An Afternoon at Oli Oli Dubai

Summer break is almost over and some of you are still on your summer breaks away from Dubai. And to the rest of us enduring the unforgiving heat, searching for activities for kids is like looking for a SALE pants that fits you in a boutique store. You want something that is cost-friendly yet something that will be good for your kids physically and mentally. My good friend Ruba (founder and owner of 3Dinova) recommended Oli Oli and my kids loved it! Oli Oli is an interactive children’s museum located in Al Quoz (beside Time Square). They have 8 galleries and 40 hands-on exhibits.

Khloe loved Toshi’s Nest and Kurt’s favorite was the Cars and Ramps. They both enjoyed the Water Gallery but I personally would have spent one full day at the Creative Lab. We all had fun on that afternoon spent at Oli Oli Dubai!

Five Questions To Ask When Creating an Effective Video

So now you have realized the importance of video in marketing your brand in our previous post. You have finally decided that you need to make a video to increase your visibility and to improve your sales. The next step now is to create an effective video to achieve the results that you need. Like what we noted in our previous post, a video can make or break your brand. A poorly done video will have a negative impact instead of helping you gain your consumer’s trust. Here are five questions you need to ask yourself when creating an effective video:

What is my brand’s story? Is my video telling this story effectively?

“He who has a why can endure any how.” — Frederick Nietzsche

Before anything else, you should identify your “why”. Your “why” is your guiding light. It expresses your brand’s contribution and purpose. Why should customers buy your product or service? If you haven’t identified your why, I would recommend you reading Simon Sinek’s book Find Your Why.

Consumers buy into brands that tells a genuine story. Don’t make your video too pushy. Consumers can tell if you are trying to make a hard sell. If you are making your first video, make it about your “why” or story and let it appeal to the emotions.

What is the purpose of my video? What is my call to action?

When you have found your “why”, it will be easier for you to identify the purpose of your video. For example, the Dove brand’s vision is to be a source of confidence. They want to help women everywhere develop a positive relationship with the way they look, helping them raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential. This is one of their videos which embodies this vision

Who is your target audience?

This is also a question we ask our clients when they ask us to produce a video for them. Your video shouldn’t have a broad audience. Your product can sell to a wide diversity of clients but for a video to be effective, it should target a certain demographics. For example, this Nike’s ad targeted the younger female generation. The video’s goal was to inspire the teenage girls to dream further. The video didn’t say how comfortable the shoes are nor how many colors it came in. It appealed to the emotions.

How can I make the first 8 seconds count?

You have probably heard this before, that the average attention span of a human is 8 seconds. So if the first 8 seconds of your video doesn’t appeal to your viewer, then it is a fail. Your viewer has already pressed that “skip ad” or has already turned away from the screen.

This video ad from Audi has awesome cinematography. It caught my attention and made me want to watch it until the end. And it did not disappoint. The humorous twist at the end made it a memorable ad.

Is my video content optimized?

Criteo has given some useful advice on how you can optimize your videos on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. And here a few more tips that can help:

  1. Design for mobile first. Do you want to make your video look cinematic by making the aspect ratio 16:9 or 2.39:1 with a letterbox? If you want it optimized for mobile, you will definitely do not want to do that. Go vertical or go square if you will be natively posting your video on Facebook
  2. Add captions. 85% of viewers watch videos on mute. You still want to deliver your message so make sure you add captions to your videos.
  3. If you’re posting on Youtube, compose your title using the right keywords so video will appear on searches.
  4. Choose your thumbnail carefully. Make it relevant and interesting. I would not click on a video if the thumbnail doesn’t represent the video I am looking for correctly.

After you have considered these questions carefully, we hope you have a clearer picture of what your video should look like or what message or call to action it should deliver. If you need assistance in creating a video ad for your brand, we will be glad to help. We can help from identifying your why, the call to action up to video production to deliver your message to your customer. Just drop us an email or give us a call!

Seven Reasons Why Video Is Important For Your Business

Nowadays, business competition has been tougher with the rise of internet users in the world. In UAE alone, 99% of the population are on social media with an average of 2 hrs 56mins of daily time spent per person browsing through it.

