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Happy 4th of July!

To all of  you from all of us here at Pendleton Woolen Mills. Have the best Independence Day ever!

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Brandon Burk Photography

Backpack by Hold Fast Gear

PDX Beer Week: Are You Prepared?

Today, we want to talk about PDX Beer Week. As the website explains,

Portland Beer Week is eleven days of fun, educational, eye and palate opening eating and drinking events in the greatest beer city on earth. More than just a beer festival, Portland Beer Week is a celebration of craft beer culture and all of its tangents from food pairings to beer ice cream, artwork and design, film and science.

You owe it to yourself to check out the events for this, if you’re in Portland or anywhere near it. And of course, we’re so proud of our own newest entry into the world of craft brews, thanks to ROGUE Ales & Spirits.

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That’s right: Rogue’s Pendleton Pale Ale in a special can that features the label and stripe from the Pendleton blanket honoring Oregon’s own Crater Lake.

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The Crater Lake Lodge recently held a tasting, and we got serious thumbs-up for the brew’s crisp, clear, yet complex flavors.

You can find this beer at select Pendleton stores as well as the usual Rogue locations.

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Taking a Blanket Home: Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the #pendle10park explorers

 

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Welcome to the most visited national park in the United States, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These misty mountains welcome nine to ten million visitors per year. The park covers more than 800 square miles in Tennessee and North Carolina, making it the largest national park east of the Rockies.

We sent our blanket home to the Great Smokys with one of our #pendle10park explorers. True to their name, the mountains were cloaked with heavy mist, caused by high elevation, 80 inches of rainfall per year, and a multitude of flora; 130 species of trees, over 100 native shrub species, and some 1,600 species of flowering plants.

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The Cherokee called the region Shaconage, which translates to “mountains of the blue smoke.”

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The park is home to many beautiful waterfalls that also play a part in creating that wonderful haze.

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As an International Biosphere Reserve, the Park’s biological diversity is preserved and studied. A staggering 10,00 different species of plants and animals are recorded here, but there may be as many as 9o,000 more species of plant an animal life still to be identified.

With the help of a distance lens, our explorer encountered some of this wildlife, including one of the park’s 1500 black bears.

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Elk, which were re-introduced to the park in 2001, are becoming more common. A herd of around 140 ranges on the North Carolina side of the park. Again, we promise that these beautiful shots were taken at a distance.

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Incredible shots.

Great Smoky National Park is open 365 days a year, and park entry is free. Free! Yes, that means you have access to 850 miles of hiking (there is a fee for overnight camping. But it’s worth it to wake up and smell the coffee in a paradise like this.

 

 

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Many thanks to our #pendle10park explorer, Ben Matthews.

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See more of Ben’s work here:

Ben Matthews on Instagram 

Ben Matthews

Shop Pendleton’s National Park collection here: Great Smoky

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Mill Tribute Blankets by Pendleton: Racine Woolen Mills of Racine, Wisconsin

In 2010, Pendleton Woolen Mills introduced our Tribute Series, paying homage to four of the American Mills that thrived during the Golden Age of Native American Trade blankets. Today, we will talk about Racine Woolen Mills, known for their intricate patterns. 

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In 1865, a Racine company began producing textiles under the name Blake & Company under the leadership of Lucien Blake and John Hart. In 1877, the company incorporated under the name of “Racine Woolen Mills—Blake & Company.” Racine Woolen Mills went on to become the premier producer and marketer of Native American Trade blankets.

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Racine was well-established by 1893. Records show employees of 150 skilled weavers and gross sales of $300K, which was an robust amount for the day. Racine’s fringed shawls were produced under the “Badger State” label. These earliest shawls are relatively subdued by today’s standards, mostly plain with an in intricately designed border. Photos of these vintage shawls show the superior drape of the fabric. They were extremely popular with Native American women.

