I’ve made some life updates and am gradually updating my website to reflect them, so please excuse any messiness.

Three illustrated monsters peeking from the corners of the image looking at a photo of a white woman with brown hair drinking a cocktail. The photo is in a frame and the monster on the right is thinking, "Who's that?"

Hello! My name is Lara.

A few facts about my professional life:

  • I went to art school and “taught myself” to write code in order to make interactive artwork.
  • I worked as a freelance web designer after college for six years. Then, I got a full-stack engineering job at Penske Media Corporation. I worked on enterprise WordPress websites and started the design system there. You can see some of this work on my portfolio page.
  • During that time, I gave conference talks around the world about CSS as a programming language. The research I did for these talks led me to discover a new career direction.
  • This month, I am moving to Atlanta to start a PhD program in Human-Centered Computing at Georgia Tech where I will work with Betsy DiSalvo in the the learning sciences focus. You can see my evolving research direction here.

A few facts about my personal life:

  • I love to run, bike, and hike outside. I ran a marathon in 2019 and someday hope to run another one,
  • I am learning Nepali to better communicate with my in-laws and so I’ll be able to get around Nepal when we visit. I also heard language learning is good for your brain.
  • I love to read, mostly non-fiction, and I keep track of what I read on this page,
  • I illustrate friendly monsters and occasionally print them as stickers. The monsters are descended from characters I created in college. See some monsters here.
  • I roast my own coffee. I am similarly an enthusiast about cocktails and regularly show off my home-bartending skills with friends and family.

On this website, I chronicle my life trajectory and share the things I make and learn.

At this point, I have well over 10 years of content! As of mid-2022, I’m starting to approach content creation in a sort of “digital garden” fashion in addition to published blog posts. In “the garden”, I quietly write about topics and ideas and return to update the content over time.

I’m in the process of categorizing content in a way that indicates its maturity, using wine as a metaphor (inspired by Maggie Appelton’s digital garden).

Seedling 🌱
These posts are probably a “draft in public” that may or may not make sense to people other than me.

Grape 🍇
A seedling evolves into a grape when the content is likely to contain some information valuable to other people, and it’s on the way to containing a solid theme.

Wine 🍷
This is content I think will be somewhat timeless, and maybe even get better with age. I might make small updates, but big changes are likely over.

Frozen 🧊
This content probably won’t be touched again, and I’m keeping it around for historical purposes. I might feel embarrassed about it or disagree with it now, but at the time it was published, I felt it important to share.

Greatest Hits

From 2015-2021, I was active in the CSS and front-end communities, writing blog posts and speaking about CSS all over the world. What I learned during these years set me on my path to research, and I developed a following based on my conference speaking and writing on this blog. Here are some “greatest hits” from this period.

  • Is CSS Turing Complete?
    I took a deep dive into this question, and the answer is: kinda, mostly, yeah! CSS + HTML + user input is Turing complete. Is it possible to remove the user input part? Then I can re-title this post to be more, ahem, declarative.
  • Writing CSS Algorithms
    The methods for white-boarding algorithm questions serve us quite well when writing CSS algorithms. This post is a written portion of the second half of version 1 of the Algorithms of CSS.
  • CSS is a Declarative, Domain-Specific Programming Language
    Over the past year, I’ve been giving a talk called The Algorithms of CSS, originally created for CSSConf EU. This post covers the first part of my presentation, and breaks down how CSS fits into the categories of programming languages.

Thanks for reading!

Really, I put a lot of effort into my website, and it is forever in-progress. I work on it with the hope that others will read my content and find something interesting, inspiring, or worthy of a smile.