Meeting Jessica

February 27, 2017

After almost a decade of friendship, Jessica (Wonder Riot Blog) and I finally met in person for the first time yesterday. The crazy part? We live in the same city. We first became friends in 2008 via MySpace. I attended high school with a mutual friend of ours. I believe that was how she stumbled across my profile and discovered we had similar interests, so she sent me a friend request. I'm not going to lie, our friendship has been rocky throughout the years, but I refuse to go into detail because it no longer matters. What I will say is that I am so happy we remained friends, stayed in touched, and finally met. My only regret is that we didn't meet in person sooner. If we had, I think there would have been some incredible memories behind us. The good thing is that I now know that our mutual love of the arts, coffee and tea, trying new foods, photography, and traveling is going to result in plenty of adventures in the future.

I initially thought our meeting would be awkward, but surprisingly it was anything but. We first exchanged gifts in a parking lot (okay, maybe that's a little awkward). I received my second Ravenclaw gift from her, among other lovely picks. We then had brunch over conversation at The Grind, a local coffee shop. From there we decided to head over to Mojo Books & Records since Jessica had never been before. I had to introduce her to that magical place. I did buy a few books (I'll mention them later in my February Book Haul post) and I purchased one American History documentary. She purchased two DVDs, although I still say she should have purchased a Star Wars book. I spent the most time browsing the books in the History, Classics, and Young Adult sections. While she took interest in the Christian and Science Fiction genres. After our purchases we sat in the cafe area to drink lattes and talk some more. I certainly foresee more books and lattes in our future This was just the beginning.


CHARLENE ZALE

8 Books I Want to Read this Spring

February 18, 2017


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Thomas Jefferson Revolution: A Radical's Struggle to Remake America by Kevin Gutzman

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Great Debate by Yuval Levin

The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer

A Republic No More by Jay Cost

I own five of these books. The other three are on my Kindle Paperwhite which is why they are not included in the photograph. I would like to write a review on most of these books if time allows me to do so. What are some books you want to read this spring? Let me know below!

CHARLENE ZALE

Goals Update: 2, 14, 15, 20

February 17, 2017

The first pin of many pins I received during my time at Starbucks.

02  · Meet up + photography adventure with Jessica. Tomorrow would have been exactly two months since Jessica's birthday. Her and I were supposed to meet up at a local coffee shop for a late exchanging of gifts for her birthday and Christmas/Hanukkah. Our plans have been rescheduled for next week because I fell ill a few days ago and as of today, I have yet to feel better. I also don't want to risk spreading the flu. As for our "photography adventure", that's in the works. Hopefully, we'll be able to go on a road trip later on this year during the summer before classes start in the fall.

14 · Find a better paying job. Earlier this week I put in my resignation letter at the coffee shop. It's bittersweet. I've been working there for almost two years and I've met so many wonderful people during my time there. As much as I enjoy the flexible hours and working with friends, the pay at the coffee shop wasn't so great. As you know, I just recently purchased a new car and last year I returned to being a full-time college student. To sum up, my list of bills grew longer. Last Friday I had an interview and it went surprisingly well. On Tuesday I received a call from human resources and I was offered the job. I accepted, of course. My first day of orientation will be on the 27th. I will not disclose the name of this company for privacy reasons, however, I can let you know that I will be working as a front desk receptionist. I'm delighted at the opportunity to work for this new company. Not only is this full-time with better pay and benefits, but I will now work with a set schedule and have the weekends off.

15 · Update my online bookshop on Etsy. Even though this one is still in the works, I did manage to add four more books to my online bookshop which last week. It's a start. I plan to add more in a few weeks when I get situated with my new job and familiarize myself with my new schedule. You can check out my online bookshop here: etsy.com/shop/literaryandliberty.

20 · Reclaim the health of my fingernails. Working at a coffee shop for almost two years has been disastrous for the health of my fingernails. I work with a strong sanitizer solution whenever I work with the espresso machine or perform any cleaning task. I'm also not allowed to paint my nails, which often caused more damage as there was no barrier between my nails and the chemicals. Because of this my nails are now thin and constantly peeling. They're just downright unhealthy. My last day working at the coffee shop will be on the 25th, so I expect they'll regain their strength in a month or so.

Here is original list of goals for 2017.

