Author Archives: Alison Suppes

Fun in the Sun at Marco Island: Up and Running After Hurricane Irma

Fun in the Sun at Marco Island: Up and Running After Hurricane Irma

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Through my husband’s work, we were able to qualify for an award trip to the JW Marriott in Marco Island. We had been once before and were excited for another stay!  Since our trip has been planned for months, we didn’t know if we’d still be able to go after Hurricane Irma recently caused damage to much of the Gulf Florida coast.  However, we were pleasantly surprised that almost everything is back up and running and we were definitely able to have fun in the sun at Marco Island!

Where to Stay

Since the only thing better than a beach vacation… is a free beach vacation, we decided to open a Marriott rewards credit card and earn enough points to extend our stay and also be able to bring our children along.  When visiting Marco Island, the JW Marriot is definitely our hotel of choice!

Our balcony room offered plenty of space for our family of fiveand stunning views of the gulf. The guestrooms were recently renovated and exceptionally appointed.

The kids were impressed that the TV had a personalized welcome message with our names on it and that there were white bath robes provided!  But I would have to say I was most impressed with the customer service. Every person we met—from the employee greeting us upon arrival, to the check-in counter, to the concierge, to housekeeping—made us feel welcome and ensured that every request we had was met. It was everything a family vacation at a luxury five-star resort should be.

Family-friendly activities

While in Marco Island we wanted to find an activity that the whole family would be able to enjoy. We stopped by the Marco Island Water Sports tiki hut that was located on the beach, right in front of our resort. They helped us pick an activity that everybody could have fun with. They offer dolphin and shelling tours, wave runner rentals, parasailing and much more. Our family decided to take the Banana Boat ride.

Our youngest was a little worried about how fast it would go, but our guide, Ryan, assured us that we could decide how adventurous we wanted the ride to be. He started off slowly for us, but it wasn’t long before we were all giving him the thumbs-up signal—which, in banana boat language, means go FAST! He was also very knowledgeable about the Marco Island Area. It was awesome to see so much of the Island on our ride and we were even lucky enough to have a couple of dolphin sightings. It was such a fun morning—definitely a highlight of our family vacation!

Our hotel also offered some fun kids activities…

And, of course, we spent most of our days on the beautiful private beach and enjoyed time at both pools…

Rebuilding after Hurricane Irma

As we were watching hurricane Irma Head toward the Florida coast my first concern was for all of the people in it’s path. I knew we had an upcoming trip to Marco Island and I really wasn’t sure if that was even something we’d still be able to do. Living in Ohio, we’ve never seen firsthand the devastation a hurricane can cause, but certainly the pictures on TV were heart-wrenching. We decided that if we got the all clear from the resort that they were open we would keep our vacation plans in place.

On the way from the airport to the resort, we decided to drive around and explore the area. It was clear that the residential areas were still recovering. There were lots of trees down, debris lining the roads, and many homes and structures were damaged. But while we were there we learned of some of the fantastic local groups that had been organizeda grassroots effort of neighbors helping neighbors. Marco Patriots is one of those groups. They’ve been able to help some of the hardest hit people in the Naples, Marco Island, and Everglade Areas. They recently were able to secure a private plane and pilot and are now starting to take aid to Puerto Rico. It’s pretty inspiring to think that people who are still rebuilding their own homes and business are looking for ways to help others who were hit so hard by the same hurricane.


Plan your beach vacation

Yes, we even got the tiki guy to help us spell out O-H-I-O…

And got to experience dinner at sunset on the beach…

On our flight back home we all started planning our next vacation to the JW Marriott Marco Island!  Whether you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime vacation of luxury or a low-key family fun vacation spot Marco Island has you covered.


Get Your Home Ready To Sell In 3 Simple Steps

Get Your Home Ready to Sell | Money Savvy LivingAs a licensed Realtor, I’m constantly giving advice to clients about how to best prepare their homes for showings. My recommendations don’t just come as part of my profession, but are based on my own experience as a seller. You see, over the last 14 years, my husband and I have been in the position of seller nine times. Seriously, NINE times! Each time we market our home, we follow these simple steps:


Declutter, Declutter, Declutter.

This can be anything from rooms overstuffed with bulky furniture, kitchen counters covered with appliances, to closets overflowing. All of these things distract from your home’s selling features. Since you will have to pack everything eventually anyways, clearing out the things that you can now, will make moving that much easier. When you pack, you will have to go through literally every item in your home. If you love it or regularly use it—keep it. If not, this is the perfect time to part with those things you really don’t need: sell items online, have a garage sale or donate charity.

The goal is to make each room feel spacious and functional. It can be a good investment to rent a storage unit for the few months your home will be on the market. It will provide a place to keep all those items that you don’t want to part with, but can’t stay at the home during showings.


Take Care of Deferred Maintenance

Though your home might not be brand new, it will be the buyer’s “new” home. If you want top-dollar you have to make buyers feel like they are walking into a move-in-ready home. On the other hand, if your home is full of half-finished projects or has several fixes that need to be made, you are literally leaving money on the table. Spend the time to freshen up paint and make needed repairs. Don’t forget the curb appeal—spruce up the landscaping, put down new mulch, and pressure was the exterior if needed.


Make Your Home Shine

Now that your home is decluttered and all of your fixes have been made, there is one final step—cleaning. This step can feel especially hard if you have children. My kids can take a beautiful, show-ready home and have it looking like a tornado came through within minutes! And since keeping the kids out of the house constantly isn’t an option, I had come up with a system to get the house ready.

  • Before your home hits the market deep-clean: wash windows, dust the woodwork, clean the carpets, scrub the bathrooms, clean the garage…you get the idea. This will make it so much easier to go through the house and tidy up quickly before showings. If the major cleaning is done it takes little effort to keep things in order.
  • Before each showing, make a “clean sweep” through each room: open the curtains/blinds, turn on the lights, and make sure nothing was overlooked.

There are a couple of commonly heard “tips” missing from my list. I don’t recommend that clients repaint their home in neutral or completely depersonalize. I think that homes void of color and personality tend to feel cold and uninviting. I’ve never removed my wedding photos from the wall or taken down pictures of my children. In fact, I advise my clients to keep these personal touches, as well as add some colorful pillows, throws, and flowers prior to showings.



Alison is a Licensed Realtor, Recipient of the OAR Award of Achievement, and President’s Sales Club 2013 & 2014.

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