***Stay tuned at the end of this post for a special announcement from Charles Dickens.

Ladies and gentlemen, technical stuff is not my strongpoint.

Last week I had an extremely sluggish hard drive and it was bordering on being an emergency situation, because I had a gigantic newborn photoshoot to edit. And I mean gigantic. It was the second time in my career that I shot so many photos in one place that I nearly filled up my memory card. Luckily for me, I got a brand new memory card for Christmas, and it will hold about one trillion photos. So I’m all good for the next shoot. But this shoot! It was so beautiful. So.. new. So fresh. And I can’t share it yet, but I will. I really will. And in the meantime, I will gain control of the “technical stuff” that plagues me.

clean up your computer month

Generally my computer is a little slow when I run both Photoshop and Lightroom on it, and sometimes I’m dumb enough to have a browser open too. This has always been tolerable, although slow, but after getting really into Photoshop actions in the last few weeks, my computer pretty much told me to what to do with my giant actions. Photoshop actions take your editing to new heights, and I write my own recipes. It’s wicked fun but my computer thinks it’s a giant pain and told me so.

In no uncertain terms.

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(Not the newborn from the shoot, but it’s an adorable newborn, just the same.)

Luckily, there was relief last week. Apparently it’s “Clean Up Your Computer Month” and I received a “Clean Computer Calendar” from Singlehop – a wonderful technology focused on cloud computing. Now I’m sharing it with you. As you will see from my next paragraph, I ended up going with DropBox Pro for my cloud hosting, because I’ve had an account there forever and didn’t know better, but SingleHop seems to have some amazing options for private cloud hosting as well.

clean computer calendar

I now have two weeks under my belt, and oh boy, was the perfectionist in me happy to clean up my folders during the first week. My iMac desktop is actually sparkly and shiny. It was timely to organize my documents because I was writing more for submissions and I was having trouble finding the new ones. Not cool. So that was straightened out. The biggest step for me was to organize photos. I started a new photo backup system. I save all of my photos onto SmugMug Pro, then onto Dropbox Pro, and then I put them on an external hard drive, and delete them off of my computer’s hard drive after they’re fully backed up. There are definitely better photo organizers in this world than me.. like.. tons of people. I’m just telling you what I do since I get asked that a lot! My photos were so vast and disorganized that I was using over 80% of my hard drive.

Now I’m under 50%, with a lot of room for improvement. The calendar helped me see many messes I could clean up.

And I discovered so many files – like spare photos from August I hadn’t uploaded yet. So many discoveries like..

Freakin’ otters!

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And the fact that otters like treats that are frozen inside of ice balls!

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Bev’s astonishingly cute baby.

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The astonishing height difference between Another Jennifer’s kindergartener and my own.

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That it took three tries, but that everyone looked at (or near) the camera!

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“Good looks can open doors. Good hair blows them off the hinges.” – Sam Malone

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My kids have cool reflections in their eyes.

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And that it seems to be my duty on this earth to show you my kids’ obvious joy..

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..although I’m not sure what was happening here. I do love the double-fisting water and ice cream, though.

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And stolen shots of people in chairs.

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Or stealing space on other people.

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And look for the photobombs!

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And photos that look like paintings, on the most crowded day in Tanglewood ever.

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Except for in this field, for some reason.

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Then there’s the wonder of grasshoppers.

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And preparing for a car nap with chocolate smeared on your face. (my favorite)

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And we can’t forget the river beach we discovered in our own backyard.

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That’s the stuff.

***Ok, now that I got your attention.. with otters, ice balls and grasshoppers.. I need to tell you something. I will be in Florida for a week. You will be visited by three spirits on this here blog. On Christmas Eve. Oh wait. I screwed that up. You will be visited by three amazing guest bloggers on this here blog. A month after Christmas Eve. I hope you’ll welcome them. You’ll probably even recognize them. They’re close to my heart. I’ll still be popping in here and there, because Florida and exhaustion and kids in bed early and “grown-ups” in bed early and iPhone addiction and I’m not ashamed. See ya. SOON.

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  1. Aww, I loved that intro at the end and you will be missed, but we will certainly hold down the fort while you are gone!! Love you always and just have fun (you totally deserve it) and don’t think of blogging at all (now if only I could take my advice later this year when we go away, too). And when you come back, I am totally going to pick your brain about the computer cleanup, as my MacBook could so use a good cleaning of files and such, as well.

  2. You have a wonderful time in Florida! Enjoy the sun, the warmth, the beach, family and Disney.

    p.s. cleaning no matter your computer or home does a lot of good to the soul (and speed ;))

    1. His dad is tall, right? With my kids, Cassidy is tall and I am medium height, but I was a very late bloomer. So I think it will happen one day.

