Thursday, November 4, 2010

Joshi Detox II - Week 3

I admit it, I've been cheating.

We've been to several functions recently - parties, industry events, dinners with future in-laws - and I may have had some red wine here and there, and perhaps some wheat pasta, and maybe some delicious homemade trifle.

BUT I have mostly not been cheating, and I feel really good, and want to continue with the detox next week (sort of) while allowing myself some fruit and cheat days, which I REFUSE to feel guilty about.

A few months ago when I tried on the fancy dress I bought in London with my "Maria" per diem, the one I'd spent good money having tailored to fit me just right, I could barely sausage myself into it. Seriously, it took me and Phil working together to make it happen, and we almost had to abort the mission. Last night before the Geminis I slipped into it quite comfortably, and even had room to spare.

Good changes are happening. I'm eating more vegetables. Turns out I kind of like raw broccoli. Also, I'm making sure we have fun veggies on hand like edamame and bok choy, so it's not all about carrots and celery all the time. I have also ceased to have major sugar cravings.

Oh, here's a tip. When you're not allowed to eat gluten, dairy or tomatoes DO NOT EAT PIZZA. Ugh, I don't know what we were thinking when we ordered a gluten-free, mozzarella-free, tomato-sauce free pizza the other night. It was wrong on every level. The next day Phil made this amazing rice pasta dish with chicken and sauteed onions, and it was delicious AND detox-friendly. So, I think the lesson is: if you're going to eat pizza, eat a damn pizza already. There are some things that just aren't going to taste good on the detox, and you can avoid them.

Or cheat. I won't judge you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I was on Ellen!

Yesterday I appeared on the Ellen show for the first time. Click here to see my debut.


In other news, I auditioned for a Ford commercial last week, which is shooting today. I did not book it as it turns out, which might be a good thing. The bitter irony of saying "I love my new Ford" today would be more than I can take.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Joshi Detox II - Week Two

Day 7 - I wake up and happily go to the gym for an hour. I am sleeping deeply and feel great when I wake up. In the middle of the afternoon we are out and I haven't eaten enough, so I buy an apple and some seeds and nuts at a grocery store to get me through till dinner. We meet friends for dinner and I order salmon with rice and veggies, and just drink water. I am craving gingerale, but other than that I'm quite happy.

Day 8 - I've slept well again, and get out of bed quite easily (even though it's a work day). Am continuing to enjoy my hot lemon drink, like every other morning since I started the detox. Try some cocoa-flavoured Quinoa cereal, but find it's way too sweet so I don't think it's a good cleanse food. Found I was hungry as soon as I got to work, so I need to have an egg or some pumpkin butter for breakfast instead. (Speaking of which, pumpkin butter is fantastic, no matter what the colour and texture may remind you of). Lunch is cottage cheese, rice crackers, raw broccoli and carrots, and one slice of gluten-free bread with a bit of honey. I really find that bananas are the saving grace of this detox, though right now I have a bunch at home that aren't ready to eat. For dinner we have a ready-made roasted chicken from the grocery store, rice and peas and carrots. Joshi says it's fine to eat frozen veggies because they are usually picked ripe, as opposed to a lot of the veggies we find in the grocery store, which ripen on trucks (thus depleting their nutritional content).

Day 9 - Another fabulous sleep. I get up and start the kettle for hot lemon, and sip that while I start getting ready for work. I learned from yesterday that I need a substantial breakfast, so I soft-boil two eggs and eat them with two slices of gluten-free toast. I also drink cold herbal tea, which we always try to have on hand. It's a nice change from water. As an addict to orange juice with my breakfast, this is a decent alternative because it's cold and fresh and fruity. I pack my lunch: chopped carrots, bok choy and celery, some cottage cheese, rice chips, and a bit of hummus. When I get to work, I make sure to drink a couple of glasses of water right away. I eat dinner out, and order a chicken curry with rice. It unfortunately has some sweet chutney, peppers and tomatoes on top, which I try to avoid with minimal success. I do not, however, touch the pita bread that comes with it. I go to a theatre opening, and successfully avoid the pink champagne. I'm hungry when I get home, so I have a delicious shake made with bananas, rice milk, pumpkin butter and ice.

