The Furleighs in San Francisco

When work inadvertently schedules you three days off in a row what do you do? Pack up the car, get a pet sitter, and take a quick trip of course! Following up on some of our travels I present to you our time in San Francisco.

Day one was venturing to the infamous Alcatraz Island. The island itself was surprisingly beautiful if you took away the giant steel and concrete looming over you. Getting inside to see the prison however was intimidating and even a little inspiring. If you’ve never visited it isn’t until once you’re inside that the true magnitude of the whole place hits you. It’s almost unsettling to think of the history such a facility has, and surprising some of the tales of reform that came from inside. One of the more dramatic stories from Alcatraz has nothing to do with it’s time as a prison, but after it was abandoned. First nation peoples took up residence for a period from November 1969 to June 1971 declaring the island belonging to all native people. We left the island and proceeded to walk, everywhere, for the rest of the day. Coit tower, Chinatown, and the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.

Walking through Chinatown was almost surreal, hearing almost no English being spoken around us and seeing almost all signs written in another language was a very different experience. While there we stopped by Boba Guys, which without a doubt had the best boba tea Kristen or I have ever had. We wrapped up at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, which is simply spectacular. The entire space made me want to perform a Shakespeare production right then and there. By the time we were done however I was tapped out, and we had to take a Lyft back to our car since I felt like I was about to get some massive blisters otherwise.

Day two started out with us at nearby Muir Woods national Monument, one of the last places on Earth with naturally growing redwood trees. The colloquial use of “walking among sleeping giants” was exceptionally apt here with trunks the size of cars that would then shoot into the sky making you hurt yourself in an attempt to actually see the tops. The adventurous penguins we are we ventured off onto one of the side paths to get away from the crowds and get into the woods a little more. It was well worth it as the beauty of the area revealed itself more and more in the quiet. Once we left there we hung out a little in San Francisco before heading to The Exploratorium and met up with one of Kristen’s friends from back in Victoria, Sarah.

I had never heard of The Exploratorium until we researched places to see in San Francisco, but I am so glad we were able to get there since it’s pretty much a giant science/art/physics/natural world playground for adults. Needless to say we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We parted ways with Sarah and headed off to meet another friend who lived in the area. We met with Sydney after she got done with her rehearsal for her show she was working on. The local bar we met at had a great vibe to it and had a stellar home made sour mix, which led to a phenomenal amaretto sour for Kristen. Our evening ended at a karaoke bar that was hosted by a karaoke DJ who also happened to play the harmonica, sing all the background vocals, and play the saxophone.

On our last day we finally got San Francisco’s famous crummy weather which was a bummer, but we came prepared! So we tossed on our rain gear and got out to Golden Gate Park for some exploring. We meandered about for a bit before going into the Japanese Tea Garden for some afternoon refreshments. The site was beautifully kept; flowers, koi ponds, manicured trees, and more awaited us as we walked the paths. After enjoying a pot of tea we headed across the street to the Botanical Gardens which had me entertained and Kristen mesmerized. The scale of the plants that thrived in such conditions was quite astonishing, and venturing to other parts of the world’s flora in such a small space was fantastic. We wrapped up our time in the bay by meeting up with Kristen’s mother and another friend, Dylan, for dinner and a stroll along the Ghirardelli Square toward the piers. After buying two pounds of sourdough from Boudin’s (all for me!) we said our goodbyes and it was back to Reno.

All in all our first extended trip to San Francisco was exceptionally amazing, full of adventures, and made even more enjoyable by our friends we met while there (thanks guys and gals!). Do you have any trips coming up shortly? Any places you think we should check out the next time we get down to the bay area? Let us know down below!

Until next time Pengminions!

 

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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!

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It’s Wedding Season!

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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!

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Using Fear and Anxiety

Kristen and I don’t exactly live in the best part of town. As mentioned before, this is a conscious choice to save a lot of money each month on rent. Walking my dog outside last night I saw a man about 100 feet from me walking through our little parking area with something that resembled a large shop broom. I won’t lie, I felt a twinge of anxiety despite the fact that the man wasn’t particularly close to me nor had he even looked in my direction. He made his way along as Oliver stood there, peeing in the grass, and as I headed inside.

