Shopping With My Mother

20 10 2014

I recently spent a few days hanging out with my mom. We watched an asston of movies on the ‘W’ Network, ate a disturbing amount of salt and vinegar chips and did a lot of shopping. Technically I did the shopping, but my mom loves joining me on these adventures. She knows my taste pretty well and is great with tricky zippers. She rarely balks when I drop $400 in 10 minutes and is great at acting surprised when I present her with the secret little presents I’ve bought for her during these outings. See, I hate shopping and I hate malls so when I do psych myself up for shopping it turns into something of an event that typically requires a nap after. My mother also lives near three massive outlet malls, which is a bonus. I can usually stock up for a season in under three hours.

It was during these shopping excursions (which also extended to a fun few hours in a Target, a Halloween decoration mission through Dollarama – of which her town has about 20 of) that I picked up a few interesting tidbits about my dear mother. Before I returned home I commented to her that although she seems very sweet she is, in fact, kind of a monster. My mother did not disagree; rather, she pretended to be embarrassed for about 30 seconds and then I added that I probably got my nasty side from her and she laughed and said “Oh probably. You’re kind of a cow.” But she said it in French so it sounded rather charming. Guys I’m not even making this up.

Here are some highlights:

1) My mother carries a full-sized brush in her purse. I know this because on three separate occasions she dug into her purse while casting concerned glances towards the general direction of my head and suggested I “might want to” brush my hair. She also did this in the middle of seeing a movie. I had to gently remind her that in the town she lives in wearing pajamas to the mall is considered appropriate, so I think the fine people at Target could handle my ‘I just tried on four sweaters’ hair. Then I snuck off to comb my hair in the electronics section, while squatting behind the rack of $5 DVDs so she wouldn’t see me. I carry a comb in my purse because that’s less crazy I think. Right? Moving on.

2) My mother is convinced that every single person in every single store we go in is trying to steal my purse. Just mine. When I head to a fitting room, she clutches my purse to her chest like it’s her job. I can’t even bring it into the room with me because inevitably I will wander out of that room to get her opinion on something I’m trying on and that is when everyone in the world ever will swoop in to steal my purse. And then she will be justified for her militant purse protecting skills.

3) While trying on dresses, my mom commented (in what I’m sure she believed was a nonchalant fashion): “You wear a lot of dresses to work. But you live ALONE. And you haven’t had a boyfriend in YEARS. Who helps you with your zippers?” My response? “The first person I run into when I leave my apartment, be it a homeless man, a barista or a stranger on the subway.” She did not find this amusing. I’ve actually done this twice. Mostly I just throw on a cardigan or jacket and wait until I get to work so my office mate can finish the job. Thanks H! Power to the single gals out there.

Other things I learned during our time together:

1) My mother likes to discuss the plots of various episodes of her favourite show ‘The Big Bang Theory’. She speaks as if these are people who exist in her life and comments on their decisions and multitude of personality quirks. I made the mistake of correcting her on a plot point of a particular episode I had just seen (because there’s always a Big Bang Theory marathon on, apparently) and she got so mad she half-yelled and a bit of her spit landed on my cheek.

2) Holy shit does she ever hate the guy from the Trivago commercials. As keen/borderline desperate as my mom is for me to pop out a kid, she has made it very clear that it cannot be with that guy. But she did mention that it “wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world” if I had a one night stand that led to a pregnancy. This from the same woman who sings in church every Sunday and gives me cut eye when I use the lord’s name in vain.

3) My mother currently has four half-empty (or half-full, if it pleases you) bottles of ketchup in her fridge. All are expired.

4) My mother has no idea what I do for a living. She mentioned this one night and I reminded her that she’s never actually asked. I said: “You could try asking me.” She replied: “I could.” And then she never asked me. But she’s determined to find out what floor of my office tower I work on because she is particularly worried that my untimely demise will be the result of a work-related incident in which my only chance at survival would’ve been to have an office no higher than the 3rd floor. I pepper our weekly phone calls with sentences like: “Yup, work is good. No complaints on the 93rd floor.” I can actually hear her heart stop during these conversations.

5) My mother has absolutely no problem telling all of her neighbours, church friends and random people who sell her lottery tickets  very personal details of my life, not limited to the name of the company I work for, my home address and my relationship status. I would not be surprised if her favourite teller at her local bank knows my social insurance number and full medical history. Interestingly, my mother will never, ever, throw out a piece of paper with her address on it (choosing to shred it or rip it into teeny tiny pieces) because she is convinced that as a 67 year old retired customer service representative she is an ideal target for identity thieves. I promise you she is not.

I find her fascinating. And she makes amazing crepes. So basically my mom is my favourite person.

 

 

 





Recipe Try: White(ish) Bean Chili with Chicken

2 10 2014

Confession: I’m a terrible cook.

