Aly's Monday Newsletter: Turning lost time into found time, a few new recipes, and here's what I'm working on for this week
I’m so sorry for the lateness of today’s email. This day has started out as a bit of a tailspin…but more on that another time!
This weekend's industry insights edition was on how to communicate more effectively. You can still catch it, and the entire archive of all previous insights editions (and the public ones, too, of course), here.
I’m aiming to make the next industry insights newsletter to be also in a sense communication related — but about best practices (and red flags to avoid) when planning and executing press trips. So if anyone has any questions or comments in advance of that one (they usually go out Saturday AM each week), please send them along and I’ll be happy to touch on those points of interest!
Of course, I have my own share of red flags I’ve experienced in my several decades of attending press trips (which now can be used in a positive and productive way, as important teaching moments for everyone!).
Yesterday, I made a slow cooker chicken curry. I usually do a version of this stovetop but cooking it low and slow (i had it going on low for about six hours yesterday) was a game changer for me. Those flavors developed so much better! You can catch the full recipe on my Instagram stories here.
I spent much of the weekend working (hence the slow cooker dinner!), so you'll notice a bunch of the stories that had been on the What I'm Working on subhead below have been updated. Also: Please note that I'm wrapping up my National Hot Dog Day deals story today. It'll either be published early this evening today or tomorrow. So if you have those deals, please send them my way now or forever (well, until next year) hold your peace.
Some exciting news…
As you can see from this screen grab of my dashboard, it looks like I’m going to hit 5,000 subscribers in the next few days.
I’d love to celebrate this! Please share this newsletter with a friend. Whomever ends up being that 5,000th subscriber will win a lifetime comp upgrade to my paid newsletter — and if they tell me who they learned about the newsletter from, so will that person. (More on what that offers you below…)
What are you watching on TV right now?
I'm three years late to the party on this (as per always) but REALLY enjoying Dickinson!
Obviously, I have a rather specific genre I tend to gravitate toward, but I highly recommend watching if you have not been already!
(Actually, I think the series has ended. But it's still new to us if we have yet to watch! I started Young Victoria after it ended too!)
...and now today's productivity tip.
I feel like sometimes we say we want to be productive and don't entirely even understand ourselves what we mean by that. But at its core, all being productive really means is being efficient. That's doing more, and doing it faster faster, and maybe doing it with less tools than you'd hope for.
So, basically, you have to look at things from the perspective of time and space. (I know, trippy.)
If you can multitask in a way that you are using what resources you have to do more, you already win. So, that's why it's so great if you can use your commuting time or airplane time or time you spend sitting in that waiting room waiting on that dental cleaning to answer those emails and edit those documents, or even fine-tuning your own schedule or to-do list for the day. If you can use time that you already allocated for that one passive thing (being in a car, being on a train, being on a plane) and use it to do something active, you've now used that time productively and saved what could have been hours of time you'd have to spend on that thing later.
We spend SO MUCH time hurrying up and waiting, and there's a lot of dead air between. Just this week, I have one event followed by another event tomorrow (thankfully, they are in the same party of the city and around the same time, so no significant gaps), and then on Wednesday, I have a planning meeting for a virtual cocktail event I’m hosting this fall, followed by a virtual event that I’ll need to attend while en route to an actual (i.e.: IRL, haha!) event (God bless technology, I swear).
I have about an hour commute from home to most of my NYC meetings/dinners/events. So if I am ever in a situation where I have two things in one day -- perhaps an appointment or an event and then meeting a friend for dinner, or whatever, I usually can be found killing time in a cafe or bar in between, since going home in between is not really feasible.
If I wasn't able to spend that between time on my computer, it'd be such a time vacuum! Always look for ways to make those pockets of lost time into pockets of found time. It'll be just so rewarding. And, it'll make it easier to say yes to those friend coffee dates or happy hours -- and at the end of the day, being able to make time for those you care about, it's more important than anything else.
What I’m working on now:
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.
Please remember when pitching me: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - do NOT just hit reply on this newsletter, or there’s a good shot your email will be lost in the heap. Give your email a subject line that makes it clear which story you are pitching me for — it’ll help you in the long run.
