Travel journalist Chris Gray Faust dishes up travel tips on her award-winning blog;  Chris Around The World.   Chris says “Move beyond your inner circle and use Facebook to find travel deals and get travel advice.”

When Holly Jespersen’s parents needed a Savannah restaurant for their 40th anniversary dinner, she did what is second nature to those who use social media: She asked her 800+ friends on Facebook for ideas.

“I got some great recommendations,” said Jespersen, a public relations professional based in Darien, Conn. (Alligator Soul won out). “They were so pleased and I couldn’t believe how many of my friends chimed in.”

Using social media to make travel plans isn’t as widespread as the wired may believe, however. In a January 2011 Destinations Analyst survey called “The State of the American Traveler,” only 25.8% reported using social media sites for planning their vacations, compared to 39.7% who relied on print publications such as travel magazines and guidebooks, and 42.5% who swore by user-generated sites (think or

Yet the same semi-annual survey found that nearly 35.8% of travelers listened to the opinions of friends, colleagues or relatives when making travel plans. And with the average person having 130 Facebook friends, social media seems like a natural place for gathering recommendations from those you trust — and interacting with destinations in a personal way.

Whether you’re a power user who checks Facebook on your phone before you get out of bed or someone who rarely updates their status, here are a few tips for using Facebook to plan your trips.

Look beyond friends. If you rarely use Facebook, you may not have moved beyond finding friends that you knew in college or high school. There’s a whole commercial world out there on Facebook, though — one where companies are competing to make you their connected customer.

Thumb up the places you want to go. Many destinations have amped their Facebook presence, making it easy for travelers to plan their trips without leaving the social network.

When you go to the Pure Michigan Facebook page, for example, you can read a list of upcoming events, sign up for a newsletter, and learn how to connect with Michigan tourism experts. Their Wall is full of photos and advice from other travelers, making it a natural place to look for information if you’re heading to Michigan this summer. Click the “like” button for updates to appear in your feed.

Look for sales, sweepstakes, and discounts. In the race to gain “likes,” hotels, restaurants, and airlines have been offering special Facebook-only sales and sweepstakes available only to their fans.

Right now, Southwest Airlines is running a Share for a Share sweepstakes on their Facebook Page, where the amount of Rapid Rewards points you can win is increased by the number of “shares” it receives (contest ends Thursday).

Monitor Facebook Page activity. Vegan Sam Hartman always checks to see if the restaurants or hotels where he’s going have a Facebook Page with regular posts, pictures, and videos, operating hours and prices, and comments from other customers. He sees it as a vital part of 2011 customer service.

“Anyone can open a place and run it the way they see fit,” said Hartman of “But if they’re willing to take the time to open up feedback to the amalgam that is Facebook, they’ll improve just by listening.”

Hook up Facebook with another travel site. Facebook Connect allows you to view other travel websites while remaining logged in to your social network. So you can see if your friends have stayed at a specific apartment on or find out what countries they’ve visited through TripAdvisor. It’s a great way to figure out which friends you should ask for advice about your trip.

Organize with lists. If you went overboard with your likes, you may notice that your Facebook feed is cluttered with shared links, photos, and status updates. You can organize your updates by putting all of your trip-related companies and destinations into a single labeled list, leaving your feed free for updates from your real friends.

Blog via Travel journalist Chris Gray Faust dishes up travel tips on her award-winning blog, Chris Around The World. She’s also the author of the Philadelphia Essential Guide, an app for iPhone and iPad.



For Immediate Release: June 14, 2011
Media Inquiries: Shelly Burgess, 301-796-4651,
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA Announces Changes to Better Inform Consumers About Sunscreen
New Rules Give Consumers More Information to Help Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer, Early Aging

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that sunscreen products meeting modern standards for effectiveness may be labeled with new information to help consumers find products that, when used with other sun protection measures, reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, as well as help prevent sunburn.

The final regulation allows sunscreen products that pass the FDA’s test for protection against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to be labeled as “Broad Spectrum.” Both UVB and UVA radiation contribute to sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging. Sunburn is primarily caused by UVB radiation.

Under the new labeling, sunscreens labeled as both Broad Spectrum and SPF 15 (or higher), if used regularly, as directed, and in combination with other sun protection measures will help prevent sunburn, reduce the risk of skin cancer, and reduce the risk of early skin aging.