UAE Social Media Usage Statistics: 2019 (Infographics)
[ Source:
Global Media Insight – Dubai
Web Design Company

More and more business are competing for customer attention and studies show that video plays an important role in winning that click, web visit or purchase. Cisco forecast in 2020 will be that 82% of all consumer web traffic will be video. Here are top seven reasons why your business needs video:

  1. Video is a good tool to inform customers about your brand/product
    • Wyzowl asked consumers how they’d most prefer to learn about new products or services – and video was the runaway winner. Over two-thirds (68%) said a short video would be best, way ahead of text-based articles (15%),infographics (4%) presentations and pitches (4%) ebooks and manuals (3%) (Hubspot)
    • Consumers have about 5 seconds to skip a video ad on Youtube. That is why the first 5 seconds of your business video should already entice your target audience to continue watching and encourage them to learn more about your product.
  2. SEO loves video
    • According to Moovly, you are 53x more likely show up on page 1 of Google if you have a video embedded on your website? Ever since Google purchased Youtube, there has been a significant increase on how videos can affect your search engine rank.
  3. Better brand retention
    • According to an infographic from Impact, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when they are reading it in text
  4. Increase conversions
    • Have your ever thought about buying a travel bag and suddenly a video ad of a bag suddenly pops up in your Facebook feed? That happened to me recently and I ended up buying this bag with a lot of our compartments and pockets because a video of it popped up on my feed demonstrating its uses!
    • Kickstarter projects are more likely to get funded if it has video. According to Kickstarter, video is the best way to communicate the emotions, motivations, and character of a project, and the sincerity and seriousness of the creator.
  5. Customers prefer brands with a good video
    • A lot of companies jump on the video bandwagon without much thought to it and with less planning. They think that as long as their business has video, they would rise above the competition. But a bad video is worst than no video. A sloppy video shows how committed a brand/business in telling their story. With the rise of video as a marketing tool, more consumers have become video savvy and they can tell a quality video compared to poor video
  6. Videos build trust
    • Video, when properly done, wins the consumers trust
    • The rise of Facebook live videos and Instagram stories goes to show that consumers want to see behind the scenes of brands and people they follow. These personal snippets (short clips) of brands and people help them build trust with their followers
  7. Get more social shares with videos
    • According to an infographic from Impact, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
    • 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support. This goes to show that the demand for video content is also increasing (Oberlo)

Video has become a powerful marketing tool when done right. Marketing through video used to be dominated by the big brands when you pay airtime by the second to have your video ad shown on TV. With the rise of social media, video marketing has been easier and now almost every brand can reach their target consumer.

Next week, we will be posting the different types of video and which one is the best for your business/brand.

Quick Batangas Getaway

Summer is here and we were blessed to spend a couple weeks in the Philippines meeting family and friends. Two weeks was too short but it was better than no time at all. So we maximized our stay and tried to fit in work (we have opened a branch in Manila and we are now accepting bookings for 2020 weddings) and personal stuff with so little time. And if you are like me who has spent more than 15 years in Dubai, you will understand why I missed thunderstorms. Having lulled into sleep by the gushing of rain and distant thunder was something I missed a lot. But it didn’t rain everyday and we were blessed to have some sun during our quick Batangas getaway. The sun was kind and shone during our planned trip to Batangas. We stayed in Balai Isabel which was situated on the shores of the Taal Lake. Eat bulalo, ride a horse and walk along a volcano crater – all ticked off our trip bucket list.

How to reach the crater? There are boats available for rent from 1,500php to 3,000php for each boat which can transport up to 6 people. And when you reach the Vulcan Point, there are horses for hire for 500php (includes horse guide). You will also have to pay a minimal fee as environment fee and there are tour guides available too. Bring your own water as they sell drinks there with a high mark up. Not that high though. Consider it as a contribution for the villagers there. It is notable that Vulcan Point is cited as the largest third order island which means it is an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island. *mind-blown* We got back aches from riding the horse but it is all worth it!



