Wednesday, August 31, 2011

{ Second Date: ASHLEY & PETE - and DownEast GIVEAWAY }

DownEast Basics GIVEAWAY!
We are excited to welcome DownEast Basics as a sponsor of The Mormon Bachelorette.  We are even MORE excited to send our lucky giveaway winner any clothing item of your choice from the DownEast Basics website HERE.  The winner will be announced before Ashley's third second date posts on Friday at 5pm PST so you have until then to enter and get your name in the drawing as many times as possible.  Here is how it works:

To enter the giveaway:
1. Comment on this blog post below
2. "Like" DownEast Basics Facebook Page HERE
3. Upload a photo of the DownEast Basics clothing item you want to win on their Facebook Page wall

To have your name entered into the drawing more than once:
1. "Like" The Mormon Bachelorette Facebook Page HERE
2. If you have already liked our page, leave a comment on the wall
3. Follow our Twitter handle @mbstaffers

Also - A huge thank you to Mike and Jeff from AZ Hummer Tours for an incredible extreme desert tour!  They are the #1 rated attraction in Phoenix by TripAdvisor for a reason. They’re the nicest guys around that deliver an unparalleled experience. Check them out at:

In Pete's Words:

As I was just waking up some weekday morning, I noticed a text from Ashley. It was sent at the early hours of working folks, a little bit before I would be awake. She wanted a second date, and I said, “Why not!?”. I wasn’t given a lot of detail at that point but I was told to be ready for a great time. As my friends will tell you, I almost always am.

The day for the date arrived. The journey from Tucson, though perilous, was accomplished easily that day. As I arrived I noticed Ashley smiling from ear to ear and this put me in good mood. I decided then that I would give my all in this date and do my best to make it fantastic fun. I started out really flirty with Ashley; that’s my style on a second date when I know a girl is awesome. It worked pretty well. We had lots of time to talk as we made the hour long drive to Peoria to venture into the desert wild, on a sturdy Humvee steed. It was a little weird as she drove and was in control of the date, a role reversal for sure.

Quickly we met up with our guide and I laid eyes on the Humvee, this was an impressive machine. In addition, our grisly guide could not have looked more authentic. We hopped in and took off. Needless to say this off-road vehicle was capable, but the best feature of all was probably the bench seat on back where we rode. Just like the song says, “Stick shifts and safety belts, bucket seats have all got to go…”. She sidled up next to me on the drive and it was a good opportunity for some more intimate chatting.

The desert toys did not disappoint. We rode on the back of the Humvee up and down trails and got to cruise around on our own personal off road vehicles for a bit. That was awesome! I couldn’t deny Ashley’s driving skills. I’m not sure she’s ready for the rally car circuit, but she was good! The day turned to dusk and we headed for pizza at the Mellow Mushroom pizza café. The name was misleading, but the pizza was delish. Ashley and I got the chance to break it down some more and chat like crazy! She got to hear a few more accents and a couple more random accounts from my storied past. Dinner couldn’t have been better.

As we started the drive home Ashley was exhausted. She started driving but I could tell she was pretty sleepy. I got a small “knight in shining armor” moment when we pulled off the highway and I took over so she could rest. Ha ha, she fell fast asleep! A bad sign for most dates but I chose not to take it that way. Ashley was comfortable enough with me to just relax and rest, and I took that as a positive. We arrived home and it was time for goodnight. What a great date, what a great girl! I had an experience I couldn’t have predicted after our first date, and I’m glad we both took the chance. It was nice that we used teamwork to get home safe, and I was starting to see a relationship growing that might have some momentum. I guess we’ll see…

Monday, August 29, 2011

{ Second Date: ASHLEY & ALEX }

Erin Elton here - we are thrilled to feature Ashley's Second Date picks starting with Alex Dayton tonight!  There is also much to be excited about in the next few weeks - for the first time EVER we are doing an entire Wedding Giveaway! If you or someone you know is getting married in the state of Utah, or you think you are going to get married at some point in your life, pay attention in the next 2 weeks! Details to come...

We also want to congratulate BRAD JOHNSON who won the popular vote for a Second date!  We are looking forward to his Round Two date with Ashley and considering his popularity on TMB, we assume you are too:).

Also on Wednesday we will be featuring a giveaway from one of our title sponsors, DownEast Basics. Visit their website here and pick out your favorite item you want to win, save a picture of it on your computer, and get ready for details Wednesday.

A big thanks to DownEast Basics for sponsoring Alex and Ashley's second date.  Visit their website here to check out the latest trends in modest fashion, including the swimsuit Ashley wore tonight, the Malibu Swim Skirt and Tropical Tank.

In Alex's words...

I was excited to see Ashley again for a second date. I was especially relieved that I didn't have to plan it this time. After all, our first date was so serendipitous that I wouldn't want to test fate twice by planning it myself. Unfortunately Ashley’s elaborate plans fell through and things didn’t work out quite like they had on our first date. She had intended for us to have a private session at the Flowrider, an artificial wave that you surf, but it broke that day. Ashley came up with a backup plan that ended up being better in my book. I just wanted something low-key and relaxing. That's exactly how it turned out.

Ashley lined up a Vespa for us to borrow from her friend Stacy Zimmerman. I picked her up and drove us to De la Cruz Bistro for dinner. The Vespa ride provided a good excuse to have her arms around me. I liked it. Dinner conversation was good. I saw again the reasons that Ashley intrigued me on the first date.

I was happy to get back on the Vespa for a ride to Ashley’s former Bishop’s house. Despite the warm weather, riding around was really fun. The pool, tramp and a little put-put at the Bishop’s house were just perfect.

