We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia Montoya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cynthia, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
In 2019, I might have said my happiness is a resort-style vacation, preferably with a tropical beach outside my door. Now 2020 has taught me to live what I teach my clients; that beauty and simplicity are what make us happy. This year I’ve had time to absorb simple things like bike rides around our neighborhood, feeling the wind on my face, waving hello to neighbors, home-cooked bread on chilly days, and cuddling while watching a family movie. Right now I’m loving the time I can sneak away alone to read and dig into my spirituality, while practically applying what I learn, with intention. I’ve noticed that these forced life changes offer the usually elusive opportunity to concentrate on my immediate world. Professionally, I found my happy years ago when I started transforming the homes of my clients and then watching the “happy” domino effect the results had. Designing creative alternatives and adding beauty to their homes often altered other areas of their lives in unexpected and positive ways. When your home feels like a sanctuary, you can do mighty things! I am blessed to share their joy at the end of each project, and I treasure their delight when they share how much they love being in their new, personalized environment, now an extension of all they love and who they are. This is amazingly gratifying for me, and a significant way I Find My Happy! This year was the perfect year to build personal sanctuaries and to appreciate such attainable peace. Little did we at Urban Gypsy know, our slogan “Create Your Happy” would be so poignant in 2020. We’ve all had to dig in and really examine what makes us happy and attempt to achieve that. in a time of uncertainty and change, which is mostly out of our control. Confinement has opened our eyes to how precious our home is; a part of the world we can affect. We can focus on the hard parts of 2020, or instead seize the chance to “create our happy”! It’s both fun and necessary since our world has been restricted to basics like home, family, beauty, and small things that bring big joy. While sports, school, and work stop filling our days and distracting us, the extra time allows us the privilege to lean in and create our happy around us every day! If we are wise, these sweet changes can effect all our years ahead. Now more than ever ‘Create Your Happy’ is a relevant slogan Urban Gypsy stands by. It is our passion to guide you as you Find Your Happy!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a creative, I found my biggest challenge, in the beginning, was not feeling good enough, or that my designs were not worthy. When you’re in a creative space, it’s so hard to not compare yourself to others which is one reason it took me so long to chase my dream in the first place. I’ve had to learn to believe in myself and believe in those around me who encourage me even when I’m not feeling confident. Now that I know I’m talented and can easily compete with some of the best, each project I wrap up elevates me as a designer, and I prove to myself once again that I am doing exactly what I was designed to pursue. My key to success, is putting my ego and desires aside, and really listening to my clients in order to achieve a look and feel in their space that is exactly what suits them and their lifestyle. A beautiful space that doesn’t function properly is wasted space. My job is to provide ideas and designs they didn’t even know were possibilities.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite thing in the world is hosting out of town guests! A lot of my closest friends live far away, so I have the pleasure of showing them a great time in So Cal regularly. Of course, we love to go out, but one of the charms of living here in Woodland Hills is our almost always sunny weather, and a fun backyard to play in! So typically, the day they arrive the kids immediately jump in the pool, we start grilling in the backyard with our Sonos speakers blasting some of our favorite tunes inside and out while tumblers of my famous sangria are passed around. I’d say a lazy day wine tasting tour in Malibu is a must, and packing a picnic with Trader Joe’s finest treats to take along the way. Spending one or two days on the beach is always perfect fun for the whole family, followed by dinner at Malibu Seafood, or grabbing Tri-Tip salads and pizza from Stonefire is one of our favorites! Because fresh flowers and plants are everything to me, I love taking my friends to the flower district to walk around, enjoy some tasty food trucks, and maybe even a walk around L.A. Live. A successful day downtown always ends with happy hour at Perch, or another rooftop bar enjoying specialty drinks, or my personal favorite: Gimlets! We love sharing our foodie adventures with our guests, and trips to Phil’s in the Farmer’s Market is one of our all-time favorites for pastrami sandwiches. Walking around The Grove is enchanting, and a great way for out of towners to feel some of the LA hustle and bustle. Hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains, bike rides along the beach in Ventura, wine tasting in the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara or Santa Ynez, Pea Soup at Andersen’s, and a danish in Solvang are all included in weekend trips up the coast. In the summer, we love packing wine and snacks and taking friends to the Hollywood Bowl for concerts, followed by late-night dinner in K-town fully enjoying the BBQ adventure that lasts for hours!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I gained my business background by working for my parent’s company for over 15 years, which taught me valuable lessons I’ve used in growing my own business in recent years. I have achieved much of my success from practicing methods and philosophies taught to me as a child in both business and home design and styling. My parents were master entertainers, hosting weddings, small acoustic concerts, and all family holiday functions at our home throughout my childhood. Because of this, creating beautiful spaces that make others feel welcome is in my blood and comes so naturally that I wouldn’t know how to do life any differently. I regularly recruit my family to help me on projects, knowing their standards are as high as mine, and they desire the same perfect outcome that I envision. Collaborating with other creatives is always fun, especially when they’re your own siblings. Through adulthood, I’ve refined a lot of my beliefs and adapted philosophies of my own, which influences all aspects of my business and personal life, since they really go hand-in-hand. Now that I have a daughter, I love sharing ideas with her and standing back to watch her design creations of her own. She inspires me to really dig into myself while simultaneously letting go, allowing my creativity to flourish.