Mama’s Top Five Sleepy Time Favs!

                 Truly Julie’s son Driggs with his favorite Goods That Matter blanket!
Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.22.47 PMOften times, the hardship surrounding mommyhood is focused on pregnancy and labor. But for me and many new mommies I’ve spoken to, neither can compare to the difficulty of what follows once the baby is here. Those first few months are brutal, especially on the lack-of-sleep front. With that in mind, here are my top five picks to make bedtime a bit easier.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 1.18.33 PM1) Goods that Matter blanket. It’s natural cotton and customized with your baby’s name! And if swaddled, it completes a picture of a heart. And fittingly so, this social conscious brand donates 10% to rebuild communities that have been hit by hard times i.e., Hurricane Sandy.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.50.46 PM2) Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit. Nevermind that your baby looks like a mini-sumo wrestler, this padded onesie works (at least it did for Driggs). Babies have natural body reflexes that make them twitch, wiggle, and whack themselves in their sleep. The Magic sleepsuit keeps this from happening, so they sleep longer and deeper. And don’t worry, it’s not as Hannibal-Lecter as it sounds or looks. They can still move around, but just enough to not wake themselves up. And yes, Driggs’ sleepsuit is pink. Clearly a hand-me-down. Ain’t no shame in the game when it means more sleep for mama:) (Caveat: The suit maybe a bit too warm for summer)

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.26.05 PM3) Primo Eurobath. It’s true what they say, babies behave better with some sort of routine. I give Driggs a bath an hour before his bedtime everynight. It kind of cues him to relax and get ready for bed. I really love the Primo Eurobath for a tub. The inner molding is good for his infant days and really keeps him stable while I soap him up. The outer molding is good for as long as he fits it, which I presume will be about a year. All this for $25. Yes, please.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.28.27 PM4) Mustache pacifiers. I’ve spent hours trying to put Driggs down for a nap. Usually what works is taking him for a walk in the stroller with a pacifier in his mouth. And since my hipster days are officially over with mommyhood (ha!) I try to keep it hip with Driggs. He is named after a Brooklyn street after all! The humorous pacifier keeps me entertained when I stare into his little face, even when he’s on a sleeping strike. Plus, it makes anyone that walks past us smile. And just as I write this, Driggs has decided to not take pacifiers anymore. Argh! It was fun while it lasted…onto the next tactic.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 1.54.46 PM5) LittleMooseByLiza bedding and accessories. What in the world did we do before Etsy?! Half of my furniture and almost every item for my wedding were found on Etsy. And so it goes with Driggs’ nursery. I found the cutest, trendy cribsheets on Etsy, specifically on LittleMooseByLiza’s page. Thank God for this crafty midwestern brand because all I was finding for our oval Stokke crib were super expensive sheets from Australia. Little Moose also handmakes adorable burp cloths/bibs/fitted sheets for diaper changing pads, and she’s got a ton of fun fabric selections (all organic!). And for what it’s worth, LittleMooseByLiza offers one of the friendliest customer service I’ve ever received on Etsy. Trust me, as a new parent, you spend LOTS OF TIME trying to put your baby to sleep. You might as well like their bedding:) And judging from Driggs’ face below and the fact he slept 10 hours straight last night (insert: mommy doing backflips), he likes his bedding, too. (This crib sheet print is #2 from the Spoonflower series on LittleMooseByLiza) Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 12.22.01 PM

 

 

Bye Bye Maternitly Leave. Hello…gulp…work!

                                          Look out! The cutest Korean Viking!
FacetuneDeep sigh. My golly, how on earth do you leave this face everyday? I’ve been told motherhood goes hand-in-hand with guilt, but I’m not sure guilt is the right word to describe how I’m feeling as I prepare to go back to work. Sadness (he grows so fast!), nervousness (how will I do it all?!), major FOMO (fear of missing out–on any of his “firsts”), topped with a heavy serving of separation anxiety (including pregnancy, he’s been attached to me for 14 months!) is more like it. The longest I’ve been away from my son since birth (12/18/2014) is 6 hours and that was a one time occurrence to get my MRI. And trust me, right after, I had my husband give me the full rundown on how long he slept, what he ate, and what it looked like in his diaper:) Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do; and I feel extremely fortunate to have a career. But nothing seems quite as purposeful or rewarding as shaping a new life. I guess I look at it like this…by going back to work, I hope to one day inspire my son to find a line of work that makes him happy as well as provide for his family. That, too, is shaping him, right? And while delivering morning entertainment news is not as purposeful as, say, saving someone’s life, I find comfort in my heart that I help some folks get out of bed, and perhaps put a smile on their face. Speaking of, yikes! Does this mean I have to get out of my jammies everyday?! Meet me on Good Day LA starting this Wednesday:)

My Birthday Wish: Nothing!

