Packing Guide: Bahamas Cruise

Planning a spring break cruise and don’t know what to pack? I have you covered!

Bathing suits (duh)

This one is obvious if you’re going on a cruise, but how many should you bring? Well, that depends on how long your cruise is, how light you want to pack, and if you care about wearing the same suit twice. I lie somewhere in the middle of all of these, so for my seven day cruise, I packed three swim suits that were easy to mix and match. That way I didn’t overpack, but I also had enough options to mix it up on my Instagram.

Cover Up

For my coverup, I had a pair of red flowy pants (borrowed from a friend, bought from Target). For the most part, I didn’t need to cover up the top of my bikini on our boat, but I wanted to throw some pants on for some coverage. A cute pair of flowy pants, a lightweight dress, or even a kimono-like shawl will work! My advice would be to find something that can go from the beach to a restaurant so you don’t have to slip into jean shorts with wet bathing suit bottoms.

Sun dress

While this can double as a coverup, it’s also a good idea to bring regular clothes for when you’re not in a swim suit. Such as in the evenings when you’re eating dinner, at an on-board comedy show, or at the various clubs and bars on the cruise ship.

Shorts and Tank Top

For any excursions that don’t require a bathing suit! If you plan on hiking or going to see ruins or anything else remotely athletic, I suggest bringing a pair of shorts and a tank top (very versatile).

Senor Frogs will always have a place in my heart! Worst margaritas ever.

1 nice dinner outfit

There’s usually one nice restaurant on a cruise ship and it’s fun to get dressed up with your friends for one night. I brought a black romper and black heels, still warm weather clothes but nicer than my coverups.

Shoes: Sandals, sneakers, heels

You won’t need much, but sandals/flip flops are a must if you’re going to be by the pool or at the beach all day. Sneakers for any excursions. And heels to complement your nice dinner outfit.

Sunscreen, sunglasses, aloe vera (inevitable)

Sun protection is super important! Especially if you live in a place that hasn’t seen the sun much this winter. Sunscreen is expensive to buy once on board or on a tropical island so I suggest bringing your own. And, as is inevitable, pack some aloe vera for the sunburn. I was so good for the first four days about sunscreen and drinking water, but day five got the better of me and I ended up burning my chest pretty badly. And of course, sunglasses! But beware of falling asleep in them, no one wants those tan lines.

Making sure to stay covered after I got sun burnt but without missing the fun!

Pro-tip: pack less.

Really. I packed a full suitcase for my cruise and used maybe 1/3 of it. But hey, from one chronic overpacker to another – better to be safe than sorry, right? Well, if you pack less clothes you might have room to fit more alcohol so there’s that.

Dana’s Do’s:

  1. Pack sunscreen!
  2. One nice outfit can’t hurt, and it’s actually kind of fun.
  3. You don’t need as much as you think you do.

Grad School Abroad- What I Didn’t Expect

I moved to England 38 days ago. It feels like years ago. I have nestled in to my one bedroom apartment above the famous Fitzbillies across the street from Pembroke College, my new home. Pictures hanging from string lights adorn my walls and the softest velour throw pillow lays haphazardly on my bed. My planner is filled with notes from each day, quickly scribbled as not to forget the memories as time flies by here.

There were so many images that filled my head when I thought about grad life before moving here. I pictured lonely nights in my room because friends would be hard to make in the graduate program. I pictured endless hours in the library with no reprieve because graduate school is incredibly difficult. I pictured a previously very involved student becoming solely focused on her program because there would be no time for anything besides books. I had built up these expectations of grad school being scary and hard and nothing like my undergrad because that’s all I had been told by mentors and friends.

Well, they were wrong. All of it was wrong…sort of.

