Ear Hustle Podcast

I figured now would be the perfect time to tell you all about another Podcast that has become one of my favorites.

If you’re not familiar with the term Ear Hustle it simply means trying to listen in on someone else’s conversation.  So with this podcast they are giving us the opportunity to listen to inmates tell their stories on why they are in prison and about their every day life behind bars. Continue reading

Itoja’s Top 5 Blogs of 2018

Hey Friends!

For starters, check out my shirt in the featured picture.  I ran across it online and I just had to order it.  It’s such a conversation starter; with those who know I’m a blogger and also to those who have no clue!

So when I’m wearing the shirt, I typically respond with, yes, I am a blogger plus so much more!  As you all know, I recently celebrated my one year blogging anniversary (you can find that post HERE); this past year has been a blast and I’ve posted a ton of blogs! 🙂  Today, I’m sharing my top 5 blogs of the year with you.  It’s my year-end wrap-up!

At Last….My Love has come along! Here I share my last blog before getting married.  I also share some of the anxieties I was having as we got closer to the big day!

The Black community needs therapy too! Therapy is something that is not often talked about in the black community–Here I share why it IS needed.

My Top 5 Mystery Podcast I love Podcast. It literally helps my work day go by faster. Here are my top 5 mystery podcast. I can’t wait to share more with you in 2019.

5 reasons to read “The Face of Expression” By Aaron Woodson My first book review. Find out why you should read “The Face of Expression.”

I Have Beef With Our Black Brothers Earlier in the year I spoke about why I was upset with Black men. (FYI: Meek Mill, whom I reference in the post is no longer in jail).

Were one of these blogs on your top favorite list?  If you have your own personal favorite, be sure to share it below.

Also, share your favorite podcast–I’m eager to listen.

Be sure to stay tuned for what’s to come from Itoja in 2019.  I can’t believe this year has gone by so fast.  Love what you’re reading?  Click the SUBSCRIBE button and follow me on Social Media!

Your Virtual BFF,



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!

The Moth: The Traveling Sandwiches

A few years ago, I was introduced to a non-fiction book called, The Moth. You can find it HERE. The Moth was a book of short stories that were told in their truest form around the world by individuals in a live group setting.  It was called The Moth because every time they would get together to tell their stories of what happened to them moths would fly in through a hole in the screen and gather all around.  Live Moth events, referred to now as “Moth StorySLAMS” would take place; I picture the setting like going to a comedy club.  But in this case, these weren’t jokes, although some were funny.  They were real life events. Continue reading

My Top 5 Mystery Podcast

Below you will find my Top 5 Mystery Podcast that I think YOU ALL will love.  There’s so much drama and suspense detailed in these podcast that I literally could not wait to listen to the next episode.  My thoughts and opinions on who did what, when, and where, kept changing.  I couldn’t believe that the police were the real crooks in many of the stories below.  These are real life events with a lot of unanswered questions.

Listed in order:

#1: Serial Serial Season 1:   The first mystery podcast that I ever listened to.  I was so intrigued.  Curiosity was written all over my face as I listened.  As the story was laid out and outlined I was painting the scenes in my head like a movie.  I finally had to go to Google to look up the actual people involved to see what they looked like.

The time frame is Baltimore, 1999, High School kids.  This real life event happened during the same time I was in High School and graduating so I was immediately drawn to it and all of the scenarios.  I kept asking myself “what would I have done?”  This story is unique as they are trying to solve a case that’s well over 15 or more years old.  Well, let me put it another way.  They are trying to prove Adnan is innocent.  Adnan was accused of killing his high school girlfriend Hae.  In this podcast they try to relive the events leading up to the murder and basically a can of worms are opened.

As I listened I also wondered if  I would have remember such details today if I was questioned about something that happened so long ago.  I don’t know.  I guess it would depend on how traumatic it was for me during that time.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say I have flip-flopped on who I though was the killer in this story; but I do not believe Adnan is guilty.  However, he still sits in prison as I type this.  I’m eager to know your thoughts and who you think is behind the murder.  I don’t want to tell the story here but I do want you to listen to it.


#2: S-Town – Oh, S-Town!  Which actually means Shit Town.  I love the voices in this particular podcast.  The southern charmed accent from Alabama drew me in first.  This story takes you on a roller coaster ride that has more turns and flips than one could handle.

At first I couldn’t believe it was real.  I’m sure you will go to Google, like myself, to verify facts; and they are all there! It was almost unbelievable.  John, the main person in this investigative journalism podcast hates his town–hence S-Town.  John is also a character within himself who deals with depression as well as having a host of many other personalities.  He’s peculiar, to say the least.  You just have to listen to understand.  It’s about a really smart but negative man who sometimes appears not to have it all together.  He’s a man who desperately wants attention and will do whatever he has to do, to get it. There are so many layers to him as well as this story.  But the story takes a turn and it feels like I’m sitting in the middle of Beverly Hillbillies, only before they move to Hollywood, trying to figure out what’s going on.  A mystery for sure.  (Check out the maze when you do your Googling)


#3: Dirty John – A love story that goes bad really quick.  Full of money, lust, and betrayal.  A real life story that happened in California only a few years ago.  This story makes you wonder why people do the things that they do.  It also makes you wonder what kind of woman couldn’t see straight through him?  Although I know it happen more than it should.  Lust and love are to different thing and here we can see how each play put.

