How I Thrive: Lilu Founder Adriana C. Vazquez Ortiz

How I Thrive takes an inside look at founders, entrepreneurs and leaders and the behind-the-scenes self-care work they do to in order to live balanced, happy lives. Today's edition is with Lilu founder Adriana C. Vazquez Ortiz, who "kind of speaks four languages" and is all about cheese and fro yo as self-care.

Name: Adriana C. Vazquez Ortiz

Age: 30

City: New York, NY

Company: Lilu, a company that builds technology to empower new moms. Our first product is the Lilu Massage Bra that helps moms pump milk more easily by providing gentle, automated massage while pumping.

Role: Co-founder & CEO

Beyond the role: I love running, attempting to snowboard, cycling and recently trying to get into triathlons. I have been a pescatarian for over a decade, kind of speak four languages and I prefer carrot cake over chocolate cake.

Morning routine:

My pre-quarantine routine looked something like this: I wake up at 6:40 and I snooze at most once to try to remember what I was dreaming. I then roll out of bed, get ready for the gym and run to my favorite indoor cycling class that now thankfully starts at 7:15 a.m. with an instructor that's always full of positive energy. It's a great way to kick off the day.

I then leave the gym and walk to my favorite coffee shop and get my coffee and an almond croissant. If i'm felling extra energetic I'll catch a 6:30 a.m. class before cycling class, or if the weather is nice I'll bike to the office crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge. I love starting the day like this—I feel refueled from the workout, revitalized from seeing all the energy-filled people in the gym, and I love watching the river and biking by the bike path and over the bridge seeing people on their way to work and the tourists taking in the city. I get a chance to appreciate life, how incredible the human body is, what an amazing city NY is and it allows me to feel that even if the day will bring lots of unexpected things, I've at least been able to savor a little moment of the day.

The first thing I do after work: 

I'll cycle back home and play with the cat and dog. Or if I didn't take the bike I likely will be heading to a startup-related event, either to learn something, network or our own planned event to promote the brand and bring pumping education to new moms and build our community.

Dinner ritual: 

If my husband is home we either order in, pick up something or make pasta (me) or he will make something a bit nicer. Not that pasta is not nice, I love it. I'm just happy having what I eat for breakfast for dinner if I'm on my own.

Nighttime routine: 

When I don't have to work, I read a bit, catch up with messages from friends and family, play with the pet, watch a movie, try to draw a bit ... lately I've been watching TV, but that used to be fairly unusual and not something I'd like to make a habit of. I also recently started being more diligent about my skin care routine. 

Self-care guilty pleasure: 

Eating a healthy dose of cheese and fro yo.

Workday self-care hack: 

I probably sound like a broken record but my biggest self-care hack is keeping up with my workout routine and goals for the week. If I'm training for a race, for instance, I'll make time to squeeze in the workout.

This has taken me running around so many beautiful cities and places—in the mountains of palm springs, parks in China, all around San Francisco. When I fall off the wagon I just know I need to take a big pause and hit the reset button.

How do you define self-care?

I think of self-care as a way to refuel so you can do the things you love and take care of the people you love when things are well and when things are not it's basic self-preservation. And sometimes it's hard to do it, but it's an investment in yourself.

Favorite childhood toy or hobby: 

I read a lot. I think that opened up my mind to the endless possible experiences out there in the world. I also loved drawing and had way too many stuffed animals. I'm not sure how this all ties together, but I enjoyed thinking about how things work and I think a part of me was always drawn to design, physical products and digital experiences, from playing with stuffed animals and thinking why don't they speak to pondering how TVs work and convert invisible signals traveling through the air into images.
I was always curious, and I think being in tech allows me to continue learning and exploring how things work, how they can be better and how they can bring joy and delight into our lives.

State of your (email) inbox: 

Work inbox 85! As CEO I say I'm chief email officer, so I guess it's fitting. I love the snooze function so I get reminded to follow up on things at more opportune times, and I have some very aggressive filters that keep a lot of useless things out of my inbox, but I do end up missing a few important things once in a while. I'm still trying to find a good balance on how I spend my time on emails, because at least for me, they just seem endless.

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Illustration by Megan Behrendt

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