Interview: Beach Bag Essentials with Lifestyle Expert Justine Santaniello

With Memorial day just a few short few days away, many of us will be heading to the beach for some well deserved rest and relaxation! Lifestyle expert and TV personality Justine Santaniello joined me to share her beach bag essentials for your summer getaway!


Justine SantanielloLifestyle Expert and TV Personality, Justine Santaniello. Image courtesy of

 Lake Tahoe


Candace Rose: With summer approaching, trips to the beach are a must! What are some of your favorite items to pack in your beach bag?

Justine Santaniello: "What I think it really comes down to, Candace, for beach bag essentials is you want to be organized, you want to be prepared so that you can actually relax. But I know a lot of women out there, they still want to do it with style. They still want to be trendy, even though they're being organized. So I've come up with my beach bag essentials for you guys to kind of let you do both of those things.

    I think the best place to start is with the beach bag itself. This is going to be the thing that you are bringing with you whether you're going to the beach or to the pool or to the lake. You're going to be having this on you quite often. You want something that you like and expresses yourself. I don't know about you but I know that I have owned many of those standard plastic ones with the tropical punch colors or the pictures of the palm trees on them, but those are kind of outdated. They're not the best quality, so this year I say update the beach bag that you have to something more retro looking- that's very popular right now to have a retro looking beach bag. So for example one of those big straw totes- they're classic, they're retro, they're on trend and then you can always personalize it by tying a little pattern scarf on it or something like that to make it your own. You can choose one in a straw color, but definitely look into updating your actual beach bag."


A few retro looking straw bags:

Straw Bag PiperlimeSR Squared by Sondra Roberts – Black White Straw Handle Straw Bag – Piperlime


Michael Stars Variegated Calypso Tote

Michael Stars Variegated Calypso Tote (on SALE!)




Cole Haan Serena Small Tote Natural

Cole Haan Serena Small Tote Natural/Spicy/Orange. Zappos



kate spade straw bag nordstromKate Spade New York 'Harmony' Embroidered Straw Tote. Image courtesy of

A bright patterned scarf:

chelsey boni eye pattern scarf Chelsey 'Boni Eye' Scarf (in pink, white, yellow and orange). Image courtesy of


If you're feeling extravagant:

Burberry Yellow Check ScarfBurberry Mega Check Scarf (in Chrome Yellow). Image courtesy of


Candace Rose: What are some of the essentials that we need to pack?

Justine Santaniello: "When you are picking a new beach bag, make sure you get one that is big enough for everything you're going to need that's lined on the inside. With all the elements- the sand, the water, you don't want anything getting ruined on the inside of your bag. And make sure you pick one that has inner pockets.

    Here's what you want to start with in the bag: You want to have a bag within a bag- one of those smaller travel pouches. The big retail stores, they're all carrying those resort lines. The ones that are a little bit more exclusive and usually more expensive are all creating collections for the big retail chains that are more affordable for people like us- 'the everyday woman'. You could get a smaller bag and put that in a tie dye pattern or a geometric that's so trendy and popular right now.

    And here's what I want you to keep in the smaller bag: In addition to your cellphone or your car keys or credit cards- those smaller really important items that you don't want to lose and fumble around in your bigger tote. You also want to keep smaller beauty and hygiene products in there. This is what it comes down to Candace, us women, we want to look good even when we're at the beach- I'm not saying a full face of makeup or anything like that. I'm talking about smaller essentials, but here's the key: that's going to let you go out after your day at the beach, because I want to go for some drinks; I want to go to a family barbecue. I don't want to have to run home to look pretty or freshen up. So keeping these smaller items on you like a tinted lip balm- one that has SPF in it you're protected, but has a little bit of a color so that if you're applying it afterwards you can use that almost like your lipstick. Smaller facial SPF's, colored bobby pins to keep the hair out of your face. Bobby pins are so inexpensive and you can pick them up now in neons, which we know are so popular. And then also the items that are going to keep you fresh like oil blotting pads for your face because we can get really oily in the sun or deodorant. Women ask me a lot in the summer time- what deodorant they should be using? Should they be switching to one now that they're going to be having more skin exposed and you're going to be sweating, so I kind of want to clear the air on this right here.

   The one that I am using, the one that I recommend- Dove actually has a new deodorant, it's called ClearTone, and this is why I like it- now in addition to the obvious the protection that we're all looking for (the 24 hour protection) it has an added bonus in there, it's going to reduce those dark marks. We all know as women we're shaving a lot more in the summer (and this goes for everyone) and your skin is sensitive. We can get a little bit of irritation from that, so this is going to reduce the dark marks, it's going to help to even the skin tone. They have a lot more info for you on You can pick which one is best for you, but again keep a deodorant on you because you don't want to go home to have to freshen up or go take a shower after the beach. So this just allows you to kind of go out afterwards. Keeping those small beauty items on you to keep you looking good."


Dove CLinical Strength Clear ToneDove Clinical Strength Clear Tone Deodorant. Image courtesy of


Dove Calendula OilDove ClearTone with Calendula Oil and Sunflower Seed Extracts. Image courtesy of


Dove Cleartone DeodorantDove Cleartone Deodorant. Image courtesy of


Candace Rose: When it comes to sunscreen, what level SPF do you recommend?