I am at home here. In my month of being here, I have forged some of the strongest friendships I have ever known. I joined the university women’s football team and my college’s May Ball committee. I don’t spend countless hours in the library. Not because my program isn’t hard and doesn’t require work, but because I only have one class a day and a lot of time to prioritize. I’ve had many sleepless nights, due mostly to friends and club nights, rather than studying and stress-induced insomnia. In fact, I’ve only cried twice since being here, and one of those times was listening to the cast of Wicked sing “For Good”. Don’t get me wrong, I do get homesick quite often. The amount of times I have looked at my phone screen and quietly whispered to myself “I miss my dog” is too many to count. But I also have created this incredible support system here, fostered through shared experiences and the art of listening. And this is just the beginning.

As a graduate fresher I am constantly asked how I like it here so far. Sometimes it feels a little arrogant to say that I absolutely love it here and there isn’t anything I don’t like because I know that is not the case for everyone. Maybe I am still in the honeymoon phase and the homesickness hasn’t fully hit me. But I would like to think that these feelings are real and they are here to stay.

I truly love grad school, and that was not a sentence I ever thought I would utter.


Moving Home After College?

Moving home after college? Don’t.


Sort of.

Here’s my take on moving home after college and what people don’t tell you about it:

1. The Honeymoon Phase

You are going to love being at home because of all the things you missed– your parents, your pets, that mom and pop donut shop down the street. This nostalgic driven love for your home will last approximately one week. Then you are hit with the fact that you may or may not know when you are moving out, but it is not soon enough.

2. Back in Time

All of sudden you go from no curfews, no rules, no supervision in college to asking your parents if you can borrow the car or them asking you who you are hanging out with. Telling your parents that you are about to go meet up with a stranger you met off Tinder for drinks who you will most likely never see again can be a bit awkward, depending on your relationship with your parents. So you lie, or you don’t. I still haven’t figured out which is the better option. And just like that, living at home sends you back five years to when you were a little high school girl with more rules than colored pens.

3. Your parents become your best friends

This one rocks. I honestly don’t know who is more excited for me to move out, me or my parents. As much as they love me, I’m sure spending every waking moment with me talking to them, wanting something from them, or interrupting them has gotten old. But at the same time, I have never been closer to my parents, which makes moving out that much harder.

4. Your pet also becomes your best friend.

Don’t get me wrong, I have real live friends, but they live thousands of miles away or are working a full time job in the city. Once you leave college have 24/7 friends becomes have 1 hour every month friends. This is why your pet becomes your best friend. They love you unconditionally, are always happy to see you, and can’t get rid of you no matter how many times they get up and move across the couch from you. Leaving my little pup in the fall is going to suck, too bad I can’t bring her to grad school in England but the rest of my family might hurt me if I tried.

5. You will be sad.

Maybe not all of the time, or right away, but it will hit you. Your friends are miles away, your life is on temporary hold, and your family members have lives of their own. Fast forward to me scheduling time to see my sister because her days were already booked with fun girl trips, boyfriend time, Bachelor in Paradise girls night, etc. One time I picked her up from a friends house and we got ice cream, it was awesome. Another time, she cut our girls night short because she was “tired”, which I found out later was code for “my boyfriend texted me and wants to go get ice cream so how do I get rid of Dana.”

6. You will grow, a lot.

Due to this loneliness that my puppy could cure only so much of, I grew even more independent than I already was. I became a morning person, mostly because Bailey wakes up at 6:30 and someone has to feed her. I read more than when I was in school. I got really tan (even my sister’s friends noticed something different about me). I became a Starbucks Gold Member (my addiction for chocolate croissants knows no bounds). I ate healthier and exercised more because there’s no excuse not to when all that you can think is “I’m bored” (which I thought a lot this summer). I became a blog reader because why not I have the time. And I actually began to accept a lot of parts about myself that I didn’t like very much. This summer I had the epiphany that I actually really like my small boobs, even though for the past decade I have been at war with them, that was liberating.

So, give yourself the space to grow and be happy and sad and stressed and confused. Be kind to yourself, it’s not every summer you go through one of the biggest transitions of your life. You are lucky to be home, surrounded by people who have to love and support you (hopefully). Use this time to truly assess who you are and where you want to be, then get going- life waits for no one.