Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

In July, we made our first post-covid flight and visited the Wild West area of the United States, including Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota.

In a previous post linked here, I described our stop in Deadwood South Dakota where we stayed at the haunted Bullock hotel. But this specific post will focus on The Black Hills region of South Dakota, very close to the town of Keystone.

Keystone is actually a very active town to stay and visit. Even without those two attractions in the title, there were so many activities in the area and we did not come close to attending to all of them. Some of our options were…. Ziplining, Gold-Hunting, Cave-Exploring, Helicopter Rides, driving through Bear Country, and riding an authentic Steam Locomotive, among so many more… I would absolutely recommend this visit for a family with children just due to the variety of activities available.

We purposely came here in order to see Mount Rushmore (a lifetime bucket-list item). And we also purposely chose a scenic route through the national park in order to see the distant views of it get closer as we made our approach. It’s pretty amazing to see it from so far away and realize what a landmark it is.

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial / Image Source: Pepper V.

But quite accidentally…. we then found ourselves visiting the Crazy Horse Memorial. I have never heard of this before in my life! But en route to Mount Rushmore, we saw some signs for it and it piqued our curiousity enough that we wanted to check it out. Have any of you all heard of this?! Is this the country’s best-kept secret, or have I been living under a rock (pun intended) this whole time?!

And holy smokes, I’m so glad that we did we stop because this was the highlight of my entire trip for me.

In the same Black Hills area, a few miles away from Mount Rushmore, they are actually carving a statue of Crazy Horse into the mountain in his tribute. Crazy Horse is one of the most famous native American warriers from the Oglala Lakota tribe.

They’ve only completed just his face up to this point, but when they are done… it will be him riding on top of his horse. When this is finished, it will be the largest statue IN THE WORLD. A legit contender for the 8th Wonder of the World. And it’s in South Dakota of all places. Can you believe it?!

Crazy Horse Memorial / Image Source: Pepper V.
Crazy Horse Memorial / Image Source: Pepper V.

Just to give you some perspective on how huge this will be when it’s done… the faces on Mount Rushmore are 60ft tall. Crazy Horse’s face (already completed) is 87ft. And they still have to complete his body and a horse! Below is the design they are planning for this when it is done:

Crazy Horse Memorial / Image Source: The Epoch Times

This was the coolest thing for me to see. They say it will take 30 years to finish it, and I hope that I’m still alive when it is done because I do want to view it with my very own eyes. I’m adding this finished memorial to my lifetime bucket list when I’m finally retired, as this will be amazing!

If you want more info about this memorial, their official website is linked here. One of the most interesting things about this effort, is that they are accepting absolutely ZERO government funding for it. Which makes sense considering WHO they are paying tribute to, as Crazy Horse died fighting against the U.S. government. Seems just. So this is funded by private donations only and the link to their official website above has info on how to contribute if you are so inclined.

Anyhow, I hope you all enjoyed my recap of my trip here. If you’ve visited already, how was it for you?

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8 Alarming Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You

Alarming Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You

I definitely prefer to remain anonymous on my social media. The reason for this is because I’ve had issues with an online stalker before. And my blog and my social media is my escape from my real life where I can be free to be myself or even vent about my real life situations without any consequences. This is the only outlet I have.

For example, if I need to vent about work or my family or my friends or my neighbors, then it wouldn’t work out for me very well if any of them found out about it. I’d end up with some extreme negative fallout to deal with and many broken relationships too.

On the other hand, I’d end up severely censoring myself if I felt that my words could be visible to people in my real life. And if I censored myself here, then it would completely lose its purpose for me.

So anonymity is of paramount importance to me and I posted here about how I came up with my alias: Pepper Valentine. How about you all? Do you care about it as much as I do?

But this isn’t my first attempt at an anonymous online presence. I ended up having to completely shut down my previous attempts and go dark on the internet for a few years to recover after I had an online stalker obsessed with me. It was horrible.

It was a person in my real life that used this information they found against me, and threatened to use it to destroy my job and my relationships. The violation of my privacy was so painful. This was information that I never would have told anyone in my real life. But he found it. And took it. It felt like a theft of my most prized possession – my sense of self worth.

But I learned several lessons from this experience. And now I’m ready to try anonymity online again. But here is a list of the 7 disturbing ways an online stalker can find you…

1) Name Search. So I never used my real name online, but this is the most obvious way to find someone. Once the stalker knows your anonymous name however, you’re basically discovered on all social media platforms.

2) Phone Number / Contacts. Most social media accounts have apps to download on your cell phone. And once you do that, you are exposed to all your contacts. Most social media accounts make it an option to activate this. But don’t trust it. This option may default ON, exposing you immediately. And phone system upgrades may also default this option to ON. So if your stalker ever had your phone number, this is a major risk.

I ended up buying cellular service for my iPad, which comes with its own phone number that I’ve shared with NOBODY. And I only download my Pepper Valentine apps to this iPad. So there is no phone number cross-contamination with contacts to worry about.

7 Disturbing Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You / Image Source: Pepper V.

3) “People You May Know” / “Suggested For You”. This is another option on social media accounts, but don’t trust it either. Because it defaults to ON and may also reset back to ON with any system upgrades. It can use your contacts as well as your Friends list to recommend. The scary thing about this, is that you don’t have to be online friends with your online stalker. BUT if you share any mutual friends online, then this option will expose you!

