Daily Life Inspiration Tips & Guides

On smiling, breathing, and moving slowly

Just when I thought I was really invincible, I came down with a nasty flu. It could be that my body knows me better than I know myself, and I needed to slow down. I spent a few days unable to do much other than sleep. Just in time for the beginning of my recovery, my friend Allison came to visit. It was good to get some fresh air and share some of my favorite parts of the city.

A cup of cappuccino and a croissant at La Colombe

We made it over to the Etsy Holiday Shop on their final day for a holiday ornament making workshop with the talented Tuesday Bassen. *Photo from the Etsy Holiday Shop website.

Tuesday told me she liked my moon-faced hand-painted ornament girl. She asked me if I was an illustrator, and it made me smile cheek to cheek. I think her little comment has inspired me to get out my brushes again!


“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Today has been wonderfully slow. I did laundry and a bit of digital organizing. I remember a couple years ago, I had a PC, and there were so many programs you could run to declutter the computer hard drive. This might still be a gem if you have a PC, so check it out, but if you have a Mac like me, I’m still searching for a quick solution. In any case, I’m a huge believer that digital archiving is not too different from spring cleaning. They both take a bit of motivation and time, and both come with pangs of nostalgia and a sense of relief/achievement that comes after letting go of excess.

A couple people have asked me to share my photo organization process, and I finally gathered up enough courage to do this post. Screen-capping my computer organization felt a bit like airing out the underwear drawer. Some people are serious color-coders, but I am definitely more of a practical organizer. I love cameras and documenting daily life. I always end up accruing more photos, and spend time periodically making sure they are organized and backing them up so I don’t lose them all in a freak accident (it’s happened to the best of us!).

Please read on, if you are interested. My tools are really simple: Macbook Pro + external hard drive (500 GB).

All my new photos get uploaded onto my computer via iPhoto, and I keep the “Events” labeled by place or other memorable markers. I don’t ever log in information, metadata, or faces/places for these mass uploads, but iPhoto has all the options for you to do that. The benefits would be that your photos would be searchable.

Every 6-12 months, I export my iPhoto library onto my external hard drive, because I like to leave ample space on my laptop.

As for the photos that get selected to be uploaded onto Flickr or my blog, I keep a folder called “Photos” which is organized chronologically. I only keep the 2012 folder on my laptop, and the rest are stored in my external hard drive.

In some ways, I care more about keeping these selected photos safely than the iPhoto mass uploads, so I back these up on my external hard drive frequently. Some people have suggested backing it up once more on a cloud server like Dropbox. I’ve definitely been considering it.


And a bonus for good digital photo organizing: here’s a found-but-not-lost photo of my kitchen cerca 2009, which also includes my baby photo that I think I might have sadly lost…

Please feel free to ask questions or share your digital photo organization tips/ideas!


  • Reply
    Veronica Fish
    December 9, 2012 at 10:02 am

    that’s a great archive technique, definitely need to employ that as pictures keep adding up ….

    • Reply
      December 9, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Thanks, Veronica! Gah, gotta love/hate piling photos! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! Your photography is gorgeous! I will definitely need to check out La Colombe the next time I drop by NYC (how many places still serve coffee in a mug nowadays?).

    I have a similar way of organizing my things, except I do the opposite. I have 6 different categories and I have folders inside them for 2010, 2011, etc.

    • Reply
      December 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks for sharing your organization system, Liz! 🙂

      I love a cup of black coffee on the go, but I actually have a short list of these little espresso bars I’m hoping to visit this winter. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for the photo archiving tips. My photos just keep piling on my laptop too. I’ll need to take a day or two over the holidays and work on mine. will keep your ideas in mind.

    • Reply
      December 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Like any type of spring cleaning, I think reorganizing photos can be really rewarding. 🙂 Good luck, Rita!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Photo organization (plus file clean-up) is definitely something I need to do by the end of this year, thanks for the tip! (although I don’t use Mac but exporting the photos to external hard disk periodically can be proven useful, as well as labeling each folder 🙂 ).

    Anw, I did send you an email, although I was not exactly sure I got the address right. Is it collectingmaps[at]gmail[dot]com? Thanks!

    • Reply
      December 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Hi Gabby, you got it right! I just e-mailed you back. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    So sad to hear that you’ve caught the flu! ) : nothing worst than being sick, especially in the wintertime.
    But it looks like you’ve found some good ways to recover. that croissant looks so yummy.
    Your ornament is too precious! I bet you make the sweetest little illustrations (which I would love to see!)
    Thanks for the photo organization tips. I probably don’t have as many photos as you, but I find this very useful.
    I try to organize as soon as I upload, otherwise it takes me forever just to go back and organize everything properly.
    Always a good idea to back up your photos, right? : )
    Stay warm, and I’ll be sending something your way very soon!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    wuaaah =) you were such a cute baby 🙂 love the pic with the bird.. it looks amazing!! I use iphoto too to organize my photos, it’d definitely the best. Also, get well soon Sewon!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2012 at 12:23 am

    I hope you are feeling better by now.

    I do similar stuff with my photos except that I’m a bit lazier and that I don’t use iPhoto. I’m not sure why I don’t use it, but I never really have. Is it great?

  • Reply
    December 13, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Wow I love it! Do you like to send mail to each other? Love, Jaimie

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