tulle rose shirt by Y/Project, faux fur coat by McQ, faux leather pants by 7 of all Mankind, patent derby by Acne Studios, photography by Jordan Ji

It’s been a year since my Valentines Day note on buying yourself a flower. While many circumstances in my life has changed, I’ve never been more committed to the notion of self-love. A big part of that is learning to respect your mind and body above distractions that neither contribute to your growth nor well-being. For me, that was forgoing the traditional notions of masculinity that was limiting how I expressed myself and moving past the ego trip I got from what others were saying about me. The former has been a constant evolution since I started this blog, while the latter is ironically derived from self-love.

I’ve somewhat mistaken loving yourself as building an ego that is capable of protecting and defeating judgment, when reality it only makes you weaker. In the digital age where comparing against others is too easy, I’ve learned that narcissism is not self-love and instead means you’re taking yourself too seriously. That was when I decided that this blog and the follower count is not me, but is instead a good representation of the work I produce. Starting the Behind-the-Scenes series on my Stories (every Wednesday), where I show funny bloopers of myself, has been a shift from being too serious to being more lighthearted and fun. In that sense, I feel that self-mockery is almost a good way of loving yourself if it means acknowledging your flaws and owning up to it. So on this occasion of love, whether you’re single or not, I hope you take some time love yourself, laugh at yourself and experience what it really feels like to embrace yourself.

-Matt Chu

visual: determined to make things happen in 2018

I love end of year, since I can really self-reflect and figure out what I want to improve on and accomplish in the new year. Although New Year Resolutions these days seem to be practically a joke with “new year, new me” tossed around ironically, I still believe it’s the prime time to make meaningful changes (or superficial, if you prefer). Making goals by nature is working for the better and that’s quite beautiful when you think of it happening on an individual basis at a global scale.

Of course, New Year Resolutions are notoriously hard to keep up with, since we tend to be overly optimistic and want the next year to be the best year. However, following through with our intentions is even more important than the goal making, since actions really speak louder than words when it comes to benefiting yourself. There’s nothing more detrimental to our well-being than setting life-changing goals, only to flake on them and ultimately disappoint ourselves. That causes a repetitive mental cycle that lowers confidence and discourages us to pursue our passions. With that said, I’ve put together a three-step guide on how to actualize your goals, so whatever you have in plan for 2018 will finally come through:

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Clutter free zone in a city full of appointments and deadlines

Welcome to the first part of my newest vertical: wellness. I’ve always thought of myself as a thoughtful person, yet I’ve never communicated those thoughts, so now is the time.  I was sitting on my bed the other day going through the things I wanted to do, and suddenly felt overwhelmed. Unless I hustle day and night, there is not enough time and resources for all my ambitions.  Therefore this series of posts is a purposeful break for myself to make time and think about what really matters- being well.

When I think of wellness, I first think about how we say “I’m well”, when someone says, “How are you”. In fact, most of us can argue how thats not true most of the time- we can be having an amazing or bad day, but we tend to say “fine” or “well” to shorten conversations and get our days going.

I also think about the physical dimension- eating clean, exercising often and perhaps meditating everyday. While I practice some of those things, I think that our show-and-tell society forgets mindfulness as another key piece of wellness. Wellness is not just about how fit you are or how clear your skin is. Those visible signs can certainly help someone feel better, but do not fully address the roots of long-term happiness. There are also so many bloggers who are amazing at teaching these physical things, so I really can’t contribute much there.

For me, wellness is finding that balance between the physical world and the inner self, creating a clutter-free zone that embodies peace. The physical (like being healthy) helps fight the external obstacles that’s thrown at our bodies, while the mental clears away other people’s judgments and our inner voice. With that in mind, I’ll explore a new word every post through a photo and couple sentences to see how it can improve our mental wellness. I look forward to sharing this with all of you.
-Matt Chu