GRAMMYS: a lot of Big Voices, not a lot of Clothing.

LEFT: singer Joy Villa RIGHT: Wednesday from Adam’s Family. JK! It’s Truly Julie in Red Valentino dress, LuLu Frost Black Beacon earrings. IMG_0129The Grammys red carpet is the least traditional of all the awards. This is where Lady Gaga once entered the red carpet as an egg (remember that?). So, not a big surprise that singer Manika wore what appeared to be just a few strands of jewels attached to see-through gauze. (To see the backside of Manika’s outfit, which is essentially her entire backside, check out the video clip titled “Live with Manika! At the Grammys!” HERE)  She has a song with Tyga titled “I Might Go Lesbian”, and she’s born and raised in Las Vegas, so, this girl, to say the least is not shy. Which is why for my Grammys look, I went totally in the opposite direction. In a room full of skin, I wore a demure Red Valentino dress. Sure, I looked slightly like a school girl, or as one person IMG_0109told me on Facebook Live (www.Facebook.com/JulieChangFox11), Wednesday from Adam’s Family. But, hey, at least I tried to balance out the look with an edgy faux hawk. I created it on myself in 5 minutes! My Jimmy Choo shoes didn’t quite work with the outfit, but I went with it any way because it’s semi-comfortable! It ended up being a 12 hour day! Best part is I rented my look from Rent The Runway, so in the mail it goes, and on to the next red carpet. THE OSCARS.

 

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We All Need a Hug. Really.

Download the Palm Oil app for this guy: http://palmoilapp.com/Baby orang-utan Joss

During WWII, scientists noticed a lot of orphan babies dying, even though, they were receiving all their recommended food, milk and vitamins.

What they found was that these babies weren’t receiving enough physical human contact. They were rarely held let alone hugged. We need nurturing as much as air to actually survive. This is the reason why when babies are born, they immediately place the baby on your bare chest, that skin-to-skin bonding is essential to our well being.

Which is more the reason this video of an orphaned orangutan breaks my heart. The little guy tries to hug himself over and over because he has no one else to nurture him. So sad.

Thousands of orangutans (elephants, tigers, any animal that lives in the woods/jungle!) are in danger with the implosion of palm oil farming. Palm oil is the #1 reason for deforestation these days…and it’s in so many products! Download the Palm Oil app on your phone–it lists which products to avoid as well as which brands are being responsible.

A Single Step=> New Beginnings! Happy New Year!

                                Truly Julie’s son Driggs taking his first steps!FullSizeRender (1)A small step can lead to big things. Just in time for the new year, my little boy did just that–he took his very first steps! He looks like a drunken sailor and only takes a few steps at a time, but really, a single step is all you need to start a new beginning.

I’m not big on resolutions these days. Instead, I prefer meditating and focusing on daily/weekly goals. With that said, I’ll share some of the things swirling around my head.

I’m going to say “sorry” less. I’ve noticed that many of us apologize so frequently for things that we really shouldn’t be sorry about. And while I don’t want to make this a gender issue, I’ve noticed that far more women say sorry regularly than men. Do yourself a favor…count how many times you say sorry in a single day. Then, count how many times it was really necessary. I find that each time I unnecessarily say “sorry”, I lose a bit of my power.

I’m going to try to turn every trial and tribulation into a triumph, because I genuinely believe that nothing we experience in life goes wasted. You walk out of each either wiser, stronger, more empathetic, more grateful, etc. I promise you, there is no such thing as a setback–it’s just a bridge to something else.

Cultivating a growth mindset, where I can roll with the punches. Almost nothing in life turns out exactly how you planned. A fixed mindset, where you have rigid expectations, will set you up for lots of disappointments.
In all my big decisions, if not all my decisions, I’m going to ask myself: what is my true intention? Surrender yourself to the truth, and it will set you free.
And last but not least, I’m going to try to do all the things I once said I was going to do. Stop dreaming and start doing. Because if not now, then when?
I’m going to let my son Driggs inspire me. I’m going to take that first step. I hope you will, too. Happy New Year!

Hats off to Hatzy Lady!

Truly Julie with her Fulfillment Fund mentee Soraya in their handmade-from-scratch fascinators! IMG_8555Stars can’t shine without darkness.

Back when I was sick, a viewer wrote to me: “I have been following your enthusiastic yet informative entertainment reports on Good Day LA whenever I can, which has been a pretty refreshing experience.  When I read about your recent recovery from brain tumor surgery on your Truly Julie Chang Blog, I also discovered a picture of you wearing a cool felt hat (December 16, 2013 posting).  My reaction was, “she must be a hat person too!”   I felt inspired to introduce myself to you and at least let you know of my existence.  We custom milliners are pretty rare!”. Turns out, Yvonne Lewis, had also battled her own health war…and won. We bonded as survivors and pretty soon, I became a HUGE fan of her custom hats. (www.Hatzylady.com)

Once I was healthy enough and back at work, I decided to visit Yvonne at her home in the Crenshaw District, which also serves as her hat studio. I was blown away. From the outside, it looks like a normal house. Inside…an absolute feast for your eyes! Her millinery skills were so impressive that I did a feature story on her hats for Fox LA. The footage got the attention of Disney, and now, Yvonne creates many of the Lion King hats you see on Disney Cruise lines. Till this day, it’s hard to explain the joy I felt when she called and said, “so…Disney called…!!!”.

