Ever since I was in high school and my best friend gave me an 'I LOVE NY' t-shirt, New York has always had a special place in my heart. In 2015 I bought an apartment in Chelsea and made the decision to start living between LA and this incredible concrete jungle so many people know and 'LOVE'. Up until recently, however, I used to call the Mercer Hotel my second home - especially my favorite corner room on the 4th floor lined in period glass windows, clad with an always-full fruit basket. Perhaps the only time I've ever seen it empty was during Fashion Week when there was instead a CRONUT on my desk from the incredible staff and Gilles Stellardo, their irreplaceable GM, who were clearly trying to help feed the models. Many of my afternoons have been spent in the guests-only lobby indulging in a fabulous glass of Cote du Rhone and a side of their secret wasabi peas - YUM!
These days I've swapped hotel espressos for coffee shops like The Commons, a tiny neighborhood hole-in-the-wall with the best coffee I've found in the city - also be sure to order their scrambled egg and sausage brioche sandwich... edible perfection. Once the eggs have settled, it's time for a workout. My current favorite gyms are Brick NY and CrossFit Solace, where David Durante, a former Team USA gymnast and Director of Power Monkey Fitness, curates personal workouts that are sure to inspire even those who have seen and tried it all. Equally important to keeping a fit frame is what you dress it in. I love fitness, but I also LOVE to shop and one of my favorite spots is IF Soho. This SUPER COOL boutique stocks labels such as Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester, but also those you probably haven't heard of: MA+ (pronounced M A Cross), Paul Harnden, Casey Casey, GUIDI, Lost & Found. Ask for Mizuyo or Patrick and tell them I sent you. Boris Bidjan Saberi is another gorgeous boutique, stocked with perfected leather jackets and simple t-shirts that are a staple in my wardrobe. Don't forget to ask to see the secret basement store dedicated to streetwear line 11 BBYS. A bit further from my hood-two trains to be exact-is IDOL Brooklyn. With a roster of designers like Taichi Murakami, A1923 (Augusta), Mastermind, and Haider Ackermann, you better believe it's worth the trek.
Now let's talk food. In LA I'll usually opt for a home-cooked meal, but in New York I prefer to head out. I am a stickler for clean food that is not too fussy and doesn't hide behind a laundry list of spices and herbs, and I've found this at Café Clover. Their chickpea hush puppies and cauliflower steak are revolutionary, as is their risotto that's actually made with lentils. Other nights I'll walk down the street into the West Village to The Clam on Hudson Street for out-of-this-world oysters. A few more go-to's include Forager's, with its roasted chicken and salad with olive dirt, or Le Turtle on the LES (Lower East Side). Order the whole chicken on burning hay - It's as dramatic as it is delicious - especially when paired with their 'worth it bread', complete with 3 different kinds of butter that is SO worth it. When I'm craving home cooked food with a farm-driven spin - I am from Tennessee after all - Cookshop doesn't disappoint with showstopper deviled eggs, gorgeously simple citrus salads, and seasoned bartenders always ready to mix something up. After dinner, head over to Marlton Hotel for the perfect nightcap and reminiscing over my first days of Spring in the world's most electric city.