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    With a photography business and Etsy shop, she realized she could make dreams come true through her creativity. See how one local woman is making magic happen with personalized props and photography sessions for anyone with an imaginative idea they’d like to bring to life.

    Jess Summers has always been a creative. She thrives on releasing that creativity and turning it into something magical.

    In an effort to make creativity an everyday part of her life, she decided to venture out on her own and start a fine art portrait studio. Say Yes To Jess is a Cincinnati-based studio that specializes in turning out-of-the-box concepts into magical realities.

    “That could mean a transformation into a mermaid, an afternoon meet-and-greet with a unicorn, and anything unique or specific to my clients,” says Summers. “It’s taking a little boy’s dream of being a chef or mad scientist and turning it into a cinematic fine art portrait.”

    When she launched Say Yes To Jess in 2015, Summers was constantly finding inspiration in her passion for being creative. “I’ve always been theatrical and let my imagination take the wheel,” she says. “I have a tendency to get lost in movies like Hook and Alice in Wonderland.”

    When she got into photography and photo editing, she found that she was also looking to incorporate the craziest of edits possible, which led her to fall into the rabbit hole of composites.

    “I knew building my life around photography was going to make me happy, but only if the photos allowed me to create nonsensical things and add a sense of whimsy to it,” she adds.

    Summers photography business hasn’t always been focused on the whimsical, however. When she first got started on the professional level, she was photographing anything that came her way and quickly found herself in the wedding scene.

    “I started building my business around that and it was going very well, I even had a full wedding stationery,” she says. “However, as much as I tried it just didn’t feel right.”

    She always felt like she was going after something that didn’t quite light the spark she was aiming to ignite. Summers then took some time to do a lot of research and speak with those she refers to as her “business besties” and other friends to discover it was time for her to make a drastic change.

    It was then that she took her blog public and called it quits on the wedding industry – with her sights set on fine art photography.

    “It was a little rock of a start, as most things are when you completely shift what you’ve been building for over a year, but it’s been a fun ride and I’m excited to see how it all comes together from here on out,” she says.

    Currently, Summers offers three session types that are based off the amount of styling or creativity that goes into them. They are: Dream Sessions, Styled Sessions, and Classic Sessions.

    The Dream Sessions are an over-the-top package with magic, full costume, hair, and makeup, and a custom design set extravaganza. The Styled Sessions are a little more low-key in comparison and are lightly curated. They are great for themes like a “romantic date night.” Classic Sessions are what you would typically expect when you go to a photography studio.

    When talking about the Classic Sessions, Summers says she wanted to make sure that she offered clients something that would work for everyone who didn’t want a Dream Session.

    Summers says she plans to spend the remainder of 2017 getting to know the community a little better while hosting several events this summer. She’s currently planning a Mother’s Day Brunch, a Princesses Only! Tea Party, and an End of Summer Party.

    “I’m really excited about them all and hope to meet some of you there,” she adds.

    To learn more about Say Yes to Jess, visit www.sayyestojess.com. You can also follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat (@Jsummersphoto).

     

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    This genre-bending flick proves there can be plenty of fun, romance in a serial killer thriller. Read on as our movie critic explains.

     

    “Wait a minute … Didn’t this happen the last time I starred in this movie?!” Tree (Jessica Rothe) experiences deja vú in a scene from HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U. Credit: Universal Pictures © 2019 Universal Studios

     

    WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:

     

     

    KEY CAST MEMBERS: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Suraj Sharma, Sarah Yarkin, Rachel Matthews, Ruby Modine, Steve Zissis, Rob Mello and Charles Aitken

    DIRECTOR(S): Christopher Landon

    THE BACK STORY: Did you happen to catch 2017’s Happy Death Day? If not, you might have missed what happened when young college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) got murdered on her birthday, only to wake up in the bed of fellow college student Carter (Israel Broussard) … Who was nice enough to try to bring her home before she got killed … And then go through the rest of her day, only to get murdered again. Then she found out who was her killer – SPOILER ALERT: It was her jealous roomie Lori (Ruby Modine) – and then she was able to break the loop and begin living her life again without the threat of a baby-masked assassin coming to kill her. 

    Or so she thought.

    For you see, Happy Death Day 2U begins with Ryan (Phi Vu) dying at the hands of a baby-faced killer. And then he wakes up in his garbage-filled car, only to get back to his room where he catches Tree and Carter about to … embrace. And once he starts describing what happened to him, Tree quickly realizes much to her horror what is happening: The loop has started all over again, only this time it’s affecting Ryan. Thus, you can imagine her shock, horror and anger when she discovers both loops were inadvertently created by Ryan and his fellow science students Samar (Suraj Sharma) and Dre (Sarah Yarkin) due to a time-altering device they’ve nicknamed “Sissy.” 