I thought back to other similar experiences when I was younger and how I wasn’t affected in quite the same way. I thought about the naivety that youth gives to us and how it empowers us to make bolder choices in life. I thought about how I’ve gotten older and sometimes that isn’t there in the same way. This seems to be a universal thing for people, and at least for me I think it has more to do with coming to terms with the reality of our world. We never know exactly how much time we have left so we become trepidatious, reluctant to pull the trigger on risky situations in life.

So how do we take this nervousness and make something positive out of it? In my  acting classes we talked about this often since we actors actually do get nervous. As well, in “The Originals” by Adam Grant, we get very similar advice on controlling it. Simply put, DON’T control it! It’s exceptionally difficult to stop a speeding car so instead of pumping the brakes in vain, redirect your energy. The best performances I’ve ever done, the best interviews I’ve ever had weren’t because I’m a zen master who can control his heart rate and cortisol, but because I was able to funnel the energy into focus, into excitement instead of fear, to embrace its chaotic nature and use it in a way that worked FOR me instead of against.

There are times in life when, as Kristen talked about earlier, that overcoming these fears is critical. So I add to that, embrace the fear, make it your tool rather than an anchor. It is not a perfect system, and I can tell you that there are times when it wins, but this is one tactic in my arsenal that I know works for me, and I hope it can work for you too.
Do you have any tricks for pushing through stresses and fears? Let us know down below, and if you know someone who has something big coming up (or maybe you do!) share this with them so they can have a little help too. Until next time Pengminions!

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Why You Should Include Travel in Your Education

Richard and I are stoked for this summer! We have plans to travel with the Global Business Program (GBP) again this summer but to London this time.
brooklyn
We had so much fun in New York we just had to do another one. I am sure you have gathered by now our love to travel so why not take advantage of another course that will count toward our MBA and visit another country together (or two this time). We were sold during our MBA program orientation and have a goal of attending at least one every year that we are in the program.

I will be honest, it definitely isn’t the cheapest option when it comes to getting out and traveling the world but it allows us to double dip some of our time which is important to us so that we graduate on schedule. We also get to network in a completely different way than traditional schooling. Not to mention the classroom dynamic is a completely unique experience with the GBP than sitting in a classroom lecture. We are able to glean lessons via experience and conversation as opposed to reading a textbook, hearing a lecture, and potentially having some peer discussion. The discussion and immersion aspect I find to be more engaging because the setting is different. Ideas seem to flow freer because the “classroom” is more relaxed. The size of the class also helps in this regard.

I do understand that not all travel programs are like this. Some are hosted at a University where you do have a traditional classroom for learning but often these classrooms are filled with students from all over the world. This provides a far more diverse atmosphere than at most home Universities, so the perspectives you receive from your peers has the potential to be more varied.  Sometimes their perspectives will be surprisingly similar to your own; both scenarios will give you a broader and deeper appreciation of others.

The most spectacular thing to remember is you aren’t in class 24/7 whether in the GBP or otherwise and off school times you get to explore a whole other world! When in New York we had seen one of those fancy food videos floating around Facebook and made our way down to Black Tap for this glorious shake!
shake
If you are in school or know someone who is I highly encourage you to find/encourage them to find a program that works with their degree and get to traveling! The world opens up to you when you open up to it. Do you have any plans or experiences traveling in school? Leave us a comment we would love to hear about your experience! Til next time Pengminions!

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Our Anniversary Wine

by Richard Furleigh

New Zealand. It’s kinda an awesome place that we may or may not have gone to on our honeymoon three years ago. Pssst, we totally did. One thing the country is know for is it’s wine.DSC_0774

Pictured is us at Greystone, one of the many excellent vineyards on the southern island. Our time at Greystone was so exceptional that we ended up buying a bottle of their Basket Star Riesling (2011) to take with us back to the US. As the bottle sat around we ended up deciding to save it and open our special honeymoon choice on our one year anniversary. It was even better than I remembered.

