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How to Host the Perfect Party, According to Lauren Conrad

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Anyone who’s ever seen her on The Hills (or read her blog, or followed her on Pinterest) knows that Lauren Conrad knows how to have a great time and be a terrific host.

Which is why, when we caught up with Conrad at an N.Y.C. party for Malibu Island Spiced, we immediately grilled her for tips on how to make our summer parties as picture-perfect as hers seem to be.

“The great thing about summer … is that you can entertain outdoors,” she says, “and [outdoor parties] tend to be more casual so you can have fun with the décor. I’m obsessed with Pinterest so anything on Pinterest, I’m like ‘I have to do that!'”

And that Pinterest obsession means Conrad’s parties aren’t just any old come-as-you-are occasions: They’ve got themes. “I like ‘be your own bartender’ tables where you lay out all of the different mixers, with mint and the salt to make your own [drinks],” she suggests. “I did a party where we did all small diner food, like tiny pizzas and mini-milkshakes and little cones of fries, which was really fun.”

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But lest you start to crumble under all that Pinterest-y pressure, Conrad advises lots of preparation and a few easy tips to make the party a success — withtout the stress. “I think it’s important to get prepared, make sure you’re stocked up on everything you need and then enjoy your own party,” she says. As far as food and music goes, “We usually do flatbreads … with all different toppings. They’re finger food, they’re easy, so almost all my parties have flatbread at them.”

She adds: “Have [a playlist] made by someone who knows music. One of my best girlfriends is a DJ so she always makes me my playlist and she’s great. Or use a Pandora or something, where you don’t have to [make one] at all.”

Conrad is partnering with Malibu Island Spiced (which clocks in at 70 calories a serving) “because it’s geared towards a healthier lifestyle, which I love” — so you can expect lots more party-planning tips from the star this summer.

Tell us: What are your secrets to throwing a perfect party?

–Alex Apatoff, reporting by Kiran Hefa