Author: The MAK Guide

Georgia & Missouri licensed lawyer. Determined to do something I love. Passionate about: food, family, friends, faith & fashion. This blog is a little piece of my journey. Follow me on Instagram: TheMAKGuide

Faith

SuperSoul Sunday’s remind me that faith is designed to help you deal with the most troubling situations in the most dignified manner. You should never use faith as your cave, i.e. sitting at home and praying all day, because then your faith has not served you.

Instead your faith should help you lead a confident life, knowing that you may encounter a challenge when you leave your home, but your faith will help you overcome your challenge, and help you grow in the face of any challenge.

As you may know, but I am a believer. I believe in one God, and that the final messenger is Muhammad, peace be upon him. My husband and I have a lot of conversations about faith. We do not always agree. This is tough, because I am one of those girls that belives that sharing my faith is apart of sharing my love. If you refuse to accept my faith, then you have refused my love. He obviously does not refuse to accept my faith because we are both muslim, but we differ in how we view the faith.

He views it from a more dim place, where for me it is bright place. He also views me as cherry picking my favorite aspects and ignoring the parts I dislike [he isn’t entirely wrong], and I view him as fixating on the uncool things, and not understanding the bigger picture [I am also not entirely wrong].

When he sees a hijabi with make up on he sees an oxymoron. LOL, whereas I see a girl trying her best to mix her love of beauty with her love for religion. I want to encourage her and support her, whereas he wants to call her out on the walking contradiction that she is: “if you don’t want to grab the attention of men – why do you have so much make up on?”

I am no angel – I really am not.  I  get worked up over the SMALLEST things, my heart is INCREDIBLY unforgiving at times, and, I have owned a series of trashy Forever21 dresses, which should have been labeled as “tunics”, not dresses. I still love to dance, I love getting ready and baby – I will drink up the attention from a crowd like  I had never had water before and just ran a marathon.

That being said, my view on religion and life is that it’s supposed to guide you when you’re lost, help you soften your heart when it’s filled with hate, and also help you appreciate everything you have, because if you fail to appreciate the things you have – everything can be taken away. I do not believe that God intended us to be perfect, because if God did then God would have never created “mistakes”. I believe that mistakes will be made & are expected to be made, but you just have to do more good, and learn from the mistakes, and everything will be fine, as long as you add more value to this world, you’ll get your promotion when you leave this life.

I do a bad job regularly praying, and this past year because of studying for the Missouri Bar, I only fasted once. I love all of the rituals and practices of my faith, even though I am not regularly practicing them, but, although, scholars may disagree, I feel like  God and I – we are still good, because my heart and my intent, and the way I live in my life is done out of love for my faith and my creator.

I wish more messages and conversations about faith  occurred more regularly. I feel like more good can come of it, as long as we are open to accepting other peoples view, and not intimated by discovering who is right and who is wrong, or intimidating others by our notions of what is right and what is wrong. Although my interpretation, to me, is superior, and his inferior, I need to learn to hear him out, and understand that we don’t have to see eye to eye, as long as he is guided by principals I respect, I should not get upset or mad if he interprets situations differently than me. I just need to live my truth, and he needs to live his truth, and we both cannot let each others truth try to control the others truth.   A lot of truths in there – sorry about that. Through a healthy push and pull, we will end up learning more about our faith, and the principals we want to accept and live by.

I am really not sure why I wrote in the first place – but I love writing, and drawing light to issues and dilemmas that are personal to me. I try to live an honest life, and I yearn for people to learn from my mistakes, so that they do not have to relive a lesson I have already learned, because my motto is: ” if I can learn it, you definitely can too!”

Peace and so much love,

Maheen

 

 

 

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Quick Leasing Advice, Sophisticated Deal Terms: EXCLUSIVE USE PROVISION

My name is Maheen Akhter. I love what I do, and I would love to bill you for it, but prior to doing ANY of that, I just want to equip you with knowledge, so you can ask for the right things, know what is going on, understand the traps, and JUST DELETE THE NONSENSE. 

