4 Aug

National Farmer’s Market Week

IMG_0001You know what would be so yummy right now? A fresh, crisp salad made from locally grown greens and the best tomatoes you've ever tasted.

Or maybe a nice bowl of fresh blueberries with cream?

Crisp peppers! Cool cucumbers! Carrots! radishes!

Farmer's Markets are one of my very favorite things about summer. I am 100% more likely to buy vegetables when I can get them outdoors from a local farmer. And it's not entirely because I'm a snob and like my veggies pure and simple. It's not entirely because I want to support my local farmers, although I super duper do. I think it's really mostly because simply going to a farmers market inspires me to be overly healthy for at least a day or two. So I feel all alive and fresh and I buy one million tomatoes and 5 bundles of kale.

Pittsburgh has a pretty rad selection of farmers markets. If you're willing to travel, you can pretty much find a farmers market somewhere every day of the week.


Tomatillos are awesome.

I think the thing I love the most about farmer's markets (aside from them being like, good for your karma or something) is that I always end up finding a vegetable that is new to me that I just HAVE to try and cook. I mean, now that we have a Market District, we can get pretty much any vegetable we want at any point in the year. (Which is honestly a little scary, guys. I mean things have growing seasons for a reason.) But far before Market District had caught on, I met my first tomatillo at a small farmer's tent in Oakland. It changed my life.

National Farmer's Market Week is August 4th through 10th. I challenge you to go to at LEAST one farmer's market to celebrate!  Buy something radically new and strange.

Or just buy some tomatoes, because farm grown tomatoes are seriously the best thing in this world. end.

Click here to see a list of Pittsburgh Parks' 2015 Markets! 

28 Jul

Beatrix Potter: Our Spirit Animal


Beatrix drew the animals she observed throughout her life

Beatrix Potter, the mastermind behind The Tale of Peter Rabbit, lived a quiet way life, appreciating simple pleasures.  She shared these simple pleasures with the masses.  She was born in London on July 28, 1866 and lived a lonely and sheltered Victorian childhood.  Her parents discouraged her from making friends her own age.  Beatrix had the privilege of meeting famous artists, politicians, and thinkers, but this means little to a young girl who just wants a friend.  She was educated at home by governesses.  Having little opportunity to make friends, nature became her one true friend for the rest of her life.

Beatrix spent summer holidays with her family in an area of the country known as Lake District.  She drew from a young age, observing her pets, other animals, and plants.  She devoted much of her life to farming and countryside conservation, probably due to her early life and love of her memories at Lake District.

Beatrix Potter's house

Beatrix Potter's house

A bit of a late bloomer, Beatrix did not begin her career as a children’s author and illustrator until she was 35 years old.  She was quite dedicated to her vision of Peter Rabbit.  More than six publishers rejected The Tale of Peter Rabbit, so she printed two hundred and fifty copies privately.  Beatrix was interested in all aspects of book production, from the conception of the story, to the binding.  She made her books as cheap as possible to reach as many children as she could; after all, they could buy it with pocket change.  Her books were tiny to accommodate her readers’ tiny hands.  By the end of 1903, over 50,000 copies of Peter Rabbit had sold.  The publishers that rejected this classic tale must have been regretting their rejection.
Being a keen businesswoman, Beatrix paid close attention to what her audience desired.  She looked for innovative ways to capitalize on her creations.  Shortly after publishing Peter Rabbit, she created a Peter Rabbit doll, which was followed by wallpaper and a board game.  She tested her prose on her friends’ children who were always thrilled by her tales.  The merchandising began with Beatrix’s interest in finding new ways to expand her imaginary world.  Her tales have been translated into over 35 languages and have been published all over the world.

p_32.2.7_article_detail 14712608871_2db7b03620_o d4619302r Peter-Rabbit-Board-Game
Beatrix always wrote what she knew and was inspired by real animals and their unique personalities.  The real Peter Rabbit was Beatrix’s pet, “Peter Piper.”  She often sketched him in front of the fire lying on the hearth rug.  The Tale of Benjamin Bunny is modeled after her first pet rabbit who she smuggled into the nursery in a brown bag.  His name was “Benjamin H. Bouncer” and he was fond of treats and hot buttered toasts!

Beatrix with Peter Rabbit

Beatrix with Peter Rabbit


The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, is based on a farm duck who often scampered off to lay eggs in secret nesting places.  Sometimes Beatrix had to use a hen to sit on Jemima’s eggs.  Jemima was always scampering off somewhere, neglecting her eggs.  Beatrix blended fantasy and reality flawlessly.  Her imaginary world was filled with truth.  This tale in particular is so closely associated with Hill Top Farm that it has been described as a “poem of the farm itself.”  The farm’s idyllic landscapes are still recognizable today.

