I cannot believe that YLF is ten years old today. TEN YEARS OLD. Wow. Our first post went live on April 5th 2006 and we never looked back. Time flies when you’re having fun. Those who have been here since the very beginning will remember the Lisa Henderling illustration of me with Jasmine and Rosie that Greg used in the background of YLF’s first design. Later updated when I switched from a bob to short hair.
My voice is dominant on YLF because I write most of the posts and I’m very active on our highly engaged forum. But YLF would not exist if it weren’t for my husband, Greg. He suggested that I start a blog (when I didn’t even know what a blog was!). He created the site as his labour of love to me while working full time at Microsoft, and has continued redesigning and improving it over the last ten years even as he juggled all sorts of other work projects. He is the designer, programmer and technical support team. He’s also YLF’s marketing manager, strategist, photographer and accountant. Greg is the behind the scenes YLF genius who deserves a lot more credit than he gets because he’s awfully humble and modest. If I’m the heart of YLF, Greg is definitely the blood and oxygen that runs through it. I cannot thank him enough for his unconditional dedication, positive attitude, tenacity, and ongoing belief in me. Working on YLF with my best friend and soulmate has made all the difference. I would not and could not have done this without Greg.
As I look back over YLF’s ten years, there are countless memorable moments. It’s impossible to list them all, but I’m going to take you down memory lane nonetheless.
Things that Make Me Proud
When we started YLF I decided to post at least once every non-holiday weekday. Despite technical adversity, travelling across continents, illness, house guests, and heavy workloads, we haven’t missed a day in ten years!
Our community has exceeded all of my expectations. When we launched the forum 8 years ago I didn’t imagine that it would grow into the wonderful, bustling community it is today.
With YLF my goal was to help you become your own fashion stylist. So I find it enormously rewarding when people tell me how YLF’s content and community has helped them to solve their fashion and style challenges, and most importantly, that they are having fun on their style journey. I feel that I’m making a difference in the world.
I was reluctant to show myself on YLF because I felt it should be about you, not me. But after two years and two months we decided to include some glimpses of me in a post about my visit to Anne Fontaine in Paris. Then a few days later another glimpse when I was watching street style, and by the end of our trip all inhibitions were a thing of the past.
At the end of 2009, a group of forum members clubbed together to gift me with a Valentino handbag and presented it to me at a gathering in Seattle. This gesture was my most meaningful and memorable YLF moment. It’s the type of thing that happens once in a lifetime, and I am still overwhelmed by emotion when thinking about it. Words cannot express the gratitude for this level of thoughtfulness and generosity. To me, this gift represents the love and kindness of the entire YLF community. I shall cherish my exquisite Valentino handbag for the rest of my life, and proudly carry it with your affectionate sentiments engraved deeply into my heart.
The Yorkies of YLF
Our Yorkshire terriers Jasmine and Rosie were a very meaningful and important part of the YLF team. They kept us company when we spent hours at our computers. They also often stole the show when we took outfit photos.
Our saddest moments were the days we lost Jasmine in 2011 and Rosie in 2013. They are imprinted on our hearts forever, and words cannot adequately describe how much we love and miss them. Little Sam continues their legacy.
My favourite YLF photo of all time is one where little Jasmine photo bombed my outfit. I didn’t know she was behind me, but Greg snapped the shot at the perfect moment. She was looking directly at the camera like the beautiful little blog star that she was.
Mother’s Day Posts
Each Mother’s day, I dedicate a post to my late Mother who is and will always be my most important and stylish inspiration.
Mama inspired me to take an interest in personal style and encouraged me to pursue a career in fashion. She died 16 years ago and never saw YLF, but she would have loved it. Every time I mention Mama in my posts it is with great emotion, and a simultaneously heavy and happy heart.
Our First Fashion Week
Our first New York Fashion Week experience was in 2010, and it was by far the most enjoyable. Greg and I had the very best fashion adventure together in frozen NYC. I couldn’t believe that we had made it to NYFW, and I was walking on clouds all week.
In 2011, on YLF’s fifth birthday, an extremely thoughtful forum member called Ornella put together this incredible video. I was absolutely blown away and felt so, so, humbled and honoured. I smile, laugh and cry each time I see that video because I can feel the affection from those members over and over again. Priceless.
YLF in the Seattle Times
In 2011, the Seattle Times did a fun feature on YLF. It featured YLF at a gathering, me working with a client, as well as a few of my own outfits. It’s been YLF’s most prominent media exposure and made me feel quite proud.
Every photograph on YLF is taken, processed and published with an extreme amount of care and attention to detail by our creative and meticulous photographer, Greg. This makes every photo a memorable moment. Here’s one that Fabber Kari took on the sly of Greg in action. It’s GREAT to see him on the other side of the camera for a change. You can also see some of his non-YLF photography on Exposure.
Meeting Inge & the Epic Gathering
Meeting and befriending Inge is one of my big YLF highlights. She contacted me privately eight years ago, soon after we launched our forum. She very politely asked if she was allowed to join since she wasn’t American and lived in Belgium. “Well I’m not American either!”, I said. “And of course, I would be delighted if you joined our community.” It was her love for pearls that brought her to YLF and we had an instant connection over this and many other things.
We became close friends, meeting in person for the first time in 2010 when Greg and I were in Europe. We got on like a house on fire and Inge eventually became part of the YLF team. In 2014 she came to Seattle and spent a month with us, which was absolutely magical. We had SO MUCH FUN together, and I long for us to be able to do that again. The cherry on top was an epic Seattle gathering we had in her honour. It was unforgettable.
April Fool’s Day
Ten years of YLF and 9 April Fool’s Day posts later. We got you many times! Greg and I had a blast brainstorming the ideas and I think that comes through in the posts. From crocs for business formal, the bottom cleavage trend, a racy pin-up calendar of YLF readers, and my style epiphany, to a food blog makeover, some (ahem) practical fab finds, a random outfit generator and the super suit. They were fun to make, and judging by the responses, fun to read too.
In 2014 we launched the Finds feature, which has been a revelation for us. The ability to collect items you like from online retailers, arrange them into a shopping list, AND organize your entire wardrobe online — is my very favourite YLF feature. I thank Greg in my head daily for building this incredible organizational tool.
YLF’s Eighth Birthday
There have been many, many YLF gatherings around the globe and each of them is special in its own way. I’ve been to the ones in Seattle, New York, Boston, Chicago, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Brussels, Antwerp, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and London, and would go to another in a heartbeat. One of the gatherings in Boston coincidentally took place on YLF’s eighth birthday in 2014 and it was sublime. The spirit of the group was exceptional and we had an absolute ball.
And on top of it all, the group (and Fabber Isabel especially) organized a celebratory lunch. She knew how much our Yorkies Jasmine and Rosie meant to us, and included their names on the cake. It was a touching moment that I will remember forever.
Last but not least, YOU are what makes YLF exceptional. You graciously share your wit and wisdom in blog comments and forum posts. Your thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent and insightful contributions enrich my life, make me grow as a person, and provide me with daily inspiration. It blows me away when I think that some of you have been participating on YLF since its inception on 5 April 2006. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for ten years of support, and for helping me to spread the word that you can have fun with fashion at any age.