Aly's Newsletter: Thursday Edition
I started to send this newsletter this morning, and I got pulled away by some time-sensitive work, so here I am trying again…
I’ve started to cautiously — and slowly — start accepting limited media events and press trip invites again, and while it feels oddly like using a bike with training wheels when I used to be a marathoner, it also feels so nice to be back on that bike at all.
That said, I think virtual events are still very much here to stay, and offer so many unique opportunities. I’ve been to virtual dinner parties with friends from across the country and learned to make cocktails with mixologists based on other continents. Just last week, I took a paella class on Zoom with a Cava brand based in Barcelona and I have a lunch and learn virtual event coming up with Rioja-based winemakers.
I think, and I’d love the opinion of others, that our best route from here out is a sort of hybrid one. Traditional offices are doing it with mixed in-office/WFH schedules and maybe our world can be sort of like that as well. Trips and events and dinners are so valuable and something that I really cherish from both an interpersonal and coverage perspective, but I think virtual options really can be incredible as well, for many reasons. It’s so valuable to our work to be able to make a tangible connection to our content, and while there’s nothing like being able to do so in a physical sense, virtual events (when done well!) can offer a similar opportunity.
Speaking of events, both virtual and in-person — as well as media trips — I am available for virtual consult sessions from a media perspective, if there’s a need. Reach out any time!
Read my newsletter on the new 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. It has fun features like a dedicated mailbox just for this newsletter.
Earlier this week, Chipotle sent me lunch so I could taste a new menu item they would be announcing today. The news is finally out though - for Food Network, check out my review of the new pollo asada at Chipotle! (Spoiler alert: It's good!)
For TODAY.com, I’ve written a roundup of all the great food freebies and deals available for Pi Day.
Feeling more than ever like you need more lucky charms in your life? For The Kitchn, I rounded up some of my fave Lucky Charm collabs currently available, from makeup to Crocs!
For Pawp.com, I wrote a guide to how to handle if your dog is showing signs of anxiety or depression when you have introduced a new puppy into the home. It’s a lot like getting a child used to their new brother or sister!
Finally, for YourTango: 5 Reasons Cuddling With Your Partner Makes You Healthier, According To Research
If you or your client are featured in any of these stories, please share on social and tag me (I'm @alywalansky basically everywhere, please follow me!), and also please remember to tag 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.
I'm obsessed with all things Trader Joe's - in fact, after two-years of hibernation, it was the first outing I did. So, I'm very excited to be working on a SERIES of stories related to Trader Joe's for Clean Plates. All three I need nutritionists/RDs to comment, ideally unaffiliated with a brand.
1 - The Best Items To Buy From Trader Joe's For Really Fast, Low-Lift Lunches According to Nutritionists: I'm looking to include a mix of prepared foods (like some of the pre-made salads, sandwiches, and soups), some frozen options, and one or two super-fast (like under-5-minute) kits that you can saute together real quick or whatever. And some DIY options, like their smoked trout + one of their healthier lettuce mixes + their plantain croutons + their green goddess dressing = a fantastic lunch salad that comes together fast
2 - Nutritionists Weigh In On All of the Newest Products at Trader Joe's: So this list will include these options that are brand new this month
This includes new items like this:
Root Vegetable Fries
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets
Organic Date Syrup
As well as whatever else is new — TJ's website has a what's new section that always gives info on the latest new products, I'm obsessed with it! — I'm going to give each one a letter grade, and I am looking for nutritionists and RDs to weigh in to discuss these items.
So when nutritionists/RDs reach out for commentary about these new items at TJs, I’m looking for comments beyond ‘yum!’’ or ‘looks good!” but rather along the lines of: "Are dark chocolate almond butter pretzels going to be as nutritionally sound as sliced bell peppers dipped in hummus? No, but compared to other dessert items, they're actually pretty healthy because almond butter is a good protein source and dark chocolate has flavonoids so if you're going to eat a dessert, these are fine." (Or whatever your thoughts are, but that’s the kind of flow I’m looking for.)
3 - Vegan Items at Trader Joe's That Are Totally Nutritionist-Approved - This one will be mix of things from different sections here, from some of the snack mixes to the cool alternative dips to frozen meals to marinated tofu (theirs is SO good BTW) or whatever.
I'm working on a big roundup of restaurants open on Easter. We’re looking for a big list of big and small chains across the country –high and low. It's the Easter version of this story we did for Christmas, if you want an idea of the format I'm looking for.
I'm also looking for restaurant chains nationwide doing special deals/discounts for tax day (i have a few weeks to play with this one...a rare feat!)
The new season of Bridgerton is set to premiere on March 25. For Forbes, I'm working on a guide to Bridgerton-inspired (or Regency-style/inspired) cocktails that are on the menu at bars/restaurants. If you have any to pitch me, please send in THIS format:
Name of drink
description (not a recipe)
quote from owner/bartender about the drink
high res image of the drink
*please do not forget to tell me the full name and title of the person being quoted. This happens more than you'd imagine!
For Forbes.com I'm rounding up Kosher For Passover wines and spirits for an upcoming story. I'm also doing a story on fun finds in Kosher For Passover snacks/treats/new products. These items must exist online and they MUST be shippable. And please please make sure the item is kosher for passover certified (that's a different thing than kosher, so if something is kosher, it's not necessarily KFP) - I'll do a dedicated newsletter soon explaining the difference for anyone who doesn't quite understand. But meanwhile, you can always email me questions. And, please, pitch me!
I’m working on a story on how to use ride share apps without busting our budget. There’s no denying this is an addictive app to have in our phones, but using them can get prohibitively expensive. However, between the pandemic and subway safety concerns, taking a ride share may often seem like our best or only option. (Trust me, it’s so not in my budget, but I continue to do it anyway.) So I am looking for expert tips on how to use them in a financially smarter way. Like joining the rewards programs, linking our miles apps, stuff like that. And if there’s times we should consider private car services or taxis instead, open to that commentary as well!
To pitch me for ANY of these stories, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (and start a new thread, please!).
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!)
Get your free COVID tests!
Did you see President Biden's SOTU address last week where he announced that everyone could register to have more tests sent to them this week? The USPS portal opened up on Monday, and I already got an email alert that my tests are out for delivery! This is WAY faster than last month. If you haven't already, order yours now!
This post has gone on a bit longer than intended…have the best afternoon!