Journey to Virginia City

Living in Reno there are many interesting places to visit within a small radius. My favorite is probably Virginia City. Of course, Lake Tahoe is iconic and everyone must check it out but anytime we have family or friends visit us we always make a point to venture off in the opposite direction. We head to the old mining town of Virginia City.

Virginia City has a lot to offer for such a small town. Its old buildings are such a treat for the eyes to behold. Not only do the sights of the old building take you back but with the wooden sidewalks underfoot you become immersed in the old world. There are many unique shops throughout the main street of town. My favorite is a hatmaker, that creates custom hats in creative ways.

During the warmer months there are many events that take place that draw in a crowd each time. This weekend they are hosting an annual off road motorcycle race that brings in about 1,000 riders in an extremely competitive event. In September we attended our first International Camel and Ostrich race. I have never had so much goofy fun baking in the hot desert sun than while watching this event take place.

The views are breathtaking as well! There is something for everyone between what I mentioned above and the museums and tours offered as well.
If you get the chance I highly recommend this swell lil old town for a day or weekend trip. Everyone we take has had a blast. What are some of your favorite places to visit around where you are from? Do you have any hidden gems we should know about if we end up in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments below. Til next time Pengminions!

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The Gym Isn’t the Only Way to Workout

~Kristen Furleigh

Don’t give up your dreams of being healthy and strong just because you can’t afford a gym membership. Money or lack thereof can have a negative impact on our ability to believe we can still achieve. When funds get tight one of the first things to go straight to a wish list is a gym membership, and with it our willingness to think beyond to what we will do in it’s place. The whole possibility of being fit seemingly vanishes but it does not have to.

There a plethora of tools out there you can utilize that won’t cost you money but can still give you the health benefits of having a gym membership; so don’t fret. You can make things happen if you are willing to do the slightly unconventional. Richard and I haven’t ever budgeted for a gym membership because we would rather put that money towards an experience or artistic materials which often don’t come cheap. We are still able make working out fun and beneficial for us.

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The great outdoors is a typically free resource available to you almost anywhere you live. Weather can be an obstacle here depending on where you live but for most of us we can suck it up when its a bit warmer or colder than our preferred state of comfort. Go for a run to get your cardio in and utilize the space in a park that has workout stations along the course. You can usually find out where your city parks are by visiting your city website or GoogleMaps works well too. Go scope them out to find out which one offers what you are looking for. We even saw an outdoor workout facility in San Francisco that looked like a crossfit gym!

Did you know that YouTube, besides offering music and cute cat videos, is also a hub for countless exercise videos? You can find workout videos for just about anything you can imagine. From Yoga to full length exercise classes to short, specific muscle focused instruction. If you get bored you can always switch it up with something else.

On the topic of video instruction, if you can rely on yourself to cancel, BeachBody offers free 30-day access to a large number of their programs that you can stream on just about any device. Just remember to schedule a reminder in your phone before your offer expires to avoid being charged! This can be great to get you started with an at home routine. If you are afraid you will forget the steps of the work out you can write them down to reference after your trial period.

If you can find a gym buddy! If you have a friend who has a gym at their apartment complex see if you can join them. Many don’t require a sign in so as long as you have the access code or card to get in you can use their equipment. We did this when my parents lived in an apartment complex that offered these amenities. Remember to always be respectful of others and the equipment in the gym.

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If you are in college or live in an active community be on the look out for free events. We were able to learn acroyoga by joining a club on campus. Summer is a great time to find free outdoor events where they offer instruction that gets you moving. Take advantage of these opportunities and write down what you learn so you can workout on your own.

Investing in yourself will always take time but it doesn’t always have to cost you money. What are some things you do to stay fit on a fitness budget of $0? We would love to try our hand at your approach. Leave your thoughts in the comments; we love to hear from you! Til next time Pengminions!

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Staying In With Friends

by Richard Furleigh

I never really enjoyed “going out” in the same way many of my other friends did during college and into my 20’s. Being around the people I liked was always important but I would much rather be with a few friends having a couple drinks talking with one another than bar hopping from place to place or the club scene that I loathed. Kristen and I have lived in Reno for over two years now and we’ve been downtown to the casinos for anything more than walking around only once or twice, and entered one of Reno’s many clubs twice: both of those for events friends were having.

