For those who don’t know, I went to school for Psychology.

Fresh out of high school, I had big dreams to become a psychiatrist. I wanted to help people understand their dispositions, how their upbringing influences their personality, and how to be appreciate their past so they can shape their own future. I wanted to pursue a career where I could help others live their BEST lives possible.

Psychology 101

I was always fascinated by the human psyche and wanted to learn more about why we do the things we do. But after four years of undergrad, I was clearly over the curriculum; Nowhere near ready to tackle the graduate program and had no intention of studying my ass off for another 4-6 years to obtain the doctorate. Something inside was nagging at me, whispering signs to steer me in another direction, and by graduation my senior year, I knew I had to take some time off to reflect and refocus.

Down Time

After grad, I took a year off to “find myself”, moved away from my family and friends in Southern California and lived up north (Portland, OR to be exact) to shack up with my boyfriend at the time. Little did I know that the relationship would be doomed to fail, but I would succeed in learning how to follow my instincts with laser-like focus.

Being away from my “normal” as I knew it allowed my mind to wander off and float aimlessly in the void.

I would daydream and envision what my life would look like if I only pursued what I was naturally good at and wanted to do even if no one paid me.

The Switch

I left Portland after 1 year, hightailed my ass back to Orange County, enrolled myself into the Art Institute to study interior design, and after 2.5 years of rigorous training, obtained my Bachelor’s of Science degree. But what I really got out of this entire process was a fire lit under my ass to chase my dreams and somehow find a way to make a career out of it.

Corporate Hell

I kept listening to the voices inside my head and my heart, and while I fully immersed myself into the design industry, I just knew that corporate life wasn’t for me. The 9-5, the clocking in and out, ask ANY creative if they can follow a schedule to produce their BEST designs and I will bet they all scream a resounding NO!  But I did my time in the beginning, interned under the great Kelly Wearstler, spent 3 years designing international hotels, and found I detested my “office” job even though I was technically still pursuing interior design.

The Calling

I look back and thank god I got laid off in the recession of 2008. By January of 2009 I had obtained a business license, registered Julie Khuu Interior Design as a new design business in Santa Ana, and went to work begging all my family, friends, acquaintances, even strangers I met at HomeGoods if I could design their homes! Lol, back in the days I was DESPERATE for new projects that I could design for experience and add to my growing portfolio.

My first MAJOR interior design project as my own business entity was designing Avec Nightclub, Orange County’s premiere nightlife destination in the heart of Huntington Beach. I was 29 at the time. (Read more about my journey HERE) After that came Design Star, then more projects, more clients, more work, more ways to fuel my passion!

And there you have it guys.

Top: c/o Shein | Bottoms: Joe’s Jeans | Hat: Janessa Leone | Bag: T.J. Maxx

Of course my story is FAR from over but here’s what you can take from it.  Trust yourself.  Your instincts, your thoughts, your head, your heart.  They know EXACTLY what you need so stop fighting the voices and just listen.

Whispers will turn to roars and those roars will become your calling.

How will you answer?



  1. Tammy Manley Reply

    Adore you , keep living your dream and rocking what you are doing. You are so beautiful inside and out and love your fashion and all your posts. You go girl

  2. Julie Khuu Reply

    Adore YOU Tammy!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog! It’s comments like these that really fuel my passion to share everything! Xx

    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Thank you so much for the visit Marie ???? It took some time, but yes so glad the journey brought me here

    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Thanks so much for the visit Michael! It’s a daily struggle to pursue your passion but nothing is more worthwhile!

  3. This was so inspiring and so with you on shouting that no at being told to design on a schedule. I know that the 9-5 won’t suit me and the thought of an office job makes me feel sick so I’m trying to set up my own business straight outta uni. Although you hated your job it must have given you valuable experience and confidence to design independently which I think is what I’m greatly missing now. Best of luck on your career journey! xoxo

    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Absolutely babe! All the vital experience I gained to run my own business now- no regrets! Thanks so much for the visit ????

    • Julie Khuu Reply

      I’m always willing to share my journey and struggles! Hoping it may help one of you babes out there who’s trying to quit that Ho-hum corporate job!

  4. What an amazing story of finding your calling, and standing up. Indeed, never give up on yourself. Truly amazing. Love the statement sweater on you dear. Such a fabulous look!

    Jessica |

    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Aw Jess thanks so much for the vote of confidence! Seeing you kill it day in day out WITH toddlers is inspiring! Thanks for stopping by babe!

  5. I loved reading a bit about your story, and dang you are one dedicated hard working lady! You are truly an inspiration! I was working as a dental assistant and enjoyed it at first but grew to hate it lol then I went to school for a while and couldn’t stand how narrow minded and restricted things were in my school (I mean it was kinda a crappy school so maybe that’s why lol). It’s so cool reading about other people like you who left their ‘regular job’ or path to pursue what really makes them happy!


    • Julie Khuu Reply

      Thank you so much Jessica! Yes it’s always frightening to make such a big change but once you’re on the other side you’ll never look back!

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