Articles and items found on the web to share that are about happiness and make you smile.


Here’s something that will make you smile

Courtesy of some members who subscribe to the happiness blog. They’re currently on a vacation in Greece and came upon this store.


Small Acts of Kindness go a long way

In “Day 18” of Don’t Be a Cow! we talk about simple, small acts of kindness. Often we think of being kind or generous as something HUGE. Think Philanthropy or Anonymous donations that fund a museum.

But, small acts of kindness can go a long way. Maybe it’s just making a co-worker a cup of tea or remembering a relative’s birthday – even when it’s just an online card. 🙂

Remember the Ice Water challenge? This article will give you an idea of the difference it actually made.

This link to Goalcast and this campaign is proof that every gesture, no matter how small, can have a major impact on those in need of help.

The image of a man getting a bucket of ice water dumped on his head


Being Happier will help you live longer

We know you’ll enjoy this article that CNN has recently updated. Aside from the info about the happiest countries, there is some good advice, particularly a theory developed by psychologist Martin Seligman. He believes it will enable well-being, which some experts argue is even a better goal than happiness. We feel that well-being IS a definite component of happiness. 🙂 You’ll find many of the topics and ideas we express with Don’t Be a Cow! appear in his theory.


How to Be Happy? A Nearly 90-Year-Old Has Some Advice

Judith Viorst, the author of iconic children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, has never loved her life more than she does now. She’s also almost 90.


Don’t Be A Cow and Follow the herd says Chicago Trib writer

We love that he is sharing our advice. BE HAPPIER. Don’t follow the herd. And have a happy Mother’s day.


Don’t be a cow and follow the herd. Stay home on Mother’s Day.

John Kass

John KassContact ReporterChicago Tribune

If you’re thinking about going out for Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday, gathering the siblings, in-laws and their kids to make the special mom feel special, you must do something first.

You must plan. Otherwise, Mother’s Day brunch will be a disaster.

And as a veteran of many such brunches, and as an American of Greek descent whose DNA affords him an insider’s perspective on the ins and outs of brunches and “relaxed family dining,” I have simple rules you should follow.

Everything will be perfection, don’t worry.

Before you gather your wife and kids in the car, with everyone properly dressed in their Sunday best, and with Mother’s Day flowers in hand, have them stand out on the driveway to take pictures.

While the kids are preoccupied with the only things they truly love — their phones — walk out on your lawn. They won’t notice you.

Now cut a big chunk of sod. Put it next to your lips.

And eat it.

Now feed some sod to your kids and more sod to your wife, since this is Mother’s Day for her, too, and to your mom, since, naturally, she’s your mom. Whether they like it or not.

Rush everyone back inside to brush their teeth. You can’t have gloppy eggs Benedict or “picked over” smoked salmon or bad steam table potatoes if you have sod dirt on your lips. Wipe that sod off. Rinse. Repeat.

And later, while at the crowded restaurant, be calm.

Don’t get upset (as usual) when all the in-laws show up late (as usual) and cop an attitude because you haven’t been seated yet.

Just remain calm as the extended family is jammed into the waiting area, also known as Mother’s Day Purgatory. I prefer the bar.

But that’s crowded too. Everyone sweats, the kids are hungry, and they’re fidgety. And a few announce they hate everything, and Grandma says, “Will you please have them put down those phones?!” and the kids stare at you.

Everyone hates you now. So just sit quietly. And when you’re told that it will take 45 minutes to an hour to be seated — even though you had reservations — don’t cry.

Merely pass out some extra sod for everyone to enjoy. Chew it. Chew it good. Use the back teeth, the molars, and chew like a mighty herbivore in a herd of mighty critters.

Notice your wife sitting there, in Mother’s Day Purgatory, whispering to herself, “Happy (bleeping) Mother’s Day,” or your mom; and then notice your sisters-in-law mouthing the same dang thing.

Happy bleeping Mother’s Day.

Eat some more sod, and say loudly so all may hear: “Moooooo!”

Because you’re cattle. Because you’re livestock. And you know it.

And if you’re going out for brunch on Mother’s Day, you’re nothing but livestock herded halfway to hell. How long will you wait for your table?

How long would it take to count all the grains of sand in all the beaches in the world?

“Oh, if only I had the wits to listen when John Kass warned me about Mother’s Day,” you might say, waiting to pay around $200 per person for the Mother’s Day brunch at the Peninsula hotel.

