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.
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.

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!

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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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.

Richard Furleigh

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

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.