I enjoyed spending time with Ashley again. I like the way she lives, it really fits with how I live; down to how she is with her money. I was impressed. She’s cute, she gives a good hug, I even like her hands. She’s nice to hold. On our first date when the film crew wasn’t around we danced in the park for a few minutes. She moves well, she just fits. Ashley is the kind of girl that deserves the best things that money can't buy.

At the end of the date I found myself wanting to take this girl out again and again. I am not sure how confident I feel about having a serious relationship with Ashley but I hope she chooses me in the end so we can continue to see where this goes. I really like Ashley.

Friday, August 26, 2011

{ Time To Vote! }

Round One is in the books! Ashley and her 22 Bachelors have gone on their first dates and Ashley's second dates will air this Monday, August 29th. Over the next few days we will be taking a poll for your favorites so far - who do you think Ashley should choose? We want to know! Polls close at midnight this Sunday, August 28th.

{ Post Date Interview ASHLEY & RUDD }

Thursday, August 25, 2011

{ DATE #22: Rudd Hopkins }

I feel like I’ve kept things together pretty well throughout the Mormon Bachelorette, despite the late nights, demanding schedule, and ups and downs of dating put on steroids. But tonight I kind of had a breakdown. As I was getting ready, I moved some things on my bathroom counter, to make room for my makeup artist to set her stuff. Suddenly I heard something hit the floor and shatter. To my horror I looked down and saw my Venetian glass ring that I had bought in Austria just a few weeks before, now sitting in pieces. I had been planning to wear it that night, and I was so incredibly sad to see my momento from Europe now ruined. I couldn’t just go buy a replacement. I yelled out loud “Oh come on, you gotta be kidding me! Dangit!” It truly is not normal for me to have outbursts like that. I quickly realized that my bedroom door was open, and I knew that they had let my date into the house to avoid the heat and was downstairs waiting. I was mortified at the thought that this reaction would be his first impression of me, and knew that I would have to be sure to explain myself.

We quickly cleaned up the mess, finished getting me ready, and then sent my date back out the door. When I opened my door and saw Rudd Hopkins standing there, I knew I was in for a fun evening, and also felt very relieved that it was someone I knew that had heard my yelling and would therefore hopefully not be as quick to judge me for it. I made sure to explain the situation to him and he was perfectly understanding. I had met Rudd about a month before at the Huntington Beach Mid-Singles Conference (yep, at 27 you count for Mid-Single…). My buddy that I had driven out with is friends with Rudd and so he had introduced us. At that time I learned that Rudd is a fun loving guy, who can be a bit goofy, but who has a heart of gold.

Rudd’s personality came shining through right from the start. When we pulled up to his friend’s house where we’d be making dinner, he told me not to get out of the car. He then jumped out of the car and ran around to my side to open my door which just made me laugh. Laughter always helps lighten the mood and lifts the soul and I appreciated the gesture. Showing his perfect gentlemanliness, he offered me his arm as we walked. Rudd is incredibly thoughtful, as was evidenced by the fact that he had brought two aprons from California for us, and one was a Flirty Apron for me. It was really very cute and it helped me feel all girlie. The kicker – it would have perfectly matched my glass ring...How’s that for irony? We laughed about it together.

If you think Rudd looks familiar, it might be because he took Aubrey on a date on Season 1. Their date was on a Sunday, so Rudd was wearing his distinctive bow tie, and they made a fabulous looking meal. Knowing this, I figured that I was in for a treat with whatever we’d be making. Rudd did not let me down, with a Thai chicken pizza and a shrimp pesto pizza recipe for our brick oven pizzas that we were going to be making. We had a ton of fun making the pizzas, however, we didn’t exactly make them as we should. It seemed we hadn’t been given proper instruction. It really wouldn’t have mattered that we messed up the pizzas a bit, except that we were supposed to take some of them to neighbors in the area. The family whose house we were using is actually really well known in their neighborhood for their brick oven pizzas, and so there was a certain standard that we needed to live up. Fortunately, the neighbors were very gracious and grateful for the food no matter what condition it came in.

I loved that Rudd had determined a way for us to do some service on our date – rather than just feeding ourselves and calling it good. It’s very reflective of who Rudd is and how much he values people and looks to their needs. Rudd’s thoughtfulness was further showcased in his planning for the date when we had a violinist to serenade us over dinner. What a splendid experience! Our violinist was very talented.

I thought the meal was great, but Rudd had another surprise – home made vanilla ice cream with apple pie and strawberries mixed in. This stuff was really really great. While we ate, Rudd shared some quotes with me, and scriptures. He is incredibly knowledgeable in the Gospel and knows a millions quotes such that he can pull the perfect one from his memory bank at just the time it is needed. It really is incredibly impressive. This was a side that I had not had the opportunity to learn about when I first met him in California.

So not only does Rudd have this deep side to him, he’s extremely light hearted. He’s a little bit of a kid with the things he’ll do to get a smile and a laugh. Admittedly, sometimes I find it cute, other times I don’t so much. I’ve said for a long time that every guy, no matter how “cool” they seem on the surface, is a dork underneath, and it’s just a matter of whether you find it annoying, or endearing. With Rudd, I’m not quite sure yet which it is for me. I would need more time with Rudd to figure that out. But it’s time that I’d be willing to give.

{ Post Date Interview ASHLEY & ALEX }

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

{DATE #21: Alex Dayton }

I loved the earrings I got to wear tonight from Ryan Amelia Design. They’re cute pink roses and they’re easiest to see on the post date interview so you’ll have to make sure and watch that tomorrow.

Tonight changed my life. I will forever be indebted to The Mormon Bachelorette and my dates for many reasons, and tonight was one of those. But it will take a minute to get to that part...