National Tequila Day is NEXT WEEK and I’m rounding up fun, interesting, unique tequila-based cocktails at bars and restaurants nationwide. (And yes, hotel bars and restaurants totally count!). The cocktail MUST exist on the menu currently though, either as a permanent item or a special. To pitch for this, please include ALL of the following and email me by this Friday:
1 - Name of drink
2 - Where on the menu (name of restaurant, city, state, URL)
3 - Description of drink (not a recipe, please)
4 - quote about drink (please don’t forget to GIVE ME THE NAME of the person quoted…)
5 - LINK to high-res image of drink
Please only pitch me when and if you have all components I need. Thanks!
It’s going to be back to school time before you know it. I'm working on a roundup of tips and product suggestions for stocking your kid's dorm fridge/freezer as they had back to school (or to the dorm for the first time). These fridges/freezers tend to be smaller and not hold as much, so you want to make sure you use their real estate best -- keeping in mind the common appliances you'll find in a dorm kitchen (and those you probably wouldn't). I'm looking for value, so good stuff that you can get at a good price vs. fancy stuff a kid wouldn't need (so, no wagyu or caviar or lobster for this one, think stuff that they could really get a lot of use out of...say...chicken parts or chopped meat you can order online), but also, commentary/ideas for what they will need, and what they will actually use. So, think, foods that will fill them up and keep them healthy and happy and will be easy to pull together to make meals they'll actually enjoy (tall order, I know!)
Also for Forbes, I’m rounding up the celebrity chef restaurants that opened in the last year or so or are opening later in 2022 that are especially exciting. If you have any that might be a fit, please email me. I’ll need info about the restaurant, and some images I can use, and would LOVE if I could get a quote or two from the chef/owner. This is not a full-length feature on any restaurant but more of a roundup/list. (Though if any sound especially great I can consider for a more focused story down the line!)
Many know I began my career as a beauty writer, and I ultimately segued into more of a culinary travel writer. That makes this particular topic feel rather close to my heart: For HerMoney, I’m rounding up must-have products for your travel toiletries bag - this is beauty products, hair products, maybe a blowout brush (always travel with one because i hate hotel hair dryers), travel-friendly makeup palettes, a good brush, etc., that are great to keep in your toiletries bag in your suitcase at all times. (And yes, I do maintain a specific travel beauty bag that is distinct from my home one!)
I am looking for deals/discounts/freebies at chains for:
National Hot Dog Day — wrapping this one up EOD TODAY.
National Chicken Wing Day
National Avocado Day
If you have any, please tell me what the deal is, when it’s available and where, and how to claim it.
Share the love
Every morning, I share what I’m working on that day and links to newly published stories and send it right into your inbox — for free! I also share productivity tips, job leads, links to volunteer and mentoring opportunities, recipes, and more — all always free.
Please share this newsletter with a friend or colleague today. Every Friday, I randomly choose one new free subscriber who signed on that week. They will be automatically upgraded to a paid subscription for free — and, if they tell me who referred them to this Substack, that person will as well! These opportunities only get better if we share them with our friends.
Paid subscriptions get additional benefits, such as my weekly industry insights newsletters, subscriber Zoom chats, and much more.
Virtual consulting sessions...
Looking for a consult as you plan your next event or trip? Or just want someone to take a look at the pitches you’ve been sending and give some feedback?
I've been popping into a lot of PR team virtual meetings and some other fun stuff (I even recently joined in on an agency’s team retreat right here in Brooklyn — it was so fun and I made so many new friends!) and making myself available to answer all sorts of questions about pitching, events, and trips from a media perspective. I like to keep these things chill and comfortable and relaxed all by sharing perspective and learning from one another.
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!
Potential new availability: A few people have reached out to me and asked if I was also open to doing consulting for freelance journalists in addition to the PR consulting sessions I currently do, and I am absolutely considering it. I need to spend some time thinking on what a session like that may look like and be structured, but after 20+ years in the industry, I’ve seen a whole lot change and it may be interesting to share my own experiences with someone just starting out. So, stay tuned!
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 email@example.com 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!)
Download the Substack App!
Good news! This newsletter is now available via app. That means you can keep up with everything you are reading from your phone. Download the app for iPhone and iPad here. For Android users, sign up for the waiting list here.