Oct 15, 2014

You're Never Too Old...

To go to a boy band concert.
At least that's what I told myself as I entered Lincoln  Financial Field to see One Direction.

A co-worker of mine and I had been talking about our mutual love for One Direction all summer and mentioned how we'd both love to go to their stadium tour.

To be completely honest I would always try to say
"Yeah I'd totally go" with a little sarcasm just in case she wasn't 100% invested in screaming and making t-shirts that read,
"Will Marry Harry" on them.
Because in my heart, I was that committed.
7 years isn't that much of an age difference.
However, when she emailed me that she got tickets and that we were going I immediately dropped everything and made a playlist dreams are made of.

As a seasoned boy band concert goer I felt like I was cheating on my true loves:

Would a concert by any other group of five be as sweet?
Because nothing will ever beat them and they are perfect, and if you want to get into a BSB v. NSYNC battle I will gladly take off work tomorrow, create a message board, and wage a war of words.
Screen name: NSYNCwithmypriorities86

However, there were things about the One Direction concert that remained consistent with the concerts I went to in my youth.

An opening act that you loved and were planning to become further obsessed with when returning home. 

One of the five times I saw NSYNC (that was a brag I can't even get around it) I fell in love with SoulDecision.
That one kind of backfired... mainly because they only had one song.
Granted it was amazing but still.

1D had Five Seconds of Summer open for them and let's just say I never get "Amnesia" amiright?

Too Dad of a joke?

The wave.

Every good NSYNC show had a wave and this was no different.
Teenage (and 20 somethings) go ape over a wave that went all around the stadium, and if it went around TWICE.
Forget it.
Make two wishes on 11:11 because your luck was going to sky rocket.

During the intermission between FSOS (that's what the kids call them) and 1D there was a huge thunder storm.
You know that when teenagers get wet it causes them to act much like gremlins and lose their effing minds.
The wave was intense, a little aggressive, and very successful.

Parents that don't know what they've gotten themselves into.

The first time I ever saw NSYNC was because my dad won tickets from a lottery at work.
About 4 songs in and 2 bleeding ear drums later he tried to convince me through the hysteric screaming (mine included) that the concert would "Be over soon, so we should head to the car."
I think I must have had a rage black out and told him to sit down because we weren't going until I could no longer see even a glimpse of the ramen noodled hair of Justin Timberlake, because we remain until the last piece of confetti shot from a shirt cannon fell from the sky.

One Direction parents seemed to be in the same boat as Tim Jones.
Scared but playing it cool.

A girl in the crowd that claims it's her birthday.

One time I did go see NSYNC on my birthday.
However, I pulled a rookie move.
I showed up wearing my best tear away pants, Old Navy logo shirt, and no birthday crown.
You can imagine my shock when a girl claiming it was her birthday and that she had a cold got moved 4 rows closer to my five favorite people on the planet.

It was then that I learned that everyone should have to bring their birth certificate and two forms of identification to a concert if they were going to claim a birthday exemption.

1D fans clearly were up on the gig because two sisters ages 8 and 14 respectively claimed it was BOTH of their birthdays.
And then Harry sang to them.
How convenient.

It still stings.

Screaming for hours and the voices of the guys being distorted. 

It turns out that if you scream in a loud high pitched tone for a consistent 5 hours for anything and everything it messes with your ears.

To the point where Niall sounds like Alvin.

But you just keep screaming because Harry is there...

And he's singing "Story of My Life"

And is putting a British spell on you... 

So you just keep screaming and singing because you're 27 dammit and you'll go crazy crazy crazy til you see the sun, and although you definitely didn't get some, you lived while you were young. 

(Yes I did try to use lyrics to a One Direction song as closer.
and I regret nothing.)

Sep 29, 2014

That time I met my idol...

In July my best friend Sara sent me a link to a story about Tina Fey coming back to Upper Darby, PA. 
She was going back to the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, the community theater that she talked about so lovingly in her book. 
There was going to be a "Mean Girls" 10th Anniversary screening followed by a meet and greet, and all ticket sales would go to raising money for a new sound system for the theater.
Naturally I thought:
I want to go to there. 

