Truly Julie with one of her favorite “bandmates” Jacqui Rosshandler! (It all started here)
When I commit to something…I’m in a 1000%. When I moved to LA from New York, I knew there were a few must-do’s to expedite my Angeleno status. Beach pad: check. California driver’s license: check. Pink’s Hot Dogs: check. Cabo trip: check. Paddle boarding: check. Parking ticket: check. Tattoo: NO WAY (I’m too fickle with trends and I’m a scaredy cat)! And of course, I had to experience Coachella. Done! Don’t I look more LaLaLand after this weekend??! It’s probably the prematurely aging ritual called tanning that I actively took part in at pre-Coachella pool parties this past weekend. Coachella is sort of like Disneyland for adults. Every corner is fun, fun, fun…but all of it is a bit forced and too well manicured for it to be a Woodstock-like festival. The fashion is crazy and wild, but you can tell folks have been planning these outfits for months. Everyone dances like they’re the biggest hobo free spirit, yet you know they spent at least $350 to get in, and even more $$$ for transportation, parking and to find housing near Indio. Much like Disney’s Space Mountain, the line for pricey drinks and food (the Kogi BBQ was life changing!) snakes around and around. Plus, the 30 check-points to just enter the venue truly tests one’s patience. And instead of Mickey and Minnie, at Coachella you spot celebrities everywhere! But the music (Violent Femmes were my fav!)… the perfect festival weather (sans the Sunday dust storm)…the supermodel looking party-goers at Neon Carnival…vibrant life everywhere…that’s why you do Coachella! Coach-hell-yeah!
If you’re eyeing this print, you can purchase Truly Julie’s “Smiling Eyes” here. Dreams do come true!!! My first photo series is now available for your home/office/any space you wanna add a dash of culture! Some top things that make my heart smile: traveling, taking photographs, and spreading light to causes that are dear to me. Thanks to Hillary Thomas and her design team, I now have the chance to achieve that trifecta. Long story short…I met Hillary and her team when they were sprucing up my pad. They fell in love with my travel photography… and asked if I’d be willing to sell my “art work” on their website. After a loud shriek, I said YES…and added, only if it somehow helps the place that’s depicted in the photographs. I had my first gallery debut in New York last year with this portrait I took in Haiti and gave 100% of the proceeds right back Haiti. And ever since, I’ve been looking for similar opportunities. Voila! I introduce you to my “Desert Series”. Six snapshots I took throughout the beautiful country of Jordan. 15% of all proceeds will go towards the thousands of Syrian refugees who are now living in Jordan in conditions we can’t even fathom. Some are even desperate enough to use graves as shelter. I hope I can continue to bring far off places right into your homes…all the while helping a few folks along the way. Next series will be Ocean and it’ll help marine life! Prints start at $30.
Good bye, Jordan! Hello, Israel! Truly Julie crossing the border the old school way (on foot!). Fitting, since she’s visiting one of the oldest cities: Jerusalem!The more I travel, the more people I meet, the more I experience life, the more I realize this: life is about finding purpose and clarity. And for nearly 6000 years, people have flocked to Jerusalem in search of those two elusive goals. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world; and it’s also where in a span of 3 block radius…three major religions planted its roots. You may have heard of ‘em: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam:) Western Wall, where Jesus was crucified, Temple Mount…it’s all right here…ensconced inside the Old City. In the top right picture…oh…I’m just casually strolling past the Birth Place of Virgin Mary! Weaving through Old City…you can’t help wonder, ‘Gosh, if these walls could talk.’ Brick by brick, the Old City wall was built in 1538…and since then (and even prior), this holy site has been through countless attacks and rebuilding…all in the name of God. Of course, that’s the big issue, right? Whose God is the actual God. I’ll leave that debate alone since I’m pretty sure it won’t be settled anytime soon. One thing no one can argue against, though, is the palpable faith in Jerusalem. When you see someone praying so close to the Western Wall that their lips are grazing the limestone for hours; or when you see someone dip hundreds of candles one by one into a communal flame inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; or when you see a gentleman’s forehead almost bruised and calloused from kneeling down on the carpet so many times to pray…you can’t help but be swept away by Jerusalem and its devotion. My trip to Jerusalem happened during a very transitional part of my life. Perhaps, I’ll go into those details in a future post but what I can share now is that despite the wall that encompasses the entire Old City…I found Jerusalem to be a place of openness. Where clashing faiths can co-exist within these walls. Where one can unabashedly seek their purpose and clarity. And whomever your God…where one can believe that with clarity and purpose, you shall find truth. And as the saying goes: truth will set you free. Amen. אָמֵן. آمين.
