Why Kristen and I Almost Didn’t Get Married (For a Good Reason)

by Richard Furleigh

The decision to get married is a big one; one of the biggest of your life. The decision to spend the rest of your life with one person is daunting to say the least. Now, Kristen and I love each other (a lot) but when talking about the rest of our lives we had a serious debate whether we wanted to get married or not. We definitely wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but the question was the paperwork behind it.

It wasn’t until more recent history when governments at a local and state level began requiring licensing for marriages; starting around the mid 19th century.  Prior to that announcements in newspapers or by word of mouth in communities was accompanied by a simple ceremony without all the lavish trappings of modern weddings.

For Kristen and I it came down to a few things. One, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and didn’t need a piece of paper telling us that. Two, those pieces of paper do cost money to get in addition to the time required to go get them processed. So in many respects it just felt like an unnecessary step in our lives.

The United States however thinks otherwise in many respects. Unless we wanted to jump through a ton of other legal hoops at various points in our lives, being married is one of the only ways to ensure life with your chosen partner is smooth in the legal sense. End of life care, life insurance, health insurance, taxes, offspring rights, even renting an apartment all become massively more difficult to navigate if you are “together” but not married. On top of that, with our name change we would have had a harder time convincing a judge to allow it.

In the end we did get married in Harris County, but only for the simplicity of legal processes throughout our lives. I really wish the US and it’s states made unmarried life for committed couples a little more accommodating in this respect because, as I stated, it really just feels unnecessary. We love each other and choose to be together and we don’t need a document to tell us that.

We do know there are couples out there who have chosen to go without that paper, and we would love to hear from you so some of our other readers can be informed too! What issues have you run into and how have you overcome them? Do you have any recommendations for others who may think about doing the same? Let us know down below and thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge! Until next time Pengminions!!

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

Finding A Wedding Venue

When starting to plan for your wedding one of the biggest choices you have to make is the venue. Venues come in all shapes and sizes and determine when, where, and how you get to celebrate your wedding day and reception. When picking a venue Richard and I knew we did not want to break the bank but since we were going to be inviting about 60-70 people we knew we needed space. We also knew that cost was our greatest concern. To start we definitely, for s’s and g’s, looked at your more traditionally utilized spaces for weddings. They were: $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and often they didn’t include everything unless you want to pay even more!

*Dead*

So, once we reinforced our gut feelings we sought out alternatives. We knew that we were not looking for an all-inclusive venue because food, alcohol, decorations, cake, flowers, ect. we could and wanted to do ourselves; besides knowing we could find it much cheaper than if we had it included in the venue. We went with a basic, bare community center in Texas knowing we could turn it into something all our own. All for the great big price of, $350. There are many community resources out there that offer spaces indoor and outdoor to hold your event and for a fraction of the cost of most wedding venues.

Before: Venue

Some alternatives can be, depending on size and what you are wanting to do, are:

1.) A local or even destination park – You can often rent spaces at community parks for almost nothing. You might not even have to pay if it is super small.

2.) A beach – Just do your research early on for potential permit requirements or restrictions.

3.) Community centers -They offer spaces that are sometimes really basic and bare and other times quite beautiful. They almost always will be many times cheaper than a true wedding venue.

4.) Have a backyard wedding – If you, family or friends have a nice house that wouldn’t mind offering up their home for your big day you could make it an extremely budget friendly wedding.

5.) The great outdoors – Even some National Parks offer the ability to hold your event in beautiful locations. Check out some of these suggestions, here.

6.) Have your wedding on an off-peak day (during the week) or during the off season.

7.) Use your creativity! You can get married almost literally anywhere! Use venue search terms that don’t include “wedding” and you might find something perfect that you may have missed otherwise.

The greatest key here is start doing your research early. Some of these ideas fill up swiftly like normal wedding venues so getting the process started early is important. Some don’t require as much prep or any permits but you should make sure you find out ahead of time so you know what you are getting yourself into.

Find out the requirements and restrictions when you are researching so you know what you can and cannot expect from a particular site. You don’t want to have paid for particular elements like a band, decorations, alcohol, ect to find out the day of they are not allowed. Know what you want and what you are willing to do without. Not every THING is as important as it may seem. Save money and just enjoy spending time with the people you are sharing this all with.

