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New an amazing!!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sea scallops fish tacos


 I always loved fish tacos, and this time I wanted something different, and most important I wanted to use Canadian sea scallops, big juicy scallops from Nova Scotia.

Ingredients, for 4 fish tacos

  • 400 g/ 1lb of large sea scallops cleaned and dried up with paper towel
  • 2 - 3 red, orange, green or yellow bell peppers, shopped in diagonal
  • 2 cups of  celery shopped in diagonal
  • 1 large onion shopped, 
  • I avocado sliced
  • black olives
  • Medium chunky salsa
  • 1 cup of shredded aged cheddar cheese  
  • 4 soft tacos, I used whole wheat soft boat shape tacos
  • spices, I used peri peri, hot hot hot
  • Rice oil or any high temperature oil.
Saute scallops in hot oil for about 3 min. adding your favorite spices, high heat setting.

  I put them on a plate and kept them warm in my oven

My fabulous electric wok, the best of the best!

I Stir fried vegetables for 3 to 4 min.

I added 1/2 cup of chunky medium salsa,

I turned down the heat to medium and mixed the ingredients for 1 min.


 I added my scallops back to the wok

I mixed all ingredients at medium heat to warm everything up

This wine was amazing, "perfect pairing"

I filled the tacos with the mix and added slices of fresh avocado

I added salsa

I added a lot of cheese, sharp-tasting!



I added black olives and served it with a green spinach, kale and tomato salad




It was amazing, and very healthy,

My wok is a Breville Hot Wok Pro, the best I ever used.


Saturday, September 17, 2016


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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sleeklens Lightroom Presets and Brushes Trial

 I received an offer to try Sleeklens base landscape package for LR,  51 presets and 30 brushes for landscape editing, for more info follow this link  https://sleeklens.com/product/landscape-lightroom-presets/ and https://sleeklens.com/product-category/lightroom-presets .

 Sleeklens was founded in 2015 by the current CEO and CoFounder Daniel Chabert. He started Sleeklens after being dissatisfied with the quality of products on the market. He would often end up with Lightroom or Photoshop products that were designed to be a “quick-fix” or an “all-in-one” solution. You will find no such products at Sleeklens. Our goal is to provide you with a product that works “with” you, not “for” you. Our growing company is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark and employs talented experts from around the world.

To do the test I used one image that was part of a series of images in the Andes, this one was the darkest one, I wanted to see if I can use Sleeklens to bring back details and lights into it. 

It work very well and very fast too, 

The process image using Sleeklens,

Image processed using Sleeklens LR presets and brushes
 Original raw image directly from camera

Original Image From Camera Raw
As you can see the original is very dark, I was exposing for the sky, setting my camera to do a series of photos for hdr. Using Sleekens for LR I found out that I may not need to shoot 3 to 7 images "hdr process" to get all the details that I want.
My first concern when doing this kind of work, retrieving a lot of details in the shadows is the noise effect, and I was very please with the low noise found in the processed image.

How it worked, after installing the presets and brushes to LR, I imported the raw image and under the develop module, I started using the presets, I stacked 4 presets, (all presets can be modified)
  • All in one Shine into the Sunset
  • Base Basic Film
  • Base Hdr
  • Tone Desaturate
The result was great but I needed some touch up, to do so I used 2 Sleekens brushes,(all brushes can be modified)
  • Cloudy Sky Definition
  • Neutral Haze
To finish it I edited the image in Photoshop I always use PS to check my saturation and color cast.

First I used one of my favorite Nik Color Efex Pro "remove color cast" I don't use it all the time but for this image I had too, I always had problem with too much color that's probably why I like to do black and white, but anyway that's another story! Ok after using Nik, I checked my saturation level, to do so I used Gamut Warning, and for sure I had to lower down the saturation.
It looked pretty good but as a final touch I cropped the image to a 16 x 9 format.

After saving the image, I decided to try Topaz Impresson 2, using Edward Hooper modified.

Topaz Impression 2, Edward Hooper Modified.

 I found that using Sleeklens improved the process time and result, to learn more about the process visit their site https://sleeklens.com/

Or one of their tutorial on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG0ebFPfQX8


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Topaz Impression 2 and Topaz Glow 2

Following my last post and experience with Topaz Impression2, I decided to go back to the same location as the sky was a lot more interesting, I wanted to do a square format, to show as much sky as possible to balance the image.

Following the same process as I did for the last post, first I cleaned the image in Photoshop, took out the people and houses, and cloned more flowers. After the cleanup I made 3 copies of the clean layer opened the first one in Topaz and used Over paint saved it, when back with the second copy and this time applied Swirly lines that I modified saved it and finally went back into Topaz and this time used Knife and oil.  To finish I used layer mask to keep and discard what I wanted from each layers. I flattened the image did another copy and used Liquify filter and Topaz Glow 2 graphic 11, I kept only few interesting line from this filters.

And as always to make sure that my saturation was not overboard I used Photoshop Gamut Warning and lowered down the saturation.

