My Site Went Down!

Holy smokes everyone! I was minding my own business. I went to bed Monday night and everything was ok and I hadn’t touched anything. So imagine my surprise when I woke up Tuesday morning and I had alerts everywhere that my site was down!

So of course I immediately checked my site and it WAS freakin’ down!

I was so upset. Worst surprise ever!

So I spent most of my day putting out this fire.

It wasn’t easy. I did alot of Googling, I reached out to Siteground Support, and I asked a bunch of questions from my Facebook blog support groups.

Siteground was able to help me temporarily bandaid the situation and get my site back up within a few minutes BUT they didn’t help me actually fix the problem so I was in perpetual jeopardy of my site dropping again!

The folks in my Facebook blog support groups were the MOST helpful of all. They gave me a bunch of things to try and I tried them all! I was WAY out of my league with all this but I learned ALOT about troubleshooting blog problems… he good news is that this morning I FINALLY got my blog permanently fixed!!! (Well, for now.)

And I did it all by myself! Well, I did get a TON of advice from a ton of people smarter than me. But ultimately, I pieced it all together myself and actually pulled it off! Yay me! I kinda feel really proud of myself.

Whew. I’m gonna go rest now. I’m wiped out!

P.S. Just in case you’re curious… The problem root cause was my site’s PHP auto-upgrading to 7.4 overnight. I don’t really understand it and it still sounds like jibberish to me; all I know is that it was incredibly weird and annoying. I hope that never happens to me again. 🙁

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And, it’s almost time for me to draw for the next Subscriber Spotlight, where one of you lucky folks can win a free promo on my blog and social media. The winner last time was BosssyBabe and you can check out her shout-out here: My First Subscriber Spotlight – BosssyBabe.

Make sure you are entered by subscribing below so you don’t miss out on the drawing… Good luck!

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Blogger Meetup Inspiration

Hi everyone!

I’m in a MUCH better mood today than compared to my mood on Wednesday when I was pouting and lamenting my lack of a social life and lack of satisfaction at work…

I kinda have something to work towards now which has greatly helped improve my attitude. I think I want to start coordinating live and in-person meetups between bloggers!

Before you think I’m crazy, check this out… prior to covid, something that I really enjoyed about my work was that they sent me travelling to different places to meet and network with clients as well as competitors. This included many conferences and tradeshows. And if I could bring this back into my life somehow, I would be much happier for sure. I’m also hearing from others that they’ve been lacking a social outlet as well, so this could bring a solution for all of them too.

Now, I have no experience with actually hosting a conference. BUT, I’ve attended a ton of them so I have very high expectations of what the attendee experience should be. And let me tell you, it will be top-notch and bougie. (I’ve secretly been DYING to use “bougie” in an actual sentence so I’m thrilled to finally do it).

AND, since covid is still a thing… I have alot of time to slowly ramp this up into larger events. But in the meantime, I can start with super-small meetups like at a local coffee-shop or bistro, while gathering a larger audience for the bigger events.

So I know this sounds really crazy and out-there, but it’s giving me some life right now so I’ll roll with it for awhile and see what happens.

What do you all think? If there’s a local meetup in your area, would you be interested? I’ll have a ton of criteria for attendees so not just anyone can attend. There will be a vetting system of some sort so there can be trust that the bloggers are legitimate. Let me know your thoughts…

And, it’s almost time for me to draw for the next Subscriber Spotlight, where one of you lucky folks can win a free promo on my blog and social media. The winner last time was BosssyBabe and you can check out her shout-out here: My First Subscriber Spotlight – BosssyBabe.

Make sure you are entered by subscribing below so you don’t miss out on the drawing… Good luck!

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Life Updates

Hi everyone! I hope you all are well!

Here’s a quick post to keep you all updated with my life. It’s actually not that exciting really, but just in case you’re interested…

1) The microwave is officially fixed! It took 31 days. I wonder how long it will last now? Hmmm…

2) Work has been kicking my butt this week. I still fantasize about quitting but I’m scared. I don’t think my family can afford losing my income right now. So I’m stuck until I can figure out how to replace that $$$.

3) I’m also still stuck at home. The hubs has gone back to the office but he’s weazled a 3-day or 4-day weekend every week out of it. I’m not complaining though. I’m enjoying the peace and quiet during the day at least 3 or 4 days a week now. But it’s lonely. I was lonely before too. The hubs going back to the office didn’t affect that.

