Our First Christmas

Our First Christmas as husband & wife ♡

Our personalized First Christmas ornament arrived from Oceanside Designs &, well, it's simply perfect.  I chose our favorite wedding photo, then Mel took it away & designed this amazing ornament that we will treasure forever.  I planned to save it as a Christmas gift for RZ but once I had the pretty package in my hand, I knew there was no waiting.  That baby went right on the tree to be enjoyed & admired!

I am so, so excited to make the beautiful First Christmas memories that we will always associate with this ornament. 

On that note, I'm bowing out from blogging until 2012.  Let's make a date to meet back here on January 2 & continue to have our wedding jollies in the new year ☺   

May your holidays be merry & bright!

Photo by Koru Kate

{Guest Posting} why we wed: kate

On January 15, 2011, RZ & I stood in front of our family & friends & said "I Do!"

Why did we get married?

That is a seemingly simple questions posed in the "Why We Wed" series on Happy Sighs.  The easy question left me searching my heart & soul for the answer.  I was inspired to look beyond the standard "we're in love" justification.  Today, I'm very honored to be sharing my response on Happy Sighs- why we wed: kate.  

Please visit me at Happy Sighs & say hello!

Photo by Timothy Glenn Photographers


Holiday Date Night, Take Two

My hubs & I made a very important decision: 2011 could not be the year of No Lights at Rock Center.  We wouldn't let this happen.  Holiday Date Night, Take Two became a reality with one critical change in our game plan: the tree first, dinner second.  You can't accuse us of not learning from our mistakes!

Last Friday night, like the holiday troopers we are, we made our way to crowded Rockefeller Center & breathed a sigh of relief when we were greeted by this familiar, beautiful sight:

LIGHTS!!!!!!!!!  Camera!  Action!

We paused for a bit to admire the graceful ice skaters:

We can't leave well enough alone so we posed for one more holiday photo with the LIT tree:

Seconds after this photo was snapped, we witnessed a man propose to his surprised girlfriend.  (I stopped myself from handing them my business card, ha!)  I felt like we were on a movie set for a moment.  Pure holiday magic!

Our Holiday Date Night, Take Two got even better, continuing with a delicious dinner in the West Village.  But dinner wasn't the best part.  As we strolled through the charming, decorated streets, we were delighted to stumble upon Christmas carolers singing holiday tunes.  I've never seen & heard Christmas carolers in real life.  Let me tell you, it was quite cool.  More holiday magic!!

Now our Newlywed Holiday Date Night will be remembered as The Year of No Lights at Rock Center, followed by Lights & Pure Holiday Magic.  ♡  XOXO   ♥ 

{Guest Posting} Blogger Holiday Traditions

I am honored to be included in the festive Blogger Holiday Tradition series on Lovely Little Details today!  I'm sharing a holiday tradition that is near & dear to my heart & includes the sweet Wishes ornament.  Please take a peek & leave some love!

Photo by Koru Kate


Koru Kate Finds: Cheer

The final Koru Kate Finds of 2011 is abundant during the holiday season.  You can find it here, there, everywhere.

My holiday-style Koru Kate Finds is Cheer, specifically Holiday Cheer.  The smiles on your family & friends' faces.  The childrens' laughter.  The carolers' sweet voices.  The twinkling lights.  The sparkly decor.  The festive traditions.  The amazing smell of fresh evergreen.  Or how about the sweet smell of baking cookies?  The cup of piping hot chocolate.  The holiday card from a dear friend.  The bright red bow on a pretty package.  The lovely holiday party.  The most perfect holiday date night as newlyweds.

Those are just a few examples of holiday cheer that I've enjoyed lately; I know there is much more holiday cheer coming my way in the next week.  

Where have you found Holiday Cheer?  I'm sending you sincere wishes for plenty of Holiday Cheer for you & yours!

Photo via


Holiday Date Night

RZ & I have a Christmas tradition that began during our first Christmas as boyfriend & girlfriend: Holiday Date Night in New York City.  Holiday-season Manhattan is absolutely magical from the Lord & Taylor windows to the Fifth Avenue star & everything in between.  I have adored admiring the holiday cheer since I was kid; it's even more special to share it with the man I love.  Holiday Date Night 2011 was hotly anticipated because we would enjoy it as newlyweds. 

