The Ripe Stuff is a personal and lifestyle blog that was created to reflect a way of positive thinking, constant learning and growing.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Having a surgery done stinks, but that is a given. I always avoid having too much downtime and now I know why. I do not do well with lots of free time. It's not that I don't like being alone or relaxing, it's more that I like to be productive with my time. I like to distribute my time throughout the day so I can a. work, b. exercise, c. eat healthy meals, and d. have some time to myself. I don't always have an equal balance of all of these things but I really do strive for that; I guess it's the libra in me.
There are just so many things I would rather be doing than lying around. For one I miss my good workouts and it is giving me an overwhelming worry about getting out of shape, though I realize before I know it, I will be able to be back in my workout mode. My foot will heal pretty quickly I am thinking, and though I may not be able to run or participate in intense cardio for a few weeks, I have high hopes that I'll be able to do some weight-training sessions soon (hopefully by next week or so). For now I am trying to do as much as I can, which includes sit-ups and modified push-ups throughout the day, and eating healthy meals. It looks like once the stitches are out (which will be less than two weeks), I'll be able to do swimming, which I think will be great. For now I will do the best I can and not be too hard on myself. Hopefully around the time of my birthday, I'll have figured out some work-outs that work and I will feel good about myself again.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slumping 101

Why do we get into slumps? I've been thinking about this for a few days now and I believe I have found an answer, at least for my situation. When I am hard on myself and follow a very strict regimen, I don't leave much room for error. In the past few months, I have attempted to change the way I eat by going paleo. I did a few Whole30's- both of which ended a few days early because I craved a glass on wine on a Friday night. "It's alright," I told myself. "I will still follow the Whole30, or paleo, eating guidelines because I don't really miss bread or cheese or any of that." What was once a good attempt at maintaining this natural, simple way of eating quickly off-roaded around the time of my birthday. I was hosting a brunch, and had eaten enough prosciutto egg cups over the past few weeks that I would rather my guests starve than serve them a large platter of paleo-friendly breakfast munchies. All of the photos of "brunch" on Pinterest screamed "WE LOOK ADORABLE AND DELICIOUS! MAKE US!" and no, they were not eggs and meat and veggies. They were heart-shaped wheat pancakes, and iced coffee served with cream in cute mason jars. They were apple cider mimosas with a touch of bourbon and brown sugar, and greek yogurt parfaits with vanilla almond granola and fresh fruit. I was so used to the idea that none of this (besides the fresh fruit) was good for me, and its off-limitedness, in my head, wore off for my birthday, the one time of the year that I could eat as much cake as I wanted and nobody could comment. I think it's this way of thinking that gets us in trouble. Ruling out certain food groups and maintaining this over a long period of time takes great discipline. Maybe for athletes and people whose lives are dedicated to health and fitness, this is sustainable. But for a 23-year old girl who enjoys socializing, baking, cooking, going out for dinner, and a nice glass of wine or two on a Friday night, this is sort of a setup for disaster. So anyway, back to my slump. After my birthday, which was about 2.5 weeks ago, I wasn't able to get back on the paleo train. I thought I would just eat healthy and work out, but that was derailed. Every so often, running becomes unappealing to me. This is one of those times. So then, since I'm not running, I thought, I will do yoga a few times a week. And that's what I did. Yoga, 1-2 times a week. The lack of cardio had me feeling bloated, and the shame I had for my poor fitness regimen caused me to eat crap, snack, and crave. I have been in my apartment for the past few days because I had strep throat, and I feel crappy. I feel bloated, like I gained some weight, and my jeans were tight on me when I put them on for a few hours today. Crappy feeling. The thought of that quote about hitting rock bottom before rising up again comes to mind. And then that is all I'm left with and I know what I have to do. But why exactly did I slump? When I take on goals like exercising strictly 6 times a week including 5 days of cardio and 2 days each of arm days and leg days, or deciding to eat nothing but vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and some fruit, perhaps I am not purely doing this for myself. Maybe I am expecting some outcome of getting really fit and in shape. But when we take on such major, life-changing goals, we need to think about what we are really expecting with the outcome. Are we losing weight or getting healthy because we want someone's attention? Or are we merely just trying to feel better about ourselves? I am going to start fresh with my goals. My new goals are to be in control of what I put in my mouth. To think twice before buying an unhealthy snack. To squeeze in some exercise each day, even if I don't feel like it. And I am making these goals for myself. I am setting these goals so I feel happy with my body and confident. I cannot attach expectations to these goals, not much more than just expecting to feel better about myself and therefore happier, more energetic, and more confident. But we just cannot create situations in our head based on these goals. "If I lose 10 pounds, I'll definitely get a boyfriend." Sounds pretty illogical, doesn't it? I want to find the joy in exercising again. In preparing myself delicious meals that are healthy but not overly strict. Everything in moderation, isn't that one of the oldest health tips ever? Doesn't it still stand? Can I do it? I think I can. But this time I am not going to create unobtainable goals. I'm going to check in with myself each day and make sure I understand what my expectations are. I am going to do this for myself, not for anyone else. Because then I am the only one who is in control of what happens after I achieve my goals. Why give this power to someone else? Why work so hard for something just to let it go because you put the power of your expectations into someone else's hands? Now, while I'm young, is the time to get to know myself more, and to be more in charge of my emotions and how I take care of myself. So it is time to get out of this slump, one day at a time, and work towards short-term goals that will add up to change with one long-term goal! First short-term goal: exercise 5 out of the next 7 days; eat healthy 7 out of the next 7 days

