Archive for Hazel’s Stories

The egret represents freedom from clutter


Great Egret

People ask me why I have a stork for my business logo. Is it my fault that not everyone knows an egret from a stork? Granted, New Mexico is not exactly known for egrets, but I do see them sometimes down by the Rio Grande.

Anyway, the egret that inspired my logo lived in Minnesota. Here’s the story:


How NOT to Save Your Photos


Photos found in donated books (click to enlarge)

I volunteer weekly at my local Friends for the Library. We price and sort donated books for our monthly used book sales (at which I also run a cash register), and we have a lovely used book shop in the Main library downtown which is open six days a week. We raise around $200K every year for library programs such as the Summer Reading Program for children.


More Cooking for Dummies: 12 Things I’ve Learned

Hello Fresh 4

Chicken Caesar Salad with homemade croutons

Remember, I am not a cook. Or, well…maybe I am now? I have stripped fresh rosemary leaves off the stem, butterflied chicken breasts, whipped up pan sauces, cooked green beans in a frying pan and steak in the oven, made my own condiments (aioli, teriyaki sauce), and performed many other culinary feats. I can see a little bit more now why people like to do this cooking thing (smells great, tastes delicious, creative, meditative).

It’s been over six months since I subscribed to the Hello Fresh meal kit service, but I’ve taken time off here and there. I love being able to pause the plan when I want to. I have to pay attention to the delivery schedule, of course, to make sure I’m not charged for or sent a box I didn’t want, but they’re reducing the cut-off time from seven days in advance to five to make it easier.


Family History Lost & Found

My grandpa, dad, and brother

My grandpa, dad, and brother

Have you ever lost part of your family history and found it again? Do you still have unsolved mysteries that intrigue you?

In Puzzling Out Your Family History I talked about the joys and challenges of doing one’s own genealogy research. In The Gift of an Organized Family Tree I described my genealogy introductory package.  My new Family History Research Services web page includes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), the first of which is, “What the heck does genealogy have to do with organizing?” In Gifts I Got from Mom, I shared more of my personal story.

And here’s how it all began…..


The Chinese Menu Time Management Technique

Chinese Menu Time Management fortune cookieAre you familiar with the Happy Family Chinese-American restaurant meal? Choose one item from menu Column A, one from Column B… and with six you get egg roll…?

Well, that’s how I manage my time. Allow me to explain…


Do I Practice What I Preach? (habits, maintenance, and backsliding)

Hazel preaching, maybe about maintenance.

I don’t know what I’m “preaching” about here, but this Jumbotron photo from NAPO2014 cracks me up!

I was helping a long-time virtual coaching client with email maintenance, teaching her about Inbox Zero, and I admitted that mine was currently more like Inbox 200. In fact, I continued to say, I don’t do ANYthing (such as maintaining email files) EVERY day.

She was relieved to hear it.

Clients seem to enjoy it when I admit to shortcomings, because it makes me seem more human. More like them. Which I am, in more ways than not. Here are some earlier written confessions: (more…)

Mother’s Day — Gifts I Got from Mom

Me and mom reading together. Albuquerque, summer 1959.

Me and mom (and my little brother-to-be) reading together. Albuquerque, summer 1959.

I grew up in a family of six, with my parents, three younger brothers, and few relatives. Certainly none that lived nearby. My parents did not share family stories or photos. Not really. There were slide shows of our own family vacations  that we all enjoyed, but nothing historical. I guess they were too busy working and raising us up. It wasn’t until I undertook my first genealogy project, in my 30’s, that I discovered, on my dad’s side, that I am from a long line of Quakers. Including Quaker Loyalists (wrong side of the Revolutionary War, maybe, but fascinating nonetheless) and prominent Quaker ministers. My dad, a Christian minister himself (later a VA chaplain), had no idea, despite the fact that there was only one generation separating him from full-on Quakerism. I guess his family didn’t share much either. (The last generation was largely disowned for marrying outside their faith and such, which is bad, but not as harsh as Amish shunning). Maybe I’ll write more about that for Father’s Day.

My mom was quite interested in my genealogical pursuits as well, offering up unsubstantiated but tantalizing “facts” and bits of lore I’d never heard before in my life, such as: (more…)

Spring Cleaning…Outdoors!

Irises -- Spring Cleaning OutdoorsI was just pondering why I don’t write spring cleaning tips. And I came up with 3 reasons: 1) I’m an organizer, not a housecleaner. 2) I don’t really believe in spring cleaning. Gasp! What? Well, with only a few exceptions, such as drapes and ceiling fans, there is nothing in my house that I would want to go a whole year without cleaning. I prefer doing a little bit at a time, all year long, to avoid any one cleaning project becoming a big nasty job. Also, I think it’s important to consider: How clean does your house really need to be? (Have you found your sweet spot between clean, tidy, and organized?) Finally, 3) When spring comes, my attention shifts to outdoors!

Now, spring cleaning outdoors is something I can get excited about!


Wanna see my kitchen pantry?

Kitchen pantry PONM cover

Have you ever wanted to peek inside the kitchen pantry of a professional organizer? How about eight of them?

I am a founding member of PONM (Professional Organizers of New Mexico — click here to read our story). This post is my contribution to our latest FREE tips ebook: Get Organized! Kitchen Pantry Tips for You. I wrote it before subscribing to the Hello Fresh meal program. Click here to read Cooking for Dummies: A glowing “Hello Fresh” review and a $40 referral code for you!


Be Spectacular™: The Organized Way to Select New Eyewear

New glasses

New glasses

I don’t know about you, but I would (seriously, almost) rather shop for a new swimsuit than to shop for new glasses. There are so many choices! And most of them look hideous on me. It’s a big commitment to choose something that you are going to wear every single day. You want it to look, well, if not downright attractive, then at least not off-putting in any way. Am I right?

Apparently some people have a whole wardrobe of glasses for different looks. But I am not one of them. The only time I get new glasses is if mine get damaged, or if my prescription changes dramatically. I’ve been through a lifetime of glasses, starting at ages 2-4 with corrective lenses for amblyopia, and picking up again at age 10 with glasses, a brief contacts phase in college, LASIK surgery and no glasses for awhile, cataract surgery, readers, bifocals, trifocals, transitions, progressives, you name it, I’ve tried it.

Enter my friend Dawn Nieto-Gouy, who is a Personal Stylist and Wardrobe Consultant. She knew my regular MO was to go by myself and make the best of it. She made me promise that next time I needed new glasses I’d take her along. So the day finally came. (more…)