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Every Amazon purchase I’ve made since moving to New York

A life told in overpriced shampoo, leg warmers, and an unused bikini trimmer.


Beejoli Shah


Posted on Dec 29, 2014   Updated on May 29, 2021, 9:30 pm CDT

After 26 years of living in California, I moved to New York City in February 2014. I did not handle it well. Although I was moving for a fun job to a city I’d often fantasized about living in, I still found myself on the corner of First Street and First Avenue in the East Village every single day after work, sobbing on the phone to my mom, begging her to convince my dad it wouldn’t be giving up if I moved back home.

As people often tell you, living in New York City is hard. Gone were the days when I could use my car as a makeshift closet in case the weather dipped. Suddenly, I had to learn about things like “layering” and “the Polar Vortex,” which I was previously convinced were things New Yorkers made up to make their lives sound more difficult than they actually were. And gone were the days when getting groceries was as easy as filling up an SUV with bags from one of the many Targets in a five-mile radius. Now the closest superstores were multiple subway lines away.

The only thing I have sacrificed to this city more than my sanity is headphones.

So rather than spend my time negotiating how much I could schlep home in one bag on the subway from IKEA, I did what any good online shopping addict would do. I turned to Amazon.

Looking back, some—OK, maybe all—of these purchases may have been foolhardy, but they also tell the story of one of life’s most major milestones: The first big move away from home. I refuse to be embarrassed by anything on my credit card statement, and I regret nothing.

Beejoli Shah/Amazon

I bought this bikini trimmer a few weeks before I moved to New York, in the hopes that it would help me break my dating dry spell. Having used this thing roughly one time, I can assure you that a) contrary to what the product description says, it is definitely not heated, and b) it did not help me attract more men, since the first thing I did when I moved to New York was start dating my college ex-boyfriend. 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

I ordered the bikini trimmer a month and a half before moving to New York. But I only got around to ordering boxes a few days before I had to move across the country, which tells you everything you need to know about my prioritization skills. 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

You know how kids say the best part of being an adult is getting to eat anything you want, anytime you want? They are totally right. But the second best part is being able to buy these luxurious skinny hangers without your parents taking you to task for wasting money. 

I keep buying shit I have no intention of using, which ironically has caused my stress level to go through the roof.

These hangers double your closet space and they’re also quite grippy, so clothes at the back of your closet don’t end up fluttering to the floor. I would buy these hangers as a gift for most people I know, if they weren’t so expensive and I didn’t hate most people.

The texting gloves were also an A-plus investment. I bought them because I was overjoyed at being able to text on my way to work, which you can’t do if you’re commuting by car in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, my glee dissipated when I fell on my ass on a patch of black ice on my first day of work. Nobody helped me up, probably because I was wearing pink texting gloves. 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

I bought this book right before I moved and opened it only once, because the only thing worse than an L.A. transplant who won’t stop complaining about New York weather is a tourist. Also, I forgot it on the plane.

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

I spent $110 on French shampoo and my hair looks exactly the same as it did when I lived in California.

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

I bought the Mophie battery pack thinking that I couldn’t possibly be tethered to a regular phone charger, because I’d be out and about living the NYC life all the time. But during my first year in New York, I was neither out nor about nearly as much as I thought I’d be. And even when I was, my phone was always dead anyway. 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

I’d like to pretend that the bulk of this $40 purchase went toward the pillow inserts, because I had picked up some very cool purple-and-gold pillowcases while traveling in India in January. But if I’m being totally honest, yes, Mom, I did spend $18 on a shower cap. And by the way, it is far from Perfect. (The name blowpro, however, is pretty funny.) 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

I bought this yoga mat thinking that I would go to the East Village’s fancy Yoga to the People donation-based hippie classes on a daily basis, despite having only done yoga twice in my life. Of course, I have yet to actually go to yoga, and the mat is still in its shrink wrap. I keep buying shit I have no intention of using, which ironically has caused my stress level to go through the roof.

I have no idea why I bought these hair picks. 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

The only thing I have sacrificed to this city more than my sanity is headphones. I lost this very heteronormative pair fairly quickly. 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

Hands down, the best purchase I made in 2014. My best friend and I bought these after being told that within a week of using them, we’d be peeling dead skin from our feet in sheets, and as it turns out, that is EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. If you are the type of person who is near orgasm when you get to peel the plastic wrap off a television, this is absolutely for you. As an added bonus, nothing solidifies a cross-country friendship like sending your BFF Snapchats of your pink, peeling feet. 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

Having now written words on the Internet for over a year, half of which was spent in the heart of darkness of the New York media scene, I felt a sudden yearning in early September to “untether” by using a handwritten day planner. It was also supposed to allegedly keep my freelance writing career on schedule. As it turned out, I spent most of my time selecting various highlighters before ditching the entire endeavor one week in. 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

Until late September, I stubbornly held onto the fact that I’d be wearing my California-approved Rainbow sandals everywhere, weather be damned. As it turns out, “seasons” are a thing in New York, as is “cold weather.” 

Beejoli Shah / Amazon

Aaaaand it’s official. Once I purchased those fleece lined leggings, the battle between me and New York was basically over. New York won. I’m in. I’ve worn that fuzzy Christmas sweater for basically all of December, even the week that I’ve been home in Los Angeles where it’s a sweltering 78 degrees. When I lived in L.A., I didn’t leave the house if it was below 68 degrees. But I love those leggings so much, I’ll wear them under my jeans until at least April.

This roundup doesn’t reflect all of my 2014 Amazon purchases, but all in all, I spent $944 and 52 cents this year. I may not be a real New Yorker yet, but I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was 12 months ago. Thanks for your help, Amazon. Now if only I could figure out how to make use of that bikini trimmer. 

Photo by Lars Plougmann/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Dec 29, 2014, 12:00 pm CST