Weekly Training Summary


  • Reading – This week I finished reading Book of Sith, started and finished the Imperial Handbook, and just started The Bounty Hunter Code today.  I finished Aftermath: Empire’s End.  Keeping up with Star Wars and Philosophy (on Chapter 14), The Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation (on Chapter 9), Scourge (should finish tomorrow), and Dune (up to date with book club schedule…about 43% of the way through the book).
  • Crash Course – I watched three episodes of World History: 13-Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars; 14-The Dark Ages…How Dark Were They, Really?; and 15-The Crusades – Pilgrimage or Holy War?.
  • Language – I watched four episodes of La Pimpa, and read two chapters (six pages) of Pinocchio.  I am starting to memorize the song for La Pimpa too…it’s just a short little children’s song, but it never hurts to start a habit of singing along to Italian songs.

♫Quando il sole sale su
Alto in cima al cielo blu
L’orologio fa cucù
E nessuno dorme più

E la Pimpa corre e va
In campagna o in città
E di certo scopirà
Qualche nuova novità♫


  • Calories in/out:  8400/15775 – 7,375 Deficit…honestly the calories in are probably a little off, but because I have been coming up short most days this week, and I really need to adjust for that.  I am only eating one big meal per day right now, but I need to squeeze more protein into one or more of the small meals.  I keep munching on pepperoni at night after working out…which is not the best thing.
  • Weight Loss – 0….grrrrrr…scale does not matter….scale does not matter…scale does not matter……
  • Workout – Thursday marked the end of the fourth week of doing the arm exercises I have been doing, so I decided to add an alternating set.  The original set focused primarily on the anterior delts, so I created a set to focus on the biceps (in and out curls), triceps (overhead tricep extensions), and more on the posterior delts (bent over row) (my anterior delts are solid right now, I definitely need some balance).  I figure I can alternate between the two arm sets on different days.  I am also going to switch up lower body exercises on those days.  I have not been doing a lot on legs, cause cardio does a good deal (I actually have a few Zumba songs that I call calf  or thigh songs because the respective areas are burning by the time I finish them), but I still do a little.  So instead of squats on Bicep/Tricep/P.Delts day, I will do calf raises in three positions.  This week I did three days of each set.  Also, on my chest presses, I think this is the last week I am going to be able to use my current weights, but I do not have a weight above them…I might have to raid my father’s weight room.  As of Saturday I am in the fourth week since I started doing Zumba again.  I am really hoping the four week rule holds true and I start seeing some results, cause so far my size has not been doing much budging.  I found a few of my missing Zumba songs from the video games, so I have done some rearranging and swapping of songs in my routine.  I should be good with the current line up for a couple weeks, but I will continue to change the routine as I become to comfortable with it.
  • Diet – I did really good most of the week…but on Thursday my father offered me Portillos…it made me feel sick the rest of the day.  That is the problem with eating really clean, when you indulge in some not so clean favorites, you tend to regret it.  People think I am crazy for not eating steak or most fast foods anymore, but honestly, I really do not want to feel the way I know I will feel after eating it.


  • Meditation – Still averaging two times a day, I just shifted from doing one before bed to doing a headspace meditation after my shower.  What I really need is to work in a morning/afternoon meditation.
  • I have also been watching youtube videos of the Dali Lama this week.  I wanted to watch one a day, but some of them are ridiculously long, between the length and listening through him struggling with the language, I tend to lose focus.  I may have to just set myself a time limit per day and watch a little of each video each day.

Weekly Training Summary

A new addition to my posting, I intend to post this every Sunday night/Monday morning as a way of keeping myself accountable.


  • Reading – I have been doing SO much ready lately.  In the past week I read Kenobi, Bloodlines, and I have started Empire’s End; and I am gradually making my way through Star Wars and Philosophy (for California Jedi Book Club), Dune (for another online book club), Book of the Sith, The Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation, Le Avventure di Pinocchio (in Italian), and Scourge.  I am making small progressions in most of these, but cumulatively I am reading at least 100 pages per day.
  • Mental Floss – I have done three lessons in World History this week.
  • Language – I have not done as well with my Italian as I did last week.  This week I only watched two episodes of La Pimpa and only read one chapter/four pages of Pinocchio.  It has been a busy week though, I was booked on set twice and had an audition.


