An interactive November

November was my month to work on capturing pure interactions and emotions, something that I miss more often than not. They make for the most honest photos and finding those moments is so special, because they are so real.

Lone Star Rally Day 3

I love this photo for it’s purity. This sums up Lone Star Rally. Seemingly tough exteriors having a great time with friends on their bikes. It’s so easy to feel happy when you’re surrounded by people having a great time.

Galveston Island State Park

This was taken on the same day as the first photo. The sky made me really happy. Although there is not much going on in this photo, it was perfect for the story. The state park will be closing its beach for renovations that will take over a year. This photograph shows two Girl Scouts enjoying this beach while they can.

Clear Falls vs. Pearland Dawson volleyball

Although not my best volleyball photograph, I love it all the same. I like how clearly you can see her eyes and the placement of the ball. I like being able to see teammates in the background, since volleyball is such a team sport.

COM bond

I waited a while for this one. Sometimes you have to wait nearly two hours for a photograph, but you better not miss it when it happens. This was the moment College of the Mainland learned their bond was passed during November’s election. It great to capture excited educators since they have waited so long for this bill to pass. Although there is only one subject in focus, you see the excitement behind her as well.

Dickinson clean up

This photo came by accident, although it was a happy one. I was try to work with the light and get these two volunteers helping each other out. However, they were directly behind a sprig of leaves for the shot I wanted, so I decided to layer the sprig on top. Although unsure of the photo at first, I have come to enjoy it’s simplicity and the shapes work well together.

Clear Falls vs. Texas City basketballClear Falls vs. Texas City basketball

These photos were taken on the same night, the first basketball game of the season. Clear Falls fans were confident they were going to beat Texas City like they had in football, but that was not the case. Texas City had killer defense, which I wanted to showcase in the first photo. Their actions in the first photo and the faces of the second photo tell the story of a surprising loss.

Galveston County Adoption Day

I could yell at myself about how I cut his little feet out of the frame, but I can’t do that given the faces in this photo. Seeing him clap after officially being adopted by his parents was the sweetest thing I’ve witnessed in a while. You can feel real love and excitement here and it’s quite beautiful.

Lucy the cadaverLucy the cadaver

It’s not every day you can play with a cadaver at work. This morning at Ball High was so fun. Although these students love to study the fake cadaver, they are still affected by the weird parts of the human body. The wonderful faces in the first photo tell the viewer that sticking a hand in a fake cadavers mouth will have a different effect on everyone. This second photo did not run for obvious reasons, but I love the color and weirdness of the frame.

Medical Quackery in the Bryan Museum

This photo is another simple frame, but I love it. The exhibit was being featured for a story so I made sure to focus on that while avoiding reflection and weird lighting from the glass. Also it took a lot of squatting to capture the viewers in the glass, hah.

Texas City Thanksgiving dinner

Working Thanksgiving was extremely chill. May not be the most professional way to describe it, but it was. I had the opportunity to capture a community lunch in Texas City and it was wonderful. So many people got boxes of food, donated clothing and groceries. This happy was a wonderful find. I love the entire interaction of the family of three. You can see their calm demeanor and with the gaze of their eyes. I think it’s just a nice summary of the event.

Hotel Galvez tree lighting

Although catching selfies is common and not too exciting, I still like this photo. It’s extremely clean, it almost looks fake. The family is well lit and you can see the height of the massive tree. The Galvez lighting is something we cover every year, so it’s definitely difficult finding something new at the event.

Galveston city hall renovations

One word. Edges.

Connection cover League City drainage

Included this for myself mostly. I like that I got a rainbow in the moving water. This is one of my better construction photos for sure. He is well lit and the colors pop well.

Bay Area vs. Boerne Geneva footballBay Area vs. Boerne Geneva football

EMOTIONS! It’s so fun to capture any emotions during sporting events. I felt terrible for theses guys as they couldn’t advance in playoffs but it was also great to see young men get emotional for each other and their game. Sometimes it’s hard to get everything with dark light, but I think these two are a good summary of the feeling throughout the game.