We also spent a day in Enchante Farm in Alfonso, Cavite. If you are planning a trip for your family or with a group of friends, this is a highly recommended place. If you book a stay here, you will have the place for yourselves. They have an infinity pool, a billiard room, chalets, fruit bearing trees (organic pineapples are the best), a bonfire area perfect for barbecues and late night chats and my favorite, a karaoke room. 🙂 Met with my cousins, aunts, nephews and nieces I haven’t seen for a long time. Book with them and mention “MELRISH” and they will give you special offers. Best place for family outing, company trip and it is also a perfect place for your garden wedding!

Two weeks was short but it was enough for me to recharge. I would advise everyone to step back from work every now and then to unwind and clear out your head. It doesn’t have to be 2 weeks, it can be shorter. It doesn’t have to be some place far but should be some place new. Trust me, when you go back to work, you will be surprised with all the new ideas and new energy that you have!

MelRish Dekada : MJ’s Story

MJ was hired as a cinematographer almost 2 years ago. Her testimony is just one of the many MelRish team member’s stories that will become part of this company’s culture legacy. As a team, we know that we did not cross paths accidentally and that God has bigger plans for us. And here is her story:

This was my story before traveling to Georgia

My employer decided to celebrate their 10th year Anniversary. We were surprised that the plan was to go out of the country, knowing this great news – I tried to look back and remember that I was only dreaming of having a company trip with my colleague way back when I was 21 years old from my previous job. There were people who were closed to me and saw what I went through, they knew my plans, dreams and my prayers – I know it was too broad and dreamy and way too far to reach. I remember when I told them

that “One of these days, hoping I can find a job that we can travel to different places” and my colleagues started to

react, “Isama mo naman ako sa pangarap mo”, “ang bata mo pa para isipin yan, pero sige ipush

mo yan”.

Everyday, I tell the Lord what was my heart’s desire. When I was 23, even I was so afraid, it was faith, thinking that God will never leave me, then I decided to quit my job and get out of my comfort zone.

After the long search and waiting…

God revealed The Melrish Studio, September 2017. Until now, I can’t express how grateful I am of what God has blessed me with, from my employers through my colleagues. God gave me peace that this is the company I have been praying for. “My child, I needed you to be bold and you haven’t took any shortcuts but you finish the process. I see you keep on trusting me. You have taken the leap. I know you worked so hard and waited for this. Now it is done – this is for you.”


And finally, the company trip I want to experience was held last May 21st to 25th. What I have been imagining happened – the bond, listening to different life stories, laughing out loud, sing along, taking photos and most especially having time to pray together. Also, I was planning to go to Georgia alone (I have a year ago post on facebook (“Georgia, Armenia, Egypt and Jordan”) but God has another plan, Georgia trip was with Melrish Family. I was amazed again.

Iʼm touched and inspired by Ate Melonʼs goal why she plans to celebrate their 10th year with us, she quoted, “This trip is something we wanted to give to our team. Working in The MelRish Studio requires a lot of passion

and dedication and that is why we are passionate about our
team. When I saw their smiles and how they have bonded with each other, my heart was filled with joy. Mission accomplished -we have broken down walls and made connections that will help us understand each other and work better. One day, I will look back at how God has been good to us. I am accountable for leading this team and fulfilling His purpose. And if asked what kind of leader I strived to be, I would answer, “To be a leader that inspires and serves others. A servant leader like Christ.”

Thank you Melrish! Thank you for letting us experience what is life and how great is God with you. And thank you also for letting me experience this with my sister.

Itʼs not easy, but it will be worth it.

Searching for a job is not easy, but if you have a heart of determination and think of your love ones, you will find one that fits you, all of these will be worth it in the end. Remember in life, there are no shortcuts in reaching your goals, there are walls that will stop you, there are circumstances and there are setbacks, sometimes “you” is your battle, may you not allow comparison grew, mold into your own shape but not in the same mold everyone else uses to grow. You will thrive at your own pace as a winner of your own race.

God answered my prayer but this doesn’t let me stop thanking Him for all that He has done for me and for my family. I’m still a working progress, I know God is preparing me again for next chapters of my life. Again, pain and joy will kick in! Another

molding process awaits, I still need to learn from everyone’s experiences and from myself. Allow yourself to fail and gather all the lessons from the past, you will carry it for the next season.

