"I had no idea that Brian had a girlfriend back home or that he had unresolved problems with her," Desiree writes
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

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.

I absolutely loved having two group dates this week on The Bachelorette! It was really important to have as much time as possible with each guy so I could see if there was a connection or not, in order to make my decision at the rose ceremony.

I am a very active person and enjoy playing sports and being outdoors, so that’s why I picked these dates. I also wanted to see who could make the most of competition while being a great sport and who could really stand out in a crowd and be a lone ranger. I mean, what girl doesn’t like to see hot guys engage in some friendly competition?

Dodgeball is one of my favorite pastimes and it’s a great way to let off some steam. But the men had more steam than I originally expected! Once I saw the balls flying, I got nervous for the guys. But I could see that they were having a blast, so I tried not to worry.

At practice some guys still tried to talk with me and others seemed to forget they were on a date and were focused solely on the game. I appreciate someone with focus and the desire to win, but it was also nice to see that some guys could do both.

Player Down

The competition in the caged court was unreal! The audience made the experience worthwhile and gave the men the needed encouragement to give it their all. Or maybe they all felt they had something to prove while wearing those skimpy gym shorts.

It was interesting to watch at practice and during the game because it gave me insight as to who was more passive and who enjoyed standing out. It was also important to see how they treated each other and to see friendships forming, since that is another window into who they are.

As I was watching the competition unfold I could see the faces of fury and the goal to win in each of their eyes, but I did not expect anyone to get hurt. Brooks and I had an incredible date the week before so I already felt connected to him, which made it even harder to watch him in pain. I was disappointed that he had gotten hurt and had to go to the hospital. But I had a lot of great men on this date that I needed to focus on.

Chris Gets a Rose

That night I had really great conversations with everyone, but the highlight was my time with Chris. I didn’t expect our conversation to come so easily. I felt like I’d known him for years. He was so witty and confident, and I knew I wanted to spend more time with him. Giving Chris the rose meant a lot to me and the slow dance in the park was the romance I had hoped for.

Bandalooping on the side of a building takes dancing to a whole other level! I was so incredibly nervous and scared at the top of the building. Kasey made me feel comfortable and was the encouragement I needed to make it over the edge. I was happy to have him there. But after dinner took a turn for the worse when the wind picked up, I wasn’t sure if it was just the elements or if there was something lacking in my connection with Kasey.

I was disappointed in the date and confused about what might be missing between us. Was it because of that morning’s drama?

Girlfriend Back Home

I had no idea that Brian had a girlfriend back home or that he had unresolved problems with her. I was disgusted when I heard the news, and even more outraged when I learned that Stephanie is a single mother. It made me mad that someone could be so deceitful and disrespect women in that way.

He also wasted my time and took the spot of another guy that did have the right intentions. Regardless of whether Brian and Stephanie were still together or not, there was no chance he was there for the right reasons – or that he was staying. I just wanted him out of the house and to put it all behind me.

Damsel in Distress

Moving on. I grew up with old western movies, so I couldn’t wait to see the men dressed up as cowboys. It was so fun learning how to do the stunts and seeing the guys in character. I felt like a damsel in distress that was lucky enough to be rescued by good-looking, masculine cowboys. Even the Latin cowboy, Juan Pablo, surprised me with his skills. Could he have been any sexier!?

This was definitely shaping up to be one of my favorite dates of this entire journey.

James continued to intrigue me with his passion for life and his warmth. I enjoyed seeing his different sides. I appreciated the fact that he took this seriously and wanted to make sure I could see potential before wanting to pursue anything. I saw a softness to him that was sweet and I wanted to reassure him with the group date rose that I desired more time with him.

At the end of this week I felt confident and hopeful that my future husband was within this group.

Next week we’re heading to Atlantic City! Watch as the men try to fight for the title of “The Bachelorette’s Mr. America” with their hot bodies and unique talents. It is quite the show!

We’ll also explore the devastation from Sandy and visit the boardwalk. And the drama has just gotten started with the men in the house, so I’m eager to see what happens next.

Thank you for watching and reading my Bachelorette blog!