THE OLD CITY IN FES, MOROCCO



Fes, Morocco, Fashion, Hijab fashion blog, fashion blog, moroccan fashion

Fes, Morocco, Fashion, Hijab fashion blog, fashion blog, moroccan fashion

Fes, Morocco, Fashion, Hijab fashion blog, fashion blog, moroccan fashion

Fes, Morocco, Fashion, Hijab fashion blog, fashion blog, moroccan fashion

Fes, Morocco, Fashion, Hijab fashion blog, fashion blog, moroccan fashion

Fes, Morocco, Fashion, Hijab fashion blog, fashion blog, moroccan fashion

Don't let these photos deceive you--the souk in Fes, Morocco is actually, like all souks, incredibly crowded. The chance that we were able to score a bit of empty space was rather miraculous. Although, to be fair, these photos were actually taken last summer when I came to Morocco with Alex during Ramadan and therefore during the day the streets were empty because it was hot & everyone was fasting, but hey, I was just in Fes a few weeks ago so these photos are still relevant (well, minus the empty spaces during the day--you can't find those anymore)!

If you follow our Facebook Page, you know that I actually just got back from a weekend trip to Essaouria, a port city on the Atlantic Ocean, and have a plethora of photos and a few shoots that I can't wait to share with you all! If you like oceanic views/seagulls/cats at all, I would stay tuned! ;)

Also, heading out to Spain tomorrow (eep, so excited!) so be sure to check out my Instagram (@hodakatebi) if you'd like to come along for the weekend! c: 


Photos: Alex | Location: Old Medina, Fes, Morocco | Dress: c/o | Boots: c/o Zappos 

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8 WAYS TO MAKE CA$H MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG



blogging tips, monetizing blog, fashion blog, monetize fashion blog, fashion blogging tips


1. Sell advertising spots in newsletters | newsletters are incredibly attractive to brands and companies, as they are sent out to your most loyal following. Just be sure that you only work with/promote brands/companies that you actually believe in (aka, those that do not violate your Boycott List--do your research before you quickly say yes!), as your readers trust you!

2. Sell advertising spots on your site | although I personally refrain from placing advertising on my site, many bloggers seem to be rather successful with this! Be sure to specify location (above the scroll, below the scroll, etc), size, and any other specifications and details that might be useful when reaching out to advertisers. I personally don't recommend Google Adsense, as I have only heard negative things about it (please correct me if I'm wrong!).

3. CoSign* App | essentially, this app pays fashion blogger for what we already do: sharing looks on various social media! Upload any of your latest and greatest looks to the app, tag brands/products that you are wearing, and share on social media. Anytime your readers purchase clothing via your links, you earn money! Basically, the CoSign App enables you to earn money from, and streamline the process of, posting and sharing looks across social media channels! Check out CoSign for iPhone or CoSign for Andriod! (P.S. It's free!) I took a few snapshots of the app to give you a better idea of how it works:

(They are also having a launch party in NYC on Feb 11th RSVP welcome to all! You can RSVP at RSVP@CoSign.co).

4. Sponsored posts & product reviews | collaborate with brands (that you believe in!) to review and promote their products to your readers.

5. E-book, tutorial, how-to | putting together e-books are really great because producing online content will cost absolutely nothing to you (well, minus time!)--and can be produced in mass!

6. Online course | have mad photography or html skills? Put together an online course to share your skill with your readers. A great list of platforms to host your course can be found at Learning Revolution.

7. Affiliate linking | working with affiliate programs earns you money every time you refer a reader to the host's site--either in the form of pay-per-click or earning commission on a referred sale. There are endless affiliate programs that you can apply for! Do some research and find what type of affiliate program works best for your readership! ...just be sure to disclose this on your blog!

8. Offer freelance services | currently, I work as a free-lance writer for a few various online and print publications, which I have all been offered through my blog. But you don't have to wait until hiring managers are smart enough to contact you--be proactive! Contact a few publications you enjoy (it's best to start small!) and see if there are any opportunities to join as a free-lance writer.