After that I began to wonder, as I saw other wines at different stores I began to think back to our time abroad and got an idea. It took a year and a half of searching (mostly because our taste in wine is so different) but we finally found one that we thought was good enough for our plan. The plan: find a wine that both of us enjoy that was made in New Zealand in 2014, then buy a case and open one every five years on our anniversary.

There was just something special about finding a wine that was crafted the same year we trod the ground where they grew 7,000 miles from where we now live. These bottles get to grow in depth and complexity along side us, and for the next 50 years we will have a special reminder of one of the greatest adventures the Penguin couple ever embarked on. Happy third anniversary Kristen, PenGLAP, I love you to Sirius and back!

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Urban Exploring: Beauty in the Decay

by Richard Furleigh

Beauty can be found anywhere if you’re willing to look. For Kristen and I, beauty and fascination has been found in a couple of our more wild adventures: urban exploring. For the uninitiated, urban exploring (also urbex) is venturing inside of and exploring abandoned buildings and places. The goal is not destruction or modification, but simply to venture around see what has happened since people ceased their regular habitation. They also make for some hauntingly gorgeous places for photography.  

Our first adventure started during our undergrad when I decided to take Kristen to New Orleans, and it had nothing to do with Bourbon St. I kept our true reason under wraps until we arrived, and surprised her by parking nearby and walking her toward the former Six Flags Jazzland. The theme park had been closed since August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck and the combination of desolation, graffiti, and decay were more than enough to keep us occupied most of the afternoon.

As we showed pictures from this outing to our family, my sister’s then boyfriend now husband found his creativity bubbling away. As a gift to us he offered to photograph our engagement pictures: in the abandoned Falstaff brewery on Galveston Island. Abandoned in 1981 the brewery occupies a huge plot of land on the island and goes up about 6 stories as well for it’s main offices. The graffiti here was spectacularly done in some places and Andrew’s eye for photography helped us get some amazing pictures that day.


Check out the full shoot by clicking here!

The Furleighs do caution you if you decide to explore on your own: urban exploring is generally considered trespassing, and any abandoned facility may be less than completely safe structurally. So please be careful. That being said, there are plenty of websites out there that can help you find places nearby and this can be a unique and inspiring way to explore your city.

Have you been able to find something inspiring in an unusual place? Are there any off the path places you’ve been to or explored? Let us know down below! Until next time Pengminions!

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Alyssa Was Here!

alyssaIn the spirit of sharing more YOU, I thought I would share a song with you all that I changed some of the lyrics to. For those of you that do not know, my little sister, Alyssa, died in a car accident at the age of only 14 in 2009. It is one of those things you don’t really think about until it happens. For me especially, I was the older sibling and we were both so young, death would come for me most certainly before her, so I never imagined out living her/living without her.

The call I got from my dad that day was and could possibly be the shittiest phone call I ever receive. I was living 9 hours from home at the time and was asleep when he called. At the time my dad never really called often so him calling so late was weird. I still remember, in a sleepy fog, the rush of thoughts that came flooding in as he started to talk. It is amazing how fast our brains can move. He was quick and direct which is the kindest anyone could ask for in that situation. I was on the next flight home. I didn’t know what or how to think about everything and the tears just wouldn’t stop. After the initial shock, as time kept moving as it does, my thoughts and feelings seemed to settle on the frame of mind that yes she is physically gone but I and everyone she ever encountered that are still here she is a part of us; she lives on in the lives that we live.

Which brings me to this song. The original song is by the country artist Cam and the song is called Village. She wrote this song to her little sister telling her what she would want her to remember if she ever died. It was inspired by the death of a best friend’s older brother who was like an older brother to her also. When I first heard the song I simultaneously fell in love with it and hated it. I hated it because it didn’t reflect my reality. I am not the one who is gone so it didn’t sit right with me the way it was written but the message of everyone we know living on inside of us fills me up! So I rewrote the song and recorded it for those who miss her and need a reminder that though she is not here; she is still here. As the song says, “The world outside seems different” and it definitely is but I think we can bring her on our journey and allow her imprint on our heart to be shared with others in choosing to live our lives well.

