“If You Think You Are Better Than Your Man, Your Relationship is Done”.



      ” I don’t know. I just feel like he isn’t doing anything with himself. He smokes weed, he still works at the same job. He can’t seem to save any money. But he is so smart, and talented and sweet. He is good to me. He is a good man.”

“Do you think you are better than him?”
 ”Excuse me?”
 ”Do you think you are better than your  man? Because if you do, your relationship is done”.

Our male friend shrugged his shoulders after dropping this fact and went back to his plate of chicken wings. Antoinette and I looked at each other. She smiled a wide Cheshire cat smile. I looked back at her with furrowed eyebrows. I smiled uneasily. She knew. I knew. I thought that I was better than my man. Underneath the soft sheaths of laughter, intimacy and comfort of our relationship was a bubbling brew of contempt, hope and mistrust.

Will he ever get his act together? Maybe if he sees that I am nervous about our future he will try to do something different. Am I wrong for wanting something more? But he is so sweet. He is so intrinsically good. I can help him. Wait hold up, fuck I got to be the one to help him for?

It had never dawned on me that this sense of superiority was in fact unhealthy and detrimental to my relationship. The illness was not so much that he was unmotivated but that I thought that I was in fact more progressive. Lies. I am far from perfect. I procrastinate, I underachieve and I doubt myself but my boyfriend at that time thought I might as well have been Oprah. He thought I was hot shit. He adored me as an unrealistic projection of myself. I focused on solely his weaknesses and he was blind to mine. We remained timid crabs scurrying left and right after one another yet incapable of moving forward.

I see this same dilemma in many relationships. I know amazingly talented, intelligent women linked to the dead weight of an underachieving man. As a result these women become inflated with a false sense of productivity and they are never really properly fueled, critiqued and pushed off of their plateaus of comfort. No one really helps each other further in life. They remain stagnant in their incompatibility.

Love can be such a desperate thing. Everyone wants it. Everyone NEEDS it. Once we find someone who is nice, not a complete degenerate, makes us laugh, hits it right and at least has a job we ignore the finer details but we should want more than that from our partners, our potential life mates, husbands, wives and co-parents. We should want to be pushed to discomfort, encouraged, directed, critiqued, supported and inspired. We should feel the security of a loved one who always has your back, pushing you forwards whether you like it or not.

Have You Ever Been In A Stagnant Relationship?
What Made You Realize It Had To End?

YGB – Ryan Powell Photography

I sit back and watch people a lot. I have been watching the genius of photographer Ryan Powell for a year now. I see the pictures he posts on FB and Tumblr and they literally take my breath away. I sometimes doubt the kid’s genius and think that he is posting other professional’s work. He is just too damn good! And too damn young! I see a bright, bright future ahead of him. Keep up the hard work!

He is amazing right? To view more of Ryan’s spectacular work and book a shoot follow his Tumblr


Coming Back to America

A lot of you already suspected my return back to the States but I wanted to officially make it known that I am back in the USA. My time in Guatemala was very short but it was enough time for me to feel confident in my decision to come back to Philly.

It took a lot to uproot my life, my daughter and leave a life of comfort and support but I am a typical Sagittarius. The thought of change, travel, independence and challenge made the decision some what easy. I let go and let live.

I had lived in Guatemala once before as an even more carefree (is that even possible) 21 year old. I had so much fun drinking, dancing, sleeping, flirting, studying and traveling on my first trip that I thought somehow as a 27 year old mother things would still be as exciting. Chile’ please.

My cousin, her two children and my bunny)

Don’t get me wrong, it is always exciting to go towards the unknown. It was awesome to watch my baby girl walk barefoot on a coffee farm pointing to banana’s hanging 10 feet from her reaching arms. It was awesome to be surrounded by Spanish speaking Guatemalans. I loved seeing my family. The prospect of teaching made me feel capable of anything. The journey of learning Spanish made me feel like my world was slightly cracking open as my understanding developed. I loved the warm, damp mornings, the hot afternoons and the cool, calm of the nights but I was unhappy. I wanted to jump out of my skin with the discomfort and irritation of my intuition. “Go home Shanti”.

(Jo in the garden)

I felt like although that path was beautiful and full of golden opportunities, it was not for me. I am happy I have returned. I am grateful for my experience away but so much more for my home – Philly. It is important for me now to focus on contributing to this city. Onwards and upwards….

