26 March 2015


The "streetstyle" look is actually really big in Morocco, as probably every resident owns a leather jacket. Or 5. And "luxe" sweatpants. And Gucci hats that spell $wagger.

You asked and I obliged! ...(after a few months)Shari3 (street) El Massira in Casablanca is known for its high-end retailers, fancy cars, and well-dressed Moroccan residents. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take as many shots as I hoped, as time was limited (I was racing the sun for these shots in my last day in Casablanca!) and the requests of a foreign girl struggling to speak Arabic randomly stopping you in the street for a photo to go on her "website," were, somehow, often denied. (My Moroccan friends had to remind me that the concept of streetstyle photography is not as prevalent in Morocco as it might have be in the states.) 

But regardless, I think these shots are fairly representative of how much of the youth in Morocco dress (just add a few more leather jackets and $wagger hats and the occasional Hijab), which may come as a surprise to many people who were expecting something a little different from a predominantly Muslim country in North Africa. Ah, the universal language of clothes~ 

I promise I'll take more snaps next time I return to Morocco (whenever that may be) (I've been practicing my Arabic as well so hopefully less rejects hehe) but I just arrived back in Chicago (you can follow my complaints about the weather on my Instagram @hodakatebi) and hope to continue this little growing streetstyle section here in Chicago (& also when I return to Iran this summer)! 

How do these snaps differ from what you had in mind about Morocco, if anything?


24 March 2015


Refinery29 just published an insanely-popular post--"6 Stores You'll Love as Much as Zara"--featuring fast-fashion brands fueled by slave labor. Here is my response. Because fashion should be empowering, not exploitative~

ethical fashion, ethical fashion blog, shelby steiner, matter prints, harveys backpack, New Classics Studios, Osborn Shoes, Fashionable scarves

{ starting top left and going clockwise }

1. Matter Prints: Sideswept Dhoti + Mobi Indigo Pants | Matter Prints works with artisans across India to create products that are eco-friendly, preserve their heritage, and are able to help the artisans become financially independent.

2. Harveys: Berkeley Backpack in Black + White  | bags & backpacks made from re-purposed seat belts. Seriously cool. All products are handmade in the USA!

3. New Classics Studios: Papaya Dress | I seriously want to buy everything. You know it's an A+ store when they sell dresses with papayas on them. Because can you think of anything better to put on a dress? All clothing is created with high ethical standards (& aesthetics, obviously).

4. Osborne: Dune Oxford | handmade, fair-trade, eco-friendly, artisan crafted...basically everything you could ever want in an oxford (or a brand).

5. FashionABLE: Alem Color-Block Scarf | this brand uses fashion as a method of empowering women in Ethiopia, Kenya, and other countries bring themselves and their families out of poverty, receive an education, and become strong & independent individuals. Because that is what fashion should be for, right?

6. Shelby Steiner: Tie Tunic | a local designer from here in Chicago, Shelby produces her clothing using ethical, eco-friendly, and natural materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, and bad-assery.


22 March 2015


Let's be real. There are a lot of blogs out there that are basically echos of each other when it comes to providing helpful advice for growing a blog. Same subject matter, same information--I can't tell you how many posts I've read that tell me to use my Twitter to share blog posts...truly insightful!

Below are the 5 blogs that I personally read religiously and highly recommend for bloggers, creatives, entrepreneurs, and/or social media fanatics to bookmark and treasure forever.
You're welcome.

1. By Regina | I actually ran into Regina's blog by accident just the other day and I still haven't left it. (Regina, if you are reading this, just know that if you check your stats and are confused about how someone spent 48hrs+ straight on your site...that was not a mistake). Not only is her blog incredibly helpful and detailed, it is oh-so witty and personable--I don't remember the last time I laughed out loud while reading about SEO. I also love how long each of her posts are--it is clear she loves what she does and she knows what she's doing! Highly recommended for anyone serious about their blogs or just wants to be charmed.
I've honestly never subscribed to someone's newsletter so fast.

2. Jennypurr | Not only does Jen provide insightful information and inspiration both online and offline, but her site is incredibly aesthetically pleasing. I don't even have to read a post and I am already inspired by the space she has created. Her posts are creatively stimulating and are so very insightful, as they encourage me to constantly challenge myself. Jen is easily the master of helping you find your voice and defining your blog!

3. Blog Tyrant | Ramsay's blog is actually the first blog about blogging I've ever subscribed to and began reading religiously. While some people talk the talk, Ramsay made the walk--each of his posts are backed by years of experience: he even sold a blog for $20,000 just after 8 months. Like, what. His posts are especially helpful for beginners, and he walks you through everything from starting a blog and choosing a hosting platform to gaining your first 10,000 subscribers--even just leaving a comment on his site has brought me page views!

4. Autumn Leaves | Writing one of the few blogs about blogging that I actually read each word rather than skim and move on. Rebecca-Louise is a really wonderful writer and never fails to keep my attention throughout her posts. Not to mention that the content on her site is not a regurgitation of all other blogs about blogs--her content is unique, descriptive, and actually helpful in growing readership, blogging resources, and social media marketing!

5. XO Sarah | Also a recent find that I have completely swooned over, Sarah's blog is bright, bold, and full of life (it's also incredibly helpful, too!). Her blog just exudes creative energy and is always so encouraging and refreshing to read! It's very easy to tell right away that she knows the blogging world and how to win it. (p.s. Sarah also designs beautiful and colorful blog layouts!)

