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!

Laguna Beach Magic


Travel Intention

Travel Intention

The Instagram snapshot above – written in crayon –  contains my intentions for the week I spent recently at The Montage in Laguna Beach.  Who needs to set intentions for a luxurious vacation?  Well, I do! I actually think you should set an intention every morning before your feet hit the floor and you drag your lazy bones out of bed!  But when you are investing in a luxurious vacation, it is imperative to keep your intentions in the forefront of your mind.  Why let the stress and worries you left behind infiltrate your time away?  Especially when you are camped out on the cliff over looking the Pacific Ocean at The Montage.

A View to a Chill

A View to a Chill

This magnificent view never gets old. The Montage is one of my family’s favorite get aways and this stunning view from the lobby terrace is one of the reasons why.  That pool is the prime place to Be Happy.  Be Relaxed.  Be Grateful! See the photo below for proof!

Jet Lagged Traveling Du0

Jet Lagged Traveling Duo

Even when you arrive 6 hours before check in time, you can check out at the pool and slip into vacation mode immediately!  When you are perched over the Pacific, it is really easy to start to unwind and slip into vacation mode.

Majestic Montage

Majestic Montage

One of the reasons my family loves this place is that it has something for all of us, especially Corbin.  He LOVES The Paintbox, which is the kids program at the hotel.  The staff is top notch and most often Corbin doesn’t want to leave when it is time to go. They even send him birthday cards every July. No trip here is complete without the obligatory face painting session. Or the trip across the street to CVS to get some make-up remover to get all of this off of his sweet little face! I don’t recommend doing this the day before your family photo shoot on the beach, though.  All of that black face paint can be a real pain to get off of an 8-year-old boy.

Facepaint Creature from the Paintbox Girls

Facepaint Creature from the Paintbox Girls

This year, we made the trek down to LegoLand.  I have to confess, I am not an amusement park fan AT ALL.  But, as parents we do things with our kids that often times we’d rather not be doing, right?  Legoland did not disappoint.  The weather was perfect. There was not a huge crowd. We all really enjoyed the day and the fun photo ops!

He's So ... Stiff

He’s So … Stiff

I Will Not Look at you or way.

I will not look at you or smile…no way.

As I mentioned, I dislike hate amusement parks.  But I adore LOVE my child.  And look at his face in the photo below…that’s a look of shear excitement on his face.  And one of complete terror on mine!

Last photo of the day at Legoland

Last photo of the day at Legoland

There really is no huge reason to leave The Montage but we wanted to shake things up a bit since we were there for seven days.  The SoCal food scene is always intriguing.  The Watermarc was recommended and we found ourselves there TWICE on this trip.  One of my favorite dishes was the watermelon, tuna and tomato skewers. As a southerner, if an entree offers up tomatos and watermelon in the same dish, I’m going to order it.  The tuna and touch of seaweed salad really amped up the flavors.

Tomato Watermelon Tuna skewers..second order!

Tomato Watermelon Tuna skewers..second order!

But I have to tell you, when I found out about the home made Ding Dongs on the dessert menu, I had to order them. As a child, my grandmother always kept a box of Ding Dongs in her “treat” drawer.  Some foods make my soul happy. These chocolate dipped cakes do it for me.  And bring them to me in a Rolling Stones lunch box and I’m a really a happy camper.  Momma’s gettin’ some satisfaction!

The Lunch Box

The Lunch Box

With all of the time I have spent at The Montage, I have yet to find a bad view. Even the view from the gym is spectacular. I snapped this from the treadmill following my evening of Ding Dongs! Afterwards, I checked into the spa which I highly recommend. They offer a wide selection of amazing services and have a great boutique that is well edited with skin care products from Eminence and super stylish clothing from R and R Surplus. Speaking of shopping, if you can drag yourself away from the fabulous boutique in the spa and gift shop, I recommend two other places in Laguna Beach for some retail therapy.  First stop is 11th Moon for a well curated selection of clothing and accessories from Peter Pillota, Raquel Allegra and Rachel Comey.  Second stop is Tuvalu.  I picked up some great treasures for my apartment in this shop on Forest Avenue.  My basket of shiny sea shells and my huge chunk of coral make for great conversations and are reminders of one of my favorite vacations spots.

Workout View over the Adult Only Pool

Workout View over the Adult Only Pool

My absolute favorite thing about The Montage is just relaxing by the pool.  It takes a bit of time to unwind from the frantic pace of living in New York City.  But once I’ve turned down the dial and quieted the committee of monkeys in my head, there is no better place to chill than in a lounge chair here with the breeze coming off the ocean.  I can read a highly recommended thriller tabloid magazine, people watch celebrity watch, sleep off a hangover nap and play with my filters on Instagram!

