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

 

heroes

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.

Sticky in Grand Cayman

fish-smallWhen I first visited Grand Cayman many years ago on a Thanksgiving break with Exclusive Resorts, I was looking forward to some downtime, warm weather, island cocktails and fresh fish. When my friend Sara recommended Calypso Grill out in West Bay, I knew I would have to secure a reservation and try it out. Sara told me the fish sourced from the dock next door was fresh, delicious and well prepared. But the highlight of the night out for dinner would be the sticky toffee pudding.

I LOVE dessert and often times feel like it should be served first and not last. However, sticky toffee pudding didn’t strike me as an island inspired dessert that I must consume in order to make my Grand Cayman trip complete. Boy, was I wrong.

Chef George Fowler has made this delectable concoction a mainstay on the island. The dining experience in his French inspired restaurant is relaxed, yet has a proper feeling to it at the same time. The open air restaurant spills out onto the deck which offers an amazing starlit setting at night. My family has spent at least one night during all of our trips to Cayman dining on that deck, gazing at the stars and enjoying the breeze off of the bay.

When the waiter arrived with my Sticky Toffee Pudding, I was surprised at what was placed in front of me. This delicious smelling dish did not look anything like toffee or pudding. It did, however, look sticky!

 

Sticky...but not looking like pudding.

Sticky…but not looking like pudding.

Regardless of my biased pre-dessert arrival ideas of this calorie heavy dessert, I dove in for my first taste. That was the point when I started making a lot of guttural sounds that you make when you are really digging the taste of something for the very first time!  This Sticky Toffee Pudding was incredible!

Sticky Toffee Pudding is basically a light piece of cake, with a rich sauce drizzled over it and served with a scoop of ice cream.

DJ Duckworth and Chef George

Chef George and me – pre-dessert induced coma

Chef has fans far and wide and was even summoned to personally deliver some to Steven Colbert, comedian and soon-to-be replacement for David Letterman on the Late Show, for his birthday! Talk about top shelf service!

I’ve never been to Calypso Grill and not enjoyed the Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s just part of the experience. While I really love trying out new dishes and different foods, sometimes sticking with what I know I love is the best option – especially when serious calories are involved! When dessert is in question, I know exactly how long I’m going to have to work out in order to keep my backside from spilling out of my bikini! I’d hate to waste all of those calories and gym minutes on a lack luster dessert. Sticky Toffee Pudding is well worth the work out!

You can see more about Calypso Grill and watch me and Corbin swim with the stingrays in this episode of Meet Me There! If you are so inspired, here is a recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding if you want try it out at home.

DJ Duckworth and Corbin at Calypso Grill

See y’all next time, Calypso Grill

Hawaii Reset

I consider myself a travel addict.

“Hi, my name is DJ. My last trip was 7 days ago.”

I have laid my eyes on many stunning places over the years. And probably like you, I’ve snapped endless photos of sunsets, a few sunrises, buildings, cathedrals and castles along the way. To anyone other than me, these photos produced a lot of yawns and some moments of radio silence. In one word were are BORING! But as an “addict”, I can’t stop snapping pictures. So my subjects over the years have changed moving away from things to people. Primarily MY people like Corbin, Leo and my family and friends. And of course myself. Hello, Selfie!

In June, I spent 7 glorious days in Hawaii. It was my first visit to the Big Island and it will not be my last. My one and only goal for this trip was to do whatever was necessary to hit my reset button. So instead of vacation days full of sight seeing, shopping and eating. My vacation plan consisted of the following.

1. Sleep

2. Eat

3. Chill out – without worrying about Corbin’s schedule, talking to lawyers, discussing the future,         over eating, blowouts, makeup, dry cleaning, bikini waxes, recycling the trash, grocery store lists, appointments, etc. This proved to be challenging until #5 kicked in. Keep reading!

4. Exercise

5. Enjoy an adult beverage

6. Repeat all of the above as needed

I stuck to my plan and can say that for the first time in a very long time I finally felt as if I had a solid amount of sleep! And of course along the way, I started snapping photos on my iPhone. By the way, do any of you travel with a real camera anymore? I haven’t in years but pulled it on on my recent trip to Antarctica with Exclusive Resorts. I snapped a great shot of the sunrise on my first morning because I woke up at my normal East coast time which is six hours ahead of Hawaii. I’m NOT a fan of sunrises! I captured many sunset photos, too! All very pretty, but yet still BORING!

On my last day, I took what I can only say are two of my favorite travel photos yet.

One is of this fisherman I met at a local market, Da Fish House.

The Catch of the Day

The Catch of the Day

He was getting out of his little Toyota truck as I was walked up. Why do big, giant men drive tiny trucks? Always makes me laugh when I see this. He spoke in a Hawaiian language that my Exclusive Resorts concierge Lahela told me was more of a local dialect. If you look closely you can see that his eyes are kind of gold in color. And then there are the tattoos and the fists full of yellow fin tuna. I could not stop checking this guy out. He was a site to behold. I kept trying to calculate how many dollars worth of sushi he was holding in his hands. Not to mention the shear size of this guy! Check out those man boobs! He and his friends had been fishing about 10 miles off the coast all night and were delivering the load of fish to the market.

A picture is worth a thousand words. This one is for sure. I only wish I would have put a mic on him (not sure what I would have clipped it to) and gotten his story on camera for our Meet Me There – Kohala Coast episode ! Guess that means, I should just go back,right? I mean, it is time for another trip. I’ve been home for seven days as I mentioned above. That’s long enough, don’t you think?

