Articles by " Jessica Philo"
24 Dec
2014

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!

21 Dec
2014

It’s the Shortest Day and Longest Night of the Year!

I'm not gonna get into the technical science-y parts of winter solstice because well, that's not really what's important to me. What's important to me is that from this day forward, the days get a little longer each day! Aside from that, you have a very long night ahead to do a lot of fun, night time things and a very short day as well.

Ten things you can do to celebrate winter solstice:

  1. Have a night time movie marathon! Sols Movie Marathon
  2. Have a winter solstice party! Invite your friends over and use this as an excuse to drink!

    Sols Party

    Have a cool snowflake themed party like this one!

  3. Binge watch a series on Netflix. Orange is the New Black here I come!
    Sols Netflix
  4. Get no sleep! Stay up allllllll night. Have fun at work tomorrow!

    This could be you

    This could be you

  5. Go outside at noon and measure your shadow (it will be extremely long!

    Long shadows!

    Long shadows!

  6. Have winter solstice fireworks!

    Sols Fireworks

    oooooOOOOOOOooooooo

  7. Make your own Stonehenge in your yard!

    Here's a helpful diagram

    Here's a helpful diagram

  8. Celebrate every occurrence of the number 23 (the earth tilts at 23.5°)

    Sols 23.5

    See?

  9. Watch the sunset- it's so early!
    SOls Sunset
  10. Spend your evening in a candlelit environment! Such ambience.

    Sols Candles

    Just get like a majillion of these

7 Dec
2014

National Hand Washing Awareness Week

When I was in middle school, my friends would ask me if I was prepping for surgery as I washed my hands since it took me so much longer than them.

Ha. Ha. Hiiiii-larious.

My family frequented Bob Evans back in the day quite a bit. Their gravy and biscuits was said to be awesome. I hate breakfast, so I wouldn't know. But that's beside the point. In the bathroom at Bob Evans, they had a sign on the mirror.

IMG_0113

Being an impressionable 12 year old, I took this sign to HEART. I began to sing the song in my head while I washed my hands. Which is the correct way to wash your hands. 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Then dry.

So my retort to the first question posed is, "No, are you a disgusting slob with grimey hands?"

National Handwashing Awareness Week is a great time to remind yourself that it is o-kay to take 20 seconds to wash your hands. It is also okay to sing Old Macdonald out loud. People will definitely leave you alone in public restrooms.

Unless they've been to Bob Evans. Then they'll sing with you.

If you're not sold on the whole hand washing deal, I want you to know that I'm not a germophobe. There's some bacteria that's actually beneficial and okay to be exposed to! Here are the bennies to washing your hands on the reg (and well).

  • Less chance of getting sick in general
  • Less chance of getting infectious diarrhea (OH MAH GAH THIS SHOULD BE THE ONLY REASON YOU NEED)
  • Less chance of getting your family sick
  • Less chance of picking up something weird from petting an animal
  • Less chance of all of the bad things that are spread by germs on your hands

What are you waiting for? Go wash your hands, fool!

27 Nov
2014

Thanksgiving is a Time for Giving Thanks!

For a lot of people, Thanksgiving is mainly about the food. I mean, when else do you get to eat a million delicious things at one meal? Never, is the answer. Never. So. I can totally understand why you'd be most excited about stuffing your face with stuffing and other assorted goods. That being said, you can make Thanksgiving a two part extravaganza about both food and gratitude. Some families go around the table and say what they're thankful for, which is awesome. That can feel weird and forced, though.

So! If you'd like to make Thanksgiving about something more than food, it's really easy. All you have to do is take some time on Thanksgiving to get introspective (maybe you have a long car ride? Maybe football bores you to death? Maybe you daydream a lot?) and think about the things you're thankful for. They can be big or small things. So adding "My dog is awesome," to your list is acceptable, as is "I have a roof over my head." There's no minimum or limit to the things you can be thankful for and it is definitely not a contest between you and anyone else. That's probably the most important part of expressing your thankfulness. You do not need to be comparing yourself to ANYONE ELSE. Period. Comparison is the thief of joy, after all.

So! Here are a few things from my list:

  1. My dog is awesome.
    Yogi 2
  2. I work at this great place you may have heard of.
    KU
  3. I've managed to fit a lot of recreational reading time into my life lately.
  4. I'm pretty healthy, all things considered.
  5. I can walk to the library from my apartment. Which means books ALL THE TIME!
  6. Hard cider is becoming a REALLY popular thing in the US. YAY!
  7. Glazed donuts exist.
  8. It is acceptable to dip bread in olive oil with fresh garlic and amazing herbs.
  9. They increased the speed limit to 70 on some parts of the turnpike. GET OUTTA MY WAY SLOWBIES!
  10. Someone has discovered chocolate covered pretzels and shared it with the world.
6 Nov
2014

Pursuit of Happiness Week!

Thank you Declaration of Independence for the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. It's a totally vague right, but I like it! They apparently meant "that feeling of self-worth and dignity you acquire by contributing to your community and to its civic life", but I like to focus on the raw feeling of happiness, so I'm going to stick with the modern day interpretation for these purposes.

