Pretending to Live Like the Rich and Famous

toronto-pool-1It’s time for another episode of Rachel’s Life Tips. The program where Rachel (me) tells you what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it.

In today’s episode, I will teach you how to vacation without taking any time off work. (cue intro music). I’ve recently learned that you don’t actually have to be rich and famous to live like those that are. There are plenty of “life hacks”, (as the kids say) to achieve pretty much the same goals while maintaining your anonymity and 9-5 job. A common thing that the rich and famous do is enjoy lavish vacations. Okay, so you pretty much have to be rich to enjoy the lavish part. However, why not take a day off from life and enjoy a mini vacation? Trade in a Saturday of errands and stress for one lounging and drinking by the pool. (Don’t forget your sunscreen, big sunglasses, and extravagant sun hat.)

A Pool with a View

Nothing says vacation quite like a rooftop pool. I’ve recently discovered the magic of rooftop pools! Ahh! You don’t have a rooftop pool? Not a problem. There are plenty of hotels that do. Yes, some of them are only open to guests, but if you do your research, you will discover other hotels which allow you to purchase a day pass into their tranquil oasis. If you’re feeling super fancy, you can even venture out into the higher end options who (only) offer monthly memberships.

Not Just a Pool (A Pool with Benefits)

When selecting your tranquil escape, I recommend looking for a pool with additional services. There’s no sense in ruining the vacation vibe by bringing your own food. Find a pool which includes a restaurant where servers tend to you by the pool and will bring you all the drinks and pizza you’re willing to pay for. Go big or stay home, I always say. I also recommend towel service. Who wants to lug a towel around all day just to lug it back home all wet? Exactly!

Pretend to be a Tourist

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, I recommend pretending to be a tourist in your own backyard. You know those double decker tour buses that drive around your city (assuming you live in a big city)? The ones that point out famous places like where Drake’s dad buys his groceries? Discover what it is that tourists come to see. That is, if your city is a place tourists come to see. If anything, it’s a much more exciting way to travel around the city. You may even surprise yourself.

Happy Vacationing!


Ode to a Rustic Escape

Here I sit in a darkened room
With no power to call my own.

Only just a few minutes and soon
I won’t even have my phone.

Left to live as the pioneers did.
I’m about to leave the grid!

No TV. No radio. No motorcar.
Oh wait! Another bar!

C-List Celebrity Sightings

paparazzi_1Some days, you never quite know where the day will take you. One minute you’re just going about your day. The next minute you’re watching a random guy faun over a c-list celebrity while he tries to enjoy a coffee with his wife. Seriously, I’m pretty sure this rando is truly hoping they’ll become best friends. I don’t think the celeb feels quite the same way. Oh, he did not just mention he wrote a screenplay…Run c-list celeb! Run!

Now, I will not drop the name of the celebrity I spotted. Mainly, to protect his (or her) identity, but also to keep the mystery alive. I always think the world could use more mystery, but I digress. However, I am going to share some helpful tips so you don’t end up stumbling upon an embarrassing situation for yourself.

So, you’ve spotted someone famous, now what?

1. Are you sure they’re famous?

C-list celebrities are tricky. Unlike A-list (and most B-list celebs), you don’t always know when one crosses your path. They almost look like normal civilians. They don’t have swarms of people following them as if they’re Brad Pitt. You end up staring at them for an uncomfortably long time trying to figure out why they look so familiar. It’s generally best if you can figure out who the individual is before you interrupt their peaceful afternoon, or frighten them.

2. No, he didn’t come to Starbucks to meet you.

I know, it’s shocking. I love when a stranger just plunks himself down next to a fairly well-known actor and starts talking to them like they’re friends. Just because someone’s on TV, and (virtually) spends a lot of time in your living room, that doesn’t mean you know them. Okay, maybe you know them, but they definitely don’t know you. Just let the man drink his coffee. I bet he wishes he didn’t sit down at the communal table. That’s always a gamble. Fortunately, for me, the gamble payed off with this interesting exchange. I’m not sure this actor feels the same way.

