Undercut Hair Grow Out Challenge!!

I have officially decided that I am going to grow out my hair. I am ready for change. I am ready for challenge. I am ready to rock twist outs and ponytails and have it get on my nerves again. I have a mohawk right now so I have a center section with significantly longer hair and very short hair on the sides. Uggh, this is going to be a bitch to grow out. I refuse to cut it all evenly until my sides grow out some more though. Anyway, here is a video describing my plan of action. Who else is ready to keep their heads warm this winter? Who else is growing out their shorter hair styles? I think we all should keep one another motivated and away from scissors and barber chairs!  Send me some pics of your starting point for this challenge! I will share yours as well as my growth every 2 months or so to see one another’s progress. Lets get it! 

(Starting point) Oct 2015




Tag @aroundthewaycurls on instagram with your photos with the hashtag #undercuthairgrowout

Or email photos to aroundthewaycurls@gmail.com

“Healthy Roots” Natural Dolls For Natural Girls KICKSTARTER

affbeb9dc8ca5b3f512727beb4448880_original-1   I often pace the aisles of toy stores and I leave empty handed (not just because I am cheap and a bad mother) but because there are NO DOLLS that look like my daughter. Either they are unrealistically proportioned white dolls, scary monster, weirdo, sex kittens, black dolls with straight hair and white features or they are dolls peddling propaganda of excessive materialism and sexism. Where are the dolls and toys which offer education and stimulate the imagination? Where are the dolls which offer companionship to the entire spectrum of young girls? The world isn’t just black and white. The spectrum of brown, red, yellow and every color in between is real and beautiful and in need of representation. My daughter is a beautiful blend of her father’s Eritrean ancestry and my white and black genes. Very rarely do I ever feel that she is uncomfortable in her skin. She is constantly reminded by everyone in her life that she is extra-ordinary, clever, funny, intelligent, kind and beautiful.  Yet every now and then she will express her desire for straight hair and her dislike for her big curly hair.  Each and every time that she has voiced her dissatisfaction is when she is stroking the knotty, stringy straight hair of a doll baby or Barbie (that she was gifted and I hadn’t the heart to throw the hell out).  With that being my struggle, I was really excited to be contacted by Yelitsa Jean-Charles. She is a young artist coming from the much respected art school of RISD. She has created the toy company “Healthy Roots” which offer dolls that represent the variation of the African Diaspora with varying hair textures as well as an illustrated reading book and coloring book which offer basic information about natural haircare. It’s genius!  Here is Yelitsa’s response to the state of toys offered to children of color. 

“I created Healthy Roots to fill that void. Internalized racism and colorism stem from mainstream beauty standards that exclude women of color. The pressure that girls feel to appeal to mainstream beauty standards impacts their self esteem, leading them to use dangerous chemicals like perms and bleaching creams to become “beautiful.” Healthy Roots teaches girls of color self-love through education, diversity, and positive representation. If the toys we play with influence how we perceive ourselves, imagine the kind of impact we can have with a toy that aims to inspire and empower.”


Easy reading book included w/ doll explaining basic natural haircare


Real representation of a Healthy Roots Doll


Doll Concepts

Meet Yelitsa and Learn More about her Kickstarter for “Healthy Roots” Toy Company

Yelitsa is 5 days away from her kickstarter ending. She needs help to bring this brilliant idea and hardwork into realization! She is so close already! 

Support Yelitsa’s Kickstarter Today to Make These Dolls A reality for Our Children!

Click the Link HERE

                                                                                                                 (Post By Shanti)

Shanti In LA


I was in LA for the first time in June. I went to visit a friend Emiliano Styles and was shown a wonderful time. We went to lofty high rise restaurants overlooking downtown LA, ate delicious octopus tacos in Grand Central Market, went hiking on Runyun Canyon, bike riding in Venice, and found our way into a secret, hidden Cuban bar with a live saxophone player who played to a woman who danced, twirled and writhed her hips until her white vestido fell and she was left to gyrate in only her bra and panties. We ate fried chicken at Roscoes and discovered the talent of Joseph Khalil at the MOCA. We skipped the Hollywood scene and I absorbed the sun rays and buena onda of the West coast without the glitz and glam of Lala Land.

