Quick Photo Editing Using iPhoto, Photoshop and PIXLR Editor

Disclaimer: I’m going to use one photo to show the slight differences of the three softwares. So pardon me if you keep seeing the same shot of my daughter’s face. Hehe!Quick Photo Editing Using iPhoto, Photoshop and PIXLR Editor

Let’s face it. We may have the latest camera phone, pocket cam or DSLR but most of us are no professional who can manually manoever the camera and always come up with perfectly lit and color balanced picture. I bet your DSLR is always on Auto-mode because mine is, except when I’m taking product shots. The perfect moment to capture is right there so I wouldn’t risk missing it just so I can take my time manually setting my cam. Good thing there are editing softwares available so we can make our photos look almost professional. Forget over-the-top filters!┬áHehe!

Whenever I edit my personal photos, I usually adjust only three things: the exposure, brightness and contrast and color balance. Adjusting the color isn’t always necessary though. Just in cases when the image looks like it has too much red/pink, yellow, blue, etc. Don’t get too intimidated. Editing is actually easier than you think…

EDITING WITH iPHOTO

If you’re a Mac user, your computer has built-in iLife which includes iPhoto. It’s a great software for filing and grouping pictures as well as image editing.

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I took Kenya’s picture using my Canon EOS-1100D (yeah, I know, very entry level cam, that’s all I can afford. But this proves that you don’t need high end cam to have nice looking pictures.) It was taken at the beach, around 11:45 am using my camera’s portrait mode. Notice that the picture is very pinkish all over and lacks proper highlights and shadows.

iphoto-1

When using iPhoto, your first option is to: edit>quick fixes>enhance. But sometimes, clicking enhance will only make your image darker like my photo. So the next option is to manually adjust your image.iphoto-2

First, adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation by moving the slider to the right. I cannot give the exact value since images are different. You have to trust your eyes for the right setting. Do not uncheck “Avoid saturating skin tones” if you don’t want your portrait to have grayish skin.

Kenya was sitting on a white, plastic beach lounge chair. Notice that the chair still looks pinkish after already adjusting the exposure, contrast and saturation. Let’s minimize the pink in the picture by adjusting the levels.

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Move the middle slider to left a bit until the pink on the white chair is gone. And that’s it!

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March Almost Over??!!

marchFew more days to go and it’s April! Again, I haven’t been able to post anything for this month. Same reason as before, I’m loaded with projects! But guess what, three of them are interior decorating projects so I’m pretty stoked! I can’t wait to start posting updates about them.

March is quite a stressful month for me (and so was January and February, hehe) but it has been a happy month after all.

iheartbfKenya turned 5 months last March 19 and I have been exclusively breastfeeding her for the same amount of time now. And I can say that I am one PROUD momma! Since I was able to breastfeed Bryce for only four months, I plan to make it up to Kenya by nursing him for at least two years. My favorite breastfeeding benefits: Kenya’s excellent immune system (almost every month, someone is sick with cough or cold in the house but she never got one) and steady weight loss for me (I’m now back to my pre-pregnancy weight). Yay!!!

projects

You know what makes me happier? When my hobbies start generating income, even if it’s just a bit. I get to do what I love and at the same time, get compensated for it. Like I’ve said, I cannot wait to start posting about those projects here. So exciting (for me, at least…)Hehe!
color

I think we had two semesters of Color Theory back in college but I can’t remember learning anything from it. This time, I’m re-learning colors and understanding undertones so I can design spaces better. I think April will be an interesting month. :)

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My First Try on Freezer Meals

freezer cooking

Our househelp who knows how to cook left a month ago. We have a new one though but cooking is not exactly one of her skills. So I’m now back to being in charge with the family meals. For the past few months, I’ve been wishing for extra hours. Everyday is a struggle to juggle work, feeding Kenya, having time for Bryce, a little exercise and of course, trying to find time for my beloved blog. Most of the time, I don’t have an hour or two to prepare our meals and so we often resort to take-aways. I hate it because 1) I’m not sure how the food was prepared 2) It’s greasy, it’s unhealthy and it’s boring 3) It’s expensive 4) I don’t like Bryce being exposed to fast foods 5) Hubby and I are trying to eat clean.

I used to freeze meals but just one or two dishes, usually it is chili con carne or laing (taro leaves in spicy coconut cream) which freezes well and seems to get better over time. One day, I came across this thing called once-a-month cooking. It’s not exactly cooking all dishes in one day but rather preparing your month-worth meals in one day so that all you have to do is take the frozen meal out of the freezer the night before and then just dump it in the slow cooker or pop it in the oven when you’re ready to cook.

Freezer Meal PlanClick image to download printer-friendly version. The list of ingredients and some cooking instruction is in there but I also included the link to the original recipe.

It sounds like the answer to my prayer so I made my own freezer meal plan–Filipino style! Did you know that it took me more than 5 hours to come up with the first set of recipes?! Haha! I had to consider prep time (I don’t have the whole day), family’s taste, available ingredients and my househelp’s ability to cook it on her own.

I have 3 dishes ready for the slow cooker, 3 for frying or baking and 3 for microwave (already cooked,when I’m feeling too lazy to even turn on the oven or slow cooker.) By the way, I think every household should have a slow cooker. I am so grateful to my Ninang Baby who introduced me to slow cooker. Life became so much easier and yummier when you can dump all ingredients at once in the pot before you hit the bed and wake up with a freshly cooked meal.

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So here’s how I tackled the challenge. We went grocery shopping (my grocery list for my freezer meal plan) Tuesday night and marinated the pork for adobo right after dinner. I started quite late the following morning at 10am instead of the planned 8am. I cooked the adobo first and while it was simmering, I browned the beef for the stew and prepared the veggies. By 11am, the beef stew was all good in the slow cooker. I had to take a break to feed Kenya and went back to work at 11:45. I was done with the three slow cooker-ready meals after an hour. It would have been faster if I bought ready-made alfredo sauce but it was P190.00 a jar and I needed two! Being cheapo me, I decided to just make my own. Another break for lunch and then finished the tapa by 3pm. Another feeding and I fell asleep with Kenya and Bryce. I did the meatloaf the following day and decided not to cook the chili anymore since I don’t have enough space in the freezer.

freezer-meals1My proud moment and our well-stocked freezer. Ziplock really does wonder! :)

Each prepared meal is good for 2-3 meals and can feed 3 adults and 1 fuzzy eater kid; this should be enough for two weeks. But since we’re going to have salad night every Tuesday and Friday and fish/veggies 2-3 times a week (to be bought from the local wet market on the same day), I think I could stretch this for a whole month! Our grocery cost for these including my pantry essentials and some other home stuff and toilettries: P6,957.59. Pretty cheap if our next grocery trip will be a month from now considering our average weekly grocery bill is P3,000.

freezer-meals

Now I wish I have a bigger freezer so I can store frozen pasta, bread, more breakfast meals like burrito and home-made corned beef. Oops, I just realized, we don’t have room for ice cream!!!

I’ll let you know how my freezer cooking go… :)

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