16 Oct

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



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9 Oct

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

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!

pierogirace 300x221 Hey, Hey, Its Pierogi Day! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

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

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

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!

image2 e1412085714246 290x300 Time To Get Cookin, Its National Cookbook Month Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

image3 e1412085800244 300x300 Time To Get Cookin, Its National Cookbook Month Pittsburgh Gifts Cards
image1 3 225x300 Time To Get Cookin, Its National Cookbook Month Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

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

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

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!

handtale 187x300 Notes from Our September Book Club Meeting! Pittsburgh Gifts Cards

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

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
    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
    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