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It’s scary how late I am

I have always been somewhat of a procrastinator, but it is 100% intensified when it comes to blogging. I don’t feel confident in my abilities to relay my thoughts, but hey at least I try.

October was an amazing month. I was consistently busy and really pushed myself to utilize the things I learned from MPW. This month, I think it worked.

I had a hard time choosing a selection of photos and I realized that I should include as many as I want. I’m really proud of my October work and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

This month you will find fun fall features, lots of sports (including a Texans game!!), horrendous flooding and maybe a cool bird. Thanks for your support and love.

Pumpkin patchSanta Fe vs. Baytown LeeCOAST Women bikersHigh tideClear Brooks vs. Clear Springs volleyballLandry's Iron Chef 2018La Marque love notesBayou FestHouston Dynamo vs. Seattle SoundersBirdingSanta Fe floodingHouston Texans vs. Miami DolphinsTrick or Treat

Elias Rolls On: Leaving Home for a Life on the Rails

This has been a normal-looking week for 18-year-old Elias Edquist. Chores at home, and banjo and guitar practice keep him busy daily until his evening shift begins at a local dairy farm. This hardworking, kind young man is leaving his life-long Mountain Grove home for the first time at the end of September for a six-week train conducting course in Kansas City. While Elias is excited for the journey, he will miss his quiet life on the farm where animals greet him daily and his family surrounds him in comfort. These are his last days at home.

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Elias Edquist, 18, pets their mule Gus as his father Eric pours cattle feed during daily chores. After spending his whole life on his family’s Mountain Grove farm, Elias will soon move to Kansas City for a six-week train conducting program.

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Feeding cattle is a regular task for Elias on the family farm where he has helped out since he was a child. Elias’ dad Eric inherited a dairy farm from his father, but after stress of finances and endless work, Eric switched to raising beef a few years ago. Chores change from day to day, but feeding cattle each day is the most important duty.

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Elias begins milking at Dwight Fry’s nearby dairy farm. Elias has been milking cows for many years and it has become second nature. His parents, Eric and Cheryl, say Elias has always been very methodical with everything, especially milking. When something goes wrong, “We tease him with a quote from Thomas the Tank Engine,” Cheryl said. “We tell him we’ve upset his arrangements.”

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Elias heads to banjo practice with work clothes in tow. He has been playing banjo for less than two years, but has already performed in front of 10,000 people. Elias will take his guitar and banjo to Kansas City. “I can never give this up,” he said.

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Elias enjoys learning a tune from banjo teacher Alan Strickland in West Plains. Strickland, who had not played in many years, was inspired by Elias to pick up his banjo again. “Elias is like a sponge with the banjo,” Alan said. “I’m going to miss my buddy.”

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Elias consults with his dad as they try to hook an implement to the tractor. Elias has been Eric’s right-hand man since he was a child. Eric planned to drive with Elias to Kansas City, but decided to stay back because it would be too emotional for him.

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Besides homemade spurs and a flag that flies on special occasions, pictures of Elias and his sister Hala are on display on a dresser at home.

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The Edquist family prays before dinner after a busy day. School and FFA activities occupy Hala, and Elias usually works until 8:00 p.m. The family makes it a point to eat supper together every day.

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Home haircuts by his mom Cheryl have been the rule for Elias. He has had only one haircut outside of home his entire life. “We need to make this one last,” Cheryl joked.

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Elias’ mom Cheryl helps Elias pack clothes for his six-week training program in Kansas City. The move is bittersweet for the tight-knit family. “The four of us are really close,” Cheryl said. “It’s going to be really different without him.”

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Elias hugs their mule, Wrangler. Elias is excited about his potential future in train conducting, but knows leaving home won’t be easy. “This has been home my whole life,” Elias said. “It’s going to be different.”

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When the sun is shining, Elias likes to sit in the garage and take in the sights and smells of the land around him. “I like it here,” Elias said. “It’s nice and quiet.”

One of the most important things in my career happened in the last week of September. I was fortunate to be a part of the 70th Missouri Photo Workshop in lovely town of Mountain Grove, MO.

