Karen Auster
52, Brooklyn

What do you do for work?
CEO of an experiential marketing firm based in DUMBO Brooklyn. We are architects of brand experiences. In essence, we create “brand love” for products and places through experiences.

For play?
Running, yoga and travel near and far to a bucket list of destinations including India and Seychelles in the near future; I love to experience the local culture and apply it in my work.  I feel peaceful when I travel, because as a producer in my work I am always directing, and when I travel I enjoy getting the opportunity to be an observer; all creative roadblocks clear. I become more creative, return refreshed, and ultimately, am more productive. I have moved quickly my entire life and now I’m enjoying slowing down and learning to be more thoughtful and mindful.

Regrets?
I didn’t get to say enough kind things to a dear friend who passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. He was a life-long friend who I thought would always be there. I also wish I had been kinder to my ex-husband during our 8-year, highly litigious divorce. Time and distance is everything.

What’s your fantasy version of your older self? 
Continuing my world travels, possibly living abroad in different cities.  Buying a home in a beautiful setting in which my kids and grandkids can retreat.

Biggest fear?  
That I don’t get over my fears. I am trying to break some of the rules that I taught my younger self. My irrational, but still very palpable fear is that something will happen to my kids (ages 24 and 21). My daughter and son have grown up to be wonderful people and I continue to find such enormous joy in every milestone.

Guilty pleasure?
Netflix and my nails! As I went through my 8-year litigious divorce, I found pleasure in having an extraordinary amount of mani/pedis.  While my dear and supportive friends offered to have a drink with me to offload, I found manicures and massage to be less expensive, less fattening, and more satisfying.

Last great book you read?
Reading it right now and love it — A Whole New Mind — Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future, by Daniel Pink. I’ve tried to fit into the “left brain corporate world” for years, it’s great to see how that the business environment is recognizing that it is time for the right brain to lead.

Greatest new discovery?
I gave up drinking one year ago, simply because it no longer felt good. I feel less tired, less bloated and now have more money for spas!

Vices?
Cookies…chocolate chip, rainbow, black and whites…I’ll indulge in raw dough if need be.

What makes you happy?
Going to bed early, like 930 pm. It’s both a genuine happiness and one of the secrets to my energy.. I love all kinds of physical exercise, spending time with my kids and I love my not-so-new but still enthralling sweetheart. After my divorce, and many unsuccessful relationships, I started meditation.  Slowing up and spending time inside my own head after months of mediation and crying, I focused in on what it would be like to find a partner who would love me for me.  I feel lucky and grateful to have found that now, a true partner and friend at 50.  We’re both empty nesters who have lived through exhausting divorces and we found love again. We get along, laugh, love and every day I truly appreciate our calm and peaceful life together.

What does the group mean to you?
A divine sisterhood indeed!  It serves as a support system for so many kinds of women — suffering alone is unhealthy. It feels like there is someone in our group ready to support another woman, no matter what the issue. When I was going through a hard break up, I posted anonymously about my pain and got amazing advice, including a suggestion that I read Elizabeth Lesser’s Broken Open, which I did, and it changed my life. There is an Anais Nin quote in the book that meant everything to me: “And the day came when the risk to remain a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
Captain of the cheerleaders, Deadhead in my teens and went to Burning Man at 50 by myself. I threw myself a dance party for my 50th — my 24 year old daughter claims it was the most embarrassing party ever. I invited all my ex-boyfriends to come; it was insanity but cleansing, and I met my love three months later…

Where can we find you?
My website. 

Tags : WOW
The Woolfer Newsletter Team
Stephanie Staal and Nina Collins have worked together and adored each other since 1994 when they were both babies in the world of book publishing. Stephanie is a lawyer, journalist, & author of READING WOMEN, and Nina is the founder of "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" Hillary Richard is also a lawyer and co-host of the Raging Gracefully podcast. Sidney Morss is a recent NYU grad and the youngest member of our team.

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