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I’ve seen people tackle goal-setting in many different ways. Some write down very clear, concise goals and others (like myself) enjoy setting intentions.

This year, I have been thinking long & hard about what I want 2014 to be for me, and what kind of legacy I’d like to leave behind. Who do I want to be this year? What kinds of things do I want to accomplish, and more importantly why?

It got me thinking all the goals I have set for myself over the years (both dreamy + extravagant and simple), and what those goals mean to me. Sure, goals are a great tool for getting sh*t done, but lately I’ve been wanting to go deeper.

I think it’s important to reflect upon WHY you set those goals for yourself in the first place, and what the meaning is behind those goals.

Then there are also those goals you’ve had forever…that you’ve failed to meet. WHY did you set this goal in the first place, and what is holding you back from achieving it? And just as importantly, is it even something that you really desire? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself…and am now asking you too.

After lots of thinking + tea-sipping + writing, I have decided my word, my legacy, for 2014 is IMPACT.

I want to help touch people, change someone’s perspective, inspire, grow…leave my mark.

2014 will be the year

I publish a book,

grow in my career with sweetgreen,

challenge myself in ways I never thought I could,


marry the love of my life,

and write (a lot).

Yesterday I decided to start an “impact journal,” similar to a gratitude journal although I will write down one thing I do each day that has positively impacted someone/something.

Because I’ve realized I find the greatest appreciation & gratitude for myself in the things I do to IMPACT others.

Stay tuned for lots more on this!
Lots of love,


Life Wish List

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I recently started a “Wish List” board on Pinterest featuring all things I want, from elegant  yoga-inspired jewelry to the Canon G9 PowerShot camera my sister has that will enable me to take much prettier pictures of food/life/everyday beauty. Perhaps that will finally encourage me to bring out my inner photographer? One can only hope.

During the process of “pinning” I realized I was a little bit constricted as everything I posted were just things, you know objects. And in reality, there are a lot of things on my “wish list” that don’t necessarily have a price tag, a fancy package or a tangible image. There are many things I wish for in life that involve events, actions, and happiness and these are the big things I’d like to focus on this month.

So yesterday during my two-hour bus ride home to Connecticut, I decided to make a list of things I both want and expect from myself. I call it a wish list, but it’s more or less a list of desirable goals I’ve had for myself for a while now and just need to implement.

Here’s What I’ve got on my plate:

Personal Wish List:

Yoga/meditation at LEAST once a week (aim for 2) Currently there is slim to none of this and I know it helps calm my restless mind tremendously

Run at least twice a week Again, I have been neglecting running for a while now because “It’s too cold” or “It’s raining” or “I already did Core Fusion” or “But I worked out yesterday” and it’s time to quit the excuses and suck it up. I love running. Running helps me think. It makes me feel wonderful about my body. It’s an incredible tool for finding clarity.

-Join the gym! Which brings me to this point; on days it’s raining/snowing/too sunny/too cold/too hot I will have the gym to escape to. Currently I’ve been sticking to at-home workouts, Core Fusion and yoga but sometimes it’s nice to have an outlet for everyday exercise that = the gym for me. Joining Monday after Easter. You can hold me to it.

Work out in the a.m. I know my body, and what works best for me. Morning workouts bring the greatest bliss to my day. Morning it shall be.

Pamper & love myself more often Be it a massage, a new pair of yoga pants, a cup of gourmet tea, an expensive lunch at Whole Foods that I truly enjoy, or a day to me, myself and I. It doesn’t have to be pampering myself with something monetary; even reading 40 pages in a new book will suffice. Work will always be there, and I need to remember to put myself first sometimes. What’s the point if you’re not taking care of yourself first?

Business Wish List a la Zesty Living:

Plan to attend at least one outside networking event per month. Bring business cards/ step outside my comfort zone I need to put myself out there more if I want to see big success. This I will do.

-Come up with a writing proposal & reach out to local magazines, publications, newspapers, companies, online brands for freelance work. I went to school for journalism after all, and now I am finally getting a degree in something I’m passionate about: holistic health. Apply your degree mixed with your fiery passion and start earning money and recognition for your hard work, Rachel! Just do it. Don’t think about it. Do it. Just think of how wonderful it will feel to see your name (not someone else’s name) in print under an article you worked hard on.