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Native American women in Racine’s Ribbon-pattern shawls

Each of the companies in our tribute series has its own trademark specialty. Buell is known for faithful reproduction of Native American weaving patterns. Oregon City is famed for fanciful figural patterns and unexpected, riotous color. Racine Woolen Mills blankets are valued for unexpected, intense colors and intricate patterns. Diamonds, crescent moons, five-pointed stars, ribbon bows, compass roses, combs, waterbugs, pipes and feathers are woven with definition and clarity. The sheared finish of a vintage Racine blanket keeps the designs crisp and the hand smooth.

The famed Racine quality was maintained after production was taken over by another fine weaving mill, Shuler & Benninghofen, a mill that produced blankets for Racine until (approximately) 1915. Racine continued to merchandise and market trade blankets procured from different manufacturers until 1940 or so. They seem to have stopped offering wool trade blankets after that, though they kept on as a wholesaler of other styles of woolen blankets and goods until 1951, when Racine Woolen Mills closed doors for good.

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Hidatsa Man by Edward Curtis

According to our friend Barry Friedman in his book Chasing Rainbows, “The last ‘genuine’ Racine blankets were made in the 1930s, when John Hart asked Paul Benninghofen to make one of the old patterns. It was a special favor, because by then Shuler & Benninghofen no longer produced trade blankets and Racine hadn’t contracted to have them made there or anywhere else in years.” The Racine blankets beloved by collectors come from the golden years of 1893-1912, and the Pendleton Mill Tribute blankets are re-creations of blankets from that period.

Racine #7 (available here): Muted colors were rare for Racine. The original blanket was woven for Racine Woolen Mills by Shuler & Benninghofen.

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Racine #6 (available here): Tomahawks, Bows and Arrows

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Racine #5 (retired): Banded Diamonds

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Racine #4 (retired): A dizzying array of color, sawteeth and stars

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Racine#3 (retired, with a limited number available here): Crescent Moon and Shining Star

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Racine #2 (retired): Pipe and Feather – the other elements are two Navajo weaving combs, and an arrow under the pipe

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Racine #1 (retired): Class Y in the Racine catalog, “Yuma” in the Shuler & Benninghofen catalog

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Racine Woolen Mills has an interesting intersection with Pendleton’s history. In 1905, Racine Woolen Mills was furiously negotiating to buy a struggling mill in Pendleton, Oregon, with plans to increase trade blanket production by 300 percent. Those negotiations proved fruitless, and the Pendleton mill went silent in 1908. In 1909, Fanny Kay Bishop organized her three sons to take it over and transform it into the company we know today.

If Racine Woolen Mills had purchased the mill, who knows what the Pendleton story would have been?

 

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Taking a Blanket Home: Glacier National Park and the #pendle10park Explorers

It’s our most popular National Park Series blanket; but did you know that it is also our oldest? Yes, the Glacier National Park blanket was originally commissioned by the president of the Great Northern Railway. Like the National Park Service, our blanket is 100 years old this year.

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We asked an intrepid photographer to take this blanket home as part of our celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service. She and her crew flew into the park!

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Once they landed, they explored and enjoyed this magnificent northern beauty.

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Glacier Park is located in Northern Montana, along the Canadian border. In fact, Glacier was joined with Canada’s Waterton Park as the first world’s first International Peace Park in 1932. The Goat Haunt Ranger Station is located at the center of the Peace Park, and is the only place in the country where you may cross the border without going through customs. In fact, you will receive a special mountain goat-shaped stamp in your passport to commemorate your crossing.

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Glacier Park scarf                                                                                             Glacier Park water bottle

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Glacier covers 1,583 square miles (over a million acres). It is a vast wilderness most famous for its field of 25 named glaciers. Its largest, Blackfoot Glacier, covers almost ¾ of a square mile. Though 25 glaciers is an impressive sight, in 1850 there were an estimated 150 glaciers in the park. So, you need to see them while you can. They are magnificent.

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Because of its remote location, Glacier has retained most of its flora and fauna, with the exception of the American Plains Bison and the woodland caribou. But at least one four-hooved resident remains and thrives in the park: the mountain goat is Glacier’s official symbol, and adorns the label of the Glacier National Park blanket.

