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: Iran: The Goods A mini documentation of the beauties I’ve purchased in Iran
8/20th: An outfit shoot from Morocco
8/21st: 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
8/23rd: Vlog from the Caspian Sea My first vlog—eep!
8/25th: Postcards from Iran Part II Including photos from the trip north and the sea! (And how women in Iran can enjoy the sea, too)
8/28th: 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! 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~


Hooray for the first shoot Alex and I took in Morocco!
I have to admit, it took a bit of time before we could get our first shoot done because a) we already were stared at a bit over my comfort level so I wasn't exactly the most excited to prance around in front of a camera and draw even more unnecessary attention/give people an actual reason to stare sooo I had to first get over that. (This shoot was taken right around Iftaar time, when everyone had scurried home to break their fast) (Per my request, of course--Alex's first choice was in the middle of the busiest intersection probably of all of Rabat...) But I promise that, based on the last shoot we did in Morocco, I've improved quite a lot at pretending like I don't see the families looking down at us from their pointed-arch-shaped windows.
The first week, contrary to what I had majoritily (my computer is telling me that this is not a real word?) packed, I dressed in rather dark colors and little patterns. We can thank Air France for that.
When arriving in the Casablanca airport I had to patiently wait through a married 30-year-old man offering to show me around, a sort of embarrassingly large language barrier, and groups of kids trying to sell me discounted taxi rides, only to figure out that my luggage has not yet arrived (and still would not for about 3 or so more days to come)!
During this time Alex and I were just ticking for a shoot, as we had not shot together for quite a bit, and so she so graciously loaned me some clothing for the day and decided why not? Stepping out of your comfort zone is part of the fun of fashion, afterall~                                                                                                                        
Location: Rabat, Morocco | Photos: Alex | Cardigan: Borrowed | Shirt: Borrowed | Jeans: H&M
P.S. No, I did not get a new drawstring purse--those are Alex's lenses (we didn't think it would be the wisest ide to leave them laying around, plus they sort of add to the look, no? hehe) but they would make a sweet wristlet!
P.P.S. There are a lot of cats! c;


I feel like time is continuously getting harder and harder to keep up with. (Yes, I know I always say this when I realize that another month is gone, but really, it’s starting to get sort of terrifying). I’ll be starting my first day at my internship today tomorrow (In Iran the workday starts from Saturday—the weekend is really just Friday (and sometimes Thursday too)), in a little over a month I’ll be living in my first apartment, a few weeks later classes will resume, and then three months later I’ll be back in the Middle East (Morocco!), and I already know that it will all pass with a blink of an eye. (Trying my best to make this the least bit depressing)!

But, no matter how long I try to delay the coming of August by ranting, July has come and gone and I need to get my shit together for what lies ahead. I’ve recently come to realize that I usually live by experiencing first and reflecting after, rather than taking the time to actually consider what will come of my actions before committing them. And for now, I feel as if I have done, and am still doing, too much experiencing and leaving little to no time left to breathe, sit, and reflect on the several past weeks, and for this reason I feel that time is melting between my fingers (and my blog remains un-updated, despite promises to the contrary—I will get on it this time, I promise)!

If you follow me on Instagram (yes that was link was my attempt at making you subliminally want to follow me) you might have seen this photo and know that I am now currently le motherland (aka Iran!) although all these photos are from Morocco because I am still quite backlogged with Morocco posts! (That are coming up--yes I am aware regular posting is a thing--that will happen soon enough!)

And now, for a little wrap-up of the times past~

Beautiful whites at the Hassan Tower in Rabat, Morocco
The view from one of my most favorite places in Morocco: the Oudaya. Watching the sunrise from the Oudaya is one of the few things in this world one can truly call perfect.

Exploring the Hassan Tower pre-shoot (photo credit: Youssef)

Most favorite icecream shop in Morocco the world (exculding Iran): Oliveries in Agdal, Rabat!



The kittens got more camera time than the actual castle (becuase how could you say no?!)



Ruins at an ancient castle in Rabat (now haunted by the largest/loudest birds known to man) (only sort of kidding)



First shoot from Morocco, going up within the next few days! (Can you guess what doesn't belong?)
(Photo credit: Alex)



A little hand-made instrument shop in the souk in Marrakech. Haggled the price down to $10 and then realized I wouldn't have room in my suitcase so I didn't buy it. Felt somewhat bad.



And finally, through these times of limited internet connection and unpredictable posting, a little graffiti message to all of my readers from the walls of Morocco:

Trying not to overwhelm with photos so I'll just post a few here and the rest on JooJoo Azad's Facebook page within the next week (which just hit 1k+ likes--thank you!) so be sure to like the page so you can make sure you don't miss the photos!
P.S. You can find Part 1 of this post here
P.P.S. I highly encourage you to stay updated with the genocide currently going on in Gaza, as the death toll continues to climb. My friend blogs about the issue at Sixteen Minutes to Palestine, definitley worth a minute of your time.