Remember it is supposed to be an experience of a life time not an experience you end up paying for for a whole life time. What are some unique ideas you have for a wedding ceremony, reception, or both? How were you able to save money planning your wedding? Let us know in the comments; we love hearing about your experiences. Til next time Pengminions!

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

Hubris

“It’s often foolish pride that tells us we’re not wrong” – What If I Was Nothing? by All That Remains (one of my favorite hard rock love songs, who says headbangers can’t have feelings too?!)

When it comes to relationships I feel pretty confident in saying that this one thing more than almost anything else is the killer. Yes your ex’s of the past may have been slobs, or didn’t show they cared, or were too controlling, or any other slew of problems. But, peel back the layers however and I’m willing to say that a lack of true consideration for the other person stemming from an inflated sense of ego is at the root of it all. Even in my relationship with Kristen, which I think we work pretty well together most of the time, I see the telltale signs on both ends of arguments.

Acknowledging this lurking monster has been one of the greatest challenges of my adult life. Looking back I can see how this one thing has torpedoed past relationships with people, and strained others with family and friends. So what exactly have I been doing and how can it maybe help you?

  • For starters it helps to try to keep a level head before the real argument even starts, once things begin to go red it’s too late. Understanding that in most cases the other person isn’t genuinely trying to be mean, it’s just a matter of how you’re interpreting the situation that is leading you down this path. Back up a little bit and try to understand where they are coming from.
  • If you find yourself getting agitated during a conversation ask yourself why is it that you feel that way? Exploring the rationale behind your emotions is a powerful tool to not only understanding the situation better but understanding yourself.
  • Learning to take criticism (even about small things) is pivotal. People don’t like feeling like they’re nagging, but if something is out of place or unclean there is then good reason to bring it up. General cleanliness can make items easier to find for future use, and can lend to a general sense of well-being. Not helping the other person feel good about their living situation is selfish to say the least.
  • On the flip side of that one, learn to let some small things go. Not every blanket, shoe, and cup has to be put back 100% of the time. Much in the same way that letting go of your ego about not needing to “keep everything perfect” isn’t helpful; insisting that everything be in it’s perfect little place isn’t either  and can be just as selfish. Balance is sometimes found in the grey areas.

These are only a few of the tools I’ve employed, but much of it comes down to self monitoring. That in itself is another crucial tool for life but here it has such a profound impact, if you are honest with yourself and allow yourself to grow out of it.

The next time you find yourself approaching argument territory in life pause for a moment and ask yourself why? If you’re honest I bet you’ll find a completely different way to navigate the situation in a much more positive way! If you have any other tips feel free to leave them below! Until next time Pengminions.

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

Your Wedding Day is YOUR Wedding Day

Your wedding day should be just that, YOUR, wedding day. A day for you and your future spouse to celebrate however you deem appropriate. Your day is NOT to please other people. In my opinion it should be a reflection of your love for each other and what you value. Not what your parents, your future in-laws, you other family, your friends, or anyone else believes it should be.

My #1 piece of advice for you is to set your ground rules or share your plans early on in the process. Let those involved know how you feel and what your plans are, especially if you know that their opinions about your wedding day differ from what you plan to do. This helps to alleviate some of the potential blow ups during the process. Not to say that family or friends might not get upset but they should understand that it is your wedding and not theirs; you are inviting them to celebrate your union in a way that represents the two of you. They need to support and respect that. You also want to avoid surprises in the process especially “on the day of” revelations if at all possible. Luckily they don’t all end in disaster but heading them off ahead of time can save you a potential catastrophe.

Richard and I chose an extremely nontraditional route and it took us some time to figure out what exactly we wanted to do. We ended up having what we called a “Soiree” as our reception where we dressed up in fancy steampunk garb and celebrated our coming commitment to one another with family and friends, as a send off of sorts. This was on a Saturday and on Sunday, the 13th of April, we celebrate our anniversary and the day we chose as our commitment day. Spring forward 2 months and that is when we finally got around to filling out paperwork and having an officiant sign our licence for the silly government.

