5 Tips to End Your Summer with a Bang!

By Rachel Tringali Marston

The dog days of summer are coming to an end and a lot of families are finishing their summer adventures. However, if you’re like me, the end-of-summer means preparing for a TDY and spending the rest of this season without your spouse. Instead of being dramatic and channeling my inner Celine Dion, I’m planning to end my summer with a bang! I’ve put together an awesome agenda that will keep me going through my husband’s TDY. Consider these 5 tips for your end-of-summer list, especially if you’re spending it solo.

Embark on a Weekend Trip
Grab your friends and schedule a day or weekend trip. Is there a nearby winery you’ve wanted to try? Or a beach where you can mellow out? What better way to decompress than with your best buds? If you’re like me, who is a HUGE baseball fan, catch a game before the season ends. My weekend trip will consist of a bus ride to New York City to see my beloved Yankees play. I’ll be staying with my old friends and watching the game with them.

Consider taking the bus to your destination. It’s a great way to avoid driving by yourself. It saves money in some respects too. For example, driving from Washington, D.C., to New York City would run you about $50 each way in tolls (yikes!). If you book an intercity bus service and schedule at off-peak times, your trip can run about $50 roundtrip – plus you don’t have to pay for gas. Also, many MWRs offer bus trips to drivable destinations. My installation, Fort Belvoir hosts daytrips to NYC and Atlantic City. Check your local installation’s MWR or  ITT office for more details and future dates.

If it’s difficult for you and your friends to find a bus route to your must-go location, wrangle everyone together for a road trip and then split the trip costs. Be sure to plan your route ahead of time, so tolls don’t surprise you and you’re able to budget accordingly.

Start a Brand-New Hobby
To pass the time I would typically spend with my husband, I’ve decided to start a brand-new hobby. I was inspired by our many adventures here at our duty station as well as the several tokens and brochures we picked up every time we did something new. All the stuff from our trips around town are beginning to pile up and it would be helpful to arrange them in a more orderly fashion. That’s when scrapbooking came to mind.

It’s something I’ve never done before and thought it would a perfect way to catalog all our memorable activities. I have the trail maps of our hiking trip to Shenandoah National Park, the campground marker with our name on it from our camping trip to Lake Anna State Park, our Virginia Beach hotel room key and drink umbrella. All those things would be perfect scrapbooking materials. The key is to give yourself a deadline to help things come along. I’m hoping to put together the scrapbook by the time my husband arrives home from his TDY in October.

If scrapbooking isn’t for you, think about other things that you’ve previously said, “That would be cool to do” but haven’t done yet. Here’s a great (and potentially cheesy) example: I would get so sucked in the Zumba commercials on TV. It looked fun and I was trying to find a great fitness activity that wasn’t too painful. I also needed something that would keep my attention for an extended amount of time. Well, four years and forty pounds later, I’m still doing Zumba and it’s something that I can find anywhere the military sends us. Maybe it’s not a fitness class. Then maybe you should try a painting class? Or playing in paintball tournaments? The sky’s the limit.

Plan a “Me” Day
Really, do it. Please dedicate some time just for yourself and nobody else. We always say we should do it, but how many times do we actually go through with it? Since my husband has been back from his yearlong hardship tour, I’ve been by his side. With the exception of quick weeklong TDYs here and there, we’ve been attached at the hip. Well, the military is sending him away again and he’s not coming back for a couple of months. I’m going to spend this time to work on myself again.

For starters, I’m going to cut my hair. I haven’t had a haircut since December 2013 (now that I’m typing that, it’s pretty sad). I haven’t had a pedicure since our wedding and I still have the same nail polish on my toes (talk about extra sad). I’ve been so caught up with being newly married that I didn’t even realize that I haven’t done something for just me. I’m putting my foot down and intend to book a trip to the salon. Don’t have time to head to the salon or have a spa day? Relax and unwind with a spa day at home, with rejuvenating beauty products like Pond’s® Hydrating Sheet Masks or St. Ives® Gentle Smoothing Oatmeal Scrub & Mask.

Spend Time at Your Safe Haven
My specific safe haven is the water. I LOVE the water. Swimming in it. Being by it. Hearing it splash around … I love it all. My apartment complex has a pretty decent pool with its own lounge chair area. I intend to spend the last of my summer days bumming it at the pool. One day I’ll bring a book, another I’ll take a nap, and then do whatever else comes to mind. There is just something about the water that calms me. Just make sure you protect your skin before you head to the pool—moisturizers with SPF are ideal—like Simple® Kind to Skin Protecting Light Moisturizer SPF 15.

Think about your safe haven. Where do you go to feel calm? Do you enjoy the park? Or how about a museum? Find some alone time at a place that makes you feel at peace. It will allow you to recharge your mental batteries and feel refreshed for another day. This gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself again and to not think about the military. Just because you’re a military spouse doesn’t mean the military defines you! While you’re at your safe haven spend some time evaluating your personal goals. By the time your spouse returns, you’ll be ready to take on the world together again and have some personal objectives too.

Throw a Killer Blowout
I’m not talking about a wild and crazy party you don’t remember the next day, just something that you can put together for those close to you. It can even just be for you and your best bud. The notion of having an end-of-summer event is great because it symbolizes the start of something new.  I love the idea of kicking off the next season on the right note and remaining positive even though your spouse is away.

Check out Operation In Touch’s food page and scope out unique and easy-to-make dishes, like: Knorr® Chicken Tacos, Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Aloha Ham and Cheese Strangewiches or Breyers® American Flag Ice Cream Cake. You don’t have to have a fancy menu for you and your friends to have a good time. Are you feeling extra adventurous? Host a themed party. Put together some games or crafts that you and your buddies would enjoy. My friends love to play creative thinking board games– anything that gets us laughing. It’s a way to engage us and to just have a good time.

I also plan on incorporating my spouse into the party in some way. Hopefully he can video chat for a spare moment. Or send over a video message via email? Just because your spouse is in the other side of the country doesn’t mean he can’t attend your party virtually.

Do you have a suggestion for military spouses ending the summer solo? We want to know!


Rachel Tringali Marston is an Army wife to an amazing soldier and daughter to an Air Force retiree. Rachel’s family settled in Texas and that’s where she calls home. After growing up in Texas, Rachel continued her education in New York City where she earned her BA in Communication Studies. She is finally living under the same roof as her husband at their first duty station together as a newly married couple in Virginia. Rachel started her writing career at a local newspaper and interned at several national and local magazines, and now writes for herself on The Professional Army Wife where she shares her experiences with others as she integrates to Army life. 


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