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

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