More blogging tips:
+ The Blogger's Beginner Guide to SEO
+ Top 18 Ways to Get Your Blog Out There
+ 5 Unique Post Ideas that will Help Grow Your Blog's Audience

Did I miss anything? How do you monetize your blog?
What would you like to see next in the blogging tips series?

Greetings from Essaouira, Morocco! 

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*This content has been sponsored by CoSign.

#CHAPELHILLSHOOTING | A MOMENT OF SILENCE





Interrupting regularly-scheduled content for a moment of silence for Deah, Yusor, and Razan, 3 young Muslims from North Carolina, USA who were shot to death, assassination-style, in front of their own homes by a white domestic terrorist. The media is of course, when they finally did decide to report on this tragedy (if it was in reverse it would have been front-page of all media outlets within hours), ignoring the hate and xenophobia that fueled this killing.

I will stop here, as my thoughts are now a bit too raw and unpolished. My thoughts, prayers, and solidarity are with the victims and their families. I've shared a bit more on my Twitter: @hodakatebi.

If you are in the Chicago area, we have organized a candlelight vigil tonight at UChicago at 6:00pm. The event can be found here.

Deah, Yusor, and Razan, you will live on in all of our hearts. 


For more information on the tragedy: Chapel Hill Shooting
For more information on the lives of these young, beautiful souls here: Our Three Winners


#JeSuisDeahYusorRazan 

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5-STEP WARDROBE CLEANSE


minimal wardrobe, ethical fashion, fashion,

 1. Limit your spending | don't think of this as a "let's-get-rid-of-everything-and-re-buy-a-new-wardrobe" because that is not what we're doing here. We are getting rid of (aka donating) and editing our current over-stocked inventory, not restocking.

 2. Follow the "always, sometimes, never" rule | separate all of your clothes into 3 categories based on how often you wear/don't wear them.

3. Analyze | great, you have a set of wardrobe staples (your "always" pile). Now time to purge your "sometimes" pile! Ask yourself: 
  • Does it still fit right? 
  • If it is damaged can I fix it? 
  • Is it comfortable? 
  • Does wearing it make me happy?
  • Can I wear this in multiple ways?
  • Does it have strong sentimental value?
Answering "no" to any of these questions is a good reason to move it to the donate pile!

4. Start defining your style | as I’ve gotten older I have been able to hone down on how I want to define myself visually: I have key elements/colors in my closet that are consistent and harmonious, with minor exceptions (I think I own one article of pink clothing…maybe). Defining my style enables me to donate whatever doesn’t fit ideologically with the rest of my clothes (shorter hemlines, tighter clothing, colors that are unflattering, etc).

5. Organize what is left | finally, make sure everything is visible, accessible, and organized in an aesthetically-pleasing manner. It will make getting dressed so much more enjoyable, easier, and quicker! Enjoy the new space and new life of a less cluttered and more defined wardrobe! xx 

~

This post is part 2 of a series encouraging the transition to a minimal wardrobe—as in a wardrobe that is physically minimal (not the style) in order to limit our consumption, detach ourselves from material possessions, and live more socially-conscious lives.



Part 3 (upcoming): 5 Wardrobe Resolutions Everyone Should Have

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SUNDAY CHECK-IN FROM FES, MOROCCO



Fes, Morocco, travel, travel guide, morocco souk, fes souk, fes travel guide

Alright, alright. I should have learned my lesson from last weekend  all of the previous weekends that getting work done/any sort of productivity doesn't really happen after Thursday (....or Monday). So rather than having a post on cultural appropriation for today like I had planned, I'll just leave you with this photo from the souk in Fes, Morocco, where I spent the entirety of yesterday exploring rather than working on this post. Fes is an incredibly beautiful (and ancient!) city built into the rolling hillside and is home to endless art, architecture, and handicrafts--it has the largest tannery in all of Morocco!
I will be uploading more photos to my Instagram from my recent travels if you'd like to explore, too!

Also I have yet to find a camera battery *sigh* so the video on Islam answering your questions will have to be placed on hold for now, as well :(

In any regard we (the blog & I) have quite a bit of exciting upcoming content for the month of February so stay tuned!