Then I read the kicker: 
If you called in the day tickets went on sale you could buy a higher priced ticket and 

Meet her. 
My idol. 

Because I'm a super crazy person I decided to not tell a ton of people about my plan.
I didn't want to jinx it.
Because I believe in jinxes.

The day the tickets went on sale I was so nervous.
I dialed the number at 9:58 hit send at 9:59 and had purchased my ticket by 10:03.
Part of me wanted to yell it to anyone that I walked by,
Why I would be so aggressive about it I don't know, but in the moment it felt right.
Because I believe in the ever present jinx I refrained from putting it on any sort of social media.
Anything could happen, and I didn't want to be the girl who cried Tina.

So I waited.
And waited.
And waited.
And waited for my package of instructions and golden ticket to come in the mail.
Finally, after hovering so much by our mailroom and creeping people out I decided to call the box office.
Here's how the conversation went:

Nice Box Office Employee: "Ma'am hi, we sent those out two weeks ago. You should have received yours."
Nice Box Office Employee: That's ok ma'am these things happen, you're on the meet and greet list, everything will be good to go.
NBOE: "Bye now."

As you can imagine I was in a straight up panic.
Where the f was my ticket?

Turns out one of the summer employees was returning all mail sent to the address who didn't belong to the summer program living in that building.
All of it.
Just sending it back like it didn't have a home.
To say I planned a pay per view street fight in my mind is an understatement,.

Up until the event I silently panicked that the Nice Box Office Employee would have forgotten all about me and I would weep on steps of  Upper Darby High School.

But I got there, they let me in and I was directed into the meet and greet where we were told to write down a question for Tina, that she would possibly answer during the Q&A after the movie.

The question I wrote:
"The episode of '30 Rock' entitled "Sandwich Day" taught me that you could have it all. Having said that, if you could be a topping on a sandwich what would you be?"

I dropped it in the pile hoping that I would gain insight on a topic very dear to my heart.
Selfishly I was hoping she would say cheese and then break into:

Then like a beacon of light she walked into the room, and everyone got in line to meet her.
I was second in line.
I panicked so hard.
When it was my turn to speak it went like this:
Me: "Hi. I can't believe this. I'm just just just...I"
Tina: "It's going to be ok..."
Tina: "nervous laughter (probably looking for security) yes we are going to be ok."

I can't believe that I typed out a conversation that Tina f'ing Fey and I had with each other.
But I did and it happened.
I told her that the episode "Sandwich Day" changed my life, and then asked her to take a picture with me in which she did the classic Liz Lemon eye roll.

She said, "But then people will think I don't like you."
I said, "That's ok Tina."
be still my heart

I also asked her to sign my "Live From New York" book that is 600 pages of pure SNL facts.
I apologized for asking her to autograph so many things and told her if she wanted, she could sign my forehead.
She told me should wouldn't out of respect for me.

After watching "Mean Girls," she came out and did a Q&A with her best friend Damien who was in the community theater with her and the inspiration for Damien in the movie.
Cut to Jones was weeping from fandom in her seat sitting next to only strangers.

When it got to the audience questions, Damien said,
"This question is from Ashley Jones."
My sandwich topping was asked and she answered in the most beautiful way possible.
If she could be a topping on a sandwich she would be crushed up potato chips.
An angel sent from heaven y'all.

I had a video and more pictures of the evening but when I updated my phone they were deleted.
After I post this I will be writing an email to Steve Jobs in heaven about getting iOS8's shit together.

In closing, I met my idol.

I was kind of afraid that she wouldn't be this mythical perfect creature that I had built her up to be in my mind, but she was better.
She was so thoughtful and made sure to meet everyone.
She was there supporting her community theater that meant so much to her and was consistently a home to people who had a passion for the arts.

It was such a neat night to be a part of and I can honestly say
nothing will ever top it.

Maybe the birth of my child.
But who knows.
The kid will have to be real cute.