For the last thirty years of her life, Beatrix focused on preserving her beloved land that inspired so many stories.  She preserved Lake District for future generations and ensured the area would be untouched by developers.  In her seventies she wrote, “as I lie in bed, I can walk step by step on the fells and rough lands, seeing every stone and flower...where my old legs will never take me again.”  Towards the end of her life she stated, “If I have done anything -- even a little -- to help small children appreciate honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.”

Beatrix at her beloved Hill  Top Farm

Beatrix at her beloved Hill Top Farm

Beatrix Potter has done quite a bit of good.  We at Kards Unlimited love her to pieces!  She shares our love of animals, nature, simplicity, gardening, children, and imagination!!!  We have a complete collection of her tales that includes even more information on this amazing woman’s life.  Did you know she was engaged and within a month her fiance died?  Yep, that tragic bit of information is in the book, along with much more!  If you have kids, or you are a kid at heart, these tales will warm your soul and make you want to find animals to observe!  So come in to KU, grab a sketchbook, then go back out and bond with nature!  And if this post gave you the gardening itch, we sell “Garden-in-a-Bag,” it makes gardening a sitch.  Go forth into the world and make Beatrix Potter proud on her birthday!!!!

23 Jul

A Tribute to Daniel Radcliffe

Today's Daniel Radcliffe's birthday and we wanted to celebrate the wonderful man he is.

Here he is rapping Eminem.

Here he is walking like, a billion dogs.

Daniel Radcliffe films a scene on the set of the motion picture "Trainwreck" in Bryant Park. CREDIT: Abaca USA/AKM-GSI [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

Daniel Radcliffe films a scene on the set of the motion picture "Trainwreck" in Bryant Park. CREDIT: Abaca USA/AKM-GSI [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

Here he is um, being HARRY POTTER.


Angsty Harry was my favorite

Don't you just want to be BFF with him?

Happy Dan

He gives to great charities, and look, here he is with a cute PUPPY!


I have no idea what this picture is for/about but I don't really care.

He's weird, but he's my kind of weird.

Dan bongos


21 Jul

Zoo Keeper Week

I went to the Zoo just about every year when I was a kid. But for some reason, my most vivid memory from the zoo is scraping my knee and crying by the polar bears. It was a great time.

However, when we were choosing blogs this month, I just knew that I needed to write something. Because despite not really being like the most enthusiastic person when it comes to zoo visits, I can personally tell you about my time at Steve Irwin's house.

Okay, no. That's a lie. I was at his Zoo. But he grew up there! At the zoo! his house is on the property! He got to wake up every morning and feed those crocodiles.

The day I was at Steve Irwin's zoo, it was pretty cloudy. So my pictures aren't the best. But I wanted to share them with you, because it was super cool to be walking the same ground that Steve Irwin walked on. In Australia. Oh, hey. did I mention that I went to Australia? yeahhhhh.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Steve Irwin's back yard. Literally.

steve jumps

There were pictures of Steve everywhere.

koala inside

We got to pet this guy.

koala in a tree

So sleepy! ....Which was mostly what they were like the whole day.

roo heaven

You get to just wander loose with the Roos

kanga kisses

Roo Kisses!!

feeding me

I got to feed the little guys! And also scritch them.


no, that is not a real croc. It IS, however, a life-sized model. OMG.

croc in water

This crock is about to get fed. in front of us.

croc feeding

That really brave guy is handing the giant male croc meats. From his hand. He does it multiple times a day, but he was still nervous as hell.


20 Jul

Who Said That? A Guide to Ventriloquism Week

The late, great Edgar Bergen and his pal Charlie McCarthy

The late, great Edgar Bergen and his pal Charlie McCarthy

Pretty much everyone knows what ventriloquism is, but in case you don't, ventriloquism is the art of throwing one's voice.  The ability to speak while appearing not to speak.  Great ventriloquists can have full conversations with thin air!  Can give life to otherwise inert objects!  (Usually a puppet of some kind, but it's fun when it's something else too!)  Ventriloquists, in short, make boring (and, depending on the puppet, sometimes creepy) things fun!

National Ventriloquism Week is coordinated through the Vent Haven Museum in Cincinnati.  William Berger, a Cincinnati industrialist, founded the museum using his large collection of ventriloquist's dummies that he had accumulated over many years and business trips.  The week is celebrated on the third week of July every year (that's the 19th through the 25th this year).

Even if you can't make it out to Cincinnati for the celebration, appreciate the fine art of ventriloquism by seeing a show or watching one on Netflix if there isn't a live one convenient.  Or practice some ventriloquism of your own!  You never know when it might come in handy!

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19 Jul

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Ice cream is the ultimate treat. I don't care what time of year it is, ice cream is permissible. If you're one of those people that's like, "OMG I don't eat ice cream when it's cold out," we are not friends. And there is always room for dessert, even if I've just eaten a 7 course meal. ICE CREAM IS THE BEST! Here are a bunch of gratuitous ice cream related gifs.

