Ah, back in the windy city absorbing the grey skies, endless stretch of beautiful people, and slightly chilled air. Moving into a new apartment has been taking far longer than I expected (I don't know why I thought this would be an easy/quick job), but that doesn't mean spending (literally) the entire day at Ikea has necessarily been a chore (their cinnamon rolls are heavenly!). Now that I'm sort of a bit more settled in I'll be posting a few home diy projects, if you all would be interested in seeing a bit of that (if not please let me know in the comments! Or a strongly worded email, whatever gets you voicing you opinion on the matter!) as well as *maybe* a recipe or two if I ever decide to stop living off of granola bars and mac&cheese. (Don't worry, many fashion & social action posts are still to come, as well!)

Speaking of social action and fashion, I was so kindly invited by the DePaul University United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Chapter to co-host its 3rd annual For The Sake of Fashion charity runway show! The show is open to the public (only a $10 suggested donation) and will feature a range of local and international socially-responsible brands, with 100% of the proceeds will be going toward UNICEF-DePaul! The runway show will take place Sunday, October 12th at 6:00pm at the Cortelyou Commons on 2324 N Fremont Street in Chicago, IL. There is also an opportunity at the end of the show to purchase some of the featured clothing donated by designers at a fraction of the designer price! So cool, right!?

To learn more about UNICEF and the humanitarian work that they do around the world, check out their site here

To check out the Facebook event page and RSVP (I would totally love to meet you all!) & watch a kick-ass fashion show that also supports an amazing organization, click here

To see a bit of last year's coverage on le blog, click here

One month should be more than enough time to buy those flights, right? (;


~ l e a v e  a  r e p l y ~



Ah, how quickly time passes. Our trip to Morocco already seems ages ago, when we woke up at an un-Godly hour to catch the sunrise on the roof of our hotel. (Honestly, I'm still in disbelief as to how we managed to wake up before noon on vacation, but, this was in the name of the blog...and a bit of exploration.) Cities, I've found, are always so different in the early hours of the morning. So peaceful, so calming. If I had the physical ability to wake up at sunrise and start my day watching the sunrise every morning with a cup of tea in my hand, I would probably be a much better human being. But alas. Ain't nobody got time for dat. But it's definitely a magical experience when it does happen, once in a blue moon.

While Morocco overall was not unbearably hot, Marrakech, we were warned, was a different story, as we were nearing the Sahara Desert (p.s that is actually my all-time favorite photo from our trip!) and the sun will literally melt your skin off if you're not wise (so you could tell I was nervous). Facing such conditions, the instinct for most (well I guess excluding Muslims) would be to wear as little as possible. But doing so is actually much hotter as the sun is directly on your skin (& therefore will give you the. worst. sunburns. in the history of your skin). Rather, the best option is to cover all of your skin (& head--no, I'm not trying to convert you....yet)(gotta protect that scalp too!) in light, airy colors and fabrics. So, I tied a light blue (Alex is convinced it's's blue, right?!) thin blouse over a breezy maxi dress. And of course the usual jewels--black watch stolen borrowed from my mother, gifted bird necklace from Iran, and a fake wedding ring (when in Morocco, right?) (;

{ location: Marrakech, Morocco | photos: Alex | Maxi Dress: c/o Mart of China
| Headscarf: Iran | Blouse: Zara | Rings: H&M // similar can be found below}

OH p.s. As of today, I started using affiliate links, so anytime you click on a link that starts with "Shop Sense"  (you can check this by hovering over a link) you are so kindly helping fund my university/after-college travels :) So thank you!

Happy Tuesday! Off to Chicago tomorrow morning! xx


~ l e a v e  a  r e p l y ~



Supporting women, Palestine, fair-trade, and spreading messages of peace through beautiful embroidery!? Yes, it's possible.

Women in Hebron is a non-profit, fair trade cooperative located in "the heart of The Old City" and run by empowered Palestinian women striving to provide for their families and communities. In their own words, 
"Our work is based on the idea that developing Palestinian handicrafts is more than just an income-generating project. It is in of itself an act of community-strengthening, of honoring the role of women in our society, and a means to show sumud – steadfastness – in the face of the occupation of Palestine and the harm it has done to the people of Hebron."
Palestinian embroidery is incredibly intricate, beautiful, and all done by hand. Usually, this is the recipe that creates quite the dent in your wallet, but at Women in Hebron, this is not the case. From jewelry to backpacks to carpets, their products are incredibly affordable for most budgets ( just $10 for a "Women Can Do Anything" Bag!? *swoon*)

Unfortunately, traditional Palestinian embroidery has also been used in various brands as a form of cultural appropriation, meaning that while it may seem supportive of a cause by spreading traditional patterns/symbols of a culture to a larger audience, without proper description or attribution to the culture/practice just normalizes and integrates the patter/symbol into mainstream society, loosing all meaning of its original purpose. As cultural appropriation seems to have taken quite the liking in the fashion industry, I'll be dedicating a post to the topic at a later time, so stay tuned if you're interested! (: (I've gotten so much better at staying on track/talking about only one thing at a time, right!? I've been practicing!

