Thanks for your warm wishes this week! For those who don't know, I got engaged this past weekend. Andy and I are over-the-moon happy and all the kind support has just been the cherry on top. Thank you!
"You think I'm not as smart as you because I don't use big words? Sorry I'm not from Pleasantville. I'm from friggin' 2014." —Ashley, killing it.
WHERE WE LEFT OFF
Kelsey!!! Why must she make it so hard to give her the benefit of the doubt?! Just when I think maybe she's just misunderstood and perhaps really did have a panic attack, she has to say this:
I get that she was being sarcastic but it doesn't matter. If you don't want people—and I mean millions of people—to think you faked a panic attack for a sympathy rose, you just don't say that.
Fun Fact #1: Beauty over comfort, though not by choice. It's hard to capture in a .gif, but look closely at the girls' body language during the Rose Ceremony here...
... and watch Jade here:
They are literally shivering. Depending on the location (and its climate), Rose Ceremonies can be positively agonizing. There were a few in Juan Pablo's season—Seoul will forever stand out to me as having the most brutal Rose Cermeony—where we weren't dressed for the weather. That's not to say we didn't have jackets. But, because we hadn't worn them while walking into the Cocktail Party, we weren't allowed to wear them for the Rose Ceremony, for continuity's sake. I'd say those are some of the less fond memories.
In Deadwood, South Dakota, the girls try their darnedest to seem excited about this:
I'm not saying Deadwood has nothing to offer, but it does seem like they're getting the travel shaft this season. Not to rub it in, but by Episode 6 of our season we were in one of the world's top-rated resorts, located in Lake Taupo, New Zealand:
Above, the immaculate surrounding grounds. Below, our suite's backyard porch and infinity pool...
Sorry, I guess that was rubbing it in. :D
For the whole first half of this date I confess I wasn't really paying attention. I was distracted by trying to catch glimpses of this insanely adorable creature:
How cruel was it to show one shot of him and then no more? And he's CARRYING THEIR PICNIC SUPPLIES. Argghhhh... I want that little guy so badly. So disgustingly cute!
Back at the house, Carly, Whitney, and a carefully silent Kaitlyn confront Kelsey...
... and man, was it painful. Not because of anything they did, but because of Kelsey's retaliation style. We all know that person. The person who, when you air what's bothering you, plays victim. They don't deny the accusations but don't take responsibility either. By victimizing themselves they make YOU the bad guy for ever feeling that way and for having the audacity to bring it up.
Carly: "Sometimes we see this person who's not very nice and has these sly comments that we all just shove under the rug because they hurt our feelings but we let them slide."
Kelsey: "I don't know that I'm saying these things. I'm embarrassed. Because I don't see... I have so much respect and admiration and I genuinely like you guys..."
The above response just isn't productive. She isn't admitting fault yet doesn't defend herself either. Instead, she acts clueless, as though the other girls are ganging up on and blindsiding her. She thinks she's rising above the confrontation but she's really doing just the opposite.
THEN, Kelsey gifts us with:
I personally enjoy words so I feel I have a place to chime in on this. I love words. Big or small, it doesn't matter. My love for words comes from the satisfaction of having the EXACT RIGHT WORD for what I want to say. It's not a matter of being or sounding smart. It's a matter of expression and clarity. Particularly after living in a foreign country where I struggled to verbalize even the simplest things, I LOVE narrowing down my thoughts to the most concise, best fitting words. That is why Kelsey's above ITM irritates me. Being "blessed with eloquence" shouldn't entitle you to a sense of superiority. Being articulate might make you better spoken than someone else but does not automatically make you smarter. Those are two different things. That mindset gives us wordy girls a bad rap. :(
Back to Becca's one-on-one, how cute was that laughing segment?
I liked how Becca poked fun at Chris' high-pitched laugh: "Some of the things he says or that I say that he laughs at, I probably wouldn't laugh until he starts laughing because that's what I'm actually laughing at."
Notably, Chris casually says in an ITM: "I think this is the most easy, most real date that I've been on." In case there was any doubt that Becca is this season's dark horse.
Fun Fact #2: Voiceovers can make you believe anything. The last time I touched on analyzing voiceover edits was in Episode 9 of Andi's season. I hear choppy edits all the time but rarely deem them worth spending the time to point out. (They're constant.) But this one of Becca's stuck out as worth a listen:
Dots indicate cuts to listen for:
“It's been awhile since I've had a kiss, but” • “I'm a virgin” • “so it's kind of awkward for me." • "If he kisses me" • "America's gonna see.”
It's nothing we don't already know, but it's a bit irksome that Becca's virginity is reiterated. We've learned by now that Becca doesn't feel the need to advertise her being a virgin, so it doesn't align with who she is that she'd mention it in this context.
I confess this group date is in the realm of being my worst nightmare. You might say, "But aren't you a singer? This should be easy for you."