IC 9

I want to live in this place.

IC 8

See also: Ron Swanson eating a banana. Priceless.

IC 7


IC 1

Wuv, true wuv.

IC 2

<3 <3 <3

IC 3

True dat.

IC 4


IC 5

ic 6

And, the best for last.

13 Jul

Jean Luc Picard MAKE IT SO

Captain’s Log.


Lieutenant LaForge still has no explanation for the strange man who materialized aboard the Enterprise.  His appearance is strikingly similar to my own.  His name is Patrick Stewart.  He claims to be from Earth year 2015.  He even has the same birthday as me, though he was born 365 years before me.

Am I Picard or Stewart???

Am I Picard or Stewart???

He seems to have no nefarious motives and was as surprised as we were at his mysterious sudden arrival.  Patrick Stewart has led an interesting life that parallels my own in many ways.  We share a kinship of sorts.  He is an English actor who rose to fame playing a starship captain on the show Star Trek: The Next Generation with a crew much like my own.  The similarities are eerie, especially since his character on the television program even shares my name.

When I asked Patrick to describe his starship captain he said that his captain is known for his vast intelligence, mastery of diplomacy and debate, patience, tactical cunning, and moral compass.  Who am I to argue with that?!  Thats quite the character reference!  Stewart said, “It came to a point where I had no idea where Picard began and I ended.  We completely overlapped.  His voice became my voice, and there were other elements of him that became me.”  This Patrick Stewart isn’t only a force in the science fiction world, he is also known for his charity work and activism.

This is what a feminist looks like

This is what a feminist looks like

His political leanings stem from his belief in equality.  He is a self proclaimed feminist and socialist.  In July 2012, he was honored with the privilege of carrying the Olympic torch in London.  Although he has also been knighted by Queen Elizabeth, he says that carrying the torch was more impressive.  I’ll wager he drank earl grey tea (hot) over crumpets with Her Majesty the Queen if he’s anything like myself.

Picard Maneuver my ass!

Picard Maneuver my ass!

And when he isn’t winning awards for his acting or receiving some of the highest honors on Earth, he enjoys racing his neighbor Jeremy Clarkson, flying helicopters with James McAvoy, though apparently he found it quite terrifying, Starship Captain indeed!  I don’t think he would be comfortable engaging the Picard Maneuver!  He showed me photos of him rescuing a baby bird and playing in a ball pit with a wife half his age (maybe there’s hope for Beverly and I yet!).  He even had early onset baldness like myself.

This is something I'm going to have to work on programming into the holodeck for Beverly.

This is something I'm going to have to work on programming into the holodeck for Beverly.

Lieutenant LaForge is working on a solution to get him back to his proper time period, but for now we are all enjoying this man’s company.  He is putting on a Shakespearean performance tonight with the help of the crew.  We are all excited.

Look he ran into the Doctor too!

Look he ran into the Doctor too!

Captain’s Log Supplemental
Patrick Stewart vanished after his riveting Shakespearean performance.  I have never seen a soliloquy quite like his.  We are all fortunate to have met such a talented man from a century long before our own who shares values with Starfleet.  Men and women from the past like Patrick Stewart were the beginning of a much larger movement on Earth towards a united planet that values peace.  Yes, we are lucky to have met him.

Stewart on Halloween

Stewart on Halloween

We don't carry this fake perfume, but we do carry Star Trek cuff links, mugs, and lunchboxes.  Quick, #1 to Kards Unlimited!  Engage!

We don't carry this fake perfume, but we do carry Star Trek cuff links, mugs, and lunchboxes. Quick, #1 to Kards Unlimited! Engage!

8 Jul

All of July is AC Appreciation Days!

You know what's awful? Being out, sweating practically to death, and then coming home to your sweltering home. And sweating fully to death.

AC 6

Or you know, a lot. Whatever. I've died about a million times in my melodramatic life.

AC 4

She's actually outside? So IDK WTF is going on but IT'S FINE, Gil Elvgren.

The point is, ain't nobody got time to be sweating their dick off in summer. Especially when they're trying to sleep.

"The actress recalls having to have the air conditioning angled at her while on the set of Harry Potter." Sort of related.

"The actress recalls having to have the air conditioning angled at her while on the set of Harry Potter." Sort of related. AND YOU GO GURL. Anyway.

Or better yet, has your car's AC ever stopped working in the dead of summer? It's like when you first get into your car after it's been buttoned up, except it never really cools off and you're essentially riding around in a giant, sun powered toaster oven. No thank you.

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*Psh might as well ride my horse everywhere* Cars with no AC. PUH-LEASE.

These are all of the reasons I appreciate AC. These dogs are not enjoying AC but the output from an AC. But THEY ARE STILL SO CUTE.

AC 5

As always, here at KUAC 2