My name is Martha Argelia Alburquerque. My family and closest friends call me Lela, hence "Lela Luxe." I was born and raised in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

As humble as it was, I loved my upbringing. My family is from the Dominican Republic and with 3 siblings (Luis, Demi, and Stacey), I lived in your typical strict Hispanic household where my parents always expected and wanted me to do my best. My parents have worked hard since the day they set foot on the American soil. My father is a master carpenter and interior architectural design consultant and mom is an assistant teacher. Despite their financial situation, my parents have always taught us to appreciate good food, amazing art, remarkable films (The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and Sunday afternoon black and white films were very common in our home), travel, and a discerning eye for style. I love them for this and I thank God everyday for this gift.

Naturally, they were and still are a major influence in my love of the arts and the ones that taught me the biggest lesson ever with regard to style. How much you spend has absolutely nothing to do with style. Fashion comes and goes in cycles, however good style is around forever.

One of my fondest memories is our walks up and down 5th Avenue. We would go window shopping, of course, and I loved to people-watch, more than viewing the windows. Ladies in furs and mens' shoes are what caught my attention the most.

In 1995, I graduated from Ascension School, a Catholic elementary school; then attended Mother Cabrini High School, an all-girls Catholic school in Washington Heights. Surprisingly, I went on to Pace University for pre-med and majored in Biology, minored in Biochemistry. I proceeded to attend Chiropractic College at UBCC and then NYCC in Seneca Falls, NY, and a year before graduating I decided I wasn't going to lie to myself anymore. I dropped everything and went into business with David Borish, who is now my fiancé.

We started the first eBay drop off franchise in New York state. In 2006, we decided to move back to NYC (Oh, how I dearly missed it! 3 years was WAY too long!).

We knew moving back to NYC would bring many opportunities. We were now able to explore our entrepreneurial spirits to the fullest. We opened a successful mobile pop-up art gallery and dived into a few tech ventures.

David is a serial entrepreneur with his most recent venture being in the technology industry with CrowdHut, the first platform for crowdfunded products.

... I am indulging in my passions through Lela Luxe and as a social media consultant for businesses ranging from startups to Fortune500.
Moi waiting for the Barbara TFank presentation during
NYFW at Milk Studios

I have very discerning taste when it comes to fashion, art, food, film, and music. I don't like fads and love things that are created with passion and for a reason. This attitude has helped me attract the respect of major PR firms, top museums + art galleries and major fashion houses alike wishing to get their products, events, and news in front of an audience with just as a discerning taste and appreciation for beautiful things.

I have sat front row at major runway shows during New York Fashion Week and given backstage access, many of my articles have been picked up by major news outlets like Fox News and Chicago Sun Tribune. Previously, I was the Latina Entertainment writer for Examiner.com and a fashion, beauty, and entertainment blogger for Haute Living Magazine. I was also the fashion and beauty editor for DerekLovesShopping.com, the site owned by celebrity stylist Derek Warburton, fashion contributor to Affluence.org, and entertainment news contributor for Russell Simmons' Global Grind.

Most recently, Lela Luxe has been syndicated to be part of Tyra Banks' new fashion and beauty site TypeF.com, my New York Fashion Week coverage has been full page spreads in El Diario NY, and I have formed various partnerships with luxury brands such as Neutrogena, David Yurman, Gucci, Fiat, Atlantis hotels, Radisson Blu Hotels, and the Italian Trade Commission (view more brands here).

My darling and I met in 2002 on Match.com. We are one of "those people" indeed. A match made in heaven. He completes me and makes me a better person.  After several meet-ups, our relationship "officially" started on July 26, 2003.  I could have been playing hard-to-get, ask him. If you want to know how our first blind date went, just email me. I will be happy to tell you the story.

On November 24, 2004 we became engaged and currently still trying to plan our wedding. We're not exactly in a rush to get a piece of paper that'll prove to the world our love for each other. We're very comfortable with our relationship and our love for each other is beautiful. We are however, interested in the tax benefits, insurance credits and love to host parties...so a wedding is in the near future. One thing is for sure, my readers will be one of the first people to know!

I currently live in Morningside Heights with my darling and my beautiful daughter Zoë .

I am very grateful and I love beautiful things. I am proud of my curves and my curls. I dislike pretentious people, arrogance and injustice. I love comedy, adore the arts, and my favorite dish will always be my mom's white rice, white beans, and pollo gisado...no matter how rich I get.

-Martha Alburquerque
January 17, 2011