Host How I Host: Emily Persky

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Hosts with imaginations all their own

Founder of I Have This Friend

"The whipped cream launches into the air and you're supposed to catch it in your mouth."

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Catch our interview with Emily on The Partytrick Podcast

What's your process for planning a gathering in your home?

My fiance loves to cook and has an amazing cookbook collection. We typically start there. We look through cookbooks and decide what the theme of the menu will be, and then shape everything else around the main dishes! If it's a special occasion like a friend's birthday, we'll be sure to take inspiration from their favorite dishes as well.

"If it's a friend's birthday, we'll be sure to take inspiration from their favorite dishes as well."

What are your go-to party activities or games to break the ice?

I bought a giant roll of kraft paper from Amazon and love to use it in place of a tablecloth with crayons in little vintage cups on the table. It's a really fun ice breaker for people to sit around the table with drinks and start drawing or playing tic-tac-toe.

"I love to use a giant roll of kraft paper in place of a tablecloth. Add crayons in little vintage cups on the table."

If you had a limited budget to put together a small dinner party, what would you focus on for the tablescape?

Candles! Pick a fun color to complement the menu, or even just a few little white votive candles do the trick.

What makes a great gathering memorable?

The little things you don't see coming: The funny story you're somehow just hearing for the first time from a friend you've known for years, the wine cork that was too close to the candle so it burned and somehow everyone ended up putting a charcoal mustache on their face, the song that comes on in the background that suddenly turns the night into a dance party.

"...The song that comes on in the background that suddenly turns the night into a dance party."
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If someone is feeling overwhelmed by hosting their friends in their home, what tips would you give them?

You are by far your toughest critic when it comes to hosting—everyone else is so excited to have something special to attend, they aren't going to care or notice that you had to pull up an extra chair that doesn't match the rest!

"They aren't going to care or notice that you had to pull up an extra chair that doesn't match the rest."

Favorite recipe or food to serve when hosting?

There are so many, but a fan favorite is homemade flatbread. It's such a great addition to the menu and  they happen to be really quick and easy to make.  I originally found them in a Bon Appetit recipe, but now I make them on their own all the time.

What is the soundtrack to a dinner party in your home? Have any favorite playlists?

We have a record player that we love to bring out for dinner parties. People will walk over and pick out a record to throw on which is always a fun activity while dinner is in the works.

What is your favorite partytrick?

So I'm a little embarrassed to admit my favorite partytrick... it's unconventional and occasionally messy, but always ends with pee-in-your-pants laughter. It's a trick I learned at summer camp when I was younger. You put a little bit of whipped cream on your wrist and hit your palm with the other hand. The whipped cream launches into the air and you're supposed to catch it in your mouth. Everyone ends up getting really competitive with it (and whipped cream typically ends up all over the floor, so avoid the carpet).

"It's unconventional and occasionally messy, but always ends with pee-in-your-pants laughter."

About our host

Emily is the founder of I Have This Friend, a curated online directory that makes it easier and more affordable for consumers to discover and book lifestyle services offered by emerging creative talent across food, style, art, interior design, travel, and more (think: Goop x TaskRabbit). When she's not off on a new adventure traveling or in NYC with her co-founder and best friend Ingrid, she's home in Santa Monica hosting with friends.

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