Organize my Calender, scheduling time for everything including personal time/networking time/marketing time/event time/client time/ you-name-it-time

What’s on your personal and/or occupational wish list? Do you make goals that you find hard to stick to? What’s something you’ve been wanting to cross off your list for a while now?

The Road to My First Half Marathon

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So if you’ve been reading my blog for the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen me mention that I’m training for a half marathon…that is my first half marathon ever. To this date, the farthest I’ve ran is a 10K back in September. But now I am taking it a step further, and am in the midst of training for the More /Fitness Women’s Half Marathon on April 3 in Central Park, NYC! 

I wasn’t really planning on signing of for a half marathon; it just sorta happened. A friend of mine (thanks Pao!) posted the link on my Facebook wall, and at first I thought “HA, that’s crazy,” and went on with my day. Then I clicked on the link for shits ‘n’ giggles and immediately felt inspired. An all women’s race? Sponsored by More Magazine and Fitness Magazine? Right then and there I knew I had to do it. 

I just dove right in, so I wouldn’t have time to look back. I ripped the band-aide off, entered my credit card number and did it. Sometimes in life, that’s the best way to get things done! I also convinced a few other friends to sign up including my great friend Kiley (who has ran one before), cousin Sara (who is pretty much a running Queen) and my younger sister Krista (yay us!) I am so excited to accomplish my first half surrounded by inspiring, healthy, strong women, particularly my friends and family members I admire so much. 

Now I’m in the midst of my training, and couldn’t feel better – about my body, my motivation, and my focus! Since I’ve started training using Hal Higdon’s Novice program, I’ve seen great improvements in my running, more definition and toning in my body, and greater focus throughout the day – go me! After all, running 15+ miles a week is something I never thought I’d be doing. I used to HATE running…I loathed it. The program also includes cross training, strength training, stretching and rest days, which are oh so important as well, almost juts as important as the running part! 

I’m also paying more attention to what I put in my body, being sure to fuel myself properly with hearty, healthy, wholesome eats to give me energy and strength! Lots of water is also super important, so I’m paying extra attention to chugging the H2O. Gotta quench the thirst.

I couldn’t be more excited for my first half, and am kinda on a permanent runner’s high because of it. I think having goals and focusing on something new is a wonderful thing, in all aspects of life! 

What are your current fitness goals? Have you ever ran a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon? What was your experience like? What got you through the finish line?

Personal Records are the Best Kind of Records

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[Morgan & I pre-race]

Confession: I take my personal records very seriously (in all parts of life), so much that I nearly knocked down ten Santa Clauses and a few men in Speedos to beat mine at yesterday’s Jingle Bell 5K Run. I had my arms flailing, my legs moving faster than ever and I think I even boxed out a few Santas (oops). According to the timer on my iPod, I beat my PR of a previous 27:11 with a record-breaking 27:05. However, according to the online race results, I got 27:15, but I’m going to trust my iPod and celebrate anyway. If I had a clear pathway at the end (sans reindeer, Santas and fat men in Speedos), I totally could have broke 27 minutes. That’s all I’m sayin’. I was on a roll, baby!

But whether my time was 27:05 or 27:15, I am more than proud of myself. I am also ecstatic for my best friend who completed her first ever 5K! She hasn’t ran 3 miles straight in ages, yet finished the entire race like a champ just a little over 30 minutes. (Good job Morgs!) You see, her goal was simply to finish the race and that she did…beating a good 3,000 people or so too. If that’s not breaking a PR, I don’t know what is.

But, back to the point. I’ve never been an extremely competitive person. I don’t really care for gambling and I’ve never cried after a rec basketball loss. However when it comes to me and my personal achievements, that’s when I get competitive. That’s how it should be, after all. Who cares if your roommate ran the race in half your time? Why get down if your friend from college was offered a great job (and a raise) within one year after college? Why let someone else’s success completely break you down? If you think about you and you only, other people’s success won’t get to you. Be proud for them, and move on with it. They are them and you are you. Nothing else matters, really.