“FDA has evaluated the data and developed testing and labeling requirements for sunscreen products, so that manufacturers can modernize their product information and consumers can be well-informed on which products offer the greatest benefit,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “These changes to sunscreen labels are an important part of helping consumers have the information they need so they can choose the right sun protection for themselves and their families.”

Products that have SPF values between 2 and 14 may be labeled as Broad Spectrum if they pass the required test, but only products that are labeled both as Broad Spectrum with SPF values of 15 or higher may state that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, when used as directed.

Any product that is not Broad Spectrum, or that is Broad Spectrum but has an SPF between 2 to 14, will be required to have a warning stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.

“Most skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. FDA encourages consumers to protect themselves,” Woodcock added.  “Not only should consumers regularly apply and reapply sunscreens with Broad Spectrum and SPF of 15 or higher, they should also limit sun exposure.”

In addition to the final rule for sunscreen labeling, today the FDA released three additional regulatory documents — a Proposed Rule, an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for Dosage Forms, and a Draft Enforcement Guidance for Industry.

  • The proposed rule would limit the maximum SPF value on sunscreen labels to “50 +”, because there is not sufficient data to show that products with SPF values higher than 50 provide greater protection for users than products with SPF values of 50.  The proposal creates the opportunity for the submission of data to support including higher SPF values in the final rule. FDA looks forward to receiving public comment on this document.
  • The ANPR will allow the public a period of time to submit requested data addressing the effectiveness and the safety of sunscreen sprays and to comment on possible directions and warnings for sprays that the FDA may pursue in the future, among other issues regarding dosage forms for sunscreens.
  • The Draft Enforcement Guidance for Industry outlines information to help sunscreen product manufacturers understand how to label and test their products in light of the new final rule and other regulatory initiatives.

To ensure that sunscreen products meet modern safety standards, FDA is also currently reexamining the safety information available for active ingredients included in sunscreens marketed today. The ingredients in sunscreens marketed today have been used for many years and FDA does not have any reason to believe these products are not safe for consumer use.

The new regulations will become effective for most manufacturers in one year.  Manufacturers with annual sales less than $25,000 have two years to comply.


Take a moment to answer these 10 questions about your risk of getting Melanoma; the most deadly form of skin cancer. If you answer yes to any one or more of these, see a Dermatologist!

1. Has anyone in your family ever had melanoma?
Melanoma sometimes runs in families, so people with two or more close relatives who have had melanoma have an increased risk of developing melanoma themselves.

2. Do you now have, or have you ever had, non-cancerous, but unusual looking moles?
Certain types of mole patterns are typical of an increased risk of getting melanoma, such as moles called dysplastic nevi.

3. Have you been diagnosed with melanoma in the past?
People who have already had melanoma have an increased risk of getting melanoma in another place.

4. Are you taking any medications that might weaken your immune system (for example, corticosteroids)?
People with a weakened immune system—due to certain cancers, drugs given following organ transplants, or HIV/AIDS— have an increased risk of getting melanoma.

5. Do you have more than 50 ordinary moles?
The risk of melanoma is greater for people with a large number of ordinary moles.

6. Did you have one or more severe, blistering sunburns as a child or teenager?
People who have had one or more severe, blistering sunburns as a child or teenager have an increased risk for melanoma. Sunburns in adulthood are also a risk factor for melanoma.

7. Do you have many freckles?
Melanoma occurs more often in people with fair skin that freckles easily.

8. Do you have fair skin and light eyes?
Melanoma occurs more often in people with fair skin that burns easily. These people also usually have red or blond hair and blue eyes. Fair-skinned people have less melanin in their skin and therefore less protection against the sun’s damaging UV rays.

9. Do you live in the Southwestern United States?
Melanoma is more common in people who live in areas with large amounts of UV radiation from the sun, such as the Southwestern United States.

10. Do you frequently spend time in the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM without skin protection?
UV radiation from the sun is most intense when the sun is highest in the sky—generally midday, between 10 AM and 4 PM. Spending time in the sun during these hours increases your exposure to UV radiation and the risk for developing melanoma.


