The Recovering Pessimist

Helping pessimists see the bright side of life without losing their "half empty" roots.

My Favorite News Podcasts

Jul
10

The Recovering Pessimist: My Favorite News Podcasts -- I'm listening to podcasts to stay informed and awake while working. I wanted to share a few of my favorites. | www.therecoveringpessimist.me #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimistI work a 9-5 and wear headphones to stay awake and focused. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of news podcasts and I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites at the moment. The podcasts mentioned are all available on the Stitcher app. Without further adieu, here they are!

NPR Up First

What I appreciate about NPR Up First is that from Monday-Friday, the show is a 10-12 minute snapshot (on average) of the news, pop culture, etc.  you need to know in about 10 minutes. Perfect for those of us who are in a time crunch and/or only want the highlights.

The Rachel Maddow Show

I’m not big on politics, but staying informed is a necessary. The Rachel Maddow Show airs Monday-Friday on MSNBC. She has a way of storytelling that intrigues me and makes the news digestible, which is well-needed in the current political climate.

60 Minutes

My favorite part of 60 Minutes is the ticking sound of the stopwatch that plays at the beginning and end of the show. The show airs Sundays on CBS. In addition to covering current events, 60 Minutes also features stories on nature, pop culture, and technology that are relevant to today.

These are my favorite news podcasts at the moment. If you listen to news podcasts, I’d love to hear about them. Let’s discuss in the comments and/or social media.

 

Why I Use the Sleep Better App by Runtastic

Mar
20

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. The Sleep Better app was purchased with my money. All opinions are my own.

I don’t sleep well at night during the work week. When the alarm went off, I was very groggy and cranky. I felt rushed while I was getting ready for work. I finally reached my breaking point when a night of restlessness resulted in less than three hours of sleep.

Not good.

I did some research on sleep tracking apps. Many of them had free options which weren’t usable. Others were entirely too complicated to use even in the free version.

Then I discovered the Sleep Better sleep cycle alarm clock app on Google Play (also available on the App Store). The free option is sufficient but I wanted access to my sleep diary and wanted to have the ability to change the Wake Up Window for the Smart Alarm.

Here are a few of my favorite things about the Sleep Better app:

 

Signing Up/Log In

Sleep Better App Login

One of my biggest gripes about apps is that many give you options to sign up/log in via Facebook, Twitter, or email. Thankfully, the Sleep Better app gives you two options for signing up/logging in: Facebook and Google. I chose Google because Google is life. If I can avoid having to use an email address and password to sign up/log in, I’m here for it.

It’s the small things.

 

 

Home Screen

Sleep Better App Alarm Menu

At the top of the home screen is your alarm time. You can scroll through the hour and minutes to create your alarm time. Directly underneath it is the Wake Up Window, which you set from the alarm menu.

Below the Wake Up Window are six options that might affect your sleep:

Worked Out, Stressful Day, Not My Bed, Ate Late, Caffeine, and Alcohol

At the bottom of the home screen is the Start button, which you select when you’re ready to fall asleep.

 

 

 

Alarm Menu

Sleep Better Alarm SettingsOn the top right of the home screen menu is an alarm clock. Select the clock on the top right of the screen to get access to the alarm menu. At the top of the menu you can swipe right to turn the alarm on or swipe left to turn it off.

You can control the volume of the alarm and choose to have the phone vibrate when it goes off.

The Smart Alarm is the dopest part of the app. It allows you to set the time frame for within your set alarm time so you wake up in your lightest sleep stage. In the paid version there’s a default smart alarm setting of 30 minutes. The smart alarm for the paid version ranges from off to 45 minutes.

The downside of the alarm menu is that you can only create one alarm. This pertains to both the free and paid versions.

The alarm snooze option ranges from off to 20 minutes. Also, Alarm Sound features all the sounds for you to wake up to. The free version as a limited selection of sounds and in the paid version, all the sounds are unlocked.

 

Sleep Diary

Sleep Better Sleep DiaryThe Sleep Diary is a feature of the paid version. The diary is broken down by month. At the top of each month are the total nights of sleep and the monthly sleep average.