Promises that you can carry through your seeking:
1. Be still and know that I am God – Psalms 46?10

2. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29?11

When I was 22, these songs has been into my Coping Up
Playlist 🙂
•Hello Cold World x

Paramore https:// v=7n88760Bb8o
•Ain’t it fun x Paramore https:// v=Izx9ADLjgbM

•Superheroes x The Script https:// v=IowZqZHJ-cA

And to those who want to watch our team adventure in Tbilisi, here is a video directed and edited by Jed

MelRish Dekada: 10 Years of Thankfulness

dekada. n. A decade; any given period of ten years.

The whole team just got back from a 5 day trip to Tbilisi, Georgia as part of our year long celebration of The MelRish Studio’s 10th year anniversary. It was an amazing and unforgettable trip to celebrate MelRish Dekada – 10 Years of thankfulness.

It was 2009 when Arish and I first shot our first engagement session and our first wedding. It was also 10 years ago when we first got paid for our services and it was that year when we first flew to India to shoot our first destination wedding. Ten years later, God has blessed us with more than 500 couples, a cozy office in Dubai and a team of creative individuals who we call as our family. Some think that maybe we have a big cash flow that is why we can afford to take the team for an out of town trip. The truth is like all other companies, we are also going through tough times and we are still struggling to make ends meet. This trip is something we wanted to give to our team. Working in The MelRish Studio requires a lot of passion and dedication and that is why we are passionate about our team. 

God has sustained us and we are forever grateful

The MelRish Studio is a testimony that there is a God and if you dedicate your work to Him, He will sustain you and guide you to success. And success doesn’t necessarily mean that you have more clients or you are the best in your field. Success for us means that we are better versions of ourselves every year. Success for us means delivering meaningful images and videos and making lasting connections not just with our clients but internally as well. We don’t work for our greatness but for His glory.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Our projects are not accomplished by one man alone. All our images and videos are products of teamwork. The goal of the trip to Tbilisi was to build camaraderie amongst our team members by letting them get to know more about each other with our “Guess Who Is This?” Game. We had four team members share an apartment (we booked four apartments) and each group was assigned to cook breakfasts and dinner for everyone. Every morning and night, we gathered to eat and pray and share stories. We sang on the bus going to different places and experiencing new things – from wine tasting to playing on the snow. When I saw their smiles and how they have bonded with each other, my heart was filled with joy. Mission accomplished -we have broken down walls and made connections that will help us understand each other and work better.

One day, I will look back at how God has been good to us. I am accountable for leading this team and fulfilling His purpose. And if asked what kind of leader I strived to be, I would answer, “To be a leader that inspires and serves others. A servant leader like Christ.”


If you are traveling to Tbilisi, I would recommend Giorgi and his company. He arranged for our tours and bus. You may contact +995 579993265. Special thanks to Rashi of Excite Tourism for arranging our flights. 



Musings of a Forty Year Old

Change your Attitude

Life begins at 40, they say. Well, if that’s the case, I just started mine 2 days ago. And I am having a fantastic life so far. Life has been fantastic since 1979. But it doesn’t mean that I never went through hardships or difficulties. There were days that seemed dark clouds have blocked out the sun but there are days that the sun shone brightly. Many are circumstances that we cannot change or control like the traffic, a flu coming down on you, a friend betraying you, losing your job or losing a big project, etc. These circumstances can make you want to throw the towel in and just give up on life.

But what I learned from my 40 years of existence is that we cannot control what happens to us – what we can control is our attitude. We cannot change a person but we can change how we react to that person or how often should we hang out with that person. We cannot force a client to choose us over our competitor but we can learn from it and try and win the next pitch. Traffic is something we cannot control but we can control how we will feel about it. We can mope around the house and wallow in self-pity when we get rejected or we can pray and bring our burdens to God.

We cannot change our situation but we can change how we deal with it – do we react violently and irrational or do we adapt a positive approach and think of solutions. This is one of the many principles I try to practice which I have read from books which I highly recommend – Roadmap to Success by John Maxwell and The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I didn’t have the same attitude when I was younger. I made a lot of mistakes and I still do. But my goal is to become wiser as I get older and to learn from every opportunity available.

Life Is Short

One of my editor’s father passed away just four days back. It was a sudden loss and I was deeply saddened as I met him twice when I interviewed her daughter and when she got the job. He was a jolly person and exuded positivity with a smiling face.

