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, //giphy.com/embed/RI6uwElqPErrq

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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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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The Magic of the Thrift Store Pt. 1: Clothes

~Kristen Furleigh

How much do you think you spend on new clothes? Where do you get them? In my experience clothes can get really expensive, really fast, even if you shop at clothing discounters like Ross, Marshalls, or T.J. Maxx. Most people don’t shop there though. They shop at Target, department stores in the mall, or even outlets.

Thrift stores have become my best friend. You can get clothing from top end designers at a FRACTION of the cost. There are plenty of times where I find brand new clothing with tags still attached!

When I got hired on as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Nevada-Reno for the College of Business I had to purchase a brand new business casual wardrobe; for some reason yoga pants weren’t acceptable attire. So I spent about $100. This might seem like a lot of money but I bought enough attire that it will last me my career here at UNR. Jackets, button up shirts, blouses, skirts, slacks. I even bought a couple new pairs of shoes to boot. For the same brands of clothing I would have spent well over $500 at any regular retailer brand new.

Why spend such an exorbitant amount of money on things you can find used at a much lower cost? Bonus, you are helping out the environment by keeping these items out of landfills and giving them a new life!

Two of my favorite places here in Reno are any of the Savers in town and the Bargain Bin Goodwill on Oddie Blvd. Savers thrift stores are a bit more pricey compared to other thrift stores but the quality of the clothes they sell is higher as well. One of the coolest things about Savers is when you donate your unwanted items they give you a discount card that you can earn up to 30% off at checkout. When you are done with them give your old things an opportunity to find a new home you could even save some extra bucks.

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Decked out in Thrift Store finds!

 

The Bargain Bin Goodwill store is a special resale shop because they sell their clothing not based on a price for each individual item but by weight. You buy clothing for $1.49 per pound. You read that right! Since their clothing is sold by weight, in most cases it is extremely cheap; especially for women’s clothing which is often made out of lighter materials. You do have to search through because just as the store’s name implies everything is piled into large bins. I’ve found everything from basics and casuals all the way up to formal dresses.

If either of these don’t strike your fancy you can try your traditional Goodwill, SPCA, Salvation Army, St. Vincent’s, and Thrift Depot to name a few.

This is mostly about clothing but you can even find great quality shoes for amazing prices if you are willing to take the time to look. My favorite purchase was a pair of hiking boots that looked as if they were used less than a handful of times; when I price checked them online they retailed for $150 and were being sold for $15. Score!

For some it might seem weird wearing clothing that someone else wore but all you have to do is give them a good wash in the washing machine or take the fancier items for dry cleaning before wearing and you are good to go.  I challenge you to go out and find a thrift store near you the next time you are in need of some new clothing; you just might be surprised at what you can find. There are times you will strike out but the hunt is a fun game you can play. Share with us what you think or some of your favorite thrift store finds! We look forward to hearing your thoughts. Til next time Pengminions.

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Living Creatively and How I See It

Living Creatively and How I See It
by Richard Furleigh

Many people say they try to live creatively, to think differently, yet few people manage to actually achieve this. To me it is the culmination of questioning the reasoning behind why people choose to do things, to examine if there is a different or better way, and then actually following through. It seems more and more that the last part of that is the difference between those who live creatively, who make real change in this world, and those who simply talk about it.

Creative living is more than just life hacks, alternate lifestyles, or simply being an artist. It is utilizing the ability to tap into the creative process, to seeing things from new eyes and perspective, and to think at a higher level in order to help make better sense and navigate the world around us. It is about using information given, and when that isn’t enough reaching out to those who do know or teaching ourselves, in order to grow.

One of the most pertinent examples I can think of is the entire fact that Kristen and I enrolled into a Master’s level business program after getting a Bachelor’s in theatre. When people ask what I do I tell them I am a professional actor, who also happens to not want to be a starving artist. From many of my artistic friends I get quizzical looks and questions about my commitment to my craft; the starving artist lifestyle is so ingrained into the collective psyche of our community that people often don’t think about any other way to do it. I have made the bold decision to opt out of that life by getting a degree that will allow me to get a well paying job with health benefits and financial stability.

