Work trip to Asia

Last week I packed up and headed to Hong Kong and Tokyo for work. My new global role is taking me to some pretty interesting places! I had never been to either city and enjoyed both…although I didn’t have as long in Tokyo as I would have liked.

Although there is a direct flight from Dallas to Hong Kong, we took a route that stopped in Tokyo so we could enjoy premium economy seats. This is the face I make when I get off of a 12 hour flight, only to get on another 5 hour flight. (Having a coworker with access to all of the airport lounges isn’t the worst though).img_2687

We got in to Hong Kong late Saturday night, so we had Sunday to explore before kicking into work mode. Explore we did!

We started in the Stanley area. We took a double decker bus around the island…it was quite the experience.img_2703img_2699

Then we hit up the Peak.img_2709img_2714img_2720img_2713img_2716img_6224

That evening we met another coworker for dinner and drinks on the Kowloon side. We caught the light show!img_6226img_6230img_6231

The next three days were full of work, and of course food.img_2725img_6251img_6248

My boss was a regular patron of Mickey D’s when he came to HK last year so we couldn’t resist poking some fun at him. =)img_2726

Wednesday afternoon we packed up and headed to Tokyo…not before hitting up another airport lounge first.img_2735img_2738

We were pretty exhausted upon arrival, but not tired enough to skip a delicious ramen meal.img_2746

Our office in Tokyo is awesome, and has fantastic views. We spent the first half hour getting things from the vending machines and taking photos.img_2748img_2749img_2752

Peach Coke…not as bad as it sounds.img_2753

We had a fun dinner at a traditional yakitori restaurant. It was so much food!!!img_2756img_2757img_6341img_6343img_6345img_2763

Friday I had a half day of work and a sushi lunch before heading to the airport for my journey home. I had a great time in both Hong Kong and Tokyo and I’m looking forward to going back!img_6354img_6356



St Patrick’s Day

Our friends asked if we wanted to act like young, irresponsible twenty-somethings and go to the St Patrick’s Day block party this year. Of course we accepted. Partayyyyyimg_2303

We rolled in and got going. Green beer!img_2309img_2307

Just us and thousands of our closest friends, hanging out.img_2316img_2326img_2323

Tiffany had a bucket of…something.img_2311

We got to dancin’.img_2321img_2328

We left around 4pm and headed home. We’re not feeling super great today but it wasn’t quite as dramatic as it could have been. Fun!

PS and GS Winter parties

Louise and Celine both had their school holiday parties on the same day. It’s always a cute little affair: they sing songs in English and French (and Spanish and Chinese for Louise), do a little dance, make a craft, and eat a snack. I also take the opportunity to give the teachers and helpers their Christmas presents.

First up was Celine. img_1236-1img_1254-1img_1255-1


She made a snowman craft and completely ignored her snack, except for the blueberry muffin (from which she picked out all of the blueberries).img_1242-1

I went back in the early afternoon for Louise’s party. I was running 10 minutes late and when I walked in the cafeteria, I saw Louise’s face go from disappointed sadness to elation. Talk about mom guilt…now I know I can’t miss any of these things!img_1256

Louise’s snowman craft was a little more intense to put together and pretty much fell apart as soon as the party was over. Good thing she totally forgot about it.img_1249-1

We’re having an issue with our kids smuggling toys and things in to school every day, and on this day Louise’s piece of contraband was a roll of stickers she received from her Aunts Liz and Katie. She had clearly already communicated her prize to her classmates, because they crowded around her after snack time and stuck out their hands for a sticker. Louise with the POWER…I have to say, she yielded it well.img_1251-1img_1252

It made for a crazy day going to their school twice in one day (plus pickup and dropoff), but they were super cute!

