Of Hope and Expectation, and Finding Color Again

Bangkok flower market. From 'Of Hope and Expectation, and Finding Color Again' by ivoryhut.

Finding color again. It was a phrase I heard Penny De Los Santos utter back in 2010, when she spoke about the darkness that filled her world after a personal loss, and how eventually, a trip to India brought color back into her world. It was a phrase that resonated loudly within me.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been struggling to to re-awaken my motivation for many things that used to bring me great joy: writing, creating recipes, music, and making pictures. I tried many times, failed many times, then eventually stopped trying. Life got too busy, providing me with a convenient (albeit valid) excuse to put everything else on hold while we worked on rebuilding our home. Even when I resolved to try again, everything I did felt forced. There was no flow. Nothing seemed right. I wasn’t looking for anything to come easy; I merely wanted what felt familiar and natural.

Finding my groove

Ivoryhut Adobe San Francisco Photography Getaway

Some weeks ago, I received an email from a lovely lady named Anne. (Yes, I already knew then that she’d be lovely.) She wrote to invite me to spend a day in San Francisco taking photographs of the sights, followed by a 3-hour Lightroom workshop with the amazing Julieanne Kost the following day. Oh, and Adobe was sponsoring the whole thing. She then so kindly remarked that she thought I might need the break.

The Oyster Man

Trinidad offers some of the best street food you can find. From breakfast to dinner to midnight snacks, the food you can get from the various stalls and carts outside will rival just about any restaurant’s standard fare. For me, when the late afternoon hours stretch into dusk, the sight of a stall lit with a cloth wick in a fuel-filled bottle can only mean one thing: the oyster man is open for the night. Or at least as long as his day’s catch lasts.

Trinidad street food oyster man

Caribbean dreams

I’ve always loved traveling. It doesn’t matter much if it’s somewhere new, or some place that I’ve been to dozens of times. The whole process of leaving home, putting miles between me and the familiar, breathing in new air, and naturally becoming more observant because everywhere my eyes rest there is something different, something to be noticed … it exhilarates me, recharges me and makes me tingle all over, literally and figuratively.

(Apparently, it also makes me write really, really long sentences.)

Newly-discovered allergy medication

Itchy eyes. Endless sneezing. Scratchy throat. Irritated ears. Troubled breathing. And now, you can add “neglected blog” to my growing list of allergy symptoms.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this year’s allergy season is hitting me so hard. Why, I can hardly remember having any difficulties last year! What’s going on this year? Has the weather really messed up the plants and trees so much that their pollen output is going haywire? Maybe the air has more impurities, making things that much worse for allergy sufferers. Could it be that my backyard is somehow suddenly hiding an invisible forest of the maples, oaks, and birches?

about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

If you want to learn more about me, here are 43 things I'd like to do. Here's a little something about my name, in case you were wondering. Here are some other places you'll find me:

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The Ivory Hut: My Quick and Easy Chicken Adobo

Chicken adobo is the Filipino dish most people are familiar with. Here's my quick and easy version that requires minimal prep work and only one pan. Perfect for busy weeknights.

The Ivory Hut: Homemade Nutella Baking Chips

Yes, I made my own chocolate chips. Nutella chocolate chips, to be exact. Then I made cookies. Lots of cookies.

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One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.