Meet our “Hero” Winner!

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Meet our Hero Winner Amanda! We asked all of you last month to nominate your personal hero or someone that inspires you for a chance for her to win an hour of pampering from my staff and I along with a free outfit from THE NINES. The emails poured in and it was so hard to chose one hero after reading so many incredible stories.
Amanda is one fabulous lady but before I tell you about her, another part of this story that we fell in love with was that a complete stranger nominated Amanda. The lady that nominated her wants to remain anonymous and this is part of what she said in her nomination email to us “My hope is only for this dear woman to know there are people, she doesn’t even know, pulling for her. My heart aches for this woman I’ve never met. I’m not sure how much sleep Amanda gets, or if she’s been pampered since the birth of Gannon, but this girl could use some love from out of nowhere!

Amanda and her husband Bobby of Park Rapids, MN have an eight year old son named Gannon who is awaiting a heart transplant. For a little insight into this family’s life for the last eight years read this great article from the Park Rapids Paper about Gannon:

Gannon Wilkins is at the top of the list for a heart transplant and until that call comes his family feels blessed the 8-year-old Park Rapids boy is able to spend this time at home, not in a hospital bed. The pump Gannon carries with him at all times, 24 hours a day, administers medication to keep his heart pumping. This medication pump allows Gannon to live at home, go to school and be as active as his body permits. It also allows the Wilkins family some normalcy in an extremely abnormal and scary situation. It’s been a long journey for the family since doctors first discovered something wrong during Amanda’s pregnancy with Gannon. The family has endured countless hospital stays, tests and frightening uncertainty since.

As the family waits for a donor heart for Gannon, Amanda says they try to enjoy every day and not think too much about what may happen with or without a heart transplant. “It feels like a blessing and a miracle he’s even here,” Amanda said. “We’ve always known from day one every day is a blessing with Gannon.” Gannon was born with Long QT Syndrome, a heart rhythm condition that causes fast, chaotic heartbeats. Doctors also suspect he has a rare condition characterized by an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Doctors discovered the genetic anomaly during the sixth month of Amanda’s pregnancy with Gannon while the family was living in New Mexico. Her husband Bobby was stationed there with the United States Air Force.

An ultrasound showed the baby’s heart rate measuring over 400 beats a minute. The baby had severe hydrops, a serious fetal condition where the body fills with a layer of fluid causing congestive heart failure. Doctors gave Amanda the antiarrhythmics medication Flecainide to slow the heart rate. Amanda and the baby were monitored throughout the pregnancy and about six weeks before Gannon was born Amanda said the heart rate looked fine. The hydrops was resolved and doctors stopped the medication but the heart condition returned. That’s when the doctors realized this was something Gannon would be born with. He was delivered three weeks early and spent close to a month in the NICU to regulate his medications.

Gannon is at the top of the transplant list for his size and age at Mayo Clinic in Rochester after going into cardiac arrest in July. He doesn’t like to talk about all the medical procedures he’s been through and shies away from conversation about his heart. Gannon’s heart functions at 15-20 percent. The medications now administered through his PICC line help his heart pump efficiently. Gannon continues with routine trips to Mayo for tests and consultations. Amanda said the doctors have been amazing through the entire journey from New Mexico to Denver and now Minnesota. “They keep him healthy and not panic us. We have the absolutely top doctors in the country,” Amanda said. “They all know Gannon by first name.” When Gannon was 3 ½ years old doctors in Denver, Colorado wanted to try a cardiac ablation, which is a medical procedure that attempts to fix the troublesome area in the heart that is causing the heart to beat too fast. But Gannon’s heart wasn’t big enough for surgery. Medications to regulate his heart rate continued until he was 5 when doctors discovered new arrhythmias in Gannon’s heart. Doctors then had to wean Gannon off meds to now do the ablation. Once back on the meds doctors discovered they no longer worked. Doctors then had to look for another medication combination.

“While in the room with the doctor Gannon got a scared look on his face, his heart rate sped up and he went into ventricular tachydardia,” Amanda recalled. “They called a code blue and had the crash cart come in and were standing over Gannon waiting to shock him.” The IV meds worked to settle his heart rate down.

