Friday, February 5

My Early Valentine's Present, or Life is Too Short For Bad Coffee!

I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but I am a tiny bit addicted to coffee... You might not know that I used to hate it with a passion and thought it was a nasty sludge only old people with yellow teeth enjoyed drinking.

I also despise all soft drinks (horribly sweet and disgusting) and didn't usually drink tea (even though I do like it). In college when I needed a caffeine boost I would actually resort to eating spoonfuls of dehydrated coffee while holding my nose closed. Seriously... Just ask my husband. He will also tell you about my famous shark stew, the time I put tenderizer on some cheap steaks overnight (yes, they looked partially digested by morning), and how I lived on the neighborhood burgerjoint's "lean" hamburgers (basically normal fattening hamburgers on a wheat bun) and uncooked coleslaw cabbage (a girl needs her fiber).

So what changed? In the early 90's I went to visit my grandparents in Germany. My German family are huge coffee drinkers. And they will tell you American coffee stinks compared to their coffee. And I believe they are right. I won't even start talking about Starbucks, with their bitter tasting roasts... I reluctantly drank a cup of German coffee with cream offered by my beloved Omi, and shockingly loved it. Thus began a life-long addiction.

Our cheap little Mr. Coffee "with a carafe" coffeemaker finally died on us. I have to have a carafe because I can't stand "burned" tasting coffee and I love how it saves electricity by not using a hot plate. I also like to drink the leftover morning coffee midday. I did some research on the net and the cheaper coffee makers with a carafe had horrid reviews. But then I discovered this expensive jewel: Cuisinart DGB-650BC Grind-and-Brew Thermal 10-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker, Brushed Metal.

Even with a $30 rebate it was $90 and I have never paid over $50 for a coffeemaker. But my husband, being the wonderful man he is, said "what the heck!". This coffeemaker not only makes coffee (duh), but also grinds your coffee beans before making the coffee. Oh my, it is like having a maid, or having coffee at the neighborhood coffeehouse (not Starbucks, yuck).

So guess what! We decided this was our early Valentine present to each other. Much more romantic than jewelry (I don't wear the stuff) or chocolate (I buy this on my own, then I get what I want) or flowers (I hate when they get all wilted and the water gets all slimy). And I have to confess the coffee is AMAZING! Believe the positive hype, it makes the best coffee in the world.

The coffee cup is from Rao's Bakery in Beaumont. When we are passing through Beaumont we always stop here and get coffee and some pastries. Yummy! My husband worked for a time in Beaumont and discovered this little gem of a coffeehouse. I hate to pick on Starbucks yet again, but Rao's has great coffee and tons of seating so you can relax over a cup of brew, chat, and talk about politics and religion and dream about your future with your sweetie. While trying at the same time to ignore the kids running around the table, eating cookie crumbs off the floor, grabbing coffee stir straws and napkins and shoving the straws up their nose and putting the napkins in their shirts and saying "look at our big boobs". I need new kids... :-)

Oh, this coffee is the best! Also roasted and flavored in Texas, how cool is that? Now, I know you coffee snobs out there will make fun of me for drinking flavored coffee. I love all types of coffee, flavored or not. I worked as a coffee Barista for a year and became a coffee "expert". But I believe a true lover of coffee (read "addict") will embrace the coffee bean, flavored or not. :-)

This wonderful coffeemaker was not the only purchase we made last month. Our microwave died and we bought a new one. I won't post a photo, it is a microwave after all. But we are also having issues with our oven. It is an original early 1970's double oven in lovely avocado green. It still works, but it takes 30 minutes to preheat and doesn't brown very well. I priced new ovens and almost passed out and decided this one matched our kitchen, so why mess up our "look". After all, it matches our original yellowish laminate cabinet tops. Don't let anyone force you to upgrade to granite or other expensive tops. This laminate is almost 40 years old and in perfect condition. Perhaps much to my dismay. ;-)

I decided to check out toaster ovens on Amazon, and found this 6 Slice Digital Toaster Oven. This little guy changed my life! Everything I cook in it (cakes/pies/cookies/chicken/etc) comes out perfectly. And it uses such a tiny amount of electricity compared to my oven. I haven't turned on my "real" oven since buying this Oster, and unless I make a turkey I won't have to.

Enough chit chat! The images above were editing in LightRoom (I used my Black and White Coffeebar preset with tweaks). Here is a preview of my new PS/PSE action and tutorial coming soon. It has been named thanks to my Flickr group. Plus more tutorials and other goodies are coming to the CoffeeShop. :-) I have been busy so I need to get posting! Thank you so much for visiting and sending your friends and checking out my links!!!

Name this action? I need help!


  1. Those are the best Valentine's gifts, the practical ones you use all the time! I loved reading this post but of course, as a mother of 3 boys, I totally related to the "straws up the nose and big boobs" comments....there's plenty more of that to come ~ be prepared!!

