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Tonight: Celebrate Good Times!

New Year's Eve - it's here! And whether you're celebrating the night at home alone or with friends, or ready to paint the town red (I'm falling squarely in the middle of these two extremes, for the record)...let me just say: Here's to 2014, friends - onward and upward!

Clutch Time: Here's What's In My Bag

The countdown is on to New Year's Eve, and in preparation, I thought I'd share my teeny tiny handbag essentials - as a clutch collector, I consider myself something of an expert.

And because I certainly don't know it all, here are some adds from my Instagram homies:

  • Safety pins and an extra $50 in cash (not pictured here, along with my iPhone!) suggested by Hitha Palepu of Hitha on the Go
  • A flask, c/o of Corey Kindberg of The Luxury Spot
  • Eye drops and undies, ambitiously suggested by yogi Shelley Adelle

2014: A Few Resolutions

The turn of the year is a few short days away, and this weekend, I've been spending some time taking stock of the 2013 that was, and how to better all things Dina in 2014. A few thoughts:

I will spend less.
I'm at a point in my life where I'm starting to feel suffocated by THINGS and the more I buy, the less I (ironically) seem to appreciate. I've tossed around the idea of wardrobe minimalism though that seems a little extreme and perhaps unrealistic. But going forward, I want to truly focus on buying only things I need or love. Note: this resolution applies to more than just fashion, see also: food delivery and dining out, which I'd rather see as an experience than a multiple times a day occurrence.

I will learn to cook (better than I am currently able).
New York is a city of highly regressed adults, and one life skill often underdeveloped is COOKING - I'm no exception to this unfortunate truth. Now, I don't expect to become a gourmet by any measure, but realistically, I'm Italian - food is in my blood and I'd love to expand on that natural ability with some technical prowess. In addition to continuing to integrate the occasional delivery from Blue Apron (helpful in setting the stage for kitchen success - review here), I will also be exploring cooking classes at, perhaps, The Brooklyn Kitchen.

I will attain the elusive "ballet body." My broken wrist(s!) and surgery this year seriously derailed me fitness-wise, but post-physical therapy, I'm newly committed. And while I've dabbled in - and will likely continue to dabble in - everything from spin to boxing, my latest fitness obsession is ballet, more specifically Ballet Bungee at Chaise Fitness. Created and often taught by a former New York City ballet dancer (Rachel, seen above - she and her mother Lauren own the studio), Ballet Bungee focuses on strengthening, lengthening and balance. I plan to continue with barre classes as well, as that's a discipline that also, if committed, delivers exactly the kind of body I want.

I will continue to challenge myself, and explore my interests - however varied. Whether it's Improv Basics at the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center or photography or jewelry making classes, I think it's super important to get yourself outside of your own box - blogger, marketer, "fashionista" (oy) are just a few labels that people tend to associate with me, and I like those labels less and less daily.

What are you resolving to in the New Year? If you feel like sharing, leave a comment below.

Smokey & Seductive (Meet Your New Year's Eve Eye)

It's hard to believe that yet another year has come to a close and 2014 is right around the bend. I'm still in the process of thinking through resolutions for the New Year, though let's be honest, FIRST, it's time to party.

This New Year's Eve, I'll be enjoying a nice group dinner before my friend's annual bash. And to spice up a simple silk mini dress from DVF, I'm planning to rock out a SERIOUS smokey eye in lieu of my standard red lip. After all, New Year's Eve is on par with Vegas in terms of required ‘beauty escalation’.

For smokey eyed perfection:

Prime, prime, prime -  I can't stress it enough. For makeup that stands the test of New Year’s Eve, a great primer is essential. I like both the adorable packaging AND, more importantly, the efficacy of theBalm Put a Lid on It Eyelid Primer, $17

Next, curl your lashes to open up your eyes and set the stage for mascara. I’m currently loving the Rockin’ Red Hot Lashes gift set from LORAC ($23), which includes both a spicy red studded eyelash curler (yes!) AND a tube of volumizing PRO Mascara, all for just $23 (which is what the mascara alone generally retails for – deal alert!)

Define your lash line and add drama with a smudgy dark eyeliner (try Pur Minerals Eye Defining Pencil Eyeliner with Smudger in Onyx or Graphite, $17) on both your upper and lower lashlines. 

With four foolproof shades embossed with suggestions of exactly where to wear, CARGO’s Essential Eye Shadow Palette in Smokey Grey ($34) is both easy and essential to building a smoldering eye. Pro tip: try using any of the shades as liner as well, by dipping an eyeliner brush into saline solution (this’ll hold the pigment more effectively than water).

Shop these products and more in the Beauty Departments now found in over 250 Kohl’s stores nationwide or online, here.

While all opinions expressed are my own, this post was produced in partnership with SheKnows Experts Among Us and Kohl’s Beauty.

Dress You Up: Rent the Runway's Got Your NYE-Ready Dresses Right Here

Each New Year's Eve afternoon, I inexplicably find myself trolling the floor at Saks or Bloomie's in a quest for the perfect dress for the evening. Then, hundreds of dollars later, I find myself at home with a dress that I like, but don't love, and that I'm destined never to wear again. This year, though, I'm destined for a more relaxing and inexpensive afternoon thanks to Rent the Runway, who are offering a one-time only special on select dresses and accessories with rental prices starting at just $20.14 in celebration of the New Year.

In the dedicated shop, you'll find designer dresses and accessories with rental prices of $20.14, $30.14 or $40.14 and delivery dates from now through December 31st. Designers in the mix include Nicole Miller (above, my choice, the All Laced Up dress for $30.14), Tracy ReeseShoshanna, and Haute Hippie, among others - but move fast if you're so inclined, there's already a rapidly diminishing supply in select sizes.

If you've never rented from Rent the Runway, never fear - they've got dresses for every imaginable occasion, style and size and the vast majority of my rentals have gone off without a hitch. Pro tip: Make sure you take the time to read the reviews and peruse the user-generated galleries associated with almost every dress on site - there you'll get an unbiased take on style, fabric, fit and more.

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