Bobby requested a transfer from New Mexico and the family moved to Aurora, Colorado for continued care at a children’s hospital. In 2012 doctors decided to place an Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) to regulate the arrythmias. “We got home and everything was going okay,” Amanda said of Gannon, who then was one month shy of his fifth birthday. “Dad and I were downstairs, Gannon was upstairs playing and we heard a blood curdling scream.” Gannon was crying at the top of the stairs. “My husband scooped him up and asked Gannon what was wrong when his whole body jumped and brought my husband to his knees.” Gannon’s ICD was discharging and they called an ambulance. “The ICD discharged 14 times in an hour,” Amanda said. “It did its job but the heart wasn’t cooperating with the defibrillator.”

Doctors in Denver consulted with experts at Mayo Clinic to discuss his case. Bobby retired from the Air Force after a 23-year career and the family moved to Park Rapids in November of last year to be closer to Mayo for Gannon’s continued care. Amanda grew up in Park Rapids and living here provides additional support from family and friends. Amanda said the ICD hasn’t discharged since 2012.

The meds continued to work up to about December of last year when doctors noticed Gannon’s heart function had decreased from 60 percent to 46 percent. They continued with further medical evaluations. While waiting to return to Mayo to see Gannon’s electrophysiologist his heart function dropped to 25 percent. Doctors tried new medications to figure out a solution. Weaning Gannon off one med and trying a different one was hard on his heart and in July of this year he went into cardiac arrest at the hospital. Doctors performed CPR and administered emergency medications to get his heart beating normally. An echocardiogram showed his heart function had dropped to 10 percent. At this point the decrease in the heart’s ability to pump moved Gannon the heart transplant list.

The Wilkins family waits as Gannon goes about his life as an 8-year-old boy. He’s a 3rd-grader at Century Elementary. He’s active with limitations, a funny kid who enjoys playing Lego’s, soccer and carpet hockey with older brother Kiergon. He also likes to make crafts and create artwork with his grandmother. Daily activity wears Gannon out but Amanda says it’s worth having her son home with the family and attending school in Park Rapids. “When he gets home from school he’s exhausted. It definitely takes everything out of him,” Amanda said. “We have no worries or reservations about sending him to school. We know they take excellent care of him.” He’s able to attend school because the medication pump he carries gives his heart the ability to function the best it can until the transplant.

“Transplant is the next step. This has to get done,” Amanda said. “I’ve got my phone and it could be any time we get the call.” She tries not to look too far ahead though, instead enjoying the daily routine with Gannon. “The anticipation was very high when he first came home in July. Now, physically and emotionally it can get exhausting,” Amanda said. “We’re in our routine at home. You just can’t think about it, you’d drive yourself crazy. It’s nice to be home. The calmness we have here is greatly appreciated.”

“There’s no way of really preparing for anything,” Bobby added. “We go day by day and see how things pan out.”

The transplant team is in place and ready when the donor heart becomes available. Once the call comes Gannon will fly to Mayo for the transplant surgery. The surgery is expected to take 4-6 hours with inpatient recovery about two weeks. Once discharged, Gannon will have to stay in Rochester for three months. 

My staff and I here at THE NINES were honored to meet Amanda this morning and give her an hour of fun and a new outfit that she so deserved!

If anyone is in the neighborhood there is going to be a benefit in Park Rapids this Saturday for Gannon from 4-7 at the American Legion. You can also follow Gannon’s Heart Journey on Facebook where Amanda posts updates about Gannon.

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Nominate your hero!

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For those of you new to my store ,THE NINES, and what we’re all about, we often like to do little pay it forwards to local people that inspire us. Sometimes we ask our customers to nominate people they know and sometimes we just happen to run into these amazing people around town.

