Truly Julie at Halloween last year when she was 8 months pregnant!This time of year, quite frankly, gives me a minor anxiety attack. Once Halloween hits, you blink, and it’s February. The holiday season is upon us, and nothing says ready-set-go like Halloween. And nothing makes time seem like a bullet train like a baby. I swear I leave my son for an hour and within that time, another tooth has punctured through, his nails have gown my 3 centimeters and he no longer fits into his pants. So, one way to combat some of my anxiety is to plan ahead. I’ve already figured out Christmas/Chanukah gifts & now I’m in the midst of planning Halloween costumes. Last year will be tough to beat. I mean…getting my husband to wear a unitard to be “Thing 3″ was epic! I guess this year, we have the most epic prop, though–our son! I’d love to hear any theme ideas you have for the three of us. Hit me up on instagram: @TrulyJulieChang or twitter: @JulieChang or Facebook!
Truly Julie with her crew at Burning Man 2015!
Many moons ago (12 years to be exact!), I remember picking up a book titled “1000 Things to Do Before You Die.” That’s the first time I learned about Burning Man. At the time, I thought, ‘you couldn’t PAY ME to be in the middle of the desert with no running water.’ But eventually, the adventurous and curious side of me won:) THANK GOODNESS. My hubby and I had the most unbridled fun. We were like kids again. We rolled around dirt (Seriously! First time “Burners” have to roll around the Playa dust before entering the camp grounds) and rode our bikes around different “neighborhoods” without a worry in the world (minus dust storms). The reality is, no matter what you’ve heard about Burning Man, there’s really no way to describe it. Take it from someone who makes a living describing things! Perhaps it’s because no two people at Burning Man will have the same experience. And even if you’re a die-hard “Burner” who has been going for all 29 years of its existence, chances are your experience will be different each year if not each day of that week. In vague terms, I will say Burning Man is the most contradictory place I’ve ever been to.
- It’s the deadest place (I didn’t see a single bug or plant!), yet, the liveliest place (70,000 creative souls!).
- It’s where Billionaires (Elon Musk came to our Playa Surfers’ party!) and celebrities mingle with the possessionless and anonymous (one guy practically cried when I gave him an apple. Produce is clutch at BM. Did I mention there are zero stores and no exchange of $ at BM?).
- You feel deeply connected despite being completely disconnected from our modern world. There’s very limited cell service at Black Rock City (the temporary city that houses BM in the middle of the Nevada desert) and with that, there’s an incredible sense of people being present. Imagine that, you walk into a cafe and you don’t see a single person looking down.
- It takes the scarcity of the desert to show you how truly resourceful people can be. There’s no running water but what people build and create in the middle of this suffocating desert is nothing short of AMAZING. All the art installations and evening art cars is sensory overload.
They say you should go to BM with an intention…to let go of something that’s holding you down. As I watched the giant installation of the stick figure man burn on my 5th night there, I threw every morsel of fear into that roaring blaze. In my opinion, fear is the most crippling emotion, not to mention the opposite of what Burning Man means to me: freedom. One of the top goals of Burning Man is to leave no trace. That might be possible in the physical sense, but certainly not when it comes to my memory.
Truly Julie and her tumor scar.I’m always amazed by some of the things that people say post trauma. When my dad died in a car crash 10 years ago, a few people grabbed me by my shoulders and said, “Who will walk you down the aisle now?” And post brain tumor surgery, I’ve gotten some very interesting comments regarding my large scar. It stretches from my ear, up towards the back crown of my head, all the way down my skull—sort of like a door. Just to give you an idea of how large, it took about 200 stitches to seal up my head. The scar is the thickest where they inserted a small titanium plate. It’s often visible unless there’s some serious teasing involved. Now, recently, I had someone suggest that I get the scar tattooed. Another told me that the french braid is the perfect hairdo for me…”you know with all your scarring and short odd pieces of hair.” I don’t think these comments were necessarily ill-willed, but they did remind me that words can also cut deep. In a way, my battle scar is a nice reminder of my humbling journey back to health and to be more sensitive with what I say; and because of that, it’s more of a pride than something to hide.
Michigan girls (in Cali) do it better! Truly Julie with her surfing buds AKA “Detroit Betties”!
