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

The Evolution of Halloween

If you’re looking for some story on how Halloween came about – this is NOT it. If you’re looking for an inside look how Halloween has evolved for me – then you are in the right place.

0-13 = cute costumes purchased at Party City or Target

14-17 = home made conservative-ish costumes

18-21 = trying to be sexy costumes

22 = the forgotten year

23-26 = home made costumes that were pretty cute.

27-29= forgotten years.

30-??? = The strong women series (i.e. costumes that are anything but sexy.Re: Frida Khalo, SCOTUS RBG, Kim K., Oprah,  Amelia Earhart, etc.).

Did you have a similar evolution???

 

 

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When I Grow Up

Figuring out what you are going to do with the rest of your life is SO SCARY. Never knowing if what you are doing is right or wrong, or if you are fulfilling your purpose or calling is troubling and, frankly, so freaking frustrating.

I wish I could create something to ease this burden on people.

Like all people, I want to make a name for myself & be someone. I am BOLD. I am [somewhat] DARING. I am NOTICEABLE. These are my strengths. When attention naturally falls on me I relish in it and crave it. I can tell I feel the most alive in front of people- mingling and smiling. Mixing with new people gives me a fresh sense of energy. Getting to know what someone does/did, and learning their story was something that constantly inspires me and something I actively search for, whether through rubbing elbows with people, messaging random people on LinkedIn, or just downloading an audiobook.  So far the takeaway from all of it is:

(1) have faith, (2) work hard & (3) DREAM BIG.

For me, the first two are relatively easy when compared to the the last item on the list.

Dreaming Big, doesn’t just mean about dreaming about the tangible things you want, but it means dreaming about the type of success your going to taste through working hard.

What is your idea? How are you going to revolutionize something? What corporate ladder will you climb? Where do you want to go? How will you get there?

The dreaming is in the details. For example, for the Conrad Hilton (you know- the guy who started the HILTON EMPIRE), dreaming big meant starting a hotel, then growing from one hotel to two hotels.  Then his dreams became bigger, it meant, not just owning hotels domestically, but owning them internationally, owning the best hotels in key locations. After he accomplished this, his next dream was to provide shares of a successful chain to people within his corporation who deserved it, and to reward those who were loyal and worked hard. If he had lived longer, he had dreamed of opening a hotel on the moon (once travel to and from there was a “thing”). All of this required DREAMING. Although he may have dreamed of obtaining tangible items on his path to success, these dreams were about how he could be successful, what that meant, and the tangible goods followed.

Your turn. What are you doing to inspire yourself? What are you doing to “dream”?  Sometimes I think I am exactly where I am supposed to be  – because although I struggle with “dreaming”, I believe in God and the power of prayer, and I understand hard work.  These qualities, combined with someone else’s dreams,  allow me to help them achieve great success, which makes me happy, because I love hearing about and seeing people succeed, and maybe my journey is just that, being able to bring to life the dreams of others? WE SHALL SEE.

 

 

The American Dream

My parents moved to America to provide a life for my siblings and me that they  believe was truly superior than the life they had known. The religious unrest in India against Muslims is real. I mean, even now, the hurdles muslims must jump through to visit india because they are muslim is SO REAL.

Of course, there are bad people on both sides of the spectrum, but I 100% believe that innocent people get mangled in other peoples agendas and their lives inevitably change because of the atrocities that occur. For my parents, the cost entailed encountering the deaths of close loved ones. Can you imagine losing a mother and sisters due to this sort of unrest – I can’t – but it causes me extreme sadness to think my dad personally can.

With that said, he decided that he would seek out a better life for his family is this new promising country. So he came here, lived frugally, studied hard, sent what little he had back home, until he was done with grad school. Got a job, and then legally moved his family to America. I was born shortly after my family’s “great migration”.

His dream for his children, was to have well to do children and live a comfortable life.  He has achieved some version of this, but it got me thinking, what is MY AMERICAN DREAM.

After taking a three month sabbatical (i.e. I quit my job and was unemployed for about 3 months), I had a lot of time to read, think and dream. I decided that my version of the American Dream is to elevate my level of comfort for myself and my kids and it’s to just be more “present” when life happens. I never realized this, but after “dreaming” I realized that I am living a version of my own American Dream.  The other day I got off of work at a reasonable time, headed home and then headed to dinner with my parents. We ate outside and enjoyed the weather. Every one was healthy, we were celebrating my mom’s birthday, and I grabbed the check. Being able to treat my family and being able to celebrate occasions with my family is my version of the American Dream (this is the bare bones version of it at least).

