It was Wednesday morning, 9:46am when I woke up to a series of texts, “I’m here.” “I’m outside” “Ok, you’re sleeping, so I’ll be over in Document Coffee down the street.” And that’s how you know Misako is a good friend of mine here in Los Angeles – 1) cuz she does her own thing, and 2) because of all the cool cafés in Koreatown, she chose one of the hippest. In addition to this, we have the same taste in music (new and old school rnb), she knows every internet meme known to mankind (which is good to keep me up with the times), and she’s the healthiest person I know (which should say a lot).
Misako is one of my (only) friends in Los Angeles, so when we do spend time together it goes a little something like this:
“Hey, let’s go get lunch?”
“Sure, where to?”
“Oh, I don’t know…”
*looks up every vegetarian restaurant in the Greater Los Angeles area, but still goes to Veggie Grill*
You can never go wrong with Veggie Grill. We’ll eat a “chicken” buffalo wrap, or two, and probably stop into a GNC, distract the employee, and
steal some protein chew candies take some protein chew candies because they’re free. We’ll drive around Mid-City LA, and she’ll almost get pulled over at least two times because, ohp, was that a stop sign? Wait, can I park here? The night will end at Caffe Bene on Berendo in Koreatown to “get some work done” which usually just results in me just spilling all the deets of my love life. Right, back to why this relevant…
Misako is one of the people who remind me why I love to live in LA – that it’s arguably one of the most talented and healthiest places in the USA. She’s a dancer both in and out of the club (seriously follow her Instagram Stories), she goes on hikes in Griffith Park with and without a green juice in her hand, and she works in Social Media. Hang out with Misako in LA and she’ll teach you little things that’ll take you far in life, like using hummus as your salad dressing to give it more taste (and protein) – a tip she actually learned from one of her good friends, who’s a vegan who works at a juicery and also has a blog. Do you see the trend here?
When I finally did get out of bed, I met up with her at Document, and got to know more about her Los Angeles.
Locals of Los Angeles
Hometown: Born in Los Angeles,CA and raised in Pittsburgh,PA
LA neighborhood: Pico-Robertson
What you do in life/job: Blogger at FitFemFree
Ok, how bad is the traffic, really? Any secrets to get around the traffic?
Ehh, traffic can be a bit of a pain but what major metropolitan city doesn’t have traffic!? I think that I’ve been around it for so long it just seems normal to me. I avoid getting caught up in LA traffic by trying to do anything that requires a lot of driving very early in the morning. I’m talkin’ before 6 am early! And never driving out to the beach past 10 am. Unless you want to spend a couple hours in traffic and then another hour or so looking for parking, listen to me: DON’T DO IT.
What is the secret to a nice looking Instagram like yours?
Dawwww, I’m blushing! I take most of my pictures in natural lighting, brighten and highlight when necessary and stick to one VSCO filter! I honestly, truly (Joanne the Scammer reference) just try to make my Instagram the most accurate representation of my life and hope it’s well received. I really do eat a lot of greens, love live music, hike, travel and drink an excessive amount of green juice. I tried to do the whole muted, monochromatic thing but I’m such a loud, colorful person it didn’t work for me. So I guess my secret would be to just be yourself and your “aesthetic” will shine through.
Say you’re driving down Sunset Boulevard during Golden Hour; what songs are you listening to?
Well for the next couple of months I probably won’t listen to anything other than Frank Ocean’s Blonde album because it’s SO GOOD. But any other day I’d probably be bumping some music by my husband Drake, Chance the Rapper or ma girl SZA. Her remix of PARTYNEXTDOOR’s song “Come and See Me” will forever be one of my favorite songs. Listen to it here!
I feel like people don’t give LA a chance. What are some places to go that make you fall in love with LA and the “LA culture?”
I think some of the best “places” in LA are provided by nature. Corny, I KNOW, but I really do believe that. It’s pretty hard to dislike LA after laying on a beautiful beach in Malibu or reaching the peak of Griffith Park. If I had to pick a specific place in LA, though, I’d say the Little Tokyo plaza in Downtown LA is a great place. It’s home to some of the best sushi you’ll find in Los Angeles and the cutest little stores!
Lunch at Vegan Glory
Shopping at SPROUTS natural supermarket
View from the top of Runyon Canyon
LA is probably the most health-conscious city in the US, if not the world. What’s a health food, vitamin, smoothie, or fitness craze everyone has to try when they’re here?
I definitely think a hike at Griffith Park is a must (or Runyon Canyon if you’re feelin’ particularly bougie), followed by some delicious Pressed Freeze at either the Hollywood or Grove Pressed Juicery! Chocolate-vanilla swirl, topped with some cacao nibs, almond butter and strawberries. MY MOUTH IS WATERING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT!
What was it like growing up in Los Angeles compared to what Los Angeles is today?
Being in LA as a kid I definitely didn’t appreciate all of the culture and everything happening around me. I really don’t think my family ever ventured outside of Mid-City/Fairfax area when I was a kid but now I thrive on discovering LA’s hidden gems. Having the opportunity to leave LA, live in a small town and come back as an adult definitely made me appreciate being able to call this city my home. I’d say the biggest difference would be how much certain areas have developed, specifically Downtown LA. When I moved back to Los Angeles to attend FIDM I lived Downtown for a couple years and it is easily my favorite area now.
Fairfax / Mid-City LA
You have a day off – describe your perfect LA day from morning to night?
Wake up around 7:30 am, drive down to Santa Monica and go for a run along the coast. Then I’d go have breakfast at Cafe Gratitude in Venice. After walking around Venice for a bit I’d head over to EDGE Performing Arts Center for a hip-hop class with my favorite teacher, Dean Bais. From there I would head to Larchmont and meet up with a friend at Bricks and Scones to hang out and write. After that we’d head over to the Whole Foods on 3rd and make a big ol’ kale salad, cuz like we’re in LA and we do that, duh. I’d then head home to quickly shower and end the day by going to a concert at the Wiltern with my homies!
Where are your go-to nightlife spots?
The LINE Hotel in K-Town, ChaCha, The Virgil and BLACK. I don’t drink much anymore so as long as I have some good hip-hop to dance to I’M GUCCCCCCCI!
What is your friend circle like in LA?
The majority of my friends in LA I met through working in digital media, with the exception of one of my closest friends who I know from high school. I always say the hardest part about moving to LA is making a solid friend group, but once you start getting involved and doing the things you love you attract the right people into your life.
To follow more of Misako around the world, check out her blog here:
[In our “Locals of” series, we will be highlighting locals of each city we travel to. Go figure. These aren’t just randos walking down the street; they’re people we have personally connected with and vouch for in terms of knowing how to do their city right. They’ve got some juicy deets that might just change the way you see their cities and we want to share them with you.]