Friday Favorites: Best of 2016

Fri-nally, it’s almost the weekend girlfriends! With only 2 days left of 2016, I wanted to reflect upon the past year and share some things with you all that you may not even know about me yet. I didn’t launch LNL until later in the year, so a lot of these events, I haven’t even gotten the chance to share with y’all. 2016 was a BIG year for me, and there were so many things to be thankful for.

I will preface this with: Some of these photos were taken (not really intended for blogging purposes) on my iPhone, so they may not be the best quality, but I wanted to share these special moments with you guys! Just take it as I’m sharing some little pieces of my personal camera roll with you guys. 😉

With all that said, let’s get right to it:

Breaking Into the Real World

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In December of 2015, I graduated (early) from college (honestly, I had completed all of my courses needed to graduate & I was just ready to move on to the next chapter). In celebration of my graduation, my sweet grandmother took me to NYC (my fave 🙂 ) at Christmastime. It was just magical! Then come January of 2016 – BAM! – the real world took over. All of a sudden I had a full-time (most weeks actually lasting way more than 40-hours) job in the corporate fashion world. I began as a Merchandise Assistant Intern in 2015 at the company I was working for, then once I graduated I became a full-time Merch Assistant. Right as I was being promoted to an Assistant Buyer (which was a huge accomplishment and success that I was so proud of – don’t get me wrong), I realized that the huge corporate world was just not for me. Thankfully, I tend to stay pretty true to who I am and what I want out of life. Even though I was getting a promotion and a raise, I just couldn’t justify doing something everyday of my life that I wasn’t completely passionate about. I’m the type of person that has to let my own creative juices flow freely. Being stuck at a desk doing the same exact thing all day, every day just wasn’t my thing. Many people are AMAZING at that task. *Props to you if you are!* However, I’m not that person. I actually enjoy the days that keep me on my toes – the ones that are different almost every day. (That’s one of the reasons I started blogging .. you never know what path it’ll lead you to next!)

With that said, I can say over and over again that I’m so proud of the time I spent in that part of the corporate world because I learned so much. I learned what it truly takes to be a fashion buyer for a big-time company & I can give all those out there who are in that position some major props because I know first-hand how much hard work it takes to make it a success. After my ‘real world phase 1’, I ventured out to pursue what I REALLY am passionate about: fashion styling. I’ve loved everything about this ever since I was just a young girl. You can ask my family or anyone who knows me well .. the one thing that I’ve always aspired to do is something in the creative fashion industry. It’s an art form unlike any other, and words just can’t put into perspective how incredible / inspiring the fashion industry is to me.

With that said, I set out to begin making as many contacts as I could in the industry (which is actually very challenging, I will say). However, with some major perseverance and trust from my first few amazing clients, I have finally started getting my wardrobe styling work out there for others to see. (EEEEK!!!) Now, of course, I can’t fully rely on that for all of my full-time income (yet), so I do also work as a personal assistant as well, which has also taught me so much along the way. If anything, I’ll say it has definitely taught me to be a big-time go-getter. I’ve always had the mentality in life of ‘if I want it bad enough, I’ll just somehow make it happen’ … but, after some of my first few experiences in the real world, I’ve definitely gotten to add a few more tips to my book of tricks!

What is so crazy about my blog is that I also get to incorporate my own styling in the content that I produce for love ‘n’ labels! It’s so rewarding. Until I started blogging, I didn’t know exactly how much I would enjoy it, how passionate I would become about it or how much it would truly change my life (also, how much work it actually takes – literally it’s my second full-time job, but I’ll save that for another post). This blog is a real dream come true for me, and I fully believe that God places us on certain paths to get us to where we ultimately should be. Thanks Big Man!! I can’t wait to see where these ‘big girl’ adventures take off in 2017.

