Articles by " Jessica Philo"
9 Feb

February is Library Lovers Month!

I don’t know about you, but if there’s one thing in this world I love more than any­thing, it might be libraries.

There’s some­thing so appeal­ing about all of the books in a library- and you can try them with­out buy­ing them. May­be you want to learn about knit­ting, or gar­den­ing, or hav­ing a dog, or cook­ing, or or or or or any­thing real­ly.

Not to men­tion how appeal­ing and sooth­ing the inte­ri­or of a library can be. Library porn is prob­a­bly my most time con­sum­ing hob­by. I like to vis­it the libraries of cities I’m vis­it­ing because I’m THAT INTO LIBRARIES. There are so many beau­ti­ful libraries in the world, it makes me wish Beast would swoop in and kid­nap some­one I love just so I can get a beau­ti­ful library out of the deal. I may have a prob­lem.

Any­who. Libraries rock. Not only do they offer books, but you can check out music, DVDs, books on tape, mag­a­zi­nes, and if you’re lucky your library has a Crazy Mocha in it. CLP Main rocks my socks!

CLP Main

CLP Main InteriorI feel like I’ve said all I want­ed to say about libraries, so here are some of the most beau­teous ones I could find to look at.

Reading Room Sorbonne

The Read­ing Room at La Sor­bon­ne. Paris, France.

Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Roy­al Por­tugue­se Read­ing Room. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Vatican Library. Vatican City

Vat­i­can Library. Vat­i­can City

George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, Maryland

George Peabody Library at Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty. Bal­ti­more, Mary­land

Image: Main reading room of New York Public Library

Main Read­ing Room of New York Pub­lic Library. New York CIty, New York

Harper Memorial Library at University of Chicago. Chicago, Illinois

Harper Memo­ri­al Library at Uni­ver­si­ty of Chicago. Chicago, Illi­nois

Thompson Memorial Library (interior), Vassar College

Thomp­son Memo­ri­al Library, Vas­sar Col­lege. Pough­keep­sie, New York

8 Feb

John Williams is THE MAN.

I bet you $5 RIGHT NOW that you know AT LEAST five John Williams pieces with­out even know­ing it’s his work. Scroll through this list and if you don’t know 5 of the­se themes, you can come to the store and I won’t give you $5 but I will give you some musi­cal listening/movie watch­ing home­work. Or we can just chat about movie sound­tracks in gen­er­al. He has seri­ous­ly writ­ten so many icon­ic movie sound­tracks that it makes me so, so, so… EXCITED.

I real­ly love what John does. I saw him when he came to Pitts­burgh in 2011 to per­form with the PSO and I HAD SO MUCH MUSICAL FRISSON GOING ON IT WAS UNREAL. It was such a treat to breathe the same air as some­one so accom­plished and fan­tas­tic. I’m a total movie sound­track nerd so you’ll have to for­give the utter CAPS LOCK EXCITEMENT in this post. I’m just so cap­ti­vat­ed by how trans­form­ing a sound­track can be for a film (or even TV show.) Think about how blank a scene would be with­out music. Pon­der that for a moment.  ANY­who. Take a lis­ten to the­se tracks and enjoy the diver­si­ty and awe­some­ness fill­ing your head.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

Exhibit C.

Exhibit D.

Exhibit E.

Exhibit F.

Exhibit G.

Exhibit H.

Exhibit I.

Exhibit J.

Exhibit K.

Exhibit L.

7 Feb

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is next Sat­ur­day and we’re here to be your offi­cial Valentine’s Day Spir­it Guide.

If there’s one thing we love, it’s love. And every­thing that comes along with it! In case you missed it, we have a three foot tall HEART in our win­dow right now. It’s awe­some.


What about a set of Valentine’s Day Cards? Say no more.

They're so stinkin cute

They’re so stink­in cute!

A per­fect small gift for your dude or lady, you say?

Spa like ,cuddly, or relaxing!

Spa like ‚cud­dly, or relax­ing!

Look­ing for some­thing a bit more more tan­ta­liz­ing?

*kitten purring sound*

*kit­ten purring sound*

How about the per­fect amount of cute?

IMG_5395We’ve got some­thing for every­one this Valentine’s Day, so come and see us!

26 Jan

Fun Facts About Bubble Wrap (In Honor Of Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day)

Do you know how they shipped frag­ile things before 1957? I don’t know, since this was before my time (and my par­ents’ time) but I can only imag­ine how trag­ic a life with­out BUBBLE WRAP would be. Imag­ine nev­er hav­ing popped those frag­ile yet cush­iony bub­bles. Imag­ine receiv­ing goods dam­aged and maimed. The shame. The hor­ror.

