Aly's Friday Newsletter: All About The Dirty Aly
Plus, LOADS of new story leads!
What a 24 hours it has been!
So, as you may have seen from my copious social media posts, The Dirty Aly has been officially launched at the MAD Bar & Lounge at NH Collection New York on Madison Avenue in New York City.
(I still can't believe a NYC hotel bar has a drink created by me and named after me on its menu!)
My signature cocktail is a spin on the classic dirty martini, and involves muddled olives (Castelvetrano), Monkey 47 Gin, brine, and a Vermouth rinse over the olives. Finishing touches involve a few drops of salt water and a garnish of blue cheese olive and capers. Prefer vodka? Switch out the gin for Grey Goose Vodka. Of course you want it in a perfectly chilled glass!
I promised I was going to share a little bit about the evolution of my cocktail, and I am so glad I finally can. A few weeks ago, the publicist for the property reached out to me and asked me if anyone had ever worked with me to create a signature cocktail before. I was like, um....no?! I was super into the idea immediately and we planned a visit shortly after where I met with the bartender, the fabulous Phil McKenna.
We spent a whole afternoon collaborating on various fun cocktail ideas. I briefly considered a different cocktail -- a lemon elderflower martini inspired by the cake at the royal wedding that also came out quite delightful -- but once we made this one, I knew it was the winner.
During the pandemic, I often would tell friends that as soon as I re-entered the world, I wanted to go to my favorite steakhouse and order a dirty martini. In the interim, I was trying to teach myself to recreate it at home. Never would I have dreamed that one day I'd have a dirty martini of my very own on a menu! (And if you happen to go to the bar and Phil makes you one, please be sure to tell me what you think of it!)
We launched the new cocktail last night with an intimate cocktail party attended by so many people I love and who mean the world to me. I had friends come from all around NY and the surrounding area and even a friend that flew in from Florida! It really did make me feel so loved that these wonderful people with such busy lives of their own made the time to come out for me -- and everyone had a great time!
HUGE thanks too to my dear friend Lisa, who invited me and Amber to RPZL beforehand to get blowouts (BTW, go there, immediately, it's the best salon in the city), so that we'd be photo ready for the big night. Also thanks to Lisa for taking some epic videos of me from behind the bar — I can’t figure out how to upload it to Substack, but if you go to her Instagram (linked above), or mine, you can see a bunch in the Insta stories!
But, confession: I have barely opened my email since yesterday. So I have a lot of catching up to do. And a bunch of new pending stories to work on!
Newly published or freshly updated stories
Forbes: Celebrity Chefs Share Expert Tips For Making Delicious Homemade Sushi
Oxygen: How to Incorporate Your Dog Into Your Workout Routine
Food Network: We Tried TikTok’s “Healthy Coke” – And We’re Not Impressed
The Kitchn: You Can Make Almond Milk at Home and All You Need Are Two Ingredients and Your Juicer.
The Kitchn: Panera’s New Limited-Edition Charged Up Cups Will Help Boost Your Energy and Your Phone’s Battery at the Same Time
Clean Plates: The Best Healthy Snacks to Buy at Target, According to Dietitians
Retailmenot: The Best Father’s Day Sales and Deals to Shop Now
If you or your client are featured in any of these stories, I super appreciate any social media shares tagging @alywalansky and the outlet.
Here's what I'm working on:
Be sure to read the below list carefully. Many are stories I posted about yesterday, but some of yesterday's stories are no longer listed and a few new ones have been added since yesterday. This (below) is everything that is still a currently open opportunity as of today.
There's a Sriracha shortage coming. If you are a fan of keeping things hot, what are some other great products to try? (Personally, I always have Sambal, Gochujang, and Chili Oil in my arsenal) Would love pitches and links to where they are sold. Also, if someone wants to try to make their own Sriracha at home (or a close substitute, tastewise), how could they do that? Would love a chef to weigh in on this one with an easy step by step. Thanks!
1 - How to save money and get a better deal when booking/planning a cruise - I'd love travel experts and personal finance experts to weigh in on this one.
2 - Are meal kits a good value? I love them so much, and I think they can be amazing for people who live alone and aren't super comfortable being creative in the kitchen or tend to overbuy ingredients and end up with a lot of waste (I'm looking at you...produce!). These kits were so popular during the pandemic, but are they still? How to know if you are getting a good deal...(also, are some better than others? What to look out for. I absolutely know I've personally had a range of experiences.) Would love experts to weigh in on this one.
3 - 10 surprisingly affordable last-minute vacation deals/destinations for your summer vacation. For each one, I want to mention a hotel in each that is a good find and/or a few restaurants that are known to be great but aren't pricey, too.
Fourth of July Store Hours + Stores Open Fourth of July (similar to the Easter and Memorial Day store hours roundup I did for this same outlet). This is for major retailers, look at my versions for other holidays for an idea of what I'm looking for.
