My Christmas Playlist

I’m making a Christmas playlist, and I’m checking it twice, because Christmas music only comes around once every 12 months.  Listening to Christmas music any other time during the year just doesn’t feel right, so it is important that I have all of my favorite Christmas songs ready to go in just a click or two. Continue reading

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.

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Shana lives in VA with her husband and daughter.

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4 ways to show appreciation of Veterans Day

Today’s blog is a very special blog for several reasons.  First, it’s Veteran’s Day and we want to be sure we honor our Vets.  Second, I am honored to have guest blogger Lekiesha from the Incredible Life of the Military Wife blog (found HERE) with us today to talk about how we can show support to Veterans.  She’s a Veteran, military wife, mom, and military lifestyle blogger.  In my eyes, there was no one else more suitable to share this moment with.  Everyone please welcome Lekiesha to Itoja!  Be sure to follow her blog and social media sites; she offers great support for military spouses, families, as well as civilians.  Finally, a special THANK YOU to Lekiesha, her hubby, and all of the other veterans today and everyday.

Now, without further ado…….Lekiesha!

“On this Veteran’s Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.” -Dan Lipinski

Veterans Day is a way for us to show appreciation to those men and women who have served or are currently serving in the military.  It is also a day that often gets confused with Memorial Day, but it is important for us to understand the difference.  Veterans Day was once celebrated as Armistice Day and was renamed to Veterans Day in 1954.  Memorial Day is a day that is set aside to commemorate those men and women who lost their lives while serving their country.  Serving your country during war or in a time of peace is far from an easy task.  As a Veteran myself I can personally attest to that statement.  Being in the military was one of the greatest honors.  Many Veterans sacrifice a lot and place the needs of the country before their own.  I wanted to put together some ways that you can show your own appreciation to a Veteran who has served.

Visit a Veteran

“This nation will remain the land of the free only as long as it is home of the brave.”  -Elmer Davis

There are many great ways that you can get out and pay respects to those Veterans who have served their country.  One great way to show appreciation is to get out the house and go spend a little time with a Veteran.  When my husband was in Equal Opportunity school (EO), part of their assignment was to go out and visit a Veteran based nursing home.  It was such a humbling experience for him to sit with WWII vets, and listen to their stories, play board games, etc.  This was something that my husband really enjoyed, and he even shared a couple of laughs with the Veterans.  He learned that many of them were far away from their families, so they held on to any visits that came their way.  Visiting the Veteran based nursing homes is something we wanted to pass on to our children, not only during Veterans Day but other holidays as well.  This does not only have to apply to those Veterans in nursing homes, spend time with any Veteran who may lack those day-to-day interactions with others.  Veterans Day is a day that is fully dedicated to those men and women who served their country, giving them a few moments of your time can go a long way to a Veteran.

Send a Care Package

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”   -Joseph Campbell

Those who are serving love to receive care packages from back home.  A care package is a way for soldiers to still have that connection to home and make the time away less stressful.  There are many different types of care packages that you can send overseas.  Practical care packages are some of the most popular I have seen as a spouse and a soldier.  Practical care packages contain basic need items such as; toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, soap, a few food items, etc.  A nice hand-written letter added to the box is an awesome finishing touch to add to the care package.  It is a great way to thank them for what they are doing, and to feel the love and appreciation from back home.

Support a Veteran Owned Company

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our Heroes and She-roes!” -Maya Angelou

There are many Veteran owned companies that are available for you to support.  Often, they are on more of a smaller scale and not easily identified like the big box stores.  Since I have started my blogging journey I have ran across some of the most amazing veteran owned businesses.  It is a whole community out here of Veterans supporting Veterans.  You can also go out and support some amazing military spouse owned companies, it is also a great way to show appreciation for their service.  Google Veteran owned companies or contact your local chamber of commerce to see if they can guide you in the appropriate direction.

Say Thanks!

A simple thank you for your service, can and will go a long way with a Veteran.  This is something that should be not only on Veterans Day, but anytime you encounter a Veteran.  Veterans have given so much of themselves to serve their country.  I could have sat down a wrote a blog about myself and my time as a Veteran.  To my husband and battles, I want to thank each one of you for your service and sacrifice for this country.  You are truly appreciated not only on Veterans Day, but every day!! You guys are true example of American heroes in my book.

I would love to hear how you show appreciation on Veterans Day?  Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!

As always remember to Live free, Laugh often, & Be Incredible!