We’ve all got­ten our dirty mitts on a piece of two or bub­ble wrap and OH GAHD is it sat­is­fy­ing. If you want to get real­ly vin­dic­tive you can pop it behind some­one unsus­pect­ing and send their stom­ach into their esoph­a­gus. (This is what hap­pens when you do things like that to me. It is awful but appar­ent­ly high­ly amus­ing for the oth­er par­ty.)

Any­who. On to the fun facts.

  • Bub­ble wrap was orig­i­nal­ly cre­at­ed in 1957 as wall paper. This should tell you how crazy the 60s were about to get. Imag­ine bub­ble wrap walls…
  • There are dif­fer­ent sizes of bub­ble wrap for dif­fer­ent ship­ping and pro­tec­tion meth­ods.
    Bubble sizes
  • The bub­bles can be made into SHAPES. LIKE HEARTS.
    heart shaped bubble wrap
  • Bub­ble wrap appre­ci­a­tion day was start­ed by a radio sta­tion in 2001.
    Keep calm
  • Bub­ble wrap” is a trade­marked by the Sealed Air Corp. It’s one of those things that’s trade­marked but the com­mon­ly used ter­mi­nol­o­gy for any kind is used, like Band Aid or Kleenex.
  • You can vir­tu­al­ly pop bub­ble wrap here.
14 Jan

12 Books Being Made Into Movies in 2015

If there’s one thing you should always do, it’s read the book before you see the movie. Hell, you don’t even have to go see the movie, but it is 100% accept­able to read the book any­way. Here at KU, they’re mak­ing 12 of the love­ly books we sell into movies this fine year. So, here they are in order of release date!

50 Shades of Grey

1. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L.James. Release date: 2/13/15.

When lit­er­a­ture stu­dent Anas­tasia Steele goes to inter­view young entre­pre­neur Chris­tian Grey, she encoun­ters a man who is beau­ti­ful, bril­liant, and intim­i­dat­ing. The unworld­ly, inno­cent Ana is star­tled to real­ize she wants this man and, despite his enig­mat­ic reserve, finds she is des­per­ate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s qui­et beau­ty, wit, and inde­pen­dent spir­it, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s sin­gu­lar erotic tastes, Ana hes­i­tates. For all the trap­pings of success—his multi­na­tion­al busi­ness­es, his vast wealth, his lov­ing family—Grey is a man tor­ment­ed by demons and con­sumed by the need to con­trol. When the cou­ple embarks on a dar­ing, pas­sion­ate­ly phys­i­cal affair, Ana dis­cov­ers Chris­tian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.


2. Insur­gent by Veron­i­ca Roth. Release date: 3/20/15

One choice can trans­form you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has con­se­quences, and as unrest surges in the fac­tions all around her, Tris Pri­or must con­tin­ue try­ing to save those she loves—and herself—while grap­pling with haunt­ing ques­tions of grief and for­give­ness, iden­ti­ty and loy­al­ty, pol­i­tics and love.

Tris’s ini­ti­a­tion day should have been marked by cel­e­bra­tion and vic­to­ry with her cho­sen fac­tion; instead, the day end­ed with unspeak­able hor­rors. War now looms as con­flict between the fac­tions and their ide­olo­gies grows. And in times of war, sides must be cho­sen, secrets will emerge, and choic­es will become even more irrevocable—and even more pow­er­ful. Trans­formed by her own deci­sions but also by haunt­ing grief and guilt, rad­i­cal new dis­cov­er­ies, and shift­ing rela­tion­ships, Tris must ful­ly embrace her Diver­gence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Paper Towns3. Paper Towns by John Green. Release date: 6/5/15

When Mar­go Roth Spiegel­man beck­ons Quentin Jacob­sen in the mid­dle of the night—dressed like a nin­ja and plot­ting an inge­nious cam­paign of revenge—he fol­lows her. Margo’s always planned extrav­a­gant­ly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a life­time of lov­ing Mar­go from afar, things are final­ly look­ing up for Q … until day breaks and she has van­ished. Always an enig­ma, Mar­go has now become a mys­tery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

Printz Medal­ist John Green returns with the trade­mark bril­liant wit and heart-stop­ping emo­tion­al hon­esty that have inspired a new gen­er­a­tion of read­ers.



Scorch Trials4. The Scorch Tri­als by James Dash­n­er. Release date: 9/18/15

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean free­dom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.  There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die. The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out sec­tion of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the vari­ables and stack the odds again­st them. Friend­ships will be test­ed. Loy­alties will be bro­ken. All bets are off.  There are oth­ers now. Their sur­vival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re deter­mined to sur­vive.



