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Celebrity Party Planning Tips: The Best Lighting & DIY Decor

Linnea Johansson Blogs About Making Your Home Party-Ready

Originally posted 12/23/2012 08:05AM

Celebrity event planner and chef Linnea Johansson knows how to throw a party. She's worked with A-list stars such as Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Justin Timberlake and just released her second book, Perfect Parties – Tips and Recipes from a New York Party Planner in October. Now she's lending her expertise to PEOPLE.com with two blogs geared toward your holiday party planning. Cheers!

When planning a holiday party or a bash for any time of year, you may want to start with an easy, inexpensive dining room makeover.

Giving your old chairs a new look in no time to spruce up your dining room for the holidays and/or any party occasion. Simply wrap fabric against the back of the chairs and then staple the fabric on the inside of the back ... and you have new chair slip covers in a jiffy. This works great at home, and you can easily create a new look for a room.

This trick has saved me many times. I once did an event for the Food Network to honor their stars. There was not much to do on the food end as all the show hosts and chefs sent over their recipes for a menu. The space was beautiful but the chairs I rented arrived in the wrong color. So I had to do a little last minute dining room makeover. My team and I rushed out and got fabric from the office and did a quick makeover for the chairs right before the guests started to arrive.

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Susan Sarandon Is All for Commitment – Just Not Marriage | Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon Is All for Commitment – Just Not Marriage

Originally posted 10/23/2012 10:30AM

Susan Sarandon, who famously lived and raised a family with her longtime former partner, actor Tim Robbins, says marriage just isn't her thing.

"I believe in it for other people. I think if it works for you, that's fabulous," the Oscar winner, 66, tells Katie Couric on Tuesday's Katie show. "I don't know, I was always hesitant … this idea of locking it in. I thought it would make it less spontaneous."

Sarandon, who was married in college to actor Chris Sarandon, has been rumored to be involved with her business partner in the New York city ping pong bar SPiN, Jonathan Bricklin, who is more than 30 years her junior. He has denied a romantic relationship, and says the two are simply friends.

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Veteran Movie Publicist, Mom of Grey's Anatomy Star Dies

Lois Smith Dies of a Brain Hemorrhage

Originally posted 10/07/2012 08:00PM

Lois Smith, a much-admired veteran movie publicist and the mother of Grey's Anatomy actress Brooke Smith, died Sunday afternoon after suffering a brain hemorrhage due to an accidental fall, Deadline reports. She was 84.

The New York-based industry trailblazer was in Maine, where her husband, Eugene Smith, was set to be recognized for his philanthropic work. Smith fell down the stairs late Saturday night at the bed-and-breakfast where they were staying.

A maternal figure to both stars and journalists who tended to adore her in equal doses, Smith, along with Pat Kingsley and Patricia Newcomb, helped establish the publicity firm of PMK (initially known as Pickwick, it merged with Maslansky/Koenigsberg) as an A-list leader. As a publicist, Smith was as involved in shaping images as she was in promoting specific movies, and always with a personal touch.

Among her clients were Robert Redford (their professional marriage went back to the late '60s, when his star was launched with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), as well as Marilyn Monroe, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Whitney Houston.

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Topher Grace Makes His Off-Broadway Debut with Robert DeNiro in the Audience

Topher Grace Makes His Off-Broadway Debut with Robert DeNiro in the Audience

Originally posted 05/10/2012 05:55AM

Topher Grace brought out an impressive crowd Monday when he made his professional stage debut during opening night of Paul Weitz's comedic Off-Broadway play Lonely, I'm Not at Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre in New York City.

Grace's The Wedding costar Robert DeNiro came out to see the show, along with Susan Sarandon and Veep actress Anna Chlumsky.

DeNiro didn't exactly manage to go unnoticed, an onlooker tells PEOPLE. "Robert almost bulldozed an elderly lady on his way into the theatre to avoid photographers," the source said.

DeNiro, Sarandon (sans regular companion Jonathan Bricklin) and Chlumsky each arrived separately to watch Grace star as Porter, a man who is giving life another chance after going through the ups and downs of romance and career. Olivia Thirlby also stars in the play, as an ambitious young businesswoman who comes into Porter's life while overcoming emotional obstacles of her own.
– Dahvi Shira

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Susan Sarandon: How I Stay Sexy at 65

Susan Sarandon: How I Stay Sexy at 65

Originally posted 03/21/2012 10:00AM

If you want the truth about aging in Hollywood, ask Susan Sarandon.