CHARLENE ZALE

Five Articles Worth Reading · January 2016

February 1, 2017

01 · Capitalism in No Way Created Poverty, It Inherited It "For much of human history, the vast majority of the population was mired in poverty. All too often, the average individual lived in unimaginably wretched conditions. It was only in the nineteenth century, and then only in the West, that the masses started to enjoy prosperity. Keep that in mind when you hear about living and working conditions during the nineteenth century. Because it’s true—by today’s standards, the living and working conditions of the time were often miserable. But by the standards of everything that had come before, they were not. For the men and women working those jobs, they were often a godsend."

02 · The Punctuation of Classic Books Tells a Story All of Its Own "When reading a classic book, we tend to pay attention to the themes, the characters, and the story. We say the words aloud. We notice everything, in fact, except for one crucial thing: the punctuation. That's what scientist and writer Adam J. Calhoun noticed — and so he decided to investigate just how important those pesky dots and dashes can be. And it turns out, when you look at only the punctuation in books, you'll see that punctuation use has changed a lot over the years ..."

03 · If You Want Fewer Stupid Politicians and Voters, Promote Good Reading "I am not being the least bit facetious. Americans often bemoan the diminished condition of our political discourse without recognizing the role that a general decline in literacy is playing in that diminishment. Those outside the world of education, perhaps, do not grasp the reality of that decline, but I am certain that many who work in our schools have witnessed the increasing inarticulateness and limited reading capacities of our students, even the best of them, from year to year. A lack of linguistic competence handicaps a people’s ability to debate their political affairs in an intelligent and constructive manner. Consider only one way in which this decline in literacy has affected our politics recently."

04 · The Art of Homemaking "Housekeeping consists of the laundry, the dishes, the toilets, and floors that need to be scrubbed, but homemaking is something else. Homemaking is the deliberate cultivation of beauty and productivity in family relationships. Homemaking is about helping your family feel loved and comforted. Homemaking is about celebrating each other, and about caring for each other, as well as for your friends and extended families and even the occasional stranger. Anyone can keep house. Not everyone bothers to make a home. Homemaking happens when we fully understand the value of home in our lives. Homemaking happens when we intentionally make home a safe house, a trauma unit, a pep rally, a playground, a school, and more."

05 · Millennials Reject Capitalism in Name, But Socialism in Fact "As I wrote about my anti-capitalistic youth: 'Capitalism was just the word we all used for whatever we didn't like about the status quo, especially whatever struck us as promoting inequality. I had friends propose to me that we should consider the C-word a catchall for racism, patriarchy, and crony corporatism. If that's what capitalism means, how could anyone be for it?' ... So we're back to the idea that capitalism stands for whatever people perceive to be wrong with the economic status quo. That leaves us with the considerable task of explaining how government interventions, not free markets, got us into the current mess, and how only greater economic freedom can get us out."

My New Car · 2017 Volkswagen Passat

January 31, 2017


A little more than a month ago I purchased my first brand new car. A few years ago, I was convinced I wanted a black Jeep Wrangler, but then I changed my mind because I thought it was impractical, furthermore it lacked fuel efficiency. I later decided I would get a sedan, a car I could drive joyfully for the next ten years or so, before I could afford my ultimate "dream car" (BMW X1). The decision-making process took a long time. I researched online and watched Youtube videos. I finally had my budget set in 2016 and a short list of requirements. This included a white exterior, black leather seats, Bluetooth or Apple CarPlay, a reverse backup camera, and all the basic features you can find in new cars. I also knew that I didn't want to drive a "cool" or sporty car, nor did I want a keyless ignition. I wanted my car's aesthetic to be simple. As soon as I laid eyes on the 2017 Volkswagen Passat, I knew it was the one.


On December 30th, my mother and I visited two VW dealerships in Tampa. We couldn't reach a deal I was happy with at the first dealership and the salesman wouldn't budge, so we left and went to another. The salesman's price at the second dealership was exactly what we hoped for, plus I was able to get gap insurance. The only thing my car doesn't have is black leather seats. It's the one thing I'm not ecstatic about. Here's what happened. I had my heart set on purchasing the Volkswagen Passat SE because it had two of the features I did want: leather seats and Apple CarPlay. However, I learned that all the SE models came equipped with a keyless ignition and a sunroof. Two things I did not want. Because of this I had to go with the base model, which does not come with leather seats or Apple CarPlay. I was still able to get nice black cloth seats, Bluetooth, a reverse backup camera, and a good old-fashioned key ignition. It also saved me a few thousand dollars. Nevertheless, I remain happy with the choice I made.

And yes, I do keep paperback books in my car.
Also, his name is Arthur.

CHARLENE ZALE
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