Celine’s pumpkin party

As I was thinking back on when Louise was in Pre-K 3, I remembered one mom who invited a bunch of us over with the kids to get to know each other. It was such a nice gesture – and smart, because we’re all still friends! I decided I wanted to do something similar for Celine’s class since there were so many new families joining DIS. Mike and I chose to host a pumpkin decorating party at our house, and our friends whose daughter is in Celine’s class offered to co-host. It was a fun time and especially nice to start getting to know all of the families!

I didn’t want to go overboard with prepping for the party, but of course I did. I bought a thousand flowers at Trader Joe’s (and a few at Central Market) and made a few arrangements to go on each of the tables.7A58DA25-916F-4F62-A4C5-3C4AAB84256E2D7C8375-276C-4447-9107-C12142EBC8F5C59FF1BD-417E-4D35-AA7E-88059396D79C

I already had the big pumpkin from last year’s pumpkin party (see pics here), so I threw that up on the mantel with the pumpkin-filled lanterns I borrowed from my mom. I also had our fun fall decor on our front porch.img_0214

I had some leftover candy melts from Louise’s art party, so I made some monster Rice Krispie treats!B3A24173-33CB-4141-BE3D-1DC03F766F53

I think everyone had a good time, and Celine passed out in a chair at 7pm…so I think it was a success!345C7996-3BB0-4043-B739-3E620AA93545C11B59AD-2DCC-45FD-89F2-90BEAB1D7B47


A couple of weekends ago, Mike and I took a road trip to Austin to go to Austin City Limits music festival. We realized on our ride down that it had been ten years since we were there last!

We were lucky to have VIP tickets, so we dropped our stuff at my brother’s house and headed over on Friday afternoon.113698F9-FB48-4F53-87AF-2A858345E06BBAB3C2EF-9920-4719-AEE2-34EBFA99A70DE62F71E9-902B-47F9-B9D2-6213C86C62D2

We beelined for the VIP section and started sippin’ drinks and eatin’ snacks.EF5C0568-01B8-4814-8007-17B13C9F1AD71DD291A3-AA47-400C-AF0D-464A630D63B548855864-84C9-4C2B-A4DC-3232186B786E

We didn’t really have any bands we were dying to see except Vulpeck and The XX, both of whom were on Friday. It was pretty hot for Vulfpeck!86F529FE-38AB-4F7A-B5B0-3EC76349388C63DA7632-C3B4-4378-90A3-1B0EDF043F12

We retreated back to the VIP area after Vulfpeck to cool down, hydrate…and to get my hair braided because I’m basic like that.00D5C4EA-74BA-4A9B-862D-505F9F0348678043B5A4-C4AE-42C1-8C58-B6FA6B1741CC4E7D9D01-8AF1-46B2-AD17-90678C10E12B

We hit up The XX and then headed back to Rusty’s for the night. My shoes caused some of the gnarliest blisters I’ve ever had, but I did not take any pictures of that because gross.85A9F5F4-2DDF-4569-9D5D-52D42467487D

Saturday Mike and I grabbed breakfast, taped up my pathetic blistered foot, lounged for a couple of hours, and then headed back to ACL to watch the TX/OU game on the screen in the VIP area.185C0659-FFD1-44D7-B94F-6D0D1D4C136B8C02DB58-B48A-4658-A464-B11DEC3965C3

We popped out briefly to watch Chance the Rapper, but pretty much spent the day in the VIP area. We also forgot to eat dinner which made for a rough Sunday morning!EAA9419E-BA82-4553-B1B3-3E3DDEC802473AE1F8BE-D787-4AB1-A31D-CC0A8682F70DC0A97D36-A1CA-4E97-8810-414E586FCF5E

We took Rusty and Jess to brunch and then headed back to Dallas. It was a whirlwind trip but super fun!

Haydel European Vacation

Way back in December, my work planned a big meeting in London in May. I (along with many of my co-workers) quickly started scheming for a way to extend the trip for some fun. Through quite a bit of planning, I worked it out for Mike to meet me in London on the last day of my work trip and head to Munich together for four days. We did some serious coordination with both sets of parents: we had Mike’s parents flying in to watch the girls for a few days, followed by my parents taking the reins for the next three days. We are so grateful that our girls have such amazing grandparents that could fill in for us while we were gone!