5. Franken­stein by Mar­ry Shel­ley. Release date: 10/2/15.

Few crea­tures of hor­ror have seized read­ers’ imag­i­na­tions and held them for so long as the anguished mon­ster of Mary Shelley’s Franken­stein. The sto­ry of Vic­tor Frankenstein’s ter­ri­ble cre­ation and the hav­oc it caused has enthralled gen­er­a­tions of read­ers and inspired count­less writ­ers of hor­ror and sus­pense. Con­sid­er­ing the novel’s endur­ing suc­cess, it is remark­able that it began mere­ly as a whim of Lord Byron’s.
“We will each write a sto­ry,” Byron announced to his next-door neigh­bors, Mary Woll­stonecraft God­win and her lover Per­cy Bysshe Shel­ley. The friends were sum­mer­ing on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzer­land in 1816, Shel­ley still unknown as a poet and Byron writ­ing the third can­to of Childe Harold. When con­tin­ued rains kept them con­fined indoors, all agreed to Byron’s pro­pos­al.
The illus­tri­ous poets failed to com­plete their ghost sto­ries, but Mary Shel­ley rose supreme­ly to the chal­lenge. With Franken­stein, she suc­ceed­ed admirably in the task she set for her­self: to cre­ate a sto­ry that, in her own words, “would speak to the mys­te­ri­ous fears of our nature and awak­en thrilling hor­ror — one to make the read­er dread to look round, to cur­dle the blood, and quick­en the beat­ings of the heart.”

6. Peanuts by Charles Schulz. Release date: 11/6/15
This isn’t exact­ly a book but THIS IS MY BLOG POST AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT.  We love The Peanuts here at KU and we have enough salt and pep­per shak­ers in their like­ness to war­rant their inclu­sion on this list.


7. Mock­ing­jay: Part 2 by Suzan­ne Collins. Release date: 11/20/15.

My name is Kat­niss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.”

Kat­niss Everdeen, girl on fire, has sur­vived, even though her home has been destroyed. There are rebels. There are new lead­ers. A rev­o­lu­tion is unfold­ing.

Dis­trict 13 has come out of the shad­ows and is plot­ting to over­throw the Capi­tol. Though she’s long been a part of the rev­o­lu­tion, Kat­niss hasn’t known it. Now it seems that every­one has had a hand in the care­ful­ly laid plans but her.

The suc­cess of the rebel­lion hinges on Katniss’s will­ing­ness to be a pawn, to accept respon­si­bil­i­ty for count­less lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feel­ings of anger and dis­trust. She must become the rebels’ Mock­ing­jay — no mat­ter what the cost.


8. Kram­pus: the Yule Lord by Brom. Release date: 12/4/15
One Christ­mas Eve in a small hol­low in Boone Coun­ty, West Vir­ginia, strug­gling song­writer Jesse Walk­er wit­ness­es a strange spec­ta­cle: sev­en dev­il­ish fig­ures chas­ing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight rein­deer. When the rein­deer leap sky­ward tak­ing the sleigh, dev­il men, and San­ta into the clouds, screams fol­low. Moments lat­er, a large sack plum­mets earth­ward, a mag­i­cal sack that will thrust the down-on-his luck singer into the clutch­es of the ter­ri­fy­ing Yule Lord, Kram­pus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse’s new mas­ter reveals many dark secrets about the cher­ry-cheeked San­ta Claus, and how half a mil­len­ni­um ago, the jol­ly old saint impris­oned Kram­pus and usurped his mag­ic.

Now Santa’s time is run­ning short, for the Yule Lord is deter­mined to have his ret­ri­bu­tion and reclaim Yule­tide. If Jesse can sur­vive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem him­self to his fam­i­ly, to save his own bro­ken dreams…and help bring the mag­ic of Yule to the impov­er­ished folk of Boone Coun­ty.


9. Dark Places by Gillian Fly­nn. Release date: TBA.Dark places
Lib­by Day was sev­en when her moth­er and two sis­ters were mur­dered in “The Satan Sac­ri­fice of Kin­na­kee, Kansas.” She survived—and famous­ly tes­ti­fied that her fif­teen-year-old broth­er, Ben, was the killer. Twen­ty-five years lat­er, the Kill Club—a secret soci­ety obsessed with noto­ri­ous crimes—locates Lib­by and pumps her for details. They hope to dis­cov­er proof that may free Ben. Lib­by hopes to turn a prof­it off her trag­ic his­to­ry: She’ll recon­nect with the play­ers from that night and report her find­ings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shab­by Mis­souri strip clubs to aban­doned Okla­homa tourist towns, the unimag­in­able truth emerges, and Lib­by finds her­self right back where she started—on the run from a killer.





