SoHo

Last night, I took a trip to the Upper West Side to visit Palais des Thés, an intimate teashop teeming with 100 aromatic teas—from black and green varieties to oolongs and white teas. Once I entered the space, which is accented with mint green and pale blue hues, as well as large photographs of tea plantations and several canisters and boxes of tea displayed throughout, I was offered a cup of refreshing iced tea.

Last night, I got to try a few appetizers at Pera Soho, a gorgeous Mediterranean restaurant on Thompson Street. The restaurant occupies a large space with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, including a roof deck with views of midtown and the Empire State Building.

While New York has been experiencing an unreasonably, unseasonably cold Spring, I sometimes enjoy perusing the pictures of my friends back in California, basking in the sun at the beach. Not because I'm a masochist so much as the fact that thinking warm, sometimes makes you feel just a little bit hotter.

Shopping in SoHo on a Sunday can be an exhausting experience, but popping into Jack's Wife Freda at the finish makes any hustle through the crowds worthwhile. The restaurant is set up in a cozy, bright kitchenesque arrangement, with a menu that pulls from the influences of your Jewish grandmother (if you're lucky enough to have one) as well as South African spices and French bistro staples.

I always believe the best gifts are those that have a story. New York City, with a plethora of independent shops—carrying everything from one-of-a-kind artwork and home décor, to artisanal foods and vintage fashions—is one of the best places to find unique treasures for you or a loved one.

Anyone who has spent enough time in New York City will tell you that sporting designer brands is pretty much a way of life for a lot of city dwellers and visitors. This metropolis is full of high-end boutiques and department stores that carry everything from Alexander McQueen to Louis Vuitton.

In late summer 2009, I wrote a freelance article about four new hotels opening in New York City that fall. At this particular point in my career, I had covered the hotel industry for a few years, and one thing I can say with absolute certainty is hotels rarely ever open on time. So my week of touring these four spaces was spent, essentially, walking through construction sites—which isn’t that much fun in high heels.

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