It all started with the baby shower invite. My childhood friend, Andrea, has always reminded me of Audrey Hepburn: petite, generous, impossibly pretty and always classic. So, I superimposed her face onto a “My Fair Lady” poster, added a splash of pink, and voila! That invite set the tone for the whole shower. We asked guests to wear fancy headdresses to get in the festive mood for the afternoon tea affair. I learned this during my bridal shower, when you get people to collectively wear flower crowns or fun hats, magic happens. I give a gold star to the guest who got so into the spirit, she ironed gold stars onto her hair! My dear friend, Katie, co-hosted the tea party at her lovely home in Brentwood. We hung fun baby pics of Andrea and her hubby around the house, and catered in scones and other small bites from Gjusta in Venice. I had tiny mason jars left over from my wedding, so I incorporated those into the decor. And I found the most fitting party favors on Etsy! Earl Grey Lavendar tea bags in the shape of a onesie. What?! Thank you DailyEssentialsDE for the rush delivery!
For Andrea’s gift, I knew I had to get her little girl a bikini. You see, Andrea and I have been friends since we were 11 years old. We were summer camp pals, so my earliest
memories of her include swimming in the lake. Then, as adults, we have spent hours
surfing together. So, when you see the most adorable pink bikini with crochet details, you don’t look at the price tag…you buy:) Just looking at it makes my ovaries hurt for a little girl. But then again…I haven’t slept since Driggs was born so maaaaaybe not:).
So, in a nutshell: 1) pick a cute theme (ex: My Fair Lady) 2) think of a way to get people more festive (i.e. headdress) 3)add personal touches (baby pictures of the parents-to-be) 4) fun party favor; 5) and plenty of rosé for the non-preggo ladies and you’ve got yourself a shower!
We didn’t really play any games, but we did go around a circle and share our best parenting advice. It’s wonderful to have friends in your life for 25 years. It’s even better when you can share the wonders of motherhood together. Can’t wait for Andrea’s little girl to join the posse and neither can the boys!
Cube squared! “Straight Outta Compton” stars O’shea Jackson Jr., who plays Ice Cube…his real-life dad! How long did he have to audition for the part? Watch here.
Just this week, more gun shots were fired in Ferguson. Has nothing changed since NWA days–which was almost 30 years ago?? If you go see “Straight Outta Compton” this opening weekend, you’ll leave with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it’s incredibly inspiring to see 5 guys from Compton make it on the big stage, including Dr. Dre, who many moons later went on to sell Beats Music for $700 million dollars. On the flip side, it’s frustrating to see the LA riots after Rodney King knowing that those types of incidents are still occuring in Ferguson, Baltimore, and so many other cities across the country. Here’s what Ice Cube thinks about the whole matter. If nothing else, I hope those with a mic use it wisely to spread the message of peace.
Truly Julie with Danica McKellar! Danica McKellar is a rarity in showbiz–a child star who went onto live a normal life! Not only that, she’s a supermom. She nursed her little one for 24 months! What. Any who, here’s her mama tip: be an advocate for your kid. Everyone will tell you to do this or that…but you make the call on what is right for your child.
Truly Julie & her hubby (& the majestic Grand Teton mountains!) at Diamond Cross Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where you can’t help but fall, be in, stay in love. Fashion Front: For Love and Lemons dress, J.Crew vest and slacks.
Back when my husband and I just started dating (in bustling NYC), we would dream out loud, “Let’s move to Wyoming…or Montana…and breath clean air! Be ensconced amongst the mountains. See shooting stars every night. Wear flannel and cuddle in our ranch style home!” Well, here we are in LA. Which, turns out, is a total daydream of a place. We have the ocean, the mountains, the vineyards, the culture, the whole nine yards. We have absolutely fallen head-over-heels for LA, still, we felt a longing for Jackson Hole.
Luckily, the stars aligned! A few friends, including a talented DJ/photographer, were going and invited us for the adventure. I’ve always had this yearning to get married in Jackson Hole. It’s like a guarantee you’ll get beautiful pictures! Don’t get me wrong, we LOVED our “wedding” (we eloped initially) at Hammersky Vineyards in Paso Robles, but I still wanted that dreamy, wild west, Free People-esque wedding pics. So, we made it happen!
We threw our original wedding outfits into a duffel, including my boho-ethereal Grace Loves Lace “Hollie” dress, and jetted off to Jackson Hole. Of course, this time around, we had the most precious jewel, our son Driggs! We stayed at the Diamond Cross Ranch, which is still owned and operated by one of oldest families in Jackson Hole. It was in this majestic setting that my husband and I spontaneously renewed our vows, almost exactly a year after we said our “I do’s” in Paso.
Once little Driggs was tucked in bed, we took a night stroll to gaze at the stars. We were in sweats and flipflops, but felt like royalty as the silhouette of the mountains that surrounded us looked like a giant crown. Like I said, one of my goals for this trip was to capture beautiful pictures (and mission accomplished thanks to our talented fiend Keenan Riley),
but I didn’t expect such gorgeous, heartfelt words to pour out of my husband’s mouth. It was short and simple, and truth be told, I don’t really remember what he said (I blame the brain tumor and mommy brain) but in those few minutes, I looked into his eyes and saw a man who has proven time and time again that he loves me unconditionally. As he squeezed my hands, it was as if he’d activated a fast-forward-flashback button, and through my mind and heart, I saw this man, this beautiful man, combing my blood tangled hair in the ICU, driving me to work at 4AM for months while I fought to regain my vision, cradling our son just seconds after my c-section and just seeing the pure joy and awe in his eyes.