These little pay it forwards all started on one of my days off when I first opened the store almost 3 years ago. I  was getting a coffee at McDonald’s (yes, there wasn’t a Caribou Coffee in Detroit Lakes back then) and the lady in the drive through was so unbelievably happy and insanely upbeat that it almost scared me at first and it also kind of took my breath away.  I had been getting my morning coffee at that McDonald’s location since I moved back to Minnesota several years ago and the customer service has always been good but nothing like this, that’s why I was so thrown off by her that morning.  I left the drive through so incredibly uplifted and inspired by her that I knew I needed to do something. I told my staff about the lady at McDonald’s and how I felt we needed to let her know how much she is appreciated. I decided if that same happy woman working the drive through was there the following morning I was going to have a $50 gift card ready for her and tell her thank you for brightening up this world with her contagious enthusiasm. She was there the next morning and she was so shocked and excited when I  gave her the gift card. She even visited me at the store after work and hugged me and thanked me.  Sometimes we forget how powerful our words are. Words change people’s lives, as they have mine (but that’s for another blog).

So that’s how this all started and then we decided to get our customers involved! One of my own personal heroes, my Mom, who has served in multiple wars as a flight nurse and has faced obstacles I can’t imagine facing. She’s one of those people that you would never even know has led such an incredible life because she is so quit and humble.   She’s the reason I wanted to reach out to all of you and hear about your personal heroes so we can all learn and be inspired and of course to treat that deserving woman to a new outfit!

Please send me an email and nominate your hero! She could be a friend or co-worker who’s just flat out amazing, someone you know who’s big into helping others or the community or maybe a relative who takes care of everyone but herself. We want to hear her story and give her an hour of pampering while my staff and I have her try on clothes like “Pretty Woman” until she finds the perfect outfit to take home for free! Then we are going to share her story and pictures on our Blog!

Please send your emails to Shopthenines247@gmail.com and put “hero” in the subject line. Your hero must live somewhat close to Detroit Lakes or be willing to drive to get here for her mini makeover :)

All emails need to be sent in by the end of February. My staff and I will be picking one lucky winner the first week in March. We are  looking forward to reading about your heroes!

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A Day in the Life: Lauren Zima

It’s time for another Meet-Our-Staff Monday!

Meet: Lauren Zima
Position with THE NINES: Owner

What are your 3 biggest accomplishments in life?:
“1. My boys.
2. Receiving a patent for a product I invented for women. &
3. Serving in the Army”

What’s your favorite part about owning THE NINES?: “I love when we do our “Pay-It-Forward” makeovers! The emails we receive for the amazing nominated people in our community leaves my staff and me in tears. When the makeover winner shows up, we have so much fun pampering that deserving woman for an hour.

“Have you always loved fashion?: “Yes! Growing up I would steal clothes out of all of my family members’ closets. Even my Stepdad’s argyle socks weren’t safe from me. I saved my allowance for a year in 8th grade and ordered fuchsia glitter Dr. Marten’s from Europe. I’ve always been obsessed with shoes. Growing up my Mom called me Amelda [Marcos].

Favorite place to eat in Detroit Lakes?:  “Brew Ale & Eats DL

What do you like to do in your spare time [in the off chance that you have it]?:
“I am a ping pong and Scrabble junkie!’ 

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Self Love

We’ve all had those thoughts when looking in the mirror: “I wish my arms were more toned. Why does my hair look like this? Are those crow’s feet?!”

Things that are part of our body and history have left us feeling inadequate, unloved, and not our best when they should leave us feeling proud, beautiful, and strong.

Stretch marks are the sign of growth or motherhood, lines and wrinkles are signs of wisdom and laughs from over the years, and scars show that we have survived what we thought at that time was unsurvivable.

While we are only human and see flaws in ourselves, here at THE NINES, we see each and every one of you ladies for who you are: strong, fabulous, and beautiful, inside and out.

Although we are taking this stance from a boutique’s viewpoint, we are still real women that struggle with the same self love and body image issues every other woman deals with. But what makes our job so special is that we meet new women every day that take our breath away on what real beauty is and how we perceive it.

Our passion for fashion goes beyond a materialist craving. Read below to hear the story of Lauren and what inspired her to create THE NINES.

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“We are so hard on ourselves when we look in the mirror.

I remember after having my youngest son, I struggled to get my baby weight off. I almost couldn’t look in the mirror and not just because I was at my highest weight. But I felt inadequate for many other reasons and I remember thinking someday I will be thinner, I will have a better job and I will be able to look in the mirror again and see someone I was proud of. But for now I’m not happy with what I see in the mirror.

I was really down and my husband told me I should go shopping to lift my spirits. Doing what all Moms do, I tried to put my kids and family first and I told my husband that we couldn’t afford to be buying me clothes I will have to give away in 6 months when I hopefully take the weight off. He told me he wasn’t taking no for an answer so off I went to shop. At first I was a little depressed while thumbing through the racks since I was looking at much larger sizes than what I normally wear but I tried on clothes anyway. I ended up putting together 3 outfits and I treated myself to a really awesome pair of shoes.

The next morning when I was getting ready for work I put on my new outfit, new shoes and I curled my hair. I looked in the mirror and I broke down and cried. Tears of joy were streaming down my face because it was the first time I felt beautiful in years. I felt important and confident again. I wasn’t at my goal weight, I wasn’t doing well financially, many things in life could have been better at the time but I felt like I was back! The fun loving spunky go getter of a woman was back!

My life drastically changed after that day. The day I treated myself to the outfits and started loving myself again everything in my life changed for the better. I think I just needed to be reminded that I matter and I’m worth it.  I was promoted at work, my relationship with my husband was stronger than ever, I was offered a new job and only a year and a half after that day I opened THE NINES. 

So you can say I’m pretty passionate about fashion. It’s what’s on the inside that counts but it’s kind of amazing what you attract into your life when you start dressing like the rockstar you were created to be and when you remind yourself how truly important you are. My hope is that if you’re not already taking great care of yourself and loving yourself that you start.

It’s time to fall in love with you all over again today, not in a few months when you’re at your goal weight, when you graduate college, when you have the right job, or when you meet the right person. No excuses, you are a masterpiece and deserve to be celebrated. Love that person you see in the mirror and start reminding yourself daily of all the great things you add to this world. Don’t forget to treat yourself and remind yourself of how important you truly are.

Remember, if you need help finding that outfit or just need some words of encouragement my staff and I are here to help you six days a week!”

 

Lauren pictured here with her family visiting the Grand Canyon this past month.

Lauren pictured here with her family visiting the Grand Canyon this past month.

 

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When you look good, you feel good, you do good. It’s beyond the designer labels, trends, and prices tags, but more about the outcome and overall feeling of self worth.

What Sets THE NINES Apart

You’ve heard it in malls, boutiques, and department stores before. “You need this.” as a sales associate is forcing a heinous sweater in your dressing room that you would never pick out in a million years. You think to yourself, “Why is the person so pushy?”

Or, you’re faced with the sad racks of clothes that were created for paper dolls or body types that just don’t match yours. The dimensions are all wrong or your size is tucked away in a little corner like the store is ashamed to carry it.

The worst is when the sales associate’s help and feedback is nowhere to be found or helpful when really needed. They are rude and short with you when finally located and of no assistance to you.

So, you climb back into your car, defeated from the day’s fruitless gathering.  Quite frankly, you’re feeling a little self-conscious and down.

Here at THE NINES, we pride ourselves on the fact that we carry sizes for all body types, we are not a sales-driven team, so our opinion is honest and genuine, and the team we have is strengthened from its diverse members.

We figured it’s great to show how we are set apart from other stores, but why not hear it from Lauren herself?

1.) We celebrate every woman’s sense of style: “Many stores are geared for a specific woman. At THE NINES, I created this store to be able to help and style every woman who walks through the door. If a business woman walks in, I want to help her find outfits for work. If a college student needs casual outfits, I’ve got her covered. If a curvy woman is looking for trending clothes that flatter her, we can help. Whether you have a very simple style or you love cutting edge fashion, you can find it here. No matter your budget or craving for big name designer brands, we have Hudson Jeans or Steve Madden Shoes just to name a few!”

2.) Our goal is to help you make great outfits, not to make a sale: “Making someone feel great is better than any amount of money in my book.  That’s why we tell our customers if they have a great pair of shoes at home and need the perfect dress to bring your shoes into our store so we can help them make the perfect outfit. Or, vice versa. If you find yourself with the perfect dress and you just need to accessorize, bring your dress into the store so we can help you put the icing on your outfit.”

