Girl Talk’s couple of the year

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First Posted: 12/29/2014

What does it take to make a great couple? At what point in your life do you feel confident that you have found the peanut butter for life’s jelly, the chicken in your noodle soup and the Clyde for your inner Bonnie? Local business owner and tattoo artist Ryan Malarkey and Rock Musician from Motionless in White Joshua Balz have found it, which is why they have been chosen as the 2014 Couple of the Year.

Who are they? How did they get there? I sat down with them to find out their love story, how they make it work and their secrets to success.

Balz is a musician and has spent the last 10 years travelling the world with his band, Motionless in White. Malarkey is a tattoo artist. She works 50 to 60 hours a week and has travelled all over the country tattooing and perfecting her art.

The first time Ryan and Josh met was in 2010 at an art show for a mutual friend, Bob Lewis. She was preparing for her relocation to Pennsylvania after spending some time living in New York City to begin her tattoo apprenticeship. Upon her move back to NEPA (she is originally from Sweet Valley) she began her apprenticeship and joined a new group of friends that Josh was a part of. Their relationship began with a casual friendship. Josh was very charismatic and let Ryan practice her tattoo art on him through her apprenticeship and they just became drawn to each other as time passed on. They started seeing each other outside their group of friends in secret whenever he was home from touring with his band.

Their romantic relationship blossomed as the seeds for their business relationship were planted. They both had a fondness for collecting oddities and became obsessed with taking day trips together collecting what some may consider being “weird collectibles” such as bones and other rare antiques. They became very passionate about this hobby as well as each other. They knew they had found their niche and built a business, as well as a relationship, around these hobbies and passions. They took a leap of faith and not only did they come out about their relationship to their friends, they opened a business together, The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor.

The parlor has been open for more than a year and is doing better than they could have ever imagined. It is not only successful due to its uniqueness, but also because of the passion and love behind it. They make it work by embracing each other’s talents. They spend a lot of time apart because of their careers, but when they are together, it’s a constant honeymoon. They learned to not sweat the small stuff and keep their focus on goals. They can celebrate each other because they realize how lucky they are to have one another. They have successfully built a love, a business, individual careers and are now in the process of restoring a 100 year old Victorian home they purchased.

When asked the secret to their success, Balz said “We are a great couple because we are more than in love. We are the couple that connects on every level, friendship, career and visions. We know how to play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I feel like we are a couple from an older age where a relationship’s values are very important and when something is broke, we fix it rather than throw it away.”

Malarkey said her secret, “We truly see each other as the most valuable thing in the world. Because with the other, we are unstoppable; it is a bond built on trust, security and mutual values and goals. We are more than “involved”, we are actual partners because we not only work with each other, we work for each other.”