Itoja’s Top Blogs + My Number 1 Blogging Tip!

If you’ve been following me for some time now, then you are aware that I’ve written about everything under the sun.  If you can name it, I’ve probably written about it or given my two cents about it in some form or another.  This is one reason why I like to call myself your virtual best friend—because I’m here to give you the 411—and one of the reasons why you’ll never catch me conforming to a niche.

With that being said, I wanted to highlight a few of my top blogs thus far.  Perhaps there is one on the list that you didn’t get a chance to read or maybe you’re just interested in seeing the blogs that has gotten the most love over time. Whatever the case may be, I have them here for your review.  Believe me, they range from Love and Romance to smoking weed.  It’s a wide spectrum.  It truly makes me laugh out loud!  But, I now know what you guys are into! HAHA.  Listen, this is a no judgement zone so no worries here! Continue reading


Michelle Obama.  Some would say, former First Lady of the United States, but I consider her to still be my First Lady.  Her book Becoming, a memoir which was published in November of 2018 soared past record sales for the year within 15 days.

I chose to purchase the audio version of the book, just because I could listen to the book while at work and therefore killing two birds with one stone.  The book was broken down into three sections; Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More.  Listening to Mrs. Obama as she carefully read each word with grace and dignity gave me a much deeper appreciation for her as person and a much clearer view into her life as a daughter, sister, mother, friend, wife, as well as a humanitarian.  Her personal reflections are mesmerizing as she tells her truth as only she could tell it. 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 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

5 reasons to read “The Face of Expression” By Aaron Woodson

As you all know I’m always eager to highlight up and coming Entrepreneur’s around the world to my readers.  With that being said, this months Entrepreneur Spritzer is all about the new book, TheFace of Expression by Aaron Woodson.  If you’re not familiar with my Spritzer you can get caught up HERE!!

5 reason why you most certainly need to grab a hold of this book:

1. It’s a book of short expressions: This makes it easier to read and easier to keep up with especially if you live a busy life.  You don’t need to remember certain characters or plots in order to enjoy this book–a few short stories before bed is perfect.

2. It’s relatable: One could easily find at least two or three stories to relate to while reading this book, if not more.  This book also give you a little bit of poetry, a little bit of truth, a little bit of exploration, a little bit of wonder, a little bit of fiction, and a whole lot of non-fiction, cultural experiences, and self-awareness.  Everyone should be able to relate.

3. It provides confirmation: Confirmation that some of the same expressions that the author highlights in this book are the SAME expressions I have also had throughout life.  It lets me know that I’m not the only one thinking these things and it’s ok!  In short, it confirms that the “little party” going on in my head is normal.

4.  It takes you on a journey: A journey through life and a journey through a mans point of view or perspective which is something that we don’t always get the privilege of seeing.  I truly love when a man is able to be vulnerable and is able to express his vulnerability in a way that also shows how masculine he is.  Kudos to you!

5.  It’s easy to judge a book by its cover: Lastly, you should read this book because the cover of the book had me second guessing myself.  I thought I was in for some kind of dark-mystery book and once I opened the book a light bulb went off!  Ahhh….expressions!  Thoughts!  Journaling! Inspirations!  While the cover didn’t connect with me at first…if you’re like me and sometimes judge books by its cover…then you should ignore the cover and grab this book  because you’re in for a nice surprise.

Another great thing about The Face of Expression is that it can be purchased through Amazon and for your convenience I have provided a quick link HERE for my readers.

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


Dos and Don’ts (March Edition)

Well, well, well!

Your favorite blogger is back with your favorite segment of IToja which is the monthly edition of Dos and Don’ts!!! If you need to catch up the previous issues, please catch the 411 HERE for January and HERE for February!

All aboard? Lets go!

Shana:  Don’t pay full price for anything.  There are coupons for everything.  Let Google be your friend. If for whatever reason, the item you want is no longer available then you didn’t need it anyway.  Toya has some pretty good discounts at places she can hook you up with.

Toya:  My motto is, “Ball on a budget” I rarely pay full price for anything.  And if I do, then it’s something that is a must and there is no other way to get it.  I do believe in splurging every now and then but not all the time.  I love shopping online too, and usually you can find some good deals online.  I do a lot of shopping through Ebates, they literally pay you to shop.  You can click HERE to get started.

Also, RetailMeNot is a great app to use if you’re out and about and looking for last minute coupons.

S:  We all get mad, some easier than others, but count to 10 or whatever it is that you do to calm down, before you say something you may later regret.  I have zero filter sometimes so this helps me A LOT!! I seriously live by this, “every action does not deserve a reaction.”

T:  Don’t be tap dancing on my nerves! — I would say, check your delivery.  Because my reaction may be necessary but the delivery of my reaction may not be necessary.  My goal this year is to check my delivery.

S:  I think a really good investment besides a home and a car, is bedding!  You need to sleep to be able to function.  So good bedding is a must!  Sheets, blankets, definitely pillows and mattresses.

T:  Yaaaassss.  I’m trying to hold out until Spring to redo my room, my bedding, and to get new pillows but it’s taking so long to get here!  I just wish King size sheets and pillows weren’t so expensive.  Geez.

S:  This a hard one, but you really should have some sort of savings even if you’re only putting $5 a week in there.  You never know what’s going to happen.  You may need new tires, a furnace, or what if you lose your job?  A little cushion could come in handy.

T:  This is great advice.  Really great if you can get into the habit of saving at an early age.  I would also suggest that you have some type of savings deposited into a separate account before you even get your check.  It makes it easier.  It’s already taken care of and you will not have to make extra trips to the bank or end up spending it.

