Planning the perfect staycation

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

Spa weekends, concerts and vacation getaways don’t seem realistic quite yet due to people opting to stay at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.But not to fret. There are ways you can enjoy a fun-filled staycation at home with your partner, your family or, simply, just you. Here are a few ideas:

‘Me’ time

If you’re someone who needs to remain on the move, it might be a welcome change of pace to slow down and create time for a little relaxation and


An at-home spa treatment might be just what you need to hit the “off button” for an hour or two.

“Make your environment spa like: Dim the lights, use some oils and take time to focus on you,” Alexis Cabrera, manager of the Potosa Spa at Hotel Julien Dubuque. “I think the biggest thing is essential oils. You can mix them and make them into your own blend, and then add them to conditioners, baths, diffuse them or wear them on your wrists.”

For skin, take the time to fully cleanse.

“Do a full, three-step cleansing routine, and if you do a mask once a week, you can give yourself that spa glow,” Cabrera said. “Clay or charcoal masks are great for normalizing skin, gel masks hydrate, and vitamin C masks have really good anti-aging benefits.”

For your nails, at-home shellac treatments can be a hassle. But if you want to opt out of the color, you can help out your nails.

“For a strengthening nail remedy, brew a small cup of green tea, let it cool completely, add juice of half lemon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, stir it well and soak your nails in the mixture for five to 10 minutes,” Cabrera said. “Then, wash it off.”

Her biggest piece of advice: Don’t cut your bangs or dye your hair unless you know what you’re doing.

“Don’t touch your hair or use hot tools,” Cabrera said. “Just give it a chance to breath and relax.”

To cap it off, pour yourself a glass of wine, pop in your favorite rom-com, catch up on your binge-watching or curl up with a new or favorite book.

Date nights in

While some couples might have had weddings planned for this spring and summer, one in particular opted to skip the big party and have been enjoying date nights in and quality couple time.

Instead of delaying their wedding day, Dubuque natives and newlyweds Betsy (Duehr) Devos and husband Eric Devos decided to get married at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Dubuque, simplifying their original plans.

“We made the decision to come back to Dubuque the day before the wedding because I was waiting to see if I was going to have any COVID-positive patients in my unit at Georgetown University Hospital,” Betsy said. “I’m just happy to have gotten married the way we did. We’d been looking forward to April 4 for a long time and really just didn’t want to put off getting married, even if it meant plans were changed.”

Since then, the couple, who now live in Washington D.C., has been filling their time by going on walks and playing board games and cards — all good staycation options for a rainy day.

“I taught Eric Euchre and brought home puzzles from Dubuque,” Betsy said. “We take walks around (Washington) D.C. and this huge park in the middle of the city, where you don’t even feel like you’re in D.C. anymore.”

Working out also is something that couples can do with one another while taking a staycation, along with cooking.

“A majority of our time, when we aren’t working, is spent waking up early and going for walks or drives with our coffee, trying new recipes for lunch and dinner, working out in our newly created home gym in the garage of our apartment,” Katie Wedewer said of she and her partner. “We also have become good at trying new cocktail recipes on the weekend: Skinny, spicy margarita is my quarantine go-to.”

You also can enjoy date nights from the comfort of home, making dinner and cuddling up together for a movie.

Family bonding

While couples have been taking advantage of the outdoors and cooking meals together, families have been doing the same, as well as ceasing opportunities to bond away from their once-busy schedules.

At the Romagna house, Beatrice was racking her brain for fun things to do, when it hit her: Themed family dinners.

“A lot of the time, we don’t get to have dinner with everyone just because everyone always has different plans,” she said. “So, I thought this would be the perfect time to do it.”

The meal is complete with a guest list, a themed dress code and a menu.

Outside of dinner hours, the family also has been actively doing everything under the sun.

“We’ve been doing sidewalk chalk, card games, taking walks, bike riding, baking and playing outside,” Beatrice’s mom, Jen Romagna, said. “Bea has found some projects to work on, like taking apart an old swing set, making bracelets and putting on virtual Facebook Live concerts.”

Other family staycation ideas might include puzzles, game nights, movie nights or a makeshift at-home drive-in movie theater, dance parties, planting a garden, yard games or having a barbecue. You also could engage in water activities, such as a water balloon fight or setting up an inflatable swimming pool or sprinkler.

For those looking to venture away from their house, yet stick close to home, walking, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and visiting a nearby park also fits the bill.

And, of course, there is no shame in doing nothing at all. Never underestimate the art of relaxation in a good staycation.

Maddie McCarron is a freelance writer from Dubuque for former Telegraph Herald intern.

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