After all, there’s nothing quite like the feeling  of knowing that you did it, that you reallllly did it. Whether that’s completing a 5K at record-breaking time, signing up for your first marathon, going after your dream job or pushing yourself to do yoga twice a week or aiming to be a better mother/friend/girlfriend, that’s completely up to you. But the fact that you did it all by yourself is the most rewarding thing there is in life.

November Goals & Feel Better Butternut Squash

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Sorry my post was cut short yesterday with just a recipe. I wish I had a cool story like I was on a hot date, traveling overseas or pampering myself all day, but unfortunately it was quite the opposite. I had a terrible case of …dun dun dun…food poisoning. It was downright awful. For someone who hasn’t thrown up since I was 12-years-old after Oreos (minus that one time in college), it’s safe to say I was in complete misery. All I wanted was to be at home like a little kid where my mom could take care of me and bring me dry toast, crackers, and ginger ale. Well, the morning after my body is still recovering but I can at least get up to write a post, so I figured I’d share with you my November goals. It’s a new month, hence I feel there should be new goals. And if you know me, I’m always making little lists and personal goals for myself, so here goes!

1. To go on a date: Seriously it’s been too darn long. November is going to be the month of love for Rachel. OK, maybe not the month of love but I am determined to go on at least ONE date with a somewhat decent guy. I will update you in December to tell you the results…

2. To do Core Fusion Body Sculpt at least twice a week: My DVD came in the mail yesterday, and I couldn’t be more excited to start it! I want to be lean, toned & in rockin’ shape, and I think this DVD is the answer. Now twice a week is just my goal, but 3 times a week would be ideal. I can’t wait to challenge myself with these invigorating exercises and get my tushy into gear! Hey, maybe it’ll help with #1? hehe ; ) 

3. Read More: I hate to admit that Water for Elephants is still sitting on my nightstand, barely started. What a shame. This month I’m going to make it a point to read, even just few a few minutes, every night before bed. Reading helps me get away from it all, escape to a new world for a bit. Reading is good for the mind. 

4. Up My Yoga: I got into a zone a few months ago where yoga was a part of my lifestyle. Unfortunately lately I’ve let it slip away because I’m “too busy.” But really, no one can ever be too busy for yoga. Yoga is something that’s worth taking  60 or 90 extra minutes out of your day. It’ll help save time in the long run, as it clears your mind, de-sresses your bod and gives you amazing balance and energy. Seriously, how could you turn that down? I, Rachel Chemerynski, WILL practice yoga once (preferably twice) a week for the month of November, even if it’s running my own practice in my room. 

5. Do Something Different: Sometimes, I find myself getting into a comfortable habitual pattern. I think we all can attest to doing what works, and forgetting to add a little freshness to our lives. This month is going to all change for me. Whether it’s taking a cooking or pottery class or planning weekly “family dinners” with my friends, this month is going to be all about new. 

What are your goals for the month? 

Oh, and since I was feeling like complete crap yesterday, I thought it was only fitting to include a recipe that always makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Alas, I introduce you to my Feel Better Baked Butternut Squash, the absolute perfect fall dish. 


*serves 3-4 people as a side

-1 large butternut squash or 1 package precut butternut squash

-1/2 TB ground cinnamon

-1 tsp. ground nutmeg 

-1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

-1 TB light agave syrup

-1/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 or 400. 

2. Line cookie sheet with foil, and spread squash evenly throughout.

3. Drizzle with cinnamon, nutmeg, olive oil, agave and optional nuts. 

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until squash is sizzling and slightly golden. 

First 10K=a SUCCESS: 10 Inspirations for Your First Race

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So I completed my first 10K this morning. Yup, the girl who couldn’t even run two miles a few years ago, cried in the middle of a 5K once and has never ran more than five miles ran an entire 6.2 miles today! The best part? I couldn’t have felt more alive, energized and motivated during the race, and feel absolutely amazing now! (Well…my legs could use some hardcore hot tub time, but other than that life is good) Oh and I beat my goal time of 60 minutes…59:34 baby! Anyway, I know first-time races can be a little scary, intimidating and a heck of a lot of work, so I put together a little list of inspirations to get you through your next race. Whether it’s your first 5K, your first 10K or your very first run EVER, these little mental motivations got me through the race today and hopefully work for you too: 

1. “I’m going to pace myself and go at a rate I feel comfortable with and know that I can maintain. If I get tired, I will slow down. If I feel good, I will speed up.”

