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the proposal!

san fran

This past Saturday was a very big day for our family. Mentally, I had been a little MIA for the past week or so … getting ready, emotionally, for the weekend!

Our daughter, Marissa, got engaged! She is my firstborn … and a truly magnificent daughter!


This is Marissa and her handsome fiance’ Jeff.


And this is their engagement story … as seen and experienced firsthand by a proud, excited, and loving mom.


On Thursday, April 24, 2014, Jeff flew in from San Francisco to take us to dinner and ask for Marissa’s hand in marriage.

He was so sweet and said the most beautiful and wonderful things about our beloved daughter. After we said, “yes, of course,” Jeff explained his proposal plan and asked me to be a part of it. What an honor!


You see, Marissa and I have been fans of the television show, The Amazing Race, ever since its debut in 2001. We’ve always thought that we’d be the perfect duo to run the Race and that certainly we would be the winners and take home the $1 million prize money!


Jeff created an “Amazing Race San Francisco” for us to run… unopposed … so we’d be sure to win! He had 15 envelopes containing clues and challenges for us to complete.


We began at 9:00 Saturday morning and hit the ground running.

1 and 2

Jeff put so much time, thought, and effort into this endeavor – it truly blew me away! He even had the forethought to have me take a photo of Marissa at each “pit stop” holding the corresponding numbered envelope and then post it on Instagram and Facebook. Each post included the hashtag #amazingracesf, so that he could follow our progress as we traveled from one side of the city to the other – over a period of about seven hours.


It also became a great way of letting their unsuspecting family and friends know that something very cool was happening and that something even bigger was on the way!

And yes, you can still log on to Instagram or Facebook, put in #amazingracesf, and see the whole event as it unfolded.


Jeff thought of everything. Not only did he have the route and timing down perfectly, he even made one of the stops at a nail salon because he understands how important it is for a girl to have her nails look perfect when that ring is slipped on her finger.

8 9 10

Jeff included cash in each clue when we’d need to pay for a challenge – for such things as beers, breakfast sandwiches, water and snacks, lunch, cab fare, cable car, and bus fares, and even a Jägerbomb (not plural! You’ll never catch me drinking one of those devils!)

11 12 13

 It turns out there were 13, not 15, tasks to complete. Envelopes 14 and 15 were empty, to throw Marissa off track.

Clue #13 took us to The Winery San Francisco on Treasure Island, where…

… Jeff was waiting …

13 to 15

And just like that, Marissa Lynn Hopkins and Jeff Carney Sandell are fiancés. xoxo


Best. Mother’s. Day. Weekend. EVER!

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1 Peggy { 05.14.14 at 8:04 AM }

OMG. I think he’s a keeper! That is one of the best proposals I have ever heard of. (Yay… NO Jumbtron!)

So happy for the entire Hopkins family. Hugs

2 Tram Mai { 05.14.14 at 8:08 AM }

OMG this brought tears to my eyes!!!! So beautiful & thoughtful- what a wonderfully crafted, well executed, brilliant way to propose- and the fact he included YOU is the icing on the cake!! So incredibly happy for ALL of you!!! Now the REAL fun begins- PLANNING FOR THE WEDDING!!!!!!! Have fun & good luck!! Xoxoxo

3 Bonnie { 05.14.14 at 8:10 AM }

Welcome to the MOB Club! Congrats to the darling couple….and YOU!!

4 Marissa { 05.14.14 at 8:10 AM }

🙂 Great re-telling of the story – I’ve had to tell so many times, I’m going to send everyone this!

5 Rainy { 05.14.14 at 8:13 AM }

Congratualtions to you and Dave (and Marissa & Jeff) and happy planning. All I can say is, “WOW” what an “AMAZING” proposal, it’s obvious how much in love they are. Best wishes to the Hopkins and the Sandells!

6 Rita { 05.14.14 at 9:07 AM }

WOW! I’m impressed. Marissa looks so happy and so much like you! I’m pretty impressed that Jeff not only went through all of the planning for the Amazing Race, but that he flew to Phoenix to ask for her hand.
You are going to have so much fun planning this wedding. Blessings to all.

7 Ruth { 05.14.14 at 1:29 PM }

Congratulations! Wow what a wonderful proposal, and such fun that you could be part of it….he sounds like a keeper!

8 Nancy { 05.14.14 at 2:28 PM }

That is so wonderful….I hope they always carry with them the joy and happiness of this time in their life. What a treat to read this loving post and see the two of you, mom and daughter, going through this wondeful day together. It will be a memory to pass down through the generations and a joy to retell. My love to you and the family and for posting such a lovely post on your baby girl, Marissa.

9 Amy { 05.14.14 at 7:11 PM }

Thanks for this posting…I don’t want to brag too much…but that’s my son! So happy for Marissa and Jeff!

10 Jeff { 05.14.14 at 9:54 PM }

Thanks for posting this Linda! It is a really nice summary of the day. I’m really grateful that I had such a reliable partner in crime to pull this off! Thank you to you and Dave for the blessing to let this all happen. I can’t wait for the big day!

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