Our newlywed Holiday Date Night started out like every other one with the holiday windows at Macy's at 34th Street.  My favorite window was the spinning bucket of champagne:

Next up, Lord & Taylor, always my vote for best holiday windows.  Check out this snowy scene:

Bryant Park is festive during the holidays with ice skating & shopping.  We always pose by their icy blue tree &, well, thank goodness (more on that later):

Dylan's Candy Bar hosted a pop-up shop this year & I couldn't resist taking a peek at the candyland.  Is this candy Christmas tree not a candy-lover's dream come true?!

We never forget to pay homage to my husband's Filipino heritage with a swing by the Philippines Center's gorgeous holiday display of parols (p.s. I still want one):

We strolled up Fifth Avenue, passing Santa, Grinch, Reindeer & Snowmen.  No, not decorations- walking, talking Santa & crew (only in NYC)!  The Rockefeller Christmas Tree was crazy crowded & we decided to come back after dinner.  First, we saw Cartier, tied up with a holiday red bow:

Time to eat, drink & be merry!  We enjoyed a delicious, traditional steakhouse dinner at one our favorites, Wolfgang's Steakhouse.  Bonus: we met Wolfgang:

Stuffed & happy, we made our way back to Rockefeller Center, only to find this disheartening sight:

Sad but true: Lights out at Rockefeller Center at 11:30pm.  In the city that never sleeps!  BOO!!

But hey, we wouldn't let one little glitch ruin our newlywed Holiday Date Night.  Just a few blocks away, we found more holiday cheer.  A bright, happy Christmas light strand put smiles back on our faces:

More holiday smiles at the biggest, merriest Christmas ornaments:

Our newlywed Holiday Date Night was so fun & so special.  I will remember it forever as the year of no lights at Rock Center! 

Photos by Koru Kate

Snowflake Smile

Winter Brides may not be able to say their vows in a beautiful garden or stroll among fields of lavender for photos.  But Winter Brides can have fun too, despite the cold & snow!  Don't believe me?  Just look at this Bride's joyful snowflake smile!

Photo via A Practical Wedding


Holiday Card Evolution

In what seemed like a flash of brilliance, I chose to send homemade Christmas cards this year.  I enjoy making cards & I adore the holiday season so why not?  Sure, crafting 50+ Christmas cards would be my largest cardmaking project yet.  Oh yes, of course I would find the time for this project during the busy holiday season. 

Looking back, I identify that moment as a stroke of insanity! 

Allow me to take you on the journey of the Koru Kate Holiday 2011 Card from inspiration (I'm so excited to make my holiday cards!) to reality (What in the world was I thinking?) . . .

Six weeks ago, I pinned a snowflake card as my inspiration:

One trip to Paper Source, one trip to AC Moore & one raid of my craft armoire later, I had Version 1 of my holiday card:

A few minor tweaks of colored card stock & patterned paper later, I was happy with sweet Version 2 of my holiday card:

Bright Version 3 of my holiday card on RZ's choice of classic holiday red card stock:

A few more of lovely Version 2 on my choice of icy blue card stock:

I'm a complete sucker for details so every card has a snowflake stamped on its butt:

I'm pretty proud of my humble holiday cards.  We dropped the first batch in the mail last night; the second batch should be ready this evening.  I've glued my fingers together, I've smudged countless snowflakes, I've wondered if the project would ever end.  But there is a definite satisfaction knowing I created our newlywed holiday cards with care & love for our family & friends.

Will I make my holiday cards next year?  Ha, by then I will have forgotten the insanity & I will think it's a fabulous idea!  

Photo 1 via, Photo 2-6 by Koru Kate


Koru Kate Finds: Word Art

Koru Kate Finds fabulous word art for the wonderful couples in your life!  Or for you & your honey.

I adore the bold, modern look of word art & I was happy to stumble upon these great options last night while I was supposed to be finding Christmas gifts for our Titas (Filipino term for Aunt).  I couldn't resist sharing these gems with you!  Now if Tita Meg ends up gift-less on Christmas, I can blame you :-)

For the newlyweds still basking in the beauty of their wedding day, the Celebration wall art:

For the couple with a shiny, new home sweet home & plenty of blank walls, the Home wall art:

For the happy couple who have been together through thick & thin, the Happy wall art:

I would not mind one bit if one of the above found its way under our Christmas tree!! 

Images & Products via Red Envelope


My Wedding Invitation Ornament

From inspiration to reality . . .

