The Addition

Unexpectedly along this twisted winding path we call life, certain things become utterly unmistakable. We so clearly and distinctly mark the importance of this moment, while forever defining it’s meaning.

Recently, this has happened for me. On December 10, 2014 I drove south to Seattle to bring Hamilton to his new home, I became a Mom (dogs count as children, right?). Hamilton is a french bulldog puppy, who at the time was 11 weeks old. I will go ahead and state the obvious, he is ridiculously cute and lovable; however I strongly misjudged how this love-ability might alter my heart and my mind.


I have never been so overwhelmed with joy, I literally thought my heart was going to burst. Now, just a little background…I always had dogs in or around the house growing up, yet none of them were really mine. The canine companion closest to my heart was my childhood shar-pei, Brutis who sadly passed when I was eight years old. I have wanted a dog, specifically a french bulldog for going on 5 years and have been extremely patient waiting for the “right time”. I am undoubtedly convinced there is no “right time” for things like dogs, or children. There simply isn’t. This life is so full of commitments, opportunities and extracurriculars that we have to intentionally carve out a spot for a dog or a child if it is important to us. That’s the real choice, how important am I going to make this? Is this a priority?

Amidst all of the craziness that 2015 will bring: college graduation, MCAT, medical school applications, anesthesia OR shadowing, gnarly ADV trips, COBDR, and other randomness…I decided NOW this was important to me. I was ready to pull the trigger, so I did.

As I shut the truck door, and sat Hamilton on the seat beside me everything around me faded to black. Nothing else in the world mattered except this tiny, perfect little guy who Adam and I were going to raise and love. I might have cried. Just a little. Like, maybe one tear. Surely, a tear of joy.

As the day progressed, Hamilton became more and more attached to me and I felt like I was watching a bond form before my eyes. Okay, I know this sounds super serious and dramatic…BUT IT WAS! I never would have imagined the impact this new addition to our family would have, on myself and my man. Adam and I are both so in love with Hamilton, and I thought I would introduce him to the world formally.

A few updates:
Hamilton loves to chew, especially toes…socked toes that is.
Hamilton likes classical music, and helping Mom study.
Hamilton snores occasionally, but is a really good sleeper. Mom and Dad like that!
Hamilton is almost potty trained, we’re really proud of his progress.
Hamilton loves people, and ALL DOGS. He think’s everyone is his friend.
Hamilton’s favorite toy is Gator Man, second in line is his Teddy.
Hamilton loved his first Christmas, especially his crinkly Santy and Nylabones from Tamara.

Hamilton is awesome.
The End.

Purgatory Mountain 2012

Downhill riding

Across the entire state, Colorado is nothing short of scenic. From the crisp vivacious waters of the Animas River and the breathtaking serenity of Chicago Basin, Purgatory Mountain shares its own wonders. During our summer 2012 vacation, Adam and I spent an afternoon seeking the thrills of summer sports on Purgatory Mountain. Thanks to 2nd Avenue Sports in Durango we were outfitted with mountain bikes to prepare us for the exhilarating rides ahead. YETI mountain bikes have been a large part of the fully suspended carbon frame movement in racing, and this was our opportunity to try them out!

We began our ascent by riding the twilight chair lift up the mountain. With the sun shining brightly on this picturesque bluebird day, the all-downhill trails were in full view. The “Diggler” was the first trail we chose with a starting elevation of 9,930 ft., stretching out over 1.8 miles.  As fate would have it, I took my first [notice I say first rather than only] fall into the sandy terrain. Back up as quickly as I went down, we continued winding quickly yet carefully through the trail. Living up to its name, the Diggler was a wide track intermediate route. Not my favorite type of trail, being that the terrain was mostly sand and rock which can be problematic for maintaining speed and control simultaneously.

My favorite course of the day was the “World Cup” with a starting elevation of 8,950 ft. and a top elevation of 9,860 ft. I prefer single track riding over wide track because it forces you to be in control of even the slightest movement. A lengthier course with a couple small climbs, and some absolutely gorgeous views! I will admit I got off of my bike once because it was just a little bit too sketchy for me but the boys rode it out! If ever in the Durango area during the summer season, do not miss the fun and excitement Purgatory Mountain has to offer. A shout out to our friend Tyler who works for Durango Mountain Resort for hooking up the lift tickets! Definitely a ride to remember!

