Hartsock breaks down all the first impressions – from the cannonball to the knight in shining armor
Credit: Rick Rowell/AP

Former Bachelor contestant Desiree Hartsock is calling the shots and handing out the roses as the current star of The Bachelorette. The bridal stylist will blog all season long on PEOPLE.com about her dates, the guys and the difficult decisions she must make. You can also follow Desiree on Twitter.

Driving up the windy road in Malibu to where I would be starting a new chapter as The Bachelorette, I had no idea what to expect. When Chris Harrison showed me my new home, I was awed by the enchanting view of the ocean. I find solace and peace at the beach, so having such an amazing view of it made me feel right at home and ready to begin this journey.

Never in a million years did I think I would have an opportunity to meet 25 eligible bachelors in the hopes of finding love, so I was more than excited to get that first night started!

As I stood in front of the Bachelor mansion in my shiny silver dress, I was filled with hope and eagerness to see what kind of men would come strutting out of those limos.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I had been in their shoes before and knew that they would be even more nervous than I could possibly be. The thought of grown men shaking in their suits with sweaty palms made me empathize with them and I wanted to make them feel comfortable.

One by one, I was blown away by the quality of men that I was being introduced to and the creativity they were showing. I wanted to make an impression on Sean the first night I met him by making a wish in the fountain, so I really enjoyed Michael’s entrance by fishing for those coins I tossed in last season so we could make new wishes.

I love a man who can make me laugh, so another entrance that was witty and fun was Chris getting down on one knee to then only wipe sweat from his brow and tie his shoe. Way to scare me and trick me all at the same time!

The most memorable entrances that night came from someone who forgot a piece of clothing, and another who had too many layers on. As Zak W. walked out of that limo without his shirt on and abs of steel blazing, I couldn’t help myself but to giggle like a schoolgirl. Of all things, I was not expecting someone to greet me practically naked. I could tell right away that it was meant as a joke and I liked that he didn’t take himself too seriously.

Talking about steel, Diogo came out as a full-on knight in shining armor, but could hardly move in the get-up. I had to direct him on where to stand because he could barely see out of his helmet! It was a bold move and he was sweet for going all out to impress me. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel a romantic connection with him, but I appreciated the effort he put into it.

Best Impressions

The biggest impression of the night was Ben bringing his 3-year-old son Brody with him. It melted my heart seeing his little boy come out of the limo first to hand me a flower that he picked. It was adorable to say the least and Ben was so sweet and charming. It meant a lot for me to know he has a son and for that not to be kept a secret.

After my conversation with Ben, I realized that we had a lot in common with our interests and our values so I knew I wanted to get to know him better and hand him the first rose.

I remember Tierra getting the first rose last season and what a negative impression that left on the rest of us. I didn’t want Ben getting the first rose to have the same effect, so I handed out a few more right after him. Little did I know the men were still envious and stressing out about the roses. I guess women and men may be more similar than we think!

I didn’t want to limit the impressions to only one rose handout, so I decided to stay in the moment and hand them out as I got to know each guy. I was amazed by all of the interesting and intriguing men, and it made it difficult to know whom I wanted to give first impression roses to! If it went by conversation alone I could have handed out a dozen more, but I wanted to keep some for the rose ceremony.

I actually dared Zak W. to cannonball into the pool, never thinking that he would actually do it. He showed how spontaneous he could be and that was very deserving of a rose. I just didn’t know where to put it!

Another highlight of the night was talking with Juan Pablo and breaking up the monotony of conversation with a nighttime game of soccer. I loved that everyone came out to join in. It truly made and unbelievable night even more special and fun!

Although I politely turned down Jonathon’s offer to go to the “fantasy suite” during his entrance, he continued to interrupt my conversations with other men to try and lure me into a private room. His persistence made me feel very uncomfortable and his behavior was not of someone I would want to date, so I knew I had to send him home before the rose ceremony. Regardless of his intoxication level, no man should ever think a girl is only worth a dark, private room.

Adrenaline Rush

The great conversations and unique personalities kept my adrenaline going all night, so before I knew it the rose ceremony began and the fate of these men were now in the roses I was holding. It was hard to make the decisions, and hard to know that sweet, incredible men would be leaving, but I felt confident in the men who got roses.

I felt like the luckiest girl in the world as I looked around at the 19 gorgeous men that were left, and I felt ready to get the dates started!

I am SO excited to have you all share in my journey and hope that you will tune in for some extraordinary dates next week. These upcoming dates set the tone for the entire season – they’re filled with adventure, fun, road trips, romance, iconic sites and even a rap video. You don’t want to miss out on these men in costume rapping their hearts out for the “right reasons.”

And as you saw at the end of the show, there are men along the way that are definitely NOT here for the right reasons.

Thanks for watching and for reading my Bachelorette blog!
– Xoxo Desiree