Home Edition October 2016
Indoor Plant Displays: Built-Ins, Wall Pockets, and More
Imagine stepping into a bathtub, and instead of bathroom tiles lining the wall next to you, there's a fresh vertical garden, lush with bright green ferns, lavender, baby's tears, mint, and other fragrant plants.
Unusual ways to display indoor plants run the gamut, from built-in shelves and containers in and along walls, countertops, or tables, to wall pockets and terrariums.
A cost-effective indoor-garden can be made of various materials - including ceramic, glass, plastic, wood, metal, and even macramé - that can hang directly on a wall and be filled with plants. They can run about $20 to $100 each.
Easy-to-care-for indoor plants include snake plants - also known as sansevierias - with long, pointy green leaves that reach upward; dark green, cast iron plants; wall-crawling ivy; dangling spider plants; succulents, and foxtail ferns. Snake plants and cast iron plants require little light and watering. Bonsai trees, bay laurel trees, and small fig trees can also be displayed indoors in both planters and partitioned floor areas padded with soil and rocks.
Those living in smaller homes can get creative and try vertical gardening, recessed wall niches, or floating or half walls with plants set on top. Miniature gardens, from terrariums to fairy gardens, are also a great option for both space-conscious adults and fun-loving kids.
Kokedama, a Japanese plant art that means "moss ball" in English, involves forming a moss-covered ball of soil around the roots of a plant and wrapping it with twine. Suspending these moss balls as hanging plants is also a trend.
Whatever your decorating style, plants offer a unique way to decorate while helping your home feel inviting and relaxed.
Marriott Buys Starwood, Becoming World's Largest Hotel Chain
Several of the best-known names in travel are now united in one hotel company. Marriott International closed on its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, bringing together its Marriott, Courtyard, and Ritz Carlton brands with Starwood's Sheraton, Westin, W, and St. Regis properties.
In total, 30 hotel brands now fall under the Marriott umbrella to create the largest hotel chain in the world, with more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. That's more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms around the globe.
Marriott now eclipses Hilton Worldwide's 773,000 rooms and the 766,000 that are part of the InterContinental Hotels Group family, according to STR, a firm that tracks hotel data.
Members of Starwood and Marriott's two loyalty programs are able to link their accounts together. Gold elite members in one program will get gold status in the other. Platinum elite members will get platinum in the other. Marriott silver members will see Starwood's lowest category, Preferred Plus.
Each Starwood point will be worth three Marriott Rewards points.
The purchase gives Marriott more leverage with corporate travel departments who often look for one giant chain to house all of their employees. It also gives Marriott more power over Expedia and Priceline, the two giant online travel agencies that sell rooms on behalf of hotel companies in exchange for a commission. The hotel industry has spent the last year trying to get travelers to book directly with them instead of the travel agencies to avoid paying those fees.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
This letter is for information purposes only and is not an advertisement to extend customer credit as defined by Section 12 CFR 1026.2 Regulation Z. Program rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at any time. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, 4131316 NMLS #237653