What is usually the ceremony part, our commitment day, was about us and no one else. We felt that at the end of the day no one comes home with us to make our marriage work and we wanted that to be our private event. Yes, family and friends are important and they influence our lives but they don’t live our life and so that is why we chose the reception as a way to include them in our union.

What did you do or are you planning to do that is a little or a lot out of the ordinary? Let us know in the comments section below. Next, we will take you on our journey of how we only spent about $4,000 for our whole shindig! Til next time Pengminions!

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

It’s Wedding Season!

20130820_120257

Not my actual wedding dress

It is that time of year, spring/summer, when the weddings seem to be never ending. Every where you look there is another white dress by a costly designer, extravagant venue, artistic masterpieces for cakes, guest lists that go on forever. Bridal magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram all perpetuate this idea of what we “need” for a perfect wedding. The average cost of a wedding in the US is $35,329! You read that correctly. That is minimum $10,000 more than the cost of my Subi!

I am amazed at the amount of money people spend on their weddings. Why? Why are we spending so much money on these one day events? What does putting yourself in debt to start this brand new, beautiful adventure do for you? What is the meaning behind all of it? Are we really thinking about these things before we do them? In most cases I don’t believe we really ask ourselves these questions or give them much thought. This brings me to one of my favorite shows, Adam Ruins Everything, and I would like to share with you his comedic historical based video snippet on weddings.

When planning your wedding I implore you to question what you are spending your money on, ask yourself why, and whether or not it truly is important to you and your significant other. It is just one day, a special one but it shouldn’t put you back monetarily or be about things that don’t matter to you both. Spending more on your wedding makes it more likely to end in divorce, according to researchers at Emory University. Maybe think twice about the extravagance or pleasing others and focus on the things that are most important; the two of you.

These next few blogs I write are going to be about some of the decisions we made for our wedding day that might help you save or think a little differently and creatively when planning your special day.  Til next time Pengminions!

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

She said , “We don’t want to have kids…”

At least that’s the thought right now. Kids might be cool…One day…Maybe?
We often get the “Oh, you will want kids one day” or the “Kids are the best thing to every happen to you” cliches. I am not so sure. We have time if we change our minds and right now I know I don’t want them; possibly ever.
64522_10200822324666724_704127020_n

We can hardly take care of ourselves let alone children.

Why? Because my thoughts on the subject have changed over the years. In a previous blog you found out that I was the oldest of five kids to young parents. All of my aunts and uncles have kids too. When I was younger I figured, I’d end up with kids also, most likely as a youngin rather than later in life. I got older those ideas changed. As I went off to college and started thinking about what I wanted my life to be I started to realize the responsibility that came with having children; it takes away the freedoms that I have and am enjoying as an adult. My aspirations with art and travel are not financially nor time conducive to the commitment that raising a child(ren) requires.

No one, or rather most people, don’t talk about the challenges and down side to being a parent. The cool thing to me is that it IS optional. In this day and age the number of childless men and women has been increasing and the decision process is usually a rational one.

Over the years I have put a LOT of thought into what having children does to an individual and family. As a woman I have come to realize the psychological and physical tolls having kids can have on your being. No matter how much your partner chimes “We’re having a baby!” truly the woman is the only one who undergoes a number of dramatic changes to her life not for nine months but forever. Is it worth it? I’m not sure I believe it is. The physical changes your body endures is more than just superficial.  There is also no way to know whether or not postpartum depression will effect you and to what extent your brain changes. It is not selfish to not want to purposefully affect your being in these possible ways.

In many relationships, more often than not, child rearing disproportionately ends up falling on women in a heterosexual relationship. It takes great effort to keep this from occurring. This can prove difficult when your own upbringing was as such, which was the case for us both. This can be detrimental for those women who have other aspirations than just child rearing.

15732035_10202578586584026_3705359067087471574_o.jpg

Besides, our fur~baby family makes us pretty darn happy!

