My Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

As seen in

In case you aren’t following me herecheck out my piece about Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It is always fun to check out the fashion shows when I can score a ticket!

BCBG Fashion Show Lincoln Center

BCBG Fashion Show F/W 2014

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City is underway despite the nasty weather hitting the city as I sit here and write this post!  I was looking super fashionable yesterday decked out in Maje leather shorts, a Haute Hippie sweater, Proenza Schouler jacket – that I bought under the expert eye of Jonesboro’s Jonathan Parkey and my Khirma Eliazov bag. 

DJ at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week wearing Maje, Proenza Schouler, Wolford tights, Haute Hippe sweater

My Street Style @mbfashionweek

Today, I’m kicking it in jeans, a sweatshirt, a scarf, wool socks and my Ugg house slipper – sans any make-up.   It’s freezing cold and a Nor’Easter just blew through the city. I do have an improv class to make so I’m going to be FORCED to leave the apartment.

Scoring a ticket to a fashion show is a tricky endeavor.  I’ve been to several shows with friends who work in the fashion industry.  I’ve also been as a guest with Exclusive Resorts.  ER offers some amazing “experiences” in addition to their homes in the travel club portfolio.  Think Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, Wimbeldon, heli-hiking in Canada and the Food and Wine festival in Aspen…just to name a few.

This week me and my girlfriends, Victoria and Alona, were guests at the BCBG show.  Our host from Miami’s GR8 Group, Luca Pavanelli, made sure we were well taken care of for the show.  As the shows go, it’s never really about the clothes.  It’s really about the people celebrities in the front row.

Fashion entourage with Luca Pavanelli

My fashion entourage with GR-8 host Luca

Food Network star Giada de Laurentis was in the crowd.  She was very gracious and stopped to take a photo with me.

Giada de Laurentis

On the runway with Giada de Laurentis

As was Orange is the New Blacks Samira Wiley.  Samira plays a tough inmate on the Netflix series.  But she totally rocked the orange strapless jumpsuit for the show.

Samira Wiley DJ Duckworth BCBG Lincoln Center Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

OITNB Samira Wiley styling in BCBG prison issued orange

Yesterday, my friend Denise Albert and I took in the Nanette Lepore runway show. I have been a huge fan of Nanette Lepore for many years.  Her clothes fit like a dream, are feminine without being prissy – I will never be described as prissy- and are made in the U.S.A.

Robert Verdi Nanette Lepore runway show mercedes benz fashion week

Robert Verdi at Nanette Lepore- stylist to the stars

Again it was all about the front row and who was there.  Edie Falco from Nurse Jackie, Cat Greenleef from Talk Stoop, Kelly Rutherford from Gossip Girl, Peyton List, Condola Rashad and mega watt stylist June Ambrose held down the front row!

All star front row at Nanette Lepore runway show

A deep bench of fashionistas at Nanette Lepore – anchored by June Ambrose

The collection was beautiful!  I must say the Fall and Winter collections are by far more interesting than Spring and Summer. With the deep colors, decadent fabrics and lux furs, the clothes are always inspiring.  Especially when it’s 14 degrees outside and you are wearing leather shorts!  Hey, I took one for the fashion team!  I don’t do those leg work outs for nothing!

Keep up with DJ and her travels by following her on Twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on Facebook at I Am DJ Duckworth.  She posts some amazing travel photos and some seriously mundane self indulgent selfies on Instagram, but isn’t that what Instagram is about?



Dr. Oz and Avocados

This post was first published at under Southerner and the City.

Do you want to learn how to keep your vegetables fresher, longer?  Yes, I do!

That is how my date with Dr. Oz started a few weeks ago when I replied to a casting call.  The associate producer Patrick called.  We chatted.  And he gave me my assignment. I was going to demonstrate how to keep guacamole from turning brown.

The show aired today. I have not seen it yet though because I’m flying to Napa to work with the Feast It Forward team at Flavor Napa Valley.  I’ll fill you in on this adventure next time.

The experience on the show was really amazing. The show is taped four blocks from my apartment on the Upper West Side.  So the commute was a short walk.  Once I got there, I was escorted upstairs to the dressing rooms where I met my fellow on-air companions, Johanna and Trena.

It takes a lot of people to get a show on the air.  There were staffers milling around every where with clip boards, microphones, headsets, hairspray, scissors, food and human intestines!  Yes, intestines.

As we were backstage prepping our veggies, I was standing next to a table where human intestines were being draped over a series of small stands likes lights on a Christmas tree.  Turns out digestion was also a topic being discussed.  I had to do some weird things as a television reporter, but I never had to handle human organs.  The girl who was prepping the human prop didn’t seem to mind.  Gross.