Topaz Impression 2 and Glow 2 final Image



Cropped Original Image directly from Camera




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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Topaz Impression 2

 I have been using Corel Painter for a long time, I love that software, but it is very expensive and time consuming, every year they come along with an update that is quite deep in the pocket, and now with the exchange for US currency it is getting too expensive, I am still using my old version but in the mean time I like to speak to you about Topaz Impression 2.

Topaz Labs have a lot of different program at a fare price,  https://www.topazlabs.com/impression, it's not cheap but it's fare and you can always try it for 30 days, same with Corel Painter, when I have more time I am going to test the new Corel Painter too.

This is an image that I did using Topaz Impression2 you can see the original photo directly from Camera, below the painted image,

Topaz Impression 2

Original Image from Camera

I especially shoot this photo thinking about the effect from Topaz Impression 2, first I cleaned the image in Photoshop, took out the people and houses, and cloned more flowers. After the cleanup I made 3 copies of the clean layer opened the first one in Topaz and used Saturated Watercolor saved it, when back with the second copy and this time applied Georgia O'Keefe that I modified saved it and finally went back into Topaz and this time used Chiaroscuro 3.  To finish I used layer mask to keep and discard what I wanted from each layers. I flattened the image did another copy and used Liquify filter to change the aspect of the tree, and as I always do check my gamut, using view gamut warning, that is extremely important if you want to print and not over saturate your image, using hue and saturation I lowered the saturation where needed. The full process took me less than 30 minutes a lot less than doing the same work manually.

I don't have any affiliation with Topaz, but I sure use it a lot!!! If you have questions about it please use the comment section.

Friday, July 22, 2016

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Mom 87 Birthday



My mom 87 birthday,

Maman 87


My mom turned 87 last Sunday April 24, that was a fantastic event, so happy to have her, she had a great time, to see all the photos from that day please follow this link, http://dianedugas-imagen.com/#/gallery/maman-87-birthday



Maman and my husband Marc

Maman and Leonie 

Maman and Eloise

Mathieu and Annie-Claude

Maman with Johanne

Maman and Martine

Maman and Louis

Maman, enjoying a fantastic dinner!

Maman in a conversation with Carl

Maman and Martine

Maman and Martine


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Selling our House in Mendoza Argentina



Selling a house in Mendoza Argentina!

Our dream, Mendoza Argentina



We enjoyed every minutes of our time in Mendoza


Let start with a small historic; 
Our first visit in Argentina was in 2007, we loved it, so much that we went back in 2008 and we purchased a house in Mendoza, it was more like a condo on 2 levels, the location was fantastic close to everything, a small paradise.   

Our plan was to move to Argentina in 2011, and to become resident, but life decided otherwise, Marc my husband needed 2 surgeries, a second cervical spinal fusion and a lower back decompression, the last surgery was done in March 2014, and as soon as he felt better we took our flight tickets to Mendoza, leaving Calgary on August 15 landing in Mendoza August 16.

Marc last surgery

From Santiago to Mendoza

Arriving in Mendoza August 16, 2014

We were extremely happy to finally live our longtime dream.  

Few months later my father passed away and it was extremely painful not being close to family and especially close to my mom during that time, we had to rethink our decision to become resident, and took the decision to sell and come back home, it wasn’t easy and it took us almost 6 months to put it on the market.

Our first real estate agent, a reference from a friend accepted to work for us, I don’t think that he really wanted to sell our place, not expensive enough for him and his customers, all our communications were extremely difficult and we developed a lot of frustration, he didn’t answer our questions, telling us to ask someone else, and that’s exactly what we did, we let him go and hire another agent just before the Argentine Election, not the best time to sell, but we decided to get everything ready for January 2016.

Leandro Suarez our new agent understood our concerns and answer our questions, we had a perfect communication with him.

In January Leandro came with 3 customers in a single week, all interested, Leandro qualified every buyer carefully! 
The last visitors that week came on Friday and came back for a second visit on the following day “Saturday afternoon January 30”. 

They left with Leandro, and Leandro came back few minutes later to let us know that they were very interested to make an offer.

On Tuesday night Leandro came into our place and called the prospect and got a firm offer, exactly what we wanted.  We were very happy,  it was the beginning of a very stressful process.

We were expecting the first payment and the official offer to be Friday Feb. 3, we were on standby not knowing when it will happen, I cancelled everything for the following 2 weeks, the prospects offered to give us a deposit that we refused as we didn’t want to create a precedent and lock us on the value of the pesos early in the game, as the pesos like most of currency is very unstable even if our sell price was in US, we really didn't want to take a chance with the exchange rate.

 During our waiting time we book a meeting with Julian “Julian Sadofschi” , Julian represented us 8 years earlier when we purchased the place he also took possession for us, we needed his advice, and we wanted him to represent us again, “let me tell you that without Julian it wouldn’t been impossible to sell.

Julian accepted to work for us and represented us during the official offer meeting, where the buyer give the seller 50% of the money upfront.  It was Friday February 11, we got to the bank early, the first 50% was paid in pesos and the final payment in US$, Thursday night Julian contacted the buyer notary and give them the exchange rate for the next morning, it is very important to get the perfect exchange rate as the pesos like a lot of currency is instable. 

