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5 Steps to Finding Lasting Love in NYC (& Why It’s Been Hard)

I was at a cocktail party on Friday evening with my friend Andrea Syrtash (the real-life Carrie Bradshaw), and had a conversation that echoed what I have discussed with so many friends living in lower Manhattan. The topic: Why it’s hard to find love while living in downtown New York City.

Models getting ready for a video shoot on a New York street

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Best story ever?

I was out for dinner last Friday night at the Waverly Inn with my husband and another friend. It was a great scene, a who’s who of the fashion & media elite. Rumors have swirled that the Waverly had lost it’s cache, but it certainly seemed to be it’s normal celebrity-heavy self that night. We walked through the maze of closely aligned tables, nearly butt bumping everyone along the way. Which is saying something, because I’ve got a pretty small tooshie, LOL.


It felt so nice being there. The fire was lit, the room felt warm, and the ivy on the brick walls added a lovely feeling of being outdoors. As always, the food and wine were amazing, and the young modelesque boy who served us was very charming. The night had been amazing up until that point, but the best part of the night was yet to come. I can’t recall what we were talking about, but my husband began telling two inspiring stories that had me and our friend teary by the end. Read more

Your New Secret to Majorly Discounted Shopping

A few days ago, I went to a Gilt event, where Zac Posen had designed a car (apparently, silver is the new cool color for cars). I was standing near him and the pro photographer (Sean Smith) asked if he could take a photo of us together. I said “No way”, of course — JK! Anyhow, Zac and I chatted for a few minutes (he seemed very down to earth and approachable) before the orchestrators at Gilt decided to open the proverbial barn doors and let everyone stampede into the sale area.

hilary rowland with zac posen

Now, you’d expect a Gilt sale to be super amazing, right? I’d imagined racks of designer clothing, in perfect shape, at rock-bottom prices. But no, actually. Read more

5 Free Apps I Love

As my friends know, I’m a huge geek when it comes to apps. I use tons of them, and I’m always on the hunt for the next cool thing. Another favorite pass-time is passing on good information, so here goes:

duolingo1)  Duolingo is a game that will teach you a new language in a really easy-to-learn way, right from your Android, iPhone or tablet. It’s proven to be more effective than learning a language at any college, and it’s free.


2)  Next Issue is basically *all* the mainstream magazines in one place (about 100 titles), plus article interactivity, plus a about 20 back-issues of each title. I cancelled all my paper magazine subscriptions and subscribed to Next Issue instead. Digital magazines are much more fun to look at and interact with, and save paper/rainforest/animals habitats/pollution/etc.  Read more

Is that Matthew McConaughey?

I went to see the new movie “Dallas Buyers Club” on Friday night, and man was I impressed! This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Knockout cast, amazing (& true!) story, and emotionally riveting. We decided to go to the movies because of the great review it got in Rolling Stone magazine (I always rely on them for music and movie suggestions). Normally, we like to stay home and watch movies on Hulu or Netflix (that Roku was soooo worth it), but the reviews told me I had to see it right away. And boy was I right! Read more

Will You be Part of History?

Last night I went to a great event at the Harvard Club in midtown. Everyone was decked out, including the two drag queens in attendance (they were rocking killer heels!). I love going to gay events, everyone is so nice, and so well dressed! Edie Windsor was the guest of honor. If you don’t know who she is, you should really find out. Basically, she’s the Martin Luther King Jr. of our time, making huge changes for the equal rights movement.

Edie Windsor and Hilary Rowland

We had a chance to listen to Edie’s personal  history, and whats changed since the momentous marriage equality victory. Most of us in the crowd had a hard time not tearing up when Edie spoke of her wife (who had passed away four years ago) and the love they shared. SO sweet!

I was lucky enough to speak with Edie, and for a woman in her eighties, she has remarkable presence. And so much energy! Read more

Matt Damon, Chris Rock, Kids and Happy Marriages

About an hour ago, at 9 AM, I went for a little walk to the Green Bean to get my interns some organic vegan muffins (they are so delicious!) On the way, I must have heard about five different kids screaming for one reason or another. Now, I know that having (or not having, rather) kids is a delicate subject. But here’s the thing: I think I would be a lot happier being childless. I like my life how it is. I don’t want it to change. My marriage is a happy one, and I don’t usually subscribe to this philosophy, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Don’t get me wrong — I wanted kids until I was 30. Then I realized that I live in NYC where marriage-minded men are scarce, and marriage-minded men that would click with me (I may be easy to get along with, but let’s be real – I’m a strong woman) and my values and genuinely love me felt like finding a needle on an island of haystacks. So I started thinking: what would I do if I didn’t meet my soul mate? So being 30 and single in NYC forced be to evaluate my life. What did I really want, and how did I know that’s what I really want? And most importantly: why do I want that?

