Friday, May 26, 2017

{Friday Photo Bliss} Percolators, Low-Carb Bread, Biking, and Sleepy Piper!

On Fridays I like to post snapshots of the week that make me happy.

This post contains some affilaite links to Amazon. If you purchase anything through those links you don't pay anything extra and I get a small commission which helps support this site. :-)

I have a constant-brew Kombucha set-up in my laundry room, and with Kombucha comes fruit flies. They absolutely love the stuff and I have to place little fruit-fly traps around the container every few weeks.

Lately I have noticed a few fruit flies flying out of my electric coffee maker and it freaked me out. I deep-cleaned everything well with vinegar, but then I made the mistake of reading about nasty germs that grow in coffee makers.

I am the first to admit I don't clean my pot or maker often enough. I also don't like the amount of plastic in my coffee maker. Who knows what chemical soup it adds to my daily coffee?

And did I mention fruit flies were using my coffee maker as a vacation home?

YUCK!


So I read up on all of the other ways to make coffee that wouldn't involve moist (yes I hate that word too) nooks and crannies that can't be cleaned well or plastic parts that leak potentially nasty chemicals into my hot-morning-heavenly-brew.

I eliminated the Pour Over method as it is too slow. Paul and I drink 2 cups apiece, and I don't want to stand around pouring water over coffee all morning. I love my French Press, but the coffee gets too cold too fast and  it also doesn't make enough coffee.

But the old-fashioned all-metal percolator made sense. And I just happened to have a Farberware stove-top percolator in my garage that we use for camping trips.


I noticed that this "Yosemite" version had a plastic top, defeating my purpose of going all glass/stainless. So I bought this gorgeous little replacement glass top that fit perfectly.

I didn't have any percolator filters, but I was able to use my cheap regular basket filters following this tutorial. The filter fits perfectly and once wet, it completely folds down on top of the ground coffee and I have seen zero grounds in my cup!

I add the ground coffee (1 tbsp/cup) and sit the pot on my electric stove back burner and put it on high. Once it starts bubbling in the glass top I turn it down to "1" and let it percolate on the burner for 10 minutes. Then I remove it off the stove and set it on the table to cool down while we make breakfast. Easy peasy once I worked it out.

The coffee is super hot (it stays warm for over an hour at room temp!) and very rich and smooth with no burned aftertaste. It actually tastes better than my electric coffee maker coffee. I am seriously considering getting an electric percolator in the future, but right now I love using this cheap stove-top version.

I usually grind some vanilla bean with the coffee beans for custom-flavored coffee and I add some of this delicious coconut milk . I found out that I prefer coconut milk over dairy creamer. Coconut milk has less sugar, more healthy fats, and adds a wonderful richness to my morning cup.

As you probably know by now, coffee is a big deal in my house and I love my old-fashioned brew!!!


This week we went for a few bike rides through the neighborhood by the golf course. It is heavily wooded and we always see rabbits, deer, and all types of birds.  I really think it is so important to get out in nature as often as possible. 

I also think it is really important to get my kids out as much as possible to work off all of their excess energy so they don't drive me as crazy...


Now I present my delicious homemade low-carb buns!!! We eat a primal diet, low in sugar and processed carbs and high in veggies/fruits and healthy meat and fats. We do like to have bread occasionally but unfortunately most of the gluten-free breads out there are pretty tasteless.

Did I mention I am a science nerd (I worked in a genetics lab for years) and my sweet husband gifted me a blood glucose meter knowing I would love playing with it? Yes, he really gets me. For fun (???) I tested my blood glucose level 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, and 3 hours after enjoying a hamburger with a gluten-free bun.

My blood glucose level shot up high and stayed that way for over two hours!  I don't know about you, but I don't like to see my blood sugar reading getting too high too often. My father has type 2 diabetes and I will do whatever I can to avoid getting it myself. And unfortunately my body does not respond well to anything with rice or rice flour so I try to avoid eating it.

But then I discovered low-carb real-food Cloud Bread!

