A Trip of Solo Travel

If you have been reading our blogs you might know that we are heading to London this summer. We will be participating in the Global Business Program for a week long intensive where we get to explore international businesses, be immersed in a new culture, and of course partake in local cuisine. London in and of itself will not be a first but a solo international flight and exploring overseas will be. To “save” a bit of money I decided to take an earlier flight to London. Save is in quotes because what I am saving on a plane ticket I will be utilizing to fund my stay and adventures before class starts.

I am so stoked about it though. Always having wanted to do some solo traveling I have never created the opportunity before now. Luckily, my job at the University of Nevada has allowed me the freedom to take the time off for this adventure. When thinking about my upcoming trip I cannot wait to roam the streets in a new country going wherever my feet lead me. I belatedly decided to look at a Warner Bros. Studio – Harry Potter Tour but they are all booked up for when I am going to be there and I am bummed about it, BUMMED! ::cry emoji::

It has been about 5 years since the last time I was in London, the trip was only a couple days and it all went by so fast I hardly remember all that I did. My guess is once I am back and surrounded by the city much will come back as far as orienting myself. I often get asked when I travel “aren’t you scared” and honestly I am not. I am always excited to go somewhere new and explore.

To me the world is not as scary a place as most people who ask me that question and the media make it out to be. Most of the tragedies people are worried about happen here at home too but I go out by myself all the time here. I refuse to allow these ‘what if’ scenarios to keep me from going out and exploring the world. There is something to be said for attempting some research ahead of time to know what you are getting yourself into and being informed and by doing so I would hope that would empower others to take that leap and experience unknown places first hand.

Also, having lived alone in a big city where I knew no one and had never visited before living there; I feel pretty confident about being able to get lost and found in this semi-new place or any place really. The thing is it’s a new place on the other side of an ocean, but I am not in a country where I don’t speak the language so that is a huge plus as far as subsiding any potential fears. If I didn’t speak the language I do think that might change things a bit but by doing research ahead of time I would not be too worried then either and neither should you. Be vigilant but don’t be scared. Embrace the adventure. Don’t let others’ fears or your own hold you back. Everything you have ever done was once something brand new; everywhere you have ever been was once a place you had never been before. 

When traveling I don’t think you should hold yourself back from going by waiting on others to be ready whether it be friends, searching & waiting for that special someone, family, or whomever. If you can make the time and come up with the money don’t wait. Go now! We all start somewhere and only get where we want to go by taking steps to get there. The only one stopping you is you.

It won’t be a super long trip alone because Richard will be meeting me so we can head out to Stonehenge but this solo experience will check off this bucket list item and who knows what this experience will bring! I have yet to decide exactly what I am going to be up to prior to Stonehenge so if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. Where would you like to go? What is holding you back? Let’s help each other travel the world! Til next time Pengminions!

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!

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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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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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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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Identifying Hypocrisy

by Richard Furleigh

Hypocrites.

Everyone claims to hate them, yet not a single one of us (myself included) are free from this title. Our intentions may be one thing however time and time again our words and actions betray us as hypocritical. The book “Building The Bridge As You Walk On It” by Robert E Quinn details this as one of his core tenants for leadership, but it is up to us every single day to examine this about ourselves in an honest way.

I know that personally I have struggled with this in some capacities, but with practice and some humility have learned to give honest credence to others voices when critiquing my choices. It is hard to truly look at yourself and admit that you are wrong or could do something in a more positive way, really it is one of the hardest possible things in life that you can do. No one wants to feel like their choices are wrong, no one wants to admit they are the weak point in a particular chain, yet this is the strongest possible thing you can do.

No growth in life ever comes from ignoring problems.

I have found more positive results to looking critically at my own choices than I would have thought possible. It has opened my eyes to others points of view, methods of execution, and knowledge about myself than I would have thought possible before now. Curiously enough it has also helped make me more confident as a person as well. When I know that more factors are taken into account, more voices heard and processed for their truest guidance, and more alternatives explored it means the decisions I come to are of that much higher a quality.

If there is anything you do to help combat your own hypocrisy, or if there is something in particular you need to be held accountable for let us know. We’re always looking for ways to help or improve our own process! Until next time Pengminions!

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Be Inspired by Your Parents

I don’t know about you but my parents made many nontraditional life choices, starting with me! My parents made many out of the norm decisions that paved the road for me to take on a similar outlook in life. Here is just a small glimpse of their awesomeness.

FB_IMG_1491520720291As a very young “couple” who did not have plans for me to come into this world they chose to keep me, each other, and then have 4 more babies right after me. Within a year, in their early 20s, they met, got married and four months later I was born. To this day they are still together learning to grow with one another over all this time.

They always worked hard and weren’t afraid to try new things. With 5 kids, when I was in middle school, my mom decided to go to school and earn her degree to become a drafter. I learned just because you didn’t do it “when you were supposed to” doesn’t mean you never can. There are no limits when you give yourself permission. She is always giving herself permission to do new things including becoming a florist, to making steampunk clothing/jewelry, to moving half way across the country with my dad. The fact that she is where she is now compared to her upbringing is inspiring as well but that’s a whole other story!

