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    Two health coaches. Pay what you want. They want to change the world's health and happiness. Keep reading for a healthy dose of details about Healthy Human and see how it can create a blueprint for a better you.

    021615FEATURE
    Zach Franke (left) and Patrick Hitches (right), founders of Healthy Human

    Zach Franke and Patrick Hitches like to make people feel better. That’s why they launched a new project called Healthy Human.

    Franke is the founder of Health Coach Zach. His business partner, Hitches, is a health coach, yoga studio and gym owner, personal trainer, and fitness entrepreneur.

    They met in August of 2014 and instantly connected. Their philosophies on life, health and wellness aligned so well that creating Healthy Human was the only possible outcome.

    Today, Healthy Human has one mission: have participants wake up every day excited to take on what’s next. Currently, Healthy Human has a 10,000-square-foot location in the Brighton Brewery District near Over-the-Rhine that’s been dubbed the “Healthy Human Compound” complete with a yoga studio, health coaching services, a gym, and more to come.

    “We are creating a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to join a community of individuals striving to better their health,” says Franke.

    According to Franke, Healthy Human is a passion project for both he and Hitches, as both on a quest to become the best versions of themselves while also sharing all that they learn to help as many people along the way as they can.

    “Healthy Human is a place where we can share the truth about what health is and how we can achieve it in our highly stressed, overly busy, nutritionally compromised, sedentary society that the majority of our population unfortunately is stuck in,” he says. “We both utilize our health coaching skills, our personal experiences and our many failures as leverage to help other people on the journey of improving themselves.”

    The vision for Healthy Human is more than just helping others with diet and exercise, Franke says. “We’re creating an abundance of health and happiness across the world,” he explains. “The goal of Healthy Human is to create a comprehensive learning space for anyone and everyone ready and willing to take their health and happiness to a never-before-reached level.”

    When people begin to question the status quo and have access to the tools and resources they need to get healthy, Franke and Hitches believe they are in a position to share their knowledge and help create serious change.

    “It’s our mission to impact every single human on the planet,” he adds. “We realize this is a lofty mission but one we are confident can and will become a reality. We’re armed with the truth and an extensive ability to distribute this information across the web and into the hands of readers and students around the globe.”

    Healthy Human also has an online presence at www.healthyhumanhq.com to reach those who aren’t in the Cincinnati area and to help meet Franke and Hitches’ goal of a global outreach. Also on the website is an online coaching solution called the Healthy Human Academy that Franke says the duo is really excited about.

    “It’s a video module-based health coaching solution that teaches each student everything they need to know about proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management and mindset,” says Franke. “We even explore spirituality in the program.”

    What’s even greater about Healthy Human is that Franke and his partner are using a pay-what-you-want model. Although friends think they’re loopy for using this model, Franke laughs, they believe it aligns with their mission of helping every person on the planet. There are already approximately 40 test clients in the first enrollment class, with some paying $1 and others pay as much as $250 to participate. “It’s been a pretty cool experience so far for us and our students,” Franke says. “There is no barrier to enter the world of Healthy Human, so everyone can have a choice when it comes to living healthier, happier lives.”

    To learn more about Healthy Human, check out their website, like them on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram.

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    Learn about the locally-based line of jewelry featuring pieces that are heirloom quality wardrobe staples, made from materials with healing properties.

    021615FASHION
    Jimi Merk, owner and designer of Jimi Designs the Shine Your Light line

     

    You’re a multi-tasker. Your jewelry should be, too.

    That’s why Jimi Merk, owner and designer of Jimi Designs, began designing his Shine Your Light line at the young age of 23 as the only line of high-fashion jewelry used as a tool for healing. “I had been having visions and dreams about specific shapes that I would draw and doodle for over two years,” says Merk. “After being blessed by a shaman, I suddenly understood what the shapes were.”

    021615FASHION4These “shapes” that Merk was seeing were later discovered to be the language of creation, which would become more clear as information came to him over time in the form of ancient writings and scriptures.

    “I was open to following and trusting my guidance to create tools for healing and helping us to remember the language of creation,” says Merk. “I was guided to create tools for natural healing by carving these sacred forms in meditation, casting them in high-frequency healing metal and setting them with the most used healing stones of the world – and so the Shine Your Light jewelry line was born.”