4) Speaking of being lonely… I used to socially network in-person for work at least once a week prior to covid. Now I’ve had ZERO social life for the last 18 months. It’s a big change for me and I miss it. But I think I just miss the social in-person part of it. I wish I could have that back in my life. But not for work, but for my new blogging life instead. What do you all think? Are you in? 🙂

5) My chronic headache issue has come back. I was kinda excited because it was gone for a few months so I thought I was recovered. But I woke up in the middle of the night last Wednesday in pain and I’ve had a headache in the back of my head ever since then, for the last 7 says with no relief. Nothing I’ve tried will make it go away. I’m so discouraged it’s back. I could just cry. I first experienced it and posted about it here.

So I’m sorry I’ve been a bit ornery lately, but maybe #1-4 above helps to explain that. Hopefully I’ll turn it all around soon…

11 Fun Halloween Costume Ideas for Girls

Halloween is definitely one of my favorite holidays, and this post will be full of Halloween costume ideas for girls. This post was fun for me to put together because it features all the costumes my own daughter has dressed-up in over the past years…

[Disclosure: the following links are affiliate links where I may earn a commission on any resulting purchase, at no additional cost to you. Also, the affiliate link may not exactly match the items in the photograph due to availability changes over time.]

1. Masquerade Ball Costume

Masquerade Ball Costume

Costume Ideas for Girls: Masquerade Ball / Image Source: Pepper V.
Costume Ideas for Girls : Masquerade Ball / Image Source: Pepper V.

2. Mal from Disney’s “The Descendants”

Here’s my daughter as the Mal character from “The Descendants” movie on the Disney Channel. For the eye-shadow, I actually used lipstick instead to ensure it was bright enough. Because sometimes it’s difficult for eye-shadow to show up so vibrantly. My cheat is to use lipstick instead.

Costume Ideas for Girls: Mal from “The Descendants” / Image Source: Pepper V.

Some links that might help you put together this Descendants Mal costume are below:

3. Britney Spears

Here’s my daughter as 3 different versions of Britney Spears… I actually have a separate post detailing these specific 3 costumes better here if you were curious.

Costume Ideas for Girls: Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time” / Image Source: Pepper V.
Costume Ideas for Girls: Britney Spears “I’m a Slave 4U” / Image Source: Pepper V.
Costume Ideas for Girls: Britney Spears “Toxic” / Image Source: Pepper V.

Some online links that might help you piece together these Britney Spears kids costumes for yourself are below:

4. Ariana Grande

Here’s my daughter as Ariana Grande…

Costume Ideas for Girls: Ariana Grande / Image Source: Pepper V.

My daughter was a size 3 in youth shoes at the time, and I had no luck finding any kids boots that looked like this they would fit her exactly. So the best I could do was find these women boots from Amazon as a size 6. They were a bit big for her but it worked for the costume and should last a couple more years if needed for other costumers. The boots in this image (as well as various colors and sizes) can be bought here if interested:

And we also got the hair extensions for the ponytail from Amazon. My daughter has very thick hair, so we actually used TWO of these hair extension packages to be able to cover her natural hair sufficiently. We got the longest length of 30in. The ponytail extensions we used can be bought here:

5. Jem and the Holograms, or a Pop-Star / Rock-Star

Here’s my daughter as Jem from “Jem and the Holograms”. Lol, or if you’re like 99% of the world and not familiar with that specific character, it can also be a generic pop-star or rock-star look…

Costume Ideas for Girls: Jem and the Holograms / Image Source: Pepper V.

6. Anna from “Frozen”

Here is my daughter as Anna from “Frozen”…

Costume Ideas for Girls: Anna from Frozen / Image Source: Pepper V.

7. Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”

Here is my daughter as Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”

Costume Ideas for Girls: Ariel “The Little Mermaid” / Image Source: Pepper V.

8. Genie

Here is my daughter as a genie…

Costume Ideas for Girls: Genie / Image Source: Pepper V.

9. Police Officer

Here is my daughter as a police officer…

Costume Ideas for Girls: Police Officer / Image Source: Pepper V.

10. Wonder Woman

Here is my daughter as Wonder Woman

Costume Ideas for Girls: Wonder Woman / Image Source: Pepper V.

11. Maleficent

My daughter as Maleficent…

Costume Ideas for Girls: Maleficent / Image Source: Pepper V.

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I hope you all enjoyed my collection of Halloween costume ideas for girls, as well as all the photos of my daughter!

Make sure to subscribe below so you won’t miss out when I add more costume ideas for girls to my collection in the future…

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8 Reasons to Avoid Facebook

Reasons to Avoid Facebook

I do have a personal Facebook account where I’ve gathered my family, friends, and co-workers. I’ve also gathered several reasons to avoid Facebook.

I actually enjoy how easy it is for me to keep up with what everyone else is doing on Facebook. That part is convenient for me and is why I’ll never completely rid myself of this account. Because there’s a part of me that’s very nosy and enjoys being in other people’s business.