              March 3rd! Truly Julie’s Birthday! And what’s a birthday without a kiss?!IMG_447037856It would almost be criminal for me to want anything more on this birthday (today!). My 10997784_10153067774075390_7765096918696679348_nlastest MRI scan–my first since becoming pregnant almost a year ago–shows no signs of tumor. YAAAAAAAY! The neurologist did raise her eyebrow at just how thick the scar tissue is around my skull as well as how large the cavity remains (where my tumor used to sit), even after a year. But I told her not to worry, “Trust me, I was this crazy and whacky even before there was a tumor in my head.” She smiled and said all should be good. Music to my ears! And, of course, I have my beautiful, healthy baby boy and a 1924698_10153058241250390_3928431961423219616_nhusband that makes me feel like I won the lotto in life everyday. Fewer thant 4 years ago, I said my dreams out loud: I wanna wake up in cool, crisp sheets, with the smell of coffee in the air…sun rays peaking in…ocean waves giggling right outside my window…spooning someone I love…ten little fingers and toes. It’s amazing how the universe listens sometimes. So, all I have to do on this birthday is take it all in and to remember that I’ll never be as young as I am today:)

**Special thanks to the folks at UCSF for posting this update! And all those who took the time to write me such kind messages. Best birthday card ever! 10991377_10152585583466646_6383553748461285986_nScreen Shot 2015-03-03 at 9.27.52 AM

People.com’s #MomTalk!

                                     Truly Julie on her first mama panel!

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Time. It’s the only thing you can’t make more of. With that in mind, here’s my plan for maximizing each moment with those I love the most. Thanks, People Mag, Screen shot 2015-02-25 at 12.38.56 PMfor including this rookie mama! I feel like I learned so much from these mama pros i.e., fitness guru Sara Haley, thelilmama.com’s Alisan Porter and “Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay” author Stephanie Wilder-Taylor. Catch many more mamas sharing their tidbits on People.com’s #MomTalk.

Can I Get an Amen for Aman?!

         This is no ordinary hotel room! Truly Julie at Amankora Paro in Bhutan.Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 3.52.16 PMMany moons ago, before we were even engaged, Leif and I had our honeymoon. Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 3.57.03 PMOf course, we didn’t realize it at the time, but now looking back, our stay at the Amankora resorts in the “happiest country in the world” AKA Bhutan is easily #1 for the most romantic and memorable. There are only a dozen or so Aman resorts in the world and 5 of them
Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 3.51.56 PMare in Bhutan. I hear the owner of Aman is good friends with the king of Bhutan, hence, having 5 of his uber luxury villas in a country that doesn’t even have a single traffic light. But more so, I can’t think of a more fitting place for an Aman resort than Bhutan. The Buddhist country is known for its tranquility and zen outlook. That is the essence of Aman, too. St. Regis, The Ritz, The Four Seasons, The Peninsula, etc, are all fancy and nice, but if you crave a truly unique, almost spiritual stay, look no further than Amankora. And If you really want to go all out, you can hike from one Amankora to the next, exploring the different Bhutan valleys along the way. But staying at just one, for even a night, is pretty exceptional. My favorite perk is the amazing picnic lunch they pack for you to take on your day hikes. So, seize the day and take that honeymoon now! For more on my Bhutan trip, click here.Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 3.52.05 PM

Hello, Dolphins…I’m Back!

                                          Truly Julie back in the Ocean!
Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 11.07.45 PMAfter 9 months of waddling through pregnancy, plus, nearly 2 months of limping through a c-section infection (TMI!), I got back in the ocean this weekend!!! Yes, after nearly a year! And boy, what a freaking reward. Within minutes, dozens of dolphins greeted me. Three of them came as close as 5 feet. My jaunt out into the Pacific had to be short since I can’t be away from my son for too long and my body is still healing, but that half hour was everything after sitting out for so long! Like my board says, YOLO: you only live once. Get out there and explore!

Fashion Flashback

                 Shake it, Don’t Break it, Took Your Mama 9 Months to Make it! 
IMG_5955 (1)This post is for my friend Katie (who’s due with her son any moment!) and other mamas out there who have asked me about what to wear during pregnancy. Truth me told, I didn’t buy a single maternity outfit (I did inherit a pair of awesome maternity jeans. Thank you, Maria Sansone!). I’m a resourceful, midwestern girl at heart, so I didn’t want to spend $$ on clothes that I’d only wear for a limited time. I stuck to empire waist silouettes and stretchy fabrics, and that got me through 40 weeks of pregnancy. I think the same fit logic can be applied to weight gain in general. But perhaps the best fashion tip is more of a lifestyle tip. I stayed active and ate relatively healthy thoughout the 9 months, so I gained a healthy amount of weight. Confession: when I wasn’t at work, I was in moo-moos:)