2. “It’s just me and the road. Everyone else doesn’t matter right now. This is my race.”

3. “Just focus on one step at a time, one mile at a time and the finish line will be there before you know it.” 

4. “I am strong, I am healthy, I can do this!”

5. “There will be people who finish way ahead of me, and people who finish way behind me. And that’s OK!”

6. “Everyone is out here for a good cause, and each and every person here is amazing. Support each other. It’s not JUST about the time and it’s NOT a competition.”

7. “Just get through the race. Crossing the finish line is going to feel amazing, especially listening to all the people cheer me on. Then I can chug water and eat a big breakfast (Mmm)!”

8. “Remember to breathe. In through your nose…out through your mouth…in through your nose…out through your mouth.”

9. “Enjoy the scenery while you’re at it. This isn’t something you see every day and it makes the race go by a heck of a lot faster.”

10. “If I can do this, I can do anything. Next time, I will push myself even farther and continue to challenge myself.” 

How to Charge Through a Morning Workout (Or Any Workout) Pain-Free

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I’m a morning person. I always have been. My roommates in college used to envy the fact that I could wake up right when the sun came up perkier than ever. They also used to loathe the fact that I’d stomp around the apartment with my sneakers slamming cabinets and shuffling around pots and pans to make my morning omelet, as they tried to get their beauty sleep (sorry girls!) So yes, I’ll admit that getting up in the morning is a tad easier for me than the average human being.

However, I am not Superwoman and I too have my days where I want to throw my Blackberry out the window as the annoying alarm rings in my ear. Take this morning for instance. I set my alarm for 7:30 a.m. because I wanted to get my morning run over with before the horrendous 100-degree weather hit. However, I was angry when I heard my alarm go off this morning. Not only did it interrupt a good dream (don’t you hate that?) but I also was not ready to get up. So I sat there for a few seconds debating whether I should go back to sleep or not, and decided to rip the Band-Aid off. Yes, the first few seconds are painful, but once I sprung out of bed I was good to go. Then when I put on my running outfit and sneaks, I knew there was no turning back!

So, no I wasn’t born with super powers, nor do I have any magical advice to give you on how to get yourself going in the morning. But I do have some motivational tips that’ll help you make it through a tough workout painlessly.

1. Spring Out of Bed: As I already mentioned before, getting out of bed is the hardest part, then the rest is a piece of cake! Do whatever you need to do in order to move your body from your comfy cloud-like mattress to a standing position. I use the “rip the Band-Aid off” method, where I give myself a few seconds of recuperating then just jump up before I can talk myself out of it.

Thinking about how great I’ll feel AFTER my workout also helps me get through the initial doubts. Just think: if you go back to bed you’ll already waste a few hours of your day, and probably won’t end up achieving your goals for the day. Just take the day on my friend…really you won’t regret it!

2. Fuel Up! Confession: I didn’t listen to my own advice this morning, and boy do I regret it. Before you set out, make sure you’re properly fueled. First things first: drink a good amount of water before you head out. Then, eat something small yet substantial that’s going to get you through your workout. An apple with some natural peanut butter, Greek yogurt, piece of toast, protein bar, or half of a fruit smoothie all work. Eat something small that you know your stomach can handle. Then when you return from your workout, you can dive into something more filling.

3. Set a Goal… It’s always good to have some sort of goal in mind, whether it’s going a certain distance, doing a certain amount of reps at the gym, or trying a new yoga class. Today my goal was to run another 5 miles, as I hit the 5-mile mark last week and wanted to see if I still had it goin’ on. Alas, I mapped out a route and set off to see where my legs would take me…

4.…But Don’t Take Your Goal Too Seriously: Goals are always great, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve what you set out to do. Today was HOT out. Yes, even at 7:30 a.m. the temperature was already nearly 90 degrees. (So much for beating the heat). Anyway, midway through my run I had to re-access whether running the full five miles was right for my body. I thought about stopping and walking the rest (around mile four) but realized that my breathing was in control and another mile was definitely doable, so I simply slowed down my pace.

