Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Only The Strong Survive..

Part of my job as Health Editor of Mwari Magazine is to find women who are doing amazing things, in spite of it all. In spite of having careers, in spite of being born into a family with hereditary health issues, in spite of having children, in spite of every other responsibility, simply because they believe they can.

Most everyone around me knows I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11 and that for the past, ahem, 30 years I’ve lived with a 10” titanium rod screwed to my spine. This is my ‘in spite of’. Scoliosis is not allowed to infringe upon my life. It’s there, I can’t change that. It bugs me. I can’t change that. But what I can do is keep my body strong & healthy, remain focused on my dreams & desires, and basically, keep it moving.

With this being the inaugural issue, what better person to chat with than the Founder & Editor of Mwari Magazine, Maci Peterson. You can well imagine that her life is hectic. Early mornings, days filled with meetings, emails, phone calls, decisions, events, and people wanting her to go in a million different directions. I asked her, how, with everything that’s required of her, is she able to maintain her sense of Maci.


How old are you Maci? I’m 23 years old.

What’s a typical day for you? I’m up at 6:30, 7:30 if I sleep in, and I begin quietly. I read my Bible & I pray. Then, I’m on the train which is a perfect time to read & answer emails. Once I’m in the office there are countless meetings with writers and editors and advertisers which take me into the evening when I have to attend different events for networking. Most people think parties, martinis, glamour. It’s not all glitz. These are long days and you won’t get much accomplished with too many parties & martinis. I’m home by 11pm.

When did you know your outlet would be a magazine for young women? When I was a sophomore in college, I’d thought about publishing a magazine but pretty much dismissed it. I was studying Film, and working in PR & Advertising and realized that I could not imagine living that life for the next 30 years. I prayed and asked, ‘what am I here to do?’ The magazine idea came rushing back.

Why do you feel it’s so important to reach this particular culture of young women? No magazine speaks to us, this age of woman coming into HERself. This is when we are looking for help, preparing for the rest of our lives. In your early 20’s is when powerful seeds are planted and no one was touching that.

How important is it that you spend time with just Maci? Personal time is important that’s why I live alone. I’m able to take personal inventory, clear my head & form a game plan because everything I do is to perpetuate Mwari.

With a schedule like yours, how do you find personal time? Saturday mornings are dedicated to sweats and Lifetime movies.

What do you do just for you? In addition to my Saturday morning ‘Lifetime Movies’, I enjoy hiking which allows me to clear my head and gives me a banging body. I also enjoy reading and aim for three novels every summer. I went to college in California and got into sailing. LOVE IT! Now that I’m in DC, I have the good fortune of having friends with boats so I get out there as often as possible. Because I don’t have the opportunity to enjoy these outings every day, I make sure to fully immerse myself when I can.

What about Maci are you most proud of? In college during ‘Senior Surprise’, my mother wrote me a letter and used the word “assurance” to describe me. She stated that I do things knowing I’m serving a higher purpose, that I am diligent in fulfilling my calling. It’s always good to know how your actions are being received and for my mother to describe me in such a way was, and continues to be, a very proud moment in my life.

Give me one thing that you believe is the utmost importance for young women to know. Girls, I know we hear this all the time but you really do have to ask yourself the question, ‘why am I here’. Then do it… execute it! Creating this magazine isn’t easy by any means but I love it. It fills me with joy and I know I was created for this. Even if you’re already walking a certain path, you need to take a personal inventory and ask yourself if you truly love what you do. You may very well lose an excellent Wall Street income but do you love waking up in the mornings? I do.


I'd love to hear your 'in spite of'? What have you had to push through? And what strengths did you discover on the other side of that?

You can read the current issue of Mwari at http://issuu.com/mwarimagazine/docs/mwari_issueone_1209?viewMode=magazine&mode=embed


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Beauty of Simplicity...

I like to keep it simple. I don’t want to be in the kitchen all day. For special occasions yes. I actually enjoy cooking but on an everyday... I want in and out and good !

My roommate Sallie is always shocked at how quickly I cook, or that I can actually clean up before I sit down to a still warm, really good meal. My cooking is getting better though my father says otherwise.

Anyway, I’ve been in the kitchen more because I love to cook but I want to cook better. So I buy beautiful cookbooks! Go to a bookstore and flip through the pages. Find food that looks good to you and that’s the one you get, provided of course you even want to cook. But I do suggest you befriend your kitchen. Open a bottle of wine and try something different like I did for Thanksgiving.

My niece Briana came down from college to hang out with Aunt Candace for a few days over the holidays. She’s attending University of the Pacific. Yep, we’re kinda proud. I asked her for her ‘must-have’ food because Aunt Candace was not doing the whole Thanksgiving dinner thing. She needed yams and sweet tea. Our compromise was sweet potato pie and sweet tea. After that, it just had to be good and it had to be simple.

I found a recipe for chicken that sounded and looked really good in the December issue of Food & Wine (page 106, take a look at it when you’re in the grocery store tomorrow. It may become your dinner). It’s crazy how simple it is. And the fact that it’s a one-pot dish, oh yeah, even better.

Chicken Baked on a Bed of Bread and Swiss Chard – You’ve got chicken, greens, and bread. I’m happy! What else do you need, macaroni and cheese? I got you. Briana made it and she did a good job. There was finger smacking and everything. We did good Bri!