Wait, scratch that. I might actually be amazing at it, I just wouldn’t know because I almost never cook. My life is a series of roti, sushi, and Portuguese chicken takeout. I’ve been known to eat a bag of pistachios for dinner and they just opened a fancy hot dog place near my apartment so game over. My pal MM reminds me of a night years ago when I did an oven baked fish and lemon roasted potatoes when she was over. I must’ve been high because I couldn’t even tell you how to lemon roast anything now. I’ve made the occasional pizza and I’ve had the girls over for tacos a few times. Does that count? Oh and one time I made R a chicken Greek pita thing and she didn’t die so that was fun.

Sometimes I forget I own a crockpot, which is a lazy bozo’s best friend when it comes to cooking. Despite unseasonably warm temperatures in Toronto last weekend (in the high 20s and nothing but sunshine) I decided to cook up a pot of white bean chili this weekend. But when I hit up the grocery store I became intimidated by the whiteness of kidney beans so I decided to do just one can of those and combine with two cans of ‘mixed’ beans. This recipe is so easy I’m almost embarrassed to call it cooking, but here we are.

Bonus points if you don’t dry heave while chopping up raw chicken.

Jenn’s White(ish) Bean Chili with Chicken

(Makes 4-5 servings maybe? I’m not mathy and I’m too lazy to count portions)

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cans of white or mixed beans (I used one can of white kidney beans and two cans of President’s Choice mixed beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 large as fuck boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces (if you want more chicken use two breasts, duh)
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic (I used about a tablespoon of the minced garlic you can buy in a jar)
  • 1 can of reduced sodium chicken broth (because you’ve gotta cut back somewhere)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Cheese to top (optional – I used old white cheddar, like a boss)
I've just noticed I set down all the cans with the French labels facing forward. My mom would be so proud.

I’ve just noticed I set down all the cans with the French labels facing forward. My mom would be so proud.

What to do:

  • Plug in crockpot
  • Dump all the above in said crockpot
  • Set to high
  • Cook for 6 hours (I removed the crockpot lid about 3 times to give it a good stir during the cooking process)
  • Don’t burn down your apartment

Got it?

Easy peasy.

Easy peasy in the crockpot.

It’s delicious. Try it.

 

Yum.

Yum.





Skeleton Twins

1 10 2014

A few nights ago I went to see Skeleton Twins. Have you heard of it? It stars Kristen Wiig (love) and Bill Hader (delightful) as estranged twins who reunite during tumultuous times in both their lives. Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell from Modern Family are also in it. It’s well written and touching and funny. Kristen and Bill have amazing chemistry (and worked together on Saturday Night Live). The trailer is below. The scene where they’re dancing to ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ by Starship has cemented itself as one of my favourite movie scenes of all time. I will totally admit that it was my favourite song when I was little.





Vacation Post – Halifax, Nova Scotia

29 09 2014

Shortly after returning from my trip to British Columbia in July (you can see photos from that trip here), my friend A mentioned that she had been invited to go to Halifax for a few days in September for a work event. Having just returned from the west coast with an itch to see more of Canada (I tend to gravitate to the US and Europe when vacation planning), I asked A if I could join her on her trip. Ok, so maybe I shouted “I’m coming with you!” into her mouth and booked my flight the next day. Either way, she seemed more excited than terrified so I figured it was all good.

We arrived in Halifax on a sunny Friday afternoon. We flew Porter and they do not skimp on the freeze booze, so I arrived in Haifax in a particularly fun mood!

Flight tip: I’m not sure if it’s the same for all of their flights but if you’re flying Toronto-Halifax on Porter  I strongly recommend that you endeavour to fit all of your luggage into a carry-on sized bag or you will pay $25 to check a bag. Don’t forget to keep all of your liquids to under 100 mL (not 150 which is standard on most flights, including through Air Canada). I don’t think I’ve ever packed more efficiently for a trip in my life – frankly, I’ve packed more for a cottage weekend when all I really needed was a bikini and a pair of shorts!

After settling into our hotel we popped into the lobby bar for a cocktail before venturing out to The Bicycle Thief for dinner. I’m mildly obsessed with food-related research when I travel, and I had made a dinner reservation a few weeks before our trip. When our bartender found out where we were headed, he assured us I’d made a good choice as it was his favourite restaurant in the city and the place where he was taking his mom (who happened to be seated next to us at the bar) for her birthday the following week. He even drew us a map to walk there!

Before leaving for our trip I had mentioned on Facebook that A and I were heading to Halifax, and I lost count of the number of people who commented or messaged me to say that they loved Halifax and everyone they had met on their visit was beyond friendly and helpful; in fact, a friend of my cousin’s even told me that I would likely be taken aback by the friendliness, and that on her first trip she had assumed people were either messing with her or, like, trying to lure her in with kindness to eventually murder her. A few months earlier I had met two east coasters through A and upon meeting them I had pulled her aside all “what’s THEIR deal!?” She laughed and explained that they were legitimately that nice. Don’t get me wrong: Toronto is a friendly place and I certainly do not spend my days being bombarded by douchenozzles and dickbags, but these folks were above and beyond what I’d ever experienced from people whom I had just met. And in Halifax, the helpful bartender with his map was just the beginning!