Day 10 - Great sleep. Great hot lemon. Breakfast is Corn Flakes (I think this is cheating a bit because while they're wheat-free, sugar is the second ingredient) with rice milk and a banana. For lunch I have chicken, rice and bok choy. I feel like I need a treat in the afternoon, so I stop by Starbucks on my way home and get a tall decaf soy latte with a bit of honey. I think I'm technically supposed to avoid even decaf coffee, but Joshi said this would be okay as a treat. For dinner we decide to actually sit at the table instead of in front of the television, which has unfortunately become our habit, and enjoy our meal and some conversation. We eat salad with mesclun, carrots, celery, onion, broccoli and feta, with an olive oil and garlic dressing. Then we have salmon with brown rice. Neither of us is much of a fan of the brown rice, but we're trying to be good. Later in the evening I have one gluten-free cookie, which Phil calls cheating and I call delicious. One thing to note: I desperately wanted a glass of red wine with dinner.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Joshi Detox II - DAY 5

Dear Dr. Joshi,

I'm back!

Phil and I decided to do your detox again because we really enjoyed its benefits last time (weight loss, greatly improved stomach issues, general feeling of healthiness).

Recently we'd both been complaining about our bad eating habits, and our respective struggles with the scale, so this is our attempt to get back on track.

This time around I felt extremely lethargic during the first few days of the cleanse, and still do. I sleep so deeply that it's hard to get up in the morning. The first two days especially I felt very warm and uncomfortable, which I imagine to be a symptom of my body detoxifying itself. Last night I was feeling a lot of negative energy building up in me, and I wonder if this is all related to detoxing.

I've noticed a real change in my appetite since days 1 and 2. The first couple of days, I was feeling a bit desperate about food. I noticed all the times in the day where I would have had a sugar fix (brown sugar on my cereal, tea with sugar on the way to work, sugary treats in my lunch, perhaps a mid-afternoon pop, those delicious ice cream bars that are sitting in my freezer) so I think, of all the foods I have to avoid while on the detox, sugar is my biggest crutch. BUT the good news is that my cravings are definitely disappearing. I've started to be quite satisfied with the hot gluten-free cereal we've been eating in the mornings, and I don't feel the need to eat a spoonful of honey in the evening, just to get my sugar fix.

More updates to come...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Engagement Shoot by Daniela Foster.

At one of the many wedding shows Phil and I have attended this year, we were fortunate enough to win a free engagement shoot with Daniela Foster photography. We met up with Daniela a few weeks ago on what turned out to be a beautiful fall day, and we roamed from St. Lawrence Market to the Sky Dome for a couple of hours. Daniela just sent me a few teaser pics, so I thought I'd post some of them here. We had a lovely time with her, and are very happy with the photos. If you're looking for a wedding photographer, you should definitely check her out!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dear Blog.

Dear Blog,

Sorry I've been neglecting you lately. The thing is, I've been having a really fun summer so I haven't been internetting as much as usual. What have I been doing? Oh, this and that. Like...


And that:

And playing this:

And hanging out with this one:

And looking for one of these:

And I just shot a commercial for Wiser's which will be a lot like this:

Anyway, Blog, I'm sure you'll understand if I prioritize jumping in lakes and dining with friends for a bit. I predict I'll want to soak up this fine, albeit muggy, weather for the next little while and won't be visiting you again until the fall.

Do take care of yourself, and I look forward to our continued relationship in the coming months.

Yours Truly,

Alison Jutzi

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dear Ireland.

Dear Ireland,

What's with you being so gorgeous, with your rolling hills of patchwork-quilt countryside and your rocky shores and your beautiful and historic castles, churches and forts?

Also, what's with all your friendly people with their charming and melodic accents? What's that all about?

And another thing, what's the story with all the sheep that I took all those pictures of, especially the ones that were in the middle of the road and wouldn't let the car go by, giving me the satisfaction of an authentically Irish experience. What is the deal?

But most of all, Ireland:


I packed my sexy new rainboots and only wore them that one day in Howth because it was sunny and warm the rest of the time. What is with that? When did you suddenly get better weather than Cuba? It might have been nice if you'd warned me so I could've packed more bikinis and fewer wool socks.

But I will forgive you, because you showed me a really good time.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Being a mascot.

Did I ever tell you that I sometimes work as a mascot?

I started dressing up as a certain bear for a certain bank several years ago, and continue to do the odd gig to this day (odd being the operative word).

The first thing I remember noticing about life inside the bear costume is that people really treat you differently when you're dressed as a big cuddly animal, and I mean this in both a good and bad way. Little kids generally like me WAY more when I'm in costume. Then there are those jerk kids who just want to punch me and pull my arms off 'cause "YOU'RE NOT REAL! I CAN TELL!". And of course there are the adults who are repulsed by me and the security guards who I can tell might not stick up for me if someone tries to punch me out.

Last weekend I did a mascot gig in Dundas Square, where there were bands performing. One band member got on the microphone and invited everyone to kick me in the ribs. Perhaps he doesn't like the bank my costume represents? It got me to thinking about how people don't really consider the person inside the mascot outfit, they just see a corporation trying to cute-ify itself; a wolf in sheep's clothing, luring children into their fold.