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Glacier Park beanie

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The Great Northern Railway was instrumental in enlarging public awareness of Glacier as a tourist destination. The Great Northern line crossed the Continental Divide near what is now the southern entrance to the park. The president of the railroad, James J. Hill, foresaw a grand opportunity for passenger travel. Great Northern was responsible for much of the building in the park, a unique mix of European architecture and American materials that became known as “parkitecture.”

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During the years of World War II, many of these charming buildings fell into disrepair, and some were lost. Thankfully, more than 350 structures have been saved, and are registered as National Historic Landmarks. The Many Glacier Hotel is one of the largest and most popular of these original structures. Pendleton is excited to be contributing to the hotel’s restoration, and you contribute to our efforts every time you make a purchase from the Pendleton National Park Collection. We will tell you a little more about this in June!

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a fifty-three-mile drive through the park that crosses the Continental Divide at Logan’s Pass. On this ride, known for stunning views, narrow lanes and sheer drop-offs, you can marvel at the glaciers while white-knuckle-gripping your steering wheel. Or, you can go in one of the park’s Jammers, and leave the driving to someone else. The road is a huge draw for the Park, but with an average of almost 140 inches of snow a year, you simply can’t know if a June snowstorm will shut down access. Track the current road status here. And watch a video below!

 

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Glacier park blanket wrap

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Glacier Park mug

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Irey_Glacier-(50)Our thanks to photographer Kristian Irey, one of our favorite #pendle10parks explorers.

Follow her on Instagram:   @kristianirey

More at her website: http://www.kristianirey.com

Shop the Glacier Park collection here: SHOP

Pendleton Woolen Mills Receives Fisher House Patriots Award

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Pendleton is proud to be the recipient of the Fisher House Patriots Award. The award was presented on March 23, 2016, at the opening of the  70th Fisher House location in Vancouver, Washington.

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We are honored to be part of this compassionate endeavor. The Fisher Houses provide a comforting, first-class “home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes provide free temporary lodging, so military and Veterans’ families can be close to the loved ones during medical crisis.

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Pendleton has supported the Fisher House Foundation since 2006. We do this by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Grateful Nation blanket and Grateful Nation vest to the Fisher House Foundation.  The Patriots Award recognizes this contribution, and will be displayed in our Heritage hallway. The engraving on the hand-finished crystal face of the award is etched with the following words:

Presented to Pendleton Woolen Mills

Recognizing extraordinary efforts supporting the quality of life of

our greatest treasure…

our military service men and women and their families

 

Overall last year, the Fisher House Foundation has helped in these ways:

  • Families served: More than 27,000 in 2015
  • Daily capacity: 931 families
  • Families served: More than 277,000 since inception
  • Number of lodging days offered: Over 6 million
  • 7,000 students have received $11,000,000 in scholarship awards
  • Over 58,000  airline tickets provided by Hero Miles to service members and their families, worth nearly $88 million

Fisher House Foundation is a unique, private/public partnership formed to support America’s military heroes, both Veterans and active duty service members, in their time of medical need. We are extraordinarily proud to support the Foundation’s humanitarian work serving those who have fought for our country.

At the March 23rd Fisher House ribbon cutting ceremony, John Bishop, Pendleton Chairman and 5th generation family, presented a special, custom-embroidered Grateful Nation blanket to the staff at this newest location.

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On Monday, March 28, the first families to reside at the Vancouver campus Fisher House crossed its threshold. The Foundation expects to serve 500 families in the new site in 2016.

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Photos courtesy of the Fisher House Foundation. Used with permission.

If you would like more information on the Grateful Nation blanket and the Grateful Nation vest, please read our earlier blog posts here: Grateful Nation.

