Looking Ahead

Hey there! It’s been a hot minute – what else is new?

Truthfully, I have been absolutely spanked by this year’s holiday season, but they’re finally over and I finally have consecutive days of time off coming up and I’m thrilled because I have a bunch of stuff I need to do to “get my life back together” as it were.

Anyway, with this new year, comes new goals and aspirations.

This year, I’m participating in Reddit’s r/WeeklyPhotos 52-week photo challenge. If you’re interested in joining, here’s the welcome thread for the challenge.

I didn’t get a chance to post week one within week one on here (but I did on Instagram, @vivianapodinaphotography) so I’m posting it at the beginning of week two here, because by the time I decide what I want to do for week two, it’ll be later in the week anyway.

So week one’s theme was “look ahead” – cause you know, new year, new goals and stuff like that. It’s coupled with the category vision.

We’ve been letting my neighbor’s cat come inside cause it’s super cold out lately (like, single digit and negatives) so he can have a snack and enjoy some warmth for a bit. Anyway, a few days ago he was making himself at home in my room and I found the perfect opportunity to not only take pictures of him because he’s my favorite kitty, but also, he stares off at things a lot – so you know, how can I pass up the cliche gazing in the distance opportunity?

Anyway, the first photo is the one I used for the challenge because it’s clear, but I shot him in full manual and I captured a few others I really liked. The second is a full manual shot, but it’s a bit blurry where I wish it wouldn’t be.

I find the trouble with shooting full manual is often that staring through a tiny peephole, I can’t always gauge whether my focus is going to come out like I think it will when I actually snap the photo. But we’ll see, maybe I’ll get better at it this year.




Buddha Bowls: The Easiest Meal Ever

I don’t recall how I came across Buddha Bowls in the first place, but it was probably while browsing Pinterest a few months ago. I was immediately drawn to the rich colors of all the vegetables together and, since it was Lent season, the easiness of making them.

As for why they’re called Buddha Bowls, the best thing I could find was this article, where writer Rachel Tepper Paley delves into the composition of the bowls and interviews an Instagrammer. This part stuck out to me as the most “informative”, as far as informative goes for the title of the article.

At their core, Lein said, Buddha bowls are about “balancing the different types of food that you eat,” and not eating too much of any one thing.

Essentially, Buddha Bowls consist of one type of grain (quinoa, rice, bulgar, etc), greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, arugula, etc), healthy carbs (chickpeas, beans, etc) and veggies (carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, literally whatever). As you can imagine, the possibilities are basically endless.

I made a relatively simple version using Qrunch quinoa burgers and roasting chickpeas in turmeric. I will say that in these photos, I used broccoli, but I’ve also used thinly sliced red cabbage drizzled with EVOO and vinegar and it’s soooo good. I also made tzatziki sauce from scratch Recipe below!


1 Qrunch quinoa burger
1 fat carrot
1 handful broccoli
1 can chickpeas
turmeric powder
spray oil
salt and pepper


  1. In a pan, fry your quinoa burger until cooked through. Make sure to spray the pan beforehand to avoid sticking. Crush with a utensil once done and set in your bowl.
  2. In another pan, cook your chickpeas with turmeric powder, salt and pepper. Spray your chickpeas with spray oil so they don’t stick to your pan while they’re cooking.
  3. Steam your broccoli by boiling water in a pot, place your broccoli in a strainer, and cover with a pot lid. Let sit until your desired firmness. I like mine on the crunchier side. Plus, I like to not kill off all of the vitamins and minerals in my food.
  4. For the carrot, in the photos you can see I’ve chopped it, but grating your carrot will create a better texture contrast and be easy to eat. Grating your carrot will also allow its juice to come through and give the dish a little moisture.
  5. Assemble, eat!

Bonus: Tzatziki Recipe

4 tbsp Chobani plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
handful fresh dill
juice from 1/4 of a lemon
3 cloves garlic, finely diced or grated
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients, refrigerate, serve.

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for more photography! @vivianapodinaphotography


I did a fashion photo shoot this morning for one of my friends, Kristine, and I wanted to share a few pics with you guys.

Her and her husband live in this really neat house down in Highland Park with badass vintage wallpaper, amazing interior architecture, and the cutest little sun room, where we staged the shoot. The purpose of the shoot was to capture the ensemble she made, but as you all know, I’m always more attracted in capturing people’s faces when I have the opportunity. So after the clothing part was done, I put my portrait lens back on and took a few shots of the model’s face.

The first couple shots are taken with my 18-105mm lens, and the last one is my 50mm portrait lens.

I’m always grateful for opportunities like this to get me out of my comfort zone and play with light and different people. I think these photos came out well, although I’m still learning.

P.S. Don’t forget, you can now follow me (professionally!) on Instagram, @vivianapodinaphotography



Alright, first thing’s first.

For all you photophiles (what’s the actual word though?) who wanna see more of my photography, you’re in luck! I decided to make an Instagram account for just my photography, @vivianapodinaphotography, after finding out you can now link your accounts and switch between them easily. I’m pretty excited and geeked and thrilled by the small gathering of followers I’ve already accumulated (18 with just my first photo, how cool!) and I’m looking forward to discovering more artists and photographers and being discovered by others as well.

