Lower Energy Costs Before the Summer Heat Hits

It may only be the end of April, but summer’s a’comin’. And with that comes higher energy bills. But you can combat that right now. Lower energy costs before the summer heat hits by performing a few DIY tasks right now.

Lower energy costs in your Marco Island/Naples home before the summer heat hits by performing these simple DIY tasks right now.

How to Lower Energy Costs Right Now

Window Coverings

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Uncovered windows allow the sun’s rays to heat up the inside of your home. They also allow cooler inside air to escape through small cracks or holes. Because of this, you may end up spending up to 25% more in energy costs. Adding something as simple as thicker draperies that completely cover your windows help lower energy costs . And all you need is a screwdriver, a step stool, a good piece of fabric, and a level to make it happen.

Replace Worn Out Caulking/Weatherstripping

Do you feel a slight breeze when you stand near your window? It might be due to worn out, dry, cracked caulking. For just $2, you can purchase interior window caulking at your local home improvement store. Make sure the caulking is a good quality one and can be painted. Don’t use any caulking meant for exterior use. It must be interior use only. Pipe a bead of it around the window where the trim meets the wall and between the trim and the frame. Weatherstripping works well for window joints. If you have any questions, talk to the expert at your home improvement store. It’s very simple to install caulking and weatherstripping. Even a novice should have no problem.

Clean Your Sills

It might sound silly but a simple cleaning of your window sills may be enough to stop a small air leak and lower energy costs. How? Dirt buildup prevents windows from sealing properly. Thus, air leaks occur. When that happens, it costs more to cool off the interior of your home. Just use soap and water to clean out the sill. For stuck-on grime, a scrubber or old toothbrush should loosen it up enough to wipe away. Don’t forget the tracks in your sliding glass doors, too. This task is so simple that you might even be able to let the kids help you with it. And it costs nothing if you already have the soap and scrubber on hand.

Add a Door Sweep

Another area where a house loses energy is through the exterior doors. Stand in your interior entryway and look at your front door during the day. Do you see daylight streaming through? Then you’re losing energy. One way to stop this from happening is to add a door sweep to the bottom of the door. They create a seal that prevents hot air from coming in and cool air from exiting. The result? Lower energy costs. Some door sweeps install without any hardware whatsoever. Others you’ll need to screw into the door frame. Costs run around $10 to $20 each and take minutes to install.

Inspect Your Air Ducts

Finally, lower energy costs by taking a look at your air ducts. You should be able to see them in your crawl space, attic, unfinished basement area and/or garage. Look for any visible holes or tears. Contrary to what its name implies, forget about using duct tape. Instead, opt for mastic or foil tape. A roll will only set you back about $10 to $15 and can be found at any home improvement store. All you’ll need to complete the task once you purchase your tape is a flashlight.

Before temperatures begin to soar, lower energy costs by completing these simple DIY tasks right now. They don’t take a lot of skill, money or time either. Anybody can do these and you’ll save some money in the process.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos?

Naples Food Angels Seeks Volunteers Now

According to NoKidHungry.org, almost 40 million people in the United States experienced food insecurity in 2017. Children make up more than 13 million of that total. While it may be hard for many people to believe, thousands of these people reside right here in the Naples area. Places like Naples Food Angels help this underserved part of society every single week. But they could use your help in collecting, organizing, and distributing the food that passes through their facility each week. They need volunteers right now.

If you need to fulfill a community service requirement or just want to help out a great cause, volunteer for the Naples Food Angels right now. They could use your help.

What Do Naples Food Angels Do?

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During the week, Naples Food Angels visits local grocery stores to pick up almost expired foodstuffs (canned, boxed, fresh, frozen, etc). They bring it back to The Current Community Center located at 13510 Tamiami Trail North #4 in Naples. There, they sort all items out into appropriate sections.

On Saturdays, they open up their facility to the public from 10:30 am to 12 pm. All visitors shop to their heart’s content, no questions asked. No money ever changes hands either. After that, they take to the streets and bring the mobile pantry to those in need and without transportation. Every Wednesday evening, they cook up and serve a hot meal to the community as well as pass out food to take home.

