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 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.
  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. Learn to travel-hack using points and Skiplagged. I have three cards that I use for specific purchases, to maximize the points I accumulate. 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.
  8. 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.
  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
  11. The Down Dog app is a great way to get into yoga.
  12. Headspace is a great way to get into meditation. Like yoga, it requires dedication.
  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.
  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 decide. I did.
  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 keeping 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.

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: 81 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. May Baker

    Almost recently, when it comes to hair care, there’s a new trend called dry shampooing, so the usual curious me gave it a try. Then I got pimples all over my face. Also, I got some build-up on my scalp, and I am very sure that there is no other culprit to blame than the dry shampoo. So, a word of advice: never try anything not after thinking it through and doing some research first.

  3. Kimberly Shaw

    I can say that 98% of the time I look on eBay to make a purchase, I find the lowest price in it. I check the site for almost anything, from cosmetics to printer inks. I also like how the questions and complaints are very helpful in resolving issues, and the agents are quick to respond.

  4. Justin Carter

    The great thing about the rowing machine is that one can perform different workouts by using a single tool. It delivers what it promises: an over-all physical improvement on muscle strength, tone, and shape. It does not consume much space, so one can pretty much use it almost anywhere in the house.

  5. Ashley Thompson

    I bought some yoga DVDs, but I never get along with them. I really want to learn to practice yoga, so it’s somewhat frustrating for me. But the Down Dog app not only taught me yoga, I learned to enjoy it, too. I also enrolled in a class, but there are times when I don’t feel like going, and the app helps me on those days.

  6. Helena Sanders

    I am always concerned about running out of space for photos and videos, but Google helps me save some storage on my phone. The photo editing is good, and in general, it is not very difficult to use.

  7. Helena Sanders

    The Headspace app is great! Even on trial version. I’ve been trying to do some meditation prior to using it, but this makes me continue doing it as a daily routine. Easy to use with great animation.

  8. Wendy Hearn

    The Headspace app is great! Even on trial version. I’ve been trying to do some meditation prior to using it, but this makes me continue doing it as a daily routine. Easy to use with great animation.

  9. Sarah Evanston

    The best thing I love about eBay is that I never had a single problem making a purchase. The prices are affordable for different products. There’s even a warning about different items about interest and if it comes on lower prices so that you have a guarantee about the right price for them.

  10. Francis Woods

    I like eBay so much. I can easily search for small DIY, electronic accessories for a lower price compared to others. It’s easier to look for the ones you need and be assured of its quality.

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