Livin' and Learnin'

The Life and Times of Miss Dana

Cruise Packing Tips part 1

It’s almost time for us to cruise again! This time we are going on a seven day Eastern Caribbean cruise. It will be our first seven day cruise and our first trip to the Eastern Caribbean so we are both really excited. I love cruising but I HATE packing for it! A few years ago, I figured out that I must make a list or surely I will forget something. I’ve also learned what I need to take and what can stay at home. I try to keep the packing under control and limit myself, otherwise I’ll way overpack!

Since there’s only the two of us, I limit myself to one large suitcase (checked in), a garment bag (also checked in and used for dresses and DH’s suit), and a small rolling carry-on suitcase with a Vera Bradley grand traveller bag that will slide onto the handle of the carry on. This provides more than enough room for us to pack everything we need, and still have some room for souvenir purchases that we make while ashore. 🙂

I like to pack sample/travel size items when I can. They can be a real space saver when packing, and because they aren’t returning, there is extra space in the luggage for purchases made while on your trip! Here’s some examples of what I like to pack:


Lysol spray, Purell hand wipes (for before and after eating), and hand sanitizer (Not pictured: Lysol wipes)

Note: always bring some type of air freshener spray. The cabins are close quarters and you don’t want any weird smells in there. Also, no-one wants to catch the norovirus! Always keep sanitizer in your pocket! I like to wipe down counter tops and door handles with the Lysol wipes, and also that stick that moves the curtains back. Imagine how many dirty hands have touched that! I do this a few times during the cruise to keep germs in check!


Lint Roller, Downy wrinkle release spray, Shout wipes (not pictured: Tide PODS and dryer sheets)

Quick and easy laundry fixes! I pack a couple of Tide PODS and dryer sheets to use when washing. I know for some, laundry isn’t exactly a “vacation”, but you can save space in your suitcase by washing a quick load of laundry and re-wearing items like socks, t-shirts, undies, etc. I usually just wash one load about half way through the cruise, and one towards the end if we have a sea-day. It saves me a little washing when we get home, too! I’m not sure if all ships have laundry facilities, but I do know that most Carnival ships do.


My little pharmacy: Advil, Tums, Dramamine, Neosporin and bandaids. (Not pictured: Immodium)

You never know what might happen, headaches, seasickness, belly pains from eating so much! Pack a little kit to avoid paying the high cruise ship costs for common meds. Also…the medical facility onboard usually gives out sea sickness pills for free.

I use the children dramamine because it is half the adult dose. I take it every morning to prevent sea sickness. If I need more, I feel ok about taking another pill. Check with your doctor to see what’s best for you. Also remember any prescriptions that you need to take!


Travel size deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, body oil, toothpaste & mouthwash, Q tips, make up remover wipes

What a space saver! Those big bottles of shampoo, etc can really take up space and not to mention they are HEAVY too!


Travel size body washes come in so handy! I also pack my own hand soap and plenty of hand sanitizers. (Not pictured: travel size face wash and moisturizer)

Here’s the list of the items in this post, with some that were not pictured:

Lysol spray travel size
Lysol wipes
Downy wrinkle release spray
Lint roller
Tide Pods/Dryer sheets

Prescription medications
Motion sickness pills
Hand wipes/ sanitizer

body wash
face wash
Hand soap

Not pictured:
Sunscreen (VERY IMPORTANT!!!)
Insect repellent (especially when going to Mexico or anywhere that has a Zika virus problem)

After-sun balm/lotion
razor and shaving cream

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!

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While in St. Augustine, Mike and I went on a Ghost Tour. Our first stop was at the grounds of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Our tour guide told the story about two little girls who drowned on the property. Their father was the man who built the lighthouse, and while he was working they would play on the grounds. One day, the girls and a neighbor girl wandered out to the water and were swept away. The neighbor girl was saved. Locals report hearing children’s laughter in the night.

There is a little playground on the property, with a slide and a swing set. The swing set is an old style one, like I can remember playing on as a child. It is very sturdy steel-post one with chains holding the swings up. Our tour guide told us that she has witnessed one of the swings actually swinging during a tour. She described it as a, “full-on swing, not just movement.”

