Must Haves for Cruise

5 Things You Must Bring on a cruise

Be prepared for your maiden voyage.

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Cruise season is upon us my friends! My family and I go on a cruise every year. At this point, it is basically the only, and best, tradition that we have. Cruises are amazing. If all you did was stay on the ship everyday for seven days, you would still have a wonderful vacation. The ship has everything you need: unlimited food, shows, clubs, pools, drinks! Really, what else could you ask for? Coming from an experienced cruiser, there is no doubt that you will forget to bring one little thing that may make or break your cruise vacation. Here are five must haves you probably didn't think of, but will need on your cruise.

Bug Spray

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If you plan on exploring the islands you visit - bring. bug. spray. First of all, you don't want to somehow get Zika. Secondly, having bugs walking all over and biting you while you are trying to enjoy your time on this island is annoying. The best tin you can do is buy some OFF! and I promise you everyone you go on vacation with will love you.

Cash

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This is one thing I always forget because we don't really use cash too often in the states. We basically depend on debit cards. I even know people who only pay for things through their phone using venmo or apply pay. It's a technological world we live in, but not all countries are like that. Most likely, when you get off the ship you will find yourself surrounding by delicious food and clothing. You will approach ready to give your life savings for a gorgeous dress and some indigenous food - only to realize they only take cash and there is not an ATM to find (not one that won't charge you a fortune at least)

Jeans (You never know)

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The last thing you may be thinking to pack for a cruise is jeans. Jeans don't fit in amongst summer dresses, bikinis, and shorts, but you never know. I remember there was one day where it was a little chilly on one of the islands we went on (who would have thought it gets chilly in the Caribbean?), and I was forced to spend the day in a bikini and shorts because what else would I pack on vacation, right? Bring at least one pair of jeans, trust me.

Stain Remover Pen

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The worse thing that can ever happen is to be bringing out on some delicious cruise buffet food, only to realize you ruined your expensive shirt you bought specifically for vacation. I remember stain remove pens used to be big in the mid 2000s. Tide sticks were revolutionary. I was surprised to find out they still exist and are better than ever! Tide stain remover pens have saved my life more than once.

Large Water Bottle

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This really should be up there with bug spray. A refillable water bottle is so necessary! Not only are plastic water bottles easily forgotten, but they do not hold that much water. With all the walking you will most likely be doing in the heat, a large refillable water bottle will become your best friend. Especially since water bottles in other countries can sometimes cost $10+ (don't forget that cash).

Cover Image Credit:

Bianca Taylor

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Working On My Emotional Health Is At The Top Of My To-Do List

I'm finally realizing the importance of my mental and emotional health.

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The month of April has been so eye-opening for me. For the first bit of the year, I felt like I was in a slump; like I was just going through the motions and not fully living my life.

I was letting boy drama, school stress, and my poor actions to deal with those issues take over my life. I was allowing the anger and shame from those mistakes bubble up inside me until I was just about ready to explode.

I was allowing myself to go back to old ways of coping with problems that I knew weren't healthy, but I knew would be a short-term fix.

I simply wasn't living.

Then, one day I woke up and told myself I needed to change, and that if I didn't, I'd be on this same path ten years from now... or worse. I told myself I needed to get my life back on track with the Lord and with who I want to be as a rising senior in college.

After meeting with one of the leaders at my church (btw, everyone needs a Mrs. Jenny in their life!) and with my therapist, I'm starting to realize how important my emotional health is. My way of dealing with problems hasn't been working all that well, so I know it's time to try something else.

It's all going to be a huge learning process (and at times, an uphill battle), but I know working on my emotional health now will build me to be the best I can in the future.

By learning to become more open to healthier ways of dealing with issues as they come up (like not avoiding problems and actually facing them head-on), I know I can become my best self, and that is something I'm willing to work on with my whole heart.

So, I'm learning to let go of needing to control everything in my life because honestly, wanting to control everything puts me more out of control than when I first started.

And, I encourage you to do the same.

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