New Year, New Look!

We don’t usually like to quote Paris Hilton, but we’ll make an exception here: “The only rule is don’t be boring, and dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in.”

OK, so nothing extremely profound here, but she’s got a point! That’s not to say you need the wardrobe of an heiress or that you should keep up with follow-the-pack fads. But fashion is an awesome way to express your authentic self. And since it’s a brand-new year, we say it’s the perfect time to ditch the little-girl look or break out of the same ol’ jeans-and-tee routine and embrace a whole new you.

“Clothes” in on Your Style
Gather up all those gift certificates you got for the holidays and go shopping! But instead of buying basic items, develop and build on your own style. Sure, celebs and fashion mags might give you some good ideas, but don’t limit yourself to what’s trendy. When it comes to fit, it’s not just about your physical body; rock a look that perfectly fits your personality!

Be Wise and Accessorize!
Even if you’re comfy sticking with your favorite T-shirts and denim, add a signature flair with smart accessories. If you’re athletic, pull on a cute baseball cap or have fun with wrist warmers. If earthy is more your thing, invest in some handcrafted jewelry. Or step it up with awesome shoes! To make a simple outfit pop, go with sequined sneakers. You can also dress up your jeans -- say, for a Saturday night -- by cuffing them and wearing a nice pair of wedges or pumps.

Ring in the New ’Do
Feeling really brave? Got the chops for a radical new haircut? If you don’t want anything drastic, just try bangs or layers. The cool thing about hair is that it grows, so you can always start over. Even if you’re adamantly against anything but a trim, you can still play around with different hairstyles, such as braids, buns and updos. Come up with something more sophisticated than your usual pony or headband.

Kiss and Makeup
We’re not huge fans of piling on a ton of cosmetics, because we know how pretty girls are without it. But we do think it’s fun to play around with stuff that enhances your natural beauty. If your eyelashes are really light, for example, you can make them stand out more with a swipe of brown (or even clear) mascara. Also try swapping your clear lip gloss for one that’s tinted in a pretty color that complements your skin tone. Smooch!

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 Reinvent Your Look for Back-to-School!

Back-to-school serves up the chance to showcase your ever-expanding signature style -- it’s always fun to look the part that spells Y-O-U! And the beginning of the school year is the perfect time for stepping into a new fashion groove. But instead of going for a head-to-toe “check me out!” makeover, it’s the little changes that count (do not be that girl who left school with ribbons in her hair and comes back all Goth!).

Clothes Encounter
When you’re back-to-school clothes shopping, be sure to stock up on plenty of basic pieces but have fun with statement accessories that scream, “I am me!” The same simple skinny jeans-and-tee outfit can be spun any which way: Make it punk with a painted-up hoodie, studded belt and safety-pin jewelry. Or go country-western by tucking your pants into cowboy boots, tossing on a suede vest and wearing pigtails.

The look we love: Use embroidered iron-on patches -- whether you prefer peace signs or band logos (or both!) -- to make a denim skirt or jacket uniquely yours.

It’s a Shoe In!
Getting the perfect pair of back-to-school shoes is quite possibly your most important shopping mission. They need to be comfy…but stylish (unlike the comfortable footwear worn by many cafeteria ladies, LOL!). Aside from the sneakers you need for phys ed, you’ll want at least one pair of shoes that totally reflects your style. To give any outfit an extra punch, strut your stuff in something loud, like floral-canvas fleece-lined boots or bright-blue woven-leather clogs.

The look we love: Converse sneakers can be custom-made to fit any personality with their design-your-own feature online.

To ’Do or Not To ’Do?
Back-to-school hairstyles need to be essentially hassle-free. If you’re ready for a haircut, this is the one area where you could dare to be radical. Try a short pixie cut, which is super-easy to maintain. Not that brave? Pick up some pretty new hair accessories and play around with them in front of the mirror -- hot this season are headbands and side parts.

The look we love: The popularity of ABC Family’s Bunheads has brought back the hair bun! Tuck in tiny rhinestone bobby pins to glam it up.

Kiss and Makeup
When it comes to makeup, we’re definitely of the less-is-more mentality. If this is the year your parents are letting you experiment with cosmetics, use them to accentuate your natural beauty. A little lip gloss and maybe a swipe of mascara should do. If you go for blushes and eye shadows, choose neutral shades -- save the shimmery and sparkly products for special occasions, such as the school dance!

The look we love: Nail tattoos come in all kinds of fun designs, so polish up your fingers and toes, then slap on a few! Seal with a swipe of clear topcoat.

Photo: Corbis Images

Look Your Absolute Summer Best -- No Sweat!

Hello, summer! It’s time to sweat, but that doesn’t have to mean runny makeup or bad hair. From face tanner to turquoise toenails, feeling fine in summer is as cool as our collection of no-sweat strategies for those hot, steamy days when you find yourself really working up a serious ... glow.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Like Zits
The science of a simple blemish is basic: a clogged pore. Finding a sunscreen that doesn’t break you out is no different from finding a moisturizer that works for you. Choose a product that’s designed for faces only, and apply it to clean skin when your hands are clean. (Forget foundation, which clogs your pores when it’s hot!)