My point in bringing all of this up is, by realizing this, I realized how thankful I am for the sacrifices my dad made, and how blessed I am to have the opportunities that I have – and I am able to appreciate all of this, by just pausing and “smelling the roses”.  What is your version of the American Dream? I would absolutely love to know :).

THIS IS 30.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties I thought that by the time I was thirty I was going to just bleed fabulous. Multiple Chanel bags, a Ferrari (or at least a luxury car), my own house (exquisite yard with pool and guest house), a career that I was just a beast in (FYI this “career” was super flexible & fun and paid me a ton of money), a wonderful husband, a size 2, and if I had kids a day time nanny and night nurse.

OKAY THE REALITY IS (can I get a pencil drum roll people)… I am not a size 2, I own zero luxury bags, I currently live at home with my parents, I am currently pushing a Thrifty rental car,  my career is good (but constantly  still learning, falling and getting back up) and the thought of kids is scary (even though I know my biological clock is ticking).  I DID GET THE WONDERFUL HUSBAND. Thank God.

After reflecting on all of these things I thought I would have has indicators of success checked off my list by my 30th birthday, I realized that these weren’t accurate indicators for my success. I mean how many screwed up rich kids do you know that have all of these things? My point being, real indicators of success at the age of 30 just look so different. Well this is the case for me at least.

LUXURY GOODS. I realized that all though I did not have the multiple Chanel bags, I have paid off over $100,000.00 of my student loans within 4 years. WOW. I’m going to just give myself a pat on the back.

WORK. I persevered and did not quit when I was working a job that frankly was not a good fit for me. I am thankful that I am/was wise enough to understand how fortunate I was to have that job, since I learned so much about practicing law there and  obtained a new level of organization that being a great real estate attorney really requires. Also, I did meet a few wonderful people along the way that I plan to stay in touch with for the remainder of my career! Also, I’m at this point in my career, where I’m comfortable not knowing things, it’s not as scary. I have some ways to go before I am super confident, but hey -it’s why I am an associate and NOT a partner yet!

LOVE. I married the guy that I love, who also happens to be an amazing fit for me. Seriously, this could have gone south. Fortunately, all of the pieces just came together and everything was so easy.  I am forever indebted to God and the friends that set us up! Getting married to my husband was the  best decision for my life from a romantic and spiritual standpoint. I’m not sure what the future holds,  but I pray that it continues to bring my husband and I closer together and that we continue to support each other and motivate each other to excel in our faith, personal lives and careers.

FAMILY & FRIENDS. This is a weird one and not really something that I could have done, but I am thankful for my family and friends. Obviously, as you get older some people enter stage right and exit stage left. For the ones still on the stage, I am forever grateful and thankful. I am thankful that you are prospering, that you’re healthy and for the most part (besides having to occasionally slave away at work) you’re so happy and blessed! No one is having to skip meals because they are broke, and everyone is able to enjoy the finer things in life (what ever that may mean to them)!

THE CAR & HOME. Okay this goes with the first bullet point I made, but paying off my student loan is a priority for me. So waiting on getting my dream car and the house is fine. I have so many wonderful years ahead to snag these items. Even though I CURRENTLY live at home (which by the way, I low key love) I live in a pretty nice high-rise in Houston and I am so fortunate that I get to live there for a year! Saqib and I also share a car in Houston. I thought it would be tough, but it’s really not. Occasionally, I get to pick him up from work, and I love seeing him run out of the building and flail his arms! Also, sharing a car reminds me how fortunate I am to have married a guy that just goes with the flow.

Size 2. Okay I am not a size 2. More like a 4 or 6. I am super into it and own it. I’ll always want to lose a few pounds, it’s just the nature of being a girl. I’m just so THANKFUL my career involves my brain and not my looks. The older I get the more valuable I become professionally because of my brain – which is so much less stressful than being in a career or industry where as you age you become less valuable or attractive to future clients / employers.

KIDS.  I mean I still feel like a kid. I know I want kids, I just don’t currently have baby fever. I think that this is normal and one day when the time is right or if I accidentally just get pregnant it will be fine and everything will be wonderful since I have a great network of family and friends 🙂 .