Saying I was stunned with my acceptance is an understatement. I absolutely could not believe I would be working alongside incredible photographers and faculty for a whole week.

To be honest, this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. After finding a story in about two days, I felt this immense pressure to take good pictures with a narrative.

The pressure got to me. I was taking bad images and was not thinking about the core of my story. My anxiety skyrocketed in ways I haven’t felt in a long time. I felt extremely overwhelmed with a 400 frame limit and this internal need to do well, I was honestly worried I could not make it through.

Something clicked though and I remembered why I was doing this. I applied to the workshop to better my photography, storytelling and overall confidence in my work. I finally listened to my mentors, who were my constant supporters as well as critics, Mary Beth Meehan and Dennis Dimick. They wanted me to be intentional, to think about my images as more than just images. So I did just that.

Finally, I saw the difference. I was thinking before shooting, every shot was intentional and necessary to the story. My images were improving drastically and I’m already seeing this change in my photography at the Daily News. I can’t really believe it took me traveling to Missouri to see what I was missing, but I feel so much better now.

I realized my weakness wasn’t finding stories or connecting with people. It was actually taking photos that matter. I’m ready for my work to matter again. I’m ready to truthfully tell stories, which is the reason I came into this profession in the first place.

I have to shout out Elias and his family for letting me into their lives for a week. They probably didn’t know what they were getting into, but they were so wonderful regardless. They helped me see that I really am doing what I should be with my life. We truly felt comfortable with one another and I hope I can bring that to all the people I meet through my job.

 

I survived the August sun

August was a very busy month for us at the Daily News. The anniversary of Hurricane Harvey was extremely important for us to execute well. We put together stories from around the county and made a separate magazine to look back on the trying year for many folks. Santa Fe students started school after a summer of attempting to heal from a horrific shooting in May. The school board worked tirelessly to involve and inform the community on new security measures, which meant many public meetings. Coast magazine kept me busy and volleyball and football are back and swinging almost every night.

Within all the work, some nice images came out this month. Here are my favorites.

LMHS band

I was happy with this moment between Pam Stanich and Marshal Robert Wood. Wood was being honored as one of the first responders to the Santa Fe High School shooting in May, where Stanich lost her son Jared Black. Time will not change the pain of that day, but healing is possible. There is hope.

LMHS band

Hitchcock’s annual Good Ole Days festival was not it’s best this year due to weather. However, I enjoy this off moment with James Rocker. He’s excited to be there with his ice cream cone. Such blissful innocence.

LMHS band

Volleyball is back and I can’t be more excited!! I can already see such improvement in my photography this year. I appreciate how close I got and the fact you can see the dent she’s making while hitting the ball.

LMHS band

Parents brought their children to Lasker Pool for some rest and relaxation before school starts. Although not exciting, I enjoy the colors in this photo and an angle not normally seen everyday.

LMHS band

For Harvey’s anniversary, we went back to many homes that are still seeing renovations or may be still destroyed in general. I like this photo, because you can see the improvements in the Flexes home as well as the progress they still need to make.

LMHS band

John Maisel is an extremely interesting person with a home that has barely been touched since Hurricane Harvey. Although I got good photos inside his home, I think the portrait really shows how he thinks of life. He isn’t down because he has to live in an RV. He’s going to keep working and doing what he can to get back to normal.

LMHS band

On the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Harvey Recovers went to different homes to assess damage. Barbara Murray, left, lives in her home but still sees remnants of Harvey in her floors, ceilings and furniture. I think this photo is a creative way to show the work these volunteers were doing.

LMHS bandLMHS band

I’m pairing these two together because they really go together. Where’s Crabbo? was a sandcastle concept featured at the AIA Sandcastle Competition. People were challenged to find the crab with the hat in a batch of hundreds. I absolutely loved this sandcastle and thought peoples’ reactions were fun as well.

LMHS band

This photo is not the best soccer picture, but I love the Dash to I’ll include. I think the ball is framed well and you can see the struggle between Kealia Ohai and Jen Hoy.

