16 Oct
2014

Dear Best Boss Ever…

GameOfThrones Teaser04 Screencap 12 640x360 Dear Best Boss Ever... Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

So. Maybe it’s her love of pen­cils. Maybe, it’s when she said “Here’s $1500 to never crap on me or any­one ever!” (I’m going to let you fig­ure out that con­text. Hint: Take it lit­er­ally. Hintx2: This is just a shadow of what we dis­cuss openly.) Maybe it’s how she speaks in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ALWAYS, or maybe it’s because she’s the only other human I’ve ever met EVER that uses hyper­bole as much as I do about EVERYTHING EVER because EVERYTHING IS THE BEST THING EVER ALL THE THINGS OMGGGGGPFFFFFF. Maybe it’s because we under­stand each other when we say “can you do that thing because of things”.  Maybe it is her load (hehe) of adorable catch phrases and col­lo­qui­alisms that make my heart ‘swell three sizes that day’ like the Grinch. I’m going to run with the whole Grinch thing here not only because she loves Christ­mas (don’t ever call it x-mas) but because it’s sort of a bril­liant segue…

The thing is, I was the Grinch for a while there. It was one of the dark­est times in my life, and I’m 33 so I can say “one of” and mean it, as opposed to those peo­ple who are 17 and write auto­bi­ogra­phies. I lost myself for almost a year, but thanks to a hand­ful of peo­ple who loved me, I didn’t lose touch com­pletely. My boss, my friend; she gave me lit­tle doses of her light every so often, and she waited. She waited for me to fall in love with life again. She waited for me to remem­ber how to laugh again. She gave me rea­sons to laugh. She reminded me that you get to decide who your fam­ily is; she reminded me that I’ll always have a fam­ily at Kards Unlimited.

Happy Boss’s Day to you, Kris­ten. I raise my glass to you, even though it’s filled with cham­pagne AND I HATE CHAMPAGNE.

P.s. I will now explain/admit that I totally used the game of thrones pic to lure peo­ple here. Not at all because IT’S THE BEST SHOW EVER OF ALL TIME.

Brian Boi­tano. I’m out.

brian boitano 640x435 Dear Best Boss Ever... Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Love,

Blair.

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9 Oct
2014

Happy 1,832,668th Birthday to Count von Count!

the count 3 Happy 1,832,668th Birthday to Count von Count! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

He’s the hap­pi­est, friend­liest vam­pire ever.

I think I’ve delin­eated my feel­ings about children’s tele­vi­sion pretty clearly on this blog.  The short ver­sion is that I am in love with PBS and all it delight­fully edu­ca­tional and adorable pro­gram­ming.  And one of the pow­er­houses in both adora­bil­ity and edu­ca­tion­al­ity is Sesame Street.  Seri­ously, is there a bet­ter way to teach chil­dren to count than with a pur­ple vampire-type guy with a sweet East­ern Euro­pean accent?  I sub­mit that there is not.

count 300x194 Happy 1,832,668th Birthday to Count von Count! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Plus he has pet bats named Grisha, Misha, Sasha, and Tat­tiana. Yes.

 

That’s why today, Octo­ber 9th, is so impor­tant!  It’s the birth­day of Count von Count!  Aka The Count!  Ah ah ah!  The Count was always one of my favorite char­ac­ters on Sesame Street as a kid.  For one thing, he had a cape, which obvi­ously enhanced his awe­some­ness.  Plus, he had a sweet accent!  What’s not to love?

0 Happy 1,832,668th Birthday to Count von Count! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

 

 

 

I still love all those things about the Count, plus I also love that all his songs have this great Roma vibe that is totally rockin’.  Basi­cally the Count is a guy to cel­e­brate.  So make sure you keep care­ful count of your cel­e­bra­tory drinks in his honor tonight!  (Thir­teen!  Thir­teen shots!  Ah ah ah!)

