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

How To Write The Perfect Wedding Toast

Believe it or not, fall is one the busiest seasons to get married.  You may ask how do I know this. Well, you could Google it, and of course Google will tell you the same thing, but remember I work at a Bridal Store, so I know firsthand that this is true.  Many engagements happen during the Holiday season (Nov-Jan). For those couples who plan to get married rather quick, a late summer or early fall wedding is ideal.  This gives them roughly 8-10 months to plan a wedding and that’s doable.  Then you have a lot of couples who want to get married in cooler temperatures (not too hot and not too cold) especially if their nuptials will take place outside.  Plus, there is something about fall colors that everyone just loves.  This takes me back to my original point that fall is one of the busiest season to get married!

Now, for the rest of us, those who are in a wedding this fall or perhaps even attending a wedding in the upcoming seasons, and you’re contemplating on the speech you’re going to give, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading

How to get a free U.S. Passport!

It’s the beginning of July and I’ve been officially married for 10 months!  Marriage itself has been a blast and I’ll be sharing more about our first year of marriage as we get closer to our anniversary date; but one of my main struggles thus far has been getting my name changed!!!

Ugh! It not only takes forever, but each place or account have different requirements when it comes to changing a name.  Unless you have to get your name changed, you fail to realize how many businesses you are affiliated with.

Most couples plan an extravagant honeymoon traveling to a tropical island or a country outside of the United States that requires a U.S. passport.  For us, we did a Carnival Cruise to Cuba (click HERE for that blog) that required passports.

I had a previous passport prior to traveling to Cuba but it had expired and I had no choice but to get a new one.  I took care of all of that around the middle of June last year.

After marriage I had copies of our marriage certificate made.  I finally got my license renewed and my name changed, however, I was curious to know if I could use my new license and my old passport together.  After Googling I found out that the name on your license had to match the name on your passport – SHUCKS.

I knew I definitely wanted a new U.S. passport; they last 10 years and it makes traveling so much easier.  But I didn’t want to spend 120 more dollars getting my name changed again after only having it for less than a year.

[Puts on thinking cap]

After doing a little investigation on the passport site, I found out that if your name has changed less than one year after U.S. passport was issued AND your U.S. passport is less than one year old you can have your name changed on your passport for FREE!!!!!

So this is for all of the newly married ladies out there.  Take advantage of this NOW!

I almost missed my deadline because my U.S. passport was issued on 6/30/18.  By the time I figured this out it was already the beginning of June 2019.  I had to move really fast.

Let me just tell you that if I had missed this deadline I would have been HOT.  Like on fire HOT.  Oh man, I would have been so pissed.

But thankfully I got everything (name change application, most recent U.S. Passport, a color photo, and marriage license) sent to them on time.

ps: Whenever you’re mailing off U.S. Passport documentations be sure to send it off via Certified Mail. Sending your items off via Certified Mail allows your package to be tracked and it’s also insured.

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15 Travel Tips For 2019

It’s 2019 and it’s time to start planning our vacations for the year.  I am a big advocate for vacations or small weekend trips.  I believe it’s necessary to step away from your every day life a few times a year to explore, relax, and to enjoy life.  I often hear about people not having time for vacation or not having enough money for a trip and it saddens me.  It only means that they did not properly plan and in my book, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!  Quite frankly, I can’t imagine life with out a trip. Continue reading

#LoveIsAJourney

We met through mutual friends many years ago and dated briefly during the Summer while I was home from College.  On Father’s Day of that year, I total lost my car and Larmar transported me back and forth to work whenever we weren’t on a date.  In the Fall, I returned back to school, 2.5 hours away from home, and we decided to go our separate ways.  Larmar says, I broke up with him, I, however, do not remember it that way.  For years, we didn’t talk to each other and only saw each other in passing once I moved back home; still never having a conversation with one another.  Just a quick wave and that was it.  In 2014, Larmar asked to be my friend on Facebook, like most women, I contemplated before accepting.  You know, been there–done that!  After a few months, he would start small conversations.  His consistency, patience, and all around “good dude” persona, along with the ability to make me laugh non stop drew me in.  He was like a best friend and he still is.  After 4 great years of dating, we decided to get married! Continue reading

Dos and Don’ts (July Edition)

I cannot believe it’s July!  Kids are in full summer mode and vacations are happening every week.  The days are longer and it’s hot.  Time flies when you’re having fun and with that being said, that brings us to our “Dos and Don’ts” for July.

Shana:  Give to give, not to receive… if you give a gift to someone give because you want to and not because you expect something in return.

