Thursday, February 26, 2015

American Idol Season 15: Top 12 Guys & Girls Perform for our Votes

This week the top 12 guys and top 12 girls performed for our votes.   With such a diverse and talented group I was looking forward to watching this week's performances. From the top 24, only 16 will move on.  I really hope my favorites make it through, but since Idol can be a bit of a popularity contest in the earlier rounds a couple of them may be in jeopardy.
There were a few standout performances from Quintin, Qaasim, Nick, Jax, Sarina=Joi, Joey and Tyanna. 

Here's how I rated the guys from my most favorite to my least favorite:

Quintin Alexander - I Put A Spell On You
Nick Fradiani - Thinking Out Loud
Qaasim Middleton - Uptown Funk
Savion Wright - Hey Soul Sister
Rayvon Owen - Jealous
Mark Andrew - The Weight
Daniel Seavey - I'm Yours
Clark Beckham - When A Man Loves A Woman
Michael Simeon - How Am I supposed To Live Without You
Riley Bria - Homeboy
Adam Ezegalian - I Wanna Rock

Trevor Douglas - Best I Ever Had

And here's how I rated the girls:

Jax - Bank Ban (My Baby Shot Me Down)
Sarina-Joi Crowe - Mamma Knows Best
Joey Cook - Somebody Like You
Tyanna Jones - Lips Are Movin
Adanna Duru - Rather Be
Katherine Winston - Safe and Sound
Lovey James - Love Runs Out
Alexis Gomez - Gunpowder and Lead
Maddie Walker - Love Gets Me Everytime
Shannon Berthiaume - Who Knew
Loren Lott - Note to God
Shi Scott - Umbrella

And that's my Recap! Keep on Rocking AI . . .

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

American Idol Season 15: TOP 24 (AGAIN)

Here's the American Idol Season 15 Top 24 Contestants (again).  Last week I posted that the top 24 contestants were selected, but it was the top 48.  This week was the tru top 24 and next week the contestants will peform for our votes.  And here they are: 

Top 12 Girls:  Adanna Duru, Alexis Gomez, Jackie "Jax" Cole, Joey Cook, Katherine Winston, Loren Lott, Lovey James, Maddie Walker, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Shi Scott, Shannon Berthiaume, Tyanna Jones.

Top 12 Guys:  Adam Ezegelian, Clark Beckham, Daniel Seavey, Mark Andrew, Michael Simeon, Nick Fradiani, Jr., Qaasim Middleton, Quentin Alexander, Rayvon Owen, Riley Bria, Savion Wright, Trevor Douglas.

Looks like my favorites which I posted last week made it through a second time to the top 24. :)

After seeing more performances from other contestants who made it through, I also like Shannon Berthiaume, Adanna Duru and Sarina-Joi Crowe.  For the guys, I also like Nick Fradiani Jr and Qaasim Middleton. 

I love this group of Top 24 contestants and I'm looking forward to the competition. From the looks of it, there should be some pretty interesting, creative and very entertaining performances. 

And that's my Recap. Keep on Rocking AI . . . .

Thursday, February 12, 2015

American Idol Season 15: Top 48

It's that time of the year again.  Season 15 of American Idol has arrived and after a few weeks of auditions and two rounds in Hollywood, (including the notorious Group night) we are down to the top 48 contestants.  

The show has toned down those crazy auditions and excessive group night drama episodes during the Hollywood rounds and it is like a breath of fresh air. One change made was bringing in Scott Borchetta, founder of Big Machine Records (he discovered Taylor Swift), to replace Randy Jackson to mentor the Idols.  Interesting.

I was thrilled to also see Keith, JLO and Harry back as Judges. They have such great chemistry together and they are so entertaining to watch. Here's one of their more entertaining impromptu performances with idol contestant Ellen Peterson.  