  • Calories in/out – 8,935/16,845 (Burned a total of 7,910 calories more than consumed)
  • Weight Loss – 1.5lbs – They weight has been up, down, and all around this week, but the trend is still going down (which is the goal).  As frustrating as it is that I am not losing my goal of 2lbs per week, the fact that I am burning more than 2lbs per week (based on 3,500 calories=1lb) means I am also putting on muscle, which is also the goal.
  • Workout – I am still doing really well on my workout.  I did not workout three days this week, the three days I had class and was on set (but I still hit my daily goal of burning 1k calories more than I ate, otherwise I would have pushed myself to workout those days too).  The other four days I did my full Zumba Routine, stretched, and did strength training (skipped strength training tonight because neck was hurting and had well surpassed calorie goal for the day, so I did strength training three of the seven days, which is still acceptable).
  • Diet – My diet has been a little odd this week, but I have still kept pretty much to healthier foods.  Usually the most difficult time is when on set, but I managed to not snack on any Kraft Services this week.  I actually have been finding myself a little short at the end of most days (like today…I need to go find 351 more calories to consume).
  • I also began researching a new Martial Arts school this week.  I cannot afford classes at the moment, but I am hoping that will change soon.  It has been far to long since I have taken classes, and I am eager to learn new skills.  I have a few possibilities on my list, but I will do more research when living and financial situations settle.  I am still on the hunt for a good Ba Gua Zhang school, also considering Kung Fu, Aikido, Jujitsu (if I can find a good school teaching the Japanese version as opposed to Brazilian), or even returning to Capoeira…maybe (it has always been my favorite, but I like to try different forms).


  • Meditation – I have meditated at least twice a day this week.  I did not manage to squeeze in a third time, aside from using my Mala bracelet while out and about, until Saturday.  I have the entire old version of Headspace to try out now…and there are at least 650 guided meditations there (granted…some are focused on things I have no need of…like pregnancy…if I still had my tumor I would totally use the pregnancy meditations for that :D), so I have plenty of meat there.  Plus the meditations from the book I am reading, and I will probably pick up a few other similar type books next time I stop at the library.

Summer of Self-Improvement – AKA Summer of Unemploment

During this past spring, I gave my notice at my full time job, as I intended to move to Los Angeles in May.  Well, things happened, and the move was postponed indefinitely, but my replacement had been hired before the change in plans and so I found myself still living in Chicago and unemployed.

Rather than jump into another full time job immediately, as several have been placed in front of me, I decided to take a Monologue class that I have been trying to take for several years, which is only offered Monday afternoons.  I am searching for a part-time job and working as an extra to supplement my savings, but my days have been filled mostly with focusing on my own improvement and studies.  The goal is to focus on improving myself before I deal with the outside influences.

So, here are my daily tasks:
*Acting – I have lots to do with the monologues I am assigned in my class.  In addition, I am reading other plays in order to further build my knowledge of theater.
*Fitness – I am really cracking down on burning 1k calories more than I consume each day, and on building my strength back up.   I have a number of exercises I do throughout the day (cross jacks, torso twists, chest presses, shoulder flies, planks, plank with knee taps, Russian twists, leg raises, mountain climbers, squats, grips, and a few others I work in), plus walking/biking/hula hooping, and soccer on various days, and each night now I have been doing 30-90 minutes of cardio (Zumba mainly…my current full routine burns about 800 calories) depending on how many calories I have left to burn, and rotating through the four sections of my stretching routine.
*Reading – I am reading two books at once right now, one is Dune, as I am participating in an online Dune Reading Club, but it is only 5-10 pages a day.  The other book is up to me.  Last week I read four books and started on a fifth, generally reading 50 or so pages a night.
*Crash Course – I have posted before about Crash Course on YouTube, a channel that does short lessons on various subjects.  I am trying to do at least one lesson a week right now, but I want to work up to two to three.
*Italian – I am watching one Italian show per day (currently children’s cartoons), and reading a chapter a day in an Italian book (currently Pinocchio).  As I rebuild my vocabulary, I will work my way up to more difficult shows and texts.  I might start working on DuoLingo again, though I have finished the Italian course once, so I needed more.  Perhaps I will reinstall Rosetta Stone and see how far that gets me.
*Cleaning – All of my belongings were staged in the garage for my move, so now I need to start moving them back down to the basement.  At my current rate, I should be done by mid-September, though I am going faster than scheduled.  I also need to go through things, reorganize, pack loose items, sort through my to sell/donate pile, and generally condense everything.
*Meditation – I am meditating at least twice a day right now, but I would like to get back up to three or four as I was doing before last summer.
*Blogs – I am trying to get back on schedule with this blog, as well as two of my other blogs: Death by Chocolate (a chocolate blog), and Deciphering Lolita (a Lolita blog).  I currently have blog ideas into October for DbC and this blog, I just need to do that for DL now.  The biggest thing for this blog is choosing a new name, as I would like to change things over with the one year anniversary coming up in two weeks.  I have a few ideas, though nothing that I really love.  I might have to find someone to bounce my ideas off of for an impartial opinion.