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8 Oct
2014

Hey, Hey, It’s Pierogi Day!

pumpkinpierogi 300x181 Hey, Hey, Its Pierogi Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

 

My fam­ily is Pol­ish, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s piero­gies. They are the main sta­ple to fam­ily hol­i­day meals. We always have a vari­ety of pierogi choices on hand, and there isn’t ever any left­overs to be had. We’re pretty seri­ous about our piero­gies. Which is why today is a great freak­ing day. It’s National Pierogi Day! A day in which to cel­e­brate the glo­ri­ous, won­der­ful, scrump­tious pierogi!

For those of you who don’t really know, a pierogi is basi­cally a dumpling stuffed with an end­less vari­ety of fill­ings. Fill­ings can range any­where from sweet to savory, any­thing your lit­tle heart desires. The cur­rent run­ning favorite fill­ings in my fam­ily are sauer­kraut and pork, cot­tage cheese, spinach and lamb, and the clas­sic potato. You can have them boiled, baked, or fried. My fam­ily boils them, then fries them so they get all crispy golden in but­ter. YUM!

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Look at those piero­gies go!

One thing that I really like about Pitts­burgh is the fact that it loves its piero­gies too! If you’ve ever been to a Pirates base­ball game, you know what I’m talk­ing about. Each game there’s a Pierogi Race. Pitts­burgh loves piero­gies so much that it has 5 cos­tumed mas­cots race around the field… just because! They even have an offi­cial page on the Pirates web­site. They all have names and stats of how many races they’ve won. Crazy! Pitts­burgh even has it’s own Pierogi Food Truck. I’ve had them, and they were delish.

So, I’ve just real­ized that I’ve been say­ing ‘piero­gies’ as plural of ‘pierogi’. Here’s a fun fact: the word pierogi is actu­ally already plural in the Pol­ish lan­guage. It’s the orig­i­nal ‘betcha can’t eat just one’! Also, there are many MANY dif­fer­ent spelling of the word pierogi:  per­ogi, pier­ogy, per­ogy, pierógi, pyrohy, pirogi, pyro­gie, pyr­ogy, and even Pierożki. Whoa, where did that ‘Z’ come from? Oh, us silly Polski’s gotta stick them in everything!

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I luvz da lit­tle piero­gies. I luvz dem good!

But seri­ously, do you want to know why Octo­ber 8th is National Pierogi Day?  It was the day in 1952 when Ted Twardzik Sr. founded Mrs. T’s Piero­gies and pro­duced the first sam­ples for a local gro­cery store. Mrs. T’s, by the way, is the largest pro­ducer of pierogi in the US. USAUSA!

Wanna know some­thing else that’s cool? Piero­gies have their own patron saint! Oh yeah, Saint Hyacinth! There’s a Pol­ish say­ing, “Święty Jacek z pierogami!”, (St. Hyacinth and his pierogi!) which is an old expres­sion of sur­prise, roughly equiv­a­lent to the Amer­i­can “good grief” or “holy smokes!” Looks like I just found my new favorite saying.

Wanna know how much I love piero­gies? I really REALLY wish I had writ­ten this Ode to Pierogi.

So today, get out there and track down the near­est pol­ish grandma (cause we all know that only gramma’s make them the best) and stuff your face with lit­tle pock­ets of good­ness! You know I will!

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4 Oct
2014

National Storytelling Weekend/ Two Dimes for a Nickel

Once upon a time, there was a nice boy named Dun­can who lived in in a nice town with his nice fam­ily.  One day while walk­ing home from school, Dun­can decided to take a short­cut through the woods. ” What could go wrong” he thought as he skipped through the spooky, spindly trees. Sud­denly, Dun­can came upon two strangers in an angry confrontation. ”

What did you just say ?!?!” The man in the cow­boy hat shouted to the man in the clown suit. “I…I.. I said TWO DIMES FOR A NICKEL” boomed the clown, blow­ing defi­antly into a kazoo.

Well, that just enraged the cow­boy even more, and their fight became even louder and more intense.

Dun­can was star­tled to say the least and hur­ried home to tell his mother about the strange fight he wit­nessed on his way home from school.

HEY, MOM!!!” Dun­can shouted to his mother, who was putting away dishes in the sun­lit  kitchen.  “MOM, the WEIRDEST THING JUST HAPPENED.…” Dun­can rushed to tell his Mother the whole story, and she lis­tened patiently if a bit absent­mind­edly.  Just as Mom was mak­ing men­tal note to remind Dun­can not to go through the woods on his way home from school, she heard him say a hor­ri­ble ter­ri­ble thing. “…two dimes for a nickel..”

