How to Not Spend a Million Dollars on Food When You Travel

When planning a trip one of the biggest expenses you start to see while researching is how much you expect to spend on food. What some may not realize is you can cut out much of those unnecessary expenses by planning a bit ahead. Richard and I have made it a habit to pack nonperishable items that we would often utilize in our everyday lives. That or we plan time at the beginning of our trip to hit up the local grocery store for cheap, filling items that help offset those small and sometimes big purchases throughout the day.


One of our splurges! The Breakfast Bowl from Valerie Confections in Grand Central Market while we were in Los Angeles.

As you are out and about you WILL get hungry, but rather than stopping at every little market or food truck you see, having a granola bar in your bag can hold you over until you are ready to splurge on going out for a meal. While you don’t want to deprive yourself of trying out the local cuisine, you also don’t want your whole budget to go to food.

Some items we choose depend on the length of our stay and where we are traveling to. We are from the US so traveling within the states most items are ok. You will want to check for international travel what items are acceptable if you plan on packing anything in your bag.

Here is a list of items we usually gravitate towards:

  • Granola/protein bars
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cereal (can be eaten dry)
  • Canned soups
  • Nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds are my go-to)
  • Bread
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Fruit snacks (I have a notorious sweet tooth)
  • Chips or some crunchy snack of your choice
    If you have access to refrigeration and/or cooking appliances
  • Milk
  • Lunch Meat
  • Cheese
  • Eggs (hardboiled eggs pack well for a day out)

Create a budget. Figure out the cost of goods. Plan strategically. You want to find foods that are going to sustain you throughout the day. Remember to eat a good breakfast to start the day, carry snacks with you, and STAY HYDRATED! You can save money on bottled water by packing a reusable bottle. You will be able to fill up on water throughout the day at water fountains. Hydration is important because often times when you think you are hungry you could possibly just be dehydrated. You can also stave off feeling sluggish throughout your adventure-filled day by keeping hydrated.

One way we try to keep expenses down is by finding accommodations that provide complimentary breakfast for the price we are looking to pay. In most cases, you can find somewhere for the same price or just a couple dollars more per night. These few dollars should be less than or equal to what you would pay to buy yourself breakfast. We have even been lucky enough to find places that have provided dinner for us in the past, too!

Weigh your options but you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on food when you travel. A key thing to remember is that whether you are traveling or at home you have to eat so it is an expense either way. Why not enjoy it experiencing somewhere new?
What are some of your favorite trip snacks? Til 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!


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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From Fear to Empowerment

From Fear to Empowerment
~Kristen Furleigh

Often when I talk to others about some of our life experiences I get a “Wow, I could never do that” or an “I wish I could travel but (insert: I’m too scared, don’t have the money, ect)” and “How do you do that?” but I don’t usually see my life as anything particularly unique. I truly believe that if you want to do something there are many more ways to make it happen then we allow ourselves to realize. It is so much easier to see the reasons why we can’t than to look for the opportunities for how we can.

When it comes to other people’s reactions to my/our life and how “they could never” I always respond with “yes, YOU can!” I believe wholeheartedly that anyone can do anything that Richard and I do and more. It is all a matter of allowing yourself to say YES to trying and NO to fear. I do understand that some of this idea is from a place of privilege but most people have more means than they will give themselves credit for. It is often less about means and more about giving yourself permission and accepting the sacrifices that come with making the decision to go for it.

If you re-frame it; you are making a sacrifice either way. For example, when you choose not to travel you are sacrificing the experiences you could have had. When you choose to travel it is a sacrifice; whatever it is that you sacrifice will be different based upon your circumstances. You have to ask yourself which one is more important to you. You must also be honest with yourself because it is easy to come up with a valid yet facetious excuse. Like, “I have to eat.” Well, of course, you have to eat but can you be making better choices with what you purchase to eat that would allow you to travel? There are so many ways we can talk ourselves out of pursuing the things we want. It is without a doubt easier but is the easiest road fulfilling? I would argue, no.

