Fragrance Notes Issue 3, 2018 - Page 11

FEATURE Curley, a former teacher and a talented potter, makes beautiful pieces that fill up their home in Nyack, New York, a cool, artsy town north of the city, on the Hudson River. “He made all of our dishes, and he likes to collect other potters’ work, too, so our pots have pots,” she said. She has two daughters, Hannah, 19, a sophomore at UCLA and Amelia, 17, a senior in high school, who is currently applying to college. Aside from working, she says most of her and John’s time is taken up with parenting teenagers—no easy feat! “The dirty little secret in my family was that I never took my kids to Disneyland or Disney World; even though their grandma lived like two hours away, we never went. But, instead they’ve been all over Europe and to Asia twice or three times. They’ve even been biking along the Mekong Delta.” For their 16th birthdays, Karen and John gave each of her daughters the option of having either a big party or a big trip. “One daughter chose Thailand and the other chose India, so, I guess I’ve successfully passed my passion for traveling onto them.” The family plans to spend Christmas vacation this year in Cambodia and Hong Kong. She believes that everyone should have a chance to see the world. “I think it’s really important,” she said. “First of all, it’s fun. Karen’s heart. “I absolutely loved Vietnam; And, the food, and the shopping, the wonder, I loved Thailand. Singapore is awesome, and everything that you see when you travel especially the food scene there. They have is just really enriching. But it also kind of these hawker centers, where there are all shows you your place in the world and you of these little mini-kitchens/food stalls and really develop a much greater appreciation each vendor specializes in one or two dishes. and gratitude for what you have… I think it And they even have Michelin-stars! It’s like makes you smarter.” the only place that has Michelin-rated street “We also like to cook, and we cook food vendors.” together a lot,” she said. “As often as we can, almost every night, we sit down together to TAKING TIME TO FEEL GOOD have a family meal.” And, thankfully, their “It’s great exercise and you’re also appetites are as daring as their travels. “We learning something… it makes me feel eat everything, and I’m proud of that. I empowered.” feel like we’ve done a good job with our kids because they’re happy to have Korean One of the biggest buzz words for barbecue one night and octopus another— everyone right now, especially for women they’re very adventurous in their eating.” in leadership roles, is “self-care,” taking Karen and John like to experiment with time for yourself to recharge, refocus, and different cuisines from around the world, cultivate your own passions. Despite her whether they’re shopping at local markets busy schedule, Karen makes time for herself or eating out. “We have a large Korean on the mat, where she does Thai-style community near us, so we try to go to the kickboxing and karate. She has spent 10 place where the people don’t speak English years practicing Kempo karate, a form of and the menu is not in English; we always martial arts that uses quick, powerful strikes know it will be good.” When it comes to favorite food and travel, and is powered by rapid stance transitions, called “shifting.” Currently a fourth-degree Southeast Asia holds a special place in Karen at an elephant orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand black belt, she is working on her fifth degree. She laughs noting that, technically, it was her daughters who got her into it. “When they were younger, I signed them up for classes because my dream was that they would become strong girls, who could defend themselves. But I had to argue with them and really force them to go, so when they were red belts, they told me they wanted to quit.” But while watching them practice, Karen was recruited by the Sensei, who encouraged her to give it a try and offered her a free month’s membership. “And so I tried it and I just got hooked. I love it. It’s not only great exercise, but you’re also learning something. It’s not just like aerobics class. It has the intensity of aerobics but your brain is really working, too.” For her, it’s a stress reliever as well as a social outlet, where she’s made some lasting friendships. Most importantly, it makes her feel good about herself. “I don’t know that I could ever really defend myself if I had to, but at least it makes me feel like I could. Every time I practice, I feel just a little bit stronger and more empowered than I did before, and that’s really motivating.” FN Issue 3, 2018 | FRAGRANCENOTES.ORG | 11