This "bread" is made of eggs and cream cheese and is wonderful!!! If I let it age overnight in the fridge and then toast it the next day or two (or three, four)  I actually prefer it over real bread. Best of all, my entire family asks for it all of the time; they love it! I tested my blood sugar after having a hamburger with this bread and my numbers were at morning fasting level. Yay!!!!

So we are back to eating sandwiches and it feels so good! This is my modified "Cloud Bun" recipe. If you want to give these buns a try, you can click on it and then save it to your computer. My oven might be off, so watch them carefully the first time to make sure they don't burn.  And if you have a stand mixer it is so much easier to make a batch.


Here is Imp and Nutmeg. Nothing like a boy and his rat. Right??? ;-)


I will end this post with Piper. He is not dead, just worn out from his walk and sleeping at the feet of his favorite person in the world, Paul.

Have a great weekend!!!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CoffeeShop "Gentle Dove B&W" Fine Art Photoshop/PSE Action!


I have a new Fine Art Photoshop/PSE action to share with you this week! This one is a gorgeous soft dove-gray B&W enhancement and is fully adjustable.

I wanted to thank Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebookBlogYouTube VideosPixabay) for allowing me to use her images in my example above.









CoffeeShop "Gentle Dove B&W" Photoshop/PSE Action Instructions:




 1. Run the action.


2. Adjust the gaussian blur pop-up to add a soft focus effect to your image.


3. After the action finishes running, adjust the opacity of each layer to taste and turn on the optional       "Contrast Pop" layer if needed.


4. In this edit I turned down the "Touch of Vintage" layer's opacity and did not add contrast.

Download the CoffeeShop "Dove Gray B&W" Fine Art Photoshop/PSE action!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

CoffeeShop "16x20" Photographer Storyboard Set #29!


Today I have a brand new professional 16x20 photographer storyboard set to share with you. This one has three custom storyboards with a circle cut-out that you can add text/logo or an image.

You could also flip these upside down or to the side or even resize them larger or smaller. Just be sure to make the changes BEFORE adding any of your images.

These storyboards are layered psd files so you can add your images using clipping masks (tutorial and free fast loading action).

I wanted to thank Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) for allowing me to use her images in my example storyboard above!

Download the CoffeeShop" 16x20 Storyboard Set #29".

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Monday, May 22, 2017

CoffeeShop Sponsor: Pretty Preset's Fan Faves Preset Collection SPECIAL SALE!!!

Pretty Presets is a sponsor of my site and also the only Lightroom presets I use besides my own. They have their Fan Faves Limited Edition Collection on special $25-off (only $39) for the next 48-hours. You can read all about it below!

---------------

Fan Faves 2017release1  1

[48-Hours Only] Fan Faves Limited Edition Collection

THE FAN FAVES LIMITED EDITION COLLECTION RETURNS FOR 48-HOURS + SAVE $25 TODAY!!
Back by popular demand... our FAN FAVES LIMITED EDITION! We've had SO MANY requests to bring back this AMAZING collection! This will NOT be released again!! This is your LAST CHANCE to enjoy exclusive presets in the Fan Faves collection, as well as some of our most popular retired presets and of course a selection of our current fan favorites. Come check out our Fan Faves Limited Edition Collection.
Today, you can save $25 off (normally $64, on sale for $39)! Don't miss out on this 48-HOUR SALE! Get them before they're retired. They will not be brought back.
So, not only is this collection filled with all the TOP PRESETS for quick edits, but it will also cut your editing time drastically. Not to mention the fun you'll be having with your new collection of presets. What are you waiting for?  Come enjoy them here!
SASSY3
4
13920572 1526229460736105 1281242009203902847 o
***

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: FAN FAVORITES LIMITED EDITION

As I was searching through all the different preset bundles, I found myself only really needing a couple from each one. Found the favorites bundle and KNEW I HAD to get it. Used them on my most recent shoot and my client was SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY! Definitely will be purchasing the next faves bundle. -Britany C.
One of my favorites! I bought this one at the last second when I hadn't planned on buying more just yet, and glad I did. This is becoming my go-to, it has so many great presets in one collection! -Jennifer W.
I am so glad I purchased the Fan Faves, these presets are great and it has speeded up my workflow. -Dorothy R.
Where normally I tend to favor only a handful of presets from a bundle. I truly found all from Fan Faves, my faves. Loving all these presets. --Sandra M.
Love, love, love!
I love how easy Pretty Presets are to use, as a mom spending lots of time on the computer is not on option. They make both my job as a photographer and mom possible! -Alesha B.
Fan Faves Instagram  1
facebook instagram pinterest twitter youtube
1px

Saturday, May 20, 2017

{Friday Photo Bliss} Galveston Island

Fridays (or Saturdays in this case) I like to post snapshots of our week that make me happy.