My trip to London was a whirlwind, full of big meetings and lots of post-work team bonding.

Tuesday: London
Steps walked: 15,288 / 8.73 miles

I had Indian food for the first time at a delightful place called Dishoom:5.24.17 DishoomIMG_7643

Wednesday: London
Steps walked: 7,750 / 4.49 miles

We had a pub crawl the night before I left for Germany, which started out as great fun and devolved into a little too much imbibing and not enough eating food. However, it was fantastic bonding time and I got to put a bunch of faces to names of my coworkers across the globe. Literally – Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, London, and of course Dallas were all represented!5.24.17 Pub crawlIMG_7651

Thursday: London –> Munich
Steps walked: 6,617 / 3.58 miles

The next day I dragged myself out of bed and finished up work meetings, then headed to the airport. I met Mike there and we headed to our hotel in Munich, The Platzl hotel.IMG_7670IMG_7674

We got in around 8pm, dropped off our stuff, and headed to dinner. We jumped right in to Bavarian food with schweinshaxe, or roasted pork knuckle, and beer!5.25.17 Germany 15.25.17 Germany 2IMG_7678

We were pretty beat after that, so we went back to our hotel room and went to bed.

Friday: Munich
Steps walked: 14,489 / 8.31 miles

Friday was one of our free days, so we spent it sleeping in and walking around the main areas of Munich, taking selfies. Places like: Marienplatz!IMG_0790

Englischer Garten!IMG_7719

…other places!IMG_7696IMG_7706IMG_0791IMG_0767

We stumbled across the Chinesischer Turm beer garden while we were in the park…so naturally, we stopped for beer and brats. IMG_0769IMG_0770

After lunch, we decided to head back towards our hotel and grab a beer at the legendary Hofbräuhaus before taking a break and getting ready for dinner.IMG_7722

We ended up planning things perfectly, as it started raining/hailing not two minutes after we returned to our hotel room, and it stopped about 20 minutes before we headed out for dinner. Our dinner was at Schwarzreiter – I wanted a nice dinner to celebrate Mike’s birthday and this place definitely fit the bill!IMG_7733IMG_7732

The food was delicious, but to be honest we were a little tipsy from the afternoon beers and so everything was wonderful! You could choose a meal with anywhere from four to seven courses. We ended up choosing five courses each, from different menus, so we could sample each other’s food. They were very relaxed with the delivery of the courses and our dinner ended up being nearly four hours long! Luckily we had no other plans that evening and left full and happy.

Saturday: Linderhof castle, Plansee lake, Füssen, Neuschwanstein castle
Steps walked: 19,190 / 10.81 miles

We awoke Saturday morning ready for a full day of driving around. We set up a semi-private tour with Pure Bavaria Tours to drive us to Linderhof and Neuschwanstein castles. Our tour guide, Andy, was great, and customized the trip to what we wanted.

Our first stop out of the gate was Linderhof castle. It took us a little over an hour to drive there, and once we arrived we hiked up to the castle and took a tour of the inside (no pictures were allowed). King Ludwig II of Bavaria had it built in the style of mid-18th century Rococo – aka Versailles. (Yes I had to look that up on Wikipedia because I already have forgotten the details). As you could imagine, it was very ornate, with gold leaf walls and lots of small porcelain vases. Ludwig was also a fan of peacocks and swans, so there was a lot of that going on as well – including an ENORMOUS swan fanning around outside. The outside of the castle was equally as beautiful, even more so as it was framed by the Alps.IMG_0799IMG_7747IMG_7758

There may have been some frolicking.IMG_0785

Ok…maybe just me.IMG_0798

After a quick snack, we got back in the van for our next stop. Originally we were going to look at some churches, but Andy suggested driving across the border to Austria to see Plansee lake. We opted for that – although it was super cold, the lake was beautiful! We were also a little delighted at how easy it was to hop on over to another country for an hour or so.IMG_08005.25.17 Germany 5

Following our Austrian excursion, we headed back to Germany. We took a quick stop in the town of Füssen before heading to Schwangau to see Neuschwanstein. Füssen was cute but pretty much there for tourists, so we grabbed a couple of snacks, took a couple of pics, and were on our way.IMG_0788IMG_0801

And we were off to Neuschwanstein! Fun fact: “schwan” in German means swan. This Ludwig II character was seriously into birds.