One of the first images I pinned was the wedding invitation ornament:

I loved the idea, especially since I had a wedding invitation or ten collecting dust.  I promised myself to make my wedding invitation ornament when the Christmas season arrived.  My Christmas spirit kicked into full swing this weekend & I started this DIY project with my extra-large, clear ornament:

I set out my supplies: my pocket wedding invitation; my outer & response envelopes for color; my ruler & exacto knife in place of fancy cutting matts; & my pencil:

I separated my wedding invitation from its pocket &, I'm not going to lie, I started to freak out a bit about cutting up my wedding invitation.  It seemed wrong!  Then I reminded myself the extra invitation was doing no good collecting dust.  I detailed 1/2 inch strips & began cutting:

I repeated this process with my wedding invitation, response card, reception card, hotel card & both envelopes.  I decided to cut my pocket only if needed.  I had an extra-large ornament to fill; you probably don't need more than a wedding invitation for a regular-size ornament.  As soon as I had a decent pile of strips, I wrapped each strip around my pencil to curl it into a swirl & dropped it in the ornament:

Soon, my wedding invitation ornament was filled to the brim!  I couldn't control how or where my swirled strips landed but they naturally arranged themselves just perfectly.  I spy meaningful details like my maiden name, my husband's first name, our reception location, our zip code & more:

I played around with adding different ribbons & other details to my wedding invitation ornament & nothing looked right.  In the end, my simple wedding invitation ornament is quite lovely on our newlywed Christmas tree:

We'll admire & treasure our wedding invitation ornament for years to come!

P.S. I still have extra wedding invitations (the stationer in me ordered plenty of extras just in case!).  Do you have any creative, holiday or non-holiday ideas?

Photo 1 via, Photo 2-7 by Koru Kate


Sweet NYC

The best NYC-theme wedding cake ever!

Maybe it's the darling Empire State Building & Chrysler Building perched on top.  Maybe it's the purple, delicate NYC skyline.  Maybe it's the extra touches of the pearl piping & purple ribbon.  Maybe it's the overall clean, pretty design. 

Whatever it may be, I feel perfectly comfortable declaring this lovely cake the top prize for NYC-theme cakes.  & let me tell you, as a NYC-area wedding planner & wedding guest, I have seen my fair share of NYC-theme wedding cakes.  This baby takes the cake!!

Photo by Our Labor of Love via A Practical Wedding


Dear Hero, Merry Christmas

I began crafting holiday cards this weekend but before I started the cards for our friends & family, I made one special card.  I don't know the recipient personally.  I will never meet this person.  Yet this person is my hero.

I crafted this card with care, appreciation & love for our U.S. military servicemen & women.  Penned to "Dear Service Member," my card included heartfelt thanks & holiday wishes.

I sent my handmade card to Holiday Mail for Heroes, a wonderful organization that collects & distributes the holiday mail to U.S. military service members, veterans & their families throughout the United States & the world.  Imagine how much an extra dose of holiday cheer & gratitude may mean to brave soldiers protecting our freedom, many of whom are far from their home for the holiday season.  Thanks to the Red Cross & its partner Pitney Bowes, now we have the golden opportunity to shower our heroic, deserving military men & women with some extra love & attention during 
the holiday season.   

Sounds good, yes?  It's easy to show your support & send holiday cheer to our military.  By Friday, December 9, simply send a signed card or letter to:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

For more information, please visit Holiday Mail for Heroes.

I was inspired by Chandra of Oh Lovely Day to participate this year; I hope this post inspires you to send a card!
Card & Image (apologies for low light!) by Koru Kate


Koru Kate Finds: Snowy Tree

Oh yes, once again, I spy stylish carnations . . .  

Koru Kate Finds is Holiday-style with this festive, snowy tree decoration!!!

I'm loving the snowy tree for holiday parties & weddings.  Turn your holiday table into a winter wonderland with your snowy tree, coordinating ornaments & candles.  Simple, inexpensive & attractive!  

For this holiday DIY project, you'll need carnations, small Christmas ornaments, cute container, floral foam & a little time on your hands.  Then follow the easy instructions from Miss Martha here.

If a snowy tree is not quite your style, you're in luck because carnations come in a rainbow of colors.  Bright red carnations with silver ornaments would make a bold holiday statement.  Lime green carnations with dark green & silver ornaments would make a modern holiday statement.  Choose your favorite color & use your imagination.

My holiday mind thinks the snowy tree may be the perfect hostess gift for my sister on Christmas!  

Photo via


World aids Day

December 1 marks World AIDS Day. 

