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Reader-submitted stencil(?) January 7, 2013

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Public art, signs, & graffiti, Reader submission, Smiley.
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I was browsing Facebook shortly after Christmas and I spotted this plywood stencil in a friend’s photos:

At least, I'm assuming this is some kind of stencil. Submitted by Monica D.

At least, I’m assuming this is some kind of stencil. Submitted by Monica D.

This is in Portland, “Where even the trash is happy,” according to my friend Monica. I told her I had to steal it for my blog, and she was happy to let me have it!

If I’d been quicker — by which I mean, if I hadn’t been slumping around in sweatpants feeling lazy from post-holiday food indulgences — I would have jumped in the car and tried to grab this off the street. But alas, it didn’t happen.

I will, however, keep an eye out for wherever this thing got painted onto a street or a building. Surely it won’t be that hard to find? 🙂


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.) 😉

Reader-submitted parasail wing October 22, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Reader submission, Smiley.
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Parasail wing. Submitted by Debbie C.

Long-time friend and frequent submitter Debbie C sent me this photo the other day. It’s of “a friend of mine parasailing with her son,” she told me.

And it’s AWESOME! I’ve always wanted to try this, but a lack of time or money or bathing suit have somehow always gotten in the way. But if I ever see one of these smiley parasail wings, I’d go up in my blue jeans! This is just too cool. 🙂

Thanks, Debbie!

Reader-submitted smiley figure October 15, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Reader submission, Smiley, Toys.
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Smiley figure at Tadpoles in Dallas, TX. Submitted by Rachael L.B. and her awesome son Clark.

Way, way back in middle school, my eighth grade year, I co-emceed the school talent show with Rachael, a girl I knew from around but not very well. She was totally cool, though (she listened to Mötley Crüe!) and we became friends. We made a great double act on stage, too — we played opposites, me the nerdy yuckster and she the cool rock-n-roll chick, and we got good laughs — but adolescence and those hazy college years being what they are, my friend and I lost track of each other until reconnecting a few years ago on Facebook.

It’s been fun reliving the old memories, but I was particularly thrilled when Rachael sent me this photo in an email the other day! “My son was checking out all these toys,” she wrote, “and I saw this one and thought of you!”

Hurray! What is it? Where is it? I was all questions.

“It was at a toy store in Dallas, I’m pretty sure named Tadpoles,” she wrote back. “Clark had asked me every day this week if we could please go to the toy store, so finally today I agreed. He was a very happy camper!”

Clark, who has good taste in toys.

Very happy indeed!

Thanks, Rachael! You’re still the cool chick. And thanks, Clark! You obviously inherited your mom’s great taste. 🙂

Reader-submitted syrup cap October 8, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Food, Reader submission, Smiley.
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Hungry Jack syrup bottle cap. Submitted by Kristi DC.

My friend Kristi sent this to the Smile! Facebook page yesterday. “We made French Toast for dinner,” she wrote, “and we were surprised to find this under the cap of the Hungry Jack syrup! Thought about you and had my husband take a picture.”

There’s something about breakfast that makes a person happy, isn’t there? Yesterday morning my brother launched a long conversation about breakfast with a Facebook post about how happy pancakes make him, and then maybe seven hours later Kristi and her family are sitting down to French toast.

Thanks for the smiley, Kristi! Hope you enjoyed your syrup! 🙂


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! 🙂

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! 🙂


Reader-submitted scruffy Jeep smiley August 20, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Car, Reader submission, Smiley.
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Scruffy Jeep spare tire smiley. In Pt. Aransas, TX. Submitted by Sara S.

My sister enjoyed a girls’ weekend with her pals down on the Texas coast a short while ago, and in the midst of all their fun, she thought to stop in a parking lot and snap this photo (including a friend of hers), just for me!

Thanks, Sara! 🙂

Reader-submitted ice pack July 19, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Kitchen & Bath, Reader submission, Smiley.
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My nephew Aidan, with a smiley ice pack for his aching head. Submitted by Aidan via his mom, my sister.

The other day, I was floored with a headache and wound up soaking in the tub to sweat the headache away. For some reason, the headache and the time alone in a hot bath caused me to sit down at the computer afterward and knock out a short story, which just yesterday got accepted for publication. (Keep an eye on my regular blog for updates — the story comes out in September.)

I don’t know if this is related by anything other than serendipity, but today nephew Aidan sent me this photo, by way of my sister, along with my sister’s explanation: “Aidan’s nursing a headache, but he still thought of you when I handed him his new ice pack. He thought you might want to add it to your blog.”

Great minds think alike, Aidan! Also, great minds sometimes get headaches. It’s nice to know that whether it’s through surprisingly good short fiction or through the soothing of a cold ice pack, we can still be happy in the midst of our headaches. 🙂

PS: I love how the smiley face itself looks pained, as though it has a sympathy headache, but it keeps on smiling anyway:

Don’t worry, ice pack. It’ll be over soon. 🙂

Reader-submitted smiley stickers (and a cartoon!) July 9, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Decor, Kitchen & Bath, Reader submission, Smiley, The Great Enabler.
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I was all set to post a completely different smiley today, but then I checked the mail and discovered an envelope from my dear sweet mother-in-law, aka The Great Enabler. Inside were these stickers!

Smiley stickers. New to my personal collection.

She’s given me these before — long-time readers might recognize them from my luggage post when I moved back to the States from overseas. Of course, I used up that set, so it’s great to have a new set!

Also, seeing them reminded me of another set of stickers from The Great Enabler. These live on my fridge, next to the stove, among all my smiley magnets:

Smiley kitchen stickers. From my personal collection (and from my kitchen).

You can tell they’re right over the stove because the bottom row has some spatter on it! 🙂 I love these things, though — they always make my smile.

FYI: My favorite recipe is a killer vegetarian “Autumn chili” I make every fall.

And, as a bonus for you and for me, I’ll also share the cartoon my mother-in-law included in the envelope, from the Saturday Evening Post (of course it’s labeled, even down to the page number — The Great Enabler is also a librarian!).

From the Saturday Evening Post, May/June 2012, p. 66.