Video: Sara Ruffin Costello Parties Like a Champ

When style prodigy Sara Ruffin Costello told us she'd be hosting a dinner party to celebrate Target's latest Threshold collection, our first thought was, "Just how does she do it?" Between guest editing the February issue of House Beautiful, penning style profiles for T Mag, and running a cross-continental design business out of her New Orleans manse, SRC still finds time to host elaborate dinner parties with the same ease and aptitude the rest of us reserve for nuking a Hot Pocket. But like the rest of us, Costello is always on the lookout for ways to simplify the casual dining experience. "I used to sneak out of work early and head to Target to pick up supplies," Costello explained of her early forays into entertaining. "It's the perfect place for party essentials because you can get a stylish look without dropping a fortune." Read on for Costello's tips on being the perfect host, try her favorite fall foodie show stoppers below, and browse Target's Threshold collection--including never before seen items in stores September 22nd. 01 Prep: Clean and shop the day before. Don't forget to pick up flowers. I like to get a bunch of blooms and put them each in a separate little vase. Lighting: Turn down the lights pull out all your votive candles. No one feels sexy or confident under a bright glare. Scent: Bake a pie or get scented candles. Guests should be greeted with a great smell as soon as they come through the door. Seating: Create a casual seating arrangement with poufs and well-placed side tables. I love it when everyone's sitting around talking late into the night. Serving: I prefer to serve buffet style. It loosens things up and guests will get to talk to more than just the person sitting on their right. 03

Click on the images below to create Sara Costello's recipes at home.

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Apple Cranberry Pie  Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Shop the latest Threshold items and preview these soon to be released pieces.

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Acacia Serving Tray, $25 Serve Bowl, $18 Pouf, $50
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Starburst Mirror, $40 Slate Cheese Boards, from $10 Crane Toss Pillow, $25
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Turkey Platter, $20 Basketweave Throw, $25 Wine Glasses, $25 (set of four)
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Stoneware Pie Plate, $9 Acacia Cheese Stand With Glass Dome, $30 White Pitcher, $14