The Science Behind LUCA® Sunscreen

by Dr. Karl Gruber

We all are familiar with the SPF system which rates the level of UVB or sunburn protection. However, most are unfamiliar with the dangers posed by UVA rays. These rays are responsible for pre-mature aging and sun induced skin cancer. Critical Wavelength® (CW) is the most effective way to rate UVA protection. Solar radiation travels in waves. The wavelength corresponds to the solar energy of the wave. Solar radiation of 290nm to 400nm (the UVB-UVA range) is reproduced in a laboratory device designed to measure the amount of radiation absorbed by a sunscreen.

Starting at the beginning of the UVB range (290nm), progressively higher wavelengths of light are aimed at the sunscreen. A protective absorption curve or “umbrella” is produced. The Critical Wavelength defines how far this umbrella (actually 90% of the umbrella) extend into the UVA range. So for a Critical Wavelength of 383nm, 90% of the sunscreen’s protective “umbrella is between the beginning of the UVB range (290nm) to 383nm (see Graph below) The higher the number, the better. A sunscreen with a Critical Wavelength® over 370nm is considered by the FDA to provided ultimate Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

Now the FDA agrees and has issued a recent ruling on sunscreen labeling.  According to the rule all Sunscreens that are defined as Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection must meet the 370nm Critical Wavelength® by summer 2012. Good daily UVA protection is very important. Chronic, long term, unprotected sun exposure causes micro-doses of UVA light to the skin. This UVA exposure produces damage over the years, by inducing a multitude of tiny “scars” where over time cause wrinkles, sun spots, loss of elasticity, thinning skin and a greater potential for skin cancer. As a pathologist, I have seen an increase in the numbers of skin carcinomas and melanomas which are diagnosed each year in an ever younger patient population.

According to the American Cancer Society, in 1985, one out of 150 people developed UVA related melanoma. The lifetime risk of an American developing invasive melanoma has now reached one in 87 one in 70 for white males) Melanoma rates are now rising faster than for any other form of skin cancer.

We believe LUCA® is the best UVA/UVB sunscreen available in the United States, because our formulations contain Polycrylene®, a novel Avobenzone stabilizer and strengthener. Avobenzone provides great UVA protection, but without the addition of Polycrylene®, it begins to breakdown after 10 minutes in intense sunlight.

The graph below illustrates the protection with LUCA® versus a “good” broad spectrum formulation. Notice that both give good UVB protection and both can state UVA/UVB on the label; however LUCA® gives substantially more UVA protection. The orange area shows the increased protection possible with LUCA® because we use Avobenzone which has been stabilized and strengthened by Polycrylene®. With the release of new FDA labeling standards, we at LUCA® are thrilled because we meet and exceed the Critical Wavelength® rating of 370(nm) on all our products. That’s why LUCA® Sunscreen can be defined at the Ultimate in Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection for your family. So don’t wait until next summer!  You can have the best protection under the sun right now with LUCA® Sunscreen!

Polycrylene® is a registered trademark of The HallStar Company.


Critical Wavelength® (CW) is the most effective way to rate UVA protection. Solar radiation travels in waves. The wavelength corresponds to the solar energy of the wave. Solar radiation of 290nm to 400nm (the UVB-UVA range) is reproduced in a laboratory device designed to measure the amount of radiation absorbed by a sunscreen. Starting at the beginning of the UVB range (290nm), progressively higher wavelengths of light are aimed at the sunscreen. A protective absorption curve or “umbrella” is produced. The Critical Wavelength defines how far this umbrella (actually 90% of the umbrella) extend into the UVA range. So for a Critical Wavelength of 383nm, 90% of the sunscreen’s protective “umbrella is between the beginning of the UVB range (290nm) to 383nm (see Graph below) The higher the number, the better. A sunscreen with a Critical Wavelength® over 370nm is considered by the FDA to provided ultimate Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection.


My husband I decided 26 years ago (that’s how long we’ve been together)  to choose not to have children…at least  not the two legged kind.  Ever since we’ve been together we have had a minimum of two dogs and now we have three Golden Retrievers.  Every dog we have or had has been a rescue.  So that’s good, isn’t it?  According to the Humane Society, billions of animals are abused every year, about the same die from abuse.  Most aren’t reported, so there isn’t an exact number, just billons.  The sad truth is, over 65 billion animals are used, abused, and killed for food, scientific/medical testing, military experimentation, entertainment, clothing, and breeding – as in puppy mills.