Living life creatively has been able to give me more of a focus as to the why of it. For clarification by no means am I antisocial, ask my wife and she’ll tell you it seems I prefer other people to her sometimes (not true, I love you Kristen!), or see me at work laughing and joking with coworkers and customers alike as we talk about anything and everything. Rather after looking back my dislike was always more about the crowds of people and the impersonal nature of the whole thing. Near pitch black lights, music to the point where conversation was impossible, and spending $10 for a beer never appealed to me. I would much rather hang out by staying in.

I have found much more joy from small get togethers at people’s houses or game nights with friends than any of the times in college I dragged myself out to one of the numerous clubs on San Marcos’ Square or headed up to 6th Street in ATX. The ability to have a more than superficial connection and to have more meaningful conversations if you want speaks so much more to me than anything those places have to offer.

Game nights especially have found a special place for us and our time with our friends here in Reno as a chance to relax, laugh way too much, and just enjoy each other. Our go to classic is Settlers of Catan, or for me Settlers of Catanananana. This one in particular has lead to some fun rides home as many of you are aware, and Kristen and her friend Shar debating never trading each other wheat again. One of our new favorites is a little more cooperative in nature and was actually thought up by a duo that Kristen went to high school with in Texas!

Random Encounters Random Encounters is a simplified version of your favorite old school dungeon type games where you pick a character and go beat up some bosses! 
We’ve had a lot of fun with this one since it plays out very differently every time. The cooperative nature of the game as well has you thinking and debating the best ways forward so that (hopefully) you don’t die deep in the forest of
Kwee-quaag.

Is there a particular game you love playing for game nights, or do you prefer doing something else for those nights you and friends stay in? We always welcome new ideas that we can try! Keep those dice rolling…Until next time Pengminions!

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The Slow Burn of Toxic People

by Richard Furleigh

My best friend will be turning 31 this year. Or he would be, I mean he is, except for a sad set of events that has led him out of my life with little hope of returning. So I guess I should be saying my former best friend will be turning 31 this year. It’s sad really, the demise of our relationship. Although like any relationship I should have seen it coming, seen the signs. Sometimes Living Life Creatively means removing people no matter how close from your life.

See, my friend, let’s call him Jim, and I had known each other for going on 16 years through middle school and beyond. We hung out all the time talking about everything from school, jobs, the women in our lives, potentially opening a company together, and played a lot of Super Smash Bros (like…… a LOT). One trip we took together Jim made a very poor decision and decided, from what I know now was pressure from other people in his life, to sever ties with our group of friends for being poor influences on him. So for two years I didn’t talk to him.

Fast forward, I’m at Texas State University moving on with my life and my my phone rings with an unknown number. Jim apologizes profusely for not taking responsibility for the prior poor decision and asks me to be his best man, which I accept. Fast forward some more as we begin to hang out more as I move back home for a short time as Kristen and I begin to save money for our wedding and honeymoon and I begin to realize the kind of man he has become. He takes care of his family and loves them dearly, he works hard, and generally is a decent guy. In any kind of conversation in which his view differ from yours though, he had turned into a living troll. The guy lurking online to say something mean spirited just for the sake of stirring the pot, disagreeing with you just for the sake of it with nothing substantial to stand on, and simply ignoring any facts or reality contrary to his views.

We butted heads a few times, but I was forgiving. After all, he was my best friend! He may be rough around the edges but he’s a good guy deep down and would do anything for me! One disagreement in particular though left him angry at me for not attending a group camping trip the weekend before we moved to Reno, but finding time the week before to make a trip to Austin to visit friends and camp there. After not answering my calls for a couple days we finally met up to hash things out where he proceeded to blame Kristen for keeping me from him during my time in Texas, and pointed to the camping trip as evidence. It took some convincing to show him there was no way time wise that we could gone to that trip and still have gotten ourselves and our animals ready to move across the country. We left on decent terms, but fast forward another year during which time as political ferver started rising his very conservative views clashed more with my slightly left of center ones in post after post where he would resort to name calling, lack of fact checking, refusing to acknowledge logical flaws in his arguments while he laughed at those who did the same, and deep insults to other friends I had who disagreed with him until one day…..

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The original post

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What is missing here is Jack’s post (he has since deleted his FB account) in which he said something along the lines of “well maybe you just married the wrong woman Jim!” to which Kristen and I had a good laugh, because you stuck your hand in the hornets nest and got stung, you should have known better. Jim, who would make comments about women like this all the time could do that in his own house, but we had made it clear we wouldn’t let him talk in sexist ways to us (see his initial comment in which he clearly knows he’s being a moron). So we took the high road but definitely put him in his place.

That was the last interaction I’ve had with Jim.

