Monthly Archives

November 2015

Beauty, Home

Dior Hydra Life Skincare Review

I recently finished using a few products from the Dior Hydra Life skincare line and wanted to share my thoughts on these products in case anyone is looking to try the Dior Hydra products!

1. Dior Hydra Pro-Youth Sorbet Essence

Dior Pro-Youth Sorbet Essence
Dior describes the essence as a “concentrate of natural goodness deeply reinvigorates the skin by boosting the circulation of water right down to the heart of its cells. The skin is revitalized. It appears healthier and full of life”.

I use the essence as a serum after toning water and before lotion. The product costs $65 for a 1 oz (30ml) bottle. The product itself is a lightweight clear gel and is easily absorbed into the skin.

1a. Dior Hydra Pro-Youth Sorbet Essence

2. Dior Hydra Life Lotion (Cream vs. Sorbet)

Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Crème vs. Protective Crème
The Sorbet Crème is describes as “this crème fuses with the skin, enveloping it in softness while deeply reinvigorating it. Facial features are replumped. The skin is awakened, softened and feels delightfully comfortable.”

The Protective Crème is described as “a protective defense against external aggressions thanks to its protection against UVA and UVB. The generous and creamy texture provides an intense and long-lasting hydration.”

Both moisturizer cost $60 for 1.7 oz (50ml). The Sorbet Crème is recommended for combination skin and the Protective Crème is recommended for normal to dry skin. I have combination skin and originally purchased the Sorbet Crème but found it was not moisturizing enough for the colder months so I also purchased the Protective Crème. Personally, I used the Sorbet Crème for spring and summer and the Protective Crème for fall and winter.

The Sorbet Crème has a very lightweight, gel-like consistency that is excellent for warmer weather and the product absorbs very quickly. On the other hand, the Protective Crème is a heavier cream and takes some time to absorb but definitely provides more moisturizing which is perfect for colder months. Another difference is the Protective Crème comes with a SPF 15 but the Sorbet Crème does not.

2a. Dior Hydra Life Cream vs. Sorbet Comparison

Note: It seems Dior no longer makes the Protective Crème but has since came out with a Silk Crème that does not appear to have SPF.

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Home, Others

Top 12 Christmas Gift Ideas for Women

Every year before Christmas, I toil for hours over what to get everyone. Finding a great gift is especially difficult if the recipient is the opposite gender, which in my case is a male. However, I know this is also true the other way around because my colleagues would often ask me for gift ideas for their girlfriends, wives, moms and sisters.

So I thought it might be helpful to gather a list of gift ideas and share my thoughts on why each would make a great Christmas gift!

Gifts Under $501. Top 12 Christmas Gift Ideas for Women (Under $50)

  1. YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick (purchase here)
    This lipstick would make a great gift because of the beautiful packaging, smooth formula and fruity fragrant. This lipstick is very unique and trust me no girl will ever dislike receiving a YSL lipstick! (I would suggest purchasing this at Sephora so your recipient can easily exchange for a different color)
  2. S’well Water Bottle (purchase here)
    The S’well bottle is very sleek and is able to keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. This bottle really works and is amazing! The water bottle does not condensate outside when it has cold water, so it is perfect for girls to throw the bottle into their bags! Although it is pricey for a water bottle, this will be a fantastic gift that will be put into good use! (You can purchase S’well bottles from the Container Store, which sometimes offer 10 – 20% discounts)
  3. David’s Tea Chest (purchase here)
    The tea chest comes with 8 varieties of loose-leaf teas and makes a great, healthy gift! If your recipient is a tea lover or drinks coffee often for caffeine then this tea gift set would make a great gift!

Gifts Between $50 – $100 2. Top 12 Christmas Gift Ideas for Women ($50-$100)

  1. Glamglow Thirstymud Treatment Set (purchase here)
    Glamglow’s hydrating mask is a skincare essential for the winter! This treatment set includes the full size Thirstymud mask that delivers visible hydration to your skin and a smaller Supermud mask which helps purify the skin. If your recipient is into skincare, she will absolutely love this set!
  2. Samto 3D Stereoscopic Printing Pen (purchase here)
    If your recipient loves arts and crafts then she will love this gift. The stereoscopic pen allows you to create all sorts of incredible 3D drawing! 3D pens are fun for everyone to try but are especially great for creative souls!
  3. Fujifilm Instant Film Camera (purchase here)
    Even though Instragram might be taking over the whole, it doesn’t replace the gratification of taking a picture and instantly getting a physical copy! If your recipient loves to take pictures then this mini polaroid will make a fantastic gift!

Gifts Between $100 – $2003. Top 12 Christmas Gift Ideas for Women (Over $100-$200)

  1. Daniel Wellington Watches (purchase here)
    Daniel Wellington watches are simple and classic. It is great for anyone who works in a conservative work environment or any girl who loves arm accessories! (Remember to order on Daniel Wellington’s website to get to up ~30% off, read my detailed post here)
  2. Manduka Pro Yoga Mat (purchase here)
    If your recipient just started getting into yoga or is an experience yogi, a Manduka yoga mat would be a perfect gift. Manduka mats have a lifetime guaranteed and the high quality yoga mat definitely makes a difference in yoga practice!
  3. Birchbox 1-Year Subscription (purchase here)
    Any skincare or beauty junkie would love an annual subscription of Birchbox. Birchbox sends a box monthly filled with 5-6 good sized skincare and beauty samples. Of course, the best part of a subscription gift is your recipient continues to get the gift throughout the year! 