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I especially loved the graffiti-esque murals that brought an urban edge to the romantic curls and scales of the Spanish architecture. I loved the Latino presence in LA. I loved seeing the traditional Mexican cowboy with a shiny big belt and brown, wide brimmed hat, hand in hand with his lovely woman to the “neo” Latino influenced by black culture, cool as a cucumber with Converses, conversing with the distinct West coast Latino lilt “Ehhhhhh, what’s up?”


 I was in the best of company with Emil. He is a creative inspiration for me. He is an artist, grounded in discipline with just the right shiny sprinkling of idealism and hope.  He is photographing, writing, shooting, directing and editing a beautiful life for himself. He is dope, working hard to be doper. Having well put in his 10,000 hours of practice, he still makes every effort to sharpen his skills and expand creatively. With that being said, he made sure to have his camera on hand  during my visit and documented my time in LA.  He made a video of me! I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you all. He says he wanted to simply capture my curious nature. The video meant much more to me than that. It brought visuals to my daily prayer, “Let it all work out.”

SHANTI IN LA from Emiliano Styles™ on Vimeo.

Things That Interest the Around The Way Girl – Part Tres


1. SaintHeron.com

Antoinette and I have a running joke. We always stop and  ask one another “Shit, how can we learn to be cool?” Well I got the answer! Troll Solange’s website “Saint Heron” and learn what’s what in fashion, music, arts culture, events  and everyday cool shit. I bet the really cool girls are rolling their eyes thinking “Ugh, we been knew about this. It’s been up for like 2 years.” Welp, my corny, motherly, trying to hold on for dear life to the vestiges of her youth ass just discovered it!

The site as well as the label Saint Records is committed to ” feature, highlight and align a new movement of contemporary, genre-defying R&B visionaries, which will serve as a segue into the diverse evolution of these independent artists as they share their voices and words as only they can – through pure, unadulterated music.”



2. Ibeyi

20 year old Parisian twins with Afro-Cuban roots (father was a member of the Buena Vista Social Club), haunting vocals with percussion, piano and a mean beat from production! What?!  I give you my most recent music obsession – Ibeyi. I am not quite sure how to pronounce the group’s name, I don’t know what they are saying when they sing in Yoruba but I love them anyways. They make me feel things and I love feeling things. Plus they are aesthetically beautiful. One twin has long wavy, straight hair while the other rocks a mane of kinks and curls. Take a listen here in their video “River”

3. The Poetry of Nayyirah Waheed 


Her poetry again, makes me feel things. Things that sit deep down in the heat of my stomach or are fluttering to escape wedged between my lungs and heart. She makes me feel emotions I never knew I had until only after 3 sentences I find myself weeping or I feel just a little less worried, or anxious or sad or angry. She makes me feel as if she knows me. She is me and I am her. She is an incredible writer. One that I admire so much. You have probably seen her quotes shared on social media. Her two published books of poetry are “salt” and “Nejma” both available on Amazon. Inspiration station right there.

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4. Beyonce Untouched



God, is that you God? Are you trying to let us all know that nobody is perfect by leaking these photos personally? Are you trying to let us know that Beyonce isn’t your chosen one and that we can all start focusing on more important things rather than being obsessed with Beyonce and making ourselves “perfect” by going to the gym and getting a lace front or nah? Nah? Oh, okay.

Whats New Ladies? Anything New that Interests You These days?

Alex Elle in Philly


Recently, I went to go see writer and social media personality Alex Elle in Philadelphia. For some reason, I entered the venue feeling a little nervous because I was all alone. There was no side kick to keep me enveloped in the “no new friends” zone. Instead, I was given the choice of remaining open and friendly or quiet and guarded. I teetered on both spectrums by smiling at strangers but never really striking up any conversation.