Now I know what you’re thinking!  Billions of children are also abused.  That’s why there’s the choice of adoption!  We all know people out there where the word “parent” should not define them.

We got a lot of grief from our families and some people thought we were being down right selfish for not procreating.  “Everybody’s got a piece of right”, a dear friend of mine always quotes.  At first it really bothered us.  This is America.  We have freedom of choice. Whose business of theirs was it, anyway?  “You’re missing out on so much.”  “You’ll be sorry later in life.”  Well, it’s later in my life and I feel fine about it.  So does my husband and our 3 furry friends, Blaze, Ellie and Savannah.  They are happy as can be.

I know there are a lot of us out there.  I know  some peoples’ “kids” can be cats and birds, and hamsters and even a ferret or two.  At parties some people think we sound silly when we talk about our “kids”!  But they are our kids.  We love them as much as regular families love their children.

In fact, we love children…our nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews and friends’ children.  We babysit.  We celebrate birthdays!  We’re the cool Aunt and Uncle!  We like that.  The best part is when the children are NOT on their best behavior, we can give them back!

So here’s to all families, no matter how you define them. When all is said and done, isn’t really  just about love?


It is that time year for sunbathing and being outside across America.  Summer is officially here and sure to make every dermatologist and skin cancer survivor cringe!

Beaches, gardens, golf courses across the nation are full of unprotected skin!  It’s time for the story on sun protection and skin cancer.   You’ve heard it before…but do you listen?

As a group, most are well-aware of the risks of sun damage; from pre-mature aging, to skin cancer. While some of us wear sunglasses and varying degrees of sunscreen (from SPF 4 to 100), no one wears hats. 10am – 4pm are the most intense hours of sunlight. Shade is critical.   Let me say it again.  Shade is critical!

Sure being in the sun is relaxing, a particularly nice stress relief whether you’re gardening, running or laying on a beach.  Some people actual say they feel “healthier” after a day in the sun.  These folks are ideal illustrations of where the nation stands on the issue.  Dr. Bruce Thiers, chairman of the Medical University of South Carolina’s dermatology department said in an interview, “People know the dangers. The word is out,” says Thiers. “It’s like smoking. There’s not one smoker who doesn’t know that smoking is bad. You can’t force people to change their behavior.”

Also like smoking, Thiers said, “Young people, especially teens, men and those in the 20s, are particularly vulnerable to ignoring warnings and not taking precautions.”  So here we go again and remind you of sun safety!  These simple precautions are worth repeating: Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; seek out shade whenever possible; wear protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat and wrap-around sunglasses; and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15 (MINIMUM) at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapplying it every two hours. Those with a family history of skin cancer, or who have had skin cancer, should have an appointment with a dermatologist every year.

You don’t have to become a hermit you just need to exercise common sense.

Research on the deadliest form of skin cancer; melanoma, found the following factors associated with melanoma detection: a history of blistering sunburns as a teenager; red or blond hair; marked freckling of the upper back; a family history of melanoma; a history of actinic keratosis, an early stage of skin cancer; and outdoor summer jobs for three or more years as a teenager.

Other previous studies examining risk factors for melanoma have shown correlations between melanoma and a range of associations, such as women and men with a prior history of breast cancer having an increased risk of developing melanoma; higher socioeconomic class being linked to a higher incidence of melanoma because this group may be able to afford more leisure time that could result in more sun exposure; and use of tanning beds is a major risk factor for melanoma.

Finally look for your sunscreen’s UVA rating on the product.  If it’s not there it should cause you to pause.  UVA Rays are more dangerous than UVB rays.  They are linked to pre-mature aging and skin cancers like Melanoma.  If your sunscreen does not have a UVA rating—also known as Critical Wavelength—of at least 370 nanometers than it cannot be defined as a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen according to the American Academy of dermatology!  So read your labels and take sun protection seriously, it could save your life!

Now,  are you listening?