I actually started the evening with a videographer from ABC news following me as I got ready for the date and asking me a few questions. ABC was going to do a news spot on TMB, which we’d already done with a couple of TV stations, but they were taking a different angle on it. Rather than focusing on me and the fact that I was going out with 22 guys to find love, they were more interested in the fact that there was a show built around the endeavor. Given that ABC carries The Bachelorette, I think the station was just really intrigued by this kind of “spin off”. I was happy to see that our incredible production crew was getting some attention and getting interviewed as well. They have done so much work on the show, and they deserved some spotlighting too!

Once I got to open the door and meet my date, Alex Dayton, something told me that I was in for an unusual night. We started out with dinner at Oregano’s Pizza Bistro which is a very popular local restaurant. I have to say, I’ve never been a big fan, but I was actually converted tonight by the Big Beefstro Salad. So I might finally understand what the big deal is with Oregano’s. But the more important part was the conversation with Alex. I was having a hard time getting a read on Alex. He was pleasant, and he was flirty. But it seemed like he would tell me one thing, and then counter it just a few minutes later. I couldn’t quite tell when he was joking or when he was being sincere. It was very clear that he was being honest when he talked about the fact that he likes attention. Many people would knock this as a bad quality. I think that any character trait can be a flaw if you let it be. But if you are aware of the things that you desire in life, then you can take that and figure out how to achieve it through your work or your social interactions. You can also work on balancing out the need with something that is more productive or rewarding. So, I give Alex props for being self aware, and being honest. Conversation was flowing easily through dinner and I was having a good time.

Alex was being very mysterious about what we’d be doing after dinner. As we drove to our next stop he took a call from someone. “Yeah, we’re really close. We’ll be there in just a minute.” Apparently we were meeting someone. But as we pulled up to the East Valley Institute of Technology campus, I was even more baffled as to who we’d be meeting there and for what. We walked in and sat down in the back of an auditorium. On the stage was a banner for “Young Women’s Conference: Time to Blossom”. I had heard of this conference. I also noticed singer Alex Boye on stage, who I am a fan of (if you haven’t seen his “I’m a Mormon” video yet, it’s great. Watch it HERE). He was telling an inspiring (and hilarious) story about giving the Book of Mormon to Prince Charles. After the story he began singing. Suddenly I thought I heard Alex sing my name. Before I could determine if I was going crazy or not, he sang it again. The next thing I knew he was walking down the aisle toward me. Alex Boye brought me and Alex Dayton on stage and Alex Dayton actually recited a poem to me. Now, we had a mishap with the production crew getting separated from us, and so they weren’t actually in the room when this happened. The conference was filming though, so they caught it on camera. If you want to see it, watch THIS video. As you can see in the TMB video, Alex Boye actually brought us on stage again at the end and I was given a bouquet of beautiful red roses from Alex Dayton. I felt very undeserving of the attention, but it was magical nonetheless. Talk about a once in a lifetime experience.

The girls in the audience went crazy over Alex Dayton. It was so cute. At the end he and I walked around meeting some of the girls and Alex gave roses to some of them. In a world that so often can seem bleak for the future, with youth who are lazy, choosing to be immoral or dishonest, etc., here were hundreds of young women, who were making good choices and it showed – through their modest dress and their shining countenances. They truly glowed with the Spirit and I was so impressed by each one! I loved talking with several of the girls, including a beautiful young lady named Brinley. She was sharp, kind, and confident in who she is. After talking with the girls, we were able to talk with the Co-Founder of Time to Blossom, Debbie Forrest, and some of the speakers, Vivian Cline and John Bytheway, along with John’s wife, Kim. Each of these individuals are incredibly inspiring people. I really mean that. You can read about each one by clicking their names in order to understand why. I have listened to talks from John Bytheway for years, and there have been many instances where I heard him say exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it – some of the tender mercies of the Lord in my life. John truly is one of my heroes and I felt tremendously honored to meet him, and his beloved wife, Kim, that he talks about in so many of his talks. Speaking with Debbie, Vivian and Kim, they gave me wonderful advice on dating, love, and faith. I just continued to feel buoyed up by the Spirit that was there in our conversations.

After the conference Alex took me for ice cream at Dairy Queen that we ate in the park. It was nice to be able to talk with him some more, and learn more about who Alex is. We also talked about what an amazing experience the evening had been. Perhaps the craziest thing of it all was that Alex didn’t have any idea what we’d be doing for our date when he got on the plane that morning. But once he ran into Alex Boye on the plane, everything just fell in to place. Sometimes life works out that way.

I feel bad that most of this blog has been about everything and everyone but Alex, but tonight was about so much more than just Alex. I feel so incredibly blessed and I feel changed after tonight. I have Alex to thank for that which does actually say a lot about him. I’m still very unsure about Alex though. I just can’t quite put my finger on how I feel about him. Perhaps time will tell.

{ Post Date Interview: ASHLEY & ADRIAN }

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

{ DATE #20: Adrian Harris }

I wanted to start my post today by acknowledging one of our premier sponsors, Good Frau - Personalized Paper Products. Emily makes the most beautiful invitations and cards! You can visit her site here for all of your invitation needs - wedding/shower, birthdays, baby announcements and even wall art.

Going into this, I assumed that most of my dates, if not all, would be men that I had not previously met. So you can imagine my surprise when I found a familiar face on my doorstep. I was happy to see Adrian Harris, a baller from Sacramento that I had met about a month prior in Huntington Beach. I immediately knew it was going to be an enjoyable evening with Adrian by my side. And by baller, I can verify that he is a basketball star that knows how to get it done. I’d also been witness to his football abilities on the beach – this boy’s got skillz.

