News & Runway

Cubicle Confidential: Closed Set with Julie Bensman

Happy birthday whoopie cushions. A miniature herb garden bearing one wilted sprig of parsley. Enough model comp cards to build a sweet fort around my office (still pondering that one).

Last week, I decided it was time to clean out my desk.  I purged most everything, save for important files and my United Bamboo cat calendar. In the process, I realized how much my desk’s hodge podge revealed about me (for starters, I’m a terrible urban gardener) and it got me wondering about the desks of some of my favorite people. Three brave souls volunteered for the project:

Cubicle Confidential #1

My poetry partner, fellow Agatha Christie-fan and all-around soul mate, Mr. Alex Gobo.

Name: Alex Gobo

Occupation: PR Manager for Salvatore Ferragamo

What’s a typical work day for you? Being a publicist means you’re always on call. E-mailing, researching, staying current… my Blackberry means I can take the office wherever I am, which comes in handy when staying on top of everything. Following up with editors and always staying in the loop is a big part of my day to day. Usually there’s too much to do, but we have a really solid, united team here so making the impossible possible is a daily occurrence!

How would you describe the state of your desk? I need constant organization… my mind works in lists, outlines and uniformity… all kind of ironic working in a hectic and spontaneous industry like fashion. When my desk starts to get slightly out of order, I take five and reorganize. I hate clutter.

Desk Diary:

1. I have this green owl statue on my desk. It’s my one knickknack but it’s homey. Kind of looks like a vintage piece you’d find in Samantha Stephens’ house… and who doesn’t love Bewitched

2. My Ferragamo keychain USB drive is always on hand. A really chic way to transfer files from my work computer to my home computer and vice versa or if I need to quickly share a large file with a coworker.

3. These photographs were taken by a really awesome photographer/interior designer, Natalie Obradovich. I really like to keep a calm mood at work and these photos always put me in a good place… very jet set. I’m saving up to buy one her large prints!


Cubicle Confidential #2

If you’ve read Glamour, Self, or Real Simple in the past few months, you’re probably familiar with Marissa Lippert. If you can’t find this lady at the latest NYC restaurant opening, she’s probably home making watermelon margaritas at one of her epic brunch parties.

Name: Marissa Lippert

Occupation: Nutritionist and owner of food consulting firm, Nourish.

What’s a typical work day for you? I’m generally jockeying between meetings with private clients and working on whatever media/magazine projects are on my plate at the moment (ie. Glamour, Rue Magazine,, Health, etc). There’s at least one editorial fire drill to put out on a given day! Nighttime is usually my most creative time of the day, where I can finally sit down and think – whether I’m writing, developing recipes or reading cookbooks, food and décor magazine for inspiration. Of late, I’ve been planning a menu for a friend’s 50th birthday. I launched a new arm of my business earlier this year, Nourish at Home – a services that whips up healthy meals right in your home.

How would you describe the state of your desk? Fairly organized I’d say.  I have a penchant for colorful/graphic notebooks…the perfect way to keep myself organized and on task.  Aside from that, a stack of cookbooks and mags to flip through, my MacBook Pro, my iPhone, client folders and a big ole glass of water. I try to keep it cozy but sleek and inspiring with images of great food and décor.

Desk Diary:

1. My favorite item in my office is a framed poster from the MoMa’s PF1 Urban Farm exhibit a few summers back. My good friend, Anna, is an uber-talented architect and worked on the project. The theme of the exhibit was “Sur Les Paves La Ferme,” which translates to “underneath the cobblestones, the farm!” It’s a throwback to the 1960’s cultural movement in Paris. Plain old awesome.

2. I also love my notebook with a great graphic cover that I bought in Copenhagen at Stilleben, an amazing design store.

3. I have a framed vintage postcard on my desk that essentially describes my thoughts on good food:


buy it with thought

cook it with care

serve just enough

save what will keep

eat what would spoil

home-grown is best


Cubicle Confidential #3

The city of Chicago had a moment of silence when he moved to Boston to become Art Director at Rue La La (and move in with his equally adorable boyfriend (now fiancé!)), but Graham Kostic still remains one of the most creative, inspiring people with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work and attend a wedding (see picture!).


Name: D. Graham Kostic

Occupation: Art Director at / Creative Director at Glossed and Found

What’s a typical work day for you? My day is a whirlwind – working with our photo studio to produce all the photography for Rue La La’s daily flash sales; a line-up of meetings to discuss exciting new projects for the site; and on my modest lunch break: all eyes are on Glossed and Found, which is celebrating its third anniversary this month!

How would you describe the state of your desk? It’s a small, humble space and just like my home. I like to keep it well-appointed, clean and organized. My exhaustive To-Do list sometimes gets the best of me so keeping my desk clean is a must.

Desk Diary:

1. I live by my Moleskin Day Planner. I’ve never got into using my phone or computer to keep track of my personal or work calendar—there is something about writing it down that makes me remember. I think it’s a visual thing, yes? I have to admit, I use my iPad at work every so often, but it’s more because I love the geometric Pierre Hardy cover than the actually device.  I like to keep a little envelope with stamps handy, too, as I love sending hand-written thank you notes and if I don’t do it and get it in the mailbox right when I think of it, I’ll forget.

2. I have these ridiculously large headphones that drown out any sound. I think they’re for snowboarders, and, yeah, I’ve never snowboarded. I feel like an idiot with them on, but when I need to get something done, it definitely does the trick. Not only does it keep out the noise of the office, but somehow, these large headphones seem to let on-comers know to check back in later when they’re off. They work like a charm.

3. I love to pin up photographs. Just a revolving gallery of fun highlights of family and friends—it’s surprisingly an excellent source of inspiration when I just don’t think I can squeeze any more creativity out!

4. And then there is a little succulent plant that my fiancé Francis gave to me on my first week at work. He’s thriving in his environment and a sweet little reminder of what I have to look forward to when I wrap my busy day. Can you tell I’m a total romantic at heart? A huge sap, some would say.