I’ve completely cut off any potential mutual friends online in order to reduce this risk.

7 Disturbing Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You / Image Source: Pepper V.

4) Close Online Friends. My stalker knew who my closest online friends were. In order to find me, he would stalk their accounts too. He scoured their followings and followers, monitored their likes and comments to find who *seemed* like it could be me, and even befriended them himself under a decoy account to gather intel.

5) Decoy Accounts. Beware the people that engage with you online. You never really know who they are. My stalker would create many decoy accounts to try to access private accounts as well as lure the unsuspecting into giving him information about who they are following. He would maintain online relationships for MONTHS under his decoys to build trust. This is definitely a level of creepy that is unacceptable.

6) Email Address. I finally discovered that my online stalker would use my email address to validate if an account was actually mine or not. He knew my email. So once he suspected an online account might be mine, he would attempt the Password Reset… and, the results of the password reset would give him enough data (the first 2 characters, number of characters, and then the email service) to determine if that account was me or not.

I’ve had to create a new email address specifically for setup only of any Pepper Valentine accounts, and I don’t use it anywhere else (not even for my contact forms or subscription forms) in order to prevent this validation check.

7 Disturbing Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You / Image Source: Pepper V.

7) Hashtags / Tags. If you hashtag something that your online stalker is aware that you are involved in, then he may search the hashtags online and find you that way. For example, if he knows you went to the beach for a week or that you work at Jumping Jack Coffee, then he may stalk those hashtags online and the MINUTE you tag/hashtag that place, then he’s got your post and your profile exposed.

8) TikTok Users Who Share Links are Identified

They found me via TikTok. I was very careful to NOT provide TikTok with my phone number or email address when I created an account so nobody in my real life could find me there. BUT…

…there is a Privacy Setting in TikTok called “Users who open or send shared links”. And of course it was defaulted to ON (see screenshot below).

Anonymity Breach
Online Stalker / Image Source: Pepper V.

This person sent me a TikTok link via text because they know me in real life so they know how to contact me via phone and email. And I wasn’t being careful enough and I CLICKED on it!

And bam! As soon as I clicked on it, this person received a TikTok message “Pepper Valentine just viewed your shared link!” and DAMMIT! Now they have my online alias to EVERYTHING!

So that’s how my anonymity breach happened and how my online alias was discovered in real life.

In conclusion, if anonymity online is important to you, please take action to reduce your risks. It’s never guaranteed that you’ll be 100% safe, but you can be safer than normal with some precautions. Don’t trust people in your real life to respect your boundaries or your privacy. And also, don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want to get out in your real life anyway.

So what do you all think about my list above? Do you have any other online stalker methods that I might’ve missed?

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My First Subscriber Spotlight – BosssyBabe

Hi everyone, meet Jen from the BosssyBabe blog!  She’s my very first Subscriber Spotlight so I’m really excited to do this big reveal. 

Jen is a full-time working mom just like me, but alot funnier – no wonder I like her so much. She is from Canada, as an extra bit of info about her. You might’ve already seen her in my comments section on many previous posts, as she’s very active in the blogging world and I love that we’ve connected online.

Jen posts regularly and her content is incredibly relatable, especially regarding parenting and relationships and self-discovery. So I do highly recommend BosssyBabe if you’re interested in entertaining and insightful reading material. You can check out her full blog here

But the purpose of the Subscriber Spotlight is that we focus on one specific thing that Jen would like to promote, which is her latest post about marriage – the good, the bad and the ugly. And we all enjoy some decent drama every now and then, so I know you’re as curious as I am about the “ugly” part. She gets very personal about her 5 year marriage in her latest post named “Adventure of a Lifetime” so if you wanted a crash-course in getting to know someone and their life, this would be the perfect place to start. 

Definitely check out her new post here and drop some love while you’re at it.

P.S. If you are unfamiliar with my Subscriber Spotlight, it is a quarterly drawing of my email subscribers where the lucky winner will get a promotional blast of whatever they want (within reason, of course)BosssyBabe was the lucky winner for Quarter 2.  The next drawing will occur at the beginning of October.  Don’t hesitate to subscribe below to be included in the next drawing!

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What We Believe In

Thank you so much to Bill at the blog “A Silly Place” for inviting me to contribute to his post on things we believe in.

I just finished reading the other 9 contributions and I feel so inspired now by their words – ranging from the power of laughter, and the value of not wasting any time, and so much more! Definitely check out the complete post here if you want to read for yourself, as I certainly recommend it. These writers are fabulous wordsmiths.

Just speaking for myself, I had a difficult time coming up with a specific thing I believed in that wasn’t political or controversial, as I’m not interested in angering people. Lol, I want folks to like me darn it!

So I ended-up focusing on the big Simone Biles news from last week instead. Basically, I felt that she got alot less support from the public than she deserved bc her issue was mental instead of physical. And now I wonder if people who need help with their mental health don’t pursue that help because of a perceived lack of support in general. What do you all think?

Anyway, definitely stop by Bill’s round-up post of the things we believe in here. And I wish you all a great Friday evening!