I won’t lie to you, the first time I met Julie I wasn’t quite sure what to think… There she was, a well dressed, exuberant, mother of two, hanging out at my favorite coffee shop, chatting it up with all of Down Town LA’s “Cool Kids”. Who was this woman? How was she connected? (how very LA of me to think this way… woof) Turns out, she is one of the very best people you could ever hope to meet.
Her talents as a writer have taken her all over the globe and her genuine love for people and joy for life makes her a contagious person to be around. I am convinced Julie knows everything and does all of the best things one could hope to do with their life- drink whiskey, consume copious amounts of coffee, eat at amazing restaurants, travel the world, and be a bomb mom and wife to-boot!
Which is why, of course, she is the perfect candidate for a girl-crush. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you, Julie.
Q.How old were you when you decided to be a writer?
A.I always liked writing when I worked as a theatre director and producer after college. My work in the theatre was mostly to interpret a playwright’s words and intentions and to understand the world of the play. In 2007 Splendora, a fashion website that was based on San Francisco asked me to write some slice of life stories about celebrities in LA. Then Tony Pierce at LAist asked me to be a contributor and encouraged me to write about everything I was experiencing. So instead of sending recommendations to a few friends about where to eat, what to see, and where to go, I began to share my favorites more publicly. That led to travel stories and exploring the work of innovators and the creative process. I cover many topics, a diverse group of talented people, and fascinating places.
Q.What, in your opinion, should people be reading?
A.Books: anything and everything by Haruki Murakami. For fun “Where’d You Go Bernadette”. To be inspired, “Yes, Chef “ by Marcus Samuelsson. Plus lately I have been reading cookbooks. It’s amazing how much insight, inspiration, and valuable information chefs include in cookbooks beyond the recipes. Magazines: Spenser for food and FOAM for fashion and lifestyle. Plus every week I read Joel Stein’s column in Time Magazine. Websites my list is long: I love to read what the other writers are experiencing at Cool Hunting, plus I read some design focused sites like Notcot, Oh Joy, and follow a lot of links from friends post on facebook.
Q.Who do you look up to (in literature, life, fashion, food, etc)?
A.Literature: Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is my favorite classic novel. Nawal El Saadawi from Egypt is inspiring for her wisdom and bravery. Jeannette Winterson has written some of my favorite novels including The Passion. For fashion I love Temperley, Isabelle Marant, and Marni, but unfortunately do not shop with that kind of budget. For food I am inspired by the mothers and grandmothers around the world who cook and preserve traditions and pass down recipes to keep food traditions alive.
Q.Favorite haunts in LA?
A.Living in LA for more than two decades my list is massively long, but I’d share a few. The Getty Villa, Chateau Marmont, The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Ace Gallery including a ride in the vintage elevator, the Farmers Market, Grand Central Market, the Central Library… did you mean bars? I go to some of those too.
Q.If you weren’t a writer what would you be doing?
A.I would go back to working in the theatre directly plays and conceptual performances, ideally all around the world.
Q.Best cup of coffee you have ever had?
A.That’s a loaded question now that I am the LA News Desk for Sprudge.com. Now I often get to taste amazing coffees from around the world. I love trying coffees from several roasters and have met many a barista champion. So I would say my favorite cups are both around the corner from home at Go Get Em Tiger and when I am fortunate enough to travel and write about cafes in other countries like 3FE in Dublin and at Pergamino in Medellin.
Q.What are you looking forward to in the next year?
A.This year I am excited about starting to use The Unique Space in the Arts District as a co-working office. It will be a new chapter for me to move my ‘office’ from working at to a vibrant environment filled with so many talented people. I have some possible exciting travel plans to coffee growing origin countries and look forward to other fun story assignments coming my way.
Q.What is currently in your iTunes cue?
A.Lately I have been listening to Haim, The Milk Carton Kids, The Kills, Dawes, and Sam Cooke. In my house we have turntables in a few rooms. Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, and Mike Viola are always in heavy rotation, along with Lou Reed.
A.I wear a lot of Madewell and J. Crew along with the Gap and Zara. Recently I ordered a tote from Everlane and some Sperry ankle boots. I love to check out Individual Medley and have a Metal Spun necklace and a few pairs of Superga sneakers from there. I have a few pieces in my closet by Maison Scotch, Rag & Bone, T by Alexander Wang, and Trina Turk and a pair of t-strap Jeffrey Campbell heels that I practically live in.
Q.How do you find balance between work and family life?
A.I am not sure if balance is my strong suit. Mostly I just try to make sure my family has as much love and attention as I can heap on them, along with some delicious healthy food. They know that some nights I have work commitments and some weeks I need to travel for a story, but so far it has worked out very well. Our daughters are busy with school and studying the performing arts so as they get older and more independent, I have been able to take on more projects.
Q.Little luxury you can’t live without?
A.Great coffee for sure. Fresh fruits and vegetables. I love living in Southern California and have been known to splurge on little tub of locally made goat cheese and fresh raspberries.
Q.Describe your personality in a sentence-
A.I am known for liking all things cool, cute, and caffeinated.
Q.Morning person or night owl?
A.Both. At least as often as I can. I like to see bands at Largo and go to friends events at night, but my alarm also rings at 6am most days to help my daughters get ready for school and start my work day.
Q.Favorite food and the best place to get it in LA?
A.It’s impossible to narrow it down. I love to explore and try authentic foods from countries around the world. I’ll say farmers market sampling and shopping at Larchmont and Hollywood on Sundays. My family is obsessed with the Santa Barbara Pistachios I bring home from the Wednesday Santa Monica market.
Q.Best piece of advice you ever received?
A.The ceramic artist, Beatrice Wood, was stunningly beautiful wearing colorful saris and elaborate jewelry every day. Beatrice was famous for saying a little bit of chocolate and the company of good-looking men was the secret to her longevity. She lived until she was 105. I was lucky enough to spend time with Beatrice at her studio late in her life. Each time I would arrive with chocolate and she would always ask if I brought any ‘guys’. The twinkle in her eye inspired me then and the memory of her incredible talent sprit and energy makes me smile now.
The loveliest (coolest) lady there ever was, am I right?
If you would like to read about Julies coffee life, read her column on Sprudge. If you want to know about all of the other cool shit she is up to, check out her work for Cool Hunting.
Julie, I am adopting you! Thank you for taking the time to be a part of this series.