However, it’s also very rare for me to post anything about myself there. If I do post anything, it’s usually a non-offensive meme or a video of Family Feud goofs. But you’ll never discover anything personal of me on that account anymore. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. I even posted about some of my preventative measures in a previous post: Alarming Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You.

A few reasons to avoid Facebook are listed here:

1. Safety. You probably have at least one Facebook “friend” who has stalker/invasive tendencies that FB encourages by displaying to them personal parts of your life. And the difficulty with this is that sometimes you don’t even realize a person has these concerning characteristics until they’ve already crossed the line, revealing themselves. By that point, it’s too late to take preventative action. For example, I’ve visited somewhere before and made the mistake of posting about it when I arrived or when I was on my way there and the next thing I know I’m “running into” them. And I know it wasn’t a coincidence.

2. Drama and Gossip. Especially among my coworkers. Holy smokes! They are so incredibly vicious and judgmental over what I’m doing. And everything I post gets circulated amongst the rest of my coworkers, even the ones I’m not FB friends with. There was always so much office gossip (and most of it was overwhelmingly negative) over where I was, what I was doing, who I was with, etc…

Other things my coworkers have done to me, was that when I would post pics of a meal I had at a restaurant while I was on a work trip, they would LOOK UP the menu online and calculate how much that meal cost and then circulate around the company how much I was spending. Frankly, as long as I was following the expense rules (and I always did), then it shouldn’t have been anyone’s business how much it was. It was so invasive.

3. Censorship. I’m not specifically talking about any “Fact-Checker” censorship that occurs on FB when people post some political/health-related content, which is certainly one of several reasons to avoid Facebook. But what I’m referring to here, is the censorship we impose upon ourselves in order to avoid hurting others’ feelings or hiding info that we don’t want specific persons to know.

Basically, I feel like I don’t have the freedom to post what I want on my FB bc of the people in my real life that are on it, who will judge me and question me and stalk me and gossip about me, etc.

For example, I went to a little event last weekend, but I knew not everyone in our friend group was invited, so I couldn’t post about it because I didn’t want to “out” the hostess for not inviting everyone. Because that could possibly cause issues for her. So I’m always thinking ahead for potential problems and avoiding posting anything to cause them. It’s exhausting, quite frankly.

4. Procrastination. Facebook is definitely a mindless rabbit-hole that can consume your time and attention that could’ve been spent on other things. It is a convenient tool to escape chores, work, real-life relationships, etc if you let it. So definitely make sure to stay mindful of the time spent on FB – as well as all social media – in order to validate that it’s not preventing you from being present in other areas of your life instead.

5. Discouragement. There will always be nay-sayers in the world, who are always quick to criticize and point-out all the negatives in any situation. But when you actually know them in real-life, like your friends and even family that you’ve added to your Facebook, then any such negativity just hurts a heckuva lot more. It’s definitely a deterrent to posting anything you can be excited over on FB, when you have some so-called “friends” that always want to make an inappropriate joke over it or inform you on how they would’ve done it better. It can ruin the moment.

6. Mental Health. We all need to take social-media breaks from time-to-time, and the reason for this is because it’s necessary for our mental health. There’s a stress associated with the bombardment of information that our brains are exposed to when scrolling social media. And Facebook has the additional stress that we actually know these people so any issues with them are greatly magnified because of the potential impacts to our real lives.

Any drama, conflicts, differences of opinions, or comparison to others facilitated by FB will have potentially greater consequences because you cannot block these people from your real-lives. You can hit that “unfriend” button on FB all day and they’ll still be at your daughter’s next soccer game. Sitting right next to you.

7. Divisive. There’s no other way to see it whenever you see those FB posts “If you believe x, then unfriend me now”. No matter what x is, I don’t appreciate ultimatums. Everybody is different with their own history, culture, backgrounds, and chemistry which makes them believe what they believe. And people who don’t care to understand any of that underlying context, I don’t want to be friends with anyway. And no, I won’t make it easy for them by unfriending them myself (they can use their own manpower to do that), but I do “hide” all their posts from ever seeing the light of day on my feed again.

8. Facebook is listening to you. C’mon, we all know that this definitely happens even though FB denies it. They definitely even use your phone microphone to uncover what you are speaking about, because that is the only way they are able to send you targeted advertising for things you’ve never typed into your computer or phone.

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So that’s it for my list of reasons to avoid Facebook. What do you all think? Did I miss anything?

When I launched this blog, I decided to be anonymous so I wouldn’t have those same issues here. I want the freedom to be myself and post what I want. I don’t want to manage other people’s feelings. I don’t want to feel like I have to censor myself. I hope this can be my safe space.

