I just can't with #TheBachelor

I really am a terrible pick of Bachelors because I loved Arie before this season started. Now, I see that whenever he is flummoxed, he crams his tongue down someone's throat and we're supposed to buy that he's romantic. Ugh. It is not working for me and after watching "The Olympics" and "Victoria" I just can't summon the courage to sit through the Bachelor in Italy. With such epic quotes as, "It's so Italian." Ya think?


Last night, I turned it off when Jacqueline was sobbing in the previews. Seriously? Girl, you are in Italy. Get OUTSIDE. Go have a cannoli. Eat pasta. Tour history. See some art. Do not sit and pine over a guy who has all the personality of moldy bread. Listen, I'm sure Arie is a nice guy, but that doesn't make him marriage material. So if you're wondering where my recaps went, I can't really make it through an episode.

I did watch "Victoria" last night, which was SOOO good. It could have been called, "What happens in the Highlands, stays in the Highlands."

While finding a picture, I know Lord M is now dead in Season 2. But you know, Rufus lives...


IKEA: It's a trap!

When I lived in East Palo Alto, the best part was living on the Baylands, which is where the San Francisco Bay ends. It's so amazing and quiet -- the only noise is the small planes overhead from the Palo Alto airport, and I love that sound because it reminds me of my childhood. We lived near the San Carlos airport -- back when normal people had airplanes and boats for weekend fun -- not just rich people.. .When I first got married, we'd ride our mountain bikes all over the Baylands and it just made the world disappear.


So imagine if you will, the perfect reflecting stillness of the Baylands and characters speaking to me, telling me where they are going next. It's like, I'm totally there to listen so I can get home and get it all down on paper. The sun is out. The small planes are flying overhead and the cranes and egrets are perched along the path. It's the kind of zen writers dream of...and I ruined it!

When I lived in EPA, we didn't so much as have a grocery store. Now there's a Nordstrom Rack, a Target...and an IKEA. This is where I go horribly wrong. I think, "I wonder if I could get a cheap bookshelf and get some of those books out of my linen closet. That would leave more room for fluffy towels. That would allow me to look at my books, which makes me happy...

Yes, I know the founder of IKEA just died and no disrespect to the dead. The man made furniture affordable and who doesn't love opening a sock drawer and having to brace the rest of the dresser so it doesn't fall on your toes? I'm sure there are people out there. I'm just not one of them. But today, I'm by myself and I'm not a particularly anxious person, but when I notice the bookshelves are falling apart IN the store, I think, what was I thinking? I need to get out of here. But here's the thing, try getting out. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!" (my boys would be so proud of this reference.)


You can't go back the way you came in because it's an escalator up. The only way out is through, but through where? There are people everywhere. You think you've just been through one room, but nope, it's another meant to confuse and demean you. The ONLY thing to get your bearings is the overwhelming smell of Swedish meatballs and the cafe. And I'm not going to lie, those meatballs smell incredible. For a moment I think, I may as well just sit here and eat and regroup. I have my Kindle. I can read. I have a pad of paper, I can write down the dialogue I created earlier. I can do this.


Then you realize, the closest you're getting to the meatballs is that smell. So you search again for the exit. WHERE is the exit? I finally went through the entire store and squeezed my way around the snaking line that went well into the warehouse. I had to take a giant elevator with other panic-stricken people wheeling large flats of pressed furniture until i saw daylight. Well, not really daylight, but some sun peaking into the underground parking garage. As I got into my car, it said I was going the wrong way. But this time, I didn't fall for that lie. I went in the out door and emerged triumphant from the parking garage.

Never again. My books can stay in the linen closet. Fluffy towels are overrated.

Goals 2018 -- (BIC!) Bum in Chair! #AmWriting

So my desk got taken over as a makeup table for my daughter. I realize this is as weak an excuse as they come. But seriously, I'd wake up, she'd be sitting here and I'd start something else and never quite sit down for the day. (An ADD highlight of my life.) So I told her today, you need to park yourself somewhere else.

She eyed me warily as if to decipher if I was serious. I gave that scary mom face.

I started working on my webpage and blog today to make them cohesive. I'm pretty proud of that as I have no talent in this arena. It may show, but be kind, a writer takes enough rejection on a daily basis.

It's time to immerse myself in the life of my Wentworth Heiresses. I'm having fun with this book, but there are so many characters to set up the series, that I'm struggling keeping them all straight in my head. Each with their own goals and annoyances. But my goal for 2018 is to keep producing. I don't want to have to get a real job, so that should be my motivation. That, and my Civil War era brick wall that I want in my next house.


