Custom Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

How are we practically into May already? The weeks seem to be zipping by way too quickly for me. I’m very into custom items and shopping on etsy lately, so I’ve decided to share with you my favorite custom Mother’s Day gift ideas!

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(1) Land’s End Natural Canvas Tote – This is probably one of my most favorite custom gifts I love to give! Not only is it totally customizable from the color to the monogram option, but it is a totally practical gift to give. It’s perfect for the person who has everything and it’s also perfect for the person who you don’t know what to get for them. Everyone can always use a tote bag, and it’s made with such good quality. I have a couple myself!

(2) Family Name Wood Sign – I think this is something so adorable that could be hanging in someones home. It’s so simple yet it’s also so meaningful and adds that personal touch. I honestly thought about getting this for Shawn’s mom for her birthday, however that list would’ve been way too long and taken up way too much space!

(3) Skinny Vertical Bar Necklace – I think this is something that is so sweet and simple. You can literally get this gift for anyone. Even the person who does’t wear jewelry. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t wear any jewelry!

(4) Family Tree Necklace – Last year, Shawn and I went in on a gift with Ryan and Cathren (Shawn’s older brother and his family) to get this for his mom for Mother’s Day. Except instead of the leaves, we got the initials of all 7 of her boys on little birds!

(5) Family Tree Gift – This is something I just absolutely love! We ended up getting this for Shawn’s Mom’s birthday gift this past year. We were able to pick the color scheme and she managed to fit EVERYONE onto the tree. And I also love that we can keep updating the tree as the family grows bigger!

Travel Guide: San Jose del Cabo

Life is just crazy. Between trying to look for a new job and beginning the whole wedding planning process, I have not been able to keep up with ANYTHING. So this is definitely a very overdue post that I’ve been wanting to share with you since we got back from Mexico! And this is my warning to you now: this is a very photo heavy post.


If you’ve been following along on Snapchat or Instagram, you know that I’ve been a little busy but thanks to Spring Break, I was able to take a week off and go to San Jose del Cabo with Shawn and my parents! We had such a great time and aside from a little hiccup in the very beginning of our trip, it all went extremely smoothly. I’m convinced I gained about 10 pounds on the trip just from eating all the good food.

I’ve put together a little tour guide as to what we did and where we stayed. I’m planning on going into a little more detail about some things we did in other posts, so stay tuned!

Travel: We took a Southwest flight from LAX to Cabo. I absolutely love flying with Southwest because not only are they all friendly, but you can check luggage for free! And I’m an over packer, so that’s definitely a huge perk for me. Also, it was only a 2 hour flight, and both ways we got to our destination at least 30 minutes early!

Hotel: We stayed at the Cabo Azul resort, per recommendation of my mom’s friend! The staff was so friendly and helpful! The grounds were also so beautiful and well kept. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the hotel room decor (I wish I had taken a photo to share with you all!) but other than that, it was so comfortable.

Food: We ended up eating the majority at the hotel, but we did venture out to a few other places! The two restaurants at the hotel, Javier’s and Flor de Noche, were absolutely delicious. One night we even got a giant red snapper from Javier’s for dinner!  The tacos and sushi were so good at Flor de Noche, especially when you’re eating it in the poolside bar, IN the pool! But if you want to venture outside the hotel, you HAVE to try this little restaurant called El Fish & Grill. Their battered fish tacos… to die for!

Things to Do: We went through the hotel concierge and they referred us to their recommended companies to go through for various activities. We went through Cabo Adventures to go whale watching and another recommended company to go horse back riding! Seriously, if you’re on a vacation, go through the concierge. They are so helpful and they really know what they’re doing. Especially when you’re in another country.

The Proposal

I have a special treat for you! This post is not only about how Shawn proposed, but Shawn actually wrote the post! So I hope you enjoy his story about how he schemed with literally everyone and I had no idea.

This story begins on December 31st, 2016. This is the day that Karissa picked out her own ring. Now, I know that is not a very common practice, but this seems to fit in well in the dynamic of our relationship: one where Karissa often ( a word here that means nearly always) gets whatever she wants. 🙂

As you might of guessed since Karissa had picked out her ring, surprising her with an engagement was incredibly difficult. It was, but somehow I pulled it off.

