Your name has an interesting spelling. Do you know the story behind the spelling?
Both my parents were born in Israel and in Hebrew the vowels are underneath. Karen shares the same two vowels in the Hebrew pronunciation. So when they immigrated to the states and decided to give me that name, they just followed their Hebrew translation to have the same vowels between the consonants. And as a result I ended up with two E’s
Your kids also have super cool names, how did you choose their names?
My son’s name is Atlas and my daughter’s name is Blaise. When I was pregnant with my son, my husband was reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I think it was his second or third time reading it – and it was a name that he had always connected with. He liked the strength and the power behind it. When we became pregnant again, he said, well I picked the first name – You get the next one. Atlas is a hard name to follow. I am very much into cooking and was watching Top Chef and Richard Blaze. People called him Blaze as a nickname and we really liked it, so we decided to name our child Blaise. It’s traditionally a male name so it’s unique to have it as a girl’s name. Fortunately both of our kids love their names and we don’t ever run into a situation where they’re having another classmate or a friend or relative that shares that name. We enjoy the uniqueness of both of them.
I remember you said your property is full of fruit trees. What are you growing?
We’re very fortunate to have a property with very mature trees. We get a bountiful harvest every year. We have three different varieties of mango, jackfruits, sapote, two varieties of star fruits, guava, two varieties of lychee, all-spice and macadamia nuts. We just planted avocado and jaboticaba – which I had never tasted before your market. Now we know that it’s a fruit we like.
What keeps you busy during the week?
My kids keep us very busy. We’re very involved in every activity that they do. In addition, our renovation keeps us incredibly busy because we go by the property every other day. And, I also do commercial title insurance for a nationally recognized title insurance company. So, business keeps me very busy in Miami and traveling around the country.
What is the business like?
It’s a niche business, not something that everyone is probably familiar with. Probably the best way to describe it is during the closing process. Whenever you buy property and you get a loan, you are required to buy title insurance. It’s a product that protects you against anybody claiming that they have rights or ownership of the property you purchase.
What trends are you seeing in the real estate right now?
That’s a good question. The markets remain very strong. I only do commercial title insurance, so I’m not in the residential realm. On the commercial side, we’re still seeing a lot of activity, a lot of volume, a lot of new construction, specifically in the Miami area. We see just as much around the country. We anticipate, with the increase in the rates, we are going to see a little bit of a slowdown. But, we haven’t seen anything this year so we are anticipating it to be as robust as last year and then we’ll reevaluate.
How often do you come to the market?
I come to the market every Sunday, unless I’m out of town.
What’s your ritual when you come?
I try and find a shady parking spot, which is always a challenge. I try and get there before 10:00 AM. The first thing I do is find the vendor that sells fresh eggs. They’re not as easy to find these days. So I have to change things around. And then from the egg stand, I usually make my way around to the Caribbean ceviche and then over to Zak the Baker for a loaf of bread for dinner and then over to you guys for smoothies for the kids.
What types of things do you like to cook?
You name it. I really like to try and cook things that the kids can be engaged in. Our family eats very well. As a busy working mom, I only have time to cook one meal, so my kids have been exposed to a variety of different foods. We try and do all the different proteins, from fish to turkey to beef to chicken. We do source local produce, local seafood and try to buy mainly organic and pesticide free. We also love to bake. Cookies, cakes, brownies are easy for the kids. It helps expose them to math a lot by using different measurement and fractions and breakdowns. And when they get to participate in the process, they’re always willing to try more.
Besides cooking, what’s a favorite activity you enjoy doing with the kids?
Going to the beach is probably my favorite activity to do with them because I get to see them in their innocence. There’s nothing really interfering with their opportunity to be kids. They can be loud, they can splash, they can run, they can jump. There’s so many rules surrounding what they can do these days from home to school to play – the beach is really one of those places where they have pure freedom.
What’s our market missing?
Shade. I also think our market is missing electrical outlets for our vendors to have fans and air flow. Also, we need more congregation space.
Where are you guys going out for dinner these days?
We don’t go out to eat much because I cook most of what we eat. But the one thing I don’t ever make is Sushi. I like Obba Sushi off of Brickell. I also like Zuma, but usually when somebody else is paying. I work downtown and do sales for a living, so I get to eat out at restaurants and come home and share with everyone how amazing the food was. Capital Grille is always a pretty good staple. Whenever it’s Miami Spice month, we like to try new places.
Where do you go for a special occasion?
Le Petite Maison. I get their yellow tail carpaccio and the mixed mushroom gnocchi. It has black truffle. It is by far the best gnocchi I’ve ever had in Miami. It’s only seasonal. They never rush you. They offer you fresh hot bread from the oven. It’s just a pleasant experience.
Is there a philanthropic group that you participate with that you might like to share?
I’m currently president elect for Crew, which stands for Commercial Real Estate Women and our philanthropic arm is the Women’s Fund. We raise money annually to help support causes that are important to women in Miami. It’s very near and dear. I was raised by a single mom and as a woman growing up in the United States, our lives are very different than others around the world. To be able to give back and do something so that women understand that they have a chance, they have opportunity and purpose. There’s so many women out there that don’t see a future for themselves. Being a woman, it’s important to give back and to make sure that other women have a path forward. It’s something I want to teach my daughter and my nieces. We must remember that we have to support each other.
Would you share a pitch about yourself or company?
If there are any of your readers that are developers, lenders, investors or acquiring property – My team services all of North America and provides commercial title insurance services. We provide the full gamut from search to closing to underwriting to post closing and we’re great at connecting people. I’m good at providing referrals and would say that my team does a damn good job.
Is there a question you would like to ask us?
Who comes up with the names of your smoothies? The names stick well with my kids. They’re only six and eight and words can be challenging for some children. While they know how to order by color, they also know how to order by flavor and name, and it’s really exposed them to varieties of fruit that they otherwise would not have had an opportunity to try. So, I would like to say thank you for giving us that opportunity to share that with our youth.
(A+W) You are welcome. Adena comes up with the smoothies and names them.
Is there a question you would like to ask the community?
What more can we do to prevent restaurants for such common use of ice and straws. Are they really necessary?
(A+W) We know about straws. Why ice?
Because I think that people use straws because the ice hits them in the teeth. And so if you could order your drinks without ice, would you need a straw?