I found out days later when Kristen was checking something else that he had unfriended her, so she asked me to go look at his profile, which showed I had been unfriended as well. At first I was shocked and a little sad, but the more I thought about it the less distressed I became over the whole situation. Jim was gone, and this time I didn’t feel the driving need to fix things. He had proven himself time and time again as someone who was toxic to my life even in small ways, and even when these things were pointed out as undesirable in our relationship he persisted until he cut off communication, again.

Sometimes in life there are people who subtly poison you, people who are friendly in many other ways but ‘joke’ in ways that are actually degrading, who inflate problems in your life to exaggerated proportions, or refuse to see their own flaws in contributing to any problems. As much as it may hurt to do so, because trust me it does, you have to leave these people out of your life. The positivity they offer is for naught if their constant diatribe of negativity in other areas makes you less than in any way.

Looking at it now I feel sad for him, really I do. He may have a ‘good’ life by any measurable standards, but someone who feeds on negativity in the way that he does is not someone I feel I want in my life.

To Jim, I’m sure someone will tell you about this blog. I hope you read this with an open mind and an open heart. I loved you like a brother for years and I will always miss those times, but the man I knew last is never someone I would want in me or my families life. Your behavior in the respects I have talked about are completely unacceptable and I hope as the father of two daughters you realize that in time. If you ever want to sit down, grab a coffee, and chat I’m open to that if you can prove to me you are a kinder person. Someone who doesn’t throw constant barbs at others for their own enjoyment. Then, and only then, would I even consider beginning anew. Best wishes to you and your family, truly I wish you well.

To my Pengminions, I implore you to do the same in your own life. Is there anyone in your life that you dread talking to or their reactions to situations that are not your fault? Let us know if there are any other tactics you have used to overcome these situations. Stay strong out there, til next time Pengminions!

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I’m in a Travel State of Mind

– Richard Furleigh

If you read any blogs on even a semi regular basis you will have come across the “Travel is important!” “Get out and go see the world!” or the classic “Broaden your horizons!” All of which sound great but from my travel experiences in this country and abroad, miss a critical point. Unless you open yourself up to those new experience, than you will get little to nothing out of it other than a couple pictures you’ll later post to Facebook.

Many people point to college as one of the biggest times in your life when you will be exposed to new ideas, and there’s a good reason for that. Get students together from not only all over your state but from the rest of the country and plunk them down beside one another and watch the magic. Now multiply that and that can be what travel is, if you’re open to it. It is absolutely imperative, and I cannot stress this enough, to begin any trip with a fresh set of eyes; the further your travels the more crucial this becomes. See the world through a child like state of wonder and interest, ask why things happened the way they do, get to know the thoughts locals have behind their beliefs religious and political, get to know their customs in a way that lets you appreciate them that much more, and then share yours with them too!

 

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Kristen performing a poi dance led by the Maori (New Zealand first nation peoples)

 

When Kristen and I went on our honeymoon to New Zealand we stayed almost exclusively in hostels not only for the cost savings and the free instant coffee, but for the shared experiences with other people. Two nights in particular stick out in my head when it comes to good conversation: one in Wellington at The Dwellington (which I loved more for the pun name) and Invercargill at a hostel I can’t find with Google anymore (hope you guys are still open!). The reason these two stick out as places we stayed during our trip is because of the conversations we had with other travelers who were staying there. At The Dwellington I had about a two hour conversation with a one guy and one woman from England, a woman from Canada, and a native New Zealander about the life of being recently graduated from college (or as they call it, university), focusing on what it takes finding a job, what other support structure they have for young adults, taxes once you get a job, healthcare while employed and while not, and so much more.

In Invercargill we sat with a couple from Israel, a butcher from France, and another woman from somewhere in South America. As the wood burning stove burnt down, was restocked, and burnt down again we joked and talked about everything from life, to what it was like living and working in our respective countries. It was amazing to get to talk about military service in Israel, working as a butcher for fine French restaurants, to life in the southern hemisphere in a harsh political climate. One amazing note about the Invercargill night as well: Kristen and I were the only two native English speakers there yet we communicated, sometimes very brokenly, in English and gestures the whole night, and it was that much more amazing for it.

These moments were enriching in ways that would never have happened had I not approached them with the mindset of curiosity, intrigue, and open mindedness about the greater world around me. There are so many things to be learned from people other than ourselves, and the further away from your state of normality you can get the more interesting information and people you will find.

If you’re heading out on a trip any time soon, try going off the beaten path, go sit at a bar and strike up a conversation with strangers, and try to explore what their life is like.

