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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Sarah Crow, Affiliate Director

Sarah (aka @sarah_crow_says_hello) is an NYC native (they exist!) with a vampire-like complexion and a deep love of all things black (Clothing! Eyeliner! Nail polish! Humor! Souls!). Sarah gets just as excited about the latest designer collabs and luxury beauty launches as she does scoring a $5 pair of vintage Levi’s at a yard sale. When she’s not working on content strategy (and, who are we kidding, window-shopping) at the R29 office, Sarah can be found making impromptu trips to strange destinations (International Cryptozoology Museum hang, anyone?), trying to find the bar with the best French 75, or awkwardly bopping along to music at a concert in her go-to outfit: a pair of Converse x CDG Chuck Taylors and a Quince washable silk slip dress (the ‘90s are back and it’s going great). 
Sarah’s Suggested Reading: As someone who will travel any time my schedule and budget allows, I’m absolutely obsessed with Alexandra’s fall AirBnB vacation rental guide and I’ve been a huge fan of R29’s under-$100 monthly picks since long before I became part of the team. And as someone who should probably have “all black everything” tattooed across my chest and has never happily worn a high heel, Vivien’s black boot roundup gives me life. 
Must-Have Items: I truly cannot live without Davines Oi oil products, which smell better than anything in the entire world and make my hair look presentable even on days when I can hardly be bothered to drag a comb through it, much less style it. Their OI Set in particular is an amazing value and the company’s commitment to climate-friendly practices is a breath of fresh air (literally). 
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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 beauty 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. For Japanese people, bidets are a way of life. After testing a couple different models, I have to say – I was impressed.

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. I also live for Maybelline's Great Lash clear mascara for adding definition to my brows and lashes.
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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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As a lifelong shopper, Becca’s world was revolutionized when she discovered online shopping. Ever since then, you can find her looking for the next coolest product to recommend to her friends, online shopping, or window-shopping when her wallet doesn’t permit spending. When she’s not shopping or thinking about buying something, she enjoys indulging her dog Nugget (@NervyNugget), baking, or exploring museums (Her favorite is currently The Met Cloisters for their outdoor gardens).

Becca's Suggested Reading: I'm a big fan of the shopping team’s under-$100 buys that’s published each month, I love seeing products that our team personally uses and finding some cool new products to try.
Becca's Wish List: I have been dying to get a Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven since I made my first brisket with my mom in hers. I also live and die by my Girlfriend Collective leggings and sports bras, I would vouch for any of their pieces — they're both sustainable and long-lasting. I love!
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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Vivien, a Chicagoan turned New Yorker for the past three years, traces her obsession with online shopping back "eons ago" when she was tasked with finding sewing patterns for a middle-school fashion class. Aside from her passion for all things fashion (including, but not limited to, cozy knit sweaters and this recently purchased pair of Dolce Vita pearl-embellished heels), Vivien also considers herself a "skincare fanatic" who is continuously restocking her 10-step routine (you read that right).

Vivien's Suggested Reading: You can find me eagerly waiting for the shopping team's under-$100 monthly favorites

Best Ever Sale Score: The best thing I've ever scored on a sale was a lavender Artisan KitchenAid Stand Mixer — I use it every week. 
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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 their closet at the start of every season. Nowadays, you can find them 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. 

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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After 15 years in Hollywood, Charlotte's relocated back to NYC where she currently lives in Queens with her girlfriend — and the love of her life, her dog, Rory. A late bloomer in the world of online shopping, Charlotte's now proud to call herself a fearless PRO who's always on the hunt for new plus-size retailers, insane discounts (she nabbed these tie dye platform sneakers from DSW for $12!) and the most thrilling innovations in the sexual wellness sphere. Charlotte feels lucky to have an easily accessible platform for spreading sex positivity during a time when bodily autonomy is up for debate — plus, she's already found herself learning more about her own body in the process.

Charlotte's Suggested Reading: I have to say my own Tracy's Dog Review — I have been shouting about this vibrator to everyone I know for the last two years, and I feel #blessed to be able to tell infinitely more people all at once (if even one more woman achieves a better orgasm because of it, my review was worth it!). If I had to use one sex toy for the rest of my life it'd be the Tracy's Dog OG Sucking Vibrator. It's multifunctional (good for internal and external use) and I have yet to find anything that gives a stronger orgasm.

Coolest Purchase Of The Year: It might not be the coolest, per se, but it's definitely the item I became obsessed with the fastest: the massage oil candle from Maude. It smells INCREDIBLE, and it looks like a beautiful fancy candle sitting out on my nightstand, so I don't have to worry about stashing it anywhere when my family comes over.
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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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