Saturday, March 26, 2011

Alma and Christie's Day of FUN - a photo essay

If you watch(ed) Friends, you would totally understand that reference (remember? Joey and Janice’s Day of FUN… followed by Janice’s blood-boiling cackle, ugh)… in any event, welcome to my Saturday! A Saturday filled with errands, food, culture and… well, Alma, of course.

Alma is totally one of my BFFs here in Chicago. The fact that we speak the same language (and, by same language, I do mean a language where we regularly incorporate LOL, BRB, TTYL, and OMG into our everyday, verbal conversations) is only the beginning of the BFF-ness. The fact that she is a firm supporter of my inevitable rise to showbiz fame (and her inevitable rise to photography fame… like that plug right there, Alma?) only further seals the deal that we call friendship. Haha. As everyone already knows, a sign of a great friendship is one where you can do the most mundane tasks and/or nothing at all and still have a grand ol’ time together. Wellll, today pretty much exemplified THAT quality of our friendship to the fullest. Get ready for this grand photo essay of a day… a day filled with Bosnian culture, foam-padding a cement pillar, photo-framing, Vietnamese cuisine and adorable little old men… how so not random does THAT sound for ya?

We began the day by trying out this Bosnian restaurant that was WAY up north. Alma had the car for the day, so we decided to take advantage of that fact and head to Drina ( for some authentic Bosnian food. Alma was totally in her element, knowing EXACTLY what to order right away and whipping out her native tongue with the owner of the restaurant.

It was all very delightful and interesting- I learned so much about Bosnian culture while we feasted on meat-filled pitas and mini sausages. All accompanied with some delicious Bosnian coffee (totally reminded me of Turkish coffee)… granted, when I tried to drink it the “Bosnian way” (ie: dip a sugar cube in coffee, take a small bite of the sugar cube and then drink the coffee to wash the sugar cube remnants down), I pretty much just ended up munching on pure sugar cubes (well, what? I was happy enough, but I realize I was taking away from the full Bosnian coffee experience). Anyway, once I revised my methodology so that I wasn’t just blatantly eating sugar cubes, the whole experience just became that much more DIVINE. And how could you NOT love the Bosnian crew in the background, just chilling with their afternoon coffee? Sigh.

Well, stop number one on the DOF (Day of FUN, for those unable to properly keep track of said acronyms) was complete. And I, of course was ready to take a nap. I mean, there was a LOT of food on that table. But no way. The DOF had just begun. Off to stop number two… JoAnn Fabrics. Very domestic, if you will. Here, Alma had to buy some foam padding for this concrete structure that has been a bit… troublesome, shall we say… for her and her boyfriend’s new (large!) car. In order to mitigate any future… incidents, shall we say… with said concrete structure, foam padding was required, apparently.

When Alma first started detailing her plans to get me to help her with this project, I thought she was joking. I was all “Hahaha… good one!” … you know, the usual. Until, that is, I realized that she was actually pretty darn dead serious. Um. I mean, I’m all about helping out when needed but… but… do you not know me at ALL, here? Who are we kidding? Whatever.

We clearly knew exactly what we were doing… considering the biggest decision of our JoAnn Fabrics outing was what color duct-tape we should go with (Alma, decision-maker that she is, went with green duct tape… to match with the foam padding, of course!). It was all very well-thought out, if you will. Sigh.

So, okay. Foam was bought. But more importantly, matching duct tape was bought as well! Alright, next step… well, actually putting this together. So, here’s the “Before” snapshot… looks kind of menacing for a large car that has a parking spot RIGHT NEXT TO IT, right? Right. You can clearly understand why there could be potential issues here.

Alright, so we sure didn’t waste any time. I mean, I’ve done some serious manual labor before in my life (remember my whole habitat and hammers, evil olive and battle scars debacle?), so I was mentally prepared to be all rugged and ready to sweat it out.

And so we began the Project.

There goes Alma, taping up the initial slab of foam padding we put on up. The Inaugural Padding if you will.

And… fifteen minutes later… we were pretty much done! Voila!

So much for thinking this activity was going to burn off our Bosnian feast. The Project actually had turned out to be easier than either of us could have ever imagined. I mean, I guess it’s just cutting up foam and taping it all together, but STILL… I have a feeling if I were doing this on my own, I would have somehow figured out any and every way to f it all up. But whatever.