    And that’s when things get REALLY weird – I’d say more, but it would ruin all the surprises. But if there’s one last thing Tree is looking for, it’s surprises; unfortunately for her, there are plenty of surprises on the way that is going to alter her reality in ways she never, ever envisioned in this dimension – or any others for that matter. 

    THE REVIEW: Are you in search of a film this Valentine’s Day that (1) will make you laugh at the most unexpected, surreal scenario possible while (2) delivering a few cheap scares while still somehow (3) being self-deprecating to the point it might be one of the smarter films of its genre-bending ilk which in turn (4) makes it inexplicably entertaining and dare one suggest one of the most genuine-in-an-extremely-absurd-way romantic comedies in quite some time? If the answer to all of those winding enough to drive the average editor nuts questions is “yes,” look no further.

    For Happy Death Day 2U is a must-see that deserves praise not seen since Scream made people say the name “Skeet Ulrich” with reverence.

    Boasting a keen sense of self-awareness and a wicked-funny yet strong performance by Rothe, Happy Death Day 2U does the thing that is extremely rare with movies rooted in a horror/thriller mold: Not only live up to the original, but surpass it. Whereas the original Happy Death Day felt like a silly-yet-enjoyable one-off, 2U provides a back story that expands its characters growth without losing any of its predecessor’s charm. Of course, that is due largely to Rothe’s ability to make her Groundhog Day-like existence consistently intriguing while making you root for her as her quest continues. It’s almost like writer/director Christopher Landon and the rest of the Blumhouse team (the production company responsible for hits like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Get Out and the most recent Halloween remake/sequel/way to keep making money off that franchise) found out about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and said “How could we make a movie like that with a killer and keep all the humor?”

    To her credit, Rothe does something rarely seen in horror-esque movies: Act. Like really, really act. She makes Tree equal parts crazy yet determined, hilarious yet not a caricature while at the same time using her skills to help make fun of and show reverence for the very genre that may make her a star. Playing well off of her co-stars Vu and Broussard, 2U is Rothe’s show the way the Golden State Warriors are Seth Curry’s team (at least, pre-Kevin Durant). And while the movie – which does have its fair share of “Ok, that’s corny even for this movie” moments and it is kinda easy to figure out who’s behind the mask if you pay a lick of attention – isn’t perfect, it’s got a great mix of comedy, thrills and irreverence to prove itself worthy of being a sequel.

    In fact, given that it’s releasing just in time for Valentine’s Day, Happy Death Day 2U might just be the most romantic way to show your significant other you really love them … By watching a film breathe new life into a genre that can always use some.

    OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

     

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    Emma Stone serves up a fitting tribute to Billie Jean King, but read on to see if our movie critic says it's worth your time in the theater.

     

    “You know, I never thought about this before but … How did your character seriously hook up with Jonah Hill in Superbad?!” Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) talks things over with Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) in a scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES. Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


    WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
     

     




    KEY CAST MEMBERS: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Austin Stowell, Elisabeth Shue, Jessica McNamee and Fred Armisen 

    WRITER(S): Simon Beaufoy

    DIRECTOR(S): Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Feris

    WEB SITE: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/battleofthesexes/HERE’S THE STORY: It was one of the most famous events in sports of the 1970s and eventually would become one of the most famous sporting events in history. But while the world saw a battle between a budding tennis star and a self-proclaimed male chauvinist pig, there was far more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye. For while Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) was battling what she saw as an unfair payscale for she and her fellow female players, she also was dealing with coming to terms with a budding “forbidden” love with hair dresser Marilyn Bennett (Andrea Riseborough) … Despite being married to her husband Larry (Austin Stowell).

    Meanwhile, while living off the glory of his days as a former champion tennis player, 55 year-old Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is trying to be a good husband to his wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Unfortunately, his old gambling demons are quite alive and well as is his desire to regain the spotlight. This, of course, leads him to dream up an idea that will be as much spectacle as it is sport: a “battle of the sexes” between the top women’s player in the world and himself. 

    What results, however, will be a battle that expands way beyond a simple tennis match. 

    WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Emma Stone fans; Sarah Silverman fans; tennis historians; the LGBTQ community.
     
    WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? Trump supporters; anti-LGBTQ supporters and the religious right; people who wish the film would dive deeper into the aftermath of King’s life following the event and the struggles she faced.

    SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? Some biopics go through painstaking detail to explore every aspect of its subjects’ lives; some present the most-glossed over, slapdash/mediocre puff pieces that fail to capture what made their subject matter.

    Battle of the Sexes is neither of those things; instead, it is a film that simply attempts to showcase some aspects of its two lead characters in great stylish detail while at the same time, humanizing them while being very selective in displaying judgment of their actions. It’s really an ingenious trick on the part of co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Feris; there are no over-the-top dramatics, there are no true villains as much as there are people representing the ideals of the time from a very understandable (given the times) mindset. Then again, Margaret Court hasn’t exactly softened her stance on King’s life in her advance years, Bennett and King had a very public struggle that’s left out of the film and Stowell’s level-headed, let-me-do-what’s-best-for-the-woman-I-love-despite-our-own-turmoil may not exactly have been as it plays out on screen. 

    Yes, the movie does take a few liberties with the actual facts, it does stick a mostly factual approach driven by a very up-to-the-task Stone. Stone captures King’s legendary competitiveness, shyness and desire to simply make things better for other women and Carell – who’s character almost becomes a tragic figure in a very Hollywood way before getting a very Hollywood moment at the end of the film – bring a great bit of levity to the whole scene as Riggs while Silverman is great as King’s tennis tour promoter/manager Gladys. (Think of a character fresh from The Carol Burnett Show or Rhoda living it up in sassy, glorious fashion while chain-smoking herself to death and you’ve got her character down pat.) Riseborough comes off as little more than a spacey, new-age chick that is everything King isn’t, but it plays well enough that it doesn’t feel as gimmicky/out-of-place as it might sound on paper. Throw in a “perfect for the current times even though the setting is the early 1970s” quote by a perfectly used Alan Cumming and the film hits enough beats to balance things out. 

    Perhaps one day, the balance King fought for won’t need a movie to remind the world of how far it’s come. 

    OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

     

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    From the brick streets of Oxford to the bustling neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine, two entrepreneurial sisters joining forces with a local floral shop to bring a new boutique to the heart of OTR.

     

    Lane & Kate moved its store location to OTR where it joined forces with Two Little Buds.

    Rachel Pfeiffer and her sister Jessica Greene are the owners of Lane & Kate, a formerly Oxford-based boutique that specializes in fashion, gifts, and home decor, as well as an emphasis on shopping local, creativity, and community.

    Since they opened their doors on High Street in July 2016, things have changed and the desire to continue to grow only got stronger.

    Friends with Cincinnati-based Two Little Buds, the sisters have shuttered the doors on their Oxford store and made the move to Over-the-Rhine.

    With the transformation that’s taken over the OTR neighborhood in recent years, and their passion for partnering up with Two Little Buds, Pfeiffer says the duo felt a strong calling to be in Cincinnati.

    “We are so excited to open in Over-the-Rhine,” says Pfeiffer. “We have such a deep appreciation for local, sustainable products and put true emphasis on creativity and originality – something that has been celebrated throughout the OTR neighborhood.”

    New items including a flower bar can be found at Lane & Kate.

    The store, now combined with Two Little Buds, is full of unique, handmade jewelry, gifts, accessories, and will also feature fresh arrangements, botanicals, and a “flower bar” where customers can create their own bouquets.

    The new store celebrated its grand opening on March 30, where they offered DIY flower crowns and had a stylist from Parlour on-site for a braid bar. They also served refreshments from Bakersfield and Holtman’s Donuts.

    While the location is different, the items you’ll find in store won’t venture too far from the inventory in Oxford. “We have introduced new artists and have expanded our fine jewelry selection, including Jennie Kwon, Emily Amey, La Kaiser, and Megan Thorne,” says Pfeiffer.

    Fresh flowers is also a new focal point, thanks to joining together with Two Little Buds.

    The store is located at 1405 Vine Street, between Continuum and Pontiac streets, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm.

    To learn more about the store, visit Lane & Kate (@laneandkate) or Two Little Buds (twolittlebuds) on Instagram. You can also follow along on the Two Little Buds and Lane & Kate Facebook pages. Pfeiffer says to keep your eyes peeled for a new website they hope to launch this summer.

     

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    It was at one time considered a potential sleeper for award season, but then got shut out. But is A Most Violent Year still a film worth most certainly worth watching? Click here to find out!

    “Do you know why I’m holding your face like this? Because I cannot believe how well that mascara is holding up under all these lights!” Immigrant-turned-aspiring-heating mogul Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) embraces his wife daughter-of-a-gangster Anna (Jessica Chastain) in a scene from writer/director J.C. Chandor’s drama A MOST VIOLENT YEAR. Credit: A24 Films. All Rights Reserved.