The happiness that people talk about with their “bundle of joy” also isn’t the case for all parents; some people are really unhappy after having kids and the stresses it can cause. I am quite happy with the life that Richard and I have been building and having kids just doesn’t seem to fit in with our plans as of now. We have plenty of time to reassess as we go on this journey together. Currently I like that our time can be spent only factoring in each other’s respective lives. We are able to focus on our goals and aspirations; not to mention the traveling we are able to do that would potentially be cost and time prohibitive if we had children.

Another reason having kids does not seem right for me is the number of children that are without a home. I have thought if I were to have children that comes with the caveat that its a two for one deal; I would have to adopt as well.  If I’m going to bring a child into this world I am going to take in one that is already here and needs a family. To me it feels wrong to bring another human into this world when there are already so many people that go without. That is twice as much time, energy, money, ect.

Whether or not we have children is to be determined and only time will tell but as for now our reasoning together points toward no. We are completely OK with that because we know that it is a choice and a responsibility not to be taken lightly. What are your thoughts on having kids? Let us know in the comments below. Til next time Pengminions!
Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

What’s in a Name?


The origin story of Furleigh
-Kristen Furleigh

Growing up I didn’t give much thought to names. I had a name that I was given at birth that I just knew to be mine. For me it became a part of who I am. When I got to my teens I was finally truly aware of the reality for most women when they get married; their name changes. You become Mrs. name of husband. Why?

I’m sure that somewhere along the way I found out that not all women change their name when they get married but I am not sure when this exact moment was. I do remember asking my parents about their name change. My mom, like most women, took my dad’s last name. However I was shocked to find out my dad had actually wanted to take my mom’s last name but she wanted to take his and they ended up going the more traditional route. This got my wheels turning.

It was decided not long after, “When I get married I’m keeping my last name!”  And that was that, I thought. Come to find out my declaration was wrong yet in a way that I would have never imagined. When I did end up getting married we did something that no one we had ever met had done. We got creative and created a brand new last name! I know we aren’t the first in the world, but it was a pretty radical idea in conservative Texas where we grew up.

When it came time to make some marriage decisions Richard was completely OK with me keeping my last name and him keeping his, but something just didn’t sit right with me about having different last names even though for the longest time that is what I had wanted. So my wheels started spinning once again. At one point I ended up experimenting with different ways to smush together our last names that didn’t require hyphenating. I’m sure there was inspiration from somewhere that I just can’t recall. The idea simply fascinated me. Creating a new last name by blending together our old ones made sense to me. It is part his, part mine, and wholly ours. We are creating this new family where one is no more important than the other. Where two come together; not one to the other. It just made sense. It just fit. The hard part came next.

Convincing the other half to get on board with the name change. It took some time and soul searching and he finally came around to the idea. Change is no easy thing to do, so to make a decision that was something you had never thought of, much less seen done, can be unnerving at first. Over time he too found the significance in Furin + Burleigh = Furleigh!

In art, I believe strongly in the idea that we are not original. We get inspired by something or someone else and end up co-creating and modifying what we know to produce our creative works. In life and business we have got to be open to the influence of others to better serve them and ourselves. This idea of co-creation is extremely important. For Richard and I, our name, for us, is a symbol of that. It took thinking a bit differently about names and some influence, for me from my parents, to think that just because it’s been done a certain way for so long doesn’t mean that I have to do it that way too. If something doesn’t mean the same thing to you as those before you then that is your key to start your wheels turning as well!

What is your creative alternative to tradition and what does it mean to you? We would love to hear your story. Share it with us below! Have any questions for us, ASK! Thanks for reading. Til next time Pengminions.

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

Middle Earth: The Land of Hobbitses (pt 2)

Hello Pengminions!!! We bring you segment 2 of our New Zealand adventure! Here we have captured the last part of our stay in the north island and make our way to the south island via the aforementioned “ferry ride of death”

We start again as the penguin couple makes their way downstream on the
Tongariro River!

