Pilar Quintero lived the expat life moving with her husband from Mexico City to Seoul and eventually finding herself in Stamford, CT. Pilar is juggling a lot these days as a busy mom of four and the founder of the successful skincare line, Care. Pilar took time off her busy schedule to talk to Suburbs 101. She gives us a peek into her life and tells us about her move to Stamford, CT.
Describe your move to Stamford, CT
Back in 2005, my husband got relocated to New York. So we made the big move from Seoul, Korea to New York. We had lived in urban settings in Mexico City and Seoul prior to moving to New York, so we were ready to make the move to the suburbs. Our three older children were in lower and middle school at that time and have been accepted to attend private schools in Rye and Greenwich. We looked at several towns in Westchester and Fairfield County, close to I-95 and near the Merritt/Hutchinson Parkway. We fell in love with our house in Stamford on our first visit. It was a new house (which was a prerequisite for us), large enough to comfortably accommodate a family of 5 along with family and friends who visit regularly. That’s when we knew we would move to Stamford, CT!
Why do you like living in Stamford? What part of Stamford do you live in?
We live in the Westover neighborhood of Stamford. Westover is right off the Merritt Parkway on the line between Greenwich and Stamford.
It takes me 20 minutes to get to school every day for drop off and pick up, so it is so nice to enjoy the easy, beautiful drive on the Merritt Parkway. No matter the season, the ever-changing foliage makes the drive from Stamford to Rye breathtaking. It is the best part of the day when I get undivided attention from my children during the drive to school and back to Stamford. No devices are allowed in the car, so it is truly a precious time to connect.
We also live a block away from the Mianus River Park, a 369-acre forest that straddles through Stamford and Greenwich with hiking trails that are perfect for joggers, hikers, mountain bikers or to take a walk with the family and dog. We love taking long walks with the children, especially during the fall.
The nice thing about living in Stamford is that I get to be close to nature all year round without sacrificing the proximity to NYC. I love being able to take long walks, yet still, be just a train ride away from NYC. It’s truly the best of both worlds.
How old are your kids?
I have four children, two girls Natalia (26), Nicole (25) and two boys Raul (22) and Felipe (10). The older ones live in LA and NYC.
Can you describe your social life?
Our social life now is very limited and pretty much revolves around the family. We are either working, enjoying visits from our older kids or at travel soccer. Felipe our fourth, was born in 2009, he is 15 to 11 years younger than his older siblings. He is being brought up in a very different family dynamic as his older siblings. He gets our undivided attention since there are no younger siblings at home to compete with. And his older siblings are so influential in his life. They simply adore him and are always there for him. Because he is our fourth child and the youngest, we are truly enjoying him since we are more relaxed as parents.
Do you have any recommendations for good sports programs in the Stamford area?
Felipe keeps us super busy with sports and after-school activities. He is an avid soccer player and is currently playing with the Chelsea Piers Soccer team in Stamford. He has practice three times a week and matches on weekends. Chelsea Piers has great sports programs throughout the year. It is very convenient. I also love their amazing indoor facility. And regardless of the weather, practices and games are never canceled.
Felipe is also a Black Belt in Taekwondo and working to get his 2nd Degree Dan Black Belt. He attended White Tiger Taekwondo on Greenwich Avenue since he was 4 years old. I highly recommend this Taekwondo School.
For music classes, I highly recommend Atelier Constantin Popescu. They offer instrument rentals and also offer lessons. Both of my sons have taken violin lessons at Atelier with great results.
What are your go-to places in Stamford or in the area?
I try to get everything done after school drop off. I do everything in between Rye and Stamford: groceries, work-out, cleaners, bank, post office, etc.
Bulk shopping: I order on Shipt from Target or Fairway. I also order from Amazon Prime for Whole Foods.
Since moving to Stamford, we pretty much go out to lunch/dinner every weekend. We love trying out new places. We will go into Brooklyn for brunch with Nicole our daughter, or go to different towns to explore the restaurants in the area. Our favorite now:
La Taqueria on Greenwich Avenue -this is the best taco place in the area, coming from a Mexican. Everything is made with authentic ingredients and with a homemade taste. From their handmade tortillas to the sauces, it makes us feel like we are back home. My favorite, Cochinita Pibil tacos and for dessert the Mexican Flan.
Bull Pan Korean BBQ in Stamford – We love Korean BBQ, this is a family favorite for sure. We love the Bulgogi (sliced marinated beef) and Chadol Baegi (thinly sliced brisket). They cook it for us at the table and we eat it with all the vegetable side dishes.
Where do you go to stay fit in the Stamford area?
