It’s Been a Minute

 

Wow! It’s been long time since I’ve posted anything on my website. Are you still there?  I certainly hope so.  I have a lot to talk about and to fill you in on since I last posted.  If you keep up with me on social media you know a lot has happened in my life.  

Let’s start with the biggest change.  I am now a divorced woman!  It took an excruciating amount of time and a shit load of money to make it happen, but I am free.  At least legally speaking.   I actually felt free the day he left us and I had the apartment to myself.  Funny how that works when emotionally and financially controlling people move on and you reclaim your life.  

Let me re-introduce myself!  I am DJ Cunningham.  It’s a totally pain in the ass to change all of the accounts, passports, social security cards, e-mail addresses and eventually the very name of this website, but I am a Cunningham.  I always will be one. Thank God I didn’t engrave all of my sterling silver! 

Over those four long years, I reinvented myself professionally.  I created my dream job as an on-camera host, creator and producer of the travel series “Meet Me There”.  How’d I do that?  I was a member of the luxury travel club Exclusive Resorts.  I’m a tv personality who likes to tell stories.  I’ve traveled like a gypsy most of my adult life.  I merged all three of those things and,  voilà, I had my own travel series.  I’ll be doing it again soon.  

I took a huge leap and stepped back into the world of television news.  I’ve spent the last few years at Inside Edition, the most successful syndicated show in television history in case you were wondering. If you find yourself competing on Jeopardy that fact may come in handy one day, so you’re welcome.  Nearly a year to the date after I started, I was promoted to Entertainment Manager.  It has been a fantastic experience during one of the most insane times in the news business. The experience is interesting to say the least. Stay tuned for more news!

Overnight, I became a single working Mom.  Talk about a big change.  I always wanted to work and have my own career but we found reasons not to pursue it after we married and Corbin was born.  The biggest reasons were so I could stay at home with Corbin, we could travel as a family anytime we wanted and we didn’t really need the extra income.   It’s important for Corbin to see me work and re-boot my career.  Being a strong female role model for him is important. 

My Dad died.  Just like that.  He was here one day.  He was gone the next.  That’s how it is for everyone.  But it was out of the blue and a total kick in the teeth when it happened.  I’d always called my Dad when I needed to talk.  He was always my biggest cheerleader when it came to my career and anything else for that matter.  Losing him just weeks after my marriage completely imploded was a real blow.  I hate that Corbin didn’t get to spend more time hanging out with him and doing those things that granddads do with their grandsons.

I fell in love again.  It’s amazing to be able to really FEEL love and give it back to someone who is receptive to it.    My sweetheart has been in and out of my life since my years at the University of Arkansas.  I’m so grateful we reconnected.  Even more grateful to have a partner that can communicate with me, travel, explore, laugh, love, etc.  It is a deep connection that I wasn’t sure would happen again for me.  But it did.  I love having him in my space and being in his.  And coming from a woman who likes her own space, that is saying a lot! 

So is that me in a nutshell since my last post?  Pretty much!  There will be more to come soon and under my name DJ Cunningham so keep an eye on your in-box.  

 

 

 

Ricki and the Flash – Two Thumbs Up

Ricki and the Flash

Ricki and the Flash

When I saw that Meryl Streep was going to be starring in the film Rick and the Flash, my initial reaction was not a good one.  I wondered why on Earth this Oscar award winning actress would take on a role that didn’t seem to measure up to her level of stardom.  The saying goes you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The same concept applies to this film, too.  I was dead wrong about Streep’s performance and the plot.

Ricki and the Flash tells the story of a washed up musician who attempts to rekindle the relationships with her three children.  Rick, played by Streep, left her kiddos behind after she divorced their father, played by Kevin Klein, and sets off to chase her dreams in Los Angeles.

Rick Springfield is Streep’s on screen love interest and side kick in her band.  I was a big fan of Springfield’s growing up and was happy to see this multi-talented 65-year-old Aussie carried his own in the film. As did Streep’s real life daughter, Mamie Gummer, who plays along side her Mom in the film.  The acting gene is clearly strong in the family.

