Most of us know her as the Shopping Diva of the Tennessean, but once you read our interview, you’ll see she is just like most of us: wife, mom and part-time taxi driver. Her daily drill reminds us of our own, with lots of juggling while bringing Nashvillians her most up-to-date fashion insight and style tips. Cathi is reminiscent of the girl next door, and we love her disarming, fun-loving sense of humor. You will too.

Cathi Aycock

Where did you grow up?

In Antioch, pre-Hickory Hollow. I went to a little high school with one of the largest agriculture co-ops in the school system. Lots of farm boys and big trucks. I don’t know why, but that always shocks people.

When and why did you move to Nashville?

I actually moved away from Nashville. My husband and I lived in Green Hills when we were newlyweds. A little 800- square  foot duplex that I “decorated” as soon as we married. And my sweet dad took one look at the tiny closet and came over and hung double rods so I could (barely) squeeze my clothes in. After about a year or so, we moved to Franklin, and it has been home ever since.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have been given?

My mother always said, “Pretty is as pretty does.” Of course we also lovingly called her the Hair Police, because she never let any of her family leave the house with unkempt hair. So I am pretty sure she secretly believed that pretty is as pretty looks when walking out of the house, too.

Cathi three

As the Shopping Diva of the Tennessean, you are always in the limelight. What is the toughest aspect of your job?

Seriously? I shop for a living. I am not complaining about anything.

Event most looking forward to attending this fall?

Daily Crave is hosting Nashville’s Biggest Makeover on Oct. 22 at the Hutton Hotel. We have more than 40 hair stylists and makeup artists ready to work their magic on readers. I can’t wait. I love the before & after section in magazines best of all.

What is your “must-have” purchase for winter 2011?

I bought a camel-colored leather pencil skirt that I plan to wear forever. I may wear it to my unborn grandbaby’s christening in 20 years or so. That’s how much I love this skirt.

What designer completely captures your style?

I fell in love with Marchesa after the Nashville Symphony fashion show, but more in line with my pocketbook, I love Tibi, Rachel Roy, Milly,  and Diane von Furstenberg. Tracy Reese has fun prints. Ella Moss is sort of cool boho. And I am just discovering Tucker. And I could pretty much buy every single thing J.Crew rolls out.

Is there a local designer you have your eye on?

I think the girls who create the line Jamie and the Jones are brilliant. And Shea Steele at Local Honey is very cool and creative. I am not at all cool, but I am a good shopper, so I can do faux-cool pretty well.

What books can be found on your bedside table?

I’ve just read Outliers, The Night Circus and Devil in the White City. I read about one book a week and am always looking for something juicy. My husband always tells on me about this, so I will just ‘fess up: I read the last chapter first to get the suspense over with when I read mysteries. I am very impatient.

Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?

It depends on the time of year. In the summer, I want to be on our dock at Rock Island drinking a cold beverage. In the fall, I am watching my son play BGA football. In the winter, we snuggle in, so lots of family time or entertaining. And in the spring, I am on the road with travel volleyball for my daughter.

We love Cathi's sassy style and love of local boutiques!

We love Cathi’s sassy style and love of local boutiques!

Cathi Shoes

A closer look at those killer shoes …

Where is your favorite place to eat in Nashville?

I love Prince’s Hot Chicken. I go about once a month. But I can only take the mild heat. I must be a hot chicken wimp.

Favorite vacation spot?

From far to near: Paris, Napa and, closer to home, Charleston.

What’s your favorite way to stay fit?

I love to walk early in the morning. You see the same souls out every morning and it is sort of a smug little community. We are all secretly congratulating ourselves on being fit. Until a runner laps us and then we feel old. I hate that feeling, but not enough to start running.

Name three things you can’t live without (excluding friends, family and God).

  • Books, because if I have something to read, I am never lonely or bored.
  • Target, because I am convinced that it has some sort of Harry Potter-like magic ability to make you buy at least five more items than you originally came for. And their popcorn is calorie-free, as long as you’re pushing a shopping cart, so that is sort of magic, too.
  • And last, babies. My kids tell me I am a baby stalker because I have to speak to every baby I see. A baby just lifts my mood and gives me hope. They’re sort of like little toothless, cutie-patootie Prozac. Sometimes I sneak in the nursery at church instead of listening to the sermon just so I can rock the babies.

A special thanks to Private Edition for applying Cathi’s makeup and to The Cotton Mill, where all of today’s pictures were photographed!

Thanks, Cathi!

Special thanks to Ashley Hylbert for today’s photos!