Before Brock Williams and Chris Lin first met about five years ago, they had a very different idea of what love looked like. When the San Francisco natives (my friends) and co-founders of the insanely popular Yummertime style site took to their Instagram recently to get personal and share their story, there was one line that really pulled at our heartstrings: "Every relationship is different. Something we weren't told when we were younger." So, of course, we reached out for them to explain. What landed in our inbox will change the way you think about and see love too.
"Growing up, we were both shown cookie-cutter relationships, told to never intrude, told that a relationship happens behind closed doors and that it's none of our business," they told MyDomaine. "We built up a picture of what a perfect, ideal relationship looked like, and then learned that our relationship, over the past five and a half years, looks so much different to that. So much better. So much more alive. Kind of crazy. Kind of ridiculous. We're best friends and soulmates but not just because of the happy photos.
Because of the fact that we'll argue when we're hungry, cry during the Katy Perry documentary together, and repeat it again all the next day."
So in honor of Pride Month (which we honestly believe should be every month), we asked the blissfully happy couple to share their story, how they started a business out of their love for each other, and the inclusive message they hope to impart on the next generation.
MYDOMAINE: When did you first meet? Was it love at first sight? Tell me everything!!
BROCK WILLIAMS + CHRIS LIN: We met on July 24, 2011, in Berkeley, California. We had already been talking to each other, on the phone and over Facebook, for about a year prior, exchanging small-talk over the modeling industry (Chris was signed with Ford, and Brock was pursuing management), tips and tricks, along with which photographers to absolutely not work with.
Brock hadn't come out to anyone at the time, though, so it was purely platonic for that year. Then he came out, and we finally met in Berkeley over slices of pizza at Jupiter Pizza and Beer. We spent the next 27 days straight seeing each other, even if just for a brief moment in a day.
MD: How long into your relationship did you know this was the real deal? Why?
BW + CL: Day one. We spent the entire conversation of our first "date" saying it wasn't a real "date," instead just talking endlessly and openly. No judgments, just pure conversation. Without any pretense, we stripped away any need to "make a match." And then Chris slyly paid for the bill, Brock said it was the best non-date date ever; we kissed, and the rest is history.
We built up a picture of what a perfect, ideal relationship looked like, and then learned that our relationship, over the past five and a half years, looks so much different than that. So much better. So much more alive. Kind of crazy. Kind of ridiculous.
MD: The comments under your recent Instagram post are incredibly inspiring and positive. How much do your fans give you hope and empower you to keep doing what you do?
BW + CL: We sincerely consider anyone who follows Yummertime a friend, and because of that, the positive reactions we receive make us feel so supported. We have our friends backing whatever we do and say. They keep us in check and inspire us to continue creating and sharing our life.
MD: What are you hoping to teach this new generation about love through your work at Yummertime together?
BW + CL: Hopefully to live a life in full color—all of the colors. There is no right or wrong way to love, and we hope people see that we are not sharing what we think a perfect relationship looks like but what works for us.
MD: Our world has changed from the days when people had to hide their sexuality. Gay marriage is now legal, and we celebrate the choice to be with whoever you choose, regardless of gender. Love is love. But despite this, we still have a long way to go. What are some of the challenges you've both had to face even with this new open dialogue about gender equality and sexuality? Why?
BW + CL: Laws are one thing; societal acceptance is another. But more than just that, there's this tendency across groups, LGBT+ or otherwise, to tear each other down instead of building each other up. We don't stand for that.
We choose to stay on the side of positivity and brightness, no matter what. Even if we're struggling, even if we're going through a tough period, even if we're fighting, there's always a way to see the light and open up about it positively.
MD: What message do you want to spread to empower young people and to help others to understand? What change do you want to see in the world through what you're doing?
BW+ CL: Two words: Be love.
MD: What's the cutest thing you've ever said to each other?
CL: When we first started dating, Brock didn't want to say he loved me yet, 15 days in. So he said he "loiked" me, a combination of love and like.