It was great to catch up with Adrian on the happenings in his life as we drove to the Cheesecake Factory. Over dinner I really enjoyed exchanging stories with him about traveling, college, and BYU football games. Each story gave a little window into who Adrian is and what he’s all about. We spent some time reminiscing on our freshmen year at BYU because though we lived in different dorms, we were there the same year and we had some friends in common. It’s always a joy for me to walk down memory lane to that part of my life. Never had I met so many great people in such a short time as when I lived in the dorms. To this day many of those people are still my close friends who have continually inspire and support me.

As we discussed Adrian’s experience with the process for the show, I learned that he had driven here all the way from Sacramento, and that he had stayed up until the early hours of the morning in order to make his application video. I was impressed and extremely flattered by his willingness to give it all for the date. I think that’s very indicative of Adrian and his approach to everything in life. He’s going to give all of his efforts to anything that he values. I know that he will be fully dedicated to a relationship and marriage. In a world of so much uncertainty, that kind of security is extremely desirable.

After a delicious piece of cheesecake we were off to the activity for the evening. I’d been told to bring a swimsuit and towel but still didn’t know what it would be for. As we drove west on the 60 I had my suspicions that we were heading to the local water park, Sun Splash. I was excited when we pulled off at Country Club Drive as this confirmed my thoughts. Though I’ve lived here for four years I’ve never actually made it to Sun Splash; pathetic, I know. So I was stoked at the opportunity to play in the waterpark with Adrian.

We easily agreed on our first ride of choice – the Sidewinder half pipe! We’d both ridden similar rides at other parks but this one looked especially good. Adrian had never ridden one going backward so I let him take the front seat. We plummeted down the incline and I felt that exhilarating moment of fear, when you think that you just might not survive the experience, only to quickly reach the bottom and then fly up the other side of the pipe. Given the fact that you drop 5 stories, I’m pretty sure that anyone would be a little nervous about the initial drop…

Adrian and I wanted to bring the audience along for these great rides and so we took turns wearing a Go Pro camera that was strapped onto us. I’ve always loved watching extreme sports on TV and getting the bird’s eye from one of the riders, which is exactly what you can accomplish with a Go Pro. It was funny to have people look at us and wonder why we had a camera strapped to our chest, but it was worth the inquiring looks to get the footage!

After the Sidewinder, next it was on to the Master Blaster, an actual roller coaster water slide. What an amazing innovation! We had a good ride, but at the end as I bailed off the tube into the pool, I think my exit led to Adrian getting fully dunked! I felt horrible. But Adrian just smiled and we laughed together. He’s got a great ability to laugh it off.

My first impression of Adrian in Huntington Beach was only confirmed on our date – he is a solid member of the church who knows how to work for what he wants. He showed me even more resolutely just how considerate and thoughtful his is. And I saw just how much fun he can be. But to be honest, after I’d spent some time with Adrian in Huntington when we’d met, I had put him in “the friend zone”. There’s not necessarily a solid rhyme or reason to it, but I just wasn’t really interested. I’m sure you’ve been there before where the guy or girl has everything on the “must have list”, and even has some of the “nice to have extras” like looking really good in a swimsuit (yes, Adrian certainly has that going for him!)…but for some reason the interest just wasn’t there. I was open to it during our date, and tried to see if I couldn’t find a spark in my heart, but I don’t think it every really came. I wish that it would have.

I had actually had a really hard day before our date, and I could not have had a more perfect date than Adrian that night. Since he was a friend, I was able to talk openly with him. I even cried a little bit in front of him…not a normal occurrence for a first date (or any subsequent date usually) by any means. But he was perfectly supportive and made me feel a lot better. I truly feel that Adrian was supposed to be my date that night. He was my angel that I needed right then. Adrian is a total catch and he’s going to make some special girl very, very happy.

{ Post Date Interview with ASHLEY & ERIK }

Monday, August 22, 2011

{ DATE #19: Erik Gagon }

By now I’ve explained that I’m very open to guys with different physiques and looks. However, the one thing that I’ve always struggled with is height. I hate to admit this, but it’s just my hang up – we’ve all got them, right? I’ve dated a couple of guys in the past that were my height, or even just a tad shorter. They were amazing, great guys and we dated for some time, but in each case it hasn’t worked out, and it has been somewhat related to the height. Not exclusively, but it was a factor. I’m open to the fact that maybe someday it will work though. My matchmaker, Miss Tristen Ure (a.k.a. The Mormon Matchmaker) knew this was a growth opportunity for me, and so she sent me on a date with Erik Gagon, knowing that he is shorter than me. I can tell you that the height actually really didn’t bug me. Part of it for me, is that as a girl you want to feel feminine, petite, and protected. So typically a guy that is bigger than you helps you feel that way. Erik has thick, broad shoulders, a striking jaw and just really manly features that helped me still feel feminine by comparison. He’s certainly stronger than me!

I definitely find Erik attractive. I know that when his application video was posted he was tagged as being the most handsome applicant. I think the fact that his mom is Brazilian contributes to his striking looks. One of my favorite features though is actually his voice. There’s just something about it that I find really appealing, but I don’t even know quite how to articulate why. I said on Mike’s post date that I don’t normally notice eyes, which is still the case, but Erik’s caught my attention as well. It wasn’t the color though, it’s just that he always has this sparkle in his eyes. They go well with his big smile that instantly warms you up to him.

When we got into the car (a nice big Suburban that all of the crew piled into), Erik informed me that we were heading off to Payson, to go hiking and cliff jumping in Box Canyon. Based on what I’d been told to wear I had suspected that it would be something like this and was thrilled at the idea! The sad thing was that Erik explained that the original plan was to go skydiving. Yes, you read it right, Erik was going to pay for us to both go SKYDIVING! I’ve never been but have wanted to for a long time. Unfortunately I’d only taken a half day off of work, not a full day, and so we couldn’t fit it into the time. I was bummed, but was super impressed just by the fact that he would have been willing to do that for me – without even knowing me.

