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 virtually achieved — 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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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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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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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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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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