Monica Chang is an architectural designer, and the founder of Antonym, a collaborative architecture studio based in Los Angeles. If you want to read more about her, check out her profile in our Founder x Founder feature here.
When we interviewed her, we were fortunate to have Monica share with us her self-care rituals, and look into her skincare routine. Enjoy!
When I really need to mentally reinvigorate, I like diving into things that are completely not design related. Because when you look at something for so long, like a design, everything starts to look the same. Tapping into another part of my brain that I’m not using helps to reignite that spark. I usually have books on hand for that armchair travel to free my mind. Particular subject areas include self-help books, books about increase productivity, I'm currently reading Deep Work by Cal Newport, and A World Without Email, What Happened To You? by Dr. Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey is also really good.
Sometimes when I feel burnt out, traveling is how I recharge myself. It doesn't have to be far. My partner and I will often pack up a van with our cat, and spend some time in a local place like Big Sur and Joshua Tree. I'd love to explore Squamish, north of Vancouver, and Banff. On the flip side, I'd also like to visit Mexico City as well!
I also practice meditation, and partake in activities like gardening which is almost like meditative for me.
My skincare philosophy is minimalist. Natural and high-quality ingredients are the driving forces behind my approach to skincare. I wish I could be the 10-step skincare kinda gal, but ultimately I prioritize those few extra minutes of sleep in the mornings and evenings. And I honestly believe that good sleep contributes to good skin.
I want my skin to be healthy and hydrated. I tend to wear very little makeup or foundation so a healthy and bright complexion is key. I always wear sunscreen so my skin is protected, especially on construction jobsites, and I keep my skin awake and refreshed throughout the day with a spritz of Cocoon Elixir. I like putting on Liquid Courage under my sunscreen before I go out for the day because it gives it a good protective antioxidant boost, and also nourishes my skin at the same time. It's really impactful when I'm spending a lot of time outside most of the day. At the end of a long day, I cleanse with Halcyon which is superb at making my skin feel clean and hydrated.
The closest my routine comes to an indulgence is my ritual of Pure Mask once a week to give my skin a boost. Afterwards my skin has a noticeable glow and feels incredibly renewed. I also love taking baths, especially scorching hot baths!
I don't really follow skincare that much, I only follow a couple of IG accounts like Into the Gloss, Goop, Violet Grey, but a lot of my information intake comes from my love of browsing the beauty/skincare section of local health food stores to see what's out there.
Aside from skincare, I definitely believe in maintaining a healthy routine of diet and exercise for my self-care. I start every morning off with a 20 min meditation, which is like exercise for the mind. Then I either go on a 2 mile run or walk, depending on how I feel. I'm a pescatarian, but mostly eat plant-based throughout the day.
During the work day, my partner and I have our office loft, and we practice these rituals. We take a long walk in the morning in the neighborhood, sometimes even get a run in to get the blood flowing. We do another 30 min walk at lunch, to refresh and recenter. Again after dinner. During these walks, we check-in about our day, and it's a good opportunity to de-escalate from anything super stressful, and get a good sounding board. We definitely hit our 10,000 steps a day, or at least we try!"
- As told to our YÜLI Team