I didn't remember until someone mentioned it on Twitter.

There was a time when I spent months & months preparing for World AIDS Day.  During college, I volunteered for The Names Project in Washington, DC, more commonly known for the AIDS Memorial Quilt.  I did silly things like seal newsletters & clean the office.  Also, I did meaningful things like repair  damaged panels, pack panels for displays across the country & assist with the display of the entire quilt on the National Mall.  In the months leading to World AIDS Day, I channeled my energies to the big day to increase awareness about AIDS, support those living with AIDS & remember those we lost to AIDS.  This volunteer job meant the world to me.

I remember my four years of volunteering with fondness & sadness.  It wasn't so long ago, yet things were much different then.  People were still dying of AIDS in America at an alarming rate.  I worked side-by-side with two gay men who were living with AIDS.  They had the brightest, biggest smiles & sweetest, kindest personalities.  One died during my volunteer years & the other died a few years later.  This world is a little less beautiful without them in it.

I graduated from college & despite a brief tenure volunteering for the New Jersey chapter, my time with The Names Project came to an end.  The pursuit of career & personal goals became my priority.  But never did I intend to forget this cause that is so important to me.  At the very least, I planned sport my red ribbon on every World AIDS Day.  Somehow I got from there to here.    

The college me couldn't envision a future me who would not remember World AIDS Day.

We have not accomplished the ultimate goal of a world without AIDS.  On World AIDS Day 2011, I make a vow to recommit.  Maybe it will be just a blog post now & then.  Maybe it will be just a red ribbon worn everyday.  Maybe I will get involved in a World AIDS Day event.  But no matter what, I will not forget we have a world with AIDS.

This is the final blog post for this week & I dedicate it in memory of Pedro & Chris.  You forever touched me & you're always remembered.

Image via World AIDS Day


Wedding Wheels, Part Deux

Today is Part Deux of my Wedding Wheels series!  It's quite the rare opportunity when my love of cars & my love of weddings can come together so beautifully.  Count me very happy!  Many Brides don't care much about their getaway car, some Brides don't need a getaway car but if you're a Bride who considers your getaway car as a fun detail for your wedding, you've come to the right place for inspiration.

Be still my heart!  This may be the best getaway car yet, a vintage Sheriff's car:

Nope, not a hearse although looks can be deceiving.  The vintage ambulance is pretty rad too:

A cool, badass black classic car is a nice touch:

How about an orange classic to spice up your getaway?

&, when wheels aren't appropriate, strap on your good old walking shoes:

Fabulous, just fabulous in my humble opinion!  That's it until next month.  Be sure to follow my Wonderful Wheels board on Pinterest for much, much more getaway car inspiration!

Photo 1 via Once Wed, Photo 2 via Snippet & Ink, Photo 3 via A Practical Wedding
Photo 4 via A Practical Wedding, Photo 5 via Green Wedding Shoes


Cranberry Craze

I'm officially dreaming of Christmas.  Nope, not a white Christmas; I'm not a huge fan of the white stuff.  A cozy Christmas with a crackling fire, a glittering tree & a festive table.  A pretty table just like the one above. 

I would love, LOVE this gorgeous holiday tablescape.  I pinned the image forever ago & I'm still a huge fan.  It's the perfect balance of stunning & attainable, unlike many of the images in Martha Stewart that require a professional crew to assemble & display.  Nope, I think I may be able to manage this DIY project!  Fill a glass container with water, cranberries & hydrangea, then add holly & pine needles.  Decorate your table with thick ribbons & sparkly garland.  Be creative: pick ribbon & garland colors & patterns to match your holiday look.  Place your cranberry arrangement on your ribbon/garland runner & you have instant holiday magic for your merry festivities! 

Holiday/Winter Brides, the cranberry hydrangea arrangements are just lovely as centerpieces.  For the sake of simplicity, you could nix the ribbon/garland runner & choose a beautiful table linen instead.  If you're having anything other than an intimate wedding with one or two tables, I'd skip the DIY route & put a florist in charge but maybe that's just me.

If you haven't noticed, I adore the holiday season.  If I'm missing any DIY holiday fabulousness, please share!!!!

Photo via


Koru Kate Finds: Firsts

Hello, Koru Family & Friends!  Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend?  Our first Thanksgiving as husband & wife was fabulous, thank you very much.  Then I got sick on Friday & Saturday & I missed some fun festivities like attending a 45th Wedding Anniversary party & decorating our home for Christmas.  Bummer.  Now that I'm on the mend, I can't wait to unpack our Christmas decor & make our home festive!