Naples Food Angels Volunteer Opportunities

Do you want to become a Naples Food Angels volunteer? They need people to help with picking up retail rescue food every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. They also need assistance with unloading vehicles, organizing food, and placing it on the shelves at The Current on those same days. Every Wednesday, volunteers pack up filling station backs for homeless school-aged children and deliver those bags to two local Naples area schools. They could use your help in preparing and serving meals every Wednesday as well as passing out or assisting clients with their food selections on Wednesday nights (6 pm to 7:30 pm) and Saturday mornings (10:30 am to 12 pm).

If you’d like to volunteer for any of these positions, please contact Naples Food Angels at (239) 298-9506 or send them an email letting them know you’d like to offer up your time. Volunteer service always looks great on college applications. You can also use this opportunity to fulfill your court-ordered community service requirement if needed. Simply bring any necessary forms from your school, the court, or a civic organization (such as Boy/Girl Scouts). Give them to the people in charge before you start your “shift”.

If you can’t volunteer your time, Naples Food Angels also accept donations. Food items and toiletries can be dropped off at The Current on Saturday mornings from 10:30 am to 12 pm or Wednesday nights from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Or, you can donate money online at any time. With this money, the angels purchase more foodstuffs for the pantry. Together, we can help end hunger in our community.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos?

StayinMay Festival 2019 in Naples is Bigger and Better Than Ever

One of the biggest and most diverse events in Southwest Florida straddles April and May every single year. And this year’s StayinMay Festival appears to be even bigger and better than ever before. So, if you plan on staying in the Naples area anytime between April 24th and May 7th, you might want to check out the festival calendar to see what’s going on, when it’s happening, and where you can catch it. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this amazing event!

The Naples StayinMay Festival 2019 truly offers something for everyone. Between April 24th and May 7th, enjoy live music, fantastic food, amazing art, short films, and so much more.

What: StayinMay Festival 2019
Where: Multiple Venues Around Naples
When: April 24th to May 7th
Cost: Varies per event (free to $95)
Contact: StayinMay website

StayinMay Festival 2019

StayinMay Festival Music

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StayinMay Festival 2019 literally offers something for just about everyone to enjoy. Do you like music? Several different groups perform everything from bluegrass to pop to classical music. The Henri Mancini Institute hosts a string trio one night and a piano trio another night. Visit the South Regional Library for Duke Ellington and Billy Stayhorn-era jazz music. If you love a capella, listen to the Grammy nominated Seraphic Fire perform at Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church on the final evening of the festival. For laughs and music, watch the 3 Redneck Tenors tackle everything from opera to bluegrass at Hilton Naples on the first night of the festival.

StayinMay Festival Food

Do you love food? Get your tickets for the “Flavor of Brazil” hosted by Venue Naples on May 2nd. Enjoy a special chef’s dinner featuring fantastic Brazilian food. While you eat, an artist paints a picture on the spot taking inspiration from the wonderful land that evening’s food comes from.

The food industry is pumping out some incredibly talented chefs. If you’d like to taste a dish prepared by future culinary superstars, come to Venue Naples on May 6th. Local area high school students enrolled in culinary programs want to “wow” you with food they’ve prepared from their favorite countries.

StayinMay Festival Movies

Do you love movies? You have the chance to see three different short film festivals throughout the entire fun of StayinMay Festival 2019. Sheffield Theater hosts all three on April 28th, May 1st, and May 5th. It costs just $15 per day to view three award-winning films on their respective days.

StayinMay Festival Art

Do you love art? Join the Art Alive Gallery Hop on May 1st. Visit 60 different galleries around the Naples area. Several of the artists featured put together special gift baskets to be given away to guests that evening. Admission to Art Alive is absolutely free.

Many other events take place throughout the entire 12-day StayinMay Festival 2019. To find out more about each event as well as purchase your tickets, visit the StayinMay website. Most of these events sell out quickly. So, I’d suggest you get online and reserve your tickets today.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples Earth Day 2019 Fun at the Conservancy

Officially, April 22nd is Earth Day. But, honestly, every day should be Earth Day. For almost 50 years, people and organizations use this day to point out what we should be doing to help the environment. When everyone makes even a small change in their unhealthy habits, it makes a mighty big impact. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida highlights how our day-to-day habits affect wildlife at their Naples Earth Day 2019 event.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida hosts their Naples Earth Day 2019 activities on April 13th. Enjoy several hands-on activities, interactive exhibits, and fun yet educational introductions to various animals living at the conservancy.