So there is what I have been up to this summer.  I apologize for lack of posts, but I have needed to do a lot of soul searching.  I also had to remind myself that ultimately, I am writing this blog for me, and that people are not always going to agree with my opinions.  More on that later though.

Be Smarter

An updated version of this post can be found in the drop down menu at the top of the page under “Be More Series.”  It will continue to be updated as information is uncovered in that location, but will remain the same here.


It is a common misconception that education is expensive.  Yes, accredited information that gives you a shinny diploma can be rather pricey, but there is a wealth of information available at absolutely no cost.

First off, there is this newfangled thing called a library.  They are pretty much everywhere, and even if you for some reason cannot acquire a library card (like if you live in an unincorporated area), you can still visit libraries and use the books and computers while there.  I basically lived at the library when I was a kid growing up.  I read constantly, and it was the only way I could access the internet before we had it at home (yes…there was a time in my life when internet was not in my home let alone my back pocket).

If you do have internet in your back pocket though (or just at home), there are plenty of online resources as well.

Open Course Links
Open Course…otherwise known as free college classes online, often from Universities like Harvard, Yale, and Oxford…yeah, the big boys.

Other Websites

  • Code Academy – You can learn just about any computer language on this site.
  • DuoLingo – Want to learn a foreign language but cannot afford the big expensive programs like Rosetta Stone?  Look no further.  You can even get competitive with friends to help motivate you.
  • Language Zen – Let’s you explore interests in a language and recommends songs with words you have learned.  So far it is only available in Spanish, but they are supposed to be working on other languages.
  • Daily Grammar – Contains 440 lessons and 88 quizzes, you can sign up for daily e-mails, or gust browse the site.
  • Pindex – Like Pinterest, but without the hairstyles, decorating tips, and other extraneous posts.  Pindex is a pinning site dedicated to learning.  I am just now starting to use it myself, so I cannot say much more.
  • Documentary Heaven – A website filled with documentaries of various topics.

YouTube Channels 

  • Mental Floss – A channel full of random information.  Not always useful, but always interesting.
  • Sci Show – A channel dedicated to all things science.
  • Sci Show Space – A channel dedicated to all things space.
  • Sci Show Psych – A channel dedicated to all things psychology.
  • Crash Course – Crash course has several different course topics that give quick summaries of information.  Be ready to hit the rewind button a few times if you really want to absorb it all.  I even take notes.
  • Laci Green – Lots of straightforward information about sex and all things related.

Google “Like a Boss”
Google becomes much more effective if you know how to use it.

Google Scholar – If you want only results from scholarly journals and whatnot.

Facebook (and all Social Media) FACT CHECK
Let’s be honest, we get a LOT of our information through social media now-a-days, but that does not mean it is all true.  Fact check, do the research, do not take things at face value.  Same with Wikipedia.  ANYONE can edit a Wikipedia page.  I find Wikipedia a fantastic starting point, but I am going to be citing the sources, not Wikipedia itself.