By supporting Women in Hebron, you are supporting a beautiful cause, the empowerment of women, preservation of a historic culture, fair-trade practices,...and your style (: 

Not to mention that, now that my birthday is sort of coming up (4 months is not that long, right?) I'm going to have to add that these are so perfect for gifting--for yourself for reading this essay of a post (let's be honest--you deserve it!)--and for your loved ones (wink wink hint hint). Below are a few of my favorites from their cooperative:

1. Wool-Pocket Hanging | #3014
2. Place-Mat | #3000 
3. Multi-Coin Necklace
4. Coin Necklace
5. 2-Zipper "Khalil" pouch | #7036
6. "Peace and Justice for Palestine" wall hanging | #3008
7. Dove Pouch | #7007
8. Pillow Case | #6015
9. Pillow Case | #6016

Or, you can support them by liking their Facebook or following on Pintrest!

Which one is your favorite? 

Why did I pick to feature this organization? Find out a bit more here.

P.S. Sorry about the lateness of this post going up--I may or may not have gotten distracted with watching Orange is the New Black.... #whoops


*this was NOT a sponsored post



A magical country that is definitely within your reach~ (P.S. Did you know that you don't need a visa to visit specific areas of Iran?! I actually just learned this myself, today! Read on!)

After several requests on my blog and Instagram, I finally put together a little travel guide for Iran! Of course, as I have only visited 3 times, I am definitely not the expert, nor have I managed to explore much of the country. But as it is my homeland, Iran is very close to my heart and couldn't say no to an excuse to put together another Iran-related post for le blog!

So here you have it, a quick and super-overviewish guide to my home~


  • Tehran | As the capital of Iran and the only city most non-Iranians have heard of, obviously, it's worth a visit. Home of famous streetstyle blog The Tehran Times, the president, and a lot of beautiful people. From old historic bazaars to ancient Palaces to the Azadi (photographed above) and Milad Tower, Tehran is not a city that you can explore in a day. Or a year. 
  • Shiraz | The former capital of Iran, Shiraz is one of Iran's oldest and most historic cities. Here you can find the ancient ruins of Persepolis, the Tomb of Hafiz (the most celebrated Persian poet), endless beautiful gardens, and the famous Nasr al-Mulk Mosque, whose stained-glass windows you've probably seen (if you're ever looked up photos of Iran). 
  • Esfahan | We Persians call Esfahan "Nesf-e-Jahan," literally meaning "half of the world." Need I say more? Unfortunately, I have somehow not yet managed to visit this half of the world, but it's definitely on my list for next summer, as it truly is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. A simple google image search of this city will make you want to get up and pack your bags asap. Recommended sights include the Khaju Bridge (at night!), Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and the Ali Qapu Palace. 
  • Mashhad | The Imam Reza Mosque is the largest mosque in the world and houses the mausoleum of Imam Reza. The dome is covered in gold and birds. P.S. No cameras allowed! 
  • Kish | A small island off the coast of Iran, Kish is perfect for the more nature-inclined. This tourist resort is filled with tropical parks and zoos, the ruins of the ancient Harireh Town, the Cariz underground town, and a beach famous for its breathtakingly-clear waters and snorkeling. OH p.s. Did I mention unlike the rest of mainland Iran, you don't need a travel visa to visit this Iranian island?! Go. Now. (& take me with you!) 
  • Shomal | Okay well technically "Shomal" is not a real city and just a geographic location (meaning "North" in Farsi) but it's what all Iranians call the trip to the Caspian Sea. Saving best for last (in my opinion). The Caspian Sea is my favorite place on earth that I have visited thus far. The endless blue-green roaring waves, the stretch of olive stores, the constant smell of rice in the air, and ancient forests all make Shomal not only incredibly beautiful, but overflowing with inspiration, bliss, and peace and serenity. It is here where no. 1 on my list of 11 Things About Life I Learned from Iran came from. Still not convinced? Check out my mini photo-diary of my trip to Shomal here

Iranians are incredibly warm and welcoming. And I'm not just saying this because I'm one of them. You talk to someone on the train for a few minutes, decide you're best friends, and get invited to dinner with their family that evening. It's just how things work (regardless of your nationality!) That's right, contrary to popular belief, the common Iranian does not hate Americans. Or white people for that matter. In fact, because there are so few tourists from Europe/USA, Iranians love meeting white people, and will probably invite them over to their house for dinner faster after a first meet than they will an Iranian. 
For the most part, Iranians are pretty not-racist (what is the word for not racist? ...beautiful?). Remembering a conversation I had with a young man I met on the street, "We Iranians love everyone...if someone falls we want to help him/her regardless of where he/she is from. We're all human, we're all the same." From the people I personally met in my time in Iran, I can safely say his genuine kindness towards all people was not an isolated case.  

