Hello, We’re The R29 Shopping Team

You could say that Refinery29's Shopping team rides the same wavelength — or pushes the same cart — which translates to a group of impassioned people who live, breathe, chew up, and spit out only the grooviest goods for a living. As our Most Wanted motto goes, we're here to help you navigate the overwhelming world of stuff. To us, the hunt for the perfect product is a puzzle and we're on a neverending quest to crack the code. Whether you've been following us for a while or are new in town, scroll on down to meet the group of virtual shopping vigilantes who are here to serve you. This is us saying HEY from behind that screen you stare into. We hope you stick around, get to know us a little better, and keep tossing your saltiest product pickles our way — because, after all, that's what we're here for.
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Elizabeth (aka @lizbuttchin) is an NC to NYC transplant who recently relocated to the suburbs of Westchester County (ask her how that's going). Her online-sleuthing began in the young 2000s when getting a good prom dress could only be achieved virtually — because the nearest Belk was two towns over. If something you want is A) sold out, or B) too expensive, she can find you five alternatives in 30 minutes or less.

Elizabeth's Suggested Reading: Alexandra Polk's story on testing popular online plant shops IRL. I'm naturally a fan because I participated — but still, it's just plain fresh-and-informative fun!

Guilty Shopping Pleasure: I've recently gotten very into ordering arguably overpriced socks — specifically any tube-style creation by KULE. They are a small joy of stay-at-home life and make my same pair of leggings I've been wearing for a week straight look...different. (Also they keep my chilblain-prone toes warm, but that doesn't have the same ring to it.)
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Karina (aka @karihoshi) has been online-shopping since tweendom — a time when she recalls borrowing her mom's credit card to purchase makeup palettes and Hilary Duff CDs. She lives for testing out products before they hit shelves and has an insatiable hunger for digging up innovative brands.

Karina's Suggested Reading: Honestly, my Animal Crossing x Colourpop review ranks pretty high on the list for obvious reasons — but I also loved writing a love letter to the Tushy bidet.

Cheap Beauty Thrill: I can't choose just one! My beloved Revlon foot grater and The Ordinary's niacinamide serum are two must-haves for me.
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Alexandra (aka @hocuspolkus) moved to NYC two weeks before the 2020 pandemic hit. Yeah. At the age of 18, upon receiving her first debit card, the illustrious world of online-shopping's doors opened to her — and never shut. A product-connoisseur-meets-poetry-lover, Alex is a Gen-Z expert who dabbles in the business of budding plant lady.

Alexandra's Suggested Reading: The very first story I wrote, A Black Girl’s Guide To Self-Care: My 12 Go-To Buys because it represents me well — and Emily Ruane's, Pow! Here’s 50% Off MrMiSocki’s Back-In-Stock Socks because it just has so much personality and charm for a sale post. It's excellent. 

Continuously Orders: I'm not prone to buying the same products repeatedly online, but my one exception is skincare — specifically Cosrx's Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, which shows up in my mailbox every 2-3 months like clockwork because my skin is crepe paper without it. 
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A born-and-raised Brooklynite, Marissa (aka @marissrosenblum) weirdly cannot recall when she first started online-shopping except that it likely involved eBay. An expert resource for all and a product enthusiast to the bone, she can often be found marveling at items hilarious, helpful, one-of-a-kind, or just plain insane.

Marissa's Suggested Reading: The latest T.M.I. review of the female-founded Dame vibrator by freelancer (and now Vice staff writer), Francky Knapp. My eyes were bulging out my head when I read it in the best way possible — I like that we at R29 can go there with our readers, have fun, and still be a source for education. It also fills me with pride to serve as a platform for smaller innovative brands like Dame.

Currently Hunting For: A vintage silk scarf that I can mat, frame, and hang as art — I love finding unique hidden gems that will elevate and personalize my space. Also, cat toys.
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Chinazor (ChiChi) Offor, Associate Writer

Chinazor (aka ChiChi, aka @thechichio) currently lives in GA with eventual plans to settle in Brooklyn, NY. While she can't pinpoint her exact online-shopping beginnings, she can trace one early instance back to circa 2013 when she convinced her mother to buy a really good Groupon deal on a citrus juicer. She's always on the hunt for new plus-size retailers and holds a deep appreciation for shopping stories that get personal.

ChiChi's Suggested Reading: I enjoy the Unbothered Editors' Picks Collection — I found some solid product recs that cater to coily hair textures!

Amazon Hidden Gem: I got this fuzzy leopard print beret that has lots of "growl power" as the Cheetah Girls would say — I also got these checkered bike shorts that I LIVE in! 
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Emily (aka @omg___itsemily) has been known to spend the better part of a day happily scrolling through Etsy. Although her memory is a little fuzzy, she dates her online shopping history back to the early aughts of eBay when she first swore to live that diehard #cloglife.

Emily's Suggested Reading: Our under-the-radar guide to affordable fine jewelry.

A Comeback-Worthy Trend: There will always be room in my heart (and my closet) for a shrug.
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You can catch Kate (aka @kateispencer) working from home in her prized pair of Simon Miller Alder Pants. She's been online shopping for years — and it's served her well in turning her finely-tuned ability to pick the perfect gift into an actual day job. She's adept at discovering new small businesses, sparking joy inside any Slack channel with a well-placed emoji, and giving recs on sleep aids that actually work.

Kate's Suggested Reading: Probably the Shopping Teams Monthly Buys

Wishlisted: Either a Le Creuset Dutch Oven (because I'm 80 years old inside) or a Noguchi Lamp
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Mercedes Viera, Associate Deals Writer

Mercedes (aka @merzysofia and the newest member of our team!) is a body-positive enthusiast who's spent the better part of the pandemic basically living in maxi dresses, jumpsuits, and overalls. A fearless trend-surfing pro who doesn't shy away from taking new styles for a test run, Mercedes has a habit of reinventing her closet at the start of every season. Nowadays, you can find her frequenting the virtual aisles of retailers like Target and Urban Outfitters.
Mercedes' Suggested Reading: I'm a big fan of Chichi Offor's article on plus-size sustainable brands. It's exactly the type of content I look for in Refinery29, trustworthy and specific to my body type. 
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Most Valuable Product: This is THE best planner I've ever owned (and I've had a lot). It has everything I could ever need to get my life in order. I couldn't love it more. I used to buy a planner every year with the intention to use it, but I always forgot. I made an intentional decision to use this one in my routine, and it's been perfect. I couldn't recommend it enough! 
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At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
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