Adventure Day with Cam

During another slow friendship week, Cam and I had an adventure day planned! I took the day off from work on Friday so we could “hike” (walk) the Houston Hike and Bike Trail from our house down to Allen’s Landing, the original port of Houston that helped establish the town after hurricanes destroyed the ports in Galveston.

We meant to get an early start at about 7:30 AM. But does anyone wake up that early on their day off? Even the dogs didn’t wake us up, which is a miracle in and of itself. So we ended up heading out the house around 9:00 AM.

Luckily, Houston’s had a nice weather streak the last week, so it was only 65 degrees when we left! It felt great pretty much the whole way, although the sun comes down pretty hot here in the South. But neither of us were a gross puddle of sweat at the end, so after this summer that’s a pretty good achievement!


The path runs pretty much straight through the Heights before making a slight turn towards downtown. After you get past the Heights, the track actually turns into a scenic route in Houston, and with beautiful clear weather it was about as scenic as Houston can get, being a flat, swampy town.


We clipped along at a pretty good walking pace and made it the 5.6 miles into downtown in about 1.5 hours. Much faster than I expected it would be, actually. Cam and I always have a good time adventuring together, wherever we are. We chat and explore  and just generally enjoy each others company. Its relaxing for both of us, which shows you it is possible for two INTJs to like social company!


We ended at Allen’s Landing and grabbed a smoothie in Market Square Park before Ubering home – because one 5 mile walk is enough for the day! All-in-all it was a good morning adventure, quickly followed up by some much needed napping!


Social Relapse

So I was scheduled for two dates this week, but neither happened.

My first date called and had to cancel because of a migraine. As a fellow migraine sufferer, I understand that pain. She felt so bad, that it made me feel bad, and so we went around with “I’m sorry!” and “No, it’s okay, really!” for a few minutes before rescheduling for next week. But we did reschedule! She seems to travel a lot for work, so catching her in town has been an issue. But I’m trying to be flexible and be ready when she is!

That was Monday. By Tuesday, work had been super stressful, I was tired, and my allergies decided to make a sudden resurgence with the new cool weather. So I white lied a little and said I was sick and rescheduled my second date. I wasn’t feeling up to a jazz  bar on a Tuesday at 8 with work the next day and a pile of used tissues in my purse. So we rescheduled for lunch text Tuesday. I think daytime/dinner is better on weekdays for me probably.

I’ve been chatting with a few more people on both apps, but – again – no one is really willing to take the first move and ask to meet up. Stubbornly, I want someone else to ask me out first…


I don’t think that approach is working, though, so I may have to regroup and re-energize my social side to be the more forward one this weekend. So not my finest week by any means, but there you have it.

Reset for Round Two

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve taken the week to reset and just relax a little after a very busy first week of friend-dating. It ended up being a good week to do so, since work went haywire and I ended up working late a night or two.

I got about halfway through my new book (The Creeping Shadow, book four of the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud). Stayed in for movie night with Cam. Made a quick birthday stop for one of my old roommates. Took a trip up to visit my sister in College Station.

All in all a good lazy week, socially speaking! Although, relative to my life just a few short weeks ago, this was still pretty busy. I used to stay in the house all weekend, so I’m pleased with this progress.

However, now I have to build myself up for two second dates right away this week. I have dinner Monday night with a girl named Brittni, and jazz music at a bar on Tuesday with a girl named Hannah. I’m excited, but worried my INTJ took over a little too much.

Hopefully one more night of staying in and eating pizza will help pump me up for the week. Stay tuned for updates on Thursday!

Recharge Week

One of the best tips I saw when starting my friendship adventure was to dive right in and just schedule things immediately! Even schedule dates back-to-back. For someone as introverted as I am, this was good advice. I had to build myself up a LOT to be willing to be social in the first place, so I jam-packed a week with dates with new friends. Then, old friends started messaging me too! This resulted in one, epic, amazing, busy week.

