Q1 2022 Subscriber Spotlight – The World’s Common Tater!

I’m very pleased to announce that our latest Subscriber Spotlight winner is Tater from The World’s Common Tater.  He is a dad, husband, writer, and avid fan of tater tots (hence, his alias) that gives you a heart-felt glimpse into his daily life with occasional snippets of his past. The best is when he shares stories from his time in jail! Yes, you read that correctly. 

Today is also his birthday! Happy birthday, Tater! Below is a photo of Tater with the actor Henry Winkler…

Q1 2022 Subscriber Spotlight – The World’s Common Tater / Image Source: The World’s Common Tater

The World’s Common Tater blog is very prolific so you don’t have wait long for a new update! Tater is also very well-versed with current events, television, movies, music, sports, and books so there is no shortage of material for him to catch your attention with. He specifically caught my attention with his posts about his toxic workplace (oh gosh I can relate so hard!) and then his posts about how he actually QUIT (my DREAM!!!).  He’s kinda my hero because of this. 

Another one of my favorite things about his blog is the quality of comments from all his readers. He’s managed to produce content that is very interactive, and you can see that from how active his comments section usually is.  

Tater does have social media accounts too, so if you enjoy those other platforms you can find him below:  

Twitter: @theycallmetater 
Facebook: theycallmet8er 

And he is also on this platform that I discovered only because of his posts about it, named “Medium”.  Have you all heard of this already?  It’s a platform for writers and there’s opportunity to make income on it by publishing your posts to it.  If that’s up your alley, then definitely check out Tater’s “Thoughts on Writing on Medium” for a great review of the service, and you can use his referral link that he included in his post to give it a look. 

Please give Tater from The World’s Common Tater a warm welcome. I enjoy his writing and his frequent interactions, and I’m happy to consider him a new friend.

Don’t forget to wish him a happy birthday too! 🙂

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.  Tater is the lucky winner for this quarter.  The next drawing will occur at the beginning of April 2022 (just a few more weeks away!).  Don’t hesitate to subscribe below to be included in the next drawing!

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Anonymity Breach and my Alias Discovered

Well, it’s finally happened. After more than a year of online privacy (which I treasured sooooo much), my online alias has been discovered and my anonymity breached by someone in my real life.

I’m not freaking out about it, don’t worry. And I won’t go dark and retreat like I did previously. Mostly because, I haven’t really posted anything too controversial that would cause much fallout in my real-life.

The biggest impact to me is the validated lack of trust I have for people in my real life to respect my boundaries. But this is a good reminder for me, so I remember to keep my walls up and guarded.

I know who this person is. It’s someone that’s done this to me before. And it’s someone that used the information they found out about me online to shame me and destroy all my self-confidence. And I had an online support system that I had to let go of too, because this person infiltrated them. It was horrible.

I’m just waiting for them to do the right thing and reveal what they’ve done to me. And until they do so… no trust from me. So far, they’re keeping it a secret. Probably because they’re hoping I’ll reveal something online that they can use against me. But that won’t happen.

Anyhow, let me tell you all how they did it. And I’ll have to add it to my previous post about “Ways an Online Stalker Can Find You”. This is a new way that definitely caught me by surprise! So let me inform you all and you can take any necessary precautions to protect yourselves.

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
Anonymity Breach

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.

The biggest lesson learned here – 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.

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Q4 2021 Subscriber Spotlight – Invisibly Me!

Subscriber Spotlight Invisibly Me

Hi everyone, meet Caz Homer from the “Invisibly Me” blog!  Her tagline is “Living a visible life, whatever your health.”  She’s my Subscriber Spotlight winner for the 4th Quarter of 2021 so this reveal is like my early holiday present to all of you.

Subscriber Spotlight / Image Source: Invisibly Me

The “Invisibly Me” blog features several YEARS worth of content in these five main categories: Lifestyle, Health, Well-Being, Chronic Illness & Pain, and Reviews.  And Caz is definitely an expert when it comes to these matters, since she actually lives with chronic pain, invisible illness, and a stoma bag. She writes about her journey on this blog, but she does so with such inspiration and positivity that it motivates us all to be healthier. 

As you all know from my previous posts, I suffer from a weird chronic headache issue, so out of curiosity I searched “headache” on the “Invisibly Me” site and immediately got back results on how to manage/tolerate the pain better, a headache poll, and even more headache-related information and suggestions. So helpful!

We all have some personal health questions, so definitely do what I did and check-out “Invisibly Me” to see what suggestions and information about your personal issue have already been prepared by Caz.