Preferably in my kitchen -- like this:


However, it's the 27th of the month and I've only written a paragraph on my new book. I need to get back to a chapter a day. So what are you up to for 2018? For me, it couldn't get worse than 2017, so I'm just excited to leave that year behind.

#TheBachelor in Tahoe -- My Recap

The crew heads to Tahoe where we get such stimulating commentary as this:


The first date is parasailing Lake Tahoe with Seinne. She tells him that she didn't grow up seeing girls who look like her fall in love. Arie thinks this is sad and he feels good about them, so he gives her the rose. Sadly, there is no chemistry between the two of them at all. They get a private Lanco concert. My daughter informs me that this is a country band. They sing a song about being someone's forever. In truth, Seinne is way too smart for Arie. He's still trying to convince us by his commentary that there's something there we as an audience are missing. We're not.

On the huge group date, they take over the hiking trail. I SOOO HATE big groups on a trail. Just sayin. Krystal proves she's crazier than ever as she tells us she's confident even though she's like a speck of sand among a beach of long-haired beauties.

Suddenly, we are on an episode of "Survivor" and an American "Bear Grylls" tells them to pee in cup so they can survive. Or, you could just pick up a handful of snow or boil water from the creek so there's that. They do end up eating worms. Arie pulls Kendall aside and makes out ten feet from the group. Subtle.

I give them credit. It's snowing and they're hiking on granite. That's not easy. But of course, the hike ends at a mountaintop hot tub. Krystal's commentary harping on the other women is getting so old. They need to take the microphone away from her. Although everyone is doing the exact same thing as her, they are aggressive, desperate and sad. I think she's just vying for "Bachelor Pad." No one is that mean. I hope.

Lauren B and Arie sit by the fire in a fur blanket. He tells her he really loves an independent woman. That's over quickly. Enter Kendall, the quirky taxidermist comes out next. Their chemistry is on fire. I love that he likes the quirky chick. She just seems like she can have a good time wherever she is. I think she's too fun for Arie, but I like her.


Chelsea should be really happy that Krystal can't stop talking. Chelsea looks demure by comparison. Krystal uses her time with Arie to coo and complain -- and manipulate. That Marilyn Monroe voice needs to go. She really lives inside her own make-believe world. I certainly hope this is an act and not a personality disorder.


Southern girl Tia gets unnerved by Krystal's attack of crazy. But Arie rewards Tia with the rose.

One on One with Bekah

They go horseback riding. Daughter was like, 'They're allowed to go alone on this trail? They're sketch on horses.' They are. There's a trail guide in the distance. You can't really talk on a trail ride, so they get to a tiny barrel hot tub. Daughter also wants to know how much champagne these bougie people can drink. There's a 14-year age difference between them. The girls back at the house are worried about this, but he's got his signature handsy move and not noticing yet.


At dinner, Arie is talking about his life in his late 20's and how different he is now and Bekah tells him she's 22. It gets awkward quickly. He visibly gulps. But he's clearly not ready to cut her loose. She calls him on his using it as an excuse. I have to say, she's got it together for someone her age and I don't think it's fake or manipulative like it is with Krystal.

Arie tells Bekah that her age terrifies him, but he gives her the rose anyway. Because he really, really feels connected to her.

There's no cocktail party tonight, so Krystal commandeers Arie in the middle of the rose ceremony. She's panicking.

Sidenote: I'm really ticked that Winchester Mystery House movie looks so stupid. I grew up going there and it's a cool place. They ruined it making it a cheesy horror film. I've been there on night tours, and it's creepy, but in an understated way. Why mess with the story? The only ghost I ever saw, I saw there. It was a friendly ghost. He wore overalls and he didn't scare me. I was eight. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled story.


Brittany T is going home. Caroline is going home. Since we haven't spent any time with either, it's not dramatic. They're better off anyway. This show makes me feel bad about myself. LOL

Keyboard Warriors Beware: Meteorologist with MS Bites Back

As a fellow MS warrior, this story captured my attention. Someone (who used the wrong YOUR and therefore, his opinion doesn't mean much) tweeted to a Fox News meteorologist that she needed to cover up her legs.



She wrote back, “Fox doesn’t dress me. I dress myself. I’m sorry if you don’t like my legs. I’m grateful I have them to walk with. You’re right. I don’t look like the typical person on TV, and I’m proud to be a size 10. Imagine that! You can always turn the channel if you’re offended by my huge legs.”

