celebrity shopping

What Marlo Thomas Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Matthew Murphy

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked actress, author, and activist Marlo Thomas — whose Williams Sonoma holiday collection is out now — about her better-than-Converse sneakers, the sensitive-stomach-friendly protein powder she drinks every morning, and the signature scent that alerts people to her presence.

I’ve tried all the different bronzers and St. Tropez is the best. You don’t have to wait for the effects. Let’s say you’re going to a party tonight and you say, “Oh, damn, I didn’t tan.” With this, you just shower, apply it, and within a half-hour, you’ll look fabulous. It makes your skin shiny and smooth, too. I’ve seen myself on television with my legs crossed, and this makes me look like I have stockings on. And the color lasts a while, about four days.

All the cool kids wear Converse, but I love my Keds. I’ve been wearing them forever and have them in a million colors. I wear my white ones the most, usually when I’m walking to the store or just loafing around casually. They’re very comfortable and aren’t cumbersome. So many shoes now have a life of their own, but I like these because they’re more streamlined.

My body chemistry and this perfume are a good match. People always ask me what I’m wearing, and when I tell them, they say it doesn’t smell the same when they’ve tried it. I’ve been wearing this for decades. My friends tell me they know when I’ve entered a room because of it.

I love a scented room. At Christmastime, I go for berry smells. Through the rest of the year, I want my house to smell like a garden. I get one scent and stick with it in every room, so when you walk in, you get a big bang of the same smell. I used to only use candles, but I was recently gifted this diffuser for my birthday and I loved it. I thought, Oh, this is great. I don’t have to worry about a fire. I buy these for myself now, and they’re all over my house. They last a month at least, but usually longer.

A friend of mine recommended this, and I was very surprised not only by the quality, but by how affordable it is. It’s a three-in-one. You could use it as a brow pencil, eyeshadow, or as an eyeliner, which is what I mainly use it for. Some eye pencils are too dry and stick when you’re drawing on liner, but this is very smooth. It’s easy to apply and of fine quality, which is true to Chanel.

My husband, Phil, who I can’t live without, introduced me to this. Protein powders are usually a little rough on my stomach since I have a sensitive digestive system. This doesn’t upset my stomach, is loaded with more protein than any other protein drink I’ve tried, and it tastes very good. I get the chocolate flavor. I drink it every morning and right after my workouts.

I love a lot of Tracie Martyn’s line, but this is my favorite. It really exfoliates and deeply cleanses, but it’s not rough on the skin. I’ve tried lots and lots of other exfoliants that have left my skin red and raw afterward. That doesn’t happen at all with this. I like to follow up with her hydrating Complexion Savior Mask right after. It’s a nice one-two punch for my skin.

From $277

I wear my dad’s ring almost every day. It’s a thick gold band that has his initials, “DT,” engraved on it. My father passed suddenly, so he didn’t have time to leave me and my siblings anything. We each took something of his that meant something to us, and I chose his ring. Whenever I look at it, it reminds me of him and makes me very happy. I rub it for good luck or if I’m about to go into a tense meeting. His was made years and years ago, but Etsy has some fabulous jewelry makers who could create a signature ring with your loved one’s initials on it.

[Editor’s note: This isn’t Marlo’s exact ring, but she provided a similar option here.]

I use Spotify all day long. I think I was a DJ in my last life. First thing I do when I wake up is put on Chopin. I don’t want to start my day with loud music, so having just tinkling on the piano is very pretty in the morning. Around 11 a.m., I switch to Italian music. My mom was Italian and loved opera (or Nat King Cole, depending on her mood). I really love Gino Paoli, who’s very, very smooth, and Andrea Bocelli. In the afternoon, I get into Willie Nelson. And as the day goes on, I play other genres, depending on what I feel like.

It’s small, but it’s amazing how much it can hold. I usually carry my driver’s license, cash, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, and anything else I’ll need right on me without having to dig through a big bag. I like it much better than a purse because I can wear it across my shoulder and it’s right on my hip. No one can lift it, which has happened to me before. And I never make the mistake of leaving it on a shop counter, which I did several times when I carried a tote or purse.

Our golden retriever Charlie loves this. He’s got to have it on him every minute. First thing when he wakes up in the morning, he grabs his ball and comes downstairs. We have a daytime one with a squeaker so he can squeak all he wants. At night, we give him the one without the squeaker, and he even sleeps with it. I remember interviewing Billie Jean King for one of my books, and she said when she was 9 years old, she got her first tennis racket. She loved it so much that she slept with it in her bed. Children and dogs are alike in some ways. I get such a kick out of it.

Whether I’m entertaining guests or having a meeting, I like to bring out cheese on a wooden board, some crackers in a basket, and some grapes or something else in another little basket. I designed this as a part of my collection with Williams Sonoma so that I could have just one tray for everything. It’s a hostess’s dream because you don’t have to deal with schlepping stuff back and forth. When I designed the little porcelain partitions, I even got out a tape measure and measured a cracker to make sure it would fit. It’s very efficient and made beautifully with wood, silver, and porcelain that will last.

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What Marlo Thomas Can’t Live Without