Winter Wonderland Trip to Snowshoe

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Early in 2016, I got to experience Snowshoe Mountain Resort for the first time (ah, dreaaaam!). Teej and I have fallen in love with the snow and especially snowboarding. He had been to Snowshoe a couple times before, but I had never been. And luckily, I chose the right year to go – it’s when that huge snowstorm came through the east and Snowshoe got 36 INCHES of snow overnight!! That’s like unheard of over here, especially anywhere near Tennessee where we are from! It was amazing & now I’m totally spoiled when we go snowboarding because I definitely expect the fresh snow every time. Guess that means we’ll have to plan a trip out to Colorado!

(Oh yeah, and what’s a trip without a stunt picture? Both of us cheered at the University of Tennessee, so it’s kind of a traditional, must-have pic at this point! Even if that means that it’s happening in snow boots on a really slick surface, lol!)

Teej Getting His Masters

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My (then, fiance) is so intelligent! He graduated from UT with a Computer Engineering degree and then just this past May, he graduated with his Masters from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science. *Praying our kids get his brains.* 😉

GO TEEJ! Words can’t even begin to describe the pride I have for this man. I can’t believe I get to call him my husband!

Getting Scuba Certified

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When I first started dating TJ almost 5 years ago, he told me that one of his biggest dreams was to go scuba diving. And hello, I’ve always been deathly afraid of marine life, lol! But, I guess as I got older, that fear started going away. When we booked our Honeymoon in St. Lucia and we saw that they offered scuba diving as a part of the excursions, we instantly knew we had to do it. So, we went to a local scuba place at home to begin our certification courses and prepare for our deep-water ocean dives.

Honestly, those classes made me feel SO much better about not fearing the marine life. All in all, we had to complete the ‘classroom work’ and then the pool exercises + the 5 quarry dives to be deep-water certified. BTW, I’m also super cold-natured and I HATE cold-water, but we had to perform our deep-water dives in the quarry in April. UM, literally froze the whole time – it was realllllly cold, but we came out of the class as certified deep-water divers and we were ready to dive in the ocean on our honeymoon!

These photos are actually from our honeymoon in St. Lucia! Teej took his GoPro, and we got some really cool photos. I was definitely a little nervous before we went down into the middle of the ocean, but OH MY GOSH, you guys, once we were down there, it was literally the coolest thing I have ever done. Our first dive was down the side of the famous Piton Mountains, which ended in a ‘drift dive’ (basically you don’t even swim .. it feels like the water is just taking you on a slow, smooth roller coaster). It was truly one of the greatest experiences ever. If you ever have the opportunity – DO IT!

Styling Career Take-Off

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Like I was talking about above in the ‘Real World’ section, my styling career definitely began taking off this year, which I am so grateful for! Over this past year, I’ve gotten to collaborate in wardrobe styling with boutiques, brands and even entertainers!

I’ve had the privilege of working with clients who just want personal styling, as well – whether that be for engagement pictures, a special event, etc. And then, I’ve also been very honored to frequently style a rising country music artist, Emily Ann Roberts. She was the runner-up of NBC’s, The Voice, Season 9 and is making her way into the big-leagues so keep an eye out for her if you haven’t already fallen in love with her voice. Go Em!

I can’t express enough gratitude to these companies and individuals for trusting me with such important & monumental moments in their journeys to success!

**To follow along with my wardrobe styling work, follow my hashtag #PeytonBaxterStyling on all social media outlets. Also, feel free to contact me anytime you need a wardrobe stylist – for any event or occasion, no matter how big or small. I’d love to help any way that I can. If interested, please directly email me at Peyton@162.243.16.124 — xo!**

Walking in Fashion Week

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This year, I also got to walk as a model in Fashion Week! Okay, so no it wasn’t NYFW or anything like that, ha!! (A girl can dream though right??) .. It was Knoxville Fashion Week – and it was so fun! A super huge thank you to Xen by Rachele and Gage Talent for an amazing experience.