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A Pendleton Adventure with the Grey Wolves of Yellowstone

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The gray wolves of Yellowstone are heard more often than seen. Their eerie howls can echo up to fifty miles, summoning the pack before or after a hunt. Yellowstone’s wolves are efficient predators, able to take down animals many times their weight by hunting in packs. Through strategic harrowing, you can watch them bring down a buffalo here. They are strategic, efficient and effective predators. They are also protected within the park, but this was not always the case.

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When Yellowstone National Park was created in 1872, the goal to “conserve and protect” didn’t extend to the park’s wildlife. Visitors were free to hunt and kill any game in Yellowstone. The gray wolf was especially vulnerable, even after the Secretary of the Interior regulated hunting in 1873. As an “undesirable predator,” the gray wolf was subject to a massive kill-off by the US Army in 1907 (1,800 wolves and 23,000 coyotes). The 1916 legislation that created the National Park Service included language that authorized the “…destruction of such animals and of such plant life as may be detrimental to the use of said parks, monument and reservations.” This is known as “extirpation,” and the consequences are devastating.

By 1926, the gray wolf of Yellowstone was eradicated. This allowed the elk population to grow, contributing to the overgrazing of Yellowstone’s deciduous trees, which affected the small animals and birds that rely on the aspen and cottonwood groves for their habitat, and the fish in the streams churned by more hooves. Without competition from the grey wolf, the coyote population rose dramatically, and those able predators over-thinned the pronghorn antelope population. Park managers, biologists, conservationists and environmentalists were in agreement; the wolf was a necessary part of Yellowstone’s ecosystem.

The campaign to re-introduce the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park began in the 1940s. By the 1960s, there was an explosion of awareness concerning ecosystems. Scientist, conservationist and hunter all agreed that there was a need to restore Nature’s balance. When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1966, it paved the way for identification and preservation of fragile species. The gray wolf was one of the first animals to be declared endangered.

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The program to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone began with 14 wolves trapped in Canada, near Jasper National Park. Seventeen more Canadian grey wolves were captured the next year, and added to the program. The wolves were initially placed in “acclimation pens.” They were released fully into the wild in April of 1996. By the late 1990s, the wolves were making their comeback.

This sighting comes from Pendleton’s own Katie Roberts, who shared a Pendleton employee park memory with us.

I took a Science class in high school where we got to take trips to both Yellowstone and Glacier. We were allowed access to the parks in the offseason, so we were basically the only ones there. On the Yellowstone trip, we were tracking wolves for our class. They’re pretty elusive creatures, so we didn’t see any until the very end of the day, right before sunset. Not only did we see the biggest Wolf Pack in Yellowstone (at the time), we saw it chase down an elk and kill it! It was pretty crazy, the “Nature Channel” in front of our eyes. I spent a lot of times in both parks growing up, but that was probably the wildest thing I’ve ever witnessed!

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Here’s Katie at the time (left). She doesn’t look too traumatized by her National Park adventure with wolves…

Wolves are magnificent and eerie, and absolutely vital to Yellowstone’s ecosystem.Today, there are around 100 living in 10 packs in Yellowstone. The effect on the park’s ecosystem has been extensive, thanks to the “trophic cascade” that falls from an apex predator at the top of the food chain to all the animals, birds, insects and plants that make up the food chain of its prey. Wolves actually help to transform their physical environment. Here’s a fascinating video that talks about how the wolves of Yellowstone have changed the rivers of Yellowstone. It is well-worth watching, and explains trophic cascade. Enjoy.

 

We did a custom mug for Yellowstone featuring the grey wolf here: Grey Wolf Mug

And you can support the National Park Foundation with Pendleton’s Yellowstone collection here: SHOP

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#TBT to the World’s Longest Wool Blanket

Did you know that Pendleton holds a World Record? Well, now you know! It’s for a blanket, of course.

IMG_2233We think it’s fitting that the oldest and largest U.S. blanket manufacturer would make the world’s longest seamless blanket.

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Here are the stats:

Blanket length:
432 feet of seamlessly woven fabric equal to approximately 1 ½ football fields in length. The blanket measured 331,800 sq inches, 2,303 sq feet (more square footage than the average house in Portland, Oregon). The blanket required the fleece from over 50 sheep to produce.