For those of you who have had the pleasure to really get close with Karissa you know that Karissa is very kind and has a gentle spirit. However, she can be stubborn. Not to say this is a bad quality, but it makes it difficult for her to let me plan things. Oftentimes in her mind her way is the only way. Since I am pretty flexible and rarely plan things, this is not really an issue we fight about. With all of this in mind, I knew that it would be best if I deferred much of my planning to others. If any plan came from me, I knew it would really be difficult to convince Karissa to go along with my plans. In addition it might make her suspicious. So this is where I needed help.

I was able to devise a plan myself in such a way that would not make Karissa suspicious. The plan involved lots of prayers, immense help from friends and family, and deception (in the best possible way).

The first deception came when I asked Karissa’s wonderful parents, Dave and Jane, for their blessing and permission to ask their daughter to marriage. Karissa went up to be a camp counselor during Martin Luther King weekend, and I volunteered to help drive her up that weekend. Since I was not part of the camp, her parents offered to let me stay at their house for the weekend so I can drive them home as well. This gave me the alone time I would need, to work up the courage to ask such a nerve wracking question. That is a whole story in and of itself, ask me about it. After lots of self pep talks, I asked and was relieved by their excitement. From there it was downhill.

That weekend we set the plan for us to come up during President’s Day Weekend, and I would ask there.Dave, Jane, and Karissa’s aunt Mar helped mastermind a surprise engagement party with a Taco Man! I still needed to work in more deception. Somehow, I was still tasked with surprising Karissa. After much thought, the only possible way that I could deceive Karissa was to tell her that I was to nervous to ask her parents, so I decided to wait until President’s Day weekend. She was not happy, she told me “you had one job!”. Nonetheless Karissa bought it, and she did not show any suspicion at during the month before the proposal.

Before the actual day there were a few other details I had to get in order on Karissa’s behalf. She has always told me that she wanted to get her nails done before, that way they could look pretty for the pictures. This was really an issue. My coworkers Amanda and Michelle really helped during this part. Fortunately the week before my proposal was Amanda’s birthday, and she decided that she could use her birthday as an excuse to get her nail’s done.Great, sounds like a simple solution. Wrong! Karissa found a couple ways to make this very difficult. The week before getting her nails done with Amanda and Michelle, she went and got her nails done by herself. Ugh. Amanda and Michelle later informed me that Karissa was dead set on getting her nails done in blue. Amanda and Michelle navigated all of these issues with grace, and Karissa had her nails done, and she was not suspicious!

Before I knew it, we were boarding a 7:30 am flight to San Jose on the morning of the proposal. Somehow I was able to keep calm, despite the nerves running through my body. It was supposed to storm all weekend long, and I was really nervous. I was praying all week for just a few hours of sunshine! The Lord answered my prayers and it did not rain on Saturday! Karissa’a cousin, Jodie, picked us up from the airport. After breakfast we began our journey to Monterey, and ultimately the location where I would soon ask Karissa to marry me. I was thinking that all the difficult planning and deceiving was over. I was wrong. On the way to Monterey Karissa expressed that she wanted to see her parents before going to Point Lobos (the state park I asked). Keep in mind at this time, Dave and Jane were putting together all of the nuances of Karissa’s surprise party. To say the least, Karissa and I argued about this. She won, temporarily. However, I had the help of Jodie, who conviced her that it would be best to go to Point Lobos before seeing her parents! And the crisis was adverted.

She really had no idea. She fell alseep on the car ride. As we hiked a little to the rock you see in the picture below she complained about the wind and the cold, but the drama and deception was now behind us. Jodie and Nadia tagged along cameras in hand ready to snap the moment. Jodie and Nadia were troopers and I was so thankful they were able to come along and help record our special moment. Karissa thought she was posing for Jodie and Nadia so they could have some photos for their portfolios. As she was posing, I came up behind Karissa and tapped her on the shoulder. She only turned her upper body to me. I delivered my speech about how I would love to serve God with her our whole lives. Some where in the middle of my speech she turned her whole body, and I could tell by her face she was shocked. After delivering my speech, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes. She then grabbed the ring and immediately put it on. As if she was saying MINE!