I know the next ten years will have many ups and downs. I just need to remind myself that the ups eventually come and even in tough times remember to breath and be kind. J

OKAY SO THIS IS THIRTY. EXCITED ABOUT ALL OF THE FUN STUFF AHEAD GUYS. By the time I am forty I better have well behaved children, a yacht, a subscription service to fly private, and be featured on a few “magazines” or have a few publications praising my accomplishments in something! Also, I’d like to own numerous houses EVERYWHERE and enjoy this all while drinking Diet Coke with my handsome sweet world renown mohs surgeon husband. Inshallah. I pray that I will continue to have deeper and more meaningful relationships with my family and friends (who by the way are still healthy, happy and living large).  DREAM BIG OR GO HOME. Am I right?

LOVE ALWAYS MAHEEN.

Socially Conscious Instagrammers

So a recent feud broke down on Instagram between two desi vloggers & Instagrammers: Maryam Shah and Irene Mahmud Khan.

I have a full time job, so I mean I couldn’t keep up with ALL of the details, but here is a summary of what I think happened:

Maryam posted a beautiful picture of herself with her husband and then discussed the trial and tribulations of being on her menstrual cycle and having a supportive husband that she can be open with, and how we all need to be more open about our body issues with the men in our lives.

When I saw the picture posted – I, myself, was on my cycle, so I sent it to my husband. We share a lot of things, and I thought it was nice for him to know this stuff happens and I’m not that only girl that goes crazy, and the whole “having to keep your period ‘hush- hush'” was definitely something I know all about since it was literally one of the 1st 20 things my mom told about “periods”.  The advice or the message was: “keep this hidden from your father and brother – you shouldn’t be telling people you’re on your period”.

I am LITERALLY obsessed with my mother- I talk to her 2 or 3 times a day, but by the time I was 14 years old, I realized her advice sucked and made me feel really insecure about something that was so natural. So I told myself (and maybe even told my best friend Summar) that when I have a daughter who starts her menstrual cycle, I was going to make it a PARTY. Something that she was super excited about. I was going to have a basket full of goodies (razor blades,  fun pads and tampons, spa appointment, bath salts, maybe even a cupcake and a fun bra), so she would know this is such an exciting time in her life!

OKAY, so going back to the STORY. Apparently, as it turns out, the details that Maryam shared in her caption were embellished for story telling purposes, which purpose translates to more views and  followers on the platform.

Then a day or two later, Maryam posted another photo with a caption stating she was “authentic”.

Then on that picture Irene commented that if she [Maryam] were really that authentic then why had she  drafted several captions regarding the “period post” and selected the caption she thought would be the most well received.

There were some other comments tangled in the thread, but as stated I have job and limited time to keep up with things in real time.

Later during the evening or the next day? On Irene’s Instagram story she summarized the feud and asked her followers a series of questions (I am summarizing my interpretations of the questions):

  1. is it an influencer’s responsibility to be socially conscious?
  2. if people are allowed to call out brands on their lack of consciousness, then why aren’t they allowed to call out individuals?

I’m not taking a side, because I do not know all the facts and also EVERYONE is entitled to an opinion and everyone is allowed to hustle, so either way, do your things ladies.  But I really want to analyze and unpack the questions above, because I’m not sure a poll on Instagram has the ability to flesh out what is really being as considered.

In addressing the first question, is it an influencer’s responsibility to be socially conscious? This is SUCH A TOUGH QUESTION. I can safely assume that both girls became influencers because they consistently post pictures, are pretty and comfortable exposing their lives. I mean I have been following Irene since I was 16 or 17, I found her Xanga and LOVED all of her pictures. I loved how she put together fun outfits and how she posted pictures (this was before Facebook had “albums” or even before I had a Facebook account). I didn’t follow her because she took stances on social issues.  She later joined YouTube and it was about her journey as a photographer, and then it became a tutorial spot, and now a more sponsored tutorial spot.

About 2 or 3 months ago I found Maryam’s Instagram page. I mean she was pretty, so I followed her. Ugh. I wish I had a better reason. Apparently, some people I know, know her, but I followed her because she takes pretty picture and, during lunch, when I am scrolling down Instagram I like thinking about my life in an alternate universe where I look super pretty all the time and drink lattes with pretty foam imagery around 11am,  work from home,  and go on strolls with my dog midday.

I do not put any sort of onus on either of them for conveying politically correct messages, because being “politically correct” is a like trying to jump on a moving pendulum: One day it’s okay to say one thing and another day that same thing is as bad as a curse word!

That being said, when you know someone is being mean, you know someone is being mean & when you know someone should have put more thought into something and willfully decided not to, it rubs you the wrong way.

I think these girls have a social responsibility to not be racist, sexist or tunnel visioned. With their followings I think they have to champion a few causes that are near and dear to them.

