As a Blogger, you can imagine the amount of free swag n’ stuff that gets sent my way. But the truth is, I rarely accept ANYTHING. When I started this Blog, it wasn’t to do product reviews in exchange for “stuff.” It was a place where women sitting on the fence, much like myself, could come together, unite, vent, learn, laugh, and get off the fence. It wasn’t to receive free gifts– I can buy them myself. But when I was invited down with four other Bloggers to CAbi Scoop Fashion week in Nashville last week, I said yes. “Why?” you might ask, “Why would you care to go to a fashion show?” Well, I do love fashion, so confession number one, that was a little incentive. I also enjoy meeting other Bloggers whose Blogs I read. It always ends up being a jolly ol’ good girly time… that was reason number two. But the real reason, was the woman behind CAbi– Carol Anderson, a visionary and entrepreneur.

I had only heard about CAbiCarol Anderson By Invitation. For over 25 years, Carol Anderson, a women’s clothing designer sold her collection in high-end department stores like Nordstroms and other specialty boutiques across the country.  Her closest girlfriends loved the clothes and always supported her. Carol soon realized that other fans of the brand wanted more from her – more of her designs, more access to the brand (other than just having them sold in department stores), so Carol and her husband Jan, in 2001, decided to launch Carol Anderson By Invitation, and now have over 2,700 consultants selling CAbi clothes around the country.

So really – it was a way to build a company and create careers for women through their existing relationships. Carol claims creating this business model was a no-brainer. So instead of just selling a line of clothes, she in essence created opportunities for thousands of women to become entrepreneurs and make their own money, doing what they love. What could be better?

Plus she gives back through her Heart of CAbi Foundation which has donated over 850,000 items of clothing and funded over 250 loans. Talk about A WOMAN OFF THE FENCE!

So now that you know how fabulous I think she is and why I went to check out this empire she built, now back to the fashion. Cuz most of you smart ladies like style and fashion too! The fashion show was a blast. Over 1,000 women on their feet dancing to Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” and Shania Twain’s “I feel like a Woman” (we were in Nashville, y’all)! The models were gorgeous,  skinny and yes, not-so-skinny. There were real-sized models on the runway too! And the clothes were AMAZING. So my taste.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorites of the Spring 2011 collection.

Nashville was wonderful in so many ways. Firstly, 48 hours of alone-time when it happens so infrequently, was nice. But as an entrepreneur myself, I left inspired by Carol Anderson as a great visionary and pioneer in the fashion industry who took traditional design and helped create a career for so many women. I got to shop, buy great clothes, eat delicious food, drink fine wine, and engage in great conversation with women from around the country. I got to see how other Bloggers live their lives… some love to cook, some hate to cook (like moi), some make big money as bloggers, some make less. But at the end of the day, after spending my weekend with a bunch of WOMEN, I realized one thing– there is very little that separates any of us. We all want to look good, feel good, wake up happy, experience love, and have a sense of fulfillment and purpose. We’re all just doing the best we can, with the hand we’ve been dealt. And so acceptance of our fellow man is truly the best gift of all.

Enjoy some trip highlights…

Valerie, Me, Whitney, Jo-Lynne, and Jamie at breakfast
Valerie and I
My dream breakfast that I DIDN'T HAVE TO PREPARE
A shot from the runway
Another runway shot
Carol Anderson accepting her flowers
Me at Starbucks in the airport in my new CAbi sweater and jeans

And finally, one of my readers sent this to me while in Nashville.  I simply love it. Cuz it’s true.