Embarcadero, San Francisco
California, Roundups, Washington

Month in Review: March 2016

With the passing of March and the onset of spring, things are pretty cheery around here.  Not that anything went terribly awry in March, but the changing of seasons always seems to bring good (and often unexpected) things, and I can’t wait to find out what they are.

What I will say about the past month is that it brought with it some much-needed clarity.  Although it stings to realize you’re still not quite the person you want to be, it also serves as a wake-up call, forcing you to re-assess your priorities and refocus your energies on what’s truly important.  I see my goals more clearly, and I can see my future success–now it’s time to go after it.

Here are a few of the defining events that took place this month.

In March of 2016…

I stepped up my photography game.

I’ve mentioned my new photography setup a few times but only in passing, so I’ll take a moment now to elaborate on what’s new.  For the last year and a half, I’ve been shooting with a Canon Rebel SL1, a compact DSLR.  The body is just fine, and I appreciate that it’s super lightweight for travel.  However, I’d been DYING to upgrade my lens for the last several months, because as much as I appreciate the versatility of Canon’s 18-55mm kit lens, I was aching for something that would produce higher quality images as well as a stronger bokeh effect in portraits and close-ups.

After a bit of research and finally consulting my trusty photographer friend Megan, I settled on the 24-70 mm f/2.8 zoom lens.  Still great for landscapes like my previous lens, and even better for portraits.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and the image quality is insane.  The sharpness of my photos compared to those taken with my old lens is just incredible.  It even came with a UV filter which I use primarily as an extra layer of protection.  So, the lens was my main concern, and I hit the nail on the head with this one.  But, I wanted to do even more experimenting, so I tacked on a lightweight aluminum tripod and a wireless remote (yay, self-portraits!).  The tripod is perfect for my needs and a great value at around just $25; the value of the remote remains to be seen (but at $20, it’s no great loss, either).

Most of the images that have been featured on the blog since February have been produced with this lens, but here are a few of my favorites so far.

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington

Japantown Peace Plaza, San Francisco

Japantown Peace Plaza, San Francisco

Embarcadero, San Francisco

Embarcadero, San Francisco

I got my personal finances in order.

Until this year, the topic of personal finance may as well have been Greek to me.  It’s not something I ever studied in school (but I’m now convinced it should be a requirement) nor did I have any role models around while growing up to educate me on the subject.  My spending habits are atrocious and the word ‘budget’ has never had a place in my vocabulary.  So, a year and a half after attempting to make it on my own as a freelancer, I decided it was high time I change all that.

My secret weapon?  I Will Teach You To Be Rich, by Ramit Sethi.  I can’t remember how I originally stumbled on Ramit’s eponymous blog last year, but I am SO glad I did.  Even if you think personal finance is boring (which, let’s be honest, it is) Ramit can teach you the basics in a way that not only makes sense but is highly entertaining and actionable as well.  Following the guidance in this book, I opened bank accounts that won’t charge me foreign transaction fees, a high-interest online savings account, a retirement account, and even started investing (!!).  I also now understand the true difference between cheap and frugal, and how conscious spending can allow you to take care of what needs taking care of while still setting some money aside for the things you truly love.

In all honesty, this book has changed everything for me, and for once in my adult life, I’m in a place where I feel good about my finances.  My most important lesson to pass on to you this month: don’t wait to educate yourself.  Do it now.

PS – IWTYTBR is a mega steal on Amazon right now…just sayin’.I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi

I realized that my own fear of failure is still very much standing in my way.

I think most of us do this at one point or another; we second-guess our abilities and our drive, we doubt our own motivations, we convince ourselves our dreams are not possible.  I realized this month that I’m still doing a lot of things that I think (or I’ve convinced myself) are beneficial when really they are just holding me back from achieving what I really want.  I’m taking the safe route.  I’m still not taking myself or my dreams seriously.  I’m letting my fear of failure keep me from taking the leap I need to take.  When this realization came crashing down on me this month, I knew it was time to make a change.  More to come on this topic…

I took my first trip of the year.

San Francisco has drawn me back to it fairly consistently over the last several years.  With so many of my friends living there, it’s an obvious choice.  My week in Fog City turned out marvelously; I was prepared for rain and gloom and was instead met with brilliantly blue skies.  I met up with friends all over the city and relished the opportunity to catch up on life.  I’m so grateful to have a community in San Francisco that’s always so willing to make time for me when I breeze through.  I can’t find that anywhere else in the world.  Exploring new parts of the city is always an exciting undertaking as well; a few of my favorite discoveries were Japantown, Lands End, Bernal Heights, and Hayes Valley.  And I may or may not have developed a severe dependency on Uber and Lyft.  Expect plenty of SF posts coming your way soon!