We started by hiking up to Hohenschwangau castle, which is basically across the street from Neuschwanstein and much, much older. I think it was built in the 14th century, versus Neuschwanstein was built in the 19th century (thanks again, Wikipedia). We didn’t go inside Hohenschwangau but the views from it were amazing.IMG_77875.25.17 Germany 4

Once again, our tour guide pulled through. Andy asked us if we wanted to hike off-trail to get a view of both castles, and we of course said yes. We hiked for probably 30 minutes or so to the ruins of an old castle, and through the trees you could see both Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. It was pretty cool.IMG_0804

This is the plaque commemorating the castle’s ruins.5.25.17 Germany 3

We hiked back down and caught the bus up to Neuschwanstein. First we walked across the (rickety!!) bridge to get THE picture with the castle.IMG_7798IMG_7800IMG_7807

Then we took a tour of the inside which was quick but very interesting. Ludwig II was inspired by different styles and incorporated many of them into various rooms at the castle.

On our way down we could see Hohenschwangau, so we took some pics. It was really picturesque…you could see why all of the kings wanted to live here!5.25.17 Germany 65.25.17 Germany 7

We were pretty beat after twelve hours of sightseeing, so when we got back to Munich we had a quick dinner of schnitzel (and beer, of course) at the Hofbräuhaus before crashing in bed.5.25.17 Germany 85.25.17 Germany 9

Sunday: Dachau, Munich
Steps walked: 12,256 / 6.87 miles
We woke up on Sunday morning ready for another day of walking around. We set up a guided tour of Dachau concentration camp with Radius Tours. We met them at the train station (hauptbahnhof) and took the ~15 minute train ride to Dachau. Our tour guide, Jeff, gave us a quick history of the origination of Dachau as we rode the train. When we got off, we took a bus to the camp and started the tour.

I’ve been to Dachau before but haven’t had a guided tour, so it was nice to have someone guide us around and provide context beyond what we could read on the placards. The part that affected me the most the first time around was the crematorium, and Mike felt the same way as we walked through. After about three hours, we were ready to leave.5.25.17 Dachau 15.25.17 Dachau 25.25.17 Dachau 35.25.17 Dachau 4

After getting back from Dachau, we had lunch at an old beer hall called Zum Dürnbräu, which was recommended by our tour guide from the day before.5.25.17 Germany 105.25.17 Germany 11

We had signed up for a walking tour of the Third Reich in Munich following Dachau, but we were so exhausted that we decided instead to take a nap before heading out for dinner. We decided on Haxnbauer since it seemed to always be busy and it was less than one block away. Good choice – it was Mike’s favorite meal and I enjoyed it as well! I thought we took pics but I cannot find them.

As usual, we ended our night at Hofbräuhaus.5.25.17 Germany 125.25.17 Germany 13

Monday: Munich
Steps walked: 8,978 / 4.94 miles
Our last full day in Germany was another free day, so we started by going to the Viktualienmarkt for breakfast and caffeine.5.25.17 Munich 15.25.17 Munich 2 5.25.17 Munich 3

We mulled over what to do next and decided on Münchner Residenz, the former home of Bavarian monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach. Much of the palace was destroyed during WWII, but two rooms remained that were pretty awe-inspiring: the The Hall of Antiquities (Antiquarium), built between 1568-1571, and the Ancestral Gallery.