This is a relatively healthy meal. All your fat comes from the mac & cheese but we’re not eating the whole pan here. I know it’s the holidays but let’s enjoy not engorge. It’s a long season and an even longer winter. We don’t move as much and we typically eat heavier, richer foods. My mom’s baked potato soup sounds good on 40 degree nights. Yeah, yeah I know some of you are wearing toe warmers right now because it’s 8 degrees outside. I live in Southern California and I’m grateful not to have to shovel a path to my car. But 40 degrees is 40 degrees and that’s cold to me but, back to the point.

We’re in that extended, celebratory part of the year where the ovens are on full blast baking cakes and pies, the doorbells are ringing with people holding gifts of chocolate and wine, and soon it will be time to toast 2011 with champagne. Enjoy your friends and family but enjoy yourself just a bit more by realizing you don’t have to pack on the fat in order to survive the winter. We may not move as much when it’s cold but we’re not bears hibernating for six months either. Your happy holidays shouldn't equate to pounds of regret later. Eat, drink and be merry but take it easy my friends.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Quick Not Even 5 Minute Snack


Cracked wheat crackers, your healthy favorite

Fresh sliced tomatoes, seasoned with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Persian cucumbers, I like these best for bites. You choose what you like without having to unhinge your jaws. It's a bite!

Simple.. Always good!
Perfect appetizer and everday snack. Oh my god! So good!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


My niece Briana is starting college next week. I have seen this little chick’s face almost every day of her life since she was six months old and I’ve only missed a couple ‘first day of schools’. Well, tomorrow I’m headed to Stockton, California to help her set up her dorm room. This is exciting for me. I’ve missed all the preparations & fights because she’s in Atlanta. So I’m really looking forward to this.. her first day of college, her first day of truly being away from home, meeting her roommate (of which she’s never had being an only child. This should be interesting). I’m looking forward to driving away from campus with tears rolling down my face. Yes, I'm a cry baby.

Briana is entering a new gateway of her life, that time when the seeds that have been planted really begin to take root. This is the time when I know she’ll need the tenderness and guidance and ear and love, and tough tap on the shoulder from her mom, me, and every other strong, positive woman. I know that the steps she’s beginning to take will shape her later moments and I’ve been charged with making sure her transition is as smooth as possible. Because I have the gift of hindsight, I will honestly share with her what I know because the sooner she grabs hold of her bliss, the more time she’ll have to live her splendid life.

I know it’s never too late to learn something new, to take a chance, or a flying leap, but there will never be another moment like this in her life. I am charged with pushing her. She doesn’t know this yet, or maybe she does, but she is also charged with pushing me. In order to help her, I have to be living the life I want. I have to be true to my gifts and talents. I have to be who I’m designed to be.

So, at the moment Briana is entering her college life, I am entering a new gateway of my own as the Health Editor of Mwari, an online magazine for college girls. How perfect, just when I have a spot-on vantage point! This is my moment to be confident. This is my moment to trust my abilities. This is my moment to have guts. This is my moment to be who I am designed to be.

I’m grateful to be walking through new doors with Briana. I think it gives us a special bond. Our steps don’t have to lead in the same direction in order to use the strength that we each continue to gain to bolster and push someone else. That’s what we’re all charged with, nurturing ourselves to sustain our reach. There’s strength in numbers and there are a lot of us girls, over 150 million here in the states. Imagine a world where each of us knew our bliss, nurtured our talents and interests, expected and gave the best, and never stopped asking the question ‘what if’. Yes, I’m shooting for the moon. Just the simple notion of this excites me because I can imagine a utopic world were women are strong and bold, and men are equally as strong and bold, making our children strong and bold.

And because I can imagine, I will continue to nurture my strengths in order to sustain my reach.

Here’s to you Briana! I’m excited for you babe..

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello Again..

I know I've been away for a while but I needed that space to do some discovery of my own. I must admit, it was a bit harrowing at times but I believe I found some wonderful answers to that scary question, 'what the heck am I supposed to do now?!'

One such answer was, 'Keep writing chick!' In addition to that booming response, I was given a new platform in which to write. I am now the Health Editor for Mwari Magazine (http://www.mwarimag.com/), a new online publication for young women ages 18-24. We will soon go live with the first issue and I couldn't be more excited.

A huge part of getting what you need is being open... Open to hear & to receive, no matter the direction it comes from. Another part is memory. Remembering what works & what doesn't, accepting & embracing what you're good at, and nurturing the gifts you've been given. I recently had a conversation with Maci Peterson, Founder & Editor of Mwari Magazine, on this subject. At 23 years old, she truly impresses me and has taught me a wonderful lesson on accepting and embracing and nurturing. I'll be posting our conversation later.

For most of my life, people viewed me as a teacher of sorts. I never really thought so but having the gift of hindsight allows me to look back & remember. And in this time of 'discovery', I've done just that. I remember always and still being asked for advice from younger & older (I'm in the middle), married or not (I'm divorced), people with kids (I don't have any), boys & girls (ok, I'm a girl). My sister's boyfriend, Mr. Campbell, even sent me one of his paintings titled 'Lot's Of Learning' because he always viewed me in that role of teacher. (You can see his work at http://www.leroycampbelloriginals.com/) A few months back I had my charts read and was told that even in my past lives I was a teacher.

So, I can't escape it, nor do I wish to. I, Candace Burney, am a teacher. I accept it, I embrace it, and I graciously give to you whatever you wish to receive.