Sep 18, 2014

Back from the Residential Living

It is I, Jones. 
I'm not only back from the Resident Living marathon that is training. 
I'm also typing from my brand new laptop that I bought all on my own, without a credit card. 
So what I'm telling you is, 
I'm back and I'm Carrie Bradshaw. 
With sloth socks instead of fancy shoes. 

A lot has happened since I've last posted.

I met my idol.
I went to a One Direction concert.
Farmer Chris became the Bachelor.
I ate ice cream that had a donut in it...so the weight loss is going super well.
300+ first year residents moved into the building.

And I plan on telling you all about them...
tomorrow-- because this is me right now:

Aug 26, 2014

West Coast Blawg Post on Toast

Allie's West Coast Update: 

Tupac's turn. Sorry, I mean Allie's turn. I mean West Coast Update.

I just want you to know how seriously I'm taking this east vs. west showdown. I'm only eating Cripps apples. WESTSIIIIIIIDE. 
Disclaimer: I'm not actually promoting gang life or a Bloods vs. Crips showdown. I just love taking jokes too far. 

Let's talk about something I like to call I am a jerk and just realized I never wrote back to anyone who (bravely) submitted their weight for WiW
Yes, you read that correctly. I am a poopface and vow that I will have more timely responses and will not be a poopface moving forward. 
Please continue to email your weights to missalliewagon@gmail.com
 (we have 3 awesome ladies who have joined so far - props/kudos/shout outs to Evita, Mandy, and Brigid)! I'm tracking everyone's progress in a spreadsheet and have been using the formula:

(weight lost / previous week's weight) x 100 = % lost 

Moving right along, things are going well-ish in Allie-land as far as weight loss goes. I'm on day 9 of a Whole30. I've cheated twice - I had gorgonzola on one salad and then feta on another last weekend. Oh and I also drank my weight in wine. Sue me. My life, my rules. We had a surprise party for my friend last weekend and...at least I avoided the cake, cookies, pizza, etc. Right? RIGHT?! The good news is that I'm down 4 pounds and feeling fine. And, as Jonesy mentioned in her update, she's down 3 pounds so...GO US.

The real deal is that it's hard! It's nice to be able to be making the right food choices challenging. I've heard it all before - I didn't get fat overnight so I'm not going to lose the weight overnight. I get it. Yesterday, Jonesy and I had a very serious gchat about sour cream. I mean...what? Who does that? There might be something wrong with us. 

(PS - even watching this gif makes me want waffles)

Overall, full steam ahead. Stay tuned.

Now I'm interested in your input. If you feel like answering, holla back y'all. To the fellow ladies/gents who may be dealing with weight issues (or even those who aren't) - how do you feel about the#LoseHateNotWeight body acceptance movement making its rounds on the interwebs? I want real and honest answers! 

Tupac out. 

Aug 21, 2014

Worst BIP Recapper Ever

Last week, I had half a post done, and then got distracted and never went back to it. 
This week I missed the first 14 mins and didn't have time to catch up. 
So I'm going to give the recap of 1hr and 46 mins that I was able to watch. 
And then I'll think about what I did and be better next week. 

When I tuned in, Elise had been given a date card for her first 1:1 date. 
Ashlee was fuming as she stirred her witches cauldron, because she deserved to go on a date with Graham. 
Lacey, an old pro and officially a common law wife of Robert in Bachelor standards, said that Ashlee was being terrible. 
Lacey enjoyed all of the time she was spending with Marcus, and Ashlee should learn to cherish that as well. 
Old couples have the best wisdom to give. 

At some point Danielle showed up asked Marquel on a date. 
Marquel moon walked and it was a pretty lame time. 

Meanwhile back at the house, Elise asks Chris to on a date with her, because he signifies hope. 
To Chris, Elise signifies a smokin' hot body. 
On his way back to the house, or in the ocean, or climbing out of his douche castle, Chris blows out his knee.
And then only talks about how bad his knee hurts for the rest of the episode. 

