Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Queen Marie Review!

Jeff Schissler (middle), Shelley Simester (right) and I in Act II of Queen Marie

We are about half-way through our run of Queen Marie at 4th Line Theatre and so far - so great!  I've learned a lot, I mean A LOT throughout this process.  The show is a bit of a marathon, especially for the star Shelley Simester who is absolutely incredible as the late, great, Marie Dressler.

Shelley Simester (left), myself (middle) and Alison Palmer (right)
Needless to say, the weather has been no less than scorching the past couple of weeks, so managing the heat and delivering your best performance (particularly in a fat suit, as seen left!) is a challenge.  Hydration throughout the day is absolutely essential!

So far we haven't been "rained-out" once.  We had a minor "rain-hold" during our first preview, but that's it (knock on wood).

Reviews, reviews...

Often I avoid reviews until after the show closes (or altogether), but I stumbled upon this write-up by  Paula Citron (critic, broadcaster and arts-journalist for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life & more) and am excited to share her experience of Queen Marie.  Click Here to read her review.

More soon!

Stay cool :)

xo, Allie

Saturday, 30 June 2012


My plan for the day was to go to Kawartha Crossfit in the am, then rehearsal, and write my Foodie Pen Pal post on my hour break.  Unfortunately (as often happens shortly before a show opens) today's rehearsal was a little chaotic, and I ended up spending my time off helping the wardrobe team find replacement shoes for a girl who sprained her ankle (ouch!). SO - my sincere apologies for getting this out so late in the day, particularly because this month's Foodie Pen Pal Package ROCKED!

Not only did Kendall introduce me to some delicious new products, but she also did her best to combine our two eating styles, my Paleo diet with her vegan diet!  Who knew this was even remotely possible?  Since paleo is a "hunter-gatherer" way of eating, you can imagine how hard it is to find things to send in the mail.  Obviously straying slightly was necessary, but I was very impressed with Kendall's efforts.

My favorite part of the package was the "Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter".  What an awesome treat, and surprisingly few ingredients! Since I am currently living in Peterborough, I gave Kendall my Toronto address and planned to pickup my package on my day off.  My boyfriend politely asked if he could check out the contents before I got home.  Let's just say that half the peanut butter chocolate container had magically disappeared by the time I got there! And he's not really a dessert fan!  It's seriously that good.  I'm about to bite into the "Extreme Dark Chocolate Bar" right now.  I've been holding off on this one :)

Thanks so much Kendall, it was so nice to chat with you via email.  Thanks for all of the amazing food.  Keeping some of the snacks in my bag during rehearsals saved me from passing out in the heat more than once!  I'd be happy to have you do a guest blog anytime my new West Coast buddy!

xoxo Allie

Friday, 22 June 2012

#Whoisdorothy? Not me, but that's ok

Heather Maitland (right) and I: "Who is Dorothy?" in rehearsal
for "Queen Marie" the day before the open call.
The few weeks before my open call for Dorothy, I had received calls and emails from all over the place making sure I knew about the audition, and encouraging me to attend.  I even got a call from the assistant at my Dentists office! Amazing. When I learned that the first round was taking place on a Monday, which is currently my only day off of rehearsals for Queen Marie, I knew I had to do it.  I though to myself, "hey, it can't be worse than a cattle call for a Broadway show, right?"

The lineup at Front and John Street at 7am!

Lucky for me, Heather Maitland, the phenomenal actor playing Nella in Queen Marie, also wanted to attend the audition.  We helped each other prepare, and made a pact to stick together.

At 7am when we arrived in line, it was already twisting around the block. Dorothy hopefuls of all shapes and sizes waited nervously for their chance to perform.  When the registration began at 9am, everything seemed to happen in a flash.  Before I knew it I was standing in a tiny room singing my heart out to a very friendly lady. She asked me to wait in the hall afterwards and I tried to steady my breathing/heart-rate!  After a few tedious minutes I was told that was all they needed from me today. Sigh.  