Brooke’s Epic Week of Friendship:


Saturday – Mary Kay Party and Dinner with College Friends

We’ve all read a little about my party experience, but the same weekend two friends of mine from college were getting together for dinner. I’m really grateful to have made such good friends at Rice, because I’m truly terrible at keeping in touch. I think it’s that expat, move-a-lot mindset, where you get used to just letting things (and people) go. But it was so much fun to meet up after a few months! Not to mention I had the best sandwich at Local Foods on Kirby. (Short rib, aioli, baguette, need I go on?)

Sunday – Back-to-Back Hey! Vina Dates

These were my normal dates I wrote about last week. Good fun and a good introduction to lady-friend dating!

Monday and Tuesday – Just Work…

This isn’t that exciting, but it’s still dealing with people.

Wednesday – New Hey! Vina Date

Another awesome Vina date! We met up at Cyclone Anaya’s in City Center (Yum!). Since we were both introverts, there were some pauses in conversation but it did keep going. At the end of dinner she mentioned I was one of the first people she’d really connected with – and we have a second date next week! I do think we clicked and would really enjoy hanging out, so I’m excited it went both ways.

Thursday – Bills Game Out with Cam

Did you know the Buffalo Bills have a home bar in Houston? Christian’s Tailgate on Bagby always has a Bills Backers event when they play. It’s so much fun because everyone shows up in gear, and there’s a regular who puts on a pretty good show anytime they score. Although Texans are still my No. 1, Bills fans are a lot of fun and Cam enjoys it. Plus I didn’t have to cook on a Thursday night. Hooray!

Friday – Dinner with a Friend from High School

So one of the great things about blogging so far is that it’s helping me reconnect with old friends. Once of my best friends from high school in Qatar is living in Houston now. We never really reconnected when she moved back to town. I could blame a lot of things, but it’s mostly being lazy and anti-social on my part. But she commented on my blog post on Facebook, and we met up for dinner. It was really amazing to get back together with someone I was so close with in school. Even though we’ve both grown up and changed a lot, it was easy to talk and just relax. So thank you, Blog!

Saturday – Shopping, Brunch, and a Double Date

Saturday was so busy! Cam received some good news from his job, so we both decided on “Treat-yo-self” rewards. Mine, of course, was shopping. I met up with Fallon for the morning and shopped til I dropped. (While also staying under budget. Shocking, I know!)

Another friend of mine had asked me out to lunch, too. We hit up Oporto for some amazing Portuguese food. We originally met because our men are best friends. I’m not sure if we’d ever really hung out just the two of us, although we had certainly co-commiserated at a good number of awkward parties. I’m so glad she planned lunch, though! We always have a great time hanging out together, and we should do so more, sans male counterparts.

Since I had stolen Fallon away for the morning, her husband and Cam were busy playing video games together virtually, which I think is the weirdest thing. When they want to hang out, they have to do so in separate homes because each needs his own system. They decided we should double-date that night to Dave&Busters. I always forget how much fun that place is! We had a great time, and even left with a stuffed Captain America for the pups! (Check out my Instagram for some Tuck and Cap cuddles.)

Sunday – Crash…

I fit so squarely into the Myers Briggs INTJ category that it isn’t funny. I must have solo downtime to recharge myself. By the time Sunday rolled around I was pretty drained. I had a date scheduled for Tuesday, but (fortunately?) she had to reschedule. So, I’ve been taking the week to let myself recharge, spend some time with Cam and the pups, and catch up on some reading.

I’ll be visiting my sister over the weekend (and her adorable new hedgehog), and I already have two second dates scheduled for Monday and Tuesday! It may turn into another busy week, so for now its book and bubble bath time!

Getting Digits

I mentioned in this last post, but i feel like I must reiterate.


I haven’t had a first date since the eleventh grade when Cam asked me out. All my friends were made either by being randomly assigned to live with me freshmen year, or by being stuck in hellish classes and commiserating together. I haven’t had to ask for someone’s phone number without MUCH preface and a scholastic reason in almost a decade. Add on to that a healthy dose of awkward introverted-ness and analysis paralysis, and I make an AWESOME conversationalist.

