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I grew up with a mom who is absolutely wonderful at hosting events. Our birthday parties were always every child’s dream. Holidays were (and still are) over the top… and even a simple dinner party felt like an extravagant event. The decorations were always top notch, the food was delicious, and most importantly, everyone invited felt welcomed and appreciated.

I inherited a lot of traits from my mom, but hosting events is not one of them.

Hosting a dinner “party” to my husband and I looks more like, “They’ve invited us over a couple of time so it’s probably the right thing to do to invite them over now.” And then comes the stress and panic.

I can honestly say that I LOVE the idea of hosting events. My Pinterest boards are full of the most adorable cupcake topper, tissue paper craft type ideas. But when it comes down to actually hosting an event, I panic. I overthink, worry about all the messes that are going to ensue, freak out about making sure everyone is going to have a good time, etc. It’s a literal mess (and not just the kind that ends up staining my couch.)

Can this thing be over yet?

Not to mention the fact that I can only take small doses of people at a time. That obviously doesn’t make for the best host in the world. After about an hour or so, I’m just about ready to kick everyone out and call it a day. Which, ya know… isn’t exactly… polite. And even if I don’t actually end up kicking anyone out, I become so emotionally drained from socializing that my hosting skills have gone down the tube by the time other people are starting to feel like the party is getting started.

Then why are you even writing this post? If you suck at hosting?… you might be thinking (or maybe I’m overthinking things and assuming, as usual lolol.)

Here’s the thing. I WANT to be a better host… because as much as I wish I could never invite a group of people over to our house again, it’s going to have to happen. So, I’d rather try to enjoy it instead of dreading it before and during the whole shabang. So, I did some research and deep soul searching introspection to figure out what us introverted souls could do to feel better about hosting events.

If you’re an introvert, hopefully, these tips will help you feel less stressed and more thrilled about hosting events! They really can be fun if you simplify and modify your strategy. For the sake of it being summer, this will be a BBQ edition, since most events held in the summer end up being BBQ’s. I should mention that my husband and I live in a duplex, so we don’t have a lot of space in our home… or a yard. That makes the whole event hosting thing doubly difficult, but I’ve decided to conquer it nonetheless. So, without further ado, here they are!

4 Ways to Make Hosting a Summer BBQ a Breeze (Introvert Edition)

1. Keep the food simple.

In our Pinterest, “Instagram Worthy” obsessed generation, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to make 20 different beautifully crafted dishes. Just watch almost any of Zoella’s Youtube videos for 5 minutes, and you’ll feel that pressure to create the “perfect” arrangement of food/drinks for your event.

As an introvert (or really, any person in general) this just isn’t realistic. Most of us are already stressed enough about the actual event that putting any more pressure on ourselves to have everything “perfect” is going to push us over the edge.

For my husband and I’s recent BBQ, I baked some premade store bought cookie dough (which tbh, taste almost as great, if not just as great, as homemade cookies to me) and cake mix cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I threw some chips into a bowl and then was able to focus the majority of my energy on making some delicious, yet easy-to-make ribs. Since I want your summer BBQ to be an easy breezy success, I’ll share the recipe with you!

It’s derived from a book on the Whole 30 Challenge that my husband and I attempted to complete, but I modified it to make it even more simple. It’s always my “go to” recipe for these types of events because it’s healthy, delicious, doesn’t require a grill, and most importantly it’s easy to make! If you want more grilling inspiration, you can visit the Kleenex® and Viva® Social Hub. You can also enter the #MakeYourSummer sweepstakes, beginning on June 11, 2018.

Easy-to-Make Tangy BBQ Ribs

These healthy, easy-to-make tangy BBQ ribs will soon become your favorite BBQ dish for events, BBQ’s, and even busy nights spent at home with the family. 

For the Rub

  • 4 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the Ribs

  • 2 lbs baby back ribs
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water

For the Sauce

  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder

For the Rub

  1. Mix the rub ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Set the ribs flesh-side up on a large piece of foil and coat evenly with the rub. Marinate in the refrigerator for 3-24 hours (You can marinate for less time than that, if you’re in a hurry. But the longer you marinate, the better your ribs will be.)

  2. Preheat the oven to 300ºF once you’re almost ready to put your ribs in the oven.

  3. Place your ribs in a casserole or glass baking dish. Pour the chicken broth or water over the ribs and cover the container with foil. Bake for 1 hour, or until meat pulls back from the rib bones.

  4. If you have a grill, preheat it to medium heat (350ºF). Place the ribs directly over the heat and grill until nicely charred, 6 to 8 minutes on each side. If you don’t have a grill, increase the oven temperature to 475ºF and cook the ribs for 10 minutes on each side.

For the Sauce

  1. Combine all of the sauce ingredients together, blend together if you want a less chunky texture (because of the onions), and then smother ribs with sauce. 

2. Make it easy for people to clean up after themselves throughout the party.

Because many people in their 20’s don’t have an outdoor space to host a BBQ yet (shout out to duplex & apartment dwellers!), it can be especially nerve-wracking to invite a group of people into your home to eat a messy meal. Even if you have a place to host outdoors (or find a place), it’s super inconvenient to have everyone running back inside to wash their hands every few minutes- which is something that will happen when they’re eating something as delicious and messy as most BBQ type foods are.

Setting out a pack of the new Kleenex® Wet Wipes Gentle Clean and a roll of thick and sturdy Viva® Big Roll Paper Towels will make everything go 100% more smoothly. I bought both of these products in the paper towel/tissue section at my local Smith’s, but you can also find them at Kroger, Frys, King Soopers, Fred Meyers, Ralphs, or QFC. They’re both very affordable products and make it easier for everyone to clean up their messes throughout the party/for you to clean up any remaining messes after the party is over!

The Kleenex® Wet Wipes are perfect for adults because they’re specifically for your hands and face, rub everything (even the stickiest BBQ sauce) off of hands quickly, and are free from harsh chemicals. The Viva® Paper Towels are my “go to” paper towels because they’re strong, soft, and are honestly comparable to using a dishcloth (but without all the hassle of having to do laundry afterward.)

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Introverts are often, by nature, very independent. We’re so comfortable with doing things on our own that it can be hard for us to ask for help. But when it comes to hosting events, not asking for help can lead to a whole lot of unnecessary stress. When you send out your invites, ask people to bring a specific side or main dish to add to the meal. This will relieve a lot of your stress about the event (and let you focus more on preparing yourself to socialize, which if you’re like me, can take up a lot of time beforehand!)

It’s also okay to hint to people that they should be helping to keep things clean throughout the party. You shouldn’t turn into the “cleaning police” (that’s no fun), but by setting out your Kleenex® Wet Wipes and Viva® Paper Towels, you’re sending the message that you don’t want your home to turn into a complete pigsty. Leaving these things out also helps with the whole, “Where do you keep your washcloths?” and “Do you have any wet wipes?” type of questions that people are bound to ask during a BBQ.

4. Include a time frame for the party in your invites.

There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with including a time frame for your party, even if you’re hosting close friends/family. Since it’s not exactly polite to kick your party guests out of your house, it can be helpful if they at least know some sort of time frame for how long the party is supposed to last. That doesn’t mean they have to leave right when you stated the whole shabang should end, but it’ll help them “get the hint” that yes, this does party isn’t supposed to last ALL day.

I personally can’t stand being invited to events that don’t have an end time, because I feel awkward leaving before everyone else when the whole thing seems to be dragging on. I like knowing when things are supposed to end… and I’m sure that at least a few of your party guests will appreciate that kind of structure, as well!