2016 Soles of Silk Year in Review

The year of 2016 will forever be remembered as one of my busier years when it came to my life outside of Soles of Silk. I've been pulled in many directions between work, Wu's Feet Links, and just finding some time for peace and quiet. Still, I attempted to jump into the swing of things early this year for the site, but was met with some resistance from Mother Nature. Read all about that and much more in this Soles of Silk - Year in Review.

Alice kicked off an amazing 2016 by being feature in an interview on Wu's Feet Links.

January began with a focus to publish some of the older sets that I had been sitting on. I also sprinkled in some newer sets, but wanted to give a couple of models whose work I haven't showcased in a while some much needed updates. Sometimes it is just hard to work a regular rotation of models and themes onto the site.

The biggest thing to happen to kick off this New Year was Alice being featured in an interview on the Wu's Feet Links Interviews Blog. In Alice's Interview, we covered a lot of topics, but mostly focused on her having big, size 11 feet. She was a great sport and I think discussing her large feet and seeing all the love people have for them, helped make her into one of my most eager models today. It also inspired me to write the blog, "Alice's Arrival," back on January 25. Be sure to give that read, if you haven't already.

The month wrapped up with the completion of The Annual Soles of Silk Trivia Contest - 2015 Edition. Just like with every year, I end the year with a trivia contest asking everyone about the happenings of the last 12 months. Overall, people did quite well and a number of people loved the design of the contest banner, which also featured Alice.

* The Annual Soles of Silk Trivia Contest - 2016 Edition is currently underway. The deadline to enter is Saturday, February 4, 2016. Get in your entry today!

Much like this boot, February kicked off the Monthly Mindee updates.

The Christmas update of 2015 featured Mindee. Since that was published at the end of the month, and I was on a mission to get some of the other models exposure in January, Mindee didn't have an update. At the time, that wasn't out of the ordinary. She always had regular updates, but it wasn't a monthly thing. Well, not until February that is. 

February kicked off my idea for a monthly update featuring Mindee (see blog: "Monthly Mindee Updates?"). Needless to say, it's been a massive hit since it's introduction and has allowed me to constantly be using my ever growing collection of material featuring the site's most photographed model. It also is the biggest reason for Mindee's 4K Club (4,000 photos) achievement that you'll get to read about in October.

Since February is oftentimes a month associated with love, I did my first ever Models I Miss blog series entry. Madison was first up (see blog: "Models I Miss - Madison"). I sure do miss her and those narrow feet!

Jasey Rae was the first to model for me in 2016, even though it was still chilly outside.

March made me believe that I would be lucking out with weather as spring approached. The area got a warm spell and I hit up Jasey Rae to see if she'd like to take some photos. She was just as eager as I was and it was off to the park we went. The shot above was from one of the two sets we managed to do that day, which actually turned out to be the last new sets I'd shoot until May due to bad luck with the weather.

In March I was also able to feature a set that was many years in the making - the M&M's themed set with Mindee and her cousin, Marcy. When these two are together, you know it's going to be great. It sure was that and more!

I used April to give updates on the site's models statuses, like Camille, who moved.

Without much going on with shoots due to the bad weather each weekend, I decided to go ahead and launch an 11-part blog series that gave the statuses of every single model on Soles of Silk. I've done these in the past, but it had been a while since the last installment. With so many models added since then, I thought it would make for a good addition to the blog while I had time on my hands.

May marked the all new design  and navigation changes to this blog.

In May I made the decision to update this blog. I had played with some different layouts in the past, but I was looking to improve the usability and navigation. Links to the site, translation, popular posts, links to Wu's Feet Links, a contact form, and model contact information was all added down the right side of the blog. At the bottom of the blog I added links to all the items on Wu's Feet Links that feature Soles of Silk models. Items such as feature sets, interviews, and columns can all be found there.

May also turned out to be the month when Mindee and I would first be able to meet up and shoot new photos. I had still only shot Jasey Rae that one time back in March, so I was ever so eager to do something new. Even still, Mindee and I fought off the rain for a set, but got drenched trying to shoot our second one of the day.

