Travel After Terror

Kristen and I recently returned from a fantastic vacation overseas to London for our MBA program, and then continued on to Italy after that. Having traveled overseas a couple times before this we were relatively familiar with what to prep for, but before our departure to London something new popped up.

May 22nd was the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert just outside of Manchester killing 22 individuals and injuring 250, and less than two weeks later, on June 3rd, was the London Bridge/Borough Market incident with 8 people dead and at least 48 injured. Kristen was scheduled to leave on June 11th with me behind her on the 16th (she was able to get more time off and her flight was cheaper. I was jealous).  I want to commend the University and Jim McClenahan for their actions leading up to the London trip for their assurances and the dialogue provided to students who had concerns.

For Kristen and I however, we were not particularly concerned. Not to say that in any way that we were completely apathetic to the situation, but rather, knowing we would just be a little more alert than normal on a trip that we would be fine. From some of our friends and family we got the expected “be careful!” which was appreciated, but what we told them was how we were looking at the situation: there are a myriad of dangers inherent with living in any major city that could strike on any given day. Someone could run their car through pedestrians, an elevator could malfunction, simply going to work, or someone could just find your body one day. It sounds trite in a way to say that simply going about your daily life could kill you, and maybe that’s why we block it out, try to pretend it doesn’t exist, but it does.

The only thing I made sure to do while in both countries was to pay a little more attention to what was going on around me. I kept my head out of my phone while walking around and made sure to be a little more alert to the actions of others. I also made sure to keep an eye behind me from time to time as well, people sometimes forget that not all threats make themselves apparent in front of them. On June 19th there was another terror event in London, this time while we were there, when a man drove his van through a crowd leaving a Mosque after prayers in apparent retaliation. Fortunately we were nowhere nearby and we didn’t have any other incidents in either country.

The main point here is that something could happen to you at just about any time, and while we should live like we expect to live a long time and take care of ourselves, we also shouldn’t let the possibility of that life being cut short from keeping us from enjoying our time here on this little blue rock to the fullest extent possible. Trite though it may be I know I don’t want to be 90 in a rocking chain thinking about all the things in my life I could have done if only I’d not been so scared.

If you have any trips coming up what are some of the things you do to prep for them from a safety standpoint? Any other tips for day to day or travel? Let us know down below and get out there to enjoy life! Until next time Pengminions!


Active Life Choices Are The Key To Making Changes In Your Life

by Richard Furleigh

Conversations with different important people in my life combined with my own recent frustrations with not feeling like I’m creating as much as I want have led me to a deep reaffirmation of the following: anything you want to do has to start with an active choice.

When I say an active choice I do literally mean something that is an action (or lack thereof) in your life. Putting on your shoes and walking around the block, eating a carrot instead of chips, not buying that new game that just came out, putting pigment on that brush and applying it to the canvas. As long as it is something that physically moves you toward your final objective that is the crucial first step. It shows that it isn’t impossible to start, that accomplishing small tasks as part of the whole is do able, and even if it’s as small as going on that walk to start your diet you can point to it and say “I did that, and I can do this”

Recently I’ve been struggling with feeling like my time has constricted itself to the point that I have no time to be creative, to really create new content and art that I feel is important. So I’ve made two changes that I know will help me. First I’ve looked at other things that I have done this semester. I may not have made any “art” per say, //

A silly little thing I made, I call it “Penguin Execution”

but I have broadened my horizons with blogging, and making the couple videos for other classes. These are still very valuable skills to have in creative creation and framing that in that way has helped me feel a little better about it. Second I’ve decided that I will begin writing or editing a piece once a week for a minimum of 30 minutes without interruption, which means no cell phone! This is my actionable goal, and honestly I have to stick with it, just to get things down. I’ve told myself I’m not shooting for Shakespeare here, just getting words on the page is important because especially in the creative process sometimes you don’t know what you’re putting down is good until after it’s already there. I could also just write utter crap, but that could be the crap that spurs the golden thought, or the groundwork for a great scene after editing it. Honestly it doesn’t matter, just getting something done to progress my goal is the key to get things going.

When it comes to life and our choices it really does boil down to “if you always put in what you’ve always put in you’ll get in return what you’ve always gotten.” If you want to change something about your life then find one thing, it doesn’t even matter how small, and start there. Maybe you’re trying to write the next big movie script but can’t seem to get past character and world development. Cool, just writing even one line of dialogue a day is a start. The key here is to make a change that echoes across your life, to pull the trigger on something that is actionable to you.
So what is it that you have been putting off because it seems too daunting? What is that thing that you know you should do but just haven’t got around to it yet? Well, this is the time to do it. I’m not asking you to plan every tiny detail, but get a rough idea on where you want to go and start with one item. One task that will move you in the right direction. Once your done with that one, make another, and another, and…. But for now, just one, small, task, to finish is all you need. If someone needs a little advice, help them out, share this with them and offer to help them be accountable for their task. We can help each other grow and learn too. Until next time Pengminions!

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“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.

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Identifying Hypocrisy

by Richard Furleigh


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!!


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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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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Travel: Making it Happen

Travel: Making it Happen
~ Kristen Furleigh

Travel can almost always seem to be an ever elusive endeavor. Often it feels like it is never the “right” time; is there a “right” time? I came across this quote recently,

“There’s never a convenient time to travel in your life. When you’re young you have the time and the energy to travel, but not the means. When you’re middle-aged you have the energy and means to travel, but not the time. And when you’re old you have the time and means to travel, but not the energy.”

It was posted by a lovely RV travel couple Heath & Alyssa and they were unsure as am I as to where it originates but it really resonated with me. This has often been my rationale for why I make travel a priority now and hope to continue well into the future so our adventures span a life time.

