Music, Celebrity and Life News For Girls

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Be the Life of the Holiday Party

Whether you’re planning a party at your place, heading to a friend’s bash or prepping for your school’s winter dance, we’ve got pointers guaranteed to make you sparkle all night long. Even better, they’re super easy to follow -- we promise.

Pencil in Some Pre-party Fun
Tons of girls spend the days leading up to a party just sitting around and thinking about the big night. Don’t be that girl! Instead of zoning out, do something you love -- like practicing ballet or volunteering at an animal shelter. It’ll put you in an awesome mood ... and you’ll have something fresh and exciting to talk about with party pals!

Dress to Impress … Yourself!
You know that super-cute outfit that boosts your confidence level the second you put it on? Now’s the time to wear it. Knowing you look amazing will put an extra swagger in your step. Don’t have anything in your closet that dazzles? A cool new accessory can instantly (and inexpensively) up your glam factor. Raid the sale racks or a secondhand store for a glittery headband, sequined belt or sparkly pendant to add major pizzazz to your look.

Bust out With a Buddy
One of the most stressful moments of any party is ... the second you walk in the door. That’s when you’re taking it all in, feeling overwhelmed, and possibly wondering what to say to your crush when you first see him. Shake the grand-entrance jitters by inviting a friend over to your place to get ready together. When you arrive as a pair, you’ll be excited -- not nervous -- about what the night has in store.

Talk to Strangers
We know it’s totally tempting to stick like glue to your BFF -- or the cutie who sits in front of you in math class. But here’s the thing: You’ll have way more fun if you chat up your crew and even some people you don’t know very well. For a convo-starter, comment on how much you love the music (or snacks or whatever). Then ask your new friend what she thinks. It can be as simple as, “OMG, I love this song! Are you a Rihanna fan too?”

Get Your Game Face On
There could be awkward silences (even the best parties have them!). To get the vibe buzzing again, whip out an idea for a fun party game. Suggest something like “20 Questions” with a reality-TV theme. Another of our favorites is “Do You Know the Lyrics?”: Just put an iPod on shuffle and take turns pausing at a random point in each song to see who knows which words come next. The party pace should pick up momentum in no time flat!

Get a Head-start on the Holidays!

’Tis the season to be jolly -- so from gleeful tunes to sweet treats, why not take advantage of the merriment right away? We’ve made a list (and checked it twice!) of our favorite simple activities that’ll add a festive pep to your step.

1. Decorate your bedroom with a happy holiday vibe! String garland and lights around your bedpost, hang a wreath on your door, and tie some long ribbon to your favorite ornaments so you can dangle ’em from your curtain rod.

2. Swap your daily alarm sound with a holiday tune. Our pick? Mariah Carey’s classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

3. Add red and green sprinkles to your morning pancakes.

4. Switch your phone wallpaper to a wintery scene. Bonus points for changing your ringtone to “Jingle Bells.”

5. Host a hot cocoa tasting, complete with different flavors and toppings like whipped cream, chocolate shavings and cinnamon sticks.

6. Customize your holiday cards. Print pics of your year’s top moments. Glue each to the front of a folded piece of colored cardstock. Break out the markers, stickers, glue and glitter, and get artistic! Inside, write sappy personal messages.

7. Embrace peppermint chapstick. You’ll be feeling the holiday cheer every time you lick your lips.

8. Leave an anonymous gift in someone’s locker.

9. Make melt-in-your-mouth snowmen. Push a thin pretzel stick through a stack of three jumbo marshmallows to form the body. Snap another pretzel stick in half, then stick one half on both sides your snowman for arms. Using dabs of icing as “glue,” dress him with mini chocolate chips for eyes and buttons, a red cinnamon candy for the mouth, candy corn for a nose, and shoestring licorice for a scarf!

10. Have an “ugly sweater” fashion show. Each friend sports the kookiest holiday sweater they can find. Add silly accessories, like your grandma’s red-sequined beret, and have the ’rents judge who rocks it best.

11. Munch on a seasonal snack mix. In a large plastic zipper bag, toss together some popped popcorn, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, candied pecans and mini pretzels. Shake, shake, shake! Grab a handful and eat.

12. Go no-snow sledding. Even when there isn’t a single snowflake in the weather forecast, if you have a hill with a good incline, you should be able to get some decent momentum going just by sliding downhill on a piece of cardboard. Woo-hoo!

13. Start a holiday countdown chain. Whether you’re celebrating Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or Christmas, cut out 2-inch by 8-inch strips of colored construction paper. Staple or tape the ends to form loops, linking together as many pieces as you need to count the days until the main event. Hang the paper chain on your door, and remove a loop every morning. Ah, the anticipation!

