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!!

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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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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.

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

By Richard Furleigh

If there are a small handful of choices we have made in our lives that truly define us as questioning everything it is our decision to not have children. While the number of children per family has declined over the last few decades the general attitude is that couples will end up having kids together. Separately both of us had even wanted them ourselves when we were younger but the times they are a changin!

Growing up I had assumed that I would have two kids, and my wife and I would split work/home duties and raise our little loving family. As I got into college and toward graduation I wanted to make sure that if I did have kids that it was under circumstances that would be conducive to a good upbringing; then Kristen and I got to talking…

It’s not that either of us changed the others mind, rather our thoughts had been shifting on their own for some time before we sat down and discussed what our potential family would look like. As we talked we realized that our life plans seemed so chaotic already, full of ambitions that take an exceptional amount of time and dedication, that we LOVE to travel and see the world. These things, while not impossible with children, definitely become much more difficult and not to mention costly (because unless that 4 & 6 year old have jobs they aren’t contributing to that trip to Disney that suddenly doubled in price). We also recognize the monumental effort it takes to actually be a good parent (shout out to Mike and Tracie Furin for being that!), to raise children in the best way possible becomes your #1 priority, everything else falls to the wayside when that bundle of joy arrives. This means your life, goals, and ambitions now play second fiddle.

Beyond these is also a harsh reality that people have ignored for a long time because the subject of unhappiness and children is too taboo: having kids is incredibly stressful. According to a recent study, the drop in happiness experienced by parents after the birth of first child was larger than the experience of unemployment, divorce or the death of a partner. So Kristen may actually be better off if I keel over dead than if she has a child with me.

At the end of it all what it boils down to is that I love my life with Kristen, we have a pretty awesome thing going. There are significant ambitions that having children would massively complicate in terms of artistry, career, and travel. Not to mention the costs in terms of monetary, mental, and physical health are enormous and understated. In many ways I feel that I just don’t want to give up the life I have with her, the things we are able to do with relative ease right now that would become giant undertakings with even one child. If it happens, then hey, I will welcome the little Furleigh. I hope I would make a good Dad, and I know Kristen would be a great mother. For now though, this is the last thing we are trying to make happen in our lives, and we are just fine with that.

What’s your take on kids? To have them, not to have them, maybe you already have a couple and could shed a little more insight on the topic? We’d love to have a conversation with you about it! Just let us know in the comments. Until next time Pengminions!

Also read Kristen’s take here!

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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.

It’s Blog Writing Weather

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Pengminions
~Lady F

Hiatus….No More!

Pengminions!

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

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

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