It’s back…Truly Julie segments!!I first launched the Truly Julie franchise in New York at WPIX-CW 11, gosh, about 8 years ago! The morning show TV segments started off randomly. It would air once every few weeks. But with higher viewership/ratings, it eventually aired twice a week for about 3 years. From food, fashion, culture, travel, entertainment, human interest, etc., the goal of each Truly Julie segment was to showcase anything fun under the sun (with a strong touch of my wackiness). For example, I flew all the way to the tiny South Korean Island of Jeju to go deep sea diving with Haenyeos…I entered competitions for double-dutch jump roping and break dancing…I trained for the NYC marathon with the world’s fastest blind marathoner…I cooked with the finest chefs and ate the most exotic foods such as a giant scorpion and a live squid (with moving tentacles!) and the list goes on. When I switched jobs and moved over to WNYW, Fox 5 New York, I put Truly Julie on hiatus. But I tell you what, the viewers from those original “Changsta Gangsta” days have stayed with me! And if this is you: THANK YOU. It’s been about 5 years since I last aired a Truly Julie story in NYC and till this day, when I walk down the streets of the Big Apple, a few people will still yell, “Hey, it’s Truly Julie!”. I rarely hear folks call me Julie Chang…it’s almost always, “Truly Julie”. The success of Truly Julie and loyalty from so many viewers inspired the name of this blog! So with that..I felt it was only natural for me to bring Truly Julie back…but this time in LA!! If the goal is to feature things that are fun in the sun…um…where else is more fitting than Southern California??! I’m fortunate that the folks at Fox 11 LA share my vision. Slowly but surely we are getting Truly Julie back up and running. You can catch it/me every Sunday, around 10:30PM, somedays on Good Day LA & always online. Your’s Truly, Julie
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!
Truly Julie splashing around in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico! Y lo sabes (And you know it)!! The hipsters I met in Cabo threw this winning phrase around left and right and after my 3-day trip to this Mexican gem, I get it! Between the easy flight (it’s just 2.5 hours from LA)…all the options to unwind and unplug…great culinary scene…and the perfect weather…Cabo is where it’s at. And all it takes is a few days if not hours for you to KNOW IT! I did the whole whistle-blowing-in-your-face-while-you-down-a-tequila-shot (s!) in Cancun, Cozumel, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. Um…I’m over that phase of my life. This go around, I enjoyed a long weekend in Mexico like a grown up. Don’t worry, I was still giggling like a school girl while galloping on a gorgeous horse up anddown a private beach…and while seeing dozens and dozens of mama and baby whales. However, I recharged on this trip as opposed to wrecking myself. I stayed at the El Ganzo hotel which is just 3 months old! Yes, it’s where Charlie Sheen was partying it up with LA mayor Villaraigosa a few weeks ago but! It’s not what you think. The hotel does boast a little rockstar flair with a recording studio underground…and a suite that was inspired by the Bowery Hotel in NYC, but for the most part (like 99%), the hotel is really laid back, unpretentious, and carries a modern comfort vibe. And since it’s so new (and still working out some service and wifi kinks, you can find great deals). I promise…I did not see a single Charlie Sheen-esque type or a “goddess” or Tiger Blood in its drink menu:) What I did see, though, was a pristine, charming marina (the largest private marina in Mexico!) right out my window, an awesome rooftop infinity pool (picture on the left), and lots of hidden areas to explore on beach cruisers such as the sculpture park and cactus nursery. Both are literally a 5 minute bike ride from the hotel but feels a world away. They have plans to host music/food & wine festivals in the sculpture park which would be perfect! Because let’s be honest…Coachella would be a lot better if there was a beach nearby. I also found two restaurants that I’ll be CRAVING!!! The little fish taco shack The Drunken Sailer (order the Taco Chino!)…and Flora’s Farm, which is so freshly farm-to-table that you actually sit touching distance from the crops. It was so delicioso that I went for dinner and the very next morning, returned for Sunday brunch (ridiculously good family style prix fix menu on Sundays) ! And to complete my replenishing, I got an hour massage at the uber serene and fancy Las Ventanas Resort. I highly recommend Martha…who had the hand strength of the Hulk. And it’s cool, they finish all of their massages with this bell ringing device that sits on your back. It reverberates your entire body while silencing your mind. That was one awesome birthday treat! So between the $5 taco lunch at The Drunken Sailer to the luxury spa pampering, I tapped a lot of pricing points and activities. And Holy guacamole! You really can ride into the sunset here. Arriba, arriba, andale, andale!!