This makes cold-starting conversations with strangers on an app fairly difficult. Apparently most people on the app feel that way too, since about 1 out of 4 starts a conversation with me first. About the first four days after signing up, despite matching at least four times, I couldn’t get a message out. Literally analysis paralysis: “No, that sounds dumb.” “No, that’s trying too hard.” “Stupid.” “Weird.” “Stalker.” “Blaaaaaah!”

And then someone sent me this message: “Hey! Cute dogs!”

Ok, that’s a harmless message, but it was a total ice breaker for this whole process for me. I didn’t have to be witty, or funny, or impressive on a first message. So I started chatting with several people on the apps! Not all panned out, but I set up a couple of “dates!” As Fallon said, it’s kind of awesome getting to date while married (while not cheating on my husband).

Hey! Vina Date #1: Ramen and Writing

My first date was over writing with a fellow anime fan and aspiring writer. This was (what I assume is) a typical first date. We had pretty good conversation and some good food (seafood ramen at Soma Sushi on Washington gets so many stars), avoided each other’s direct gaze most of the date, and left saying maybe we should double date with our husbands next time at another ramen place. It was good, fun, and normal. A+ in my book.

Hey! Vina Date #2: Beer and Bibimbap

My second date was with a cool girl working on her Master’s here in town. We met at Republic Diner + Sojubang for Korean food and beers. A Live Oak Hef and a bowl of bibimbap, and I can be a nice, normal, chatty person. We hung out for two hours at the bar talking about school, our dogs, and annoying people. My favorite subjects! We’ve even got a follow up date to a jazz bar in another week!

So there you have it! We’re off to a good start!

How to Make Friends

Hello again, blogosphere! So obviously I was not very good about keeping this up. Since my last blog post, we adopted a second dog (Barley), I’ve celebrated my one-year anniversary at my “new” job, and time in general has flown by. While all of that sounds kind of exciting (mostly the dog – pretty much just the dog), I started to get in an anime-binge-watching, The-Office-rewatching, reading-too-much slump. I was still hanging out with my best friend, Fallon, and Cam’s always down for new activities, but that was about the extent of my social circle. That’s normally enough for me, but I started to feel a little lonely and decided I need some more girl friends. Perhaps it was the day I watched eight hours of anime alone. That probably did it.

And so began Brooke’s Adventure in Friendship! I started slow and joined a book club at our local branch of the library. That was pretty good until at the second meeting it was still just me in the librarian. Two does not a book club make. Especially when one talks way more than the other (two guesses which one that is).

After some research on the all-knowing Buzzfeed, it turns out this is not just my own introverted weirdo problem. I signed up for two apps geared to helping people meet new friends: Bumble BFF and Hey! Vina. Both work like Tinder – you make a profile, then scroll through other people’s profiles shamelessly judging them from just a few pictures and 0-3 sentences. Swipe right for yes, swipe left for no. You and the other person both have to swipe right on each other to match, then you can start a chat.

To preface my profiles, which I’ve included in full below, I figured it was better to let the freak flag fly early. Making friends is tricky enough, might as well shoot straight and let everyone know I’m a huge nerd who loves anime, the renaissance fest, and obsessively reading.

The Profiles 

Bumble BFF: Bumble is actually a dating app that has started a BFF option – you set your account to “BFF” interests to match with same-sex friends. It let’s you upload up to six photos and write a short blurb about yourself. You can set a desired age range and distance from yourself. I went for 22-30, within 10 miles. Houston is SO big, that I wanted to go ahead and avoid the “Oh, I don’t know if I’d be up for driving that far” debate.

Blurb: Traveler and foodie tech editor from Houston. Loves books, food, museums, anime, and adventuring. Proud puppy parent of two. Husband is going into football mode, so in need of some girl time!

Hey! Vina: Vina was designed by women in Silicon Valley who, surrounded by mostly men, wanted to meet some more female friends. The app is for platonic lady friendships only, and seems to have a larger age range than Bumble. Vina users take a short personality quiz (coffee vs. wine, indoor vs. outdoor, etc.). Your responses help determine your matches and display on your profile. There are also more things to fill out, like your blurb, five emojis that describe you, guilty pleasure, and what you love most about yourself.