Hologram for king10. A Holo­gram for the King by Dave Eggers. Release Date: TBA.

In a ris­ing Saudi Ara­bi­an city, far from weary, reces­sion-scarred Amer­i­ca, a strug­gling busi­ness­man named Alan Clay pur­sues a last-ditch attempt to stave off fore­clo­sure, pay his daughter’s col­lege tuition, and final­ly do some­thing great. In A Holo­gram for the King, Dave Eggers takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold him­self and his splin­ter­ing fam­i­ly togeth­er.







11. Room by Emma Donoghue. Release date: TBA.Room

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the pris­on where she has been held for sev­en years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has cre­at­ed a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curios­i­ty build­ing alongside her own des­per­a­tion, she knows that Room can­not con­tain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shock­ing, riv­et­ing, exhilarating–a sto­ry of uncon­quer­able love in har­row­ing cir­cum­stances, and of the dia­mond-hard bond between a moth­er and her child.





12. Pride, Prej­u­dice and Zom­bies by Jane Austen/Seth Gra­hame-Smith. Release date TBA.


It is a truth uni­ver­sal­ly acknowl­edged that a zom­bie in pos­ses­sion of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prej­u­dice and Zom­bies, an expand­ed edi­tion of the beloved Jane Austen nov­el fea­tur­ing all-new sce­nes of bone-crunch­ing zom­bie may­hem. As our sto­ry opens, a mys­te­ri­ous plague has fal­l­en upon the qui­et Eng­lish vil­lage of Meryton—and the dead are return­ing to life! Feisty hero­ine Eliz­a­beth Ben­net is deter­mined to wipe out the zom­bie men­ace, but she’s soon dis­tract­ed by the arrival of the haughty and arro­gant Mr. Dar­cy. What ensues is a delight­ful com­e­dy of man­ners with plen­ty of civ­i­lized spar­ring between the two young lovers—and even more vio­lent spar­ring on the blood-soaked bat­tle­field. Can Eliz­a­beth van­quish the spawn of Satan? And over­come the social prej­u­dices of the class-con­scious land­ed gen­try? Com­plete with romance, heart­break, sword­fights, can­ni­bal­ism, and thou­sands of rot­ting corpses, Pride and Prej­u­dice and Zom­bies trans­forms a mas­ter­piece of world lit­er­a­ture into some­thing you’d actu­al­ly want to read.

12 Jan

Oats Galore — It’s Oatmeal Month!

The per­fect thing to shove in your face­hole for break­fast in the dead of win­ter is oat­meal. Not only is it hot and deli­cious (if you can get past the tex­ture), but it has sol­uble fiber which can help low­er cho­les­terol. ON TOP OF THAT, it’s a bowl full of com­plex carbs, mean­ing it sticks with you longer than say, a dough­nut.


If you’re not inter­est­ed in the health ben­e­fits of oat­meal (we can’t be friends) but let’s dis­cuss the many amaz­ing fla­vors of oat­meal.


You’ve got your maple brown sug­ar, apple cin­na­mon, cin­na­mon and spice, orig­i­nal, blue­ber­ry, you can throw in some bananas, some choco­late, pump­kin, peach­es and cream… Oat­meal has vari­ety out the wazoo.


While  cere­al is and will forever be my favorite break­fast option, oat­meal may come in at a close sec­ond. It tastes good, it’s good for you and it warms you up! There’s noth­ing like a good hearty break­fast to set the tone for your day. Because let’s face it, break­fast can make or break your day.


5 Jan

KU Book Club — January 2015!

Hi and wel­come to 2015! We made it!

KU Book Club is back this mon­th and bet­ter than ever (which I’m sure you weren’t sure was pos­si­ble, I know.) The meet­ing is on Sun­day Jan­u­ary 18 at 6PM here in the store and all are wel­come. As usu­al, booze (for the over 21 crowd) and snick­ey-snacks will be pro­vid­ed. Now! On to the book!

The Alchemist

It’s so pret­ty!

This month’s book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coel­ho.

