One Year With Rhonda (The Honda)

rhonda_blogRhonda (the Honda) has been in my life for a whole year. Now, Rhonda is not the first car I’ve had the pleasure of owning, but she is the first brand new one. I’ve learned a lot about owning a new car this past year, mainly how difficult it is to keep your car looking brand new. With an old car, you’re less concerned about it’s outward appearance. What’s one more scratch? No one will notice with the giant patch of rust on the fender.

Here are just a few things I learned about owning a new car/ being responsible for all repairs:

  1.  New cars need more expensive oil and with that, more expensive oil changes.
  2. Black cars are difficult to keep clean, but they’re still worth it because (I’m convinced) they look much cooler than alternative colors (when clean).
  3. There is no such thing as a small (inexpensive) repair. It’s either not worth fixing or it’s going to cost a lot (or both).
  4. You should give your car a name. Ok, getting a new car didn’t teach me this, but I wanted to include it anyways. You probably spend more time with your car than anyone else and she (well, mine’s a she) deserves a name.



30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

30th_birthdaySo, I’ve officially taken 30 trips around the sun. And in those 30 years, I’ve actually learned a lot. Here are the 30 most important things I’ve learned so far (trust me, it’s worth reading the whole list):

  1. Watch where you’re going both visually and in life.
  2. Dogs are the most important beings in the world! You should take as many pictures with your dog as you want because dogs don’t live as long as people. You need enough photos to get you through the years they are no longer with you.
  3. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.).
  4. You need different friends for different things.
  5. Small car repairs don’t exist. Everything is expensive.
  6. Sometimes you don’t need to redecorate. You just need to clean your apartment.
  7. You don’t need to wear makeup every day. No one cares.
  8. Don’t do anything or be anyone  other than yourself just because you think you’re “supposed to”.
  9. Don’t make life decisions out of obligation. You’re the one who will have to live with the decision.
  10. It’s better to be alone then to be with the wrong person
  11. If someone makes you feel like throwing up, stop wasting your valuable time with them.
  12. You’re stronger than you think you are.
  13. Snow is not as pretty when you have to shovel it.
  14. If you don’t like your handwriting, change it.
  15. Happiness is not a competition. There’s room for everyone.
  16. Olive oil can freeze.
  17. Don’t be afraid to take a job because you feel like you’ll be trapped there. If you don’t like it, look for a new job.
  18. It’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you save
  19. Don’t buy anything you can’t afford to pay for (within 30 days).
  20. Whether someone hurt you or not, if their parent dies, nothing matters anymore. You go to the funeral.
  21. When working out (or after),there’s a difference between good pain and bad pain.
  22. Eating a few pieces of pizza is fine. Eating an entire pizza is not fine, especially if done on a weekly basis.
  23. Jumping isn’t bad for your knees. Jumping poorly is.
  24. Not every doctor is considerate of your time. If you have a good one, stick with him/her as long as you can. If you’re not happy with them, take the time to find one you’re happy with. Your health is worth it. 
  25. Sometimes coffee isn’t as much as a benefit for you, as it is for those who have to interact with you.
  26. Don’t hand out “I love you’s” like candy.
  27. Winter boots that keep your feet warm and dry are better than ones that just look pretty.
  28. Original song lyrics are merely suggestions. Sing what you want.
  29. Dance in your car like you’re putting on a production.
  30. Laughing with your brothers is the best medicine.

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!


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…”

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.