updated 07/09/2013 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/09/2013 AT 12:15 PM ET
Former Bachelor contestant Desiree Hartsock is calling the shots and handing out the roses as the current star of The Bachelorette. The bridal stylist will blog all season long on PEOPLE.com about her dates, the guys and the difficult decisions she must make. You can also follow Desiree on Twitter.
After such an emotional and dramatic week in Spain, I was looking forward to a new, refreshing week in Madeira, Portugal, an island I knew little about. And what a wonderful place to start fresh! The scenery was out of this world and it truly lifted my spirits. It has it all – the ocean, the mountains, lushness, cobblestone streets and, of course, five guys that I was crazy about.
I really tried to keep each relationship separate throughout this journey on The Bachelorette, but starting this week, I compared the relationships so I could find out whose family I needed to meet.
It was a long-awaited second date for Brooks and me. The time we shared on group dates was great, but we needed the alone time to reconnect. I had no idea just how beautiful our destination we be, but I loved just being in the car with him.
We were blown away once we reached the top of the mountain. I can’t put into words how majestic and breathtaking the view was above the clouds. It was a dream come true to be in such a beautiful place and to move forward in our relationship. I was really on Cloud 9!
I knew that Brooks was reflective and needed reassurance, but I has no idea that we may not be on the same page. I wish he had felt comfortable enough to tell me what he was feeling. I let the men know from the beginning that it was a two-way street, so I appreciated that Brooks wanted to be confident in his decision to introduce me to his family. I could tell from the emotion he showed that his family means a lot to him so I was glad (and relieved!) that he wanted his family to meet me.
The fireworks at the end of the night were incredible, and the date left me feeling good about where Brooks and I stood. I felt like he could be the one for me.
Saying I Love You
I was excited to see Chris, and I thought that spending a day relaxing out at sea would turn up the romance. It was nice to share that time on a deserted island with Chris and write a poem together. That’s something I’ve never done before with a boyfriend, so it definitely set our connection apart from others.