3.) “Knowing how hard it can be to shop when I’m pressed for time, I hired some of the friendliest and most helpful personal shoppers to help not only give my customers honest feedback in the dressing room but help you put together outfits that you may not have put together yourself. My staff and I are truly here to serve you and help you have a great time while you shop! A diverse, down-to-earth group of women of all ages whose goal is to get you looking and feeling your best.”

 

Personal Shopper, Uni, works with a customer to find her best and most flattering fit in a dress.

Personal Shopper, Uni, works with a customer to find her best and most flattering fit in a dress.

 

THE NINES is an experience and we want to be sure that every woman is celebrated by making her feel her absolute best.

Break the Rules!

Many times in life we are told to do this, don’t do that, listen to the rules, and don’t even think about stepping out of boundaries. But, where is the fun in that?

Fashion was conceived on the idea of expression and creativity and holding that back should not only be considered a crime, but a travesty. It has been said before that it’s okay to bend the rules, but here at The NINES, we want to encourage you to straight up break them. Wearing stripes with spots? Thumbs up from us. Floral and checkered prints? We’ll vouch for you 100%.

The other thing about fashion is people know but don’t like to repeat this too often: it’s okay to have a bad outfit. Because the thing is, you’re still trying. You’re trying trends, silhouettes, textures, experimenting with something that is going to come off at the end of the day. That’s what sets fashion apart from so many other vices.

 

Black + Brown? Not a worry, you totally can pair this duo together for a natural, relaxed look!

Black + Brown? Not a worry, you totally can pair this duo together for a natural, relaxed look!

 

Coloring your hair may result in a “bad hair day” for weeks and a tattoo may not turn out how it looked in your mind before committing. Pulling a fashion faux-pas will and never has hurt anyone. (Despite what some tabloids have to say.)

We often see women come into the store that may be hesitant or nervous to try new styles, and that’s okay. But what we love so much about our job is that we have the resources and ways to help women try something new, no matter how unsure they are about it.

 

Horizontal stripes are nothing to fret about! In fact, they often times prove to be more flattering!

Horizontal stripes are nothing to fret about! In fact, they often times prove to be more flattering!

 

Fashion, getting dressed, and making new outfit creations is such a fun way to experiment with your personal taste and style that once you start, it becomes a fun challenge.

 

Fashion For All: Fashion has no age restrictions

At The NINES, it’s pretty clear we adore fashion. Most of us even started loving it before we knew we loved it and will continue to do so until we no longer can.

A frequent thing we hear in our “fitting room confessions” as we call them, is “I’m too old to wear something like that”. We hear some funny stuff at the store, but this line always is perhaps one of the ones that we hear the most.

What does that mean? To be too old to wear something? Wear it and forget your age! Coco Chanel was preparing her fashion line-ups until she was 87 years old. Betsey Johnson rocks the hell out of some kooky designs and she is 73. Iris Apfel, God bless her and her fabulous glasses, is 93 years young and one of her many titles is fashion icon.

 

Photo credits (left to right): gawker.com, nola.com, huffingtonpost.com

Photo credits (left to right): gawker.com, nola.com, huffingtonpost.com

 

While yes, these women may be “fashion icons”, they’re still strong, powerful, and stylish women.  At market, we see women of all ages wearing the trends that are being talked about. At the end of the day, what you should be wearing is what makes you feel fabulous.

Sure, there is a thing we call “dressing our age”. But we’re not requesting that you run out in high-waisted, hot pink pleather shorts. If that’s your style, go for it! We are merely suggesting that trying an asymmetrical dress and floppy hat may turn some heads, especially if you’re rocking it with confidence.

It’s often said that things get better with age. So, prove the non-believers wrong and wear that bold printed kimono with rings on every finger. Or, you know, whatever you want.

You are (legally) required to wear clothes your entire life, you might as well make them fun and interesting, right?

MAGIC Market: Cool trends, Cool People

Oh the places you’ll go! But in reality, they should really tell you about the people you meet.