DSC02984Smiling with our group and Australian guide
DSC02986 DSC03006

Oogling the breathtaking views
DSCF4678Touching a lil waterfall
DSCF4684Hitting close to home! HAHA
IMG_8062 IMG_8071 IMG_8072 IMG_8073 IMG_8113Successfully navigated the narrow seas (standing up and all) without loosing a passenger! 
DSC_0005
Made our way to Taupo! 
DSC_0016
We heard screams and looked up from our peaceful view to find…
DSC_0017
Skydivers!!!!
DSC_0023
Sunset at the great lake!
DSC_0029

20140426_180025The Day we met Mt. Doom!
DSC_0040
Yes, we hiked the whole way! and then some….
DSC_0075
see above: Mt Doom! (you know Lord of the Rings???) aka Mt Nguauruhoe
DSC_0073
There was ice and frost when we started at 7am!
DSC_0068
DSC_0063and FOG!
DSC_0049
DSC_0045what natural colored mosses(?)
DSC_0100
as we ascend THE MTN…clouds…
DSC_0104
I AM ABOVE THE CLOUDS!!! (and only half way up)
DSC_0106
at one point we see a lake
DSC_0116
once we reach the summit….TWO, THREE, FOUR?!?!!?!
DSC_0120
DSC_0112IT IS THE CRATER ATOP MT DOOM!!!
DSC_0124
WE MADE IT!!!! Successful PENGUINS
DSC_014620140427_175200
DSC_0149Our gorgeous view from the top above the clouds
DSC_0165
With a great sense of accomplishment we made our way back down the Mountain 
DSC_0168
The shoes that helped me make it
DSC_0177
and we make our way on to the rest of the crossing…about 10 more km to go!
DSC_0182
up more mountainous terrain
DSC_0184
the red crater
DSC_0188
DSC_0191We had a great view of the blue and green lakes that are located near volcano steam vents
DSC_0196View from the “trail” on the down side of the red crater
20140427_145518dun dun dunnnnnnnn! ahhhhh 😀
DSC_0200the very white steam is from a real live active volcano!!! eeeps
20140427_14543820140427_145457 20140427_155242 20140427_155249
20140427_175136
20140427_135217a panoramic picture from the red crater

Sadly after the volcano we were tired and the road was as windy as the road in the clouds from DragonBallZ AND about 7 km to the end so we just forgot from lack of energy to picture anything more. We ended up in a rain forest for the last 5 km or so. The climate changes because of elevation, clouds, and terrain were surreal.
Our SUCCESS FACES! We made it. 8pm WHEW
20140427_175643

Next day, in pain, we went off to check out HUKA FALLS!
DSC_0207
DSC_0212 DSC_0218 DSC_0220 DSC_0231The water was wicked fast and pristine blue.

real honey comb

We also checked out the Huka Honey Hive where we saw beez and tasted ALL THE HONEY! (and bought some wine 🙂
It was a lovely attraction as we made our way down to Wellington; our last stop in the north.
DSC_0232 DSC_0234A hillside view of houses
20140429_104156
Random art
20140429_105308
20140429_110150The best slide ever!!! I was discouraged to use on our rainy day walking the town…I did it anyway!!! (and was soo right in its awesomeness) 
20140429_111721
free face art so we made our own with it lol
(I discovered howmuch I love panoramic pictures while in NZ)
20140429_123212
The Museum of Te Papa (on every list of must sees)
20140429_125438
preserved giant squid!

We also went to the Weta Workshop: Our minds Exploded inside their work space but sadly picture taking was restricted 😦 
20140430_161038
The dreaded ferry
(I did not know this when the picture was taken! The ship though didn’t have balancing ballasts and we were on some pretty choppy seas….the end of my life as I knew it)

Now we have made it to…The South Island!
Our first day was hiking Abel Tasman
DSC_0270Just beautiful the whole trek
DSC_0276
DSC_0290DSC_0294Cricks (lil creeks) and baby waterfalls everywhere
DSC_0301
The ever wonderful silver fern!
DSC_0311
DSC_0316This is the trunk of a silver fern cut close to the base
What marvelous wood grain!!!
DSC_0334
DSC_0335DSC_0361DSC_0369Our stay for the evening was at a quaint hostel
Our room:
20140430_224208
It had a name: The Love Bug
20140430_224308
These are chocolate/mint love bugs!!!
20140430_224318
We have just brushed the surface of all things South Island of New Zealand~y!!!!
Hope you enjoyed the pictures!
More to come just keep a look out friends!!

Peace, Love, and Happiness Everyone!

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