On the way back to the dressing rooms, I bumped into Barbara Walters.  You see, The View is also taped in the same ABC building as the Dr. Oz show.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  She is a HUGE icon of mine.  Unfortunately, I was rendered speechless and her entourage kept her moving along.  My one-on-one interview with the queen of news didn’t come to fruition, at least not in person!

Patrick whisked me down to hair and make-up for some touch ups and a darker layer of eye liner.  The wardrobe team made the final selection on my clothes, applied some double stick tape to my blouse and I stepped into my heels.

We waited back stage as the show moved along watching on a huge monitor.  Once we were mic-ed up, we headed to the stage where Dr. Oz was waiting on us.

He was great!  If we didn’t have a show to tape and guacamole to preserve, Mehmet and I would still be standing there shooting the breeze! He is much taller than I expected, has a great handshake as you’d expect from a surgeon, killer hair and dreamy blue eyes.  I told him I was going to do my best not to get the two of us stuck in the plastic wrap I had to use on the guac!  He thought it would be fun if we did! Luckily, I managed it just fine – for the first time in my entire life!

Dr. Oz read his intro and made a joke about making “it” last longer”.  I laughed, but I think I might have been the only person you can hear laughing in the entire room! Who knows maybe I’ll be back for a segment on making “It” – wink, wink – last longer! We started talking about the guacamole and within what felt like 2 seconds, we were done.

The trick with the guac is to take any leftovers and spray it with cooking spray, like olive oil.  Don’t even think about using PAM.  Then place plastic wrap directly on top and try not to trap any air underneath it.  It should keep the guac green.  But if you find yourself with brown guacamole, chill out.   As long as there is plenty of tequila in your margarita, who cares what color the guacamole is!

It was a great experience and one I hope to have again.  Who knows?  Maybe someday Dr. Oz will be a guest on MY show!

Keep up with DJ’s adventures on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @mrsdjduckworth.  She posts some amazing and sometime seriously mundane photos on Instagram.  Yep, she’s a pinner, too.  Follow her boards on Pinterest. DJ is a contributing writer for New York Family Magazine and Feast It Forward.  She lives in Manhattan with her two boys and the world’s most amazing wiener dog, Leo – woof, woof!

Thanks, Dr. Oz

Thanks, Dr. Oz

Dj and Oz sign

Me and my co-stars

Me and my co-stars

DJ and Patrick





Green Beauty – Pt. 2

Note:  This was originally posted at Southerner and the City on

One Love Organics

One Love Organics

It is always nice to hear a southern accent in the middle of a room packed full of mostly New Yorkers.  I heard a sweet southern drawl recently while at a beauty event I told you about in my last blog.  The Night of Green Beauty was held downtown at the James Corbett Salon.  Toward the end of the night, I had the pleasure of meeting Suzanne LeRoux, the lawyer-turned skin care guru, behind the skin care line One Love Organics.

We bonded quickly over all things southern and I quickly started quizzing her about her St. Simon, Georgia based skin care company.  LeRoux stepped away from the world of law and turned her hobby as a skin care alchemist into a full time gig.  Here products are made in America in small batches on St. Simon.  What pulled me in and kept me engaged was the magnificent smelling Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm.  It smells like the best orange vanilla creamsicle you’ve ever smelled in your life!

The balm is one of the lines best sellers and is a work horse of a product. It can be used as a moisturizer, cleanser, cuticle cream and even helps calm fly away hairs!  You can also use it along with your mineral makeup for a flawless face finish.  While we were talking I dabbed a little on my cuticles.  They looked instantly better and well, smelled like a dream!  This product has gotten a lot of press, too.  LeRoux told me that when Rachel Zoe, the LA based amaze-balls stylist, recommended the product in her daily Zoe Report, One Love Organic’s website crashed from the massive amount of traffic!  Not the worst thing to have happen to you, right?

I ended up buying the beauty balm.  My main purpose was to try it out on my hands at night.  I have been using it.  It works and smells heavenly.  But I’ve already told you that this stuff smells divine and here is why.  It’s full of organic orange peel, vanilla, virgin coconut oil, oat and mango just to rattle off a few of the ingredients.

I took home a sample of Brand New Day Microderma Scrub and Masque.  It has a grainy texture and is a fantastic exfoliator.  I can’t use it every day but I do try to use it at least three times a week.  The pineapple extract in this product mixed with corn starch and sweet pea extract keep my skin looking taught and feeling squeaky clean.  The scrub also doubles as a masque that can be mixed three different ways depending if you want to tighten, moisturize or clarify your skin.  I have had great results using it as a cleanser but have not tried the masque yet.

Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different skin care products with varying degrees of results.  Once I hit a ‘certain’ age, I realized that I needed to be using the best pharmaceutical grade skin care products that I could afford.  I’ve been very pleased with my skin. However, I have become more educated on all of the chemicals in the products I have been using everyday, some even twice a day. I like to think I’ve become more open minded about looking into the naturally derived and even organic skin care products, too.  I would not say at this point in my life, that I could go all natural when it comes to skin care – yes, I’ve had some Botox –  but I am at least switching it up a little and seeing amazing results without the chemicals and sky high prices, too.

I was not paid for this post and the opinions are 100% mine.  Interested in learning more? Check out

Keep up with DJ’s adventures by following her on Twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on Facebook.  She posts some seriously off the wall and sometimes mundane photos on Instagram @djduckworth.  Find out more at  DJ is a contributing writer and blogger for New York Family magazine and Feast If Forward.  She lives in Manhattan with her two boys and the most amazing wiener dog, Leo – woof, woof!

Southerner and the City — Small World

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgSoutherner and the City – Small World
Jun 21, 2013

On a recent particularly crummy, rainy Friday afternoon, I made my way off the 6 train at 28th Street and Park Ave. I had a 1pm gym appointment and was ready to blast off some extra energy! It was pouring rain as I made my way across Madison Square Park. And that’s when I spotted the bar b q signs.

I had walked into the set-up of an upcoming BBQ weekend at the park. Being a southern gal, I enjoy an occasional BBQ and I’ve not found any that is even close to being as good as what you get in Arkansas. While Manhattan is full of amazing places to eat, no one has quite captured the art of really good BBQ. Or catfish, for that matter, as I recently blog about, too.

I spotted a crew setting up a tent and stopped to ask them what was going on. They told me they were setting up for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party and that it started the next day. What unfolded next still amazes me. The conversation went something like this.

“So where are you guys from?” -me

“St. Louis” – BBQ guy

“I’m from Arkansas and I can’t get good BBQ here. I think I’ll bring my boys back tomorrow.” – me

Guy says, “where in Arkansas are you from?”

“I grew up in Carlisle.”

BBQ guy says, “I’m from Wynne but I work with these guys out of St Louis. I graduated from ASU. I know several people from Carlisle. Do you know Jill she is a pharmacist? My wife Lean was the made of honor in her wedding!!

I say, “Know her? She is my first cousin. So you are married to Lean?”

BBQ guy says, “Yes, I’m Kelly Dallas.”

“Well I’m DJ Cunningham- Duckworth.”

He says, “DJ from KAIT-TV?”

“Yes, that’s me!”

Then other guy walks up, introduces himself, says he’s from Jonesboro and asks me if know Brian Duckworth.

At this point, I begin to think I’m being punked or something! I say, “Seriously? Brian is my brother in law.”

Kelly and I look at each other like we can’t really believe what is happening. He calls his wife Lean back in Arkansas and tells her the story. She and I chat and catch up on life in a matter of minutes. I text Jill with the details of the sidewalk BBQ mash up all from under a big white tent on a sidewalk in Manhattan. We all start connecting dots. And firing off questions to each other. When did you move to NYC? Why are you cooking BBQ in New York City? And on and on and on.

I walked away with my crappy mood a thing of the past…shaking my head.

Weird how I just walked up to Kelly – who I’d spent a little time with about 20 years ago in a Baptist church in Carlisle at my cousins wedding – asked him a simple question only to realize we knew each other from a previous point in time many years ago.

This exchange still makes me shake my head. It is a small world after all.

You can keep up with DJ’s adventure in the Big Apple by following her on twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on her Facebook page I Am DJ Duckworth. Find out more at DJ is a contributing writer for New York Family magazine and Feast It Forward. She lives in Manhattan with her two boys and the world’s most amazing wiener dog, Leo – woof, woof.

– See more at:

Southerner and the City: Catfish in the Capitol


Southerner and the City on Catfish and Politics

May 30, 2013

I grew up eating my fair share of catfish. Whether it was at a back yard fish fry, at Nick’s in Carlisle or Murry’s in Hazen, I could always count on eating really good fried catfish at any of those places. After eating some of the best southern caviar as I like to call it, I’ve basically decided that I don’t need to eat this delicacy anywhere north of I-40 in Arkansas. Why, you ask? I’ve found it to be a waste of calories and money! Most people just don’t know how to properly cook the stuff.