I believed John got exactly what he deserved.  This isn’t a mystery, as we know what happens in the end.  But the story is put together nicely and it is full of suspense.


#4: AccusedAccused Season 1:  Such a tragic story of a young lady who had just graduated college in Ohio.  She has a boyfriend and moving from one apartment to the next and suddenly ends up dead.  This story is also one of the investigated stories where they are trying to put together really old pieces of the puzzle.  Like 1978 old.  I wasn’t even born then.  They’ve tried to ACCUSE the boyfriend for her murder but there are so many different angles to this story and the case is still cold.

I think the boyfriend, now very a very grown man, is innocent.


#5: Atlanta Monster – The latest podcast that I’m still currently listening to because the season hasn’t wrapped up just yet.  This story is just strange.  It was my first time hearing about the Atlanta Monster AKA as the man killing black boys back in the day.  Wayne, the suspect in this podcast, is still in prison and still claims that he is innocent.  But there is something about him that just doesn’t sit right with me.

The setting is Atlanta, GA; 1981.  Again another old story that was solved with doubt.  Many people are on the fence about Wayne’s involvement with the Atlanta killings.

While being investigated he “beats around the bush” a lot.  He shares irrelevant and unbelievable information.  He come off to me as perhaps having a mental illness however there’s still some strange things that happen during this series that often times put me on the fence as well.  At the end of the day, I believe he’s guilty.  But I also believe he may not be guilty of everything the cops are putting on him.  Lets see if my opinion changes any after we finish the series.


I definitely need your opinions and thoughts on the Five podcast listed above.  Who do you think killed who in these stories?  What could have been any of their motives?  What are your thoughts on S-Town?  Do you have a favorite podcast?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Also, remember to start at the beginning of each podcast, so episode 1 or chapter 1, and work your way up to the very end.  You must listen to the stores in order.  But you already knew that, right? ♥

This post contains affiliated links but all opinions are of my own!


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From the Southside of Chicago to the White House: OBAMA

Hello World.

Today in Black History, lets talk about the 44th President of the United States of America.  Excuse me, the FIRST BLACK President of the United States of America.

Barack Obama

I remember like it was yesterday, the night he won the election and the day of the inauguration back in 2008.  African-Americans really thought that we had overcome.  I can remember my grandmother telling me that she never thought she would live to see the day a black man would become President.  The moment was surreal.  I watched as Mrs. Obama gracefully walked those cold Washington D.C. streets in that lemon/lime green suit.  Mr. Obama strolled with grace and dignity.  For once, we felt powerful and in control.  But how did Obama get to this place?  How did he manage to get into the White House?

Join me each week in a 6 part series listening to the podcast of, Making Obama by WBEZ Chicago public radio.  Here in the podcast they not only detail Obama’s journey but they do a really good job of laying out all the information for us which allows us to connect the dots.  You’re bound to learn something you didn’t already know.  I’m enjoying this podcast because of its focus on Obama’s path from being a community organizer to becoming the President opposed to his life as President.  Which I think we are all somewhat familiar with.

In the first episode alone, we learn about Barack Obama’s confidence, his perseverance, and his desire to help others.  He comes from a Kenyan father and a white mother.  He’s different and he’s a servant.  He truly believes the saying, “You can be anything you want to be.”  The Making Obama podcast is already 2 weeks in; be sure to go and catch up!

President Obama will forever be a part of Black History and an inspiration for all little black boys and girls, now and in the future.

If you’re listening to the podcast I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. 

This post features affiliated links but all opinions in this post are all my own


“Keep your eye on the prize”

Today, at work, I’m listening to a Ted Talk Daily podcast by Bryan Stevenson and it was on of those podcast that I felt like I had to share with all of you.

I don’t want to quote the entire podcast word for word, because I feel I would not be able to do it any justice, so if you get a chance, please go to Ted Talk Daily and listen to the published podcast for January 15, 2018 which is an archived publication from 2012.

Here he talks about America’s justice system where he shares some alarming statistics.  He talks about race and how we as American’s do not like talking about our history and have a hard time dealing with the truth.  Therefore we remain stagnant as a nation and individuals in our everyday lives.

He states,

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you’re RICH & GUILTY than if you’re POOR & INNOCENT.”

This is something to really ponder on.  I feel that this statement is 100% TRUE but I’m eager to hear your opinions on this.  I also believe we need to have more “courageous” conversations around this topic.  Plants only grow by watering them; we have to stop overlooking our past, water the hurt, and nurture it so that we can grow and heal as a nation and as individuals.