It made me realize that life is truly short. We were not meant to last here forever and this world is just a transit journey.

What legacy would I leave if I die today? Would I have regrets? Did I serve my purpose?

I decided to take snaps of how my day looked like (with the help of MJ) – my walk to office, the school runs, silly moments with the kids – and unexpectedly I was able to take a few snaps of the birthday surprise Arish and the team prepared for me a day before my birthday. It was a decoy surprise for a bigger surprise they prepared for me on my actual birthdate. Maybe I have done something right to deserve such a loving family and team. There was pancit cooked by my parents, cake and flowers from hubby and home-cooked food from my team! There was also a video compilation of messages of family, friends who couldn’t attend the surprise and clients I have met along the way sent their messages across too. The video and the scrapbook they made (and outpouring messages on facebook) really touched my heart. I am so blessed!

Here is a peek at my daily life and the surprise I received:

Forgive my musings as I just want to share these two principles that has greatly changed my outlook lately. I hope you too would reflect on these not only when you turn forty but as soon as you can. And again, my praise and thanks goes up to my Creator for sustaining me these 40 years. And thank you to those who remembered and sent their warm greetings! Ciao for now! Until the next post…


OFW Diaries – A Short Film

Writing and filming has been my passion and to be able to finish a short film is a big accomplishment for me due to my busy schedule and constant battle with procrastination. Danabelle and I worked agin for the third time filming “OFW Diaries” early this year. I am so blessed to work with such a talented actress like Danabelle (who is my friend for more than a decade now). She is also a renowned author of What Dreams May Come and I Long To Be A River (order these great books here). She makes life easier for a newbie director like me. 🙂 Follow her on instagram @danabellegutierrez

Our short film, OFW Diaries was inspired by my own story. I came to Dubai way back in 2004 with hopes to help my family and build a brighter future. Almost all Filipinos who left the Philippines to work abroad have the same goal. My salary was 2,400aed (1aed = 13.50php) back then and I shared a studio flat with 11 other Filipinos in Satwa. I used to watch every fil I spent. By the grace of God, my hard work paid off even though I got dumped and duped and even lost 500,000aed along the way. (Invite me for coffee and I will tell you that story). I could have just gone hiding from the banks but my conscience told me to pay off my half a million debt. God is gracious and He has sustained me and I managed to pay off the debt and I have even put up a small studio. And now I am making my own films.

But not everyone succeeds and that is why most OFW films portray the hardships and the drama of being an overseas Filipino worker. OFW life can really be dramatic but what I learned in life is you should not take yourself too seriously always. Choose your battles.

Working abroad is not easy, that is a fact. Life is not easy in general. Everyone faces challenges and problems. It is a matter of how you react to situations and how easily you give up. In this short film, Danabelle portrayed 5 characters. It is true that we do not have enough actors available during that short notice but that is not the reason why she portrayed all those characters. I wanted everyone to know that no matter who we meet or what challenge we face, there is a lesson and a purpose behind it. We just have to recognize the opportunities and learn from challenges that we face. They are all lessons. We can learn from all the people we meet as we journey through life. Life is tough so we should be tougher. So yeah, this movie is for the OFW who doesn’t give up easily. It is for the OFW who walked under the Dubai heat but still smiles. It is for the OFW who faces hardships and come out wiser and tougher. This is for us.

Don’t Stop Moving Forward

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 39 years of existence. Whew! 39 is a big number. A few more years before I go through the midlife stage. And I have been pondering lately…am I where I want to be now that I am 39?

When the year started, I felt like I have slipped into a comfort zone where I suddenly felt I have hit a wall. It wasn’t really a bad wall. It was just I felt so comfortable with where I was and it was not for my benefit. I became the hare in the fable the tortoise and the hare in which the hare felt he was ahead and slumped into a sleep. How did I become the hare? Earlier this year, I won Best Director in the recent Emirates Film Festival, my second year in a row for the short film “Girl Next Door”. Illustrado Magazine has also included me in this year’s Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf. It was a dream come true. Then I got lazy thinking of new film projects.

