….and no.5 is related to fashion..
Yes, I am aware this is a very sensitive topic that many are afraid to delve into–especially on such a public platform as a blog; a topic that is seen as incredibly complex, unclear, and uncomfortable to talk about. In reality, the situation is quite clear if you’ve done your homework.

 { photos: Alex | location: Rabat, Morocco | shirt: gifted | blouse (worn as cardigan): Zara | boots: c/o Zappos | jeans: h&m | watch: stolen from my mother }

First of all, let’s just all celebrate the recent declared ceasefire–this is a huge step in the road toward peace and freedom! But we can’t forget about what has happened, what currently is on the ground, and that justice still has not been served.
Below is a quick list of 5 things that you need to know about the Israel-Palestine conflict, one of the most controversial and heated topics currently being discussed in the world. It’s one of those issues that you should avoid in interviews. Which is why we’re chatting about it today here 🙂

Nelson Mandela would know an apartheid regime when he sees one. In the words of the South African apartheid fighter himself, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Segregated roads; ethnic cleansing of all non-Jewish Palestinians; the lack of right to leave or enter freely, have their own recognized government, or own an airport or seaport; being subject to different laws; and always having chance to be taken from their homes at night and indefinitely prisoned without reason are all daily challenges of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. There are 54 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinians. Apartheid is defined as “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on ground of race” (dictionary.com) and the status (or lack thereof) of Palestinians under Israeli law leaves little room for debate.
(source/more information: Human Rights Watch)

From the 188 countries of the UN, only 9 voted against the recognition of Palestine as a state. The support of Israel should not be, and is not, normalized within greater society. The world is slowly waking up and the Palestinian narrative–which for so many decades has been hidden from mainstream society, is slowly becoming more visible. In fact, the Human Rights Watch as well as several other international human rights organizations are urging Palestine to go to the International Criminal Court for the countless war crimes committed against Palestinian civilians and society.
(source/more information: Human Rights Watch)

1 in 4 Palestinians have been displaced. Since 1947, 85% of the indigenous population of Palestine has been displaced. Today, there are over 7 million Palestinian refugees, making them the largest and longest group of people to have refugee status.
(source/more information: American Friends Service Committee)

Contrary to popular belief, all non-Jewish ethnicities are being prosecuted and driven out of Israel–not just Arab Muslims. Many kindergartens in Israel are even segregated–separate (“but equal” — remind you of anything?) kindergartens for African Americans can be found across Israel.
(source/more information: The Daily Beast)

Both parties involved have been killing innocent civilians–there is no question about that. The life of no human being is more important than another. But what is portrayed in the media as a fair fight between two equally-armed states, is just not the case. The Palestine Authority receives millions in monetary aid each year from countries around the world, most of which goes into rebuilding housing, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure destroyed by Israel. And Israel? In just 3 years the US alone has given Israel enough weaponry to kill every Palestinian living under occupation 10 times over. On top of US aid, so many American companies–including fashion brands like Victoria’s Secret and others–donate millions to the Israeli army. So through your shopping habits you could be potentially supporting war crimes (not to mention Victoria’s Secret also uses unethical child labor but let’s not get too off track for once–you can read that story here)
Some argue that Israel is simply acting in self-defense. But self-defense is not destroying civilian homes; raping women; using white-phosphorus bombs (aka bombs that break into several pieces and when in contact with skin creates a sort of indistinguishable fire that burns flesh–this is another war crime, btw); and killing, imprisoning, and torturing children.
(sources/more information: Josh Ruebner | Human Rights Watch)

Simply put, history repeats itself. The atrocities of Israel are reminiscent of genocides and apartheids throughout the world’s history. After everything is over and peace is restored, the world always questions how people could have ever supported the perpetrators. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.

And because I don’t believe in writing about depression-provoking topics without providing some sort of relief, here are a few ways to take action:


For a larger and more comprehensive list of ways you can take action online and offline, check out this handy list HERE.