Without the means at a young age; doing things differently than many of my peers has set me apart and given me opportunities that I otherwise would not have. Everyone has to get creative in their own way to make things happen and I would like to share with you some of the things we have done to secure our many travels.

First, we are frugal and mindful of almost every penny. One of the biggest ways we save money is by taking our time choosing our rental “home.” It takes time to search for the best deals and we are willing to give up some luxuries when choosing where to live but the savings of a couple hundred dollars a month make it worth it. In Chicago, right after college graduation, we rented a small studio apartment for $550; all utilities included and it met our needs of a place to put our things and our heads down at night. When we first moved to Reno our search was daunting but with time and perseverance we found an amazing apartment, almost 1200 sq ft with w/d included, for $615 which was a steal. We have also stayed with family during some of our transition periods that has helped us out a ton! It is not the most glamorous to move back home but it can be one of the smartest decisions you could make for your future.

Picking a place to live can be stressful but I encourage you to take your time and wade through the ads, expensive, and flashy places and I am confident you too will find a diamond in the rough. The key is to start searching early and often.

Another way we have been able to save money is by how we buy our groceries. We get made fun of ALOT by family for our 25lb of rice. It is definitely absurd yet the cost savings keep us laughing too. We buy our chicken exclusively when it is on sale and stock up. When it is half off is our favorite!  We often keep it basic without depriving ourselves too much. Most of our fruits and veggie purchases are done when it is on sale. We have a running tab in our head and sometimes in a shared Keep document on what they cost normally and compare sales each week or two depending on when we go shopping.

Going out to eat is a very rare occasion because we have found out that we can cook a fancy, restaurant-quality meal for a fraction of the cost + its a fun date night! It takes practice to put down that item that sounds good in the moment or not to stop in at the drive-thru on your way home. You can build in rewards along the way as you reach goals or are really price conscious all month. Make it small but worthwhile so you feel accomplished without undoing all of your hard work.

These are just a couple of the biggest ways that we are able to save money regularly. This got me thinking about all the other ways we have been thrifty over the years and while traveling so a follow up blog is to come! What are some things you think you could change to start saving more towards your endeavors? Leave us a comment and let us know of any you plan to start or you do so that we can cheat off you! Til next time Pengminions!



Finding Furleigh: It’s more than a blog!

~Kristen Furleigh

In my previous blog I talked about Furleigh and how it came about. Since changing our name, which if you would like to learn about our process in changing our name please message us we would be glad to share with you, it has been an interesting journey. Come to find out taking a new name and making it your own is no easy feat. Especially for two who never thought they would go by anything other than who they were named at birth.

Finding Furleigh epitomises that for us as a trifecta: it’s a journey in finding who we are as individuals, who we are together, and where you can find us along the way. Whether it be in our everyday lives or off on another travel adventure we hope to encourage you to join us on our exploration of ourselves and this vast world. It is an ever evolving process that never ends as we grow and change over time. Our goal is to continue to hold each other accountable to this continuous work.

I caught myself just the other day writing Burleigh when filling out paperwork and it’s been almost three years since we changed our names! It is easy to fall back into old habits especially when you have held them for a long time. Writing the wrong name is trivial it is true, but falling back into the old and comfortable and staying there doesn’t facilitate long term growth. It takes making a correction even if in another direction entirely to find where you need to go. Exploration is key and that takes action, it takes doing, and it takes accepting failure along the way. Sometimes mistakes can give us just the fuel we need to keep pushing forward.

What our name does for us is it helps guide us. We found Furleigh and we will continue to find Furleigh as we explore the meaning and how it may change as we continue our lifelong journey. What guides you? Share with us your inspiration and your motivation. Let’s keep each other accountable! Til next time Pengminions! 

Keep up with us @findingfurleigh on Twitter & Instagram!

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.

Living Life Creatively

Living Life Creatively
~Kristen Furleigh

Living life creatively to me is a lifestyle even more than that though it transforms into a way of being. It is finding ways to do things differently. My mind has always taken the “normal” and asked questions. Most important has been “Why?”. Why do we do the things that we do and do we have to do them that way. Just because something has been done a certain way forever does not mean we have to continue in the same manner.

Finding ways to create meaning in the things that we do is important. When curating our lives I believe that just because someone before you has done it one way does not mean that we have to do the same. We can create our own path. Just because there is a road that has been traveled many times and is “safe” does not mean that is the path we should take because what it means to us may not be the same as those before us. Sometimes you’ve got to, as cliche as it is, take the road less traveled. Something that is a bit uncertain. You never know the beauty and fulfillment that awaits when you are honest with yourself about your own life.

We have to make the decision to create our own lives, otherwise we end up existing without really living. It is critical to find and shape our own path, and to live our life in a way that is authentic to who we are and what we as individuals believe. We have to seek the truth and passion in our lives or else we end up simply taking up space in the world instead of actively contributing something positive to it. It is by no means an easy feat and takes dedication to searching, questioning, and doing. The execution can often be the hardest part because fear and doubt set in. It is scary to go into uncharted waters. Creativity leaves you vulnerable because what if someone doesn’t like it or agree with your “out of the ordinary” choice.

I implore you to go on that journey. Explore the world. Create art. Adventure outside your normal and try things different than what you know and is comfortable.

In business, in art, in life make the choice to do things a little differently and see how much you can open up your world and opportunities. Our experiences help guide us; be willing to give it, whatever it is, a TRY!

I’m excited to share with you some of our creative journey. I hope we can inspire you to join us!

We would love to hear about some of your experiences too. Share them with us in the comments below or in a message. Til next time Pengminions!

Keep up with us @findingfurleigh on Twitter & Instagram!