My Summer Essentials List

It’s hard to believe we’re nearly half way through summer! With the hot weather, my style goal is to achieve a casual, cool, comfortable look while still feeling fashionable. Maxi dresses, breathable fabrics, open-toed shoes and something to throw over your shoulders on cooler evenings or by the water.

Beauty routines change too. With tanned skin, mineral powder replaces heavy foundations, and bronzers highlight for a sun-kissed look. For my skin, extra exfoliation and hydration are important, as well as carrying blotting papers to mattify throughout the day.

Here are a few of my favourite summer essentials!

SummerEssentials

Clockwise, from left to right:

Edo Jean Jacket from Aritzia
Lush Cosmetics’ Mask of Magnaminty has saved me numerous times this season. So refreshing!
A slouchy white t-shirt
Bright, coral shorts
Zoya’s white nail polish for toes that contrast tanned skin
Ray-Bans!
Strappy sandals. These ones are from Aldo.

What’s on your summer essentials list?

Melanie Mills

Melanie Mills is an Emmy Award-winning makeup artist and the creator of Gleam Body Radiance. Extremely talented and full of life, Melanie has been in the entertainment industry for over fifteen years, during which time she’s worked on productions such as The Office, That 70’s Show, and Dancing with the Stars.

In fact, it was her work as head of the makeup department on Dancing with the Stars for which Melanie won her Emmy in 2008. During her time on the show, Mel developed Gleam Body Radiance when she identified the need for a long lasting, stain-free, high-quality body bronzer.

Since the launch of Gleam, Melanie has expanded the brand to include Lip Radiance, an all-natural line of lasting lip gloss, and Radiant Dust, a loose shimmering power. I am a huge fan of all three products. I love applying Gleam Body Radiance to my arms and legs for a toned and sexy effect. Radiant Dust can be used as a blush or bronzer, as well as applied on the body. Use just a little here and there for a natural, rich glow, or amp up the glam for a high-impact look.

melanie mills, gleam by melanie mills

The thing I love so much about Mel’s products is that they aren’t just beautiful, they’re good for your skin and feel great on! There’s nothing worse than that plastered on, heavy make-up feeling. With Gleam, you barely feel like you’re wearing anything at all!

The same is true for the Lip Radiance line. I am usually a chapstick girl during the day because I like my lips to feel healthy and hydrated, but with Lip Radiance, you get the best of both worlds – hydration and glossy colour.

Gleam products have been featured in magazines such as Allure, Self, InStyle, Vogue, People, and Redbook.  As you can imagine, I was absolutely thrilled when Melanie agreed to do a little Q&A with me for Things I’m Loving!

Melanie will be bringing all things glitter and glam to the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show (IMATS) in Vancouver this summer. Top make-up artists, schools, and shops from TV and film will be representing at the Vancouver Convention Centre August 9th – 10th, 2014.  Be sure to stop by the Gleam booth and pick up some Gleam products for yourself or your make-up kit! Read More

Jason Sarai

STYLE_BY_SARAI-25After just a few minutes of speaking with Jason Sarai, personal stylist, image consultant, and CEO of Style by Sarai, I suspect one always leaves an encounter with him feeling inspired. Personable, passionate, and totally engaged in our discussion, Jason seems to genuinely love every minute of being an entrepreneur.

Jason started Style by Sarai in December of 2012, but according to his Mom, was into fashion even as a little kid, refusing to wear something if it didn’t match properly. He recalls using clothing to make a personal statement in late high school. Soon, his older brother began stealing his outfits. In fact, you could say that Jason’s brother was his first client.

“My brother was actually the driving force for starting,” Jason tells me, “He lives in Chicago, and when he flew into Vancouver, would never bring more than one outfit with him, because he would just wear all of my clothes while he was here.”

As a busy professional and young Dad, Jason’s brother offered to pay Jason for help buying clothing and putting together outfits. Soon after, whenever someone needed help with styling, they would be sent to Jason for advice.

Everything seemed to be pointing Jason towards this career. He credits friends and family with giving him that push to get the company started, and supporting him along the way. With their help, Jason started brainstorming business names and concepts. Ever since, it’s continued to evolve and grow, and he’s enjoying the journey:

“It’s been super fun, taking a passion project and turning it into an actual business,” he says.

In addition to running Style by Sarai, Jason also has a partnership in Catalyst Kinetics, a gym located in Burnaby. Catalyst is a new, multi-disciplinary, fully integrated approach to health, fitness and wellness that launched 9 months ago.

Jason actually has a background in finance – “I was advising clients to save, and then on the other hand, telling people to spend money on clothing!” he laughs, “It was a bit of a contradiction for a while.”

Some may see the connection between these careers as a bit of a stretch, but Jason puts it perfectly:

“It’s all the same principle. You’re dealing with people, you need to figure out what their comfort zones are. You build a plan, hold them accountable, and work within their ability. And then you push them a little bit out of the envelope, and you get results. The same fundamentals exist whether it’s finance, fitness or fashion.”

jason sarai

With two new businesses on the go, one would be right in assuming he has a pretty full schedule. Jason’s typical work day starts at 4:45am. He heads to Catalyst, where he spends most of the day before focusing on building his style consulting business, meeting with clients in the evenings and on weekends.