I made an exception recently on a trip down to Washington, D.C. when Carter Harrison headed to the Capitol to cook for the Catfish Farmer’s of America. Since 1985, Harrison has made a yearly trip to DC cooking for various groups, including senators and congressmen. Hailing from Prairie County, Harrison is the man behind King Kat, which is one of our nations premier mobile catfish catering businesses. My Dad tagged along for the trip as Harrison’s right hand man which made the occasion even more special for me – my Dad and catfish.

With all of Arkansas’ political delegation in attendance, the crowd dined on catfish as they discussed the topic of the evening…catfish inspections. And without going into my old investigative journalist mode here, I’ll just say this. At issue is the government’s inspection of imported catfish. American catfish farmers want the USDA to inspect the imports, while the government is leaning toward having the FDA inspect the fish. The USDA inspects a larger percentage of fish than the FDA. The imported fish is also not held to the same standards as American raised catfish. So, without a more in depth inspection, American catfish farmers claim that the imported fish may raised using banned drugs and chemicals and may in fact not even be catfish at all. The USDA inspections, outlined in the 2008 Farm Bill, have yet to be implemented and may be heading for the chopping block.

As a consumer, we have to arm ourselves with all of the information we can about where our food is being raised and what chemicals are being used on it. Does your fish come from China or a pond in Mississippi? I’ve found it’s best to know the difference between farm raised and wild caught fish. And now, I’ll be asking if the catfish is American raised or imported!

Keep up with DJ’s adventures by following her on Twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on Facebook. Check out for more. DJ is a contributing writer for New York Family magazine. She lives in Manhattan with her two boys and the world’s most amazing wiener dog, Leo!

– See more at:

Happy Birthday to “The Southerner and the City”

butterflysquare1I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday in the Caribbean aboard The World.  It was a perfectly fabulous day as far as birthdays go. I woke up without the aid of an alarm, worked out, enjoyed a massage at the spa, had some fabulous lunch and read a book poolside as I sipped on a margarita.  The day was stellar on just about every level.

On the eve of my birthday it came to my attention that I’m a rule follower for the most part.  I always have been for whatever reason.  Probably because my older brother Wally was always NOT following the rules and creating all kinds of problems for everyone when we were growing up in Carlisle.  Even today, I’m usually the one following the rules, listening and doing as I’m told.

Birthday with RayIn what I can only describe as one of the best gifts I have ever received, I gave myself this.  Permission to not be such a stickler for rules any more.  Of course, I’m not talking about the big ones but rather some of the smaller things.  Basically I’ve decided to cut myself some slack and make my own rules and stop living by someone else’s rules.  You following me?

On Monday, I dove right into my new gift of ‘breaking some rules’ as I swam with the sting rays in the North Sound of Grand Cayman.  There isn’t any official rule stating you cannot swim with sting rays that I am aware of.  It is, however, advisable not to do such a stupid thing!  After all, they are wild animals.  I’ve been to Cayman twice before and wouldn’t even entertain the thought of jumping in the water.  This time around, I decided, “What the heck?”  But, only after Mark got in the shallow water and fed the sting rays himself.  I may have decided to break a few rules, but I didn’t say I’d also given up being smart about the timing of breaking them!

I tapped into my yoga breathing, tried to relax and just hang with the rays.  It was a fabulous experience.  Our guide, Paul, rounded up a ray for me and explained how to keep her in my arms. It worked!  I have included the photo to prove it.

These floating creatures are nothing more than graceful moving pieces of cartilage that feel a bit like a Portabello mushroom.  We even found some small babies in the mix as we indulged them with squid.  Which begged the question from the ever curious journalist in my brain, “If these are babies, how can we be sure they are tame enough to play this game with us?”  The answer – we weren’t sure and luckily we enjoyed the experience without ending up in the headlines.  Can’t you see it? New York City Tourist Killed By Ray – What A Dumb A** She Was!

Mission accomplished.  I broke a rule or maybe just decided to freaking live a little and stop being so concerned about all of the details.  I decided to be open minded and not attached to my preconceived ideas about the situation I was in at the moment.  There is a saying … have a mind that is open and attached to nothing.  Sounds easy enough, right?  It is not! Keep this in mind when you argue with your spouse, when you are trying to calm down a child and even attempting to listen to someone with different political views than yours.  My mind is already in a retreat mode just contemplating a discussion with a Sarah Palin!

As I start another year on this planet, I’m going to work on keeping an open mind and a couple of other things:

1.   Cut my self some slack.  Break some rules, discard the ones that no longer serve me, make my own and at times break those, too.

