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Joy

I’ve been on 10 Disney Cruises. Here are the top 5 most magical experiences.

"You’d have to be on board for a full year to take advantage of it all."

disney cruises, cruise tips, disney
via LAuren Passell (used with permission)

The very Disney obsessed Lauren Passell and Goofy.

I’m a Disney nerd in every sense of the word—90% of my wardrobe is Disney t-shirts, I named my company after Tinker Bell, I once won the Disney Princess half-marathon wearing a Tinker Bell costume and I try to hit up the parks as often as I can. Of all the Disney nerdery I participate in, cruising is my favorite.

For the tenth year in a row, U.S. News & World Report named Disney Cruise Line the Best Cruise Line for Families and the Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean. But that’s not why I love it. Everywhere you look, there are elements of magic and surprise. You’ll spot your favorite Disney characters hanging out…in their bathing suits…on board, and there’s so much to do that I think you’d have to be on board for a full year to take advantage of it all.


I’m a Dream girl (that’s my ship), so I’ll be referring to that a lot here, but just know that each Disney Cruise Ship (Dream, Magic, Wonder, Fantasy, Wish and Treasure) is special in its own way.

The Musicals

Almost every night on board, you can see Broadway-level musicals, like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” or “The Golden Mickeys,” an award show just like The Oscars but for The Disney obsessed. I cry almost every time I see one of these—the production levels are out of this world—with revolving stages, musical numbers with an entire cast of singers and dancers and breath-taking set design.

Shout-out to these actors, who not only put on one of the best shows you’ve ever seen but also do it on a moving ship! (Which seems dangerous to me, but what do I know?) There’s soda, candy, and popcorn outside, and if you buy a popcorn bucket on day one, you can enjoy $1.50 popcorn refills for the rest of your cruise!

The Parties

Almost all Disney cruises throw a themed party. On The Dream, it’s usually Pirate Night, a dinner and deck party featuring dancing, Disney characters, and fireworks. (Disney was the first cruise line to produce a fireworks show at sea.) People bring their best pirate costumes, but if you forget yours, you can wear the pirate bandana they give everyone onboard.

Stick around for those fireworks; they include music and storytelling that go above and beyond other fireworks shows. And get this: Disney uses fireworks shells made of special biodegradable materials, which Disney calls "fish food." For Disney Cruise Line’s 25th anniversary, Disney added a second night of fireworks to their trips, which more than doubles the magic.

The Movies

When a Disney movie, any Disney movie, premiers on land, you’ll immediately be able to see it on a Disney Cruise Ship. On The Dream it’s the beautiful, state-of-the-art Buena Vista Theater. Besides all the other brand spankin’ new Disney movies you can see for free, many new 3-D showings of Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars films. Sometimes, they’ll pull out old classics. I saw the original “Hocus Pocus” during a Halloween sail. And yes, of course, there’s popcorn.

disney cruises, cruise ships, disney

Lauren Passell hanging out on the beach at Castaway Cay.

via Lauren Passell (used with permission)

Disney’s Private Island, Castaway Cay

On The Dream and a few other Disney Cruises, you can disembark at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. There’s tons to do for the whole family, from youth programming at Scuttle’s Cove to an adults-only beach called Serenity Bay, where you can rent bikes, water trikes, paddle boats, and more.

And here’s the magical part: if you visit the 22-acre snorkeling lagoon just off the family beach area, you can rent snorkeling gear and search for sunken treasures like a shipwreck and hidden Mickeys, which Disney has dropped to the ocean floor. Castaway Cay also has a special lunch and bar spot if you need a break from the ship's cuisine.

The Ship Itself

One of the best things about a cruise is dropping anchor and exploring new places, right? On Disney Cruises, it can be tempting to stay on board because the ship is just that magical. Everywhere you look, you see artwork of your favorite Disney characters and hidden Mickeys. There’s even something called Enchanted Art, which looks like a regular art piece but is actually a framed LCD screen with technology that recognizes your face while you’re viewing. It will show you several different animations based on what the artwork knows you’ve already seen!

disney cruise, cruise ships, disney drem cruise

The pool on The Dream.

via Lauren Passell (used with permission)

If you’re ever lost on the ship, just look down. The stars on the carpet always point toward the front. And you can always remember what side of the deck your room is on by looking at the clip on your door—the starboard (right) side rooms have starfish clips and the port (left) side rooms have fish clips.

