Friday, December 26, 2014

Soles of Silk 10 Year Anniversary - 2014

Kaycee posed for a "bloody" great set for Halloween - a zombie schoolgirl.

2014: At a Glance


Debuting Models: (7) Bobbie, Bridgette, Felicia, Kaycee, Lela Beryl, Megan Jones, & Reagan

Wu's Feetlinks Feature Gallery: Olivia - Back to Business

Olivia was featured in the July 2014 Wu's Feet Links feature set that helped kick start Wu's Feet Links once again after he passed away earlier in the year.

2014: The Year in Review


We've finally arrived at 2014 in this Soles of Silk 10 Year Anniversary blog series. What began at the end of 2004 has now reached its first 10 years online - a milestone I am very proud of and one I wish to continue to build on in the future. Hopefully I'll be able to do another blog series in 10 years looking back on the last 20 years of Soles of Silk.


When it comes to 2014 I had lofty plans entering the year. My goal was to really play off the number 10 all year long, including debuting 10 new models on the site. Well, that didn't exactly happen, although had every new model who claimed they were going to pose did, I would have had about 15 new models this year instead of the seven listed above. I had no shows and girls get cold feet, no pun intended, and it dashed my hopes of reaching that 10 new model mark.

As for the seven models who did debut, however, let's take a look at each one of their debuts as I have done to start off each of these blog series pieces in the past.

The first new model to debut was Megan Jones. I actually shot Megan close to the end of 2013 and planned on debuting her the second week of 2014. Instead she was moved to the first update, which happened on January 1, 2014. My original plan was to have a friend of mine debut on New Years with a New Years set and then Megan follow her up - adding two of the 10 new models within the first two weeks of 2014. My friend backed out, well, her boyfriend complained to her, so she didn't pose. Megan was instead moved to the New Years update.

Lela Beryl was the second model to debut in 2014. I met Lela on Twitter (@LelaBeryl) and had been talking to her for some time. She became friends with a model I shot last year, Rachel DD, and when the two of them were traveling the East Coast planning shoots earlier in the year, I booked Lela on a snowy, cold February night. We did a handful of sets and she was a blast to hang out with for a few hours.

The third new model to the site wouldn't be seen until July when Bobbie debuted her soft soles in a patriotic, Fourth of July set. For months we had talked about her finally posing for me and I was so glad when we began planning the sets. Like many of the other girls who have posed for Soles of Silk, Bobbie is a personal friend of mine and she finally decided that she was going to come on board. I was very happy to have her and her sets thus far have been awesome.

The following week the fourth new model debuted on the site, Kaycee. Kaycee is a coworker who I really didn't know much about. All I knew is that she was very quiet and I had no idea how she'd react if I asked her to pose. Well, once we got to know each other I began mentioning the site and she thought it was really cool. I asked her to pose and now she loves being in front of my camera. She's always telling me she can't wait to pose again and let her know whenever I need her.

Shortly after Kaycee debuted she mentioned that she had a friend who wanted to pose as well. I was put in touch with Reagan and although it took us a couple of months, we were able to squeeze in a couple of sets one Sunday. Reagan has since become employed where I work and once the weather warms up, I'm sure she's going to be back in front of my camera - even doing a much talked about, Reagan and Kaycee set.

I didn't really expect any new models to debut after Reagan. Throughout the months before I had other models change their minds, have jealous boyfriends change it for them, or just do the whole no show thing. With five new models I thought I was done with newbies for the year. Then I asked Felicia, a coworker of mine, to help out with Kaycee's Halloween set. Felicia is a cosplayer and very much into the idea of having her work shown on Soles of Silk. After Kaycee's set, Felicia contacted me and told me she'd like to model for the site too.

Since it was already October by the time Felicia told me she'd like to pose, we hurried up and scheduled a couple of outdoor sets. Had I known she would have been interested in posing sooner, I would have asked her months ago. Because of that I told her we'd get in a couple of sets now and then make up for it in 2015. But Felicia wasn't done with her surprises just yet...

At the start of December Felicia shared that her fraternal twin sister, Bridgette, was interested in modeling as well. Twins? Yeah... I had to make that happen. I knew Bridgette and much like Felicia, just figured posing for my site wouldn't be something she was into. Again, I was wrong. I guess I should just start asking everyone, huh?

The weekend before Christmas I got both girls together for a number of sets with the intentions of debuting Bridgette in a set with her sister and then following that up with a twins New Years set. With twins you have to do everything twice! Needless to say, the "Soles of Silk - 10 Cryptic Fun Facts" blog entry and tweets on the site's Twitter page (@SolesofSilk) were a fun way to tease this. I decided to hide it until the Christmas update itself.

New models weren't the only way I planned on celebrating the site's 10 year festivities. I planned to do 10 different contests throughout the year. There were a handful of major ones, including: The 2013 Annual Trivia Contest, Where's Wendy Contest, Wallpaper Design Contest, Whose Shoes Conest, and The 2014 Annual Trivia Contest. Add in the the random ones I would put on Twitter or Instagram (@SolesofSilk), and I surpassed 10 contests over the year.

Inside the site's member section I designed 10 year anniversary avatars of each and every model who posed for the site during it's first 10 years online. No more will be added to that specific page after January 1, 2015.