I see you end of summer....I know!

I see you end of summer….I know!

Our poolside lounging includes some fantastic food and beverages from The Mosaic Grill. I’m typically a Veuve Clicquot champagne lady but opted for something new.  I found myself craving something green and this is what was suggested.  The Cucumber Crusher.

Cucumber Cooler Crusher

Cucumber Crush

Wanna make one for yourself?  You will need the following on the rocks:

Grey Goose La Poire Vodka

Muddled Cucumber

Agave Nectar

Fresh Lime Juice

Splash of Soda

Priceless in every way

Priceless in every way

After a full week in my version of paradise, Corbin came back from dinner with this heart stopping note and sparkly ring from the gift shop.  This child slays me.  He knows his Momma well.  And we can all use an evil eye to keep bad things away from us. I wish I could just bottle him up sometimes and keep him 8 forever.

Leaves me speechless

Leaves me speechless

I leave you with this stunning sunset photo.  There is my joie de vivre, y’all. Words really can’t do any more for it.

Thanks for Kim-Marie at for sharing the word about Instagram Travel Thursday.

Instagram Travel Thursday













Stickin’ it to ’em in Vegas, Baby!

skullsmallI’ve spent this week in Las Vegas.  I have to tell you this is one of my least favorite places in North America.  I’m not a gambler.  I can’t count fast enough to make sense of card games or dice! If I’m going to give you some money, I want a guaranteed return of something tangible.  Like a pair of fabulous shoes,a magical massage, delicious sushi or a piece of bling-ed out jewelry. Even with all of it’s beautiful hotels and great shows, I’m just not a huge fan.  This week marks my 10th trip to Sin City, so as far as I’m concerned, I don’t need to come back…EVER!

So, what brings me to my least favorite place in North America? Butch and Harold.

Butch and Harold logo

No, they aren’t too old men that I decided to track down in Las Vegas.  Butch and Harold is the amazingly creative company that my Canadian, sister, friends Ariane and Michelle Gold started in 2007. We are working the Las Vegas Market this week

The sisters took the concept of the vinyl wall decals they had in their boys bedrooms and created reusable and removable wall frames.  When I first saw the frames, I wished I would have had some when I was growing up.  Back in the day, I had countless stickers all over my mirror in my bedroom.  As we all know, when you go to peel those stickers off, they never come off in one piece.  They leave behind evidence of their existence and a sticky mess that takes forever to get off, if you can even get it to come off.

The frames are perfect for kids rooms, college dorms and apartments. They are great on the refrigerators to frame up Corbin’s artwork, too.  The adhesive vinyl sticks to anything and won’t peel the paint off the wall when you removed them.  AND you don’t have to commit to a nail in the wall.  Have you ever hung a frame only to find that it isn’t in exactly the right place?  Me too!  Then you have a nail hole to plug and you have to start over.  With the Butch and Harold frames, you can slap up a photo anytime, anywhere and take it down the next moment and not worry with damaging a wall or surface.

You can find Butch and Harold at Bed Bath and Beyond and on-line at  They make great gifts, too and are really affordable!

She’s Got a Story to Tell

My story telling class at The Peoples Improv Theater or The Pit is in the books. My friend, Dana, recommended I take the class and after looking into it, I knew she was on to something.  As a television journalist, I’ve been telling stories for a long time.  However, as a journalist, I was reporting facts professionally with as little bias as possible.  This, however, is just me telling you a story from my point of view and experience.  It really sums up what this blog is about.  Me giving you a look into my world through my lens –  however off the wall it may be!  And God knows some of it will seem off the wall at times.


After spending the last 8 weeks downtown on Monday nights, I recently performed my story in front of a live audience at The Pit on East 24th Street here in Manhattan.  I was first up and took to the stage just as my nerves began to settle down! Check out the You Tube video below.

My instructors David Crabb and Michele Wallson were absolutely amazing.  With their guidance and critiques during the classroom sessions, I quickly learned the basics of telling a story!  Yes, there is a method to the madness.

I’m hooked.

I’ve got a boat load of material.

And I can’t wait to get back on a stage to tell another story!

Friends and family, consider yourself warned.

Front Page Below the Fold

Carter Harrison knows fried catfish

By DJ Duckworth


Some of the most amazing food can be found on the small, yet jam packed island of Manhattan. If you can think of it, it is here. Whether it is authentic Thai, Mexican, Indian or Turkish dishes, you will find it in New York City. And to make it even better, you can have just about any of it delivered. The only exception, I have found is the lack of really good southern cuisine. More specifically, fried catfish. Sure, you can find it in New York City, but it doesn’t quite measure up to the tasty versions that are served up across the southern United States.

