Best WordPress theme, the Divi Builder

Best WordPress theme, the Divi Builder

The Best WordPress Theme

the Divi Builder

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

You’ve started a blog. You know what your purpose & drive is for it, and you can’t wait to share with the world everything you have to offer. Or you want to build a business – whether it be a blog or not – and your vision for it is practically bursting from your head.

Yet, you’re on WordPress and the free (or cheap) theme you have won’t let you get to that end result you’re craving. So you wake up early on a Saturday determined to get it right, and then you realize that you’ve spent eight hours with little to no luck.

Now you’re officially frustrated and borderline in tears over how angry this whole situation is. A situation in which you didn’t anticipate because you were focused on the value you could bring to others through your site. Not the nitty gritty technical details of it.

Yep. I get it. I’ve been there. And I won’t tell you the number of hours I could have saved myself & the grey hairs I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the theme stress.

But! I found THE solution to any bloggers or WordPress users technical worries. A solution that will make your dream site come to life without having to pay a web developer to do it. A solution that allows you to spend your time delivering that valuable content to the world.

This solution comes in the form of Elegant Themes Divi Builder. And let me tell you, this bad boy is a game changer!

What is the Divi Builder?

Divi builder is a combination WordPress theme and customizable page builder. It’s considered to be a website building platform, that can easily & effectively replace the traditional WordPress page & post editor. Divi provides a stellar visual builder, which allows users to edit their pages and posts seamlessly & see, in real time, what their edits will look like.

Why use the Divi theme instead of another cheaper theme?

The cost of Divi is much higher than other WordPress themes that you will find. However! If you are a blogger who is looking to convert their blogging passion into a career that allows you to ditch your 9 to 5 job, then the value of Divi Builder will highly outweigh the cost. Because successful bloggers know that it’s key to be strategic with their time.

I have personally used multiple different themes on Blue Eyed Compass, and have wasted hours of my time trying to figure out minor adjustments for those themes. When I could have spent that precious time uploading more content, growing my subscribers or developing my pinterest management growth. And if I had paid for a web developer to make the adjustments I needed then I would have been out a minimum of over $1000 for their time.

As a blogger you should use the Divi theme because it is a wise, long-term growth, investment. It will save you hours (if not days) of your time. And most importantly, it allows users to transform their blog to a budding business.

The Divi Builder is perfect for website owners & bloggers who don’t have a lot of spare time to learn the nitty gritty details of web design and want a high performing & converting website in half the time.

Getting started using Divi

Click here to access the Divi website & purchase your lifetime access theme – you guys, it’s freaking LIFETIME access. I’d like to point out that I’ve used Divi since 2018 and have seen at least three major updates to the theme that as a lifetime access user was able to update for free.

Follow these steps to get started using Divi Builder:

1. Create your account using this link

2. Sign in to your account & download the divi theme to your computer

3. Open up your WordPress admin page :

-Appearance > themes > add new > upload theme

-Upload the divi zip file

*if you’re concerned that uploading the theme will change your site don’t worry. Adding the divi theme will not activate it on your site

 

4. When you’re ready to work on your site, activate your Divi theme

5. Create a new page

-if you’re starting with your home page title the page ‘Home NEW’, but do NOT publish it or do not link it to any of your menus.

-design this page the way you want your homepage to look & do. Hit publish

-then go to your current homepage (which should look odd as you’ve activated a theme that doesn’t align with what you previously had) & add the ‘Home NEW’ page to your current homepage

-delete your previous homepage content so that it looks like you ‘Home NEW’ page, and publish

-go back & delete the ‘Home NEW’ page

Voila!

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

How to use the Divi Theme

Pros of using Divi Builder:

There are so many benefits to using the Divi Builder for your website and blog. The ones that stand out the most to me are:

 

  • It’s visual page builder– so you can see what changes you are making in real time
  • The drag & drop feature– for easy adjustments that would otherwise take hours of reviewing code to change
  • The backlog of sample sites & pages to pull inspiration from– this is great for those who may need inspiration for design or don’t want to spend time designing a site from scratch. These premade layouts can be adjusted to align with your branding and poof they’re done!
  • Their amazing customer support– if ever there is an issue that you cannot solve on your own, you can easily message customer support & they’ll get back to you within a day. Anytime I’ve utilized Divi’s customer support they have been able to help.
  • The ability to tweak CSS– this takes a bit of coding experience, but if there are minor CSS adjustments that you want made you can do so easily with divi builder
  • Mobile effectiveness– over 50% of most websites traffic comes from mobile users, so it’s more important than ever to have a mobile responsive website. Divi builder allows you to see what your mobile version looks like so you can adjust as needed without going to your phone to check.
  • All of the pre-built ‘modules’ for items like Call to Action buttons, foms & sliders– these pre-built modules are major time savers!

BONUS!!

If you’ve read this far & are considering getting the Divi theme, than I want to offer something special to you for using my link –

If you purchase the Divi theme through my affiliate link I will give you a one hour coaching call completely FREE! The coaching calls I have with clients typically run at $50-$100/hour, but I want to help you succeed with your online goals. We can discuss how to get started with Divi Builder, SEO, site structure, etc. You choose!

First, you need to verify that you used my Divi affiliate link for your purchase by emailing me at [email protected] Once we confirm that, I will send you a link to schedule your blogging coaching call – super simple!

Here is my link to the Divi Builder theme.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Best Blogging Tools (for beginners)

Best Blogging Tools (for beginners)

Best Blogging Tools (for beginners)

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

When you’re first starting a blog, or are just beginning to create your idea of a blog, it’s easy to become overwhelmed – there are so many skills and platforms to learn about, and everyone has an opinion on what is best. Yet here you are trying to sift through the noise to figure it all out.