Alice's shoot in early June was only the third one I had gotten to do in 2016.

By June I am normally into the swing of things when it comes to shooting new content. When I wrote the blog titled, "A Slow First Half of 2016," I had only done three shoots. One with Jasey Rae, one with Mindee, and one with Alice. Mother Nature sure wasn't helping me on my days off and I had a number of shoots rescheduled or cancelled. This was all about to change, however, and change in a big way!

Mindee kicked off Hot Feet Week 2016 by shooting her Wu's Feet Links feature set.

For the last few years I've used my vacation time in July to travel to some amusement parks and just get away from everything. Of course, back in 2015 I was able to do that with Mindee and have a blast (see blog: "Vacation Shoot - Mindee"). Well, Mindee was the focus of my vacation yet again in 2016, although we stayed closer to home.

July kicked off the second ever, Hot Feet Week, where I tried to shoot as many models as I could in a week's time. The first Hot Feet Week took place in 2012. A neat little tidbit, just like in 2012, Mindee kicked things off for the 2016 Hot Feet Week too (see blog: "Hot Feet Week: 2016 Edition, Part 1 - Mindee"). From there I'd get to shoot four new models, one of which debuted on the site at the end of this month. I was also able to do a number of multi-model sets with these new models, but also shoot one I've always wanted to do: Mindee and Kelsey. It was every bit as good as I had hoped for and I insisted to both girls that we do it again and again moving forward. Hot Feet Week also marked the first time I was able to shoot with Felicia in some time. She's someone many of you love and I was glad to get her back in front of the camera.

On July 15 Mindee got some more of the spotlight shined on her, in a year that she's obviously owned. For the second time, Mindee was featured on Wu's Feet Links as a feature model. Her set, "The Ferris-t of Them All," marked the only time one of my models has appeared in more than one feature set representing Soles of Silk. Her first set, "Piggies in Power Girl," from 2010 was a massive hit, as was this one. If any of my models deserved a repeat feature, it was Mindee.

Alice shot the July 2017 Wu's Feet Links feature set, which is being slowly teased each week.

August kicked off in the midst of a four week long run where Reese, Rein, Rilynn, and Noelle would make their debuts. Reese managed to get her debut in at the end of July, but the first three weeks of August saw Rein, Rilynn, and Noelle come after. It was only fitting to follow all that up with Mindee since she's the one responsible for getting all four girls to shoot for the site. Her set also featured Cierra, so talk about an awesome month of updates!

I was also able to do some of my most memorable sets of the year during August. Those sets were with none other than Alice. You all know by now just how much Alice has made an impact in such a short amount of time on Soles of Silk. Well, I asked her what she thought about being the site's next feature model on Wu's Feet Links in 2017. She was ecstatic! We threw around some ideas for several weeks and then it hit us.

On Sunday, August 7, Alice and I spent the day up in Seaside Heights, NJ. Although we encountered some snags with our initial plans, our Wu's Feet Links feature set was not among them. It was the first set we shot and WOW! That's all I can say, honestly! It might just be the best feature set I've shot, and that's saying a lot with all the great sets I've done in the past.

Since this set is one I was so proud of, I wanted to share it ASAP, but I also didn't. That's when the idea for the "Weekly Teaser - Alice's July 2017 Wu's Feet Links Feature" was born. When I explained the details of my idea to Alice, she loved the idea. She's no stranger to the art of teasing, believe me! It was only fitting that this idea was made a reality. So until her July 2017 feature is published, all of you have been made to endure a 50 week long tease that Alice is ever so proud of. Don't worry, blue won't be the only color going on once this set gets published! And you know what I mean by blue!

In August I also was able to get in new sets with the likes of Mindee, Alice, Jasey Rae, and Kelsey. Kelsey shot several sets since I told her I wanted to feature her on the site more regularly. She even got in a set with Jasey Rae. Talk about another dream set... Those two and their chubby toes! Anyhow, Kelsey is always someone I've longed to do more with and I was glad to make that finally happen. It's also something I wish to continue in 2017.

Kelsey kept finding me time to shoot her and her beautiful feet in September.