Finding the Dress of My Dreams

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I am actually planning on doing a full blog post in my Wedding Wednesday series on finding your perfect wedding dress, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but finding my dream dress was seriously one of the best feelings of my life. That’s something most little girls dream about finding someday. My experience with wedding dress shopping was overall really exciting, and I totally understand getting ‘that special feeling’ now when you know you have found the one. I had never tried on a wedding dress before going shopping for my own, so it was a really special time in my life.

That’s all I’ll say for now on that, but stay tuned for a more detailed post about my wedding dress journey coming up soon.

Taking on NOLA for the First Time

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Believe it or not, I had never been to the Big Easy before this year! My sweet sweet sister (& matron of honor) planned me the most amazing trip to NOLA with my girls to celebrate my bachelorette party. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! 😉 I had always heard of NOLA, Bourbon Street, beignets, etc etc etc. But it’s something you just have to experience for yourself! We had a blast (and were totally exhausted when it was time to go back home, lol). Thanks for a perfect ‘last fling’ before the ring, Sis!

If you’re planning on traveling to NOLA anytime soon and want some recommendations, shoot me a message HERE.

Marrying My Best Friend (+ ALL the Fun Wedding Festivities)

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Of course, there are the many many many engagement pictures – I think we ended up having like 3 different sets of engagement pics before it was all said and done! I’ll be sharing more about all of those at a later time!

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There are the engagement parties (read about ours HERE) and all of the fun wedding showers when the celebrations really start beginning. The pics above are from 1 of our 3 wedding showers. This was our coed shower & fun fact (actually, not super fun) … I had a wreck earlier that day 🙁 Obviously, I was okay (PTL!) but I definitely needed that party even more so after that bad start to the day. Being surrounded by your best friends and family just makes everything better, right?

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Then comes the rehearsal dinner – I can still remember the LOADS of butterflies I had that night! Ah, my heart. 🙂

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*Wedding photos by Katherine Birkbeck Photography*

And then on that last Saturday in June, we officially #BecameTheBaxters! EEEKKK!!! June 25, 2016 was by far the best day of this year for me and the best day of my life thus far. If you want to follow along with how our wedding day panned out, just tune in every other Wednesday to love ‘n’ labels for my Wedding Wednesday series. You can find all of the ones that have already been posted HERE.

A huge, massive thank you to my amazing husband for making life so much fun and literally sweeping me off my feet every single day – I love you Teej!!

Honeymooning in St. Lucia

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After getting hitched (lol!), we headed off to the beautiful island of St. Lucia for our honeymoon. Ah, it was the most gorgeous place I had ever seen. We were treated like king and queen, and it was the most perfect getaway for these newlyweds. I ask TJ all the time if we can just go back for another week, ha! It was so gorgeous, words can’t even begin to describe it. TAKE ME BACK!

Then, my Mom picked us up from the airport when we returned, took us home & of course, our sweet sister & brother-in-law had decorated our door with a ‘Welcome Home’ sign – precious! Honey, we’re home!

Trips to Nashville

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I go back and forth on deciding if Nashville or NYC is my favorite city, but nonetheless, I love them both for different reasons and I was fortunate enough this year to visit Nash a lot to see my friends. It’s about a 3-ish hour drive from where I live, so it’s not terrible. Some of my closest girlfriends moved back to Nash after college, so I try to go as much as I can to see them. Most of the trips this year included some type of concert (hence the Music City, y’all!). If you missed out on my post about my most recent trip to Nash, you can read that HERE.

Co-Hosting Photographer’s Booth / Being Featured at The Pink Bride

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This year, I also had the privilege to help out some of my own wedding vendors at the Pink Bride Show this past summer. I got to co-host my wedding photographer’s booth with her to help answer any questions that the brides may have. Having just gone through all of the things that they were currently going through, it was helpful for them to have a ‘bride-to-bride’ convo.

