All I Want For Christmas is a Healthy Kid & a Kidney (the latter for Christine Schneider)

Christine Schneider, who’s now a widow, needs a kidney. Help her fight for her life and for her 8 year old son.

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Maybe it’s because I also am going to be a mom of a little boy. Maybe it’s because I also know what it feels like to be sick with a serious illness. Maybe it’s because her family portrait somewhat resembles mine. Whatever it is, the story of Christine Schneider touched me to the core. Her husband died in an accident just before Thanksgiving this year. She’s had Lupus since she was a teenager and is in desperate need of a kidney (read Christine’s full story here). I looked into donating one of my two kidneys but because my brain tumor surgery was only a year ago, all of my doctors said the soonest I could ever donate such an organ was in 4-5 years. My thinking was that while they have me cut open for the c-section, they could just grab a kidney while they were at it. But apparently, my knowledge of the human anatomy is that of a 5th grader. The kidneys are in the back and it would require a whole different surgery. So, as heartbroken as I am that I can’t help this family by passing my many blessings forward, I hope you will find it in your heart to reach out. Technology has come such a long way that kidney donors can recover in just a day or two in the hospital…while the impact on recipients can last a lifetime. As I write this post, I’m 16 hours from bringing a new life into this world. It’s such a powerful idea. But equally as powerful as creating life…is saving a life. And all of us who are fortunate to have good health and two kidneys, possess this power. If you’re interested in being a lifesaver for Christine Schneider (& her son!) this holiday season, contact: myrau@verizon.net

Truly Julie’s Top 5 Holiday Gifts!

   Truly Julie rocking her staple www.IvoryRow.com “boyfriend” cashmere cardigan.IMG_5035 (1)Black Friday…Cyber Monday….whatever retail event it is that you honor this holiday season, keep these five in mind!

1383409_10152900005358023_7700573222538913287_nwww.IvoryRow.com. High-end cashmere knits without the Hermés price! My sister Grace cut-out the middleman and directly designs/sells luxury cashmere with a hip twist online. Turns out…legit fashionistas i.e., Jessica Seinfeld are also fans! The stylish half of Jerry Seinfeld recently tweeted a picture of herself wearing the IvoryRow baseball sweaterEnter: Shopcashmere2014 for 20% off this weekend!

www.TheSupplyChange.org. I’m officially obsessed with everything on IMG_4951this site. So boho-chic and every item has a social conscious angle. The Bali sundresses with the genius asymmetric hem that catches the wind as you walk (I’m wearing the blue print below) are perfect for Cali-living/vacation/9-months of pregnancy! And the beaded Kenyan “Coachella” necklace is a show stopper. Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll just put out a shameless hint out there for any friends/family reading this. On my wish list are these gorgeous beach towels from Kenya:)983727_10152501226041355_2990708095655011430_nwww.DancingClassrooms.org. For me, the greatest gifts aren’t things but experiences. IMG_4910This not-for-profit, founded by my friend Pierre Dulaine, provides lasting experiences for pint-size ballroom dancers. It started off as an inner-city after school program, where in just a few weeks, they saw a dramatic improvement in grades, behavior, and overall participation. Now, it’s uniting Palestinian and Israeli kids! Pierre is currently a judge on So You Think You Can Dance Beirut…but he stopped by LA for 72 hours to talk about his new documentary Dancing in Jaffa. Here he is on Good Day LA. I’ve seen the money that I’ve donated to Dancing Classrooms do beautiful things. Give a $1, give more…but know your donation will feed your soul. My nephew just turned 7, and in his honor, I gave a gift to www.DancingClassrooms.org.

www.mpix.com. It seems very few people actually print pictures these days. I do:) photo (27)My most valued possessions are my pictures. I’ve used several printing sources and I think Mpix does the best job. Plus, they have excellent customer service. Order a few prints and send it out with your holiday cards. You’ll be surprised by how delighted people get to actually receive tangible photos.

 

www.HatzyLady.com. In this day and age, it’s really hard to find a milliner who IMG_5144makes couture hats from scratch. That’s where Yvonne Lewis comes in! She’s been teaching the art of millinery and hand-making hats for 20+ years. Watch her talent here! Whether your heading to the Kentucky Derby or channeling Duchess Kate Middleton or even J.Lo, Yvonne can create your vision. Yvonne, a breast cancer survivor, reached out to me while I was sick with brain tumor. Her stunning toppers were perfect for me to hide my random patches of buzzed cut hair. But truth be told…I’d look for any excuse to don her beautiful hats. Have the “hatzy lady” create something totally unique for someone special in your life…or gather a group of friends and take a hat-making class. Continue reading

Thankful for LIFE!

