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BONUS: The hits just keep on coming! September 29, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Web smileys.
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Hey, happy readers! Once again, we’ve raised the bar: Smile! has has its best month ever, for what feels like the sixth time this year. In fact, if you look at the annual bar graph, the lines have gone upward fairly regularly all year long.


Also worth noting: every month this year has had at least twice the hits as the same month last year — some months have been as much as four times the previous year’s hits!

It’s been an amazing year so far, and it looks like it’ll keep getting better, and it’s all thanks to you! 🙂

PS: Don’t forget, we’re on Facebook, too!


Reader-submitted flag September 27, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Decor, Reader submission, Smiley.
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Flag in Key West, Florida. Submitted by Jaretta R.

Another great find from my friend Jaretta R! “Smileys everywhere lately Sam!” she wrote me when she sent me this. “Good thing I’ve really been needing them. This one was flying in Key West…where every day seems to be a good day!!”

I love how smileys sometimes show up when we need them most. Did you need a smiley today? Thank Jaretta for sharing the happiness! 🙂

BONUS: the smile is so much more than an emoticon September 26, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Web smileys.
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This photo is making the rounds on Facebook today; it arrived to Facebook via Reddit:

The photo is of a young Sikh woman, Balpreet Kaur. The person who posted the photo to Reddit seemed confused by the sight of facial hair on a young woman and posted the photo under Reddit’s “Funny” section with the comment, “I’m not sure what to conclude from this.”

Somewhere among all the crass jokes and ignorant jabs about gender roles and body image, Balpreet Kaur herself chimed in to explain in beautiful rhetoric and with deep compassion (she never once expresses anger or embarrassment) why she has facial hair and why she’s proud of it.

Go visit the Reddit post and do a “find” for balpreetkaur, which is the handle under which she posted her comment, so you can read her full comments for yourself. But I wanted to share this photo because of two specific statements she makes:

Early in her reply, she writes that she didn’t know about the photograph until a friend brought it to her attention — she wasn’t aware the OP (original photographer) was taking her picture. “If the OP wanted a picture,” she writes, “they could have just asked and I could have smiled.” 🙂

She goes on to explain her Sikh faith, how it addresses the body and body image, and why she’s proud to look the way she does. It’s a beautiful statement of faith, at the end of which she writes, “When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are.” (emphasis mine)

This is what’s so wonderful about this post, happy readers: the smiley face as we love and share it here on the blog is almost always an artistic expression, a simple combination of basic colors and clean lines, a symbol. But it is a symbol for a human expression, and that human expression — of happiness, of joy and compassion — is so much more important than any stylized pictograph we could make of it.

This photo and the story Balpreet Kaur tells about it made me smile. And that’s worth a thousand emoticons.

Smiley on construction instructions September 24, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Public art, signs, & graffiti, Smiley.
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Doodle on a “do not disturb” sign. Portland, OR.

I love how the smiley face has become a kind of universal symbol for “I know I sound bossy/mean but I still like you!” We drop it at the end of emails or Facebook comments we worry might get misinterpreted as mean-spirited; we add it to birthday cards whose jokes are (humorously) at the expense of the recipient; and, as this person has done, we add it to signs with strict orders. In this case, it’s a sign on an apartment in our building that the landlord was refurbishing, and the sign was instructing workers to stay off the newly-sanded and waxed wood floors and to leave the kitchen sink alone for a few days. But the first thing I noticed was the smiley face. 🙂

Mr. Happy book and bruise soother September 20, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Books, Kitchen & Bath, Smiley.
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A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the awesome Mr. Happy notebook and bookbag my nieces and nephew gave me for my birthday. After I posted the photos of those gifts, I asked Jennifer if we still had her old Mr. Men and Little Miss books lying around, and — like the librarian she is — she went straight to them in our bookshelf, sorted through the stack and produced this:

Mr. Happy, by Roger Hargreaves. From Jennifer’s childhood bookshelf! 🙂

But wait, there’s more! Just a few days after that, we went on a shopping trip to The Container Store (where else would a librarian shop for organization tools?), and she called me over the to “impulse buy” rack where she’d spotted this AWESOME Mr. Happy “bruise soother” gel pack:

Of course she bought it for me. 🙂

Today, I was photographing the bruise soother for this post, and Jennifer said, “Man, I really could have used that for my knee.”