There are some facts worth noting about children and sun exposure:

  • Fifty percent (50%) of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood and adolescence.
  • It takes only 10 minutes in intense sun for a young child to get a sunburn.
  • A person born today is twice as likely to develop skin cancer as one born 10 years ago.
  • Sunburns occurring in childhood are a risk factor for the development of skin cancers like melanoma.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies under the age of six months. Consult your physician for children over 6 months

SPF’s higher than 50 provide a false sense of security, making parents feel that it is not necessary to re-apply as often. It is best to use a minimum of SPF 30 and re-apply at least every 2 hours. Apply sunscreen to dry skin at least 20 minutes prior to going into the water.

If a child develops a reaction to a SPF 50 sunscreen, try using a SPF 30 or SPF 15. They will have lower levels of active ingredients that will be potentially less irritating.


June 15, 2011, Charleston, SC


The FDA’s release of their final monograph on sunscreen labeling and defining what is a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen, has a South Carolina company cheering!  Since 2005, Daniel Island, SC based LUCA Sunscreen products have exceeded the FDA minimum; 370 nanometer (nm) Critical Wavelength /UVA Rating and has put that rating on all products.  The FDA will mandate that all sunscreen companies that choose to define themselves as “Broad Spectrum” must meet the minimum 370(nm) Critical Wavelength UVA rating by June 18, 2012.  UVA rays are directly linked to pre-mature aging and skin cancer.  LUCA Sunscreen has been a pioneer in educating consumers about the harmful effects of UVA rays. The good news is consumers do not need to wait until June of 2012 to purchase a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen to protect their family from the sun’s harmful rays.


Dr. Karl Gruber a surgical pathologist at Trident Medical Center, founded LUCA Sunscreen with his wife Georgia because their son was allergic to traditional sunscreens.  He also began to see increases in skin cancers on younger patients in his practice.  Their passion of getting out the Critical Wavelength/UVA message to consumers, the American Academy of Dermatologists, as well as the FDA has been in the works for years.


LUCA Sunscreen Positioning


LUCA Sunscreen products include two Daily Moisturizers, Max Sport and a Lip Balm.  These products have met and exceeded the new FDA guidelines for the past 6 years.  LUCA Sunscreen is committed to providing the best defense under the sun and educating consumers about the harmful effects of UVA rays.  The company is about to release a new web-site and marketing efforts next week.  The campaign will focus on how allLUCA Sunscreen products offer the Ultimate in Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection.  The current web-site is


LUCA Sunscreen is located on Daniel Island, SC. For detailed information and interviews please Contact Dr. Karl Gruber directly at or Lisa Mack 843-557-0520, .



1.   FUEL UP; take in one gram of protein per pound of body weight daily.

2.   LIMIT CARDIO; To lose fat while sparing muscle, you’d do even better to perform sprint intervals—for instance, running all-out for a minute and then backing off to a light jog for two minutes. Do this for 30 minutes, 3 X a week.

3.   DO LESS; do no more than 20 sets per muscle group—closer to 12 is even better. Your reps should be between six and 12 per set for the most muscle growth, and your workouts should never last much longer than 45 minutes.

4.   USE FULL-BODY WORKOUTS OR A SPLIT ROUTINE; you’ll get the best results from your workout by either training the whole body in a single workout or concentrating only on the upper body in one session and the lower body in another. Concentrate on lifts that involve lots of muscles at once, such as squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, and pullups.

5.   STRETCH; stretching of any kind and getting massages will all help keep you flexible, prevent injury, and improve recovery between workouts.

6.   EAT REGULARLY; eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. As long as good-quality fuel keeps coming into your body—particularly protein and carbs—you’ll have the calories to build muscle and the metabolism boost to lose fat.

7.   CHANGE EVERYTHING; Every 4 to 6 weeks, you need to alter some part of your routine, whether it’s the number of reps you do, the amount of time you rest, the exercises you perform, or any other training variable. Keep a journal.

8.  TRAIN THE WHOLE BODY;  the more muscles you involve—either in one exercise or one training session—the greater the hormone release you’ll get from your training, and that stimulates muscle growth all day long.

9.  DRINK SHAKES; surround your workout with nutrition, starting with a high protein- and-carbohydrate meal about an hour beforehand — a ratio of about two grams of carbs for every one gram of protein, and sip that throughout your workout.

10. RECOVER; the ideal amount of sleep is seven to eight hours per night. Avoid excess stress.

Article from: Rachel Cosgrove, a performance-enhancement coach and the co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif.