Today, I’m introducing you to Inspiralized’s #1 fan, our biggest supporter and unofficial brand ambassador: Lu, my husband!
This post should have happened years ago, but alas, it’s better late than never, right?
And this is the second part of my #getinspiralized series which I started a couple of years ago and never continued! So cheers to continuing this series!
If you follow me on Instagram, you’re probably well acquainted with Lu (short for Luis!) – you know that he loves to soak the dishes overnight instead of scrubbing them clean, he’s an adorable father, he’s hilarious (the funniest person I know), and he loves to eat our leftovers hovered over the stovetop.
The question I get a lot is, “Does Lu work on Inspiralized with you?” and the answer is yes and no. He doesn’t work on any day-to-day logistics (he’s not one of those behind-the-scenes husbands who is also a photographer, web designer, and video editor – that’d be nice!) but he is there for me if I need some objective advice or just to throw ideas around.
Lu is far from an Instagram husband, which at times, can be frustrating, but most of the time, I’m happy he’s not. He encourages me to be in the moment when we’re together instead of framing me up for a picture. If he does take a picture, it forces me to be natural, because he’s not the classic Instagram husband who will take a million different shots at different angles to get the perfect shot – he takes a picture and moves on. He understands social media on a very bare bones level (he rarely posts – if ever – on social media.) He’s a silent scroller, ya know?
What’s great about this is that we have our own separate lives outside of our little family. As you’ll learn in his Q&A below, he’s also an entrepreneur (he’s 8 years into his business!) and we’re very proud to both be business owners. We even strategically made Luca’s initials LLC (Luca Leo Cerda), an ode to our perseverance as entrepreneurs!
I asked you to submit some questions for him to answer, so he happily answered them all (I literally typed as he talked, so none of these answers were influenced/edited by me, I promise!)
BUT before I get to those questions, a few people asked how we met, so I figured I’d go ahead and answer that one, because women give better details.
How did you two meet?
I used to work at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ. I was the Director of Hospitality, where I oversaw the entire hotel complex there, from reservations to ordering of bed linens. Any-who, part of my job was to help brides coordinate their wedding day logistics, including all of their wedding guests’ accommodations, their bridal suite, etc.
Lu’s brother, Jose, got married to Christina (now Lu’s sister in law) at the club, in September 2011. However, I never actually went to the wedding or met any of the bridal party (including the groom!) I had taken that week off for a vacation (very rare).
I stopped working at the club in January 2012. Fast forward to March 2012. I’m 25 (about to turn 26) and I get an e-mail from my old coworker Liz, who happens to be one of my friends and still worked at the club at the time. She forwarded me an e-mail that had come through my old work e-mail. It was from Christina (the bride, now wife of Lu’s brother) saying this:
“Hey Girl! Long time no talk. How have you been? I always wonder if I am going to run into you in Hoboken! Hope all is well with you. I am sure you are getting ready to ramp up the season at the club again!!! I had a quick question for you. Are you around at all today?”
Remembering how awesome Christina was, of course I responded back and asked her what was up, to which she responded with:
So I always used to tell my brother in law that I wanted him to meet you and he was dating this girl I was not jazzed about….but that is NO MORE! I don’t know if you are dating someone or if you even have any interest, but if you might be let me know! I could send you a picture before you decide anything for pre-approval. Lol
I happened to be single at the time (which, as a serial monogamist, was great timing!) I asked her to send me a picture of him and of course, I accepted the date offer! Then, Christina gave him my e-mail address. Reading through our first e-mails makes me laugh every single time.
His first e-mail to me, ever:
I got your email from my sister in law, Christina. How are you? Wanted to send a quick hello and see if you wanted to get together some time next week for a drink. Let me know what you think.
He had me at “Hey Ali.” Long long story short, we ended up going on a date on April 6, 2012 in Hoboken, NJ and hit it off immediately. I just remember non-stop, effortless conversation (we always talk about how effortless it was – and still is – to be around one another.) He walked me home after the date, kissed me on my stoop (ah, I miss stoop living!), and I texted my mother immediately and told her how well the date went! We hung out that whole entire weekend together and haven’t stopped hanging out since!
Now on to the Q&A……
Q&A with Lu
LIFE & THE BASICS
How old are you?
What do you do for a living?
I’m an entrepreneur in the outdoor advertising industry. I started a company eight years ago called New Tradition that delivers premium signage to companies and advertising agencies around the United States. We’re based in SoHo, NYC and have media in top US markets like Miami, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hummacao, Puerto Rico. I moved to NJ when I was 9 years old for my father’s job.
Do you have a life motto? If so, what is it?
Treat others as you’d like to be treated.
Can you share about the transition from Puerto Rico to the continental US?
Shocking and overwhelming at first. I knew zero English. Now look at me!
What are your hobbies?
I like being outside in any capacity.
Do you have a college degree?
Yes, I majored in Economics at University of Massachusetts – Amherst. However, I could not tell you where supply or demand lands on the graph.
What went through your head when you first saw Ali?
“Now that’s an aggressive jacket.” She was wearing a coat that reminded me of the Queen of Zamunda from Coming to America. Ha, but also, she was very easy to talk to and hot.
