An Inside Look Into Rare Co. Vintage

philadelphia

One of the advantages of living in or visiting a city is finding local gems like Rare Co. Vintage. Located on a side street in Queen Village, Rare Co. is a carefully curated antique furniture store. While I was exploring Rare Co. I couldn’t help but think that it felt like going through someones attic.  The feeling of  intrigue while looking over objects from the past, later followed by the thrill in finding a potential treasure. An interesting fact about Rare Co. is that the space is divided in sections where each section features a unique interior perspective. At first glance, everything might seem as though it is placed in a random order but that is not the case at all! Instead, the owner puts thought into the placement and selection of each object and furniture piece in each section. Unfortunately, when I was exploring the store and taking these photos it was during the time of the transition and setting up of the sections. Therefore, the finalized set ups are not featured in the photos on this post. Although everything was being moved around, the store was still fun to explore!

Although Rare Co. is mostly a furniture store, it does offer plenty of small trinkets, books and other miscellaneous objects. I found various books, vintage clothing, globes and figurines etc. I really liked the Black and White framed photograph pictured in the photograph below.

The store window of Rare Co.

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Grabbed a shameless mirror selfie, notice the B&W edit (trying to be vintage here folks!).

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But did you notice the flying pig though?

The check out counter of the store.

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Yes, that is me in the reflection, again!

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Address and Instagram info.

Another great thing about Rare Co. is that it joined to Moon + Arrow, a socially-responsible and environmentally conscious boutique for handmade and vintage jewelry, clothing, accessories, decor etc. The staff in both Rare Co. and Moon + Arrow are friendly, knowledgeable and willing to assist anyone that comes in. This place is a must for antique lovers and anyone who enjoys exploring thrift shops!

The street view of Rare Co.

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The Traveling Musician from Belgium

People

Tell me about yourself.

So, my name is Anouar, and I am a Belgian Moroccan. I currently live in Brussels but have also lived in Morocco, Spain and other places. I have moved around a little bit and have traveled and watched how people live. This has really inspired me to write songs. Before doing music, I studied economy and information tech.

Tell me a little bit about what you do or where you are working?

So, my full time job is to play music and write songs. I would say that it is like a double full-time job every week because I need to work 24 hours. In the night and during the morning, my brain is always working. It’s true, it’s a really tough job! I really have no time to do anything else because I need to focus on the music and there is always something to do. Every day you wake up in the morning and need to answer emails, go over everything you need to do that day, and go to rehearsals.

I don’t write songs every day. Once every six months, I usually have one month where I write 4 songs and then five months of nothing. It’s not something I can decide because it is something that comes and leaves when it wants. I also organize jam sessions and concerts in Brussels. I live every day in the music field and the music world.

 

 

 

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Can you tell me how you decided to become a musician? At what point of your life did you decide that this was going to be what you wanted to do?

In my life, I have always had a point, a moment, I would even say 3-4 seconds that made me change everything in my life. Sometimes, I could be walking somewhere, when I see something and I say “Okay, this is what I want to do” or “This is what I need to do”. Sometimes I completely change my mind about different things.

One day I went to see a rap concert in Morocco and while I was at this concert, I could see the energy between the people and the guys on the stage. This energy was so strong and powerful, that I said “You know, I love this energy.” Before, I never played guitar. I never played any other instrument and I wasn’t even singing. In fact, I was 19 and had nothing to do with the music field. I didn’t even know if I could sing (laugh).

When I saw this energy, I just loved it and said “Wow, this is so strong, this is something I want to experiment with”. The power that people give you when you are on stage, and the power that you give back to these people is just crazy. That was the day I changed my life and decided that I wanted to be a musician and an artist.

An artist, I think, is a state of mind. You either have it or you don’t. Being an artist is someone who wants to give, someone who wants to share, someone who has a different view and is always exploring the different views and different ways to think, say and express themselves. It is something that you might not even know you have. It could be something that you can discover later in life, or much earlier. To be short, I really discovered the music field in a second. One day I said, “This is what I want to do” and I followed through with every step that I needed to in order to arrive to where I am now.

What do you love most about music?