Yusuf Yuie on the left and Curran on the right

Shortly after the audience filled in, promoters Yusuf  Yuie and Curran Swift Yusuf stood and introduced both the moderator and Alex Elle.


Alex came out unto the stage confident and calm. She was everything she seems to be via social media and her writing. She was poised, sweet, present and ready to share.  The audience was very quiet, so quiet that Alex’s first sentence addressed to us was, ” Ya’ll look scared.”  I suppose we were all nervous. We were a room full of young twenty-somethings wanting to understand how to get just a smidgeon of what she  appears to smear on everything she touches  – success and happiness.

The moderator probed Alex with questions about love, work, motherhood, sex and writing. All of her answers were the same, no different than the affirmations she shares through her writing. In order to find success in love and life, you must go inward. You must work on yourself gently and consistently. 



When it came time for questions, I was amused by the inquiries. It was very telling of who we are and what we want. Everyone wanted to know about Alex’s hard times; drama with her child’s father and single mother hood. I suppose that’s how we connect with one another. I must admit that I felt so encouraged when I learned that Alex was also a young mother, estranged from the child’s father and yet she still found love.  It’s more comforting to know someone’s pain and struggle versus happiness and “success”.  To understand the struggle from which one came, makes other’s feel like their own destinies aren’t so bleak. They too can rise up, push past the pain and be happy. 

Alex Elle for me, through her writing and existence  is a reminder that the human potential for change and creativity is real and in all of us. The potential for success is not only alloted to prodigy, white people, college educated and childless folk but it extends to us all even if we are brown, women, single mothers, ridden with daddy issues and have no idea how we are going to make it. We are all entitled to happiness and the fruition of our personal successes.

Thank you Alex for the reminder.

When Are We Truly ‘At Our Best’

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There was a time when I would have never posted this picture anywhere. There was a time I would have never been caught video chatting without a complete beat face. Even as recently as last year, had FaceTime rang with me still sweaty from the gym, I would have declined the call or strategically placed the camera so that I had a chance to ‘put myself together’ before anyone could see me. But then I have to ask myself would I had even gone to the gym without at least foundation on? I think not.

Now, I know that we all say there is nothing wrong with trying to look ‘our best’. But lately, I have struggled with what that means and all the weight and pressure that comes with that. It’s a mind f*ck really. So tell me, am I not at my best like this? I had a good day, prayed, went to yoga, walked, drank a mean green smoothie for dinner, cleaned my room and approached the day with gratitude. But even after all that, I still need to look outside of myself in order to be my best? It’s really quite confusing and the implications that come along with statements like ‘you’re best’ can be daunting.

I worry sometimes that this blog adds to that confusion because we are in a way a beauty blog. But my hope is that we aren’t your average beauty blog. My hope is that we keep it real enough to keep your minds at ease. My hope is that no claims of perfection are made here. My hope is that Shanti and I document our own personal journeys that folks can relate to it but not strive towards it. My hope is that we inspire.

In summary, I’m at a point in my life that when it comes to beauty, I no longer feel the need to strive towards perfection and I think it is because I have defined for myself what “at my best” is. I think it’s important that we all do that. It’s vital that we have and live by our definitions and refine them when need be.  Otherwise, we are at risk of living up to standards made with a broad brush.

So, I am at my best when…

-I eat healthy

-I exercise

-I’m in love

-I take care of my skin

-I use my favorite sweet smelling shea butter after I shave

-I use lip liner with my lipstick

-I wear my new black leather jacket with a bright red lip, aviator sun glasses and slick my hair back in a tight bun

-I have that black long line bra on

-I get my eyebrows done and handle any random weird hairs on my face/chin/mustache (smh)

-I drink tons of water

-I’m organized

-I get to see him

-I think positive

-I trust the journey

-I smile

-I stretch

-I’m social and not behind this computer

-I watch/listen/love Beyonce

-I’m around kids

-I get a pedicure

-I sing

-I leave my hair alone until it is completely dry.

When are you at your best ladies?

