2018 Soles of Silk Year in Review

It is now 2019 and Soles of Silk is celebrating 15 years online. For the next 12 months, I will be taking a look back at the site throughout the years, but today I am going to focus solely on the year that was 2018. Compared to 2017, 2018 was a much slower year for me for numerous reasons, which I will get into down below. That being said, however, there were also a lot of great things that happened and warrant a look back at the year that was. Enjoy!

I was so excited to shoot Maya and her long toes this early on in 2018.

The year kicked off with Melani's New Year set, which was technically published on December 27, 2017. I thought she'd be the perfect person to celebrate the New Year since she was one of 2017's most photographed, and most popular models. Little did I know, however, we'd go the entire year not shooting a single new set.

Alexa was featured in the first update published in 2018 and was followed up by the likes of Mindee, Jasey Rae, Kelsey, and Camille. It's usually this time of year that I put the brakes on shooting new content and focus on getting up all the content I had been shooting in the warmer months. This year would be different, however.

Right before the end of the month, on Sunday, January 28, I shot the first brand new model for the site. Maya and her long toes finally made their way in front of my camera. If you wanna go back and look at the sets we did and find out a little more backstory about this beauty, be sure to read the blog, "Sunday's Shoot - Maya."

As with every year, The Annual Soles of Silk Trivia Contest launched and I waited for the entries to come in before the February 11 deadline. They were slow to come in at first, but things picked up right before the end.

I spent a very long time on the ground rubbing all four of these overly lotioned feet.

I guess 2018 was going to be different with my early shoots. On Monday, February 5, I had my muse, Mindee, shooting her first sets of the year. She wasn't alone though. Nope. The lovely Reese was with her and I got in two sets and a whole lot of time rubbing their feet together. We also made quite the mess on Reese's dining room table. Be sure to read all about that evening in the blog, "Monday's Shoot - Mindee & Reese."

The trivia contest deadline arrived on February 11 and no perfect scores were to be had. I had a logjam of similar scores and only three points separated the two three-month prize winners from two of the three two-month prize winners. Overall, the scores were high, just no perfects in 2018.

A couple of days later it was time for Maya to make her debut. People were itching to see her, but I was holding off her debut for a special occasion - Valentine's Day. Needless to say, people loved her and loved her set. I knew Maya was going to be one of the site's new favorites.

Maya's addition to the site also got me thinking. What if Maya's long toes were shot right next to Alice's? That's when "Dream Duos #6 - Alice & Maya" became a reality. Talk about the perfect combo! I had to make this happen and it didn't take me long to get my wish!

All the March updates focused on Melani, as part of an event titled, "Melani's March to 1K."

The month of March would belong to Melani, but Alice and Maya made sure I gave their 20 long toes some attention first. On Sunday, March 4, the two of them teamed up for a couple of sets where I got to see my wish of having them shooting side-by-side. Being good friends, these shoots were so much fun. Read more about this awesome day in the blog, "Sunday's Shoot - Alice & Maya."

Now for the rest of the month. I ran the first of two, month-long events featured around one model in March. The first model up was Melani, in an event I titled, "Melani's March to 1K." Every week of this four week long event, I published a set featuring Melani. Since she had shot 21 sets in 2017, and we had planned on shooting a bunch more in 2018, I thought it would be a great way to get some of her sets online, while celebrating her and those 18 year old feet.

"Melani's March to 1K" was an overwhelming success. The outpouring of love for her was insane. Read what some of the people were saying in the blog I wrote reviewing the event, "Melani's March to 1K - Epilogue."

Audrey, the site's second new model of 2018, shot her first sets at the end of April.

April brought the first new model to join the 1K Club (1,000 photos). Jasey Rae reached the mark with the April 11 update. I was so excited to see her reach this milestone. She's a good friend and someone I want shooting for me for many years to come. I'd love to have her one day join the 2K Club as well. If you'd like to see how Jasey Rae reached the 1K Club, read "1K Club - Jasey Rae's Footography."

During the early weeks of April, I was talking with Charlee and found out that she had been living out of state, but was due to come back for a few days soon. Naturally, she wanted to see if we could meet up and I made sure to clear my schedule to make sure that happened. It had been too long since I saw my good friend and one of the site's most photographed models. Little did I know, however, I'd be getting another chance to shoot her in May. For the first shoot, read the blog, "Sunday's Shoot - Charlee" for more backstory and sample shots.