Fearless about freezing! 28 year old Vicki Rox almost lost her ovary after freezing her eggs. No regrets, though!
Regrets. It’s a rude awakening that time has come and gone. It’s when “I should’ve, could’ve, would’ve” slaps you in the face. I guess that’s why my latest sweeps piece on freezing eggs has struck such a nerve–it captures the zeitgeist that women don’t have to rely on a man or answer to a ticking clock. It was with this liberation in mind that Vicki Rox, at the age of 28, decided to freeze her eggs. Long story short, the procedure overstimulated her ovary to the point that it ballooned in size—from that of a walnut to a grapefruit. Watch the story here. Ovarian Torsion happens to less than 1% of patients but it happened to Vicki, who is young and in perfect health. So that begs the question… would Vicki go through the weeks of hormone shots, weeks of abstinence, scary rush to the emergency, and weeks of bedrest again? YES. The New Yorker, who’s article about the same subject went viral on Vice, says she has zero regrets about buying herself more time. Vicki’s goal is to one day be a mom, but for now, to empower other women to also expand their reproductive choices.
I recently disconnected from social media for 5 days to reconnect with LIFE. I was inspired by Arianna Huffington’s book “Thrive” to reclaim some of the 160+ minutes we spend on our smart phones everyday. We reportedly check our phones every 6-7 minutes! And seeing how Driggs is growing up so fast that we may be sharing clothes by next week, I felt the need to truly unplug.
Moran, Wyoming (just 30 miles from Jackson Hole) was absolutely the perfect place to go social media silent. We stayed at the stunning Diamond Cross Ranch where we rode horses, strolled along rivers and creeks, admired wildlife (i.e., baby fox, buffalos, elks, etc.) and took gorgeous photos of the majestic Grand Teton mountain (one of the best hikes ever, FYI!). And with Yellowstone just a few miles away, we took a day trip to the world’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful.
Was it hard to go tech cold turkey? Well…not really. Truth be told, I lost my phone at the airport, so, I had no choice! Go figure, my son goes on a poop strike for 8 days only to…as the Frozen song goes, “Let it Go”, at the airport. Any who, as I was changing his diaper that almost required a hazmat suit, I misplaced my cell. It’s since been recovered, but I highly recommend that you try leaving your phone somewhere far far away form you for an extended time and focus on your inner status update. “Thrive” talks a lot about what will be said at your eulogy & how in essence, you’re “writing” your own eulogy by how you carry out your days. I guarantee no one will talk about your clever captions or fun pictures. Your legacy will be about your spirit, soul and the REAL connections you made with the special people in your life. We are all given a life, but so few of us truly live. Says the girl who’s spending precious time putting up a blog post right now! Ok, gotta go!
Any man can become a father but only the truly loving can become a dad. My ah pah passed away almost 10 years ago in a terrible car accident. When I was younger, he worked so much (8AM–10PM) that I pretty much only saw him on the weekends. When I was in my teens, he was transferred back to Korea, so I saw him at most a few times a year. Still, there was never any doubt about how much he loved me. He worked so hard to provide my sisters and I all the things that he never had growing up; and that included food. To put it simply, my dad came from dirt. Just after the Korean War, his family would often let him go hungry because they didn’t think he would make it any way.
Later in his life when he lost his corporate job as a chemical engineer, he opened a dry cleaning business and tried his best to make up for lost time with his daughters. He got satellite TV in Michigan so he could watch me on the news all the way in NYC (this was when the internet was still in its infancy). After my 7AM live shot, he would always call me with his feedback. He was my biggest fan…. all throughout my life, he would often say that I was so precious that the ground wasn’t worthy of my steps.
My dad died just before Christmas time, so for years, I felt a deep pang in my heart during the Holidays. But then everything changed this past Christmas. My little Driggs, who bears my dad’s name as his middle name, was born on Dec 18th. For the first time since my ah pah’s passing, I didn’t feel a void as Christmas carols played on the radio. And for the first time this Father’s Day, I didn’t feel any sadness, just the most enormous sense of gratitude. I married a man who is the BEST dad to our son…someone that my dad would be beyond proud to call his son-in-law. And every time Driggs smiles, I see my dad’s face. It’s just so special to know that so much of my ah pah’s spirit lives on through me…and now, my son.