We made our way to The Bicycle Thief (stopping to take a few photos on the boardwalk) and basically spent the next two hours eating everything and just nodding at each other and saying “oh my god” between bites. After the appetizer, A and I were declaring the meal one of the top five of our lives. By the mains, it was the best meal of our lives. I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant and their staff. They were also super accommodating to some food allergies and sensitivities of A’s. Not in an eye-rolling “yeah, we get it” way but in a ‘we actually totally care about what you’re telling us and we can make anything the way you want it’ way. If you’re ever in Halifax, make sure to eat here. I strongly recommend making a reservation about a week or two in advance.

Our east coast hospitality moments at dinner included a man (who had already walked out the front door of the restaurant and was a good two steps on the sidewalk) who turned around and WALKED BACK IN to the restaurant in order to hold the door open for me with a “sorry dear.” Upon leaving the restaurant we mentioned to the hostess that we were heading to a particular bar and the google map directions didn’t make total sense to me (I’m literally THE WORST with directions), so she walked us out the front door, presumably to point the way, but instead walked us out the parking lot and onto the main street to give us directions. A and I were joking that the hostess was about to hand us her cars keys for the weekend and invite us to stay at her place!

Not our boat...yet

Not our boat…yet.

Pre-dinner stroll

Pre-dinner stroll on the waterfront. (photo credit to AH)

 

Starving

Five minutes away from eating my own arm.

The next morning A and I made our way to the city’s north end for brunch at a place I’d found via yelp called The Coastal Café. It turned out to be hands down the best brunch I’ve ever had. I spent the rest of the day patting myself on the back. For realises. A and I ordered the McCoastal, hers with the sausage and tofu instead of eggs while I got mine with bacon. Sweet Fancy Moses these were good. Delicious coffee too. Confession: we loved it so much we went back for brunch on Sunday and the woman at the counter remembered A’s preference for tofu. As a note, when you walk in you need to line up to order your food, and then you are seated at the first available table by the super friendly and efficient staff. The place was busy but we only waited about 5 minutes to be seated, and brought our coffees outside to wait while enjoying the beautiful weather.

Brunch at the Coastal Café - amazeballs

Brunch at the Coastal Café – amazeballs.

After brunch, A was off to attend some work events while I had booked myself into a whale watching boat cruise, I booked my ticket about two weeks in advance. I figured I’d have a whole afternoon to explore Halifax on my own and I love being out on the water so this seemed like the perfect thing to do! I was worried I was running late to catch my boat, so I hopped in a cab and the driver informed me we were only about a 5 minute drive so he drove me for free! I gave him a big tip and made my way on board. I’ll save you the suspense: no, I did not see any whales. But it was a lovely day to be out on the water and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Halifax Harbour

View from the boat.

Lobsterfest

At one point the boat stopped to bring up some lobsters and then there was a bit of a ‘show and tell’ – see the face of the girl in the purple coat? That pretty much sums up how I feel about live lobsters.

whale watching 1

I just always want to be on a boat. Can that be my thing?

whale watching 2

Lighthouse.

 

After the boat cruise I still had a couple of hours to kill before meeting up with A, and I had noticed when walking to dinner the night before that the Alexander Keith`s brewery was nearby so I popped in for a tour, which run on the half hour. I had a blast! I thought I would feel awkward taking a tour with a bunch of strangers but everyone was super nice and chatty and the tour guides are really into it – period costumes, accents, dancing, the whole bit. Oh and you get beer. So, this is pretty much my favourite touristy thing in Halifax. Wandering around Halifax on a weekend I kept wondering where all the people were. Then I passed a bar bursting at the seams with Dalhousie University students and it all became crystal clear. In that respect (as well as the architecture), Halifax reminded me a lot of Boston.

The Alexander Keith's Brewery.

The Alexander Keith’s Brewery.

This is where dreams are made.

This is where dreams are made.

tour guide

Our enthusiastic tour guide.

 

Later that evening I met up with A at The Marquee Club where we watched some amazing bands including the incredible Ben Caplan and The Casual Smokers, Jenn Grant, and Gord Downie & The Sadies. I also tried donair for the first time and fell madly in love. I could bathe in the sauce.

Jenn Grant at The Marquee Club

Jenn Grant at The Marquee Club

 

On Sunday after brunch we wandered around the North End, popping into some amazing vintage shops on and around Agricola Street and admiring the pretty homes. At one point we noticed we were whispering and realized that with the exception of a few dudes in a record shop we had not actually seen many people out and about. It was an odd feeling, especially since we live in Toronto where you would be hard pressed to even find an empty park bench to sit on and read for a few minutes. I am so used to people people people EVERYWHERE. I vowed to spend more time visiting places like Halifax, where the pace is slower and everything is just quieter.

Halifax living (photo credit to A).

Halifax living. (photo credit to AH)

We both absolutely adored Halifax and it made me want to explore more of the beautiful east coast of Canada. Oh and I am still having borderline erotic dreams about my dinner at The Bicycle Thief (a lobster ravioli, if you were curious).

xo

 

 





Vacation Post – British Columbia (With Photos)

14 08 2014

In mid-July I headed out west with my friend Rach and her boyfriend to visit with our friend John who has been living out in Nanaimo for the summer. I’d been to Vancouver before, and frankly found it a teensy bit boring (except for that time when I met Robert Pattinson and made a complete ass of myself), buy I was very much looking forward to exploring other parts of the beautiful province of British Columbia.