This past weekend, I brought my Fulfillment Fund mentee Soraya to meet Yvonne. She was kind enough to host a private hat making day for us. Something that she only does for universities and special events. I created a little video to capture the magic! We made fascinators from scratch in just 2 hours. We’re taking orders, Kate Middleton!

Being sick was one of my darkest hours but it allowed me to see all the stars in my life even brighter. I would’ve never met Yvonne. And I would’ve never had the chance to create such a memorable day for me and Soraya. Hats off to you, Hatzy Lady.

11 years later, I miss my dad more than ever.

      Truly Julie, her two older sisters and her mom and dad in Gyeoungju, South Korea.10891955_10152933519695390_1102125994319567908_n

11 years ago today, I lost my dad. He was driving home after dinner with friends when a holiday party bus hit him broadside. The way I found out was something out of a TV drama. My parents were living in Michigan. I was living with my middle sister Grace in New York City. At the time of the accident, my mom was visiting Korea, so, when police officers went to their home, they found no one. They started asking around town…and someone said, “I heard that one of his daughters is a TV reporter in New York.”

Less than 24 hours later an NYPD detective showed up at our apartment asking for me. Grace said, “maybe he saw one of your reports on TV and it can help him with his case.” (At that time I was covering hard news)The next five minutes felt like I was drowning slowly. The detective said, “Are you Miss Julie Chang?”. I nodded cautiously. He gave me a sad smile, “you better sit down for this.”

We flew to Michigan just a few hours after the dreaded news. We sobbed/dry-heaved the entire time, with many on our flight staring at us with concerned eyes. My older sister Saeyoung was equally devastated but too pregnant to come to Michigan. My mom was arriving from Korea the next day. We didn’t have the heart to break the news to her over the phone; and have her sit on a 16 hour flight thinking about how her worst nightmare had just come true. She left a message for my dad on the answering machine just before she hopped on her long flight, “Hi, it’s me. I hope everything is OK. I assume you’re still picking me up from the airport, right? See you soon.” Instead, Grace and I showed up at Arrivals. When she saw us there, she immediately knew something had happened to my dad. Her legs buckled…she hit the ground and sobbed with her face on the cold airport floor.

And now, after 11 years, people still ask me….”does it get easier?”. No. It just gets different. There’s not a single day that goes by where I don’t think about him. And now more so than ever, as I see so much of my dad in my little boy. I miss him dearly but I am so grateful that at the very least he got to see me grow up and reach my dream of becoming a reporter in New York. As Dr. Suess says: Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Please help me honor my dad today by hugging those dear to you extra close and sharing words of appreciation.

Happy #GivingTuesday!

              Truly Julie is giving back to her happy place…the ocean! IMG_4666YAY!!! It’s Giving Tuesday! Think of it like Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but for charities–a nice warm sweat for your heart! The day of generous giving started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y; and just last year alone, the movement helped raise $50 million dollars. My husband I have made Giving Tuesday an annual tradition–whatever we spend on Black Friday, we match dollar for dollar on Giving Tuesday. This year, we’ll be giving to:

Ocean Conservancy: because I’m convinced I was a dolphin or mermaid in my past life. Plus, the ocean marine plant life provides up to 80% of the earth’s oxygen. Oh…and the ocean saved my life. True story.

Rainforest Alliance: because they’re helping to tackle the #1 reason for deforestation–Palm Oil farming. Download the PalmOil app on your phone and it’ll inform you on all the products/brands that are using palm oil responsibly/irresponsibly.

Dancing Classrooms: because I’ve personally seen kids in under served schools tango their way to straight A’s, not to mention, waltz their way to super confidence. Plus, I love the founder, Pierre Dulaine. One of the best humans I’ve ever met.

Fulfillment Fund: because I believe in mentorship. I am a product of great mentors! Plus, it’s my nephew’s 8th birthday today and he asked that I give to something that helps kids.

New York Cares Coat Drive hosted by Fox 5’s Audrey Puente: because she’s a former colleague and NEW YORK has been so good to me! Also, I think my nephew doesn’t quite get the concept of donations, yet. I’ll give him money to buy coats and he’ll bring it to the drive. Tangible gift giving is a good start for kids.

*We gave to the National Brain Tumor Society last month as well!

I hope you find it in your heart to give today. I promise it’ll make your soul smile. If you need a list of vetted charities, checkout: CharityWatch.org.

