Smoking on Hay

Twenty three years ago, the year was 1996 and I remember clear as day riding around my small town with my best friend, of now 28 years, singing to Crucial Conflict’s hottest song at the time, “Hay.”

We didn’t just listen to the song, but we jammed to the song.  We would sing the song to the top of our lungs.  We mimicked the group as we tried to quote the rappers especially on their fast parts.  Thinking about that now makes me want to laugh at the top of my lungs.

To take it a step further my best friend had a small, red Mazda MX3, and she had the nerve to have a sound system in the trunk of the car (Remember it was the 90s). So when we rode around listening to our favorite songs such as Hay, the song had all the base and treble anyone could ask for.  I mean it thumped!

But we loved the song Hay and honestly, I didn’t even know everything they were talking about at the time.  Mostly I knew it was about smoking weed and I had never smoked weed before but it was something about the beat and the rapping that made me love the song anyway.

To my knowledge weed was just weed back then. But over the years the industry –yea it’s an industry now–has grown tremendously.  They’re whipping up this weed like it’s the latest cake at a birthday party.  Like what flavor would you like; and do you want that in plant form, edible, or oils?  It’s that serious.

Here are just a few names that you may or may not be familiar with:

  • Purple Haze
  • Jack Herer
  • Gonja
  • Kush
  • Skywalker OG
  • Blackcherry Kush
  • Banana OG
  • Purp
  • Loud
  • Superman
  • Blue cheese

Any of these names ring a bell?

If not, they are all familiar names or strands of weed that has become the norm over the years.  Believe it or not, there are hundreds of different types or strands of weed these days.

Many people consider themselves to be functional smokers.  I have even heard of jobs no longer testing for drug usage due to the higher number of people consuming marijuana these days; especially on the West Coast.

In today’s society, more and more people are smoking weed.  Legalization of marijuana is steadily increasing for recreational and medical usage, but there are still many regulations and federal laws surrounding the popular drug to date.  Many fail to realize that these federal laws cause for marijuana to still be illegal in many places whereas in 1996 it was illegal all around the board.

Celebs have begun creating their own strands of weed and basically monopolizing off the whole brand.  Nowadays you can buy stock in Cannabis.  There are weed dispensaries or stores in specific cities around the world.  The industry has really grown if that’s what you’re into.  For me, it’s not my thing.  I would much rather get into the wine business.  Or have my own line of wines (if anyone can help me with that please contact me).  But that’s another story.  Let’s stick to the topic at hand.  This weed.

Here’s what I really want people to know……

Many people fail to realize that they aren’t smoking weed in its purest form anymore. What they are smoking is hybrid weed or a certain strand of weed which transforms the weed into a compilation of many things in one.  Just look at some those names I listed above.

Then what about the THC.  THC is an abbreviation for this really long word (tetrahydracannabinol) which is the intoxicating chemical that is found in the cannabis plant.

The trick is that more and more THC is being added to weed these days because that is the chemical that actually makes you high.  Not that real “organic” weed will not make you high but the added THC will make you feel higher.  Natural weed was originally used to make you calm and had more of a healing effect.  Let’s face it, no one is smoking that type of weed anymore.  People are smoking weed to get higher, higher, and higher.

With that said, did you know that THC has a very high dosage of estrogen?  Estrogen is the hormone that helps develop female characteristics within a woman’s body.  So the more THC you add to weed the more estrogen you’ll find!  And then guess what?  The more it goes into your body.  At this point you’re getting less and less of the calming effects that weed or marijuana once had on a person and more of the estrogen or THC components.

Are you still following me?

So fellas, do you ever wonder why sometimes you start acting like a “Mitch!”  Or ever wonder why you’re getting man boobs?  Well, you’re tuning yourself into a little woman with all that estrogen you’re inhaling! Hahahahahaha but seriously.  It’s true.  To take it a step further you may even experience erectile dysfunction, loss of hair, or other side effects.

Ladies, perhaps you’re experiencing irregular monthly cycles, or anxiety, or fertility issues.  These can all come from the over consumption of marijuana.

Of course, all side effects do not occur in every person but certainly I hope this gives all of you smokers something to think about.  Besides, what’s worse than smoking a blunt after someone else has licked all around it and then participating in that puff, puff, pass situation.  My OCD can’t tolerate any parts of that.