Palestinians have been able to breathe again since the ceasefire. This is a little victory in a long journey towards freedom and equality, but actions you take can help bring peace a little sooner.
I would love to hear your thoughts and perspectives–especially if you have any questions or disagree with anything. (I even kept anonymous open–come at me~)
(oh p.s. I do reserve the right to delete racist/offensive/crude/unproductive comments)
See you in the comments!


P.S. yes, we had quite a bit of fun with this shoot + location.
P.P.S. If you still don’t feel comfortable talking about this issue in the comments, feel free to note how awesome this abandoned construction site is that we accidentally stumbled upon in Morocco.
P.P.P.S. yes, I almost fell into it a few times.



A little glimpse into the country I call home…


1. famous olive stores lining the road north
2. the endless and towering forests of shomal (north)
3. feel free to save this as your desktop backgroud.
4. women wearing chadors taking a group photo atop a cliff
5. did I mention that northern Iran was famous for its olives? More olives.
6. they’re also famous for their sheep…meat. 😦
7. and wind…a lot of wind
8. wind turbines, blue mountains, green grass, sheep, and an emerald lake. What more could you want in a photo?
9. endless stretches of seashells lining the Caspian Sea
10. “Anyone pulled rom a source // longs to go back” -Rumi | a sea snake returning to its home

 Check out part I of these photos here and see more snipbits from my travels on my Instagram, here.
I’d love to hear–what surprised you the most? Is Iran at all like what you expected?


P.S. Yes yes I know I was supposed to post a vlog today but I was going through the videos I had taken from our trip north and got a headache watching because I still have not mastered begun to learn how to have a steady hand when filming. I’ll work on it and get back to you, maybe in a few years. c;

~ l e a v e  a  r e p l y ~





Ah, finally, the post you’ve all been commenting about..


 I hope that these photos do my homeland just a bit of justice, and bring a bit more insight into a country that has been given a horrible rep from the media. I’m always curious to hear what people think about Iran, how much they’ve seen and heard from biased news sources (you can skip to the comments and leave your pre-judgements before going through the photos, if you like). Today marks one month of being in Iran and everyday I’ve had the privilege of exploring my homeland with my family and friends, eating amazing food and icecream, and meeting so many amazing and talented people at work and on the streets. I’ve truly grown, learned, and smiled so much.

For this reason, I’ve also barely had the time to catch up on going through and editing photos from my stay so far. Although it does help that, because Iran feels so much like home, I haven’t really felt the urge to glue my camera to my side and take photos of everything that moves, much like I do when traveling. But, as you all have mentioned numerous times that you’d like to see photos from Iran, I decided to start taking more photos and slowly putting together a post. All for you c;

typically in Iran, each apartment complex has 4 or 5 rooms, and is beautifully designed with a matching front gate. This door was one of my favorites and a daily sight on my way to work. | stretches of Iranian flags lining a highway in Tehran, Iran | a joojoo (Farsi for “bird”) created with Farsi calligraphy from a page in one of my favorite Rumi poetry books

ah, the Alborz mountain range. So powerful and ancient.

the eats: sour-cherry tea | cantaloupe (we eat a lot of melon) | persian coffee

shopping plaza in central Karaj

 Alborz mountains
young Iranian kids in a traditional open-air restaurant enjoying impromptu live music
Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into Iran from through my camera lens. I’d love to hear–what surprised you the most, or was it what you thought it would be?
P.S. A photo is worth 1000 words, so a video must be worth… a lot. Put together a little vlog from our trip shomal (north) (read: the Caspian Sea and endless forests!) so you can actually get the full experience of Iran! (P.P.S This is my first vlog and I am really bad at editing videos so..) Coming Monday!
P.P.P.S Part II of Postcards are coming Wednesday! In the meantime, you can check out my Instagram for more photos from Iran!