These Are Not Radical Ideas

We have not posted much about Michael Brown. Mainly, because I/we haven’t known what exactly to say. Frankly, I still don’t know how to express my anger, guilt, sorrow and frustration that will ignite any real change. Even now, I fear that some of you are reading this thinking, “Here she goes again” or “She doesn’t even know because her mom’s white” or “Where is the hair post”. But that’s my own stuff. Not yours.

 The following is a Facebook message and it says it all… everything I have ever felt but couldn’t articulate.  My once mentor and now friend posted it. Sadly, I wanted to send it to some family members and friends of mine. I’ve been secretly waiting for someone in my circle to say something stupid to me about Mike Brown. Well, a couple days ago that wait was over and I wish my response was something like the statements below, but instead I eloquently informed them that “they didn’t know shit”. Smh. Please read below.


“A white friend expressed to me recently that my facebook and twitter timelines seemed more “radical” lately. In response, I told him that it is not radical at all. First, it’s obvious that we are not very close friends if you believe that spreading important information is radical expression for me. In fact, it feels quite passive. Additionally, and maybe even more significant, are my feelings behind the messages and tone of the information that I help to share.

It is not radical for me or anyone else to want to live. It is not radical for me to want to see my brother  live until he is an old man. It is not radical for me to want my nephew and my cousins to not be criminalized because of the color of their skin. It is not radical for me to want my uncle to be able to work, pay taxes, provide for his family, and enjoy his life without the threat of violence and death from the police. These are not radical ideas. They are normal, reasonable ideas. So normal in fact, white US citizens very rarely ever have to think about it. You expect these realities and privilege and take full advantage of them with every breath. If you believe that it is radical for me to express this desire for myself, it is clear that you believe the notion of who we are and what we deserve as humans is fundamentally different from you. Moreover, when I talk about myself, I am talking about ALL of my people. ALL OF THEM. Every utterance of “but what about…”, “but not all…”, “but they should have just…” “but not all white people….” – each of these is an expression of micro-deviations between your level of humanity to mine.

To put it plainly, if you are a so called believer in human rights- you should be fighting harder to defend those who are constantly abused by and used as fodder for the system that you benefit from WITH EVERY SINGLE BREATH. Anything short of that brings me what I covet these days more than any other time in my life, clarity. How you feel about #michaelbrown is how you feel about my son and how you feel about me. When it comes to survival, this liberal rhetoric has muddied the waters for too long. At least I know where the other side stands. How you feel about the people of #ferguson is how you feel about my family. I very rarely quote the bible these days, but when it comes to survival, Revelation 3:15-16 seems extremely appropriate: “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot … So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

We are not fools. Here in the United States, Brazil, and many place in between, violence and oppression based on skin color, hair, features, and class are the dogs of war– this brutality is controlled by two leashes. Holding the leash tightest is institutional racism. Hiding behind, is his son white privilege. What a fucking coward. HE has the nerve to ask ME to teach HIM what HE should do to for ME to make HIM more comfortable as a so-called ally. Sadly, many of my liberal friends don’t see the violence inherit in these indignities. I am not comfortable and have never been. I don’t have that privilege. My life is full of the anxiety of being a critical victim. I have worried my entire life about living long enough to start a family and will spend the remainder of my life worrying about losing my children to structural violence. Needless to say, I am busy and have zero time for your lukewarm bullshit.”


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It is not radical to want to live



I remember the first time I got high at fourteen. I laughed until the sound disappeared. I rolled on the concrete. I never wanted to come down. Until one day,  it became too scary and friends became sinister. My heart raced and anxiety would crash on me wave after wave. I eventually stopped smoking.

I remember my first taste of alcohol. I was 21 years old. I had no worries, no guilty conscience. Back then, the future moved towards me slowly. It didn’t loom over me and chase me the way it does now. I drank until my confidence spilled over onto the dance floor, into my conversations, guiding my teetering gait down sidewalks, stairs, lawns and beaches with family, friends, lovers and strangers into wee hours of the night for months which turned into years. Until one day, I woke up. My head ached, my sad, puppy dog eyes looked back at me defeated and red. My face appeared swollen and wrinkled all at once. I eventually stopped drinking.

