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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

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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.


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

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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.

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.


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

Kelly Marcel

Sam Taylor-Johnson
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.



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    From Project Runway to playdates, see how one local fashion designer was inspired by her newborn to design a new baby clothing and accessories line. Keep reading for all the stylish details.

    Althea Harper and her daughter Lilias, who was her inspiration for a new clothing ling, Lilias & Love.
    Althea Harper and her daughter Lilias, who was her inspiration for a new clothing ling, Lilias & Love.

    Children are a source of love and inspiration for many, including fashion designer Althea Harper. “My daughter, Lilias, is my main source of inspiration,” she explains. “I’ve always enjoyed working with and creating unique prints, and when I began to buy items for my daughter, I felt like I couldn’t quite find what I really wanted, so I set out to make it.”

    She’s no stranger to fashion design, either. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program and being the runner up on Project Runway Season 6, she launched her own fashion line, Althea Harper.

    10646935_294893207387471_3667319493399946110_nAfter her daughter Lilias was born, she realized an issue that many women face – especially mothers of girls. It’s tough to find something that isn’t glittery, pink and covered in bows. It’s even more difficult to find something that’s unique, Harper says, that every other newborn or toddler on the block isn’t already wearing.

    That’s why Harper, a native of Dayton, founded Lilias & Love, a boutique baby-wear line that features leggings, headbands and hats in cute and edgy knits, applique and screen print t-shirts in addition to custom fur vests and dresses.

    All of the items in Harper’s line, which just launched after Thanksgiving 2014, are handmade in Dayton.560184_312215325655259_1079212101461008513_n

    Harper is already expanding her newest clothing line. She says they just introduced a few new prints in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Customers can also expect to see a handful of new prints with each season. “As the weather warms up, we’ll be attending more craft fairs and creating some unique warm-weather custom-order items,” Harper adds.

    All items in Harper’s Lilias & Love line can be purchased on Etsy by clicking here. “Customers can request custom orders through Etsy as well,” adds Harper.

    She says that you can find sneak peeks and adorable pictures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and, soon, at

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    Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter about three simple words that have made all the difference during a difficult time.


    Let it go. Those three little words have helped me so much these past few months. (I know parents of little girls who love the movie Frozen will feel differently about this! haha!)

    That’s because recently, I saw the quote “She took a deep breath and let it go,” and it stopped me in my tracks. I stared at it. Re-read it. Re-read it again. And then I did it: I took a deep breath and let it go.

    Nothing has brought me the kind of relief as that simple action. You see, I’ve been holding onto a lot lately. Why did we have fertility issues? Why does Pete have rheumatoid arthritis? Why is it so severe? Why did this happen to us? Why can’t life just be easy?

    I took these questions, zipped up each in a bag, threw them over my shoulder, and carried it all with me each and every day, adding new bags with each new question. Throughout the day, I’d open each bag, look inside, re-ask myself each question, dwell on it, and feel helpless because I couldn’t find an answer. I didn’t realize it, but all this baggage was weighing me down physically and mentally. I couldn’t carry anything else. I couldn’t think about anything else.

    I held onto these questions because I couldn’t find answers. That’s what you do when you haven’t figured something out yet. Like a math problem, you think about it until you get the “a-ha moment,” remember the formula, and figure it out. But there will be things in life, that no matter how hard you think about them, no matter how many formulas you memorize, no matter how hard you study, no matter how much you research, no matter how much you work to resolve it, you just won’t figure it out. And those are the things you need to let go.

    You can waste so much energy carrying around heavy baggage full of things you can’t figure out or change. But instead, use your precious energy to find your new normal and move on. That’s what I’ve learned is so important: the quicker you realize the things you can’t change and let them go, the quicker you can move on and start to enjoy life again.

    It sounds cliche but life is way too short. There will be things that turn out differently than you planned. There will be issues you can’t resolve. People who don’t like you. Things you can’t change. Questions you can’t answer. And believe it or not, that’s ok. You don’t need to carry it around with you. You don’t need to figure it out. You just need to take a deep breath and let it go.


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    Mama Mimi’s is known for their gourmet take ’n’ bake pizza, but did you know they also have fresh pastas? Read on for all the delicious details.


    Mama Mimi’s has some seriously delicious gourmet take ’n’ bake pizzas. But if you don’t feel like pizza, and want pasta instead, Mama makes that happen.

    Essentially putting their most popular pizza topping recipes over fresh penne pasta, these Mama Mimi’s Gourmet Pastas are ready when you are!

    Check out the four pasta menu items and watch the exclusive webcast below to learn more.

    Penne Pasta, Red Sauce, Mozzarella, Meatballs, Onion, Green Pepper, Parmesan, Basil, Roasted Garlic & Fresh Garlic

    Penne Pasta, Pesto, Mozzarella, Chicken, Tomato, Caramelized Onion, Artichoke Heart & Parmesan

    Penne Pasta, Olive Oil, Spinach, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Fresh Garlic, Feta Cheese, Herb Blend, Black Olives, Chicken

    Penne Pasta, Red Sauce, Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Sausage, Onion, Mushroom, Green Pepper, Black Olive, Shaved Parmesan, & Roasted Garlic

    This is a special advertising supplement, paid for by Mama Mimi’s

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    Learn about a Cincinnati-based pin-up model who founded a charity that raises funds for veteran organizations through a pin-up calendar, featuring authentic WWII military equipment and airplanes.

    Vixens 4 Veterans released its 2015 Pin-Up Calendar to support veterans.
    Vixens 4 Veterans released its 2015 Pin-Up Calendar to support veterans.

    Local vixens are supporting veterans through a first-ever 2015 pin-up style calendar dedicated to war veterans, produced by Vixens 4 Veterans.

    “It features pin up models in military-style settings and various facts on numerous war heroes,” explains Morgan Abercrombie from The Eisen Agency, the PR firm representing the initiative.

    Vixens 4 Veterans is a charity organization that’s based in Cincinnati. Every year, it raises funds for veteran organizations, more specifically for veterans who suffer from PTSD and those who are considering suicide.

    The organization was founded in January 2014 by Cincinnati-based pin-up model BrittanyJean alongside Australian commercial and pin-up photographer Mark Greenmantle.

    The calendar was published in December 2014 and features pin-up photographs for each month of the year, alongside military equipment including airplanes.

    The cost of the 28-page calendar is $20 and 100 percent of the profits are donated to a veteran organization.

    The organizations this year including the following:

    · Boot Campaign, which uses funding to create jobs, housing, wellness, urgent assistance and family support;

    · RuckHQ, a veteran-owned project development and management holding company;

    · Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW);

    · Soldier On, an organization committed to aiding service members with PTSD and other injuries;

    · Mates 4 Mates, an Australian defense service and veterans support organization; and,

    · Legacy Australia, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to veterans’ families.

    In addition to the pin-up calendar, the duo hopes to generate enough sponsorships and endorsements for another Vixens 4 Veterans world tour.

    Not only does Vixens 4 Veterans produce its pin-up calendar but it also sells prints, books, postcards and other merchandise to help generate funding for the veterans organizations its supports.

    To learn more, visit the Vixens 4 Veterans website or like them on Facebook.