Together Streep and Springfield nailed the live band scenes with their vocal talents coupled with Springfield’s guitar skills.  As a kid who grew up in the 80s, the music of that era resonated with me from the very first scene.  Audra McDonald plays stepmother to Streep’s children and carries her role remarkably well.

Springfield answered questions after a screening this week hosted by The Moms Denise Albert.  He talked about his early stardom and his decision to step out of the spotlight and take an active role in raising his children. Springfield said leaving at the top of his career was a tough call. But getting back into the scene was very difficult as anyone can tell you when trying to resuscitate a career.

Rick Springfield talks to Denise Albert

Rick Springfield talks to Denise Albert

The only bad thing I have to say about the film is this.  Streep has the WORST hair extensions I’ve ever scene on the big screen.  Ricki’s braids are atrocious.  Same goes for her heavy blue eye shadow and eyeliner that never seems to quite get removed at night.  Clearly someone needs to introduce her to Almay’s make-up remover pads.  It’s rocker chic.  But hard to look at when I keep seeing Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady or in the Anna Wintour inspired role as Miranda Priestly she nailed in the Devil Wears Prada.  Both of those characters went to bed at night with squeaky clean skin I’m sure!

I was a guest of The Moms and my opinions are my own.  I liked the film and think you should go see it if you want to be entertained. It’s playing in theaters now.

 

 

Please – Leave Comments

You can ask any blogger and they will tell you at some point they wondered if anyone was reading their posts.  Just like the scene from Julie and Julia where Amy Adams ponders this very question, sees a comment on a post and but then realizes that it is from her Mother!  I’ve certainly felt that way.  I always make a point to leave a comment, make a suggestion, etc. when I do read other posts. It’s my way of showing some love for the blogger who probably spent hours typing away in the middle of the night, eating leftovers dark chocolate all the while simultaneously shopping Barney’s on-line sale.  But sometimes a reader leaves you a little gem that brightens your day and puts an enormous smile on your face.  Kinda like the one below that arrived on the post I wrote about my Dad on his birthday.

I was online and decided to google my two favorites cousins whom I had not seen since 1989. I was so saddened to find Joe’s obituary but brightened by your birthday tribute. Joe’s grandmother Cuma was my dad Victor’s sister. Bill and Joe and I raised ornery to a new level when we first met around age 10 or younger. I absolutely loved those guys and the fun we had. We once each came up with the dirtiest words we knew then Joe was going to tell on Bill and me. We clamped our hand on his mouth and ran from the house laughing.

I did not see them from the time I was 16 until I stopped in Carlise when I was 45. It was as if time had not passed and we laughed and teased each other and had a great visit. Another 26 years have passed and I still think about them often. That is what led me to google them.

Your words on his birthday touched my heart and made me so happy to have found them. Your dad made me laugh every time I ever saw him. I will forever be holding rabbit ears behind his head in his pictures in heaven.
Gail Friend, Naples, FL and Danbury, IA

Had it not been for my blog post, a curious cousin Googling his relatives in Arkansas would have never known about his ornery cousin’s untimely passing. I also wouldn’t have this gem of a photo of my great uncle Victor Friend.

My dapper great uncle Friend.

My dapper great uncle Victor Friend.

So on days when I think maybe I’ll stop writing about travels, New York City, crap my ex is doing, raising kids and skin care, I’ll remind myself that people are reading my posts,  even long lost relatives with great memories of my Dad.

 

Ant-Man – Don’t Call The Exterminator

 

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Summer time and super hero movies go hand in hand. This summer you are going to want to reach out and grab Ant-Man’s hand or whatever you can find to hang onto when Marvel’s tiniest super hero crawls onto the big screen today. Funny man, Paul Rudd, who was part of the screen writing team, proves he can still bring the laughs and kick some serious super hero butt at the same time. I wasn’t so sure how the This Is 40 star was going to pull off this role, but he did and proves he’s got what it takes to wear the Ant-Man suit.