And that made me a bit nervous about dressing up in costume at Yonge and Dundas.

Still, I had a good time. There was music playing all afternoon so I danced for hours, and got a lot of the usual, "YOU MUST BE HOT!" and "I HOPE THERE'S AIR CONDITIONING IN THAT SUIT!".

Oh, and the best. The BEST? Is the parents who try to force their small children to hug me. 75% of kids think I'm awesome and want to hang out with me and be my best friend, but those other 25% think I'm the devil and their well-meaning parents just can't stop it with the "It's okay, honey, come on, give the bear a hug, come on, it's okay!" and meanwhile I'm thinking "I'M NOT OFFENDED, DON'T FORCE YOUR CHILD TO HUG ME PLEASE" but I can't say anything 'cause that's one of the rules. I also can't take my head off in front of anyone 'cause it might make children cry.

Things not to do when you see me in costume:

- Hand me your baby. I can't see very well, and have a huge head that I have little control over, so shouldn't be holding delicate things.
- Allow your child to punch me. This isn't fun for me, padding or no padding.
- Hug me really hard, pressing yourself against my chest to test if "THERE'S A GIRL OR GUY IN THAT SUIT!"
- Ask me any questions that might require more than "yes", "no", or "I don't know" in response. (I can nod, shake my head, and shrug. That's pretty much the extent to which I can communicate.)
- Expect me to have any sort of peripheral vision. I can see through the nose part of the head and that's it. I walk around in fear that I will accidentally trample a small child.

It's a fun job though, I must admit. The kids who love me, really love me...and seeing their reactions to the big furry animal I'm pretending to be is priceless. They don't care that I'm a corporate marketing tool. They just want to hug the big cuddly bear.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Oh, What a Lovely War!" gets three Dora nominations!

Yesterday I was waiting for my mushroom and onion burger at Fresh, slowly getting the feeling back in the upper left part of my mouth after just having come from the dentist, when Phil called me with some very exciting news: The Dora nominations had just been announced, and the show I recently did at Soulpepper has been nominated in three categories! They are: Outsanding Musical Direction (the incomparable Marek Norman), Outstanding Original Choreography (the magnificent Candace Jennings) and Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role/Ensemble - the whole cast!

I really enjoyed the Doras last year, and it will be even more exciting to attend this year as a nominee! We've got a very busy June planned, including a trip to Ireland, but fortunately we'll be around for the awards ceremony on June 28th. It will be a lovely excuse to reunite with my cast members. Here is a link to a list of all the nominees.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Eden!

We were recently in Guelph to celebrate my niece Eden's first birthday. Phil and I got a few nice shots of the event, but I'll just post my favourite one. I think all things in life should be approached with this attitude:

"Wheeee birthday yay!!!"

(although with Eden's limited vocabulary it sounded more like, "Wow! Yeah! Hi!")

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Reviews of Books I Barely Remember: Part 1

Kristy's Great Idea
by Ann M. Martin

This is the first (of 132, as of this month) in the Babysitter's Club series, which I started reading when I was 11 years old. I don't recognize any titles after the 50-book mark, so I guess I was too busy being an awkward high school student to follow the trials of Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey and the others past 1992.
I ate this book up, much the same way I devoured four seasons of Sex and the City on DVD when I was bored for those two months in the winter of 2004. They are both giant chocolate-bars-with-caramel-inside for the brain.

The plot: Kristy gathers her three friends who all have different but complementary personalities and, more importantly, varied hair colours and styles, to form a club of babysitters (a "babysitter's club", if you will) which gathers weekly to schedule babysitting appointments for their neighbours, all of whom somehow remember to call during their club meeting hours.

The main characters: To continue with the Sex and the City comparison: boy-crazy Stacey would certainly be slutty Samantha, traditional and romantic Mary Anne would be Charlotte, bossy Kristy would be Miranda and I guess that leaves Claudia as the Carrie character, which works only in that both of their names start with "C".

But this post isn't about Sex and the City.

Did I like this book? At the time, yes. Why? Because it satisfied a deep-seated pre-teen female urge to have girlfriends with whom to gossip, eat homemade chocolate chip cookies, and complain about smelly boys. I was also a popular babysitter in our neighbourhood in Guelph, so I could relate to the girls' entrepreneurial ambitions. I remember having a weekly Friday night gig where I'd babysit two kids for five hours, and go home with a ten dollar bill and I thought that was awesome. I suppose those very low standards prepared me well for my actor's income.