What: Naples Earth Day 2019
Where: Conservancy of Southwest Florida (1495 Smith Preserve Way)
When: Saturday, April 13th, 10 am to 3 pm
Admission: $10/adult, $5/child
Contact: Conservancy of SW Florida (239) 262-0304

Naples Earth Day 2019 at the Conservancy

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This year, the Conservancy celebrates Naples Earth Day 2019 on Saturday, April 13th. Mr. Glen hosts the Super Science Show with his animal buddies (both puppets and real life). Various staff members discuss how animals spend their day, including reptiles, amphibians, fish, and birds. Travel around the waterways at the Conservancy via boat.

Kids will love all of the interactive exhibits on display. Get your face painted before you participate in an archaeological “dig” for prehistoric fossils. Visit the care center to see how the conservancy makes sick animals feel better. Play some of the fun games set up on-site. And, when you get hungry, stop at one of the food trucks for delicious bite to eat.

Admission to Naples Earth Day 2019

Admission to all Naples Earth Day 2019 activities at the Conservancy is totally affordable for all. Adults pay just $10 per person. Each kid costs $5 per person. However, if you’re a member of the conservancy or are under two years old, you get in for free. Everyone is welcome. Ask about how to become a member when you visit. It’s easy to join and worth much more than the price of admission. Happy Earth Day!

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples Art in the Park 2019 – Last Show of the Season

If you desire to see beautiful works of art while enjoying the gorgeous Southwest Florida weather, there’s just one place to go: Cambier Park. In February, they hosted the Naples National Art Festival. Earlier this month, they hosted the Artcrafters Fine Art Show. And, since November, the park featured an outdoor art market on the first Saturday of each month. However, this next Naples Art in the Park will be the last show of the season.

Don't miss the last Naples Art in the Park show for the 2018/2019 season. The artists won't be back for this juried art show until November.

What: Naples Art in the Park 2019
Where: Cambier Park
When: Saturday, April 6th, 10 am to 4 pm
Admission: FREE
Contact: Naples Art Association (239) 262-6517 or via email

Naples Art in the Park 2019 – Last Show of the Season

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Looking for something new to add to your home’s decor? An interesting sculpture? A delicate watercolor? Perhaps an industrial-style metal piece? Maybe you need something unique to dress up your outdoor living space. Whatever it is you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it at Naples Art in the Park 2019.

For over six decades now, Naples Art in the Park has brought artists and shoppers together in one location. This takes the artists out of their studios and into nature where anyone can admire their work. Speak directly to the artist whose work you enjoy. Learn about their process, their inspiration, and their experience in an unfiltered backdrop of natural beauty.

As I stated before, April 6th marks the final Naples Art in the Park of the season. They won’t open back up again until November. So, if you want to purchase a new art piece for your collection, you should do it now. Keep in mind that art makes a great gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and any other occasion you can think of. Support artists and the beauty they provide. Come to Naples Art in the Park next month.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples Downtown Art Show 2019

The first day of spring happens this Wednesday, March 20th. Can you believe it? That means that the Naples Downtown Art Show 2019 becomes the first official spring art event in town.

Come to the Naples Downtown Art Show 2019 this weekend (March 23rd & 24th) for the first art show of spring in the Naples/Marco Island area.

What: Naples Downtown Art Show 2019
Where: 701 5th Ave S
When: March 23rd, 10 am to 6 pm & March 24th, 10 am to 5 pm
Admission: FREE (donations accepted)
Contact: Naples Art Association (239) 262-6517 or via email

Naples Downtown Art Show 2019

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Known for its rich art scene, Naples hosts several award-winning art shows all year long. Earlier this month, people packed Cambier Park for the Artcrafters Fine Art and Crafts Show. At the end of February, over 20,000 people filled up Cambier Park for the National Art Festival. This weekend, you won’t want to miss one of Sunshine Artist magazine’s 200 Best Classic & Contemporary Craft Shows. Last year’s Naples Downtown Art Show ranked #34 on that list, as a matter of fact.

Over 200 artists from all over the United States as well as a few foreign countries showcase their work in this juried art show. That makes the Naples Downtown Art Show 2019 a truly international experience. Come see the amazing talent on display for yourself. All artists in the show benefit from advertising paid for by the show.

Naples Downtown Art Show 2019 Admission & Parking Info

Anyone interested in seeing the artwork on display at the Naples Downtown Art Show 2019 gets in absolutely free of charge. However, donations are always accepted. The money raised from the show benefits the educational programs provided by the Naples Art Association.