LMHS band

This is probably my favorite image of the month. Anyone could have taken this photo, but I was actually in the right place at the right time for once. They were excited to tell me about their baby powder plan right before it happened. It was the perfect beginning to football season. Lots of excitement with a little rebellion.

LMHS band

This photo is not the most special thing in the world, but I really love it for some reason. You see Frank’s workspace while his face is framed in the chair. I think this photo could have been taken a thousand ways, but I really enjoy the way I took it.

Summertime in Galveston County

So because I am lazy and forgetful, I have put together a conglomeration of my favorite photos from June and July! It has been an unforgettable summer so far. Sometimes I am in utter disbelief on the things I have been able to shoot. From peewee basketball to a Juneteenth festival and Fourth of July to a police sheriff retirement, every assignment means so much to me. I am so grateful for the experiences I have had and I am only looking forward to telling more stories of this wonderful community in the year to come.

It’s crazy to think that I started at the Daily News this day last year. I would absolutely not change anything about it. I am so blessed to be here and am so happy with the improvement of my storytelling and picture making. Thanks for stopping by, here are some photos!

UTMB maternity clinicTC JuneteenthVape studyRain featureHouston Dynamo vs. NTX RayadosM.I Lewis Social Service CenterAAU youth basketball tournamentJuneteenth marchCOAST Pier fishingChildren's Fourth of July paradeRainy Fourth of JulyFriendswood Fourth of JulyDynamo vs. LA FCChief Burby retirementAspen MillerSanta Fe ISD board meetingHeat waveGalveston Beach BandBeach buildingBayou Animal Services groundbreakingTorah processionGolf academy

 

May, may go away

Well I’m almost two weeks late in posting, but I have been busy and honestly wanted to put off going through photos from this month. It was a long one. There was a lot of baseball and graduations, but a lot more tragedy.

A shooter killed 10 kids at Santa Fe High School. Santa Fe is a small town that the Daily News covers frequently. Santa Fe is great community and tragedy struck it horrifically.  Covering this has been the biggest challenge since I began my professional career. Although Harvey affected people on a greater scale, there is no heartbreak like watching a community mourn 10, young souls that were taken too early.

This was a hard lesson to learn. Everyday that I had to cover this, all I wanted to do was put my camera down and cry. However, that was not an option. I had to buck up and do my job even though we were unwanted, and still are. I hope the people of Santa Fe come to realize that we are here for them and only want to tell their stories.

Here are my top ten photos from May.

Bay Area Regional Medical Center declares bankruptcyLois Gibson forensic artistClear Springs vs. Kingwood baseballClear Springs vs. Kingwood baseballVigil in League CityWorship at AldergateCCISD protestTurtle releaseGreater Barbour's Chapel Baptist Church prayerLa Marque graduation

May was a lot of people and a lot of emotion. I think I did a better job at capturing this emotion compared to Harvey. The power and passion people have within them is incredible to me and I hope that you can see that in my photographs.

Here is a little extra of just baseball since I didn’t have any in the edit. I think I got a lot better a shooting the sport as the months have gone on, but unfortunately our Clear Springs did not make it past the regional semifinal playoff series.

 

I’ll try to stay on top of my photography from June and actually be on time next week. Thanks for reading!

I’m the April fool

April was a wonderful month for me! I did not work as much as usual because I took some vacation time for the first time since August. I was able to visit friends in Missouri, shoot my friend’s engagement and then I went to Denver for The Image, Deconstructed workshop. The workshop was absolutely incredible. I was able to see and stay with some close friends from the J-school and I learned so much from extremely talented photojournalists that gave us lectures on how to be better storytellers.

During the workshop, I was able to get a portfolio review. Yeah my portfolio got destroyed by a Seattle Times editor. He called my work decent, which I completely understand. He made me realize what I was missing in my photography and I really hope I can truly improve with this advice. It is so easy to get stagnant or even too confident in your work. It is important to stay grounded in this industry so you can continuously improve and work harder to be better. This caused me to immerse myself into finding stories and I have found a couple to work on, so I’m excited for these to come together.