Listen, don’t you all come for me at once.  I know I’m trotting around a very sensitive area here.  I’m just the messenger and I refuse to pass judgement on anyone.  So keep living your best life but just remember what “itoja!”

ps: Here’s the YouTube video of Hay by Crucial Conflict from 1996.


Dos and Don’ts (November Edition)

Can we all agree that this year has flown by!  It is very hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it’s November already.  But, it’s here and it’s nothing we can do about it at this point but join in on the fun.  With that being said, it’s time for November’s Dos and Don’ts.

Shana:  Take life one day at a time….it’s not a race, you may think your peers are out doing you but maybe it’s just not your time, but it will come!

Toya:  I believe it’s very important for us to appreciate where we are in life and to also celebrate where others are in their lives.  You know, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

S:  We were all put on this earth for a reason, make sure yours is a good one!

T:  We can most often do this by finding our purpose in life or our mission.  Have you thought about that lately?  If not, start doing that now!

S:  Don’t be scared to step outside of your box.  I feel like we all get really comfortable in our everyday life and don’t make efforts to change.

T:  I love it.  Change is often hard but it’s most likely always necessary.  Great point, Shana!!!

S:  Do something good everyday, whether it be for you or someone else. Pay it forward!

T:  Have you ever been in a drive-thru line at a restaurant and you get up to the window to pay and the person before you has already paid for your meal?  It is a wonderful and great feeling.  Let’s all remember to do that at least once this Holiday season.  Let’s pay it forward!  Are you in?

S:  Be humble!

T:  Yes!  It’s important to stay grounded.

S:  If you are a born leader, set a good example.  Not everyone is born this way, some are followers.

T:  Plain and Simple.

S:  We are coming on the season of giving, this doesn’t mean you spend every dime you have buying the most expensive gift for someone.  It’s really the thought that counts, put thoughts into your gift rather than a ton of money.  People will appreciate it more!

T:  Hmmmm…I’m thinking about what I want to receive.  I like expensive!!!!!! Can I have thought and expensive?  Haha.

S:  This time of year is a great time to donate, whether it be your time or donations to a shelter or not-for-profit organization.

T:  I know a lot of organization have already started doing coat drives, Holiday Baskets, and so much more this season.  Reach out to your local organizations or church to see how you can be a blessing to someone else.

S:  Remember there is another holiday between Halloween and Christmas. I feel like more and more people forget about Thanksgiving!

T:  People.  Let’s not forget about Thanksgiving.  It is by far, my favorite Holiday!

S:  Get your rest, you really can’t be your best “YOU” without unwinding a little.

T:  Yaaaaaaaaasssssssss!!  When I tell you I have been working like a mad-dog I mean that.  So much so that I haven’t been getting my proper rest, I haven’t been working out, I haven’t been eating well and I can tell.  Get the 4-1-1 on my life HERE!

S:  Don’t live in someone’s past, I think we get fixated on what a person was instead of what they have become to be. People can change.

T:  To add to this, I would also say don’t get caught up in a person’s potential either.  It can go both ways.  Just be careful out here in these streets!

S:  Be thankful for the things you have rather than what you don’t.

T: Currently hanging on my wall……img_6650

S:  Be optimistic!  No one likes a negative Nancy!

T:  What she said!

S:  Don’t forget, there are only a couple of weeks until Christmas!  Spend time with family and friends if you don’t have the means for gifts and giving! Time is just as important!

T:  Time is everything.  In all honestly and with all jokes aside, it is not about the gift.  But it is all about the time you share with one another and the memories you will create that will last so much longer than any possible gift.  Time is priceless!

Bonus: Ladies/Gents–Do you or your man participate in the No Shave November?  If so, I want to see pics!  Tag me on Social Media or use the Hashtag #ItojaNoShaveNovember

Well, that wraps up November!  It’s a lot of great Dos and Don’ts in this post.  I’m eager to see what was your favorite.  Be sure to leave your comments below and to hit the FOLLOW BUTTON to be sure you’re never missing out on the fun.  We have some fun things already in progress just for you for 2019!

How many of you will join in on the Pay it Forward Challenge that I’m creating at this very moment!  If you’re in, comment IN on the post and then be sure to come back to let us know how you Paid it Forward this Holiday Season!!!!!!! Use Hashtag #ItojaPayItForwardChallenge on your social media feeds so that I can follow along.