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Whole30: Day 4

I am 4 days into my Whole30 and it honestly isn't as bad as I expected! I am not really missing carbs or cheese, and coconut milk in my coffee is seriously NOT BAD. I'm not missing much, but encountered some difficulty when trying to find a place to eat out tomorrow night. I decided to go with Bareburger-- a not too expensive option that offers organic, grass-fed, not to mention DELICIOUS burgers that can be made in anything from a good ol' bun (not so good when you're doing a Whole30) to a lettuce wrap. I am not sure if they are cooking the meat with any kind of oil but I will ask when I am out tomorrow night!

A WHOLE lot of vegetables

So anywho, I feel like I will encounter the biggest issues when I have plans. This whole week, I haven't made any plans to eat out, but on a Friday night, at the end of a work week in NYC, eating out for dinner is pretty standard and I'm not going to become a hibernating bear for 30 days of the beginning of a beautiful spring for a DIET! I will do my best, will not cheat, but if I find out the burgers are cooked in vegetable oil, I will not despair. A little vegetable oil is barely a reason to quit a diet or get my feathers ruffled.

I've been doing a lot of research about Whole30 to see what other people have eaten and felt throughout their own Whole30s. Yesterday I found myself eating a few too many tablespoons of almond butter, so today I ditched the almond butter completely. I'll let myself have some more when I can exhibit some better self control.

The hard part about Whole30 so far, for me, is investing time in the kitchen. Sunday night I made a big pan of roasted vegetables, which did NOT come out yummy, but since I put the time in, I've been eating some for dinner each night. I need to perfect my roasting skills on this diet. I made a big salad with spinach, kale, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, fresh mango salsa, and some olive oil, and brought this for lunch Mon-Wed.

Monday night I cooked up some turkey burgers from scratch, which I learned how to cook here. I put fresh mango salsa, onions, and some pepper, and made 4 turkey burgers-- enough to get me through dinner for 3 nights and lunch today! They were also delish-- I topped them off with some guacamole and 2-3 pieces of bacon. YUM. The first night I also made these sweet potatoes which were SO simple and came out really yummy as well.

Best turkey burger I've ever made!

That was a lot more time spent cooking than I am used to, but honestly it was worth it to have made 4 days worth of healthy lunches and dinners in about 2.5 hours time. I am out of leftovers though, so tonight I'm going to pick up some shrimp on my way home and make a shrimp avocado salad. Mm-mm-mm.

I don't have any other major findings to report yet as its only been 4 days. Not really seeing weight loss yet, but I am wearing a dress without spanx, that I wore a few weeks ago WITH spanx, so maybe that's a good sign. I've been really active, but that's how I've been for the past month-- weight-lifting 2-3x's a week, 2-3 HIIT workouts a week, Zumba once a week, and Yoga 2-3x's a week.

Will update with more of my progress!


Monday, April 22, 2013


Today isn't just any ordinary Monday. It is the start of my very first Whole30! If you don't know about Whole30, you can learn all about it here. In summation, it is a cleanse-type diet that goes on for, you guessed it, 30 days. During this time, you cannot have any wheat, alcohol, sugar (including sugar substitutes or other artificial flavoring), legumes, or dairy. The point is to be only eating clean, nutritious foods that will fuel your day-to-day activities and get rid of strong cravings and other food issues that get in the way and cause ugly things-- like weight gain, bloating, sleeplessness, bad skin, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

I have been seeking a better diet plan for, what it feels like, years. Truth is, I haven't felt my best in a long time. I am constantly bouncing from diet to diet, only to crash or binge in between and have to start from square 1. I am hoping the Whole30 gives me a new outlook on food, helps me lose a few pounds, and in general, just feel better about myself.