I thank the Lord for letting Karissa wander into my life, and the relationship we have built, and will continue to build in our life together. I pray that God continues to give us the opportunity to grow individually, in our relationship, and closer to Him! I hope you enjoyed this cute story, and I am so thankful that God allowed this to happen, and prayerfully hope God continues to do amazing things in us and through us.


How I Met Shawn


So for those of you who follow me along on Snapchat or Instagram, you’ll know that Shawn and I have been engaged for a little over a week now! I was totally surprised and had no idea he was proposing the weekend we went up north to Monterey to visit all my family. But I’ll get into how he proposed in another post. For now, I just wanted to share how I ended up meeting Shawn.

Back in 2012 (our sophomore year of college), I walked into my apartment and met Shawn. He was there hanging out with my roommate and a few of our other friends. My first impression of him: “WOW he’s tall!”.

Around February, our apartment building did an event called GYRAD (Get Your Roommate A Date), so of course instead of setting my roommate up on a blind date, I just asked her who she’d want me to set her up with. After a lot of thought, she decided to pick Shawn since she didn’t know him all that well and thought he’d be a fun date to run around Downtown Disney with. So that was my mission- somehow figuring out how to run into this guy named Shawn to ask him to go on this GYRAD date with my roommate. Well, I accomplished my task. I ran into him while he was skateboarding around campus, asked him to go with my roommate on GYRAD, and he said yes. Phew, my job was done!

Well fast forward to after GYRAD, and I ask my roommate how it went. The first thing that came out of her mouth was, “It was cool, but I think he’s a better match for you.” Me: “Uhm… what?” I hardly knew who this guy was! Plus, I wasn’t even looking for a “guy” at the time.

Let me side track a little bit here. While at APU, I was a part of the Bel Canto Women’s Choir, which was one of the ministry choirs on campus. Within our choir we had Discipleship groups (small groups), devotions in choir, and had many “heart-to-hearts”. This was the time when the book “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy was the “IT” thing on campus. #ChristianSchool. I’m pretty sure everyone in choir ended up reading the book and we were all into it. A large group of us had decided to allow God to take the “love/dating” part of our life and let Him control it, rather than us trying to control it. I figured that when God had that right guy for me, He would make it very clear. All I knew is I wanted to marry someone who was 1, a strong Christian, 2, was taller than me (not that hard to do at 5’4″), and 3, someone who had a shorter last name than me. Okay, I know number 3 is kind of a silly one, but you try fitting “Karissa Hoshiwara” on those tiny little signature lines!

So anyway, back to my story. I just brushed it off and told my roommate “Haha, yeah? We’ll just have to see.”

Does God have a sense of humor or what!? All of a sudden, Shawn started popping up everywhere! I saw him all the time around campus, he was always hanging out with my roommate and her friends, and of course, during this time I was struggling in my physics class. The only person I knew at the time that actually understood physics was of course, Shawn. So I asked my roommate to ask Shawn if he would be willing to tutor me in physics. (So typical, right? Like in a movie or something?)

I guess God knew all along who would become my future husband. He answered every one of my requests on my list. Shawn is a strong Christian who is always reminding me to be more Christ-like every single day, and I love that we get to serve alongside one another every Sunday at the church we attend (Purpose Church Pomona) where we’re the Special Needs Sunday School Coordinators. He’s SUPER tall. I’ll never need a kitchen stool again with him being 14 inches taller than me. And lastly, his last name is 3 letters shorter than Hoshiwara! The only two things I still have to work on with him, is getting him to become a San Francisco Giants fan and a Golden State Warriors fan. But I’ve got a whole life time to work on that!

Weekend Recap: 3 Miles turned 11 ½

This weekend was really busy! Early Saturday morning, Shawn, Victor, Stephanie, and I headed out to Eaton Canyon in search of the waterfall. However, we ended up making a wrong turn and what was supposed to be a 3 mile hike, ended up being a total of 11 ½ miles. But overall, even though I am completely sore head to toe, it was a beautiful hike and it’s kind of hard to believe that we actually did it! Turns out we were only about 5 miles away from being at the top of Mount Wilson. Anyway, for this post, I mainly just wanted to share some of the photos I was able to snap along the way, as well as some photos Shawn and Victor took too!

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