I can’t say enough about the water slides. On The Dream, the AquaDuck is technically a “water coaster” that has turns, drops, and g-forces similar to a roller coaster. It puts you on a raft in an acrylic tube so you can see out over the sea on your ride. Sometimes, instead of disembarking at one of the destinations, I’ll stay on board and take advantage of having the AquaDuck all to myself. (Also, at the pool, there are always Disney movies playing on a screen the size of a house, which I love to watch as I float or eat soft-serve, which is all-you-can-eat.)

I hope you get to set sail on one of these amazing ships. I’ll leave you with another tip: Do NOT forget to use the complimentary room service. They’ll bring Mickey Mouse-shaped chocolate ice cream bars straight up to your room for free!

disney cruises, book disney cruise, disney dream

Lauren Passell and her husband aboard The Dream.

via Lauren Passell (used with permission)

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


Health

Over or under? Surprisingly, there actually is a 'correct' way to hang a toilet paper roll.

Let's settle this silly-but-surprisingly-heated debate once and for all.

Elya/Wikimedia Commons

Should you hang the toilet paper roll over or under?


Humans have debated things large and small over the millennia, from the democracy to breastfeeding in public to how often people ought to wash their sheets.

But perhaps the most silly-yet-surprisingly-heated household debate is the one in which we argue over which way to hang the toilet paper roll.

The "over or under" question has plagued marriages and casual acquaintances alike for over 100 years, with both sides convinced they have the soundest reasoning for putting their toilet paper loose end out or loose end under. Some people feel so strongly about right vs. wrong TP hanging that they will even flip the roll over when they go to the bathroom in the homes of strangers.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not merely an inconsequential preference. There is actually a "correct" way to hang toilet paper, according to health experts as well as the man who invented the toilet paper roll in the first place.

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Teresa Kaye Newman thinks that Boomer parents were right about a few things.

Teresa Kaye Newman, a teacher about to have a son, knows a lot about how to deal with children. So she created a list of 11 things she agrees with Boomers on when it comes to raising kids.

Newman believes she has credibility on the issue because she has 13 years of experience dealing with “hundreds and hundreds” of other people’s kids and has seen what happens when her so-called “Boomer” parenting principles aren’t implemented.

Of course, Newman is using some broad stereotypes in calling for a return to Boomer parenting ideas when many Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z parents share the same values. But, as someone who deals with children every day, she has the right to point out that today’s kids are entitled and spend too much time staring at screens.

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Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.




Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.

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@nostalgicallyrachel/TikTok, @mrvaughntrainor/TikTok

It was a simpler, more life-threatening time.

Parenting has changed. A lot. So many things our parents did that were considered normal in our childhood—that is, for all us millennials and Gen Xers—would simply never fly today.

This is thanks in large part to the digital age, and the countless ways to access information. Radio, magazines, television, books, online blogs, Facebook parent groups, informational podcasts, public studies…thousands of voices helping shape family dynamics and warn of potential dangers.

If there’s ever any doubt into how far we’ve come, let technology once again remind you. A trip down memory lane via TikTok might be, as the kids say, a bit cringe, but boy can it help instill a little gratitude.
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Health

Reimagining what 'beauty influencer' means: an expert in the psychology of beauty weighs in

Dr. Rhett Diessner's research points to beauty being so much more important than we might think.

Photo (left) by Megan Ruth on Unsplash, Photo (right) by lucas wesney on Unsplash

Let's take a deep dive into how beauty influences us.

When you picture a "beauty influencer," you probably don't imagine a balding, bearded, bespectacled retired psychology professor surrounded by piles of papers. But I would put Dr. Rhett Diessner up against any TikTok creator on Earth when it comes to beauty, as he's spent over two decades deeply studying the subject and has a profound understanding of how it influences us.