  3. You have a river beach in your backyard?? It’s settled I am coming to visit this summer! I will bring tamales πŸ™‚

  4. My MacBook Air died on me recently, most likely because had SO many photos and videos on it, and they weren’t even ALL of it. I have some in an external hard drive, and many more still on my camera’s memory card. Now with this new computer, I feel like I have SO MUCH SPACE – but I don’t really because I still need to move those files off the old computer, but the hard drive doesn’t have enough space, and I need to upload the memory card photos and OMGIAMOVERWHELMED.


    1. I feel what you’re saying there! And yes overwhelming.
      I think it’s interesting when you get a new computer, and not only is it new but technology has changed so much, and it feels incredible.

  5. My computer gets really cranky with me sometimes. That’s when I remember I have a MacBook Air with limited hard drive space and I have to move all my photos to my cloud storage/external hard drive. Then my computer is happier again and doesn’t move sooooooo slooooooowly. Loved seeing the photos from the summer. And those otters were so cute!

    Have a WONDERFUL time in Florida!

  6. Beautiful pictures, Tamara! Those cute little baby feet, sweet baby Eve, and your beautiful babies. Happiness.
    I must check out your Single Hop calendar further in-depth, my computer is a hot mess!!! I cannot seem to keep up with myself; I clean the desktop and boom a new mess. πŸ™
    Have a fun {magical} trip!!

    1. Yes I will email you better information! Or I’ll put it in the comments when I finally get to a computer again. I am phone bound for the day.
      Sweet baby Eve is now sweet toddler Eve. And that adorable newborn above is a much older baby now. Although the first one of the feet? She still only a few weeks old.

  7. I never read your delightful blogs only once Tamara I read them twice and three times, and admire all your photos that bring ear to ear smiles. Enjoy your “Me Time” and “Me And My Family Time” in Florida! It will be warm and sunny and sandy and beachy, so you otter have a Great Time!

    1. Thanks Eddie! I think you’re my favorite reader. And I love that you tried hard to leave me a comment. That means a lot. I’m not sure what was wrong with the comment system. It’s pretty flawless usually. Lindsay uses the same hosting as I do.

  8. I could read your words and look at your photos all day, Tamara. My computer is a total mess! I’m sure something like this would be helpful. Lovely photos and reminder to slow down long enough to capture the moments.

    1. Thank you so much, Adrienne!
      I can’t believe how out-of-control I let my computer get. It was very bad. I’m not saying it’s back to normal, but it is running considerably faster.

  9. So much beauty and wonder in this post. I know I say this EVERY time, but I love your pictures and yay for getting your computer cleaned up! I can’t wait to see who the fabulous guest bloggers are! Enjoy your trip!

    1. It means something every time you say it.
      So thank you.
      My computer was so happy. It’s almost like you could hear it breathe a sigh of relief.

  10. I have two large containers of ice in my freezer right now, and they are hiding some toys for my preschoolers to find on Thursday! They will be just as fun to watch as the otters finding their treats!

  11. Love this post. Such wonder, awe and joy in these pictures. Enjoy Florida, it’s going to be so amazing!! Wish you were coming way down to Miami πŸ™

  12. Wow, lady – those close ups of the littles with the grandparents: amazing.

    Thank you for the calendar and letting me know that such a thing even existed. Shooting in the raw is taking up a ton of room on my computer (even though I’m not actually doing anything with those massive files yet). Enjoy Florida and your “break.” πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much! I can’t seem to get enough photos of them with their six grandparents. I never know what to do with raw files after I’ve converted them. Am I supposed to be keeping them? And I’m a professional photographer and I don’t know!

  13. That’s probably the only thing I DID get done over the break was organize my computer.. at least some of it. I am struggling to get back in the swing of blogging and was really to launch the new site, but been sluggish at posting. So glad you got your computer up and running! πŸ™‚

  14. Enjoy your vacation!! I am terrible at organizing things on my computer, I treat it like one big garbage bag, saving everything and never deleting or organizing, its terrible!

  15. I just saved that calendar. I REALLY, like REALLY, REALLY need to organize every single thing on my laptop. And then I need to get external drives to store all of my photos on because I had photos up to today all the way back to 8th grade on there… I’ve been graduated for almost five years so that’s just way too many pictures for one to have on one little laptop.

    How is Light Room? I keep hearing good things, and although I’m no photographer, I need a better photo editor desperately.

    1. Eighth grade! That was 20 years ago for me.
      I love lightroom. Something tog of hers only use it. Others only use creative suites. Many of us use both. If I had to choose just one, I don’t even know what I would do!