So much can happen in 2 years!

Truly Julie 9 months pregnant November 2014, then, with her son Driggs in January 2015.1924698_10153058241250390_3928431961423219616_nI write this post with mixed emotions. Two years ago (11/21/2015), I had a second chance at life. I had a rather large brain tumor, right in the core of my brain, removed by the talented neurosurgery team at UCSF. Since then, I lost half of my vision, got married, regained some of my vision, got pregnant, and now, I’m a mom to a happy, healthy boy–who’s now getting ready to walk?! This is all within the last two years! But, at this very moment, a friend’s husband is facing an uphill battle with his brain tumors. This creates a war within my own head: on one end, I’m beyond grateful that I was able to dodge a bullet, but on the other end, I feel so incredibly guilty that I’m one of the few lucky ones. Recently, I took part in the LA Brain Tumor Walk. At the very beginning of the event, they ask all survivors to come up near the stage for a photo. Part of me wanted to explode with happiness. My husband, holding our adorable baby, gave me a nudge to go forward–what jubilation of a moment, right? But then, you see the survivors up there, some of them with their soft, wispy hair, who are still going through chemo. You look out at the audience and you see so many holding up pictures of those who lost their battle, some old, some young, some….just babies. Life makes no sense sometimes. Who gets spared, who doesn’t, who gets to continue on but with multiple handicaps. I try my hardest to funnel this frustration into my eagerness to help find a cure. Plus, I pray for miracles, after all, I feel like I am one.

Left: Meningioma atypical tumor in Julie’s brain 2013. Right: Some thick scar tissue, but more importantly, a tumor free scan in 2015! 10997784_10153067774075390_7765096918696679348_n

Come Walk with Me!

             Truly Julie at the 2014 Oscars–just 2.5 months after brain tumor surgery! IMG_6741

In exactly a week marks one of the scariest and grateful days of my life. I had a benign, fist-size brain tumor removed at UCSF. But, this post is not about me. It’s about the 700,000 Americans who are still battling brain tumor–and their family and friends, who also suffer incredibly to see their loved one facing such a scary disease. It is with them in mind…I’ll be walking at the Los Angeles Brain Tumor Walk tomorrow. It starts at 9AM at Hermosa Pier. You can register on the spot, $25 and free for those under 18. More deets can be found here. Hope to see you there!

Last Minute Mommy and Baby Halloween Costume Idea: PIZZA RAT!

                        Truly Julie with her son Driggs dressed up as #PizzaRat! IMG_7980If you’re looking for a fun, topical costume that’s quick and affordable, then, this is it! If you haven’t seen the viral video of a NYC rat dragging a giant slice of pizza down the subway, then, pleases do yourself a favor and click here. In New York, #PizzaRat is heralded as ahero. The little guy getting after his big dreams. I love Pizza Rat because it allows me an easy mommy-and-son themed costume! Catch Driggs’ big TV debut here! On Driggs: Gap

10/29/2015

10/29/2015

Baby jumper, Etsy tights (stuff he already had!), and a mouse ears-bowtie-tail package . On mama: pizza costume. I got the mouse package and pizza costume at Shelly’s Dance and Costume just yesterday! I go here every year because a) it’s close to my office. b) they have awesome selection plus several tailors on deck to make you something custom (i.e. my Thing 1 and Thing 2 and Thing 3 costumes from last year). c) Super friendly staff who’ll offer you great last minute ideas. Clock is ticking, what will you go as? I’d love to hear from you on Facebook or on Instagram: @TrulyJulieChang. Happy Halloween!

If you light a lamp for someone it will also brighten your own path–Buddhist Proverb

                            Truly Julie and her Fulfillment Fund mentee, Soraya. IMG_7836So much of who I am and what I’ve become (& hope to be!) is the product of incredible mentors in my life. Long story short, I’ve been on my own since I was 15. So much could’ve gone wrong. But, instead, so much of it went right–thanks to the wonderful people who shined their guiding light. It is with them in mind that I pass the torch. Meet my amazing mentee, Soraya! I know I know, she looks like a Disney princess (funny enough, Soraya means princess)–stunning! But more importantly, she’s hardworking (she’s at school 6:30AM-6PM everyday!), super smart (awesome grades!), and has a huge heart. Upon on our first meeting, she says, “I have two sisters, and 3 brothers…I love my family. I really love my life.” She, then, goes on to say, “It’s so weird. I feel like I already know you.” I felt that special spark, too! We were paired through the Fulfillment Fund recently. Below is part of the letter I wrote to her before our meeting.

I look at my rather colorful, yet, incredibly charmed life…and know that none of this would’ve been possible without the wonderful people who have served as my sounding board. Many of them are still my mentors including my high school guidance counselor. I’m not sure if I can be as valuable in your life, but I certainly want to try. 

Speaking of that guidance counselor…Dr. Bayerl–I’ll be channeling you!