Any major trips you have coming up? Let us know about it in the comments down below, and if you want any advice on awesome places in New Zealand we’ll be more than happy to share! Until next time Pengminions! 

 

It’s Blog Writing Weather

We are out of school, the snow is falling and unless you are playing in it there is no reason anyone would want to leave the house. All in all this means it is time to sit in front of the computer and fill in some missing adventures here for you all.

The Mrs. Penguin here. As we waddled through our first year here in Reno we did a lot and we didn’t do a lot. We got settled into a cheap apartment with our cute lil fur animals Jane and Oliver. Nothing fancy but it is big and we have our own washer and dryer. YAY No laundry trips! First things first we came here with the idea of of going back to school for our MBAs. We finally decided a campus program as opposed to an online program would be the best fit for us. A little over a month of busting ass and having it handed back to us via math we had not seen in years we passed our GRE and applied to The University of Nevada – Reno. As our first semester is already in the books with A’s all around you can see we obviously got in.
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We spent some time traveling but we will go into detail about those in their own post.
Seattle, Yellowstone, The Red Woods, Lava Caves, and West Coast adventures will be making their way to your eyes soon.

We spent a lot of time planning/researching these trips and once school started we did nothing else!
Our first semester was a bit of a tough transition even for a part time program. One of our classes was Statistics and we both had zero previous experience making it a challenging course. We learned A LOT and even got a bit creative with our final project. We chose to do statistics on Racial/Gender inequality in Hollywood and even brought popcorn for the class to help set the stage for our presentation.

During the semester we went to an information session about study abroad opportunities through the College of Business that would count towards credit hours for our MBA. Guess who decided that 9 hours (3 classes) of graduate credit would be spent traveling…These penguins!

This summer we are looking forward to one of the cheaper options, NYC. Yes, it is not exactly abroad but it is the complete opposite side of the country so that’s kind of abroad. The course work for the NYC trip is exceptionally exciting because it integrates the humanities with management science where we will be attending plays, visiting museums and galleries as part of our course work. As theatre undergrads we are stoked to learn how our passion can be used in conjunction with our Master’s degree pursuit.

We will be back very soon with our travels from 2015! Then 2016 Adventures commence Weeee!

Thanks Pengminions
~Lady F

Hiatus….No More!

Pengminions!

We are back…again! It seems we had fallen off the face of the earth but in truth that is not true. In fact we had fallen into a deep, dark routine of work. Our serving job had us working some variation of overtime each week at a nice lil tex-mex place in La Porte,  TX  for about 3 months and that was our focus.  For disappearing during that time I apologize. While we were away we did find some time for a few adventures like The Big Thicket, NASA, and wake boarding!

We are currently, as of today, back on the road. Heading up to Ohio to help out the penguy’s grandma to Chicago to pick up our things to Texas before the MOVE in November. Along the way we plan on a few stops during our road trip(s)….come along with us? 🙂

Til tomorrow pengminions..gotta set up camp!
~Penglady

The Day has Come and Gone….

We had such a wonderful day full of hard work, love, laughter, tears,
and the start to another unforgettable adventure.
Without further ado we present to you….
Pictures in the form of song!

Our Day we share with you…Enjoy!
The Furleighs

PENGMINIONS….

WE’RE BACK!!!!

This is The Mrs. Furleigh!
And we have sooo much to share with you. Really so much has happened in the last month I don’t know where we will begin. Then again I do….

Firstly, We would like to thank everyone who was a part of our special day! Thank you, thank you,

THANK YOU!

We cannot say that enough from everyone who helped pull everything together before hand (like my MOM who was always there to spring board or bounce ideas off of), day of, and clean up. Especially both our families and friends. We could not have been happier with the outcome. I was over the moon with the whole thing. So many of the details came together, of course, nothing is perfect and a few things didn’t happen that were originally planned but there were also many wonderful surprises throughout the evening. An appearance of sorts by my little sister through song (Its amazing how the things she left behind keep her present) Thanks, Dad. A swearing in ceremony for the presidents that was masterfully crafted and orchestrated by our MC (one of Richard’s cabinet members), my VP, and I. And also, a karaoke song dedication to the lady president by her mister president at the end of the night, right before the home made steampunk cake (blue velvet)!!!

