10 Jan
2012

Tea and All That Goes with It is an Art.

I am a sophomore at art school who has an undying, throbbing love of tea. But, as a sophomore Ive lost that d-baggy-I- know-more-about-tea-than-you ,lay person who doesn't drink tea, mentality and Im now completely aware of how much I dont know about tea the more I learn about it and the more I drink it. I am humble. I am obsessed. I want it all the time and I will talk to you about it in the common room until 4am.

 never used to like tea. I used to think it was bitter, pointless and only good for old women. Much like how many view me now. Or maybe how I view myself now. Both? Either way I was not a fan. Tea was just tea. I knew it came in different colors like green and black and sometimes it was english and it was good for sore throats. People put lemon or honey in it. It tasted like bland ass unless it was iced and sugared. Iced tea was a delight. I would drink pitchers upon pitchers of iced tea throughout every season. Hot tea though? No bueno.

I don't know exactly when my love affair with tea started. I think it was probably in college when I started experimenting with....life things. Chai was a gateway drug. It started with chai lattes. Then straight chai. Then from there I started looking into the other 80 million flavors and types of tea. My pallet was starting to get wise. I never drank coffee and I wouldn't drink anything other than water because I was insane and if it had more calories than water it was too much for me, so tea was perfect. From spiced teas I moved onto herbal teas. Green teas. In Argentina, tea became a huge part of my life. It was social. My landlord would have us over for tea. I would get tea in various cafes throughout the day both hot and cold. Passing around yerba matte a few times during the day is part of the culture there. I wasn't a huge matte person but I started widening my tea scope and taking time to enjoy it throughout the day. Also, working in a cement office with no heat in the dead of winter really made me appreciate tea while it was still hot. Constantly traveling toward the end, I started pouring hot water over cinnamon and making my own poor girl teas. Prior to that I was a tea at night or tea in the morning but not really throughout the day kind of person. I started taking my tea with a little milk, occasionally some sugar if I was feeling saucy. I started savoring my tea. I started getting into different teas for healing different ailments. Stress relievers, sleepy time teas, balance your lady hormones tea, tea for your liver, tea for good cell regeneration. My dad was a pusher of eastern medicine and herbal teas so tea as a healer was always part of my definition of tea.

Loose leaf, bags, unbleached bags, proper mugs, thermoses sent from the heavens, brewing systems: tea, like anything wonderful, has accessories galore. Keeping tea hot if hot tea is what you want can change your life. I frequently nurse my beverages so I was used to drinking tea hot in the beginning and luke warm toward the end. When tea stays hot all day...when it fogs up your glasses when you go to sip it even though you made it hours ago ITS MAGICAL. Hot, properly steeped has the ability to put me in a good mood even when I catch a bit of Sad Dollism.  Tea with cookies and cakes or little sandwiches, tea by itself, tea with honey or fancy honey, tea with sugar, tea with milk, cream or almond milk, Red teas, white teas, ROOIBOS (my recent favorite) black teas, herbal teas, flowering teas, green teas, herbal teas, flavored teas. There are so many options to staying warm and fuzzy inside.

If you're already a big tea fan we have a few different brands in every flavor you could ever imagine. If you're looking to get yout tea knowledge on or plan some hot tea parties we have some pretty fabulous books for you to check out! If you're looking to get converted you can pretty much talk to anyone who works at KU and we can help you find your path to tea loving. Plus its winter. Come in and pick out your perfect tea or let us help you, find yourself a good book to get into and curl up to stay warm!

HAPPY HOT TEA MONTH!!!

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7 Jan
2012

A Genius in a Nutshell

"Hello, I'm Stephen Hawking. My brain could kick your brain's ass! COME AT ME, BRO!"

Yesterday was the 70th birthday of the one of the greatest men alive, Stephen Hawking. For a man who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease at the age of 21, a disease that claims most lives only a few years after diagnosis, He's done pretty well for himself. He's the Director of Research at the Institute for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge (and  former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics), holds 12 honorary degrees, a CBE, is a fellow of the Royal Society, a Member of the US National Academy of Science, holds the Presidential Medal of Freedom (which is the highest civilian award in the US), wrote a few little books (you may have heard of them, A Brief History of TimeThe Universe in a NutshellThe Grand Design), has appeared on such shows as The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Gen, and is one of the most brilliant theoretical physicist this side of Einstein.

In my research for this blog, I've discovered that a lot of people don't realize that Stephen is British. That is mainly because of the the computer he uses for his speaking voice. He's said, "One's voice is very important. If you have a slurred voice, people are likely to treat you as mentally deficient. This synthesiser is by far the best I have heard, because it varies the intonation, and doesn't speak like a Dalek. The only trouble is that it gives me an American accent." LOLZ! Oh Stephen, you crack me up!

