A birthday shoot by the countryside.

September 2, 2009

For Ellya’s 15th birthday we decided on a fun birthday shoot out in the countryside complete with balloons as props since I wanted to do something different than the usual “look-at-the-camera-smile-and-look-pretty” type of poses. I really wanted to get at least 20 balloons since I was inspired by the chic Sofia Coppola Miss Dior ads with the pink and white balloon bundle. But unfortunately my car wasn’t large enough to fit that many balloons so we settled for a few cute blue & yellow ones. Perhaps we’ll have to try this concept again for a future shoot.

We then hopped into our car and took a quick drive out to the beautiful Skagit countryside. I saw this beautiful yellow meadow with blue skies in the background and decided to stop and start our shoot there. We ended up with one of my most favorite shots below:

Ellya_Bday Shoot01a

And this…

Ellya_Bday Shoot04a

We then went out closer to the beach and had some jumping in the air action shots. I like how this turned out with the blue skies and all.

Ellya_Bday Shoot17a

Ellya_Bday Shoot02a

Ellya_Bday Shoot13a

Ellya_Bday Shoot23b

Ellya_Bday Shoot23a

She tried to blow a big bubble but it didn’t quite work as well as we thought it would…but it still looked cute.

Ellya_Bday Shoot30A

Ellya_Bday Shoot27a

Here’s a happy birthday wish to our sweet,  spunky and beautiful Ellya…who is fast becoming a wonderful, young lady. We wish you would stop growing up too fast 🙂 May you continue to shine and bless many in everything that you do…love mom & dad.


A birthday shoot sneak peek plus what’s coming up….

August 19, 2009

Our  kids are enjoying the last few weeks of summer before they return back to school so we’ve been busy with summer activities. I hope you’ve all had a great summer. Ours have been  a fun, action filled summer so far.

I’m not quite ready to blog about our recent photo shoots but here’s a few favorite photos from yesterday’s birthday shoot with Ellya.

Ellya_Bday Shoot01a

Here’s what else is coming up…

This adorable little baby.


And this beautiful family…


I can’t wait to share all the photos with you. More to come next week. Thanks for sticking with us…Toni

What we’ve been up to lately…

March 25, 2009


Eating one too many chocolate covered strawberries. Hanging out with fabulously fun vendors. Meeting lots of great brides-to-be. Attending shows, shows and more shows.  And having a fabulously busy fun time. I promise to post more fun pics as soon as I get a chance. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of Joe & I taken at one of the shows. (thanks to Amy Parsons for taking this fun pic! You rock Amy!)

Java with Joe: The Cost of Investment.

March 3, 2009


Good MONDAY evening to all you blogger junkies that on occasion stop by to visit our blog site. I am always thankful to get this first work day of the week (for most of us) in the books. Four days until FRIDAY!

For some time I haven’t had much of a voice on the Tonic Design Blog, but my beautiful wife is in bed sick and down for the count, so I thought I would make a hot cup of coffee and drain my brain of some thoughts that have been on my mind this day.

When my father died in 2001, the only earthly possession that he left behind in the way of a heirloom was a wooden jewelery box. I loved this wooden box because my father would come home daily from work and place his wallet, loose coin, and watch inside the box.

On one occasion my father had spilled an open bottle of Polo cologne, quickly filling the inside green felt with it’s fragrance. For months , every time the wooden box was open the luxurious fragrance would fill the room as a result of my fathers carelessness.

This jewelery box had been given to my Father as a gift for many years of faithful service within his profession and when he passed I could only think of what he had sacrificed in the giving of his time, talent, and ultimately his health in order to provide a living for his family.

When my father passed at age 54 the final words that he spoke to me were words of affection. He said “I love you.” How I longed my entire adult life to hear my father speak these words of affection to me. Sometime later, my mother gave me a picture of my father holding me as a 2 month old infant asleep in his large arms. Looking at this image I could feel the strength and security of my proud father. As I looked at the picture I felt in the quiet of my heart the Lord speak to me saying “Joe, your father loved you the best that he knew how and I love you. I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you. Abide in my love.” Hearing these words, I began to weep as I was overcome with a sense of the Fathers love and faithfulness over my life.

