Victoria Song (known to the staff as Vee) is The Verge’s senior reviewer, covering all things wearable, health tech, and fitness tech. She says, “I’ve been on this beat for almost seven years now. Before The Verge, I was at Gizmodo doing the same thing. Before that, I was at PC Magazine and had a stint as a laptop reviewer before pivoting to the wearable beat.”
And before that? “I cut my teeth at The Yomiuri Shimbun, both in Japan and in their New York City bureau. In Japan, I was an editor for their English-language edition and coincidentally ended up as a junior reporter in New York when I moved back home — though the role was more like a stringer, reporter, and translator rolled up into one. I covered everything ranging from #BlackLivesMatter protests and the annual UN General Assembly to factories in Baton Rouge that made baseball bats favored by Japanese players.”
We asked Vee for a look inside her workspace.
That’s a cozy-looking area. Where in your home is it?
I just bought my first home in December and this office is one of the spare rooms on the third floor. Because it’s a modest townhome, all the space is vertically stacked. It’s the first time I’ve had an office to myself, though! Before we moved, my spouse and I had been sharing a teeny tiny office for five years. The only downside was I wasn’t prepared for all these stairs. My various trackers tell me I’m averaging around 20 flights of stairs climbed a day.
Tell us about your desk.
I just got my standing desk last month, but I think of it as the final form of all the desks I’ve had over the years. I’ve always had a combo of a desk with built-in shelving and a separate monitor stand, but something was always slightly off. Either the monitor stand wasn’t tall enough, or there wasn’t enough storage for all my knickknacks and stationery supplies. My previous desk was similar to this one but was way too narrow. I took moving as an opportunity to start fresh and get a standing desk. Now I try to stand for at least two hours per day, mostly when I’m doing passive tasks like responding to emails.
What I like about this desk so far is that I can tuck my keyboard away and still have a spot for my journals. The drawers on each side house 90 percent of my stationary supplies, and there’s enough space for me to plop my laptop on its stand. I went from having two bookshelves in my office to only needing one.
An easy-to-use sit-stand desk with two drawers, shelves, and three preset buttons.
And your chair?
I’ve got the Herman Miller x Logitech Embody gaming chair. And no, I did not pay full price, because it’s a hand-me-down from my spouse when they got a new office chair. They were going to sell it but were tired of listening to me complain about my old broken chair. I feel lucky because it’s very comfy for long writing sessions, and I don’t need a seat cushion anymore. I also like that it’s got a pop of color in the back. I can be frugal to my detriment, but my spouse was right: you shouldn’t cheap out on your office chair.
Here’s the big one: tell us about the tech you’re using.
Right now, my personal laptop is an M2 MacBook Air 15 in midnight. I mildly regret it, as I wrote in my review of the M3 MacBook Pro 14. I got the base model with 8GB of RAM and whenever I have one too many tabs open… the beachballing begins. Our former laptop reviewer Monica Chin was also right that it’s a tad heavy for an ultraportable. I brought it with me to CES for the extra screen real estate, but my back was killing me after schlepping it around Vegas all day for a week. Otherwise, it’s a fine laptop — I just wish I got 16GB of RAM.
An ergonomic mouse especially designed to reduce muscle strain and enhance performance.
I’ve got a Logitech MX Vertical Ergonomic Mouse. I’ve been a vertical mouse evangelist for years and of all the ones I’ve tried, I like this one best. It’s not overly complicated, and it dramatically reduced my wrist pain. I’ve also got an Elgato Key Light, which helps when it gets dark in my office and I need to look presentable on a Zoom call. It’s also just a great light for when I’m journaling at night. (I’ve got a smaller lamp on the other side for evening or cloudy days.)
I don’t know my exact LG monitor. I just know that it’s 27 inches, it lets me enlarge my text 150 percent, and I got it for free when my spouse upgraded theirs. (I do this a lot.)
I’ve also got the Insta360 Link webcam because I was tired of looking like a blurry potato on calls. This one is neat because it tracks your position, though sometimes it doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to and my coworkers get to look at a close-up of my forehead.
The Link is a premium-level webcam that offers a gimbal, impressive software, and great value.