Shana lives in VA with her husband and daughter.


The Perfect Wine Cocktail

Today is your lucky day because I’m giving away one of my top secret drinks that I’ve stumbled upon.

I wish I could take the full credit for coming up with this sweet bubbly sensation that takes place during every sip of this cocktail; but I can’t.

I first became aware of such thing by listening to Reid This Reid That podcast hosted by Jacque Reid and Joy Ann Reid.  If you’re familiar with either of these ladies you know off top that they are leaders and journalist at the top of their game and are all about black girl magic.  Their podcast is fun and informative, covering topics from A-Z; whether it’s a recap on your latest TV show or politics–they have you covered.

They are also very serious about their wine and every podcast there’s a “wine down” segment where they inform their listeners about the wine of the day and just break down what has been going on in their lives over the past week (you should tune in if you haven’t already).

So one day I’m listening to the fabulous podcast of Reid This Reid That where they mentioned their drink of the day was Prosecco mixed with a splash of St. Germain.  Now I was familiar with Prosecco, it’s an Italian white wine with a crisp refreshing taste that has become one of my absolute favorites.  I even served it at my wedding!  However, I was not familiar with the St. Germain.  After a little Googling I found out that St. Germain was made from Elderflowers and was a sweet liqueur.  img_6216

The next week I’m tuning in to the podcast, because I’m a regular listener, and again they mentioned they were having Prosecco and St. Germain!  So at this point I knew I had to get my hands on this liqueur.  As a wine lover I had to make sure their praise of this cocktail was legit.

I eventually made my way to the ABC store where I would purchase the St. Germain.  I browsed a few aisle like I knew what I was looking for.  But truth be told, I had no clue.  In an attempt to not waist much more of my time I decided to solicit help from an associate.

Soon after I would do my first trial run with mixing the two drinks together. Baaaaaaby (In my New Orleans voice)! This cocktail had me on the edge of my seat.  I couldn’t believe how great this drink was.  Immediately, I had my whole life together.  It’s light, it’s sweet, it’s crisp, and it’s GOOD.

It’s the perfect drink if you just need something after work to unwind.  It’s perfect if you’re having a brunch or hanging with your girlfriends.  For me, I love it when I just want some ME time.  On a Sunday afternoon, I’ll pull out my good champagne flutes (you know the real crystal ones), pour me a glass or two, and just take a break from everything in efforts to relax my mind.  It’s perfect!


Ladies and Gents….this is a must have!  Please let me know if you give this wine duo a try.  I’m eager to know your thoughts and what your taste buds are thinking!

Thank you to the Reid ladies for such a delightful drink! Cheers 🥂


This post has not been Sponsored and all opinions are of my own!

I want to name my readers…But I need your help!

I want to be able to identify my readers by name.  But I’m having a hard time coming up with something.  I need something cute, and fun, but something that also can relate to both men and women.  You know how Beyoncé’s fans are called the Beehive’s, and Nicki Minaj fans are the Barbs?  Something like that.

Just in case you’ve forgotten, Itoja’s purpose is to be a sounding board for all people.  But especially for those who are in their late 30’s; a place just for us.  We’re in a strange place.  We have it together but then we don’t have it together like we want.  But we are getting there.  Itoja is also dedicated to learning and growing collectively and being the window for others who may not see life from a brown girls point of view.  And finally, Itoja is about having fun and living life to the fullest and taking all of you along with me!

Help me think of something creative and fun so that when I’m talking to my readers you’ll know just who you are!

Post your suggestions below and let’s have some to creative fun!


Just Keep Climbing! (Picture blog)

Recently, we (my fiance’, myself, and friends from out-of-town) decided to go on a hike.  I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into but I was determined to give it a shot. Being that I live in the valley, mountains are literally in my backyard.

This particular mountain peaks at 3,197 feet.  The trail has mostly uphill terrain with a few flat portions to it.  But I must add that we took the “easier” route but the “easy” route is still challenging; a steady climb of about 1700 feet.  From where we started it was four miles up (which took us 3 hours to complete) and four miles down (which took us 2 hours to complete). Once we reached the top we spent about an hour there enjoying the mountain breeze, refueling off the lunch we packed, and taking pictures.

