The BIG List of Things I've Discovered Along the Way - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


The BIG List of Things I’ve Discovered Along the Way

I’m taking a sabbatical, but I’ll be adding to this post regularly…


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.

The BIG List of Things I’ve Discovered 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’m taking a sabbatical from Urbanette 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.

As my last post before taking some time for myself, I decided that it’s only fitting to make an ongoing list of the best and most helpful things I’ve discovered and learned along the way. I’ll keep adding to this post, so bookmark it and keep checking back.

  1. The BIG List of Things I’ve Discovered Along the Way

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

    Find a spouse that 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.
  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 and white vinegar can clean just about anything (including removing stains on clothing). Stop dry cleaning and using toxic chemicals and google how to clean it the natural way.
  5. A high percentage of dentists do procedures that are totally unnecessary just to line their own pockets.
    • If your dentist wants to do a procedure, get a second and third opinion (but don’t tell them what the other dentist said, just go as if you wanted a checkup). Lots of dentists try to line their pockets by giving treatments that aren’t needed (read more).
    • You don’t need an 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 if you brush and floss. They often don’t need to be drilled and will go away on their own.
  6. Find an ‘integrative’/’functional medicine’ doctor to replace your GP. Here’s why.
  7. Don’t assume that just because someone is nice-seeming, that they are honest or have your best interest at heart. Don’t be closed, but proceed with caution.
  8. Rid your home of toxins, for your sake and the sake of your loved ones and pets. Start here.
  9. 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.
  10. The Down Dog app is a great way to get into yoga.
  11. Headspace is a great way to get into meditation. Like yoga, it requires dedication.
  12. 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.
  13. Buying stuff new is a rip-off and bad for the planet. Try these eBay tips to get designer stuff for super cheap, instead.
  14. If you must wear diamonds and designer stuff, poke around on DHgate first. You decide. I did.
  15. 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 keeping that one.
  16. 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.

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: 35 Comments

  1. Cora Greene

    You are stunning as ever Hilary! And living in Monte Carlo simply suits your fabulousness. I wish you more success as you do whatever things you plan to do in the following years. Just pursue your passion and cherish life! But don’t forget your promise about adding more to this blog! I’m looking forward to it! Love lots!

  2. Louise Mathis

    Knowing your purpose in life can be started by asking the right question. “What do I want to do with my life?” is a good one. Knowing the right answer requires a lot of time recalling your past, meditating on the present, and planning for the future. It’s easy for some, but for most of us, it can take a lifetime. But it’s always ok if you don’t get the answer right away. Enjoy what you have thinking that you are better than most.

  3. Starting to be on this vegetarian bandwagon seems to require a tremendous amount of willpower, lots of research, and patience. I mean I can’t even resist going for that cold turkey. Then again, if it is for one’s own good, then the benefits weigh more than the sacrifices.

  4. Marsha Willis

    When I visited my boyfriends home for the first time, they made me feel that I am always welcome and part of the family. I guess that’s why my boyfriend is fun and loving and kind. So when finding someone to be with, know his/her family, and you’ll know that person better.

  5. Dentistry is medicine’s lowly relative. \it has much less definitive research. Never do I hear a regulatory body for practitioners in this field. (maybe I’m not that interested about that thing.) And they will charge you for operations you don’t really need. So better take care of your teeth and gums personally and naturally.

  6. Carolyn Watkins

    Being blonde, I found out that rhubarb adds honey-colored glow to my hair. I don’t know if it works for anyone. But it helps me have the color I want. My friend wants to have a brunette, so she uses henna. I think that works for her, too. I believe it is just a matter of trying what’s best for your hair as long as it is natural and that you don’t abuse it.

  7. Lynette Dixon

    As a mom with an unbelievably rowdy toddler, I can’t possibly go and attend yoga classes. I am looking for apps that will give me somehow akin to being in a studio that I can experience at home. after reading the part about the Down Dog app, I never doubted that it is the one I’m looking for. And it is! Thanks for this one!

  8. Elsa Walton

    Finding a cause you’re passionate about requires clarifying your vision. Then you have to zero-in on that vision. And finally, take the necessary actions. You will never know how to continue until you get started on your plans. So start doing things that will take you to your vision and work hard every single minute to get yourself in there.

  9. NINA

    You seem to have a busy time ahead despite having that sabbatical. But I guess you have very fun work and that you get to enjoy life while doing the things closest to your heart. Just have some time for rest, too.

  10. Pets to need to socialize and it’s not enough for them to be taken care of by a human parent. Plus if you are working, it will keep them from getting bored while you are away. It takes added effort to clean, though. But it’s fun to have more than one pet. Don’t forget to adopt instead of buying a new one, just like Hilary said!

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