However, you cannot restrict your age range or distance from yourself in Vina – so some more savvy filtering is required on your part if you want close geographical matches or a restricted age range.


Blurb: Native Houstonian and former expat living in the Heights. Looking to meet some other smart ladies with wanderlust and a big appetite! Love checking out local breweries, new eats, anything with sweets, and local museums and theaters. Spend too much time binging Netflix, books, and anime. Traveling is my favorite hobby – and eating of course!

Personality: Wine or coffee, Work to Live, Indoor or Outdoor, Introvert, Daytime, Have a Plan.

My Guilty Pleasure: Good old chocolate!

What I Love About Myself: Insatiable curiosity for other places and cultures.

And there you have it! Wish me luck, send good vibes, say some prayers, and off we go! Check back for updates on my lady-friend dating life, and my absolute lack of game.

Netflix (and PS4 and Books) and Chill

So I was doing OK with posting, but then I either forget to take a camera to document the exciting things we do – or we don’t do exciting things. So I figured I’d share some of our lazy favorites:

TV: I like TV. Cam likes TV. We’re a “Netflix and Chill” kind of family. Curling up on our sectional with the pup is definitely a favorite past-time at the Smith household. We’ve been watching The Voice together, because – to be honest – I have a minor (read: MAJOR) celeb crush on Blake Shelton. Its an easy show to put on while we cook and relax to. We’re recording lots of more exciting shows – but Cam is too nice and lets me dominate the television with reality shows. We were attempting to rewatch all of That 70s Show for a while, but the later seasons hit a bit of a lull. I finally made it to season 8, but I think Cam has tuned out of it.

On the TV Pending List:

  • Blindspot – our DVR is getting filled up with this show. I’ve heard good things.
  • Blacklist – Cam still has to catch up on last season, which hasn’t been free anywhere until recently and we’re cheap.
  • Minority Report – if anyone has tried this, please tell! We liked the Tom Cruise original, and figured this would be worth a shot, but yet again it’s chilling on our DVR.

Video Games: Cam has been binge-playing Destiny for a few solid months. And binge-watching other people play it on YouTube. And reading about it on Reddit. And waiting for expansions. Do I need to go on? Luckily he plays with my best friend’s husband, so I get some good girl company while the hubbies ignore us (e.g., my awesome new cookie jar from last girls’ night! See it on my Instagram!).

On the Video Games Pending List:

  • More Destiny. Duh.

Books: So I started to attempt the Silmarillion for the first time in a decade, and definitely made it further this time, but still needed a break. One of my friends lent me The Magicians by Lev Grossman, and I’m hooked – even though I’m just 40 pages in. If you’re looking for a grown up version of Harry Pottter/Narnia, 10/10 would recommend. After Tolkien, it was a bit of an adjustment because Grossman’s writing style is much more modern/colloquial, but none the less sophisticated.

On the Books Pending List (which, let’s be real, is infinite so here’s just a bite):

  • The Belgariad by David Eddings — purchased and in the nightstand-queue!
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman — after Neverwhere, I’m itching for another Neil Gaiman book. (FYI Dad, you must try!)
  • The Hollow Boy (Book 2 of Lockwood & Co.) by Jonathan Stroud — super obsessed with this YA horror series, which for those of you who know me well will find as a total surprise. I can’t sleep after COMMERCIALS for horror movies, yet – just for Stroud – I can handle this series.
  • Books 2 and 3 from the W.A.R.P Series by Eoin Colfer — perhaps not as immediately enthralling as Artemis Fowl, I still couldn’t put the first book down until I’d read the entire thing.
  • Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix — the Abhorsen series is for sure in my Top Five Books list, so when Barnes & Noble alerted me that a new Nix book was coming out, you know that went straight on this list. No questions asked.

We’ve made a few ventures out of the house to see friends, have dinner, walk with the Tuck monster. But sometimes it’s just nice to homebodies.