3. No, you are not the same person.

I love when certain individuals meet people with interesting jobs and they all of a sudden try to justify how they’re pretty much the same person. Ok, yeah…that’s why you’re not a fire fighter. “Oh, you’re an actor? I did theatre in high school.” Yeah, that’s the same. “I’m actually working on a screenplay…” (They always happen to be working on a screenplay). “You have a “daughter” who wants to be an actor? Great…”

Yeah, I Cook!

BobsBurgers_Kitchen_1Some people cook because their wallets demand it. Others cook for the sheer enjoyment of creating something so delicious they almost don’t want to devour it, but come on, it’s food. I find myself in some middle camp where I want to learn to cook just in case I need to some day. I also just want to be able to say that I can. I mean, I can cook. It’s just easier to convince others if I have concrete proof to point to.

Needless to say, my cooking adventure continues! In this ongoing adventure, I have made a few observations. Observations that I would now like to share with you.

Confidence is Key

Basically, just make it look easy and it will be. This is a classic case of “fake it until you make it”. I’ve also learned that you can throw pretty much anything you want into a bowl, as long as you do it with confidence.

Cooking Should Be Faster

It takes far too long to turn ingredients into food. More people would cook if it was faster. Just look at how popular the microwave is. As a side note, I’m pretty sure that most cooking tools are unnecessary and promote laziness. I mean, who really needs a garlic press? Can’t people just chew it?

The Oven Can Be Your Best Friend

The best recipes involve the oven doing most of the work. Throw it in a dish. Throw it in the oven. Wait. Done. Cooking shouldn’t have to be hard. Why do people choose complicated recipes when there are easy ones that taste delicious?

People eat lemon zest?

I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to throw out the skin when you’re finished with the lemon.

The Realist Cooker


So, I’ve decided to become a cooker. This is not to say that I don’t already know how to cook. I just haven’t had the need to in the past. Cooking elaborate dinners for one is not economical,  and frankly, I’m perfectly satisfied with a humble chicken and salad. Also, how difficult is it to pick up a dessert on the way to a party? It all disappears the same, maybe even quicker if it’s store-bought. With home-cooking comes possible illnesses. Personally, I’d rather go with the FDA approved option. But I digress.

Although I haven’t recently developed the need to cook, there’s no harm in practicing, in the event that, one day, individuals become dependant upon me for their nutrition and wellbeing. That, or I get bored with my current menu. I mean, how hard could it be? People on TV do it all the time.

How to Get Started

If you would also like to become a cooker, but don’t know where to begin, I am here to help. As someone who already knows…er…has recently decided to cook…more…I have the answers. Here’s what you do:

1. What do you want to cook?

Personally, treats and things are less overwhelming. No one’s livelihood is dependant on it.  If you don’t like it, you spit it out. Easy peasy. No pressure.

2. Find a Recipe

I like to look for simple recipes with roughly five ingredients or less. I don’t want to get caught up in long lists of items I’ve never heard of. If I already have all of the ingredients in my kitchen, automatically approved.

I also stick to recipes with a prep time of 15 minutes or less. I want to get in, bake, and get out. Who has all day to spend in the kitchen? However, this time limit does not include the time in the oven and/or stove. If I don’t have to be in the kitchen when it happens, it doesn’t count.

Also, if you know how to get a dose of TV magic, do it! Myself, I’m still figuring out how to enter my kitchen with all of the needed ingredients already measured out in convenient glass bowls. That Martha Stewart, how does she do it?

For some added inspiration, here is a link to my Eats Pinterest Board.*

3. Equip Yourself

If you expect to tackle your kitchen and win, you need to have the proper tools. You know, bowls, spatulas, a dough whisk, etc. For this, you can either raid your mom’s kitchen, or be adventurous, and explore a cooking store.