For his 70th Birthday, there was a symposium held in his honor. Unfortunately, he was too ill to attend but watched it being streamed live... in fact anyone could watch the webcast! I missed it but I'm hoping it'll be transferred online soon.

Hawking in Zero G... I'm so freaking jealous!

Did you know that in 2007, Stephen Hawking came close to his dream of space travel by trying out zero gravity? After he landed, he said "Space, Here I Come!"

ecently he told New Scientist magazine that there is only one enduring mystery of the universe he has found impossible to crack: Women.

Stephen Hawking: Ladies Man

Also, when asked 'If you were a young physicist just starting out today, what would you study?' He replied "I would have a new idea that would open up a new field." Oh, that Mr. Hawking, always hamming it up!

Stephen is currently accepting applications for a graduate assistant... IIIIIEEEEEE!!!!! Instead of filling out the standardized application form, I decided to creatively express my qualifications through the exquisite art of stick figure drawing...

I think I got a good chance of getting an interview... Finger's crossed!

I think one of the most important things that Stephen has done is to make physics comprehensible to the masses. Just about everyone I know has a copy of A Brief History of Time. How understandable does he make science seem? Here's a video of kids recapping one of his articles on time travel...

So, Happy Birthday Mr. Hawking! Thank you for sharing your powerful and expansive mind with the us. We are lucky to be granted the privilege of living in your time.

Ahhhh Yeah!

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5 Jan
2012

Twelfth Night; or, What You May Perhaps Kinda Sorta Will

The wassail began to go to their heads... and then things got weird.

I'll admit, when I hear the words Twelfth Night, I immediately think of Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night; or What You Will. Little did I know that Twelfth Night was actually a holiday in it's own right.

On Twelfth Night, you celebrate the end of the holiday season, and in the Catholic religion, this also marks the beginning of Carnival. In medieval England, that meant partying like it was1599. It was it's own mini-mardi gras kick off party! There was food, drink, self-indulgence (hmmm, sounds like most weekends at my house) and general merry making. Twelfth Night is a night of reversals, at the beginning of the night, a cake would be made that would contain one bean, and the person who ended up with that bean would be the ruler of the feast for the night. This is where the tradition of the Mardi Gras King Cake hails from. Catholics also recognize Twelfth Night as being the Eve of the Epiphany, which was the day a certain baby in a manger received a visit from some traveling genius's, who gave him some wicked awesome gifts. (I think that's how the story goes, it's been quite awhile since my catechism classes)

Seriously, Balthazar, we've passed that star 5 times already. I'm pulling over and asking for directions!"

Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night; or, What You Will as Twelfth Night entertainment. The play focuses on the theme of reversals: a woman pretending be a man, a steward thinking that he could be a nobleman, etc. Shakespeare had planned on just calling the comedy What You Will, but as happens too often, a play with the same title premiered while Shakespeare was writing his. So I'm sure Shakespeare said "Eff this, I'll stick Twelfth Night on the front and call it done." And so it was.

Oh Shakespeare, you so funny!

Some people see Twelfth Night as the night to take down Christmas decorations. Supposedly, it's bad luck to keep them up after the 6th. I don't know about you, but I didn't get my decorations up until Christmas Eve eve. No way I'm taking them down now! They'll stay up until my potted Christmas tree dies from dehydration... last year, I believe that was April.


Now THAT'S what I call dedication!

So, if you're not too tired from Christmas and New Year's parties, why not celebrate Twelfth Night? Keep that buzz going... like you need an excuse! ^_^

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2 Jan
2012

Hold Onto Your Knit Hats. It’s January Again!

If you're reading this it means none of us are dead yet.....

JUST KIDDING!
Fake Mayan Doomsday isn't until December 21, 2012 so you have a whole year to keep reading our blog and chuckling heartily to yourself in front of your computer! You're welcome.
January might have some of the most spectacular eccentric holidays all year in addition to the regular amount of cool kid birthdays. What a great way to start the year!

 

We are getting hot in hurr if you catch my drift. Three ways.  Oh three ways.
No not those three ways. There are three ways we're getting hot in here this month of January! Enero. The month of Janus the Roman god of doors and gates the MOST INTERESTING GOD OF ALL. Kind of.
If there is one thing we know about and love and talk too much about it would be tea. We love tea. We love our tea hot (unless its iced tea season). We like our tea to stay hot. We maybe each now have really intense thermoses that we carry around all day and brag about how hot our tea still is. We like our tea so hot and delicious and perfectly steeped. So it's only right that we are celebrating
!!National Hot Tea Month!!
We love to drink tea.
We love all teas .
You like loose leaf? We have it!
You need a diffuser? Oh yes we have those!
You like bagged tea? WE HAVE ZILLIONS. Have you seen our tea selection lately?
No? But you want to? Okay!
Reds, blacks, greens, flavors of all kinds. Oh. My.
Secret sharing time: I am currently obsessed with our Almond Vanilla Tea . Sometimes I put a spot of vanilla almond milk in it.
More on tea another day...