"It's true there aren't that many good parts," the outspoken actress, 65, says in an interview in the new issue of PEOPLE. "I've had my disappointments. It's hard to be in this business and not be an alcoholic or a drug addict or bitter as an older woman."

But, she adds, "that's one of the things you have to make your peace with – or get out of the business because everyone has those moments. I'm not the only one."

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Inside Eva Amurri's Charming Charleston Wedding | Eva Amurri, Susan Sarandon

Inside Eva Amurri's Charming Charleston Wedding

Originally posted 11/06/2011 12:00PM

Eva Amurri and her soccer commentator beau Kyle Martino have jetted off to their honeymoon following a weekend wedding that mixed Southern hospitality with Hollywood glamour.

"We're going to the beach to do nothing and drink Piña Coladas, surf, and enjoy some quiet time together," the bride tells PEOPLE. "We are really looking forward to continue building our life together."

It was a busy few days surrounding their ceremony in Charleston, S.C., last Saturday, complete with a bridal luncheon and scavenger hunt earlier in the week.

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Eva Amurri Ties the Knot | Eva Amurri

Eva Amurri Marries Kyle Martino

Originally posted 10/29/2011 05:35PM

With a little bit of Southern charm, Eva Amurri and Kyle Martino, a former MLS soccer player who is now a soccer commentator, were married Saturday afternoon in historic Charleston, S.C, her rep confirms exclusively to PEOPLE.

The nuptials were hosted by Amurri's mom Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins – who helped raise the bride during his 21-year-long relationship with her mother – and capped off a weekend of festivities including a scavenger hunt, cocktail party and casual oyster roast and barbeque rehearsal dinner.

The ceremony, officiated by Sister Helen Prejean – about whom the movie Dead Man Walking, starring Sarandon, was made – was to be followed by a black-tie celebration of dinner and dancing and guests toasted with Perrier Jouet champagne.

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Susan Sarandon: My (Almost) Son-in-Law Is 'Fabulous' | Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon: My (Almost) Son-in-Law Is 'Fabulous'

Originally posted 08/08/2011 12:25PM

It's smooth sailing for Susan Sarandon as she gears up for her daughter's wedding.

The Oscar winner says soccer player-turned-sports commentator Kyle Martino, who popped the question to her daughter, Eva Amurri, in December, gets her stamp of approval – even when the waters actually get rough.

"We all just went rafting down the bottom of the Grand Canyon for eight days," Sarandon, 64, told PEOPLE Friday at the Grey Goose Blue Door tournament for her ping-pong bar, SPiN, in East Hampton, N.Y. "You can't do that if you don't get along. He's fabulous – so much fun. He's the best."

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Susan Sarandon Helping Plan Eva Amurri's Wedding

Susan Sarandon Helping Plan Daughter Eva Amurri's Wedding

Originally posted 06/04/2011 10:00PM

Mother really does know best – especially when it comes to weddings.

Just ask actress Eva Amurri. Engaged to Kyle Martino, the player-turned-Fox-Soccer-Channel-commentator, since last December, Amurri, 26, tells PEOPLE that she's relying on her mom's expertise to help plan her nuptials later this year.

Mom, it should be noted, is Oscar winner Susan Sarandon.

"She's so organized. If she asks me, then I do it," Sarandon, 64, said at Thursday night's Perrier-Jouet's 200th Anniversary party at Manhattan's Mondrian Soho.

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Did Eva Amurri's Lingerie Shoot Earn Her an Engagement Ring?

Did Eva Amurri's Lingerie Shoot Earn Her an Engagement Ring?

Originally posted 03/14/2011 12:05PM

There's nothing like a Maxim photo shoot to convince a guy he's found the right girl.

"I loved it! I imagined I was the sexy wife left alone, posing around the house in lingerie," actress Eva Amurri tells Maxim of her photo spread in the April issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

Amurri's boyfriend, Fox soccer analyst Kyle Martino, apparently liked it, too. "[He] visited the set, and we got engaged the next day," Amurri says. "Everybody's been teasing him, 'The Maxim shoot sold you, huh?' "

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