I Am Thankful for Friends Who Can Cook

Friends Thanksgiving probably wouldn’t have lasted past its first attempt in 2009 if our friends weren’t such good cooks. But it did because they are, and Sunday we hosted the fifth annual Friends Thanksgiving potluck at our house (which has been our motivation to get unpacked and settled in the last month).

A vat of mashed potatoes. Creamy pumpkin mac and cheese. Corn casserole, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, oh my. And a festive cider-bourbon cocktail to wash down pecan, pumpkin and derby pies. If any of you want to start inviting me over for Sunday dinner on the regular, that’d be alright by me.

This motley crew of 20 fit squeezed at one family-style dining table set up in our modest living room.

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And it was awesome.

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Despite their reluctance and their snarls and their sarcastic comments as I say squeeze in tighter…almoooost readdyyy, every time I get to pull out the tripod and set the self timer it means I’m with some of my favorite people — having a good time, celebrating something, adventuring, or just enjoying a huge meal on a frigid Sunday evening in November.

And really, who wouldn’t be thankful enough for that to want to grab it in a picture?

A Surprise Party For a Bride Who Hates Surprises

What do you do when a great friend of yours is getting married soon but does not want to be showered or celebrated or surprised? You throw her a surprise brunch shower to celebrate her pending nuptials.

Elizabeth and I pulled off the impossible a few weeks ago — we surprised Devon with a brunch in her honor without her disowning us. We had egg casserole, pimento cheese, hummus, fruits & veggies, homemade bloody mary mix, and of course a mimosa bar. And the six guests showered the bride with booze instead of bed linens.

I think she liked it.

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Photodump: July 4th Friends Beach Trip

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Our friends beach trip tradition began back in May of 2008. We woke up only a few hours after our graduation celebration at TOTS ended, piled ourselves into cars and caravanned down to Myrtle Beach for a week in a tiny, run down three bedroom beach shack filled to the brim with 19 people.

It was the best time.

And so — every year since 2008 — we’ve made our annual pilgramage to the beach with some of our best buds. For the past few years we’ve been going to Nags Head over the 4th of July because fireworks on the beach are hard to beat (as is a free vacation day).

While Thursday was spent celebrating this great country of ours, Friday and Saturday were for the knock down drag out competition of Beach Olympics. Sixteen people, four teams, countless rounds in six different events over two days. Because I love a good excuse to use my tripod, we paused before the final event for some pretty priceless team photos and one last group shot of all the competitors.

The competition was so serious that Commissioner Hugh kept track of it on a complicated scoreboard that hung inside the tent all weekend reminding us to keep our game faces on.

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My team unfortunately had a few tough breaks and did not quite come out on top. But there’s always next year.

Moving Troyssie and Manual Sunsets

On Friday night I showed up at Jessie and Troy’s place with some pizza and PBR to help them get ready for their move the next day. And since I made them take a picture in front of their place when they moved in two years ago, I forced them to take another as they moved out.

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I am also resolving lately to get better at taking pictures. Normally I shoot on Aperture Priority mode (Av) — setting the f-stop and ISO for each picture depending on the light and the subject, but letting the camera handle shutter speed on its own (because managing a third setting at the same time seems like just enough to drive me nuts). But I’m forcing myself to shoot fully manually lately, and I think I’m a better more patient person for it.

Case in point, setting everything yourself results in some pretty rad sunset photos.

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