Aly's Newsletter: Monday edition!
I know this isn't a very Monday sort of Monday - but as I know plenty of us are still working, I wanted to send ahead what I am working on for anyone who is around.
But first things first - remember Friday, I teased that I was giving my friend something really cool and handmade as a going away present? Well, now that she's on another continent, I can share what it was!
Two weeks ago, when I was in Greenville, South Carolina for Euphoria, my fab friend Amanda set me up with a candle-making class at Greenville Soy Candle Company. We got to make our own candles, choose the colors, scents, even name it. So, I made my departing friend Kristin a surprise candle as her going away gift.
The candle is a fragrant mix of Valencia orange, Bergamot, tangerine zest, chili, with a base of Neroli, ground pepper, and musk. On some level, the spicy orange of it all reminded me of all the many spicy margaritas we've had over the years (we've been friends for two decades), but also her leaving behind one life for a spicier, more fiery one. She loved it!
(Thanks Amanda for making it possible!)
PS: That’s Kristin. She lives in Spain now!
OK now back to work!
Here's what I'm working on this week: (Note if there was something on this list as pending on Friday and you don't see it now, that means I'm not currently working on it!)
1. For Clean Plates, I'm doing a roundup of Healthiest Boxed and Frozen Mac and Cheese. I'd love a nutritionist to weigh in as far as how we determine healthiness - is it lack of processed garbage ingredients? whole grains? protein" ingredients that are real foods? Are there any boxed macs that have vegetables mixed in there too? That would be cool. As for which to include, I'd love to hear from brands, and obviously want to include the ones that everyone knows about, like Annie's, Amy's, Banza, etc, and I'd love also if an expert can weigh in on super fast ways to hack your frozen or boxed mac and cheese to make it healthier. What's something a mom can throw together in like under 5 minutes while her other child is having a tantrum that she can still feel pretty good about?
2. For Forbes, I'm working on the following holiday gift guides...these will all be published on or after November 1, but I'll be wrapping them up in the weeks before.
The Best High-End Kitchen Pieces For The Beginner Chef
The Best Globally-Inspired Gifts For The Jet-Set Foodie
The Best Mail-Order Dishes For A Gourmet Dinner At Home
The Best Barware To Upgrade Their Home Bar
The Coolest Cleaning Gear To Keep Their Kitchen Looking Top-Notch
3.For Spy.com, I'm working on the following stories for THIS WEEK (so get your pitches in asap for these).
Best table cloths (note, not including table runners in this one)
Best places to buy wrapping paper
(yes, there were two more stories in the Spy category Friday. they were both completed over the weekend!)
For HerMoney, working on the following:
1 - How to set a budget for holiday food: Many people may entertain more, or buy more expensive ingredients during the holiday season. For example, that giant turkey on Thanksgiving. A bunch of different types of seafood at Christmas. So, I'd love to talk to a personal finance expert or maybe a similar type of credible expert related to entertaining/household entertaining about setting a budget for holiday food. It's similar in concept to our weekly grocery budget, but shaped to the holiday season - we may look at what we buy, how many guests we intend to have - and how much it cost us in previous years and try to work back from there. And some tips on how to keep the holiday dinner on that budget - maybe by planning the menu ahead, grocery shopping with a list made out of that pre-planned menu, shopping sales, discounts, coupons, and cooking ahead to save time/money.
Holiday leftovers - how this is the key to getting more bang for your holiday food budget buck: It's a kind of simple concept, but one that a lot of people ignore. There's a lot of waste during the holidays. Big holiday dinners with tons of food, and lots of leftovers at the end. The way to get the most value out of those leftovers is to repurpose them. I would love some chefs to weigh in with ideas for repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers easily, without having to buy or add additional ingredients, and also share some food safety tips on how long those leftovers can safely last, and how best to store them.
I'm working on a story on holiday spending and how it's changed so much these last couple of years. What will we be spending our money on THIS year? (Travel, food, gift cards, etc.) Will this look more like a "normal" holiday season, like 2019, or will there still be spending oddities/irregularities brought on by COVID? What do we need to know to keep our budgets in line for the 2021 holiday season? Would love sources to weigh in on this one!
5.The HerMoney stories I have about a week to play with but I'd love to have expert sources nailed down that I can email with sooner rather than later.
For Next Century Spirits, I'm working on a story on The (Spiked) Tea on Cask Strength Whiskey - I'd love an expert to weigh in on what cask strength whisky is, how it performs/sells with consumers, current trends around cask strength whisky, what brands should know if they're interested in creating one. This one I need to turn around for TOMORROW.
Here’s a story I published this morning for Today.com - who doesn’t want free doughnuts?!
Have a great day!