A new new new start

makersSo about 5 years ago I got a fresh start and went in a completely new direction from where I had been heading. And I kinda just walked away from the tech world and straight into the food industry. Not entirely, but enough that I let a lot of my internet based projects fall by the webside.

I started working and flourishing in professional kitchens and while I’ve maintained a lot of my tech roots and relationships, I haven’t been as good at developing new content. Now I have a new start of sorts to look forward to and I’m looking to jump back on the bandwagon and start combining the old new me with the new new me. I plan to write about food and other creative endeavors of being a well rounded human being.

So I hope you’ll follow along for the ride. It should be fun, delicious and beautiful. All the things that make up a good life I’ve carved out for myself.




There’s more to my story. . .

Amidst what became one of the craziest years of my life, (employment transitions, TEDxPhillly, Barcamp, Ignite Philly, Knight Arts Challenge Philadelphia, the holidays, oh and I got hit by a car, which put a little bit of a cramp in my style.) I had the genius idea to redo my website. Lets face it, it was time. Time for me to stop using my primary URL as a sandbox and redirecting to my wordpress blog. Time to stop having ghetto galleries that were really just thumbnails on a page, time to stop being hindered by wordpress hosting limitations in general. The prospect of this undertaking was daunting to say the least, and as a result I’ve been procrastinating this major overhaul for awhile. It was simply time to suck it up and make it happen. Which is all to say…



Thanks to the help and input of some excellent friends, (BIG Shout out to the awesome & amazing Kelani Nichole, who pointed me in the direction of the Rockin’ new theme you see here) and a few Little Berlin Open Web Studios I started to rebuild my website and consider my content in a new, multidimensional light. I’m slowly realizing that my theme for 2011 might just be Content Strategy, what I already know is that I’m poised for some big changes; I’ll let you know how that goes.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Right now, it’s a full-on renovation, as I gut my old site & re-purpose what I can, sloughing off what I can’t & creating some from scratch, I’m realizing that this project is even bigger than I had previously thought. And like any renovation, I change my mind almost daily. I am constantly going back and tweaking sections that I thought were already finished, often very late into the night (it’s when I do my best work). Ultimately it’s a work in progress, and I encourage you to follow my ongoing Arts & Social Change story as it unfolds.

Galleries are up go check them out!

Please be sure to redirect any of your feed readers, etc to http://KaraLaFleur.com.

So here’s the thing…

I know I said I was going to better about posting here, and when I said that I really meant it, I swear! I even created an editorial calendar and made a point of making space to create content on a weekly basis. Then in a span of 3 weeks over the summer, everything changed – but two major events effected my life the most. I had a solo show at University Arts League  and I got a kick ass job at Canary Promotion working with Arts, Culture, Entrainment and Mission Driven Clients where I have been rocking out for the past few months. Not only are the clients awesome, my coworkers are amazing and I feel incredibly lucky to be working in a functioning collaborative environment where I am encouraged to explore and express new ideas for projects. I often feel a personal connection to my work, literally making my passion my job, but more exciting than all of that is the opportunity  to learn new things everyday and as more time passes I feel my confidence continue to grow.

This fall was insanely busy & I’m looking forward to exciting new projects on the horizon! I’m also looking forward to some amazing community driven events coming up in Philadelphia this week:

Open Web Studio
Thursday, November 11| 6-8PM
119 West Montgomery Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Organized by the incredibly awesome & amazing Kelani Nichole (she’s actually super involved with all of the events mentioned here). I went expecting to share my area of experience, and instead got totally schooled on something I’ve been playing around with for the past few weeks. I’m excited to explore something new, and now I have more confidence and better tools to move forward with an ongoing project – I can’t wait for the next  Open Web Studio at Little Berlin (stay tuned, TBD)!

Barcamp Philly Weekend!
Friday, November 12th | 6-9PM
20 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
RSVP Required!

This Kick off party sounds like it is going to be sick! Science, Magic, a Mural, Gaming, Food & Drink, ??? Anything can happen (and with this crowd probably will). Registration is required for this event!

Saturday, November 13th 2010
Registration Opens at 8am
Sessions from 10am – 6pm
The University of the Arts
211 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Registration is currently closed, but you can sign up for the wait list here.

I can’t say it any better than what they have on the website, but here’s a time lapse video of the schedule board from last year, which I thought was pretty cool:

AFTERPARTY @NatMechanics
Saturday, November 13th | 6-10PM
22 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

After a day of absorbing everything around you, get a beer and play some rock band or enjoy an impromptu dance party. This party generally ends around ??? And of course there is generally the annual post-barcamp-recovery  brunch on Sunday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Perelman Theater
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
260 South Broad Street
(Avenue of the Arts)
Philadelphia, PA

From the TEDxPhilly website:

“TEDxPhilly celebrates what’s happening right here, right now in our city. The event’s goal is to showcase practitioners, makers, and thinkers who are contemporary and thought-provoking; who are pushing the boundaries of their own disciplines; and who are working towards a more purposeful, socially responsible future.

TEDxPhilly is also a framework where Philadelphians will converge to share ideas that matter, and hopefully, turn those ideas into actionable outcomes after the event.”

Work To Ride (a work in progress) at UCAL: Opening Reception Friday, August 13th

Opening Reception:
Friday, August 13th 5:30-7:30

University City Arts League Gallery:
4226 Spruce Street, Philadelphia 19104

Show Dates:
August 13th – September 3rd, 2010
This exhibition was made possible by an Art & Social Change Grant from the Leeway Foundation

Work To Ride (a work in progress) Artist Statement

After weeks of anticipation and years of hard work, my UCAL exhibition is about to become a reality! The exhibition will run from August 13th-September 3rd. This project has been a long time in the making, and I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of the community. The Opening Reception on Friday, August 13th will be a great way to celebrate the project as well as the program. There will be drinks and food at this shindig, including several cases of beer and some delicious treats by the fabulously awesome Open Source Cupcakes. You and all of your friends are invited, I hope to see you there!

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The Big Announcement

My chronicles of searching for gainful employment have been an adventure to say the least; from exhaustively researching companies days leading up to an interview, to painstakingly producing extensive full color branded marketing materials for mass distribution in an interview type setting. I once watched 53 of a potential employer’s 5-10 minute videos on you-tube, and even made two dozen epicly delicious mini-pies for another. I’ve re-worded and re-formatted my resume dozens of times, and written more cover & thank you letters than I can remember. I’ve had good interviews and bad, some lasting as long as 4 hours, some as little as 20 minutes; I inexplicably gave rock hands at the end of one, and laughed out loud during others. Read more »

Three (crazy) Weeks to UCAL Show

The last few weeks have been slightly crazed, but they’ve also been awesome with some great things on the horizon. Last week I realized that I have a show over at University City Arts League in the middle of August. While I knew it was coming, I had put it on the back burner while dealing with larger issues like getting a job, along with some much needed personal time to re-group and refocus those efforts. Sufficed to say, I freaked out a little when I found a waylaid email laying out a timeline…. Unfortunately many of the completely reasonable deadlines had long since past and there was talk of postponing to January. After some thought I realized that with enough determination, I can accomplish just about anything, even the seemingly impossible, I’m stubborn and willful that way.

On Monday everything really seemed to come together thanks to the extensive help and support from UCAL, volunteers and local businesses who were able to work with my limited budget & turn around time. Yesterday I designed a card to be printed at Fireball Printing today; Photo Lounge is amazing, getting the work  produced next week in enough time to be framed and hung in short order with some help from Sean Matorana; and the girls at Open Source Cupcakes offered to create some delicious treats for the opening on August 13th. It’s going to involve a lot of hustle, but thanks to some truly amazing people, I think we may just pull this off fabulously. It’s not that I like leaving things to the last minute, but the pressure is acting as a good motivator in this case. More details will be posted as soon as I have them, mostly as I get them myself. Looking forward to the crazy busy weeks ahead, and of course to the Work To Ride (a work in progress) show August 13th – September 3 at University City Arts League!