Sure, I didn’t run the five miles in record-breaking time, however I DID IT and felt amazing afterward! Had I felt faint or dehydrated, I would have stopped and felt OK about that. It’s all about listening to your body, and not pushing yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with.

5. Take Advantage of Mind Tricks: I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes exercise can be strenuous and downright painful. That’s when I start playing tricks with my mind. If you know you still have another three miles to go (or another 30 minutes in a challenging group fitness class), thinking about it (and looking at the clock every 10 seconds) is going to drive you absolutely crazyyyyy.

Instead, play mind tricks. Today I blocked out any discouraging thoughts, and instead started thinking about what I was going to do the rest of the way. All the sudden, I was half way around the loop again without even thinking about it. I also like to look at the smaller picture; that is when I’m running a far distance, I’ll use street signs or telephone poles as different benchmarks. That way, instead of thinking about an ADDITIONAL THREE MILES, I’ll take it one sign at a time. Music also helps get your mind off the struggle, which leads me to my next point…

6. Jam Out: Seriously, I don’t know how people exercise without amazing tunes to go with it. But I suppose if you aren’t an Ipod person, chatting with a friend, watching the TV at the gym, or listening to the surrounding noise helps—any distractions really! But if you’re like me, I like my jams, and lately I’ve been really feeling my newest playlist, “Workout Baby.”

I recently downloaded “I Like it” by Enrique Iglesias (feat. Pitbull) and absolutely love it. Actually that’s an understatement. Confession: I played it THREE times during my run this morning; that’s how obsessed with it I am. So, download some new tunes, have your hip, music-obsessed friend burn you a few CD’s. I’m telling you: new, upbeat songs can make all the difference during your next workout.

Hope this helps! Please share your personal motivating tips that help you charge through…

Make your life all about "me"

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So in the past month I’ve done quite a lot: I’ve lost a few pounds, learned to love running, quit my job to pursue my dream as a writer and dyed my hair brunette. And I have to say it feels pretty darn good. It’s refreshing to make some healthy changes to your life once in a while, and I felt that I was well overdue for some.

Of course I’ve made changes in my life before, but this is the first time that I’ve done all of it for me, myself and I. Yes, while that sounds a little selfish, I think we all need to take some time to live for ourselves once in a while. Not for anyone else. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. My more in shape, running-obsessed, free spirit, brunette self are all things I did for me, things that that define me. I didn’t make any changes for a guy, my family, or a friend for once. This is all about Rachel.

So my advice to you is to break that habit of living for someone else and go out and get what you want. Tackle it and make it your own. Trust me, you’ll feel much better afterward.…

Bold Moves

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I suppose I’ve always been one to make bold, spontaneous moves. When I was a sophomore in college and wanted to hop on a plane to visit a guy I’d been “seeing,” my dad told me I needed to stop following my hormones, and follow my heart. Then when I moved to Boston three months after graduation (without a job) because I was bored , many people thought I was absolutely crazy. But you know what, I didn’t care a bit about what others thought of my decision. After all, it’s my life after all, and I knew I’d figure it out. I always have. When I want something, I waaaantttt something, and go and get it.

That’s why I’ve decided to make the boldest decision of all, a decision that at first shocked/stunned/surprised and maybe even frightened many (especially my mother). I’ve decided to leave my full time job (yes, even in this terrible economy) to pursue my dreams of publishing a book and becoming a writer. I guess I finally took my dad’s advice of following my heart; it definitely isn’t my hormones speaking this time.

As I sit in a cafe writing and eating a fresh, delectable salad from Espresso Royale Cafe in Boston, I couldn’t be more happy about my life and the decision I’ve made. I’ve realized many people have these passions/desires/wants/needs/ideas but never have the guts to actually go with them. I’ll admit, it was scary. Leaving a job that pays for my rent, coffee addiction and social life was not easy. In fact, it was frightening as hell to go through with it. However, deep down I knew where my heart was at, and knew what I needed to do. I will write my butt off. I will do everything I can to get published and make a name for myself. Everything is in my control now, and the same goes for you. The future is in our hands and there’s no better time than now to start really living your life.

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