  • Dresscode | Iranian law requires women to wear a headscarf and long clothing (p.s this is not the same as requiring women to cover all their hair, as most Iranian women do not.) Also, it is taboo for men to wear shorts (except at the beach). Checkout le streetstyle post for a better idea of what to pack and how to wear it! 
  • Driving | To be quite blunt, Iranians for the most part do not really know what traffic rules are. Or speed limits. Or lanes. Or one-way signs. Or any signs. They also like to frequently drive in reverse. Basically, if you have little experience driving in such conditions, I do not recommend you rent a car. Also, good luck crossing streets--you'll need it. :) If you get nervous/car sick easily, I would advise other methods of traveling such as a train/subway. 
  • Tarof | Haha this is a tough one to explain. Tarof is a (I think) distinctly Iranian way of etiquette in which you repeatedly refuse anything that is offered to you until the host forces it on your plate/in your hand. Saying yes the first (or fifth) time is seen as rude/impolite. While this mostly occurs in food-related incidents, tarof is applicable to anything from doing favors to letting some walk into a room before you. Basically regardless of what you actually want, in order not to come off as a rude foreigner, you must refuse food, enter rooms last, fight over who gets to pay the bill, and constantly offer to help people out. 
  • Hello//Goodbye | Salam//Khoda Hafez
  • My name is | Esme man {insert name}hast
  • How are you? | Shoma chetori? 
  • Thank you! | Merci // Mamnoon // Sepasgozaram // Moteshakkeram, etc, etc (we like to show our appreciation!) 
  • No, thank you | Na, merci, mamnoon. (Use this phrase when tarof-ing)
  • Excuse me/Sorry | Bebakhsheed
  • Where is the... | ...Koja hast?
  • Your driving is so bad | Ranandegeye shoma kheily bad ast. 
  • I'm too scared to cross the street | Man mitarsam az khyaban rad shavam! 
  • Iran is amazing! I'm coming back every year! | Iran kheily alee ast! Man har sal bar migardam! 
  • I love your blog, Hoda! | Man kheily bloget dust daram, Hoda! 
I apologize that the text-to-photo ratio of this post was a bit unfavorable, but you all did basically ask me to sum up an entire country in a post, haha. Feel free to ask any specific/clarifying questions in the comments--I'll be hovering around my computer/phone all day and will try to reply asap! 

I'm going back to Iran (hopefully) next summer--join me! ;) 

{ all photos taken by myself in Tehran, Iran }




...both on the interwebz & physically! |
HOORAY! We've finally undertaken the extremely confusing/tedious task of moving to a real domain name (we were also wanting to move over to Wordpress but I feel like Wordpress is like the Apple/Mac of blog hosting--too sleek and modern for me to understand. I'll stick to my Gateway laptop & Blogger hosting, thank you)! Please welcome (rather than (phew, what a mouthful!)) into your browers! We (aka the blog and I) are really excited about this milestone that was supposed to be on JooJoo Azad's 1 year birthday last month (due to the embargo, services like domain/web hosting is hard to access when in Iran, boo). So, don't forget to change your bookmarks/shortcuts/memory/however you keep up with le blog to the new url! If you read JooJoo Azad via Bloglovin or Blogger, you don't have to change anything as I will/have take(n) care of that for you!

ALSO as officially (?) announced on le twitter yesterday, I gave in to the next mindless social media fad and created a Pintrest account! Check it out here, if you also don't enjoy meaningful human contact/the outdoors and have an account, as well!
This was *mainly* due to the fact that in a week from today I'm moving into my first apartment with 3 of my favorite people, and really needed some interior design inspiration (well, at least that's what I'm telling myself). Going to be working on quite a bit on DIY home projects, so if you all are interested in that sort of stuff I can post a bit of it on le blog, as well (Although I refuse to believe we're turning into a lifestyle blog, hehe). Regardless, because life is meaningless without photo-documentation, I'll be posting updates via my Instagram upon move-in day!

Hope we can be Pintrest friends!

Happy Wednesday! 


P.S. Coming up Friday--the travel guide for Iran you've all been requesting on Instagram! xx (and then another fashion photo shoot from Morocco!)

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