During the date Elise talks at him, about how he is her prince charming and how he will be blessed for being so good to her. 
Chris said that she talked a lot but essentially was ready to get it in. 
I believe his words were "I'm ready to get down and dirty." 

In the pool they make out while he yells about his knee. 
It immediately reminded me of the "lovahs" from SNL. 

I was waiting for Chris to yell out, 

The next day they go to the hospital and Elise goes on another long monologue about how Chris's pain is the reason she came to Paradise and how badly she wanted to be a care taker for him. 
Chris essentially ignores her as she gets him ice and water. 
Fantastic Sarah tries to talk Elise out of buying a wedding dress on ebay, but Elise pushes back and says that she's ready to be hurt. 
I don't know if she is a robot or if she ate a lot of paint as a child, but she dumb y'all. 
Real dumb. 

Meanwhile Michelle is trying to convince us that she has a real connection with Robert. 
Get it. 
Because it's lame, and doesn't work?

She and Clare plan a double date, that was actually zero percent cool. 
Sarah (my favorite) was left in the house, upset because she felt like she made it pretty clear she liked Robert. 
Then she cried, and thought that Robert was too good looking for her, which made me want to start crying because she's the most normal and great. 
I got a soft spot for lack of confidence.

Michelle really laid it on thick, and let Robert know that he was her type of guy.
To be honest I think her only requirement is breathing.

As everyone was hanging out on the beach someone began to walk towards the bonfire.
My initial thought was: "Duh, Little Mermaid."
My next thought: "It's the start of a swarm of Graham's rescue team to save him from Ashlee."
My last thought: "Oh it's Jackie from Sean's season."

She arrived with a date card and asked Marquel if he would go with her.
He immediately said yes, and Michelle became a fire monster.

According to her, CLEARLY Marquel was there to seek out every opportunity and find a relationship.
Sure that's one way to look at it, but maybe he's not trying to settle and exploring people who seem to be interested in him.
I think that's called dating?

I did feel kind of bad for Danielle because she felt like she had an amazing time with Marquel.
That probably does suck, but it didn't really seem like he was that into her from the beginning.
I don't hate the game he's running, but that could just be because I love him so much.
Ya know because we're bffs and all.

During his date with Jackie, I thought it was one of the more entertaining and natural ones of them all.
She seemed funny and wasn't just telling him how much she liked him from the tv show she watched.
I dig them.
They make sense.

Back at the crazy hut, Ashlee asked Graham to go on a date with her.
Not long before that we were treated to a special scene where he confessed how terrified he was of Ashlee to Michelle.
While Ashlee expressed how "hot" her and Graham's babies would be.
Can babies be hot?
Like has anyone ever seen a hot baby?
I'm gonna go with probably not.
Beyonce is hot.
Blue Ivy is not.
She also said that she couldn't wait for Graham to meet her dad.

During their date (in the same location as Chris and Elise's night of passion) Ashlee wore a long tight tank top and wedges.
Oh I'm sorry, this just in, what she was wearing was considered "a dress."

She told the camera that she was gonna get what she wanted and that something was Graham.
She said that he was everything she wanted in a man, and he was ELEGANT.
The words, "I follow your social media accounts," was her response to why she liked him so much.
If that's an appropriate answer in telling someone why you like them, then I should have Adam Levine, Justin Timberlake, Sean Lowe, and Farmer Chris as my brother husbands.

She also said, she didn't care if he wanted to sleep in two rooms or not, she was going to have her man.
Because ya know, she's a free spirit.
I guess, free spirit is what we're calling "bunny boiler" these days.
During the rose ceremony Michelle tried to prove so hard to Robert that she was the one for him, while Chris B. was carried into the living room like Regina George.

Ultimately here's how the roses went:

Marquel to Jackie
(Danielle was then heard calling paradise, Marq-hell, which was funny but untrue.)
Robert to Sarah
(Hell yes.)
Graham to Ashlee
(While he mouth "help me" to Chris Harrison.)
Marcus to Lacey
Zach to Clare
And Chris B to.....Elise? Kind of?