I'm also working on - Fourth of July Sales: The Best of the Best - it's an update of last year's story, but in a format more like this like this. Basically, I'm just going to be featuring the retailer and then a blurb about what kind of sale they're doing for Fourth of July. So, instead of being product specific, it'll be more "store specific" so, i'm looking for store-wide sales with promo codes (or department-wide discounts). Looking to include major retailers such as the following, so if you rep any of them, please do reach out! ie: Kohl's, Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe's, Old Navy, Gap, Casper, Mattress Firm, Ashley HomeStore, Target, Walmart.
I’m also writing a roundup of senior discounts. I am updating this article, so if your client is listed among the existing deals, I’d love if you can confirm for me whether it has changed or not. But I’m very open to new deals too!
Finally, I’m working on a story on best reusable cups freebies and discounts - establishments that give some kind of BYO cup discount. These types of discounts fell by the wayside for COVID, but have since started coming back.
I’m done with dads and grads, but I’m now putting out feelers for restaurant chains doing 4th of July freebies/deals/discounts. If you have anything that may be a fit, please send me info on the deal (what you get, when you get it, how you claim it), asap. Thanks :)
Virtual consulting sessions...
I've been popping into a lot of PR team virtual meetings and making myself available to answer all sorts of questions about pitching, events, and trips from a media perspective. If you are interested in setting anything up for your own team in the coming months, please email me and we'll get something on the books! This is available for entire agencies or smaller group lunch and learn type concepts. If you are a freelance publicist and want to join in with a few other freelance publicist friends and set something up, we can do that as well!
On the fence over whether this is a good fit for your team? Here’s some feedback I received from people who I have worked with recently:
"Aly’s advice and insight is invaluable to our team, not only is she incredibly knowledgeable, she is approachable, generous, and kind too. While we read every one of her newsletters, we decided to go one step further and invited Aly to host a Q&A with our agency. During the session, we felt comfortable asking her everything and anything. She went above and beyond, providing examples and reasoning for each answer, and the team walked away with an abundance of new insight, tips, and tricks, plus a new confidence in handling some of the most crucial parts of our jobs."
Sacha Bell, Rachel Harrison Communications
"Looking for a brilliant writer that always goes above and beyond? Look no further than Aly! She is an incredible teacher, tells it exactly how it is and is so generous in sharing her knowledge. She knows what she wants from publicists, is very clear on her needs and expectations, and how to best support one another. Most of all, her kind personality jumps off the page, and her giggle and smile are infectious. In this consistently changing world of media, it’s so refreshing to know someone so genuine.” Kirsten Wanket
“Aly has very kindly agreed to join a few sessions for us talking to both smaller and larger internal groups, and it has been incredibly helpful for our team to understand more about her process, and garner best practices that we leverage as we work on various programs. From sharing dos and don’ts for virtual and in-person events to pitching tips, Aly is a pro and always so thoughtful in her responses. And her own first-hand knowledge has helped us all to better understand the work process for freelancers and how we can most effectively work with other freelancers like Aly. We always appreciate her time and insights!” Erin Delahanty, Edelman
“I would highly recommend booking a virtual consulting session with Aly for an agency of any size! She offers up to date perspective on everything from the affiliates to how to get your pitches read to timing your pitching correctly. These virtual consulting sessions literally save you time trying to figure out what the media is looking for and give your team an immediate edge. Aly took her time and answered questions from the team. She is super friendly and you can tell she genuinely wants to create a win-win relationship between the media and publicists. Our team loved having Aly on and we cannot wait to have her back! It was a blast!” Leah Cybulski, ChicExecs
Aly was able to join our agency for a PR Perspectives chat and not only was it so much fun, but it was so informative! Keeping a pulse on the constantly changing media landscape is so important and we loved the insights and expertise Aly was able to share with us. Highly recommend setting up a chat with her! Jennifer Haile, Dentsu Creative PR
I am always looking for ways to share new ideas and learning opportunities with our team to improve how we pitch and offer value to journalists and in turn their audience. Aly's no nonsense approach gave us accessible advice about the best way to communicate to media, what formats works best, and basically how we can share our client news in a way that will get us noticed and included in stories." Would do again in a heartbeat! Samantha Davidson, Say My Name Communications
For my team’s first hybrid media event for a product launch in the COVID era, Aly quickly jumped on a Zoom and dropped great insights that drove many of the event elements. The direction she provided helped us increase attendance and gave her journalist colleagues a more memorable experience. It was a bonus that she was so easy and fun to talk to. Apryl Ash, Approach Marketing
Now, it’s your turn! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get something on my schedule for this summer.
Are you confused about affiliate marketing?
If you are having trouble learning how to navigate issues of affiliate marketing (trust me, we've all been there!), you may want to try out my friend Sarah Karger, a publicist, and former editor Dana Baardsen (and all-around fab girl!)'s Ultimate Masterclass and Introduction to Affiliate Marketing for Publicists. It's a brilliant course and it'll answer all your questions (including some you didn't know you had!)
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Starting the push to bring the Dirty Aly to Louisville. So fun, my sweet friend!
This is so cool Aly!!! Congrats and CHEERS! 🍸