'The Bachelorette' : Desiree Hartsock Blogs About Her First Dates

Hartsock writes about spending time with Brooks and Bryden – and giving Ben a rose

Photo: 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.

After a wonderful first night meeting the men on The Bachelorette, I was extremely anxious and excited to see what kind of connections I could form. I had great conversations with almost everyone and although it was a little overwhelming, I felt good about picking the guys for my first dates. After seeing the men in their suits, I was most looking forward to seeing them in casual clothes to get a better idea of who they are

I had butterflies walking into the mansion to pick Brooks up for our date. It was the start of an incredible new chapter of my life.

For that first date, I wanted someone who could be spontaneous and turn a seemingly awkward activity into fun and laughter. Brooks was the perfect choice. At first I was nervous about bringing him to a bridal salon because men don’t typically know what to do around beautiful white dresses, but bridal design is my passion so it was important for me to share that. Thankfully Brooks didn’t freak out. He took charge and made trying on suits and dresses hilarious and memorable, which is what I’m looking for – someone who can just let loose.

Looking into the mirror together as a couple, dressed as newlyweds, reminded me why I chose to be the Bachelorette and made me hopeful for what could be. I got genuinely excited! The best part about the car ride to the Hollywood sign with Brooks was our engaging and fun conversation. The natural banter and comfort we had continued and made the date so special. For me, the Hollywood sign represents everyone (including myself) who comes to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams, so the opportunity to sit on top of it carried a personal significance that meant so much to me.

At dinner that night, Brooks shared details of his life that are not easy to talk about. His openness allowed me to trust him and share my own life story. The setting was gorgeous on top of that bridge, but the greatest thing about the date was that we were able to get lost in conversation and truly be in the moment. We weren’t focused on anything else. Dancing in the moonlight to Andy Grammar was the cherry on top. I was the happiest person alive after a successful first date and that geared me up for the dates to follow.

That’s a Rap

Who would think making a rap video with 14 guys would be so much fun and hilarious? The point of this group date was to see who could let loose and not be afraid to make fun of themselves. It was hard to give everyone the attention I wanted to, but I found ways to make conversation throughout the day. I was having a blast changing into the different outfits for the scenes and watching the guys learn dance moves with Soulja Boy. There were some uncomfortable scenes leaving nothing to the imagination – if you know what I mean – but overall I felt comfortable with the guys.

I was able to learn more about each guy that night at the cocktail party. I have never received a gift like the one Zak W. gave to me. I enjoy writing and have had a journal since I was 8 years old, so his thoughtful gift left me speechless and interested to learn more about the first night’s “shirtless man.”

It was really tough for me to decide who to give the rose to. I had a great conversation with Ben where we shared stories about our childhood and our interests so I felt I had more invested in him. But I didn’t realize how giving it to him would affect the others. I feel for Sean Lowe a lot more now knowing how difficult it is to hand out roses on group dates.

First Kiss

I was on a natural high after two dates and wanted to keep that joy alive on my date with Bryden. I love road trips – they’re the best way to get to know someone you are dating. I have discovered red flags with exes while on road trips so I was interested to see how Bryden would be. He is very easygoing and also a little mysterious, which drew me in that first night. I knew he was from Montana and had never been to California before, so it was special to explore the Pacific coast and experience new sights.

Neither one of us knew how the kite worked on the beach. That broke the ice because every time the kite wouldn’t work we would burst into laughter. We played in the waves, rocks and sand like two little kids. It was the most fun I have had at the beach in a long time. Bryden showed that he could go with the flow and make the most of everything, which I really liked.

I was excited to sit down at dinner and learn more about him. I could not believe the story of his horrible accident and how he made it through alive with such perseverance while learning a valuable life lesson – not to take life for granted. His decision to follow his passion and join the National Guard is admirable. While looking at the pictures of his accident and hearing what is was like to be hospitalized, all I wanted to do was take care of him. There was A LOT of build up for that first kiss – and I’m glad the night ended on a solid note.

Early Drama

I have been waiting for these episodes to start airing not only for the stories to unfold for viewers, but also so I can get a better glimpse into the drama that started to build amongst the men in the house. For this first week, I put my focus solely into conversations with the men and not on the tension. I didn’t even think there would be drama this early on. As I’m sure you know, I only see what happens right in front of me, so I’m just as curious as all of you to watch it unfold.

There is so much that goes into these relationships and emotions that you see on the screen, so I hope this blog can give you a better idea of the feelings that are forming in front of your eyes.

Oh, one more thing, next week’s events are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. I always fear that someone isn’t here for the right reasons – fortunately this liar gets caught. There is unbelievable confrontation, men playing rough, and sexy cowboys.

Thank you so much for watching and reading my Bachelorette blog.

– Xoxo Desiree

PHOTOS: Does New Bachelorette Desiree Have a Shot at True Love?

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