We got to the bank with Leandro, Julian, the buyers and their notary were already there.
Because the first payment was in pesos, that’s a lot of pesos that had to be counted, Julian and the buyer went with a bank rep. to do the first count with a machine, and put it in large red bag, after we all went to a room to count the remaining pesos. 

The notary asked us our passports, as she looked at them she put everything away and said, “I cannot do anything because this is not the same passports they used to buy, for sure it wasn’t the same passport, we bought in 2008 and we were in 2016, more than 8 years and Canadian passport used to be good only for 5 years they just changed it recently for 10 years. Remember to always keep your old passport!!! The funny thing is that we gave the copy of our new passports to Leandro and he gave a copy to the notary, but I guess nobody looked at them before the meeting.

Argentine Pesos

Julian took the problem into his hands, and discuss with the notary till she agreed to make the contract without the old passport, Julian has a long history with us, and knew that we can track our old passports from the notary that worked with us when we purchased the place.

We left Julian with all the pesos, and took a cab back home.  Julian called me later that afternoon to let me know that the transfer didn’t pass, stressful news.  At that point we had no choice and decided to open a US account at our bank in Canada, we worked with an amazing woman Sue Sydenham, we gave her authority to act for us a long time ago, only need a phone call and our US account was activated right away, Sue gave us all the info for the transfer, that I gave to Julian and this time everything when through, we still had to wait 5 days to see it in our account.

The following week we had a meeting with Julian and a lawyer to give him power of attorney we should have done it earlier, but we didn’t know. 

Julian went to AFIPP, that’s the tax men for Argentina, he found out that we didn’t pay our income tax for the last 8 years, we had no clue that we had to pay income tax on our asset “our house” but impossible to sell without paying 5 years back plus interest. Julian took care of everything hiring the accountant to do the work, we didn’t have to pay a fortune it was not even $2000US, but we were losing a lot of time and the delay for the second and final meeting was March 14, by the time we paid and Julian finally had all the paper in hand to go to AFIPP to get a certificate of retention, 

“you cannot sell a propriety in Argentina without a certificate of retention or non-retention, because we were not resident and didn’t want to buy another propriety we needed a certificate of retention".

When I said all the paper, I meant not only the income tax, but also all our bills for the past 8 years, we also ordered our marriage certificate in case we needed it.

Julian had the meeting with AFIPP March 1, only 2 weeks before the final meeting, not a lot of time, as AFIPP delay is up to 20 days to reach a decision, and they can request more documents after 10 days, and it can go on forever, if you don’t have someone to represent you with full power of attorney you are done, forget about selling and getting a certificate will be almost impossible. 

It was the longest 2 weeks of my life, we were not sure if it was possible to get the certificate in a such short time period even if Julian told us many times that we were going to get it on time. He also told us that we can take our flight back home as he had power of attorney and can finish the deal without us the same way he took possession for us 8 year earlier. 

We followed his advice, booked our flight back home and rented a place for 2 weeks.
Friday March 11 arrived, I couldn’t sleep at all that morning, too stress, it was our last day and we were still waiting for our certificate of retention, Julian texted me around 10 am, he was at AFIPP pushing for the certificate, he got it late afternoon, never been so relieve I could not believe it.

That weekend we pack all our belonging, a lot of extremely large suitcases, and Leandro gave us a lift to our temporary place. 

We had our final meeting on Monday March 14 at 6pm, we got there we were very relax, the notary began to read the contract and told us that she had to rush to finish everything on time as she got the certificate late Friday, and also told us that when she printed the contract she didn’t had enough of the special ink they used for this kind of legal paper and she was lucky that she could find some ink that day, and bla, bla, bla, she asked us to sign, even if in the background Julian was making a lot of gesture to stop us, yeap problem again! We were not supposed to sign, Julian was the one that had to sign the contract. 

She tried to reprint that last page without success, during that time Julian was trying to make her understand that is was ok to have more signatures, but she was not sure about it and didn’t want to make a mistake. 

After many phone calls from Julian and the notary, someone in the legal system called back and give the ok. It took almost an hour to solve this problem, and it was too late for Julian to do the transfer, but he told us not to worry that he was going to do it first thing next morning, and he did, and we waited another 5 days and everything went through. 

Our flight back was on March 26 landing in Montreal Easter day March 27,  before leaving we had to go to immigration to pay our fee, after being illegal for almost 2 years we had to pay around $60.00 to get out of the country. We also had to find a driver to get to the airport with all our luggage lucky for us one of the foreigner Shane Pape had a big truck and was free to drive us that morning.

Living in Argentina was an amazing experience, we loved it, if you have to sell your place in Argentina and have a lot of questions please contact me. 

A special thank you to Leandro for finding the perfect buyer, and to Julian to facilitate the process, as I wrote earlier even if you have a buyer, without someone like Julian who understand the full process, working with foreigner and AFIPP it is almost impossible to close the deal. I will give power of attorney to Julian again, if needed, he is the most honest person we ever meet.