Embarcadero, San Francisco


Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, San Francisco


Golden Gate Park, San Francisco


My Most Popular Posts

How to Build a Beautiful Blog (not actually a post, but a resource page I created for anyone looking to start their very own blog!)

Carry-On Flight Essentials

In Defense of Solo Female Travel

My Best Instagrams

Today on the blog, I wanted to touch on a few subjects of great importance to me and that have been occupying much of my head space lately: solo female travel, safety, and violence against women. It pains me to know that we live in a world where women are still often treated as lesser beings, but what pains me even more is the belief that the answer to this violence is that women are simply better off staying home. I refuse to live my life in fear, cowering away from my dreams of seeing the world under the false assumption that staying put is somehow going to keep me from harm. Our attitudes must change and we must shift our focus to confront these problems at the source, because women are not about to stop traveling. #solofemaletravel #wegosolo #dametraveler #viajosola

A photo posted by Leah Davis (@leahlamochilera) on

A Few Things I’m Loving

Don’t Stop Traveling Because of Fear – Another poignant piece by Jodi of Legal Nomads: “Travel is enriching, rewarding, and can make you a better and more compassionate person. It can also provide you with a perspective that makes you a better human. Bearing in mind that some countries with frequent, systematic attacks should be avoided, I would urge people not to avoid all travel out of fear. Doing so plays into what those who attack innocent people want: an angry, reactive modern world.”

21 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome – This relates directly to my third point.  I’m suffering from imposter syndrome.

11 science-backed ways to develop a better work-life balance – I know I need to implement more of these, and I bet some of you could probably stand to as well.

A Look at What’s Ahead

On the horizon for April, I’ve got get-togethers with family (I get to meet my cousin’s new little ones for the first time!), the video response to my Ask Me Anything post (have you submitted a question yet?), a few giveaways here on the blog (stay tuned!), a week in New York, and a solo excursion to Mexico!

That’s all for March!  Bring on April!

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  • Reply Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster March 31, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Looks like March was a good month! I totally agree with you when it comes to personal finance. I got my financial life together about 3 years ago when my grad student loans came out of their grace period. I was facing a monthly payment of over $600. Plus my car was dying and I wanted to travel. I got a new job (one that I hated, but it paid well) and started side hustling. It worked. I paid off about 60% of my student loan debt, have a good retirement account nest egg currently and I’m traveling. Adulting isn’t always easy, but once things click it does make it better. Safe travels and can’t wait to read about Mexico! 🙂

    • Reply Leah Davis March 31, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Wow, that’s an amazing feat, Katelyn! I’m so happy I took the initiative to learn something about finance on my own. Still a long way to go, but the progress feels good. 🙂

  • Reply Sanna March 31, 2016 at 10:20 am

    On the topic of fear of failure, I’m not sure if you have read anything from Brené Brown? Reading her book Daring Greatly earlier this year was an eye-opener for me and made me understand why I react and make the choices I do. It also helped me decide that it was time to quit my job and move away from Sweden (funny enough Seattle is a place I consider moving to at some point). 🙂

    So if you haven’t already read anything by her, I recommend that one. Also, looking forward to more on this topic!
    Sanna recently posted…New beginnings: Hello world!My Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis March 31, 2016 at 10:35 am

      I haven’t read anything by Brene Brown, but you have me very intrigued! I will look into her book for sure. I’m much more interested in reading self-help type books these days than novels (considering buying The 4-Hour Work Week as well) so that would be perfect, and by the sounds of it, motivational! Seattle is lovely, and not totally unlike Sweden. I don’t blame you one bit for wanting to experience life outside of your country! I just read your blog post and it seems like you’ve got a lot of exciting days on the horizon. Good luck!

  • Reply Kinga March 31, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Fear of failure is currently my biggest challenge that I must finally overcome. ;/ Every single time I am afraid that things I do won’t be perfect or good (this relates mostly to my own developing blog but also some other things in life) and I just keep postponing them for way too long. Then I do what I wanted and it turns out good. But the next time the process is exactly the same.

    I must ask – is something wrong with my snapchat or have you stopped snapping?
    Kinga recently posted…ITB Berlin 2016 – some thoughts on the biggest travel showMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis March 31, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      Yes! I think this fear is common, certainly something everyone goes through at least once. I hope you can overcome your fear in the future and dive into things without hesitation! I’m still working on the same.

      And no, your Snapchat isn’t deceiving you! I stopped snapping awhile back actually. It just felt a bit too invasive in my daily life and like I was spreading myself too thin. I still share things every now and then, but not like I used to. Priorities!

      • Reply Kinga April 1, 2016 at 12:54 pm

        Totally understand about Snapchat and priorities. And that’s why I like your blog so much, you just have the priorities right and stay honest to yourself and your followers. 🙂
        Kinga recently posted…What I’ve learned within a week of Project 365My Profile

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