Truly Julie…a big kid…in a giant sandbox known as Wadi Rum. In this day of internet and airplanes…it gets harder and harder to experience a place that is truly unique. Such is not the case with Wadi Rum, Jordan. I have never been in such a suffocating yet serene setting in my life. Put it simply…Wadi Rum is a desert. But historically and culturally…it is so much more. The nomadic locals known as the Bedouins have learned to survive this excruciating dry heat…with very limited water…for thousands of years. Settlement roots back to 8000 BC…and there are ancient cave carvings to prove its old age. The famous British explorer extraordinaire Lawrence of Arabia trekked through Wadi Rum…and till this day the locals hale him as a hero for driving the Turks out of it’s beautiful valleys. In fact…much of the movie Lawrence of Arabia (1962) was shot in Wadi Rum. So much of this desolate place left me bewildered. As I polished six 20 oz bottles of water in a span of hours….I just couldn’t stop wondering how anything lives here! But they do. From the robotic looking bugs to pretty birds and plenty of dairy camels that roam free throughout the miles of silky sand that have the most heavenly graduating shades of
pink…Wadi Rum is a testament that life, no matter how tough, goes on. Wadi Rum is also known as The Valley of the Moon…and as I slept outside in the open desert…beneath the Milky Way with enough shooting stars to rival a disco ball…and with a layer of grime and sand stuck just about everywhere…I realized that the moon was smiling down upon me. I was a big kid in a giant sandbox…being present and just being. So very simple. So very Wadi Rum. Goodnight Moon.
This entrance is money! Truly Julie at the famed “The Treasury” in Petra.
I’m so glad that I’m an obsessed photographer. When you feel the same level of excitement to take a picture of something as historic as the Petra monuments yet something as obscure as a lime-mint Jordan beverage…you really end up paying attention to so many more details. In my constant quest to find the perfect composition to snap…I discover the beauty in so many overlooked places, objects, and people. The ultimate reward of this is that I come home with loads of great stories. That’s what photos are to me…memorable tales that are most often remarkable. And that exactly how I would describe Petra, Jordan. REMARKABLE. It dates back to 400 BC; and with it’s massive size and dramatic sandstone entrance ways…it’s as jaw-dropping as seeing Times Square for the first time. Only here…you don’t need voltage for the wow factor. You’ve got thousands of years of history & thousands of candles.
Truly Julie cruising through Tel Aviv’s Jaffa Port which dates back to 1470 BC!If Miami/New York had a lovechild with the Middle East (insert doctor’s voice)….1…2…3…PUSH! Out comes Tel Aviv! It’s part Miami in that it’s a vibrant city that sits along the beach, full of tan, attractive people…but it’s also reminiscent of New York in that it’s also a sleepless, buzzing urban dwelling with an amazing food scene. And of course, the Middle Eastern part is its geographic location and the rich history. Contrary to popular belief…Tel Aviv is quite a secular city. Even though it’s only an hour and a half drive from Jerusalem…it feels like another planet. Gay…straight…purple or triangle…Tel Aviv boasts and accepts all types. No joke…I saw a man in his 70s waddling in heels, lashes, smeared red lipstick, women’s bikini bottoms and a ratty, blond “Dorothy Hamill” wig….just a few steps away from Hasidic jewish portion of the beach, where they sunbath and swim in full, black clothing. I guess the common denominator there is the wigs. Cover up or strip down Tel Aviv however you like…either way…it’ll still be cool. Yup…even in 100+ heat.
Truly Julie takes the 19th spot as the most desirable bachelorette in NYC. It ain’t #1, but heck, Olivia Palermo is #20! (Might’ve been a typo but we’re going with it)Two weeks ago, I practically spent the whole weekend repotting plants. I know…sexy! When I told a colleague this, he said, “I think most people picture you being the girl about town…not…plant lady in crocs.” This disconnect between my celebrity-filled professional life and…er…my halfdead orchid-filled private life seems the most evident when I’m part of something like this: 50 Most Desirable Bachlorettes in NYC list by Complex.com. The list includes well known actresses, musicians, models, fashion editors, entrepreneurs, etc., and their criteria:I have no clue how I made the list. And in fact…I’m not sure it’s all positive given my mom’s lament that I’m still a “bachlorette” (her dream is for me to make the ’50 most happily married with kids, knows how to make kimchee from scratch wife list’). I guess at the end of the day…if I’m not a wife, at least it’s comforting to “possess the coveted wifey-material trinity”. No ring…but to be described as “intelligent, successful, and attractive”? That’s solid as gold. Thank you Complex! And thanks to twitter friend Marco for including me in an even more exclusive list:)