We flew Toronto to Kelowna (where a West Jet gate agent maybe thought I was 14 – guys sometimes looking way younger than my age isn’t funny) and made our way to this nearby bed and breakfast we’d booked using airbnb. I highly recommend this place if you’re looking to stay in the Kelowna area. Rach and her boyfriend had a room upstairs with an ensuite bathroom, mini fridge and a lovely balcony with amazing views. I stayed in a room downstairs off the kitchen with my own bathroom  and equally spectacular views along with easy access to a quiet patio area. We sat out there that first night to relax and have some wine and deer literally pranced five feet away from where we were sitting. Amazing. We awoke the next morning and met up with Rach’s sister and her family who live nearby. We spent the day at Gyro beach (and Sweet Fancy Moses it was hot in Kelowna that week – in the high 30s) and later that evening we had drinks by the marina. By this point, John had joined us in Kelowna and we all made our way back to our B&B for a much needed night of sleep!

Kelowna: Gyro beach, the marina, me, and my travel crew

The B&B we stayed at was run by a lovely woman named Lisa who lives in the house, and she had a friend with her that week (Genevieve) who was hysterical and equally as lovely. They made our stay really special! On our first morning we were treated to amazing freshly-baked scones and jam and yogurt, and our second morning there Lisa made us eggs benedict. Below are some photos of where we stayed. I made a point of waking up super early on our first morning so that I could drink my (delicious) coffee in total peace and quiet while reading The Goldfinch. These views were truly extraordinary.

 

Our B&B in Kelowna

Our B&B in Kelowna

 

As sad as we were to leave Kelowna, it was time to make the 90 minute drive to Penticton and wine country! We happened to be visiting during some pretty serious forest fires in the area, and driving to Penticton all we heard on the news was about people being evacuated in the area. At one point while we were swimming that evening we could actually see the fires burning in the mountains! Upon arriving in Penticton we checked into the Days Inn (hey, it had a pool and it was cheap!) and strolled through the town. Eventually we made our way to Hillside Estate Winery and had a wine tasting and then went up to their rooftop restaurant to enjoy the beautiful views. I brought home a bottle of their Reserve Viognier that I’m surprised I haven’t opened yet! That evening we strolled the boardwalk (thanks god it had finally cooled down a bit by then – have I mentioned how intensely HOT it was in that area???).

Hillside Winery

Hillside Winery

 

The next morning we were up at the ass crack of dawn for the long drive to Vancouver. We could’ve slept in a bit and taken a more direct route, but the group agreed that it was worth the extra hour or two to take the scenic route.  We even stopped at Manning Provincial Park on the way and drove up-up-up to a vista to take in the spectacular views. That chipmunk in the photo below? I named him Buddy and wanted to take him in the car with us to Vancouver but Rach wouldn’t let me because she’s kind of a monster :)

The vista at Manning Provincial park

The vista at Manning Provincial park and my chipmunk pal

 

We arrived in Vancouver and made our way to the condo we were staying at (other than the airbnb the rest of our accommodations in BC were free thanks to friends/friends-of-friends being out of town and offering up their beautiful homes – lucky ducks, right?). After power naps, showers, and restorative beers (it’s a thing) we ventured out to meet up with our friend Graham who had just arrived from Toronto and was joining us on the rest of our trip. The main theme of our first evening in Vancouver? Patio beers are always a good idea and we’re really good at drinking them!

The next day the five of us were TOTALLY NOT HUNGOVER MOM!! *cough*. After a fantastic brunch at Lucy’s Eastside Diner (we liked it so much we ate there again before heading to the airport on our last day), we boarded the ferry and in just under two hours we had arrived in picturesque Nanaimo where we would spend the next three days relaxing and eating EVERYTHING.

The ferry ride and our cute digs in Nanaimo

The ferry ride with my handsome travel companions and our cute digs in Nanaimo

We returned to Vancouver rested and refreshed and spent our last two days exploring the city more. I was thrilled to go back to Granville Island and we also went out for the most amazing sushi dinner at Zipang Provisions in the east end. Friends of John and Graham’s were nice enough to have us over for dinner on our last night. The food, company, and  jaw-dropping city views had us all wondering why we were even bothering returning to Toronto.

Kidding!!!….sort of.

It’s just that BC is so beautiful. And everyone we met was so nice. Don’t get me wrong: I love Toronto. I’ve lived in or near this wonderful city for over 25 years and I do love it. I truly can’t imagine living anywhere else (most of the time). But Vancouver has all the perks of a big city while also being really pretty and significantly more relaxed and laid back than Toronto. And I didn’t find it to be as boring this time. Maybe the night life has perked up a bit, or maybe it was the company, or maybe now that I’m 32 I don’t mind the fact that everything sort of shuts down around midnight. That used to be the time where I would typically leave my apartment to go out!!