I think they should not be tasked with being aware, championing or even understanding  EVERY SINGLE CAUSE, because that is a huge burden and responsibility. In the real world, we wouldn’t ask any one do the same, and we always need to remember why they got to where they are – if we wanted someone to be more in touch with certain political or cultural messages, then we shouldn’t turn to  self proclaimed Makeup Gurus or Creative Consultants.

I acknowledge I did not answer the first question. My goal is to make sure you understand that putting this sort of responsibility on influencers is tough because it is such a grey area. It honestly depends on how blatant and obnoxious the message is. Someone, somewhere, is ALWAYS going to be offended, but it’s important to understand how willful and wanton, or how recklessly careless the influencer was when they said what they said.

Now to the second question, if people are allowed to call out brands on their lack of consciousness, then why aren’t they allowed to call out individuals?

So Irene stated that when H&M received a lot of backlash for their Monkey hoodie influencers and bloggers from everywhere came out to give H&M and PIECE OF THEIR MIND. I am so THANKFUL that people did this! I understand that there is a lot of hurt that some people felt when they saw the ad, I also understand that there are people that probably didn’t understand all of the hurt. I think the hurt could have been limited by making sure the ad campaigns were staffed with a team of people from diverse backgrounds. I am sure if this protocol was taken then someone, if they were in an environment where discourse wasn’t prohibited, could have felt comfortable speaking up and acknowledging that this MAY NOT BE A GOOD LOOK.

That being said, companies like H&M have hundreds and thousands of employees, so the burden to understand when the offend a sizable portion of the population is greater, than when one girl, running a one woman show, says something offensive.

Also, blaming and targeting a company is so DIFFERENT from blaming and targeting an individual. All of those people at H&M get to take a little bit of the blame. As opposed to here, where all of it just falls on one person. I think WE have an active duty to understand that people make mistakes, when you are an influencer don’t you think you ought to understand that concept. Privately messaging the girl would have been a good solution, but just calling her out seems mean. You’ve been in this persons shoes, and you can relate to having done something dumb or at least the idea of having done something dumb. A one-on-one message would have been the kinder way, because she is a human and not a company.

OKAY THIS WASN’T A QUESTION, but something smart that husband said about “Authenticity”.

People called Maryam “Inauthentic” and then Maryam called herself “Authentic”.  

Thinking this concept through, being authentic and politically correct will NEVER go hand in hand. We are human. We will always have certain biases, and just by saying you don’t have a bias you have a bias! Ha!

Because of social media, being Authentic in this day and age is tough and  we only get the rose colored glasses version of the details people share. Go through your own pictures. I mean did you use a filter? Did you Photoshop it a bit? Did you increase the exposure? You are showing people the pictures that turned out the best? We are all inauthentic to a certain degree, but I don’t think it takes away from the authenticity of highlighting who we are and who we want to be.

Thought I’d place the definition of “Authentic” from the Merriam-Webster website right here:

Definition of authentic

1a worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact 

  • paints an authentic picture of our society

b conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features 

  • anauthentic reproduction of a colonial farmhouse

c made or done the same way as an original 

  • authentic Mexican fare

2not false or imitation realactual 

  • an authentic cockney accent

3true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character 

  • is sincere and authenticwith no pretensions
4a of a church mode ranging upward from the keynote — compare plagal 1
b of a cadence progressing from the dominant chord to the tonic — compare plagal 2
5obsolete authoritative

 

Did you catch the exchange of words on Instagram? What are your thoughts? I have literally spent way to long on this post, but I, for myself, wanted to understand what I want out of my “influencers”. This helps me understand when I should protest against dumb post,  when I should just continue to scroll, or when I should finally hit “unfollow”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s My Wedding & I Can Cry If I Want To.

The title does not really have much to do with my article, but for some reason the song is playing in my head, so I thought I would make a catchy title out of it.

Do most brides even cry? I did not cry, except for like the two seconds my dad came up and spoke some incoherent words, when mashed up together basically implied,  “I did not get to see my first two children grow up, because when they were babies I had an opportunity to come to America to pursue a better life for my family. So after 8 years a part, when I was finally able to bring them to this country,  I had my love child [Maheen] with my cute wife.  I knew I would get a chance to do things the right way and really be the best father I could be – and I am thankful for her for giving me that opportunity.”

OKAY YOU GUYS. I’m not a 100% SURE HE SAID, or even vaguely implied the thankful part, but I know he holds my childhood close to his heart. We went to Sea World and Chuck E. Cheese every single weekend – I mean I would have to be a dumb girl to NOT love my childhood. Did I mention he took me to Burger King and McDonald’s and would sit with me at the table, and just talk to me about my “life”.

