Aly's Thursday Newsletter: Today's theme is all about indulgence
First of all, Happy National Mac and Cheese Day for all celebrating.
There’s very few foods I enjoy (and crave) like a good mac and cheese, and for Forbes this week, I actually tracked down 25 of the best mac and cheese options at restaurants around the nation. Check it out if you have a craving!
If you are looking for some more divine inspiration, I also did a story for TODAY a while back where I asked some celebrity chefs to weigh in on the best mac and cheese they have ever eaten. For those who want to go a touch more low brow with their mac: For Clean Plates, I wrote the ultimate guide to store-bought boxed mac and cheese.
Moving on from gluttony for a bit…
I had a great dinner last night with some fabulous friends visiting from LA. (And some from the NY area I hadn't seen in forever!)
What started out as a night focused on chatting about skin care evolved into a night chatting about EVERYTHING, over the backdrop of delicious food and cocktails.
(BTW, we went to Rosemary’s, in the Stuy Town area, and their food is SUBLIME.)
It was exactly the kind of night I missed during those endless months of being stuck at home, and I never stop being grateful that they are again a part of my life.
Anyway, for no particular reason, today's productivity tip is about how to stay motivated and productive when you possibly had too much fun the night before.
While obviously it's a good idea to chug that water, and take a shower (it'll make you more alert), another great thing to try is a small posture trick. It may be tempting to work from the bed or the couch but don't do that - sit at your desk, on a chair, and force yourself to sit up as straight and upright as you can, with your feet firmly on the ground. You'll be maintaining focus in order to be doing THAT that, so you'll be more productive too.
Newly published stories:
Clean Plates: Real Food Vitamins vs. Synthetic Vitamins: How to Select the Vitamins Your Body Can Actually Absorb
The Kitchn: A Public Health Alert Has Been Issued for a Popular Trader Joe’s Salad Due to an Undeclared Allergen
The Kitchn: I Made Air Fried Cheese Tortellini and It’s a Perfect Appetizer for Summer Entertaining
The Kitchn: This Hack Will Keep Your Lean Meats from Sticking to Your Grill This Summer
Her Money: Amazon Prime Perks You Didn't Know Existed (Or Maybe Aren't Using)
Forbes: 25 Delicious Ways To Celebrate National Mac And Cheese Day
RetailMeNot: Free Beauty Gifts With Purchase Deals to Shop
Southern Living: How to Extend the Life of Your Nonstick Cookware
If you or your client are featured in any of these stories, I super appreciate any social media shares tagging @alywalansky and the outlet. Thanks!
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.
Zero-Prep Products That Make A *Perfect* Healthy Lunch: We have to pick our battles sometimes, right? I'm working on a mix-and-match story stuff you get at the grocery store that you don't have to chop or cook or do anything but open and eat, like this Trader Joe's story I did but stuff you can get at Publix/Kroger/Wegmans or whatever the regional chain you favor. Would love RD input on this!
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!)
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 beauty/hair/skin products for your travel 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 generally write a lot of the national food day coverage for this outlet, so I’m always on the look out for deals, discounts at restaurant chains. Currently putting out feelers for deals/discounts/freebies at chains for National Hot Dog Day, National Chicken Wing Day, and National Avocado Day, which are all later this month. If you have any, please tell me what the deal is, when it’s available and where, and how to claim it. Some of these national food day roundups are dependent on if there’s a good amount of places planning a deal, so at the feeler stage, it’s more about seeing if there’s any “there” there.
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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!)
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