Happy Happy Smile Smile
July 30, 2012 10:40 AM   Subscribe

I want more happy, well-designed blogs like 101 Cookbooks or Enjoying the Small Things so that I can pretend for short periods of time that the world is a delightful place. I don't want kittens, I just want to believe that someone out there is having a nice life.

So most of the time I have, like, 20 tabs open of stories about people getting their DLA cut by ATOS or unemployed workfare conscripts sleeping under a bridge. Sometimes I need to read happy things. I care about design a lot, so it's important the happy things aren't typeset in some sort of hideous brush script. I'd also prefer it if the happy things sometimes involved people who aren't white, straight, able-bodied etc.

I get a small buzz from pictures of food, cats, babies etc. when charmingly photographed, but the effect is stronger and more sustained if I can believe that I am getting a window into someone's basically enjoyable life. In 101 Cookbooks, for instance, the recipes are great and all - I have made loads of them - but I have realised that a lot of what I get out of it is that she has wonderful cookware and walks down to the farmer's market in the sunshine and takes inordinate pleasure in ripe plums. I know social justice upper-middle-class rah rah but sometimes it brightens up my day to know someone is happy. And uses good fonts/tumblr themes. I know this is some kind of empathy-happiness porn but I can't persuade myself it is a bad thing on the scale of bad things.

Any ideas?
posted by Acheman to Computers & Internet (38 answers total) 136 users marked this as a favorite
A couple search results that look potentially pretty good for your request:

Happy News

Daily Good
posted by Perplexity at 10:47 AM on July 30, 2012

Design Mom is happy and charming without being cloying. Nothing But Bonfires is British, cheerful and charming.
posted by kate blank at 10:48 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

You should check out (Mefi's own) not martha, along with the pages she links to.
posted by punchtothehead at 10:56 AM on July 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

The author has taken an extended hiatus but I think Alinea At Home and her previous effort French Laundry At Home might be something you'd like. I went through her entire archive at AAH and am currently working my way through FLAH. The joy she takes in cooking, her friends, family and life in general - despite some very challenging and frustrating times that she documents in the blogs - is really inspiring.
posted by moxiequz at 11:04 AM on July 30, 2012

Posie Gets Cozy
posted by shesbookish at 11:07 AM on July 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Cannelle et Vanille has a pretty delightful, food-centric life. Other foodie favorites include David Leibovitz, Smitten Kitchen, and Orangette. Luxirare uses her considerable wealth to make terrifically luxurious, obsessively designed food and fashion.
posted by acidic at 11:09 AM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding Posie Gets Cozy.

And, Angry Chicken, and Loobylu. The Black Apple, to an extent.
posted by peagood at 11:22 AM on July 30, 2012

Color Me Katie always makes me happy. Also, if you like 101 recipes, you'd probably also like The Amateur Gourmet and Simply Recipes. Both have a similarly wholesome, happy tone. And just try not to feel better after reading Amateur Gourmet's It Gets Better post.
posted by lunasol at 11:25 AM on July 30, 2012

Thirding Posie Gets Cozy. I love having this window into her world.

Also try The NieNie Dialogues, a blog by a woman who survived a terrible helicopter accident a few years ago. She's candid, kind, and brave. I'm touched by all the love that surrounds her.
posted by mochapickle at 11:52 AM on July 30, 2012

I think Tea and Cookies may fit the bill.
posted by hungrybruno at 12:05 PM on July 30, 2012

Joy the Baker
posted by constellations at 12:07 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not Without Salt
posted by in a dark glassly at 12:11 PM on July 30, 2012

Smitten Kitchen is a cooking blog with a bit of life stuff.

Young House Love is a DIY blog with happy stories about their non-DIY adventures.

Pacing the Panic Room is a photography/personal blog that wasn't always happy but turned into a story about the really nice life he and his wife were building their family. Of course, he just ended the blog literally this morning.

The Pioneer Woman's blog is a big mix of stuff, but the posts about her life are happy.
posted by that's how you get ants at 12:15 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Not Martha so hard.