Justine Santaniello: "Well, here's the thing with sunscreen- keeping in mind that they're not all created equal, some SPF's (the body ones especially) they can irritate the more sensitive skin on your cheeks or your nose or your neck- especially those spray on ones. You want to test out the SPF before you actually get to the beach. Test them on your wrists, that's the perfect place to test beauty products in general, but especially SPF's. Pick up one that's hypoallergenic and then the number level really depends on your skin tone. If you're somebody who has more of an olive complexion and you don't burn as easily, you can get away with a 30 or a 15. I don't recommend going any lower than 15. But if you have a lighter skin tone, you burn easier, you're going to want to pick that number up. And obviously keeping another SPF if you're traveling with kids. You're probably not going to use the same SPF that you're putting on your children, so you want to make sure you have a higher number there for the kids and keeping in mind to have a special facial moisturizer just made for the face and neck, and then just one for the body. When it comes to the body, choose one that's a spray to help you get that full coverage but it's also making sure you pick one that's sweat and water resistant so you don't have to keep reapplying quite as much during the day. You should always reapply but if you pick one that's water and sweat resistant, you don't have to reapply quite as much."


Candace Rose: We all know the importance of protecting our skin from the sun. What can we do to protect our hair?

Justine Santaniello: "You definitely want to protect the hair as well. The best way is thinking of things that do 2-in-1 protection like for example- a hat. You don't necessarily want to have your face out there exposed all day, and believe it or not that goes for the same thing with our hair. Hats protect the hair on your head as well. When you're looking for which hat you want to be bringing with you- how about updating the hat? It's the same concept as the beach bag and how I told you to update your beach bag. Instead of those huge floppy sunhats that maybe our grandmothers used to wear, what about a straw fedora? So this is going to still be wide brimmed, it's going to protect your face, protect your hair, but you're going to look a little bit cooler wearing it. It's a little bit trendier, a little bit edgier. We don't want to look like our grandma's, we want to be up to date.


halogen straw fedoraHalogen Straw Fedora. Image courtesy of


David & Young Straw FedoraDavid & Young Straw Fedora. Image courtesy of

  In the same vein as spicing up your beach bag basics, flip flops. Instead of the plastic flip flops that I know can be very inexpensive, if you spend just a little bit more money you can get a really nice leather pair. And here's what you're going to get from leather flip flops- you're not going to get blisters, you're going to probably be able to wear them for more than one season instead of having to throw them out and again, you're going to look a little bit more grown up and not like everybody else on the beach that has plastic flip flops. So take a look into updating to leather flip flops."


Bernardo Maxine Leather Flip FlopsBernardo Maxine Sandals (in Pecan). Image courtesy of


Rainbow Braided leather flip flopsRainbow 'Flirty' Braided Leather Flip Flop. Image courtesy of

Candace Rose: With Memorial Day right around the corner and summer vacations near, do you have any tips for those traveling with their families?

Justine Santaniello: "Yes, when traveling with families it's important to keep in mind the basics that you're going to need for the kids. We touched having a specific SPF for your children, but maybe keeping another bag with you- a plastic bag, again that's lined on the inside with the essentials for your kids; so their beach toys; if they still need floaties, if they're not able to swim on their own and then the importance of having snacks and water with you when you're at the beach. I recommend that for everybody, but especially if you're traveling with small children. It's very easy to get dehydrated so you want to make sure that you're keeping water on hand and keeping snacks because they're probably to get hungry; they're running around, they're in the sun, but nothing too crazy. Cut up some fresh fruit before you leave and put it in a Ziploc so it's very easy to throw out at the end or some granola bars- things that you can easily pack up and take with you on the go."



Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?

Justine Santaniello: "Again, I think it's all about spicing up the beach basics that we've all had and updating them.  Here's a cover up alternative- instead of doing that glitzy cover up that's super girly, you can do a man's shirt. So not only do you look kind of cute in it, they're not expensive (they're probably about $20) or if you have a guy in your life you can just borrow his. It's kind of an updated version and the concept of going out after your day at the beach. If you don't want to run home, which was what I was recommending, try a maxi dress because not only can these act as a great cover up, then you can throw it on at the end of the day and wear that out as your outfit. So you're kind of getting 2-in-1 there with a maxi dress. I think hopefully all of these things combined is going to keep you organized, keep you prepared and also do it in a stylish way so that a day at the beach can really be a day at the beach."


Velvet by Graham and Spencer maxi dress Goddess Long Racer Maxi Dress by Velvet by Graham & Spencer. Image courtesy of Piperlime


Hive & Honey Striped Slub Pink White Maxi Dress piperlimeStriped Slub Maxi Dress by Hive & Honey. Image courtesy of


Splendid Coastal Stripe Maxi DressSplendid 'Coastal Stripe' Strapless Maxi Dress. Image courtesy of



Splendid Paprika Strapless Blouson Maxi Dress

Splendid Paprika Strapless Blouson Maxi Dress. Neiman Marcus

  Ella Moss Celia Maxi DressElla Moss 'Celia' Racerback Colorblock Maxi Dress. Image courtesy of


Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?

Justine Santaniello: "I'm going to be posting tips all throughout the summer with my beach bag essentials. You can find that on my Twitter, which is"


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