So here's what happened.
Chris told Elise that he really liked her but couldn't give her the rose because he was going home.
However,  there was a twist, he wanted her to come back to Chicago with him.
She accepted, and everyone was confused.
My theory was that he needed someone to carry his bags for him in the airport.

He then told Michelle that she deserved to find love, and gave her the rose so she would be able to stay.
Michelle then cried for what seemed like a year, and said what Chris did was the nicest, most amazing thing that has ever happened to her.
Fact check: She has a kid right?
Shouldn't that be like, I don't know, number 1ish on that list?

Next week more people arrive and it looks like the crazy clash finally happens when Clare is pushed to far by Ashlee.
I think Ashlee runs into the jungle, but what I am pumped for the most is:

What are your thoughts so far?
Who's your favorite couple?
Do you think they'll start breaking up soon?

Aug 12, 2014

East Coast Update

Today I was offered a Cinnabon and turned it down. 
I'll be in a bikini by Labor Day for making that sacrifice....

In all honesty since posting a couple people have reached out about their own struggles in weight loss and it has been hella helpful. 

Mainly because I'm tip toeing around any formal diet plan right now. 
I feel like I get so obsessed or overanalyze everything I do when I'm on a formal diet. 
Maybe that's just an excuse I tell myself to not fully commit, but so far I'm down 3 whole pounds. 

I'm light as a feather. 

In all seriousness, I've been trying to be more conscious of what I'm doing.
I try not to eat 3 square Thanksgiving sized meals a day, but I also recognize that I haven't been to the grocery store in forever which means I don't have as much control as I would like.
The vending machine outside my office is not filled with snap peas and hummus/pretzel thin packs.
I also find myself anxious to cook new foods.
I'm the queen of taco night errrry night but luckily, Allie sent me a bunch of cool recipes.

Yeah that's right, Allie is helping me.
We may be in a "competition" but mainly it's cool to know that I have someone to email about what I'm feeling about jank.

She also signs her emails to me,
"From Heaven,
So that's the definite best.

She also recommended that I read "It Starts With Food."
I'm going to check it out.
Hopefully I'll be able to stay entertained, without pictures of "who wore it best," but I'm sure I'll manage.

I do feel better most days.
Sometimes I do feel guilty if I eat ice cream, or pizza.
Like you all will see me in the streets and throw tomato sauce on me like PETA does with red paint to people wearing fur.
But from your emails that I've gotten and have loved remind me, that it's not going to be easy.
It's a process.
It takes time.
It sucks.
But it's worth it, and that I can do it.

Keep those emails coming, and if you feel so compelled, let me know if you want to write a guest post.
Just know that I take forever to write back.
And babble A LOT.

I think sharing about struggling in general can help build people up and to blast them out of their grump tunnels, or snap them out of their frito hallucinations.
I know this post is becoming a little cheesey (delish) so I'll end by saying,

Thanks for being great.
Thanks for reading this blog.
Thanks for letting this be an outlet.
And most importantly,
Thanks for trusting me with your stories.

Aug 6, 2014

Rachel Raycoon Live

When I said I would watch "Bachelor in Paradise," I thought it was going to be a cheap substitute until they announced the next Bachelor.
And it is. 
But it is so so so fantastic. 
It is the trashy television dreams are made of and I'm 100% invested. 

We were greeted in paradise by a Chris Harrison who has decided to use this opportunity to wear a mint suit. 
 Clare was the first to arrive and man was she crazy as ever.
Marcus was next and although he was still heart broken over Andi, he was pumped about the ample space on the island to hide the bodies of lovers who scorned him.
There's so many places to hide here....I mean it's great, yeah, love. Woop woop.
 One armed Sarah is back.
She talked about having one arm 2 seconds into her introduction. 
It's good to see something remain the same.
 I'm actually really excited she's on this season, because she seems like a super fun lady. 
I say that purely from the information I've gathered via Twitter. 
One time she tweeted that she loved anything buffalo flavored. 
That's a gal that deserves only the best in life.