Each night of sleep in the diary shows the time the Start button was selected to start the app, the total time of sleep, and the sleep efficiency percentage.

Even with the app, I’ve only been able to get eight hours of sleep one time.

insert loud sigh here

 

 

 

Sleep Statistics

Sleep Better App Sleep Statistics

The paid version of the app has a section for sleep statistics which are broken down into four categories: overall, yearly, monthly, and weekly. This is a cool feature if you like to see your progress over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only thing I don’t like about the app is that you can only set one alarm at a time. This goes for both the free and paid versions. Other than that, I have nothing bad to say about it.

To sum it up, the free version of the Sleep Better app is great on its own. However, if you want to view statistics, unlock alarm sounds, etc, it’s worth spending the $1.99 on. If you download and use the app, I’d like to read your thoughts on it.

Sweet dreams.

Updated March 31, 2017

My 5 Favorite Spotify Playlists for Sleep

Mar
13

The Recovering Pessimist: My Favorite Spotify Sleep Playlists -- I have moments where sleep eludes me. Listening to some of my favorite Spotify playlists usually relaxes me enough to fall asleep. | www.therecoveringpessmist.me #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimistI’m a creature of habit and my nighttime routine is no different. I stop using my computer 45 minutes to an hour before bed. I avoid drinking sugary drinks a few hours before bed. I turn off all the lights in my apartment.

Usually, this routine works like a charm.

Keyword: usually.

Some nights, despite my most valiant efforts, sleep still manages to elude me. On top of that, just one restless night ruins my sleep for the entire week. When I have those restless nights, I go to my favorite Spotify sleep playlists.

 

1. Sounds of Home | Noise Therapy

This playlist is full of white noise! Think along the lines of ventilation units, electrical appliances, fans, etc.

2. Gentle Rains

As a child, I would dance in the rain. It was so relaxing to feel the water against my skin. This playlist puts me in the perfect mood for a good night’s sleep.

3. Nightstorms

There’s something about night storms that make me want to cuddle up with a comfy blanket and a soft pillow. Thunder + nighttime are the perfect ingredients for a sound slumber.

4. Nature Noise

Living in the city, I miss the sounds of my country upbringing.  This playlist hits the spot.

5. Dreamcatcher

I found this collection of Native American flute music on a whim. It’s unique and soothing. Perfect for when it’s bedtime and your mind doesn’t get the memo.

These are my five favorite Spotify sleep playlists. Do you use sleep playlists? If so, please feel free to share in the comments.

Until next time,

MsWalton

5 Interesting Things About Me (Part 3)

Jan
23

The Recovering Pessimist: 5 Interesting Things About Me Part III -- I'm long overdue for the third installment of this series where I share some of the things that make me the awesomeness that I am. Enjoy! | www.therecoveringpessimist.me #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimist

One of my favorite things about this blog is that I can share all of the facets that make me who I am. Which brings me to the third installment of this series (click here and here for previous installments). I’m sorry this is long overdue, but let’s jump right in:

1. I am Daria (and Daria is me).

I’ve been sarcastic and what some would call a smartass (I prefer quick-witted) for most of my life. I find it entertaining when people don’t pick up on my sarcasm or get upset that I’m really good at one-liner commentary. Sarcasm and quick-wit are gifts and because you don’t waste gifts, I’m sharing my gifts with the world.

Daria/Giphy.com

Daria/Giphy.com

2. I don’t own a pair of heels.

I have a love/dislike relationship with heels that borders more on dislike. I love the streamlined look of heels. However, I don’t like the pain that results from wearing those heels that give that streamlined look.

Plus my style for the past couple of years embraces flats and the occasional wedge, both of which are much easier on my back. At some point, I’m sure I’ll have to break down and buy a pair of simple black heels to go with that gorgeous LBD (little black dress) I’ll score on sale. Until then, no thank you.