My keyboard is a Keychron K2 with brown switches. I’ve used mechanical keyboards off and on since 2016, but most of the ones I tried were gaming keyboards, and those work best on Windows computers. I liked the feel, but I have a Mac and was annoyed at all the workarounds for mapping keys. An old coworker recommended Keychron during the pandemic because their keyboards are Mac-compatible — and I haven’t used another keyboard since. I am, however, thinking of perhaps switching to the Q1 with the knob. (I don’t know, the knob seems cool!) I’m trying to be good, though, and wait ‘til this one dies. I’ve witnessed too many friends say, “Just one more keyboard” only to end up in a pile of 20 keyboards and dozens of keycap sets.
Love the purple keys.
I’m in my purple era, so last year I got some purple Mito GMK keycaps (though what you see on my keyboard is a mix-and-match with another set). I got into a retro anime vaporwave aesthetic a while back, and that’s why my desktop wallpapers and desk mat also have a purpley-pink theme.
What’s in that little shelf to the left of your monitor?
That’s where I keep my extensive washi tape collection (and some Post-its, stickers, chapstick, binder clips, etc.). I’m a calligraphy and junk journaling hobbyist. I use washi tape for lots of journal spreads, but also when I send letters and cards via snail mail. It’s also a good option if you want to use a gentler tape that’s easy to remove. For example, if you want to do watercolor in a journal, you can use washi tape as a sort of painter’s tape. Some of these rolls I’ve had for over 10 years and were bought when I was living in Tokyo.
Tell us about your notebook.
It’s Papier’s Undated Daily Planner. Our former policy reporter Makena Kelly (a fellow stationery nerd) recommended it, and I’ve been hooked for the past year. It’s a great way to organize my thoughts about the week and structure my time. I love that it’s undated and, if you use it daily, lasts only about four months. It affords flexibility that yearly planners don’t. On Sunday nights, I take some time to decorate the following week’s overview with either a mantra for the week or a song lyric / title I like. It’s a neat way to get some calligraphy practice in. (And it’s a lot less time-consuming than creating my own bullet journal spreads from scratch like I used to do.) I don’t always succeed in meeting my goals, but the act of physically writing things down helps me be intentional about how I spend my time.
Hardcover notebooks for organizing your life that are undated and include a mind map page and pages for setting goals.
Those are lovely tarot cards.
They’re the Solaris Tarot cards by Elithien, an artist I follow on Instagram. I love her witchy art style. I’m not a superstitious person, but I like to do tarot spreads when I’m in a writing rut. It gives me a mental break, I get to look at pretty art, and I can always blame the crappy state of a draft on the Powers That Be. I have a bunch of tarot sets, but I’m a lifelong Star Wars nerd, so I had to buy this one for my desk.
You have to introduce us to your cats!
My cats are Petey (the tabby) and Pablo (the big boy). Petey’s a seven-month-old kitten, and we had no idea there was a rapper named Petey Pablo when we named him. He hangs out most of the day in my office with me and is miffed that he’s starting to outgrow his napping spot under my laptop.
Pablo is almost eight years old and is my spouse’s cat, though I’ve known him since he was two. He prefers my spouse’s office but sometimes he hangs out with me because there’s good sunlight in the afternoons for napping. The two of them occasionally help with work. Pablo is a published blogger and will occasionally add or delete sentences from my work when I go to the bathroom. Petey likes to chew all my smartwatch straps for durability testing.
That’s a great collection of stuffed animals on that couch / bed.
It’s a daybed! My office doubles as a guest room for now, but it’s also where I go to read after work. Between my spouse and I, we have a gigantic stuffed animal collection. This is maybe 10 percent. The majority are souvenirs from friends, but a few of them I’ve had for over a decade. Sometimes I’m embarrassed for having so many, but they all come with memories. My favorite is the giant peas in a pod. They’re from a Toy Story movie, and my mom and I bought a matching set when she visited me while I was living in Tokyo. My mom was a rather stoic person, but she grinned like a little kid when she saw them so we kind of had to. She bought a mini version, I bought the big one for my college dorm. When she died and I had to clear out her office, I found out she’d kept it on her desk for over 15 years. Her mini version is also mine now, and whenever I finally unpack the box it’s in, that’ll also go on my desk.
Photography by Victoria Song / The Verge