BW: When it comes to cute-isms, Chris is never at a loss for words, so it's really hard to pick just one. Chris is always leaving me cute notes around our apartment, and I find them in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times. Some highlights include, "Take your vitamin C. I'll always take care of you," and "I'm late for the train, but I just want to keep writing to you about how amazing you are."
MD: Do you have nicknames for each other?
BW + CL: Hahaha! We have so many! We both alternate between calling each other booboo, boobah, boobinkah, babe, lover, etc.
MD: Do you ever fight? How do you resolve conflict/make up?
BW + CL: Of course we do! The essence of making up, for us at the very least, begins with realizing just how crazy you, yourself, are being. Because come on—we’re both crazy. Crazy. Humble pie goes a long way.
Sometimes it takes us five minutes to realize our own crazy; sometimes it takes 24 hours. Regardless, every single time we make up, it comes down to treating each other as equals and communicating.
There is no right or wrong way to love, and we hope people see that we are not sharing what we think a perfect relationship looks like, but what works for us.
MD: Tell us the story behind your business name and how it all happened? What is it all about?
BW + CL: We started Yummertime officially as a blog in 2014, but came up with the name in 2013. It's a play on our favorite real word—"summertime"—and our favorite made-up word "yumma." We had been using the latter with each other since the beginning of our relationship to describe anything positive and meaningful, like, "That pizza is yumma," or "You look SO yumma today."
The goal? To constantly share the way we see the world. Fun fact: We launched Yummertime on the Summer Solstice in 2014 to give it that extra summertime push, [because it's] our favorite season and a vibe we try to incorporate into our content.
MD: It's safe to say that in a very short time Yummertime has exploded. Did you expect it to do so well?
CL: I don't think I expected anything but a fun little side project together. At the time, we were unhappy with our day jobs—Brock was at an advertising agency in account management; I was at a video game company leading growth and user acquisition—and we just needed to find a creative outlet together. Really, it was all supposed to be a collection of our photos that we'd maybe look back on with our kids one day.
BW: Not to completely mimic Chris, I really had no expectations when we started Yummertime. We received a DSLR from Chris’s grandfather for Christmas, six months before the official launch of Yummertime, and started documenting everything we could. Creating the blog and social channels was really a way for us to be creative and create together, documenting how we see the world.
MD: Now for something less serious… You guys talk a lot about pizza and seem to always be eating fast food, yet your bodies are major goals. What's your secret?
BW+ CL: Hahaha! We actually try to go to the gym at least four times a week (we've also gotten into the habit of doing at least 50 push-ups every day on top of that), but above all, we don’t limit ourselves from indulging when we want to. Sure, we'll eat a salad and our veggies almost every day, just for our health but, if we want cheeseburgers for lunch, we want cheeseburgers for lunch. If we want pizza, we want pizza. After all, it is a balanced meal: You have your veggies (tomatoes/tomato sauce), your dairy (cheese), your meat (hopefully pepperoni or sausage), and your bread (the crust).
We're not fans of dieting. We get too cranky. We just focus on balance.
MD: What's something surprising that most of your fans don't know about you?
BW+ CL: We don't know if it’s surprising but, we've been wearing brass rings (these) with each other's initials since month one of our relationship. We basically claimed each other 21 days into our relationship.
MD: What's your best business advice for those starting out with hopes to achieve similar success to you?
BW+ CL: We've never found any sort of success being something that we’re not.
"We've never found any sort of success being something that we're not."
MD: You mentioned family in your post too. What kind of family do you want?
BW + CL: When we're a little older, we'd like to have a few kids together, maybe two to three? We're really looking forward to being cool dads one day. Well, maybe Brock will be a cool dad. Chris will be the wacky one.
MD: What's next for you both and for Yummertime?
BW + CL: More pizza parties? Maybe we'll adopt another cat? More shopping sprees? We can only hope. It's a big year for us, and if there's one thing we're great at, it's never spilling a secret; more to come.… HINT: Yummertime products? Yummertime clothing?! Is that too big of a hint?
MD: Anything else you'd like to add?
BW + CL: Can we throw a pizza party together?
How would you like to see the world change in its approach to love and relationships? What can we do to encourage inclusivity and diversity?