  16. Have an amazing time in Florida. You know, I simply commend all this organizational gusto – photos, files, folders… pure joy my friend! I’ve been at Tanglewood on a day like that… I think it was 120 degrees as well:) I always had the children who were short in kindergarten. Oh wait, we’re still short.

    1. I’ve only been to Tanglewood three times, no four, and it was always perfect weather. I think I would be surprised if it was anything more than that!
      I’m glad you like my organizational skills! It was time.

  17. Have so much fun and thanks for leaving us with some treats! You are the best!! And otters? Amazing πŸ™‚

  18. Have a grand time in Florida – I know you will have super guest bloggers here but I might just keep scrolling up and down this post because these pictures are incredible!!! I love the reflection in The eye shot but what I really love is that Des and I are kindred spirits -I’m always double fisting when we are out in the evenings (water + drink of choice for the night!!).
    I hope that your trip is incredible – zero stress and all happiness!!!

    1. Double fisting is the best! I always like to have a coffee in one hand and a water and another.
      Enjoy the guest posts! I will probably be peeking in.

  19. THAT RIVER?? Seriously in your backyard??! Now I’m so jealous! Your neighborhood is a gem!
    I hope you enjoy Florida. See you on the world wide web whenever you can! πŸ™‚

    1. Well it’s not right in my backyard! It’s a bit of a hike. But totally doable!
      I will be peeking in and I hope to see you even when I’m in Florida!

  20. Have fun on vacation. I’m so afraid of frogs. My son is always telling me I don’t have to be afraid of frogs, but they always seem to pop out of no where and scare the crap out of me. Like sitting in my shower or being stuck to my kitchen window at night.I just can’t do frogs.

    1. What?? That’s so funny about the frogs. I didn’t realize you lived in a place so heavy with frogs. I won’t tell you about the time it rained frogs when I was in Maine. Or the peepers we get in the spring here! Although they are shy and you could only hear them and not really see them.

  21. So so awesome that you’ll be in Florida! I hope that you have an amazing time. Also? I want photos of my son with reflections like that in his eyes. You do such a good job of that. Seriously.

  22. Have fun in Florida and you will be missed, but it’s good to know that you’ll be enjoying yourself and some well needed sunshine and vacation. I’m always amazed by the photos I’ve never seen and now I think I’m going to have to plan a trip to see you because it’s time for our long over due photoshoot. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, the best photo shoot ever! I know you will love at least one of my guest posters. Probably all three, but I know you are friends with one of them.

  23. Woo hoo! Wish I could see you while you are here! Have an awesome trip and oh…did you know Cheers is my favorite show?!

    β€œGood looks can open doors. Good hair blows them off the hinges.” – Sam Malone

    1. I love that you got my reference!

      I am disappointed. We used to only go to southern Florida and then I would’ve been able to see you. But my grandparents have since passed.

  24. Of course chocolate on the face is the best way to prepare for a nap! Chocolate is really the best way to prepare for anything. Have a wonderful time in Florida, and bring some of the magic home with you!

  25. Hard drive problems are the WORST! I went through that last week when my computer decided to freeze. (it was totally my fault…I always have photoshop, VMware, safari and numbers open at the same time – and I hadn’t cleaned up my photos since I got the computer in June. The HD was completely full. Ugh) Anyway, glad to know you got everything under control and I hope you and your family have another fantastic trip to Florida!

  26. The photos in this medley were exquisite (especially the one of the eye). Have fun on your vaca and I look forward to reading your guest posts. xo

    1. I used to only have PCs and I found that they got cluttered in so little time. The Mac threw me off because I really thought it would last forever! Not so!

  27. I so need to clean up my computer. I need to organize and do something about my photos because my computer is so slow. And my husband keeps thinking that I’m doing something to the computer when I want to shout, “No! It’s all the photos that we store on my computer!” And my desktop is another story. Have an amazing time in Florida!

    1. You’re making me laugh because that’s the story in this house too. I always tell Cassidy that I’m no computer doctor, but even I know when somebody has too many raw files lying around.

  28. my hard drive crashed and the magic people at Apple were able to fix it and I was able to restore it. So many amazing pictures that would have been lost! Have fun at your vacation in Florida!!! Maybe I’ll see you around πŸ™‚

  29. OMG! I think your spirit was talking to me yesterday because I had the day off so I started purging and organizing my online photos. I love this helpful calendar and am printing it out. I am loving that you found so many fun photos in that vast hard drive land. I hope you all have a wonderful trip! Cannot wait to see your photos too.

    1. I broke my last phone that way! Don’t be alarmed because once I put all of the photos onto my computer, the phone got better. But then I slowed up my computer more!

  30. Glad you got your photos stored away and in 3 locations, very nice! Amazon Prime members also get unlimited photo storage as long as files are less than 2 GB each. Have fun in Florida. LOVE the photos of the otters and of summer.