My main dude Marquel showed up looking delightful as ever. 

Daniella from Sean's season and a guy named Graham arrived.

I have no idea who he is but apparently amongst the Bachelor/Bachelorette folks he is a hot commodity. 

 ABC's first attempt at Bachelor Barbie was proved a success when Lacey showed up. 
 I couldn't remember when she went home on Juan Pablo's season but apparently it was early because Clare also had no recollection of who she was. 

Evil Ben appeared in a cloud of smoke. 
I'm half expecting his son to be living in a tree house somewhere, for him to use if he was feeling really desperate for attention.
Fingers crossed.

Then there was Michelle from Jake's season. 
I vaguely remember her leaving in a huff during a group date, and being extremely uncomfortable to watch. 

When Dylan walked toward the house, Marquel ran to greet him and jumped in his arms. 
So I'm immediately rooting for them as a couple, because it was adorable. 

Elise slide down the stairs like my niece did when she was 1, because stairs in heels are hard. 
 I have a feeling math, remembering to brush her teeth, and how to open a Capri Sun is a challenge as well.

Ashlee descended on Mexico with her eyes turned all the way up to crazy.
As she walked towards the house she said that she was hoping that Graham was there specifically. 
So naturally I began to fear for Graham's life. 

 Minty Fresh Harrison came to explain that each week there would be a rose ceremony. 
Currently there were more boys than girls so it would be a male week to give out the roses. 
But the ladies should have no fear, because next week they were to be in control of the floral arrangements. 

With that Chris said that if you weren't apart of a couple, you would be at risk to go home. 
Lacey took that information very seriously and immediately hopped in the water with Robert or as I called him Gale from Emily's season.
"hey i just met you, and my name's lacey. i'm really desperate. let's make a baby." 

Is it just me or do you also assume that anytime a couple is the water they are doing some kind of something?

Later in the evening, Marcus, not getting the attention he was hoping for, wandered into the ocean to mourn his relationship with Andi...
In his orange boxer briefs. 
Because: Mexico.
 Seeing Marcus in his vulnerable state, Lacey decided she also liked him. 
Meanwhile Gale stated that he's liked Lacey from the moment he met her. 
So for anyone else trying to do the math: a whole 8 hours. 

The following day Ashlee informed us that she had been following Graham on social media...and around his house, for awhile and felt like they were meant to be together. 
 They took a walk, and she told him no less than 3 times how glad she was that he was there. 
His response: Thank you. 
Cupid's Arrow is lodged into Graham y'all.

Ashlee said she was trying to play it cool around him and 
"be flirty and cute, and not love all over him," but didn't want to see too enthusiastic. 
Nailed it, girl. Nailed it. 

Back at the hut, Clare received the first date card. 
She decided to ask Graham on the first date, and Ashlee took things really well. 
 She got up. 
Started crying. 
Called Clare a slut. 
 Went into her room and started talking to, who, you may ask?
Oh, just herself. 
She said things like,
"I can't even trust him for 24 hours." 
"I'm the only other normal one here besides him."

 Daniella said it best:
If Ashlee things someone is semi-cool, she thinks they're going to get married. 
She also mentioned that if she was thinking about Graham, she wasn't anymore, because she didn't want to get murdered in her sleep. 

Meanwhile out on the porch, Rachel Raycoon, sensed an in depth interview opportunity and made her way to the steps to talk to Clare. 
"hey girl, why you so sad?"
"i didn't even know she liked him! i'm not trying to start drama!"
"ooo girl that's rough. you know she's crazy."

"i'm not trying to make enemies! why didn't she just tell me she liked him!" 
"i don't know girl. that's bananas. hey, i just remembered i'm nocturnal and afraid of ashlee so imma go. good luck."
This is me as a ghost in heaven typing a blog post. 

Clare, fully refreshed and empowered after her conversation with the raccoon decided to ask Ashlee to talk.
Ashlee used her witch craft to not only have Clare cancel her date with Graham but also give her the master bedroom, Clare asked Gale to go on a date with her instead. 

