Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Parks and Recreation" Themed Finale Party

On Tuesday, February 24th, at 10pm, NBC will send off "Parks and Recreation" with a one-hour finale. It's super sad to think about, because the residents of Pawnee have been amazing and hilarious to watch over the past seven seasons. But you can smile through your tears if you host a "Parks and Rec" finale party before, during, or after the final episode airs. (It's what I did for "30 Rock" - read about that here.)

I hosted a "Parks and Rec" themed party a few years ago, and here are some tips for fun Pawnee-themed things to eat, do, and give away:

Honor L'il Sebastian, obviously.

I got a mini-horse piñata as a representation of Pawnee citizens' most-loved little buddy. I also printed out some art from the show (like the L'il Sebastian newspaper cover) to place with it. Fill the piñata with wrapped candy (duh) but to make it more "Parks and Rec"-y, you can also write funny quotes from the show on little pieces of paper and mix them in with the candy. It'll be a fun surprise for guests when the piñata bursts.
Put props and merchandise on display. 

Do you own the plush L'il Sebastian from NBC's "Parks and Rec" webstore? How about Leslie Knope's book, Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America? Arrange your Pawnee items so guests can flip through the book or have a good laugh.

Theme your food!
Every good party has snacks, so have a little fun with it. Dream up some "Parks and Rec"-themed foods to have out for your guests. Here's what I came up with a few years ago:

Eat off frisbees.

Remember when Ben moved in with April and Andy and realized that they had been eating off frisbees instead of plates? It was cute and gross. But you can carry on this quirky tradition by lining frisbees with paper plates and encouraging guests to eat off them.

Have props for photos. 

You want people to take pictures, right? So give 'em something to pose with. I got mustaches as a tribute to Ron Swanson/Duke Silver.

Give gifts... it's what Leslie would do!

I put together a "Parks and Rec"-themed gift basket (with basketballs on the basket, because Indiana), containing a Pawnee water bottle, a mustache lollipop, Knope pins, a box of gum that reminded me of Leslie and Ben, and a couple of other treats. I also got a Knope sticker for the front of the basket, and printed out a funny Chris Traeger valentine to stick in there. My friends and I played a trivia game and the winner got to take the basket full of goodies home!
Make it weird.

I got a little bit Tom Haverford about things and put this filming/photo notice on my door, inspired by Entertainment 720. Every little nod to the show is an extra bit of fun.
And don't forget... TREAT YO SELF!

Links to supplies & props:

Written by Christina LeBlanc
Photos by Christina LeBlanc, Alex Jackman, and Andy Rowell

Monday, December 15, 2014

Wayfarer's Chapel from 'Revenge' and 'The O.C.'

Wayfarer's Chapel, a beautiful waterside venue in scenic Rancho Palos Verdes, is a perfect site for a wedding -- especially an over-the-top, glamorous wedding hosted and attended by very rich people. That's why it's been seen as a wedding chapel on sudsy dramas "Revenge" and "The O.C.".

In the third season of "Revenge", Emily and Daniel finally tie the knot in the episode "Exodus". It was a rocky road to the altar, as Daniel's affections were tied up in his ex Sarah, and Emily was planning her final revenge on Victoria (framing her for Emily's "murder"). But when the gorgeous (yet troubled) couple said "I do", Wayfarer's Chapel was the perfect backdrop.

Wayfarer's Chapel was designed by Lloyd Wright, built in the 40s and 50s, and nicknamed "The Glass Church" for obvious reasons. Standing in for the Hamptons on "Revenge", the chapel plays host to many different services in real life and is easy to visit. There's a Visitors Center open daily from 10am to 5pm, with a gift shop inside.

The aisle that Emily walked down on "Revenge".
Photo by Christina LeBlanc for LiveTheMovies.

The entrance to the chapel, where Nolan walked Emily down the aisle.
Photo by Christina LeBlanc for LiveTheMovies.

The altar where Emily and Daniel said their "I do"s.
Photo by Christina LeBlanc for LiveTheMovies.

Me at the chapel entrance!

On "The O.C.", Wayfarer's Chapel is where Julie Cooper marries Caleb Nichol in the first-season finale. (It's also where Caleb's funeral is held later in the series.) It's a little more realistic as an "O.C." location, since Rancho Palos Verdes is only about 45 miles from Newport Beach, where the show is set.