Now I should probably publish this post before I pass out on my computer....happy Sunday!

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TANGIER, MOROCCO PHOTO DIARY + TRAVEL GUIDE



Tangier, Morocco, travel guide, travel blog, moroccan travel

Spent last weekend exploring Tangier, Morocco and let's just say that I'm in love~
First of all, thank you all for your recommendations--it made our visit a truly memorable trip, thank you!

After finally arriving in our hotel in the petit socco (aka mini souk) after an endless taxi ride with a rather stubborn driver, we grabbed dinner at a sketchy fast-food restaurant, and passed out (despite our rooms being below freezing).

 CAFE HAFA 

Our first morning we woke up early and after finally finding the exit of the petit socco (Erin & Kathrine jokingly commented and suggested to get lost in the medina--let's just say we accidentally followed that advice rather literally...) head out to Cafe Hafa for mint tea & a light breakfast--the view was incredible (Spain was on the other side!) and the outdoor cafe was filled with kids singing and playing music. My favorite spot in Tangier so far. Thank you for the recommendation!


Tangier, Morocco, travel guide, travel blog, moroccan travel, cafe hafa
Tangier, Morocco, travel guide, travel blog, moroccan travel, cafe hafa

MARSHAN ART GALLERY

We then slipped into the Marshan Art Gallery which is. so. beautiful. I had the honor of meeting the father of one of my readers, and he not only was so very kind and warm, but also owned the gallery and is an incredible artist! (p.s. he also gives great restaurant recommendations, if you're in the area c; ). A must-go if you are ever in Tangier! 

Tangier, Morocco, travel guide, travel blog, moroccan travel, marshan art gallery, moroccan art


KASBAH MUSEUM

Formerly the Sultan's palace, the Kasbah Museum has been converted into a beautiful history museum. Personally, I found the building itself & its gardens more beautiful than the historic artifacts they contained, but still definitely worth the visit! This museum contains sculptures, mosaics, jewelry, and artifacts dating back to prehistoric times and up until about the 19th cent.

Tangier, Morocco, travel guide, travel blog, moroccan travel, Kasbah Museum, Tangier museum
 Tangier, Morocco, travel guide, travel blog, moroccan travel, kasbah museum, tangier museum

ST. ANDREW CHURCH + CEMETERY

This was more of an unplanned oh-hey-look-a-church-and-garden-oh-wait-cemetery-this-is-really-beautiful detour than an actual item on our to-check-out list, but hey, it is worth a stroll! We ran into this church on our way back to Cafe Hafa (Yes. We went twice in the same day but we really couldn't help it). Bonus points if you go at golden hour when only select rays of sun shine through the thicket of trees and gives the place a really nice vibe. A really nice place to escape the bustle of the crowded city and noise of the angry taxi drivers yelling at each other. 


Tangier, Morocco, travel guide, travel blog, moroccan travel, st. Andrew Church tangier, tangier church


LES FILS DU DETROIT | MUSIC + TEA

If our tea intake at this point had not already well exceeded any existing daily limits, we of course couldn't pass up the chance to intake more mint tea (I *might* have developed a small addiction...I can stop if I want, I promise!!) while taking in live traditional Moroccan music. Every evening at 6:30pm at the cafe right outside the Kasbah Museum, Les Fils du Detroit (The Boys of Detroit) have a jam session (p.s. uh, yes they have a Facebook page and Soundcloud (to which I am listening right now actually) where you can peruse through photos and listen to their music too (but you'll have to make your own tea at home, sorry)). 

Also this is super embarrassing but after asking them where I could buy a setar (a traditional Iranian instrument that I'm determined to find in Morocco) because I play violin and wanted to try something new, the violinist handed me his violin and asked me to play and of course my friends, far too excited at the opportunity to see me embarrass myself, egged me on. So I started playing one of my favorite solos and then realized a bit too late--on the 4th note--that the violin was tuned according to middle eastern tuning rather than western tuning like I was accustomed to, and had to give it back. Whoops. Oh well at least I can sort of say that I "played" the violin of the Fils du Detroit?  