Truly Julie keeping it classy with Good Day LA colleagues Lisa Breck, Hayley Herst, & mini Lisas:)Uprooting your life and moving across the country can be a bit jarring and lonesome. But how blessed am I?! The Good Day LA gang not only welcomed me with open arms on-air…but the true magic of their warmth…is when the TV cameras are off. I ate like a queen this week at the lovely homes of Bob Decastro (AKA Bobby D) and Lisa Breckenridge. Each gathering was full of laughter, love and light…a Merry Christmas indeed.
Truly Julie reveling in the warmth of new friends and Good Day LA colleagues Bob Decastro and Lauren Sivan.
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 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 and MamaisHaute having a royal of a time at Castello di Amarosa!The rolling hills…the neat rows of grape trees that look like well uniformed soldiers…the pace of life that trickles as slowly as cabernet legs on a fine wine glass…Sonoma and Napa are exactly what a New York City girl needs to wind down and wine up! It’s hard to believe just 40 minutes or so from San Franciso is this dreamboat of a place…where boozing and comparing the sweet grape nectars of different years, vineyards, and myriad of grapes is pretty much your only task for the day. I breezed through 3 vineyards for wine tasting: Spring Mountain, Barnett, and Chalk Hill. Spring Mountain had my favorite wine of the whole trip..the “Elivette”. I smile just thinking about the taste…which could only be described accurately if I had time to list 100 adjectives. Barnett is located on top of a hill so it has dashing views, plus it’s still family owned so it has that charm. Chalk Hill is cool because it offers horseback riding…though, if you want to cantor or trot, they’ll only let you in the pavilion. All the rules for riding at Chalk Hill made me really miss my experience in Uruguay where I got to gallop freely on a beach. But I guess the US is a lawsuit happy place…pun intended…tighter reins. I also squeezed in a pool day at Calistoga Ranch. I splashed around with my nephew by day..and by night…dined at The Lakehouse. Just look at this crab cake…it’s so beautiful and sculptural that it looks like it belongs in the MOMA. I often get asked if my blog pictures are all my own. YES. And while I was a bit tipsy during my stay in the wine country…it was hard to take a bad photo of this picturesque place. Wine goggles or not…Sonoma/Napa are worthy of every praise. I’ll drink to that!