Odell Brewing Company Friek

Odell Brewing Company Friek [ ale with cherries and raspberries added, aged in oak barrels]

Appearance: pours a medium brown/amber, slightly transparent with a slight head that dissipates immediately

Aroma/Smell: a light fruity, slightly sour yet noticeably sweet smell

Taste: tart fruit profile, raspberries and cherries highly detectable with an extremely high carbonation and dry finish

Mouthfeel: light bodied, dry finish. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

Overall/Drinkability: An extremely drinkable beer to those that are a fan of sours. However, if skeptical of wild yeast flavors and the unpredictability that sours deliver; drink when embarking upon an adventure.  Highly recommend getting your hands on a bottle of this, even if it is outside of your comfort zone. As a fan of sours, I loved the characteristics of this beer and will drink it again without a doubt.

Cast Iron Pizza

Most everyone I know enjoys a good pizza on occasion, and what better way to show off a well seasoned cast iron skillet than to be able to successfully bake a pizza inside of it? As a bonus it also makes for one of the most hearty pizzas you will ever indulge in. I have baked pizza using this technique twice now, and will debut the striking dish once again this coming Saturday evening. The dough base for this pizza must be prepared several hours before you will use it, therefore I recommend crafting your dough in the morning.  I find myself in the midst of a large mess while making my dough, I wouldn’t say it is my forte. However, it makes for a darn good pizza if you take the time and effort to prepare it properly! Other than that forewarning have fun with the recipe and please, make it your own! Choose the toppings that you crave most, splurge on your cheese selection, and oh! Use lots and lots of cheese, you simply cant have enough!
[ingredients yield one large pizza]

  •  2 1/2 Cups bread flour
  •  1 scant Tablespoon sugar
  •  2 Teaspoons kosher salt
  •  3/4 Teaspoon active dry yeast
  •  1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 scant Cup warm water

– Mix together warm water, yeast, sugar and salt. Let this mixture sit a few minutes until slight foam starts on top of the mixture, and add flour at this time. Knead however you like, some use a mixer others prefer using their own two hands. Whichever method gets the job done is fine, however beware of over mixing your dough. Doing so will yield a tough crust, unsatisfactory for this type of dish. After all ingredients are mixed form dough into a large ball (it doesn’t have to be perfect) and coat with olive oil, now transfer into a sealed gallon bag. I leave my dough out four an hour or two before transferring to the refrigerator where I leave it to rest overnight. The timing does not have to be exact, the idea here is to let the dough rise…let the yeast go to work on your masterpiece! *Be sure to take your dough out of the refrigerator at least an hour to two hours prior to use! At this time I also place my cast iron skillet into the freezer so that it thoroughly cools.


  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flake to taste
  • 2 tsp white vinegar

– I find the sauce is best if made the day before use, simply mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in mason jars tightly sealed in the refrigerator.  This is the best way to marry the spices to the sauce, gaining a robust flavor profile.

Toppings:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               – 1/2 lb. Spicy Italian sausage                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            – Bacon
– 1/3 Cup scallions chopped
– 10-12ounces mozzarella cheese
– 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced


*Preheat your oven to 450


Brown ingredients prior to baking, and be sure to drain off excess oil from the meats.  After your dough has come to room temp. and your ingredients are browned, set aside and ready to go; clear enough counter space to roll out your dough and retrieve your cast iron skillet from the freezer.  LIGHTLY dust your dough ball with flour and roll out into a large circle, simply plop this circle in the center of your cast iron skillet and cut off any excess crust that raises more than an inch from the bottom of the skillet. Once you have removed the excess dough, fold the one inch remainder down to form a nice round crust extending around the entire pan.  Sauce your entire pie base to your own preference, I like a lot of sauce and others prefer a thin coating…do what you like here! Finally add your meats chives, and cover the whole darn thing with cheese! Lots and lots of cheese!

Heating this pie is done in a unique way but really helps to make sure the time spent in the oven isn’t wasted trying to heat up the cast iron skillet. Turn your stove to medium-high heat and wait a minute or two, then transfer the cast iron skillet onto the stove-top heating the pie for 2-2 1/2 minutes. Once the skillet feels warm/hot to the touch, it is ready for transfer into the oven. Mine usually takes around two minutes, but if your stove has higher heat settings it may not take the entire two minutes. Feel the edge of the pan frequently, being cautious not to burn yourself.  Bake pie in the oven for 18-20 min. and remove promptly, transferring onto a large cutting board. Wait 3-5 minutes before cutting into the pie.


*photography by: Adam Barhan