                     Truly Julie in all her 9-months-pregnant glory on Venice Beach!IMG_5139Last Thanksgiving, I was grateful for my 2nd chance at life. This Thanksgiving, I’m beyound blissful and appreciative that I’m healthy enough to create life…for where there’s life, there’s hope:) Happy Thanksgiving!

Cowabunga…It’s a Boy!

                          Truly Julie eager and excited to meet her son!West Coast Baby ShowerIt’s funny. I went from not wanting a baby shower at all, to having two! Here’s what I realize. I have way too many loving, generous friends who will not take “no” for an answer. Especially, if it’s your first child and if you happen to be rebounding from a major sickness such as brain tumor:) My New York peeps turned it out with a Dr. Suess themed shower last month.  And then last weekend, my West Coast friends (including some of my Good Day LA family!) threw me a surfing themed shower…which has so many layers of meaning. A) Surfing saved my life B) my burning desire to ride the waves again is what helped me to heal so quickly! and C) we hope to decorate the baby nursery with a surfing/marine theme because we’re convinced that…drum roll…our son will love the ocean just as much as we do. That’s right, we’re having a boy!! My deepest gratitude to Beth, Tatiana, and Cat for throwing me the bash. The suspended onesies everywhere (which we tie-dyed!), diaper cake with new mom must-have ornaments, homemade hummus in mini-sandbuckets…were cute enough to leave Martha Stewart sucking her thumb:)

From Baby Shower to Halloween, Dr. Suess is Our THING!

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                                 Truly Julie’s Dr. Suess themed month!They say your friends are a reflection of who you are, and if that’s the case, my hubby and … Continue reading

An Ann Arbor Reunion in Paso Robles.

Truly Julie at the “awkward stage”!

IMG_4699Liza and I have been friends since, gosh, I think we were 10 or 11. We met at Camp Algonquian (YMCA) and became instant besties. Last year when she was 7.5 months pregnant she came to visit me in LA from San Francisco, so, it only seemed fitting that she saw me at 7.5 months! We’re both Cali girls now, but boy, are we still Ann Arbor at heart:) We both married guys who grew up within spitting distance! Liza was actually my hubby’s first crush in 5th grade. Cute. Now, her and her hubby are parents to a daughter who I’m convinced is one of the most smiley people on earth. Her eyes sparkle just like her mama’s and are inviting just like her papa’s. We met up at Paso Robles for several reasons: a) it’s stunning there all the time IMG_4705but truly special during the Harvest Festival b) it’s halfway between LA and SF c) It’s where I had my wedding ceremony this summer and October marks our real 1 year anniversary (we eloped last Oct!). I highly recommend renting a rustic cottage, visiting some wine vineyards (we were walking distance to our fave, Hammersky Vineyards!), and catching up on life with old friends. The fall colors on the grape vines were spectacular, but the highlight was a friendship that never changes. Oh yeah, minus some occasional screaming baby and my growing belly:) IMG_8937**just so you know how gorgeous it is in Paso Robles. NONE of these photos were edited and all are #NoFilter!

My Attempt at Maternity Fashion during 3rd Trimester. No Moos-Moos here!

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IMG_4366  I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to dial up the fashion when your body is rapidly changing. But approach it like anything else…with confidence, fun attitude, and creativity and you’ll be fine, mamas. Some of you have reached out to me asking what my rules are for pregnant dressing. Answer is simple, I don’t have any rules! I play with all silhouettes: body con, empire waist, even crop tops! You’re creating LIFE…flaunt it. I also have been more playful with accessories, i.e., flower in the hair, hats, and jewelry. It draws the eyes to what is the best beauty side effect of pregnancy…shimmering hair and glowing skin!

Our Boho Vineyard Wedding!

