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When you think of a wilderness ranger, who do you think of? Do you picture a big burly bearded man, covered in plaid? Would it blow your mind to see a woman ranger, wearing pink, with a pickaxe in tow? If so, consider your mind blown.

Meet Kat Barker, a trails and wilderness supervisor. She and her crew head to the backcountry for 8 day long trips of 10-hour work schedules, consisting of clearing downfall, maintaining drainage structures, trail and bridge construction, etc. It takes a tremendous amount of strength and wherewithal to perform the daily tasks and move camp every night. The job may be tough, but it comes with the best office space around. Every night ends with a good meal at the campfire with friends, and rest is sweetest after collapsing into a sleeping bag, every limb aching from the typical routine.

It’s inspiring to see this role, historically dominated by men, being filled by strong, independent women. Kat’s advice for young girls who hope to follow a similar career path is that, “You can do it! If you love being in the mountains and enjoy working really, really hard and sweating a lot, there is nothing stopping you.  It can be difficult to get your foot in the door with public land management agencies, but do your applications, and call, call, call!  Making actual connections with the people in charge of trails and wilderness programs goes a long way in getting hired.  Or there are many other arenas like firefighting, range work, biology technicians, etc. that are open for newcomers as well.  Once you get hired on, even more doors will open.”

Nothing beats a barrel of determination and love for nature. Let your passions be your driving force in life. 

Kat is wearing: Carhartt Women’s Force Performance Quarter-Zip & Women’s Original-Fit Crawford Canvas Dungaree

pack clothing that can be layered and re-worn use mini storage bins to pack snacks and toiletries dryer sheets keep your duffle fresh and static away old pill bottles are great waterproof containers that can be reused use your shower caps to safely pack dirty boots ziplocks keep your things organized and safe from the elements binder clips can be used in so many ways, always keep a few on hand get out there and have an adventure!

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Packing light and right can be a difficult task. Here are a few pointers I’ve discovered in my travels. One thing I’ve found to be true on every trip is that the more uses an item has, the more it comes in handy. Here are a few of my dual purpose road trip hacks.

Key products to bring along on any western road trip: Carhartt Women’s Calumet Long-Sleeve V-Neck, Carhartt Chicago Logo Tee (exclusively available in Chicago stores), Women’s Minot Shirt, Women’s Halley Shirt, Women’s Equestrian Belt, Women’s Cascade Jacket, Women’s Series 1889 Slim-Fit Double-Front Denim Dungaree, Carhartt Water Bottle, Clarkston Cami Tank, Carhartt Women’s El Paso Shorts, & Carhartt Legacy 23” Gear Bag. All of these items are staples for an outdoor adventure. Make sure to pack clothing that can be layered and re-worn. The weather can be unpredictable. Come prepared.

Use mini storage bins to organize snacks, toiletries, and even jewelry. This helps when packing in a duffle bag where things get messy fast. On a road trip, having a variety of snacks at your fingertips keeps you entertained and satisfied with less food. Avoid salty items if possible. It will keep you from drinking too much water and the need for multiple bathroom breaks.

I always pack a few dryer sheets in my luggage. They keep dirty clothes from stinking up the rest of your things. Also, by rubbing a dryer sheet over a garment, you prevent static. That is an invaluable trick to know, particularly when it’s colder outside.

Save old pill bottles. They come in handy as waterproof containers. You can pack a mini first aid kit, fit a bottle filled with quarters into your car cup holder to facilitate paying road tolls, or even use it for moisturizers or hair care products. The secure lid will set your mind at ease. No one wants shampoo exploding all over their clothes.

Shower caps are a normal enough travel item. Obviously you can use them in the shower, but they’re also perfect for packing dirty boots. Let’s face it, Carhartt girls very rarely have clean boots. Truthfully, I leave shower caps on my Wellington’s even when I store them in my closet at home. If you’re staying a hotel, ask the front desk if they have extra caps available.

Ziplocks are another packing favorite of mine. I use them to optimize my organization. Keep your electronic cords and chargers together. Pack a bag with each day’s outfit, then load up the outfit bags into your duffle. This will save you time later and you won’t have to dig around for socks or a certain shirt later on. I often keep my phone in a ziplock when I know I’ll be outdoors a good bit of the time. Your phone can still sense touch through the plastic and it’s protected from dirt and rain.

Binder clips are a great thing to carry. You can use them for clipping sunglasses to the car visor, managing hair bands, covering shaving razors, clipping together receipts from your trip, etc… The possibilities are endless. Just buy a bag of these things to keep on hand. You’ll be glad you did.

Now get out there and have an adventure! 

my travel outfit: Carhartt Women’s Pondera Shirt, Original-Fit Canvas Crawford Dungaree, & Women’s Wellington Boots

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After spending a week in Montana, you’re never quite the same. I just got back from a road trip across the beautiful state in search of hardest working women around. The talent I discovered and the beautiful scenery I took in blew me away.
Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply Store, based out of Bozeman, was designed with the ranchers’ needs in mind. From extra large parking spots out front to the down to earth staff inside, every detail of the store invites you stick around and enjoy the shopping experience. I was able to outfit 19 women in Carhartt gear at Murdoch’s so that they’d be ready for a hard days’ work. In the weeks to come, I’ll be sharing each one of these Montanans’ stories with you.