What she didn't say is that she has MS, and she's lucky to have the use of her legs. No one with MS takes mobility for granted. We know it can be taken from us easily, and to be criticized for something so vain when you're delivering the weather is beyond insulting. Like this guy/gal is some kind of oil painting.

The truth is, we never know what someone is dealing with, so perhaps we should be kinder to one another. I was just thinking the other day how the name-calling in Washington (on both sides!) needs to stop. How do we tell our kids to work things out with words when our elected officials are having catfights on television? That behavior should be reserved for bad reality television.

I don't want to be a part of the problem anymore. Anger and hatred begets more anger and hatred. Or as Martin Luther King so eloquently put it, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Schadenfreude: #90DayFiance #LoveAfterLockup

Definition of schadenfreude
: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

I really don't enjoy other people's pain. I'm too empathetic. I feel badly and I want to rescue people from themselves. Nowhere is this more true than when I religiously watch "90 Day Fiancé." It's a train wreck. A dumpster fire. But you can't look away. You're screaming at your television set, "No girl, he don't love you!" (You have bad grammar when you're screaming at your own television set.)


This couple is from the latest season. Molly is a bra specialist who owns and runs her own boutique -- she's also a mother of two girls. Luis is a bartender she met in the Dominican Republic. He is closer in age to her daughter than to Molly. He's also a complete jerk. I have to admit, initially, I had high hopes for Luis because one of the best love matches was a vacation romance with a guy from Jamaica and a single mom. (Melanie & Devar)


One of the best things about their season was Melanie's sister Bev barking at her constantly of what an idiot she was being. She's say how Devar only loved her for her green card and worse. Somehow, you didn't believe Bev and you rooted for the couple -- plus Bev was just pure entertainment. Incidentally, Devar & Melanie married and just welcomed a baby. Devar, unlike Luis, was so good with Melanie's son. It just warmed my heart.

The show is hard on couples who really do fall in love and want to get married because there is such abuse of this K1 Visa to bring a would-be spouse to America. Even on the show. Alexei & Loren were very vocal about how it annoyed them because it makes it hard for real couples to obtain the visa with all the rules.


Watching these shows is like being Sherlock Holmes himself. Or maybe a divine prophet. You feel brilliant. You can see the future. Why can't they see the future? (Granted, it's really a producer who sees the future and edits in a way that makes you feel as if you solved the crime. I love watching people give it all up for love. Because none of us can really see our own flaws or mistakes in real time. We walk into our life lessons with well-meaning friends and family shouting warnings behind us, but no. We don't listen. Because love is the strongest emotion we can experience. And it blinds us to the truth in countless ways.

Now, comes a new show that is supposed to be even more tragic than "90 Day Fiancé." Naturally, it's brought to us by the good people who brought us "90 Day Fiancé" but this show is called "Love After Lockup." You guessed it. Men and women finding love with the incarcerated. Because who doesn't love a good prison romance?


While I may not be proud of it, I'm giving "Love After Lockup" a chance. And not because of Schadenfreude.

EDIT: I can't take the Love After Lockup. Cannot identify at all, so I'm out.

Early Reviews for "The Theory of Happily Ever After" -- My Happy Dance!

The Theory of Happily Ever After
Kristin Billerbeck

Billerbeck_Theory (3).jpg-1


“Billerbeck has the most delightful voice I’ve ever read. I laughed, cried, and rejoiced with her wonderful characters and was sad when the story ended. Highly recommended!”—Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author


According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious—serious science, that is. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream–fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with unforgettable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile—because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.

“A journey of self-discovery peppered with wisdom and truth. I loved Maggie Maguire. A must-read for lovers of chick lit.”—Rachel Hauck, New York Times bestselling author

“I absolutely adored The Theory of Happily Ever After from first page to last. Billerbeck’s signature humor made me laugh again and again, and her memorable characters stole my heart. Don’t miss this one!”—Robin Lee Hatcher, Christy and RITA Award–winning author of You’re Gonna Love Me

Kristin Billerbeck is the author of more than thirty novels, including What a Girl Wants and the Ashley Stockingdale and Spa Girls series. She is a fourth-generation Californian who loves her state and the writing fodder it provides. Learn more at www.KristinBillerbeck

My #Bachelor Recap

We open with Bibiana taking down Krystal for interrupting her "one-on-one time" with Arie. Let's just say, Bibiana will cut you Krystal. Take it down a notch maybe. Then, when interviewing Krystal, she doesn't even get why there's a problem. "I'm here to spend time with Arie," she coos. Like she hasn't even noticed that 20 odd other women are there to do the same thing. Say what you will, you have to admire Krystal's laser focus.