     

    WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

    KEY CAST MEMBERS: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Elyes Gabel and Albert Brooks

    WRITER(S): J.C. Chandor

    DIRECTOR(S): J.C. Chandor

    WEB SITE: http://amostviolentyear.com/

    60 SECOND PLOT SYNOPSIS (OR AS CLOSE TO IT AS ONE CAN TRY TO MAKE): 

     Set against the backdrop of the most – statistically, anyway – the most violent year in the history of New York City (1981), A Most Violent Year tells the story of aspiring heating oil industry player Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac). An immigrant trying to make an honest living, he seems to be the only person around him that is.His wife Anna (Jessica Chastain) is the son of a gangster, his accountant (Albert Brooks) may have looked the other way one time to many when it came to her management of the company’s books. The same can’t be said for Lawrence (David Oyelowo), the district attorney hot on their heels, however …Things could be worse, though – at least he is not his cousin Julian (Elyes Gabel) just can’t seem to catch a break … unless it’s one in his face from the thugs that are trying to shut Abel’s company down. You see, things are HIGHLY competitive in the heating oil game, which is why jacking of rival trucks, beating of rival drivers/salesman and potential home intimidation/invasions have become commonplace.

    A most violent year it is, indeed – but is it one Abel can survive as he chases the American dream he still so steadfastly believes in?

    WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST?: People who don’t like films with potentially unsatisfying resolutions; people who want a character to respond differently than they do when their convictions threaten their very own well being.


    WHO WON’T – OR SHOULDN’T – LIKE THIS FILM?: Oscar Isaac fans; Jessica Chastain fans; people who enjoy the unfolding of a story in carefully designed layers; audience members who enjoy watching a man stick to his morals; those who remember New York City’s storied (or should that be infamous) past.


    FINAL VERDICT – IS IT GOOD, GREAT, BAD OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? A Most Violent Year is a very well ACTED movie … It’s just not a movie that is always exciting to watch, which is why it may be very well done, audiences may have trouble remembering it once they leave the theater.

    Especially if the convictions of the lead character produce as much conflict in their own mind as it does everyone around him.

    Essentially a morality play of sorts, A Most Violent Year uses its setting as an effective backdrop to explore a simple theme: Can, or rather will, one waver from their convictions (In this case, Abel’s belief in the American dream and the need to do things the right way) or fall victim to the evil surrounding him. The role seems tailor made for Isaac, who seems to specialize in playing characters with deep convictions in their talent that may ultimately serve to be his undoing/make him seem weak (see Inside Llewyn Davis for more).

    There is never a moment where you don’t know exactly what Abel is thinking or why he is thinking it; he is a man who is determined and will not let anything sway him from his path. This in turn makes Chastain a great mirror to judge himself against, for her take-no-prisoners, family-over-everything-and-anybody mentality is fun to watch. This is also why one can view Julian as a sort of anti-Abel and view the resulting effects of his actions as the “see what happens?” when comparing the two characters. (Albert Brooks is fun as always as he has perfected the art of playing a put upon older guy trying to help a younger person be reasonable very well.)

    All that being said, A Most Violent Year moves at such an unhurried pace that the story itself comes off as a little dry and – dare I say – secondary to its characters. You’ll likely figure out the film’s moves before the characters do … And unless you are extremely ensnared by Abel’s plight to continue to do right in the face of so much trauma, you may lose your empathy midstream.

    So, while A Most Violent Year isn’t a bad film at all, it certainly isn’t the most memorable one you’ll see this year. And that’s probably not the emotion writer/director J.C. Candor hoped to create.


    OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):  

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    “This hotel will NOT charge me for using the mini bar on my watch!” Scarlett Johansson takes to arms as the title character in a scene from director Luc Besson’s action thriller LUCY. Credit: Jessica Ford © 2014 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. 

    WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

    KEY CAST MEMBERS: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min Sik, Amr Waked and Pilou Asæk (yes his name is spelled like that, people!)

    WRITER(S): Luc Besson

    DIRECTOR(S): Luc Besson

    WEB SITE: www.lucymovie.com 

    60 SECOND PLOT SYNOPSIS (OR AS CLOSE TO IT AS ONE CAN TRY TO MAKE): Scarlett Johansson stars in Lucy as the titular character, who when we are introduced to her is standing outside a hotel in Taiwan having an animated conversation with Richard (Pilou Asæk), her boyfriend of one week in . What are they talking about? Well, there’s a briefcase that he has asked Lucy to take inside and deliver to Mr. Jang (Choi Min Sik).