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!”  Duncan’s Mom imme­di­ately freaked out, drop­ping all the plates she was hold­ing, barely reg­is­ter­ing when they shat­tered on the kitchen floor.

I CERTAINLY DID NOT RAISE MY SON TO SAY SUCH THINGS” she screeched, lit­er­ally clutch­ing her pearls.

But.…but, Mom” Sput­tered a star­tled Dun­can, “I don’t even KNOW what… I’ve never even HEARD.…”

But Duncan’s Mother just would not lis­ten “Go straight to your room! Just wait til your Father gets home!!”

Dun­can sat in his room ner­vously wait­ing for his dad to come home. Dun­can felt ter­ri­ble for upset­ting his mother so, but at the same time, he felt elec­tri­fied by the inten­sity that this phrase, which he had never before heard, inspired. He knew based on his mother’s bal­lis­tic reac­tion that he would be in trou­ble when his father got home, but he hoped that his father could at least explain what two dimes for a nickel meant.

Later that night Dun­can heard the front door open with a click. His heart started pound­ing as he strained to hear his mother’s heated retelling of that afternoon’s events. Soon the voices down­stairs qui­eted and Dun­can heard his father’s heavy foot­steps clomp­ing up the steps.

Ok, Son,” his father said with a sigh, “tell me exactly what hap­pened.” Dun­can told his story, the walk home, the short­cut through the woods, the fight, the yelling of “two dimes for .….”

STOP” Com­manded his father with a queasy look on his face. “I didn’t want to believe it was true, but I heard it with my own ears…” Dun­can tried again to protest “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TWO DIMES FOR A NICKEL MEANS, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON.…”

Before he knew it, Dun­can was being thrown out of his house like DJ Jazzy Jeff’s char­ac­ter Jazz on the best sit­com ever The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire. “We sim­ply can’t have you cor­rupt­ing lit­tle Mary-Beth” they cried at the front door.

Now Dun­can was just plain mad! He didn’t have his back­pack or home­work and would now have to spend the night in the school play­ground. “And besides” thought Dun­can, “Mary-Beth is just our dumb house­cat.” Set­tling in on top of the Mon­key Bars, Dun­can decided to just let it go and never say those stu­pid words again and maybe soon his par­ents would for­give him.

The next day in school, Dun­can was a total mess he was wear­ing an old t shirt that read IT IS  TUESDAY even though it was Wednes­day, he had for­got­ten all of his assign­ments, and he could barely keep him­self awake dur­ing class. At the end of the day a friendly, hip teacher pulled him aside to ask what was wrong. Dun­can was so tired that he retold the whole ter­ri­ble story to his teacher. You can prob­a­bly guess what hap­pened next, Dun­can was taken directly to the principal’s office and the prin­ci­pal imme­di­ately called the police.

As he was being sen­tenced to ten years in jail, the judge dron­ing on and on about how he had” never in all his years heard such unspeak­able lan­guage from a boy as seem­ingly nice as Dun­can”, Dun­can real­ized that he may never know what two dimes for a nickel meant, and to be hon­est he didn’t really care, he just wanted to for­get the whole thing and move on.

Ten years later, Dun­can is indeed ready to move on with his life. As he walks down the streets of his old town for the first time in a decade, he takes a deep breath and really notices his sur­round­ings . As he gazes across the street, he sees a bill­board with huge let­ters spelling out TWO DIMES. Dun­can gasped, the rest of the bill­board was cov­ered up by a bus wait­ing at a red light. Soon the traf­fic began to creep along and Dun­can saw more and more of the bill­board TWODIMESFOR.… A …NIC .…

Dun­can saw the phase that had destroyed his life and couldn’t keep the old curios­ity from bub­bling up inside. Maybe now he would know why the phrase held so much power.  And as he crossed the street to get a closer look, Dun­can was hit by a bus.