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Weight:
380 pounds – so heavy, the blanket was rolled onto a giant spool and transported via forklift.

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Woven:
This is a Northwest effort; the yarn for the blanket was dyed, carded and spun at Pendleton’s Washougal, Washington mill. The 82% pure virgin wool/18% cotton blanket was woven in our Pendleton, Oregon mill. The blanket was washed, felted and bound in Pendleton’s Washougal, WA mill. Pendleton’s jacquard looms, which were used to weave The Largest/Longest Seamless Blanket required 778 minutes to weave. Typically the looms weave one blanket in 12 minutes.

 

Pattern:
The pattern is an archival design (since retired) that was part of our Heritage line. This is one of Pendleton’s oldest designs, dating back to the early 1900s.

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It came to be called the Geronimo  pattern after a photo of Chief Geronimo, who was photographed wrapped in a blanket in this pattern.

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Chief Geronimo was of the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. His bravery and heroism are legendary. Photo courtesy Barry Friedman

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An extremely rare photo of Chief Geronimo and his followers waiting for battle. The Chief stands, unarmed, in front of the mounted warrior. Photo by C. S. Fly, March 1886

The World’s Longest Blanket visited the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon, and the Home & Garden Show. It was eventually cut and sewn into specially labeled throws with black felt binding. The proceeds of this sale went to charity. One of the throws is currently hanging in our Heritage hallway, if you’re ever in the neighborhood and would like to see one.

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And that’s the story of our world record!

What to wear to a job interview: 3 outfit ideas

A new year means a fresh start—and for some, a new job. Landing an interview can seem like the hard part, but choosing the right outfit can be almost as tough.

After all, the wrong look can cost you the job. We’ve had candidates show up in flip-flops and cutoff shorts (and you can guess whether they got hired). Even a nice shirt and slacks can give off a careless vibe if something is wrinkled, covered in cat hair or too tight.

On the flip side, the right outfit can make a winning first impression and help you relax. You’re more confident when you’re comfortable and not tugging on hemlines. That translates to a smoother job interview.

Need a cheat sheet? Here are three different interview outfit ideas based on the type of work environment. (If you’re interviewing to be a paralegal, your look will obviously be much different than Chief Officer of Fun at a startup.) When in doubt, contact the HR person who scheduled the interview with you and ask for general dress code guidelines. Here we go!

  1. Conservative job interview outfit

Finance, law, politics…if you’re interviewing in a conservative environment, play it safe. Start with a classic black suit. (According to experts, orange is the worst job interview color; black is safest.) If you’re wearing a pencil skirt, sit down in the dressing room to make sure it’s long enough and doesn’t pull at the hips. Whether you wear a skirt or a pantsuit, make sure it fits perfectly–take it to your tailor if necessary.

As for suiting material, we’re partial to our Seasonless Wool or Ultra 9™ wool suiting. The latter has a pinch of stretch. Either way, wrinkles fall out of wool and it just plain looks sharp. (What can we say? We’ve been perfecting wool for over a century, so we’re biased.)

Once your outfit is clean, ironed or steamed and impeccably fitting, add subtle jewelry and moderate heels. Since it’s winter, finish everything off with a peacoat or trench coat. For last-minute touch-ups, toss a lint roller in your car’s glove box or tuck a travel-sized one in your purse. Last, don’t forget to breathe. You’ll do just fine.

Here are a few of our pieces we love for conservative job interviews:

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Shop these looks

  1. Creative job interview outfit

Applying for a job in the arts, fashion or teaching? Your outfit can be more fun. Play with color, pattern and texture while staying squarely in “professional and polished” territory. January in particular can be a dull sea of black winter coats, so seize the chance to showcase your personality with a touch of florals, stripes or color. But don’t go too wild. Pick one eye-catcher and keep the rest of your outfit simple in solid, more subdued tones.