Less of an actual outfit shoot than more of a hey-look-what-I-wore-to-a-200+-year-old-historical-monument-actually-oh-wait-this-is-also-what-I-wear-to-everything-I-really-just-wanted-to-slowly-start-sharing-photos-from-Iran-because-there-are-too-many.
so. yeah.
Location: آق اویلر , Iran | Photos: Hadi | Scarf: Gifted | Blouse: Thrifted (heh, that rhymed) 
Usually when I go to Iran, I end up being a horrible repeat-outfit offender, wearing the same long/oversized shirt day after day until I ruin it. In Iran, along with a mandatory Hijab (for those of you who missed my post on what the Hijab is and why I choose to wear it, you can check that out here), women also need to wear long clothing that at least raches halfway between your waist and knees (called montos). (I’ll talk specifically on why these rules are in place when documenting Iranian streetsyle because the women would actually be following the rules so I’ll have clear visuals, unlike myself). In the USA, it is rather difficult to find said tunic-shirt that not either a dress or horribly ugly(/see-through/sheer/cutout-ed). Luckily I found this (mens) button-down shirt at a thirft store that, when left untucked, goes down just past my rear, so it is the closest thing that I own that would sort of work. I still try my best to walk quickly and avoid eye-contact with the police (so far it’s working!). (Although to be honest, I don’t see them ever ticketing me for this).
When I’m not climbing on ancient buildings I’m sitting behind a desk drinking the best coffee ever and wearing a monto (one of the few I just bought) because in the work-place, montos are definitely more professional than an oversized thrifted shirt.
Hope you enjoy the photos! These are all taken atop a mountain in northern Iran (shomal). I’ll be publishing a mini-documentation of Iran via photos in the next few days so stay tuned! In the meantime I’ve been posting quite a bit on my Instagram of my travels and adventures and you can take a peek (and follow!) here
Have a lovely Thursday!


You can always learn a lot about a country by just going through your purchases—what you need to buy to fit in, what you find everywhere, things you lack back at home, gifts you’ve received, what you chose to bring back for friends, and the little things that have personal significance that let you keep a part of the country with you always. Although in this post I’ve excluded the gifts I’ve bought for my friends (wouldn’t want to spoil anything!), I’ve documented a few of my purchases that fall into the other categories. I usually try to, for the first few weeks of my stay in Iran, just absorb—the sky, endless stretch of mountains, expressions and styles, locations, clustered store fronts, and people, and save the ever-growing shopping list for the last week day.

But, as my internship demanded a specific dress code and my mother had a lot of extra space in her suitcase which mine lacked (she left several weeks earlier than I would), I had to do a bit of pre-perusing through stores.

And this is a bit of what happened.


1. Two Notebooks

My new poetry book (see no.6), the Caspian Sea and expansive landscape, and the familiarities of home in a ‘foreign’ country invoke a strong urge to reflect and write. I lust stationary and have started without finishing far too many notebooks, but I couldn’t resist purchasing these two leather-bound notebooks that open from right to left.


2. Postcards from Esfahan

Disclaimer: unfortunately, I have not yet visited Esfahan myself but it is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Iran and I hope to have the chance to visit myself next year. But this box of postcards was a gift from my aunt, who still appreciates snail mail. Much like myself.

I haven’t gotten around to sending a few out (I hope my friends don’t mind), but I will get to that. Maybe. In time.


3. Traditional Iranian Prayer Rug

Alright I might have accidentally photographed this one backwards (you can tell by the inverse script) but regardless, this was a gift from another aunt who overheard me mentioning that finding one in the USA is too much of a hassle and I needed to get one for my new place. She works quick.

4. Iran Pristine Visions, Photography by Davood Vakilzadeh

A gift from my aunt’s husband–a picture book with a bit of history. A sort of travel guide if you will.


5. Button-up shirt and Montos

Monotos are long clothing that usually comes down to the knees and have buttons or a zipper down the middle. Sort of like super-light trench-coat shirts. Especially in the workplace, women are required to wear monotos for modesty purposes. Since most of my shirts only look good tucked in, I had a good excuse to splurge on a few!


6. Rumi Hidden Music, Translated by Maryam Mafi, Azima Kolin

This was the top of my list. My favorite poet’s original Farsi poetry with translated into English on the opposite page (my Farsi is not quite elaborate enough to be able to easily comprehend ancient poetry, but the original Farsi is incredibly more beautiful (Sorry, English) so I needed both). This book also has beautiful illustrations throughout the poetry.