 Graham, wearing his best pooka shells was very confused as to why Ashlee was upset.

When he attempted to reach out to her, she said that she wasn't ready, and would talk to him another time. 
Totally normal behavior for a 33 year old woman.

 Clare went on her date to the ruins, which some might says was already RUINED by Ashlee.

 It was boring and everyone snored. 

Marcus, still devastated about Andi, took himself back to the ocean where he hoped the tides would float him to the new love of his life via boogie board.

 Instead Lacey went out there and tried to make it really apparent she was here to party.
Or she was confused that the men on the island were like Pokemon and she needed to catch them all.
Sarah got the second date card and asked Marcus.
She rocked a killer one piece, and really tried to be forward in how she felt, without being well...Lacey about it. 

 The date was also lame, because all Marcus talked about in the interviews was Lacey. 
After the date it was pretty clear that Marcus sucked big time and that Sarah was pretty presh. 
I just wish she would stop making herself seem like Josie Grossie. 
She's so nice and sweet. 
She needs to own it. 

At some point Lacey and Gale went on a date and it seemed like a sure thing that they were going to be coupled up.

Later, as Marquel and Dylan tried to convince Marcus he didn't have a shot with Lace face, another lady arrived. 

Michelle from Brad's season. 
I don't know that season, but I do know that I don't hate her. 
She helped us out with the Bachelor fiasco during the finale so she is a friend of mine. 
 And also a real good friend to Graham. 

Which created a fire in Ashlee's eyes yet again. 
The next day she decided to pull Graham aside and finally talk to him about his unforgivable sin.

 She apologized for how she acted and wanted him to know that she was still interested. 
Graham, not wanting to create a situation where Ursula Ashlee dragged him back into the sea with her eels and potions, said it was OK, but that he thrived on communication. 

Michelle and Marquel went on a date, which was sweet. 
I dig them as a couple. 

After all of that, it was finally time for the cocktail party and rose ceremony. 
During the cocktail party there was a thunderstorm that I'm assuming Ashlee summoned with her hatred for any woman who thought about Graham or graham crackers for that matter. 

During the rose ceremony, Ben knew he didn't have a great connection with anyone and that his vote was a wildcard. 
He talked to a couple different people, but told Sarah that he really felt like she deserved to be there. 

Unsure of where she stood, Sarah asked Marcus what he was thinking. 
He said that she was cool, and that she should be there but he had feelings for Lacey. 

He said that he would like to give Lacey the rose, but was probably going to give it to Sarah. 
Sarah felt better about that, and went on about her evening. 

Clare was talking to people about how she was calling Mexico, Claradise.

Lacey told us that she was 80/40 about her feelings for Marcus and Gale.

Ben was getting drunk. 

And then the clink of the glass let us know it was time to begin. 

Michelle excused herself from the show, because she didn't have a connection with anyone.
Also because she knew she was going home. 
 Apparently we learn more about why she really left next week, and I'm so excited. 
And disgusted with myself, because I'm excited. 

Marquel picked the other Michelle. 
Graham picked Ashlee (or else)
Dylan picked Elise

Then Marcus was up and HE PICKED LACEY.
Even though he told Sarah she was a sure thing. 

And after everyone told him Gale was going to give Laceface the rose! 
What an a--hole. 
I literally gasped and said, 
"Poor Sarah." 

Gale ended up giving Claradise the rose.

Which left Ben. 
He seemed to be vibing off Daniella, so I was convinced that he too was going to leave Sarah in the dust. 
But he didn't! 
He totally gave Sarah the rose!!!!
Who knew he had it in him to not be the worst?

The best part is that next week looks even better. 
There are so many people and so many dates, I'm going to have to do a better job of explaining them so they aren't a jumbled mess, but boy do I love this incarnation of the Bachelor.

What were your thoughts? 
Did that raccoon have rabies?
Did it give Claradise good advice?
Is Marcus the sleaziest person alive?

[all images courtesy of ABC]