Mar’s 2007 Must Haves

Here it is. My list of “must haves” for 2007. This year I’m even more excited about my top five picks. This is never an easy task, but boy do I have fun deciding which ones make the cut. Trying out all the items under consideration isn’t bad either! So here goes….drum roll please. Get one or get all five. Either way I’m sure that soon they will be a must have for you too.

The iPhone
With Apple’s major success with the iPod, the most popular form of MP3 player, they were sure to expand and come out with their version of a cell phone. I jumped right on board and stood in line to get mine. I wanted the newest trend (ok toy) for my very own. Most cell phones come equipped with video and camera. Apple has taken their popular and advanced technologies to the next level with the iPhone, combining the functions of a cell phone, Internet communication device, as well as a “wide screen” iPod with easy to use touch controls.

I’m finding that this iPhone is also a wonderful way to meet people. I can be standing in a line checking my e-mails and someone is bound to ask “is that the new iPhone”? I love my iPhone for many reasons, but mostly because of the technology. This phone has a combination of the latest, most popular technologies. In fact, it doesn’t have a keypad at all, except for a “home” button. The controls are on a 3.5 inch square touch pad screen. If you’re like me and send a lot of text messages, it makes it so easy with just the touch of your finger. A definite MARmust have! Makes the perfect gift……to me, from me, love me.

LL Bean Tote Bag, Open-Top
I’m always packing things for my “live” TV segments and this year I discovered the LLB tote bag as an alternative to recycling paper shopping bags. Don’t get me wrong, I will always have a need for them and have even been known to hoard a few. But now, I never have to worry that one may break as this tote is the toughest tote available. Made in a variety of sizes from 24 oz. cotton canvas, this tote is ideal for trips to the grocery store or garden center, carrying tools or even packing a lunch and towels for the beach. You can even choose the handles. Your options are regular, long and shoulder-length. The really long shoulder handles make carrying things around town easy and stylish. Did I forget to mention that you can have them monogrammed? Mine all have “MAR” on them so there is no question to who they belong. And should I mistakenly leave one behind — they always find their way home. This is a great, long lasting tote that is washable too. Get one…get two. It’s a good thing to have around the house and in the car.

Life On Mar’s: A Four Season Garden
This book is filled with inspirational ideas and fabulous recipes that will motivate you to enjoy the endless possibilities that your home & garden have to offer. Ok, so I wrote it. But you’ll find that this oversized picture book is packed with wonderful ideas that you CAN and will do. This is a passionate journey that documents the evolution of my Westport, Connecticut home, garden and garden studio. At only $39.95 this book makes the perfect gift for you or a friend. Need a host or hostess gift? Keep a few on hand for when you need something different or special. Forty fabulous pages are available to preview on my website, Once you purchase your copy of Life on Mar’s: A Four Season Garden, you’ll realize that things are better and more fun when you’re inspired by Mar’s!

500 Plus Thread Count Sheets
There is nothing better than getting into a bed made with 100-percent cotton sheets that have a thread count of 500 or over. Put the two together and you have some well deserved luxury that is unbeatable for style and comfort.

Thread count is the number of threads per square inch of fabric; the higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the fabric. You can see and feel the difference the moment you get into bed. I’m always looking for attainable luxury and there is no need to spend a great deal of money. These sheets are often available at many discount home stores. Stick to white or off white rather than a pattern that may be hard to mix and match. Recently while at Home Goods, I found 100-percent cotton sateen sheets with a 600 thread count for my queen size bed for only $49.99. This was too good to be true so I quickly looked for more. That was one successful shopping trip as I walked away with three complete sets of sheets, each with two pillow cases. Because sheets are used every day, I see no reason to pay full retail for something that gets so much wear and tear. And isn’t it lovely that one doesn’t have to settle for less when it comes to your bed sheets. Discover the many discounted home stores that are waiting you. Take your time, edit through the merchandise and see what you can find. You’ll never pay full retail again, and why should you settle for anything less. It’s totally worth it.

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree (Ficus lyrata)
Nothing is better than being green and having green in your home. Last winter all I could think about was getting a Fig tree and I wanted to get it from the flower district in New York City. The problem was getting it in my car. I tried several times but to no avail. So, when a new friend offered to drive me into the city in his SUV, I was on a mission. Finally, after dreaming about it for several years, I was going to get my tree.

If you have been considering a fig tree, then you may have looked at the fruit-bearing fig tree or Ficus Carica. If so, forget what you know and let me introduce you to the Ficus Lyrata which is a more tropical species and needs warm (room) temperature year round. It does not hibernate or have a dormant period. It also does not bear edible fruit. The leaves are wide and stiff, and shaped like the body of a fiddle. This tree can also be bought in a bush form but I prefer a tall tree as it offers interest above eye level.

For the absolute best results, you should place the tree in an area that provides bright indirect and/or direct light to bright shade.

When you bring your new tree home try to keep it in its existing pot. I know, I know, it’s in a plastic pot. If you’re like me, find a more attractive planter that is large enough to put the plant and its plastic pot inside. That said, let’s talk about watering. Water the tree regularly. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out. Then water thoroughly until a small amount of water runs through the drainage holes. Over watering will cause the edges of the leaves to become brown. And never let your plant sit in water. It also loves an occasional misting. If you forget to water, the leaves will turn yellow…then droop. This tree can be pruned at any time throughout the growing year to maintain its shape. You will find that all new growth comes from the ends of each stem, so cut back far enough so that you get the new growth coming from the center and lower portions of the tree. Any stems that are bare, dry, and brittle and or dead can be pruned off entirely. With a little love and attention you too can enjoy the beauty of this wonderfully exotic specimen that creates an amazing indoor plant display.

Those are my final five for 2007. Why not enjoy and live a life of casual luxury? Experience why Life on Mar’s will be MARrvelous when you have these “must haves” in your life.
And there you have it.