Ramadan is a month of fasting in which Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and other similar activities during daylight hours. Every year, this month falls on a different time, and it is based on the Arabic lunar month, and is believed to be the month that the Holy Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
This is one of the holiest times of the year (because of all the holes we’re creating in our stomach…hehe sorry bad joke), as Muslims use this time to focus on his/her relationship with God, read the Qur’an, and purify the body. Donations to the poor from Muslims also always spike during this time, as spending the day hungry really makes you appreciate what you have and helps to better empathize with those who unfortunately don’t. By the end of the day, you feel a lot lighter, mentally and physically, and you learn to really appreciate and value food, and not take it for granted. During this month a lot of people also try to abstain from other pleasurable things such as listening to music, shopping, etc, in order to really try to detach themselves from the materialistic aspects of this world.

Traditional Moroccan "Iftaar," the meal eaten to break the fast at dusk.
Of course, not everyone is required to fast. Young children, the elderly, or anyone sick or traveling do not fast because doing so could be harmful to the body, which would be contradictory to the purpose of fasting.  

TL;DR: Ramadan is sort of like a physical and mental juice cleanser…except without the juice because it’s a fast…and it’s not aimed to make you lose weight (although you probably will!) but to lose excess and unnecessary distractions in order to focus on self-improvement and spirituality.

You learn self-control, empathy for your fellow humans, and strengthen your relationship with God.

So okay it’s not really like a juice cleanser at all. Scratch that part.

Yum Yum Moroccan tea!
Ramadan ends with a huge celebration called “Eid-al-Fitr,” which includes a lot of eating (obviously), gift-giving, family-time-spending, long hours of dinner parties, and other traditions that vary based on family/region! This year, Eid al-Fitr will fall on Monday, July 28nd (wait is that actually tomorrow…) or the next day (it's based on the moon sighting!), so be sure to congratulate your Muslim friends on surviving another month of fasting!

But of course, you don’t have to be Muslim or even religious at all to fast! I encourage you to give it a go and try it out for a day or two (although the first week is always the hardest) and share your experiences!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or speak with your local friendly Muslim.* Traditions and interpretations do vary, so for best results consult with a variety of sources!
*beware: during Ramadan we get a bit grumpy after a long day of fasting, right before sunset, so best to save the questions until after we’ve broken fast for the day ;)


Ramadan Mobarak/Ramadan Kareem/Happy Ramadan to all who are observing! (maybe) Last day!

Talk to you in the comments! xx
P.S. Feel free/you’re encouraged to share this post with any and all your friends who might want to learn a thing or two about Islam/Ramadan. (Especially since this post took awhile to put together now that acessing my blog is a bit more difficult *cough* in Iran... 
P.P.S. On that note I am severely backlogged with posts from Morocco so just hold tight!
P.P.P.S. Again, my apologies for not posting in forever! I’m trying my best to resolve this!
P.P.P.P.S. The first photo is a little sneak peek from a shoot with Youssef Harzy--can't wait to show you the rest of the shoot!
P.P.P.P.P.S (this is really getting out of hand sorry about that)
Thoughts and prayers are going to the hundreds of innocent men, women, and children currently being massacred in occupied Palestine #supportgaza
I really do urge you to, if you haven't already, read up on what is happeneing--more than 1000 deaths in 20 days is not making world headlines, so it's up to you to do the research and learn for yourself what the situation is on the ground right now!



Oh my. So, Morocco has been absolutely lovely..

Just got back from the Sahara (read a bit on that adventure here

I hope that these photos make up at least a teeensy bit for my 2 week+ absence! This is by far the longest break that I've taken from blogging and I must say that I'm coming back feeling quite energized and ready to post regularly again (...anticipating that the wifi here in Morocco stays semi-reliable this next week)! Alex and I have been shooting quite a bit I can't wait to share with you the photos from our explorations! (In the meantime, I have been updating my Instagram regularly if you'd like to connect with me there! c; 
I've barely had time to breathe since arriving, what with missing bags (story + shoot to come!), a larger language barrier than expected, and a bit longer-than-usual stares, but from everything I've seen thus far, Morocco is filled with beautiful places and people! Unfortunately, I didn't make it through the bulk of my photos that I've taken so far, and so I still have quite a lot to share, but just think of this post as a I'm-still-alive-thanks-for-checking-in-on-me-I-promise-I'll-get-better-at-this post c; 

Iftaar in a little cafe in downtown Rabat~

Alex and I woke up to catch the sunrise and take a shoot (so excited to share this shoot with you!)

Camel pocket-square made from palm tree leaves because why the hell not

The legendary Moroccan tea on handmade Berber carpets

(Sort of secretly) shooting in little alleyways in Rabat!

One week left in Morocco and off to Iran! Thanks again for sticking around! 

To anyone who has visited/lives in Morocco: Any suggestions on places to see around the Rabat area for my last week here? c: 

P.S. OH and it totally slipped my mind I will definitely be posting a bit about Ramadan as well, momentarily, (especially since this is my first time observing Ramadan in a Muslim country) but in the meantime, Ramadan Mobarak to all who are fasting! (if you have any specific questions about Ramadan/anything please feel free to ask in the comments section and I'll try my best to answer in the next post!) 

Talk to you in the comments! 


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