In my first Vinyasa Yoga class last week, I admired a girl who was so flexible, she could do just about anything the instructor told us to do (I don't really know pose names just yet, other than Downward Dog and Child's Pose of course ;) ). The instructor asked her what her secret was, and she replied "no sugar." Which was kind of a funny answer, at which I sort of scoffed to myself at. Cupcakes happen to be my favorite food. No sugar in my diet? At all? Ha. Good one. But now, here I am, on Day 1 of a diet that excludes any kind of sugar-- besides that which is found in apples, grapefruits, and other fruit.

Yesterday, after a carb-filled day my sister and I indulged in as our type of day-long "last dinner," I was getting nervous. The meals I was planning for myself sounded bland and boring. I couldn't even have half & half in my iced coffee-- which is something I look forward to every morning on my journey to work. The carbs part, which is what scares many people, isn't really what scares me. It's moreso the fact that I need to plan in advance and cook a lot more. No more eggs + english muffin w/peanut butter for dinner as a last resort after a late yoga class. No more teriyaki sauce on my salmon. My diet is basically getting a huge makeover. Maybe not huge, but it felt that way last night.

But as I am doing some more research on the plan, reading recipes from past Whole30-ers, looking at Instagram photos with #Whole30, and reading positive reactions to the plan, I'm starting to think, hey, this isn't so bad.

I had coconut milk in my iced coffee this morning, and it wasn't so bad!

I started the day with an egg white scramble with peppers, spinach, and onions, and a small grapefruit. Wasn't so bad! Had to throw out my Oscar Mayere reduced sodium Turkey Bacon because it had some fake stuff in it. Wasn't so bad! I can have REAL bacon instead-- which is DEFINITELY NOT SO BAD (sorry for caps but BACON IS MY FAVORITE).

I can have kale and sweet potato chips! Not. So. Bad

I made myself a huge salad for lunch with kale, spinach, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, almonds, mango salsa, strawberries, olive oil, and turkey. Random, huh. I just wanted to make sure I was full because I am a major snacker. But the more I am reading up, the more I'm finding out other options to make for lunch. Each day of this diet will be a learning experience. And I will learn more awesome recipes to keep myself satisfied and feeling great, so I don't get sick of eating salads all the time. Tonight I am going to make a turkey burger (hoping one of my avocados are ripe), roasted vegetables (actually already made 'em last night), and a sweet potato. I'm going to make kale and sweet potato chips for the week too-- excited about that one.

I guess the thing about new stuff, in general, is that they are scary. You don't know what to expect, it feels out of your comfort zone, and it doesn't feel natural. But in the end, Whole30 is anything BUT unnatural! So soon, I think it will become second nature. I can't wait to see the results, because my pants are feeling extra tight from a weekend of bad eating.

More soon!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon

I can't really describe how I'm feeling, which is rare, but I think nauseous is pretty close.

The Boston Marathon. Marathon Monday, as us college students called it. The most wonderful day of the school year. No class, all-day drinking fun and ridiculousness, and high spirits. This was our homecoming, our tailgating, and one of the most memorable days each year.

Not to mention my love for running. I trained for a half marathon a few summers ago, and if you follow me on any form of social media, you'll see my Nike+ runs come up in your newsfeed regularly. It's something my friends like to tease me about, but as a social media junkie and runner, it's right up my alley.

Social media: the way I found out about the "explosions." On first glance, as usual with these types of horrific events, I read "explosion" and think anything but a terrorist attack. Maybe I'm naive, or maybe I have faith in humanity-- but planting bombs in garbage cans by the finish line of one of the most honorable marathons in the world?! No. That wouldn't happen. I'd think.

But it did happen. Is anything safe anymore? I have the chills reading articles and seeing these photographs. I don't think "that could have been me." I do think how horrible and close to home this hits for me, but I mainly think about the victims, the runners, and the heroes. I know the grueling but amazing efforts of training for a half marathon in the peak of summer, waking up early for a 12 mile run, the twitching I'd get in my toes after as I'd indulge in a huge breakfast to make up for the "loss of calories" I had experienced. These people trained for a full marathon. These individuals put time and effort into running 26.2 miles so they could feel a sense of accomplishment, honor a loved one, raise money.