S:  Have relationships with people and not just your significant other.  I’m talking about your friends; take the time to get to know them.  The deep down them.  Their likes, dislikes, pet peeves, favorite color.  Make them feel appreciated.

T:  Friends are valuable.  It is important to be a great friend because one day you may need the favor returned.  I’m happy to say that I know just about everything about my closest friends.  Perhaps, too much!  Check out my post on friends HERE!

S:  This kind of goes along with the last one, but I recently had a friend lose their companion of many years.  Tomorrow is never promised so say, “I Love You” every chance you get and mean it.

T:  The older we get, the faster time goes, and the more deaths we come across.  From the very young to the very old.  At one point, all I was hearing was another person has died.  My family says “I Love You” all the time.  You just never know when the last time will be the last time.

S:  You know how when you were younger your parents would take food to a love ones house who had death in their family?  Well now that we are older we need to continue that “tradition” people really appreciate it probably much more than flowers.

T:  Definitely a “tradition” that is a must.  Letting a person know you’re thinking about them during a sad time is great.  Plus, no one wants to cook when going through the hardships of death.  People are steadily going in and out of there home to show their condolences.  Who wants to cook during this time?  Having that food already their and ready to eat is a blessing.

I would even like to challenge my readers to take this a step further.  To go back to being a good friend, when a friend is sick or just having a rough time stop by to visit them.  Take them a few snacks or some soup or their favorite things.  A little goes a long way.

S:  Everyone should have a hobby.  I use to think mine was shopping but as I’ve gotten older I think it is more decorating and crafts.  I also really enjoy blogging on IToja once a month, so I would consider writing and reading as another hobby.  Sometimes you just have to take a mental break and let your mind wander, with your hobby it’s easy to do that.

T:  Aww–so happy you’re enjoying our adventure together.

I think hobbies are great.  Overtime, my hobbies always seem to change but I think that has a lot to do with my personality.

S:  So, I recently went to a spa party and it was great!  I think you should pamper yourself even if it’s just buying a foot scrub, new lotion, or a face mask.  I try to do one of these at least once a week to help me unwind a little.

T:  I’m a total believer in taking care of yourself.  I love being pampered too.  So yes, everyone take time out to pamper yourself.  Put this on your to-do list, for sure!

S:  Everyone has an opinion, you know the saying.  So don’t get mad at someone just because theirs is different from yours.  Everyone is different.  It’s what makes the world go round.

T:  In today’s world its hard to let others have their own opinion but I think we need to always remember this.

S:  If you straighten your house a little everyday, say one room a day, then you won’t have to spend a whole day doing it all at one time.  This may just work for me though because I am so OCD.

T:  I wish I could do this everyday.  Now, I’ll just text my daughter and say, “Make sure you have your chores done.”  See–having a teenager isn’t all bad!

S:  Learn how to change a tire, this super important.  Your dad or man may not always be readily available to do this for you.

T:  Do you boo!  But, uh, I’m not changing a tire.  I do know how to check (not change) the oil though.  That has to count for something!

S:  I know cash is like a thing of the past, but it really is smart to keep a little bit with you at all times.  I usually try to keep $20 on me, you never know when you may need it.

T:  This sounds like my grandmother.  She say’s this all the time.  So yes, lets all try to keep a little cash on us–for the unexpected, right?

S:  Never expect too much from anyone. So that in the event that they do happen to let you down it doesn’t hurt as bad.  Because like I’ve said before not everyone has the same intentions as you.

T:  I’m stuck in between Do and Don’t on this one.  While I agree with the above statement I also feel like if I can’t depend on you, or expect for you to come through for me, then I don’t really need you.  I think it mostly depend on the person and the situation and the relationship that you have with someone.

S:  You should never have to prove a relationship or yourself to anyone.  If it’s real it’s real!

T:  Agreed.  Don’t worry about what others think.  Haters will always hate!!!!!! #IToja

As always, we would love to hear what you think.  Do you have a hobby? What about a spa ritual?  Have you implemented a savings plan?  We would love to hear your stories.

Leave your comments below and don’t forgot to hit the FOLLOW button so that you’re always up to speed on our Dos and Don’ts!!


Shana lives in VA with her husband and daughter.


Getting cozy with IToja

Dear Readers, Followers, and those who peep in from time to time:

I just want to say Thank You for joining me on this great adventure.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed communicating with you via my blog since I started this journey.  It has been the best outlet a girl could have.  Within a short period of time I’ve posted 31 blogs (feel free to catch up if you’re behind) and I still have so much to share with you.

Here is a snippet of what to look forward to for 2018:

More blogs about everyday life and situations

Podcast reviews:   The first being Parameters Live event.  Be sure to watch for that early January.

Entrepreneur Spritzers:  If you’re an entrepreneur and would like a feature–I’m your girl.  Refer to the form for entrepreneurs in the menu section.

Monthly Do’s and Don’ts:  I’m collaborating with a good friend on these and they will be a lot of fun.

Travel blogs

Daily Prompts responses

Picture blogs

More blogs based off of your request–So be sure to send any request to me.

And a lot more!!!!!!

So, lets get COZY and start reading.  Your cozy can be wherever you like it to be.  For me, coziness is under the covers and sipping Hot Tea.  If only I had a fireplace….that would be so “lit” (pun intended)!  For you, it may be sneaking to read while you’re at work.  Or on the couch or perhaps in your favorite recliner.  You can also be cozy on the beach under an umbrella while listening to the waves.  No matter where you are or what you’re doing, feel free to get cozy with me in 2018.

As always, if you enjoy what you’re reading, be sure to subscribe! Feel free to comment and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!

Thanks for tuning in to IToja,


via Daily Prompt: Cozy