When I ask him how he manages all of that responsibility, he says: “I am new to the game, and am so appreciative of every opportunity that comes my way. Eventually, I’ll need to scrutinize my schedule more and say “I just can’t take that on”, but right now, there’s so much to learn.”

So, what’s it like to have Jason as your stylist?

For Jason, the first step with any new client is to find out a bit about who they are and what they want their clothing to portray. In an initial discovery meeting, he inquires about their work environment, what they do after-work, and what’s important in their personal lives.

Jason believes that style is all day, every day: “Whether you’re going to work, to a function, picking up the kids, or grocery shopping – you need to be dressed appropriately.”

After learning about the client’s lifestyle and what they’re looking for, Jason goes through their existing wardrobe, piece by piece.

“That’s an interesting exercise,” he chuckles, “I always tell them to leave their closet the way it is – don’t clean it before I get there! I want to see how you normally have it.” So guys, take note – no last-minute, tidying!

Anything not meeting the style vision gets donated to charity. Then Jason really gets to work to fill any gaps in their wardrobe. He’ll send outfit photos and inspiration to his client for discussion, even before he begins pulling clothes. Spouses often get involved at this phase, weighing in on the inspirational looks.

At their next appointment, to ensure they use their time together effectively, Jason will set aside pieces beforehand for the client to try on. Based on what I’ve witnessed of men’s shopping habits, this is a huge benefit to working with Jason. Get in, try on the clothes, love them, buy them, and get out. No leaving a mall or department store 8 hours later, exhausted and frustrated.

Guys will also appreciate that after the shopping is done, Jason provides clients with photos of outfits, demonstrating what pieces in their wardrobe work together. Clients can keep the images on their phone to reference later for guidance.

“It makes dressing really easy, and they can take those and make outfits on their own because the template is worked out for them,” says Jason.

I asked if clients have a hard time letting go of favourite pieces during the clean-out process (as I ask this question, the image of a faded 90’s punk rock t-shirt pops into my head). Jason noted that he always asks if there is anything of sentimental value that needs to be held on to – whether stylish or not, it’s important to respect that.

“But one of the funnier things is when I go back to a client’s house after, and something from the ‘throw out pile’ has somehow mysteriously made its’ way back into their wardrobe,” he says, “I always catch them, and we joke about it!”

It’s important to Jason that the process be enjoyable. There’s a lot of good-natured banter – “It’s meant to be fun, and they all end up shopping more,” he says.

Jason’s approach seems to be working. He has established ongoing relationships with many former clients, and will even receive photos from them while they’re out shopping, asking for his opinion before buying.

“It’s great seeing how much they enjoy it, and how much they take away from our time together and do it on their own.”

So, if you’re a gentleman living in the Lower Mainland and are looking to up your fashion game, Jason offers image and style consulting services at various levels. And it sounds like he and his clients have a great time during the process.


Q&A

jason sarai, kate senkow

Jason Sarai and Kate Senkow at event hosted at Catalyst Kinetics by Lululemon & Style by Sarai.

K: Is there an outfit or a piece that you gravitate towards on big days or for important meetings and events?

Jason: There are definitely a few power suits I go to. A couple blazers and pocket squares, too, and some lapel pins that are my favourite.

For an important day, I’d have to say my go-to is this plaid, rainbow coloured tie. It definitely gives me energy. I always get compliments on it when I wear it. I was looking for it based on a photo I saw. It took me three years to find, so when I found it, I bought a couple. I have a back-up, just in case.

K: If you had to give one piece of fashion advice, what would it be?

Jason: I have two things, if that’s okay.

1) Make sure it fits.
Being in the fitness industry, I hear time and time again from the people I’ve helped that they’re holding off buying new clothes until they get to their desired goal.

That’s no reason not to look good in your current state. It comes down to fit. Find something that fits your body, and you’ll be amazed at how much of an impact that has.

2) Be your own style icon.
It’s great to look to celebrities for inspiration, but, figure out what makes you happy and what you like, and dress to the best of that ability.

If you feel good in it, it doesn’t matter what other people think. If you’re happy, then what else really matters?


It was a sincere pleasure getting to know Jason, and I look forward to witnessing the continued growth and success of Style by Sarai.

jason sarai

Jason Sarai

Personal Stylist & Image Consultant
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Images courtesy of Jason Sarai. Photographer: Alex Kwok

Food With Thought

As a food lover and new resident of Surrey, BC, I have shared a number of experiences discovering restaurants and community events here on Things I’m Loving. I love supporting local, unique businesses, and profiling those who are passionate about what they do.

So, I am very excited to announce that I will be contributing to Food With Thought – a website celebrating the city of Surrey’s culinary culture and its status as an emerging dining destination.

FoodWithThought

Looking forward to working with the team at Tourism Surrey and Food With Thought.

Join me! Follow along as I dine around the city and discover these culinary destinations for yourself.

Read More

A man’s story

I was serenaded by a gentleman on my walk today

Well, not really.

This was my fourth or fifth time encountering the “singing man”. He strolls around the neighbourhood, singing loudly to himself (to the world?) as he walks.

Whenever I hear him, my pace slows. A smile creeps across my lips, exposing me as a romantic.

He has a beautiful, melodic voice. Really, I have no idea if he’s actually any good, but to me, it’s lovely. Someone more versed in the area may think otherwise. Today I pulled out my phone and began to record.

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