I totally understand & can relate to this feeling. Because I felt the same way, even with a boyfriend programmer to help me every step of the way!

It does become easier over time. And with the right tools from the start you can eliminate wasteful hours of trial and error. There are SO many programs, apps, and platforms to use and not every one is worth the time to learn or even pay for. This post will peel back the curtain of the best tools you should have in your arsenal as a beginner blogger.

Below are the best blogging tools for beginner bloggers (*say that five times fast) that are tried and true.

After almost three years of blogging and developing many client site designs on my own, I have a set list of non-negotiable items that any beginner blog should have to run their website and hit the ground running.

Blog Post Prep & Writing

GOOGLE DRIVE

Google Drive is similar to Microsoft Word, but accessible anywhere through your Google account. Which means that you can access your files wherever you can connect to the internet. No more taking up space on your harddrive or having to send files through emails. And the best part is that having a Google account is free, so you have access to an epic organizational tool and file storage system.

 

 

TRELLO

Trello is a project management platform that can be used for your to-do lists, brain dumps for post ideas, organizing a project and so much more. It’s a great tool to visually map out your ideas and processes, and is easy to use with its drag & drop methodology.

UBERSUGGEST

If you’re new to blogging you may or may not have heard of this elusive idea of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There is a lot that comes with learning about SEO, which means there are a lot of tools you can utilize. Ubersuggest is great as it’s an up & coming keyword tool from an SEO guru, Neil Patel, and it’s free to use.

It’s a great way to search for keyword phrases and check out what’s working for your competition – because if you’re creating a blog to monetize it, you don’t want to write about just any topic, you have to be strategic.

Make an impact on the world by making your voice heard –

here are 10 Simple Steps to starting a successful blog

Site Creation & Design Tools

WORDPRESS

WordPress is a content management system that essentially allows novice programmers to create a customized website. It’s a tool that can be extremely useful for anyone who doesn’t want to learn the complexities of coding.

There are various choices when it comes to deciding which platform to build your content onto, such as Wix or Squarespace, however for bloggers looking to grow over the long term with their site, WordPress will be the best option to lay roots down.

BLUEHOST

Bluehost is a web hosting service, and I discuss what that means in greater detail here . Everyone has their own opinions on which hosting service provider is better than another and why, and rightfully so as they’ve most likely had direct experience. However, when it comes to selecting a host provider for a beginner blogger you really don’t need to be paying more than $10/month. Bluehost is an option that offers excellent customer service for those who aren’t super knowledgeable about host servers, is affordable, and can plug into WordPress effortlessly.

I wouldn’t suggest switching to a more powerful provider until your site is at least two years old or has over 75 posts of content on it.

Click here for your hosting service discount.

It’s ONLY $3.95/month. Instead of $7.99

DIVI BUILDER

Any experienced blogger will tell you that they wasted too many hours trying to design their site from a free or cheap WordPress theme, and then they’ll most likely follow it up with how they wish they spent their time on uploading content instead.  My favorite solution to this problem is Divi.

The Divi builder is amazing because it is THE best & most convenient way to design your site. You can literally customize the look of your site to look any way you want it to by using its intuitive drag and drop page builder.

CANVA

Canva is amazing for any graphic design item that you need for your blog; from post images, to Pinterest graphics, logo design to infographics. Canva is easy to use (much easier than Photoshop) and there is a free version that supplies everything you will need to start out.

 

*I personally pay for Canva pro & have loved using it. Here are the things I’m able to do with it that you can’t with the free version:

-download a transparent background png file

-access their premium stock photos

-create folders (organization is my favorite 🙂 )

Marketing Tools

PINTEREST

Where to begin with Pinterest… I tell my clients that Pinterest is in between a search engine and a social media platform (with a heavier lean toward search engine), and it is a stellar way to bring in traffic to your site (…if done correctly). Set up a Business account on Pinterest to get started.

*If you’re confused about how best to manage your Pinterest account please feel free to reach out to me! I will happily give a free consultation to go over where you stand & how to move forward successfully.

TAILWIND

Tailwind is by far the most convenient way to gain traffic & not spend hours on Pinterest. I mention this towards the end of this post, that if someone says that you ‘need’ to spend money on a blogging tool you should wait and consider your decision… with an exception for Tailwind. 

Tailwind is a pinterest Pin scheduler that allows bloggers to outline and schedule all of their pins.

 

*If you aren’t ready to start on Pinterest, wait to purchase an account on Tailwind. If you are ready, then you can use my link here to get a $15 discount on the annual fee! (Plus it helps me save a bit of money as well, which I put back into Blue Eyed Compass so I can continue to help you.)

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

WordPress Plugins

UPDRAFT PLUS BACKUP

Imagine having spent hours and hours and hours working on your site, and then later discovering that your content disappeared when you went to adjust a font size or add an image? This is where the Updraft Plus Backup plugin comes in. It will routinely create a backup of your site and store it on a schedule, plus it’s free!

YOAST SEO PLUGIN

There is an endless list of plugins that you could add to your site, but you really only should utilize a select few and Yoast is one of them. I mentioned SEO above and Yoast takes care of a large chunk of the metadata that you should prioritize when it comes to SEO work for your site. Plus, it’s simple to use with great customer service even if you don’t pay for the pro version.

Travel in style with these Sustainably made travel backpacks

Blogging Tools that maybe you need, maybe you don’t:

Depending on how much of a beginner blogger you are, you may not NEED these tools just yet.

Often times bloggers become bogged down with all of the ‘things’ we need to do (research, write, learn WordPress, graphic design, photography, social media, marketing… SO MANY SKILLS!), so I’m listing these tools at the end in case you aren’t at the stage with your blog to commit more time & energy just yet.

My biggest piece of advice for any new blogger is to get your site live and start uploading stellar content. You can adjust everything once it’s live, so don’t spend hours, days, or even weeks trying to understand or pay for everything right away.

