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.