There were so many talented hopefuls this season, but only the top 48 (from the original 200 who made it to Hollywood) gets to move on and here they are:    

Top 12 Girls:  Adanna Duru, Alexis Gomez, Ellen Petersen, Emily Brooke, Erica Washington, Erika Davis, Hannah Mrozak, Hunter Larsen, Jackie "Jax" Cole, Jaq Mackenzie, Angelika "Jelly" Joseph, Joey "Accordion Girl" Cook, Katherine Winston, Kalynne Schoelen, Loren Lott, Lovey James, Maddie Walker, Monica Laire Pidoy Mendoza, Naja Lewis, Gina Venier, Rachel Hallack, Shannon Mae Berthiaume, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Shi Scott and Tyanna Jones. 

Top 12 Guys:  Adam Ezegelian, Casey Thrasher, Clark Beckham, Cody Fry, Daniel Seavey, Hector Montenegro, Anderson "Hollywood" Footman, Jessie Nunn, Josh Sanders, Mark Andrew Pudas, Michael Simeon, Nick Fradiani Jr., Qaasim Middleton, Quentin Alexander, Rayvon Owen, Reno Anoa'i, Ricky Hendricks, Riley Bria, Savion Wright, Tion Phipps and Trevor Douglas. 

Next week's final cut will be brutal so I hope my favorites make it: 

And that's my Recap!  Keep on Rocking AI . . . .

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Koa - Journey to the Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.  There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.  There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.  those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.  The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.  

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent.  His eager body quivers.  Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.  

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heat.  

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together . . . .

~Author unknown.

Dear Koa! We will always remember and love you. 

Koa is my sister's dog who I was fortunate to get to know during my visits to Hawaii.  While visiting, Koa always gave me unconditional love and affection during those times when I needed it.  Seeing him always made me smile. I was so lucky to have known him. And my sister and her family were very lucky to have had him as part of their family.  It makes me so happy to know that he is healthy now and running around in beautiful meadows and fields up in heaven with our family and friends who have gone before us.  

You will always be present in our hearts.  
We love you so much and we will miss you Koa. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Trekcapri's 2014 Portugal Travel Adventures: Muito Obrigado Portugal!

Thank you so much Portugal for a fantastic time!  It's been wonderful visiting this amazing country. I had such an incredible time learning about its history, sampling their cuisine with an emphasis on their delicious desserts, meeting the locals.  

There are so many highlights which I'll try to summarize;

Day Trip to Sintra, Cascais and Cabo da Roca - I had read that you can do a day trip circuit to Sintra, Cabo da Roca and  Casais, so I purchased my combo round trip train ticket/bus pass and made the 1.40 hour train journey. I loved Sintra a lot because of it's beautiful surrounding and I enjoyed visiting the Pena Palace. The palace is painted in such bright happy colors. I loved it.  

There were other things I wanted to see but had to head to Cabo da Roca and Cascais.  Cabo da Roca is touted as the western most point in Western Europe so I wanted to stop there on the way to Cascais. It was a beautiful spot and I spent an hour there before catching the bus to Cascais.  To be honest, I was a little meh on Cascais.  

Day Trip to Fatima - This was one of the highlights of my trip and I had the most moving experience here.  To think that I almost didn't make this day trip because I felt I wasn't going to have enough time to do it.  This goes to show that sometimes you need to follow your instincts and your heart when making decisions on the fly when traveling.  Sometimes some of the things you didn't solidify in your plans can turn out to be the best experiences on your trip.

Day Trip to Evora - This was a lovely town which is only a  1.5 hour train ride from Lisbon and it has this Roman Temple in the historic center.  It had a nice town square where locals hung out at in the evening.  The cobble stoned streets within the town walls are lined with charming white buildings trimmed in gold (yellow).   I would recommend Evora as a nice day trip.

Day Trip to Obidos - Obidos is a very small village only a one hour bus ride away from Lisbon.  I had a very relaxing time here walking the Castle Walls (even if it was raining the whole time) and enjoying a new drink called Ginja which is a sweet Sherry liquor. You drink it in a little chocolate cup and then when you're done you can eat the chocolate cup. :) At the entrance to the town center is this beautiful tiles.