As we drove for a little over an hour to Payson, I continued to be impressed by Erik. He didn’t serve a mission until he was 23. My brother-in-law once told me that any of the guys that served in his mission and had left later than age 19, were super solid in their faith. They had obviously not gone just because they were supposed to. They had each made a decision to go of their own free will. Now, this is not to say that missionaries at 19 didn’t make that decision as well and aren’t just as faithful, but it seems even more fail proof for those that go later. As we talked about his true conversion to the Gospel and his faith, I could tell just how sincere he was. He really opened up and we were able to talk about a lot of personal spiritual experiences and thoughts that we wouldn’t normally share during a first date. But I felt like I could trust Erik completely. It was a wonderful feeling and interchange.

The time in the car flew by and the next thing I knew we were in Payson and ready to go hiking. The difficulty was that we’d gotten a call that day from a radio station, KTAR 620 AM who wanted to interview us. They wanted to meet us back in Mesa and in order to do so we had to really rush. So if you feel like we’re trucking up the path in the video, it’s because we were! We didn’t have time to get to the biggest jumps, which was too bad. Erik is extremely brave and I’m sure he would have done the biggest cliffs. But we only had time to do a small one (that I wasn’t willing to jump off of, given how shallow it was), and then one other. We made the best of the short time though. Erik was fun and flirty with me, splashing me with water, and we dunked each other a couple of times. He showed off his strength by effortlessly heaving me up on his shoulder. Everything about the day was just so enjoyable so far! But, it was time to get back down to Mesa.

Erik had brought his brother-in-law along as a tour guide, since Erik had never done the hike before. In order to get us back to Mesa faster, his brother-in-law offered to drive (he wouldn’t be distracted with chatting it up with a date). So Erik and I got to climb in the very back of the Suburban. I’ve never been chauffeured on a date before but this turned out to be a great setup! We were able to just talk and laugh. Part of the time I had to reapply makeup and try to make myself look somewhat presentable again in order to be ready for the interview. Yes, it was on radio, but I didn’t want to look haggard after being in the water. Add to that the fact that my next date was picking me up RIGHT after I would be getting home, I had to take advantage of the time. Erik was so nice to not feel slighted while I multi-tasked with putting on makeup and chatting. He was actually really sweet to tell me that I looked good no matter what.

The interview was a great experience. The interviewer has said it would only be 5-10 minutes but we ended up talking with him for an hour! He just found the whole concept and our faith so fascinating and kept asking questions. He was actually a really interesting guy and I wished that we’d had more time to talk and get to know him, but by now we were running really short on time! Erik did so well with the interview though. He gave honest and sincere answers and was well spoken. I was really glad that he was my date that got to do the interview with me. He helped me feel relaxed and able to really enjoy the experience.
I’m a big fan of Erik. I think he was a fan of me too…hopefully so because I’m feeling pretty good that Erik’s going to get an invite back for a 2nd date. I just hope he would accept!

{ Post Date Interview: ASHLEY & Kevin }

Friday, August 19, 2011

{ Date #18: Kevin Shiflett }

I kept wondering if one of my dates would take me to a Diamondbacks game. It seemed a logical choice, given that the heat restricts what we can do outside, I like sports, and in the end, it truly is the all-American pastime! I’m not one to watch baseball on TV or check the D-backs stats every day, but I do like to be up on their general performance. This season has been much better for them than the past few years so I felt confident that they had the potential to win.

Kevin is a fan of many sports and someone who has followed the D-backs for so long that he still calls Chase Field the Bank One Ballpark (the BOB), and seems to prefer their old team colors. He’s been with these guys through a lot. It’s always impressive to me when fans have been committed to a team for a long time, over the ups as well as the downs. Kevin’s commitment to the D-backs is a sign of his deep commitment to anything that he believes in – the Gospel of Jesus Christ, serving people, dating. His belief in dating and treating a woman like a lady was very evident from the start of our date. He not only wanted to open my car door when we got in the car, he offered to do so when we got out of the car. He had carefully planned out our date and the purchase of tickets for us. I couldn’t help but feel very special because of his efforts.

In order to get down to Chase Field, Kevin chose to have us ride the light rail. This began operating in Phoenix/Tempe/Mesa, just before the end of 2008. Because of its relatively new nature, I had not yet taken the light rail. I really enjoy taking mass transit at times, as it allows you do some people watching, and be reminded that there are a lot more people in the world than just you in your own little car on the road.

On the ride, Kevin told me about his home away from home in Cancun, Mexico, where he served his mission. He loves the people there so much that he goes back once a year. It was easy to see that he took his mission seriously and I’m sure he served with all his might. We also discussed how learning Spanish on his mission has tremendously blessed him in his career as a police officer.

Once we arrived at the field, we met up with a videographer from Fox News who was going to be doing a spot on The Mormon Bachelorette and a live interview with us, the next night. Fox wanted to get some footage of the date to use in the story. Kevin was very patient as we followed the videographer’s instructions and helped him get what he needed. The film crew does all that they can to be the least intrusive on my dates so that I can focus on the real purpose – getting to know my dates. And they do a great job with it, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. I’m always impressed with each date as they happily go along with it, rather than begrudging the interruption on their timeline.

We were now ready to sit and enjoy the game from our seats. Did I mention that the seats were on the front row, a little out past third base?!? They were incredible seats. Kevin had pulled out all the stops and I really appreciated it. He even tried to get the attention of any player that came near us to see if he could get us a baseball. Always going the extra mile.