I remember the first time I fell in love. I was 18, 22 and yesterday. I remember the low, sweet baritone voice on the phone in my ear. I remember holding hands and feeling them be squeezed 3 times. I squeezed back 4. I remember the night my heart beat became one with another’s and I cried. God soothed us to sleep with the morning song of 2 birds. I remember the frustration and anger as a lover’s dream turned into a living nightmare of wanting what I couldn’t have and denying others of what I couldn’t give. I remember falling asleep with dread and waking to loneliness, loss and denial.

I hope I never stop attempting to love.

There comes a time in life when we must all face our attachment to things and people that make us “feel good”. We must seek out real satisfaction, longevity and fulfillment. We must balance the gifts that God has given us to enjoy which bring us release and reward such as food, drink, celebration, recognition, money and relationships with the taunt grip  of restraint and temperance.  When you find your life fueled only by these sensual, temporary pleasures we all eventually run empty and stop.

My prayer to all that have demons (and we all do)  is to come to that defining moment when you can’t do anything else but better.

New Monthly Columnist: Ask Jamillia All About 4C hair care

Around The Way Curls has been publishing online for nearly two years about natural hair care. We write from our perspective and knowledge as 3A and 3C hair types. We understand how frustrating and exclusive it may be to some readers who can not relate our content to their hair type in styling, technique, products, etc.  I was fortunate enough to meet an awesome, fellow Around The Way Curl who is a natural hair enthusiast and has come a long way on her journey. Allow me to introduce everyone to Jamillia. She has 4c hair and she also feels like there is a huge void in the blog-osphere for women who are natural 4cs and in need of experienced advice and encouragement. She has agreed to begin building that bridge by being a monthly columnist ( or more if ya’ll demand it) writing about effective hair practices for 4c hair and answering all of your questions. 

(For those that don’t know “hair typing” Here is a chart)

Jamillia Writes:

“It took me just over 18 years to realize that my hair was not a problem. 18 years—of last minute hair store runs. Of, “I can’t come out, my hair isn’t done” story lines. Of, “Sorry J, I won’t be able to do your hair this weekend because I have xyz commitment, but I’ll do it next weekend…” for months at a time. Lordt. 

 I went natural by accident, but it was the single best accident in my life thus far. As a child I believed my hair never fit my face, and I am sure I’m not the only gal with 4c coils who felt that way. What does such a statement even mean? How can the strands growing from your scalp not fit the face they came with? Honestly, it was because my coils were constantly over processed, limp, and coated with some petroleum based, brightly colored, magical hair growth oil like “Doo Gro” or “B&B”. 

Sound familiar? 

Flash forward to 2007. I was sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh with every weave wearing woman’s worst nightmare. The hair stores in the city of Pittsburgh carried lackluster extensions at exorbitant prices. Back then the 12 inch pack of deep wave went for $25.99. Hello?! That’s a five star college dinner. What made the situation even more desperate was the fact that the women in my family have always been the DIY type with their hair. Translation: hair stylists creeped me out. The few sessions I do remember ended in a bowl cut mushroom press and curl. I felt backed into a corner. Each night I removed my cap weave to reveal a hair texture completely foreign to me. I was annoyed that my natural curl pattern did not resemble grandma’s half-Lebanese waves, and even more annoyed that my hair was always dry, despised heat, and looked like frosted flakes with dry mousse in it. Learning to take care of my 4C hair was a process, and I have made every mistake imaginable. But when I tell you that mastering your head of hair is a genuinely empowering and rewarding sentiment—I mean it.

My name is Jamillia Kamara of Love4Coils, and I hope to serve as a source of information and motivation for your 4C hair journey. Cheers! 