Did I have any issues with this book? Yes. Kristy lives with her mom and stepdad, and her stepdad's two little kids from a previous marriage only come to visit them every other weekend, yet Kristy always seems to be babysitting them. So, let me get this straight: you get to see your kids four days a month, and somehow those are the days when you schedule martini dates with friends? TAKE A PARENTING COURSE.

Final verdict: If you are a girl who is 11 and it is 1989 and you like to read, you will love this book.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dear shoes.

Dear shoes,

Why do I have so many of you? I thought I was a low-maintenance person, but when I see you, my vast collection of footwear, I am forced to consider that the opposite may be true.

A lot of you are in storage. I've only kept in the front hall those of you that are essential to my every-day life at this moment (no disrespect, comfy brown winter boots with the pom-poms). Still, you are so many in number. Why?

I know why you're there, silver pointy-toed flats. You are new and shiny and hip, and even comfortable (thanks, Soft Moc).

White sandal pumps from Payless, I remember I bought you on a whim one day when I needed open-toed shoes to take to a pedicure appointment, and you have turned out to be one of my most-worn pair of summer shoes. Thanks for that.

Turquoise high-heeled sandals from Rockport. My love for you is real. You make me feel like I'm walking on air, and though I didn't wear you as much as I meant to last season, 2010 is sure to be your year.

Pretty brown flip-flops from Kenya. You get a lot of compliments because you're just so darn attractive. Even though you sometimes discolour the bottoms of my feet, I foresee a long future for us.

Tall black boots. Necessary.

Bronze pumps from Vancouver. Remember how I went back to the store three times before buying you? That was back when $99 seemed like a fortune, and I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. I think we can both feel confident that I did.

Silver high-heeled sandals and gold high-heeled sandals, you will see me through many a wedding and dressy social function this spring and summer. Thank you in advance.

And you, the triumverate of super duper high heels: red, black, and bronze with the cheap-looking fake jewels on the toe. You joined my wardrobe compliments of the Maria show, so while I may not wear you often, you are still dear to my heart.

Black slip-on Sketchers. You have absolutely no heel support, but you're really easy to slip on when I need to take out garbage or go down to the laundry room, and so you stay.


You, new black shoes from Spring, have to go. My feet are still healing from our first and only jaunt around the city. I hope I will get my $30 back, though your soles are so obviously scuffed. Had I but known you would crush my tender little toesies so.

As for the rest of you, you may stay for another season, or perhaps five. But, with the blogosphere as my witness, you will not grow in number for at least 6 months.

Thank you for listening, shoes. I'm glad I got that off my chest.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

ACTOR TIPS: Surviving a musical theatre performance when you have a cold.

Recently I was doing a musical here in Toronto, and I developed a cold in my final week of the run. Colds and flus make performing way less fun than it should be, but there are ways to deal with them - and deal with them we must! Here's how I get through the inevitability of getting sick while doing a run:

1. Sleep
This goes in the "duh" category. You know that sleep is important at all times, but especially when your body is trying to heal, right? So try to get as much sleep as possible before each show. If you need help with that, I would like to introduce you to my friends Neo Citran and NyQuil.

2. Oil of Oregano
Buy some oil of oregano (a natural antiobiotic) at the local health food store (or even some Shoppers Drugmart locations) and take 4 drops, three times a day. You can just put it under your tongue, or have it with water or juice. It does wonders for me.

3. Drink water.
When I'm sick, I make sure to have water bottles strategically placed in several places backstage. I find that if I make sure to lubricate my throat as often as possible, I'm way less likely to go into a coughing fit. Don't let your throat get dry.

4. Lozenges
Placing lozenges in several places backstage, and maybe in a pocket partially unwrapped (in case you have a coughing emergency on stage) is never a bad idea.

5. Green tea with honey.
A warm drink can be very soothing, but I find that black tea gives me a scratchy throat. Green tea with honey is just the ticket.

6. Breathe through your nose.
Especially if you are doing a musical, try breathing through your nose so your throat doesn't dry out as fast.

7. Pace yourself.
Save your energy for the show. Even having an animated discussion with another actor in the green room can zap your energy when you're sick, so try finding a quiet space where you can chill out.

8. Get to know your voice.
When you're sick, you may have to adjust the way you sing. Get to know your voice and what it needs (you don't want to rock your high belt if you know that your cold is going to cause your voice to crack). Maybe when you're sick you need to use your head voice more, or give more air support. Everyone's different, so get to know how you operate.

9. Prescription cough syrup.
Sometimes you have to break out the big guns. When I was working at The Grand last fall I had a cough that just wouldn't go away. The doctor at the local walk-in clinic gave me a prescription for cough syrup with codeine and it made my cough disappear completely. Kind of like magic.