(Artwork done by my talented Aunt)

Shanti’s Short Hair 2 Month Check In

So as you can see, my hair is coming back slowly but surely since my last cut. I am enjoying each stage and always feel grateful for the get up and go convenience of it all. My hair regimen has not changed much.

I am still using Kinky Curly Knot Today as Leave in.

Rotating Between Shemoisture Curl Smoothie and Jane Carter  for Curl Hold

Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste

Josie Maran Argan Oil

I will be posting a video with my daily process.
My only concern right now is maintaining a shape. Due to the length and my needs (just a shape up and fade in the back) I don’t think I will be going to any salons. I am in need of a good barber. I am thinking of The Duke Barber Co. in Northern Liberties in Phila. Anyone familiar?

See you in two months with another progress report! Feel free to ask any questions!

99 Problems: Hair Care Q&A


We get a lot of emails from very disgruntled, urgently desperate readers. If you are one of them don’t feel bad. I remember when I started my journey on having  healthy hair and I wrote Curly Nikki. It was along the lines of “My hair is so dry, I don’t know what to do. How do I get it to look like yours? Please help me as fast as you can. Thank you and have a nice day”. Swear to God, I di that. She never responded to my stalkin’ ass but now I understand that she has bigger fish to fry like accepting NAACP awards. (GO GIRL!!!!)
Anyway, because we do have some time on our hands, I figured we could do some published Q&A to hopefully help others that are experiencing the same things.

1. Q: Hey! I attend a university in a predominantly white city in CA. I went natural 2 years ago. It’s still a challenge to wear my hair in its naturally big state. 95% of the time I wear my hair in a bun bc I don’t know how to do any other styles with my hair! What’s been an even bigger challenge is having the urge to flat iron my hair when it comes to my job. I want to know if you or other women have a fear of standing out bc of their hair & how to deal w/ this as women of color. Thanks!

I had this same fear when I started wearing my natural, unadulterated curls out. I was coming off of the flat iron dependency. Many people were not used to seeing my natural curls. Shoot, I wasn’t even used to seeing them. I had not fully mastered my hair care. Some days I was really proud of my curls while other days my curls were dry, frizzy, uncontrollable tufts. But regardless of what my hair was doing, I was scheduled to work. I was terrified of what others would think.  I experienced some negative comments here and there but I wanted to learn to love my hair and I knew in my heart that the illusions and conditioning of hating my kinky hair were not based on reality. 
I say STOP straightening your hair and focus on straightening your mind. Mind over matter. Allow yourself to be afraid walking into work with your natural hair but walk into work with your natural hair anyway! The more you manage your natural hair and stay away from the flat iron, the sooner you will learn how to care for and style it and in return the more confident you will become. Soon you wont be concerned with what others think and you will be surprised by how many people will actually like it!


2Can u give me some methods to loosen up my curls? They’re so tight & it makes me look like a child.

Well, aside from chemically altering your hair, you are going to have to go the traditional route of 1. Waiting until your hair grows a bit longer so that it can be stretched 2. Try braid outs, twist outs and bantu knots. On the first day of a “braid or twist out” your hair may be tightly coiled but if you maintain them well enough by re-twisting and using only a little bit of water (think a spritz or two from a spray bottle or a small handful of H2O in your palm), you can have looser, fuller curls by the 2nd to 3rd day. Please research “how to stretch natural hair” on Youtube.

3. Q:Before you throw tomatoes at me and yell newbie just know that all I ask for is help. I have 3b hair (3c hair in the very back of my head and 2b hair on my bangs due to my reckless straightening ways in middle school). Im 16 and I feel like my hair can NEVER be healthy or dead nor look decent. I cannot put my self toward the CG no-poo method (let alone do I understand it), and I tend to be lazy when it comes to my curly hair routine. Ive used the Pantene Pro-V Curly Hair Moisture Renewal conditioner followed up by a normal shampoo(non- curly hair based and also by Pantene) and recently I have used the Aussie Moist Condition, which may I say I HATE. Anyways lets get to the dirt. For I don’t even know how long, Ive had extremely dead dry fine curly hair. Ive been to the salon with about 3-5 inches of visible dead hair waiting to be chopped off. I also deal with a lot of hair loss, I can latterly finger comb my hair when its dry and a clump of hair will easily fall out. My dilemma is how do I get my fine limp easily damageable hair to be healthy strong and moisturized. I would tell you my porosity level but when I did it 1/4 of the strand floated to the top, some to the middle and the rest to the bottom. Wanna throw those tomatoes yet? I don’t know what to do and as much as I hate to say it, because of my current hair conditions, I hate my curly hair, but all I seek for is hope. So curlies will you help?