After you’ve been in the sun all day, wash your face with a mild cleanser and cool water to temper inflammation before you go to bed. If you do get a zit, put an ice cube in a paper towel and hold it on the blemish to dry and cool it. Oh, and drink lots of water to keep your skin detoxed.

Your Period, 90 Degrees and Shorts
Summer lasts three months, so that’s three periods. If you haven’t been keeping track of your cycle on your phone calendar, start now! When it’s close, wear a panty liner so you’re prepared. When it comes, put away the shorts! Dresses and jumpers are amazing for hiding bloat and staying cool.

A tampon will take care of business if you want to swim; just tuck the string up so it doesn’t accidentally poke out of your swimsuit. Tip: Always keep a good supply of tampons and liners in your bag, just in case!

What to Do About Tee Stains
Why does sweat stain? Most sweat stains are the result of aluminum salts in antiperspirants. The salts don’t completely dissolve, and the sweat stain on your clothes is usually yellow or greenish. Eeeew.

This works: Wash clothes in the hottest temperature and use a minimum amount of detergent. Then, choose a deodorant that doesn’t have aluminum salts. You can also try a gel or non-powder spray, but remember to let it totally dry before you dress.

Your Guide to Goof-proof Self-tanning
Baking out in the sun is a huge no-no, but sometimes a girl still wants a little glow! When you find a self-tanner that works with your natural skin tone, it’s like discovering beauty in a bottle.

Your best bet is to always apply tanner on totally dry skin after you shower. We banish foams to beauty detention for their nearly guaranteed streaking. Tanning moisturizers, on the other hand, give all-over coverage and nourish the skin. Next, try a spray product over your tan moisturizer for a double hit of color. Hold the can at least 6 inches from your skin and lightly apply the spray, like a mist. When you’re done, wash your hands in warm water and soap.

From Bedhead to Wet Head
If you’re all about your hair, summer isn’t always cooperative. To deal with post-swim tress mess, keep a small comb or brush in your bag and, when you get out of the pool, run it through your hair. (If there’s a shower or hose, rinse out the salt water or chlorine before brushing.)

If you like your hair wavy, tousle it with your fingers and let it sun-dry. But if it’s a humid day, your hair may dry frizzy or flat, so pull into a slick low pony. Otherwise, get under a cute straw fedora!

Beauty Trends: Steal the Look of Your Favorite Celebrity

From Taylor Swift’s red-carpet eyes to Miranda Cosgrove’s everyday luscious lip, we show you easy step-by-steps on how to get the glam looks of your favorite celebs.

Miranda Cosgrove’s Dewy Lips
Get Miranda’s au naturel pucker in just three easy steps.

1. If your lips are dry, exfoliate them with a bit of sugar, water and a toothbrush. Then apply your go-to moisturizer, lip balm or lip treatment.

2. Choose a neutral lip shade that adds just a pop of color to your natural lips. This can be a lipstick or stain. Apply it all over your lips.

3. Give your lips a swipe of clear or gold shimmer gloss, concentrating the shine on the inner parts of your lips and gradually decreasing the amount as you move outward. Piece of cake!

Taylor Swift’s Smoldering Cat Eye
Want to copy Taylor’s trademark smoky eye?

1. Brush a cream or white shadow all over your lids. This will be your base.

2. Line eyes with a black or dark-gray pencil liner (both top and bottom), extending the top line a little past your eye. Using a cotton swab, smudge the eyeliner in toward your lash line.

3. Apply a light-colored, shimmery shadow all over your eyelid up to your brow bone. Also add a bit to the inner corners of your eyes.

4. Apply a dark-colored shadow over your eyelid just up to the crease. Add extra shadow into your crease for dramatic definition. Blend shadow together with a brush or your finger.

5. Apply two coats of black mascara to your lashes. Get ready to steal the spotlight!

Selena Gomez’s Messy Side-braid
Nab Selena’s boho-chic braids in less than five minutes. (This look requires medium-length or long hair.)

1. Lightly tease the top of your mane to create a bit of volume.

2. Make a part on the right or left side of your head -- your choice!

3. Gather hair toward the side of your head, opposite your part, and braid it all the way down. Secure with a hair tie.

4. Gently pull a few strands of hair from your braid to get the messy look. Spray with a shot of hair spray to hold. Sport this easy ’do at school, on a date -- wherever!

Miley Cyrus’ Sun-kissed Glow
Miley is always stepping out like a bronzed goddess. Instantly get her glow with these super-quick tricks -- no sun needed!

1. Begin with a clean, moisturized face. Apply a thin layer of illuminating powder primer all over.

2. Grab your bronzer and a big fluffy brush. Sweep a small amount of bronzer across your forehead, down your nose, and on your cheeks and jawline. You’re targeting spots where the sun would naturally hit your face. Don’t forget to blend a bit into your neck.

3. Dab a bit more color onto your brush and define your cheekbones, just like you’d apply blush. Now you’re ready for summer!

Photo: Getty Images