But long before we fetched our holiday decor from storage, I've been on the hunt for the perfect Our First Christmas ornament.  We'll only enjoy one Christmas as newlyweds & I want a beautiful ornament to commemorate the special occasion.  My dears, after a long & hard search, I found IT.

A holiday Koru Kate Finds is this sweet Our First Christmas ornament:

Oh, how I love, LOVE it!  Simply send a lovely wedding photo & make any color or font requests & presto- you'll receive a personalized ornament to treasure forever!

Perhaps you & your friends have moved on from the newlywed stage in life.  Don't worry, there are plenty of other firsts to celebrate!  For the new parents, is there much more precious than a Baby's First Christmas ornament?  

Or how about giving the jubilant new homeowners an Our First Home ornament?

For plenty of other personalized gift ideas, please visit Oceanside Designs.  If you act fast, you can take advantage of their super Cyber Monday sale!!!  Now excuse me as I scroll through my favorites to pick our best wedding photo for our ornament!  This may take awhile . . .

P.S. If you're looking for all things ocean wedding & honeymoon inspiration, Oceanside Bride is a must-read!

Images by Oceanside Designs



Him, I am so thankful for him
Photo by the great Timothy Glenn Photographers

Thankful.  Very, very thankful.

My husband RZ is at the tippy top of my gratitude list this Thanksgiving.  I dedicate this post to him.  

I am thankful to call you my husband.  I am thankful for the beautiful moment we clasped hands, looked into each other's eyes & pledged our vows in front of our nearest & dearest during our marriage ceremony.  I am thankful for the fun, rockstar party that followed.  I am thankful for our sunny, dreamy Hawaiian honeymoon.  I am thankful for the incredible, lovely newlywed times that came after our wedding & honeymoon.  & for the times that were not so happy or easy, I am thankful we weathered the storms together.  I am thankful for our sweet home we share with our sweet pup.  I am thankful that I look forward to the moment you walk through the door every night.  I am thankful for every big & small moment that we make special.  I am thankful for this amazing life that is ours. 

More than words. 

Dear Koru Family & Friends, I wish you the most Happy Thanksgiving!  


Holidays, Newlywed-Style

Oh, the holidays!

I love celebrating the holidays in all their festive glory!  It's the most wonderful time of the year.  The grand holiday marathon starts with spooky Halloween, works its way through family & food-filled Thanksgiving, continues with family & gift-filled Christmas, then ends with the champagne pop of New Year's Eve.  This marathon has been all the sweeter with RZ by my side.  &, honestly, a bit more complicated.

How do you handle holidays as a couple?

We had no formal holiday agreement before I had my pretty sparkler on my finger.  My family is scattered throughout the country with a good chunk in California & a small chunk here in Jersey.  His family lives about one hour away.  For the most part, we spent Thanksgiving with his family.  Then we would spend Christmas apart with our respective families.  Don't even get me started on our senior dog Gucci- he had to split his holidays with us too.  I spent his final Christmas Eve without him while he celebrated with RZ & his family.  Craziness!  This holiday approach served us well for awhile but its days were numbered.  Everything else aside, we missed each other too much.

Cue our first holidays as an engaged couple last year.  There was no question that we would not be spending the holidays apart; those days were in our past.  We, including our new pup Bailey, would be together for the holidays.  We decided to take the split-the-day approach & put as many miles as possible on our car.  RZ & I spent Thanksgiving afternoon chilling with my family, then took off & enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with his family.  Christmas Eve with his family, Christmas day with my family.  It worked fairly well.   

Now we're facing the holiday season as newlyweds, our very first holidays as husband & wife.  It's so special I can hardly stand it!  This year, we're flying by the seat of our pants & Bailey is coming along for the wild holiday ride.  I suppose we're still searching for that perfect holiday solution that keeps us happy, as well as our families.  Does it exist?  Thanksgiving will be celebrated with his family.  Phew, only one car trip!  Christmas will probably shake down to Christmas Eve with his family & Christmas with my family.  To be decided.

I can't imagine negotiating the holidays once we have kids!  It seems a bit like mission impossible.

One thing we have figured out is that we must celebrate holidays together.  Just as we are better together, holidays are much, much better together.

Photo by/Print available at Etsy in blushface's shop
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