This past week while we were at market, not only did we find and buy the latest in trends, but, we met some incredible people that wowed us with their words, style, and personalities.

According to WWD Magic, an average of about 80,000 people attend seminars, shows, and exhibits from Sunday to Thursday of the market week scheduled. So it’s no wonder there’s a surplus of fascinating people to become acquainted with and meet.

Being a super-fan of Project Runway (obvi), we were ecstatic to find out that Sandhya Garg, a designer from Season 13, was present and selling her line. Very gracious but professional, Garg paged through her new line complete with unique personal prints and colors. She also showed a few best sellers and offered us a line-up sheet to take and study.

 

Lauren (left) and Sandhya Garg (right) You can read Sandhya's bio here: bit.ly/1I0l1wR/

Lauren (left) and Sandhya Garg (right) You can read Sandhya’s bio here: bit.ly/1I0l1wR/

 

Overall a treat to meet, Garg posed as a great role model and an aspiration for any entrepreneur, inventor, or designer aspiring to make it big.

 

Each store carried their brand with pride and with over 900 brands represented at WWD’s MAGIC, there was plenty of fashion and style to go around for everyone. Each vendor and buyer seemed to be branded with their unique take on fashion, trends, and style.

 

This Toronto couple showed up to market every day with a taste for fashion.

This Toronto power couple showed up to market every day with a taste for fashion.

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Ran into (unknowingly) the designer for Alythea and Sis Sis Fashion. We were intrigued by her simple but chic outfit.

 

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Rory, a rep for MAK, showed off a Spring 2016 piece so retro that we instantly fell in love with it.

 

While this is just a small peek into the world of WWD Magic Trade Show, we wanted to bring you a taste of it through our experiences! You can check out more behind-the-scenes pictures, stories, and links at our Pinterest page: bit.ly/1Jvorgy

The NINES Takes Las Vegas and Gives Back

Las Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, we visit markets all over the country to personally shop for all of you that visit our store. However, it wasn’t until a few seasons ago that we had a great idea on how to put the totes and other handouts from vendors to good use.

 

“Last February at Market in Las Vegas, I had piles of nice tote bags given to me by all of the vendors I buy from at Market. I told my co-workers Uni and Madi, I wish there was something good we could do with these bags since we had no room in our suitcases to take them home with us.

I suddenly remembered the last market trip when I had brought Sheila and Uni and we walked the Las Vegas strip the night before the show. There was a pregnant homeless woman asking for money and I bent down to give her a few bucks and smiled at her. That’s it, we are going to fill these bags with things for the homeless people in Las Vegas!

I know these bags will probably not get them off the streets, but I do remember how nice a granola bar tasted after being hungry during Army Basic Training. When you haven’t showered in days, you’ve been walking for miles in the heat, and you don’t have much to eat, little things like a granola bar or a card from a loved one that says “I love you” are the things that help keep you going.

That’s what these bags were for. We filled over 30 totes with granola bars and other nonperishable snacks from Central Market, shirts from Detroit Lakes T-shirt Company, wet wipes, hand-written inspirational quotes, and other little items to help them on their journey.”

-Lauren Zima, Owner

 

Each vendor gives us a bag or two for placing an order with them. As a result, we end up with a ton of bags.

Each vendor gives us a bag or two for placing an order with them. As a result, we end up with a ton of bags.

Another unfortunate truth we happened to notice at the same time was the overwhelming amount of homeless people out on the streets, Las Vegas particularly. After brainstorming with Uni, Madi, and myself, we thought it would be cool to take these “freebies” we were receiving and push them forward to someone who may be more in need of them.

So, our plan of action was to fill these bags with general necessities; toothpaste, toothbrushes, baby wipes, and granola bars.  We also thought it may be appropriate to throw some more personal items in the mix such as a notebook, pen, t-shirt, and our favorite inspirational quotes. Central Market in Detroit Lakes donated a gift card for us to purchase granola bars and Detroit Lakes T-Shirt Company donated 2-shirts for every bag we made.

 

Stuffing the bags with goodies like toothpaste, granola bags, wipes, notebooks, and quotes!

Stuffing the bags with goodies like toothpaste, granola bags, wipes, notebooks, and quotes!

 

We chose some of our favorite inspirational quotes to write and place in  each bag to personalize it.

We chose some of our favorite inspirational quotes to write and place in each bag to personalize it.

 

We loaded up The NINES tour bus with 34 bags full of goodies from us to hand out. Our first stop was to find people to hand these out to, so we moseyed over to Fremont Street. On the way there we found a few individuals on the street we pulled over for as well.

 

Some individuals were begging on lesser known streets, some were found right on Fremont St.

Some individuals were on lesser known streets, some were found right on Fremont St.

 

The people we met were so grateful, even commenting on the weight of the bags, “It’s so heavy, thank you,” one woman had said. We also met an inventor, telling us his crazy stories of adventures and inventions. A couple of gentlemen were sitting together as Lauren approached them with a bag with two of her boys as one asked “Minnesota?” as she surprisedly answered, “Yes, how did you know?” “Go Packers, Vikings stink,” he said as we all got a good laugh.

 

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As we realized toward the end of the night, we would have a few bags left over and wanted to make sure they went to someone who needed them. We did some research and found a shelter in our area called Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, a shelter that specializes in providing a safe place for adolescents and teens in the Las Vegas area.

 

Emi Horiai, Interim Programs Manager (right) and Lauren (left) standing outside of the shelter in Las Vegas with our donated bags.

We are always so thankful that we get to personally shop for all of you back home and feel that it is also our job to give back as much as we possibly can, whenever we can. As we filled bags and prepared to do this, Lauren found a quote that particularly struck a cord with her.

 

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MAGIC Market Day #1: A Sneak Peek

Every year comes and goes and each round of markets gets crazier and it’s…well, magic. This time around, we’re tearin’ up Vegas one exhibitor at a time looking for only the best to bring back to you in good ol’ Minnesota.

 

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Kicking off the week, we attended a seminar to educate ourselves on some of the upcoming and expected trends for Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. Panelists included Carl Scibetta, EVP and GM from Shoe Carnival to give us some insight on what footwear was going to look like. George McCracken, a stylist and designer for M-82, also made an appearance giving us some perspective on overall trends and how they were even affecting men’s fashion.

 

Pictured from left to right: (Carl Scibetta, George McCracken, Lauren Zima, Sam Poser)

Pictured from left to right: (Carl Scibetta, George McCracken, Lauren Zima, Sam Poser)

 

A few things the panelists were expecting to be popular were 70’s trends, Western-wear (moderately, of course), and rich textures or materials such as velvet. As we progressed into market later on into the day, we only saw about 15 fold of the progressive trends that made us excited for Fall all over again.

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Some of the first stops we made were chock full of surprises we were not anticipating but may or may not have given them a shot; mock turtlenecks, an overwhelming amount of prints, not to mention we were in flared sleeves up to our eyeballs. But, we prevailed and made a robust selection that we are so excited for you all to see back home.

Check out some of the finds we picked today!:

Our first stop was at Everly and we couldn't help but fawn over the delightful cocktail dresses.

Our first stop was at Everly and we couldn’t help but fawn over the delightful cocktail dresses.

Blu Pepper certainly brought their A-game with Fall trends and basics alike. Plus, they've launched a line of jewelry!

Blu Pepper certainly brought their A-game with Fall trends and basics alike. Plus, they’ve launched a line of jewelry!

Bo-Bel is heavily prepared for Fall with flannels, vests, sweaters, and layers far too many to count. Not to mention, they offer plus sizes!

Bo-Bel is heavily prepared for Fall with flannels, vests, sweaters, and layers far too many to count. Not to mention, they offer plus sizes!

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If you can’t tell, we’re pretty pumped about getting this vest in!

Lastly, Ellison came equipped with a Fall display that made us drool.

Lastly, Ellison came equipped with a Fall display that made us drool.

In the upcoming days we are so excited to bring you updates and posts as to what we are finding and picking for you. We’ll keep you informed and you could be helping us pick some new finds too! Check out Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and Facebook feed too!