As we reached the 7th Inning stretch we stood and joined in for the classic “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. Throughout the song the cameras were roving the crowd and putting fans up on the big screen. I always enjoy the faces of shock and surprise, and hilarious antics that can often ensue once someone is on camera. I was surprised when I suddenly saw what looked like Kevin and I. It really was odd how it took a moment to register, but there we were, on the big screen! And mind you, the D-backs screen was the largest in the MLB when it was installed in 2008, and I believe it is now dwarfed only by Yankee Stadium’s screen. Talk about a memorable experience!

At the end of the 8th inning, it seemed the D-backs had the win secured, with a 4-2 lead. But the surety was stripped in the top of the 9th when the Indians scored 2 runs. The D-backs had 2 outs when they brought Wily Mo Pena to bat. He looked formidable and it seemed he might have a shot at getting him and the other player on base back home. As he connected with the ball, it was sent soaring into the left outfield stands, getting him a walk-off 2-run home run! The D-backs had won 6-4!! It was an ending fitting for a movie!

The ride home was more docile than the end of the game, but it was nice to keep chatting with Kevin. The conclusion I came to is that Kevin is exactly the kind of guy you want to be on the streets protecting your community. He cares so much, wants to serve, and upholds moral standards. I’m confident that he’s a great cop and I feel better knowing he is watching over the valley that I call home.

{ Post Date Interview ASHLEY & MIKE }

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{ DATE #17: Mike Romney }

Ashley and Mike's date tonight is sponsored by Good Frau.  To check out the most beautiful and creative invitations around visit the shop here and for a 10% discount become a fan on Facebook here.

I have never been the one to notice eye color on guys. I can’t tell you how many times in college I would come back from a date, have my roommates all gathered around asking for the scoop and one would say “Well what does he look like? What color are his eyes?” and I would have to respond “Hmm, I don’t remember what color his eyes were actually…” But Mike Romney’s eyes were something you just can’t miss. His stormy sea foam green eyes (sorry, I told I don’t normally notice so I’m struggling with how to describe them…) just glow and instantly grabbed my attention. They’re soft and kind, but can also become narrowly focused when he’s intent on something. The other thing I noticed with more time was that Mike actually looks a bit like my younger brother…truly quite a bit like my brother! Good thing my brother and I don’t look too too much alike – that just might be weird.

Mike and I started off with brunch at Mimi’s Café where we were able to chat and get to know each other. Mike is a brilliant mechanical engineer, studying at BYU. Mike will deny his brilliance, but that’s part of his charming humility. Mechanical engineer is just perfect for him, given his love for cars. He has a project car that he’s working on, and has an Audi A4 that he takes to the race track. I was thrilled to have a date that I could talk cars with. My dad grew up around cars and working on them with his dad. My dad was always intent on his daughters knowing at least the basics of cars, and for some reason I just really got interested in them. I love any kind of vehicle with power (motorcycle, quad, car) that I can rev up and try to spin out. Dad didn’t teach me that though…I was just drawn to it! Needless to say, I find it very attractive when a man knows about cars, enjoys them, and knows how to work on them. Being mechanically minded is sometimes a lost art among men today, but I think it’s so completely manly and should be brought back!

Not only is Mike into cars, he’s into anything outdoorsy and adventurous. This was evidenced by the activity he selected for us, which was going rock climbing. I took a rock climbing class back in high school and have climbed a handful of times since. So I’m pretty familiar with the basic know how of rock climbing, but when you don’t climb consistently, you have a lot of specific muscles that are not prepped for the activity. The next day you always seem to feel muscles that you forgot even existed! And during the endeavor, you realize your shortfalls pretty quickly. But Mike was really good and encouraging and helped me pull off some 5.9’s. I really liked that he would let me do my thing, and work on figuring out my route, but once he could tell I was stuck, he would offer a suggestion. Other times I’ve gone with guys who have quickly told me where to put my foot or a hold to grab, as soon as I’ve paused for even a moment. I like to be able to try and figure it out first and Mike let me do that. He was a great supporter and a great climber himself. He was getting it done by climbing 5.10’s and 5.11’s. Impressive stuff.

Mike was super chill and very easy to be around. I enjoyed the low pressure feeling and our ability to just talk and enjoy each other’s company. As I got to know Mike, one thing I liked was how close he is with his dad. His dad had even joined him for the trip to Arizona, to have a bit of a weekend getaway together. Mike sees value in traveling and the experiences you can have, which I really value as well. We could certainly have some fun adventures together! I’m intrigued by Mike. I think he could be a good balance for me as we’re quite opposite in some personality traits, but we have a lot of similar interests. He’s a solid guy and I’d like to learn more.

{ Post Date Interview: ASHLEY & ADAM }

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{ DATE #16: Adam McGrath }

I have never laughed so hard in the first 10 minutes of a date than I did on my date with Adam McGrath.  As we walked to the car he noticed a bird was perched on the driver side of his rental car, on the tiny ledge at the base of the window of the back seat.  The bird seemed to be staring right at us…I had to explain that this “creeper bird” was part of a contingency that had literally taken over my house during my 2 weeks in Europe.  My roommates were dealing with the same birds sitting on the ledge outside of their bathroom, watching them, constantly, and intently.

As we got in the car, the bird did not flinch.  As we began to drive down the road, the bird still did not flinch.  Man this bird was hard core!  I watched the bird closely as Adam gunned it, and was completely amused to see the bird literally hunker down with his wings to become more aero dynamic so he could maintain his post.  Surprisingly he held on!  Perhaps you had to be there, but we could not stop laughing.  The experience created a light and cheery mood which carried on throughout the date as Adam kept me laughing with our conversations.

We drove to a local favorite, Pita Jungle, for dinner.  The restaurant is known for being earthy and caters to vegans, vegetarians, etc.  It has a fun vibe, and some great food – especially the hummus!  Over dinner I enjoyed getting to know about Adam and his interests.  We share a love for the band 311, and can appreciate a good concert.  As we talked I had several stories come to mind that were experiences I’d nearly forgotten from my past.  I realized how great it has been to be going out with so many different guys who bring different things to the surface for me.