I took the following picture without a flash, in the darkness. I pointed my camera in the direction of the swing set. I couldn’t see a thing through the viewer, due to the darkness. I don’t know what is in this picture, but I know that there was no light source at the time it was taken.

I’m not saying that it’s “orbs,” but I am saying it is suspicious.

What do you think?


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I don’t think there has ever been a time in my adult life when I have felt so dependent on others. Sure, it’s nice to have someone do things for me, take care of me, help clean the house, etc. I don’t necessarily know how to handle this feeling of dependence. I am thankful for the help I am given, but I would much rather do it myself. (I’ve always been an independent kind of girl.)

So, with my over abundance of free time, I have done alot of reflecting. I was thinking today about my time and my life with Mike. I know it’s corny, but the last three years have completely flown by in a whirlwind. THREE YEARS??? ALREADY??? It seems like just a few months ago that we went on that first date that is now history.

It was a great date. We spent all day in Savannah being “tourists.” What great memories we made, and I am thankful today, three years later, that we both took a camera with us. How many people actually have a picture of their first date? We were certainly forward thinkers. HaHa.


Me and Mike on our first date. May 2008

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Honeymoon Day 1

Our Honeymoon officially began the morning of Sunday, May 30th, and after we dropped our two lovely cats off at the boarder, we were on our way to Tampa! Our cruise ship would depart the following day, and we wanted to allow all the time we may need to get there, so on the way to Tampa we drove! Sunday night we stayed at a hotel on Tampa Bay. We didn’t arrive until around 11pm, so we really didn’t see much that night, but we got a much needed good night’s rest after the 9 hour road trip!

Monday we met with Mike’s old friend Kate and her boyfriend Paul and had a nice lunch with them at Bahama Breeze on Tampa Bay. It was a very tropical place, with lovely plants, and it was just perfect for getting us into a tropical mood!

Bahama Breeze, Tampa Bay

It was great to finally talk more with Kate and Paul. I had never met them before our wedding, and I wasn’t able to spend alot of time talking to them there. They let us leave the little red Jeep at their house while we were gone, which was GREATLY appreciated! The dropped us off at the dock and on the cruise ship we went!

View of Tampa as our ship was leaving

The first night aboard the ship was so exciting. We went exploring this massive ship, that had everything from restaurants to miniature golf to stages for the many shows they offered. It was our first cruise, and we wanted to see EVERYTHING!

Life ring

The sunset was AMAZING. It was absolutely beautiful. Mike had never before sat and watched a sunset, so I made it a point for him to see it. He was amazed, of course, at the beauty and purity and perfection of this gift from God.

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico


After watching the sunset, we went and ate dinner, walked around the ship some more, then returned to our room with our first “animal towel” waiting for us. We think it’s a seal, who, by the way, was wearing Mike’s glasses! haha!

It was a great first day of our cruise! And next, a full day at sea! More to come later!

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Breast Cancer Fire Truck


Last night we drove to Kennesaw to Hooters and saw the pink firetruck. It was donated by Liberty County Fire Services to Ft Stewart/Hunter AAF Fire Dept for the purposes of raising money for Cancer Awareness and Causes. It was pretty neat to see, and Mike got to sign it in honor of his mother, a Breast Cancer survivor.

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Mike’s Spikes


Mike and I laugh at this picture every time we look at it. It was taken in St. Augustine, Florida during MLK weekend, 2009. It was a gorgeous sun-shiney day and we hit the tourist track. We saw as much as we could fit in one day, and I must say that St Augustine is BEAUTIFUL! We plan to go there again and spend more time there, and see what we missed, and spend more time at the places we’ve already seen.

The Story of the Spikes

We were at the Fountain of Youth, walking all around the property and found this area right by the water. Mike held the camera up backwards and took this picture. When we first looked at it (on the small camera screen), it looked like he had spikes in his hair! I even looked up at his head, thinking that it must have gotten wind-blown or something. But when we turned around we saw the gigantic bush in the background. We laughed and laughed and this picture will forever be known as Mike’s Spikes! It was such a fun day and I’m glad we have this and many other pictures that captured our trip!

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