Paul and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this month. So we decided to book a last minute trip with the boys to Galveston Island last weekend.  It is wonderful to live only 1.5 hours away from the beach.


The weather was perfect and as soon as we checked in our room at the Hotel Galvez we ran out to the beach.


I saw some lovely pink jellyfish so I decided against swimming, but the boys couldn't wait to get in the water.


The grownups did go into the water up to our ankles. Notice Imp back there "bathing" himself in mud.


We have never stayed at the Galvez and I had not realized that it was a such a short walk to the historic Pleasure Pier.


So the guys ran over there to check it out.


After the kids decided that they would rather play on the beach than ride terrifying rides, they jumped back into the water.

I love how Duke sits out there and enjoys the view.


I did manage to get a few shots of me and my boys. Duke is so tall.


The next morning after a giant buffet breakfast we put on our new swim shirts and went out to the beach. It was Monday and we were one of the few families out there.


The seaweed hadn't been cleaned off the beach yet, but I found it strangely beautiful. It glows in the morning sun.


Here is Paul in front of our  hotel. The Hotel  Galvez was built in 1911 and supposedly is haunted. Unfortunately we didn't hear or see any ghosts and the kids were quite disappointed. ;-)


I honestly don't know what was going on in this photo. I think Imp jumped and splashed Duke. The water was cold and Duke was upset. That face just cracks me up. I think this is one that I will enlarge and hang up at my house.


So Imp was sent off in punishment to build a sandcastle while Duke played by the water.


After some time Duke forgave Imp and allowed him back into the "Sacred Older Brother Bubble" and they played in the wet sand by the water's edge.


Then Imp showed Duke his sandcastle. Don't ask me what Paul was doing back there. I guess he is just a natural model.


Then Imp took great pleasure in kicking his sandcastle into a million pieces and we headed back to the hotel to swim in the pool.

It was the perfect mini-vacation.

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Thursday, May 18, 2017

CoffeeShop "Hand-Painted Borders" Facebook Cover!


Today I have a new Facebook cover/Website header to share with you! This one has "hand-painted" borders and you can change the color of both the borders and the background striped paper. You can also make the background a solid color or add any digital paper or texture.

I created the painted border effect by using a normal round brush in Photoshop and then going over it with   Topaz Impressions painterly filter to make it look hand-painted. If you do any type of design work you should check out the (affiliate link follows) Topaz Impressions plug-in. I just added it to my filter collection in Photoshop and PSE and I can paint anything now!

I used some beautiful images from Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) in my example Facebook cover above.

Download the CoffeeShop "Hand-Painted Border" Facebook Cover.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

CoffeeShop "Golden Bliss" Fine Art Photoshop/PSE Action!


Today I have a new fine art Photoshop/PSE action called "Golden Bliss". This action applies a beautiful subtle golden tint and is fully adjustable. It looks great on all types of images includes nature shots, portraits, and still life.

Images used in this post are from Unsplash (flowers, swimming kids, hair, tattoo, blueberries, holding hands, married).





CoffeeShop "Golden Bliss" Photoshop/PSE Action Tutorial:




Run "Golden Bliss". Adjust the contrast to taste when the Levels adjustment layer pops up. I usually fine-tune the three sliders under the curve.


This is the image after the action finishes running. Two of the layers are turned off.


I usually turn on "Lighten Darks" and adjust the opacity.


Then I turn on the "Hand-drawn Vignette" layer and paint out the middle of the image using a soft black brush on the layer mask and adjust the opacity of the layer to taste. This will darken the edges.


I hope you enjoy using this new action.

Download the CoffeeShop "Golden Bliss" Photoshop/PSE action!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter