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Colorado Mills kicks off October's National Celebration of Women with booths of stuff

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To introduce its month-long "Celebrating Women" event, Colorado Mills hosted a "wellness" expo at the shopping center on Saturday, October 1. The expo was positioned at the end of the food court, where two rows of tables stocked with brochures allowed women to contemplate everything from Colorado Service Dogs to Slim New U, an "extreme weight loss" program, to Cricket wireless and the California Pizza Kitchen.

Of the vendors I spoke with, the Credit Union of Denver and The Point athletic club seemed genuinely excited to be there, and their businesses at least fit into the overall theme of wellness. I would definitely describe myself as a fiscally irresponsible work-out junkie, and I'm sure a lot of other people would, too. But that doesn't necessarily have much to do with me being a woman.

In fact, the expo seemed rather haphazardly put together, crammed behind a raucous and greasy food court, complete with happy screams coming from a bouncy castle sharing the space. Touted as an effort to "showcase our unique brand of shopping with fashion forward outlet and value retailers, while engaging women who play a vital role in our society as mothers, caregivers, business leaders and community activists," this first event seemed to fall well short of that mark.

But there is an entire month of women-centered activities ahead for Colorado Mills, beginning today with "The Week of a Woman" photo contest. The mall is encouraging photographers of all skill levels to spend this week capturing -- you guessed it -- everyday women; photo contest submissions must be uploaded to the Colorado Mills' Flickr no later than midnight on October 12. Entries will be judged by the Red Rock Community College photography department, and ten winners will receive $100 to $250 American Express gift cards.

If you're a Red Hat Society fan, the mall is hosting a Red Hat Rendezvous on October 11, with complimentary coffee and Cinnabon for members, along with a Red Hat ensemble contest and "exclusive" discounts and offers for unnamed mall retailers.

On October 22, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue's Off Fifth, Kenneth Cole and a handful of other Mills' retailers will be offering "Style Stops" -- with personal shopping, modeling, trunk shows of fall fashions and free stuff throughout the day.

Closing out Colorado Mills' National Celebration of Women, on October 27 the winners of the photo contest will be announced at a private reception with the West Metro Chamber of Commerce, hosted by Miss Colorado 2011, Diana Dreman.

For more information on specific events, go to the mall's website or Facebook page. And watch this blog for my personal "The Week of a Woman" photo entries, which will start tomorrow.

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