Things I've Learned Along the Way - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

A personal update and some of my favorite advice…


If you’ve been a longtime reader, you probably know that I’ve been writing for this ‘magazine’ steadily for over 20 years (yikes — that makes me sound so old!!) The only time I’ve taken off was when I was sick. You may also know that I grew up in Toronto, moved to NYC and stayed there for a decade, got married, moved to Lyon (a wonderful city in the middle of France), and finally settled (for good, I think!) in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

With my hubby at a party on a yacht, overlooking our apartment in Monaco, during the F1 Grand Prix (May 2019)

Now that we’re in Monaco, I’m starting a publication dedicated to the area called Iconic Riviera. So I’ve decided to slow things at Urbanette down a little so I have more time to travel, enjoy life, paint (I’ve been an artist since I was young), and work on a few research-intensive articles. I’ll be keeping you updated on my journey via my Instagram stories. From now on, instead of publishing on a regular schedule, I’m going to be publishing articles only when I really feel compelled to do so.

As I work on my next article, I decided to make an ongoing list of the best and most helpful things I’ve learned along the way. The list is a bit all over the place / random, I know! I’ll keep adding to this list, so bookmark it and keep checking back.

  1. Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

    In front of the Oceanographic Museum, heading to the X Prize Gala

    Find a spouse that is kind, respects you, treats you as an equal partner in your life together, and really listens to you. Don’t waste time with people who don’t.

  2. Find a cause you’re passionate about and get involved. It’ll give you more purpose and fulfillment, and you’ll meet great people along the way. This is mine.
  3. Stop going to the salon. Hair dye (read more) and nail polish (read more) are both super toxic and cause cancer, among other serious health issues. The fumes in salons are super harmful to breathe. Stop wearing polish, and if you must dye your hair then opt for a natural-ish at-home dye and cut your own hair (I do, and it’s super easy!)
  4. Baking soda (get the kind for cleaning, not cooking) and white vinegar can clean anything (including removing stains on clothing, getting grime off your shower, and unclogging your drain). Seriously. Try mixing the two together. It bubbles up like a 5th grade science experiment and washes away any kind of yuckiness. Stop dry cleaning and using toxic chemicals and google how to clean it all the natural way.
  5. Look into the best American credit cards. Cancel your AMEX (1 point per dollar and booking points flights at inflated prices is soooo 10 years ago)! Learn to travel-hack using points and Skiplagged. I have three cards that I use for specific purchases, to maximize the points I accumulate (I get 3 points per $ on pretty much everything now). This works out to a lot of free travel, and I can book it on any website I want and just get reimbursed via my points. Here’s my research on that, and the cards I use.
  6. A high percentage of dentists, doctors and veterinarians do procedures that are totally unnecessary just to line their own pockets (read more).
    • If your dentist, doc or vet wants to do a procedure, get a second and third opinion (but don’t tell them what the other dentist/doc/vet said).
    • You don’t need a dental x-ray (yes, they cause cancer!!) unless you are feeling pain. Dentists tell you that you need them because they want to make more money.
    • Cavities can fix themselves (yes, really!) if you brush and floss. They often don’t need to be drilled and will go away on their own.
  7. Find an ‘integrative’/’functional medicine’ doctor to replace your GP. Here’s why. Oh, and learn about your microbiome.
  8. Don’t assume that just because someone is nice-seeming, or because you treat them well, that they will treat you well in return, are honest, or have your best interest at heart. Don’t be closed, but proceed with caution.
  9. Rid your home of toxins, for the sake of your future health and the sake of your loved ones and pets. Start here.
  10. Automatically backup your phone’s photos using the ‘Google Photos’ app (download it and play around with the settings – set it to automatically save at original size). You can also make shared albums. When I go on vacation with my family, we all upload our best photos to a group album. Oh, and backup your computer using (unlike Dropbox, it’s encrypted, so it’s actually really 100% private). And while we’re talking about digital privacy, here are more tips about that.
  11. The Down Dog app is a great way to get into yoga. You’ll feel better if you do this a few times a week.
  12. Headspace is a great way to get into meditation. Like yoga, it requires dedication but pays off bigtime.
  13. If you don’t want to go to the gym, a rowing machine is relatively cheap and takes up little space, yet is a great full-body workout. We have one on our terrace.
  14. Buying stuff new is a rip-off and bad for the planet. Try these eBay tips to get designer stuff for super cheap, instead.
  15. If you must wear diamonds and designer stuff, poke around on DHgate first. (You can thank me later).
  16. If you have a pet, remember that he or she will be much happier if you have two or more pets. The best way to do that is to foster (basically pet sitting for animal shelters) until you find another animal that gets along with your pet super well, then keep that one.
  17. If you want to have better skin, more energy, and feel healthier, try a plant-based diet (cut out dairy, meat and seafood). Top athletes swear by it. It helps your body to detox, repair, and fights inflammation.

Make sure to check back as I add to this list. As always, I’d love to hear your comments in the discussion area below, and I’ll respond often. Have some great advice? Let me know below!

Much love, Hilary xo

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 90 Comments

  1. Chanelle Gregory

    Thank you for all the beautiful ideas you have shared in your posts! I find them all helpful for most of my daily activities and dealing with others. I am looking forward to your additionals in this last post you have in Urbanette. I wish you all the best!

  2. KZ Evans

    While it pains me greatly that you are stopping on writing for Urbanette, I wish you the best success in all your future endeavors…

  3. Sarah Parker

    Your articles helped me discover more about myself and the people around me. It made me assess my current relationships with friends and my partner, and it helped me grow as a woman. I wish to read more about those topics, but I guess you need to move forward in your career and self-development, too. So goodbye and thanks.

  4. Elsa

    At first, I feel sorry because I will not be able to read those thought-provoking issues surrounding womanhood that Hilary writes about anymore. But then again, it is her time to move on in her career. All I wish for her is that she’ll be able to continue making an impact in our society.

  5. Carla Peters

    I will miss your posts so much!!! Thanks for all the wonderful articles you write for Urbanette and for sharing all your thoughts about many things!!! And good luck on your new path!!!

  6. Katherine Swift

    It saddens me. It really saddens me. I found your articles inspiring and motivating, and now that you are having a break in Urbanette, it will be undoubtedly difficult for me to find another one as good as your blogs. Hope you come back…

  7. Camilla Collins

    I have learned so much from you about my inner self on the articles you have written for urbanette! I will definitely miss them. I hope for you to come back again to write more of them. Anyways, good luck on your new journey…

  8. Isabella Jones

    Hilary, I hope you enjoy your sabbatical and that you and your husband will have so many fun things to do. Good luck on embarking on your new journey and I hope that your new publication has the same success as Urbanette.

  9. Pepa Washington

    No matter how much I try not to think of it, I feel sad about Hilary taking a break on posting for Urbanette. I really enjoyed reading those articles, and I will surely miss Hilary’s out-of-the-box style of delivering her points. Thanks so much!

  10. Abigael Fisher

    For healthy-looking skin, I go for lots and lots of water. And I learned that the healthier the intestines, the better for the skin. So I consume good portions of low-fat yogurt, which has live bacteria on it that is good for digestion, and vitamin A, also a supplement for skin cells.

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