Onto project number two of the day… this was more of a side project of Alma’s. She’d found some adorable picture frames while at JoAnn Fabrics (doesn’t take much to get all distracted, does it?), so once The Project was over and done with, she could focus on her fun side project… while I watched TV.

Check out her cute little project KIT!!

And check out an artist in her element…

Okay, well, once that was over and done with, there wasn’t all too much left to do. I mean, we CAN only entertain each other for so long, right? Haha. And since I’ve been battling this ridiculous need to sleep like every hour, on the hour, I was beyond exhausted. So she dropped me off at home for a couple of hours, during which I proceeded to literally pass OUT like a light for an hour. Ahh, it was much needed. I felt so much more refreshed, but still very, VERY much full from lunch.

Oh, did I not mention? Alma and I also had made dinner plans (like days ago) for tonight at Carnivale (… this a-mazing restaurant I’d just tried earlier this week. Very Latin-based… aka: lots and lots of MEAT on that menu! And… well, you heard what we ate for lunch! The last thing we needed was yet another heavy, meat-based meal... especially considering neither of us was remotely hungry.

However, how can we NOT hang out with each other to complete the Day of FUN, right? So, we went ahead and cancelled the Carnivale reservations and impulsively decided to meet up at Simply It (, this Vietnamese restaurant that is relatively halfway between the two of our apartments.

Um. This was like the BEST impulsive decision EVER. As soon as you walk in the door of this place, you are treated like one of the family. You get a table as quickly as possible, you get like limitless loads of tea if you have to wait, and you get treated to the antics of the owner of the place, who was only like the cutest little man EVER. Ugh, we wanted to just pick him up and stick him in our little pockets after our fine dining experience.

Alright, so while all the food coming out looked a-MAZING, we were so not all that hungry. God, the things we put ourselves through just to continue the Day of FUN. Haha. Anyway, so, Alma ordered this hearty vegetable soup thing which she had apparently been craving... while I ordered some avocado wrapped in chicken appetizer special. As simple as our dishes were, they were so tasty and delicious that we have both bookmarked this place as a restaurant that we will 100% be frequenting.

And you really think Alma and I aren’t shameless enough to accost the adorable little old man owner for a picture to finish off our fine Day of FUN?! I think not. So we get this picture taken with him and he reviews the picture with his critical eye and finally, gives his review, which, verbatim, goes a little something like this: “Old man looks HANDSOME!” … OMG, Alma and I were literally swooning. We maintained our squeals at our new adorable little old man friend until we were safely outside the restaurant, but still.

"Old man looks HANDSOME!" .... I mean, you couldn’t ASK for a better ending to our oh-so-grand day of… well, FUN.

*special thanks to Alma's iPhone for its stellar photo-taking capabilities all the livelong day

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I’m on Twitter… now what?

Alright, so here’s the thing. I’m all about social networking, making the world a smaller, place, befriending all the world, etc. That’s why I am a firm advocate of Facebook. Granted, I used to be unhealthily obsessed with it (is it normal to start twitching if one doesn’t check Facebook once every couple of hours? Oh well.), but once you realize your limitations and the healthy boundaries of social networking, you’ll realize just how powerful that tool is.

Okay, Facebook is one thing- it’s so versatile and dynamic and oh how I heart thee. I could write an ode to it. But then there’s Twitter, right? So you know how it’s like all the rage right now? I was firmly against Twitter because I never understood the point of it. After all, the implementation of Facebook’s “status updates” is one of the most annoying things ever to me (well, not EVER, who are we kidding here? I always briefly scroll through the status updates anyway! But still. You know what I mean.)… and that’s pretty much ALL Twitter is, right?

Anyway, power of persuasion and all that. I’m now on Twitter. That took about five minutes of discussion. Haha. I’m telling you, if you ever need to convince anyone of anything, you should hire Evan Fleming (no worries about that whole Internet security business… I already confirmed that he is comfortable with me using his whole name because, as he so eloquently put it, “ohhhh…. No I don’t mind… I’m all over the internet”… hahah KNEE SLAPPER). Granted, Evan is one of my favorite people alive (I heavily advertise him to all the world), so that helped in the whole persuasive component, but still.

Okay, so Evan was all about me getting on Twitter to continue to brand myself and just have another wider ranging audience to whom I can advertise my blog. This all sounded so amazing and monumental and like, wow, this is really going to be my big break in the blog/entertainment world. So, there I went, getting on Twitter.

