It’s almost VACAY time!

That’s right, folks.

Exactly 24 hours from right now, Ryan, the Happinator  and I will be truckin’ it over to the Carolina Coast for some beach time. We’re headed to Wilmington, N.C. and I cannot be more excited!

Six months is *far* too long for me to go without digging my toes in the sand… and hearing some ocean waves.

I’m a beach girl. Through and through. And any town with historic charm has my name written all over it.

We'll just call this my new "beach home"

And this? Yes, yes, this right here is my new boat...

As for what we’ll be doing while in Wilmington? Nadda clue! And I like it that way Smile. We’re on the no-plan-plan.

Kind of.

Apparently, Ryan has something in the works…but he won’t tell me. “Because  it’s a surprise.” Must say, I’m a fan. I like surprises. (I mean duh, don’t you guys remember how much I love surprising people?).



This no-plan-plan means Ryan and I are open to any and all suggestions… so if y’all have been to Wilmington before and have any recommendations for food/things to do, we’re all ears!

Another thing I’m a fan of?

The FDA’s new labeling system for sunscreen! An article from the Wall Street Journal sums it up quite nicely:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released long-awaited sunscreen regulations requiring products to pass certain effectiveness tests and adopt new labels designed to make it easier for consumers to choose a sunscreen.

The SPF (sun-protection factor) number on sunscreens is currently based on how well and how long the product protects against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that primarily cause sunburn, not UVA rays. Both types of rays contribute to wrinkles and skin cancer. The new regulations will require products that are labeled “broad spectrum”—as is the case with many currently marketed ones—to pass tests for both UVB and UVA rays.

Sunscreens that don’t offer enough protection against UVB and UVA rays will be required to carry a warning label stating that the products haven’t been shown to prevent skin cancer.

Although currently marketed “broad spectrum” sunscreens do offer protection against UVA rays, there is currently no standard.

“You can be labeled broad spectrum and have wimpy UVA protection,” explained Janet Woodcock, the head of FDA’s drug division. Right now there’s no way for consumers to tell how much UVA protection they are getting when they use a “broad spectrum” sunscreen.

Sunscreens that meet the new “broad spectrum” tests and receive a SPF rating of 15 or higher will be allowed to state that they reduce the risks of skin cancer and signs of early skin aging if used as directed and in combination with other sun protection measures. Sunscreens that have an SPF rating less than 15 will be required to carry a warning label saying the product hasn’t been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.

The rules will also require companies to drop terms like water- or sweat-proof and instead pass a test for water resistance to keep a water claim on the label.

The FDA announced a separate proposal that would cap the maximum SPF value at “50+,” on the grounds there aren’t enough data to show products with a value higher than 50 offers more protection.

Although these new regulations are awesome, there is still room for improvement (seems like this is the case for every public health initiative, though…). Unfortunately, a lot of the sunscreens that currently line the shelves of the stores most of us frequent contain hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin (bet ya didn’t realize that, huh?!). Fortunately for us, though, there is an awesome organization that’s been making huge strides in creating public awareness and protecting the public’s health against toxic chemicals – The Environmental Working Group (EWG). Ever heard of the “dirty dozen” or “clean 15”?? This is the group behind those lists. I’d say they’re a good resource to listen to…

Anywho, the EWG has compiled some handy lists dubbing the “best” and “worst” brands of sunscreens, as far as UVA protection and toxic chemicals go.  Of the more than 600 sunscreens they analyzed for their 2011 Sunscreen Guide, they only recommend 1 in 5. Sunscreens that made the cut contain the minerals zinc or titanium, which are ideal for people looking for the best UVA protection without potentially hazardous chemicals. I highly recommend checking these lists out for yourself.

Seriously. Do it.

Even I was fooled. Some of the sunscreens I currently use (including a bottle I just bought!) are on that “hall of shame” list.


My sub-par collection of sunscreen. Wahhhhhh.

So, you bet your ass I’m marching myself to the store ASAP to replace my brand-new Banana Boat Sport Spray that’s currently packed up in my beach-bag. Homegirl  needs her protection against UVA rays! And if you’re headed to the beach (or planning on spending ample amounts of time outside for the holiday weekend…) you do too!

So with that, I’m off to Target! (Here’s hoping that I’ll make it into the store without anything else but sunscreen). MustStayFocused! Bring on the tunnel vision…

Do you have any 4th of July plans?Do you plan things out before a vacation? Or do you fly by the no-plan-plan, or maybe a little of both? Personally, I think I like a little of both.  Did you realize that even though all sunscreens protect against UVB rays, not all currently protect against UVA rays? Do you ever get sucked into Target? If Ryan’s not with me… I can be trapped for hours! No bueno.


Filed under Happiness, melanoma, public health, safety, sunscreen, Travel

16 responses to “It’s almost VACAY time!

  1. I just love Wilmington, NC! My recommendation would be lots of time at the beach, a good few strolls by the riverfront because that place is just STUNNING, and shopping at the Cotton Exchange! Some excellent stores there, including a beautiful glass shop that I just love. Front Street Brewery has some top notch beers and pretty decent bar food (and one KILLER greek salad).

  2. That sounds like so much fun! Enjoy your beach weekend, it’s going to be a scorcher here in the Carolinas!!

  3. YAAAYYY.. have so much fun on your trip. And I can’t wait to hear what Ryan’s got cookin’ up!

  4. Melanie

    I have been there i few times. I lived in NC for a few years. So if you like bars i recommend rum runners a lot of fun! If u like to do tours i recommend the battleship of NC.

    • How did i not realize you used to live in NC?!!? Which part?!! And thanks for the recommendation — a lot of my college friends have always raved about Rum Runners… i need to check it out!

  5. My dad uses this awesomeeeee sunscreen recommended by his Dermatologist, made in Australia!!! It’s amaaaazing. I’ll have to give you the name when i find it 🙂 Have fun on your trip!

  6. Erica

    I was just in myrtle beach and my bf and he went to university of north carolina wilmington. so if you love to eat i do :0) check out PT’s grille(4544 Fountain Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403) they have really good burgers. and any of the hot dog trolly stops oh and if you like sea food the oceanic has some good crab dip and they are right on the beach. yes the cotten exchange has some neat shops. i bet wrightsville wil have fireworks for the fourth! have fun!

  7. I need to be better about screening around my eyes. good post on the importance of sun block!

  8. Girl, I hope you guys had a great time!! Can’t wait to hear all about it and the surprise! 🙂 I am so a beach girl too so I hear ya. Glad we both got to play on the beach this weekend.

  9. Definitely applaud the sunscreen heads-up. When I went to Costa Rica I reviewed the hell out of every sunscreen. Amazingly, Target’s store brand was one of the best rated, along with No-AD, but I couldn’t find No-AD anywhere except online. Thankfully, I came back with a tan and no signs of lobster-ness. I think the copious amounts of beer kept my skin hydrated. =/

  10. Pingback: I <3 Wilmington, NC | Happy Tales

  11. Pingback: The Waiting Game | Happy Tales

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s