What I came up with is this: Read more

To be, or not to be….?

Hilary Rowland

I got a call today from an agent asking me if I wanted to do a photo shoot for a high-end jewelry brand. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten one of these calls, and my initial reaction was to say yes. The money was good, it wouldn’t take much time, and the idea of someone seeking me out for a shoot was very flattering. But then a funny thing happened. I realized that something inside of me was saying, “don’t do it…” I’ve learned over the years that my gut is pretty good, and I usually benefit by listening to it. So why was my gut telling me to say no?

As many of you probably know, I used to model when I was younger. I started working for Ford at the tender age of 16. However, it was a brief career, one that I ended just after my eighteenth birthday. The truth is, the initial excitement of being a model wore off pretty quickly. The constant traveling, endless castings, and many other factors made me want to focus on something else: having a true purpose in life. I’ve read a lot about happiness over the years, and have learned that one of the easiest ways people find happiness is by having meaning in their life. Read more


Hilary Rowland Michael Rowland

Ok, so where do I start? Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays, but since moving to the Upper East Side… well… not so much. Besides the fact that you’ve got hordes of crazy kids from ages 4-14 (isn’t 14 a little old to be trick-or-treating??) running all over the neighborhood, they’re all high on sugar like cracked-out zombies. Instead of brains, it’s brownies they crave. Their poor parents!

You can see these poor bastards shuffling along behind their children with a “kill me now” look on their faces. You could even forgive them for putting sleeping pills in their Kool Aid. I know, I sound like the Grinch that stole Halloween, right? But this year, that was the least of my problems. Read more

I Luvocracy my Retail Therapy

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a Pinterest addict. I love using it to catalog pretty things. The only downside is that when I see things I actually NEED (ok, maybe not need, but definitely really really want, which is kind of the same thing anyway, right?), there’s often no way to buy them.

That’s why I was psyched that Luvocracy asked me to be a “tastemaker”*. Luvocracy is a new site that is basically like Pinterest, except everything you see you can buy straight from the site — no more being re-directed to other sites! Oh, and they’ll automatically search for the lowest price on the web for you! If you don’t like it, you can return it within 30 days. I also noticed that they can get their hands on hard-to-find products that I couldn’t even find in-store, like a really cool ombre H&M shirt I absolutely “need”. Read more

Sexy Isn’t a Costume

Every girl that has hit puberty has dressed as a “sexy” something at least once on Halloween. Maybe you were a “sexy” tampon, “sexy” highlighter or a stack of “sexy” pancakes—yes, the costume industry is getting really creative—but I assure you it was not sexy.

halloween sexy

I have five reasons why you thought you were being sexy and why you completely missed the mark:

1. Freezing isn’t sexy. It’s almost November and last time I checked, shivering was not sexy. Those freakishly intense goose bumps you have all over your thighs could be a symptom of a disease. People would be complimenting your creative, “sexy” Pope costume if they weren’t suggesting that you Web MD your wild goose bumps. Let’s say you did bring your giant coat just in case. You thought you were being super smart weren’t you? Well, you didn’t even wear it! You were too desperate to show off your super sexy costume, so you ended up holding your giant coat all night which turned out to be a huge burden.

2. Complaining isn’t sexy. Obviously, you were complaining about how cold you were or how annoying it was to hold your jacket you should’ve been wearing. You were mad that your opaque tights weren’t keeping you warm. Yea, those stupid tights—it’s definitely not your fault that you wore ass-less chaps and a Read more

Interesting Revelations About Entrepreneurs and Smart People

I’ve always been a serial entrepreneur. Ever since I was 15 and started my two first dot com startups. Not only that, but I always have several other business ideas I’m working on. Part of me wondered if the fact that I’m interested in so many things and have so many ideas has held me back. I mean, wouldn’t it be simpler and more efficient to focus on one thing at a time?

Well, apparently not. Funders and Founders (a great info-blog) analyzed all 1,426 billionaires in the world. From there, they segmented out the 960 that are self made and determined that 830 of them earned their wealth from more than one business (see the cool infographic below).

Also, according to separate study, I just learned that people with high IQs tend to set goals and read avidly (does online news count?), they lost their virginity later (ermm, yup), and think about thinking (ie. philosophy major – check and check). I must say, I’m happy to learn that I’m only freaky in a good way… Read more

Hey old people, what’s the deal with moth balls?

old people and moth balls

I was having tea at the St. Regis yesterday and ended up sitting next to an elderly couple. I watched them interact for a few moments before my guest arrived. They seemed really sweet, and I’d guess they have been together for 50 years or more. I hope all of us are that lucky! When my friend finally showed, I meant to move my attention away from them; however, I couldn’t ignore the pungent scent of moth balls coming from the husband. It was brutal!

It made me wonder Read more

An Incredible Guerrilla Beautification Story

color-protests_FotorIstanbul, Turkey is known as the city of seven hills. It has dozens of public stairways that connect centuries-old neighborhoods, giving pedestrians a way to the avoid heavy car traffic on the streets.

In Cihangir, a liberal neighborhood frequented by artists, a man decided to liven up the dull and depressing gray stairways, and it sparked a movement that nobody could have foreseen.

Until then, the walkways attract little notice, but a couple of months ago a retired forestry engineer named Huseyin Cetinel (age 64, see pic) decided to spend $800 and four days (with the help of his son-in-law) to paint the stairs connecting Findikli to Cihangir all the colors of the rainbow. He said he wanted “to make people smile”. The staircase ended up looking like a really, really long LGBT flag, and visitors started flocking to them to have their picture taken on the stairs.

Unfortunately (actually — scratch that — *fortunately*), some government idiot Read more

When do muscles stop being sexy?


I was coming down 2nd avenue today and walked past a guy who was totally “jacked.” At first I thought it was fake, as though he was wearing a muscle suit or something. Once I could see it was real, I was too blown away not to take a picture. Good thing he didn’t turn around, I probably would have burst into a fit of nervous laughter, right before bolting. But it got me thinking…when do muscles stop being sexy?

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Organic Wine & Liquors I Love

I used to get bad hangovers. I mean BAD. Like, really really bad. And I’m not talking from five glasses. I can get plenty hungover from two.

I thought I’d have to stop drinking wine. I figured I must be allergic or something, but either way it was definitely not worth it. Then I discovered organic wine. Now, I don’t exactly push it… a couple of glasses is more than enough for me, but let’s just say that even if I have a few, I don’t get hung over. Not even a little.

Which makes me wonder… what’s in the non-organic wines?? Well, that’s another subject — but it’s not good. Lots of toxic chemicals, to start.

There are some great organic wineries in the USA, and many NYC restaurants now carry organic wines (and if you’re in one that doesn’t, make sure to suggest it). Some great ones to try: Read more

Proven Ways to Be Happier

Urbanette Magazine staff get here at 10am, so I usually spend the few hours before then catching up on news and thinking of business ideas. Today, I was poking around on The Good New Network’s Facebook Page (which is a day-brightening page to follow because it’s full of happy news) and I came across a link to a fantastic article all about how to be happier, called “Be Happy: 46 Proven Techniques to Increase Your Happiness and One Way to Get More Sex“. Check it out for links to studies that prove the points below.


Here are my favorite “proven methods” from the list. They’re pretty inspiring! Read more

Discovered: Outstanding NYC Neighbor Complaint Notes

Browsing around the web, I came across several hilarious notes written by upset people for their neighbors. There have definitely been times when I’ve wanted to write notes like this. Perhaps I’ll take a cue from some of these the next time my upstairs neighbor decides to teach all-night tap dancing. Read more

Update: The NYPD to Arrest Banksy!

Last week I told you about the amazing art truck that Banksy made, which is touring NYC right now. Well, the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg are *not* impressed. So not impressed, in fact, that they decided to [attempt to] deprive New Yorkers of Banksy’s incredible street art. If you can believe it, they’ve put out a warrant for his arrest and have a “big” task force wasting tax-payer dollars trying to hunt him down so they can “out” him and book him.

banksy-new-york Read more

Discovered: Modern-Day Slavery is Deemed Acceptable?!