Coming back to fear; fear should be the least of our concerns. We all have fears but we cannot let them stop us from reaching for possibilities. In almost every situation that has been scary, once I have done said scary thing, I always end up feeling better having done it. On the other side of the fear is a much better place to be and it has allowed me to do more things that I fear because I have the experience of having done the frightening and come out feeling a stronger, more capable person. I am by no means fearless I just know that I will be OK and will grow from the experience. It is an amazingly empowering feeling. This is something that I have to remind myself of often to keep pushing myself forward. It also takes practice. It doesn’t just happen; we have to continue doing differently in order to make these life changes.


Above the clouds on top of Mt. Doom aka Mount Ngauruhoe on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing a 19.4 km hike not including this detour

What are some things you have always dreamed of doing but have held yourself back from pursuing? Let’s chat. All it takes is a plan and commitment and you are on your way to realizing your dreams! What are some things you want to hear about from us? We can have a conversation in the comments or feel free to message us. Til next time Pengminions!


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What is this about Pre-marriaging?

I am back again for a second time this week with…

More things all coupley:
Almost a whole week after our engagement shoot we spent 8 hours of a Saturday engrossed in Pre-Marriaging!!!
Something cool you soon to be married people/or those of you no where near engaged can keep in your back pocket for the future if you ever end up going down that aisle. (like “going down that road”, get it???) Anyway, the point being we were going to do most of our premarriage things on our own and they are going smoothly but when searching for information on a marriage license I stumbled upon this site where in the Houston area if you take this 8 hour course you get a certificate to waive the 72 hr wait period and for $60 off of your license!!?!?!? And we thought even if this is teeeerrrrrriibbblllleee we can basically get paper married for FREE! So we went in HOPING it would not be too this or too that and it was PERFECT! It was the complete opposite of a stale, stuffy, over rehearsed, book class. They had the most REAL couple leading the discussion for the day. They were well versed in their curriculum and used their own life as examples, the good and the bad, while also having us interact with them, each other, and the group.

The focus for the day was on Communication. Many of the skills learned can be applied in life period but there were a few things we took away that I think were absolutely wonderful when resolving conflict within relationships. Some things we already did but it was nice to have an outside perspective and something with a little bit clearer of a picture  that we can build on things we already do. They did not preach “this is how things are supposed to be done,” there was no shaming or finger pointing but helping by giving tools to use within each unique relationship and perhaps insight into things that may not have been thought about before. Every relationship is different and there is no cookie cutter way for navigating them. One thing that they said, I have known, and cannot say enough is that relationships are WORK and you both must always be investing in it for it to grow and be rewarding for you day after day.

There is so much more detail that I could put into this for you, so if you want to know more about the group class or want to know about the specific tools we learned don’t hesitate to reach out to us we would love to share with you!

Enjoy the rest of your day Pengminions! We look forward to next time.

Peace, love, and happiness,
Kristen Burleigh

PS: Invites are out…don’t forget your RSVP for April 12, 2014!!!!

And we may have worn our custom jerseys ;P


APRIL 12, 2014

What is so special about this date?? Hmmm, let us think for a minute…. Well. For one it is so special we in fact forgot to include it in the most important identifying material for the spectacular event that is to be held that day…OUR SOIREE!!!

Yes, we did FORGET to include the DATE in our Soiree INVITATIONS!

So, thank you to everyone who was kind enough to come peruse our blog in hopes of finding out this tiny, little, insignificant detail. In the future we will have 500 eyes check these sorts of things out before we go about mass mailing anyone. Our 4 eyes were obviously not enough with everything else going on.

Oh and since you are here I’ll go ahead and give you a peak into our recent engagement photoshoot! 😉
Thanks again Pengminions!!! Spread the word, April 12th!!!
Leave comments, ask questions and we will be back again soon

❤ Kristen Burleigh

Birthdays, Vacations, Visits, Oh My!

Hello Pengminions!
Yes, its true! I have missed you and I hope you have missed us but we are back! Having adventured to the BIG APPLE! Just in time for one of each of our parents to come visit us here at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. What a grand couple of weeks it has been. Birthdays have happened…the male half of this whole to be exact…vacations had, and parent visits. Whew and now we have rested just a bit and are here for you to recount tales for you and also get back to hitting the ground running on all things Soiree related!