    021615FASHION3The line itself has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings. What started as a couple of pendant designs has evolved into 46 pieces – ranging from rings, pendants and earrings. “No other line of holistic jewelry in the world is as nice in integrity and functionality as Shine Your Light,” says Merk, adding that they are the only line of healing jewelry to be completely in the USA that has a lifetime guarantee.

    “I now create many different healing forms that have been used for body, mind and spiritual healing as well as different healing stones from around the world,” says Merk. “I used to sell a few pieces a year and now we’re producing a few hundred a year. I expect that as we become more conscious and grow more in our truth that people will be guided more and more to these timeless pieces.”

    021615FASHION2Shine Your Light jewelry consists mostly of powerful high-frequency healing pendants that can be used for healing directly or as pendulums to help you see where energy blockages are. “We carry many pieces of healing jewelry that involve sacred geometry hand-carved in meditation and top quality stones,” says Merk. “The rings that we sell are also powerful healing tools that harness Fibonnaci proportions, sacred geometry and healing stones that have been used in cultures all around the world.”

    Merk’s personal goal to accomplish with the Shine Your Light line is to help people heal through physical, emotional and spiritual issues as well as to help people find their true core being. “One of the reasons I was guided to create this line is to help people remember what we come from and how fortunate we are to exist,” he says.

    Merk says it’s rewarding work because of the positive feedback he receives from clients. “The line is helping people every day and that is more than I could have hoped for,” says Merk. “I hope to see more people finding their truth with the help of this amazing, multidimensional jewelry and to expand more internationally. We are currently pushing the line through international wholesale marketing catalogs and promoting it to stores as well as wellness centers.”

    To learn more about Shine Your Light Wellness jewelry or natural healing, contact Merk at Jimidesigns@hotmail.com. For jewelry design, natural healing, lifestyle development, intuitive readings and hypnosis, visit their home office at 127 West 9th St. in Cincinnati or www.shineyourlightwellness.com. This line of jewelry is also sold at the 5th Street gallery at the corner of 5th and Race Streets downtown.

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    See how a local lady turned her passion for makeup into a prettification business, powered by encouraging words from friends and family.

    Lulo Makeup (Mandy Paige Photography)
    Lulo Makeup (Mandy Paige Photography)

    Encouraging words planted the seed and a passion watered it.

    “I helped the bride, mother of the bride, and bridesmaids with their makeup that day. My friend’s mom said, ‘Hey you are pretty good at this, why are you not doing this for a living?’” Sally Scigliulo, owner and artist of Lulo Makeup recalls. “At that moment my mind shifted from makeup being a hobby to a career.”

    That’s when Scigliulo began working on the business concept that is now Lulo Makeup. Founded in 2007 with the name “SAS Makeup,” Scigliulo started with doing freelance work for photographers and the occasional wedding.

    After her children were born, Scigliulo wanted to focus more on her business. That’s when she rebranded from SAS to Lulo (a play on Scigliulo’s name pronounced Sha-Lou-Lo), launched a new Facebook page and began business relationships with industry professionals.

    Lulo Makeup provides services for many different occasions including weddings and senior pictures in the Tristate area with the unique aspect of Scigliulo being a self-taught artist. She assisted with many different artists in Cincinnati as well as attending many workshops in Chicago to learn the tricks of the trade.

    “I really learned the art and concepts of color and makeup techniques by reading books like Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin and watching lots and lots of videos on YouTube,” Scigliulo says. “I love watching other artists and am so grateful they allowed me to learn from them.”

    As for the future of Lulo makeup, Scigliulo’s goal is to create a makeup class or makeup program focusing on learning different looks and techniques. While many women ask Scigliulo about different products, they struggle with how to use them themselves. She’s hoping to start these lessons to help women with the overwhelming task of this.

    Scigliulo also plans on focusing on the bridal portion of her business. “I love being involved with weddings and feel so honored and privileged that I am a part of such an important day in peoples’ lives,” she says.

    To learn more, visit www.lulomakeup.com.