First and foremost relax darling. Everything is gonna be alright. I am going to do my best to address some keys points. First and foremost – It does not pay to be a “lazy” curly girl. In the beginning of your journey towards healthy hair you must be diligent and conscientous. Once you get used to your hairs needs, you can surely fall back a bit.
From the pictures you gave, your hair looks very similar in texture to Antoinette’s hair so you should take a cue from her regimen and products. It seems that all of the products you are using are laden with chemicals. You should probably go a more natural, simple route in terms of ingredients. Here are the recommended products that you should begin to put into your hair rotation.
1. Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave in Conditioner
2. Curls “Cashmere Curls Jelly” or Curls “Goddess Curls Gelle”
3. ALOE VERA JUICE (make sure it is juice and not gel)
You can use these products in the order they are listed. You can consider air drying or diffusing your hair. Antoinette struggles with limp curls and uses an afro pick at the roots of her hair to add volume.
Check out this awesome link HERE to learn more about fine haired hair care.
Hoped this helps!
If you have any advice or recommendations for these curious, concerned cur lies share in the comments below! 

“The State Of Black TV” Via Andrea Lewis

Awesome video from Andrea Lewis. Andrea is a force to be reckoned with and watched because she is constantly utilizing and strengthening relationships. I think this is important for all of us to pay close attention to because it is through relationships that we grow, learn and ultimately progress personally and professionally.

In this video Andrea brings together a group of influential, writers, actors, and directors in the often marginalized word of black TV. Black imagery, marketability, support and direction is discussed. I love that is all coming from the mouths of women.

This video has touched on something I have been thinking about personally.

Question: Do you think the time will ever come that the imagery of black people on TV and in film will be able to portray universal themes that ALL people can relate to or will the white face be the only portal from which the trials and tribulations of “humanity” can be portrayed? Why or why not?

My personal opinion: I think it is going to never happen. HA! Unfortunately, being black and in the forefront the audience will always be critiquing and associating the images with blackness which is limiting and frustrating. I suppose that is goes for any face that is not white on TV or film. Maybe I am being cynical….

Once Upon A Time

It’s hard to come to that halting screech of realizing you are indeed an adult. In a world where decisions have to be made, relationships have to be tediously and carefully nurtured, bills must be paid, dreams must be selfishly pursued or hopelessly left to die, babies must be held high like Simba to be put first and always first, bills must be paid, bodies must be maintained or else succumb to flabby, fluffy shadows of their youth and partners must be chosen with intentions of remaining together forever (forever? Fo’ eva? Eva? Fo’eva? Eva?) Did I mention bills must be paid?

We are all being pushed into the future. Ready or not. Pushed while we stand with toes raised to the sky and heels digging into the earth while we turn our heads backwards, sideways, up and down while searching for the guide of happiness which will make our  forward, our pending future seem a little less frightening.  Most of us aren’t ready. “Wait! Wait! This is happening too quickly. Did you read my script? Excuse me? Excuse me? What’s my motivation?

The scripts of our internal fairy tales of “Once upon a time” make living, loving and maturing a bit more confusing and hard.

We tell ourselves “Once I graduate college, I’ll be happy. Once I lose this weight I’ll be happy. Once I find my perfect man, I’ll be happy. Once I get rid of this man, I’ll be happy. Once I quit smoking cigarettes, I’ll be happy. Once I make amends with my father, Ill be happy. Once I buy this house, I’ll be happy.  Once I get this job, I’ll be happy. Once I go on vacation, I’ll be happy. Once, he says he’ll marry me, I’ll be happy. Once I get this divorce, I’ll be happy.  Once everyone sees my talent, my film, my show, my art, my writing, my voice, my face, my body, I’ll be happy.”

I see the rehearsals of the fairy tale “Once I…” in people twice my age and even still in those half my age. I see it everyday in myself. God damn, does anyone attain their happiness? Does the journey of life ever get easier, less scary and desperate?

I suppose those wishes are legitimate.

I suppose those higher desires are indeed ideals that act as our guides to our better selves, right?

Or are we forever living with a carrot before our eyes? Are we missing the point and poignance of our here and now?

Share your thoughts below…