*If ANYONE is suggesting that as a new blogger you NEED something that requires payment, you should question why — are they doing it so they can earn money from your purchase? Or are they being genuine in their suggestion… just something to consider.

EMAIL MANAGEMENT Tools

There are quite a few email management tools to choose from. Some are free (Mailchimp) and others require a monthly payment (such as Convertkit), but an email management system will be necessary if you want to monetize your site. It’s a great idea to have one set up on your site immediately, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the new skills you may be exposed to while starting your blog, then it’s okay to wait a few weeks to set one up.

It’s subjective to each person’s opinion on which program is best. However, the more popular choices are ConvertKit, aWeber and Mailchimp.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS & SEARCH CONSOLE

Google offers two free platforms to review your sites analytics and search results through Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Depending on where you are on your blogging journey, you may want this configured to your site.

However, it’s easy to become obsessed with your stats to a point of distraction, and if you are new, the likelihood that your posts will suddenly skyrocket overnight in Google search results is unfortunately unlikely (although you never know- Keep the faith in your success!)

Go back to my advice on getting your content online first, and THEN spend your time setting up Google Analytics and Search Console. If you’re ready for them both you can find step by step directions here. → *link to ten steps to starting a successful blog post

GT METRIX

GT Metrix will scan your site for its site speed. Site speed is important because (1) users won’t want to stay and wait for your site to load, and (2) Google rewards sites with faster site speed by bumping them up in the results pages.

If you are brand new to blogging, I would wait to worry about this until you have at least 5-10 pieces of content on your site. The language of GT Metrix will be confusing at first and if you don’t have any site visitors yet then don’t worry about it right away.

There are COUNTLESS tools that you can use as blogger. Just keep in mind, the purpose of any ‘tool’ is to help do your blogging work more efficiently. As a beginner, you may not want to spend the majority of your time learning new programs right away. Learn as you go & add on tools as you decide you need them.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

Follow Along!

Start your own blog today!

Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

THE Best WordPress theme for bloggers & businesses

Get $15 OFF your AirBnb!

Follow Along

The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

The ‘what’, ‘why’ & ‘how’ of Sustainable Fashion

We are given extremely mixed signals on what we should do in regards to sustainable fashion

  • Do we purchase local only?
  • Should we rent our clothes?
  • Does the fabric need to be 100% organic?
  • Should items be made from recycled materials?

All of these questions and ideas start to feel overwhelming, and even more so confusing.

However the notion behind all of this is that people are taking closer looks into the clothing they purchase – a sustainable lifestyle starts with an exploration or an interest in the topic. So you’re on an awesome path!

Unfortunately, fashion cannot be 100% sustainable or compostable; just the act of washing your clothes is unsustainable (and we’ll get to that in more detail below). However we can make massive improvements to what we currently purchase and our consumer choices.

While impossible to reach 100% sustainability, the point of sustainable fashion is to have a wardrobe that you are proud to wear, and that helps to maintain our environment and the textile workers. From the boardroom to happy hour, or loungewear to formal wedding, there are sustainable solutions for all of your clothing choices.

What will make the biggest difference, is up to us making smarter consumer choices

DID YOU KNOW- a clothing label that states ‘sustainable’ means next to nothing? The use of the term has little academic or authority backing to it – just like how many foods are labeled ‘All-Natural’ vs ones labeled ‘Organic’. One label (organic) needs quality checks and minimum standards, the other can be freely used. The solution to this? Become a smarter consumer.

Fashion is a consumer-forward industry, and we, as individuals, are the driving forces for it. Which means we are the ones with the power. When we are vocal and when we are selective for which brands to support with our hard earned money, we are making a change.

Read on to learn more about what sustainable fashion means and why it’s important (so that you can be that bad ass powerful consumer that makes a difference!)

What exactly is ‘sustainable fashion’?

Let’s break the phrase ‘sustainable fashion’ down:

The idea behind the word ‘sustainable’ means the process can be done indefinitely with no impact on the environment..

And fashion includes your clothing (of course), as well as shoes and accessories (jewelry, belts, hats, scarves, etc)

————

So, sustainable fashion, if done correctly, is the entire process of creating, selling & owning a fashion item, and one that can be created and used forever so that the planet would feel no negative impact from it.

What’s important to understand is that sustainable fashion is not just about the fabrics that are used in an item, but the entire system that’s in plan when an item is produced.

✔ From the beginning design,

✔ To sourcing the materials,

✔ The manufacturing process,

✔ The people involved in manufacturing,

✔ How the items are transported and what kind of carbon footprint that leaves,

✔ To the consumers intended use of the item, how they care for it,

✔ And when & how they discard it.

Are you beginning to understand how in depth this topic can be? Let’s clear up some confusion with a list of the types of sustainable fashion labels and terms you may see:

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

Types of sustainable fashion labels & terms

  • Artisan Made: crafted by a skilled craftsperson who makes a small quantity of an item
  • B-Corp: aka Benefit Corporation, a B-Corp label means the item has been certified by a third party known as B-Lab. B Corp Certification is “the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance”. You can learn more about their process here.
  • Biodegradable material: fabrics that can be broken down and decomposed quickly

STAT- any one fashion item can take up to 200 years to fully decompose!

  • Bluesign Certified: the bluesign label guarantees that the items used in a product were sustainable and clean, resulting in a safely manufactured end product. You can learn more about them here.
  • Fair & ethical: this is for the manufacturing warehouse employees. If a company is fair and ethical, then they are paying living wages to their employees.

DID YOU KNOW- mill workers are notoriously underpaid by the majority of fashion brands? For example, women working in Delhi textile mills are paid $80/month, when the standard cost of living is around $350/month

  • Fair Labor: thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act in the United States, it enforces a right to a minimum wage and overtime pay. For companies that are international look for a Fair Labor Association Certification here.
  • Fair Trade Certified: this organization certifies fair trade companies by ensuring the artisans and producers being employed in developing countries are paid fairly & work under healthy working conditions
  • Green & Clean: a phrase used for an item that was made with the environment in mind. It’s a turn of phrase and not a set standard.
  • Green America Certified: this 501(c)3 non-profit certifies companies looking to use their business as positive social change and want to be environmentally responsible. Read more about them here.
  • Locally Produced/Made: the item(s) was made locally to where you are purchasing it. A locally produced item has a lower carbon footprint as it did not need to be transported very far.
  • Minimalism: the act of owning a few staples in your wardrobe, rather than a large and seasonal wardrobe.
  • Natural dyes: use of natural, plant-based dyes to color fabrics and materials
  • Natural fibers: also known as fabrics, all natural, plant-based materials are used to form threads. These can come from plants, animals or minerals.
  • On Demand/Custom: instead of creating 10,000 of one item, an on demand item is created once a purchase is made or a need-by basis. Therefore, eliminating excess waste of items that may just sit in inventory only to be thrown away.
  • Organic Fabrics: Fabrics whose threads are made with no pesticides. *Many organic fabrics require large water usage.
  • Recycled Fabrics: fabrics that are stripped down to threads and reused in another item. They reduce waste, and are much less reliant on fossil fuels.
  • Upcycle: the process of taking an unwanted, older item, and updating it for re-purpose. For example, taking an old t-shirt and using it as a dust cloth, or cutting a long bridesmaid gown into a shorter, less formal dress.
  • Vegan: an item that does not use any animal product in the fabric. *No animal fabric is technically humane.
  • 100% material items: think of 100% cotton tops or 100% linen pants. There is no process that can separate different types of fibers, so items that are 100% one fabric are easier to recycle.

Make an impact on the world by making your voice heard –

here are 10 Simple Steps to starting a successful blog

Why is sustainable fashion important & why should I care?

There is a buzzword term, similar to overtourism, known as ‘fast fashion’, and it essentially stands for the majority of items you can purchase at a mall or online. It’s a term that describes fashion retailers whose items are inexpensive and the styles change frequently to keep up with new trends (think Zara, Forever 21, H&M, etc). And it’s this fast fashion that is contributing to so many negative impacts on the planet and individuals.

DID YOU KNOW- the fashion industry contributes to 8% of the greenhouse gas emissions, if things don’t change it most likely will increase to 25%!

You should care about sustainable fashion for two main reasons:

  1. The environment
  2. The people

 

The fashion industry burdens a heavy toll on the environment. The main problems being…

  • Greenhouse gas emissions in mills
  • Greenhouse gas emission from transportation of goods
  • Deforestation of land for materials
  • Water contamination and water shortages from the mills with microplastics and poisonous chemicals

 

As for the people it affects, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who are employed in mills in varying developing countries. Their working conditions are barely acceptable at best (often without basic needs being met, such as no bathroom privileges), and more often than not they are extremely underpaid. In fact, the US Department of Labor has listed employment in the textile industry and manufacturing in multiple countries as ‘modern day slave labor’.

Think about that – that cute dress you purchased for $15 at the mall was potentially stitched together by someone who works in an environment listed as MODERN DAY SLAVE LABOR.

Both the environment and the working conditions for employees are main reasons why you should care about sustainable fashion. Remember, the goal is to have a wardrobe that you are proud to own and wear, and to help eliminate our carbon footprint through our fashion selections.

With these goals in mind let’s move on to the benefits of supporting companies who produce sustainable fashion items.

The PRO’s to ethical & sustainable fashion

✔ The people making your clothing are being treated well and paid fairly: Ethical fashion brands ensure their manufacturing process enforces a safe environment, with reasonable hours and proper pay.

 

✔ Elimination of waste: Some fashion brands have found ways to take the waste from other companies and utilize it into brand new items. For example, Patagonia creates recycled polyester from soda bottles.

 

✔ Protect the environment: Many sustainable fashion brands focus their efforts on protecting the environment; for example by recycling water & avoiding harsh chemicals.

 

✔ Better quality clothing: Sustainable fashion includes making items that last for a long period of time. You are essentially paying a slightly higher price for an item that will last you for years. As opposed to fast fashion stores whose clothing easily tears or deforms in the wash.

DID YOU KNOW- When you wash your clothing micro plastic fibers are lifted from the clothes and cycle into our water?

✔ Personal pride: By making a methodical choice to purchase from a sustainable fashion brand, you are (1) essentially voting for what you want to support, and (2) you’ll feel great about supporting a company that values human rights and the planet, and of course your style!

Travel in style with these Sustainably made travel backpacks

Why is sustainable fashion so expensive?

Let’s think back to our basic economics classes, where someone instructed us on the cost analysis of an item – the cost of the designers, the people who create the product, the cost of the materials, transporting it to stores, etc. All of those things are taken into consideration when deciding on the cost of an item.

 

If a fashion company is able to create a product that is cheap for them to produce, especially in bulk, then they can charge that product for a lower cost. Sounds great, right? It may be for our wallets, but definitely not for the longevity of the planet.

 

A fashion brand focused on sustainable & ethical practices typically sell products at a higher than average cost because…

✔ they are paying more than their competitors in design,

✔ paying their mill workers higher wages,

✔ take into consideration the cost of water usage at the mills and the carbon footprint of their transportation

All of these things increase the overall cost of an item, leading it to be a higher price.

 

What does all of this mean for you, the consumer?

It means that when you spend a little bit more on items that are sustainably produced then you are helping to support companies who are doing what is right for the environment (rather than what is right for their self-interest).

Solutions for sustainable fashion :

There are two segments when it comes to solutions for the fashion industry to be more sustainable:

Brands & Consumers

I bet that was pretty obvious, but let’s go deeper into what the solutions actually are…

BRANDS – brands need to have higher standards for quality & outputs

– Brands can focus on lowering their carbon footprint of the items they develop. Including the materials used, to the carbon footprint of the mills they use, to transportation. All of which can easily be done by bringing in green consultants to help evaluate where changes can be made.

DID YOU KNOW- 75% of a fashion items entire carbon footprint takes place at the mill that its created in?

 

– Fashion companies can increase their wages to garment workers to at least standard living wages. This change would only cost brands less than 1% of the price of the garment according to a report from Oxfam.

YOU (CONSUMERS)

– Consider how your purchase affects the environment; the entire life cycle of each item you purchase, and how investing in items that will last longer will help you as well.

– Educate yourself: research what the brand is doing to be more sustainable. If a company is doing so they will share it on their website and be transparent about it. If they aren’t proving it to their consumers then it most likely means they’re hiding something.

– Repair, reuse & recycle: instead of tossing every item that becomes slightly damaged, see if you can repair it. Or find another use for it, or recycle it.

– Need specialty gear for a trip? See if you can BORROW it! Previously, I’ve borrowed dresses for weddings, snorkel gear, and camping equipment.

– Use a filtered washing bag for synthetic clothing to prevent microplastics from entering your water system – try out Guppyfriend Washing bags!

– Purchase high quality items, rather than having high quantity.

*When you purchase a new garment of any kind be sure to look for the following from the brand:

✔ High quality materials

✔ Environmentally friendly production process

✔ Do they consider & take action on ethical manufacturing processes?

✔ Are they promoting that you donate or hand down your used items when you no longer want it/them?

✔ & when you no longer have use of it will you be able to recycle it into another garment or textile item?

-Try doing a clothing swap: once a year aim to clean out your closet. Find items that you haven’t worn for a while and do a swap with your friends. Your clothes will have a second life, and if you end up changing your mind about wanting to keep it you can always ask for it back.

-Shop at second hand fashion stores or go thrifting: many second hand fashion stores carefully check the quality of their items, so you’ll be getting gently worn pieces for a fraction of the cost. And thrifting is even cheaper! I have found a few staple pieces in my pieces from thrift stores on my travels. *Tip- second hand fashion stores aren’t much cheaper in California where I live, but in other countries, where the USD goes farther, you can find stellar pieces for next to nothing!

-check if the brand is Slow Fashion: slow fashion means they aren’t putting out new items every 3-6 weeks. Instead they carefully curate seasonal pieces that are meant to last. They have a slower turnover rate of styles, and the items are made artfully & with the environment in mind.

Is thrifting considered sustainable fashion?

Some believe that thrifting isn’t a part of the sustainable fashion movement, as it doesn’t support the use of environmentally friendly fabrics and development, or safe working environments for workers. So this will be a personal decision on your part. In my opinion, thrifting is sustainable fashion. I don’t think it’s the best answer, but for those of us who aren’t in a position to afford higher priced, sustainably made clothing and don’t want to give more money to cheaper made products, thrifting is a great option.

You’re able to give an unwanted item another use, that would otherwise be in the garbage.

Sustainable Clothing Materials

Which fabrics are most sustainable? Here is a list of eco-friendly fabrics that you should keep an eye out for:

  • organic linen
  • hemp
  • organic cotton *however, this has a high water usage when being made
  • ethical wool *there are some who believe any wool is animal cruelty, and others who feel the animals naturally produce wool & need to be sheared. I stand with the middle ground, when a company openly shares their wool shearing process and shows that they are doing so humanely and with compassion.
  • tencel marked with the FSC label

 

Worst fabrics for the environment (aka avoid these):

  • acrylic
  • lycra/spandex
  • nylon
  • polyester *you’ll see polyester in almost every piece of fast fashion clothing, and unfortunately it’s one of the worst fabrics for the environment
  • bamboo *bet you’re surprised by this one! While bamboo grows quickly, the process of transforming it into fibers is intensive & requires a lot of chemicals

Learn more about fashion fabrics here

Sustainable Fashion Brands

You’ve scrolled down this far & might be wondering ‘where the hell am I going to be able to buy my clothes from now on?!’, and I totally feel you. The brands listed below are in no way a conclusive list. They are a few that I’ve researched and found through a stellar app, Good on You.

I will continue to add to this list as I learn more, but as I’m following through on a no spend promise, I would recommend that you do your own research to find sustainable fashion brands that you can support. – I made a promise to myself at the start of 2019 that I would not spend any money on new clothes for one year, so I’ve avoided looking at any fashion brands for over a year (and I may continue this promise through to 2020- hell, maybe I write about why sometime soon!) 

Remember, you, the consumer, hold a HUGE part to play in voicing your opinions and utilizing your spending intelligently in order to make a difference in the world. The more who speak up and spend elsewhere, the sooner these pollutant companies will start to change and adapt.

Happy shopping!

-Vitamin A Swim

-Patagonia

-Adidas

-Levi

Sustainable Fashion Resources

  • The River Blue documentary – documentary about how polluted rivers are, thanks to our blue jeans
  • New Standard Institute – follow them on IG here, an organization started by the founder of fashion company, Zady, they work with scientists to provide actual evidence about the fashion industry for environmental & social objectives
  • Sign the NSI petition for brands to align their goals to the environmental ones we need them to
  • US Department of Labor List of Goods – this may shock you how many countries are using forced or child labor to produce many of the things we take for granted
  • The Global Organic Textile Standard Certification (GOTS)
Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Galentine’s Gift Guide

Galentine’s Gift Guide

Galentine’s Gift Guide

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

February is a wonderful month to celebrate the special loved one in your life, but let’s not miss a great opportunity to shower your girlfriends with gifts too. It’s not every day that you lady loves are lifted up & told how awesome they are or how acknowledge how hard they work.

This Galentine’s Gift Guide is for the women in your life who are hustlers, friends and all around bad a** females.

Girlfriend Gift Ideas for Entrepreneurship

Inspirational Framed Image

Desenio

Just like a daily mantra, the images we have on our walls speak volumes for personal growth. Desenio has TONS of unique posters with frames to help your female entrepreneurs decorate their home office.

Entreprenuerial Coffee Mug

Amazon Seller, DigiBuddha

Whether they sip caffeinated coffee or soothing tea, a fun mug makes the start to a day enjoyable for anyone. The best thing about this mug is its light feminine design matched with an inspirational phrase.

Professional Development Book

You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero

If ever your galentine is in need of some personal development support these two books by Jen Sincero are a sure fire way to help.

Online Course

Udemy

What better way to show your friend that you love & support her than by gifting her a course she’s been eyeing lately. She’ll be able to grow her professional skill set, and you’ll be saving her some cost or hesitation from doing so on her own.

Coffee Shop Gift Card

Local Coffee Shops

Give your galentine the joyous gift of delicious lattes, matcha or teas by giving her a gift card to her favorite local cafe. She can treat herself to a yummy drink & get out of the house to work too.

Girlfriend Gift Ideas for Self-Care

Candles

SoCal Candle Co.

Ladies, let’s be honest, we all love a good mood setting candle. These handmade candles are from a business local to San Diego & they smell SO good (I speak from experience, as I’ve been burning their candles for over two years). My favorite scent is Solana Beach, but honestly any scent will pair well with your fempreneurs office or meditating space.

Five Minute Journal

Self Development Journal

Every successful entrepreneur or business owner believes that taking time EVERY day to focus one’s thoughts & ground their mindset is vital to their success. This Five Minute Journal is the perfect remedy for those who may need guidance for setting their daily intentions.

Diffuser & Essential Oils

Young Living

Just like a great candle, a stellar diffuser can set the mood for your galentine. With the right combination of essential oils a diffuser can not only set a mood, but impact your overall work & health.

*I suggest a cool mist diffuser after reading a book on Essential Oils called The Essential Oils Hormone Solution by Mariza Snyder.

Don’t forget to supply them with the best quality essential oils available. I love Young Living’s essential oils for many reasons, most importantly their value for sustainably sourced ingredients.

Natural Skincare

Credo Beauty

Being a lady boss is stressful and unfortunately for us it can easily show on skin. So, it’s important to have high quality, all natural skincare products. Why not treat your Galentine with some stellar items to treat her skin. It’s like a spa without the crazy spa price tag.

Organic Cotton Blanket

Whisper Organics

Organic cotton is not only a sustainable material but a super cozy material for any lady looking to lounge after a hard day’s work. Who knows maybe she’ll slip under it while burning her new gifted candle or diffuser too!

Cozy Joggers

Alo Yoga Moto Style

If your Galentine works from home she’ll love a new pair of sustainably made & cozy jogger pants from Alo Yoga. These are so comfortable and have fun detailing that can be worn for midday errands too.

Massage

Groupon

For any hardworking gal, a gift card for a massage is a favorite item to receive. What’s so great about Groupon is that it’s local businesses who are actively seeking new clients, so you’re supporting local while supporting your friend too!

Girlfriend Gift Ideas for Travelers

Compression Packing Cubes

Eagle Creek

Eagle Creek’s packing cubes are a lifesaver for any female traveler. They are great for gifting, especially if you want to go the extra mile & fill them with other small goodies for your friend(s).

Cute Travel Bag or Purse

Matt & Nat

Matt & Nat make some of the most beautiful vegan leather bags. Treat your galentine to a quality made backpack that she can take on her next trip or adventure.

Read More: Sustainable Travel Backpacks any Millennial would be proud to wear

Amazon Fire Stick

Amazon.com

If your girlfriend is a frequent traveler, she may enjoy spending her evenings relaxing with her favorite binge-worthy show(s). Cue in the Amazon Fire Stick. This small device is great for any female traveler as she can plug it into any USB device and be connected to her Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO or other streaming service.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins

These noise cancelling headphones are great for female travelers. They can tune out the noise of a plane or a potentially noisy seat neighbor. Plus they are comfortable to wear for hours.

I hope this list helps you find the perfect gift your favorite galentine in your life!

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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12 Things I Learned Selling Beer

12 Things I Learned Selling Beer

12 Things I Learned Selling Beer

Many experiences in our lives turn into life lessons, if we allow them to. And who would’ve thought selling beer in San Diego would have so many lessons to impart.

After three years, I quit my corporate job in beverage sales. There were many reasons behind this decision of mine, of which I won’t bore you with, except that I chose to pursue what made me happy. And looking back on those years out at bars and sampling beers, I realized that it wasn’t all about the alcohol. Selling beer taught me some important lessons on self growth and professional development.

I can’t say the decision to quit was an easy one, nor was it the most responsible thing I’ve done, but looking back I’ve allowed those life lessons from my time in beverage sales to resonate into so many other aspects of my life. Lessons that I wouldn’t have learned had I stayed comfortably back at home in Pennsylvania or hadn’t challenged myself outside of my comfort zone.

So, with an elated heart here are

12 things I learned while selling beer:

1.) Question your daily basic principles frequently– don’t stick yourself in a rut

Consider what you will stand for & don’t allow others to convince you that you should act below a respectable level to hit a mark or sale. You will be left with an ‘icky’ feeling of having done something dishonorable, and it will come back to bite you in the toosh one day.

2.) You won’t get along with everyone, but you need to pretend to… and it’ll lead to you learning how to understand others

You won’t get along or even like every person that you come into contact with, but that doesn’t mean every person you interact with doesn’t deserve your utmost respect & manners. No matter age, race, religion or political beliefs, every individual has something to offer to the world, and being open to everyone will help you understand the motives of those around you.

3.) Goals are great, but don’t set huge ones you can never achieve.  Aspire, but realistically.

While this isn’t the most inspirational thing I learned, it was important for me. Don’t compare your own success to others. Just because someone was able to accomplish X in a short period of time, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do the same. There are variables in every situation, and you may have little to no understanding of the work it took for them him/her to get to where they are. You can use others success to motivate yourself, but focus on your own growth & goals.

4.) Hateful words said to you are often not said towards you, they are said due to someone else’s anger, distrust or lack of people skills.  Don’t worry what they think & don’t internalize criticism

This was a big one for me to accept. I’ve lost count of the times a bar manager yelled at me or call me something inappropriate to my face when all I did was greeted them with a ‘Good afternoon!’. At first I was heartbroken. I wasn’t used to someone not liking me or being such rudeness. But after taking the time to consider how to handle these situations I learned that when someone gives you sass or lashes out at you, it is not a direct correlation of you OR your work. It’s more often a reflection of a personal issue of their own showcasing itself outwardly to others.

I’m a sensitive person by nature. I’ve found myself crying after someone has yelled at me & I’ll brew over a single comment made by a friend or colleague for days until I resolve it with them. And I’ve learned that internalizing that criticism will only brew up anxious & negative feelings that won’t serve any purpose in your personal or work life.

Take those hurtful words or actions & let them runoff of you. Be your own water resistant self that deflects negativity.

5.) When you’re focused on delivering great value, rather than hitting a personal number you will be successful.  Change your perception from high numbers to high value & people will perceive you more positively.

Numbers are great ways to evaluate your progress, but they aren’t everything. People are fairly easy to read and when you are focused on numbers & not people or feelings it shows, and they’ll most likely show it right back to you. Focus on the quality of work you deliver and the numbers will follow.

6.) Keep going in the face of adversity.

Not everyone will like you. No matter how sweet or outgoing or polite you may be. Like the saying “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” (from Dita Von Teese). If someone doesn’t like you it doesn’t mean you should (a) avoid them or (b) not do your job. Power through the uncomfortable feelings of dislike and you’ll find even greater value in the feeling of surpassing adversity

7.) Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, it’s good for your growth.

Comfort zones are boundaries that are meant to be pushed, adjusted & expanded on. Talking to strangers, discussing things you know next to nothing about, or having to re-negotiate terms are uncomfortable things to do, but once you do it & find that the worse thing that can happen is not that bad, you’ll see how much more of the world is available to you.

8.) Don’t procrastinate.

If you think avoiding something will make it go away, it won’t. Bite the bullet & take care of the task(s) you’re avoiding. You’ll end up feeling much better getting it over with, and find time for more exciting and fun things to do.

9.) Embrace your failures & learn from them.

We aren’t perfect beings. We make mistakes. But it’s important to accept the mistake, take the blame if necessary and adapt. This will make you a better person, a better employee and be someone that others respect.

10.) Sales experience comes in many different forms.

Everyone is a salesperson. Just because you don’t have a direct job in sales, doesn’t mean you aren’t selling something. You may have to pitch ideas for date nights to your significant other, sell the idea of why you need that new gadget or next trip, justify to the clerk why the coupon should be accepted, and even see through the sales funnel of lack luster deals or products.

11.) Learn to define your priorities.

There are only 24 hours in the day. While eight of them should be slated for rest, three for eating, maybe one for working out and meditation/self development, that leaves about 12 hours left in your day. Now, I hope you aren’t working your job for 12 hours a day, so prioritize your time and tasks.

Learning to prioritize will help you get more done with less work, complete work that will move the needle for your work or business, and give you time to focus on what makes you happy.

12.) Focus on the big picture.

Ask yourself, what purpose does this serve? Is it worth my time? Will it move the needle?

These questions will help you prioritize and avoid procrastination (as I listed above), and will also help you understand what is worth your time. As I mentioned before, there are only 24 hours in a day. If what you’re doing right now isn’t part of your big picture of success, then re-evaluate where it should be (or shouldn’t be) in your life.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

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Best Camera Gear for Travel Photography

Best Camera Gear for Travel Photography

Best Camera Gear for Travel Photography

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

Choosing the perfect camera and lens for yourself can be challenging. There is so much information online on professional photography gear, and so many opinions from varying sources, it all becomes contradicting and confusing quickly.

But once you have your perfect photography gear kit you will be able to capture moments of your travels that you can look back on forever.

My love for photography started when I captured one window image on my first trip to Europe, in Rome, Italy. I ended up printing the alleyway image in black and white and still have it sitting prettily on my nightstand next to where I sleep. It’s a momento of the instant that I fell in love with exploring the world and with photography.

My journey to find my best camera gear had a bit of trial and error, and yours will too. Great quality gear is an investment, and like any investment it should be made with careful thought, research and practice.

Here are my tips for how to choose the right gear for your travel photos, and what to keep in mind when looking to purchase camera gear for travel photography.

Included in this post:

  • The basics to look for in professional camera gear for travel photography
  • My tried & true camera gear for my own travels
  • Importance & distinction between the camera body and camera lenses
  • Discussion of New vs Used camera gear

What to look for in a professional camera for travel photography

        When you begin your search for camera equipment for your travels you need to consider what you want to use it for and the types of photos you’ll be taking.

        For example, do you want to shoot large, lush landscapes or up close portrait shots, or a simple point & shoot image for your own scrapbooks?

For this post, I’ll be covering DSLR and Mirrorless cameras. These are high quality, expensive pieces of equipment rather than a more popular point & shoot camera you may have used in the past.

New to travel photography?

Check out this Superstar Photography course that I studied when I wanted to take photography more seriously.

       Just purchasing any camera based on an expensive price does not mean you’ll be getting the best camera. You need to understand what quality is in a camera body and a camera lens.

        These are two separate pieces for your camera gear. And any knowledgeable photographer will tell you that the lens is a much more important piece and much bigger investment.

You need to consider three main components of your camera body and lens pairing:

Lens quality

Shutter capability

Sensor quality

Camera & Lens Terms you’ll want to know when reading this:

LENS: your lenses are detachable from the camera body on any DSLR or mirrorless camera. A lens catches the light and feeds it through the shutter to the sensor.

SHUTTER: a shutter is an object that opens and closes on your camera, it’s the barrier between the lens and the sensor. On a DSLR or mirrorless camera, a shutter is one of two ways to control how much light is let into the camera lens through to the sensor.

SENSOR: a camera sensor is inside of the camera body, and impacts your camera’s image quality. The larger the sensor, the more sensitive to light it is, which typically means you’ll end up with better quality images. It also provides better depth of field and color quality.

Aperture: also called an F stop; seen in a lens description as f/#. The LOWER the number, the wider the lens opening can go, which means MORE light can be let it. Aperture is the second of two ways to control how much light is let into the camera sensor.

Focal Length: focal length is the zooms on the lens. Lenses are either fixed or can zoom, and will be seen in a lens description in mm

What to look for in a professional camera for travel photography

Here are all of the items that I bring with me on EVERY trip that I take:

Camera Body:

Sony aR 7 – the Sony Alpha series is a wonderful travel photography camera. It’s a mirrorless camera meaning that is uses only a sensor when shooting versus a DSLR’s mirror to sensor technique. This makes the Sony Alpha series so much lighter than a DSLR camera (however, you must be extremely careful changing lenses, and do NOT clean the mirror or sensor of a mirrorless camera on your own).

I’m in love with the way this camera shoots, the quality of the images it produces, the full-frame sensor and that it connects to wifi so you can easily transfer files. Plus it’s come in handy with video, which we’ve been testing the waters with.

Lenses:

Sony 24-70mm F/2.8 – a favorite among many professionals, this zoom lens is a great go-to travel lens due to its wide range of focal length and lower aperture capabilities.

Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 FE OSS Interchangeable Standard Zoom Lens  – This kit zoom lens has been great for travel photos. It’s focal length has proven great for cityscape photos, and has an average aperture that is flexible with daylight images

Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 – another zoom lens, the 16-35mm lens is great for wide angle shots

*this lens is similar to the Sony 24-70mm F/2.8 lens, in both quality and price. I would suggest only purchasing one of these if you are budgeting- purchase based on the zoom depth; if you want to shoot images of further away objects, then you may want the 28-70mm lens.

Sony 85mm F1.8 Telephoto Fixed Prime Lens – By far one of my favorite camera toys to use, I love this telephoto lens. With a wonderfully low aperture of f/1.8, this lens shoots incredible portrait shots. It’s ability to focus and showcase soft bokeh in an image makes it a must use lens for my travels.

Go Pro Hero Action Camera – GoPro has become a household name and for good reason. Their compact action cameras are great for adventure travelers. We love using ours for underwater and hiking adventures.

Find all the best sustainable carry on essentials including the ones you find in this post HERE

Camera Accessories

Tripod this tripod is sturdy yet still lightweight, so it’s been easy to carry around during a day of walking

 Sony Remote – if you’re using a tripod and don’t want to have to run back and forth on a 10 second timer, then this remote will be your lifesaver.

 Portable Hard Drive – I always back up my images onto a hard drive after a day of traveling. That way I don’t have to worry about running out of space on my HD card for the following day.

 

Mophie Charger – some carry extra batteries, I carry an extra charger. When I see my battery is half used and I’ll be walking for a bit, I’ll plug in an extra charger to boost my battery up while I’m not shooting. Plus I can also use it for my cell phone- one item for two things!

 

Cushioned Camera Case – Unless you’re traveling with multiple lenses and cameras you won’t need to dedicate an entire bag to your gear. I use a cushioned case in my carry on backpack for my camera body and three lenses. This case is the best. It protects my camera gear and can easily be pulled out of your bag if you need to do so through airport security.

Go Pro Accessories – there is no shortage of the type of accessories a GoPro owner can utilize. We purchased an accessory pack, like the one linked here and have used almost all of the items during our travels.

 

All Day Camera Purse – this Lo & Sons bag, Siena, is one of the most used items I have. It easily fits my camera, two lenses and any other item I may need during a day of walking around.

Biggest pieces of advice when purchasing camera gear for travel photography:

  • Lenses are more important than the camera body
  • High-quality lenses will long outlive a camera body
  • Make sure the lens you purchase matches the mount style of the camera body
  • Focus on both your budget and your long term goals; cheaper isn’t better, and neither is spending a ton of money just for the sake of your Instagram account.
  • New vs Used Camera Gear: purchasing new vs used camera gear is a personal preference. I prefer new because I like to be the first person to capture something on a camera. But if you’re budget is lower than go used. Just be sure to check for a warranty, and if buying used on Amazon check who the seller is and look for ‘Certified Refurbished’
  • Unsure which lens to get? Try renting a few and practicing on them!
  • Do NOT attempt to clean your mirrorless camera’s sensor on your own. You can permanently damage your camera. In fact, you should be cautious when changing lenses that no sand, dust or anything else falls into the sensor area.
  • Camera brands will provide a ton of information about the equipment. Don’t equate more bullet points of ‘perks’ as a better camera. You can ignore the built-in flash capabilities and focal range of a camera body.

Do you have a camera questions or need someone to bounce ideas off of? Post your comments below and I’ll get back to you!

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

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