101 Cookbooks makes me roll my eyes because her life is so perfect although geez, good for her! For similiar recipes with great writing and sweet photos but less smugness, I love Orangette.
posted by thesocietyfor at 12:49 PM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Luxirare, Smitten Kitchen, and Young House love (OMG John and the $herdog are too cute!!)

There's a lot of uplift at Unfuck Your Habitat, especially re: successes from/by people who are depressed/suffer from chronic pain. Plus, animated GIFs out the wazoo!

Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant site has lots of hilarious (mainly history-related) cartoons/comics.

Brick House, Brooklyn to West, and Manhattan Nest are all pretty awesome re: view into someone's life/home dec/deisgn/DIY.

OMG, the Momplex posts over at Ana-White.com are amazing! (They're building a duplex for their Moms in Alaska.) Start at the beginning.

Microcosm is a contemplative garden blog written by a woman in Albuquerque suffering from (I think) chronic fatigue syndrome.

Food blogs I enjoy (wildly varying tones): The Spice Spoon, Thursday Night Smackdown, The Danny/Gwynneth Project (start at the beginning), Homesick Texan.

Sandra Juto's lovely photo blog.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 12:51 PM on July 30, 2012

Rockstar Diaries

I kid you not... the category of "Mormon lifestyle/mommy blogs" very much checks off the boxes of positivity and happiness with everyday life and domesticity. Many of the suggestions above answers are this type of blog.

ps. I love that you asked this question, which has revealed that "empathy-happiness porn" is theme of my entire blogroll
posted by kitkatcathy at 1:01 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Simply Breakfast is just pix of breakfast & the occasional bit of text/link.
posted by knile at 1:01 PM on July 30, 2012

I really like Mimi Smartypants's blog (and this thread made me ferret it out again, thank you!). She writes about her everyday life, including her awesome nine-year-old daughter, and although she doesn't leave out the negative events her style is consistently funny, even when she's grouchy. For me it's a very reliable cheerer-uppet.
posted by daisyk at 1:12 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Forest Feast has beautiful food photography, and an author who lives in the forests of california.
posted by Kololo at 1:48 PM on July 30, 2012

I am a regular reader of lots of the blogs mentioned above. Here are a few more of the sites that make me happy:

Bon Appetempt - Tries out recipes and talks about her life, humorous and warm.

Mighty Girl - The site outlines her energetic and unique take on life. Founder of the Life List (which is more inspirational and less weird than it sounds).

Shutterbean - Focus on recipes but also has photo roundups of her daily life. Lovely observations.

Making It Lovely - Design blog with lots of inspiration and links to great stuff.

The Everywhereist - Travel and joy. Less photo focused but she has a great sense of humor and her reports from travels are very useful.
posted by Miss Matheson at 1:59 PM on July 30, 2012

Simple Desks is home office pr0n that should appeal to your design interests while fostering the illusion that the world is filled with organized, creative, and tasteful people leading calm and productive lives.
posted by Egg Shen at 2:17 PM on July 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Our lives couldn't be more dissimilar, but I adore Pleasant View Schoolhouse. Evangelical Christian mommy-blog, super delightful, gorgeous, not at all preachy.
posted by mollymayhem at 3:44 PM on July 30, 2012

Nthing Posie Gets Cozy and Angry Chicken!

I also love fabric designer Heather Bailey's blog and The Daily Muse.
posted by apricot at 6:51 PM on July 30, 2012

Our Best Bites is a Mormon Mommy Blog, but I like that they don't take themselves so seriously (unlike Not Without Salt, where every post is a personal breakthrough) and it's pretty light on the kid stuff.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:26 PM on July 30, 2012

Filth Wizardry
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:06 AM on July 31, 2012

Creature Comforts is like this for me. Just plain, undiluted prettiness.
posted by cymru_j at 4:32 AM on July 31, 2012

Chez Larsson
posted by mimo at 9:06 AM on July 31, 2012

I came here to say Posie Gets Cozy because every time I read that blog I can't believe that's her actual life. It's just so beautiful.

