As I write my first Bachelorette blog, I can't help but remember that I only packed for a couple of weeks for last season, thinking I probably wouldn't even make it throughout the first night. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would become the Bachelorette. It really wasn't until I arrived in Los Angeles that it actually set in. All I could feel was excitement and gratitude to be the lucky girl, who had 25 of the most eligible men making the sacrifice to put heir lives on hold all in the name of love.
Leading up to that first night, I needed the advice of the person I trust most in this world, my sister Rachel. Despite being very different from one another, we are incredibly close. I was so thankful she made the trip from San Diego to help me get ready. Although we chose the gold dress, I ended up changing my mind and I was so happy that I did because I felt so beautiful in that gown. I can't thank my Shishy (that's my nickname for her) enough for helping me get ready to meet the men. She got married to the love of her life about a year ago and I can only hope to find my perfect person just like she did.
Driving up to the mansion, me heart was pounding! All I could think was that in the next few minutes I could be meeting the love of my life. What an exciting but nerve-wracking feeling! It's embarrassing to admit, but I really, really hoped my future husband would be there. I was almost afraid to believe it.
Mitchell Haaseth / ABC
Meeting the MenThe first limo arrived, and as soon as the first guy got out I sensed how nervous he was. But the weird thing is that his and the other men's nerves actually calmed me down. I wanted each guy to feel as comfortable as possible when they walked into the mansion for the first time.
I really wanted to see what these men could bring to the table. I especially wanted to see all the crazy, fun, romantic limo entrances. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Cody pushing the limo was hilarious. I have to say Tasos had one of the best limo arrivals ever! I have always wanted to visit Lover's Bridge in Paris and put a lock on it, so when he recreated it for me, I was impressed!
Others certainly left an impression as well. Brett with the lamp ... I kept waiting for the punch line but there wasn't one – ha ha! It was just a lamp from the hotel. The best part is what you didn't see, which was me trying to drag this huge heavy lamp across the driveway so it could get back to the hotel.
And then there was Emil. I don't even know what to say about that entrance except that it cracked me up and I will never ever forget his name. I hope he doesn't always introduce himself that way.
Walking into the mansion for the first time and seeing all 25 men staring at me was overwhelming. I know I thanked them so much for being there, but I was seriously blown away at the quality of men that stood before me. It made me even more excited to get the cocktail party started to get to know these guys better.
I loved talking to Josh M. I could not believe he was from Atlanta, too. It was just so crazy to meet someone all the way on the other side of the country. I don't know what it was about Josh M. but I immediately called him out for not being as shy as he claimed. He's obviously handsome and has a great smile, but there was something there I needed to figure out.
One of the highlights of the night had to be Marquel and the cookies. I love to eat and I thought the cookies were an amazing idea. He is obviously a handsome and stylish guy, but I loved that he admitted to being obsessed with cookies. He's definitely a charmer.
Watching Eric made me really emotional. I remember thinking he was so beautiful and smart and how lucky I was that he came to meet me. It goes without saying that I wish he was still here.
First Impression RoseWhen it came time to hand out my first impression rose, I had a lot of great options – Chris, JJ and Marcus to name a few – but my instinct to give it to Nick V. was definitely reaffirmed when I had some time to talk to him. I saw a lot of his personality in myself. I remember how skeptical I was that first night and I saw it in him. I wanted to give him the rose to let him know to have a little faith in me and in this process as well. I wanted him to get over some of his fears.
And then there was the party crasher. I watched Emily's season of the show and had heard of Chris Bukowski. I was flattered that such an attractive guy came all that way to meet me. There was a minute when I was thinking, "What if he is the one for me?" After I really thought about it, though, I knew what the 25 men went through to step out of their limos and out of respect for them, I didn't want to invite someone else into the mix. The fact that I turned down the opportunity to meet Chris – that hopefully shows how strongly I felt about the group of guys that I had. Although it didn't work out with Chris, I want to wish him the best in the future.
Despite one party crasher already, there was actually one other surprise guest that night too ... my father. I was in the middle of talking to some of the guys and Chris Harrison walked in and told me that there's someone else to see me. I turned around and I have never in my life been more surprised. I could not believe that my father was standing in the Bachelor mansion! I wish you could have seen my reaction, because honestly, it was priceless.
My dad spent some time with the guys and that made me really, really anxious. I love my father so much but I didn't want him to intimidate or scare any of the guys. To my pleasant surprise, each of the guys loved talking to my father – or at least that's what they told me! He was a huge hit that night and everyone seemed to enjoy him. I still can't believe my dad flew out to surprise me. I really loved seeing him and I hope he enjoyed his time in the mansion. I wonder if he had any guesses about who he would meet at the end?
After talking with all of the guys, I knew I had some really tough decisions ahead of me. These great guys made my decision night so difficult. I remember thinking, "Couldn't there have been a couple of jerks so this could be easier for me?" Ultimately, I had to send six guys home and although it was tough, I felt confident in the men who got roses that night.
I am beyond thrilled that y'all (you'll hear me saying that a lot this season – sorry, I'm a southern girl!) get to share in my journey to find my great love. For me, it was the adventure of a lifetime and I can't wait for you to see all of the spectacular locations and dates. Tune in next week for one really adventurous and one really glamorous date. I promise you do not want to miss the group date when I have the men bare it all for charity. ;)
Thanks for watching and reading my blog!