Now to accessorize! Unlike conservative workplaces where quiet, delicate jewelry is key, creative settings mean you can wear statement jewelry. As for shoes, heels are always safe, but why not try booties, Oxfords or equestrian boots? Stay away from sneakers no matter how nice they are. (I know. Wait until you get home.) Hint: If you’re interviewing for a job here at Pendleton, you should be at least this dressed up!

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Shop these looks

  1. Casual job interview outfit

At certain tech companies and startups, wearing a suit won’t impress the boss; it’ll get you strange looks. (It’s especially true here in Portland, land of the casual.) The good news is, you can tone down the formality without heading into jeans-and-hoodie territory.

It can be tricky to strike the right balance, so start with a blouse, casual slacks and a blazer to give a “I’m competent” vibe. Then add nice flats and a brightly colored belt or vibrant bag for a down-to-earth touch. And remember, no matter how casual your outfit, it should be well-fitting, well-maintained and not too revealing.

You’ve probably heard the general rule: However employees in your (future) department dress, you should dress one step nicer for the interview. Translation: Even if everyone in the company wears jeans, resist the urge. Save your favorite faded denim for once you get the job! One last tip: Don’t forget to send a thank-you card after the interview. Works every time.

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Shop these looks

Good luck—we’ll see you in the conference room!

What’s your go-to outfit for a job interview?

Morning in Acadia National Park

Bring your Pendleton blanket and find a spot while it’s still dark. Watch the sky turn from black to deep blue as you listen to the calls of waking birds. Hear the rustle of ocean air as it raises waves to lap against the shoreline and skims through the forests of this peaceful paradise. Look to the distance, where the sky meets the Atlantic, and wait for the first rosy rays to brighten the horizon.

This is how you welcome daylight at Acadia National Park.

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Acadia National Park is our easternmost national park. Its 47,000 acres reserve most of Mount Desert Island off the Atlantic Coast. Cadillac Mountain, named for French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, rises on the eastern side of the island. Its granite summit catches the first daylight in the continental United States each New Year’s Day.

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Acadia National Park is part of the area known as the “Dawn land” by its original inhabitants, the Wabaniki people. A confederacy of five First Nations and Native American nations, the Wabaniki includes the Abenaki, Maliseet, Mi’maq, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot people. Ten thousand years before Mount Desert was sighted by Samuel de Champlain, these Algonquian-speaking natives lived in settlements along the Eastern seaboard.

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Acadia’s Atlantic coast is a wonderland of ancient, lichen-covered boulders and rugged shoreline. President Woodrow Wilson established it as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916. On February 26, 1919, it was named Lafayette National Park. The name was changed to Acadia on January 19, 1929, to honor the former French colony of Acadia.

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George W. Dorr is called the “father of Acadia National Park,” but its financial benefactor was definitely John D. Rockefeller, Jr. He paid to develop over 50 miles of gravel carriage trails, with features that include 17 granite bridges and two historic gate lodges that remain today.  Along the paths are many cut granite “coping stones,” which act as rustic guardrails, and are known as “Rockefeller’s teeth.” The Rockefellers helped greatly with the reconstruction of the park after the wildfires of 1947, which destroyed over 10,000 acres.

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Today, as one of the most-visited parks in the country, Acadia welcomes hikers and bicyclists to its trails. Forty different species of mammalian wildlife call Acadia home, including (from the small to the large) red and grey squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, beaver, porcupine, muskrat, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, black bear and moose. Acadia National Park is aided in preservation efforts by the Friends of Acadia, which has worked to create a private endowment that will maintain the current 44 mile carriage trail system in perpetuity.

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Acadia National Park is waiting to welcome you, and the dawn, every morning. And it’s open now.

Photos by our intrepid #pendle10parks explorers:

Nikolai Karlov – @nikarlov (shots 3, 4, 5 & 6)

David Okoniewski – @oakcanoeski (shots 1 & 2)

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See our Acadia National Park products here: SHOP