When I was in high school my dad wanted a change and decided to become an entrepreneur; to be his own boss and set his own hours. Sometimes leaving a steady job to pursue your dreams and be with your family is more important than a guaranteed pay check. It’s courageous to take on the unknown when you have a family depending on you. Now, he is pursuing his PhD at 50! Talk about challenging yourself!!

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They choose to do things different. I think that’s awesome! What have your parents done that inspires you? We love hearing from you all; the comments are all yours. Til next time Pengminions.

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Doing things Different Inspired by Grit

In our MBA class we just finished reading a book called GRIT by Angela Duckworth. When thinking about grit it really struck me that it is in many ways doing things differently. Not allowing your set backs to define your future and that you can persevere over your situation. Where many would give up you don’t; that difference has a huge impact. I’d like to share with you a few quips from my life’s story where I believe I persevered and hopefully inspire you in the process.

Growing up my family was pretty poor and my parents weren’t good with money. When I was young I remember going to the grocery store and my mom only being able to purchase food that was on the WIC list. One of the cool things about it though is I never remember her placing any shame around it. It was just a fact. We didn’t stay on them forever; but they were a necessity for a young family with 5 kids in order to work themselves to a place where they no longer needed them. It was accepted that it was where they were but not where they had to stay: a tool not a crutch.
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I had another big lesson in high school when I learned that the government can take money from your bank account if you owe them. I decided that would never be (my parent’s account was where my working money had been kept.)

This happening canceled the senior trip I had planed on taking and had been saving for and though it hurt I decide not to allow that to crush me for long. It galvanized me to never make their same mistakes. I also resolved that just because this trip didn’t work out didn’t mean I would never travel.

My parents didn’t include me in the conversations about what had happened until they absolutely had to because they couldn’t come up with the money in time for me not to notice. I then decided that honesty will always be my policy. The truth can hurt but being lied to hurts worse. Those involved should always have a say.

After all this, when turning 18, I took charge and the first thing I did when I woke up that day was get the couple hundred dollars I had saved and opened my own bank account so I got to decide what happened to my money.
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Going to college was ingrained in me from very early on, but my parent’s didn’t have the means to financially support me to go there so I had to find a way to make it work. So, I worked, went to community college, attend rehearsals, made time for friends, and eventually made my way to University. Not going wasn’t an option. Although it was slow, (I didn’t always take a full course load) and was without a doubt nontraditional, I finally finished 6 years later.

During my senior year of college I decide that the study abroad program was something I couldn’t miss out on. I didn’t let my small bank account, lack of a job because of the demands of the thearte, or the failure of my last senior trip dictate the pursuit of this one. I recruited friends, found support in my home town, and put together a plate sale to help fund the trip. And I went!

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Without these happenings I would have missed out on a lot of learning:

If you allow them, harsh lessons can lead you to develop further and  hopefully inspire you to think of things different to accomplish your goals. In many ways I changed my narrative and so can you. Share with us some of your stories of perseverance or what is going on in your life and what you plan to start doing differently! Til next time Pengminions!

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Importance of Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

by Richard Furleigh

Wake up, drink coffee, shower, work, lunch, work, meeting, home. Routines breed comfort in your day to day life, and in some ways they can help regulate your life and help keep you on task. Simplicity in some aspects of your life (like Steve Jobs’s obsession with jeans and black turtlenecks) can help bring creativity to other aspects of your life, but venturing outside of that from time to time is vital to helping your mind stay agile and flexible.

If you’ve ever run across people who can never seem to change anything in their life there is a reason for that, and needless to say those people are often not the most inspired people in the world. In the tech world I see this all the time and essentially it boils down to voluntary ignorance. There is something new to learn or try yet somehow this inspires fear; this isn’t limited to any age, position, or anything else. Last week I wrote about a friends company who is making them do cold calls to drum up business. As a fortune 100 company this would be embarrassing for me to ask my employees to do. Yet those who are in charge at these stoic institutions refuse to use the same time that they are wasting with the antique to work on a new outreach and cultivation program that they could implement.

This serves as an example in the workplace but there are times in our personal lives we need to break out and do something different as well. It’s colloquial, but the phrase “if you aren’t moving forward you’re moving backward” does have a lot of weight to it. One of my professors is fond of saying that entropy will kill all systems that do not reinvent themselves. Now it’s not about reinventing the wheel every day, but simply finding new ways to work your mind so that you don’t find yourself completely stuck into patterns that will eventually sabotage you.

If you find yourself stuck in a loop here are a few really easy things that you can do to help break out of it:

  1. Dress completely different than your normal style: This may seem like a small thing but I know that how I’m dressed can affect my mood and how I feel about myself and can get you thinking a little differently.
  2. Go take a walk around in a park or space that you haven’t been before: The new surroundings may inspire
  3. Get food at that new place you’ve been meaning to try: A different experience may bring a fresh feeling to the rest of your day. Just don’t get the safe option for your meal.

This may be a simplified list, but it usually doesn’t take much to kick start your creativity and move past those blocks we construct in our heads.

My challenge for you is simple: do one out of the box thing this week. Go sing karaoke, drive the LONG way to work, something that is more than a little weird even. Just see where that decision takes you! If you have some fun with it, or have any other ideas for ways to break out, let us know! We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Until 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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