With everything being crafted top to bottom ourselves and having never orchestrated something of this scale before it was amazing to see it all come to fruition. It wasn’t always easy though there were moments but it was worth it. For such a wonderful day there was also a great sense of accomplishment in it and I wouldn’t change it at all except maybe wishing we had known somethings ahead of time. 😉

Maybe this will help you or someone you know:
~The internet was our BEST FRIEND! (Pinterest!)
~Research, research, research…ahead of time. It will save you money and sanity so you aren’t rushing last minute.
~Make a list. Work up a spreadsheet. Have a plan. Share it with your other. It won’t always be 100% right on but you will at least have some direction/point of reference so you don’t feel like you are floating around in a sea of EVERYTHING!
~My best advice is to be flexible. You might find something you have to have or do but it might not be plausible but that doesn’t mean something like it can’t happen. Use that wonderful brain and work that creative muscle.
~Talk to friends they can help get those wheels a-movin’ and know somethings that all the research in the internet world you wouldn’t find.
~Make delegation lists of what needs to get done, when, and who is doing it ahead of time so you don’t miss anything the day of.~Above all remember what this day means to you and don’t get caught up making it more than that. The “things” are nice but they aren’t what is special about this day. I won’t define it for you because it is going to be slightly different for everyone but give it a bit of thought as you head into this big day. Write it down. It might help you in the long run when it gets to be a bit stressful in the process of everything. 😀

If there is anything we can help you with when it comes to planning one yourself we will gladly share our knowledge with you just send us a message!

Love you all and here are some pics pre and post set up of our venue:
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Hello There! ;)

Pengminions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am super excited. (I: being me, Kristen, the she of the penguin couple.) Alright now that that is out of the way….
I have soooo much to share with you all. Man, would I love to post shorter blogs much more frequently. (Your encouragement would be greatly appreciated).

So to back track a little bit… About 3 and a half weeks ago the two of us set off on a road trip. Leaving behind our beloved PARenFaire and wonderful friends. As we left the state of Pennsylvania we beat the snow as we headed for our first stop on our Grand Cross Country Adventure, Chicago, but when we got there we caught the first of it’s cold weather of the season. That being the case I was reminded of why the Windy City just might not be for me (it’s cold + Windy = 😥 Kristen face). We spent the next couple days with one of our Favorite Chicago couples, who most graciously invited us into their home. We used some of the time in the City to head to our storage unit and exchange/pick up some things we thought would be most useful to us with the upcoming Soiree in Texas. It did not take us nearly as long as I had thought it would considering how tetris like the storage and our lime kia soul (Hamlet) was packed. We also went to visit one of my favorite Chi~town places and former place of employment, The Second City, where I was able to catch up with more friendly faces and see the FREE improv set that the cast does every night (except fridays) after the paid show performance (great spontaneous after dinner date, js). Too soon it seemed we left the City of our first home together headed West bound.
Reno HERE WE COME!!!
My family lives there and we had some important things to be there for also some major hanging out to do!
The drive was a loooong one:
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We didn’t really have a set plan but just to drive, switch drivers, sleep, repeat. Except for Salt Lake City. Stopping there was a must since I – 80 takes us right beside The Great Salt Lake but it was also 20 hours away from Chicago. After making good headway about 14 hrs of driving and stops for gas and leg stretching we stopped at a busy truck stop in Nebraska (which along with Iowa are written off as been there, done that states and have no interest in going again…there was NOTHING!) to try and sleep the worst hours of the night for driving (between 1am and 6am) together and get to moving again right before daylight. Unfortunately, it was much colder than anticipated and after about 2 and a half hours I got too antsy in the space and just could not sleep anymore. We decided to just keep trekking along after about another hour that we used to get out of the car, browse around the gas station, and just regroup, wake up, and refresh ourselves for the next half of this leg.
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This was our sunrise from that morning
Once we got into Wyoming there was much more to see as we drove.
It was our first encounter with mountains this trip and that was just the beginning! 😀
In a timely fashion we made it to the Great Salt Lake and of course that was our first stop! Image
Maybe later I will post a video of my encounter there 😉 Yay things to look forward to!!!
Then we made our way to the cheaply priced hotel we found for around $60: King size bed, free WiFi, breakfast, and hot tub!
We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Outback Steakhouse that we used a gift card to cheap that meal. On both sides of our booth there were interesting things happening. A woman dishing out her drama filled life story on what seemed to be a first~ish or so date behind Richard and a cute lil blonde boy that ended up starting a conversation with me over the seats.
On a large, comfy bed we hit the lights and rested up for what was luckily only a 7 hr drive + a must stop pit stop
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The BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS! (they race really fast cars here)

and then on to our next, for a while destination, RENO!
To be continued……. my Pengminion friends!

Sooo much love to you all ❤
Kristen <(“)