Another item used inside the site's members section to celebrate 10 years were the 10 for 10 interviews. All year long I had models take part in small, 10 year themed interviews that I called 10 for 10. While not every model I sent one to came through, a total of 18 models did.

The last major method I used to celebrate Soles of Silk's 10th anniversary was through this blog. All year long I added blogs looking back over the last 10 years of the site. You're reading the final chapter of one of those series now. The other series took a look at my favorite sets from those past years as well as my favorite Wu's Feet Links feature galleries, and the 13 most photographed models on the site.

The year wasn't totally about the 10 year anniversary items, however. Many other notable and even sad things happened this year. Let's take a look at those.

When it comes to the models who were already a part of Soles of Silk prior to 2014, there were a number of standouts. Mindee had another amazing year appearing in six sets - which would have been seven had Felicia and Bridgette not done their holiday themed sets. Emerald, Jamie, and Olivia all had strong years too, appearing in four sets each. Ashlyn and Charlee both had three sets this year and a bunch of other models had two sets each. It really was a well rounded year as far as having different models published regularly.

In 2014 the site had it's second model join the 2K Club (2,000 photo mark) when Mindee slid past Cierra to take the crown as the site's most photographed model - doing it by only a single picture at the time. One month later, both Kelsey and Jamie would join the 1K Club (1,000 photo mark).

This year I also continued to make some changes to the site's design and structure. Model galleries were the biggest change as I decided upon a better way to list sets from the past. I also made some cosmetic changes such a font size and justifying the entire site to center instead of left. Just felt things needed to be freshened up.

And now for the sad news...

In May the Wu's Feet Links Forum community learned of Wu's passing. For months we wondered why the updates had ceased and then we were giving the bad news none of us wanted to hear. Wu had passed away. I had never met Wu in person, but I always considered him a friend and owe a lot of my site's success to his kindness and promotion.

In the months following I contacted Phil from BHE, the hosting company for both Wu's Feet Links and Soles of Silk. We came up with a plan to keep Wu's Feet Links online and on how to update it in the future. Phil made some changes to the site and gave me the reigns to do monthly Interview and Column features - both of which were converted into blogs.




Perhaps the biggest thing Phil allowed me to do, however, was restart the Wu's Feet Links feature model section with a set of Olivia titled, "Back to Business." Wu had told me months prior that he wanted Olivia to be a 2014 feature model back when we exchanged emails in December of 2013. We planned for a May feature because I wanted, and prefer to do my sets outdoors. Well, it didn't end up happening in May with all the confusion and the rebuild of some of the site's section, but I'm happy I got to make it happen. I know Wu would have loved the set Olivia did. In the months since, many other sites have had feature sets published as well and it's so great to see the community chipping in all these months later.

So while 2014 was a big year for Soles of Silk, it also had a major sad point. Regardless, I have tried my hardest to keep the site going strong, even with picking up some of those extra duties for Wu's Feet Links. It's the least I could do for someone's memory who did so much for me and for many others out there.

Now it's time to look forward to the next 10 years of Soles of Silk. What will 2015 and beyond have in store for me and the site? Well, if the first 10 years are any indication, then I have a lot to look forward to. Thanks for taking the journey with me and I hope you stay on board!



Bobbie started off with a sparkle when she debuted her feet on the Fourth of July update.


2014: Tidbits & Facts


- Mindee would have broke the 2,500 photo mark had I not changed plans at the end of December and scheduled the shoot with Felicia and her twin sister, Bridgette.

- Although Jamie had four sets published in 2014, she shot 10 sets this year. And only one of those 10 was included in what was published this year. Needless to say, she's got a lot of content coming!

- Emerald is another model who posed for a lot of sets in 2014 - two of which were published. I had a ton of fun meeting up with her this year and told her she's going to be one of my main models in 2015, that's for sure!

- There are actually five twins on Soles of Silk. Kimmie and Kellie and now Felicia and Bridgette. There was actually another twin on the site on Day One, however, in Amber. Amber is a twin, but has a twin brother.

- The Wu's Feet Links Interviews Blog kicked off with Lady Steph's Interview because a few years prior, Wu had approached me about taking control of his former, interviews section. He asked me to do one with Lady Steph, so it only felt right to start the way he wanted to all those years ago when we kicked around the idea.

- A few of the site's main models actually didn't shoot any new photos in 2014, even though I still had unpublished content with them I relied on through out the year. Some of those models include: Aspen, Ryan, Colleen, Wendy, Layla, and Amelia. I really hope to get with each of these girls in 2015, but sadly both Aspen and Ryan have been impossible to reach these days.

- One model I hadn't shoot new content with in a few years because she had moved was Kayleigh. In 2014 she moved back to this region and I was very happy to have her back on the site again.

- All summer long Bobbie and I kept talking about doing a fishing themed set. We planned on doing it both times we shot, but time wasn't on our side and we totally aim to do it in 2015. Maybe it was all that time that I spent rubbing her soft feet that killed the extra time? Oh well...

- Speaking of foot rubs, these models got foot rubs in 2014: Abby, Ashlyn, Bobbie, Charlee, Emerald, Felicia, Jamie, Kayleigh, Lela Beryl, Mandy, Megan Jones, Mindee, Olivia, and Regan.

- Kaycee keeps telling me that one day I might get to massage her feet. "Might..."


Fraternal twins Bridgette (left) & Felicia both debuted on Soles of Silk in 2014.

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