2.   Let go of ideas, things, people and situations that no longer serve me.

3.    Spend more time with my friends both old and new, especially those who allow me to be who I am and love me regardless of what I might say or do.  They know I am only sharing with them what I’d like to receive in return – a simplistic human connection.  Pure and simple.

4.    Be present.  Love more.  It really is the best way to live, isn’t it?

You can keep up with DJ’s adventures in the Big Apple by following her on Twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on Facebook.  Find more DJ is a contributing writer for New York Family.  She lives in New York City with her three boys – Mark, Corbin and Leo – woof, woof!


Southerner and the City: 12 Days in New York City

It has been a rather non-eventful week or so around the metro area … said no one in their right mind! Looking back on the last 12 days makes my head spin. Actually, my head has not stopped spinning since Hurricane Sandy hit on Monday, Oct. 29, at around 8 p.m. EST. That is about the time our building started swaying in the howling wind, the chandelier began gently swinging over the dining table and the windows started rattling.

Storm in NYCBelow is a list of things I’ve learned and will most likely never do again. Some of it is pure brain babble mixed in with lessons learned from the last 12 days of my life.

1. I will most likely never hunker down in the path of another hurricane again. At least not this close to where it makes land fall. Any county in Arkansas does not count as even being remotely close to where a hurricane actually makes landfall.

2. My husband has an uncanny ability to keep himself in a bubble of denial about an approaching natural disaster. Denial is a powerful force, but not nearly as fierce as mother nature.

3. High tides, full moons and hurricanes should be avoided at all possible costs.

4. On Oct. 25 in my neighborhood, a nanny reportedly stabbed to death two children in her once- trusted care. I felt the need to pull Corbin closer and never let him out of my sight. Then Sandy hit and we were forced to be closer and couldn’t leave each others sight. I find it interesting how the storm with such force and destruction came right on the heels of such a horrific and unthinkable crime against two innocent children.

5. On the same day as the nanny murders, up in the Bronx, another mother and her 1-month-old child were killed. Allegedly by the baby’s father and left under a mattress which was set on fire. We MUST look out for the children. There are signs in the subway that say, “if you see something, say something.” This is primarily talking about suspicious behavior involving terrorism, I think. But today it reminds me to say something about anything suspicious in any aspect of life.

6. As if New Jersey needed anything else to worry about, the Garden State had a small earthquake in the days following Sandy.

7. As if the New York and New Jersey needed anything else to worry about, we had to figure out how/where to vote in one of the most important presidential elections ever. New Jersey voters could e-mail or fax their votes, while displaced New Yorkers could sign an affidavit and vote anywhere but only in the presidential race and senate races.

8. As if the tri-state area needed anything else to worry about, we were hit with a Nor’Easter late yesterday afternoon.

9. There are still a lot of people without power and homes who woke up this morning with snow on the ground, adding insult to injury.

10. Regardless of how much FEMA and the Red Cross help out after disasters, their response is never quick enough and never meets the expectations of those who are hardest him. It is the generosity of “others” who quickly come together to get the people supplies, food and makeshift shelters set up for those who are displaced.

11. You should not hold a major sporting event in the days following a significant weather event, where people are dead, in the dark, without basic utilities, a home or food. I don’t care how far people travel or train. Priorities, people! Imagine if you can, hosting the Super Bowl in New Orleans days after Hurricane Katrina. Yes, I know Katrina hit in August and the Super Bowl is in late January. But, still a bad idea.

12. People respond to looming weather events in NYC just like they do in Arkansas. They hit the grocery stores in droves, raiding the shelves of just about everything. And, as I’ve learned, they also hoard gasoline.

13. According to a friend’s Facebook post, you can have pizza and sushi delivered during a hurricane.

14. Six kids on Halloween night + candy + being out of school since Friday+ displaced parents from downtown who have no power = adult beverages

15. I am lucky to have neighbors that I enjoy with kids that are fun to be around even for days on end.

16. When you can, you should always help out formerly married mothers working from homes without power. This is especially important when they are doing this when the kids are home because school is cancelled!

17. When I get overly anxious, I clean, cook and eat. At times I do this simultaneously. Bye bye, dust bunnies!

18. A lot of people who aren’t in my contact list have my cell phone number. Whoever you are, thank you for checking on me during the storm.

19. Cut yourself and those around you some slack during tough times when you are in close quarters. You begin to mirror the others behavior. Make sure you give what you want to receive.

20. I imagine Lance Armstrong is happy to be out of the headlines for a while.