Tangier, Morocco, travel guide, Moroccan travel, les files du detroit, the boys of detroit, moroccan music
PC: Les Files du Detroit Facebook Page || By this time my camera battery was more than exhausted so I have no photos of my own :(

We ended the evening with a spoken word thing that was incredibly strange and turned out to not actually be a spoken word thing and more of a salsa dancing thing so...I'll just leave it at that and end here without getting into any details...

-- 

Basically, if you ever get a chance to visit Morocco, Tangier is a city you can't miss. 
Thank you again for everyone's recommendations! xx 

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I'M 20! | HASSAN II MOSQUE, CASABLANCA


Thank you for all for all of the sweet birthday wishes on Instagram and Twitter! I was planning on getting this post up on the actual day of my birthday (Jan. 27th) but due to final exams I decided to take a week off from blogging as announced on my Facebook Page last week to study and travel! It's still strange to think that I have been on this earth for 2 decades... *cue existential crisis* ahhh!

Ahem. Moving on, these photos were taken by the ever-talented Youssef Harzy who I'm lucky to call my friend. We had to rush and take these photos in a very small time frame due to the unlucky constant on-and-off rainfall in Casablanca the weekend I visited (but I guess in the end the rain created a really beautiful reflection across the outside of the mosque!).






 Photos: Youssef Harzy | Blouse: gifted* | Oversized cardigan: ModCloth | Boots: DSW

*A lot of you have been asking where I have gotten my shirt (you can see it better in this shoot) but it was designed by my friend as a birthday gift so unfortunately I cannot direct you to a store/product! :/

More photos from Morocco coming your way so stay tuned! xx

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THE BLOGGER'S BEGINNER GUIDE TO SEO


Per popular demand, I put together a list of some of the most important tips and building blocks on improving your SEO as a blogger! Here are the do's and do not's of Search Engine Optimization:

SEO, Search Engine Optimization, blogging tips, fashion, social action, hijab

WHAT IS SEO & WHY IS IT A GREAT THING?

Ah, great question! SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is how well your blog ranks according to our important friends at google. The higher your SEO and rank, the higher your blog will appear on google search results, resulting in more traffic, hooray! 

To be quite honest, it's not really a great thing because it is a pain to try to always keep up with whatever the google gods deem as trendy/important for a site to have (and you thought keeping up with fashion trends and their endless make-believe seasons was hard...) but these basic tips are more of the foundations building blocks of good SEO.
Yallah! (let's go!) 


1. Build Quality Backlinks | backlinks are hyperlinks on other sites that link back to your own page. The more pages that link to your own blog, the more reputable your blog seems (makes sense, right?). But ah this is where many people may err--backlinks can actually be counter productive if they are bought (yes apparently that is a thing) or you leave endless, spammy-like comments (great post!!!!1111)  on non-reputable sites. The key here is in the quality.

Rather, you can build 'healthy' backlinks by gust posting on reputable blogs and leaving *thoughtful* comments on quality sites. Just make sure to actually link back in your site rather than just writing out your blog url. You can do this with the following html code:
<a href="YOURBLOGURLHERE">YOUR BLOG NAME HERE</a>

2. Keywords, Keywords | make sure your title has keywords! I think this is especially difficult for fashion bloggers because we are silly and like to "title" looks or something but let's be honest, no one is going to be googling Pattern Clashing and Cats.
As a fashion and social action blogger it's helpful when I can sneak in a title for a look that is about what I am going to be discussing rather than arbitrary phrases. Exhibit A: Overview of the Israel-Palestine Conflict: 5 Things You Should Know Now. If you're a fashion blogger, try to come up with titles that include keywords to help your SEO!

BUT (there is always a but) don't overdo it. For Google, titles & posts that are drenched in many keywords just look like you're trying to hard, and this will make you lose SEO points. Rather, focus your content on a few keywords rather than, say, a million, and try to use them authentically throughout your post and blog.

3. Title Images | ah, rookie mistake. Did you know that the names of the photos that you upload to your blog are actually used by google? So if on your computer, your images are fresh from the camera and say IMG_1234 or something, prior to uploading them to your blog post, rename them to something relevant to your post. Don't forget to include a keyword! I actually have surprisingly decent traffic coming from google image searches because of how I name my photos!
P.S. When naming the images, use dashes (-) in between words rather than underscore (_).