Here is my version of the song Village you can listen to and the lyrics below.
Lyrics:
Hey there, don’t you dare believe them
She’d never leave us alone
I’d been watching over her like older siblings do
Since the day she was born
I know it feels like She’s been left behind
But She’s still around

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope its a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Streets lined with cottages and cabins
The skies are always blue
She spends her days with ghosts who all love us the most
But no one quite like she does
And there’ll be days we need her by our side
And that’s alright

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Oh man, the world outside seems different
But one thing will never change
She knows who we’ve been and who we’ll become
And Alyssa is here with us always

‘Cause each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And She’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well

Each whole heart’s a village
Everyone we love has built them
And she’d been working there herself
And that’s where she’ll be
Hope it’s a front-row seat
To watch us live our lives well
And She knows we’ll live our lives well

I hope my sharing all this encourages you to live your life to the fullest with the time you have on this Earth, whether or not you have lost someone dear our time is limited and we never know how. Maybe it even inspires you to spend more quality time with those that matter to you. The comments are yours to share what you wish; we love hearing from you. Til next time Pengminions!

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YOU Can Be the Key to Innovation

It is not always easy to be different but it

is important to embrace your different. No one has your exact story or your experiences in life. You should bring those with you on any project or any job that you do. You have a unique story so don’t forget to utilize your differences to bring something new to the table no matter what you do. We are all different but our experiences aren’t so far removed from someone else’s that they aren’t relatable on some level.

You could also be bringing a perspective that a particular group had not thought of, based on their individual histories, but would be important in order to reach more people or create a better idea overall depending on what you are pursuing. Innovation cannot happen without a ‘different’ thought.

Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products…”

You have to be willing to put yourself out there in order to help the collective. No one can share your story but you. No one knows your perspective if you do not share it with them. This can be in art, business, relationships, ect. In art, theatrical arts for me, we are story tellers. If we are not willing to give of ourselves the stories fall flat and become a hollow shell of the power that they could have had. Or we could miss out on creating the next Hamilton because we were unwilling to share our unconventional ideas. In business, that new product or service may never be thought up if we are not willing to change things up or share our experiences. In relationships, with any and all people we encounter, we could be missing out on new or deeper connections.

I know we talk about innovation in terms of business often but really I think the opportunity to innovate in all aspects of your life is endless and we are the key if we are willing to put ourselves out there and share who we are. I challenge you to stop doing all you can to blend in and not makes waves; MAKE WAVES and share your thoughts. Where do you plan to start sharing more of YOU? Let us know down in the comments. We love hearing from you. Til next time Pengminions!

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United failed the “Social” test

by Richard Furleigh

The era of social once again shows us just how swiftly information spreads, especially when it involves one of America’s least liked industries; airlines. At approx 7:30 last night a video showing United personnel forcibly removing a passenger was posted online, and in a little over 12 hours is trending on every major social media platform. At 9:27 CST United’s CEO issued this statement:

Twitter has been having a field day with “re-accommodate” and for good reason; it shows a complete lack of caring. There was no ownership of the incident, no real empathy, and the entire message reads very cold.

Companies have to come to grips with the immediate nature of Social and the implications that poor responses like this will have. United especially has been under fire for other issues in the recent past and have to find a way to better manage these situations. It goes without saying that having them not happen to begin with would be preferable, but humans make mistakes so inevitably you will have to respond for your company’s mistakes as well.

Policy and actions aside, the takeaway point here is not only finding better ways to interact with your customers on a daily basis, but it is beyond imperative to respond in a humanistic way that admits to fault, and sincerely assures your customer base that things will be fixed in the future. The response from United’s CEO was…. lackluster at best…. It feels entirely like every other major company “apologizing” for their mistake with zero sense of connection to the people they serve. It is our job as good corporate citizens to reach our customers in a much more enriching way, and make sure messages like this are a thing of the past.

What are your thoughts about the way business could handle a situation like this? What would you have done differently? Until next time Pengminions!

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