And then… well, I just got lost and confused. I mean, how in the world do you USE this thing? Like, how in heaven’s name am I supposed to know who to follow? And how am I supposed to self-advertise that people should follow me? And then the whole use of symbols to “tag” people, etc. GOD, it is like the most confusing thing ever.

So, there I was… kind of forgetting that I even HAD a Twitter account… when I posted another blog entry (and advertised it on Facebook and Gchat, as per usual). What was I thinking? Dutiful, dear Evan made sure to get right on his follow up with me to ENSURE that I was planning to post my latest blog entry on Twitter. I mean, who does that? Haha.

So, now that I realize big brother of the Twitter world (aka: Evan Fleming) is totally all up on Twitter, I’m MUCH better about making sure I post my latest blog on Twitter as well… with all my four followers or whatever. Whatever makes him happy, I guess. Haha. It only totally motivates me more that Evan totally tweets me out from time to time. His last tweet about me? “pumped that my girl Christie @Maliyacular is going to be gracing #sf with her presence in a couple weeks. let the #tourdechristie begin!”

A #tourdechristie?!?!?! Alsdkfj;laskdjflkdsjf!!! THIS IS WHY EVAN IS TOTALLY THE PUBLICITY DIRECTOR OF MY SHOW!!!!!!!flkdajslfkdjsla! Who THINKS of something like that?!?!?!?

Anyway, so long story short, sure I STILL don’t really understand the point of Twitter (and if YOU do, please, by all means, do enlighten me), but clearly, CLEARLY, it doesn’t take all that much to get me to love it. God, I’m such a sucker. #hearttwitter! Haha or something like that…

Sunday, March 13, 2011

eating and sleeping

have you ever had those days... or weeks... or months... where you cant stop overindulging? welcome to my weekend. im actually already bracing myself for my own embarrassed reaction when people ask me what i did this weekend.

because my weekend can literally be summed up in three words: eating and sleeping.

it's actually been kind of disgusting, yet delightful, all at the same time.

as is readily apparent to most individuals upon eating with me on a regular basis, i have a small appetite. a warm cup of chai will suffice for breakfast for me (i dont know. does milk NOT fill everyone up?). my idea of a pb&j sandwich is to have the pb&j on one slice of bread, folded in half... and that would be lunch. and dinner can range from like pita chips to a bowl of cereal. as you can see, my diet is pretty fulfilling and healthy, clearly covering all of the basic food groups (particularly those green things... what do you guys like to call them? oh, yes. vegetables. BLECH. i just gagged as i typed out the word. anyway).

this is all sufficient background necessary to understand just how much of a food coma i feel like i have perpetually been in since last thursday.

Thursday, March 10
the downward spiral actually began earlier in the week, when our gourmet cafeteria (im not kidding. it's one of the best cafeterias ive witnessed) decided to serve up some ridiculous burrito special (on monday) and some even more ridiculously delicous gyros (on wednesday). lunch is actually one of those meals i typically CANT "eat large" because i will inevitably be sleepy for the rest of the afternoon. oh well, i guess last week was different because i had no problems just gorging away. and GOD, it was so worth it. so tasty and delicious. anyway, that doesnt really explain thursday, now does it?

well, okay, thursday was the formal introduction of this thursday dinner club that a couple of my inner circle of friends instituted. so how could i turn down dinner at the suggested spot, cumin? omg, im so glad i DIDNT turn it down. this place was an AMAZING find- indian/nepalese tasty deliciousness at its finest. i went in to dinner, all prepared to eat lightly since i wasnt all that hungry to begin with. but... well, YOU try that curry and tell me there is NOT crack in it. i dare you, really. anyway! haha. so, a samosa, chicken curry, spinach dish, rice, and naan later... yeah. i was well beyond stuffed. but it was so worth it, who am i kidding? the two bottles of wine the three of us shared didn't hurt the delightfulness of our thursday dinner club experience one bit, either.

the ridiculous sleeping habits didnt begin tonight, since i obvi had to work on friday. just an fyi.

Friday, March 11
friday started out just great, considering i woke up STILL feeling full from dinner the night before. oh well, it's all about willpower and stuff, and since i already felt kind of physically sick from how full i was, i knew friday was going to be a light meal kinda day. well... it was all going just fine with a simple bowl of soup for lunch. but then i ended up staying at work later than should ever be normal for a friday night, so my coworker and i went to chipotle for a quick dinner because, quite frankly, if you at lunch like nine hours ago and ARENT hungry, something is seriously wrong with you. well, hello. when you say chipotle, what do you expect? chipotle is not exactly known for its "light fare". i ended up getting a vegetarian bowl (no meat?! i know, i know. but it's friday and it's lent so no meat for catholic me!) and, well... who knew that vegetables could be so FILLING? i guess the rice didnt help the lightness of the meal at all, but whatever. i hadnt had chipotle in SO long and i do so love me some chipotle so i was quite pleased with my clean plate at the end of it all.

anyway, i end up falling asleep around midnight on friday, all set to awaken around like 8 am, since thats what time i usually awake on the weekends (my idea of sleeping in... pathetic, i know).