 

Next keeping us hot as you know what-one of my other favorite things in the entire world:
SOUP
National Soup Month Y'all.
What is greater than taking good flavor combinations and blending them together with other great flavors to make something so steamy and soul warming and delectable and so easy that you don't even have to chew it?
There is nothing.

 

National Oatmeal Month!
Oatmeal is one of the few reasons I wake up in the winter.
But seriously.

 

Public Radio Broadcasting Day: The 13th
Remember that time this happened?
Yes, that was a KU shoutout on the facebook from NPR.
Jealous?
You should be.

 

National Mail Order Gardening Month!!
Not what you usually get mail order, but just as exciting for some of our gardening extraordinaires.
January is the month for planning!

 


Let's stop and sleuth for some "coincidences":
- International Fetish Day 20th
- National Stalking Awareness Month
- Self Love Month
- Appreciate a Dragon Day 16th
- Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day - 24th
- Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
Any coincidence that all of these happen in January....?
I THINK NOT KIND SIR!
Don't you see the connection between all of them?
This guy most definitely does.

 

January Birthdays:

JRR Tolkien:  3th
Cary Grant: 18th
 AA Milne: 18th
Mozart: 27th
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31 Dec
2011

I Want My Hat Back
by John Klassen

*Brendan's Pick*

"I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen, is the best children's book of all time. It will be the first, and perhaps only book that my children read. It will teach them all the things they need to know: your hat is liable to skip town if you don't keep track of it, bears are very polite, rabbits are untrustworthy, and turtles can usually use a hand. This book has never failed to make me laugh, and I doubt it will fail you. It's gold, Jerry, gold!"

31 Dec
2011

The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame

*Henry's Pick*

I was going to write a review of this, but I found this quote by Christoper Robin Milne (a.k.a. Christopher Robin). I have always seen similarities between The Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh. Both are stories about animals mucking about in a semi-fantastic world, having adventures, but really just getting into and out of trouble with their animal friends.

  • A book that we all greatly loved and admired and read aloud or alone, over and over and over: The Wind in the Willows. This book is, in a way, two separate books put into one. There are, on the one hand, those chapters concerned with the adventures of Toad; and on the other hand there are those chapters that explore human emotions – the emotions of fear, nostalgia, awe, wanderlust. My mother was drawn to the second group, of which “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” was her favourite, read to me again and again with always, towards the end, the catch in the voice and the long pause to find her handkerchief and blow her nose. My father, on his side, was so captivated by the first group that he turned these chapters into the children's play, Toad of Toad Hall. In this play one emotion only is allowed to creep in: nostalgia.
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31 Dec
2011

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson

*Jill's Pick*

Whenever people talk about children's lit I feel a little left out. I remember reading constantly, but the famous ones that everyone seems to have in common weren't the ones I loved. Except for one. Harold and the Purple Crayon. I read Harold and the Purple Crayon over and over and over again. And then I would force my second grade teacher to let me go back to my first grade class and read it to them because I felt like it needed to be done. This book would help them like it helped me! The idea of being able to create whatever I wanted like Harold, was a concept that got my goat. I lived in my head as a kid so that purple crayon would have come in handy. I identified with Harold. He was most logical person I knew other, than myself. Of course to guard your apples you would need to draw a dragon! Sand also reminded me of picnics which also made me hungry and why have one pie when you can have nine? One of my favorite parts though, was that he was going for a walk in the moonlight. Wherever he went, the moon followed him, just like it followed me. That's how I knew Harold was the truth. Later on in life I ended up writing about Harold to get me into college. I still connect with Harold and having that need to create and watch what other people can create out of nothing. Aside from being a terrific story the illustrations are simple and beautiful and I highly recommend it to everyone in the world.

 "But he didn't seem to be getting anywhere on the long straight path. So he left the path for a short cut across a field. And the moon went with him".  
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31 Dec
2011

Welcome!

Hello there, and welcome to the Kards Unlimited family. For those of you who may not be familiar with Kards Unlimited, here's the deal: We are a 3rd generation family owned retail experience! We are unique, eclectic, sometimes irreverent, sometimes weird (and we are referring to both the staff and the store). In short, we are as far removed from a "Hallmark style" cookie-cutter chain store as you can get. Through this blog we want to share with you what makes us different, and why that's a good thing. We will be posting at least weekly, although when we get going I think it will be much more as we love to hear ourselves talk. We have been amusing ourselves and the Shadyside community for more then 40 years, and now its time to share the love. Please give us feedback and comments, we thrive on discourse! (nerd alert!)

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