Here’s a tid­bit about the book from GoodReads: “Paulo Coelho’s enchant­i­ng nov­el has inspired a devot­ed fol­low­ing around the world. This sto­ry, daz­zling in its pow­er­ful sim­plic­i­ty and inspir­ing wis­dom, is about an Andalu­sian shep­herd boy named San­ti­ago who trav­els from his home­land in Spain to the Egyp­tian desert in search of a trea­sure buried in the Pyra­mids. Along the way he meets a Gyp­sy wom­an, a man who calls him­self king, and an alchemist, all of whom point San­ti­ago in the direc­tion of his quest. No one knows what the trea­sure is, or if San­ti­ago will be able to sur­mount the obsta­cles along the way. But what starts out as a jour­ney to find world­ly goods turns into a dis­cov­ery of the trea­sure found with­in. Lush, evoca­tive, and deeply humane, the sto­ry of San­ti­ago is an eter­nal tes­ta­ment to the trans­form­ing pow­er of our dreams and the impor­tance of lis­ten­ing to our hearts.”

Every cus­tomer that com­ments on the book here at the reg­is­ter has only had fan­tas­tic things to say about this book. We hope you will too! See you on the 18th!

24 Dec

The Almost (But Not Quite) Lost Art of Thank You Note Writing

Fri­day Decem­ber 26 is Nation­al Thank You Note Day. Obvi­ous­ly fol­low­ing the hol­i­days, you’re gonna have a lot of thanks to show. And you know what’s a pain? Sit­ting down, think­ing about all of the mar­velous gifts you’ve received, from whom you received them, and then WRITING A NOTE?! It feels like a lot. It is kind of a lot. But I’m here to guide you through the process because NOTHING. I TELL YOU, NOTHING. Makes you look as good as send­ing a well writ­ten thank you card via snail mail.

  1. So, first things first. You’re gonna need to stay orga­nized. Peo­ple often give mon­ey in cards which are con­ve­nient­ly signed by said givers. So. Make a dis­creet note some­where on the back of the card that the­se peo­ple just gave you dol­la dol­la bills yo. Don’t wor­ry about writ­ing down the amount, this is not par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant for the­se pur­pos­es. (Your bank account is where that shiz real­ly counts.) If you’ve got­ten a tan­gi­ble good old gift type item, make a list in your phone of who’s given you what. This is quick and easy with the smart­phones of today. Tal­ly up how many peo­ple you need to thank.
  2. Step num­ber TWO. Col­lect mail­ing address­es. You can’t send mail to some­one if you don’t know where to find them. If you don’t want to ask ever­rrrry­one where they live, use Whitepages online. Ask your mom/dad/parent/guardian/favorite aunt if you can’t fig­ure it out and don’t want to ask the per­son them­self.
  3. Step num­ber THREE. This, to me, is the most fun part. Choos­ing sta­tionery! There are so many styles and designs to choose from (espe­cial­ly here at Kards Unlim­it­ed, of course). Flo­ral, mod­ern, sophis­ti­cat­ed, plain, COLORFUL! You want it, we prob­a­bly have it or some­thing that will fit the bill. Make sure you buy enough for all of your recip­i­ents! ALSO. Don’t for­get stamps!
  4. Step FOUR. Bust out that list of peo­ple you need to thank and start at the top. Or bot­tom. What­ev­er. Choose a start­ing place. Thank you notes do not need to be over­ly flow­ery and Tolkien-esque. The basic for­mat is a lot like a five para­graph essay. Here’s how I do it:

Dear Grand­ma,

It was great see­ing you at Christ­mas. Your Christ­mas sweaters always make me smile. (Or alter­na­tive­ly, I’m sor­ry I didn’t get to see you at Christ­mas! I love you!) Just want­ed to send you a note to thank you for the set of cook­ie cut­ters in the shape of cats. I’m going to be eat­ing cat shaped cook­ies for the rest of my life (and that is excel­lent news!) Every­one loves a kit­ty cook­ie. (If I’m writ­ing about a mon­e­tary gift, I say some­thing like, Thank you for the cash, Grams [DON’T SAY HOW MUCH MONEY. THIS IS TACKY]. It will no doubt help me save up for (band camp, grad school, this awe­some con­cert, col­lege, retire­ment, my drug habit, etc.). You know how much I love [thing you are sav­ing up for], it’s the rea­son I get out of bed some days! I hope you enjoyed the hol­i­days this year! It was great see­ing you/miss you.

Thanks again!

Love, JP.

And you’re done. You can use the same template/format for every note. Just change out the person/gift/tone etc. The hard­est part about thank you notes is sit­ting down and get­ting them done, but if you make your­self do it it’ll be done in no time (and you won’t have to car­ry around guilt for the next 12 months for nev­er say­ing thank you to any­one for the things they gave you.

So, there you have it! How to stay orga­nized, and get your thank you notes DONE!