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

Online Predators are the Worst

Online Predators

Hi everyone, happy hump day! The holiday weekend will be here soon enough!

I’ve been watching Dr Phil alot lately, and the most recent episodes I’ve zoned-in to were regarding catfishes and online scams, where these lonely elderly ladies believed they were in love with a man they met online and they sent them all their retirement money and now they were homeless and broke! It’s so terrible and I felt so badly for them.

And then I became so angry thinking about the people behind the screen actually doing this to them! You have to be evil to take away someone’s retirement they’ve worked for their whole life.

But this happens all the time doesn’t it? Online scams, right? I know my spam folder catches at least a dozen of them EVERY DAY. Good grief.

So now I’m obsessed with all the ways that a predator can hurt innocent people online. Some ideas I’ve come up with are… online scams, catfishing, cyber stalking, cyber harrassment, and even stealing others’ blog content! All so terrible.

I’ve written before here about some of my issues with an online stalker and some ways I’ve found to protect against him.

But what do we do about all those other online transgressions? Have any of you fallen prey to these predators? How did you discover it, and what do you differently now to prevent it?

I think I’d like to do a round-up post regarding this topic, so if you’d like to contribute your story, please let me know because I’d love to include you and give your blog/social media credit for it… If you want to send me your message privately, you can email me at peppervalentine7@gmail.com.

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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!

Deadwood South Dakota and the Haunted Bullock Hotel

Deadwood South Dakota

Sorry I’ve been awol this week everyone but I’ve been on vacay! Still am, actually. Nobody guessed correctly my destination but I’m ready to reveal it now. We’ve been on a Wild West road trip through 3 states: South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

Our first stop was Deadwood South Dakota and we stayed at the #1 most haunted location in the entire state, the Bullock Hotel, according to this top 10 list here. We flew into the Rapid City South Dakota airport, and Deadwood was a comfortable 45min drive from there.

And Deadwood was great as far as preserving the history and the stories of the Wild West days. They have several tours and if you want to cover everything you easily can, it’s all jam-packed into about 3 blocks. I heard that they do a daily reenactment too but we missed it unfortunately.

Here are some photos of the small town of Deadwood South Dakota, you may recognize the names of some of it’s most famous residents, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane…

We also stayed the night at the famous Bullock Hotel which is said to be the most haunted location in South Dakota. Apparently, Deadwood had so much lawlessness during those Wild West days that murders and tragic endings were the norm, so there is more than enough material to fuel all the ghost stories.

My only “weird” experience at the Bullock Hotel was that I was woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of my hotel keys jingling. They didn’t use card keys, but the older metal keys on a metal keychain instead. And that’s exactly what I heard jingling. It freaked me out, but I didn’t pick up my head to look bc I didn’t want to see anything. So I kept my head buried in the pillow until it stopped. And then it stopped. And that was it.

Lol, too bad I don’t have a better haunting story for you all! But here are photos I took of the hotel and room 320 we spent the night in….

There are actually a couple of ghost tours in Deadwood to choose from. We ended-up chosing to do the ghost tour for the hotel across the street instead, the Fairmont Hotel, because it was featured on an episode on one of my favorite shows “The Dead Files” and I wanted to see it in person. They said it was also on an episode of “Ghost Labs” too but I haven’t seen that one.

It doesn’t look like people can stay overnight at the Fairmont Hotel anymore; it seemed to be a casino and restaurant/bar only now. But they do host the ghost tours on the 2nd and 3rd floors where the guest rooms should be.

I’ll say, the ghost tour would be very valuable even for those of you that aren’t interested in ghosts at all, because 75% of the tour was historical information and characters and context for how the Wild West days used to be. So I learned alot and not much about ghosts actually.

But it was still creepy for those of you that like ghosts too. The only weird thing that happened to me during the ghost tour through the supposedly haunted rooms of the Fairmont Hotel, was that I kept hearing my daughter say something to me, but I could never catch what she was saying, so I would turn and ask her “What did you say?” and she’d look at me strange and answer “I didn’t say anything.” But I swear she said something to me, so I’m quite stumped as to what happened there.

So here are some pics from the ghost tour…

Anyhow, that sums up how my visit to Deadwood South Dakota went. And I enjoyed it very much. I hope you all enjoyed reading about it.

If you’re into the haunted experiences, I’ve also visited a haunted castle in Ireland and you can check it out here.

Until next time…

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