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

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!