  31. cool your photos are getting organized

    I love the pics – I really love those otter pics – that is cool they like ice cube treats.

    Have a wonderful time on vacation & will try to check out your guest bloggers πŸ™‚

  32. I loved the pictures in the post… heart-happy-yes!

    Oh those delicious baby feet! And otters! And your beautiful children!

    I LOVE that computer organizing/cleaning spread sheet. I have GOT to do that.

    Have a wonderful vacation. I can’t wait to be be “visited” by those three spirits. LOL

    1. Ha!! I have no idea why I went all Charles Dickens like that. I just think it’s funny that I chose three bloggers for three days, even though I will have more than three blogs during the trip. I prescheduled! You will see my words too.

  33. Ugggh! I gave a real disdain for computer problems. I might be one of those people who are more organized, but I’m sure I have some areas that need tidying lol!

    Anyway, what a great way to remember some warmth and joy!

    But, seriously, have fun on your trip. Safe travels to you! πŸ™‚

  34. Hahahaha love that last paragraph. And omg I need to go to that site and do that monthly computer clean! I have my photos pretty well organized (but I need to move 2014 somewhere else) but my videos….oh god the videos. Not only are they unorganized but they take forever to back up onto clouds and drives and all that crap. You’ve inspired me though. Have fun in FL!

    1. Once that happens, you feel pretty great after it. Thanks so much about Florida! I didn’t even pack my vitamin D drops because amazingly, I might not need them for a whole week.

  35. LOL at the christmas visitors…lol I definitely need to organized some files of mine. I get in this bad habit of saving things to my desktop and suddenly it’s covered with icons and overlapping icons and jghfjdhgd it’s a pain. I hope you’re having fun on your trip! OMG! SUNNY FLORIDA!!!!!

    And really? a river in your backyard? What the!!!!

  36. These are some of my favorite photos yet! So crisp and capturing every single laugh just perfectly:-) oh, and p.s. that computer cleanup calendar…I need in my life! My poor desktop is so bogged down with files from years ago I never managed to organize…oy!

  37. I just can’t get over that first photo of the incredibly delicate and tiny newborn toes. Ugh. It’s fantastic! The focus, the lighting, the texture you managed to capture.
    And Tanglewood! I need to get back there this year!
    Of course, you’re motivating me to rediscover all of *my* photos that have been sitting on my memory card. There’s so much I haven’t shared from the past few months!
    I hope your plane trip is smooth and painless, my dear! Have so much fun!

    1. Thank you so much about all of that! I’m not highly experienced with newborns, so I just followed my heart.
      When you are ready to share, I look forward to seeing the photos.

  38. Have a blast in Florida love!!! Haha I use Google Drive to keep my important files backed up – the laptop I use is my work laptop and I don’t keep much or fill it up with anything. Everything is backed up to Google Drive or my OneDrive (hotmail). πŸ™‚ Have a blast in Florida and can’t wait tos ee more stunning photos!! Have a great one Tamara -Iva

    1. Google Drive is awesome! Not that I know how to use it.
      Thanks so much about the well wishes for my trips. I hope I can take even better photos than last year. I really liked last year’s.

      1. AH yes I forget you’re an iPhone user right?It’s awesome – I have it on my phone and it integrates with my account instantly – LITERALLY! I LOVE Drive.. Google is AWESOME! πŸ™‚ Go have fun! πŸ™‚

  39. You might be in FL this week but…. You’ll be on FACEBOOKKKKK! πŸ˜‰ ha ha haa ha ha! AND UHHHHHH clean up your computer month huh?! Well I need to jump on that because when people see my computer background they get stressed out because there are files EVERYWHERE! But I kinda like it that way! HA AH! It’s a BEAUTIFUL MESS!

  40. Ah I only have a laptop and it’s the sloweeest! Beautiful photos! As always! I wish we were neighbors so I can ask you stuff about photography! I would offer my services and be your assistant during shoots for free! πŸ™‚

  41. Oh geez… I gotta run and check my computer hard drive because it is ALL on there. Like…. ALL. BRB
    Ok phew! I still got lots of room. But no otters. how come I don’t have otters. I got a partridge and turtles; but no otters.
    Hope you’re having a smashing good time on the beach!

  42. You are so right about the expressions of joy, they are just so cute! Oh and the river beach is absolutely beautiful! I could sit and just listen to the water flow! Hope the rain has stopped and you are enjoying a bit of sunshine on the beach or maybe even a sunset!

  43. 1. Otters are smelly but cool. Kind of like kids.

    2. My car might be a mess and my desk a fire hazard, but my computer files are in order. What’s up with that?

    3. I hope you have a cubano sandwich while you’re in Florida. I miss those.

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