Adventures in HAM part II: Hittin’ The Sauce

Recently I wrote about my Adventures in HAM, part of those exploits included a side trip into the universe of BBQ sauce. Last year I went with a more “throw stuff together, figure it out as I go approach”; this year I managed to actually write down the recipe. What I ended up with is a great homemade sauce that can easily be adapted to your tastes and preferences and doesn’t have any thickeners or preservatives, making it a healthy alternative to store-bought options. It can also be used for a wide variety of applications from grilled shrimp to BBQ Tofu to well, anything that would benefit from gettin’ a little sauced.

After some extensive Googling I discovered that the majority of Barbecue sauces that appealed to me use ketchup as a base with a delicate balance of acid, heat, sugar, and a small part “other stuff”. Last year I just went to town squeezing bottles, pouring liquid and throwing spices in much the same way I make everything else. My cooking method generally looks a lot like this (complete with sound effects):

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Adventures in HAM, part I

Last year I made pulled pork for the First Annual 4th of July Geeknik Peeknik. Well, I made my own version of it in any event. Instead of a shoulder cut, I used a ham that had become the butt of a long running joke about finding places large enough to store my over-sized HAM which had been taking up quite a bit of space in my freezer for several months. It seemed as good a way as any to feed a crowd (and to finally be rid of it!). Being a 4th of July Picnic – BBQ seemed to be an obvious choice, so I started Googling just how to go about doing such a thing. After some research I discovered that there were several problems with this plan:

  1. I have no idea how to BBQ or slow cook anything
  2. I have neither a grill nor a smoker
  3. Apparently people generally don’t BBQ Hams
  4. There are about 17,987,983,897 recipes for any kind of BBQ/Slow cooked/Pulled meat, and all of them claim to be the end-all be-all of BBQ.

So I decided to make it up as I went along, combing what I thought were the best & yummiest sounding pieces from several recipes, and created what I like to refer to as Pulled Ham. And let me tell you – it was amazingly delicious. I dry rubbed it the day before, and at about 8am on the fourth of July, I put it in my oven, and proceeded to check on it every hour until 4pm when I shredded it, drenched it in Homemade BBQ Sauce and headed out the door. It was a huge success spawning a new line of HAMINTHEFACE jokes and became an instant tradition that I decided I could improve upon for this year’s Second Annual 4th of July Geeknik Peeknik: The Peekniking.

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I’ve been a bad, bad blogger.

It’s not so much that I’ve run out of things to talk about, but more that I’ve slowly grown cautious about the things I say, where I say them and when. This new-found prudence first appeared on Twitter & Facebook, but I was also avoiding publishing to my website, pulling back from the community, and becoming increasingly more introverted, both online and off. So I asked myself when this all started, why, with my extroverted tendency to over-share, I had suddenly started to self censor. In all honesty, it was probably around the time I got laid off about a year and a half ago.

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Curly Girl Design inspired shop Marmalade

My favorite Curly Girl Designs Print

I’ve been a fan of Curly Girl Design for awhile now, and was excited to check out this little shop outside of Boston on a recent trip up north. Marmalade in Belmont MA, did not disappoint. Carrying a full coterie of Curly Girl Designs (from cards and Prints to iPhone Decals and Coffee Mugs) There were plenty of other objet d’art to browse through – soaps, home decor, toys for children and adults, even honeys and preserves and seed kits. Overall, it was an explosion of beautiful things – talk about Sensory Overload, there was so much to look at I ended up circling this small shop several times, and I’m sure I could easily spend hours going through the wonderful wares inside this Inspiration Emporium.

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