Vancouver adventures

Vancouver adventures

 

After a wonderful 10 days travelling across BC with great friends it was time to head back to Toronto with heavy hearts, great tans, and a vow to bring more ‘Namaste’ and BC ‘tude into our lives*. I miss you BC!

 

*That feeling of calm and peace lasted precisely 12 hours and evaporated the second I was re-acquainted with Toronto’s notoriously brutal transit system. Oh well, at least I still have that bottle of wine and some great memories!

xo





Bits & Pieces

8 08 2014

Howdy!

Despite it being a shorter work week (in Canada) I woke up this morning so relieved that it was Friday! Three weeks of travelling and cottage time (although lovely and spent with amazing friends) has left me longing for a weekend not involving a suitcase. Also, I could probably spend a full day doing laundry. My plans for the weekend are hitting up a Blue Jays game tonight, wandering lazily around Kensington Market tomorrow (and maybe popping in here for a pina colada slushie – yum) and hitting up the Junction Flea on Sunday. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Here are some bits and pieces that made my week.

  • Great news for fans of Bellwoods Brewery in Toronto (like me). Bonus? The new location slated to open in summer 2015 is literally a 3 minute walk from my apartment.
  • This new fall show looks pretty good! And stars my fantasy husband Joshua Jackson.
  • My on-repeat-for-weeks song.

xo

 

 

 

 

 

 





The Bachelorette (Andi) – Finale and After the Final Rose

29 07 2014

Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers on the finale of Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette (original air date: Monday, July 28, 2014).

Guys, it finally arrived. The culmination of weeks of “y’all’s” and a self-imposed drinking game whenever anyone on the show says “journey,” so yeah, I’ve pretty much been tipsy every Monday night for the last two+ months.

Andi is (still) in the Dominican Republic with the final two men in her dude harem: Nick and Josh. It’s time for her final two suitors to meet her parents!

First to meet Andi’s mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law is Nick. He arrives with flowers for mom and booze for dad and is visibly nervous. Too nervous? Andi’s dad Hy comments that Nick appeared more nervous to meet the parents than any of Andi’s previous paramours. In Nick’s defense, most people don’t have to experience this on camera! Andi’s mom Patti notes that Nick seems “reserved” and “non-demonstrative”. Would you prefer that Nick hump Andi’s leg a little in front of you mom? WOULD YOU? Nick’s nervousness even worries Andi a tad, but things turn around when Nick gushes that Andi is the most wonderful woman he’s ever met and gives props to her parents for raising her so well. Andi’s sister Rachel inquires as to how Nick managed to score the first impression rose on night one and he mumbles out some sort of bullshit answer. Dude, make eye contact and stop with the mumbling and weird giggling. You’re the (perceived) front-runner – start acting like it!

When Nick engages in a tête-à-tête with Andi’s mom, he’s all “I love her in ways that I never thought I’d love somebody before” and “she lights me up” and ‘”I can’t see myself with anyone else,” and mom tears up. Nick has clearly won Patti over. We cut to Andi chatting with her sister, saying that Nick “sees my entire soul” and “makes me feel like a woman.” At this point I’m thinking Nick HAS to be the last man standing, right? They’re so obviously crazy about each other, and he’s obviously a way better match for her intellectually than Josh.

Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Nick is going to ask Andi’s dad Hy for permission to get engaged. God, I love Hy. He’s so gruff but charming, and terrifying but huggable.

Andi's awesome dad, Hy Dorfman.

Andi’s awesome dad, Hy Dorfman.

Nick tells Hy “I know that your daughter is it for me” and Hy replies that “if it’s the two of you I think y’all will be a great fit.” Boom. Dad endorsement. Shortly thereafter, Andi and Nick say their goodbyes.

The next day it’s time for a sweaty, exuberant Josh (with flowers for mom and cigars for dad) to meet the family. Hy is eager to “compare” the two men. Josh is much more hands-on with Andi, and mom calls him “boisterous”. Because it’s almost all he talks about, Josh brings up the fact that on night one Andi likely had him pegged as the stereotypical “cocky” jock guy. When Andi steps away to chat privately with her sister, Rachel points out that not only is Josh Andi’s usual type but he lives in Atlanta too. Like, you came on this show to meet 25 dudes and basically ended up with a guy you could have found on Tinder while getting a pedicure? Andi swears that she was ‘won over’ and insists she went out of her way to “challenge” Josh and “he always stepped up” to it. She does muse, however, that whether or not Josh is “too good to be true” is something she may very well think “to the very end.” In fact, Andi says this so many times during this segment that I wonder if the producers cut some older footage from earlier in the season where she was commenting that Josh seemed too good to be true. It’s a tad overkill.