Oh She Glows is centered on vegan recipes, but don't let that stop you.
posted by valeries at 11:07 AM on July 31, 2012

I am similarly obsessed with a variety of shelter/lifestyle/Mormon mommy blogs. In a slightly different vein, might I suggest the Juniper Moon Farm blog? Susan Gibbs quit being a news producer to become a shepherd, and she and the folks she works with on her fiber farm post stuff all the time. It's not all "rah rah, isn't life the best?" but it does all have a strong undercurrent of "I am leading the life I'm meant to lead." Plus adorable animals! I don't care at all about knitting or gardening, but if you do, there's a lot of knitting and gardening content as well. I'm about as city mouse as they come, but this blog has me obsessed with reading about the noble joys of farm life.
posted by Charity Garfein at 5:01 PM on July 31, 2012

A Beautiful Mess
Cupcakes and Cashmere

I'm almost a little bit embarrassed to say that I read both of these blogs, like, daily. But they've inspired me to try new recipes, hair styles, and cocktails. So, I'm gonna give 'em a shout out.
posted by pinetree at 8:53 PM on July 31, 2012

These suggestions seem to be missing a whole category of well designed, happy making blogs: the party planner's blogs. My favorite example of this is Oh Happy Day. Check out her blogroll for some other suggestions.
posted by cali at 10:01 AM on August 1, 2012

I also like Fine Little Day, she's a Swedish photographer (who writes in English) and takes adorable pictures of decorating her summer cabin & her kids.
posted by cali at 10:11 AM on August 1, 2012

3191 Miles Apart. Two friends, one in Portland Maine, the other in Portland Oregon...Yep, 3191 Miles apart. The project started with a blog called Year of Mornings, which featured a single photograph from each of them, posted side by side. They had some amazing pairings, all done unintentionally. It turned into a book. Then they did a Year of Evenings, and now they're onto the weekly blog format. They have a few books and a quarterly magazine too.

I call this genre of projects "Simple Life People" -- where everything looks like lemonade in mason jars, with striped paper straws and hazy light.
posted by barnone at 10:14 AM on August 1, 2012

Humans of New York, a Tumblr by a guy who lost his finance job in Chicago, moved to New York and had to figure out what to do. He always loved taking pictures. So now he wanders the streets of my fair city taking pictures of people, pets, and anything else that delights him. He's got quite an eye. And after following his page for so long, I've noticed that I actually notice a lot more of the beauty in my fellow citizens.
posted by old_growler at 2:06 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Have you seen Savory Salty Sweet? The author is a great writer, so there's recipes and such, but each post also has a fun story about her family or cooking with her son. I'm not much of a cook at all but always love reading it and seeing the great photos. Oh, and the recipes themselves look so yummy they make me want to cook.
posted by piddix at 3:23 PM on August 1, 2012

I can't speak for design elements, since I read all blogs in my Google Reader feed, but here are my recommendations for blogs I enjoy reading/viewing that I believe otherwise fit your requirements.

She Used To Walk Fast is updated once a month and I look forward to it every month; it's an open letter that she writes to her (now) 2-year-old son and every month she chronicles the joys and challenges that come with raising him. FWIW, this is the only blog, ever, that I've started from the beginning and read every entry until I've been caught up. Maybe the fact that it's only updated once a month helped with that. :)

I also think that Dooce is interesting to read; she keeps things pretty upbeat, raising her 2 kids, and posts lots of pictures of them and her 2 dogs and her fashion-conscious cousin.

Somebody else already recommended Pioneer Woman and I wholeheartedly second that recommendation. Tons of pictures of her ranch life with a writing style that's peppy and funny and simple.

Dear Photograph isn't a blog so much as user-submitted photos that evoke nostalgia of memories from the submitter. Sometimes bittersweet, but worth it.

Moment Junkie is also user-submitted photographs, but this time it's beautifully-captured photographs of wedding moments. The caption of the site says it best: "The Best of Wedding Documentary Photography"
posted by lea724 at 9:31 AM on August 3, 2012

The Dainty Squid
She seems like she has such a great life, she's super cute and enthusiastic about things, and she takes great pictures. Also seconding Smitten Kitchen.
posted by katieanne at 12:30 PM on August 5, 2012

I'm a bit late to the party, but I always liked oh, hello friend: you are loved for this. Her blog is beautiful and she seems like a wonderful person.
posted by k8lin at 5:49 PM on August 8, 2012

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