Gifts Over $2004. Top 12 Christmas Gift Ideas for Women (Over $200)

  1. Prada Mini Wallet (purchase here)
    If you want to spurge then the Prada mini wallet would be a great gift! The mini wallet comes with three credit card slots, one main compartment and an outside pocket with zipper closure. Your recipient likely already has a full size wallet so the mini wallet would be perfect for smaller bags or clutches. Or for someone who likes smaller and simpler wallets, this would work perfectly!
  2. Tiffany Pearl Earrings (purchase here)
    No girl will dislike a gift from Tiffany and pearl earrings are one of the most classic pieces of jewelry that can be worn year after year. Tiffany offers a 8-9mm pearl earrings for $225 and 9-10mm pearl earrings for $300. Personally, I think the 9-10mm is the perfect size and it is one of the most special gifts I have personally received and I think most girls will agree!
  3. Barracuda Luggage (purchase here)
    For world travelers there is a cool new luggage funded on kickstarter that can be preordered for $280 and will be available around February. The luggage is collapsible and has a built in tray (convenient for someone who works while traveling). The luggage also includes UBS charger, ergonomic handle, location tracking and proximity sensor!


Don’t forget gifts are great but nothing replaces spending time with the ones you love and reminding them how special they are to you!

As always thank you for reading!

Home, Personal Finance

Receive Additional 5% – 20% Cash Back With Your Credit Cards!

Holiday shopping will be in full swing soon and I want to share a quick post on how you can save additional money by using your credit cards this holiday season!

1. Cash Back Steps

I recently discovered you can receive additional 5% – 20% cash back by shopping through your credit cards! All you need to do is log in to your credit card account, click on the affiliate links to these merchants and complete your purchase within the allotted time! See below for a list of select merchant discounts, more merchants can be found on the specific credit card’s site.

1. Additional Cash Back 2. Additional Cash Back 3. Additional Cash Back

Discover Cash Back
There are 6 Dinning, 17 Electronics, 77 Fashion & Accessories, 28 Home & Garden and 41 Travel merchants on Discover’s affiliate program.

Once you sign into your Discover account, click on “Rewards” on the top menu then “Discover Deals”, it will bring you to page of all participating merchants. Once you find the retailer you are looking for, click on the square and you will see a “Shop Now” button. This button is an affiliate link that brings you to the actual merchant’s website. Discover’s terms state you need to pay with your Discover card within 3 hours and you will receive your cash back within 10 weeks. The terms also state that you cannot use in combination with other promotional codes and offers.

I used the Discover affiliate link for Sephora, which gave me 10% cash back! I was still able to use Sephora’s 20% discount code. Please note, I also had to enable cookies on my browser to make sure the affiliate link works!

Chase Freedom Cash Back Boost (And Chase Sapphire Preferred Point Boost)
Chase’s Cash Back Boost also has 156 participating merchants.

Once you sign into your Chase account, click on “Ultimate Rewards” then “Earn Point” on the top menu and then “Shop Through Chase”. Then hover over the merchant you are looking for and a “Shop Now” button will appear, this will bring you to a page with the specific merchant’s terms and conditions and a “Shop at Merchant Name which is the affiliate link.

Chase states you need to complete the purchase during the same session at the retailer site with your Chase card. Points will appear in 3-5 days but may take up to 2 billing cycles depending on merchant. It also states that you can’t combine Chase offers with coupons or discount codes and the additional cash back does not apply on purchases of gift cards, gift certificates or any other cash equivalents.

For Chase Sapphire, the program is the same; you just receive additional points instead of cards.



If you don’t have the three cards above, still check your credit cards, I am sure most cards have this additional reward program now! Also it is worthwhile to check specific merchant discounts across your cards. From the select merchant discounts in the chart above, it seems Discover offers the highest cash back. However, for some merchants Chase offers a higher discount. For example, Discover offers 5% cash back for Nordstrom but Chase offers 6% (1% normally + 5% extra = 6% cash back!).

Hopefully this post is helpful and will get you additional cash back when you shop this holiday season! Please help me share this post with your friends and family so they can also learn about the affiliate programs and save!


As always thank you so much for reading!

Home, Personal Finance

What is Federal Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)?

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) open season is coming up from Nov 9, 2015 to Dec 14, 2015. You might have received an email from your employer and are wondering what exactly is an FSA?

FSA is a federal program that allows you to pay for out-of-pocket, qualified medical and dependent care expenses using pre-tax dollars. That means you don’t need to pay taxes on the money used to pay for medical and childcare expenses! If you have children or have an upcoming out-of-pocket medical expense next year, make sure you read on to see how you can save up to ~$765 – $2,000 by using Flexible Savings Accounts! Chances are you will be able to save money through an FSA so be sure to take 10 minutes this post!

What is an FSA?
FSA is a benefit plan that employers sponsor to allow employees to put money into the account on a pre-tax basis. Your contribution is directly deducted from your paycheck and you can use the money in the account to pay for qualified healthcare or dependent care costs (see select list of qualified expenses below).

For example, if you earn $50,000 per year and you have $2,550 of medical expenses in the next year, you have two options:

  • Option A – Without FAS: Your $50,000 will be taxed, assuming 30% tax rate, so your post tax savings is $35,000. Then after your medical expenses you have $32,450 left
  • Option B – With FAS: Your $50,000 will be adjusted for the $2,550 of FSA so you get taxed on the remaining $47,500, assuming 30% tax rate, your take home pay will be $33,215 (and you will have $2,550 to spend on medical expenses during the year)
  • Between these two options, you will save $765

If we use the same case with $5,000 of dependent care then Option A will give you $30,000 and Option B will give you $31,500, saving you $1,500!

1. FSA Saving - Healthcare2. FAS Saving - Dependent Care

If you don’t need to contribute the maximum amount, the simplified way to calculate your savings is $ contribution times your tax rate!
3. Simplified Savings Calculation

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