Josh is subjected to a tag-team inquisition by Rachel and her husband. He admits that his friends urged him to try out for the show and emphasizes that he wants to marry the crap out of Andi. Rachel seems impressed, and comments that Josh seems genuine. When Josh and Hy sit down to chat, Hy doesn’t pull any punches. He reminds Josh that their relationship has existed essentially in a bubble, like a “camp romance,” and is Josh sure he’s ready for ‘real life’? Josh claims he’s ready, and adds “I would love to make her my wife…and get your blessing.” Hy gives his blessing, but pointedly reminds Josh that Andi’s blessing is the one he should be worried about. Ha, good one Hy. Before Josh leaves, Andi’s dad jokes that Josh is “one of the two best people” he’s met out there, but in his private on-camera interview Hy does say he can totally see Josh as his future son-in-law. Hy’s not worried at all about the length of time they’ve known each other (and at this point I recall from when Andi was on Juan Pablo’s season that Andi’s parents only knew each other for four months before getting engaged).

The next day it’s time for the first of Andi’s final dates, and it’s Josh, not Nick, who will be joining her for this make-or-break island excursion. Andi confesses she’s looking for “clarity” on this date, and as a nod to their first one-on-one date they venture out on a sailboat. Over wine and between makeout sessions, Josh tells Andi he had a great time with her family and they talk about him asking Hy for his blessing to get engaged. Andi loves that she always just has fun with Josh, but again wonders “is this all too good to be true?” Either way, they jump into the ocean and make out some more.

During the evening portion of their date, the very affectionate couple toast to the future but then Andi confesses to wishing she “didn’t doubt so much.” Josh almost charms her out of her clothes (too bad she can’t charm him out of hose salmon-coloured pants), and then effectively changes the subject by presenting her with gifts (genius!). He gives her a custom baseball card featuring her potential married name (Andi Murray) and some cute stats on the back like “Games Played: Doesn’t Play Games” and “Errors: Can’t Dance and Swears Too Much”. Cute city! Oh my god, am I starting to like Josh??? Ok I confess, some of my defrosting towards Josh has to do with his amazing handwriting and an ass that just won’t quit, even in weird pants. Admittedly, they do look like a couple and those would be some ridiculously cute babies. My viewing mate R commented here that “they look like they’re about to do it” and I realize I would probs watch that sex tape. “He’s so confident in us but I’m the one who questions it all,” Andi admits at the end of their date.

The next day Andi (in a kicky braid) heads out to meet Nick for their ‘last’ date. She says she just wants to go to bed that night “knowing who is the one…for the rest of my life.” After off-roading for a bit they relax near a private lagoon. Nick tells Andi how much he loves her family, and she shares a cute story about how her brother-in-law asked Hy’s permission to marry her sister just moments before proposing. Nick reassures Andi that she would be his “priority” in whatever their future holds. They jump into the lagoon to cool off, but Nick’s voiceover confession certainly sends a chill down my spine: “If I don’t know it’s me, we’re not getting engaged.” Whoa. Since the other men outed him earlier in the season for “strategizing” and studying earlier seasons, it’s particularly shocking to hear Nick make this sort of confession when he must know that Andi is actually FORBIDDEN (likely with the threat of a major fine) to give any indication at this point as to who is ‘the one’ she will choose, especially to the men themselves.

Oh right, Nick was engaged before so that’s why he doesn’t want even “one ounce of doubt” before proposing. Dude, you went on the wrong show if assurances are what you were looking for. He lays it on pretty thick with Andi during a toast. She’d have to be headless not to figure out that he was gunning for some concrete proof of love here. “To an incredible nine weeks…to you, to being here with you right now, to our last date…but hopefully not our last date.” Yeah dude, subtle.

Later that evening, Andi quasi-teases Nick that he’s “working that brain, aren’t you?” Nick can barely make eye contact and he talks WAY TOO MUCH about how upset he was when his engagement fell apart. He mentions waking up the morning he was to propose and feeling like something wasn’t right. Either to shut him up or to reassure him that he is, in fact, her final choice, Andi gives him a somewhat reassuring pat and says “it’s gonna be alright.” Nick takes this as a sign that he will be the last man standing, and presents her with a necklace that has a vial of sand from the beach where he first told Andi he loved her. CUTE! Except the necklace is clunky and ugly. Details. She asks what a typical day together in Chicago would be like, and I start to forgive Nick’s neediness this evening when he says he’d text her “I love you a bunch” during the day. “Nick is basically everything I’ve been looking for in a man,” Andi says. Nick’s opinion of the evening? “Tonight went a long way in reassuring me.”

The next morning, Andi wanders out of her ground-floor hotel suite in a pink silk slip and just the hint of a bathrobe for coverage (as women are wont to do while on vacation in the Dominican???) to ponder on her big decision. She pushed Josh away, but he always came back (so basically you want to wife it up for a human boomerang?). With Nick she has intense feelings and an unrivalled intellectual connection as well as passion. “I know who I want to spend the rest of my life with,” she purrs. Nick. It’s gotta be Nick. It’s Nick, right?

Meanwhile, Nick feels reassured that Andi will pick him and so he has decided to propose. “Spending the rest of my life with Andi would be an adventure.” Josh confesses to feeling “very vulnerable” but never even considered not proposing to his dream woman. He certainly isn’t as confident as Nick that he’s Andi’s final pick.