Oh, so you want to see my second photo?  Here it is.

Hawaii cloud video in Kahalo

Wow. Just Wow.

My friend Hadley and I were walking over for our last island cocktails and dinner when I snapped this one. I think I spiffed it up with a filter on my iPhone but it didn’t need a lot of editing. Mother Nature never does really. This one is all about the clouds and is not BORING in the least.

Feel free to share some of your favorite travel photos from Hawaii below if you’d like. I’d love to see them!

Gypset Chic in Sayulita

smallfishLiving in New York, I see a lot of really well dressed—and often over-the-top dressed—people on the streets. In my neighborhood, I often see one of New York City’s best dressed men. His adorable daughter and my handsome son are in the same grade. On Fifth Avenue, it’s all about high-end labels, handbags, shoes, and jewels. Seriously, some of these women, from head to toe, sport at least $100K worth of clothing and accessories. Further downtown, it’s street chic at its finest, from club kids to cross-dressers.

When I hit the streets of Sayulita in Mexico, I was not expecting to be wowed by the fashion scene, much less meet a fashion inspiration. Little did I know that I was about to be blown away by Sayulita’s gypset fashionista—Natalie, the owner of Pachamama gallery and boutique.

Natalie from PachaMama

Natalie from PachaMama
Photo by: Stefanie Michejda

I’ve talked before about “gypsetters”—those lucky artists, surfers, and bon vivants that you find flitting between places like Montauk, Ibiza, and, yes, Sayulita. Not only is Natalie a card-carrying member of the genre, she’s so much like the wind that she’s nearly impossible to track down. We showed up in Sayulita with our fingers crossed, hoping to cross paths and convince her to speak with me on camera. To our joy, she said yes, but only after she could get “camera ready.” I already liked this woman! She may be part of a carefree lifestyle but she knows when she needs to look her very best!

While she primped and prepped, I wanted to show off the store’s wares on camera for my episode of Meet Me There – Real del Mar. I couldn’t resist a short version of the gorgeous hand-embroidered caftans on sale. Each one was a piece of wearable art.

Then I spotted the jewelry case! Displayed casually in the black case were several exquisite necklaces made of black Tahitian pearls strung on soft leather cords. They called out to me! So with a triple strand of pearls around my neck and one arm wrapped up in a fringed snakeskin cuff, I had appropriately worked myself up into a retail lather when Natalie walked back into the boutique.

The first time I saw her, she was chic enough. But when she glided back into the shop, she looked like a Mexican gypsy goddess, dressed in a long silk slip dress that hung perfectly over her tanned, slender frame. She had adorned herself with tribal body paint with a trail of white dots marking the middle of her face. To top it off, and I mean really top it off, she had a HUGE – like three-foot-long – bird feather tucked into the top of her hair. And she wore it like she pulls off this look on a regular basis without a lot of fanfare and drama. I mean, I wake up thinking, “it feels like a Rag and Bone Jeans and boots kind day” where Natalie probably wakes up and thinks, “I’m gonna wear tribal body art and a three-foot-long bird feather in my hair”.

We talked about life, passions, black Tahitian pearls, family, art, and sailing to Mexico from Europe – which she did, of course. All of the things she loves are incorporated into her boutique, which is really an extension of her own family. Their photos hang all around the gallery, and each of her children looks like they stepped out of a magazine spread.

I love stumbling across a fabulous travel treasure, and Pachamama in Sayulita is one of my favorite hidden gems. After wearing the amazing caftan around the boutique for nearly an hour, I had to buy it. It’s stunning, colorful, and handmade by a group of local women. So I wasn’t just shopping, I was funding the local artisans!

Mexican Dress at Pachamama

Loved it – bought it!

I left the boutique feeling inspired as I headed off to my surfing lesson. I wondered if I’d ever see Natalie again. People like her seem to pop up in your life only once.

Fast forward three months:

I’m at the MOMA with Corbin, who wanted to see Van Gogh’s Starry Night, because, according to him, it’s the second most famous piece of art in the world. (We were just a few days away from our Paris trip, where he wanted to see the most famous piece—the Mona Lisa).

As I walked up to the desk to pay for our ticket, I spied a tall woman standing a few feet away, wearing an AMAZING long, silk, tie-dyed dress, and guess what? A bird feather in her hair! No. It couldn’t be Natalie. But there she was. Natalie the gypset goddess was standing next to me—at the MOMA, of all places, thousands of miles away from the shores of Sayulita. We exchanged hellos and talked a little, clearly both stunned to see each other. You really never do know who you’ll run into in New York!

Pachamama details: This magical spot doesn’t have a website, or a social media presence, or anything else. It’s way too cool for that. If you wanna shop there, you gotta get yourself to Sayulita! And when you do, tell Natalie you heard about it from me.

Meet Me There – New York

Our first episode of Meet Me There – New York is live! You can see some of my favorite off the beaten path things to do in New York City.    Me and the crew at Exclusive Resorts are taking you to some of our favorite luxury destinations in this travel show.  Of course, New York City is one of my very favorite places on the planet and it is where we kick off the show.

A little note about this episode – If you find yourself on Crosby Street in SoHo, make sure you stop into Saturdays Surf.  They’ve got great coffee and some really cool things for the gents.  And if just you want to LOOK at some cool gents, stop in Saturdays Surf!  Just sayin’!

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