    Well, as the events unfold, Lucy learns why Richard was so apprehensive about taking that briefcase inside since it results in murder and her kidnapping. Inside the briefcase are four mysterious blue bags of … something … That Lucy later learns is a highly concentrated, synthetic dose of CPH4. A real chemical produced by pregnant women, CPH4 is described as an “atom bomb” for babies during pregnancy, opening up their brain functions and development of their bones. Information like this – along with how humans are only believed to utilize 10 percent of their brain capacity – are among the things that have fascinated Professor Samuel Morgan (Morgan Freeman), an expert in brain function.

    Thus, you can imagine his surprise and intrigue once he receives a call from Lucy – who has inadvertently been … “given” … a large dose of CPH4 by Mr. Jang’s goons in hopes of smuggling the drug safely inside her body on his behalf. Problem is, the bag bursts inside Lucy’s body, mixes into her blood stream and well, what happens next begins to increase her brain function.

    A lot.

    What happens after that might just change life on earth as we know it – literally.

    WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST?: Scarlett Johansson fans, Morgan Freeman fans, people interested/fascinated by the brain and/or human evolution; those who enjoy Asian action films; anyone who is intrigued by films where the premise revolves around becoming an ultimate version of his or her self; fans of strong female action heroes

    WHO WON’T – OR SHOULDN’T – LIKE THIS FILM?: Christian fundamentalist scientists/Answers in Genesis supporters; anyone who can’t “go with” the film’s plot once things start moving in earnest


    BOTTOM LINE – IS IT GOOD, GREAT, BAD OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? If you fall into the first category, the film is good. Like, really, REALLY good. And even if you have some fundamental issues with the film’s science and/or their implications, you’d still have to admit the film is very well done and entertaining no matter what side of the evolutionary debate you choose.


    WHAT’S GOOD (OR BAD) ABOUT IT? “Engrossing.” “Detailed.” “Visually stimulating.” “Fascinating.” “Kick ass.” “Interesting.” – In most cases, words like these are used as pure hyperbole in ads for movies from major critics to lure you, the general public, out to see films that are rarely anywhere close to deserving such kudos.

    Well, give credit to Lucy star Johansson and writer/director Luc Besson for crafting up what not only is a film deserving of those words, but arguably showcases the finest performances of their respective careers.

    I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about Freeman’s performance; after all, this is a man has played God in more than one movie and no one batted an eye about it. Needless to say, he’s his usual great self in the film. Likewise, the supporting cast – Amr Waked, who plays a French police sergeant contacted by Lucy once she begins realizing her potential, in particular – does an equally good job selling their fascination and utter astonishment at everything Lucy’s ever-expanding powers allow her to do.

    Now, back to Johansson and Besson.

    In order for Lucy to work in any capacity, you have to believe Johansson can be a woman who is powerless when we meet her and then believe her character’s literal evolution is not only possible, but plausible in the world in which Besson places the character. Johansson delivers at every turn, not once making you feel like anything she does is out of place, silly or detrimental to the story presented. She’s at one moment genuinely afraid for her life and then, once her transformation starts, as cool, calm and confident as any of her starring Marvel turns as the “Black Widow.”

    While Her proved Johansson can be engaging without her physical form being present, Lucy illustrates how can she dominate the screen essentially on her own. For just as much as there is a seductive quality to her physicality, there is an equally seductive one to her intelligence that draws you in. It’s feminine chic without attempting to be, which in turn is a testament to the quality of the performance.

    This would NOT, however, matter had Besson created a world that is more cartoon than intriguing sci-fi action adventure. Luckily for both Besson and the audience, that is not what happened as Lucy visually has an appeal more like Gravity than The Expendables while mixing in slick, Matrix-style (back before it became cliché) action sequences with Hong Kong-flavored martial arts cool. However, the larger question being posed: What could we do as a species if we were able to use all of our brain’s capacity? While Lucy won’t do anything to settle the debate on any scientific or religious level – especially given its seemingly-but-not-really ambiguous ending – it definitely delivers one of the most entertaining flicks of the year thus far.

    Imagine what it would be like if Besson had used 100 percent of his brain’s own capacity in making it …

    OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN): 


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    “Yes, my friend, I’m telling you – Jack and Jill was JUST as bad as Grown Ups 2!”Resort employee Mfana (Abdoulaye N’Gom) talks things over with Lauren (Drew Barrymore) and Jim (Adam Sandler) in a scene from a lot more than his evening drive in a scene from writer/director Steven Knight’s romantic comedy BLENDED. Credit: David Bloomer © 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. 

    WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

    KEY CAST MEMBERS: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Terry Crews, Bella Thorne, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Wendi McClendon-Covey, Joel McHale, Kyle Red Silverstein, Emma Fuhrman, Zak Henri, Braxton Beckham, Jessica Lowe, Kevin Nealon, Dan Patrick & Shaquille O’Neal

    WRITER(S): Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera

    DIRECTOR(S): Frank Coraci

    WEB SITE: http://blendedmovie.com/

    60 SECOND PLOT SYNOPSIS (OR AS CLOSE TO IT AS ONE CAN TRY TO MAKE): Together again on screen for a third go round, Blended stars Drew Barrymore as Lauren, a single mom of two very rambunctious boys, the baseball-hating Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein) and the puberty-discovering Brendan (Braxton Beckham). A closet organizer along with her co-worker/friend Jen (Wendi McClendon-Covey), she is still reeling from her divorce from her never-there-for-her-or-anyone-else ex Mark (Joel McHale).

    Meanwhile, Jim (Adam Sandler), is a manager at a local Dick’s Sporting Goods who works alongside his tall – and emotional – co-worker Doug (Shaquille O’Neal). He’s also a single dad of three impressionable girls, his tomboy oldest daughter with a terrible haircut Hilary (Brenda Thorne), his still-missing-her-mother middle child Espn (Emma Fuhrman) – she’s named after his favorite TV network – and happy go lucky youngest child, Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind).

    And then they are set up on a date together … Which sees Jim take her to Hooter’s. The disaster mercifully ends when Jim pulls the ol’ “I gotta take this call and now there’s a fake emergency so I must leave” trick that Lauren was going to pull on him before he did it first. As fate would have it, Jim ends up bumping into Lauren at a local convenience store, then ends up needing to return her credit card … Which is how he ends up hearing about a fantastic vacation opportunity in Africa …

    But guess who else plans on taking her kids on the same trip? The person who can probably figure out what happens next!

    WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST?: Adam Sandler fans, Drew Barrymore fans, Terry Crews fans, people who like an upbeat film with an underlying happy message and simple, 90s-style sitcom jokes, people who enjoy movies where kids deliver the best jokes

    WHO WON’T – OR SHOULDN’T – LIKE THIS FILM?: Just about anyone who said they were done with Adam Sandler movies after Grown Ups, Jack & Jill, Grown Ups 2 …

    BOTTOM LINE – IS IT GOOD, GREAT, BAD OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL? Read along closely, for what I am about to say may be shocking to some, downright unbelievable to others and a welcome revelation to long-suffering Sandler fans: Blended is NOT horrible … But that doesn’t mean you need to rejoice about it, either.

    WHAT’S GOOD (OR BAD) ABOUT IT? Here’s what Blended does well: [1] Takes advantage of letting its younger co-stars and Terry Crews – who REALLY commits to his role as Nickens, the buff singing antagonist at the resort Barrymore, Sandler and co. arrive at – drive the film and do the heavy joke-lifting while Barrymore and Sandler [2] Lay back and hit their marks well enough to make you [3] Deal with the standard, easy Happy Madison joke fair before [4] Occasionally hitting some genuinely funny moments and [5] Unexpected twists that make it a tolerable date movie.

    Granted, it may be hard to imagine all that when you watch either of the trailers above which rely on good ‘ol zaniness to get by. Fortunately, most of that zaniness is contained to the few scenes featured in said trailers, the scenes that flat completely flat and feel tired (and YES, there are enough that it’s noticeable) are bested by the ones that do not and Lind is undeniably cute and good in her role.

    Other than that, there’s really not much else you need to know about Blended. You already know the outcome of the film if you pay 10 seconds of attention to it, but there is some fun to be had on the way there. Just don’t expect there to be so much unique, creative fun that won’t be the best thing you experience all summer, but fortunately is no longer automatically going to be the worst.

    Consider it a blend of good and bad comedy where the good outweighs the bad enough to serve as a decent date night out.

    OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN): 


     

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    BRIDEface
    BRIDEface’s Nancy Dawson was featured in the coveted 2012 Best of the Knot for her work with brides on their special days. BRIDEface’s asset lies not only in the quality makeup done before women walk down the aisle, but also in “having a calming effect on what can be a stressful time,” says Dawson.