What I love most about music is how it is like another universe. When you are playing your guitar, alone in your room or wherever, you are experimenting every single time. It’s like a language, it’s beautiful. You are talking to the guitar and she is talking to you or he is talking to you. Take it as you will (laugh). This is really great.

Music is also a way for me to express myself. Sometimes people can’t find a way or a platform to say the things they want to say. I think I am a pretty passionate man, I really have this passion where if I love something, I really love it. Deeply. When I had discovered music and performance, I just really started to enjoy writing songs and singing. I think I found something in the music that helped me towards saying what I want to say, to express and share.

 

 

Is there a moment in your musical journey that you can share with me?

Although I see everything differently now, there is an event that happened to me when at that time, I thought it was a spectacular moment. It was when I saw my name written on the Olympia Hall. The Olympia Hall is a really famous hall in Paris, all of the big artists of the world have played and still play there. It’s like the Madison Garden of Paris. When I saw my name written on this place, I realized that everything is possible. The week before, I couldn’t even have imagined that I would be playing there.

I think that every single moment in the music is special because every single step in the music is just crazy. When you start your life without even thinking about doing music and then you start doing music and being on stage, its crazy. You start playing with your first band, its crazy. You’ve been signed by Columbia Records, it’s crazy. You release your first album, its crazy. You hear your song on the radio for the first time, its crazy. You see people buying your album in the stores, it all seems crazy.

In the end, everything is possible with music although it usually seems impossible. There are so many musicians, artists and people playing music and everyone was telling me that it was impossible. “Go get yourself a job, do this, do that”, everyone is always telling you that your dream is impossible. In the end, you will realize that you need to follow you dream. You are living your dream every day and everything that happens is a special moment.

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Can you tell me what projects you are currently working on?

I am currently working on my second album. This album is much harder that the first one because the first album was everything I had written so far in life.  From the first time I had started writing, till the release of the first album. I put most of my ‘nice’ and ‘good’ songs on the first album. It was about 5 or 6 years of writing.

After an artist releases their first album and is starting to write for the second, they have to do it in one year or 18 months. Two years max. During these two years (that you need to be writing new music), you also need to be touring to promote your first album. You need to focus on the business of music as well as the music itself in this industry. You don’t have a lot of time to really write songs. Your mind is always somewhere else because you are busy with something. That is why this second album is taking more time than I expected, I still don’t have all the songs. Only about half. (laugh)

This is my project now, focusing on my second album. Arriving from nowhere (I was playing in little bars here and there) and then signing with Columbia Records, playing on bigger stages and being interviewed by different media platforms, everything changed for me in 3 months (although it felt like a second). During these three months, I didn’t really realize that afterwards,  it would be so difficult to come back with something better. Especially since people will be expecting you to come up with something ‘better’. After mainly playing in bars, I had no experience with these kind of expectations. I arrived with my album and just threw it out there without knowing what the future will bring me. With this first album, a listener can say “Coming from something to nothing, this music is okay”. When I return with a second album, people will not be so easy on me because they will be expecting much more out of me and my music. They will be expecting me to have understood and have learned from my experiences. They will expect me to know what I want and where I want to go (unlike when I released my first album).

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement thus far?

I will say that every day is a new achievement. At this moment, I am following my dream. This is an achievement. It is not easy and not everyone has the courage and strength to say “You know what, maybe I will live in a different way. Maybe I will live with lower income for the moment and have to do this or that. Deprive myself from this and that, but I am following what I want”. Many people are not ready to do something ‘crazy’ and leave their stable jobs for a risky future. That is why I think that my achievement, was me throwing all of my securities behind me and taking the risk to follow what I wanted to do and live the way that I wanted to live. I think I have arrived to a certain point in life when I threw away the handcuffs that society puts on each of us. That pressure of being like everyone else and fit into a ‘box’. Society wants each of us to look, dress, talk, work and be in a certain way, which I can do, why not? That’s why I think the bigger achievement is to take off these handcuffs that society puts on you and just live life the way I want. When you throw away these ‘handcuffs’, you live free.

Can you share some of your future goals with me?