3. Bad spelling/grammar makes my eye twitch, seriously.

I’ve been in love with words since I was a kid. Spelling tests were my thing, and I worked my adolescent behind off to make sure I aced them each week. It might be my own doing, but I expect adults to do better when it comes to spelling and grammar. At least know the difference between there/their/they’re & lost/loss.

Robot/Giphy.com

Robot/Giphy.com

4. I have introvert tendencies. 

When I was making the shift from my late 20s to my 30s, I found myself developing introvert tendencies that I still keep to this day. I enjoy going out and spending time with friends, but after a few hours, I start craving alone time on the sofa. It’s a real struggle.

5. I don’t like shrimp (99% of the time).

 The moment I realized what shrimp looked like alive was the moment I lost all interest in eating them. There are the rare (and I do mean rare) moments where I’ll consume a few cooked and deveined shrimp. And even then, I will only eat them if certain people cook them.

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this. Let’s put the (flat) shoe on the other foot. Share one interesting thing about you. You can drop it in the comments or share via my social media.

Until next time,

MsWalton

My 2016 Fall Favorites

Sep
26

The Recovering Pessimist: My 2016 Fall Faves -- With Fall approaching, I wanted to share what I'm looking forward to this year. | www.therecoveringpessimist.me #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimistAutumn 2016 began September 22 and with that comes cooler weather, which we need here in RVA. So without further adieu, I’m here to deliver my fall favorites for 2016 (click here for last year’s post).

Food and Beverage!!

In last year’s post, I mentioned several of my favorite food and beverage items. It’s apple butter and pumpkin butter time! Absolutely delicious on toast, bagels, and in oatmeal. I’ve been obsessed with finding bread pudding and cobbler recipes to my Pinterest account. Also, seasonal beers appear on shelves, ready for my taste buds to enjoy.

Layers

The weather is still warm, but the nights get a bit chilly, so layering clothing is essential for me. There’s something about a light, chunky sweater, boots, and a light infinity scarf that make me so happy. I’ve been online window shopping for all new clothing. Soon as a sale starts, I’m on it!

Home Fragrance

For fall, I love scents such as leather, wood, musk, bergamot, and sandalwood. I tend to buy these scents in the forms of candles, incense, room sprays, and air fresheners for my car. A few of my favorite home fragrance lines are by Glade, Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle, and various Etsy stores. The first three usually have coupons and/or coupon codes available this time of year.

Cozy Nights

Fall nights are great. I tend to open the windows to allow the crisp night air to enter the apartment. It feels so relaxing to read, watch TV, sleep, etc. with the window open and crisp air surrounding you. The cooler air mixed with the home fragrance of your choice is divine.

Festivals

Festival season doesn’t stop at the end of summer. Here in RVA, my favorite festivals are the Richmond Folk Festival, Armenian Food Festival, and Richmond Italian Festival. Put on your comfy layers and enjoy!

That’s it, folks! I hope you enjoyed this year’s list. Leave a comment with some of your fall favorites.

Until next time,

MsWalton

What I Love About Summer

Jun
20

The Recovering Pessimist: What I Love About Summer -- Hot weather and outdoor drinking are a few of my favorite things about summer. | www.therecoveringpessimist.me #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimistToday (June 2o) is the first day of Summer Solstice 2016. Longer days from the Spring Equinox combined with warmer weather lead to all kinds of awesomeness.

In fact, as I’m writing this, we’ve experienced our first 90-degree day of the year here in #RVA.

I can’t put into words how elated I am about summer starting, so I’m going to drop this GIF:

 

Kelly Rowland / giphy.com

Kelly Rowland / giphy.com

Nailed it!

And without further adieu, here’s what I love about summer. Enjoy!

The Heat

My skin finally gets some sun exposure, allowing it to become a gorgeous shade of bronze. Dresses, skirts, rompers, tank tops, shorts, and sandals are my standard summer uniform. People watching becomes an outdoor event for me and my friends. We find a heavily populated area (usually the outdoor malls), grab a drink, snacks, and a comfy place to sit. Then we chit-chat and watch the people passing by. It’s inexpensive entertainment, trust me.