Free parking can be found all around 5th Ave South. It should be a beautiful sunny day. So, if you’d rather, forget about trying to find a parking spot. Ride your bicycle to the show instead. Make it a family outing and bring your kids and friends along, too. The choice is yours. Enjoy!

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Collier County Fair 2019

Do you remember how excited you got when the fair came to town as a kid? Sticky, yummy food. Ring toss for prizes. Rides that went round and round? Relive those fun times again with your own kids during the Collier County Fair 2019.

Bring the whole family to the Collier County Fair 2019 for food, games, rides, live entertainment, animals, and so much more between March 14 & 24.

What: Collier County Fair 2019
Where: Collier County Fairgrounds (751 39th Ave NE, Naples)
When: March 14th to 24th, 6 pm to 11 pm Mon, Tues & Thurs, 2 pm to 11 pm Wed, 6 pm to 1 am Fri, 1 pm to 1 am Sat & 1 pm to 10 pm Sun
Admission: $5.50 to $28 (rides cost extra)
Contact: Collier County Fairgrounds (239) 455-1444

Collier County Fair 2019

The Collier County Fair 2019 hosts the usual types of things you expect to find at the fair: food vendors, fairway games, carnival rides. But they also showcase fantastic live entertainment and other activities. Some of the acts on the schedule include the ventriloquist Tom Crowl, DJ Negro at Fiesta at the Fair, and the Sweeney Family Band. Watch the Rhinestone Roper’s Wild West Show. See the aquatic acrobatics of the Fair Flayes Water Show. Puppet Grandpa Cratchet teaches kids about safety. And you definitely won’t want to miss the petting zoo, pig races, pony rides or arm wrestling. On St Patrick’s Day, the demolition derby comes to the fair. All of this and so much more is included in the price of admission!

Outside food and beverages are prohibited. Food vendors are available on-site. Feel free to bring your own chair or blanket if you’d like. Only service animals are allowed on the premises. Large crowds scare even the tamest of pets. For the safety of you, your pet and the people around you, please leave Fluffy or Fido at home.

Tickets for Collier County Fair 2019

Admission to the Collier County Fair 2019 costs $12 per adult per day. Children ages 6 to 11 get in for just $5.50 per day. All kids under the age of 6 get in absolutely free of charge with an accompanying parent or guardian. Until midnight on March 20th, you may purchase a MegaPass armband for $28 (adult or child). This armband allows you admission to the fair for one day as well as unlimited rides. The MegaPasses can be used any day of the fair (March 14th to 24th) but will be unavailable for purchase after the 20th. Purchase your tickets at the Collier County Fair’s online box office or in person at the fairgrounds.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival 2019

The Gulf of Mexico sits right in our backyard. The Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean are located a short distance away. So, fresh seafood acts as a mainstay in many dishes around our town. Sounds like a great location for the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival 2019 to me!

Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival 2019 offers three days of delicious food, beautiful arts and crafts, and tons of great music at Veterans Park to raise money for local Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs.

What: Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival 2019
Where: Veterans Community Park (901 Park Ave)
When: March 22 & 23rd, 11 am to 9 pm, March 24th, 11 am to 5 pm
Admission: $10 per day or $16 for any two days, kids under 12 FREE
Contact: Marco Island Chamber of Commerce (239) 394-7549

Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival 2019

Over the course of the three-day Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival 2019 event, guests dine on the best seafood around. Not a huge fan of fish dishes? Don’t worry. Chefs serve up some meat and vegetarian meals as well. No one goes hungry here! Dozens of arts and crafts vendors show off their wares for sale. Let your children play in the Kids Zone while you shop around.

In addition to the amazing food and artists’ offerings, top-notch musicians perform for the crowds as well. Each night offers a different headline act to finish off that day’s jamboree of fun. On opening night, Disco Inferno closes out the evening with their covers of the hits you would have danced to at Studio 54. Saturday’s festivities end with The Landsharks Band headlining. They perform their tributes to the music of Jimmy Buffet and the Beach Boys. Finally, the entire Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival 2019 finishes up with country duo One Night Rodeo’s headlining performance. Several other fantastic bands also play throughout each day of the festival, too.

Tickets for the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival 2019

The festival offers two separate ticket options: a one-day pass or a two-day pass. For $10, you gain access to the festival for one as well as free parking for that day. Pay just $6 more and add a second day. You choose which two of the three days you want to attend. Kids under 12 years old get in for free. For tickets, please visit the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival website here.

