updated 07/16/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/16/2013 AT 9:00 AM 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 a beautiful week in Madeira, I was excited to meet the families of the four guys left on The Bachelorette. This week would be pivotal in helping me discern my feelings for each guy. It felt so refreshing to be back in the States, and I couldn’t wait to see what the men had in store.
Zak always has a surprise for me – I love that about him – so I had no idea what to expect for our date. I knew that his family business was in sno-cones but I did not expect to make them for a classroom of kindergarteners. It was so much fun trying all the unique flavors and it brought me back to my childhood. Zak was amazing with all the children and that showed the kind of father he would be – funny yet caring.
He tried to explain each family member to me the best he could, so that made me feel right at home. Their energy was out of this world and the entire house was filled with joy. I was nervous at first to talk with his protective sister, but her sweet personality put me at ease. I didn’t necessarily have any weighing concerns about Zak that I needed answers about – but I needed to see if my feelings were matching up to his. It was such a kind gesture for Zak to give me a ring to show me what he was hopeful for in our relationship and tell me that he loves me. But at that same moment I realized that maybe I wasn’t there with him yet – and that broke my heart.
Since Drew tended to be more reserved and serious, I hoped his family would bring out a different side to him. Going with him to pick up his sister Melissa is a moment I will never forget. She was so excited to see Drew and I could see the love that they had for each other. The care he took with her showed me how he would take care of his own family one day.