There is also another major component to being an actor that having a well paying position will allow me; the ability to self fund larger projects. Instead of waiting around for a role to come up I can simply put up a show myself. Don’t think there are enough quality scripts by women being shot? Find one and collaborate to produce it.Even the simple ability that when producing a project, to actually pay other artists for their time will be extremely fulfilling; the ability to help someone else be able to pay their bills with their craft will be indescribable.

There is also an element of creativity in the workplace that feeds into this very mindset. The actor’s ability to enter the mind of someone else to bring other issues to light, improvisation that allows us to ask “yes, and”, the ability to look beyond the obvious for the deeper meaning and purpose of the work. These are all invaluable team driven skills that are not taught in any management classes that I’m aware of.

I hope that in some small way Kristen and I can help empower you as well, this is truly my fervent wish. Find some grain of insight here that you can take back to both your work and personal lives and use it to build something better. If you do then stick around, subscribe, and check back soon as the Furleighs add more on our little perspective of the world.

Cheers!
Richard Furleigh

All things Soirée and…..We need YOUR help!

Pengminions!

It is I, Kristen, the lady of this duo you will oh so soon be able to refer to as: The Furleigh’s!
Hello you all. Hope everything in your world is going gloriously. It is going very much so here for us. We are head over feet in planning and work and projects. It is grand. I love being this busy!

It has been a little bit since updating you all on planning and things soiree related. It has been interesting trying to organize everything on our own since this whole thing is a little foreign to us but we are managing it. LISTS are our best friends, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them a.) for life and b.) for an undertaking such as this. It will probably be what saves our butts in the end because if we just tried to “remember it” all we would not have anything to show come April 13th.
We went to check out our venue a couple weeks ago and it is plain but it has potential. They provide tables which actually are perfect for our theme. They are kind of a brushed metal top. *perfect* The chairs we might have to change up somehow but we will work with them. Lately we have been on the hunt, stopping in many Goodwill Stores and thrift stores and just recently started going garage sale shopping, to find the perfect trinkets to put together for interesting centerpieces and decorations around the venue. My parents so graciously and thoughtfully sent us gift cards to Michael’s for our Christmas presents (I can’t tell you how excited I was when I opened it) and got a few things to start the process of Invite Construction!!!

Oh my, oh my. Shame shame shame on me. Did I share with you all that my custom designed dress is in the process of being made…as in…decision made and deposit PAID! Eeps, It all just keeps becoming more real.

A couple of other big things we are working on is food, flowers, cake.
The food we are trying to keep reasonably priced and MAN flowers are EXPENSIVE oh and so are cakes. Which we have been tossing around the idea of making it ourselves. Yes you read that correctly. Home-made-cake for our reception. The key to this decision being made will be based on us deciding we will spend a day in the near future and do a cake test run. We will let you know how it goes. If successful, it will save us so much money.

Some thing that we have to remind ourselves throughout this process is to stop and KISS! Keep.It.Simple.Stupid. A little acting nugget you can take with you and use in all of life. Try it. Please. It works wonders!

And here is where you all come in:
Whilst in the midst of all this planning we have come to realize that we also have to come up with a list of music to fill hours of entertaining. We have started a so far short list with a collection of songs that range all over the music spectrum. For the shindig we would love to know some of your favorites when it comes to music so we might stay ahead of the curve because I am sure we are going to miss some good ones by just not thinking of them. Anything! We would love to hear it. We want some ambiance music but we also wanna get people out on the dance floor when the time comes! What would get you up and on the dance floor? What are some songs or types of music you have heard at a reception that you thought were spectacular choices? We appreciate any and all input from you.

Thank you so much pengminions! This is going to be a most glorious occasion so, many thanks to you for helping make it so special.
So much love,
Kristen B