On the final day of April the site got its second new model of the year in Audrey. The two of us had never met and I was a little nervous going into the shoot. She turned out to be a great time and someone I really wanted to meet up with again. If you want to know more about how that day went check out, "Monday's Shoot - Audrey." It would take a few weeks, however, for any of Audrey's sets to make it onto the site as the second of two month-long events was slated for May.

May featured the month-long event, "May I Have More Mindee?"

The month of May was focused on Mindee, with the event, "May I Have More Mindee?" Like Melani back in March, I wanted to reward Mindee for all the sets she shot in 2017 (40) and to post a good amount of content we had shot. For the five weeks in May, I let Mindee pick sets to be used for some of the updates and I picked the others. The thing is though, we didn't just go with five sets. Nope. We did double updates each and every week for a grand total of 10 new sets added to the site.

During the "May I Have More Mindee?" event, Mindee joined the 5K Club (see blog: "5K Club - Mindee's Footography"), an honor that was timed to be part of this event from the start. Also tied into this celebration of Mindee was the Mother's Day update on May 9. That update saw Mindee in a set with her mom, Shelby. That set ultimately found itself as my favorite of 2018 (see blog: "My Favorite Sets of 2018"). For a nice recap of the "May I Have More Mindee?" event, read "May I Have More Mindee? - Epilogue."

During this month-long event, I was able to get in a couple new shoots as well. The first of which was with Charlee (see blog: "Monday's Shoot - Charlee"). This marked the second and final time we shot for the year. Still, she got in a good number of sets within those two days, landing her third place on the "2018 Star Models" listing. The second shoot was with newcomer, Mia Kay (see blog: "Sunday's Shoot - Mia Kay").

Ava & Carmella shot their first sets and debuted at the end of June.

On June 6, Audrey finally made her debut. Even though she shot back in April, with the "May I Have More Mindee?" event taking place in May, her update was held until the first update of June. When she debuted, it marked the site's 100 model (see blog: "Keepin' It 100... For a Week, Anyhow"). The site wouldn't sit at 100 for long, however, as Mia Kay's debut came on June 13.

June would actually go on to see a total of four new models debut in succession. After Mia Kay, Ava and Carmella would also debut, with both also shooting their first sets in June (see blog: "Monday's Shoot - Ava" & "Monday's Shoot - Ava & Carmella").

It was also during the month of June that a 10-part blog series kicked off, titled, "1000 Toes In: The First 100 Models of Soles of Silk." In the series I looked at the first 100 models on the site in groups of 10 at a time. It was a lengthy series since I shared a lot of information about each and every model.

Jasey Rae was the July 2018 Wu's Feet Links Feature Model.

On the Fourth of July the site's update featured Emerald. Other than being published on an important holiday here in the United States, the update also saw Emerald join the 1K Club (see blog: "1K Club - Emerald's Footography"). The very next week, on the July 11 update, Kaycee would join her as she entered the 1K Club too (see blog: "1K Club - Kaycee's Footography"). It was nice to see both models reach that milestone. Their work has been stellar over the years and I enjoy each and every shoot I get to do with the both of them.

During the week of the Fourth of July, I also tried to have a 2018 version of the Hot Feet Week seen in prior years. Due to excessive heat and some computer problems, however, my plans fell way short of the intended plans. I was able to secure shoots with Abby, Mindee, Alice, and Leah, but plans with Audrey, Kayleigh, Ashlyn, Colleen, Kaycee, and Mileena fell through (see blog: "Heat Waves, Video Cards, Blisters, & Car Accidents... Oh My!").

Perhaps the biggest thing to take place during the month of July, however, was Jasey Rae shooting two sets, including the 2018 Wu's Feet Links Feature, "Captain of the All-Tease Cheer Squad." The set was full of bright colors and some memorable shots. Jasey owned this set and is one of her best!

Mindee and I went on vacation together again, riding a bunch of new roller coasters.

To kick off the month I met Esmerelda for the first time, shooting her two days in a row. We got in some really good sets and I made a wonderful new friend. We even got the cops called on us on Day 2, which I won't ever forget (see blog: "Sunday's Shoot - Esmerelda" & "Monday's Shoot - Esmerelda").