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    This local organization is teaming up with local yoga studios to introduce yoga to beginners. See how Project Yoga can improve your everyday life from the inside out.

    021615HEALTH

    From poses and stances to meditation and breathing, the idea of yoga can be an intimidating one. That’s where Project Yoga Cincinnati can help.

    “We teach to people who have never been exposed to yoga, giving them the chance to experience the emotional and physical wellbeing that can result,” says Project Manager at Project Yoga Cincinnati Amy Banfield. “We assemble a team of certified teachers and provide a curriculum plan for a 6-8 week series of classes.”

    During these programs, the team at Project Yoga Cincinnati alternates lead teacher and assistant roles to allow students the benefit of hearing different voices each week. Throughout the course of a program, Banfield says that Project Yoga teaches students poses, meditation techniques and breathing exercises that will address the needs of the entire group.

    “The common thread in all Project Yoga programs is teaching people how to find the ease in a pose and calm one’s thoughts,” adds Banfield. “We also focus on teaching breathing techniques that aid in stress relief and help to calm the nervous system.”

    Project Yoga’s history dates back to 2008, when it was founded by Katy Knowles and Peter Levin, two of the organization’s current board members. In 2013, Project Yoga was giving official status as a 501(c)3 non-profit. In addition to the board that serves Project Yoga, there are also approximately 30 teachers who work at the different sites teaching yoga programs as well as a Development Team, Fundraising Committee and Program Manager.

    Cincinnati joined Project Yoga in 2014 when four studios became engaged to support four programs. These studios include The Shakti Factory, Modo Yoga, Simply Power Yoga and Move Your Hyde. “These partnerships have added teachers to our ranks and will support and sustain Project Yoga into the future,” says Banfield. “Root Down Yoga has also agreed to play host to Project Yoga class fundraising events in the coming months.”

    There are multiple classes offered at the participating Project Yoga studios in Cincinnati that will help you reach the goals you have when it comes to starting yoga.

    The curriculum for each program is crafted to fit the participants. “We follow a lesson plan, but as the group gets in sync, we have also been known to go off script too,” says Banfield.

    Classes at Project Yoga studios are light-hearted and teachers are there to instruct how each pose can be modified so that everyone can participate at the level they’re most comfortable with. There are also tips shared for those who want to develop a yoga and meditation practice at home.
    “We emphasize that yoga is not a competitive sport – that’s why we call in a ‘practice,’” says Banfield.

    All mats and props are provided, Banfield adds. The team also looks for a room at each facility that has enough clear space to allow participants to practice comfortably, free from people passing through or noisy distractions.

    There’s also a mobile cart that holds all Project Yoga mats and props. Those who are interested in bringing Project Yoga to an event, senior center, school or community program should email katy@projectyogacincinnati.org.

    An added bonus is that Project Yoga classes are free to those who are participating in programs. Banfield adds that there are also special classes and events at partnering studios and locations throughout Cincinnati that are donation-based. The proceeds from those classes and events are then used to help support and grow current and future Project Yoga programs.

    Banfield says that the team at Project Yoga hopes students participating in programs will take what they’ve learned in terms of physical postures, meditations, breathing techniques, stress management, relaxation, compassion and strength off their yoga mats and find a way to incorporate it into their everyday lives. She said Project Yoga also hopes participants will continue their yoga practice beyond their time in the program as well
    As for the future, Banfield finishes by saying that Project Yoga Cincinnati is currently working with several organizations, companies and non-profits in the Greater Cincinnati area to build new and strong projects throughout 2015.

    To learn more about Project Yoga Cincinnati, visit www.projectyogacincinnati.org.

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    Joshua Johnson found his “fit” when he launched Mindbox Studios to help others right here in Cincinnati and beyond.

    Joshua Johnson, founder of Mindbox Studios
    Joshua Johnson, founder of Mindbox Studios

    Technology is an ever-changing world, but Joshua Johnson is up for the challenge.

    He launched his start-up, Mindbox Studios, in June 2007. Since then, his business has been providing technology services that are crafted especially for building custom web and mobile software for other businesses throughout the country.

