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.

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)

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 (since they force you to redeem your points through their website with inflated prices)! Learn to travel-hack using points and track them in Award Wallet. I have three cards that I use for specific purchases, to maximize the points I accumulate (I get 3 points per $ or 3% cash back 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. Check out my other travel hacks here.
  6. A high percentage of dentists, doctors and veterinarians try to sell you procedures, tests and prescriptions 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.
    • Before filling a prescription, do your own research online about the side effects. Doctors are basically educated by Big Pharma, so take what they say with a BIG grain of salt. What I do to lessen the load on my liver is I try taking half the dose and then see how I feel, or better yet, I research natural herbal alternatives (obviously, only if the condition isn’t life-threatening).
  7. Find an ‘integrative’/’functional medicine’ doctor to replace your GP. Here’s why. Oh, and learn about your microbiome. It’s important — trust me.
  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 Sync.com (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

Avatar of Hilary Rowland

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: 328 Comments

  1. Avatar of RITA KIM


    The list you made is lovely! I will definitely follow you on Instagram. I will definitely miss your posts, though.

  2. Avatar of Maxine Vanscyoc

    Maxine Vanscyoc

    To stop and think for a moment when unfortunate things happen is one of the great advice that I adhere to until now. It does not mean to overthink, though. But to asses, the current situation and not over-react on things.

  3. Avatar of Deborah Worley

    Deborah Worley

    Can we all say no about you leaving Urbanette? LOL! Of course, if it is all for the best, then you have all the right to make the decision. Good luck!

  4. Avatar of Janice Crawford

    Janice Crawford

    AWWWW… This is so sad… You are one of the best out there over the internet. No blogs compare to yours when it comes to empowering women.

  5. Avatar of Mabel Persaud

    Mabel Persaud

    You are having a break from Urbanette in order to further your career and improve yourself, and I believe it is a significant step forward. I am so proud of you! The only downside is the fact that I will miss all your inspiring posts.

  6. Avatar of Gwendolyn Cadena

    Gwendolyn Cadena

    My wish for you as you go to your next career path is for you to achieve even more remarkable successes than you did when you were in Urbanette. And I really believe you will do it! Thanks for everything.

  7. Avatar of Tara Neel

    Tara Neel

    It is not undoubtedly happy to think that you’re leaving Urbanette. However, I take solace in the fact that I had the chance to learn a lot from you through your blogs. I am so looking forward to the additionals you will do in your last post. Always take care.

  8. Avatar of Anne Knotts

    Anne Knotts

    To feel empowered is what I experience on many of Hilary’s posts in Urbanette. They are very informative. It certainly made me feel sad to know that you are taking a sabbatical in writing. You will be missed…

  9. Avatar of Angeline Smith

    Angeline Smith

    On your new journey, I hope you and your husband enjoy all the happiness in the world while doing things that are important for you and as you continue to help others. You are such an inspiration…

  10. Avatar of Victoria Lewis

    Victoria Lewis

    When it comes to good writing and engaging topics, for me, no one does ti better than Hilary. She simply makes the issues surrounding femininity makes more sense. I really learned much about myself and womanhood in general.

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