  2. This is my first time to your site, I was referred by a friend. My husband surprised me with a Canon Rebel XSi for our anniversary. So I'm just getting into photography and I keep asking myself why I wasted my so much of my life not taking pictures. I've done a few shoots and I'm just trying to find my "style." I use PSE 7 and it's been pretty tricky for me to figure out so your site is my new best friend! I'm so glad that you make everything free! It makes learning that much easier! Thanks!

  3. I too am addicted to coffee.. and you have the best V day gift ever (wishing for something like that)..

  4. i got that same coffee maker for christmas and OH MY is it ever worth it!! you will love it!

  5. Hi Rita.My name is Mónica and i'm portuguese. I wan't to thank and congratulate you for your amazing work and tips. i´ve been editing my blog long time ago, but it ended kind of dusty... if you know what i mean. Thanks to your great tutorials, tips, freebies, i've changed my blog... again.
    So i want to invite you to take a peak... it's all in portuguese, but i'm thinking about translating it too. It was exausting but fun too, hope you enjoy it!

  6. Very the coffee maker. I'm with you on Starbucks coffee....I thought it was pretty nasty myself. But the Vanilla Bean Frappicinos ~ oh yea. :)

  7. Love reading your blog AND enjoy all of your tips and freebies. Thank you so much.
    Just had to tell you that while reading today's post I had to stop and go make myself a cup of coffee in my Keurig that my daughter gave me for Christmas. Nothing beats a freshly brewed cup of coffee!

  8. I too am addicted to coffee, flavored or not. I just love the taste of the stuff! When I'm pregnant (like now) I still drink two cups of decaf every morning! And I agree that German (and Italian) coffee is the GREATEST! We're stationed in Germany right now and I'll be sad to leave the coffee behind when we move this summer. The best coffee I've ever had though was in Rome! I don't know what kind of crack they put in that stuff, but it's seriously addicting! I think I would have left my husband for a pot of that coffee! And, I'll have to check out Rao's. I went to school at McNeese and visited Beaumont often. We're moving back to LA this coming summer, so it won't be too far a drive! :) What a small world it is!

  9. I just found your site and recently purchased a Nikon D and am trying, although failing miserably, to learn to use it and the editing programs. How do i save your presets? I'm totally lost. You can email me privately at if have a spare minute (haha) and tell me quickly how to save them into LR beta. thanks a ton! I'm excited to have found you!

  10. Yeah for new appliances of any sort! I am so so so thankful for your site! I've been getting into photography a little bit over the last year. My husband gave me elements for christmas last year and try as I might for like 8 months, I couldn't wrap my head around it until I found your site. I still don't know what I'm doing most of the time, but I'm a little closer as I mess around with trial and error on my pictures. But really, I'm so so so thankful for your insights! I Love the new action and I'm excited for it! If you're still thinking about a name I offer "Morning delight".


  11. I'm wondering if you could enlighten me. I have photoshop elements 8.0 - I have a ton of actions but none have the .png files - how do you make the actions show up in your program with out that?

  12. Rita, thanks for all you do. Your work is beautiful. . . and fun!

  13. Congratulations on your new coffee maker. I would LOVE one of those. We grind our own coffee and brew it in a metal insulated french press. I am very happy with our coffee, but sometimes the number of different things I have to do to get it made in the morning is just too much before I've had my coffee!

  14. I too am contemplating a change of appliance: for me, the stove. When the burners consistently die, it is NOT a good thing.

    My question regarding the toaster oven is: how well does it toast?

  15. I love your new coffee maker. I bought a very similar one last year at Christmas Time when Linen's and Things were going out of business. Not sure what model it was, but all I knew was that I got a $200 coffemaker for 50% off. I love it too and I agree, it makes great coffee. I love the carafe and it really does keep the coffee hot for as long as I want. Sooooo Happy!!! Congratulations on yours!!

  16. Happy Valentine! that was a great gift! and a REAL gift too! ;) I enjoy these kinds of presents far more than jewelries too, haha I wish for a coffeemaker like that this year but our old one is still kicking~~but thank you for your reviews now I know what to look for when the old guy DOES break!
    I'm a huge coffee drinker...can't seem to live without it!

  17. "While trying at the same time to ignore the kids running around the table, eating cookie crumbs off the floor, grabbing coffee stir straws and napkins and shoving the straws up their nose and putting the napkins in their shirts and saying "look at our big boobs". I need new kids... :-)" I laughed for ever when I read this. I would say you could have mine, or that we could trade, but mine would be doing the exact same thing! Thanks for the great laugh early this morning, and making me think maybe there are other kids out there like mine!

  18. Enjoy your new coffee pot.

    We mostly drink Americano's or espresso's, and after several years of using a steam driven machine we invested in a pump machine. There is no going back.

    I like drip coffee, and do drink it, but the beans have got to be dark roast and good.

    I'm not a fan of Starbuck's anymore (I'm even a NW girl). Their coffee tastes burnt and/or weak the few times I've resorted to giving them 'one more try'. I now go out of my way to frequent the smaller shops that actually know how to m make a 'real' cup of coffee. lol

    Crandizzles - enjoy your camera!


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