    “We approach each project with an agile-inspired methodology, which disciplines the team to build a Minimum Viable Product with frequent iterations based on results and customer feedback,” explains Johnson. “We act as an in-house partner for our clients, focused on using digital technology to grow their business.”

    Johnson says that after the failure of a previous business, he launched Mindbox with a ground of digital agency visionaries and innovators. He and his team also noticed that it was nearly impossible to find a software company that works with innovative entrepreneurs, which encouraged them even more to move forward with the group’s new business plan.

    In the years since Mindbox Studios officially launched, it has grown to more than 20 employees with offices in Cincinnati, Denver and Eugene, Oregon. Some of the businesses’ clients include those from industries such as the government, manufacturing, education and healthcare.

    Some of the services offered from Mindbox Studios include mobile development, website design and development, technical strategy, responsive design, E-commerce, technology integration (also known as API Development) and startup consultation and planning.

    “Our goal is to build a growing, best-in-class technology innovation team,” adds Johnson.

    The team at Mindbox Studios, in addition to their growing client list, has a lot in the works. Johnson says that there are a few projects they’re involved with outside of client work that they’re excited about. “We’re working with a handful of kids, now 18-20 years old, who have grown up in an orphanage in Haiti and have a desire to learn web design and mobile development skills,” says Johnson. “Mindbox is partnering with like-minded companies to develop a program to help them develop those skills and eventually offer their services to U.S. companies.”

    Additionally, Johnson says that Mindbox Studios is interested in seeing more tech and startup activity in low-income neighborhoods and high schools throughout Cincinnati, although the pieces for a project like this haven’t fully come together yet. Johnson believes that if his team can provide access to the resources, skill training and funding these kids needs then they can help support another revolution in tech in the Cincinnati region with job creation and an increase in demand. “That will be good for everyone,” he adds.

    To learn more, visit www.mindboxstudios.com.

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    Add some fashion to your fitness with this Ohio-based Bend Active clothing line. Check out their designs, which are centered around a positive message of living a happy, healthy lifestyle.

    The Italy Legging from the Robert Sturman Collection
    The Italy Legging from the Robert Sturman Collection can be worn in the yoga studio or out with friends

    Cincy Chic: What is Bend Active Clothing?

    Adam Heller, Co-Founder of Bend Active Clothing: Bend Active Clothing is “inspired” fitfashion apparel. Our mission is to provide our customers with outstanding performance wear with the highest level of comfort, fit and design.

    Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the business?

    Heller: At Bend, we talk about being Flexible, Strong and Resilient. These adjectives not only speak to us in the physical sense, but they are important for us mentally as well. Our mantra is “Bend, Don’t Break.”

    021615SPOTLIGHT4Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Bend Active Clothing?

    Heller: Bend was founded in Columbus – the home and starting point for several major apparel brands. I, along with my wife, founded Bend Active Clothing and are passionate about sharing a positive message of living a happy, healthy lifestyle.

    Cincy Chic: What types of apparel do you offer?

    Heller: We categorize our apparel as “Fitness Meets Fashion” or FitFashion. This means Bend Active Clothing offerings have the performance capability and the style to be worn casually and for your workout, training session or fitness class. We also offer a line of bamboo fabric items that are very soft with performance qualities such as stretch, moisture wicking and anti-odor. At Bend, you’ll find leggings, capris, tanks, tees and other items and accessories to meet all fitness disciplines.

    021615SPOTLIGHT3Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Bend Active Clothing?

    Heller: We have some exclusive signature product lines coming out with designer Laura Hawk and Dancing With the Stars Champion Witney Carson.

    Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more or purchase Bend Active Clothing?

    Heller: Readers can learn more about Bend on our website, Facebook, or Instagram. We have two stores, one at the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek and another at The Shoppes on Lane Avenue in Columbus.

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    A local business is hosting a night out for local women, featuring everything from wine tasting and networking to Tai Chi and chair massages. Read on for all the details.

    021615SOCIAL

    It’s tough for busy women to carve enough time out for networking, socializing, exercising and relaxing. That’s why one local business is bringing all this and more under one roof for a Girl’s Night Out.