4. Use Relevant Words When Linking | this one I actually just learned when doing some research for this post! When linking to another post--either one of your own or one another site--use words relevant to the link, rather than the words "click here," etc.
Example: Want to know why Victoria's Secret (I'm not linking to their site here because it would build them another backlink!) is on the Boycott List? It's because Victoria has 3 dirty little secrets that she doesn't want you to know!

~

I have to run to catch my train to Casablanca, but feel free to ask any questions/for clarification in the comments section and I will try my best to reply asap! Also, if you have any other basic SEO tips that I missed, please share with me and the other readers--I'll make sure to feature helpful comments! (p.s. don't forget to leave your backlinks!c; ) 
Hope this was semi-helpful for those who requested it! 

Also, let me know what you'd like to see next in the Sunday blogging tips series!

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5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A MINIMAL WARDROBE



ethical fashion, fashion blogger, minimal wardrobe, ethical fashion tips, social action

People always ask me how much clothes I have as a fashion blogger. There are endless youtube videos of bloggers and their closets--some larger than my bedroom--and so it seems having a massive wardrobe is part of the job description.
But as a social action blogger, I have to instinctively go the other way and try to promote limiting a wardrobe rather than expanding it, as it is endless consumption that leads to exploitation of people and resources! While my mother might say otherwise, I really don't have as much clothes as you might think. I recently purged through my closet and it really feels so good. Converting my overcrowded wardrobe into a minimal one (oh and p.s. in this post, minimal here is meaning a small or limited wardrobe, not minimal as in the style that I have been currently craving.) has been such a great decision that really helped to clear up my closet and my mind! //

1. You can breathe better | really. After I purged my closet for the first time, I felt like putting together looks became so much easier.

2. You learn to disassociate your life with consumer objects | the act of getting rid of a large portion of your closet is a practice in lessening attachment to materialism (see number 3 in 15 Important Things 2014 Taught Me) and shifting the focus in your life on what really matters

3. You can help others | clean out your closet to not only help yourself but others as well--donate everything you are not wearing to a local homeless shelter and help people who really need the clothes more than you.

4. It helps define & develop your personal style | without the mess of clothes that is just no longer "you," your own personal wardrobe essentials are determined. For me, this meant a lot of button-down shirts and graphic jackets! Hone in on what cuts and shape you like, and what is comfortable and flattering for your own body shape. Knowing this will also help with your next purchases (not that we're planning on doing that anytime soon, right? c; )

5. More space | especially effective if you live in a smaller apt where space is an issue or just prefer a closet that is more aesthetically pleasing rather than stuffed & cramped.

If you're having trouble purging your own wardrobe, let me know in the comments & I can put together a quick little guide in the coming days! Did I leave anything out?

P.S. Hooray! I've finally bought a new phone on the black market in Rabat. This means I'm back on Instagram and will be updating with my travels to Tangier, Morocco this weekend! Follow along, here!

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CHECKING IN FROM CASABLANCA



casablanca, morocco, travel, grand mosque casablanca, fashion,

Status update | Phone: stolen (okay lost). Camera charger: left in the USA. Morale: high.
I just discovered coconut coffee and it's life changing. Thank you to Youssef for being a great unofficial tour guide in Casablanca despite the poor weather and my lack of Arabic skills. This little snap was taken at the 3rd largest mosque in the world (aka the location of our latest shoot, which I can't wait to share with you all!)

Looking forward to exploring Tangier this weekend and maybe hopefully buying a phone and/or camera charger so I can *fiiinnallllyyy* upload some photos per your requests! (Yes my Instagram is still being run by my Moroccan friends, so you can explore a bit of Morocco there, too!)

P.S. Don't forget that tomorrow is the last day to submit questions about Islam/Muslims that you would like to be answered/discussed! There have already been several great questions and I can't wait to chat with you all about them via video! You can submit your q's here

Sorry for the quick post--gotta run to class! 
Happy Tuesday!

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