I really ought to blog about turning 34. My birthday was a few weeks back (on the 17th of October) and it was one of the best ever. Paul's parents were coming into town early for our Yosemite trip so he had talked with them about getting to our house in time for me to ride BART into the city and meet him for dinner at La Mar, a Peruvian restaurant that he had been to a couple of times before with clients and knew I would love. Oh boy was he right. It was AMAZING and extra cool because 5 years ago we celebrated my birthday in Lima, Peru after taking the bar exam. I ordered this incredible salmon and shrimp dish in a coconut sauce with mushrooms and broccoli and some other stuff and it was so delicious that I literally got goose bumps from the first bite. The restaurant is right on the water so we could see the ferrys bobbing and it was very special and romantic. We also ordered an empanada sampler appetizer with mushroom, beef, and chicken empanadas (all sooo yummy but I think beef was my favorite) and La Mar serves these plaintain and sweet potato chips with some sort of spicy and creamy (maybe horseradish based?) dipping sauce. It was all just too, too good for words and it was so exciting and fun to be on a hot date in the big city with my handsome guy.
As we were leaving the restaurant we kind of talked about exploring the Ferry building, which was right by us (and which I have been wanting to see since they have a legendary farmer's market there) but Paul pulled out San Francisco Symphony tickets as a surprise. So we went and listened to Rachmaninoff and Barber (Samuel Barber composed Adagio for Strings which was performed that night - it gives you chills when you listen to it in a totally breathless symphony hall).
I also went to the gym on my birthday (because I am obsessed lately) and posted a couple of these bendy photos on Instagram. I've been working on handstands and flexibility a lot lately and am pretty proud of myself for how much stronger and flexible I have become this year. I even did a silly workout the day before my birthday where I ran for 33 minutes, did 33 pushups, 33 squats, 33 lunges, 33 chest presses, etc.
Then on Saturday we hosted our 5th Annual Monster Mash & Birthday Bash at the House of Nash. We almost didn't do it this year but committed to it just a week or so in advance and sent out invites and I'm so glad we did. Lots of new friends came and we even had a couple drive up from San Jose. We added a new activity this year: a caramel apple bar. I made homemade caramel (following this recipe and tutorial that my sister Jennie recommended) and dipped all the apples in advance, then set out bowls of candy corn, pretzels, cinnamon/sugar mixture, M&Ms, etc. and heated up white chocolate to do a second dip on each of the apples. It was a big hit with adults and kids alike and I think we might have to do this every year. The only problem I realized later on is that the white chocolate firmed up quite fast once it was on the apples so you had to move quickly or you couldn't get toppings to stick to it and could only decorate the top part where the caramel was exposed.
We set up the caramel apple station out on the lawn because we knew it would be messy and I was so grateful that Maren stepped in to help me because I absolutely could not have pulled this off without her.
We were so glad to have so many new people come and dress up. Everybody had great costumes.
Paul's Grandma even made an early appearance wearing a green bat headband no less.
It was an excellent birthday and a successful party. And so far, 34 is pretty dang awesome.