When you're running in a long-distance race, night-before jitters are normal. What should I eat tonight? I hope this doesn't bother my stomach. To energy gel tomorrow or not to energy gel tomorrow? Will I have to pee in the middle of the race? Will I get a PR? Will I even finish?! Shorts or pants? But "Do I need to worry about there being explosives hidden in garbage cans at the finish line?" Nah. Never. That would never even cross my mind.

But now, movie theaters, elementary schools, buses, subways, public libraries. Where are we safe. I don't want my loved ones and friends to live their lives in fear. Life is too short. Between my sister and I, I've always kind of been the brave one, to comfort her when she is afraid. I will continue to be the brave one, but I will need to be more cautious with each step.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Letter to Myself

I just discovered a few of my old diaries-- all incomplete, but filled with pages and pages of pain from heartbreak, loneliness, and growing pains. Wow, was I a volatile teen.

I was telling my friend briefly about what I found, and about how interesting it was to read about those emotions and experiences. Not only have I recovered from the pain found in those pages, but I've learned other, better ways to cope and deal with disappointments. She responded, noting how refreshing it must feel to see how much I've changed, and said something that really made me think. What would we tell our 18-year old selves?

I wouldn't discipline myself for feeling those strong emotions. I wouldn't even tell myself I was overreacting or reacting incorrectly. I would mostly want to write words of encouragement, just to give myself just an ounce of hope, that in 5 years, or even 2 or 3, I would be in a happier place. And I would be stronger, wiser, and ready to take on the unknown. Here it goes.

Dear 18 year old Riana,

I know you are hurting and sad. I know you feel alone, scared, and that it isn't going to feel better. I know you feel you are different, a misfit, and that you will never be understood. It really will get better.

In a few years to come, you will find beauty in those differences. You will take pride in yourself-- in the way you analyze things, the way you think about the future constantly, and your sensitivities. You will realize you aren't wrong for having expectations, standards, and the desire to give and receive love.

I know you feel so low right now, but it is a scary time. You don't blend in with the rest, and standing out can feel scary. You feel lost, and that is scary too. But this is how you grow. Feeling pain will someday be the reason you have grown. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, it's true.

For now, don't do anything rash. Try to pause and figure out what you need to be happy. Put yourself first. Be friendly to everyone, but be careful where you put your trust. This is a time for you to learn about who you are, and what you really need to be happy. You might not figure it out right away. But there are ways to make the process easier.

So for now, don't fret. Take good care of yourself. Take advantage of opportunities college offers, and try not to be bothered by being alone at night sometimes.

A few years from now, I promise you will be experiencing happiness, good health, success, kind people, an enriching life, and love-- (most importantly) from yourself, and others.

Now be a good girl and try to take a break from these college guys because they truly haven't a clue what they're doing.

22-year old Riana

That was hard because I wanted to give myself hope but didn't want to provide a false sense that things could be better right then and there. As I said, I needed to experience that pain and emotion in order to be the strong person I am today.

What would you say to your younger self?

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I am reading a book called "The Secret" right now. It's all about how your thoughts-- positive or negative-- are transmitted out into the universe and effect what happens to you later on. There's a big emphasis on thinking positively, being optimistic about the fact that eventually, you will get what you desire, and being grateful. There's a section that says listing the things you are grateful for will help your mind narrow in on the things you have, rather than the things you don't have. Since I am having surgery tomorrow, I think it's a perfectly appropriate time to appreciate all the marvelous things I have in my life.

1. The sweetest, most giving, nurturing, and affectionate mother who has sacrificed so much for me and always makes me feel her love.
2. The most caring, funny, and loving father who would stop at nothing just to put a smile on my face.
3. The silliest, prettiest, and most inspiring sister who can always make me laugh and is the best roommate I could ask for.
4. The cutest, most rambunctious doggie who is so soft and cuddly, though he might not admit that.
5. A few amazingly sweet and caring girl friends who I feel an overwhelming love towards-- one I never thought I could feel for a friend.
6. A great job that keeps me challenged and constantly learning more, and great bosses and team that appreciate what I do and value my hard work.
7. "Me" time-- I was joking with a friend over lunch today that I love my "me" time so much, I wouldn't want to go back to school right now and lose it.
8. My love for exercise- I'm so happy to have such a healthy addiction.
9. A Magnolia Cupcake- that I look forward to treating myself to once I achieve my weight loss goal.
10. My apartment- it is looking prettier and prettier each week with all of the recent new additions-- our bar stand, artwork, and curtains... I love being there and feel so safe, relaxed, and cozy.

I will have an easy surgery and quick recovery.