I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed.  I was so excited to audition for Stephanie Gorin and didn't make it to the round where I could do so.  I looked at the lineup of girls who had made it past the first audition, anxiously awaiting their turn to earn a Golden Ticket.  These girls were adorable, all dressed in their own twist of a perfect Dorothy outfit.  They were beaming.  And they were all very up to ten years younger than me!  I left the audition hall and met back up with Heather who unfortunately had the same fate as I did.  

As we walked out of Glen Gold studios and saw hundreds of potential Dorothy's waiting in line, I had a bit of an epiphany. There was something different about this open call.  It wasn't just that the people working at the audition were friendlier and more helpful than I have ever experienced in such a high stress scenario as this, and it wasn't just that I had the benefit of being with a buddy who helped me keep my head on straight.  The difference was this: the rejection was a brief little blow, and then I was fine.  I no longer have doubts about my career choice.  I no longer question whether not getting cast in a specific part is because I'm not meant to be an actor.  I've gotten over the hump of being intimidated by how "hard" the industry is and how "difficult" the rejection is.  I now know, that there is always an opportunity around the corner.  Don't get me wrong, any actor will tell you that the rejection isn't easy.  But you've got to have enough courage to move past it and trust in your own passion and talent.  Feel the pinch, acknowledge the disappointment, and then move on.  

Who knows why I didn't make it to the second round of casting. It could have been my age, my voice, or just my interpretation of the song.  I'm not Dorothy, but I am "Clare Dubrey" in Queen Marie.  Who knows what I will get to play next?  

In the words of the amazing Richard Pinter of The Neighborhood Playhouse, "If you undervalue yourself, you will be undervalued".  Well said Pinter, well said.  Thanks CBC for the opportunity, and to the ladies with the Golden Tickets, break a leg!

xoxo Allie

Thursday, 14 June 2012

First Week of Rehearsals for Queen Marie!

Here We Go!

The week before rehearsals began for Queen Marie at 4th Line Theatre was a bit of a whirlwind.  Before I knew it I was on the road to Peterborough with a ridiculous amount of luggage and no clue what I was really in for.  I settled into my billet Beverley's place (a hilarious and very hospitable Newfie!), and prepared for the first day of rehearsal on the farm.

A peek onstage at 4th Line Theatre in Millbrook, ON
So the amazing and sometimes challenging thing about doing a show at 4th Line is that the rehearsal/performance space is outside (!).  There is a "hats on" policy during rehearsals and I've been loading up on sunscreen (being the pasty lady that I am), and have managed to avoid a sunburn, and any snake encounters, but not the poison ivy.  Yeesh.  Aside from that itchy setback, I am loving my summer at 4th Line thus far. 
Shelley Simester (Marie Dressler), Sedina Fiati (Mamie) & Heather Maitland (Nella Web)
I have to give a shout out & thanks to Theatre Ontario, without whom I would not have even found out about the auditions for the part of "Clare Dubrey".

I've done primarily Film/TV gigs since my move back to Toronto from NYC, and working on this show has really got me jazzed up about my love for the much so that I've decided to audition for Dorothy in CBC's "Over the Rainbow" next Monday...oh mama.  Wish me luck!  More details about the show and rehearsals to come :)

I've started to workout at Kawartha Crossfit in Peterborough with some awesome people.  Running seems to have fallen to the wayside a bit but with a few crossfits a week and dancing in the show, I'm spent!  

Enjoy the sunshine, and wear your sunscreen!  



Thursday, 7 June 2012

A "Met Con Blue" Review: My First Mountain Race Adventure!

It's been 5 days since Met Con Blue and I'm still finding new little bruises and scrapes (in some very unusual places I might add), but my muscles have fully recovered and I've gotta say, I can't wait til next year's race! I learned a lot about myself and my own fitness level during the race but most of all, I had an absolute blast.  Here's how it all went down:

Our team of 9, "Insane Pain", arrived at the bottom of Blue Mountain pumped and ready for the 10am heat.  It was chilly and drizzling outside and we were surrounded by friendly and familiar faces, like the Crossfit Indestri team.  After a quick warmup we were off to the races and seriously, the beginning of the race was one of the hardest physical challenges I have ever encountered.  Our all-star boys took off ahead of the pack up the LONG STEEP HILL and I could see my sisters just in front of me.  I couldn't speak or catch my breath until we reached the top of the bloody mountain and got water. Krysten and Jamie were right behind me and we joined a little trifecta just as we reached the peak. Then the fun really began.