And then there is our new office. I used to dream of having my own office with brick walls and wooden floors with big windows. Late last year, we were blessed moved in to that office. Then we got so busy also with a lot of projects which was another reason I couldn’t post as often as I wanted. One of those major projects was the Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC 2018). We also have reliable talented individuals join our team which is great except that I did not shoot as often as I used to. They are that good!!! I also stopped joining photography contests because I did not have time to review and edit my work. I felt so accomplished in the beginning of the year that I slipped into a routine that did not involve any growth. This is when getting comfortable is not good.

Since I felt I was ahead, I stopped setting new goals; it is one of the pitfalls of enjoying your comfort zone too much. It was not I was not working. Every day I was still busy. I was only going through the motions. I was doing the same thing everyday. I stopped innovating and stopped reinventing. I thought, “I am happy now with where I am, why should I leave this place?” I stopped learning and experimenting new things. Then I realized, what I have achieved is minuscule compared to what I can still achieve.

Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful and content with God has blessed me with. Contentment is different with being comfortable. Look at it this way, if you got blessed with an awesome house and in it was everything you need – a comfy sofa & bed, a big TV and a fridge full of food – wouldn’t you feel happy and content? Of course you will. But don’t lock yourself inside that house when outside of that house there is still a lot to do and so much to explore. On the other hand, you don’t have to be like Mother Teresa or Elon Musk. The universe doesn’t expect you to stop the war in Syria, to invent the cure for cancer or to a millionaire by 40. The littlest deed or the littlest idea can make the world a better place. Sitting pretty and being stagnant is different from moving forward one step at a time.

I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. And because of them, I will strive to be a better person. Seeing my children tells me there is still a lot more I can do. God still has a lot of things in store ahead and it is time to pack the bag and leave my comfort zone. The journey doesn’t stop here.

Never stop growing. Never stop learning. Don’t stop moving forward. Reach new heights. One is never too old to set bigger goals.

P.S. And to my family and team, thank you for throwing that really surprising birthday party with my faves – ice scramble, fish ball, etc! 

Believe That There are Far Better Things Ahead

We started 2017 with uneasy steps. It started with uncertainty. But God was with us and blessed us abundantly beyond our dreams.

One of our biggest blessings was to meet and hire the best people. I think as an entrepreneur and leader, the hardest struggle is to find and retain the best talents. We started the year with 5 team members and we ended the year with 11. We did not intend to grow this fast but with God as our CEO, there is no dream too big. He taught us that nothing was impossible.

Jed, Maria Reiko, Sheldone, and Norbert joined us during the first quarter of the year. Audrey joined midyear. With the grace of God, we opened our printing department and hired Ate Mary Anne and Jonalyn. We found MJ during the last quarter of the year and we were blessed that her sister, Jena was available too. We took a leap of faith getting her on board even it was out of our budget but she was a blessing we couldn’t let pass. And before the year ended, Clarize joined the team as well. It is beyond words how much we appreciate each one of them. They are all talented and hard working. We are now such a BIG family!

There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind – CS Lewis

Every start of the year, I set goals and targets. We are so blessed that we blew our targets through the ceiling. Five years back, it was only a wishful thinking to shoot a hundred weddings a year. But God made it possible. We also covered weddings in Qatar, Bahrain, India and Georgia this year. Here are a few of our favorites:

We thank all the couples and planners who trusted us. And we thank all the couples who will put their trust in us.

We planned to open our printing shop next year, and we were not even 100% sure. But God led us to do it this year. And we named in Ever Last. 

We actually chose wreath because of its representation for Christmas (Christ’s birth)- the giver of everlasting life. We were personally more inclined with the circular wreath because it means it has no beginning and no end. Wreaths were also originally made of evergreens to represent life everlasting. And that is how we got the name Ever Last. Our printing department is now located in Ibn Battuta Gate.

Our family was still our priority so we decided to move the studio closer to home. We rented a slightly bigger studio in Onyx Towers last April and we faced struggles in fitting it out and we finally moved in before the year ended. God’s perfect timing, we now have a bigger office for our growing team.

2017 did not start well but we kept believing and hoping. Our God is bigger than our dreams and His plans are greater than ours. All we need is to trust Him. Onward to 2018! Happy new year to all!