First of all, I love the music field and I love my job. When I get on stage, I see people smiling. I see people receiving an energy, I see people getting something and taking it home with them. When I see these people happy with whatever it is they received, I hope to keep on doing this as long as I can. This is my goal.

I don’t really care if people say that I have a great voice or that I can play the guitar well. This doesn’t matter to me. The ego that I could’ve had, I have thrown it away. I just want to give to other people. If my listeners can have a good time and go back home with good energy, that gives them strength to keep on believing and living, then that is enough for me. My goal is to do this and give as much as I can for as long as possible.

What inspires you?

What inspires me are the people I meet. Everyone that I meet, has something to give or a story to share. Every single person that I meet is a whole world. I spend quite some time traveling and I spend this time meeting and listening to people. Like today for example, just listening to you and your life story, I imagine so many things. I try to understand what you do, how you do it, and why you do the things you do. I have been analyzing the whole day but that is just some thing I always do. What inspires me are the stories of every day. It’s not something special but what a person thinks about every day. What people think about love, loneliness, friendship etc. I have songs that talk about more of the the philosophical side of things.

I think my life changed the day that I decided to be positive. The day I decided to do this, to be positive with every single step throughout the day, I realized that positive attitudes started to surround me. Seeing the world in a more positive light also inspires me. For example, I have a song called Life is Beautiful which talks about taking a look around yourself and noticing the beauty. You just have to open your eyes and see it. If you don’t want to see it then you will never notice this beauty. I really like the song by Bobby McFerrin, Don’t Worry, Be Happy, because this is also my philosophy.  Everything that happens to you is an opportunity to change something in your life. Good or bad, it needs to be processed and you have to keep on going.

Going back to being inspired by peoples stories, I have this song called Lost In Babylon. It is about someone whom I saw coming to Europe from Africa. This guy arrived with all this will and energy to become something, to do something with his life. Yet when he arrived to this country, he realized that he did not know the language and the codes of these people. He became lost in Babylon. For me, Babylon is a big city like Paris or Brussels. Its nothing bad or good, but it is a place where so many people are speaking different languages and there are so many rules. This is an example of when I saw a person and their story inspired me to write a song.

Can you share some of your hobbies with me?

One of my hobbies is to play scrabble (laugh). I have become addicted and like to play online with people. I can be on the bus, anywhere, waiting for something and I turn on my phone and finish the game.

I also like to fish! For me it is like meditation. When you sit in front of the sea and you have your fishing rod in your hand, you look out into the immensity of the sea and don’t look and think about what is happening behind you. You are just focused on what kind and how much bait you need in order to get some action. It’s like I forget everything in my life that is currently happening to me. I don’t mean that I am having troubles but all of us need moments where we need to disconnect from reality. Some find this in meditation, yoga, going to church/mosque/synagogue etc others find it in sports or hobbies. Regardless, each person needs a place or hobby where they can disconnect. For me, scrabble and fishing are my appreciated hobbies (laugh).

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Can you tell me of some causes, issues or ideas that you are passionate about?

I have many things that I feel concerned about. For example, on my recent tour throughout the different cities in France. The theme of the tour was about fair trade. This is one of the causes that I think is very important to support. Traveling around the world, I have seen the local people and farmers who are really poor. Yet the prices for what they produce and which is later sold in Europe or USA is ridiculous.  So I wrote a song about this, the song is called Fair Trade and can be found on YouTube. This song explains that the world does not need charity. Developing countries today don’t need anyone to send them boats of rice or whatever. They just need people and companies to come and buy their products for the prices that these products deserve to be priced at.

For example, if you go to Columbia to buy coffee, pay these people the real price of what the coffee is worth instead of taking advantage of them. When you choose to pay the deserving price, you allow these people and their families to live a better life. They can afford to send their children to school. This money can be used in the community, allowing new schools to be built etc. By doing this and changing how we consume, each of us can change the world a little bit. Therefore, fair trade is something I support. If you buy anything with a label of fair trade, you are supporting the families and country from where you are buying the product.

I think that if there was something I wanted to do or spend money on in the future, it would be to invest in the next generation. I think education is important and it is something that everyone needs to support. Maybe someday I will choose a place and perhaps have a school constructed and give it to the community. Education is the base for each of us. By supporting education we are supporting a better world.