10. Sour Kids
Sucking on a few Sour Kids (or any kind of sour, chewy candy) is a great way to lubricate your throat. Seriously - a doctor told me that!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wedding Playlist.

Phil and I are celebrating our pre-nniversary tonight (we're getting married a year from today) and so I thought I'd post a link* to this video of us looking for songs for our wedding playlist. The quality of the video is low, but our spirits are high! (mostly due to the wine we'd consumed before recording.)

* I tried to embed the video, but it ended up cutting off half the screen. Like, what's with that?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tiger Ballet.

Please enjoy this video, which clearly demonstrates how NOT to be a generous actor. I desperately want to know the back-story. Was the person in the tiger costume recast from a lead role? Did he or she just have a falling out with the director? Or is this the work of a very imaginative choreographer?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Overheard backstage.

"I lost a pom pom, do we have any extras?"

Actor: "What's my next scene!"
Dresser: "I don't know!"

"Has anyone seen my frilly red underwear?"

"I shouldn't have had that falafel before the show."

"Sorry!" (usually following a collision as actors rush to make entrances)

"Greg, that dress looks great on you. I love the sparkles."

"I have to make a gunshot noise but I CAN'T FIND MY DRUMSTICK!"

"Crap, the curtain's busted."

"Someone tell stage management the curtain's busted."

"Does stage management know the curtain's busted?"

Actor: "Just so you know, the curtain's busted."
SM: "Yes, WE KNOW, THANK YOU. We'll fix it at intermission."

"How can I make myself pop out of this corset a little more?"

Actor 1:"I feel like I'm getting a bit of a sore throat"
Actor 2:"Don't touch me"

"Someone's pom pom is on stage"

"I can't find my gas mask"

"Are there any timbits left?"

"I forget what note I start on."

"Hey, I think someone brought you flowers. Oh wait, no - they're for the other Mike."

"Is this Act I or Act II?"

"I have a hole in my fishnets."

"You up for a beer after?"

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Oh What a Lovely War" videos.

Last week I was thrilled to have my first opening night at Soulpepper Theatre Company here in Toronto. The show runs for three more weeks, and tickets can be found here. If you'd like a sneak peek, here are some behind-the-scenes videos from the Soulpepper website:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whiskas Commercial

I shot this Whiskas commercial in September, and spoke about the shoot here. I was sure they had decided not to air it, as it had been several months and I hadn't seen anything. Looks like I was wrong!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh, what a lovely show!

My big news of 2009 was that I got engaged.


Ahem. As I was saying, the big news of last year was my engagement. However, before Phil proposed I was already over the moon about something else that has now been pushed to second place in the highlight reel of my life for 2009. But second place or not, it was very exciting when I found out - and continues to be now.

Last fall I was asked to perform with Soulpepper Theatre Company in its 2010 season. For audiences, Soulpepper is where you can see the best classical theatre in Toronto (and arguably all of Canada), and for artists it's a dream contract. To work with such a prestigious company is an honour.

We started rehearsals for the show this week. It's called Oh, What a Lovely War!, and is a musical satire of the first World War. With Albert Schultz directing and Marek Norman as our music director, I feel like I've died and gone to heaven. Right now we're doing table work, and learning all the beautiful war-time songs in the score (Keep the Home Fires Burning, Roses of Picardy etc.). The show runs from March 11th till April 10th and you can buy tickets here. It's going to be a good one, folks.

In other news, you may have been bombarded by my latest commercial already, but if not here's a link to my CRA spot. File online and on time, people!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Step we gaily, on we go...

Picture it: Christmas day, close to midnight. A tree with coloured lights, me in my glasses and pj's, and a dashing young fellow with a diamond ring. That, ladies and gentlemen, is my proposal story.

Phil and I met 12 years ago when I was a student of the University of Toronto Theatre and Drama Studies program, and he was one of its alumni. As far as I can remember, our paths didn't cross again until I was a Facebook newbie in early 2007 and noticed I'd been poked (remember when people used to do that?) by Philip Sullivan. This started a long thread of friendly emails, a few ultimate frisbee games, and that was pretty much that.

...until last January when we ran into each other at a show. And went on some dates. And later went to New York city together. And spent time with my family at the cottage. And hung out with his mom and sisters in Toronto and Montreal. And he let me sub on his softball team. And he came to see my gigs. And we watched sports highlights together and I actually liked them. And we ate a lot of ice cream. And he held my hand while I stumbled on ice skates. And we fell in love.

And now the real adventure begins...