Fab Couples: Arizona

Sam Alpert & Vanessa Ruiz

Sam Alpert, chief development officer, Junior Achievement of Arizona; Vanessa Ruiz, deputy vice president for Educational Outreach, Arizona State University Educational Outreach and Student Service

Homebase: Phoenix

How did your love story begin? We met at an early morning work event for Junior Achievement in the Spring of 2016. At that time, Vanessa was the main evening news anchor for Channel 12. She would usually get home around 11:30 p.m. each night and not fall asleep until 1 a.m., so it was pretty fortunate for Sam that she said “yes” to a 7:30 a.m. arrival for a student event his company was hosting. Sam said hello to her that morning and offered to show her around Phoenix since she was still relatively new to the city. Vanessa was not looking to date anyone at that time, but a series of events led her to not canceling their lunch “meeting.” They ended up going to Dick’s Hideaway a month later and talking effortlessly about music and travel. Their first real date was a few days later when they went to see Thievery Corporation in Flagstaff. That night, Sam knew he had found his wife. Vanessa didn’t realize it then…but she finally came around. We have lived 10 years of major life milestones compressed into five: an engagement, a wedding, a major career change, a baby, two graduate degrees, buying a home, another baby and a pandemic. We are tired but wouldn’t change a thing.

Favorite thing about one another: Sam: My favorite thing about Vanessa is everything. There’s nothing I don’t like about her.

Vanessa: My favorite thing about Sam is…let me get back to you on that one. Wait, he says that I love everything about him, too. He’s right. Seriously, I love his integrity, his thoughtfulness, his loving heart and his genuine commitment to helping others.

Favorite date night: Other than sitting on the couch and watching “The Kardashians” after our kids go to sleep? Any place with good food. We went to Sandfish in the Melrose corridor recently and loved it. We also love going to Lon’s at Hermosa Inn because it’s where we got married. We really want more date nights but our daughters don’t let us.

Favorite tradition you have as a couple: Sleeping…because our daughters don’t let us. Drinking coffee and talking in the morning. Going to see live music. Making each other laugh. Talking late at night, watching 80’s music videos on YouTube, singing along…quietly, so our kids don’t wake up.

What does your happily ever after look like? Creating a fun, adventurous life for our kids and us. Seeing as much of the world as possible. Helping others. Staying healthy, mentally and physically, for as long as we can. Having fun as much as we can!

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