Articles by " Jessica Philo"
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.
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.