7. Watercolor Hijab

Apparently watercolor hijabs are trending in Iran, which is lucky for me because I think it’s a beautiful print and I’m pretty excited that I got my hands on this one! Still looking for a few more hijabs to take back with me because Iranians have certainly mastered the art.

p.s. Like the scarf? Get ready because I taste an Iranian scarf giveaway in the near future~
p.p.s See whatelse is upcoming on JooJoo Azad here



“Anyone pulled from a source

longs to go back”

Photo: My cousin double checking to make sure we packed everything as we get ready to return home


Just returned late last night from a 3-day trip to one of my favorite places on the globe that I’ve visited thus far—the Caspian Sea in northern Iran. I’ve always felt a strong pull toward expansive bodies of water, as you might remember me mentioning in my little reflective post, and the first time I visited the Caspian Sea was where my soul has felt the most at rest. The endless waves excite my spirits, clear my lungs, and brighten my face—the line from Rumi’s poetry translated into English at the beginning of this post really strikes a chord here. A feeling only poetry can really put into words.

Prior to the 3-day trip شمال [shomal], or north of Iran, I spent another several days in the Alborz mountain range, which also lacked wifi. So now, one week and 800 photos later, I am incredibly refreshed to jump back into blogging regularly (whatever that means) and have too much to share with you (I still haven’t forgotten about my Morocco shoots)! So, to pressure myself to stay on track and give you an idea of what is to come, here is a little schedule I’ve put together of what you can expect in the next couple of weeks on JooJoo Azad:

 8/17th (today)
8/19th: 7 Things from Iran A mini documentation of the beauties I’ve purchased in Iran
8/21th: Daily-wear in Iran
8/23st: Postcards from Iran Part I A collection of photos from the motherland, as requested, to share an image of what Iran really is rather than what you might see on your television
8/25rd: Vlog from the Caspian Sea My first vlog—eep!
8/27th: Postcards from Iran Part II Including photos from the trip north and the sea! (And how women in Iran can enjoy the sea, too)
8/29th: Social Action: The 101 on the Israel-Palestine Conflict—What is Going on Right Now, Exactly? An outfit post from Morocco (one of my favorites yet!) and a quick, super-informative, easy-to-read post giving you an overview of what is currently happening on the ground to your fellow human beings and how you can take action through fashion. [EN: This is a post you won’t want to miss!]

 Not on the above schedule but upcoming: A giveaway from Iran!

 OH! I almost forgot to mention! To celebrate JooJoo Azad’s 1-year birthday (I cannot believe I’ve been doing this for a year now!) last August 10th, we’re officially moving to a real domain name this week! http://www.joojooazad.com is coming to computer screen near you, so don’t forget to change your bookmarks/shortcuts/whatever you use to read the blog (p.s. If you follow my site from a 3rd party i.e. Bloglovin, Google Friend Connect, etc, I changed everything so you don’t have to)!


Thank you, truly, for an amazing year (and one week)!

P.S. I’d love to hear what sort of posts you’d like to see more of! What from the list above do you want to see more of/less of?

Now on to you!


Looking forward to hearing your thoughts—see you in the comments!



Just a little status update from where I like to call home. Trying my best to sick to my niche and not turn JooJoo Azad into a travel blog, but it’s rather difficult to refrain from sharing photos from a contry that is only heard about (negatively), and not seen.
The weekends in Iran (Friday and sometimes Thursday) largely consist of soaking up the warm sun and tea and playing Hokm (an Iranian card game) for hours on end. I feel so much lighter without my phone glued to my side or feeling the urge to consistantly check my email. Life has finally slowed down just a bit and I’m starting to catch my breath.
I’ve only been in Iran for about 3 weeks but already I have learned and grown so much, talking with my boss, family, and the people around me. I haven’t quite broken out my camera because I’m not too psyched about feeling like a tourist, but I promise I’ll publish a quick little photo diary within the next few weeks (a few little snapshots are already up on my Instagram) because I think it is really important for people to see what Iran truly is, rather than what you might have heard from the news. So stay tuned!
As always, thank you for reading~