Today’s post is written by long, long time YLF reader and fabulous forum member Tara (tarzy), who I remember posted a question on YLF in 2006 about investing in a black handbag. Thanks for sticking with YLF all these years, Tara! That’s brilliant.

Tara is a native New Yorker who currently resides is Los Angeles. She’s a talented writer who oozes a hip, casual “blazer and boots” style and likes to wear lots of black. She recently flew to NYC to see her Dad and that brought with it the opportunity to pull together another YLF gathering.

Gentle Readers, it was my good fortune recently to meet several members of the forum in New York, and I beg your indulgence as I relate the tale of our happy gathering.  Knowing that I was to be in town, I contacted our own Maya, who proceeded to organize a gathering.  Imagine my delight when I learned that Angie herself would join our party!

I could scarcely contain my excitement that morning as I boarded the train to our mid-town rendezvous.  I waited nervously at the Shoe Parlor on Seventh Avenue, and soon a lovely dark haired woman approached me with a warm smile.  She introduced herself as Bella, and we embraced as if long lost friends.  We chatted excitedly for several moments until we spied a small group of ladies promenading down the Avenue, and knew them immediately to be the rest of our party.  How happy I was to finally meet Maya, more petite than her photographs convey, and quite fashionable in black leggings and a tunic.  With her was the lovely Lisa, in premium dark wash jeans, a sleeveless silk blouse and cropped sweater.  Of course, the incandescent Angie stood out in a bright citron blouse, jodhpur jeans and flat black and white oxfords.  With a hug as big as her smile, she instantly put me at ease, and I was delighted to hear her exquisite accent – British with a subtle trace of her time spent in South Africa. Our merry group exchanged greetings before we turned our attention to the racks of boots, which unfortunately yielded very little in the way of sizes and styles.  Angie jokingly yet firmly chided the store clerk for the poor selection, and he seemed quite amused by her forthright manner.  Undeterred, we pressed on, making our way easterly toward Fifth Avenue, to an establishment called “Zara.”

Once inside, my eyes immediately fell upon a grey blazer that featured strong shoulder lines.  I do not like to think of myself as one easily influenced by others, but when Angie revealed that she owned the very same blazer, well, Gentle Readers, how could I resist?  The other ladies assured me it looked quite fine, and the thought of being a “blazer twin” with Angie was all the encouragement I required to purchase it.  After further perusing the wares, Maya reminded us we had yet another member to meet.

We left Zara and found Tanya at the appointed spot, dressed in a charming light grey silk tunic blouse and black skinnies. After another round of enthusiastic greetings, Maya insisted it was time for a cupcake break.  Well, we knew better than to argue with Maya where cupcakes were involved, and strolled to the Magnolia Bakery.  I am not embarrassed to say we purchased delicious cupcakes and devoured them on the spot.  Newly energized, our happy assemblage then walked to “The Loft” to view the garments on offer.

And now, Gentle Readers, comes part of the story I fear you may scarce believe to be true.  Had I had not witnessed it myself, I might doubt its veracity – but I assure you, it did indeed occur.  No sooner had our group set foot inside, when we noticed a pretty young saleswoman regarding us with a startled expression.  She quickly regained her composure, and excitedly approached Angie.

“Excuse me,” she exclaimed, “but are you by any chance Angie? From the fashion website YLF?”  As you can imagine, we all were quite surprised.

Angie quickly responded, “Why yes! I am!”

The delighted young woman clasped her hands together and proclaimed, “I am a huge fan! I read your blog all the time!”  She introduced herself as Erin, and after our group took a moment to marvel at the improbability of such an occurrence, I asked Erin if she would pose for a photograph with Angie.  She willingly obliged before discreetly leaving us to continue browsing.

We spent a good amount of time considering various items, soliciting Angie’s advice, which she willingly gave.  Maya purchased a lovely gray sweater with dolman sleeves that Angie approved, while Lisa acquired a blue blazer that was pronounced suitable for many occasions.  Tanya modeled a brightly colored blouse, and a striped tunic, both of which looked stunning on her.  It was quite exciting to watch Angie regard each item in question, making a small adjustment here or there, suggesting a different size or color.  Her expertise was quite apparent, although she never imposed her personal taste upon any of the ladies, but instead seemed to understand our own particular style and preferences.  It was a joy to watch, and an even greater joy to be on the receiving end of such attention.

By now our group was quite ready for luncheon.  We took ourselves to “La Bonne Soupe,” where to our great delight, Angie’s charming husband Greg joined us.  After ordering tasty crepes and salads, we spent the next hour chatting amongst ourselves, discussing a range of pleasant topics.

Gentle Readers, we were almost at the end of our meal when the most dreadful incident occurred.  I was filling a glass with water, and my hand slipped, and I proceeded to completely douse Angie’s plate!  Gasps went up around the table, and I was frozen, staring in horror at what I had done.  Ever gracious, Angie proclaimed that she was finished with her meal anyway, although the poor thing truly had no choice at that point.  I fear I shall forever be known as “the girl who watered Angie’s crepe.”

Sadly, our time together was of necessity drawing to an end.  After securing group photos, we all said our good-byes.  Angie and Greg went off to Fashion Week, and Tanya, Lisa and Bella went off in search of more shops.  Maya and I walked together to our respective train stations, chatting and sharing observances of the day.

Gentle Readers, I urge you — if you ever have the opportunity to meet fellow members of YLF, do so.  You will find instant warmth and companionship, as well as valuable fashion advice.  And if you ever have the opportunity to meet Angie, you must not hesitate.  She is more charming and sparkling and lovely in person than my meager words can ever convey.