We climbed ropes and walls, ran through mud pools, and slid through the muddy trails from one obstacle to the next.  I had made the exciting mistake of not looking into the details of the obstacles ahead of time.  So when we came to a clearing and were told to jump over a giant campfire, I didn't have time to stop and think - I just gaver and hoped to high heaven I didn't land in the fire rump first!  By the time we rounded the last hill and the finish line was in sight, we were completely pooped, but so happy.  I have never had so much fun in a race before.

My sisters Sarah Pain and Megan Dunbar: "We DID it!" - Photo by Bill Pain
We got out of our incredibly muddy/wet gear and slid into our cars.  A hot shower has never felt so good!  After we cleaned up we returned to the battleground to re fuel with beer, BBQ, and POSK paleo treats.

I can't wait for Insane Pain to regroup and participate again next year.  And this time, I'm not skipping ANY hill runs during training!  Our team finished in 4th place out of 24, thanks to the rockstar boys on our team: Bill Pain, Dave Pain, Andrew Pigott & Adam Knowles.  But hey, I'm pretty proud of us girls too.  As my mom said to me on the phone the day before the race, "I think my daughters have forgotten that they're girls! You be careful out there, this is Survivor Collingwood!", to which I say "HELL YEAH!".

Thanks Met Con Blue, for a killer race, an awesome party and a great excuse to get together with such amazing people.  See you next year!



Thursday, 31 May 2012


So pumped to write about my first experience being a Foodie Pen Pal!  I'd like to start just by saying what an awesome time I've had and how fun it is to connect to two amazing ladies and fellow foodies.  Picking out what to send to Nikki, my penpal was great, and anticipating what I'd receive in my package from Anna was exciting, but I think my favorite part was just chatting with them via email about all things food and fitness.

My package was waiting at my doorstep after a particularly grueling week (see my last post for details), and I felt like a kid again opening it up and checking out my loot.

Thank you Anna Sherwood for such an awesome Foodie Pen Pal Package!
Naturally I took a picture of it right away because I knew I was going to eat at least one of these goodies immediately!  Anna was incredibly kind to accommodate my primarily Paleo diet.  We had emailed back and forth a few times about what exactly my normal diet was, to which I replied not to worry so much about that because I was just excited to try some of her favorite snacks.  She did an awesome job of mixing some Paleo with non-Paleo snacks and I gotta say, they were all delicious!

My top pick was definitely the "Enjoy Life" trail mix, which was gone in a matter of 24 hours - dangerously delicious! 

Another thing that I really appreciated from Anna's package was she made a great effort to send me some local goods.  So cool to try out these companies.  I'll be sure to pickup more "Just Us" products next time I'm in Nova Scotia, the tea is fantastic!

Thank you so much Anna.  Can't wait for next month of Foodie Pen Pals!

Nikki and Anna, feel free to send a guest blurb if you'd like to post about your experiences too!



Thursday, 24 May 2012

Crossfit & Theatre: Keepin me Sane

The weather is gorgeous, the birds are a singin', I'm two weeks away from spending my summer acting at 4th Line Theatre and yet for some reason - earlier this week I felt like I'd been walking on eggshells with my anxiety.  Anxiety used to be a much bigger part of my life (particularly in highschool/beginning of University) but after reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth about 50 times, I've taught my brain how to break the cyclical nature of this stress...most of the time.  It's quite possible this is just a particularly bad lady time of the month, but knowing that doesn't change anything.  There are a few very minor things that really set me off this week: a couple of very human errors I made in my day job that really set me off, realizing that I only have 4 days off the first month I'm away and how much I'm going to miss Andy, and lastly having been advised that my business plan that I've been working really hard on needs an overhaul.  

Are these things earth shattering? NO!  Did anything really horrible happen? NO! So I was telling myself to get a grip and enjoy my time in Toronto before my adventure begins but it took a little fitness therapy to really let the steam off.  