I did create my Pepper Valentine alias and an anonymous FB to support this blog and interact with other bloggers I enjoy. Nobody I know from my real life is allowed. You’re all welcome to follow me there if you’d like. I’m at www.facebook.com/peppervalentine77.

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Getting Tired of Waiting

So it’s been 28 days without a working microwave in my home. It’s so annoying. I’ve had to re-heat food now using the oven instead and it takes forever and I know it’s wasting so much energy and electricity.

The microwave part my husband ordered to fix it arrived early last week and it’s just sitting on the kitchen counter. Untouched for the last 9 days. Not like I’m counting or anything.

He literally has a 4-day weekend starting tomorrow (he’s actually had 3+ day weekends ever since the microwave died so he’s certainly had the time) and my patience is running thin. We’re just on completely different wavelengths with this. I feel like this should’ve been taken care of by now. Am I nuts?

And there’s no guarantee that when he actually attempts to fix this, that it will work. He’s not an expert at stuff like this so if it doesn’t work, then we’re back to square one and will have to start over. And that’s even more time that I will have to live without a microwave.

So now whenever I see him idle or goofing off with his friends, I feel like blowing up. Because I shouldn’t have to wait on this any longer. I’m really frustrated with the whole situation.

Sigh. I know I’m being ornery about this, my apologies for being in a bad mood…

Different Moving Styles and Moving Solutions

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I last moved homes about 9 years ago, and I am naturally stressed-out by events like this.  I’m definitely the type to overthink and freak out about all the decisions that need to be made when making such a big move.

See, I definitely use moving as an opportunity to rid myself of all the things I no longer need.  Because I realize that if I take the time and effort to pack it, then I also have to take the time and effort to UN-pack it too. I feel that it would be completely wasteful to move items that won’t fit or even be used in the new home.  So this is a big deal to me. 

But it’s also very difficult to mentally determine the usefulness and placement of every single item in a household.  One of the easiest way to determine this however, is if you had to dig it out of some hiding hole and wipe all the dust off of it. When you find items in that condition, it’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t be needing it again any time soon.  Same scenario when you find any broken items or expired items, as well as items you’ve completely forgotten about and never even missed.  Leave those behind!

Unfortunately, my husband is the complete opposite however (of course he is, if you’ve been following my blog). He doesn’t stress out too much about moving because he is the type to pack everything in sight, and then figure it all out later. Luckily for him, the person who actually has to “figure it all out later” is me.  He’s actually very comfortable living among boxes and packed items forever, until I can’t stand it anymore and actually start putting everything away.

What an easy gig for him. 😉

So my preference is actually to pack only the items that are needed or useful, and then purge everything else via garage-sales, moving-sales, donations to charities, or trash if that’s where they belong. That’s definitely how I’d prefer to handle any move and I can guarantee that AT LEAST 50% of our belongings would be gone if it were all up to me.

Too bad I get veto’d by my husband and we do things his way. So we moved EVERYTHING.

When we last moved 9 years ago, I had an infant too. So the main reason we moved was to gain an extra bedroom/bath as well as to secure a home in safer location with a good school system.  With the infant, I couldn’t help very much with the packing and organizing because… well, you know… infant.

Image Source: Pepper V.

So we really needed a moving service that could pack all our items for us too. The good news is that there are quality moving companies out there that can do this, which was the biggest help of all during this time! Because if left to my own devices, this would literally take me weeks to do on my own.

And Moving Solutions is one such company that offers this. And when you hire people to handle your personal furniture and belongings, you’ll want to ensure they have the proper experience, certifications, and a positive reputation so it’s very reassuring to see their reviews and testimonials on their website before you book.

This particular company also offers a variety of services including long-distance moving in Nashville, commercial, and even just labor only! They can help you move to and from anywhere in the United States. You’ll feel extremely comfortable with this group of professionals.

Image Source: Moving Solutions

Another thing I like about their website, is all their moving tips on their blog! Because we all love blogs anyway, right? So whether or not you actually hire them to move you, they have amazing tips and insights into some best practices when it comes to moving: such as packing tips, how to make moving easier, how to pick a professional moving service, and my personal issue I already mentioned above – how to get rid of unwanted items during a move.

Some other services they offer which could come in handy even if you are not making a big move to another home, is their internal furniture moving, furniture assembly, climate-controlled storage, vehicle-shipping, home staging, and their delivery services. 

For final tidbits about Moving Solutions, they are located in Nashville TN and they offer long-distance moving service all over the United States.  They also donate 10% of every move to businesses affected by Covid-19. They also offer discounts to the military, police, first responders, nurses, teachers, and seniors.  I appreciate what they are doing for their community.

So definitely check them out when you are in need of their moving or other services, and also check out their blog for all their moving tips and advice too…

Image Source: Moving Solutions