Waking Up With: Cindy Ha
Cindy is an LA based creative, whose thoughtful and elegantly minimal style is reflected in her beautiful home. Here, we discuss growth and learning during the pandemic, the charming Los Feliz neighborhood, and decorating with intention.
Hello! First off, tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve been up to lately.
Hi! My name is Cindy. I live in Los Angeles and work for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Lately, I’ve been spending time at home, taking it easy, and watching a lot of movies.
What is your morning ritual?
I naturally wake up early and the first few hours of my morning are the most precious. It’s the part of the day I take for myself. First thing, I make myself some coffee and turn on my diffuser or light a candle. I’ll just sit in silence with my coffee and stare out my window, write down a list of what I want to accomplish, and do a quick workout if I’m feeling up for it. The most important thing is to listen to my body and do what feels right.
What has your pandemic experience been like? Any new insights or perspective shifts?
To be quite honest, the first few months of the pandemic were difficult—learning to navigate all the uncertainties, figuring out the work-life balance, and coping with the overwhelming loneliness that came with quarantining. I eventually came to appreciate the loneliness. It provided an opportunity for growth and reflection. The pandemic taught me to take better care of myself both physically and emotionally. I feel more connected with my body and mind now than perhaps ever in my life. There’s a greater appreciation for everything I have in my life and an even greater understanding of what I need in order to find balance and peace.
Where is the next place you want to travel or a new project you’re excited to work on when we’re through this time of quarantine?
I don’t think I’ll be ready to get on an airplane any time soon so most of my future travels will probably be road trips. I want to visit the Grand Tetons or White Sands. My boyfriend and I took a spontaneous trip to Zion last September and it made me realize how little of the United States I’ve actually seen because I’ve spent most of my life in California.
What do you do to stay grounded during these uncertain times?
With days blending with each other, having a routine has helped me stay grounded. Whether it’s making coffee every morning or going for a walk once a day, having some sort of constancy in my life keeps me sane.
Tell us about your work, how did you get into it? What about it continues to inspire you?
I work in exhibition planning at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is essentially managing the big picture aspects of a museum exhibition. I studied Art History and Film in college. After graduation, I worked as a registrar at an art gallery for a year then at an art startup after that and eventually landed the job I have now. I was burned out by the commercial art world. I wanted to work at a place where the mission is to educate people about art rather than sell art. I had no idea what it was like to work in a museum or any institution, but the idea of it resonated with me. I’m an academic at heart, so I’m inspired by the opportunities to continue your education that comes with working in a museum. All my colleagues have unique opinions and perspectives on art and culture, and it’s a privilege to not only listen to but also be a part of these dialogues.
You live in Los Feliz [in Los Angeles], what do you love most about your neighborhood?
Where are some of your favorite places to go (when there isn’t a Pandemic)? Los Feliz feels like a village to me—everything you need is all in one place. I love the tree-lined streets, the little shops, and how close it is to other neighborhoods like Silver Lake and Atwater Village. But most of all, I love that Griffith Park is just a short walk away. I try to hike to the Observatory once a week. My favorite places in Los Feliz are Maru for coffee, the Los Feliz 3 movie theater for an evening flick, and Bar Covell for a glass of wine.
Can you tell us a little bit about your home? What’s your approach to decorating?
I live in an art deco style apartment with my boyfriend. Our apartment has lovely little details like wall sconces, chandeliers, and corbels. We moved in during the middle of the pandemic, so it’s been a slower process of finding the right pieces. I’m at that stage in life where I want to be thoughtful and practical with my purchases. My style is pretty minimal and low-key. I want my space to feel open and light. I like natural tones with a few pops of color here and there. My approach to decorating is always changing and evolving. Luckily, my boyfriend gives me the reins to decorate how I want. There’s no real formula other than to create a space that makes sense to us. My hope is for our home to be a welcoming place for everyone that walks through the door. We haven’t done much entertaining because of the pandemic, but I look forward to the day that I can have friends over and create new memories in our apartment.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
To always have empathy for others and for yourself. Value yourself, listen to others, be open-hearted, and just have fun.
What are you reading / watching / listening to these days?
I’ve been reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation, watching Otto Preminger films, and listening to Polo & Pan
Fill in the blanks:
The coolest place I’ve ever woken up in is: Joshua Tree National Park
The best cup of coffee/tea is at: Fragments in Paris
A thing about mornings I’ll never get sick of is: The stillness