Remember Jennifer’s knee?

Bruise on my wife’s knee, 23 June 2009.

Reader submitted smiley balloon September 13, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley.
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My friend Jaretta R. sent me this from Florida today. Through no fault of her own, the photo is hard to make out, but the story she tells about it is so share-worthy I had to ask her to let me post it here:

Balloon in the water (look closely at the yellow spot in the middle). Submitted by Jaretta R.

Here’s what Jaretta wrote about the photo:

Well, first of all, this is a terrible picture. I will explain. A few days ago, I took my dog out early in the morning. I noticed something “hitching a ride” on the current just off shore. By the time I realized what it was…it had drifted too far for a good picture. However, I snapped the best one I could get so that I could share it with you.

I guess you are probably wondering what it was…it was a yellow “Smiley face” balloon!!

Needless to say, it instantly put a smile on my face! A great reminder from the world to “Have a GREAT day”!!

That is excellent! And it’s exactly why I started this blog: to share smiles with everyone and make days a little bit happier. Thank you so much, Jaretta, for the reminder, and yes, thanks to you, we will have a great day!

  • Balloon (unclesmiley.wordpress.com)

Dish brush September 10, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Kitchen & Bath, Smiley, Toys.
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Smiley dish brush (and My Little Ponies), courtesy of Lulu.

Jennifer and I went to a Pie Party hosted by one of her coworkers (excellent pear pie and plum pie, Amanda!), and among the many happy friends and colleagues and children who turned up was a pair of twin sisters, Mia and Lulu, who brought along their My Little Ponies. These ponies need a lot of care, of course, including regular mane-brushing, so the girls brought along an assortment of brushes, among which was this FABULOUS smiley-face brush (actually for dishes, but it worked great as a mane brush and later served as a toothbrush when the girls played “dentist”).

Obviously, I laughed and applauded the smiley face brush, and Lulu was nice enough to let me photograph it for my blog.

Thanks, Mia and Lulu (and I hope I’m spelling your names right)! 🙂


BONUS: “Faces in the Clouds” feature at Weather.com September 9, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Web smileys.
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I was checking weather this weekend and look what I found at Weather.com: Faces in the Clouds! Not every face is a smiley face, but two or three of them are (depending on how you view them). Some of the other shapes are amazing, too.

Follow the link and enjoy the slideshow! 🙂

Reader-submitted rear window sticker September 6, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Car, Reader submission, Smiley.
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Car sticker in Austin, Texas. Submitted by Barbara I.

My good friend Barbara sent this image to me today. She took it while stuck in Austin traffic.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Austin, Texas — if you haven’t, go, because it’s a cool city — but brace yourself with loads of patience as you enter the city, because traffic on the outskirts of Austin is NOTORIOUS in Texas. I mean, if you meet a bald man in Texas, chances are he’s driven through Austin and lost his hair in frustration along the way. It can get that bad.

Which is why this smiley face in the back of someone’s car is so important! Because if there’s ever a good time to remember to smile, sitting is traffic is it.

Happy driving, everyone! And thanks, Barb! 🙂


Mr. Happy book bag and journal September 3, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Holidays, Office, Smiley.
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During our trip to Texas last week, my family gathered for a giant birthday party (Jennifer, I, and all three of my sister’s kids celebrate birthdays within a few weeks of each other). The party was mostly for the kiddos, but Uncle Smiley got presents, too! Including two awesome smiley gifts!

What more fitting gifts for a writer than a book bag and a journal to write in? And what more fitting gifts for a collector of smiley faces than Mr. Happy paraphernalia?

I loved the Mr. books when I was a kid — didn’t we all? — and I still get a huge kick out of these smiling shapes! Of course, technically, all the Mr. Men had smiley faces except Mr. Forgetful, Mr. Mean, Mr. Fussy, Mr. Grumble, Mr. Quiet, and Mr. Worry. So any one of those guys would have been a terrific gift. But when you think smiley faces, you have to start with Mr. Happy!

Thanks, Sara and Red and the kiddos! This was a terrific birthday present!