I was between the ages of 3-7 years old. My life revolved around my cat, toys and cartoons. Thank you for listening to me Pappa!

OKAY THIS IS TURNING INTO A FATHER’S DAY POST, WHEN THAT’S NOT THE INTENT. The intent of this post is how when you are getting married so many people feel like it’s  “MY DAY” and I wanted to remind everyone, it is “your day”, but it is also your parents day, and, by proxy, your in-laws day too!

By recognizing that the day is shared, I think you can better understand why it is important for others to have a say, and why it is important to just be “chill” and “cooperative”.

Marriage for me was about me becoming a part of my husband’s family, and my husband becoming a part of my family. I have been blessed to have parents on both sides that understand this, and support this concept.

SO NOW- THE KICKER: THINGS DURING THE WEDDING PLANNING PROCESS AND ON YOUR WEDDING DAY ARE NOT GOING TO GO YOUR WAY. CALM DOWN. THINK ABOUT THE BIGGER PICTURE. BE CHILL.

Your wedding day is ONE DAY. Although, I do believe it should be a memorable day in the best of ways, I also VEHEMENTLY believe it should not be the BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. You have another (inshAllah) 50-70 years on this earth, this is one event, that will occur on one day for approximately 4 hours, which amounts to 240 minutes. Each minute will fly by and the event will end, however the relationships formed will last a lifetime.

By remembering how fleeting your wedding day is and how permanent the relationships are,  I feel like you will tread carefully when “bickering” or getting “mad” – because at the end of the day you want to make sure that YOU are the type of person that values a relationship, more than you value any color scheme or center piece. If you are not that type of person, then you really need to evaluate “who” you are and “what” really matters – and understand that if you cannot compromise on something as simple as a center piece, then you probably should not be getting married.

So when you are planning, think about 10 -15 things on your SUPER HARD TO COMPROMISE LIST. After figuring out what those things are it’ll be easier to be “flexible” on the other items, since you’ll know that when you first started the process you didn’t really care about all the other stuff, and if your mom or mother in law really wants  a certain arrangement or wants to work with a certain planner you’ll be fine and thankful that they got that detail covered!

The most important advice that I can give anyone planning a wedding is be open about your budget and respect your budget – do not be embarrassed about it. Anyone who makes you feel weird about your budget is either (i) immature, or (ii) should not be invited to your wedding. If there is something you REALLY WANT, I promise you can make it fit it into your budget if you get creative, or cut out dumb stuff. Lastly, there are better things to get a loan for— like for starters: a home, higher education, or saving that line of credit just in case you really need it in the future. Using it on your wedding is not a good look (and really low brow).

I would love to answer any all questions you may have – feel free to ask below! Also, I will be sharing this post on THE SHAADI SHOP’S BLOG. If you haven’t already, please  follow The Shaadi Shop  on Instagram at – https://www.instagram.com/theshaadishop/  !

 

 

 

 

 

Death: All That Comes, Must Go.

I feel like I write a lot about religion, because religion is so near and dear to me. I pray my future kids, husband, friends, coworkers and acquaintances can feel as close to a feeling as I feel. It makes the inside of me tremble just writing it, and honestly can get my tears ducts spouting if I think about that feeling for a  few seconds more.

I love feeling connected to higher calling. That being said, lately, I have been thinking about something that we all will go through: DEATH.

Death scares me, because as close as I feel to religion and understanding it, I feel just as far from understanding “death”.   As a believer, I know where all my eggs should be when I think about death; Islam provides me with guidance. But for some reason, it sits a funny way with my soul. I cannot get my self to feel comfortable with it. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to get comfortable with it, I think it is just something I have to accept.

I have to be thankful that I fear it, and that it constantly reminds me to make the most of all of my relationships in this world. Death reminds me to spend a few extra minutes each day talking to my mom and checking in with my dad, it reminds me to hug my husband extra tight and to make sure I look into his eyes, it reminds me that I should enjoy cheesecake, and also reminds me that if I want to enjoy a few extra precious moments with my loved ones I should probably put down my favorite diet drinks (which apparently aren’t that good for you – boo).

After writing all of this, I understand why we need death. It helps you appreciate “now”, because there may not be a “later”.

Also, I wanted to thank each and everyone of my readers! I don’t have too many, but I have enough to be thankful for your love and support. Writing has always been away for me to feel connected and has always allowed me to explore the deeper meaning in any event going on in my life. I hope I can inspire you to write, and to contemplate things that are uncomfortable.

Love and light.