Birthdays were had before the faire weekend in which the Faire Family gathered for a Heroes vs Villains party. Of course, it is much more fun to go as the latter so we spent some time researching characters. We brought our make up kit to PA with us in hopes of spending some time practicing those skills and haven’t made the time so to save money and add to my portfolio we decided to do make up versions of our villains. Without doing a practice run I am pleased with the outcome, its not perfect but with some practice beforehand next time I think it would work out :


And mine was a more idea based rather than an attempt at recreation, a terminator~esque character…the gear started sliding because I did not wait long enough for it to get tacky before placing it on my face.

For his birthday, which was a rehearsal day, (boo) we went for ice cream at Friendly’s and hit up a Toys r Us! Yupp, we are just a couple of big kids! Nerf guns are a thing here at the faire amongst many and he had been wanting one but knowing we have expensive endeavors coming our way he has done well to restrain his impulse to make such a purchase so I figured I would take him to pick one out, and he settled on a pair of minis that we could share and they are the cutest pair. (They were cheap and work swell) Check em out! 😀
While there we found legos and decided to get into the holiday spirit until we get to Chicago and can make our Lego people us for the mug he bought me for my birthday.
It was a fairly low key birthday but he doesn’t really want to be reminded hes *cough cough* 27 heeheehee, I’m sorry, as he says, “I’m 25 with experience.”

Right after bday shenanigans we whizzed through a faire weekend, little sleep and off to NYC for our much anticipated 3 day weekend!!!!!
Up at 3:30 am we had a quick bite in the kitchen, loaded the “van” and started making our way to NYC! (I’m going to put NYC all over the place because it has been one of the top places I have wanted to visit since forever!) We made it there around 8 am and set off on foot right after parking right outside of where our friend we were staying with lives. Thanks a million Phil!!!!
We started off by checking out this hole in the wall coffee shop I had found online because the Mr. in this group has a love of trying different coffees so I wanted to take him of my own free will because often I give him crap about it, but I can be supportive of his interests too even if I think it tastes like dirt. The place was called Beaner Bar and had a Mexican twist to traditional coffee giving it a spicy kick!

hotstuff espresso
“Cayanne pepper in coffee? Woo! That’ll clear the sinuses in a hurry!” ~ Mr.

Once we got our caffeine fix for the day we headed out to the subway to make our way into Manhattan! Oh the excitement!!!!! We set off to find the theatre that we planned to see ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ at later that night. We waited in a short line at the box office’s opening to get our hands on rush tickets which were a pretty good deal considering we paid less for two than a single cheap regular priced ticket. Once we made it to the theatre again later that evening we found out about the 20 for $20 deal they have where you show up 20 mins before the show starts and if there are still seats available for that show you pay the super low price of $20 to see the show. (This isn’t always available but when it is I would recommend giving it a shot especially if you are on a tight budget and really want to see a show) The more you know!!!! Will definitely keep this one in my hip pocket for next time we make our way into the Big Apple. After obtaining our tickets we ventured out into the City after pit stopping for an elastic ankle brace for myself to keep the walking from further injuring my foot I sprained earlier in the faire season. We make our way down to the High Line which is this intriguing park that was built using an old above ground railroad. After wandering this and checking out a driving range and fancy boats on a pier we stumbled upon the Chelsea Market! A gem that we knew existed in The City but did not even think to put on our list of destinations. Such a wonderful surprise and I wish we had brought a camera this day because it was too neat! Our phones from the drive up were fairly drained of battery so we needed to conserve energy to make sure we would find our way back to where we were staying at the end of the evening. As we made our way back to the theatre we stopped for food and sat down for an evening of magic! Even with Peter and the Starcatcher being understudies it was an amazing show. When we finally made our way back to Phil’s place we were greeted by friendly faces and enjoyed catching up with fellow alums from Texas State University who have made NYC their home. Then…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

The next morning we hit the ground a’runnin! We made our way out to Times Square for the opening of another theate box office where we managed to get our hands on rush tickets for ONCE! Ahhhh! MAY! ZIIIIING! We bumped into our faire friends who also had the same idea, while in line to get tickets, and were able to get our pair right by theirs. Until the show we wandered off to Central Park where we walked around, checked out the Central Park Zoo, found a spot for a lil nap in the sun, came across a castle and didn’t even get through half the park before looking for the MET! When we finally found our way inside we had about 45 mins to peruse the giant establishment. (The quickest tour through a museum ever for the both of us)
A small bench area in Central Park, so gorgeous!!