The Antiquarium was a surprise to us. We turned the corner and both visibly gasped. The room itself is enormous and completely adorned with frescoes, sculptures, and paintings. It was impressive what has remained intact over centuries!5.25.17 Munich 45.25.17 Munich 125.25.17 Munich 55.25.17 Munich 6

The Ancestral Gallery was also interesting because of the sheer effort the Wittelsbach family put into legitimizing their line. So many paintings of the family members, and a family tree that starts with the gods.And of course, gold leaf.5.25.17 Munich 75.25.17 Munich 8

After the Residence, we did a little bit more sightseeing before heading back to the Viktualienmarkt for lunch – more sausages and french fries. And beers!5.25.17 Munich 105.25.17 Munich 95.25.17 Munich 115.25.17 Munich 135.25.17 Munich 14

After that, we ended up going to bed a bit early to prepare for our long day of travel back to Dallas the next day.

Munich was awesome and we were so lucky to be able to spend a few days there together. It was hard to pick our favorite part of the trip because each piece was unique and interesting in its own way. I also greatly enjoyed putting my memories of Bavaria in context and revisiting a place after 15+ years.

Goodbye Germany!! We hope to see you again soon!5.25.17 Munich 15


This past weekend, my girlfriends and I continued a 5+ year tradition of getting away together for the (long) weekend. We’ve done Napa, Fredericksburg (which I missed due to Celine being born), Nashville, and New Orleans, and this year we decided on Charleston! We were hoping for a charming Southern town with great food, and we weren’t disappointed.

After flying in on Friday afternoon, we headed out for dinner at our first stop: Poogan’s Porch. Our experience was slightly marred by sub-par service that resulted in a 3+ hour dinner, but we made the best of it (where were we going to go?). It was a charming, cute restaurant.IMG_0004IMG_0002IMG_0007IMG_0006IMG_0012IMG_0009

Towards the end of dinner, we glanced over and saw that Nat was circling places of interest on a map. Where did she get a printed map? No idea.IMG_0011

The next day, Michele and I decided to take a little run to check out the town while Nat and Lindsey walked around and Susanne and Lauren relaxed at the hotel.IMG_0013

After getting ready, we headed out to lunch at SNOB. It was delicious and the atmosphere was perfect!IMG_0017

We spent the afternoon wandering around, and then decided to grab a drink at a rooftop bar before heading in to change for our evening.IMG_0019IMG_0019 2IMG_0032IMG_0025IMG_0096

Our first stop of the evening was a haunted carriage ride. We learned a little history of the town and some fun ghost stories!IMG_0036IMG_0058

We headed over to Husk for a delicious dinner…I didn’t take any pictures because we were too busy eating, drinking, and getting shushed by the tables around us!

The next morning we peeled ourselves out of bed and had brunch at High Cotton, followed by a walking tour with Oyster Point Walking Tours. Our guide was absolutely amazing and not only did we learn so much, we were entertained as well!IMG_0078IMG_0084

With the rest of the day ahead of us with no plans (SO unlike us), we decided to head over to Sullivan’s Island and check out the beach. We had a good lunch at Poe’s Tavern and then walked down the boardwalk to the glittery sand. If I had stopped to think about our day’s activities, I probably wouldn’t have worn black jeans, but…it was fun anyway!IMG_0089IMG_0083IMG_0090IMG_0092

After we made our way back to Charleston and changed, we walked down the street to dinner at Fleet Landing. We were anticipating a fried-catfish kind of place, but it ended up being one of the best dinners.IMG_0105IMG_0108IMG_0110IMG_0109

Monday morning, Lindsey, Lauren, and Susanne headed to Boone Plantation while Nat, Michele, and I slept in and enjoyed our kidless morning.IMG_0138IMG_0140

We all met for lunch at 5 Church before heading to the airport. The restaurant was absolutely beautiful…the service was not so great.IMG_0118

All in all, it was such a wonderful trip, and I’m happy I can get away once a year to a fun location with these lovely ladies!