For more daily 4C hairspiration, follow us on @Love4Coils

 Email Jamillia any questions and concerns that you are having with your 4C hair. We will post the questions and answers on the first of every month! Love4coils@gmail.com 

Lazy Sundays With Things That Interest ATWC

I thought I would do it again and share some articles, videos, websites etc that peak my interest and perhaps yours as well! Enjoy!


“The A-Z of Dance” for Diesel Jeans. Directed by Jacob Sutton. The editing, the style, the dance all make my heart beat and my smile stretch. 



 I have a friend on FB named Kristin who is secretly my Bff in my head. She is always sharing the dopest content, articles etc. She recently wrote on Ebony.com that there will be a James Baldwin Festival In NY next week! If you don’t know much about James Baldwin and his work, don’t feel ashamed go to the festival and learn! “This month, New York Live Arts will kick off a city-wide celebration of Baldwin’s life in the festival “Live Ideas: James Baldwin, This Time!” The 18 events will take place from April 23-27 and include theater work Nothing Personal, based on the 1964 collaborative book by James Baldwin and Richard Avedon, an original video installation, inspired by the writings of Baldwin, by contemporary visual artist Hank Willis Thomas and daily readings of Baldwin’s classics by artists such as Komunyakaa and Suzan-Lori Parks.”

If I could go, I would definitely be there. These are the types of events where you meet awesome, like-minded people. Attend, learn somethin’, bask in your pride for Baldwin’s brilliant black mind and maybe find the love of your life. Win, win, win. For more information, tickets and scheduling click here



I stumbled upon this one evening and I am very thankful that I did. It is a scientific study of the consequences of the decisions (or lack thereof) made by our generation when it comes to choosing our life partners. It rang many bells for me and at times it was very hard to read because of the harsh consequences that were reported by  couples that refused to make conscious, clear decisions as to where their lives were going romantically. It is all very scientific in writing but plain enough that the material can be digested. Please take a look if you are currently in a relationship and see if you are guilty of some of the passive decision making practices that the researcher reports about. Here is a short blurb of his blog’s purpose….

“I believe this idea of “sliding vs. deciding” captures something important about how romantic relationships develop in this day and age.

The core idea is that people often slide through important transitions in relationships, such as starting to live together, rather than deciding what they are doing and what it means. For example, sociologists Wendy Manning and Pamela Smock conducted a qualitative study of cohabiting couples and found that over one half of couples who are living together didn’t talk about it but simply slid into doing so. In our large quantitative study of cohabitation, we have found that fully 2/3rds of the sample of cohabiters report a process more like sliding into cohabitation than talking about it and making a decision about it. There used to be many steps and stages of courtship and relationship development that, for the most part, no longer exist. Does that mean it’s harder than ever to make clear commitments? I suspect so. In contrast to sliding, commitments that we are most likely to follow through on are based in decisions. In fact, one essential truth of commitment is that it means making a choice to give up other choices. A commitment is a decision. Not all relationships are meant to be or meant to last. But for those relationships that are, the fundamentals of commitment suggest that thinking about what you are doing and where you are going–together–and making a decision, can build a stronger, more lasting commitment. Do we always need to be making a decision about things? I hope not. But when something important in life is at stake, I believe that deciding will trump sliding in how things turn out. You could think of this concept as an upgrade on the popular idea of being “intentional” about choices and pathways. One does not need to make decisions about everything–and sliding can be just fine and even preferred at times. Do you want to analyze and agonize about everything? Hopefully not. Decisions matter most when it comes to things that are important, like where a relationship is headed or what matters most to you in how you live your life. That is the central theme of this blog.”
ALEX ELLE Will Be Reading In Philly May 4th!
I am really proud and in awe of this bright, wise, young mother, lover, author and entrepreneur. She is truly living her life from her heart and reaping the rewards of faith and purpose. She is the guest of writer Rob Hill. Again, this is an event where good energy is shared, beautiful people pop out of nowhere and revelations will be had. Come out! Ill be there to support!
To learn more and buy tickets, click here 

Welp, these are the things that make my ears perk up, excite me, get me to thinking and encourage me to be better. I hope they did the same for you! Until next time….



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