By mid-month, things began to slow down for me. I didn't really need any new photos as I was sitting on about 100 unpublished sets. I focused on getting those onto the site, but I was also making plans with Mindee to go on a vacation. Needless to say, roller coasters were involved and I did end up bringing my camera. I can never say no to shooting Mindee, so adding in three more sets with her was just fine by me (see blog: "Vacation Shoot - Mindee"). These would be the last new photos I would take until December.

The ever so adorable, Leah saw new photos go up during the month of December.

In September I kept on focusing on getting up a lot of the unpublished sets I mentioned above. Leah, Melani, Audrey, Rilynn, and Noelle saw content posted to the site. Other than that, my main focus was trying to get the "1,000 Toes In" blog series finished. Being as long winded as I can be at times, that series was taking longer to finish that I had anticipated.

The site's Instagram followers hit the 40K mark in October.

During October, Camille, Mindee, Charlee, Felicia, and Alice all had content published to the site. Not getting to shoot a Halloween themed set to finish off the month, I realized I had an opportunity to publish a set I have been just itching to add for some time. That set was Mindee's and Alice's Keys and Locks set. I saw the term "Locktober" thrown around a lot on Twitter, so I figured it would be the perfect way to end the month. Apparently "No Nut November" was a thing too, so I'm guessing Mindee and Alice never found the proper key for the locks?

In October the Soles of Silk Instagram account (@SolesofSilk) reached the 40,000 follower mark. I wrote a few blogs to commemorate the occasion including, "Thanks For 40K on Instagram," and "Facts About the Top 40 at 40K."

Alexa's muddy feet look so adorable!

Nothing of note really happened during November. I added sets of Leah, Alexa, Ava, and Emerald to the site. I also talked with shooting Riley and Kaycee for the first time in a long time. Plans ultimately did come through with Kaycee, but that would happen in December.

Talk about going out with a bang! The way things were going over the last few months, I had every intention of just keeping up with posting existing content to make way for new sets in 2019. Little did I know, however, that I'd end up shooting six different models!

Up first was Esmerelda. She was coming back to the region and wanted to know if I'd like to meet up. I told her yes, but said to her I was good on sets. We were just going to hang out and go find something to get into. That was the plan. What happened, however, was me shooting her and a brand new model named Egypt. I had a blast with these two and being at their feet for the day was quite memorable (see blog: "Sunday's Shoot - Esmerelda & Egypt").

The second shoot was also a multi-model shoot and also featured a debuting model named Dolly. For months, Mindee joked with me that her grandmother wanted to do a set with her and her mom, Shelby. Now, I had shot Mindee and Shelby together before and people loved it. I can't say I ever envisioned shooting a mother/daughter set, but now I had a chance for three generations by adding Mindee's grandmother to the mix. I went for it and had another memorable day. (see blog: "Sunday's Shoot - 3 Generations: Mindee, Shelby, & Dolly").

The final shoot of the year came right before Christmas when Kaycee returned. It was her first shoot in two years and I really missed her and those adorable feet. We got in some amazing sets and I made her promise that we wouldn't wait long to shoot again. (see blog: "Sunday's Shoot - Kaycee").

In addition to the new shoots, a couple of milestones happened in December as well. Mindee kept on moving, reaching the 6K Club, (see blog: "6K Club - Mindee's Footography") and Melani became the latest model to join the 1K Club (see blog: "1K Club - Melani's Footography").

Before the year wrapped up, I took a look at the "2018's Star Models," and "My 10 Favorite Sets of 2018." Those blogs have become a popular read each year and ones I look forward to writing.

Mindee's remake of Lauryn's 2004 Waffles set kicked off 2019.

Looking Ahead
So, what does 2019 have in store? Well, by the looks of it, some new photos. This weekend I have plans to meet a model I have been itching to shoot and add to the site. Yup, a new model, but one many of you will probably be familiar with. Sadly, however, they're calling for snow this weekend, so I hope things aren't too bad to travel. I am also planing something with Melani since we didn't get in anything in 2018 at all. She's long overdue!

As many of you have seen by now, there will also be ongoing updates celebrating Soles of Silk being online for 15 years in 2019. I have a lot of great things planned, some of which made its way onto the site with the first update of the year. If you didn't read up on some of what's coming your way, these two blogs will catch you up (see blog: "15 Year Celebrations - Remasters" & "15 Year Celebration - Remakes"). There will be a lot more coming your way, so check this blog for all the latest news.

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