Below I’ve attached my 10 best images for April. This definitely wasn’t my strongest month, but I included a lot of stuff that is different than the regular features I show.

Marika Fuller and Gum Bayou

I love this portrait. Marika Fuller is passionate about changing the drainage systems near her neighborhood so she and her neighbors don’t have to experience another Harvey. I think this portrait makes her look strong and determined.

Tall ships parade

This is a photo from Galveston’s first tall ships parade. I like that you can see the beautiful ships in the distance. I think this photo is good at giving the viewer a realistic perspective.

Tall ship tours

This photo isn’t the most exciting, but you can tell how interested in the tall ship they are. I think the foreground frames them well, but this could have been done better.

Devil and the Deep Brew

This photo was for our business section about a new brewery. Instead of a regular building shot, I decided to get the brewer actually doing his thing. I love the focus on his face and you can tell how much he cares about each batch.

Ball High vs. Texas City

In baseball it can be hard to get good facial expressions, but I love that you can see his face clearly and you understand what everyone is trying to accomplish in the photo.

GC Rodeo

Cows are amazing. Just look at this sweetie shaking off the water. I think this works well as a detail and relays the message that these cows gotta be clean for a show.

GCFR Auction

A more obvious shot, but I enjoy the father/daughter moment. They are working toward the common goal of dressing up her goat. The rodeo was full of fun characters, but I don’t think I shot it as well as I could have. I have never been to a rodeo or livestock auction, so I think I’ll be much more prepared next year.

Clear Falls vs. Clear Creek baseball

There is nothing like a fun celebration shot. I like how this just looks like a snapshot of a moment. You know exactly how these guys feel and it’s nice feeling that through a photo.

Texas City fire

I’ve talked about how breaking news is not my forte and it still isn’t. I included this “meh” photo mostly because of the colors. The yellows and reds pop so much because the smoke has completely covered the apartment. I think it also shows the exhaustion of the firefighters.

I just really like this food shoot. Probably my best so far. 🙂

All of that was in March?

Every time I begin writing one of these blog posts, it stuns me how much happened in the past month. March was wild, I almost forgot Election Day took place! The month was full of softball, baseball and soccer as well as many portraits for our annual magazine, Profiles, and lots of crawfish. I definitely was not prepared for the infatuation with crawfish. I get it though, those little bugs are delicious.

In this conglomeration of photos, there is a little of everything. Unlike February, which was dominated by Mardi Gras and basketball, there is a little something for everyone in this batch. I am extremely pleased with my boldness and how it has grown since getting this job. I used to fear going up to people and asking for their names and personal information, but now it has become second nature. I also am getting much better at portraits and using off-camera flash. These were definitely not my strengths in the beginning whatsoever (sorry, Rita!) However, I have found myself challenging myself more with each portrait and actually looking forward to using my strobe, which I never thought would happen.

I was told that I would grow as a photographer after getting this job and I can really see that as a look at my photography. I hope you enjoy the 10 best from March, thanks for the support!

The Big Ass Crawfish BashDynamo vs. WhitecapsMarch For Our LivesTexas City vs. FB Elkins softballThe Big Ass Crawfish BashWorkers shuck oystersMarika Fuller and Gum BayouGalveston County primariesDown the Hatch at Stingaree restaurantShayla Edwards vigil

 

Mardi-ruary in Galveston

February was the month of Mardi Gras and basketball and they were definitely my best photos.

Before moving to Galveston, I never understood Mardi Gras because I never understood it. The first night I shot a parade, I fell in love. I was smiling the entire time I was shooting, dancing to the bands and just enjoying everyone’s experiences. I was feeling pretty nervous about properly lighting a night parade, but I think I finally got the hang of it. Overall it was an amazing two weeks of just pure entertainment and joy. Capturing excitement and happiness is a blessing. I love being able to feel people’s energy through photos and I really tried to accomplish that.