Day Trip to Porto - This is the second largest city in Portugal but it didn't feel like a big city. It was only when I took the City Hop On/Hop Off Bus did I see how really big this city is. It is a picturesque city because of the bridges and old port area near the Douro river which is where I stayed and colorful old buildings with laundry hanging out to dry.  It reminded me so much of Venice. 

I also went on a cool wine tasting tour at the Taylor Wine Cellars.  Can you guess which one I liked the best.  You can see the difference in the colors that they are two different types. My favorite is the one on the left, the 10 year Vintage wine which was a bit more fruitier.  I'm not a big wine drinker but this was so good. 

And then there was the food.  I already posted on those delicious Pasteis de Nata, but at the Landeau Chocolate Cafe located in the artistic LX Factory which Jonathan from the Slow Europe Travel Forum recommended I had the best chocolate cake ever. 

Since the City lies on a series of seven hills, it offers some stunning views at strategically viewing points called Miradouros.  I visited as many as I could.  

From St. George's Castle.

MIradouro da Senhora do Moniz.

Miradouro De Sao Pedro de Alcantra.

Miradouro Santa Luiza.

And although this isn't a Miradouro, this little side street in Barrio Alto offers a stunning view of St George Castle in the Alfama District.

I've written about my experience visiting the Coach museum but I also made time to visit the National Tile Museum which was wonderful. 

After spending 3 weeks here, I finally figured out the layout and how to catch the right tram going in the right direction. They aren't the smoothest ride ever but they are fun to ride in and watch go by. 

I love my neighborhood in the Chiado District but I also loved strolling through the old Alfama District where everything seem so old, authentic and  charming. 

In some places the streets are so narrow, you have to step to the side when the tram rolls by.

Up the street from my apartment there is great place where street musicians entertain patrons at the famous A Brasileira Cafe.

And then there are are the people and random little delights that I noticed each time I ventured out to explore.  As always I seem to find the most pleasure in the little details of these snapshots. 

At one of the Miradouros I saw this local gentleman greet this little kid he saw running around with his father.  It was so sweet.

Here in Porto a local woman watches out of her window after hanging her laundry.

At the popular cafe up the street from my apartment a little dog sits at the door waiting for her owner.

I saw several Camino de Santiago arrows during my trip.  The first two photos knew about and looked for it when I went to visit the Cathedral Se.  I even think I saw a pilgrim in there praying.  She had a big backpack with a pair of crocs hanging on the side.  It was very exciting!

These next two arrows I stumbled upon during my visit to Porto.  Here are a couple I found in Porto. 

I had a wonderful time here in Portugal and I would recommend visiting here for any traveler.  I am so thankful to Annie (Blog: Churches in Venice) & Girasoli (Blog: Shave Ice & Gelato) for your kind comments and for following my blog. I appreciate it so much.  

I want to say thank you to my family, friends, blogging and travel friends and co-workers for all of your support and for following my blog posts.

And the Dream lives on . . . .

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Trekcapri's 2014 Portugal Adventures: Back to Belem for Coaches & Dessert

As you may recall on my first trip to Belem I got drenched in an amazing downpour.  I went back and got drenched again. :)  I wanted to visit the Coach Museum so rain or shine I got my Tram 15 ticket and headed back.  

According to Wikipedia the National Coach Museum has one of the finest collection of historical coaches in the world.  These coaches carried members of the Royal families in Portugal and other countries.  The designs were very eland the designs are pretty cool.  If you find yourself in Lisbon, I would highly recommend a quick visit to the Coach Museum and while you're there, treat yourself to one of the best desserts in this world (a close tie with Gelato of course). 

Before heading to the Coach Museum it was raining so hard that I had to "force" myself to stop in at the very famous Pasteis de Belem for those very famous Pasteis de Nata. A fellow slow traveler recommended them and it was amazing.  I've already tried them at nearby cafes but I have to say that these are by far the best.  The crust is so flaky and the filling is creamy.  I had two of them and I'm sure I'll be making a return trip before I leave Lisbon. :) 


You can take a behind the scenes peek as well.

And the Dream lives on . . . .