Rudd introduced the film at The Regal Theater in New York City on Thursday night. As I’d hoped, he was funny, charming, handsome and fit as ever. The shrinking Super Hero says he basically didn’t eat for a year in order to fit into the Ant Man costume.

Paul Rudd talks "Ant Man" photo by Adam Cohen @dadarocks

Paul Rudd talks “Ant-Man”
photo by Adam Cohen @dadarocks

He answered a few questions about the film. But not before he shook hands with a couple who’d just arrived late and walked right in front of where he was standing to take their seats. Rudd assured them they didn’t miss a thing and any number of Moms in the audience could share their video clips they’d captured on their iPhones.

Corbin loved the film and so did I. If you’ve ever owned a Thomas the Train set, you’ll get a kick out of one of the films best scenes between Ant-Man and Yellow Jacket played by House of Cards star Corey Stoll. The two battle it out in “real insect” size on a moving train set. Corbin laughed his head off watching some of his old time favorite cars whiz thru the air as the super hero insects battled to save/destroy the human race as we know it.

Word of caution here – not long into the movie someone gets called a pussy! As you might suspect, a theater full of kids quickly picked up on it. Corbin said, “Did he just call him a pussy?”. Actually, just about every kid in the audience said the exact same thing at the same time! I remember the first spoken work in Avengers: Age of Ultron was “shit” which garnered the same response from Corbin. Both films are rated PG-13 so keep this in mind.

Ant-Man will not be nominated for an Oscar – shocker I realize – even with heavy weight Michael Douglas in the cast. The movie was entertaining, funny and even pokes fun at the other super hero team, the Avengers, which I found to be hilarious. Corbin was worried he’d feel like ants were crawling all over him while sitting in the dark watching the film. Instead, he laughed more than he scratched at bug bites that didn’t exist. Make sure to stay for the credits and watch the extra scenes in the credits.

I was on assignment with @luxurytravelmom. Corbin and I enjoyed some free popcorn and a coke. The opinions are my own. I liked the film. If I didn’t, I’d tell you to keep your money and get a mani/pedi because that’s how I roll.

Antarctica – The White Continent

 When you ask someone how many continents they have visited, you might suspect that Antarctica would be missing from their list.  Luckily for me, it is not missing. Australia, yes. But,  Antarctica?  Check!  Been there, saw it and have a tv episode to prove it! Watch as I chill with the penguins and dance on the ice!   It was truly a trip of a lifetime that I will never forget!

I spent my time on board the Orion with many well traveled members of Exclusive Resorts.  By the end of the journey we’d all become better acquainted with each other as you’d expect after spending nearly two weeks together!  I even met Scott Forstall, former Apple executive, turned Tony award winning Broadway producer of Fun Home.  Forstall is spending his post-Apple time traveling the world, producing shows and helping the authorities crack down on the on-line sex trade when he’s not at dance lessons with his kids back in California.

If you want to see Antarctica be prepared to drop a lot of Benjamin’s as it is not an inexpensive journey to the bottom of the planet. But I promise you, it is well worth every single penny spent!  You’ll go for the penguins, whales and seals but you’ll want to book your return trip to see the ice!

Costa Rica – Travel Turns into Giving

butterfliessmallLuxury traveling isn’t always about doing, seeing, shopping and getting as much out of an experience as you can.  Sometimes, you can find ways to actually give back in ways other than spending money while traveling.

Traveling over the last year with Exclusive Resorts shooting our travel show Meet Me There,  I’ve met a lot of locals along the way and as you’d imagine,  talked to other club members, too.  But, I’d have to say Lassetter family from May Pearl, Texas made a lasting impression on me and has forever changed the way I approach travel. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing and sharing the family’s story of travel and making a difference in the lives of some local school kids.  Watch it here!

Hawaii – Kohalo Coast Meet Me There

seahorsesquare1

Kohala Coast magic isn’t a hard thing to conjure up.  Just stepping off the jet at the airport and inhaling is a quick way to hit the reset button. I unearthed some of the island’s hidden gems in this episode of Meet Me There.  Watch and enjoy!