Take a closer look at Murdoch’s and find a store near you. You can even live chat with a ranch hand for advice and tips. 

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I think there are a lot of women (myself included) who often feel as though they are without a voice; be it in the workplace, the construction site, on the range, in social media, or during everyday life. It can be infuriatingly overwhelming to stand against the dialogue that already dictates those venues and arenas: the ideas that men are better leaders, women can’t perform as well in tough, blue-collar jobs, or even that women are better suited to clerical tasks rather than being out on the field.

Women, let’s stick together and raise our voices simultaneously to create a new discussion. We are capable. We are strong. We can swing a hammer or wield a crowbar. We can be contractors and painters and cattle ranchers and mechanics and engineers. We can do whatever job we want. We can lead, and we can do it well. WE CAN.

That brings me to Meegan Czop and the folks at Rebuilding Exchange. Many women there fill roles that are typically considered a man’s job. Meegan spends time on the ground scavenging through demolition sites for materials that can be resold through the non-profit to the public for re-use. It’s a tough job and she’s often the only woman to step foot in the work zone.

I tagged along on a trip she made to a Chicago warehouse that was ruined by fire a few months ago. With a jump in her step, she explores areas that would make most people nervous. A job that requires an adventurous spirit requires a special person. Meegan is changing the dialogue of what women are capable of with the elbow grease she puts into every day, the hard work she does to preserve and better the community, and the way she defies stereotypes with confidence and competence.

Meegan is wearing: Carhartt Women’s Force Performance Verdon Polo & Series 1889 Slim-Fit Double Front Denim Dungaree

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With fall just around the corner, it’s raining pumpkin seeds! Sandra Holl, from Floriole Cafe and Bakery in Chicago, shared her recipe for a killer fall granola. It’s so tasty, you’ll hardly believe it’s good for you.

What you need: 
3 cups of rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup of pumpkin seeds (a.k.a. pepitas)
¼ cup of flax seed
¾ cup of grade B maple syrup
½ cup of olive oil (if your olive oil has a strong flavor, use ¼ cup of olive oil and ¼ cup of neutral oil like grapeseed or sunflower)
¾ tsp. of fine sea salt
½ tsp. of cinnamon
½ tsp. of ground ginger
½ cup of dried cherries
¼ cup of chopped dates
¾ cup of toasted pecans
(serves 8)

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or oiled parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for cherries, and dates. Mix until homogenous.
3. Spread mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and stir. Bake 20 minutes more and stir again.
5. Let the granola cool for 20 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl.
6. When it’s cooled completely, add cherries, pecans and chopped dates. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place for up to a month.

Sandra is wearing: Carhartt Women’s Minot Shirt, 1889 Slim Double-Front Denim Dungaree, & Rapid City Utility Work Apron.

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It’s fair to say that most people would prefer an early morning routine of rolling out fresh chocolate croissants to a 9 to 5 desk job. But how do you get there? How do pin down your dreams fast enough to make a career out of them?
After realizing she wasn’t cut out for the daily grind of cubicle life, Sandra Holl decided to buckle down and follow her heart by attending culinary school. At that time, she knew she wanted to be her own boss and make the food she wanted to make. Seeing the opportunities at Chicago’s Green City Market, Sandra decided that opening her own booth would be a low-risk way of starting a business. There she and her husband, Mathieu, used it as a venue to test out their rustic, French pastries and built a name for themselves. Eventually, a brick and mortar space was next step. In 2010, Floriole Café and Bakery’s doors opened in Chicago’s quaint Lincoln Park neighborhood.
When I asked Sandra what the most rewarding part of her job was, she replied,

“I love that I have a family business. I work with my husband and can bring my daughter to work with me. She sees how hard I work and is so proud of her mama. She often tells customers, “This is my mom’s bakery.””

There is no greater feeling than to bring creativity and light to the world through the smile a chocolate hazelnut cookie can yield, while inspiring your own daughter and nudging her along to the discovery that she too can do the same with a little elbow grease and determination.

Here are a few tips from Sandra for anyone striving towards a similar path:
1. Find a chef you admire and work with her or him. Absorb as much of their knowledge as you can, then move on and learn more.
2. Perfect the basics before you get creative. No one really wants a wasabi curry cupcake but everyone wants a perfect slice of peach pie.
3. Everything breaks. Learn how to fix things yourself.
4. Know that you will work seven days a week. Even when you are off, you will run errands for the business, answer calls and emails and when the security alarm goes off in the middle of the night, you will go make sure that it was only a false alarm.

Sandra is wearing: Carhartt Women’s Minot Shirt, 1889 Slim Double-Front Denim Dungaree, & Rapid City Utility Work Apron.

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People often forget that barrel racing is a rigorous sport. You and your horse have to communicate instantaneously. Time is the determining factor, so your movements must become one. With a misstep, it’s easy to hit or knock over a barrel, docking points and adding on seconds to your final count. Barrel racing is for the rugged at heart. Don’t let emotions get in the way. You are in command in as you trot into the arena.