    The one-night event, hosted by Apex Chiropractic & Wellness Center, takes place at Centennial Barn on March 24. Apex’s inspiration for planning the event, according to Event Coordinator Barb Pantano, revolves around helping women in the community rejuvenate their mind, body and soul.

    “The goal of the event is to provide women with a fun evening out with friends, enjoying some new healthful activities,” says Pantano.

    Fun and healthy activities will be plentiful during the Girl’s Night Out event, Pantano says. Some of these include hula hooping, Zumba, sound therapy, Tai Chi, yoga for anxiety and chair massages. Additionally, guests attending the event can enjoy NIA (a sensory-based movement practice), SoulCollage, heart-centered hypnotherapy, meditation, aromatherapy, dream works, laughter yoga, Qi Gong and a wine tasting.

    So, whether you’re in the mood to get your dance on, want to relax with a massage, practice yoga to find your inner peace or just want to meet some new gal pals, Girl’s Night Out is the event for you, Pantano says.

    If you wait until the day of the event to purchase your ticket, the cost is $15. Those who pre-register with Apex by March 17 will get a $3 discount. There’s also a nominal fee if you decide you want to participate in the wine tasting.

    The event will be held at Centennial Barn, located at 110 Compton Road in Cincinnati. You can register by calling Pantano 513-931-4300 or by visiting www.ApexChiroCenter.com.

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    Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter about taking the journey of life one step at a time - literally and figuratively - even if you have to learn how to walk all over again.

    021615LOLA1Yes, you’re the newborn in the house, but it’s your daddy who learned how to walk this week.

    He had total knee replacements on both legs a few days ago. Since then, I’ve seen him come out of surgery, visit with therapists, and take his first steps with his new knees.

    The funny thing is that when the therapists had him on the side of the bed ready for those first steps, they said his goal was to just walk two steps. They began counting down, and before they could even say “2…1,” your dad was already lifting up.

    He couldn’t wait. He had waited long enough. Years of waiting, actually. He was ready to walk again. Ready to finally enjoy life again. And it all started with these steps.

    He didn’t stop once he got going, either. Not only did he do the two “goal” steps, but he walked all the way to the door and back. Probably a good 20 steps total.

    I’m not going to lie, the happy tears were flowing witnessing all of this. It was a spiritual experience to see him get out of that bed and begin walking without the crunching and pain of his bone-on-bone old knees. Yes, he still had pain. But it was different pain. It was post-surgery pain. Not when-will-this-end pain.

    021615LOLA2
    Pete taking his first steps after surgery!

    I cried because he was on the other side of the pain. I cried because he exceeded the therapist’s goal. Moreso, though, I cried because he pushed past his fear. His fear of not being able to reach the goal, handle the pain, or worse – falling.

    Over the past year, as his rheumatoid arthritis worsened, I’ve watched him become more fearful of getting up, standing, walking and falling. It was so good to see him push past all of that and know these were the first steps of the rest of his life, and our life together as a family.

    He wasn’t thinking about his limitations or all the therapy still ahead of him. He wasn’t thinking about the countdown or the goal. He wasn’t thinking about all the fears that have held him back before. He was thinking about pushing himself as much as he could in that very moment, whether that meant one step, two steps, or 20.

    Seeing him get up out of the bed and walk to the door without fear was like watching him float… soar… fly. Made my heart so full to witness.

    So, keep that in mind as you stare down a moment in life that scares you. Just focus on taking that first step. Don’t worry about falling. Because, my love, you might just fly instead.

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    Our life coach explains how we have a lot to learn from a cat who cheated death. Find out how putting one paw in front of another can help you get more out of your life, even if you don’t have nine to live.

    Have you heard about Bart the Cat from Tampa? Apparently, on one of Bart’s ritual romps around the neighborhood, he was hit by a car. Bart, an almost 2-year-old cat, was severely hurt in the accident and had multiple injuries. Bart’s owner alleges that the cat appeared lifeless and he was presumed dead. Distraught with grief, he asked his neighbor to bury Bart in a shallow grave. Five days later, Zombie Bart was seen gallivanting around the neighbor’s backyard, meowing for food.

    Bart was alive.