Subscriber Spotlight / Image Source: Invisibly Me

And while you’re at it, also check out all her social media, and be sure to follow her on all your favorite platforms.  She has great fun-sized content on there such as memes, words-of-wisdom, and daily affirmations to help inspire us to take care of ourselves and prioritize our health. Especially with covid being a primary concern everywhere we turn, every little thing we can do to boost our overall health can only benefit us and others in the long run.

For your easy reference, all of her links are below:

Blog – https://invisiblyme.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/invisiblymeblog

Twitter – https://twitter.com/invisiblymeblog

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/invisiblymeblog/  

Have a great day everyone!  And don’t forget to drop some love for Caz too! 😊

Subscriber Spotlight / Image Source: Invisibly Me

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).  “Invisibly Me” was the lucky winner for this quarter.  The next drawing will occur at the beginning of January 2022 (just 2 more months away!).  Don’t hesitate to subscribe below to be included in the next one!

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No spam. Just occasional news, giveaway announcements, and Subscriber Spotlights where you can win a promo. Don’t miss out.

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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No spam. Just occasional news, giveaway announcements, and Subscriber Spotlights where you can win a promo. Don’t miss out.

I’m Excited to Launch My 1st Subscriber Spotlight

Subscriber Spotlight

So, I’ve never sent out a newsletter before but I just saved my very first draft of my very first one! And I just sent a test one to my email address and I GOT IT!!!! Holy smokes I can’t believe it worked!

Lol, I feel so accomplished that I managed those 2 little things. But we all have to start somewhere right? 🙂

I’ve been thinking that a quarterly newsletter might be the right schedule for me – since I don’t want to bombard everyone with email. And I’ve also been trying to come up with something that would make my newsletter valuable to my subscribers, otherwise, nobody will care and I definitely WANT people to care.

So perhaps my new Subscriber Spotlight would be valuable enough?

This is where I’ll randomly draw ONE of my subscribers immediately prior to sending out this quarterly newsletter. The winner will be announced IN the newsletter. Then this subscriber will have the next 3 months to redeem my promotion of their blog, social media, giveaway, product, etc. They’ll get a dedicated blog post titled the “Subscriber Spotlight” for that quarter, and a shout-out on my social media.

This promotion is subject to my discretion however, just in case it doesn’t align with what I’d like to present to my audience. For example, I would decline promoting something illegal or something that may cause controversy among my audience. I hope that’s agreeable to us all.

Anyhow, I hope all that made sense. I tried to keep it simple.

And I’ll share with you all how I do my drawings. I don’t use a widget or an app. I simply use Excel. If you’re interested in how to use Excel for drawings, I’ve shared the formula in this post here.

I’ll be sending out my newsletter for Quarter 2 of 2021 immediately after this holiday weekend.

Be sure to go ahead and subscribe now so you’re in the drawing for my very first Subscriber Spotlight, where you can promote something important to you! Good luck everyone!

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No spam. Just occasional news, giveaway announcements, and Subscriber Spotlights where you can win a promo. Don’t miss out.

How I Increased my Domain Authority

I sure did. My website’s DA (Domain Authority) just went from 1 to 5 and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Only took 8 months to get there too!

I know, a DA of 5 still basically stinks. But I’ve been getting some more clicks now from Google and I never really have before, so that’s exciting to see!

I created this domain 8 months ago. Around this same time, I started reading about SEO and how important it is. So I found the RankMath plugin and started following it’s guidance on most (not all) of my posts in order to improve my SEO. I still stink at it, but I’m trying.

Also around this time, I started checking my DA and found that it was ALWAYS 1. No matter how many SEO updates I made via RankMath, it never changed from 1. So I was really getting discouraged. I’ve been using this site to check my DA because it’s free and simple to use: https://websiteseochecker.com/domain-age-checker/

(That’s not an affiliate link above. I’m just providing it for your info and convenience.)

I also noticed that I was NEVER getting any clicks from Google. I was getting clicks from other search engines such as Bing and DuckDuckGo but never from Google, so I wondered if something was wrong.

I did some research via Google (oh the irony) and found that Google has a “Sandbox” that it puts new websites in for 6-8 months so they don’t affect any rankings. This is to weed-out spam sites and the people that aren’t serious.

Then last week, I noticing that I was suddenly getting some clicks from Google. I was like, WHAT!!? Lol, only 1 or 2 a day so nothing crazy but still a big change for me since I was accustomed to 0.

So I checked my DA out of curiosity and it had changed to a 5! I was so excited because I had practically given up on Google by this point, as it had taken so long.

I guess I’m now out of the “Sandbox” finally. Lol, now what do I do?

Do you all focus on this stuff like DA and SEO? Any tips on what I should try next? 🙂

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