Chris Harrison enters looking like he's just come from his kids' soccer game & tells the girls to fight for their time -- nice pep talk.

All that matters is that Krystal and Bibiana are both on this date. Thank you producers.
They enter some type of auditorium where Chris Harrison is now dressed in a tux and introduces Arie by height and weight. The girls act like their long-lost loved ones have come home from war. Though they have no idea what they're doing yet. It reminds me of that great scene in "Burning Love' where the guys get overexcited for a puppet show. If you haven't seen it, it's a parody of the Bachelorette. I do think it gets sketchy in places, so be warned.

Back on the REAL Bachelor, they're going to GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) -- Okay, I'm all about the 80's and I have never heard of this show. But they bring out these former wrestling women who show the girls how to do a summersault with pain. The old wrestling gals then pump up the drama and trigger the girls -- first calling out Bibiana's mom for being stupid and not knowing how to spell when she named her. Nice way to abuse these girls.



They all dress up like it's sexy Halloween amateur night at Hooters. Kenny the bachelor from Rachel's season comes out and basically put on a show so that "The Kissing Bandit" ie., Arie wins.

I have to fast-forward through this. It's so bad and skeevy on so many levels. Krystal steals Arie and says, "How should I act on these groups dates?" Like she has this in the bag. Then, she goes back and taunts the other girls "Did everyone get their time?" LOL The clueless are truly the happiest people on earth. Nothing bothers them.


He makes out with Tia, Bekah & Krystal, but Bibiana is too busy whining and wastes her group date time. Amateur. Girl, watch the previous seasons. You're that GIRL. Bekah gets the rose while Krystal decides she needs to be MORE aggressive. Okay. I'm starting to feel sorry for her. She's really sounding delusional and I have to wonder if some producer is telling her behind the scenes, girl, you got this. She purrs everything in this seductive voice too, like this always works for her.


Arie takes Lauren S to Napa Valley. They eat grapes off the vines and drink wine talking about how early they go to bed. The drama! I think I had that same conversation with some grandpa at Starbucks the other day. Lauren S has the worst Valley Girl accent. But she's from Dallas. ??? Watching too much Kardashians maybe? She talks his ear off nervously. He holds the rose while he tells her that he can't give it to her. This. Is. Awkward. It's like she didn't get what he was saying and he says, "Can I walk you out?"

He keeps repeating, "I know your family's important to you." LOL Cue the violins. No, for real. There are violins and Arie is alone.

Back at the house, Krystal informs everyone what's "really going on." Ugh.


It's with dogs!! Jenna puts it best, "It's like an explosion of happiness." Except for Annaliese, who along with having a bumper car trauma, also has a doggy trauma. Which the show nicely reenacts for us. Fred Willard from "Best in Show" is narrating. Fabulous. Chelsea literally has the smartest dogs (poodle, Aussie) and she still can't make it do what it's supposed to. Annaliese gets the pooper scooper job. Becca K has been out of visual range for tonight, but they have a great interaction right before he gives it to Chelsea. Ugh.

Bibiana sets up a very romantic sofa on the driveway and Arie finds it with Lauren B. They begin kissing and Bibiana walks out at the most awkward time ever. He asks for a little more time. Ouch. Some producer has it in for Bibiana. My guess is they're going to keep her around just to keep emotionally torturing her. She's their Chick Lit lead right now.

He takes more sofa time with Bekah. That driveway bed is getting a workout and Bibiana is nowhere to be found. Now he's making out with Tia. They do seem to have a connection, but Arie definitely leads with his lips and allows him to speak for him. Without talking of course.

Annaliese takes him to a balcony and asks for a kiss. He says he doesn't think they're there yet. Ouch. Afterwards, he starts making out intensely with someone else.I think it's Lauren B and she is all over him.

Annaliese goes in again and we are all cringing, begging her to turn around. But she, like the nobody in any horror film, goes in. She asks him if there's a future for them. He cuts her a break with his infamous line, "Can I walk you out?"


Arie gives his speech, which I can sum up like this. I've already made one hard decision tonight and I'll have to make another, but you know, this is about me, so here we go.

Bibiana is going home. I'm actually shocked. I thought some producer would want to kick her around a bit more.