To do this sport, you’ve got to be a little fearless. You can’t be scared. Ride aggressive, be confident because it’s all or nothing, and the number one thing is you cannot ride timid!” -Charmayne James

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After leaving the music industry to find a creative challenge, Caitlin Kerr founded The Foxglove Studios. She started small, maintaining part time jobs and freelancing while building her skills and learning the craft. Each gradual step made it a more manageable task to jump into a whole new career. With time her clientele grew and running the studio became a fulltime job. Starting over can seem daunting and even downright impossible, but Caitlin put aside those fears created her own dream job. 

Another important part of starting a new career path is to remember your roots. The years you spent at your old job weren’t pointless. You put in time an effort that helped make you the person you are today. Music plays a large role in Caitlin’s job. She listens to songs, bands, and composers reminiscent of the mood she’s aiming to capture in her creations.

Floral Arrangement Tips from Caitlin of The Foxglove Studios:
1. Use chicken wire, floral tape, or both to create a base. Avoid the Styrofoam filled with toxic chemicals.
2. Use it all. The greens of a flower can also be utilized. Don’t strip off the leaves, they create texture and fill out the arrangement.
3. When arranging, start with the base of greens and foliage. Then add focal flowers and whimsical flowers (the whispy, airy, smaller, and more wild types of flowers like scabiosa and ranunculus).
4. Allow the focal flowers to stand taller. It creates a more interesting arrangement.
5. Make sure to cut the stems of your arrangements and change the water everyday.

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On this day in 1920, the 19th amendment was passed, securing the right of American women to vote. It’s a proud day for the nation. With the desire of continuing the path towards total equality in mind, the hashtag, #AskHerMore, has been trending this week, referencing the interviewing tactics at award shows. The only question most women on the red carpet are asked is “Who are you wearing?” Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy fashion, and designers deserve their due, but what about the woman wearing the clothes? Are we missing the big picture? She’s not winning an award for most awesome outfit. She’s being recognized for her work.
With Crafted in Carhartt, clothes and work gear are a quality-constructed and well-designed means to an end. You should feel happy, comfortable, and beautiful as you work, and you should have clothing that helps you get the job done. When you wear Carhartt, you don’t have to worry about the rain, or the cold, or even the heat. These clothes are sturdy. They can take a beating. Carhartt has that covered so you don’t have to worry about it. Wear our clothes so you can focus on what’s really important, your work. Be it carving, sculpting, painting, metalwork, urban farming, caring for horses, tending gardens, building a company, or building a building.
Dig deep into this blog as we #AskHerMore.
Our red carpet is your workplace. Our award show is sharing your story.
Trust me, you look beautiful covered in sawdust and paint, and we want to know more.

Here are a few of my most recent favorite stories. Take a look:
(in order of appearance above) 

Veronika and Teia from the Empowerment Plan

Anne the Riveter and Her Riveted Rabbit

Amy Nicole Swift, the Building Hugger

Amiee, the Passion-filled Woodworker

Paper Artist, Bukola

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Let’s take a minute to think about women in media and how we’re portrayed. It’s a common enough topic these days. Many of us are aware that our society is continually bombarded with gorgeous glamazon women, thin and flawless, with glowing skin and shiny hair, perfectly positioned, sitting, standing still, just waiting to be admired.
We all know the wonders of Photoshop, the great works of make-up artists, and the phenomena of calorie counting. Even once the smoke and mirrors are revealed, it can still be hard to shake the conditioned image of what women are expected to be in this day and age. Of course what we need is an adjustment of those expectations. We say we’ll think differently and react on a more educated level when we see these constant reminders of what our culture demands of us. But it can be tough to stand strong against the nonstop barrage.
We need to start consuming media that shows us the real strength and beauty of women. Watch movies and read books that pass the Bechdel Test. That’s simply a work of fiction that features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Quite shockingly, there are few contemporary pieces that pass. Seek out the ones that do. Toss out the magazines that tempt you into the never-ending chase after a newer, thinner, fitter, happier, sexier you. Trust me, once you find your true path in life and do what it takes to follow it, you’ll be the better version of yourself that everyone hopes to be.
Don’t buy into the misconception that women are catty with each other and just want to compete at all costs. Stop perpetuating that behavior. We need to build each other up. Be inspired by the strong trailblazers who have left a wake that shakes things up. That’s my ultimate goal with Crafted in Carhartt. It’s a safe place in social media, where women are portrayed as the strong, capable, creative, and awesome people that they truly are. Let’s focus on the good we as women can bring to the world. Be challenged by women making art, building skills, making things, and getting business done. We can all learn from each other’s stories and advice.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather see images of women, who are masters of their trade, proficiently swinging a hammer, shoveling coal, and accomplishing something great than someone who is dead in the eyes, forcing a smile as just the right amount of wind tousles her hair. How about you?

Pictured above is Detroit artist, Kate Silvio. Read more about her and her work here.