Is there any advice or personal life lessons you could share with me?

Be positive and follow your dreams.

If you liked the photo interview and want to keep up with Anouar, follow him on his instagram or facebook! Otherwise, till next time!!

A Dreamer Studying Sociology

People

Photo by Irina Belashov

“What beautiful eyes she has”, was the first thought I had when I met Britney H. I think that I had wanted to do a creative photo interview with Britney since the moment I met her. Every time we ran into each other during various Philly events, we would discuss how we need to find time to create something interesting and fun. Britney suggested us potentially using a piece of fabric to create movement in this collaboration. The location chosen was Washington Avenue Pier. I am strongest in my work when photographing outdoors but this particular session was a little bit more challenging for me. Since we could only do this session in the morning, I had to deal with harsh sunlight that every photographer genuinely dreads. Regardless, it was a great experience and I enjoyed Britney’s down to earth character. It was a pleasure trying to convey her personality and character through my photography.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

So, my real name is Brittney and my instagram handle is Olive, because I didn’t want to be found by my coworkers when I started my instagram.

Which do you go by now? Because I have you as Olive on my phone (laugh).

Both? I respond to both of them actually. People with whom I have relationships outside of my photo work usually call me Brittney. You can call me either one. I’ve lived in the city (Philadelphia) now for ten years but am from a little, suburban town called Perkasie. Currently, I live between Northern Liberties and Old City on Penn’s Landing. I work full time in HR at Kimpton Hotels and am also a part time student at UPenn, going for a degree in sociology. I am a really big fan of books, literature and words in general. I read a lot and if I am not reading a book for school then I am reading a book for pleasure. In fact, I usually have 2 or 3 books going at one time. I really want to write a book. I keep on creating timelines so I can sit down and work on it but every time I sit down and try to write, nothing ever comes out. So like I want to write the book, as a personal project but it’s just taking a very long time.  

Photo by Irina Belashov

Can you tell me the genre you want to write about?

It is based on a real life experience. It’s about how life moves for someone who is incarcerate versus someone who is not incarcerated. About how much life changes outside of that whereas nothing changes inside of it. Just to show the drastic difference of how time goes on when someone just sits there, dormant, waiting to be free again.

What do you like so much about sociology that made you decide to study it?

Coming from a really small town, I never really understood people’s differences. I mean the town I grew up in was probably 98% white, about 10,000 people. To me, it was a really sheltered life when compared to the city, where I realized how fascinating it is how we are all so different. All of us have such different views, backgrounds and perceptions of life. Yet somehow, we are all functioning together as one and just trying to live in harmony as much as we can. I just love studying how this happens, how people can come together despite their differences and work for the greater good. For sociology, I want to learn as much as I can about people in order to help them move forward, overcome challenges and become better people. I can’t do this until I fully understand how race, class, ethnicity and background affect people. So I am kinda looking into the future by starting from the beginning.

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Photo by Irina Belashov

What would you say is your greatest achievement so far?

I actually think that one of my greatest achievements is going back to school. I mean, I had gone back before and had fallen into that trap of where I thought “this is it, this is the life I’ve chosen”. I am really proud that I made the decision to put in the effort and go back, all while balancing work and school and pushing it to one degree further by going to UPENN. I feel that when I decide to do something, I either go all the way or don’t do it at all. The fact that I am still here and doing it to my best ability, is one of my greatest accomplishments. I think making a change in order to make that conscious efforts to better yourself is important and I see that as an achievement.

 

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Can you share some of your future goals with me?

One of my goals is to see a new country or part of our country (USA) every year. So just to see a new place every year is really important to me and I think it makes me a better person. For a work goal, I want to be in a position where someone reports to me. I want to be at a point in my career where people come to me for advice, guidance and direction versus me always being the one asking people for it. I enjoy the process of teaching and feel like I would enjoy the opportunity to teach someone what I’ve learned through my experiences. As for a school goal- one semester at a time! I want to make the experience mine. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other people. I remember my first class at UPENN, within 5 minutes everyone whipped out their Macbook Airs while I had a 50 cent notebook and a pen I stole from the last company I worked for. I remember feeling so bad about myself and thinking “how dumb did I think I could come to UPENN and get away with a notebook”. Although I did end up buying a computer, figuring out how to not compare myself to others and wishing I was like them is something I also consider both a goal and accomplishment.