14. Learn how to say “Happy holidays” in five languages.

15. Spring for a sprig of mistletoe. You never know when you might run into your crush between now and the holiday!


How to (Almost) Always Get Your Way

OK, we’re not talking about coercion, persuasion or -- yikes! -- temper tantrums. But if you want to get someone on your side in any given situation, there are some effective (and ethical!) tactics you can use to sway it your way. We’ve tidied it up into an art form, right here.

“I want my parents to let me stay out an hour later on the weekends. Is that so much to ask?”

The Art of Accepting as Is

Whether you’re looking for a later curfew, more allowance or fill-in-the-blank-here, the first step is to do ... nothing. Your parents know whatever privileges you’re after, right? If not, go ahead and ask. But once you’ve asked, do not bring it up again for at least 30 days. At that time, calmly ask again.

Repeat this pattern until they eventually agree. And the only reason they’re likely to go for it is because you didn’t hassle them. You demonstrated maturity, patience and acceptance of their decisions. Works like magic!

“This one girl in our group snubs me, and it makes me uneasy. I want her to be nice!”

The Art of Attitude Adjustment
First off, we know it’s tough, but never take anyone else’s attitude personally -- even if it comes off that way. You really don’t know what insecurities or other issues this girl might have, so approach the situation from a place of non-judgment.

Also, remember that no one can make you feel uncomfortable. This is tricky too, but how you react to anything is always your choice. Turn this around by adjusting your demeanor. Relax, and treat her the same as you would like her to act toward you. Start out by subtly smiling and nodding at her. As long as you’re sincere, the tension will gradually fall away.

“My teacher gave me a totally unfair grade, and I want it changed.”

The Art of A+ Appreciation
If you genuinely feel the grade is unfair, make arrangements to see your teacher after class. But instead of storming in and waving your paper in protest, approach him or her with an air of gratitude.

Being authentic -- not fake -- and thank your teacher for taking the time to chat with you. Then make your case. Rather than griping, “I spent hours working on this project,” talk about how much you learned and gained from the assignment. If the teacher refuses to alter your grade, ask about extra credit. Whatever the outcome, continue to be appreciative, and you can be sure next time Teach is teetering between giving you a C+ or a B-, she’ll lean toward the better grade!

Fear Is Not Your Friend

Ah, fear. Whether it’s about acing a final exam, talking to your crush or hitting your parents up for a later curfew, the one thing that can throw you into a tailspin is fear. It’s a powerful emotion, but we’ll walk you through some ways to say, “Hey, fear! You don’t scare me!”

“I have to do a class presentation, and it counts as a big part of my grade. I’m totally nervous.”

Fear Tactic: Feel it!
Don’t fight it. If you want to shake the jitters, give in to ’em a little. As you prepare for the big day, whenever you feel a wave of fear come over you, feel the discomfort of it. Fear multiplies and super-sizes when you resist it, but feeling the fear allows it to move through you (buh-bye). Then make it a point to have fun putting together that project -- and carry that positive vibe into the classroom.

“I’m going to a party with my crush, and I’m freaked out because his ex-girlfriend is going to be there. Help!”

Fear Tactic: Face it!
This is a good time to get in front of the mirror and give yourself a pep talk. Get grounded in your confidence and don’t carry with you any icky feelings, such as jealousy or insecurity. Be your absolute best self at the party, and boldly but humbly confront the face of fear by introducing yourself to the ex-GF. Just smile, make eye contact and warmly say, “It’s so nice to meet you.” Was that so bad? Now enjoy the par-tay!

“I want to hit up my parents for more allowance, but I’m scared to even approach them about it.”

Fear Tactic: Forget it!
We’re not telling you to give up on your dream of getting your parents to pad your allowance (or whatever privilege you want). But we are telling you to stop thinking about it so much. Overanalysis can cause emotional paralysis. So just tuck this subject away in the back of your mind. The next time you see an opportunity -- that is, when your parents have their guard down and you’re feeling particularly brave -- just take a deep breath, walk up and just ask.

“I’m trying out for an all-girls ice hockey league, and I’m so afraid I won’t make the cut.”

Fear Tactic: Flip it!
The thing about fear is that it often feels very similar to another emotion: excitement! Is your heart racing? Is your brow sweaty? Shift your thinking from being afraid to being totally geared up for an awesome challenge! So what if you don’t make tryouts? You enjoyed yourself in the meantime. Now you can spend time improving your ice skills, or you can take up another activity. It’s entirely up to you; life is an adventure for the fearless!