    The owner was, of course, shocked. Since he didn’t have the funds for a vet, he took Bart to the Humane Society. There, they performed surgery to remove his eye, wire his jaw shut and insert a feeding tube. He’s not quite out of the woods yet, but he’s doing well and making progress.

    We’ve all heard the adage about cats having nine lives. It appears that Bart now has eight left. Bart truly had the odds stacked against him when the car hit him. The fact that he was able to come back to life after being buried underground is a another story. Apparently, Bart had quite a desire to live. He fought back with all the energy he had left in his tired, broken body.

    Bart is a good representation of RESILIENCE.

    As incredible as it seems, we all could learn a thing or two from Bart’s story. Imagine if we could harness some of the resiliency that Bart has and channel it into our work or personal life. Let me explain.

    Bart was quite the problem-solver. It appeared that Bart’s time was up when he was buried in the backyard. However, he was able to figure out a solution to his problem- digging his way out of the dire situation. Bart viewed his dilemma as a challenge, not an obstacle. He didn’t give up; he just assumed that there was a solution to his problem.

    Bart took control of a bad situation. Bart definitely didn’t play the “victim card.” He accepted what life had thrown his way and made the best of it. Instead of obsessing on why this horrible experience had happened to him, he focused all his energy into what he could control in his life. He then used the extra energy to dig his way out of the grave. I’m sure he just assumed that his plan would work.

    Bart accepts CHANGE. Bart’s environment was a far cry from his favorite chair at home. The Veterinarian that cared for him commented that despite his severe injuries and traumatic experience, Bart was an incredibly sweet cat. Apparently, Bart adapted to each experience and viewed his current life as “the new normal.” He didn’t look back- he just kept moving forward, putting one paw in front of another.

    The definition of resilience is the ability to withstand stress and catastrophe. It’s the ability to adapt to everyday changes and recover quickly from change or misfortune. If each one of us could channel a bit of Bart daily as we go about our lives, we would be more apt to find the success, happiness and peace that we are hoping for.

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    It’s the most anticipated movie based on an erotic thriller, well, perhaps ever. But does the big screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey live up to its sexy – or is that sleazy? – expectations? Click here to find out!

    “I didn’t come to hear you play that – I wanted to hear ‘Super Freak’ by Rick James!’ Anastacia Steele (Dakota Johnson) approaches her billionaire lover Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) in a scene from the highly anticipated just-in-time-for-Valentine’s Day release FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Credit: © 2015 Focus Features and Universal Pictures.


    WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: 

    KEY CAST MEMBERS: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rask, Luke Grimes, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini and Marcia Gay Harden

    WRITER:
    Kelly Marcel

     
    DIRECTOR:
    Sam Taylor-Johnson
     
    60 SECOND PLOT SUMMARY (OR AS CLOSE TO THAT TIME AS ONE CAN MAKE IT):
     
    Based on E.L. James best-selling novel of the same name (and the entry to the trilogy), Fifty Shades of Grey stars Dakota Johnson (The Social Network) as Anastacia Steele, a soon-to-be college graduate who is demure in her nature as she is inexperienced sexually which is to say very. Living in Portland, she finds herself thrust (no pun intended) into a world completely foreign to her once she finds herself in the presence of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).
     
    Arguably the most famous and successful and unnamed alumni in her colleges history as a 27 year-old self-made billionaire, Grey is an intimidating presence to young Anastacia And even more so once he reveals he is interested in much more than answering the interview questions her friend Kate (Eloise Mumford) needs him to.
     
    Once she graduates college, Anastacia dives into a whirlwind passionate relationship with Grey in which he reveals his passion for sexual liaisons so Different Than what she is expecting it requires a contract. Seriously. And that becomes a point of contention: For if she is everything he is looking for, why then, cant he just enjoy her in a way that doesnt require handcuffs and other restraints so that they can be free of any emotionally?
     
    Needless to say, what follows is likely to change both of their lives in a manner neither of them expects
     
    WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST?
     
    Anyone who enjoyed the book; those looking for an above-average soft core romantic way to spice up a standard Valentines Day outing at the movies; the romantically adventurous; those who enjoy experiencing titillation with random strangers in an audience; couples curious about more than quote-unquote normal sexual behaviors and looking for way to start the conversation about their own relationship
     
    WHO WONT (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE?
     