Toya:  Giving is better than receiving!  When you bless others you will be blessed in return.

S:  If you do something for someone, don’t hold it over their head.

T:  There is nothing worse than someone bringing up something they’ve done for you especially during an altercation.  Not cool.

S:  Try new things, they say taste buds change every 7 years and I think that could go for feelings and emotions also, something you may have hated years ago could become something you love now.

T:  I remember growing up I didn’t like grapefruit.  Now, I can eat it and find it very tasting.  So it’s true, taste buds do change.  Be brave and try something different or old in this case!

S:  Wash your towels in hot water, I promise it will make them feel brand new again!

T:  And throw like 4 washing pods in there!  That’s what I do.  HaHa.

S:  You remember that diary you kept as a kid, do it as an adult but call it a journal.  You don’t have to write every detail of your day, maybe just thoughts and ideas.

T:  Journaling is great especially for relieving stress.  I would even go a step further and say you don’t have to write in it every day.  But perhaps a few times a week when you need to debrief and get things off of your mind.

S:  I feel like no one really uses an actually camera anymore.  Everyone take pictures on their phone.  But you should still print pictures off and keep photo albums.  You need something to show your grandchildren one day; like your grandparents did you.

T:  I’ll let you in on a secret of mine.  I create photo albums from Shutterfly.com.  I’ve created vacation books filled with pictures from vacations.  I’ve also created random picture books.  My family created a memory book for my uncle who passed away.  There are truly a ton of options from baby books, wedding books, and many more.  Not only do they have a lot of options but the books are very easy to make.  It’s one of my favorite things!  Give it a try by clicking HERE to get a FREE 8×8 photo book!

S:  Check on your strong friend!!!!

T: Ditto!

S:  Not everything is about you and not everyone wants to constantly hear you talking about you.  Give others a chance to talk also.

T:  This is good advice.  Many people should take heed to this.

S:  I recently heard if you were over the age of thirty to not to wear eyeliner because it makes you look younger.  I’ve recently been doing this and really can’t see a difference. So wear what you want!

T:  Interesting.  Perhaps I’ll try one eye and see if I can tell a difference. LOL

S:  Build your friends up, don’t tear them down by always trying to “one up” them.  Friendship isn’t a competition.

T:  Friends shouldn’t be jealous of other friends.  If they are, they’re not a true friend.

S:  You can do anything you put your mind to!

T:  ABSOLUTELY!

S:  Don’t change for someone else, change for you.

T:  Shana is preaching this month!  Just imagine me clapping my hands right now saying, YAAAASSSSS!!!!!!

S:  Keep your pocketbook organized, you will feel better about your life.

T:  I heard once, that if your purse is junky that means you have a man and don’t have time to clean it out! Haha.  But in all seriousness, you’ll function better with an organized and clean pocketbook or purse but for me, it only stays like that for two days max.  So then it’ll be a mess for about a week or two until I get around to doing it again or until I switch my purse.

Thanks for reading our monthly Dos and Don’ts.  We really appreciate it.  Check out prior publications HERE!  Let us know what you think in the comments below.  Here are some fun questions for you.

Just out of curiosity:

Do you say pocketbook or purse?  

Do you sprinkle salt on your watermelon?                                                  

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Shana lives in VA with her husband and daughter.

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I’m Wishing on a Dream…

In today’s post, I want you–yes you–to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just day-dream for a minute or two.  Let your imagination take you on a journey that perhaps you haven’t traveled along in many years.

One thing I love about children, they never forfeit the opportunity to imagine or daydream.  They are okay with allowing their thoughts to lead them to a land of possibilities and “what-ifs.”

As adults, everyday life usually gets the best of us.  However, I believe if we take a few minutes to daydream and to explore our minds you just never know where it may lead us.  Besides, daydreaming can be a form of relieving stress when we channel our minds to other places.

Need ideas of what to daydream about? Here are a few:

If you won a billion dollars, what would you do with it?  How do you think your life would change?  What would be one of the first things you would buy?

Think about being on a beach under the shade and what type of book you would be reading?

Think about where you want to see yourself in five years?

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Think about a change you wish you could see in the world, and perhaps how you could make a difference?

What about your dream home, or a dream car?  What do those things look like to you?

Our dreams are only part of the vision.  Let your imagination be the starting  point to any achievement you wish to have.  After you dream it, write it down, and take the necessary steps to turn those dreams into reality!

Feel free to answer any of the suggested ideas listed above in the comments below.  Or, perhaps you want to add your own dreamy ideas to the comment section.  Either way……

……Dream on!!!!

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