Have you ever wondered why when there is a new Starbucks in  a plaza, no other coffee shops seem to be near? or how if a Starbucks does come near an old coffee shop in a plaza, no new coffee shops ever enter that plaza after a Starbucks appears? Well it’s because there is an exclusive use provision has been added to the lease. Such provisions generally reads like this:

Exclusive Use. To induce Tenant to execute this Lease, and subject to all of the terms and provisions of this Section, Landlord covenants and agrees that neither Landlord nor any affiliate of Landlord shall lease or rent any premises in the buildings known as West Ferry Plaza, generally located at [provide address] to any new tenant (including, without limitation, any assignee, sublessee, licensee or other occupant of such new tenant) that operates a Competing Business (as hereinafter defined) without Tenant’s prior written consent, which consent may be withheld in Tenant’s  sole and absolute discretion. “

In an ideal world you can define “COMPETING BUSINESS” to mean any business that is primarily in the business of selling coffee, so you are not excluding grocery stores, or other stores that are not directly competing with you & actually funnel customers your way.  In order to effectively make sure you are excluding the right type of businesses, you  may consider saying something like, “obtains 50% of its revenue from coffee sales.”  You also may use these sorts of modifications to strike a deal with your potential landlord as well.

 What if you have an exclusive use clause in your lease, but it’s vague? The general rule in some states  requires that language of exclusiveuse clauses should be narrowly construed, and all doubts should be resolved against a possible construction that would increase the restriction upon the use of real estate.

  What if the Landlord breaches the “Exclusive Use” provision? 

  1. Option to terminate the lease, and receive damages  (maybe you and the Landlord prenegotiate what  these damages look like?)
  2. Option to terminate and receive a refund all monies spent on Tenant Improvements, along with the cost to relocate, and any fees paid by the tenant to a broker to find a new space.

I will tell you this-if your ONLY REMEDY is to terminate the lease, courts usually feel like that is not a true remedy. Terminating the lease and giving up your business location and the investments made in improvements would not provide any benefit or remedy to you. You could  argue that the remedies clause is unenforceable because it fails its essential purpose. A similar argument was made in Simon Prop. Grp., L.P. v. Kill, 2010-Ohio-1492, 47, and the court sided with the Tenant.

I  am trying really hard not to ramble, so that you’re some what interested in using this clause in the next lease you enter into. I know, I use “coffee shop” as my example, but this is an excellent provision to have in ALL leases, including medical spaces, book stores (ha- is that even a thing?), sandwich shops, spas, grocery stores, dry cleaning, nail salon, veterinarian clinics, etc.

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Leasing Advice

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE new businesses coming into town. Who doesn’t love a new Thai restaurant opening up around the corner, a taco stand or a full fat ice cream place? But, unfortunately according to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.

You’ll never know unless you try, but if you try you may end up putting yourself in financial risk that will take a minute to get out of, and it may affect your family’s livelihood in profound ways  (like you may have to declare bankruptcy – I’ve unfortunately seen this consequence first hand through a family friend who had a having a thriving business that grew faster than the demand).

You should not let failure stop you, but you have to be mindful of it and protect yourself from its consequences. As an attorney who represents developers, I see entrepreneurship first hand, and I also know that many first time business owners leasing spaces DO NOT USE ATTORNEYS.

I totally understand. Not going to judge you. Although, I would LOVE having my own client base, I LOVE seeing fairness in a deal. I also hate one-sided deals, it makes me feel uncomfortable and it doesn’t settle well with my conscience.

I know when you are entering into a deal everyone is nice, but just remember, when a deal  goes south, people are not so kind. So, below is a list of quick things you can do to protect yourself from getting screwed if you decide NOT to use an attorney:

  1. INITIAL TERM AND OPTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL TERMS. Keep your initial term somewhat short, like 5 years, then have options to extend that can ONLY be exercised by  YOU (the tenant) prior to the  initial 5 year term expiring (i.e. three 5 year options to extend). This is important, because often when a term expires a landlord tries to  use this as leverage to increase rates that DO NOT REFLECT market rates, because they know you are invested in the location, you have have spent money improving the space, and you are most likely just going to have to agree to it.  (PUT THIS POINT IN YOUR LETTER OF INTENT)
  2. LIMIT THE PERSONAL GUARANTY. So you’re smart enough to make sure you’re leasing the space with an LLC, but then you are dumb enough to sign YOUR OWN NAME for the “guaranty” for the full lease term. Limit that SH*T.  Seriously. Get creative.  Maybe you have a personal guaranty that lasts for half of the term  or limited to 6 months rent, or after 3 years the guaranty disappears. JUST GET CREATIVE – Google the creativity my friends.
  3. COMMON AREA MAINTENANCE CHARGES. Who is paying for what? YOU SHOULD NEVER BE PAYING FOR LANDLORD’S CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS, or paying for things that the landlord will be reimbursed for at a later date. It makes sense to pay for your portion of property taxes, electricity, heating, etc., but it doesn’t make sense for you to be paying for repairs to your roof, or a brand new HVAC system six months before your term ends.
  4. DEFAULT. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A CURE RIGHT. If you’re late on a payment, or accidentally use the sidewalk to set up a table with some sample items, you do not want to trigger an automatic default. What  you do want it to trigger, is the right of the Landlord to notify you of such issue, and the ability to cure a monetary default within 10 days of receiving notice and all non monetary defaults cured within  30 days of receiving notice.  An automatic default means the Landlord can terminate your lease, and you could, in some instances, be liable for the total rent due for the remaining term.
  5. LANDLORD DEFAULT. What happens if you contact your Landlord about your broken HVAC system – and he does NOTHING? Well in this instance you want the ability to cure the problem if landlord fails to address the problem within 15 days, and you want the right to deduct such cost from you rent with proof of payment.  Go over this concept with your landlord, I’m sure their attorney will be happy to assist incorporating such concept in your lease.
  6. NOTICES. THIS SEEMS LIKE A DUMB POINT, but man, the way notices need to be sent is an important thing. Is sending it by regular mail OKAY? or do you need to send it priority overnight via national known carrier, like FEDEX or UPS? You would hate to be that person who  emailed your landlord your election of extending the term, but your landlord using the notice provision against you, in order to “negate” your extension, since you failed to follow the notice provision in your lease (THIS HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE PEOPLE).
  7. INSURANCE AMOUNTS. Most landlord’s are flexible with these amounts – talk to your carrier and discuss the minimum amounts that need to be carried with the landlord.
  8. CONFIRM ALL NUMBERS. Run all $$$ yourself. Just do it. Anyone can make a mistake.

I obviously have a whole list of other changes I could recommend, but these are the KEY POINTS to focus on when you’re entering into a lease and beginning (hopefully) a long term relationship with your landlord.

GOOD LUCK,

Maheen Akhter, ESQ.

GA & MO barred.

The above is not intended to be legal advice – but merely things for you to consider and share with those around you entering into a lease.

Poems

Do people write love poems to their lovers? Is this a thing?

Well my husband and I wrote each other poems. They aren’t at Maya Angelou level, but they are much sweeter to me, since they were written from my heart and to my heart 🙂

From my husband:

“oh maheen joe, don’t you know

 

that you are the one for me.

with every breath that i breathe
 

i think about our kisses

 

and that you are my misses

 

and you keep me warm

 

and every morning i am torn

 

when i have to leave

 

but i still think about you, with every breath that i breathe”

 

 

Here was my poem:

“to my joe
my favorite saqib joe
Allah blessed me the day you stepped into my life
and i became your wife
everyday i smile
even though work is bile
because with you by my side 
I don’t have to hide
kiss me my joe
my saqib joe
I am yours forever 
today 
tomorrow
in the hereafter 
and with so much laughter
i love you saqib jho.” 

 

 

xoxo

The SuperSoul Sunday Podcast

Have you guys heard the SuperSoul Sunday podcast? It is amazing! I absolutely love it. Every time I listen to it, I leave the conversation thinking, THIS IS WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING: inspiring others (so I naturally had to jump on blog and post something really quickly)!

I absolutely love how inspiring each conversation is,  and how recharged I feel professionally and personally when I listen to them.