I don’t have much time to work out nowadays. Since moving to Stamford, some of my favorite fitness gyms are Core Pilates in Greenwich, Forme in Greenwich, SLT in Rye Brook, Ripped in Rye Brook, Soul Cycle in Greenwich and Rye Brook and Kaia Yoga in Old Greenwich.
What has your experience been with schools in the area? Public Schools? Private schools? Any Private school admissions advice?
When we moved to Stamford in 2005, we arrived late for the private school admissions process at Rye Country Day School. Our oldest daughter got a spot and our other two children went to Stanwich School. A year later, we reapplied to Rye Country Day School and they all got in. We are very happy with our experience at Rye Country Day School. My 3 oldest kids all graduated from there. Our youngest is currently in fifth grade at Rye Country Day School. Our experience at Rye Country Day School has been amazing. We couldn’t have found a more nurturing, challenging, supportive, inclusive and exceptional school for our children.
My advice would be to visit the schools early in the private school admission process. Even if you are not applying to private schools until the following year, attend the private school open houses to see if it is a good fit for your family. Reach out to current private school parents in the same grade as your children. I find that at Rye Country Day School, the parent community is very accessible and willing to engage with families that are interested in the school.
Do you or your spouse take the Metro-North to New York City? What has your experience been with the commute from Stamford to NYC?
When we were looking to move to Stamford, the commute to NYC was an important factor. When we moved to Stamford, Ricardo, my husband was working in midtown Manhattan. We had to make sure his commute from Stamford to NYC was not too long.
When we moved to Stamford, we immediately got on the Stamford Metro-North parking waiting list for a parking permit. We are closer to the Riverside Metro-North station than the Stamford Metro-North station. However, you can’t beat the convenience of taking trains out of the Stamford Metro-North train station. At the Stamford station, you can catch the express trains, there is a covered parking lot which is a plus during the winter months and you can pay for daily parking if you don’t have a parking permit.
The drive from our Westover home to the Stamford Metro-North train station is about a 15-minute drive and the train ride into NYC is 50 minutes. It is a long commute, almost 3 hours door to door every day. Aside from going to NYC, Ricardo used to travel a lot, he also spent a lot of time going to JFK.
Fortunately, we work from home now, so no more commuting for us! We do occasionally go to NYC for meetings and when we do, we take the train from the Riverside Metro-North station. It took us 4 years to get off the waitlist for a parking permit at the Riverside Metro-North station. There was a time with my older kids, where I would drop them off at the Riverside Metro-North train station and they would take the train to and from Rye. It makes it so convenient for me since Rye Country Day School is within walking distance from the Rye Metro-North train station.
Tell me more about Care Skincare
We started Care because we saw an opportunity in developing a brand that would address the needs of women of every age, for a curated skincare line that was not complicated, overpriced, highly effective and safe.
I felt that skincare had become complicated, with the constant barrage of new product launches and messaging overload. The game of trial and error was becoming confusing and expensive. I was concerned about ingredients and their safety, as a consumer that was becoming more aware of the clean beauty movement.
This is when we decided to launch Care: to declutter and simplify skincare, offering highly effective products easy to use, that are safe and affordable.
We chose the name Care out of a profound need to show we care. Through formulating safe products. Using more functional and less wasteful packaging. By offering a fair price. Finally, and most importantly, by giving back to our community through our “Because We Care” program.
About Pilar Quintero
Pilar Quintero has always lived a life that balances diversity with a strong sense of heritage and the power of the feminine. She was born and raised in Mexico City to an American mother and a Mexican father and is one of five daughters. Having a family with so many strong women surrounding her gave her a special perspective into what women want and need in their everyday lives.
She attended Mexico’s all-women School of Hospitality (ESDAI) at the Universidad Panamericana where she obtained her degree in Administration and Hospitality. In 1991, Pilar married Ricardo and had four children (now ages 10 to 25). Ever entrepreneurial, after the birth of her second child, Pilar ran a successful small business that specialized in custom-designed hand-crafted cakes and cookies.
In 2002, the Quinteros left Mexico and moved to Seoul, South Korea, following Ricardo’s promotion to General Manager of Estée Lauder Companies’ Korean affiliate. During this time, Pilar was exposed to the highly developed Korean skincare market and its diverse array of products and ingredients. In 2005, the family moved to New York.
Throughout this journey, Pilar encountered a wide array of skincare products and regimens, which she experienced firsthand during different stages in her life, pregnancies, seasonal changes, and travels. And after many years of focusing on family and community volunteering, she joined her husband in the launch of Digital Brands, LLC, so that she could share these experiences with other women. In December 2018, Pilar and Ricardo launched their first direct-to-consumer skincare brand Care Skincare. Website: Care Skincare
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