The End

Isn’t this the best/worst story ever!!! I told this story many times as a camp coun­selor and heard it many more times as a camper. It’s great because a good sto­ry­teller can stretch out the saga in a num­ber of imag­i­na­tive ways to keep the lis­ten­ers on the edge of their seats …or you know their patch of grass around a camp­fire. It’s also super fun to tell the story and see every­ones anger about the way it ends.

Try it out this week­end for National Sto­ry­telling Week­end! Or you know… you could tell a bet­ter story, I don’t know! It’s up to you! That’s the thing about great sto­ry­tellers whether they are har­ness­ing their Larry David angst to punch up a story about a Star­bucks run or cre­at­ing some­thing new they keep their lis­ten­ers fully engaged. Three cheers for storytelling!

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3 Oct
2014

Time To Get Cookin’, It’s National Cookbook Month

cooking classes 300x200 Time To Get Cookin, Its National Cookbook Month Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the weather begins to get chilly, I get the urge to cook my lit­tle heart out. It’s the only time of year that I get tired of mak­ing the same old thing over and over again, and I begin to won­der what else I could add to my reper­toire. I’ll admit, cook­books used to frighten me. I’d read a recipe and think “Yeah, THAT’S never going to hap­pen.” Then one day, I said to hell with it and used a recipe out of a cook­book. The end result didn’t look any­thing like the pic­ture in the book (it never does), but you know what? It was pretty damn good! I over­came my fear of screw­ing up a recipe and now have a pretty good col­lec­tion of cookbooks.

Octo­ber is National Cook­book Month, and boy, do we have all dif­fer­ent kinds of cook­books here at KU! Our cook­book sec­tion is a bonanza of mouth­wa­ter­ing treats rang­ing from clas­sic to the obscure. It’s pretty great!

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We carry authors like Nigella Law­son, Jamie Oliver, The Bare­foot Con­tessa, Martha Stew­art, Racheal Ray, etc.  We love the food, all the food! We have clas­sics like “The Joy of Cook­ing” and the won­der­fully strange like “The Sriracha Cook­book”. We have books for those on a bud­get, books for those who are just start­ing to cook, books for those who want to impress their friends. We have Pitts­burgh cook­books, meat-centric cook­books, and veg­e­tar­ian cook­books. Any­one else’s tummy growling?

image2 2 300x193 Time To Get Cookin, Its National Cookbook Month Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Don’t worry, Fifty Shades fans, I didn’t for­get about you. Par­o­dies, I loves them!

image1 2 221x300 Time To Get Cookin, Its National Cookbook Month Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Nor did I for­get about you, Game of Thrones fans. I got your back!

So, this month, pick up your favorite cook­book, or come and get a new one, and get cook­ing! You know I will.

image1 300x225 Time To Get Cookin, Its National Cookbook Month Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Have I men­tioned that we have cook­books? ‘Cause we do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Oct
2014

October is National Field Trip Month!

Did you know that Octo­ber is National Field Trip Month?!? Of course it is! Crisp Octo­ber weather is per­fect for a trip to the zoo, local farm, Sci­ence Cen­ter, or field trip loca­tion of your choosing.

ft1 October is National Field Trip Month!  Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

How excit­ing were field trips in ele­men­tary school? There was no joy greater than pil­ing in to the school bus with your pals, ready to start a new adven­ture, spend some time out of class and maaaaybe learn some­thing.   Even if your teach­ers never expertly coor­di­nated their out­fits to that days les­son plan and even if they couldn’t defy the laws of nature/gravity/space-time con­tin­uum just to prove a point, field trips were and are super rad and should be celebrated.

ft4 October is National Field Trip Month!  Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

My favorite field trips as a kid were trips to the Carnegie Sci­ence Cen­ter, obvi­ously! The exhibits were always fun, engag­ing and stealth­ily science-y, their model train game is con­sis­tently out­stand­ing, and if you were super lucky you got to see a sweet Omn­i­max movie!  I also have fond mem­o­ries of trips to the zoo (where I got to pet a kan­ga­roo !), trips to Trax Farms (CORN MAZE, APPLE CIDER!!), and an excel­lent trip to a … mill or  a mine or some­thing.… I don.t remem­ber but they had THE BEST GIFT SHOP EVER ! (goo­gly eyes on EVERYTHING!)

