Articles by " Jessica Philo"
25 Feb

Hooray, National Chili Day is February 26th!

If there's one thing that's perfect for a Pittsburgh winter meal, it's chili. (Also pierogies, but that's for a separate post.) Chili is hearty, relatively healthy, and oh. My. God. does it taste good. Put some cheese and sour cream on it and I'll see you never because I'll be busy stuffing my face and proposing to a bowl of food.

Feb 26

Preparing to dive in in 3, 2, 1...


I prefer turkey chili since my cholesterol is superbly effed up (thanks mother nature!) but I think in a dish this complex and wonderful you don't need to go the beef way. I have a go-to chili recipe that I'm super excited to share with you! It's two steppiness (excluding mild prep of garlic and onions) makes it simple, easy, and t-t-t-tasty. I also like to serve this over brown rice and top with cheese and sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt (you really can't tell the difference.)) AND ALSO some fresh bread is good to dip in this.

Simple Turkey Chili

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ready In: 1 Hour total

Servings: 10


  • 1 ¾ teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
  • 1 ¼ onion, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • One 28 ounce can canned crushed tomatoes
  • One 16 ounce can canned kidney beans drained, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon and ¾ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until evenly brown. Stir in onion, and cook until tender.
  2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, and garlic. Season with chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
23 Feb

February Book Club Wrap Up & March Book Club Book!

February's Un-Book Club Tea Party was a smashing success! Check out how lovely and whimsical it was!

And now, the announcement you've been waiting for! Drumroll please! *Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr* *Drumming palms on thighs*

princess-bride-bookOur March KU Book Club Book is The Princess Bride by William Goldman! That's right. The book your favorite movie is based on! (Sorry. OUR favorite movie.) Adventure, romance, and a classic tale await you in this delightful novel :)

Here's Kristen's review!

"I know you have seen the movie, and loved it, (who didn’t love it?) but I can’t stress enough that you should also read this book.  Read it for the hilarious ‘asides’ where Goldman takes you on an up close and personal tour of both his child and adulthood.  Read it for the introduction, a beautiful and touching piece of writing (and includes juicy tidbits about making the movie).  Read it for the “Buttercups Baby” explanation.  Especially the conversation Goldman has with Stephen King (they are friends and have a sort of mutual admiration society going, a fact that never fails to delight me).  The first line of the original text reads “This is my favorite book in all the world” and I couldn’t agree more."

So! We'll be reconvening for book club on Sunday March 22 at 6 PM here are the store.Be there or be square.


16 Feb

Announcing the first EVER Kards Unlimited Instagram Contest!

Announcement with Filter

Two lucky winners will each win a $50 gift certificate to the store! Here's how it works:

The contest starts RIGHT NOW and ends on Sunday March 1, 2015 at 5 PM. Once the contest is closed, the winners will be chosen! One winner will be chosen by the photo with the most likes and the other winner will be chosen by the staff at KU.

How do you enter? Simply take a photo of your favorite KU thing (you are more than welcome to photograph it in the store! Tell us if you do! WE'RE ALL ABOUT IT!)  and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #MyFavoriteKUThing. You can submit as many entries as you'd like! You must be following @KardsUnlimited on Instagram, and in order for your photo(s) to be eligible your account has to be public (so peeps can vote for your photo and we can see it too!) Entrants must be 13 years or older and a resident (or student) in Allegheny County.

Here are a few sample entries! Feel free to be as kooky and silly and fun as you'd like! We like fun, in case you didn't know :)

Here are the official rules for you nerdz who find legalese fun:


  1. 1. Eligibility: The Kards Unlimited Instagram Contest (the “Contest”) is open to residents of Allegheny County who are 13 years of age or older and who have the Instagram application downloaded on their mobile smart device (“Device”) and an Instagram account as of date of entry. Void where restricted or prohibited, and subject to all federal, state, provincial and local laws.
  2. Contest Period: The Contest begins on Monday February 16, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) and ends on Sunday March 1, 2015 at 5 p.m. ET (the “Entry Period”).
  3. How to Enter the Contest: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY to enter the Contest. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Before entering the Contest, the “Photos Are Private” option in your Instagram account settings must be set to “OFF”. To enter the Contest, you must be following Kards Unlimited on Instagram @kardsunlimited ( During the Entry Period, (i) pick one of your original photos that you think captures your favorite Kards Unlimited product (ii) follow the online instructions to upload your photo to Instagram; and (iii) tag your photo with the hashtag #MyFavoriteKUThing. Numerous entries per Instagram account permitted. Photos must be uploaded in accordance with the Instagram Terms of Use ( Each uploaded photo will be counted as one (1) “Entry” and is subject to the requirements outlined below. All Entries must be complete and received before the end of the Entry Period to be eligible for the prize drawing. Entries may only be submitted by a single registered Instagram user, group submissions are not permissible. Use of computer programs and/or other automated devices to enter the Contest is prohibited. Normal internet access and Device usage charges imposed by your on-line service will apply.
    * Entries must be the original work of entrant
    * Entrant may be, but is not required to be, depicted in the Entry photo
    * Entries must not contain hateful content of any kind; content that promotes violence or harm to another living creature; or any other offensive content (as determined by Kards Unlimited in its sole discretion)
    * Entries must not contain material that promotes any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous
    * Entries must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age
    * Entries must not contain advertisements, personal solicitations or commercial solicitations; or promote any political agenda or party
    * Entries must be in keeping with Kards Unlimited's image and not contain any material that could reflect negatively on the name, reputation, or goodwill of Kards Unlimited, its subsidiaries or affiliates
    * Entries must not violate or encourage the violation of any law, rule or regulation
  5. Winning Photo Selection and Notification:
    One winning entry will be selected by choosing the photo that has the most likes at the end of the entry period.
    Another winning entry will be selected by the staff of KU at the end of the entry period.
    Winners will be notified by Kards Unlimited via comment to their winning Instagram photo and given instructions on how to contact Kards Unlimited through email to claim prize.
  6. Prizes: A total of one (2) prizes will be awarded during the Contest. Each winner will receive one (1) gift certificate to Kards Unlimited in the amount of $50. No cash in lieu of prize will be awarded.
  7. Future Use: Kards Unlimited may use the winning photos in future instances.



15 Feb

February’s (Un)Book Club Book!

Hey y'all. This month, we're going ALL OUT in honor of our book club book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. What does that mean? It means a friggin tea party! A TEA PARTY! Tea, sugar, finger sandwiches, and BOOK CLUB all in one awesome place. When is this fantastic meeting? Sunday February 22 at 6PM. Please see the following official invitation for something fantastic to look at.





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.