Office Hours with Julie Alvin, senior digital director of lifestyle at Meredith

Having an office at all is a novelty for Julie Alvin. She spent four years at the online women’s publication, Bustle, when employees worked side by side in a Brooklyn apartment. Since she decamped for Time Inc. (now part of Meredith) and into her own office, she’s moved quickly to put her imprint on it. Alvin is known for her liberal, feminist positions — she’s often invited on Fox News to argue with their talking heads — so her office has tokens of female empowerment throughout: a Ruth Bader Ginsburg pendant, Hillary Clinton pins, a hat from the women’s-only membership club The Wing that reads, “Girls doing whatever the fuck they want in 2017.” Her bookshelf boasts Carrie Brownstein, Roxane Gay and Emma Gray.

“I bought this bird at Target and just took it from my apartment to help brighten up the office. I should name him.”

Alvin was brought on to bring her online savvy to Time Inc.’s Lifestyle arm, which includes print stalwarts like InStyle and Real Simple. Having worked at an online publication for so long, she’s had to refamiliarize herself with print, so there are lots of magazines and a wall dedicated to her favorite cutouts from past issues. Outside of the in-house portfolio, she looks to The California Sunday Magazine for inspiration. “It just has a really fresh aesthetic,” she says. “It’s very diverse and has great reporting.”

“When my husband and I went to Japan last year, we fell in love with this whisky brand, Nikka Coffey. Thankfully, you can get it in the States.”

She’s made good use of the white, windowless space, jazzing up parts of the wall with printed wallpaper from Chasing Paper and sprinkling a few copper lamps from West Elm throughout. “Thankfully, I sit next to the Real Simple team,” she says, “because I’m not at all crafty, so one of their team members put up the wallpaper for me.”

“My social handle used to be @juliemacncheese, inspired by an old inside joke. When I started doing a lot of TV, our communications director was like, ‘OK, time to change it to something more professional.’”

She doesn’t discriminate between analog and digital when taking notes. Daily and weekly to-do lists go into both the Mac Notes app and small notebooks from Muji that she buys in bulk, using a different one for each brand she oversees. But she hasn’t quite adjusted to the corporate world’s love of the phone call, preferring to communicate face to face or online. Back-to-back meetings often force her to block off chunks of time (“fake meetings”) on her calendar just so she can catch up on email, Slack, site traffic and social media.

“Coffee makes me crazy, so I buy this Japanese green tea in bulk. Every afternoon, I’ll have that with my guilty pleasure, Cheetos.”
“This closet is where I keep my Fox News-approved clothes — a bunch of pinks and corals that I would never wear in real life.”

After living in band tees and jeans for years, she’s also turned the volume up a bit on her wardrobe. Now, it’s a lot of midi-length dresses from Zara and Reformation, paired with sparkly socks from COS that peek out of her ankle boots. “I like to keep it a little less serious,” she says. On lazier days, she’ll retreat to her old uniform, but throw a favorite black blazer from Helmut Lang over it to add polish. The Keds she wore to death at Bustle, however, are on hiatus.

Photos by Catalina Kulczar

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