As host of programs "Surprise Gardener" and "Outer Spaces" on Home and Garden Television, Susie Coelho knows how to make a space look effortlessly beautiful, even if for most people there's nothing effortless about it. In her new book, Styling for Entertaining, Coelho shares her expertise with the entertainment-impaired who need guidance on how to throw a stylish party.

This TV host (and former wife of the late Sonny Bono) suggests simple steps, starting with the seemingly obvious question of what the occasion is. "Defining the occasion gives meaning to your plans," Coelho writes, "so think through what you're celebrating and why." Once it's clear what the party is about, Coelho guides readers through the rest of the planning process. She advises compiling items and colors that serve as a springboard for designing an inspired party. Coelho fills her pages with sumptuous color photos to show exactly what she means by "Italian Trattoria" or "Candy Cane Christmas" theme parties. Her hints are practical enough for mere mortals not blessed with the enigmatic entertaining gene.

Coelho lays out several spectacular and spectacularly manageable party concepts, such as an Asian fusion party complete with homemade spring rolls, fortune cookies and a Chinese checkerboard used as a serving tray. Few could think of such clever concepts on their own, and that's what Coelho is there for.

All Amy Scribner wants from Santa is less traffic on the Washington, D.C., Beltway.

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