    Well, you mean in addition to the Cincinnati archdiocese? Introverts; ANYONE uncomfortable with the sight of other naked human beings, let alone in public; people who find the general concept of the book/film ridiculous/trashy; people unfamiliar with the ways of many modern couples/want to act as if this world doesnt really exist; anyone who would rather watch an actual adult film/one with less overall
    schmaltzy/cheesy cinematic experience
     
    SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL?
     
    Before I say anything else, let me go ahead and say this: I, like many men throughout America, have NOT read the books. I also fully acknowledge I am NOT the book nor films target audience, so take that for what you will, die-hard Grey fans.
     
    That being said, I actually kind of enjoyed the movie because it delivered exactly what I thought it would: A somewhat tawdry-yet-titillating film that is filled with enough nudity and Hollywood-style sexual situations and decent acting to overcome its somewhat ludicrous (and not because of the nature of the
    characters
    encounters) story. 
    If you grew up watching HBO in the 1990s, have ever searched whether purposely or not the Internet or been paying attention in the last 20-25 years, the sexual content found in Fifty Shades will NOT be shocking to you. In this age of not-so-real-but-were-still-calling-it-reality television, explicit lyrics, same sex marriage debate and the like, theres pretty much nothing left that can be shocking to the American populace about sex. Think about it: There are probably more people today who have seen Kim
    Kardashian
    s sex tape or Twitter account than there are that could name most of the state capitals in
    the county they live in. 



    The themes of sex and violence is one of Americas oldest and grandest entertainment staples, so the only way you could essentially be shocked by Greys content is if [1] you do not engage in any of the activity yourself and find anyone who does absolutely, positively a disgusting, perverted human being [2] have deep, personal religious convictions regarding any type of sexual activity before marriage and/or [3] just dont want to see people in movies or real life exploring their own personal sexual
    boundaries/perversions. And I
    m not here to judge you; as I always say, save for engaging in illegal activity, what you believe when it comes to all things sexual is between you, any potential partner you may have, your family and/or your therapist.

     
    However, once you take sex OUT of the equation, the majority of Grey is a bit of a mixed bag. While the sexual situations are obviously the films biggest selling point who doesnt enjoy a little voyeurism every once in a while, right? the thing that could have been more interesting is how its two lead characters came to be the way they are. Thats not to say the movie should be seen by any 12 year-old like it can be in France (yep heres the proof), but most worldly adults shouldnt be too shocked by what they see.
     
    While we get a short-but-effective explanation of Anastacias lack of sexual experience, the thing most people (and by people, I do mean the films female audience contingency) will want is more of Greys story. WHY is he the way he is and why can he not, for lack of a better word, enjoy himself without his out-of-the-norm methods? In attempting to set the stage for parts two and three (YES, theyve already committed to doing them both), director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel are a little limited in what all she can reveal in this initial installment, but that in turn hinders the film from coming full
    circle.
     
    The again, you do have the issue of Dornans portrayal of Grey either feeling spot on given the characters controlling, tortured (spiritually) nature Or a bit too serial killer-ish given some of his dialogue and mannerisms. (In other words, youll likely be turned on or turned off w/ little grey area in between. See what I did there?) Johnson plays her character very well all things considered, as she
    is great as a naive young woman at the start of the film before eventually blossoming (literally and figuratively) into one who is more assertive as she becomes more experienced. Thus, it
    s a big of a mixed bag where you get some good with some bad during the films two hour run time. For there are
    moments that are quite interesting, stimulating and funny, others that feel as if they drag on forever and some that quite frankly, just don
    t need to even be there in the first place.
     
    So, is Fifty Shades of Grey the perfect Valentines Day cinematic gift to satisfy and please lovers from coast to coast? Ehh Probably not but it isnt as horrible as you might likely believe at first glance, either. The sex will be perhaps steamy for some, but it’s nothing like Caligula – then again, fortunately, most main stream films are not. 


    One thing is for certain, however – its probably going to do a LOT for mens neckties sales this Presidents Day weekend.



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

     
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