Mardi Gras Night OneZ Krewe paradeZ Krewe paradeKnights of Momus

Basketball was almost the opposite of Mardi Gras. We had multiple schools get to the playoffs, but I was not able to take a celebratory photo I was hoping for. Capturing sadness is not as fulfilling as joy, however, you feel so much more from a melancholy photo. I finally got a photo of a player crying after losing a game. I felt bad, but his emotion was so telling of the game. The poor team lost 61-59 and they played so well. Besides taking photos of emotion, I was able to really hone in my skills in basketball. I played with framing, tightened up my frames and tried more artistic, action photos. I absolutely love shooting sports so this was a enjoyable month for me.

Pearland vs. Clear CreekLa Marque vs. East Chambers basketballClear Springs vs. Pearland DawsonPearland vs. Clear Creek

The last two photos are just two of my favorites I took this month. Volunteers came to Clear Creek to pick up trash. There were so many people and even more trash, so I wanted to get a clean photo that showed these volunteers working and I think I did well with the frame below. The other is pure aesthetic. Apparently, Galveston has a fog season and I got to play with that a lot. This photo was a happy find as I was on a bridge at the right moment.

Clear Creek clean upFog feature

Top Ten January

Hello to everyone who takes the time to read my blog! If you don’t know already, I really appreciate your time and support. 🙂

This year, I want to do monthly blogs where I edit down all my shoots from that month into my top ten favorite images. This allows me to work on my editing skills and see where I’m lacking and where I’m doing well in this job.

January was a very interesting month. So many wonderful things happened like the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity Circle, which is the first photo and the beginning of Mardi Gras. However, there was a lot of loss. I was at more car wrecks and unfortunate breaking news this month than any other. I didn’t include any this round, which means I need to get better at shooting in those situations.

I find it difficult to work my shots in breaking news because I find myself in my head a lot of the time. I know that reporting the bad is just as much a part of my job as reporting the good, so sometimes I need to channel the photojournalist more than I do.

In chronological order, here are the top ten photos of January.

MLK Unity Prayer

People of many denominations gathered for a prayer of unity on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I love this photo because it shows a mass of people together for one purpose, fellowship.

Food shoot

I included this lovely pie, because I am getting so much better at food photography. When I started this job, I had no idea what made food look good. My progress in my lighting as been helpful as well as my new framing ideas.

Ice and sleet

This is one of the best detail shots I’ve ever taken. Ice never lasts long in Texas, so I wanted to portray that while feature hunting.

GISD Bond

When you think “Galveston Independent School District bond meeting,” excitement is not your first feeling. I wanted to have fun with it so I played with my focus and framing the whole time I was there. Although there is no particular emotion in this photo, I like how close the man in the foreground’s hand came to one of the board members and that you see GISD’s hashtag “gisdinspire very clearly.

Galveston College baseball

Baseball is back and I am pumped! Galveston College has a baseball and softball team that I hope to photograph frequently. Fielding is hard to capture, so I like how you can see the man in background prepare for the ball that is coming his way.

TCISD Robotics

I have been waiting to shoot a robotics team and this did not disappoint. I swear these high schoolers are smarter than I’ll ever be. I like this photo because I waited very patiently for the robot’s claw to be in the perfect position. You can see the student’s face and the task he has to complete. I have definitely become more patient as I have been at this job.

Mainland Mardi Gras

One of the biggest reasons I picked this one is for the colors. It’s very simple with not much technical thought, but it shows how hard these band members work to keep the music going. Also the lighting was wonderful that day.

Special Ball

This is from one of the best assignments I’ve had to date. This was from the Mardi Gras Special Ball at Moody Gardens. People with mental and physical disabilities were invited to celebrate Mardi Gras with family and caretakers at a safe space. I love this photo because the flash hits him perfectly and you can really see how much fun they are having together.

Special Ball

I had to choose one more from this event, because it warmed my heart so much. Volunteers made hats for anyone that wanted them. I love the smile on her face and the framing of the photo.

Dickinson vs. Clear Springs

Last but not least is a pretty good action shot from a great basketball game. Clear Springs and Dickinson have a heated rivalry, so that makes shooting super fun. I like how in focus everyone’s faces are and that you can see the struggle this basketball player is going though.

I hope you enjoyed looking through these photos. Hopefully they get better and better. ❤