Shout Out L.A. | Meet Lauren Bilanko
We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Bilanko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Since the Pandemic I have put a lot more thought into the idea of a WORK / LIFE balance. I am an extremely creative individual and I have always considered my WORK to be my LIFE. In order to find a healthy balance, I started to think about PRODUCTIVITY and PLAY. I calculated how much time I spent on everything I did each day for a month. This allowed me to very clearly see what influences had a positive and negative effect on my life. I am not someone who adheres well to a rigid daily schedule, so in order to change my habits, I had to get creative in disciplining myself intuitively to find this balance. I started with an outlined schedule until I found my rhythm, and now I adjust each day as needed, cutting out the things that have a negative effect so I can maintain a clear and creative mind. I break my day up into 8 hours of PLAY, 8 hours of PRODUCTIVITY, and 8 hours of SLEEP. Typically PLAY and PRODUCTIVITY are intermixed, allowing PLAY to provide necessary breaks.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
This journey has taken me 22 years. It has not always been easy. I have always overcome challenges by doing what I love, and sharing stories with others. I began the first chapter of my professional career as an artist, photographer by trade. I traveled all over the world and had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented humans on the planet. My personal work consisted of stories told through portraits and cinematic narratives. The second chapter began when Luis and I opened the Twenty Sided Store. My passion for storytelling and bringing people together took shape in the gaming community. Dungeons & Dragons got me thinking about my creative work in a whole new way. I love to create projects where people interact with the work to get immersed in the story. Over the past couple of years I have been creating a world called Mira and developing game systems to create interactive immersive storytelling experiences. As this project grows, I now find myself entering into the third chapter of my life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would begin each day by heading over to The West Cafe or Oslo for coffee, Then head to Domino Park to play Bocce Ball. After that we would have brunch at 5 Leaves or Rabbit Hole. In the evenings we would go see Reverend Vince and the Love Coir or DJ Preskool at Union Pool, Play Skee Ball at Full Circle Bar or Ping Pong at Jack Bar. On a nice day we could take the ferry to Rockaway Beach and get Tacos at the Surf Club or grab burgers at Rippers for lunch and then catch an Adam Cordone magic burlesque show at Whit’s End for dinner. After a long week of walking everywhere, we could relax on the roof and eat at any of the amazing restaurants on Grand Street – M Shanghai, Caracas, St. Mazie. If you are in NYC you must have pizza. Within a 10 minute walk we have several choices – Emmy Squared, Leo, L’industrie, Roberta’s… oh and we can’t forget Joe’s and Vinny’s! On a rainy day we can check out City Reliquary, go to a movie at Nitehawk, or see who’s performing at Pete’s Candy Store.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am so grateful for my partner Luis, his love and support provides a clear and happy headspace for me to take risks and follow my dreams. Over the past 10 years the Twenty Sided community has challenged me to push the boundaries of what I thought was possible and I hope I have been able to do the same for them. I am constantly inspired by my friends, family, and all of the strangers I have met along the way, and I would like to give a special shout out to Tara and Mike at Strala Yoga for creating the compass.
Twenty Sided Store