Truly Julie wild about The French Quarter!I’ve done my fair share of international travel…but my domestic travel jaunts are sparse and…quite frankly…embarrassing. So…in my attempt to expand my Vegas-LA-Miami horizon…I recently took a weekend trip with two of my girlies to New Orleans. Correction: N’awlins! Who knew…that in just 2.5 hours via plane…you can feel like you’re overseas! NOLA is truly unique…in food, architecture, music, people…the overall culture
oozes charm and energy. Well…Bourbon Street can get a bit sketchy, but go during the day and you’ll be amused and less grossed out:) In my Buenos Aires post...I mention how BA is the perfect blend of Europe meets Latin America…well…N’awlins is the perfect concoction of southern charm meets the French (with a tinge of Spanish influence). You won’t find the ubiquitous Best Buy/Joanne Fabrics/Applebee’s strip malls here. Instead…cute authentic stores and non-franchise restaurants that welcome you with the warmest of smiles. And people…the live music scene is out of this world! I was there for two days of Jazz Fest...so every seam of the city was stitched with a performer…a band…a dancer…all day all night! Um..and ladies…I think you will appreciate the guy-girl ratio. If I had to guess…I’d say it’s 10-to-1. Yeah…lots of free Hurricanes were passed our way. Thank you, gentleman! I’m happy to report I behaved myself and kept to just one Hurricane a day…as to not be the “big easy” in the Big Easy! Ha! I really do think that New Orleans is one of the rarest gems in the country…I can’t wait to go back! Check out the pic gallery…there are 5 pages of them FYI:)
Truly Julie basking in Brooklyn’s glory! (Deets on her Kona Africa bike here)
Dear Manhattan, I love you…but there’s a new borough that’s competing fiercely for my heart. Brooklyn! (Cue the music…Notorious B.I.G’s “Where Brooklyn at”!) This Saturday…I channeled Lance Armstrong and unleashed my own Tour de Brooklyn. I peddled through several neighborhoods from 10AM–6PM and I kid you not…I had just as an amazing, eye-opening time in Brooklyn than any exotic overseas trip I’ve taken throughout my many years of travel. No passport needed…just a little leg grease. My tour started in Fort Greene where I dipped into Dekalb Market for a quick breeze through. What a unique recycling concept…the store spaces are old shipping containers! The bright, primary colored containers neatly stacked here and there really make you feel like you’re in some urban, life-size Lego set. Plus…it’s a cool juxtaposition; behind the old containers…you have new luxury high rises peaking out. And in the same fashion…the Dekalb Market stores range from new to vintage…and for food… classics to fusion. Also worth a stop in Fort Greene is Red Lantern Bicycles. Only in Brooklyn can you get your bike tuned up all the while enjoying a beer! Aside from the unusual yet brilliant pairing of bike shop/bar (sounds like an idea from the Jackass guys, right?)…it’s really good pricing for bike service (4 times cheaper than Soho!). Next up…Brooklyn Flea! Yes..it’s easy to see why this flea is a cult favorite. You’ve got the slam dunk food options (I threw down some chicken bahn mi, lobster roll and Choncho’s fish tacos) and eclectic shopping finds such as vintage glasses frames and jewelry made of vinyl records…but what had me the most excited?! Recycle bins and….drum roll…a freakin’ compost bin! Thank you Brooklyn Flea….thank you. After eating my face off and composting the tiny scraps of food with the same level of excitement that you only see in a Justin Bieber fan…I spun my way to Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I had a heaven-on-earth moment here…definitely in my top 5 of most magical and memorable. With the cherry blossom trees just past their peak…every time there’s a gust of breeze…the pedals whirl around…prompting everyone to gasp and be giddy. I’ve never had pedals dance across my face…and shower down on me like that. Honestly…I was waiting for a unicorn to appear…it was that magical. This is an easy must-do on your bucket list…and while you’re at it…make sure you attempt to make a cherry blossom snow angel. I promise that you’ll feel the same level of bliss that you only felt as a kid when you had no worry in the world. Onto Red Hook! Take Ikea out of the equation and this place is Brooklyn with true grit. The historic warehouses look like movie sets…and stroll onto any pier and you’ll feel like the main star of a New York centric film…breeze whipping your hair around while Lady Liberty smiles at cha. And make sure you stop by the Fairway Market when you visit Red Hook. Out in the back is a really nice al fresco dining area complete with a vintage train conversation piece. From Red Hook…I biked along the East River to Dumbo. The bike/walking path there is brand new…and the view of the Manhattan skyline as well as the Brooklyn/Manhattan Bridges…STUNNING. Oh…and there’s a really romantic carousel along the water that gives Paris some serious competition. That’s right…I said it. Manhattan and Paris should feel the heat…because Brooklyn is where it’s at! I wrapped up my 10+mile Tour de Brooklyn the only way a Brooklynite-wannabe should…nope…not with a Gatorade…but with a beer in Dumbo:) Ahhhhhhh. I know this post is overwhelming…but lucky for you…I’ve got the visual breakdown in the picture gallery below.