Instead of boring you with a full detailed outline of the day and the hike itself and how at one point I thought we would never see the end; I figured I would share the pictures from that day because they are worth a thousand words plus more.

Follow me with my pictures as we hike to McAfee’s Knob (The Knob) which is located atop of Catawba Mountain which is part of the Appalachian Trail.


The men leading the way and carrying all of the water and snacks 🙂


Nature at it’s best


A massive rock


The sun peeping through the rocks


Only 1.2 miles remained before we reached the top but this 1.2 miles was all climbing.  It felt more like 5.


The stairs behind me starts the final mile!


We  FINALLY made it to the top!


A well deserved break


I was surprised I went this far out on The Knob; but it is one of the most popular photo places along the entire trail.




On top of the world


A view of the city from the top of the mountain


Some things just can’t be explained


Another ledge atop of the mountain


My Boo and I




It was  beautiful day for a hike


The one time you’re not in a plane but you’re above the power lines!


Use the signs and colors when hiking to help direct your path


The end was insight and we were HAPPY CONQUERS!

I love being able to wake up and see mountains surrounding me everyday.  People are usually fascinated whenever they come to my “neck of the woods!”  The hike was challenging and I’m certain that I sweated more this day than ever before.  I burned over 2400 calories in just the hike alone and had over 22 thousand footsteps.  Perhaps, I’ve never been more proud of myself for completing a physical activity.  MAYBE, one day, I’ll do it again! 🙂

What do you think?  Have you ever hiked a mountain before?  Would you give this mountain a try if you could?

Until next time, just keep climbing!


I’m Guilty……..and loving it.

As I carefully sip my Lime Spritzer……

I’m guilty of :

Eating in Bed.

Staying up too late and then oversleeping.

Missing a month of working out.

Having 30 bottles of wine (I’m working on my collection).

Browsing the internet at work.

Being too hard on myself at times.

Binge watching TV Shows.

Skipping meals.

Overloading my nephew with Tic Tac mints.

Ironically, not being too social with people outside of my circle.

Being a little boujee (this is the urban spelling) at times.


Having to have the last word.


Having a little undiagnosed OCD & ADHD.

And I’m sure there are a ton of other things that I may be guilty of.  But nevertheless, I recognize that I am human, mistakes will be made, but that doesn’t discredit the AMAZING PERSON I KNOW THAT I AM!  Today, and everyday, stand in your glory.  Allow room for mistakes as well as growth within your life.  There is nothing wrong with having a rest day, eating the dessert after the meal, or talking on the phone with your girlfriend for hours.

Who said we couldn’t turn our guilty charges into guilty pleasures?

This post was inspired by today’s Daily Prompt: Guilty



Every year we take my grandmother to the casino for a ladies weekend trip.  My grandmother, my mother, two aunts, my sister, and of course, yours truly: ME!  Going to the casino is one of my grandmothers favorite things to do.  So we always make sure she gets to enjoy that at least once a year.

Last October, we visited the newly MGM National Harbor Hotel & Casino in Oxon Hill, MD.  It was a mild fall day filled with lots of clouds and “ching-ching” as the slot machines had no time for break.

After hours of attempting to win money, we figured we better get something to eat.  As we explored the beautiful hotel and stores we made our way outside to a beautiful water show.

Take a look:

img_2193An outside entrance to the MGM.  My grandmother and I had curb side services as my family let us off at the door.  My grandmother has a hard time walking due to her Multiple Sclerosis (MS) so we reserved an electric chair for her.  I’m always with grandma.  I’m the first-born grandchild so we’ve been rolling together for many years.

img_2203At first we thought it was a big pool of water or a wishing well.  Then the waterworks began.

img_2204 And it grew…..

img_2205And it grew more; with background pictures changing as well.

img_2217Before we knew it the water was as tall as the picture.

Oh this is just me, enjoying the waterworks and spending time with family.  This year we are taking our annual ladies trip a few months early.  Grandma turns 80 in June and she has requested to spend her weekend at the casino.

Grandma has given so much to her family that it is our pleasure to give back to her.  When you live a great life and for others your investment is always returned back unto you.

This blog was inspired by this weeks Photo Challenge: Liquid