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.  

 

 

 

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

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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!

Real del Mar – Meet Me There

ornament-smallSeeing a place for the first time is always exhilarating. Real del Mar was no exception for me.  Dad had just passed away suddenly and I was circling in a whirlwind of emotions.  The drastic change of scenery was exactly what I needed.  This particular trip was also the start of a new chapter in my career after coming out of an early-retirement of sorts after getting married and raising a family.  I think it was only fitting to start in Mexico with tequila, surfing and a fascinating gypsy! Watch the episode here!

 

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Costa Rica and the Pura Vida

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According to the calendar, Spring is approaching!  Thank God!  This has been a tough winter to say the least.  In December, I headed down to Costa Rica to shoot this Meet Me There episode with my crew from Denver and Los Angeles.  It was fast and furious and we covered more ground and went on more eco-adventure excursions that I can really recommend in such a short amount of time!  You can catch the action in the episode below.  I’d love for you to like, share, and subscribe to the episodes on Exclusive Resorts You Tube page in this link.  Enjoy the show!

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