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Holiday cookies December 17, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Food, Holidays, Smiley.
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Holiday cookies. Aunt Smiley on the left; Uncle Smiley on the right.

Holiday cookies. Aunt Smiley on the left; Uncle Smiley on the right.

Last weekend, my wife and I made sugar cookies for the holidays. I baked them — she helped decorate them.

We did a lot of holiday standards: Santa, stockings, snowflakes, trees, ornaments, snowmen…. But I had to make a smiley cookie, obviously. What I didn’t realize was that my wife had made one, too!

And, would you believe it? Her smiley is better than mine! 🙂

Smiley holidays, happy readers.



For the children in Connecticut. For the shoppers in Oregon. For everyone everywhere. December 14, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Art, Smiley.
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“Smile in prayer.” My own drawing, in Sharpie.

It is hard to smile when, in the space of a week, we’ve seen two mass shootings, one just a dozen miles from my house here in Oregon and the other, today, in kindergarten classrooms in Connecticut. People got out of those situations alive, and that’s worth smiling about. But people died — children died — and that makes smiling, for any reason, very, very difficult.

But we need to smile for each other. It isn’t a happy smile. It’s a soft, sad smile, but it’s a smile nonetheless. It’s our reassurance to each other that we are better than this, that we will be there for each other in times of need. And it’s a promise that we will overcome the violence in our lives through love and mutual happiness.

In the meantime, here’s a sad, heartbroken but hopefully heartmeanding smile, and a hug, to everyone, everywhere.

Reader-submitted vodka December 13, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Reader submission, Smiley.
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My fraternal brother Jay sent me this photo yesterday. (No, that’s not his hand.)

Happy Vodka. Submitted by Jay.

Happy Vodka. Submitted by Jay.

“Here’s another smiley for you,” he wrote me. “I came across it on one of those funny picture/waste-gads-of-time websites.”


I shudder to think what the vodka tastes like (though if it’s any good, it won’t taste like anything), but boy would I love to have that bottle!

Actually, there’s a whole line of Happy brand clear alcohols. I haven’t tried any of them, so I won’t vouch for them. And kiddies, don’t think that just because there’s a smiley face on the bottle you ought to try any of this! But, grown-ups, if you do visit the website (which I won’t link to because I don’t want to make it any easier for the kids to wind up there, but grown-ups, I’m sure you can find it), I hope you have fun holding the mouse over the interactive smileys! It’s infectious, and it’ll make you giddy. (Probably like the alcohol.) 😉

December is going to end a year of bests December 10, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Web smileys.
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So, it’s official, and has been since before 10 am PST: in a year of several best months, including a string of them this fall, December already has them all beat, by a longshot. We had the most visits ever back in October, and came close to our high numbers in November, but today, only ten days into the last month of the year, we’ve topped our most visits by more than 200 hits!

We broke the 2,000 mark!

We broke the 2,000 mark!

And as you can probably tell from that screenshot, our high numbers are partly due to a freakishly busy day here at the Smile! blog: back on Dec. 4, we topped out at more than 900 hits! I’m going to assume that’s the work of some sort of computer program auto-searching and hitting the blog, but hey, since then, we’ve been bringing in between 150 and 200 hits every day, so you happy readers are definitely helping out!

Thanks, everyone!

At this rate, we’re going to end the year on a fantastic high note, and I’m glad you’re all here and reading, because I’ve got some great new smileys to share! Some are gifts I’ve received recently (or know I’m going to receive for the holidays), some are reader-submissions, some are smileys I’ve seen around town lately…. We’ve got the whole gamut of happiness, actually!

So hang in there, smiley people, and keep checking back. We’re in for a very happy end of the year!


Mini spatulas December 10, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Kitchen & Bath, Smiley.
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Remember the smiley spatula from Sur la Table that our happy friend Debbie C. sent me? I’ve been dying to get out to a Sur la Table ever since, but I’ll be honest, Sur la Table is a dangerous store for me to set foot in. It’s one of the two stores my wife and I love dearly but actively avoid until we just can’t help it: my super-organized librarian wife could spend half our savings in The Container Store, and I would definitely spend the other half in Sur la Table.

But when we bought our first house last month, our bank — thrilled at the loan we’d just taken out! — gave us a housewarming gift in the form of a gift card to Sur la Table. So, at long last, we just couldn’t avoid one of my favorite shopping trips anymore….

And while I did buy a few long-time wishlist items (a wooden pizza peel, without which I’ve never felt quite complete ever since my days making wood-fired pizzas in an Italian restaurant; a marble mortar and pestle, and so on), you know I had to stop off at the spatula section and pick up something smiley.

Behold! My new mini spatulas by Spatulart! New to my personal collection.

Behold! My new mini spatulas by Spatulart! New to my personal collection.

Sure, I could have spent the whole card on smiley spatulas, including that excellent large one Debbie C. spotted. But I am married to a practical woman, and her practicality is infectious: I already have several egg-turners and burger-flippers, but I didn’t have any small spreading spatulas.

And they’re adorable, aren’t they? And yes, I’ve already used them — for spreading homemade garlic butter on bread — and I love them.

In fact, here….

... have a closer look.

… have a closer look.

So happy! 🙂

Also, heads-up, happy readers! Even though I’ve been away for a while, you readers haven’t, and thanks to your regular awesomeness plus a surprising fluke of a day last week, December’s visitor numbers are off the charts! So look for a special note about that later today. And thanks, as always, for stopping by and spreading the smiles. 🙂


Key cover November 29, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley.
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Hi, happy readers!

Yes, I’ve been away a good while, but you see, I had a reason: my wife and I just bought a house, and between the paperwork and the financing and the moving (and the moving and the moving), I haven’t had much time for the interwebs.

But I’m back gang! And do you know how all this — the new house and being back online — makes me feel?

The key cover on the key to our new home. :)

The key cover on the key to our new home. 🙂

In a year of best months ever, October topped them all! November 1, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Web smileys.
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Happy readers, the numbers make me smile:

It looks like you all visited October as many times as you did in September, but look more closely:

We actually topped September by two hits, which officially makes October the Smile! blog’s best month of all time.

We’re a day shorter in November, but what the heck, gang — I think we can keep it going!

Wanna help? Check out my newly added Categories menu in the sidebar! Now you can find all your favorite kinds of smileys with the click of a link! 🙂

Happy Halloween! October 31, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Art, Holidays, Smiley.
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Evil moon smiley. Photo illustration by me.

Sticker on a bike rack October 29, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Decor, Smiley.
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Sticker on a bike rack, Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland, OR.

I spotted this happy guy smiling up at me as I walked home from the streetcar one afternoon last week. And after I snapped this quick photo, I spotted another — and the next bike rack. And the next…. That was one happy block! 🙂

Bumper sticker on a Subaru October 25, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Car, Smiley.
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Bumper sticker. Portland, OR.

Subaru seems to be the unofficial car in Portland. Good gas mileage, a solid combination of in-city driving with the possibility of getting up into the mountains on the weekends, a rugged reliability … It’s sort of a hipster-hiker’s car. Plus, it looks good with a bike rack on the back or a kayak on the roof. Chances are good that on any given day, you’ll see more of any given model of a Subaru than you would even of eco-friendly Priuses or Smart cars. There might even be as many Subarus in Portland as there are bicycles.

(Okay, probably not.)

Anyway, people around here seem pretty happy with their Subarus, which is why, when I spotted this smiley sticker slapped on the back of a Subaru in the parking lot of a Target, I had to snap it. 🙂