With each new year comes the promise of new people, places and experiences. As a matter of fact, that’s why New Year’s is my favorite national holiday. After all the champagne has been toasted and the midnight kisses have been exchanged, it’s time to get down to the business of living life to the fullest. If you spent all of 2009 fence-sitting, daydreaming about doing this and trying that, now’s the time to make it all a reality.

So you say you want to be a ward of the stars? You’ve been watching those celebrity makeover shows and think you’d make an excellent groomer to the rich and famous. Well, you can study up on the latest trends in hair and makeup by enrolling at Marinello School of Beauty (6111 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; marinello.com) This renowned L.A. staple has graduated some of the most badass scissor-jockeys this state has ever seen. Whether you’re male or female, you can learn how to add layers, color and highlights to tresses while making a decent living. After all, no matter how bad the economy gets, people still want to look good.

Maybe helping the famous isn’t nearly as interesting to you as becoming famous yourself. If that’s the case, try Central Casting (centralcasting.org). This agency brokers practically all the extra talent working in Hollywood today. Registering with Central Casting could have you sitting at a table in a cafe or holding your fictitious baby in the summer’s biggest blockbuster. What’s more, extras can make hundreds of dollars a day just for sitting around on a movie set all day. Hey, it may not be Shakespeare, but everyone’s got to start somewhere. Simply download an application from the company’s Web site and wait for the phone to start ringing.

Perhaps you’re interested in making friends and picking up a new skill. I know that feeling well. When I started film school in New York, I decided I wanted to get to know people closer to my age, so I enrolled in a bartending program. L.A.’s got a lot of them that are great and affordable. Try Pacific Bartending School (pacificbartending.com). This esteemed school offers job placement and plenty of encouragement for those who wish to make it big in Los Angeles’ booming nightlife industry. And they also have a current promotion: two students can enroll for just $495. So grab your bestie and use the buddy system to propel you into a brand-spanking-new career. In just a few short weeks of study, you’ll know your Fuzzy Nipples from your Alabama Slammers and will be swimming in dough to boot.

If being jet set is your new year’s fantasy, but you don’t have much money to live it up continental-style, consider a housing swap. There are plenty of sites such as Craigslist.org (free) or HomeExchange.com (membership is a mere $9.95 per month) that allow people the safe exchange of residences for vacation. It works like this: You list your place and desired dates for a vacation or you search the dates of your desired city and departure. If there are any matches, you make contact with another renter or homeowner who wants to switch pads with you. Bada-bing! You’ve got instant lodging. This leaves you free to spend money on important things like snow globes and t-shirts that read, “I was here.”

Other alternatives are faith-based vacations. One of my ex-boyfriends is Jewish. A few years back, he signed up for a free trip to Israel through Taglit-Birthright Israel (birthrightisrael.com). This organization offers Jewish youth (ages 18-26) the chance to explore their heritage and expand their pride by journeying to Israel for FREE! After attending a few meetings, a group jets off to the Middle East for fun in the sun on Israel’s sexy beaches. True, these trips are total hookup fests, and yes, there is currently no peace in the Middle East. But you’ll be heading to cosmopolitan sections of Israel that are just as chic and fun and memorable as Paris, Tokyo or New York City.