After the grub it was time to explore the Desert Botanical Garden with a flashlight tour.  There are hundreds of different cacti and other desert plants and flowers throughout the garden, all beautifully light up.  They have stations set up where you can learn about bats, tortoises, and Adam’s favorites: snakes and scorpions.  We were actually lucky enough to find a king snake in the trees – yes, he was IN the tree.  The garden was all out of flashlights for us to use (apparently it was a popular night), but Adam was very resourceful and found a widget on his smart phone for a flashlight – and it was one powerful flashlight!  So we were able to see the snake even behind several layers of branches.  At the actual snake station we were able to touch a different king snake which was surprisingly smooth.  I could tell how much Adam was loving this part.

How could we top the snake encounter?   Our next station was the scorpions, a delightful little critter that we’re lucky to have in abundance in Arizona (hopefully you can feel the sarcasm on that one…).  Though they are a pest, they’re actually pretty fascinating, and can give a snake a run for its money in the cool category.  Perhaps the coolest thing about a scorpion is that they glow under a black light.  They have a protein in their exoskeleton that has fluorescent properties.  Even a scorpion that is black under normal lighting, will turn a bright glowing blue/green under a blacklight.  Adam found this to be pretty impressive.

The park was closing so it was time to head on to our next adventure.  As we walked out, we passed what might be my favorite thing at the Garden, which oddly enough isn’t a plant.  There are stunning green and clear glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly right at the entrance.  Chihuly is the one that did the glass flowers on the ceiling of the Bellagio in Vegas and the tall red sculpture in Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City.

When we returned to the car I felt like I was in Abravanel Hall at a performance as Adam gave me a demonstration of his percussion skills on the steering wheel. Adam has a dream to become a member of the Blue Man Group and he is doing everything he can to obtain it.  He bought a drum kit, is taking lessons, and practices diligently.  I was really impressed with his passion for and commitment to his goal.  He really does have a sense for the beat!

It was time for a treat and Adam had a great place picked out – Subzero Ice Cream.  Given his profession as a metallurgist, it was perfectly fitting to get ice cream that is created by using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze the cream and mix ins you’ve selected. That place really is such a fun experience – not your normal trip to the ice cream parlor.  They even let us put our fingers in the liquid nitrogen (you just have to pull them out quickly!), and showed us how quickly it evaporated when you threw it on the floor. Truly a one of a kind experience! Again, I could tell that Adam was really enjoying the experience as well.

Over our ice cream I asked Adam if he had a celebrity lookalike.  With his response he busted out an impersonation that had me rolling with laughter.  Who is the celebrity look alike you ask?  You’ll have to watch to date to find out!  As I said, this guy had me laughing all night.  What a gift for laughter, and what a fun date.

{ Post Date Interview: ASHLEY & BRAD }

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

{ DATE #15: Brad Johnson }

Once I saw Brad, I could feel myself getting a little nervous and not being quite as eloquent on the doorstep as I would have liked to be…I found this guy attractive! Maybe it was the fact that he looks like Jason Bateman from Arrested Development who I’ve always had a crush on. Fortunately I quickly overcame this once we got in the car and we easily fell into conversation. We had a lot of things in common and so we had a lot to talk about. Brad is well traveled, well read, he’s adventurous, he’s athletic, he’s smart, and he’s funny. I was excited when he took me to Joe’s Real BBQ in downtown Gilbert. He’d never been, so I got to show him the ropes in the cafeteria style restaurant. I decided to indulge a bit and grab some chocolate milk. I felt better when he decided to follow suit. You get to pick a couple of different sides to go with your main entrée, and I was happy that Brad was willing to team up on the effort and get different sides so that we could both try more. I love sharing food! A guy that is a germaphobe and won’t share with me…that would be a tough one for me.

When I eat BBQ, I like to have a lot of sauce. So with a pulled pork sandwich and lots of sauce, you’re definitely asking for a mess, which is always fun to try and come off looking like a lady when you have BBQ sauce dripping all over. But I didn’t feel nervous anymore with Brad, so I just went with it. While we ate and talked, I noticed that Brad was really good at focusing on me. Despite the normal traffic of a restaurant, and the film crew a few tables over, Brad really zeroed into our conversation. It was really reassuring and helped me open up even more. He had lots of interesting stories to tell from his many varied experiences in life, and we just went back and forth. I was loving our communication!

By the time conversation wound down and we started to think it was time to get going, it had already gotten pretty late into the evening. The plan had been to go ice skating, but Brad’s flight had been later than originally planned, and since we talked so long, we wouldn’t be able to make it in time. So the backup plan was to head straight to the last phase of the date – ice cream at The Sugar Bowl in Old Town Scottsdale. This cute and traditional ice cream parlor has all sorts of goodies to choose from. But to be honest, Brad and I were so full that nothing looked all that appealing. But Brad suggested the Blarney Dream parfait. He does have Irish blood, and he has in fact kissed the Blarney Stone, so it seemed fitting. I was happy that in order to look over the menu (which was quite large); Brad came over on my side of the table and scooted right next to me. By this point, Brad had me rolling with laughter. He’s really quite charming and entertaining.

Once we determined we just couldn’t put any more ice cream down, it was time to get a little competitive and flirty. The Sugar Bowl has a bunch of little arcade games. I won Skee-ball, but he won Basketball. I was feeling evenly matched overall, but then he proceeded to win every other game we played. It was a humbling experience but Brad was so cute to always reassure me with a hug or a squeeze of my arm, so I didn’t mind as much.