Truly Julie in Moscow where Hershey’s Kiss-esque domes sweeten the skyline.I recently visited Moscow for 48 hours. I know…so hardcore and crazy. But so is Russia! Luckily, I was able to cover a lot of ground in that short time (including a trip to the countryside to experience a swanky lake beach club) thanks to my friend Alexei who’s a Muscovite. During the day, I marveled at the buildings in Red Square. My predictable favorite is the Saint Basil’s Cathedral (pictured above). Such a beautiful church…with a chilling history. Story goes…the architects had their eyes gouged out after finishing the church in the mid 1500′s. Ivan the Terrible wanted to make sure that they never re-create it. I was also beguiled by Cathedral of Christ the Savior (pictured right). This cathedral was demolished during the Soviet years and rebuilt during the 90′s. During the night, I gawked at the flashy Moscow club scene like a teenager who snuck into a college party. I didn’t hit up any of the up-and-coming “hipster” bars (many of them in the cool Chocolate Factory District) as Alexei said with a cringe, “those people wear Tshirts and shorts at night.” We jumped around to a few clubs and spent the most time at the very posh rooftop lounge called Soho Rooms. Few trends I noticed: live cover bands are popular, if you’re a woman…you can wear anything from a red carpet worthy gown to the hoochiest skirt (saw both and everything in between at Soho Rooms)…Botox and lip-fillers are alive and well in Moscow…and the wealthier and more “oligarch” you are, the prettier the girls are at your table. Oh…and one vital tip: don’t order a martini in Moscow. Their definition of a martini is a pre-mixed, syrupy
concoction that makes a vodka shot seem much more appealing. I think overall, my biggest fascination with Moscow is the juxtaposition of the old and new Russia. The effects of privatization is anything but private. From fashion to food to behavior…the wealth that has poured into certain sectors is quite visible. However…like a shadow behind a tall, soaring building…Russia’s communist past is still very much there. You see it in people’s faces. And to me…that was more colorful and mind-bending than any spiral onion dome.
Truly Julie on E. 7th St. Look familiar? Very famous album cover!I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Every inch of NYC is gold! Maybe for this post we’ll say… gold records. Heck…platinum! The walking tour Rock Junket is one of the
best ways to discover the wealth of rock history throughout this glorious city. Wanna know where Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin first sold out shows (tickets were $4 then!!)? What shoebox apartment did Madonna live in before she was…well…Madonna? Pinn is your guy to answer the aforementioned…and perhaps…any rock question! He’s a human encyclopedia (for those of you too young to know what an encyclopedia is…it’s Google on paper) for any rock facts. In fact, he looks like a rock star with his bleach blond hair. My Rock Junket tour was in the East Village…and I tell ya what…I’ll never walk down those streets quite the same again. It’s just amazing the music legends that mingled in this 4 block radius. I hear the West Village Rock Junket tour is pretty awesome, too…with all the Bob Dylan sites. So New Yorkers…do yourself a favor and get to REALLY know your city…and visitors…find out why this city REALLY ROCKS. I leave you with these famous words by Jimi Hendrix: Rock is so much fun. That’s what it’s all about – filling up the chest cavities and empty kneecaps and elbows.
Check out the picture gallery below. No captions as to not spoil your tour:)
Truly Julie with the Ann Arbor gang!Look at this dreamy sunset with the Golden Gate Bridge as our majestic backdrop! How fitting…given these are my childhood/high school Ann Arbor friends that I hope to have in my life well into my golden years:) In addition to my longtime Michigan friends who now live in SF…this earthy city also sparks so many childhood memories for me because I visited my late grandmother here every year as a kid. And boy…was she ahead of her time. Long story short…she raised 3 kids as a single mom during the Korean War aftermath…worked several odd jobs including being a maid to raise enough money to move to SF (and to put my uncle through med school)…opened her own jewelry boutique…powder blue convertible Benz…4 bedroom home in Twin
Peaks…BAM! The way she lead her life imbued in me: you can either wait for things to happen…or make things happen. Ding ding ding! You got it…she always opted for the latter. I really do think I get so much of my go-getter, independent spirit from her. And perhaps that’s why she chose SF as her final destination. This city, too, marches to it’s own beat. It doesn’t effing matter if you wear a Patagonia fleece to a nice dinner. Never mind the hills with the 90 degree incline..people will still bike around town with a smile. So hippie…yet so hardcore. Love it. I took more hikes during my 3 day stay in the Bay Area than I have…well…in 3 years! I highly recommend the trails throughout Tamalpais Park. We trekked the Matt Davis and Dipsea trails and I highly recommend. You get waterfalls…massive redwood trees…ocean view…a litte bit of everything. The park site says these trails are meant to “intensify your pleasure”. I don’t know about all that…but it was a beautiful 8 mile hike:) We also strolled through Sutro Baths which has sweeping views of Golden Gate Bridge and mesmerizing acres of Bay Area’s iconic Monterey pinetrees. As my Americana tour continues (check out N’awlins, Philly, Boston, Brooklyn & Cambridge …I’m glad I got to revisit SF. As the saying goes: it’s an oldie…but a goodie. Just like my friends I’ve known since I was kiddie:) (Don’t worry…not quitting my day job to become a rapper) Check out the picture gallery below which includes the best ice cream place ever!