I love the Care 2 email newsletter for keeping me up-to-date on all sorts of issues, like health, animal and human rights, politics, etc. I highly recommend signing up for and diligently reading their daily email. If for no other reason, it’ll keep you updated on news so you’ll sound informed at cocktail parties… but I think you’ll end up realizing that some of the things you learn about will matter to you, in which case they usually point you to petitions you can sign.

johns human trafficking

This particular article is pretty intense. I already knew that this was a big issue in the world. You’ve seen the Liam Neeson movie Taken, right? (BTW – if you liked that, The Whistleblower with Rachel Weisz is even better — Netflix it.) Well this will blow your mind: Read more

Old Honeymoon Pics

I was poking around on my laptop (while watching my dad make Thanksgiving dinner at home in Canada), and I came across some pictures from our honeymoon that I’d forgotten to transfer to my main computer. It was a bit like finding hidden treasure.

There were a few great shots that I dusted off with the help of a great free app called Fotor (which I have on my laptop and phone). They made me so nostalgic that I’m now in the process of finding more vacation spots for my hubby and I to visit. We’re partial to ranch-style accommodations, or hotels with separate villas, and so we started our honeymoon at an incredible ranch in New Mexico, called Hidden Meadow, which unfortunately just went private (so sad, because I really wanted to go back every year!) Here we are riding horses, looking completely dorky, of course:

riding honeymoon

…and this is us hanging in the wilderness: Read more

Discovered: New Yorker Beauty Article

A First-Rate Girl: The Problem of Female Beauty, from The New Yorker magazine

No city is filled with more beautiful women than New York. It’s the modeling capital of the world, and there are tens of thousands of models (working and not) walking the streets every day. This promise is also, in part, what attracts successful men to the city — and what keeps them working so hard.

The article is an interesting look at why some men put such a high value on having what they consider to be a “first-rate” girlfriend (which basically boils down to what they view as the “out of your league” woman / the woman everyone else wants and they’re not sure would date them). The author goes into detail about the portrayal of these men, and the women they become obsessed with, in literature.


We see the force of Jenna’s looks when Joey notices how men respond to her in public. It’s of a different order from what he experiences with Connie, his more ordinarily pretty girlfriend. With Jenna at an airport, Joey realizes, men were checking him out resentfully. He forced himself to stare down each of them in turn, to mark Jenna as claimed. It was going to be tiring, he realized Read more

The Differences Between NYC and Toronto


When I tell people I’m from Canada, I’m often asked what Toronto is like. To the naked eye, it’s not all that different. It’s got great restaurants, Broadway and off-Broadway theater, a subway system, a couple of airports, lots of tall glass buildings, and everything else you’d expect the biggest city in Canada to have.

But then you look a little closer, and you notice that, oddly, the streets are really clean. Why? Because the vast majority of Canadians subscribe to the philosophy that they share the space with other people, and they’re not the center of the universe, so therefore they should hold on to their trash until they find a garbage bin.

Here are a few more examples of typical Torontonian behavior that I experienced during this trip: Read more

Thanksgiving in Canada

There’s something very comforting about going home for the holidays to the house, and town, you grew up in. The fact that everything still looks basically the same (or better) gives one a warming sense of stability.

I’d like to share my home with you, or rather, the home I grew up in. My mother was the architect and general contractor (so impressive since she’s definitely neither by trade), and my parents put this house together, brick by tile, as I was growing up.

Outside of Welcome, down several winding roads lined by trees and fields with cattle grazing, you’ll find a black mailbox marked Rowland. As you turn down the driveway, you’ll make several turns before you begin to see our blue house through the trees. As you come around another corner, you’ll see this:


One of my favorite things to do while home is to feed the many animals that Read more

Banksy’s NYC Art Truck: Slaughtering Ignorance


I’m VERY excited because one of my favorite contemporary artists, Banksy, is in NYC for the month of October. If you caught The Colbert Report (my favorite TV show) last week, you’d already know that he’s in town. He’ll be adorning random buildings with his famous (and valuable) “street art” (which instantly make that part of the wall worth millions, so don’t be surprised if you see big chunks of buildings suddenly missing!)


One of the main reasons I love Banksy is because his art carries a message, and is usually tied to an ethical question. His latest is no different in this department. Check out this video to see the truck, and the ‘animals’ (and their puppeteers), in action:

I was browsing through the YouTube comments, and about 1 out of 50 comments seemed to ‘get’ it. For the other 49, the point was not only completely lost, but they seemed to think that the best way to react is to mock  animal suffering, profess their intent to immediately go eat some bacon, and then ignorantly state that animals either don’t have feelings or aren’t intelligent enough to warrant our compassion. Yeah, right on dudes. Smart. :-S

Believe it or not, people used to think that babies don’t feel pain. Really. Read more

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