     

    Dawson’s expertise is bona fide, as she once got to work under the tutelage of Laura Mercier, a makeup artist who has painted the faces of Sarah Jessica Parker and Madonna, among others. It was this work that helped inspire the natural look Dawson achieves with each bride she makes up.

     

    Cry Baby Semi Permanent Mascara
    Tracey Wells, a local eyelash and makeup artist, works with Cry Baby Semi Permanent Mascara which was recently recognized in Allure‘s “Best of Beauty” issue. The mascara is applied in-house at Wells’ salon, and it lasts for up to two to three weeks at a time.

     

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    Wells also does exemplary eyelash extension work that serves as a natural-looking alternative to often over-the-top, and sometimes unsafe, drugstore fake eyelashes. Between Cry Baby Mascara and her eyelash extensions, Wells is quickly becoming the foremost eyelash expert in the Queen City area.

     

    Lunatic Fringe Salon
    Lunatic Fringe Salon was given one of SCORE’s Greater Cincinnati Clients of the Year Awards. “These folks today are creating jobs,” SCORE chairman Rick Johnston says, talking about the SCORE winners, which included Lisa Gear, the owner of Lunatic Fringe Salon. “Forty percent of our SCORE clients this year are women.”


    Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa
    They are certainly no stranger to accolades. In fact, they are the recipient of the 2011 Best Hair Salon from City Beat Magazine – an award they’ve won three years in a row. Also, the 2011 Best Day Spa from City Beat Magazine – an award they’ve won eight years in a row. In 2010, they won Best Spa Pedicure from City Beat Magazine, which was an award they won 10 years in a row in that category. And lastly, they won the 2011 Best Facial from Fox19’s “AList Cincinnati” award.
     


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    101711FASHION.jpgBy now, you’ve probably seen, admired or purchased a piece of Stella & Dot jewelry.

     

    The company is only six years old, but revenues in 2009 totaled $33 million, more than tripling to $104 million in 2010. Stella & Dot’s founder and CEO Jessica Herrin is seeing the same growth in 2011, largely due to the unveiling of the new handbag line. Yes, that’s right. Stella & Dot now sells handbags, and they’re gorgeous.

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    The line features premium, luxury leathers manufactured in the same production houses used by Coach, Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs. But the price point of these haute handbags are 25 to 50 percent less than the other premium brand bags, Herrin says.

     

    Fabrics include lambskin, embossed snakeskin and crinkle patent. They they come in all different sizes, including larger totes, clutches, and one small enough to just fit your iPhone or keys. But for those looking to cater to their geek chic sides, Stell & Dot has a design specifically for this purpose.

     

    The Waverly Three Way bag is the epitome of versatility. It can be worn as a handbag and can be folded in half for this purpose. Removing the strap makes it a large clutch. Wearing it long makes it a stylish iPad case, but folding it transforms the bag into a sassy clutch. So, it’s a must-have for the posh professional who needs a bag that’ll take her from work to play.

     

    Ceci David, a local Stella & Dot independent representative (or "stylist," as they’re 101711FASHION2.jpgcalled), says, "The handbags are an extension to the jewelry collection and a great way to finish your look."

     

    Herrin just added a new director of merchandising, Jessica Nelson, who also influenced this heavenly handbag expansion of the business.

     

    Nelson has a rich and varied background in the fashion world. After college, she worked in factories in Como, Italy and Hong Kong, and she fostered her love of rich textiles and accessories, like scarves, handbags and small goods during this time. Her other experience includes Coach – a great company with which to experience the maintenance of a solid brand – and Marc Jacobs, where she worked in production on the Collection Accessories Team before moving up as the director of merchandising there.

     

    The price points of the bags are as follows:
    *Key pouch $44
    *Wristlet $68
    *La Coco Clutch $158
    *LaFayette Cross Body Bag $148
    *Waverly Three Way $258

     

    Beyond the bags, the next exciting thing around the corner for Stella & Dot is a line of one-of-a-kind vintage jewelry, David says.

     

    Check out the webcast below as David tells us more about these fab bags!

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    101711BEAUTY.jpgBecause eyewear is the new shoe, fab frames are a must-have for any fashionista. But which ones should you get?

     

    Determining your face shape is the first step to finding the right frame, says Emily Johnson, marketing manager at Thoma & Sutton Eye-Care. There are seven basic face shapes: round, heart, square, oval, oblong, triangular and diamond.

     

    The Round Face Shape: People with round faces have wide foreheads and round chins. Rounded faces tend to be short in height and lack any dramatic angles. The round face has soft curves, full cheeks and a round chin. Celebrities with round face shapes are Christina Ricci, Drew Barrymore and Kate Winslet.