#TheBachelor -- my recap


The first date is with Becca K. She gets to meet Rachel Zoe and get styled. She also gets to keep a collection of gowns that will come in handy for rose ceremonies. Finally, she gets spiked, sparkly Christian Louboutins. Not bad, Becca, not bad. Arie & Becca make a gorgeous couple. They both have amazing blue eyes and dark hair. Finally, Neil Lane's lackey shows up and brings some borrowed jewelry. Arie uses his signature move and gets all handsy as he puts on the jewelry and moves suavely into a kiss.

Bachelor producers being the shady brats they are, send Becca back to the house to show off her haul. COLD.


Becca dons all her bling and they go to dinner. They have a very normal conversation and it feels very off for the franchise. They actually talk about stuff that MATTERS. What??? Their chemistry seems off the charts. I think Becca is the one to beat.

Meanwhile, back at the house, we're having a discussion about Arie's pillowy lips. Krystal, the fitness coach with the zen voice, gets another one-on-one. Two in a row!

Becca tells about her seven year relationship. I'm going to guess that's the guy who is coming back on the show to "get his woman." If so, dude, you HAD your chance. If you didn't put a ring on it, cry me a dang river.


I have to say, I love that this was just a normal date and they actually got to know each other. What a novel concept.



The date is a private plane ride to Arie's hometown of Scottsdale. LOVE Scottsdale. Seriously, they have an awesome mall where the glass ceiling opens up. Just saying, if you have to live somewhere, that's not bad. They get off the private plane and into a Porsche SUV. She gets a hometown tour, the pizza hut where he worked, the high school he went to, and finally, to his home. He sure has a way of getting women to his place, doesn't he?

These two don't really seem to have the chemistry of he and Becca. We'll have to see if he gets all handsy when they kiss. They are literally watching his home movies, and you know, that's a WEIRD first date. Now, they're meeting the parents. Arie says he needs his family's approval. So yeah, bring the first date. That's not intimidating or anything. Arie's younger brother is there with his new wife. They all seem like really sweet people and Krystal seems to fit right into the group. But later, she turns on the water works and tells Arie her sad tale of woe. She's a deep feeler. He's her friend. I don't see anything between them. Time will tell. To be honest, she doesn't seem to be the one feeling it. She gets the rose as he "loves her story."

And we have the first private concert of the season. Connor Duermit -- very talented. But it's like brother and sister having a dance. Yeah. There's no hands in the kiss.


Annaliese, who has some kind of bumper car trauma, cries at the thought of this date, but then takes chicks out right and left. Seriously, dressed by Rachel Zoe, private plane to Scottsdale and a demolition derby. Okay, that's fair. Sienne "wins" and gets more time with Arie. Meanwhile, Bibiana is plotting her time with him, while Chelsea swoops in and takes him away instantly. Are there men who like to be pursued, chased and taken down like that? Girl has a lot of testosterone. She uses her time to tell him that she's a single mom. (Ie., she chased the wrong one the first time, I guess.) . He uses his hands, but not as intensely.


Sienne casually lets it drop that she went to Yale and studied abroad. Arie reminds us he barely passed high school and worked at pizza hut. Bibiano is working herself into a frenzy wondering how she'll get time. Until she slams out.

The only girl he really seems into during this date is Bekah. The hands are moving. Sienne gets the rose. Yaley for the win!

At the cocktail party, Bekah says, she's simple, no drama and easy to please. His hands are RACING. Their chemistry is off the hook. Bibiana, meanwhile, is still complaining. Lauren B gets some time, and Krystal interrupts and Bibiana may just spontaneously combust at this point. She finally gets her time and the two of them are like watching paint dry. Krystal interrupts again. You know there's some producer in the background offering her stuff if she interrupts. Or she is genuinely clueless. Bibiana calls her out. "You already have a rose and you already had a one-on-one date." Point, Bibiana.

Finally, the rose ceremony is back where it belongs -- at the end of the episode. Thank you!
The women's faces while waiting for a rose are exactly how I felt when waiting to be called for the cheerleading team in high school and watching others get called up. I'm glad that life ended for me in high school. LOL

The producers once again, so shady. Calling Bibiana last is straight out of a Bravo reunion show. It was worth it to see Krystal's face.

Going home: Valerie, some blonde chick who won't acknowledge Arie and tells him, I'm not sad about you, but leaving my friends. (Jenny) BURN. Though she puts down the taxidermist, and I love her. She's quirky and entertains herself. I sincerely hope this season gets better.