How did you know Ali was the one for you?
Who is the financial savvy spouse? And who’s the big spender?
She lacks any financial savvy and definitely takes the lead role in spending.
Also how do you feel about comments others might make regarding your wife’s success?
Awesome, I’m very proud.
What’s it like having a wife that’s famous in the blogging and food world?
Weird at first, now the norm. Sometimes I get recognized by my name as the Inspiralized husband while out – which is still a bit strange.
How do you feel about the haters or people that send Ali nasty messages?
I think there’s a real epidemic for cyber bullying which is tough to see. I literally cannot believe that there are people out there that have nothing better to do than troll. It feels like an absolute oxy moron that these pathetic trolls continue to follow Ali or any other blogger for that matter as opposed to just unfollowing. I can’t wrap my head around how anyone can actually find time to put negativity out there – would they say this to Ali’s (or anyone’s) face or, are they simply hiding behind their keyboard? Anyone that knows Ali knows that she’s a kind, loving soul. I especially enjoy seeing her community shut down the haters.
What is your favorite part about being a Dad?
Seeing that smile every morning when he wakes up in his crib and then again when I come home from work and he sees me for the first time.
Are you going to raise your family near the city or will you head for the suburbs?
That’s the million dollar question.
Are you planning to speak Spanish to Luca?
We are going to give it a shot. We’ll let you know how it goes.
What are you most looking forward to teaching Luca?
To be a good person.
Parenthood – from a Dad’s perspective. Go.
Exhausting but incredible.
What is your favorite Dad accessory for Luca?
How did you feel about hiring a nanny?
Pretty good. It’s helped us achieve our pre-baby work-life balance.
How do you balance a demanding career and being a dad? Is it hard being away from Luca?
Of course it’s hard. But, thanks to FaceTime, I see him a few times a day.
I feel like most people think they need to have kids when they’re 26-32 or else it’ll never happen. I know Lu is older so I would love to know his perspective on this.
My perspective is that mid-30s is the new norm. I also think that the time has to be right and I hadn’t met Ali yet.
IN THE OFFICE
Explain more about your business and how you got involved in it.
I started the company with a colleague 8 years ago out of circumstance. The company that I worked for lost a big advertising contract on a Thursday and I lost my job on a Friday. We started the business on Monday. I spent my entire adult working life in the media industry. I started as a media buyer at a fashion company, then onto a transit advertising company, then on to New Tradition.
What is the toughest part about entrepreneurship?
You’re responsible for people’s livelihoods (employees).
What’s the best part about entrepreneurship?
The progress – looking back on the last 8 years and seeing our business grow.
If you had one piece of advice for those wanting to start their own business, what would it be?
Hang in there. Businesses don’t happen overnight.
Best business book you ever read?
Delivering Happiness by the founder of Zappo’s.
Do you help Ali with Inspiralized?
I have on my laptop, I have two stickers: one for my company (new Tradition) and the other one for Inspiralized. I find myself presenting Inspiralized before getting started with my business’s pitch. While I don’t help her with day-to-day business, I always try to be a sounding board and help her develop her ideas.
IN THE KITCHEN
Do you like to cook? If not, why not?
I do not like to cook. I do not know how to cook, I do not know my way around the kitchen.
Have you ever made one of Ali’s recipes?
No, but I have made zucchini noodles with Rao’s before.
The world is ending. What would be your last meal?
My mother’s sancocho.
What is your favorite snack?
Garden of Eatin’ yellow corn chips.
What’s a typical day of eating look like for you?
Start with coffee. Relatively healthy lunch – a grain bowl with veggies or fish tacos. Then home to Inspiralized. I don’t snack during the day.
What is your favorite Puerto Rican meal?
For you, what’s the hardest thing about keeping a consistent, healthy diet?
What do you do to stay healthy and balanced?
I try my hardest to eat healthy. Working out has become a bit challenging now with the baby. But I typically try and work out a few days a week.
What is your fitness regimen?
I used to work out. Now, I don’t. I love you, Luca.
Ali eats mainly plant based during the day. Do you too?
I do not, but I’m down. The challenge is finding restaurants near work that can nail a good veggie meal.
Do you like the way Ali cooks or do you get Carl’s Jr. for lunch at work?
Carl’s Jr. doesn’t exist on the East coast, otherwise I might be in trouble. Yes, Ali’s an amazing cook – she introduced me to the veggie style of eating a while back and is very good at creating meals that feel decadent but are super healthy. It’s her gift.
While I do my best to eat healthy, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way, especially in NYC. How do you say no to Momofuku birthday cake truffles?
Do you spiralize?
Yes and no. I can certainly help crank through zucchinis, but I typically let the pro do her thing. I’m more of a dishes type of guy.
How has spiralizing impacted your diet?
It has added way more veggies to my diet.
What’s your favorite spiralized vegetable to eat?
What’s your favorite spiralized recipe/dish?
I have a few – sweet potato fried rice, her Spanish rice, butternut squash lasagna (from Ali’s second cookbook), and zucchini noodle carbonara.