With the weather still nice, I focused on getting in more new sets when I could. I once again shot with Kelsey and Alice, but this time I was also able to get Kaycee in front of my camera. One of 2015's All Star Models, this was the first time she and I found time to meet in 2016. That's something I want to make sure doesn't happen in 2017 as she's always a joy to shoot and has a blast doing it.

This set put Mindee into the 4K Club, which inspired the Mindeemania Contest.

October saw a huge milestone with Mindee reaching the 4K Club. She was the first, and still only model, to reach the 3K Club and shares the 2K Club spotlight with only Cierra, thus far. Mindee was able to accomplish this feat in less than a full year with her monthly updates.

"I actually didn't realize it would be so fast. Looking forward for less than a year for the next 1,000 too!" Mindee said in her 4K Club Interview in the site's members section. "I'm always excited to be updated frequently. I love the fact that it's been on a monthly basis."

To further honor this achievement by the site's most photographed model, a special contest was created called Mindeemania. Much like the ongoing Annual Trivia Contest, this was a 10 question trivia based contest that focused on nothing but Mindee and things she's done. The contest began the day she broke the 4K mark and ended in November.

Another huge accomplishment in October came on my end. I was finally able to finish transferring the last of the columns from 2004-13 out of the members section and onto this blog. It was a tedious task, but one I'm glad I embarked upon. Just having everything in one spot makes me feel so much better. It was also amazing getting to go back in time and look at some of my own site's history. I even forgot about some awesome things that happened along the way. If you get a chance, check out some of those entries from December 2004 - February 2013.

Alice's & Camille's BFF set was a massive hit with fans of size compare shots.

In November the Mindeemania Contest came to an end. Overall, people did generally well. There was a single question, however, that no one got right. That one asked, "Next to Mindee's heavenly feet, roller coasters are probably my next biggest passion. I have had Mindee pose those flawless feet at three different amusement parks to date. How many total roller coasters can be found throughout those sets combined?"

Just when you think that was mean of me to ask, know that I didn't exclude Mindee from my evil ways. I asked her to fill out an entry for the Mindeemania Contest just to see how well she'd do. Well, let's just say that her score wouldn't have qualified her for one of the prizes. To see how she did, be sure to check out the blog, "Contest - Mindeemania: Mindee's Best Guesses."

A lot of great sets also went up during November, but one multi-model set stole the show. Alice and Camille got the chance to model their feet together for a couple of sets in late 2015. The BFF-themed set of theirs above, was finally published on November 16, 2016. So many people loved the set, especially those of you who had been clamoring for a set with some size comparison shots.

As the calendar turned to December I began preparing for many of the end of the year items I like to post here on the blog. This particular blog was planned out, before being finished here in early January. I also, however, did my annual Favorite Sets of the Year blog, and for the second time, named the year's Star Models. This year Mindee and Alice both made repeat appearances, but Kelsey would join them for her first time. All three deserve the recognition. The only thing better would be if I could get them all in a set together though... Yes, add that to the 2017 Soles of Silk Wish List!

In addition to my regular Favorite Sets blog, this year I also decided to do a spin off titled, "My Favorite Mindee Sets of 2016." With her monthly updates, she had 13 total sets published in 2016. So why not? Just like the standard favorite list, this was so hard to compile.

I also put the finishing touches on the Annual Soles of Silk Trivia Contest - 2016 Edition in December. I published that to the blog here on January 3. Be sure to check it out and get your entry in before the Saturday, February 4 deadline.

Looking Ahead
I'm hoping that 2017 brings me the same success as 2016 with amazing sets I was able to shoot. Where I hope things change, however, is that I'm able to do more of that with a bigger variety of models. I've already been talking with Mindee about doing some indoor sets here soon. Jasey Rae also thought it would be awesome to get a three other models together in a set with her, at some point. I recommended an addition to her idea for the site's first ever five girl set. She loved it and so do all the models who we discussed. I really hope to make that happen.

Be on the lookout over the next several days for a 2017 Soles of Silk Wish List Blog that I'm currently working on. It will go into more detail on some of the items I just mentioned as well as some others I'd like to share with you. I hope 2017 has been kind to all of you!

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