I think it's probably the most forgettable right we have, the pursuit of happiness. I mean, we're all busy just trying to get by most of the time. Gotta go to work, run errands, attempt to keep your house tidy, laundry can't really get piled up (bathing suits make terrible underwear), does the car need an oil change? etc. etc. So happiness? Ain't nobody got time for that.

However.

I think we can all make small adjustments in order to keep our happiness in check. After all. If you're not happy, what again is the point of everything you do? Not everything needs to make you happy, but you don't need to feel like you haven't really done anything for yourself in a while, either.

SO! We don't want to disappoint poor Thomas Jefferson. I urge you to start thinking about ways you can make yourself happy. And I don't mean finally purchasing a sports car or finally getting that in-ground pool. I mean small ways you can thoughtfully up your happiness. If you're doing things purely for the sake of others, or your job is really not where you want to be, or you've been meaning to take up knitting, or you've always wanted to train for a marathon but have never found the time, or you've been wondering about volunteering lately, the time is now! Your state of mind, and happiness, are things you need to keep an eye on. No one else can really gauge your happiness but you, and no one else can really make you happy in the long run. That's up to you! So don't shortchange yourself and get to thinkin' about how you can work to make sure you keep your happiness a priority.

31 Oct
2014

Knock Knock. Who’s There? Knock Knock. Knock Knock Who? Knock Knock Jokes Day!

First published in a newspaper in 1934 with this joke:

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Rufus.
Rufus who?
Rufus the most important part of your house.

The knock knock joke has been around for quite some time. And bad jokes are one of my favorite things maybe in the world. So let me get to the cream filling of this Oreo and give you the bad yet oh so good jokes.

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Interrupting dyslexic cow
Interrupting dysle-
OMO!

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Yoda lady.
Yoda lady who?
I didn't know you could yodel!

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Doorbell repair man.
Doorbell repair man who?
Every fucking time...

Knock Knock.
Who's There?
The.
The Who?
YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!

Knock knock.
Who's there?
I eat map.
I eat map who?
Oh god, that's disgusting!

Knock-Knock.
Who's there?
To.
To who?
To whom.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
You know.
You-Know-Wh-
AVADA KEDAVRA!

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.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJmKkU5POA
  2. Same goes for Florence + the Machine. "Dog Days Are Over" made it big in 2010.
  3. Foster the People's kind of messed up (okay really messed up) tune "Pumped Up Kicks" is their only golden nugget to date.
  4. Remember Gotye? ♫Now you're just somebody that I used to knowwwwww♫
  5. Amy Winehouse is sadly a one hit wonder. "Rehab" was her only big single.
  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 :(
  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♫
  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♫
  9. I'M A MILLENNIAL AND WAS OBSESSED WITH S CLUB 7 FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.
  10. It comes as no surprise that Baja Men's "Who Let The Dogs Out" is a one hit wonder. (Woof woof woof woof).
  11. BLINK 182 IS A ONE HIT WONDER. Wut.
  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...
10 Aug
2014

Resurrect Romance Week

August 10-16 is Resurrect Romance Week. This week is 6 months from Valentine's Day and the point isn't to give gifts and things, but to spend time with and actually pay attention to each other.

Sounds awesome to me!

So. If you're looking to pamper your significant other this week, may I suggest a week of fun activities sans spending tons of money?

You can have your shit together like these two if you play your cards right!

You can have your shit together like these two if you play your cards right!

  • Massages. Feet hurt? Back hurt? Get some body oil or lotion and help each other out with your problem spots.
  • Write a love letter. Get sentimental and write down some stuff for your S/O. No one else will see it, so get personal!
  • Pay them many compliments. I once read that the ideal positive to negative comment ratio is 6 to 1. Meaning for people to feel good you need to say 6 nice things to every 1 negative thing. The negative things stick in the brain. So lay it on em! (Negative comments not required.)
  • Surprise meal! Maybe it's breakfast in bed, or maybe it's having dinner ready and on the table when they get home from work. Whatever will float their boat. Candles won't hurt either. Maybe you can steal some flowers from your garden, too.
Bad coordinating tattoos not recommended. Also, very costly.

Bad coordinating tattoos not recommended. Also, very costly.

  • Draw a bath for them. You could do this just for them or you could enjoy together if your tub will allow it. Baths are relaxing and warm and bubbly and a good time for relaxing. Did I mention they're relaxing?
  • Movie night! Pick something you'll both like, pop some popcorn, and snuggle up.
  • Reminisce. You know those photo albums you have lying around but never look at? Now would be a good time to flip through them together and re-live all of those memories. Ahh, memories.
  • Bake together. Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cake... Whatever you two want.
  • Take a walk together. To nowhere. For nothing. Just be!
  • Welcome them home with sidewalk chalk. Cute messages recommended.
Roaming around a corn field is free (if not trespassing). Bugs likely included.

Roaming around a corn field is free (if not trespassing). Bugs likely included.