Side Note: 

Now, be careful who you share this news with. If you start announcing that you’ve become an avid cooker, people might start expecting dinners and fancy cakes at parties. I prefer the surprise approach. Like, “I brought a cake to your party. Yeah, I made it myself. What do you mean I don’t bake? Yeah, I bake!”

Stay tuned for more adventures as I explore the world of cooking/ refine my skills as a cooker.

*I feel the need to disclose that I am in no way affiliated with any of these recipe sources. Also, if you end up getting spammed and/or poisoned, I apologize. I haven’t actually clicked on all of these links/ made these recipes. I merely thought the pictures looked delicious.

How to be Invisible

dummyConfrontation is uncomfortable. It’s even more uncomfortable when it involves telling someone that you don’t like them. My theory is: avoid confrontation at all costs. If you are quick enough and have a stream-lined system, you can still enjoy your favourite places, like the gym, without running into or having to face the seemingly inevitable uncomfortable situation.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you unintentionally caught the eye of someone at your gym. How did this happen? This is your happy place! Your escape from the world! You just renewed your membership for another year and now you have to quit! No, you don’t. Okay, let’s call that Plan B.

I’m here to tell you, there’s a better way. I call it the “get in/get out” approach. At the gym (hypothetically speaking), there are some people looking to chat. Some might even go out of their way to find you and start up a conversation when you’re clearly trying you pretend you didn’t see them when you walked in.

Earphones provide a great “La, la, la, I can’t hear you. I’m listening to music/ I’m in the zone” kind of vibe. I recommend one of those handy arm straps so you can continue to work out without having to also hold your phone/Zune/music listening device of choice. You don’t actually like listening to music when you work out? Not a problem. Handy tip: listening to music and pretending to listen to music look pretty much exactly the same. Maybe bop your head a few times so it looks like you’re really jamming out.

Focus is also key. Keep your eyes from straying and accidentally catching said person’s eye who might then notice you looking at them and take it as you wanting to talk to them/be friends in real life/outside the gym (or wherever). When you’re on the treadmill, look at the screen or your phone. When you’re walking from the treadmill to your locker or weights, look at the ground. You can also try looking down at your phone and pretending that you’re checking an important message, but this takes a skilled individual with a keen sense of their surroundings. If done incorrectly, you could accidentally walk into said individual and your carefully thought out plan goes straight in the garbage.

If you’re as stealth as an anvil and you’re not willing to bite the financial bullet of Plan B, there’s always Plan C. Write a blog post about your current situation and hope that said individual happens upon it and realizes that you’re a nice person who just didn’t want to break his heart and/or crush his dreams. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

I Got Me A Sports Injury

dodgeball_2I’m no stranger to sports. I mean, I usually watch more on TV than I actually participate in, but I’m still no stranger. I’ve dabbled in sports. I’m in a fantasy football league. I do go to the gym regularly. Although, that’s not really a team sport. When a friend suggested we play dodgeball, I thought sure, what’s the harm? Dodgeball is no big deal. Kids play it in gym class. I was wrong.

Let me paint a picture for you. You’re in an arena playing one of the most intense games of dodgeball. Dodgeballs are flying in the air at rapid speeds. Oh right, and you’re on a trampoline, actually, many trampolines all attached to make a sort of super trampoline. I know what you’re thinking. How could playing dodgeball on a trampoline be anything but safe?

You’re finally getting the hang of it and BAM!!!! A dodgeball comes out of nowhere and smacks you so hard in the eye that you go down. Someone has to help you off the trampolines because you can’t see out of you’re right eye anymore. Actually, you’re not sure, but you can’t open it, which is basically the same thing. You’re eye’s all red and the right side of your face is starting to swell. Luckily, the employees are quite used to this and fetch you a bag of ice.

You then spend the rest of the evening with a bag of ice on your face and people stopping as they walk past you to offer their, “Ah! What happened?!”

But don’t worry, there’s free pizza. So it all works out in the end.

And five days later, you can finally open and close your right eye again, virtually pain-free.