tokyo recap!

wow you guys... long time no talk. it's been almost a month since i've posted and i'm so, so sorry!

but can you just check out this ramen real quick, and forgive me?


mmhmm, that's what i thought.

tokyo was so, so interesting. i was only there for 6 days (including traveling) and was working 7am-7pm, so didn't have too much time to explore the city like you should when you're in such an amazing place.

what i didn't get to do in sightseeing, i did make up for in eating ALL of the food. i'm very lucky to have such great coworkers that made sure i ate the things i was interested in, as well as some traditional japanese dishes.  i ate things i couldn't pronounce - this ramen, for one (tsukeman style, no idea what's in it) - and wouldn't have eaten under normal circumstances - beef gizzard, fish sausage (who knew?), so many raw types of sea creatures - and tried a lot of things that i didn't even know what they were. but my palate and my mind were so intrigued. i still am trying to remember and figure out what i ate.

the culture is so different from here - not at all in bad ways. everything in japan is about the group as a whole - not the individual. everything is clean, fast, convenient, efficient, and everyone is polite. exceedingly so. it made me feel very aware of american culture and norms, and how brash and rude we must seem, especially in this type of setting. drawing attention to yourself is a big no no. even on trains and train platforms, it's considered rude to talk on the phone or even have your sound on.

being blonde, i did get some attention from children - one told me i looked like Elsa from Frozen (i had my hair in its notorious side braid) - and i did get asked to have one photo taken with a group of teenagers. it was very different for me to be in a community where i was very clearly not from there. but it was refreshing in a way.

the day i got home, i researched prices on going back and also stopping in a few more asian cities. i almost feel like the city and culture gets more complex the longer you stay - but you want to stay to dig in deeper.

i'm counting the days until i can go back and give tokyo a proper run, but until then i'll be daydreaming about this ramen.

til next time,





ireland recap!

we're baaaack! i never truly understood what jet lag was until i spent 18 hours traveling home with an 8 hour time difference. i was also there for 14 days, so it's been quite the adjustment. it's like being hungover yet drunk and the same time. woof.

despite the jet lag , the experience was unforgettable. i spent the first week in dublin working (my company has an office there) and then TS came out to meet me and travel!

first of all, irish people are seriously the BEST - so welcoming and friendly. they're like the southerners of the UK - our cab drivers chatted the entire trip, and we never met a stranger at the pub. it made the experience that much better to know we were so welcomed. i think traveling with a red head didn't hurt, either ;)

my first week was spent mostly working, but i frequented many restaurants, pubs, shopping, and of course, the infamous temple bar neighborhood. the live music, crowded streets, and international crowd singing (mostly) american music was definitely a fun night. i was hurting the next day, but it was well worth it!

the second week i spent with TS, we checked some of the "touristy" spots in dublin off our list - guinness storehouse, dublin castle, trinity college library, the national gallery, saint patrick's cathedral, grafton street, jameson distillery, numerous pubs and bars. but we also just walked around, grabbed late afternoon coffees, took naps, and always ended the night with a pint at a pub. it was the kind of lifestyle i could definitely get used to.

we also took the irish rail to a small town on the west coast of ireland called Galway - it was basically a mini Dublin, but way closer to a lot of the scenic ireland coastline. we took a tour of the country, the burren landscape, and the infamous cliffs of moher. it was stunningly beautiful and hard to even really absorb in the moment. 

now, we're just getting back in the swing of things at home. it's been nice to relax and readjust. 

but then wait! i just found out i'm off to tokyo next week for work! i'll do my best to get some recipes up before then, but when i'm back it's all health food from now on to get ready for this kind of big thing called a wedding we have coming up :)

till then,

xoxo, #chefhaley


sorry i have been MIA, my friends! it's been a crazy couple months here at the #chefhaley household... so here are some updates for you!

yes, that's what that photo is - we got engaged! on my birthday, march 22nd, my best friend gave me the best present i've ever received after (you guessed it) making the best blueberry pancakes i've ever had in my life. i've been calling them engagement pancakes - they'll be on the blog at some point :) we're so excited to start this journey together, and i'm so so thankful for his love.

ever since then, we've been traveling - home to virginia, new places like seattle - and just got back from a wonderful family vacation in charleston, sc. our families threw us a surprise engagement dinner - aren't those foxes just the cutest?! - we spent plenty of time by the sea and pool, and I also found THE dress!! i was adamant about just going to "look" but low and behold, i found the one.

i promise you'll have more recipes coming your way soon! we're off to ireland later this month so i'll post a quick update then, but have some recipes scheduled throughout our trip. 

any wedding planning advice, please send them my way :) 

xoxo, #chefhaley