Saturday, March 12 - 9:10 AM
i awaken

Saturday, March 12 - 9:30 AM
i eat a small bowl of oatmeal squares... breakfast is the most important meal of the day and all that. haha. this coming from the girl who drinks coffee or chai for breakfast usually. but whatever.

Saturday, March 12 - 10:30 AM
i fall asleep. keep in mind i had been awake for a whopping 1 hour and 20 mins. it had been a taxing day.

Saturday, March 12 - 12:45 PM
i wake up. yeah. i dont know what happened. whatever, i had made plans to go to devon to get some shopping done so i had to hurry scurry to get this adventure on the road (have you been to devon via public transit? oh. an adventure, that it is). well, it's not my problem that i go to devon so infrequently, and it's not my problem that devon has some legit indian food. and it's not my problem that my friend who came with me was starving. i mean, what am i supposed to do? politeness is my middle name! haha. so you guessed it. i get my shopping done and then we go to this indian restaurant. now, here's the thing- one would think that i know how perpetually full i am, so i would ration out what i order and eat. but how can you do that if it's like family style? and you really think im going to look at that menu, see the world of naans and parathas and curries and NOT want it all? hello. didn't i tell you? legit. indian. food. PEOPLE! soo... a couple of vegetable curry dishes, puri (OMG I AM STILL SALIVATING THINKING ABOUT IT), parathas, naans, and rice dishes later... oh yeah. and we had rice pudding at the end because... well, how can you not eat dessert at the end of a meal? sigh. whatever.

so there i was, ready to fall asleep because of how overstuffed i was, when we're walking back to the bus and helloo... indian sweets shops are at like every corner in this magical land we call little india. and you know me and my very particular indian sweets (burfi is GOD THE BEST THING EVER... how can you go wrong with sugar and lard?)... anyway, so we go into this indian sweets shop and, of course, im like overcome with the beauty that is indian sweets. so of course, after trying a few and making some executive decisions, i decide to order... well, a POUND of sweets. i didnt realize how much a pound was (which is ironic, considering im probably gaining quite a FEW of them after this week!) until i saw the final product of my order. whoops. i guess that'll be lasting me like a lifetime. haha.

so after spending the afternoon on devon, i end up home by 7:30ish.

Saturday, March 12 - 8 PM
i fall asleep

Sunday, March 13 - 10 AM
i awaken.

dude, trust me, i know. i dont know what went so horribly wrong! i fell asleep on saturday night, thinking it was going to be a brief nap. oops. in my defense, daylight savings totally happened, so TECHNICALLY, i'd only slept till 9 AM.... sigh, whatever.

well, social butterfly that i am, i happened to have brunch plans for 11:30 AM with one of my college friends who was in town. soo... you guessed it...

Sunday, March 13 - 11:30 AM
i eat at mercadito's, this AWESOME mexican place which id just heard about but id never been to. and again, it was all family style so how could i NOT partake in all sorts of festivities? so... some chips and guac and... well, four tacos later...

OMG i want to gag but not really because it was all so tasty and delicious i really cant regret a single food decision ive made thus far. and sadly, that's not the end of that.

Sunday, March 13 - 2 PM
i get home after brunch, pretty much levitating considering how much id eaten, when i decided it was a brilliant time to... bake some cookies. okay, here's my logic for this. i have two VERY ripe bananas sitting in my fruit bowl so of COURSE im not going to eat them straight up... and i cant WASTE them. duh. so... cookies it is. hahaha. well, once i baked them, i had to taste test. OBVI. well, a couple (okay... like four. whatever.) cookies later, i was... well, SLEEPY again. hahaha. and that brings me to...

Sunday, March 13 - 3:15 PM
i fall asleep. yes, friends. again. and please do note- i slept till 5:30ish. a good two hours... all very healthy napping timespans, really.

see? i told you. three words: eating and sleeping.

an epic, raging weekend if you will. good times.