Moo cow. Moo.

You herded yourselves quite willingly, because you read something in the paper or on a website on “20 Great Places for Mother’s Day Brunch!!!”

But what will that get you? Nothing. It won’t even get you the Dutch Baby Apple Pancake.


No one in the restaurant business would go to Mother’s Day brunch for the thick, gloppy hollandaise and the cold toast and eggs as dry as your grandfather’s scalp.

Don’t go out for Mother’s Day. Are you crazy?

Go out the day before or days and days after and say it’s a Mother’s Day brunch. Your mom or wife will feel better.

I’m not going out. Because I hate being herded like cattle, in politics or food.

And the best chef in Chicago, Michelin star winner Carrie Nahabedian of Brindille (my favorite restaurant) isn’t going out on Mother’s Day either.

At Brindille, she’s having a Mother’s Day tea on Saturday. But it’s sold out. Sorry.

So book another tea on another date. If you haven’t the exquisite French-influenced desserts crafted by Brindille’s master pastry chef Craig Harzewski, you simply don’t know what you’re missing. Craig is a genius, and he’s from Buffalo.

Nahabedian’s family thought about going out Sunday morning. Her mom is 90.

“But then I thought, ‘Oh, no, wait a minute,’ I better cook for the family at home,” she said. “I just cooked two weeks ago for them at Easter, so what the heck?”

My easy brunch-at-home trick is to get a good coffeecake and serve killer Bloody Marys, but not from a mix. Make them from scratch.

And while they’re drinking, you make lunch:

Mother’s Day Roast Chicken and Potatoes ala Kasso. Don’t ask me for the recipe. I don’t have one. Just use the basic elements of all life: lemon, garlic, olive oil, pepper, salt, oregano.

Parboil the red potatoes, quarter, toss in the seasonings, in an aluminum pan. Put the pan on the bottom rack of the grill, with the live coals on either side.

On the top rack, set up chickens for, yes, Beer Can Chicken. Or go with roast lamb. The meat fat drips into the potatoes and bastes them.

It doesn’t taste like grass.

Give your wife some flowers, thank your mom for giving you life, watch some home movies when you and the kids were little. Laugh with each other. Enjoy each other.

And don’t forget:

Happy Mother’s Day.

Listen to “The Chicago Way” podcast with John Kass and Jeff Carlin — at

[email protected]

Twitter @John_Kass


Or click here:

Doing Nothing: Resisting the attention economy

We’re all getting it all the time. Here’s how to focus on not focusing on everything:

Connecting your Kids to Nature better

We recently came across this article on the Mom Blog Society, and being huge fans of Mother Nature, wanted to share these great tips.

By the way, not only are are big fans of Nature, but with every sale of a Don’t Be a Cow! book, a portion of the profit goes toward Lands and Trees Unlimited, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation (wise use) of our nation’s land and trees. Think about it…land and trees serve as more than America’s natural resources…they help us create memories that last forever.

“How to get your kids closer to nature”

On the Science Behind Happy Relationships

Excerpts from an article in Time Magazine: 

“The most important thing we’ve learned … is that the secret to loving relationships and to keeping them strong and vibrant over the years, to falling in love again and again, is emotional responsiveness,” says Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist in Ottawa and the author of several books, including Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.

That responsiveness, in a nutshell, is all about sending a cue and having the other person respond to it. “The $99 million question in love is, ‘Are you there for me?’” says Johnson. “It’s not just, ‘Are you my friend and will you help me with the chores?’ It’s about emotional synchronicity and being tuned in.”

In happy relationships, partners try to empathize with each other and understand each other’s perspectives instead of constantly trying to be right. Criticism and rejection — often met with defensiveness and withdrawal — are exceedingly distressing, and something that our brain interprets as a danger cue.

“small things often.” 

One easy place to start is to find ways to compliment your partner every day, says Cole — whether it’s expressing your appreciation for something they’ve done or telling them, specifically, what you love about them. This exercise can accomplish two beneficial things: First, it validates your partner and helps them feel good about themselves. And second, it helps to remind you why you chose that person in the first place.

And third, get our book, “Don’t Be a Cow! An Interactive Guide to True Happiness! 

The full article is entitled: The Science Behind Happy Relationships, by Sarah Treleaven. And here’s an interesting video on the subject.