However, one man is making catfish served southern style available to the masses across the country. Carter Harrison, the man behind King Kat Inc. of Hickory Plains, has been either raising, processing or catering catfish since the 1970s. Harrison was recently in Washington, D.C. cooking for the Catfish Farmers of America when I caught up with him to talk about his career and the current state of the catfish industry.

Before the crowd of Southern senators and congressman arrived at the reception, Harrison talked with me about his business. He got his start with catfish in the late 1960s working alongside his late father-in-law Raymond Schroeder in Carlisle. The two would often spend 18 hour work days along side each other. Harrison, who grew up in Des Arc, says he had no clue what he wanted to be when he grew up. “How many young people know what they wanna do? I grew up in the country and just knew I liked being outside,“ Harrison said.

Outside is where Harrison was when we spoke as he prepped for the reception not far from the steps of the nation’s Capitol. The hot topic of the evening was the inspection process of catfish with the focus being on imports. Harrison says the imported catfish from China and Vietnam is cheaper but not being held up to the same standards as the U.S. raised catfish. “They are bringing it in at a lower cost, not by the guidelines that they need to be, competing with our product that is cultured and produced under good situations under U.S. guidelines.” Currently, imported catfish has 75 percent of the filet market.

The United States Department of Agriculture currently inspects catfish, but the government, sighting duplicity issues, wants to move the inspections to the Food and Drug Administration’s supervision. According to Ben Pentecost, president of the Catfish Farmers of America, 91 percent of the fish in the U.S. is imported. The FDA currently inspects only two percent of the imports and conducts chemical testing on one tenth of one percent of imported fish. The House Agriculture committee has already voted to move the inspections from under the USDA to the FDA. A similar bill is pending in the Senate.

Joey Lowery, from Newport, farms 400 acres of catfish.

“We can compete with anybody but we have to have the right atmosphere to do that in,“ Lowery said. The catfish inspections are detailed in the 2008 farm bill that has yet to be implemented. Congressman Rick Crawford, serves on the agriculture sub committee that voted to move the inspections to the FDA. “It’s a food safety issue, it’s a quality issue and it’s not a trade retaliation issue,” Crawford says. “If the FDA is going to be in charge of inspecting it, we are going to make sure they inspect it properly and to the right standard.”

U.S. seafood importers with the aid of the National Fisheries Institute have spent over a million dollars to keep the inspections under the FDA’s authority.

After marrying his wife, Debbye, Carter Harrison went into full-time catfish production, even building catfish ponds and processing catfish. In 1985, he streamlined the business focusing primarily on catering. Harrison now has three full-time workers and his family often helps out, even though he says King Kat isn’t a traditional family business. His children seem to disagree.

“No one can merely ‘observe’ when at the farm,” says Harrison’s daughter Shana. She was at the farm before her father left for the Washington, D.C., trip. “Before the day was out, I was sent off to buy dry ice for the trip. At one point, I also saw Chris and Bryce out in the kitchen doing something to get it ready. It seems that the concept of ‘family business’ continues to grow with us, despite our age or how far away from Prairie County we roam.”

Harrison’s mobile operation runs like a well-oiled machine. He does some prep work before leaving Hickory Plains and adds the finishing touches once he arrives on site. The food is packed in ice chests on dry ice. The Mississippi-raised catfish is later dressed and fried in his mobile kitchen. Like the veil of secrecy surrounding the ingredients of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s recipe, Harrison prefers to keep his breading recipe under wraps. But he does make a concession when I ask him if he will divulge it to me, “only if you wanna buy it!” he says.

If you can think of an event where you need a meal, King Kat has catered it — from RiverFest, to funerals, to luncheons in Washington, D.C., to fundraisers at local schools. As one publications once wrote, King Kat has served catfish from the outhouse to the White House.

With a career spanning over 40 years, Harrison talks about his favorite part of the job. “Pleasing people,” he says this with a pause as tears come to his eyes. “I’ve enjoyed working with a lot of young people along the way, too.”

When asked what he would be doing if he weren’t the king of catfish catering, he says with a laugh, “I wouldn’t be fishing! I’d be seeing the county. I’d still eat catfish though, maybe driving a bus and touring people in later years but that won’t happen. I’m gonna cook to long to do that.”

In the fast paced world of social media, you won’t find King Kat on Facebook and you will not be able to keep up with their travels on Twitter. You can’t even get the scoop on King Kat off of his website – there isn’t one. Harrison says, “we have a phone number” and that has kept him busy and in business since 1980.

DJ Duckworth is a television journalist currently living in New York City. The Carlisle native is a contributing writer for New York Family magazine. You can read more about her adventures