For 11 years now, the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival has acted as a fundraiser for our local Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. Money raised benefits the charities they work tirelessly to help throughout the year. Your patronage is greatly appreciated.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples Artcrafters Fine Art Show 2019

Did you miss last weekend’s National Art Festival in Cambier Park? It was packed. Over 20,000 people made it their destination of choice throughout the two-day event. If you didn’t make it then or if you would like to see more, the Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show 2019 takes place in two weeks.

You only have two more chances to enjoy the Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show for the season in Cambier Park. This free event showcases the talents of dozens of local artists in one location. Support the arts. Make this a "must see" event for your friends and family.

What: Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show 2019
Where: Cambier Park (585 Park St)
When: Saturday, March 9th, 10 am to 4 pm
Admission: FREE
Contact: Bonny Hawley, Naples Artcrafters via email

Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show 2019

Between October and April, Naples Artcrafters hosts a fine art and craft show in Cambier Park. This allows local artists a place to showcase their talent. Most of the items you see are also available for purchase. These artists utilize a variety of mediums, such as acrylics, watercolor, charcoal, metal, glass, pottery, and much more. Even handmade goods like jewelry, scarves, hats, gloves, and coats can be found among the dozens of artist displays.

Naples Artcrafters Parking

All attendees of the Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show 2019 park for free on a first come/first served basis. Parking is available in the public parking garage located adjacent to the park during show hours only.

The next and final show of the season takes place on April 13th. So, if you miss March’s show, you only have one more chance to catch this year’s artists at work. Miss it and you’ll be waiting six more months before Naples Artcrafters brings back their monthly shows at Cambier Park.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

D-I-Y Projects That B-O-O-S-T Your Home’s Value

Does your Marco Island home need a makeover? Is your Naples property begging for an update? Thinking of putting your house on the market this year? You don’t have to spend your life’s savings to make your home appealing to potential buyers. Complete these simple, inexpensive DIY projects instead. The upside? Buyers might pay more for your home afterward.

Want to make a big impression without spending thousands of dollars. These DIY projects not only impress potential buyers, but they also increase your home's value.

D-I-Y Projects That B-O-O-S-T Your Home’s Value


Bathroom overhauls can get expensive. But, you can make a huge change using less money with these simple DIY projects. Tear out the old vanity and install a new one. Big box stores sell these for less than $200 each. Change out the sink. Rip out the old, outdated, large mirror above the vanity. Replace it with a smaller framed mirror instead. Even something as simple as installing a new shower head, towel bar, and toilet paper holder turns a “ho-hum” bathroom into a modern beauty.


Kitchens help sell a Naples home. So, making sure that it’s up to date makes a lot of sense. But, if you don’t want to spend a lot of cents, consider these inexpensive DIY projects. Dark, wooden cabinets are “out”. White cabinets are “in”. If your cabinets are in good shape, paint them. Add new hardware (knobs, pulls, handles). If the old faucet has seen better days, replace it with a newer pull-down option. You’d be shocked at what a transformation you can make for just a couple hundred dollars.


Are your fixtures so last century? One of the great DIY projects that increase your home’s value is replacing them. Doorknobs get dull, dingy, and even break from continued use. For just $10 to $20 each, you can install brand new ones. Another update that many homeowners don’t think of is to replace your outlets. With modern technology, we always seem to be in need of charging up our batteries (smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc). But outlets may come at a premium in your household. Consider replacing the traditional outlet with one that includes a USB port or two. At $10 to $20 apiece, they make an awesome selling feature to today’s tech-savvy buyers. Instead of replacing every single one of your outlets, though, keep the cost down by installing one or two in the kitchen, living room, and each bedroom. These are the areas you would use them the most. And it still frees up the outlets for anything that needs a regular plug.


Finally, let’s talk lighting. Southwest Florida provides lots of natural light throughout the year. You want to let that light shine inside. A no-cost DIY project would be to just take down heavy drapes or add sheer fabric panels. Some light fixtures fade over time. If that has happened in your home, replace them. Double pane windows with a cracked seal may allow moisture inside. When this happens, mold and hard water deposits can create a film on the glass, making it difficult to see out of. Replace old windows with more energy efficient ones. This definitely adds value on several levels. New windows look better, they keep the elements outside of the house and they help lower your utility costs year-round.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos