Roundups, Washington

Month in Review: August 2017

It’s that time of the month again! The ups and downs of the last thirtyish days, the behind-the-scenes happenings, and everything non-travel related that I feel like sharing with the web.

If you’ve been a long-time reader of this series, welcome back. If this is your first visit, I hope you enjoy getting to know me a little bit better!

You can read the last few monthly roundups here: April, MayJune, July. It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing these roundups for three years now!

Without further ado…

In August 2017…

I started running again!

Back in the day (I get to say that now because I’m 30) I was a runner. A bonafide, certified, runner.Fitness On the Go: Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide

In high school, I woke up at 6 am every day to go for a run before school. In college, my best friend convinced me to start training for a marathon, so I did (but never wound up running the race because I got sick mid-training). Post-college, I was still running, and eventually completed a half-marathon in a respectable two hours and four minutes. I couldn’t walk for a week afterward, but I did it.

As soon as I started traveling, however, the running became harder and harder to maintain. It was too hot in Thailand, it wasn’t always safe in South America, and the rest of the time I was just too exhausted to bother. Plus, after a few too many strenuous treks, my knees just weren’t having it anymore. So I let my once-preferred form of exercise fall by the wayside and sought out new ways to stay in shape.

But none of those other methods ever really stuck, or seemed even half as effective as running at giving me that euphoric feeling, that renewed energy, that feeling of accomplishment. So, just a few weeks ago and with some hesitation, I decided to give running another try.

Much to my surprise and delight, my knees didn’t scream in protest. I’ve started off slowly so as not to burn myself out from the start, and I really think this time it’s going to stick. In just the last week, I’ve gone running 5 times in the early morning before the summer heat descends.

They are short runs for now, but they’ve been wonderful for my self-esteem, for my energy levels, and even for my creativity. I’ll still practice yoga and make use of my jump rope and even Kayla Itsines’ BBG from time to time, but running is officially back in the mix and now that I’m settled in one place, I’m confident it’s here to stay.

We finalized some October travel plans.

In case you missed the announcements on social media, Hans and I are going to HAWAII this October and we couldn’t be more excited! While I’m no stranger to the island of Maui, it’ll be Hans’ first visit ever. We’ve already got a laundry list of things to do while we’re there, so we’re busy planning and saving up for what is sure to be an incredible eight days.

We’ll be hitting every part of the island, doing many of the things I never got around to during past visits with my family. Things like driving that winding, narrow road to Hana (and stopping at all the cool spots along the way), hiking in the Iao Valley, and exploring the upcountry in a campervan.

We’ll also be spending plenty of time on the water, taking surfing and SUP lessons and snorkeling to our hearts’ content. My other aim is to hit as many food trucks as possible so if you have any (vegetarian-friendly) suggestions, please let me know!Volkswagen van in a tropical setting

I took an important step in my self-love journey.

I’m a big believer that if you get your personal life sorted out, the rest will follow. If you have demons you haven’t dealt with, unresolved inner turmoil and unacknowledged pain, this will seep into every part of your life no matter how hard you try to keep them separate. Your work will suffer, your relationships will suffer, and you’ll only be prolonging your own grief.

For me, this means finally taking a look at some pain that has been a part of my life for a decade and a half because I can no longer pretend that it isn’t deeply affecting my daily life. This pain is the reason I experience bouts of depression, it’s the reason I have days where I feel completely unmotivated and unfulfilled in my work, despite the fact that things are going well and my life is, in reality, quite blessed.

This pain isn’t going anywhere, so it’s time to confront it so I can finally begin to move forward and step into the life I know I was meant for. It’s scary and I know it’s only going to get more painful from here, but pain signifies growth and I’m ready to leave these burdens behind.

All this is to say, I’ve finally scheduled an appointment with a behavioral health counselor. This big step forward comes probably 15 years later than it should have, but in this case, late really is better than never. I know one session likely won’t change much, but the fact that I took the initiative to schedule it in the first place (with some gentle prodding by my loving partner) shows just how ready I am to begin the healing process.

We got our photos back from a shoot with Megan Kathleen Photography.

Two things I love: 1) investing in professional photography for my site and 2) supporting my fellow creatives. With this photo shoot with my soul sister Megan, I got to do both!

If you recall, Megan is the one who created the beautiful imagery in my ebook. Those photos appear quite often on social media, too (if you’re in my Facebook group, you see them every day!). Check out her Facebook fan page for more of her stunning work.

I knew I wanted to enlist her help again to create some lifestyle shots for blog posts that have little (or nothing) to do with travel. I also wanted to get Hans in on the action, since he’s been helping me a lot with this site and is even writing up his very first guest post, which I can’t wait to share with you!

We spent a July day frolicking around town, and the resulting photos are stunning! You’ll be seeing them here on the blog as well as Instagram and Facebook.Lifestyle shoot with Megan Kathleen Photography

My Most Popular Posts

The Sweetest Way’s First Ever Blogging Income Report – My first income report was my most popular post of the month BY FAR which is a good thing, because it was actually a lot of fun to write, too. So many positive things have come from it already, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I made the right decision to publish it. The next one will be published soon!

A Weekend in Winthrop: Old West Charm in the North Cascades – This post did particularly well thanks to a share by the Winthrop Facebook page and their enthusiastic fans.

My Best Instagrams

Before this year, I probably wouldn’t have been caught dead out of the house without makeup on. It wasn’t that I wanted to wear makeup all the time, but I felt like I had to–I’ve struggled with acne my entire adult life. ⠀ ⠀ I had high hopes that by the time I reached 30 I’d have outgrown it, so it feels pretty good to have arrived at this new decade finally feeling like my skin doesn’t need to be covered up in shame.⠀ ⠀ I’m sure a slow transition toward a plant-based lifestyle is probably also partially responsible. ⠀ ⠀ I don’t always go sans makeup and I definitely still get breakouts from time to time, but this is me with absolutely zero makeup, publicly, on the Internet, and I’m happy with what I see ☼

A post shared by Leah Davis (@thesweetestway) on

What I’m Reading

I bought Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle Is The Way almost a year ago, and am finally making time to read it. It’s about turning your worst moments and failures into opportunities, which is a skill that is both underappreciated and underutilized. It’s a great read so far, much like his other title that I read last year and loved, Ego is the Enemy.

A Few Things I’m Loving

Conquer Your Clutter Super BundleConquer Your Clutter Super Bundle – Disorganization is practically my middle name (except when it comes to travel planning!) but in a serious attempt at getting my life together, I’ve enlisted the help of this incredible online resource. The Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle is a collection of e-courses, e-books, and planning worksheets designed to help with everything from getting your finances together to managing your time and productivity to getting rid of mental clutter so you can live a more joyful life. It’s a bundle of 38 tools (a total value of $658) all smushed together for the incredibly low price of $47.

Keysearch – This is the new tool I’m using to conduct keyword research instead of Google’s Keyword Planner. I discovered this after a day of deep diving into Digital Nomad Wannabe, a site for people who want to learn how to make money through blogging and niche sites. Keysearch offers a free trial, which should be all the convincing you’ll need that it’s an amazing resource!

That’s all for August! Onward and upward!

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  • Reply Sharon Gourlay October 12, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Hey Leah! Thanks for the shout out. Good on you for starting running again too. I have been trying to make myself as I know I’m much happier when I exercise but the lazy voice in my head keeps winning!

    • Reply Leah Davis October 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Hi Sharon! Thanks for visiting! Your content provides me with endless inspiration–thank you for writing what you write. I find that the best way to get back into the habit of running is just to start really slow. My first run was literally around the block, and knowing that it wouldn’t kill me and it would be over in less than 10 minutes was appealing to my lazy side. Oh and just putting on my running shoes in the first place is usually enough to get me out the door!

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