Liz Monigle is a sophomore at the University of Delaware majoring in Mathematics and Economics with a minor in Fashion Management. She works in the social media department for UDress Magazine, participates in research to design comfortable and adaptable jeans for children with Down Syndrome and even has her own earring business, Elizabeth Earring, on Etsy.
Abby is a sophomore at Georgetown University majoring in Global Health and minoring in Journalism. In the future, she hopes to work in health journalism and policy in order to make an impact, particularly on infants and children internationally.
Classmates since kindergarten and best friends since middle school, these two amazing women partnered up this winter to create a blog documenting the next, unwritten portion of their lives – their twenties.
Sincerely, Our Twenties is what they’ve tagged as the film in their camera, the ink in their pen and the journal of their adventures through their young adult lives. It’s the story of two small town girls doing big things.
This week, I was incredibly lucky to sit down with Liz and discuss anything and everything about Sincerely, Our Twenties – from the process of creating it, to their current content, to their hopes for the future. I hope that our conversation below inspires you as much as it did me!
Her Campus: How did you decide to start a blog?
Liz Monigle: One of my best friends from home and I were hanging out a lot this past winter because she was home from college, and we both have been virtual this whole year, so we have a lot more free time on our hands. We really wanted to get out and do stuff a lot more, like travel more this semester, and we kind of wanted a platform to have an excuse to do that and do fun stuff. That’s how we got started with the idea of a blog, and the whole month of January, we did a lot of research and tried to figure out how it would be possible. And then, come the end of February, we were able to launch.
HC: What was the process of getting your blog off the ground?
LM: It was hard, and it was very confusing at first, because neither of us have any experience in website creation. We have experience in writing and journaling. Abby actually has a minor in journalism, so she kind of had that experience. But it was a lot of work. We relied heavily on Pinterest articles and other bloggers – like their own posts on how they got started as a blogger. We looked through other famous bloggers, and heavily relied on the website of one who we tried to mirror our website off of. We did have to go through the process of WordPress. We were trying to figure out what would be the best medium to be able to make money on our own, and eventually if we really took off, we made sure that we would be able to have partnerships whereas if were in a pre-paid website that wouldn’t allow us to take off as easy, it would be harder. So, we went with WordPress, and we bought ourselves our own website domain. We’re self-hosted. Up front, it was about $50 each, which really isn’t bad, and that was for the course of three years. We’re hoping to be able to make that back and maybe more within that time frame – I think that’s pretty manageable. It was a lot of technical stuff, like figuring out how to work WordPress [and] how to maneuver through the website and make it appear how we wanted it to visually. We worked a lot with Photoshop in the beginning for editing pictures and coming up with a color theme. But it’s been really fun!
HC: I know you touched upon some of the challenges you faced at the start, but are there any challenges you’re still facing? Or do you think you’re in the groove of things now?
LM: Our beginning was kind of just getting ourselves out there. We started with some pretty easy posts. We did a road trip in January, which was really fun, so we wrote all about that. Abby was actually located in Washington, D.C. for the months of March and April, so she did a few D.C.-related posts. She goes to Georgetown, so that will kind of be a theme throughout our blog, just as where I live, in Delaware, is also a big theme. But our next step that we’re trying to take is partnerships. We’re going to start reaching out to businesses who we think would want to take us on. We’re probably going to start with smaller businesses and then go from there. So, that’s going to be our next big challenge. Overall, the biggest so far has definitely been working WordPress. But honestly, I feel like now we’ve gotten used to it and have a good standing. It’s the communication with other brands we want to work with that’s next.
HC: What are some of the things you’re working on now?
LM: Right now, I’m actually working on a small business mini-series. So, this is kind of the intro to some of our future partnerships. I reached out to a whole bunch of different local small businesses run by either high school or college students, primarily from the University of Delaware or Wilmington. Basically, I just wrote about their stories as students and participants in their other extracurriculars and then about their businesses. I know Abby recently did a post on the best coffee shops in D.C. One of the other posts I did was on disposable cameras, which are one of my favorite things and hobbies, so I wanted to share doing that with the blog’s followers. But really we just do stuff that interests us and that we want to share with our followers. That’s kind of where our ideas come from.
HC: Do you guys have a schedule of when to post things, or do you post off-the-cuff?
LM: We have a whole shared Google Drive where we keep basically everything. And in there, we have an Excel sheet that has all of our upcoming posts and ideas for posts we want to write. Right now, for the small business mini-series, I am trying to post every week, so every Sunday, I’ll post an article. However, it is hard with the spring semester. We’re both taking a full course load, so it has been a lot balancing that. Right now, it’s a little more off-the-cuff. But definitely come the summer, we’re going to try to have two a week to get more out there.
HC: How long do you plan on having this blog? Do you guys have an end goal, or are you going with the flow?
LM: We’re just kind of going with the flow. Our blog is Sincerely, Our Twenties, so it’s about living life to the fullest in our twenties. I guess you could say that 29 is the end date. However, if we make it to that point, we make it there, and if we don’t, we don’t. Maybe we’ll keep on going after that even. Whatever happens, happens.
HC: What would you say to someone who’s looking to start something similar but is afraid to?
LM: We just kind of went for it. We knew that we wanted to have some shared journal entry on our twenties and something to be able to just look back on. It was a little nerve-wracking when we went to finally post. We weren't sure if anybody was going to be interested at all, and we were nervous that it was going to look unprofessional because we weren't super experienced. However, the feedback has just been incredible, and it’s really boosted us and made us want to post more and more and do more stuff for the blog. So, if you’re thinking about it, definitely go for it. What’s stopping you? Literally nothing. If it doesn't turn out the way you want it to, who cares? Nobody will remember in the next two years anyway. Just go for it.
My talk with Liz about her and Abby’s blog was truly amazing and mirrors a sentiment I’ve been preaching for a while – just do it. Okay, maybe I stole that from Nike, but I still live by it. Hopefully, Sincerely, Our Twenties inspires you to put yourself out there and follow your dreams, no matter how big or small. Life won’t wait for your fear to subside, so just do it! Nike, don’t sue me. Check out Sincerely, Our Twenties at www.sincerelyourtwenties.com!