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
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