According to Seeing Stars, the church has also been home to some celebrity weddings, including those of Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys), Dennis Hopper, and Mariska Hargitay's parents (Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield). It's a gorgeous spot to visit and photograph. The address is Wayfarer's Chapel, 5755 Palos Verdes Drive South, in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. You can visit their website here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Swift Your Gift, Part 1: 1989 Themes


Did you know that Taylor Swift loves Christmas? And the holidays love Taylor, too - her fifth album, 1989, sold over a million copies during Halloween week, and sales are sure to stay steady as we move toward Christmas.

If you are or you know a Taylor fan, why not put a fun twist on a gift by giving it a 1989 theme? Swifties and Swifties-to-be will love a cute and clever package of goodies inspired by Taylor and her songs.

Here are some of my ideas, organized into themes based on adjectives I’d use to describe 1989.

Inspired by "Welcome to New York", "Shake It Off", "Bad Blood", "Clean", "New Romantics"

Taylor's all, "I don't need a man! I can move to New York! I can cut my hair!" And I'm like, "hell yeah you can, Taylor!" So this 1989-inspired gift is for the independent woman (or man) in your life who is all about being true to themselves and living life to the fullest. (And maybe loves them some NYC.)

"It's a new soundtrack/ I could dance to this beat/ Forevermore." - "Welcome to New York"
If you've been paying attention, you know Tay loves her some NYC these days. Throw together a New York-inspired playlist to include with your gift. I've got some suggestions for you already. (See below.) The first half is more dance-y and upbeat rock, and the second half is more mellow.


"I'm dancing on my own/ I make the moves up as I go." - "Shake It Off"  Sometimes there's no better remedy for a bad day or no better cap for a great day than to dance around to a sick beat. Make a mix for those times you just wanna shake shake shake shake shake. Below are a few of my current and recent favorite shake-it jams.

"Baby, now we've got bad blood." - "Bad Blood"
This is more symbolic, but when you take down a foe you should keep a souvenir. This jar of “bad blood” is filled with a variety of delicious red candies. Snack on them when you feel tough. 

You'll need a mason jar, an assortment of red candies (I used Red Hots, Hot Tamales, Twizzlers, and strawberry hard candies). I used my Instax camera to take a photo of the candy (so the person would know what's in the jar), then captioned it BAD BLOOD and used a little bit of tape to affix the photo to the front of the jar. You can put your own twist on it, too. It's a fun visual representation of "Bad Blood". 

"Rain came pouring down/ When I was drowning, that's when I could finally breathe." - "Clean"

 Rain is an oft-used lyrical device, and in the ethereal "Clean" it acts as an oppressor and a cleanser. Making it through the rain makes us that much stronger and more independent! Commemorate this with a rain-scented candle. Smells like new beginnings! Yankee candle has one called November Rain, or for a lower price point you can pick up a Garden Rain or Peaceful Waters scent for under $5 from Wal-Mart.

"We cry mascara tears in the bathroom/ Honey, life is just a classroom." - "New Romantics" The strongest people learn lessons from the harshest experience. We've all seen Taylor gracefully navigate tough times and look fierce as hell while doing it. So if you're going to cry mascara tears, make sure to wear one of Taylor's inexpensive favorites: CoverGirl Lashblast Mascara in Very Black 800.

Inspired by: "Out of the Woods", "Wildest Dreams", "How You Get the Girl", "This Love"

Taylor's known as a hopeless romantic, and a few of the tracks on 1989 have dreamy over-and-undertones. Give this gift set to the love junkie in your life.

“You took a Polaroid of us…” - “Out of the Woods”
Polaroids are a huge theme in the 1989 concept, and are mentioned blatantly in OOTW. The vintageness of Polaroids give the photos a dreamy quality as well, almost like you are looking at a distant memory that only happened five minutes ago.

Target carries a few models that were displayed with 1989 during its debut week, like this red Polaroid z300 . For a more economical option, you can check out the 300, which retails for under $70.

 “Your necklace hanging from my neck…” - “Out of the Woods” Harry Styles' famous airplane necklace is (allegedly, wink wink) referenced in the song. The sight of it makes Haylor fans swoon. Though the original should probably be stored in a museum somewhere, you can easily get a replica of the airplane charm from Amazon or Etsy.

“He said, ‘Let's get out of this town/ Drive out of the city, away from the crowds’.” - “Wildest Dreams”
I love maps, and think that they make cool artwork. Frame or repurpose a map to remind yourself (or the gift recipient) that there’s a big wide world out there, just ready to be explored. How romantic! You can even customize it with a quote or Taylor lyrics.

