Blogger Success Amanda Holstein of Advice from a Twenty Something: "There are no rules, there is no normal."
If you have a penchant for aesthetically impeccable lifestyle shots and real-life advice, then you probably already know about (and religiously follow) Amanda Holstein. (And you're gonna be REAL pumped about this post.) If you are unaware, this talented 27-year-old is the brains and beauty behind the successful and aptly named site, Advice from a Twenty Something, which she started back in 2012 and now runs as her full-time gig out of San Francisco. (And you're still gonna be REAL pumped about this post.)
You see, what Amanda does, she does really well. If you're not already falling head-over-heels for her addictive brightly lit decor and fashion visuals, her major shopping scores, or ridiculously easy-to-recreate beauty how-to's, she'll undoubtedly pull you in with her honest advice and tips on things that we ACTUALLY need to know.
Like how to dress down a red lip (true story, I wonder about this every time I rock red during the day while praying to the spirit of Elizabeth Taylor that I got it right). Or how to get through major life changes. My favorite takeaways there? "Just because it's difficult doesn't mean it's wrong" and "the stress will settle, but it always takes longer than you think." I mean, when she's right, she's right.
With such grounded, refreshing and on-point insight, I had to reach out to this beacon of blogging light to chat about how she creates such useful and engaging content, the art of taking one's own advice, and a very important life lesson. The stupendous results below.
SLF: What did you set out to create when you started Advice from a Twenty Something?
Amanda: I really wanted to create a modern advice column — a sort of combination of an old school Dear Abby and a modern-day lifestyle blog. When I created the blog back in 2012, there were tons of fashion blogs on the scene and lifestyle blogs were starting to pop up as well. I loved that sort of content, but felt like I went to most of them for inspiration or to fill my style needs. There wasn't really a place offering young women advice on everyday issues, like break ups or graduating from college.
When did you know you were really on to something?
I remember getting an email from a guy in Australia asking for advice on how to get over a girl. I tried my best to offer him some advice — I told him to redirect this passion into something else that will take him his time and mental energy. About 9 months later I got another email from him saying he took my advice and started a coffee shop (something he's always wanted to do). He'd not only gotten over the girl, but followed his dream and was really happy. That's when I realized how much of an impact my blog could really have!
What does it really take to produce one of your awesome posts, from concept to production to promotion?
In terms of coming up with the concepts for my posts, most of the time I look to my real life for ideas. Maybe I'm trying out a new skin care routine or decorating my apartment. Or maybe I'm going through a tough time so I'll write about dealing with anxiety. I assume that if I'm going through something, other twenty-somethings will be able to relate!
As for producing my content, I'd say it depends on the topic, but for the more involved pieces (tutorials, etc.), it usually takes an entire day to shoot and edit the photos. I can often get a draft of the copy done the same day as well, but I always like to review my writing the day after with fresh eyes. I try to promote my content as much as I can the day it goes live as well as throughout the next week in my newsletter.
Let's go behind-the-scenes at Holstein Headquarters. What's a typical day-in-the-life look like for you?
Holstein Headquarters - love it! Well, first of all, I'll admit I am so not a morning person. So after snoozing too many times, I typically start my day catching up on emails in bed. Since my dog is in no rush to get up, I'll then get dressed and ready for the day. Even if I plan to be home most of the day, I always make sure to get ready — I think it makes me more productive! After that, I'd say each day differs depending on what I'm working on. I'll often spend the morning shooting and the afternoon writing at a coffee shop. I definitely let myself relax for a bit, whether that's watching an episode of Project Runway or taking my dog for a long walk. My day usually ends with either drinks with friends, watching a movie on the couch, or drawing/painting (it really relaxes me!).
You've said you were always the go-to for friends and family when they needed advice. Are you good at taking your own advice?
That's a great question! I would say as I've gotten older, I've gotten better at taking my own advice. But it truly is much harder for me to take my own advice than to give it. Sometimes I just need my mom!
What's the most important lesson you've learned so far in your 20s?
There are no rules, there is no normal. This is something I often repeat to myself when wondering if I should do this or should have done that. I try to remove the word "should" out of my vocabulary and remember that there are no rules to how things are done or how to think about things. Go with what feels right to you and you can't go wrong!
What's a fun fact about you?
I love cereal. Most people like cereal, but I love cereal. I usually have at least 4 boxes in my pantry at all times: a mix of healthy granolas and old school favorites like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And I probably eat 2 bowls a day. Even my Bat-Mitzvah theme was cereal. Totally weird, I know!
Reveling in a relationship, single and loving it, or Tindering?
I'm happy to say that I'm reveling in a somewhat new relationship (we met last December) with an incredibly sweet, smart, and silly guy. He's amazing!
What can you never leave home without?
Lip balm! I hate when my lips get chapped so I always carry some sort of lip moisturizer, with or without color, in my bag at all times.