That said, it’s almost Valentine’s Day and that means I’ll be doing absolutely nothing differently from any other day of the year because I’m #single4lyfe. But I thought this would be a great occasion to gift myself something I’ve wanted for a while – new workout shoes! I found this gorgeous orchid purple pair at DSW on clearance and they’re SO COMFORTABLE. I’m in love.


On my way home I also stopped by Natalie’s Bakery to pick up bread and indulged myself in some V-Day treats. Picked up some cannolis, a little strawberry heart tart, and a slice of honey sea salt pie (not pictured). I haven’t tried the pistachio cannoli or the tart yet, but the orange zest cannoli and honey pie are superb.

DSC_4193copy2 DSC_4190copy2

Hope you guys have a good weekend! Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you regardless of relationship status. <3

Behind the Scenes: DIY Backdrops & Self Portraits

Last week, my bff Maria and I were discussing various photography aids like lighting kits and backdrops and she was all “but ‘x’ is so cheap!” and I was like “yeah, but still $$$”. Mind you, this was a day after I had gotten my hair done so it was fresh which clearly begs for new FB profile pics to be taken and as you all probably know by now, I prefer working with natural light.


Anyway, I didn’t feel like dropping $100+ on a backdrop/lighting kit, so I decided to run across the street to Target and got myself a home rolling rack. I also stopped by Lowe’s and picked up metal clamps to hold stuff I drape over the rolling rack sturdily in place.


My mom became a test subject + used the Foldio’s lighting to help with low lighting post-sunset.


I’d gone to Haberman Fabrics the previous week, so I had some nice cream fabric with a shiny finish sitting around in my room and I went and grabbed my clear Christmas lights from storage and created a simple and fun backdrop by draping the xmas lights around the rolling rack and then covering it with the fabric.


Follow me on Instagram for more pics like this! @lovelikeangels

I opened my blinds and drapes to allow the maximum available light I could get through my North-facing bedroom window to come in as the sun was beginning to set and ultimately had to tweak my manual settings to high ISO and low f-stops. I was surprised at how little grain came through given that the settings were so stretched, but that full on window light really helped, even if it was dimming quickly.

Anyway, I got some pretty awesome end products, so check it out.

P.S. I made those earrings you can kinda see poking out. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re interested in your own pair!



How am I single?

Christmas Burst Cookies

Hey! It’s about that time when you’ll probably be seeing more food photography from me, since the family and I will be cooking up a storm in the coming weeks.

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite super easy cookie recipes that I discovered several years ago. It’s perfect if you’re lazy or need something quick – like I did. I’ve got a Christmas party this weekend, so I made burst cookies in advance today. I even frosted designs on them! Check out the recipe below.

– 1 box cake mix (your choice! I used funfetti and red velvet this time)
– 1 egg, beaten
– 1 8 oz package Cool Whip
– powdered sugar

1. Combine beaten egg with cake mix.
2. Add Cool Whip and mix well. Dough will be very sticky.
3. Scoop out dough (I used 2 spoons to ball it up) and roll around in powdered sugar, form into a ball.
4. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.


Follow me on Instagram @lovelikeangels for more photography. Cheers <3


Spike Art

This week on Vivography I’ve got some product/art photography to share!

I discovered this really cool local artist, Gino Torelli of Spike Art, this past winter, who makes figurines out of railroad spikes and other sweet pieces using donated and scrap steel. After promising to come back and interview him, I let a few months slip by and then I saw his business card in my purse a couple weeks ago and I headed over to the Rust Belt Market the next day.

And good thing I did, because I found out it was his second-to-last weekend at RBM!


First things first, he’s an artist out of the countryside of Michigan who uses railroad spikes because he believes they look like people. And they do! They look like little people with hats on, which is awesome for scenes where the figurines are doing things like golfing.



If I’m reading my scratchy notes correctly, the first figurine he ever made was a weight lifter, for his son. Afterward, he made a football player and began numbering his pieces. Each and every piece, whether it’s a spike figurine or an awesome R2D2, is numbered and signed. If it’s not numbered or signed, it’s not an original Spike Art piece.




Gino is big on humor, and many of his figurines definitely evoke this quality. He’s got pieces with the spikes on toilets, hookers on 8 mile, and even a pretty awesome Walking Dead themed collection. But even from the first time we spoke, he was very clear that he’s into humor and not perversion. He has declined to make figurines that would be deemed perverted, stating that he doesn’t want to put his name to something that would be distasteful. It’s all about tasteful humor at Spike Art. Strippers and 8 mile hookers is as raunchy as it gets!


And speaking about special pieces, aside from the railroad spike figurines, he also does special bigger pieces. My personal favorites are the R2D2’s and a particular life-size violin he made from a thick steel door. I also recall seeing the twin towers, a stingray, a guitar, and a Spartan in a chariot. Gino also told me he makes model trains that sell pretty well to train collectors, but he prefers to make and sell the spike figurines because they’re less time to make and sell quicker than specialty pieces, which are always going to be more time to make and more expensive. As he put it, it takes a special customer to walk in and say “yes, I want that $800 piece of steel.”


So if you’re ever in the Michigan area and attending any kind of art show or fair, make sure you look for Spike Art! There are some truly incredible pieces to check out.


P.S. I need that R2D2 and violin.

P.P.S. If you want to get in touch with Gino or check out his website, click here: spikeartinc.com

P.P.P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram @lovelikeangels for more photography and my Society6 shop for watercolor art.