As per usual (well, usual in the Bachelor/Bachelorette world) famed (?) jeweller Neil Lane arrives at Josh’s hotel room with the rings. I don’t really pay attention to what ring he chooses because I’m crossing everything on my body that Nick doesn’t pick an ugly ring. Then there’s a knock at Nick’s door and R practically jumps from the couch and is like “THAT’S NOT NEIL LANE THAT’S ANDI COMING TO BREAK UP WITH HIM.”

Yup. It is Andi at the door, not Neil Lane.

We cut back to the live studio audience who are awaiting the start of the After the Final Rose segment, but I don’t hear what Chris Harrison says because a noise came out of me that I’ve been told sounded not even remotely human. The live audience – initially silent – goes batshit crazy. Harrison draws out the tension, asking Juan Pablo reject Clare what she thinks is going to happen. She talks for about 2 minutes and manages to say NOTHING. Then Harrison goes to Farmer Chris (practically a lock to be the next Bachelor, though we actually still don’t know who that will be and Harrison has confirmed on his blog that no final decision has been made yet) who is pretty sure Andi’s arrival at his doorstep ain’t good news for Nick y’all.

Back in Nick’s hotel room, Andi tells him she “wanted to come and chat” and Nick looks like he’s about 4 seconds away from puking all over her face. “Alright,” he practically spits at her. They sit on the couch and Andi recalls Nick’s story from the night before about having a bad feeling the morning he woke up to propose to his ex. “I was thinking a lot about what you said last night,” she starts. “I thought about how you said the last time you got engaged, you woke up that morning and you didn’t feel that something was right. And I woke up this morning and didn’t feel that something was right.” This admission causes Nick to move back to sit as far away from her as two people can possible be on the same couch.

“The last date I wanted to just have fun and relax and as hard as I tried I couldn’t do that,” she begins, and adds “life with you would be me over-analyzing every single moment.” Well, Andi has a point there. These two may have an amazing intellectual connection, but they do both overanalyze A LOT and that could get exhausting. Josh seems…easier. Not my type, but maybe easier is better for Andi? Nick is completely gutted, and can’t even look at her to say “when you looked at me the way you do sometimes, and the way you talk to me and the way you respond to me, I just took it that you meant it.” He mumbles (seriously I had to re-watch this part to ensure I heard him correctly) that Andi “took it too far” with him. Andi starts to cry and apologize and then they’re walking to the door and awkwardly hugging goodbye. OF COURSE it’s now pouring rain out. Perfect. Back in his room, Nick tosses his collection of rose ceremony flowers in the trash. Flopping into the Sad Sack SUV with his luggage, Nick is initially speechless. After an extended period of stunned silence, he whispers “I feel like such a fool.” And later: “She asked me to trust her…I thought we just got each other. I was so confident about us. What is she doing?” Nick sounds absolutely tortured. “I really thought she was it.”

Back in studio, host Chris Harrison reveals that since that day, Nick has “repeatedly tried” to sit down with Andi to talk but she has refused to meet with him. Well, that’s about to change because Andi and Nick will, in fact, face off later in the After the Final Rose special.

Back in the Dominican, Andi is looking radiant in a beautiful cream-coloured Grecian-style dress. Josh is getting ready and tears up when he says “I am so excited to be here with Andi.” Well buddy, that’s good to hear because you are about to be engaged. Hard.

After a brief car ride, Josh (sweating through his ass) is greeted by Chris Harrison and led to Andi. He starts his ‘god I hope you picked me’ speech by saying “When I decided to give up baseball, my first love,” I groan SO HARD I actually miss the next part but then he says “and then I found you Andi Dorfman and my life changed forever…I knew that I wasn’t alone anymore, that it wasn’t just me, that it was us, together.”

“It’s definitely been a journey,” Andi begins. Oh for those who are playing along at home with the whole chug some booze every time someone says ‘journey’ on The Bachelor/Bachelorette you were probably pretty tanked by this point, right?

“Josh, I loved you since the moment I laid eyes on you!” Andi gushes. “REALLY?!” I screamed at the TV.

“The truth is that from the first time I met you I was scared, and when you said the next person you said ‘I love you’ to that she would be your wife…I took that seriously,” she tells him. “You’re the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.” Andi accepts Josh’s proposal, and he in turn accepts the final rose with an exuberant “yes ma’am.” I admit: these two have won me over. Plus, again, their babies will be ridiculously adorable. They say “I love you” like 57 times and Andi adds “forever.”

Back in the studio it’s time for After the Final Rose. Chris Harrison emphasizes that “Nick was devastated, the likes of which we hadn’t really seen on this show before.” We are shown a clip of Nick wandering the streets of Chicago looking completely miserable. “I definitely didn’t see it coming,” his voiceover laments. “I’m not over her. I felt like she gave me purpose.” Seemingly as equally broken-hearted is Nick’s mom who says that this has torn their family apart. #sadbachelor #sadmom

So it turns out that Nick was at the taping for the Men Tell All that aired last week. He knocks on Chris Harrison’s dressing room door and pleads his case. He moans that he’s still in love with Andi, and Chris agrees to see if Andi will meet with him to talk. He returns with the news that it’s “not the right time,” so instead Nick gives Chris a letter to deliver on his behalf. Chris delivers the letter to Andi who stares at it forever and a day. We don’t see at this point if she actually reads it.