Outdoor Drinking

Drinking + outdoors = thank you! In Richmond, rooftop bars are all the rage at the moment. That’s cool because I intend on having several drinks on top of each one of these rooftops, soaking in the #RVA skyline. If you can’t get to the rooftops, there are also a lot of patios and breweries I can hang out at. Speaking of drinks, I have a lot of sangria recipes I’ve saved from Pinterest just itching to be made. Fruit + alcohol = win.

Food!!

It’s grilling season!!!! There’s something about grill marks on food that makes food taste 10 times better. I eat excessive amounts of watermelon and BBQ. Oh, and I get to attend (and occasionally crash) cookouts. Word to the wise: pay attention to how food is prepped for the grill. Just because it’s going on the grill doesn’t mean it you can skip out on seasoning. I don’t want to bite into ribs that are sauced to capacity and not seasoned. So disrespectful.

Summer Nights

There’s something about spending summer nights outside looking at the stars and watching fireflies light up the sky. I love to grab a good craft beer (or sweet wine) and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature. Oh and don’t let it be raining at nighttime. Rain during the summer is very sexy. Think along the lines of “Summer Rain” by Carl Thomas.

Enough about my favorites. Let’s chat. If you had to plan your ideal summer day, what would you do? I’d love to read your ideas in the comments.

Until next time,

Jae

What I Love About Spring

Mar
14

The Recovering Pessimist: What I Love About Spring. -- Spring is the gateway season to months of warm, long days. | www.therecoveringpessimist.me #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimistThe Spring Equinox of 2016 begins March 20th. As I’m writing this, I’m imagining the warm breeze on my skin and the smell of blooming flowers as I sneeze from the pollen activating my allergies.

*squeals with excitement*

In honor (yes honor) of the upcoming Spring Equinox, I wanted to share with you a few things I love about Spring.

Enjoy!

Longer Days

Daylight Savings Time (DST) began March 13th, and you know what that brings? That’s right, LONGER DAYS!!!!! For the next six months or so, where I live it will be sunny when in the morning and sunny when I get home from work.

I feel more energetic, which boosts my productivity.

When I get home during the fall/winter, the sun is going down. My body thinks it’s time to wind down for the night, even though it’s 5-6 hours from bedtime. During spring/summer, when I get home it still looks like midday outside. So although it’s still 5-6 hours before bedtime, I have enough energy to work on side projects, do housework, etc.

Longer days = more time outdoors.

Here in #RVA, people are always out and about. More so during the warmer months. Nothing makes me happier than spending a Saturday afternoon sunning it up on Brown’s Island & Belle Isle with a good book, a cool beverage, and some good snacks.

Shed Layers

Spending six months draped in layers isn’t fun. I don’t like wearing socks…or shoes for that matter. Spring allows me to shed those layers. My skin gets to absorb Vitamin D as it proceeds to get its bronzy tan.

Festival Season Starts

In VA, festival season tends to kick off in March. Crowds of people + cool/warm-ish weather + music + food + beer = WIN!  Besides longer days, this is my second favorite part of Spring.

Those are a few of my favorite things about Spring. Tell me, what do you enjoy most about Spring. I would love to hear about them!

5 Interesting Things About Me (Part 2)

Oct
19

The Recovering Pessimist: 5 Interesting Things About Me (Part II). -- To know me is to love me...or hate me after you find out which condiment I absolutely hate. | www.therecoveringpessimist.me #amwriting #recoveringpessimist #optimisticpessimistIt’s been a while since  I originally wrote five interesting things about myself. So, I figure I would ease into this week with a new round of interesting things about me. One of them may or may not start a war, but I’m willing to take the risk. Enjoy!


 

1. I HATE mayonnaise!!

I don’t really care for condiments on my sandwiches in general, but you better NOT put mayo on my sandwiches! It’s disgusting and disrespectful to my taste buds. I’ll throw a fit! Trust me, it’s happened.