Everyday that I open this wooden box I can still smell the scent of that spilled bottle of Polo cologne and I am overcome with emotion and the memories of my father. But, even more precious to me is this portrait of my father loving me as a child that has been branded like a hot iron into my spirit.

Recently I was approached by a client who was having difficulty up- grading herself from one of our fine art prints to a larger 16X20 canvas portrait. There was a significant increase in the cost of her investment, and when I shared my experience with her she was able to understand the powerful importance of not only leaving an heirloom for her children, but also the spirit of leaving a legacy that was deeply shared between she and her family through photography.

Thus, the “true cost” was not about what she was going to monetarily invest, but rather the daily investment of what she was daily pouring into her family…her time. Her time captured by us, time capsuled through photography. And this is truly the most fragrant investment that we can make that yields the greatest impact and heals us from the inside out. Blogger junkies…love much,forgive much.

Till our next cup of Java~



2008 People’s Choice Best Photographer Finalist & our 2008 Women in Business cover!

February 28, 2009

Amazing. A huge adrenaline rush. Joe described last year perfectly, “it’s like jumping out of an airplane”, he said. I guess that pretty much sums up our 2008 experience. While we were in Vegas for the exciting and wonderful WPPI event last week, we got a phone call from my sweet mother in law informing us that Joe & I and Tonic Design Studio Photography were picked by the readers of the Skagit Business Pulse Magazine as a finalist for the 2008 People’s Choice Best Photographer for the area! WOW. All I can say is thank you. Gracias. Maraming Salamat Po. Arigato. Danke. Mahalo. If I can express my gratefulness to all of the readers who nominated us in a 100 languages, I would. Thanks for believing in us and allowing us to live our dream. I’m still on Cloud Nine.

In other news, The Business Pulse also did a cover story and a 2 page feature on Joe & I and our business last October 2008. Never in my wildest dreams have I thought of being on the cover of a magazine with my camera in hand, talking about my journey as a business woman, a mom, an artist and a photographer. I’m still speechless and truly amazed.



Viva Las Vegas!

February 27, 2009

Here’s a few family photos taken while on the road a few weeks ago. We managed to enjoy a few sunny days in Vegas (it seems as if the Seattle weather followed us to Vegas & LA!). Went on a drive to old Downtown Vegas and fell in love with this graffiti wall and had to yell out to Joe, “Stop the car!” No need to convince everyone…in a few minutes we had a full on mini shoot and even had a carload of people stop and watch us shoot. Hey, what’s up with those tourists? 🙂 Well, here’s what we came up with.

Stop by again next week. I’ll promise to get caught up with blogging. We have a bunch of exciting things in store for the next coming weeks. Stay tuned.







Waking up to 17″ inches of snow…

December 18, 2008

Waking up to 17″ inches of snow is an exciting event in my world. First off, I have NEVER experienced this much snow in a long time. Other than the requisite, “let’s-go-drive-out-to-the-mountains-and-see-snow” trips, snow is virtually a foreign matter to me. Having spent half my life growing up in a tropical country and then living in Southern California and Las Vegas had turned me into a warm blooded creature. But I think thats changed as of this week.

I went out with my son John Andrew this morning to watch him work on (in his own words) “the biggest snow horse that have ever existed”. Of course, he was going to do all the work since it was supposedly a BIG surprise for me. And so, with camera in my big bulky gloved hands, I set about on a journey to document the beautiful winter morning.

The eagle was too quick for me today and just didn’t want his photo taken but I found some cute little winged critters flying around from branch to branch out in the raspberry fields.

Here’s a sweet little snowbird who managed to stay still long enough for me to capture him. The beauty of God’s little creatures never ceases to amaze me.