Picture, clockwise from top left: Christmas hamper by Fortnum & Mason; Sophie Roseanne; Wise Men; Deepak Chopra & Oprah Winfrey; the Petrie Court Café; Christmas roses.
Bar: Reggae Nights @ Wise Men
My really close girlfriend Danielle Levitt (who shot the Out 100 portfolio this year) owns Wise Men, on Bowery, with her business partner Christina Chin. Very dark and sexy, it's red lit and has super handsome bartenders. I went in on a Tuesday night, and eventhough it was a torrential downpour outside, the reggae beats spun by DJ Jah Cousteau and the delicious margaritas made me feel like I was on vacation. It's a very mixed gay/straight crowd -- the likes of Susan Sarandon and Gerard Butler have been spotted there -- and generally lots of late-night fun.
Gift: Fortnum & Mason Hampers
When I go back to London for Christmas, one of my first stops is always Fortnum & Mason's. I love to buy perishables as gifts, and their selection of biscuits, jams, cheeses, and teas is incredible. You never leave without buying yourself a few things! My personal favorite is the orange whiskey marmalade and the Florentine biscuits. The hampers also make wonderful gifts, and they can deliver anywhere in America. They cannot ship the ones with wines or alcohols, but I prefer the selections without anyway. The Christmas Tea Hamper for £150 ($245) is a lovely present.
Home: Winter flowers
We all spend much more time at home at this time of the year, and many people forget about all of the lovely winter flowers, which I actually prefer to some spring flowers. My personal favorites are the Christmas rose (helleborus) and the winter aconite. You don't have to cave in to a poinsettia: There are many lovely options around.
Restaurant: The Petrie Court Café at The Metropolian Museum
The Met is very nice for spending an afternoon with friends. I think that when you live in New York, you rarely go to these type of big tourist spots unless you have visitors from out of town. The Petrie Court Café at the Met has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Central Park, and serves a delicious smoked chicken salad. Plus you're surrounded by beautiful bronze sculptures, so you come out feeling both nourrished and culturally enriched.
Art: The Saatchi Online Gallery
Brilliantly curated by Rebecca Wilson, Saatchi Online has a wonderful selection of original artworks for under $1,000. I love this drawing entitled "Spirit of Chistmas" by Sophie Roseanne. The bizarre bunny rabbit in a snowflake sweater really plays into all the strange things I like about Christmas, and for $155, it's a steal for original artwork.
Self Improvement: Daily Meditation
This time of year can be hectic and get you very run down with colds and stress. I was reading about the body and mind health benefits of a daily 20-minute meditation session. My good friend Chris Campbell recommended Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra's 21-day meditation series, which you can sign up for for free online. I've given it a go, and I love it!