2. Chicken wings are my weakness!!

Like seriously, I LOVE them! I know that many restaurants usually put chicken wings on the appetizer section of a menu. My favorite happy hour spot, Fat Dragon, has really good Szechuan Pepper Wings. So good that I’ve been known to order a basket to dine-in and order another to eat at home. Yes, they’re THAT good!

3. A philosophy course changed my life.

In college, I took a philosophy course. The course didn’t focus on finding a right or wrong answer to problems/theories. Instead, the professor taught us to break down the problem/theory into the individual components, then analyze those components to solve the problem/theory. My critical thinking and problem-solving skills have greatly improved as a result.

4. Black is my favorite color.

I kid you not, I could wear black every single day of my life for the rest of my life. It’s a powerful color to me. Plus it allows the rest of my personality to shine bats eyelashes.

5. I’m left-handed.

That’s right, I’m a proud member of the Southpaw Brigade. Some of my favorite people in the world are left-handed: Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Ned Flanders, Jimi Hendrix, and Barack Obama. Can’t beat that.


I hope you learned something interesting (and maybe unexpected) about me after reading this. Share something about yourself in the comments.

 

Updated January 7, 2017

My 2015 Fall Faves

Sep
28

The Recovering Pessimist: My 2015 Fall Faves -- With the fall season approaching, here are a few of my faves. | www.therecoveringpessimist.me #amwriting #optimisticpessimist #recoveringpessimistFall is in full swing. Despite my allergies/sinuses being all over the place, I’m extremely excited for the next couple months of cooler weather.

1. Combat Boots

–  Cooler weather brings boots. Combat boots are my shoe of choice. Paired with some skinny jeans, a light sweater/sweatshirt, and cute boot socks, I’m in heaven.

2. Hot Chocolate

– I’m a huge dark chocolate fan! Hunkering down on the sofa wrapped up in a blanket with a hot mug of dark chocolate hot cocoa is perfection during this time of year. Hold the marshmallows though.

3. Stews/Soups/Crockpot Goodness

– Chillier air calls for heavier meals in my house, specifically stews and soups. With sunset occurring early, cooking these meals with a crockpot is mandatory. I have a ton of stew and soup recipes on my Pinterest page.

4. Taking photos of all the color changes.

– When the leaves start to change colors before they fall, I put my camera to good use. It’s the last splash of color from Mother Nature until Spring. *insert loud sigh here*

5. Jumping in leaf piles

– Once I’m done taking photos of the pretty leaves, I release my inner child and jump in piles of leaves. Don’t judge me. We all have to indulge our inner child once in a while.

6. Rainy days/nights

– Rain + cool weather = Pure Bliss. Enough said.

7. Snuggle weather

– Cool weather = Get cozy with a comfy blanket of your choice. Feel free to substitute or add your favorite snuggle buddy to that equation.

8. Apple everything!

– Most people associate this season with all pumpkin everything. I, however, obsess over apples. Fried apples, apple crumble, apple pie, apple pie smoothies, apple cider, etc.

9. Dark lipstick/glosses

– I don’t even wear makeup, but I LOVES me some dark lipstick/lip gloss. I have a dark purple in my arsenal already, but my makeup board on Pinterest has me adding a black lipstick to my shopping list.

10. All my favorite shows come back to TV!!!

– When you’re a dedicated fan of a TV show, having to wait alllll summer for its return is painful. Thankfully Scandal, Greys’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder,  and Empire have already premiered for the fall. Just waiting on The Walking Dead, American Horror Story: Hotel, and The Blacklist.

Tell me, are you looking forward to the start of fall? If yes, let me know what a few of your favorite things about fall. If no, tell me why you aren’t excited about the change in season.

Elf on the Shelf + Horror Movie Trailer = Awesomeness

Dec
22

I’m not big on Christmas, however, I LOVES me some Elf on the Shelf. While I love Elf on the Shelf in general, it gives me the giggles to see him/her used in a way that’s inappropriate.

When I saw this video on Pinterest, the title made me cackle. When I watched the video, I laughed to the point of tears.

Now, with further adieu, I present to you:

 

Updated December 13, 2016

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