Once we left we set off for food finding, coffee possibilities, and making our way closer to the theatre. Food ended up being more expensive than we initially hoped for. Restaurants advertising specials but aren’t entirely clear what it entails and so we learned that we should make sure to ask specifics on these before we order. Oh well it was some pretty good pizza anyway. We were unable to spot a place worth visiting for coffee so we just wandered on down to the theatre. Inside we went and….


That is all I can say about the show because it would take way too long to dote on it. Go see ‘Once’ if you have the chance is my advice to you all you will not regret it!

When we left the theatre it was dark and Times Square was LIT!!!! We wandered a bit and tried to find a restaurant with a roof top view but failed miserably on this mission. Next time we will have to get suggestions from people that know the City or research and reserve ahead of time. Earlier in the day we spotted Dallas BBQ who’s menu was reasonably priced and curious on whether or not their bbq was truly up to Texas standards we stopped in and if you are in NYC and hankering for some good ol Texas bbq this one will satisfy your craving til next you make your way down south for the real thing. We shared a platter that included steak, ribs, and shrimp. Also, can’t forget the goblets that contained the alcohol. Yupp, Texas Sized!!!
Our night didn’t end there! Though it would have been a good one to end on we Googled KARAOKE and found this hole in the wall place that had private rooms with your own mics, song books, and tv! We spend a whole hour singing our lungs out and wish we didn’t have to leave. So we add to our goal of Karaoke Round the World. NYC-Check! 😀
It was a looong day, by the time we made it back to the apt if was about 3am.


He got sleepy on the train, hehe.

The next and sadly final morning of our trip we didn’t hop right out on the adventure train. We spent some time chatting with Phil catching up on what has been going on since graduation. Before heading out we packed the car up so that when we got to leaving we wouldn’t have to make sure anyone was there if it was an inconvenient time for them.

Off we went to set our eyes on The Statue of Liberty!!! On our way we walked down Wall Street and saw the Trump Building and all the business dressed people walking down the street to their jobs and grabbing food from the street cart vendors. We sat and had lunch/breakfast by the water and made our way to the ferry that would take us to Staten Island and passed by the Lady. I was impressed by how small she seemed from the ferry. I had pictured her much bigger based on photos but with the skyline of the City right behind her she looks very small in comparison. If you plan on going up into the Statue of Liberty make sure to get your tickets way in advance. You must order them ahead of time and you must have one to go. A week before our trip we looked them up online and they were sold out for all 3 days we were going to be in the City so once you decide what dates you are going and if that is something you want to do going on a whim won’t be an option unfortunately 😦

The Lady

After the ferry ride we made our way close to where our friend Phil works to catch a spot of coffee at Bluebird and catch up a bit more before he went into work and we were off to our job again. It was another hole in the wall joint that was for the most part purely coffee and espresso without many syrups/flavor add ins. Of course Richard didn’t mind this but I was a little disappointed. It was a very pretty latte though and Richard happily bought a bag of coffee on his way out.
We said our farewells and set off to catch a glimpse of ground zero before leaving the City. It was a long journey but on our way we stumbled upon Katz’s Delicatessen where a scene from When Harry Met Sally was filmed and popped in for dinner! If you don’t mind paying a pretty penny for the food it is very good. After filling up on pastrami (I tried something new and liked it) and we both tried an egg cream for the first time (its kind of like a float…kinda?).

Our journey was almost over…We stopped for a while, staring up, talking and sharing moments looking at 1 World Trade Center that is still being built. No words can explain how that feels.
And a picture doesn’t even begin to capture the beauty of the building.

On our way out of the City we decided on one more stop….Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain! Yes with a F! It was an adorable old timey place where the workers dressed the part and all the soda and ice cream were hand made!
old school
Lovely date to set us on our way!

NYC was a glorious experience. As soon as we got there the sounds of the City were present ever enveloping… Jack hammers and man holes being worked on that obviously housed the Ninja Turtles, and the neighborhoods with houses that have the steps leading to the front door made me giddy as a clam!

Thank you for reading the novel that I leave here for you. If you want to know more about anything we did on our trip feel free to send us a message we would be happy to answer or help you out on your own NYC adventure!
I have made up an album of all the pictures from our adventure that you can find here:

Til next time Pengminions!
❤ Kristen B.