ft2 300x100 October is National Field Trip Month!  Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

Shout out to field trips, fun teach­ers, mid day snacks, cool moms (and dads), and the patient, patient bus dri­vers that allow kids to take a well deserved break from school life to actively learn and make life long memories!

ft3 October is National Field Trip Month!  Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

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29 Sep
2014

Notes from Our September Book Club Meeting!

gifskirt 192x300 Notes from Our September Book Club Meeting! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

We had a really great dis­cus­sion about Aimee Bender’s “The Girl in the Flam­ma­ble Skirt.”  Even though the book left many of us feel­ing con­fused and slightly let down, there was a lot to love in Bender’s writ­ing style and the book def­i­nitely made us ask a ton of ques­tions about gen­der roles, the ways dif­fer­ent peo­ple deal with dif­fi­cult emo­tions, and what the heck was going on with the guy who lost his lips.

It was really cool to add such a staunchly post-modern short story col­lec­tion to our Club’s reper­toire, and I for one will cer­tainly be pur­su­ing a few more Ben­der books in the future, if for no other rea­son than to find out if she’s always so frickin’ weird.  Some of the sto­ries almost every­one liked were Marzi­pan, about a fam­ily deal­ing with the deaths of loved ones in very strange ways, The Healer, a tale of two mutant girls who grow up in a small town, and The Ring, about a woman, her lover/fiance/thief, and their quest for really great presents.

We decided unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cally quickly that our next book will be Mar­garet Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which is one that at least a few of us have been mean­ing to read for a long time.  Its dystopian world will hope­fully sate October’s appetite for the macabre and weird, and it’s def­i­nitely a clas­sic, so we’ll be expect­ing a big turnout and a spir­ited discussion!

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One last point of order: the lovely KU couch will be tak­ing its win­ter vaca­tion start­ing today, so our next meet­ing will be held on Octo­ber 19th at 6 p.m. at the Shady­side Cof­fee Tree Roast­ers (right next door to KU!) and we’ll be send­ing out our usual email reminder with par­tic­u­lars closer to that date!  Hope to see all our favorite book club­bers (that’s all of you!) then and there! <3!

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25 Sep
2014

One Hit Wonder Day

To bring you up to speed, a one hit won­der is an act that’s made it to the top of the charts just once.

I’m gonna toast your strudel with some knowl­edge here. HERE WE GO.

  1. Michael Buble is a one hit won­der. His song “Haven’t Met You Yet” is his only chart top­ping num­ber.
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  2. Same goes for Flo­rence + the Machine. “Dog Days Are Over” made it big in 2010.
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  3. Fos­ter the People’s kind of messed up (okay really messed up) tune “Pumped Up Kicks” is their only golden nugget to date.
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  4. Remem­ber Gotye? ♫Now you’re just some­body that I used to knowwwwww♫
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  5. Amy Wine­house is sadly a one hit won­der. “Rehab” was her only big sin­gle.
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  6. OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again” (THE VIDEO WITH THE COOL TREADMILL CHOREOGRAPHY) is a one hit won­der. It’d be tough to beat that really. They peaked too soon :(
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  7. I bet these are all the lyrics you know from t.A.T.u.‘s one hit won­der “All The Things She Said” ♫All the things she said all the things she said run­ning through my head run­ning through my head run­ning through my read run­ning through my head♫
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  8. Afroman’s insanely quotable “Because I Got High” is still a favorite of mine. ♫I was gonna clean my room, until I got high♫
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  9. I’M A MILLENNIAL AND WAS OBSESSED WITH S CLUB 7 FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  10. It comes as no sur­prise that Baja Men’s “Who Let The Dogs Out” is a one hit won­der. (Woof woof woof woof).
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  11. BLINK 182 IS A ONE HIT WONDER. Wut.
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
  12. I’ll end this list with a one hit won­der that’s had some seri­ous stay­ing power at par­ties and wed­dings. Red­nex “Cot­teon Eyed Joe”. Don’t lie, you still know the dance…
    0 One Hit Wonder Day Pittsburgh Gifts Cards