    Once in a while, right in the middle of ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.
Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 9.11.32 PMIn the last 10 months, I had brain surgery, eloped with my man, gained my vision back, and announced that we are expecting a little one this December. I feel like the ultimate comeback kid! Somewhere in the flurry of these monumental life moments, we also threw a “wedding”, though, we had already eloped by then:) Despite the blood, sweat and lots of Bevmo runs that it took to plan the big celebration, we’d do it all over again. 99.99% of our wedding was DIY. I want all photo (76)the future brides and grooms out there to know that with a little creativity and time, you can cut a bulk of the cost by doing most of the things yourself. Sure, it’s a bit more hectic than just showing up for the dance, but I think planning a wedding together with your partner is such a great microcosm of what marriage is all about. You’re working with a budget, dealing with family/friends politics, things falling through, all the while not losing perspective that this is just a “party”. And that, ultimately, you’re building a beautiful memory together. From the wedding invites (I swear I have carpel tunnel from writing enough invite calligraphy to rival the Torah!) to the flowers (we got them from Trader Joe’s! Spent all of $250, including flowers for my bouquet and flower crown!) to the hair and makeup team (Um, that’d be me!), so much of our big day had our personal touch. A slew of family members and friends pitched in all their talents to add to our big day. To us…this made our wedding all the more special, not to mention, possible! Condé Nast’s Brides was kind enough to feature our special day: “A Boho Vineyard Wedding in Paso Robles, California”. Brides included the detail of how my man proposed. It was pretty much the day I tried to break up with him! It’s not what you think. It’s rather very Nicholas Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 9.23.45 PMSparks. If you’re curious, click here. And like so many of Sparks’ heart tugging novels, our fairytale definitely came with its ups and downs. But the beauty is…by the time we got to the alter, we never had to say in “sickness and in health” because through our journey, we already knew. Truth is, no magazine feature or blog post, can capture the magic of July 12, 2014. With the rare super moon illuminating the sky, the rolling hills of Hammersky Vineyards ensconcing us in a space that somehow felt so expansive yet so intimate, all set to the live music of our favorite band, The Family Crest …it’s a miracle we didn’t see unicorns. The rehearsal night was also clutch Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 8.57.05 PMbecause it was pretty much all the same people, same venue, but very chill. The summer camp theme (think Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom”), the taco truck, and bonfire all highlighted our playful, easygoing nature. After all, we’re just two kids from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who were lucky enough to find each other again in bustling New York. And now here we are…building a family together in California. In the spirit of our wedding…here’s to s’mores love:)

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Hammersky Vineyards || Bride’s Wedding Dress: Grace Loves Lace || Shoes:Pour La Victoire || Jewelry: Vram || Hair & Makeup: The bride || Groom’s Attire: J.Crew || Flower Girls’ Attire:Zara || Ring Bearer’s Attire: J.Crew || Engagement Ring: The bride’s grandmother, Harry Winston || Wedding Bands: Vram || Florist: The bride, sister of the bride || Music: The Family Crest || Cake: Lady M Confections|| Rentals: All About Events || Photography: Ballad’s Photography

Preggo Diaries: Vol. 1

                            Truly Julie at week 24, week 25, and week 26.                                    Catch her weekly “Bump Day Hump Day” progress here.          photo(13)Alright, mamas and mamas-to-be. You’ve reached out asking how I’m so energetic and “fit” during pregnancy, so here’s the brief rundown. I go to The Dailey Method once a week for a barre workout. The idea is that your post-delivery body will bounce back faster if it has muscle memory from the core-focused exercises while your pre-delivery body will gain strength to endure all the dramatic changes. I also go to a prenatal yoga class once a week, also at The Dailey Method. Both have been helping me with my back issues. I’m not a natural side sleeper! The Venice studio also offers a Dailey Baby Barre photo(12)class so once my little one arrives, I won’t need a babysitter just for that hour of workout. Not to mention, I’ll have the cutest workout mate strapped onto my body! If that’s too much, they have free childcare upstairs. For cardio, I go to Soul Cycle once a week. I ride conservatively so that my heart rate doesn’t exceed 160 beats/minute. So, barre, yoga, and spin is my usual routine for the week. The combo helps keep my energy up and my muscles supple…for the growing aches! As for diet, I eat everything and anything! Well, I try to stay away from junk food, so that I don’t give my baby diabetes…but I definitely indulge. My doctor recommends that I gain a total of 25 pounds by the end of pregnancy, so I’m trying to gain 17 pounds in the next 3 months. I know I know, in our skinny obsessed society, it sounds odd to say you’re trying to gain weight, but I’m just trying to deliver the healthiest baby while having a rather fast metabolism. My goal is for my baby to weigh 7 pounds at delivery. With all this said, I’ll be honest. Despite the energy you might see on-air, I’m exhausted! But I heard it gets easier once the baby arrives. KIDDING!

The 66th Emmys: Jimmy Fallon Calls me

                                   Truly Julie at the 66th Primetime Emmys!photo 3(1)photo(10)I’ve covered a lot of award shows, but I think this year’s Emmys was my favorite so far. Mainly because my unbornphoto(11) child got a lot of attention from Jimmy Fallon (watch here!) and because I also managed to complete the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, involuntarily, on the red carpet (insert silly grin). Many of you have reached out to me via social media asking me my wardrobe deets so they are! Fashion Front: Dress: vintage Lillie Rubin, Pearl Choker: Anarchy Street (though, the more perfect accessory is Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Red Lipstick: Shu Uemura: RD 165.