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This is one of my secret guilty pleasures. I like to spend time alone at my local cafe/coffee shop. When I say “guilty pleasure” I know I make it sound like I’m hiding some illicit activity, but sitting in the coffee shop is not even the slightest bit naughty. In fact, it may even sound vanilla &/or mundane. Hey! This is MY pleasure, guilty or not. I call this a “guilty pleasure” because I do in fact feel slightly naughty/guilty for taking this time out of my day to sneak out of the house (I work from home) for a few short hours.

There is a big box coffee shop a few streets down from my house. A few times a week, I like to bring my noise-canceling headphones, my mobile phone (a.k.a. Alphonse), & my iPad (a.k.a. Richard) & just sit in a corner sipping my coffee drink & eat a pastry while listening to music &/or surf the Internet. Yeah, sure. I can do the exact same thing at home. I can brew my own pot of fresh coffee. I can sit in front of a larger computer & even surf the Internet in my slippers & house clothes. However, the coffee shop provides an escape, leaving the confines of an overly familiar place.

When I’m sitting in the coffee shop I feel like I’ve actually “gone out” even though I’m not that far away from home. I get the feeling as though I’m out of the house. I also like the feeling of being around an ever-changing environment full of strangers without having to interact with any of them. I love the smell of coffee & warm pastries, the dull buzzing sounds of machines, conversation, & cars passing through the bustling parking lot. From time-to-time a random stranger will approach me & ask a question or offer an unsolicited piece of advice (usually I get these advice from much older gentlemen), but mostly I am ignored. I don’t mind. I like being cocooned in my tiny little bubble, nestled in my “usual spot”, sipping my now lukewarm caffeinated beverage.

If the seats weren’t so uncomfortable, I could probably while away a couple of hours here at this coffee shop. I usually spend only 1 hour (at most 2 hours) here, then I pack up my belongings & head home to finish my work & chores. (I must say that I am extremely fortunate to be able to work from home.) Spending this private time at the coffee shop brings a little piece of relaxation in my daily routine of working at my desk job, doing household chores, & care taking for my shattered-and-put-back-together family. Then, when I get home I am refreshed & ready to get back to work. I don’t do this every day, just once or twice a week. It is my little escape.

Well, it’s time for me to go home. My time is up. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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Uniqlo Coming To San Francisco via Refinery29

Ok, I am not a religious person, but I must say “Hallelujah!”  Yes, yes, yes!  My wishes have been fulfilled!  My absolute, most favorite clothing brand of all time, UNIQLO, will be opening several new store locations throughout the world  within the near future, & guess what?!  My local city San Francisco is on this list of locations!!!  Yes, that means that my all-time favorite clothing brand from Japan will be opening a new store near me, sometime in the future.

For those of you who have never heard of this brand, UNIQLO is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer & retailer with affordable prices.  UNIQLO’s fashion style has been compared to GAP clothing, but with the retail price tag equivalent of H&M.  What started as an affordable unique clothing brand only sold in Japan (as are most Japanese clothing brands), UNIQLO has expanded its International branches & now have retail stores all around the world including: Hong Kong, mainland China, Thailand, Russia, Taiwan, etc. with it’s only U.S. retail store residing in New York.

Right now the very famous Japanese clothing brand UNIQLO is conducting a major expansion project & is expecting to open more flagship stores & smaller shops in various cities around the world including: New York (Manhattan), Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Connecticut, New Jersey & London.  Some, or most of these stores will most likely not open any time in the near future, as UNIQLO is also geared to create a new clothing collection with Lady Gaga’s stylist: Nicola Formichetti (which will probably debut first).

Here are some of my quick thoughts on UNIQLO’s expansion project:

  • More retail stores are scheduled to open in New York, especially in the Manhattan district.  I personally, don’t understand why this should or needs to be done, since Manhattan already has a 5-level flagship store that is more than capable of meeting consumer demand.
  •  I’m not quite sure how the New Jersey store will come to be, since most New Jersey-ites schlep themselves across the Hudson river all the way to New York to do most of their major retail shopping.
  • Connecticut?  Really?!  Well, I guess if that’s what you want, but I don’t really see the point. (Please refer back to my New Jersey comment.)
  • I don’t have much to say about the “windy city” Chicago, since I don’t know much about that city itself…but I’ve heard it’s a growing fashion hotspot, so I can kind of see how a UNIQLO retail store might work out there.  We will have to see after its first year’s sales stats.

Last but not least…

  • I heard about the rumor of UNIQLO planning on opening a California retail location since last year, & my immediate (instant) thought was that Los Angeles would be the first California city to have a retail store.  I think I am on track with the correct prediction.  I just have a gut feeling about this.  Los Angeles has a larger Japanese population compared to any Bay Area city near San Francisco, including S.F. (not that ethnicity should matter).  Also, Los Angeles is considered to be one of the largest fashion capitals in the world.  So, I really wouldn’t be surprised if Los Angeles opened up a retail store first.  It would make more sense.  In fact, I would be more surprised if San Francisco opened up a retail store before Los Angeles.

It doesn’t matter if it’s not anytime soon, just as long as they do actually open a store location in my local city.  I just can’t believe that this rumor is now confirmed to be a fact.  I have visited the New York Manhattan flagship location, & the various retail locations around Shanghai, China.  Also, I often shop at the various retail stores scattered around Tokyo (in Japan), including their exclusive t-shirt shop in Harajuku called UT UNIQLO…& I can definitely say that…being one of UNIQLO’s biggest fans…I am so overjoyed to hear this exciting news!!

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