     

    TIPS — To find the right frame for this face shape, choose glasses that are wider than they are deep. If you wear glasses that are deeper, your face will appear even shorter. When you choose a wider style, your face will appear longer. Try angular and narrow frames – this will add definition to your facial features. Stay away from big round glasses: They will make your face shape look even more round. Try sticking with deep colors like black or tortoise. Those colors will help minimize the roundness of your face.

     

    The Heart Face Shape: People with heart-shaped faces have large foreheads, narrow jaw lines, high cheekbones and narrow chins. Celebrities with heart-shaped faces include Ashley Judd, Tyra Banks and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

     

    TIPS — To pick the right glasses that fit this face shape, choose frames that are wider at the bottom: This helps to offset the narrow chin. This face shape works well with both angular and round glasses. Lighter-colored round frames can balance and soften the wide forehead. Rimless and Cat-eye glasses are great for balancing this face shape. Avoid large frames and bold colors.

     

    The Square Face Shape: People with square face shapes have strong, prominent jaw lines, deep foreheads, wide cheekbones and broad, square chins. This face shape is extremely angular. Celebrities with this face shape include Sandra Bullock, Jessica Simpson and Demi Moore.

     

    TIPS — When choosing glasses for this face shape, try frames that are wider than they are deep. Glasses that are round or oval will counteract the strong angles that are already present with this face shape. These frames will also soften and add more curves to your face. Narrow, oval frames minimize your angular features. Be adventurous and try cat-eye or butterfly style frames. Stay away from those square-shaped frames!

     

    The Oval Face Shape: An oval face shape is considered to be the best face shape, because it is well-balanced. People with oval face shapes have narrow foreheads and jaw lines, with the chin slightly narrower than the forehead. Oval faces normally have high cheekbones as well. Many times, oval faces come with smaller facial features. Celebrities with this face shape include Sarah Michelle Gellar, Cameron Diaz and Britney Spears.

     

    TIPS — If you have an oval-shaped face, you are lucky! Oval faces are the easiest face shape for which to find glasses. Oval faces can wear practically any frame – round or angular. To keep those great proportions in check, you might want to choose frames that are as wide as or wider than the broadest part of your face. Avoid frames that are oversized: They will take away from your great features.

     

    The Oblong Face Shape: This face is much longer than it is wide. Sometimes an oblong face shape will have a long nose and a straight vertical line associated with the cheekbones. Celebrities with an oblong face shapes are Paris Hilton, Liv Tyler and Sarah Jessica Parker.

     

    TIPS — For the best look, choose frames that are wider, as these will break up the face’s length. For the oblong face shape, you want to cover as much of the center of the face as possible. This will minimize its length. Go with wider frames that are also tall top to bottom or have a good bit of depth. Avoid small, narrow, square-shaped frames. Those types of frames will emphasize your angular features.

     

    The Triangular Face Shape: This face is narrower at the forehead and gets wider at the cheeks and chin. Celebrities with this face shape are Bette Midler and Geena Davis.

     

    TIPS — Choose frames that are going to take the attention to the top half of your face. Good choices include semi-rimless glasses and frames that are heavily decorated on the top half of the frame. Cat-eye frames are ideal for this face shape, because they draw the eye upward and make the face seem more balanced. Stay away from bold colors.

     

    The Diamond Face Shape: A person with a diamond-shaped face has a narrow jaw line, a narrow eye line, high cheekbones and a small chin. Celebrities with diamond-shaped faces include Katherine Hepburn, Felicity Huffman and Kim Raver.

     

    TIPS — To find the right style eyeglasses for a diamond-shaped face is to go with styles that emphasize those stunning cheekbones and highlight the eyes, such as rimless, oval or cat-eye-shaped glasses. Look for frames that have detailing along the top or heavy brow lines.

     

    Your coloring should also be considered when picking out your specs. If you have light hair, you want to stick with lighter brown or tan frames, Johnson says. If you have darker hair, go with the darker browns or black frames. Also, if you have fair skin, don’t go with a frame with a lot of print.

     

    "For those with fair skin, you want to go with something more basic," Johnson says. "Darker skins can get away with wearing more print frames. But again, for the best look, stick with the darker colored frames."

     

    As for trends, Johnson says she’s seeing lots of geek chic glasses. "People are going for the nerdy look with the thicker and bigger frames," she says. "I’ve seen more people interested in the darker frames and more of a square shape. People are starting to explore new designs with glasses, which is great because glasses are ways to express who you are and show your personality."

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