First, I can't write music to save my life. (And when I "compose" ditties in the shower or while doing my hair, they always sound conspicuously classical.) Second, while I might be a singer, I'm very specifically an opera singer. On the whole, I could far better relate to Jade than anybody else:
Also, um..... confession: I don't like country music. Don't hate me! I know how rabid you country fans can be. I just don't like that "twang" and never have. So, yeah. This right here...
... was completely lost on me.
What wasn't lost on me was Carly's song. Holy shit. It was incredible.
And I don't just mean her voice, which was obviously beautiful. She wrote a legitimately terrific song that would be at home in any Top 40 list. Plus she sang it completely a capella while maintaing such perfect pitch that editing was able to add on accompaniment. She knocked it out of the park in a serious, professional way, while coming off modest and while keeping it heartfelt. From one musician to another, Carly, I admire you!
The evening portion of the group date consists of a regular cocktail party, although it really shouldn't. Why in the world should all six girls get dressed up for an evening date if only one gets to go to the concert?
Technically, Chris could have brought all six girls to the concert, OR he could have sent the other five home in the afternoon and just kept Britt for the evening portion. I was equally miffed by Chris' cavalier attitude at the girls' cold stares.
That, combined with his behavior with Britt in plain view of the girls during the day...
... secures him a spot on my bad side. It's a matter of sensitivity and manners. It bothered me that, when rejoining the girls after the Big & Rich concert, Chris didn't even apologize. In fact, even though she technically didn't do anything wrong, BRITT was the one to apologize... albeit while licking her lips to keep from smiling:
ASHLEY AND KELSEY'S TWO-ON-ONE
WHAT WAS CHRIS THINKING:
I'm the slightest bit curious who would have gone home had there been no explosive drama. That said, this date was pure entertainment so no one can complain.
Everyone (including myself) was happy to see Kelsey and her accompanying air of superiority go:
WHO SAYS, "I am immeasurably blessed"?? Why not, "I am so grateful" or "I feel very lucky"? That's just unnecessary pretentious talk, and believe me: As someone who has been told the way I speak can sound pretentious, I do not say that lightly. I think Kelsey will watch all this back and learn a lot about how she comes off to others. It is a hard lesson—I learned it, too, though likely not nearly as harshly—but she'll be fine. She's smart, after all.
I must dedicate a very special shout-out to Ashley. Say what you will about her, Ashley is TELEVISION GOLD. She's emotional, honest, and transparent. She's gorgeous to boot and always brings it—whether successfully or not—in the fashion department. She wears her heart on her sleeve, says what she thinks, gloats when she's up, and pouts when she's down. You can't ask for much more on a show like this and these last six episodes would have been far less interesting without her. Ashley, we'll miss you!
As usual, I discuss my frontrunners here.
I'm not usually a crop top person but I was a fan of TWO of them this week. (Perhaps because the two combined amount to one real shirt.) While I didn't like the waist down of Britt's 80s-esque rocker chick outfit, I did think she looked fabulous in that red crop top:
She really has the shoulders for this and the color is super flattering on her. The look is sexy but as though she wasn't necessarily trying to be. If you're as daring as Britt (which I'm not), American Apparel's Off-Shoulder top goes for only $30.
I also dug Ashley's entire two-on-one date outfit:
I know this is a risk but she really pulls it off. The fitted all-black gives a catwoman-esque vibe that I surprise even myself by loving. She's picked one body part to show off and wisely covers up everywhere else, keeping things tasteful. The basics are accessorized with on-point attention to detail: intricate braids, a pop of color (turquoise), and badass boots. The whole thing is gutsy and slick, and I like that this is an easy look to recreate. Who doesn't have black leggings and knee-high boots? A very similar top sells on Asos here (for only $9.17!).
My best-dressed this week was Kaitlyn with her group date outfit:
I love the dichotomy of the angelic, flowy white tank paired with leather. It's feminine-meets-biker chic. Both the Wilfred Sèvres blouse ($95) and the faux leather Daria leggings ($135, which I've been on the verge of buying for some time now) sell at Aritzia.
But wait! She doesn't stop there. At night, she adds an understated moto jacket and we get a closer peek at her fantastic booties:
This whole outfit is perfection. Her crepe jacket keeps her from falling into the too-much-leather trap, and those booties just add the perfect amount of edge. Her Wilfred Montesson jacket ($225) also sells on Aritzia (Kaitlyn's an excellent Canadian!) and while her Topshop Parton booties are sadly sold out, there's a similar pair here.
Again, I just love that Ashley BRINGS IT. This is the Bachelor, after all. Leave your basics and mom jeans at home. Ashley doesn't half-ass any outfit. Whether it be a date or just lounging around the hotel waiting for a date card, she knows she's on TV, just goes for it, and makes a statement:
That said, I don't like this statement. There is way too much going on, both in details and volume. Her (shearling?) vest does nothing for her body and the gold hairband combined with the princess-y hair is just way too much. Chanel purportedly said (I may have quoted this before but it can't be repeated enough): "Always remove one thing before you leave the house. Less is more." Ashley's ensemble could have used that advice. But all that said, I'd much rather Ashley and her risks than an option so boring it's forgettable.
Until next week, fellow pandas!