For example, this past Sunday she had a gentleman named Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz speaking about the Four Agreements, which are as follows:

  1. Be impeccable with your word. (impeccable with your word towards OTHERS and towards YOURSELF)
  2. Don’t take anything personally. (Described in more detail below)
  3. Don’t make assumptions. (OH MAN.  THIS IS SO HUGE IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW)
  4. Always do your best. (I can’t say that I always do my best, sometimes I perform between 60-80%, and its because I feel so LOST, and I want something off of my plate or want to check it off  of the list ASAP– and this is something I really need to work on. When I get into the swing of things, I think this is an area I shine in, but in the early days of figuring things out – I’M NOT PROVIDING MY BEST WORK).

Something that really spoke to me was this:  “DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY“.

I am a woman, okay a girl, LOL. I often struggle with this concept. I dole it out to others so effortlessly, but when someone is unkind towards me (or I perceive unkindness) I get hung up. It sets me back and I feel this illusion of my world caving in on me. Dramatic, I know.

Lately, I try to think of the worst that could happen — and when I think about the worst or that its a moment that will pass, I feel at peace and I feel incredibly calm & I feel like I just want it to happen, so that we can all move on.

Do you experience this?

Well Don Miguel and Oprah, said two things which I loved:

  1. There feelings and judgments towards you is a reflection of them, and where they are coming from and their experiences.
  2. People WILL NOT think like me. The decisions I make are based off of my experiences – and I am the main character in MY story and NOT their story.
  3. If they talk about me – its because at that particular moment they have nothing better to do.

What are your thoughts?

XOXO

Instant Pot: Shan Chicken Biryani

Hi Friends,

I am going to start “vlogging” and trying my hand at recording a recipe (don’t hold your breath though). To that point, I made this recipe this weekend:

So delicious and so easy. Thanks to the Instant Pot, probably took 30 -40 minutes to prepare and cook everything.

As you know, I am known for deviating from recipes, and I only deviated from this recipe by taking Garlic Paste (purchased from the grocery store in the herb section) put it in the Magic Bullet, along with 2 jalapenos, 8-10 mint leaves, and a 2 tablespoon chunk of ginger (along with a little bit of water), and pureed the crap out of it. I don’t have time to chop things finely – nor am I that talented. Besides this small deviation, I  followed the recipe like the video (only issue – I apparently failed to put my pressure cooker on “sealing” mode so after 8 minutes of cooking  I was done!

I would recommend making sure your instant pot is sealed, because I seemed to have gotten lucky with respect to my chicken being cooked all the way through, and I very easily could have made biryani with the chicken being under cooked.

I also recommend preparing all of the ingredients before hand (chopping, cubing the chicken, soaking the rice &  making the above mentioned garlic-ginger-jalapeno paste), since if I didn’t have my amazing husband supervising and mixing, something would have BURNED.

My thoughts on the recipe:

It was yummy. Wasn’t the BEST biryani I’ve had, but definitely tasted great and enjoyed eating it at work the next day and am looking forward to eating it at home (this is a good sign  – since when I don’t take it to work or look forward to eating it at home, then it ends up in the trash …)

Curious to know your thoughts! Feel free to share in the comments.

 

 

 

How to Pack for an Indian Wedding

Here is a basic checklist of things you’ll need for the Indian / Desi / Pakistani wedding you’ll be attending:

  1.  For each event, a different out fit. Even if there are two events in one day- you pack an outfit for each separate event.
  2. Bangles (ask a friend or order some off of Amazon – sizing can be a little weird, so make sure you do it two weeks in advance so you can return them if they do not work out)
  3. Eye Liner
  4. Your favorite eye shadow palette
  5. Foundation
  6. Beauty Blender
  7. Translucent Power
  8. Primer
  9. Setting Spray
  10. False Lashes
  11. Making removing wipes
  12. Facewash
  13. Razor
  14. “Chill Clothes” – stuff to wear when you grab breakfast, are attending dance practice or hanging out with everyone after the event ends.
  15. Curling Rod/ Iron
  16. Blow Dryer
  17. Straightener
  18. De-Frizz Serum ❤
  19. Clutch
  20. Flats to wear when dancing
  21. Perfume
  22. Jewelry
  23. Heels
  24. Back up cell phone battery (pictures you guys)
  25.  Safety Pins
  26. Bobby Pins

If you were to pack all of the above – I think you’d be in good shape!