Around 1998, while teaching at a small international university in Switzerland, Diessner had an epiphany. As he explored the villages, lakes and mountains in the area, he found himself enamored with the picturesque landscapes, soaring cathedrals, incredible art and soul-stirring ideas that surrounded him. In moments of meditation, he began to see appreciation of beauty as more than just an enjoyable pastime.

"It dawned on me that beauty has spiritual roots," Diessner tells Upworthy. "That it's really a foundational aspect of being human, a very important aspect of our soul." Searching religious scripture confirmed this idea, and he decided he would focus his academic research on the human trait of attraction to beauty.

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When the Philadelphia Eagles' season came to an unceremonious end last weekend, many fans were, understandably, more than a little pissed.

Take the rest of the night off to sleep in your shame, boys. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

After the final game, one fan allegedly commented on Facebook that the team had "played like they were wearing tutus!!!"

Photo by David R. Tribble/Wikimedia Commons.

...according to the Pennsylvania Ballet, which reported encountering the post on the social media site.

The Pennsylvania Ballet, whose company members regularly wear tutus, had a few choice words for anyone who thinks their light, frequently pink costumes mean they're not "tough."

Commence epic reply...


(full text transcribed under the post).

A Facebook user recently commented that the Eagles had "played like they were wearing tutus!!!"

Our response:

"With all due respect to the Eagles, let's take a minute to look at what our tutu wearing women have done this month:

By tomorrow afternoon, the ballerinas that wear tutus at Pennsylvania Ballet will have performed The Nutcracker 27 times in 21 days. Some of those women have performed the Snow scene and the Waltz of the Flowers without an understudy or second cast. No 'second string' to come in and spell them when they needed a break. When they have been sick they have come to the theater, put on make up and costume, smiled and performed. When they have felt an injury in the middle of a show there have been no injury timeouts. They have kept smiling, finished their job, bowed, left the stage, and then dealt with what hurts. Some of these tutu wearers have been tossed into a new position with only a moments notice. That's like a cornerback being told at halftime that they're going to play wide receiver for the second half, but they need to make sure that no one can tell they've never played wide receiver before. They have done all of this with such artistry and grace that audience after audience has clapped and cheered (no Boo Birds at the Academy) and the Philadelphia Inquirer has said this production looks "better than ever".

So no, the Eagles have not played like they were wearing tutus. If they had, Chip Kelly would still be a head coach and we'd all be looking forward to the playoffs."

Happy New Year!

In case it wasn't obvious, toughness has nothing to do with your gender.

Gendered and homophobic insults in sports have been around basically forever — how many boys are called a "pansy" on the football field or told they "throw like a girl" in Little League?

"They played like they were wearing tutus" is the same deal. It's shorthand for "You're kinda ladylike, which means you're not tough enough."

Pure intimidation.

Photo by Ralph Daily/Flickr.

Toughness, however, has a funny way of not being pinned to one particular gender. It's not just ballerinas, either. NFL cheerleaders? They get paid next to nothing to dance in bikini tops and short-shorts in all kinds of weather — and wear only ever-so-slightly heavier outfits when the thermometer drops below freezing. And don't even get me started on how mind-bogglingly badass the Rockettes are.

Toughness also has nothing to do with what kind of clothes you wear.

As my colleague Parker Molloy astutely points out, the kinds of clothes assigned to people of different genders are, and have always been, basically completely arbitrary. Pink has been both a "boys color" and a "girls color" at different points throughout history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt — longtime survivor of polio, Depression vanquisher, wartime leader, and no one's idea of a wimp — was photographed in his childhood sporting a long blonde hairstyle and wearing a dress.

Many of us are conditioned to see a frilly pink dance costume and think "delicate," and to look at a football helmet and pads and think "big and strong." But scratch the surface a little bit, and you'll meet tutu-wearing ballerinas who that are among toughest people on the planet and cleat-and-helmet-wearing football players who are ... well. The 2015 Eagles.

You just can't tell from their outerwear.

Ballerinas wear tutus for the same reason football players wear uniforms and pads:

Photo by zaimoku_woodpile/Flickr.


To get the job done.


This article originally appeared on 01.05.16

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