If you can't beat them, join them; so they say. My quest to discover the secrets to successful post processing techniques was finally rewarded after attending a talk on this topic in the camera club. Here, a long-time photographer showed his images and introduced the software that he used. I installed Nik Software and Topaz, ran through the online guides and tutorials, then tried them out for a few days.
Below are some before and after post-processing images I did yesterday. No heavy lifting with Photoshop was required. By applying appropriate presets and using minor adjustments in a combination of Lightroom, Nik Software, Topaz, and Photoshop, I was able to get the result in a cinch. Voila!