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I am happy to report that I have already been pleasantly surprised TWICE this morning, and it’s only 10am. First, while sipping my coffee and nibbling on a scone, I picked through yesterday’s mail and found the latest catalog from LL Bean. Normally, I take one glance at the high-waisted, pleated khaki shorts, briefly consider ordering another “boat and tote” and then throw it in recycling. But today, the cover was graced with a young woman wearing a lovely navy sweater with four deliciously colored stripes across the chest.

It appeared to be cashmere! The sleeves were three quarter! What’s this?? As I picked through the first half of the catalog, I was blown away by LL Bean facelift – apparently, the person who designed all the preppy stuff for J Crew just got headhunted by LL Bean – with great results. Cashmere hoodies, ribbon-necked tops and French blue button downs with ruffle details. Heaven! No hunter greens or burgundies in sight – hurray! With prices $50-60 less than J Crew, I can’t wait to snap up a collection of cashmere for the fall. P.S. If you wade through the elastic-banded pants, you’ll hit the shoe pages – adorable ballet flats, tons of colors, and juicy driving mocs (I prefer the ones without tassels).

The second pleasant surprise of the morning was when I road-tested a highly recommended shampoo. For those of you who read Lucky, I usually like the Jean Godfrey-June column in the middle of the magazine. Her challenges are regularly on par with mine, although she does resort to shameless product pushes when she runs out of ideas. Recently, she wrote about a shampoo from Philip B called Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo. My interest was piqued because my all-time favorite hairspray (which temporarily disappeared from the market, recently resurfaced if you order directly from the Philip B website) is made by Philip B – the Jet Set Spray – firm enough to give you hold without getting too crispy and light spray across your hair gives it grippy texture.

Anyway, I digress…(oh, and the new packaging is TRES SEXY! I keep mistaking the new logo for one of those bee-royalty emblems, which I find mysterious and luxurious at the same time). The catch was that the shampoo runs about $140 for a small pot. Hmmm…could be a great recommendation or another one of her plugs? Luckily, I was able to get a free sample of the shampoo when I ordered some hairspray. I finally tried the shampoo this morning. First, it is very thick. Did you every try the La Perlier honey body wash back in the 90s? It’s like that, except it smells deep and spicy. It’s a little hard to work into a lather, but my hair felt clean just the same as with my regular shampoo. Now, the moment of truth – as I started to blow dry, I began to worry. My hair felt silky and soft. I know it sounds strange to be worried about silky and soft hair, but when your hair is baby fine, silky equals flat and lifeless. I was ready to chalk it up as another over-moisturizing shampoo when I flipped my head up and realized my hair was full and fluffy, while feeling soft and shiny. It styled easily and held hairspray well. In fact, I needed even less hairspray than usual. As my hair moves, I get a subtle whiff of that spicy fragrance – not too overwhelming, just pleasant. I’m going to test it a few more times with the remaining sample, but it’s looking good!