Blog: Incredible Life of the Military Wife

IG: IncredibleMilWife

FB: Incredible Life of the Military Wife

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Hello everyone!  My name is Lekiesha I am a 30 something year old mother of 4, wife, and Veteran.  Currently I live in the Greater Washington D.C area, and enjoying every moment.  I was born a Army brat, which led me to join the military where I also met and married my incredible husband.  My husband has served 20 years and counting; I’ve lived in Italy, Hawaii, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and the list keeps going.  We’ve had our share of ups and downs with this military life, and my blog gives you an insight into my journey navigating this lifestyle.

Get paid to shop online!!

Where are my online shoppers?  I love shopping online, waiting for my package to arrive, and being excited to finally hold it in my hands.  I do a lot of online shopping but even more during the Holiday season. If you’re anything like me, and as busy as I am, then lets get ready to rumble as we approach our favorite time of the year and tons of boxes at our doors. Continue reading

Embracing your blended family & Happy Fathers Day!

We’re going to refer to this blog post as a twofer!  A two for one type of post! 🙂

Blended families are nothing out of the ordinary these days.  In fact, blended families are becoming more and more popular.

The key to making any blended family work and the key to life in general is forgiveness.  Especially if you’re the other parent and you’re trying to decide if you want your child in the midst of their siblings that may come from another parent.

If you’re on the blended side you must be inclusive to all parties.  It is nice when everyone can come together to celebrate birthdays and graduations or any special occasion.  It is important for adults to get out of their feelings while also being willing to stretch and grow.  When these steps are taken, blended families strive more.

I remember years ago when my daughter was visiting her father, step mother, and other siblings and she told me she had called her step-mother, momma.  It didn’t bother me one bit.  1) She was about 3 or 4 and was copying her other siblings.  2) I was confident and secure within myself, plus I know the role that I play in my daughter’s life.  After telling a friend about the situation and trying to get him to understand that it’s ok; he tried to make me feel bad.  I wasn’t accepting his opinion because if my daughter felt comfortable enough and safe around her to call her momma at the time, then I was ok with that.  Men often feel slighted or “some kinda way” when their kids are around other men but you’ll only feel that way if you aren’t doing what you’re suppose to do as a parent.  I already knew, no one would ever be able to take my place from my daughter so that wasn’t my fight.  Besides, I trusted her dad and the love that he has for our daughter to make the right decisions.  As long as your child is not at harm then you shouldn’t have a problem with whom your ex has decided to be with.

With all of that being said; I would like to wish all of the amazing fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day.  Whether you are in a blended family or not, Fathers are never honored and appreciated enough on days like this.  Fathers are extremely special to their children.  For little girls, they are the first man who will ever love them and they’ll typically pick their mate based off of their fathers love.  For little boys, fathers are their role models and heroes.  Fathers are needed and are necessary.

I remember my dad trying to comb my sister and my hair growing up.  It wasn’t often but when he did we both loved  it.  He would let us wear our hair down instead of the everyday pigtails that our mom made us wear.  We would think that we were so cute.  I also remember my dad taking me to school on his bike as a little girl.  In High School, my dad brought my sister and I diamond rings; a promise ring to keep ourselves and to let us know that if a man couldn’t do more for us than he could, that we didn’t need him.  Do you know how important and loved that made me feel especially when I started dating?  My dad had already laid the foundation for me and it gave me room to have high standards and to not be ashamed about it.

I’ve always felt extra safe around my dad.  Whenever we are on vacation and out and about in a foreign place that we aren’t use to my dad still escorts us to the bathroom and waits on us.  He takes pride in protecting his girls.  Sometimes we will go shopping and he’ll sit patiently waiting while he carries all of the bags.  Today, at 37 I’ll call my dad and ask if he could come help us hang our TV on the wall.  Before we can blink, he’s right there.  When I’m worried, I’ll ask my daddy for a prayer and immediately I’ll feel better.

Embrace your blended family (if you have one) and make sure your dad know the amount of love you have for him!!  Treat all children the same and remember to always show respect to the other parents that may be involved.

(Now, to try to figure out a gift for Father’s Day!)

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V Day 2/14/18

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers across the world!

You guys have shown me so much love in the few months that I’ve been blogging and I cannot be more grateful.  If the below picture has your country shaded with any color……I THANK YOU!  This map tells me where my readers are.  The difference in color only states where I have the most Continue reading

The perfect Valentine’s dinner in 30 min or less

You all know how busy my life is.  I’m sure yours is just as busy.  So follow me on this quick steak dinner guide to serve up the perfect meal for your special someone for Valentine’s Day this year.  It’s even more perfect because this day of love falls on a weekday and no one has time to spend 3 hours at a restaurant.  With very little effort and ingredients we can conjure up a meal that has “love” written all over it. Continue reading