I also found out right after the show that I got chosen to be one of the Pink Bride Magazine covergirls for 2017. What an honor, you guys! I’m so excited and humbled by this. Sooo, for those of you attending the Pink Bride Show in January, keep an eye out for a familiar face on the front of your magazine! 😉

*If you missed out on my post about why to attend a bridal show, you can check that one out HERE.

BEST Christmas Ever

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As you all can probably tell over my past few posts during the holiday season, you know that I am a HUGE Christmas fanatic. Well, this Christmas was just unlike any other so far, and I’d say that it was probably the best Christmas that we have ever had. It was mine and TJ’s first married Christmas, with a few new traditions + our long-time traditions. Christmas is such a special time of year and I can’t believe that it already came and went so soon. But I’m already sooo looking forward to Christmas 2017. We’ll see if it can top this year’s! 😉

Launching love ‘n’ labels (+ Amazing Brand Collabs)

LNL blog launch

And saving one of the best for last …

This year I took a chance. A big one. I put my whole self out there to the world and started on a journey that I didn’t even really know what I was doing at the time. There was no official rule book. No guarantees. No training. There were some ups and downs. Lots and LOTS of trial & error. Tons of planning.

But in the later half of this year, I decided it was my time to go after what I really wanted. Something that I had planned on doing and wanted to do for over 3 years. Something that had, actually, been somewhat in the works for a few years. I didn’t know if I was ‘ready’. But then again, I don’t think you’re ever fully ready for something like this.

So there I was in the beginning of October. It was time. Time for me to take a huge leap and see where it landed me. I didn’t know if I would even have one reader. So, I said … “Here goes nothing!” That’s when I launched my new baby (I like to call it, lol) –

love ‘n’ labels | a fashion & lifestyle blog by Peyton Baxter

What a blessing it has been!! In so many ways! For others and for me. I remember the first night that I launched the site and posted about it on social media … I instantly got like 50-something subscribers. THE FIRST NIGHT! I literally screamed out loud because of my excitement and disbelief (for real, ask Teej!). {ps – If you haven’t subscribed to LNL & you would like to join the party, head on over to the right side of this page where it says LNL IN YOUR INBOX to subscribe. Yay – thank you!}

I mean, why me? That’s what I kept wondering to myself. Out of all these amaaaazing fashion influencers, why me …

However, I wasn’t complaining! Of course not. I was thrilled, so incredibly humbled & more driven than ever before!

love ‘n’ labels has been an outlet for me to be who I truly am and to share things with others who may not know certain things about me. I am able to reach out to others all over the world to hopefully inspire them in some way. To help others feel confident in their everyday style. I’m hoping that I am in someway a positive role model to a little girl out there who needs someone to look up to. I’ve been blessed with some amazing role models in my life, and I know how truly important that is for all of us ladies this day in time.

I cannot even begin to thank you ALL for your love and support on this journey. I hope that 2017 brings us closer together than ever and that you feel inspired in some way from my lil corner of the Internet. I have so many exciting things planned for love ‘n’ labels in 2017, and I can’t wait to share them with all of my new LNL best friends. You all truly mean the world to me.

COLLABORATIONS:

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Big Oak Shoes

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Jord Wood Watches

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Neighborhood Barre

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Family Tree Candle Company

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The Coral Cross Unique Jewelry

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Plunder Jewelry Designs

LNL love n labels: Casual (Coffee Date) Style

Being Brett

LNL love 'n' labels: LBD Holiday Style

Janice Ann’s Fashions

LNL love 'n' labels: friday favorites Christmas traditions

Spoiled Rotten Boutique Knox

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Daniel Wellington

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Sisters Vintage Rentals

 Without the the trust of the amazing brands I’ve worked with and without the loyal support and love from all of you beautiful readers, love ‘n’ labels would be nothing. I cannot thank you enough. I am forever grateful and I love love love you all!!  🙂

Happiest of New Years to you and yours! Cheers, y’all!

xo, P

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