower.

THE CATCH: Easily overshadowed.


LAUREN H. 25, 5’5″, Kindergarten Teacher, Bachelor franchise fanatic, really really really really wants to get married.


She’s the “settle down” girl. The Whitney to our Chris. The Lindsay to our Sean. The Lindzi (I can’t with that spelling) to our Ben F. She will have babies and make cookies and wear heels to church and Ben will have zero sexual attraction to her. She’s too “wifey” to be sent home the first night, and she’ll probably get the boot right before hometowns.

THE CATCH: Not interesting enough.


LAUREN R. 26, 5’5″, Math Teacher, loves Harry Potter, has cats.


Too theatrical. Gone night one.

THE CATCH: Lacks social skills.


LEAH. 25, 5’5 3/4″, Event Planner, is getting her tattoos laser removed, twerked for her Bachelor audition video.


The girls will hate her, but so will Ben, so she won’t even have time to become The Villain.

THE CATCH: Not likable.


MAEGAN (not a spelling error). 30, 5’4 3/4″, Cowgirl, likes BBQ & drinking beers, chops heads off of snakes (literally)


I want to have a beer with this girl because she is like a cartoon character. The real life Ado Annie. Ben won’t be able to handle it and will send her back home to her ranch in Texas.

THE CATCH: Too country.


MANDI. 28, 5’8″, Dentist, drinks too much, her spirit-animal is a free range chicken.


She will get drunk the first night. Ben might keep her around because she has her doctorate. But he probably won’t.

THE CATCH: Takes her behavior to extremes. And..come on…don’t make me be the one to say it. FINE. I’ll say it. She kind of looks like a chicken. Maybe that’s why it’s her spirit animal…?


OLIVIA. 23, 5’8″, News Anchor, loves french fries and flannel, respects Katniss Everdeen.


I saw her picture and immediately decided to start this out with “she looks like a news anchor.” Turns out, I have strong instincts, because she is a news anchor. My days in pageants taught me nothing if not what a young news anchor should look like. Ben will love her because she is articulate, basic, and dresses well.

THE CATCH: Thinks she understands everything about life, but she’s only 23.


RACHEL. 23, 5’5″, Unemployed, spirit animal is Cookie Monster, never had a serious relationship.


At least she owns her unemployment and didn’t come up with a fake career like “Dog Lover.” (I’m looking at you, Kelly from Juan Pablo’s season.) Anyway, I actually like Rachel. There’s not much to say about her other than she seems pretty normal. This could mean that she’s overlooked on night one, or that she wins the whole thing. I think she’s too pretty to be overlooked on night one, so she’ll probably be eliminated somewhere between Episode 2 and the Final Rose Ceremony.

THE CATCH: No real direction in life.


SAMANTHA. 26, 5’4″, Attorney, doesn’t need to impress a man, family approval is important.


She’s respectable. Not much more to say other than that. Could stay, could leave. Idk.

THE CATCH: Could be too intense.


SHUSHANNA. 27, 5’2″, Mathematician, broke up with her ex because of his mom, cynical about love.


Hey, girl. I get it. Once you start getting to your upper twenties, cynicism starts creeping in. You’re pretty and smart though, so sit tight! Ben will probably like her because she’s petite and intriguing. A fun personality with a wall up= a challenge. She’ll probably be around for a bit, and girls like Olivia the News Anchor won’t know how they feel about her.

THE CATCH: Could be too pretentious and closed off.


TIARA. 26, 5’8″, Chicken Enthusiast, favorite weather is “medium”, likes being center of attention.


Any good Bachelor fan knows to be apprehensive when a contestant is named “Tiara.” It’s too similar to “Tierra.” *shudder* And Chicken Enthusiast? What am I supposed to do with that? Sorry, but she seems pretty annoying. I think the producers Ben will keep her around for a few episodes, and then he’ll give the girls what they want and send her packing.

THE CATCH: Chicken Enthusiast.


Alright, we’re all prepared for next Monday! And if you like the recaps, I won’t be mad if you share them on social media. 😉 Until next time, Bachelor Nation.