“Say you'll remember me standing in a nice dress staring at the sunset, babe/ Red lips and rosy cheeks.” - “Wildest Dreams”
A red lip is a key component of Swift Style. (I wish that was a class I could take… Swift Style 101. Luckily, Tumblr’s pretty much got it on lock.) Recently Taylor revealed that her favorite lip is Dragon Girl by NARS (or Luxembourg by NARs, for a glossier look). Of course, if you’re on a budget, you can always just go with the classic Cherry ChapStick. And how about some Shimmer Pink blush for those rosy cheeks? 

“You’ll see me in hindsight tangled up with you all night/ Burning it down.” - “Wildest Dreams”

“Lantern burning, flickered in my mind for only you.” - “This Love”

“This love is glowing in the dark.” - “This Love”
What’s the go-to when setting the mood, besides these songs? Perhaps a nice candle… I'm currently obsessed with this Pumpkin Caramel Latte candle from Bath & Body Works. It smells beyond delicious.

“With pictures in frames of kisses on cheeks.” - “How You Get the Girl” Frame (or take, and then frame) a photo of you and the recipient (make sure a cheek kiss is involved)!

“You're still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can't wear anymore.” - “Clean”
The song uses the comparison between addiction and love, or love-as-addiction, and the recovery process. Wine could put you in a dreamy daze. (Or you could include sparkling cider/sparkling apple or grape juice for non-drinkers or the underage folks.)

Inspired by: "Blank Space"

Gotta love sassy Swift. With "Blank Space" Taylor takes back the power and writes a great jam about the torturous maneater character the media makes her out to be.

“Nice to meet you, where you been?/ I could show you incredible things.” - “Blank Space”
Remember a while back Taylor announced her latest fragrance, Incredible Things? Now that we’ve heard “Blank Space”, we know where the name came from! The new scent has woodsy and floral scents with a lot of vanilla. It’s available at Kohl’s stores or from You can get just the eau de parfum spray or a gift set that includes body lotion and shower gel. There's also a rollerball version for $20 that you can easily bring with you everywhere you go.

“Got a long list of ex-lovers/ They’ll tell you I’m insane/ But I’ve got a blank space, baby/ And I’ll write your name.” - “Blank Space”
If you need to keep a long list of ex-lovers, why not carry a cute journal with you? I customized this one with the song's lyrics. You could be creative here!

“Cherry lips, crystal skies…” - “Blank Space” 
As mentioned in the Dreamy theme section, a red lip is a key component of Swift Style. Scroll up for the details on Taylor's favorite lip colors and throw one in here. A bold lip complements a bold and sassy personality.

Inspired by: "Style", "Out of the Woods", "I Know Places", "Wonderland"

“You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye.” - “Style” James Dean. Swoon. Classic bad boy. Why not gift Dean's most iconic film, Rebel Without a Cause?

“You got that long hair, slicked back, white t-shirt/ And I got that good girl faith and a tight little skirt.” - “Style”  This part of “Style” always reminds me of Danny and Sandy from the classic movie Grease. It’s the classic tale of good-girl-meets-bad-boy (with some antiquated gender and relationship norms thrown in) with a killer soundtrack. Watch it and tell me “Style” doesn’t fit! Pair it with Rebel Without a Cause for an awesome good girl/bad boy movie night gift.

“Remember when you hit the brakes too soon?/ Twenty stitches in a hospital room.” - "Out Of The Woods" Just in case your lover is a terrible driver (as Taylor's seems to be - it's a recurring theme on 1989) or a general klutz, it couldn’t hurt to keep a first aid kit on hand… You can get a travel-sized one for less than $1. Just remember: band-aids don't fix bullet holes.

“In the end, in Wonderland, we both went mad.” - “Wonderland” Madness reigns in Wonderland, where there is intrigue and distorted reality and Cheshire Cat smiles. This excellent bonus track heavily references Lewis Carroll's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which has been re-released in this very cute Hardcover Classics version. It would be a great addition to a Swift-themed gift, as a nod to all the mad, mad love.

Hope you've enjoyed these 1989-themed gift ideas! And of course, it goes without saying that you should gift a copy of 1989 to anyone who doesn't have one! The regular version and deluxe version both make excellent gifts. (It'll also be released on vinyl on December 9th!)

 Stay tuned for more installments of Swift Your Gift this holiday season!

- Story by Christina LeBlanc

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Hi everyone! I just wanted to apologize for the lack of updates lately. I am currently working on a bit of an overhaul: redesigning the site, updating posts with the most current information and better photos, and creating a Live The Movies shop. I promise it'll be better than ever once I can make all of these changes and updates. Thanks for sticking with me!

- Christina