Some of the audience feedback has been that I’m not flirty enough and they can’t tell if I like any of the guys. First, I do have to say that I think you generally are really only so flirty on a first date…think back to your first dates. But second, I really am one to follow the lead from the guy on how physically flirty I’m going to be. Brad has been the flirtiest date so far, and since I was interested, I went right with it.

It was fun to look over the prizes we could buy with our tickets. We settled on matching neon bracelets (totally 80’s style), a Chinese finger trap, and a plastic spinning top (Brad thought this would be a good test for whether we were living in reality or a dream – think Inception).

When it came time to say goodnight, I really wished we didn’t have to. I would have loved to spend a lot more time with Brad. But he ended the night perfectly with a sweet kiss on my cheek. Tell you what, this guy knew how to make a girl feel special. I think if Brad had been one of my first dates I would have been swept right off my feet. But as with normal dating , sometimes we get a little burned, and that’s happened for me with TMB (in some ways it really is more like real dating than I first thought it would be). Because of that, I’ve made myself just a little more guarded. Don’t worry, not too much. Just a healthy amount of reality to go with the girlish fantasies that can spring up after a first date. In the end, I really like Brad.

{ Post Date Interview: ASHLEY & DAVE }

Monday, August 15, 2011

{ DATE #14: Dave Mortensen }

Dave Mortensen quickly found the way to my heart when he brought me pink star gazer lilies. I, like most women, am a sucker for flowers.  How can you not feel happier when you have a bright and cheery looking flower sitting on your kitchen island?  The perfect start to the date soon found it’s bumps in the road, as we missed our exit in Scottsdale.  Cool as a cucumber, Dave assured me he didn’t need the GPS, despite being from Utah and not being very familiar with the area.  He’d already scoped out the area earlier in the day (such a sweet gesture! In fact, several of my dates have done this), so he felt sure he could get us back on track.  I was impressed by his composure.

The plan was to go to the riverwalk area of Scottsdale where they have an Art Walk that is supposed to include vendors setup on the bridge on Thursday nights.  For some reason, the bridge was empty.  Still unflinching, Dave led me to stroll down the streets of Old Town Scottsdale, walking past interesting flower shops, art shops, and even wig shops.  This is a great area of the Phoenix valley and I really haven’t spent much time in it.  It was a warm summer evening but Dave did not complain.  He stayed fully engaged in conversation with me.   Dave’s calm and easy going nature was rubbing right off on me.  I felt relaxed and unconcerned with any plans.  I just focused on Dave and getting to know him.  

Dave had made a reservation at Tapas Papa Frita, a restaurant right in the area that I had never been to.   He’d found it through careful research online.  Upon walking in I instantly knew that I was in for a dining experience!  This is where things got back on track and everything was going right.  The server, Nicholas, was personable and obviously knowledgeable.  Rather than us ordering from the menu, Dave requested that Nicholas order for us – to give us his favorites. I loved his willingness to entrust our dinner to the expert.  For the next hour we were showered with 7 different plates of amazing food – eggplant lasagna, ox tail, calamari, fancy things that I can’t even remember how to say.  It was a delightful culinary experience.
The owner of the restaurant, Joseph, a true Spaniard, came to check on us.  He then apologized that the Flamenco dancers who normally perform on Thursday were currently in Spain.  I looked at Dave and gave him a knowing look.  Wow, another part of his masterful plan had fallen through, but he had made no mention of it. Because Dave had just rolled with the punches I never felt concerned.  We just enjoyed our time, conversing, swapping suggestions for teaching Gospel Doctrine (we were both recently called to that position in our wards), and eating some great food. 

On our way back to the car, we paused to look out over the bridge.  Dave had some pennies so we chose to do the quintessential wish on the penny and toss it in the river.  However Dave did want to just toss them in, we needed to flip the coin.  Well, somehow I made it through 27 years without learning how to really flip a coin.  So he patiently tried to teach me.  Can’t say that I did it right, but I gave it a try.

Tonight really was great.  The date just felt so classic – like what every girl is told about when she’s little and when she’s in Young Women’s.  The guy arrives on time, brings you beautiful flowers, opens your door, has a wonderful evening planned, never makes you worry about any amount of money that is spent, because you are a queen for the night and no expense should be spared.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect that for every date, by any means.  But it is the quintessential, “perfect” date.  And Dave came through looking like a champ.

Dave is such an interesting person, someone who works full time in software and then dedicates many of his evenings to a theater production company.  He obviously knows how to prioritize and accomplish a lot – qualities that I certainly admire.  But at the same time, he knows how to enjoy the ride.  I think Dave has life pretty well figured out.   Was it a love connection between the two of us?   It’s hard to say actually.  I really enjoyed my time with Dave and can see potential.  So I guess time will tell.

Friday, August 12, 2011

{ Families Can Be Together Forever }

Hi Loyal TMB Followers.  We are checking in to bring you an update.  The first is that we are going live again next week.  Our talented crew has worked hard to recover footage and bring us the second half of Season Three.  Check in next week to continue watching Ashley on her journey to find true love.

On a sad note, we wanted to follow up with you on the post we did July 19th about little Ruby Jane Taylor.  After a long fight with liver failure, Ruby passed away early this morning and is now with her loving Heavenly Father.

When we heard the news we were deeply saddened for the loss of Ruby's life here on earth and so grateful that she touched our lives as we hope her story touched yours.  We believe that Ani and Matt Taylor will be reunited with Ruby again because they were sealed in the temple for time and all eternity several years ago.  Temple marriage is such an important part of our lives here on earth and the ultimate reason that we started this whole show.  We know that families can be together forever through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you can help the family at all financially, donations are greatly appreciated to assist in the months of medical bills that have piled up. A donation website has been started - please help at