WHO: Charli Anderson
WHAT: Abroad Outlook
WHERE: Pacific Northwest
Charli Anderson is the founder of Abroad Outlook, a blog that is dedicated to travel and style and everything in between. Charli works as an Army officer and when she’s not busy with her day job or the blog she also runs the Athena Initiative, a program that focuses on the achievement of women in the armed forces. One of her main goals for this program is to bring to light the efficacy of these women when leaving the armed forces in order to encourage and inspire young women to taken on leadership roles.
What I love about her blog is that she doesn’t just focus on the clothes but instead focuses on the memories and experiences you have while you are wearing them. She did just that with her latest France posts where she has spent the last month honeymooning and enjoying all of life’s little pleasures. I was completely transported and spent the afternoon daydreaming as I read them.
Read her interview below to find out more on her blog’s journey, the Athena Initiative and her advice to new bloggers.
- Can you tell us a little about how Abroad Outlook got started?
“Abroad Outlook is a convergence of several things. Firstly, I wanted a hobby that was a complete departure from my working life. Secondly, I needed to challenge myself and I was looking for something to help me cope with a miscarriage I had this past winter. Lastly, I’ve realized in the last year or so that all these awesome experiences and adventures that had seemed so far out of my grasp weren’t really that unattainable after all. I want to make the things I find great accessible to others, with style as part of these experiences. I’m working towards showing that you can add value to something aesthetic, like fashion, by demonstrating all of the artistic drivers behind certain styles.”
- How did you you come up with the name?
“I wanted something travel-focused that also captured my desire to expand people’s horizons. Plus, I love a good play on words.”
- What are some of your favorite blogs to read (fashion or otherwise)?
“My absolute favorites are Posh, Broke and Bored, Vicki Archer and My French Country Home. I’ve also followed the renovations of the Chateau de Gudanes from the beginning. Imagine Cinderella was a house and you basically know the story. It’s incredible!”
- How did you first become interested in fashion?
“I look at this two ways: Firstly, my interest in fashion began with my interest in history. I’ve always loved the symbolism behind clothing, whether it’s socioeconomic status, political power or patronage of an art form. Good fashion is just nice to look at, and sometimes my interest in it is as simple as enjoying beautiful clothing.Secondly, my interest in trying to be fashionable began with learning to love my body and some self-acceptance. For the longest time, you wouldn’t find me in anything but band t-shirts, baggy jeans and skater shoes. I’m still a metal head, and that will never change, but I decided one day that I wanted nice clothing, too.”
- How would you describe your style?
“Classic, understated, a mix of luxury and thrifted.”
- What are your favorite trends right now?
“I eschew trends usually, but there was a light blue color out this past Spring I loved. The off-the-shoulder trend is great too. One thing that I do love to see is conscientious bloggers who try to make ethical fashion choices and really examine the supply/labor chain behind their clothing. I don’t always do this but I certainly aspire to it.”
- Can you tell us about the Athena Initiative?
“The Athena Initiative is a program I started to highlight the achievement of women in the Armed Forces by demonstrating their accomplishments and attempting to share their realities. I’m an active duty Army Captain, and I’ve served with some incredibly strong and inspiring women during my career. I never thought I would need to start something like this, but the disconnect between women in service and civilian women is enormous. We’ve been fighting, we’ve been in combat, we’ve been dying, and we’ve been returning home to a society where our accomplishments are largely invisible. This has serious ramifications for the behavioral health of these women. So many don’t even feel like veterans, and it’s so profoundly wrong to me. You can read more on the impetus behind the Athena Initiative on the facebook page or an essay I wrote on Abroad Outlook. My ultimate goal is that when I transition out of the Army in a few years, I can focus on building leadership workshops for young girls. That needs to be encouraged early. I want to start in my community and branch out from there.”
- What role does social media play in your blogging life?
“Honestly, a necessary evil. I hate maintaining more than just the blog but I understand the importance of instagram, facebook and all the others… Although I will probably shut my facebook page down and rely on instagram.”
- How do you monetize your blog and your brand?
“The short answer is that right now I don’t. I am open to it, and my goal has always been to monetize a blog and donate everything to local animal shelters. Aside from that, there are a few brands that I would love to work creatively with. I’m trying to focus on finding my voice and developing a clear vision for the blog for the first year or two. It’s a labor of love right now, and I don’t want that to change at all just yet.”
- What is your favorite thing about blogging?
“Bringing my visions to life and helping to add value to the style blogging community. I also think that if you can’t explain something to someone, you don’t really understand it…. Blogging forces me to examine how well I understand style, the history behind the styles, etc. The hope that I’m connecting with and reaching someone, and helping them see their life in a new light or to be inspired. It helps me work through things.”
- How has blogging affected your career?
“Right now, it has been a great escape but it isn’t easy to keep up with during the week. My job comes first. I wear a uniform five days a week, so to do outfit posts regularly isn’t tenable. It also makes me enjoy those moments even more though. When I transition to a civilian career, I see this blog helping me hone my writing more so that I can do freelance writing for magazines. That’s the dream!”
- What advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?
“Do what inspires you and set your sights beyond yourself. Work towards your biggest dreams every day. Keep taking small steps towards your goals. It won’t seem like you’re making much progress, but you are. Be the voice you want to hear. If you have something to offer society, friends, family, or those in need, I think you have a responsibility to offer it. People shouldn’t be put into positions of influence without being able to help someone, so never lose sight of giving back and enriching your world.”