Wednesday, August 8, 2012


As the subject reads, I'm engaged! And this is the story.


My now fiancé, Mike and I met at Evergreen Baptist Church of LA in 2001, but it wasn't until 9 years later when I moved to the Bay Area and he moved to Carlsbad that our story together began. It started with this facebook post:

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I quickly responded to his post via chat. Little did we know that this post would lead to hours of online conversations, phone calls and video chats. After a ski trip in December in which Mike revealed his feelings for me, we finally started dating in the beginning of 2011. It was a treasure to see how our personalities matched so well, and how our vision for life and our hearts were so aligned. It was a mystery as to why we didn't date earlier, but it was all part of God's perfect plan and timing. As we traveled and adventured up and down the coast, the mountains and deserts of California, through Texas and Seattle we discussed marriage and prayed about possible locations to live in the future. God answered our prayers and Mike's company was awarded a contract in Petaluma. This set the ball in motion for Mike to propose.

Initially he had the idea of proposing later in the year, but our mutual friend Alex was going to be in California, and offered his piloting services to make the engagement day extra special. While I was away on business trips - Michael did his ring shopping and asked my dad for his blessing over his decision to ask for my hand in marriage. My dad gave a handshake of approval, and answered "of course." So, on a cloudy July 29th, after I completed a half marathon in San Francisco, Mike took me to a cliff overlooking Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay (HMB) and proposed to me. Although he showed me a print out of the original facebook post (above) - and started reminiscing about the journey of our relationship, I really wasn't sure he was proposing. He had just taken me ring shopping the weekend before! I didn't think he could possibly have a ring by then. I even chimed in on some of the memories. I started to get more of clue when I felt how fast his heart was beating, and when he said, "how would you like this to be your last DTR" and got on one knee - I finally shut up. After I said yes, our friend Liz, popped from out of the bushes - she had been taking photos the entire time! Mike understood how important good photography and documenting memories was to me, so he appropriately asked Liz to capture the day. She had met up with Mike prior to the engagement day to scope out the proposal site, and even flew in from San Diego that morning from a family gathering. Next, Mike took us to HMB airport where he surprised me with Alex who took us on a flight over the Bay Area. It was magical. The adventure continued when we couldn't land back in HMB because of the cloud cover and Samuel had to rescue us from San Carlos Airport and take us back to HMB. Thanks, Samuel! The last surprise was that Mike coordinated both of our families to be at Mezza Luna for dinner...including his sister that lives in Texas! It was the perfect finale to an already blessed afternoon.  Here are Liz's amazing photos that illustrate the day.

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With the two rock stars of the day, Liz & Samuel
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Higaki Family

Ng Family

Thank you for an unforgettable day, Michael! God has blessed me so richly by giving you to me. May we continue to seek God as we start our life together!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

christmas card

Per tradition, the Higaki family Christmas card was created again this year. Of course there wasn't a single photo that we had already taken this year that we collectively liked, so (painfully) we had to shoot one specifically for the card. Here are the outtakes and runner ups.

The last one is the one we actually used. Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

soy braised country ribs with carrots

Happy Monday! As we drag our feet back to the office after Thanksgiving weekend, I'd like to share a recipe that I love, found via Tastespotting. Tastespotting aggregates recipes from all over the web - so it can be overwhelming, but has definitely expanded my cooking repertoire. This recipe is a bit time consuming, but you can cook everything in 1 skillet or wok! Allow yourself a good 3-4 hours for prep and cooking time. In the end it is well worth it. Goes well with Japanese white rice and Chinese greens like gai lan. The photo below is from Note, my final results NEVER look this pretty, but I didn't have a photo of my own and wanted to show you some idea of what it could look like.

Soy-Braised Pork Country Ribs with Carrots
Adapted from Molly Stevens, Bon Appétit October 2010

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 cup low-salt chicken broth (use 1 cup of a 1 - 14.5 oz can, then use the remaining later)
6 tablespoons dry Sherry
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek) **Optional
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 5 x 1 1/2-inch strips (I use boneless country-style pork ribs already cut)
2 tablespoons peanut oil **Fine to use regular canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 green onions; white and pale green parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced and separated
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 whole star anise
3 long strips orange peel removed from 1 orange with vegetable peeler or knife
1 1/5 pounds carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

Ingredient info: Hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek) can be found in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets. Look for whole star anise — brown star-shaped seedpods—in the spice section of some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Asian markets. Sherry can be found in the salad dressing section in a grocery store.

Cut off excess fat from the ribs and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. Cut up all of the onion, green onion, ginger, garlic, carrots, and peel orange; set aside. Whisk chicken broth, sherry, soy sauce, brown sugar, and hot chili paste in small bowl to blend; set aside. Heat peanut oil in heavy large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook ribs until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped onion to skillet and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add white parts of green onions (green part will be added later), garlic, and ginger; sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth mixture, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add star anise and orange peel; bring to simmer.

Return ribs to same skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add carrots, green parts of the green onions and remaining chicken broth to skillet, pushing to submerge in sauce. Cover and simmer until vegetables and ribs are tender, gently stirring mixture occasionally, about 1 hour longer. Check the carrots - if they are soft, and the ribs are still on the tough side, remove the carrots before continuing to cook the ribs so they don't get overly mushy. Transfer mixture to platter.

Click here for the original link. The reviews and other peoples' tips are helpful. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the farm

It's been about a year and a half since I moved to the Bay Area to work for the family business, in beautiful Half Moon Bay, California. I think it's high time you get a glimpse of the farm.

Welcome to Bay City Flower Company.

The entrance

Our sales office trailer, my home 5 days a week

All of these hydrangea start like...


Fact: hydrangea is the largest crop we grow

Vintage hydrangea - these flowers naturally age on the bench for 2 months after they are in full bloom to gain rich color

The first crop of poinsettia of the year

Succulent beds

"Red Velvet" echeveria shoots - cute and fuzzy

Tractor en route to the packing line

Eagerly waiting to be packed

Wrapping plants

The shipping dock

Miguel, shipping manager

Night time at the farm

My father, el jefe

My Aussie boss, Michael and my awesome cubemate, Liz

Hope you enjoyed the tour and have a great weekend!