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What inspires you?

Color and texture inspire me. Although I am not outwardly colorful or wear anything textured, I am very inspired by them. I try to bring it into my space and often find myself being attracted to and moving towards it. Cinematography and just the whole movie/film world also inspire me. What I like to tell people “I am not ever really living on earth, in my mind, I’m in some sort of movie, in another world or in a dream.” Rarely is my mind where I actually am. I feel like I picture movies, I think in movies and I imagine movies into my own world. This inspires me to create “movie moments”, like when you are riding your bike and you raise your arms up into the air. I see a scene like this in a movie and I think to myself “Let me put this into my life. Let me do this and feel the magic”. Silly stuff like that inspires me. Sounds cheesy (laugh).

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What are your hobbies?

I love to bake and cook. As a lactose intolerant pescatarien with a honey and potato allergy, I had to learn how to make food that’s good for me, is wholesome and will sustain and give me protein etc. I have been a vegetarian pescatarian for 14 years, practically half of my life. I cut out dairy almost 10 years ago and my food allergies were a much recent discovery. All of this really forced me to learn to be creative when baking and cooking. I show my love through baked goods and I love to cook because I know it will make me feel good and get me through the day. I like to go to the grocery store and plan out my meals and recipes. Sundays I spend cooking, it’s become a good routine for me!

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Can you tell me of any causes, issues or ideas you are passionate about?

In terms of cause, animal rights are very important to me. I grew up on a farm where we had goats, pigs and sheep.  I would often look into these animals eyes amd I feel like this gesture made me a changed person. Not enough people take the time to make that connection. People are quick to talk about cats and dogs having specific personalities but they don’t consider that cows, pigs and sheep also have personalities and feelings. Something I’ve always felt strongly about is that is people were more exposed to farm or other animals, they would start to think differently.

In terms of causes, bullying. I was bullied when I was in school. It started from casual bullying when I was in elementary, I was taller than all the rest of the girls. I had big boobs and big feet which resulted in me constantly getting picked on. In middle school, when I really started to figure out my own style, people were really mean. They threatened to pull my pants down in the hallway, because they didn’t like my baggy pants. In high school, people would put gum in my hair, someone would spit spitballs at me etc. Bullying, for me, is a personal subject. We need to have more conversation about it. We need to better educate our children about it. We need to better educate our educators so they know what to look for, how to stop it and how to intervene. I think there needs to be more awareness because bullying really hurts people emotionally. So yes, I am passionate about anti-bullying and bullying awareness.

For the idea portion of this question I would like to say compassion. I’m a very much “Live and let live” kind of person. Except for me, it’s about having general compassion towards people, understanding others, having empathy towards them and just not being so quick to judge. I just feel like that is the direction humankind will choose to go in the future. This kind of goes back to the animal rights I mentioned, just having compassion for other living things and not being so self-centered.

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Is there any advice or personal life lessons you would like to share?

One of my favorite quotes from one my favorite authors, Christopher Gutierrez,“Everyday, I strive to be a little less sh*tty than I was before”. Chris is from the band Fall Out Boy, and is known as the Chris from the line “Hey Chris” in their song Grenade Jumper, (Hey Chris, you were our only friend, And I know this is belated, we love you back). Chris went through some serious sh*t in his life and he wrote about these experiences. I’ve met him a few times, he is an amazing person. This quote to me is so simple and yet so honest. I want to be a little less sh*tty than I was before. You don’t have to make a leap but a little step to be a better person, better friend, better partner, better child, better parent, better sibling, better student or a better worker. You can always make that one little, tiny step to be a little less sh*tty. I think this has really stuck with me and this is what I would encourage other to enact in their lives.

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If you liked the interview and want to keep up with Britney, follow her on her instagram! Otherwise, till next time! Dosvedaniya!