"Blogging Tips" is a new series on JooJoo Azad started due to popular demand and is focused on helping bloggers improve and grow their blogs as well as encouraging more bloggers to speak out on issues that matter to them.
For more: { blogging tips series }


~ l e a v e  a  r e p l y ~

{ above photo taken in Fes, Morocco because travel withdrawals are real }

21 March 2015


fashion blog, hijabi fashion blog, ootd, fashion, hijab, ethical fashion

Celebrating the new (Iranian) year of 1394 with an exciting announcement: I've committed to developing JooJoo Azad as my part-time job! This is a major step for me, as creating content for this site has always been at the top of the list of things that makes me happy, but due to part-time jobs and other commitments, doing so was never able to be at the top of my priority list--that is, until I took the leap and decided to clear out my schedule and focus on developing and growing this site!

A few updates/notes:

1. JooJoo Azad will be updated every other day (at a minimum) and will be broken down into a few major categories:

Fashion | while this section will still be composed of my personal looks, I will be focusing more on combining this with social responsibility and work with local and ethical brands rather than just another #ootd post.
Social Action | this includes the minimal wardrobe series, in-depth profiles from brands on the boycott list, relevant current events, and general industry issues that are not discussed in mainstream media.
Iran/Islam | these are the more personal posts aimed to combat misinformation in the media & answering your questions.
Blogging Tips | a more popular section than I expected! This category will continue as normal due to popular demand, with new posts being published every Sunday.
Streetstyle | as someone who is inspired by the every-day people I run into on the streets, I think it's important to share a bit of what well-dressed people around me are wearing (including while I travel! This should be fun this summer when I go to Iran!). These posts will not be part of the every-other-day posting schedule but rather will be uploaded as they are taken.

2. Also, you *miiiight* have noticed the new layout! I have been dreaming up layouts for months and finally was able to find a beautiful theme and worked with a coder to make it perfect! As everything is still raw + fresh, please let me know what you think/if you run into any issues with anything. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

3. We (the blog & I) *finally* made a youtube account! After so many requests to make videos (you all will regret your decision, trust me) I finally caved and decided to play around with the medium. I will be uploading a quick little vlog from my travel to Chefchaouen, Morocco, *finally* answering your questions from the Islam Q&A, and a few other secret projects (if you have any other requests, let me know)! You can subscribe to my newly-created channel here and I know you will get a kick out of my lack of video editing skills: http://bit.ly/hodadoesyoutube. These should be up starting next week!

4. The newsletter is back and is better than ever (well, since there was only one edition the bar is not very high, but shhh). You can sign up for this here: http://bit.ly/jjanewsletter 


A major source of encouragement for this shift to a more serious pursuit has been you all--your constant tweets, comments, and emails letting me know how much you valued JooJoo Azad has been incredibly moving, and I really want to continue making this a safe space where we can continually learn from each other. 
So, to all of my readers, new and old, thank you for everything. Your support and readership is so appreciated 


20 March 2015


Kicking off the year 1394/start of spring with an all-new blog layout, a bit of Iranian culture, and of course, a massive giveaway. Because how can you say happy new years without cash?

Iranian New Years, quite simply, is a combination of all of your best holidays in the West: we color eggs, read poetry, clean things, buy things, go on picnics, play with fireworks, jump over fire, eat incessantly, and spend time with family and friends. For 13 days.

Nowruz, new year, Iran, iranian, persian new year, nooruz

 Iranian New Years (Nooruz) has been observed in Iran and neighboring countries for thousands of years and celebrates the new life and growth that marks the first day of spring. While some aspects of Nooruz are based in Zoroastrian tradition, it is a secular holiday celebrated by any and all faiths.

The Wednesday before Nooruz is called Chahar Shanbe Suri and involves lighting things on fire and yelling. It's really quite great. Traditionally, Iranians create small bonfires in the streets and shout "Zardie man az to, sorkhie to az man," or "May me sickly pallor be yours and your red glow be mine" while jumping over the flames. In doing so, this little act symbolizes the cleansing of all of last year's unpleasantness.

Leading up to Nooruz (my family is guilty of putting this together always the morning of) we set up a Haft-Seen table, or table of 7-things-that-beings-with-the-letter-S. I talked more about what exactly we put and what each item symbolizes in my Iranian New Years post last year, so you can read more about this tradition there!

Nowruz, new year, Iran, iranian, persian new year, nooruz

On the 13th day after the start of spring, or the day of Sizdeh Bedar (Farsi for "getting rid of the 13th") Iranian families take to the parks and spend the entire day outdoors picnicking, dancing, consuming food, and spending time with friends and family. This day is the last day of the holidays and is considered bad luck to be indoors.


As Iranian New Years is also a time of giving (more specifically a time of ca$h money), I decided to team up with several other bloggers and giveaway $800 (via paypal) to whoever the Rafflecoptor gods deem is most excited about spring (or maybe through algorithms or something).

The giveaway begins right at spring (3/20 5:00 CST ) and ends 4/17 and is open internationally. You can enter using the Rafflecoptor below:

Good luck and سال نو مبارک Saleh Noh Mobarak! (Happy New Years!)


P.S. I'll be talking more about the new site + new expectations for JooJoo Azad tomorrow!

-share some spring lovin'-

Photo source: (first) shagreen; (second, left) The Tehran Times