Back in the live studio, Nick joins Chris on stage. “Obviously, you were blindsides,” starts Captain Obvious. Nick says that the hardest part of being dumped by Andi has been that he believed so much in their “connection”. Chris reveals that Nick actually reached out to Andi twice since leaving the show (including once when she was vacationing in Mexico – stalker-ish!), but she has turned him down both times. Nick claims that wanting to talk to Andi has nothing to do with wanting to change her mind, but rather to get some closure. OH MY GOD PEOPLE STOP TALKING ABOUT CLOSURE. IT’S NOT A THING!!

Nick does add that “Josh is a great guy and he has a huge heart…but I will always wonder about what could have been.” That’s quite a change in tone from when he was initially dumped and couldn’t wrap his brain around Andi picking Josh. They cut to commercial and then we see the standard ‘Andi as Bachelorette holding the rose’ screen slide……….but nothing. Just that. After a delay lasting almost three minutes (!) we’re back in studio. So weird. R and I assume that they probably tape the ‘live’ special with a slight delay, and we joke that maybe Nick hyperventilated and needed medical attention before Andi came out on stage; hence, the delay in returning after the commercial break.

Andi comes out to join Nick and they’re both nervous smiles and hand wringing. “I wanted the opportunity to express to you…what I felt about the relationship,” he begins. Andi reveals that she read his letter, but doesn’t elaborate. Nick thanks her for reading the letter and my whole body cringes. “I was so heartbroken…you made me feel like I could find that kind of love again,” he says. Andi counters with “that’s why it was so hard breaking up with you.” Nick adds that watching the show back hasn’t given him any clarity as to why Andi didn’t want to be with him in the end.

Chris Harrison asks Andi if she loved Nick. “I was not in love with him… how do you compete with a greater love? It’s not that something was wrong…it’s just something was more right.” Makes sense.

And then

Oh god.

He didn’t.

He did.

“Knowing how in love with you I was…if you weren’t in love with me I’m just not sure why you made love with me”.

Gasp from audience.

An “OH HELL NO” from me.

Oh yes. He did. No one to make the final three (and therefore to have access to the ‘Fantasy Suite’ and all that it may or may not entail) has ever come right out and said ‘we totally banged, but he/she didn’t pick me.’ And there have been an asston of insane rejectees on this show, yet they’ve all managed to either keep their mouth shut or there’s significantly less banging then we presume going on in those Fantasy Suites. That would hurt my heart y’all. It really would.

Andi, to her credit, barely falters and maintains her cool. For the record, I’d be winding up for the world’s hardest taint punch. R comments that she would have 100% “gone completely Solange Knowles” on his ass.

“That was below the belt,” she tells Nick, who argues that they engaged in “fiancé type of stuff.” Now Andi is getting angry. “I knew how you felt which is why that morning I came to you and said those things.” She agrees that the two had a great relationship while it lasted and did indeed share an amazing connection. She also says she didn’t want to put him through another (failed) engagement.

As an aside: interestingly, Nick’s bombshell occurred almost exactly three minutes after the return from commercial break, meaning that if the producers had been using a standard two-to-three minute ‘delay’ in the live feed, this would exactly account for the frozen title screen and almost three minute delay in returning to the live show after that last commercial break. Me thinks after Nick’s little stunt that The Bachelorette producers stopped to see if Andi was comfortable in that footage airing, and she apparently agreed. This is, of course, just me guessing. I haven’t been able to confirm anything. My web search, however, led me to some interesting tweets and blog posts about Nick’s sex secret reveal. Here’s one I found particularly interesting (source):

“What’s different is that in the traditional version of this narrative, this comes from the woman. Maybe Nick was trying to embarrass or shame her,   maybe he was trying to make her uncomfortable. But if this had been the other way around — a woman complaining that a guy shouldn’t have had sex with her if he didn’t love her — there’d be no assumption that the revelation of sex itself was supposed to reflect poorly on him. It would be about false pretenses only.

Also, this graphic cracked me up.

 

OH NO YOU DIDN'T

OH NO YOU DIDN’T

After the intense Nick/Andi segment, we are shown a preview of the craziness that will be ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ which starts next week. Oh god I’ll totally watch it. I love that R and I both said “EEEEEWWWW” when we were shown a clip of Cody making out with someone.

Back in the studio, Josh and Andi are making their first official public appearance as an engaged and evidently VERY IN LOVE couple. “Madly in love!” Josh practically screams. They confess to wearing wigs and other disguises in order to see each other after filming wrapped without blowing their cover. They are very cute and clearly smitten with each other. I wonder if Josh heard Nick’s segment or if he’s aware that Andi and Nick hooked up?

The duo are already planning a Spring wedding and Andi isn’t pregnant yet but Josh says he’s “trying”. Ha.

So that’s it. Another season of The Bachelorette is in the books, y’all. Hit me up in the comments with your thoughts on the finale.

xo

 








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