Boob Food: my 5 tips for surviving breastfeeding

Truly Julie offering her son Driggs diamonds and gold in exchange to make breast feeding easier:)
IMG_5912This post is about boobs…. but sorry guys, this is in context of nursing. It’s true what they say: breast feeding is HARD. Call me dramatic, but I had thoughts of Guantanamo Bay as I wept in pain and screamed in agony as I tried to get nursing right. Long story short, my son was tongue tied at birth, meaning, he could not latch deeply. By the time we discovered this, he was already 3 days old and feeding every 1-2 hours. To put it mildy, it felt like I was reopening a scab/blister every hour with the help of a piranha. For me, getting the latch right came down to a handful of very helpful, knowlegeable nurses at the hospital. I tell ya, from my brain surgery to my c-section…the nurses are the unsung heros! Of course, I do LOVE and appreciate my doctors (Thank you Dr. Shamsah Amersi for delivering our baby boy!). And once I got home, I found the below 5 items to be super helpful. To all the mamas out there, may the force be with you (and your boobs).

1) Lasinoh Gel Pads. My breast feeding experience, at first, included blood and tears. Seriously. Stock up on these gel pad as they are the only things that can give you some relief from the pain. shopping

2) Milkies Milk-Saver. Since breast milk is gold, why waste a drop?! I save many ounces of milk daily by catching it with Milkies. How you use it sounds silly, but trust me, it works. Simply weave your nipple into the device as you’re nursing your baby on the other breast. The leaking milk collects in the Milklies and before you know it, you’ve saved enough for entire bottle without ever pumping.

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3) The “Arden Bra” by The Dairy Fairy. This single bra lets you nurse or hands-free pump, and it’s one of the cuter mama bras out there. It even comes with a matching undie! But most of all, this bra saves time. I’ve found that it’s pretty annoying to have to take off a nurshing bra to put on a pump-friendly bra…only to put the nursing bra back on when you’re done. With The Arden, you’re good to go.unnamed4) The Munchkin Latch bottles. The acordian nipple technology and the anti-colic valve at the bottom of the bottle are genius. Seriously, the engineers or designers who came up with this need to work for NASA. outfit-bottle-1-of-5

 

5) Mother’s Milk Tea/Fenugreek supplements/Korean Seaweed Soup. All three increase production of milk. Mother’s Milk Tea is great because it tastes like licorice. The fenugreek supplements are much cheaper and effective than the vitamins that are specifically marketed for breast feeding. If you read the fine print in those so-called nursing vitamins, you’ll see the main incredient is fenugreek. Korean Seaweed Soup is beyond beneficial for nursing. With so much seaweed per serving it’s loaded with calcium, iodine, fibre, omega acids, vitamin B1 & B3, while low in calorie. You can find many easy receipes online. I used this oneIMG_5260

Happy New Year! My 2015 Resolutions.

Truly Julie at the same spot in Malibu a year ago, but at a very different point in life…(smile)IMG_5746If you told me that this would be my life a year ago, I would’ve never believed you. I’d just had my brain tumor removed. I’d lost half my vision. And! I was told conceiving might be difficult for the next two years as my body healed. Happy and beyond grateful to be an outlier. My goals for 2015 and beyond are pretty simple yet major. I hope to be a good wife, a good mama, and a good citizen of the world. Remember…so much can happen in year! Survive. Thrive. And don’t forget to smile along the way.

Best. Christmas. Ever.

Truly Julie and her hubby’s greatest collaboration: baby Driggs!Baby DriggsWell, needless to say, our son Driggs is the best Christmas present ever!! To us, he symbolizes everything we’ve ever wanted in life. Health, love, purpose, meaning…and LIFE itself. For those of you who asked, his full name is Driggs Jisuk Drake. His first name is a homage to Brooklyn, New York. Back when Leif and I were falling in love, we’d frollick around Brooklyn like two kids at the playground. I think just weeks into dating, we stumbled upon a street called Driggs, and no joke, I said, “I LOVE that as a name. One day if I ever have a son, I’m going to name him Driggs.” And here we are many moons later. Driggs’ middle name Jisuk is in honor of my dad’s name. My dad passed away 10 years ago as of this December 11th and as we marked his anniversary, we did so with a heavy heart…knowing our son would never meet his grandfather Jisuk. But truth be told, I felt his presense during my c-section and so much of his spirit lives on through me and my sisters. Driggs’ last name Drake is self explanatory…but as the first boy Drake grandchild, he’s got dibs on passing along Leif’s family name.

I’ve always said that all human beings have 3 things in common: we are constantly searching for purpose, meaning, and clarity in life. For me, all three “clicked” to a new profound level the minute I heard Driggs’ crying out his first breath. I’ll be honest. It’s overwhelming and almost frightening to become a parent. Pretty much, their only reality during their first few years is the one you create for them. That’s so much pressure! But, in the same breath…what an incredible honor. I’m so grateful Driggs’ has chosen me to be his mama. He’s one week old as of today and I can already tell he’s going to be a fun little Korean Viking. IMG_5562