My second crossfit class at Auxiliary fitness was a Deadlift WOD.  As I added on more weight, I kept telling the instructor/co-owner Justin that I had found my max.  He shook his head no, and kept pushing me to add on a little more.  I got to the point where I literally could not lift the dang barbell in the slightest and started to get really dizzy and had to put my head between my legs and rest.  I kind of expected Justin to tell me that was enough for the day and to relax. Nope.  He told me to try one more time.  "GET ANGRY!" he said.  So I thought of the 3 things that had been really getting under my skin this week, took a big breath, and somehow, that barbell that seemed impossible to lift a minute ago, was in the air.  My first Personal Record of 140lbs for deadlifts.  To say I'm hooked is a gross understatement.

Andy and I booked it to The Stratford Festival after the class to see The Matchmaker featuring my mentor and friend Chick Reid and her hubby Tom McCamus.  The show was incredibly well executed, and absolutely hilarious.  My face hurt from smiling after the curtain.  

It's slightly embarrassing to admit to losing my cool over such trivial matters, but there's no point in denying it.  Today - I feel like myself again, but I'm not sure if I could have shook off those negative vibes as easily without this killer stress busting combo of crossfit and the arts.  Instead of deflated and worried, I feel strong and inspired.  A New Earth will always have a place on my bookshelf but somehow I don't think I'll need it so much anymore.



Saturday, 19 May 2012

Healthy Lifestyle Bullies

Family and friends can have such a huge impact on what we see as "normal" in our day to day lives.  A sedentary lifestyle lived by someone close to you can inadvertently have a similar impact on your own health and fitness.  On the other hand, some people look at other people who are active and make excuses for their own fitness level (or lack-there-of) by labeling them people as "fitness fanatics", or "obsessive".  Yes, there must absolutely be a balance and exercise/healthy living can't be all you care about or you aren't really living, are you?  That being said, I don't know anyone personally who is at that level of fanaticism but I do know many people who use this negative labeling to make themselves feel better about their unhealthy lifestyles.  It's health bullying in a way.  

Adam Knowles and I post Half Marathon
The reason I'm writing all of this is because I had a sort of lightbulb moment with my great friend and fellow blogger Krysten (Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail) after a 6am crossfit class at Indestri in Collingwood.  It's no surprise, and no great secret that both Krysten and I have had our own challenges with body image (hey, we're human).  However as we sipped our lattes at Starbucks post workout, we made a connection that something had changed this year for both of us re:health and fitness.  A ball had dropped.  It began when we each committed to running a half-marathon.  When the training began, there was a serious shift in the way we each thought about our bodies.  For me it went from dragging myself to the gym and hoping that I had burned enough calories, to pushing myself to run farther than I ever had before.  When you're training for a race, you can't treat your body badly because you need it be a clean machine.  We both started to appreciate our bodies more and although neither of us broke any records by any means, we both finished something that a few years ago we had never dreamed of committing to.  

So yes, it may seem crazy and obsessive to run for 2 hours and put yourself through blisters and cramps and all sorts of other crap and actually pay to run in a half marathon, but hey - it's the best therapy and confidence boost I've ever had.  So if you're reading this and you think you might fall into the "health bully" category - maybe it's just your fear talking.  Any chance you might actually want to challenge yourself in this way too?  How about saying f%&k it to your excuses and put on a pair of sneaks and just GO?  And if you've crossed paths with someone like this - don't be angry with them, just remember, like any bully, they are doing it out of their own insecurity.  So run, swim, hike, yog, cross, or whatever else it is that keeps you sane and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it.



Friday, 18 May 2012

TIFF Next Wave Film Festival

Co-Star Andrew Pigott, Director Joseph Procopio & I
Our premier of Memories at the TIFF Next Wave Festival was a huge success!  I was lucky enough to have a ton of friends and family at the event and an incredible amount of support from those who were there in spirit.  Naturally I was slightly panicked about my outfit but was lucky enough to have the stylistic help of Lyndsay - who helped me plan the perfect daytime screening outfit from head to toe.

Can't wait to wear these puppies again!
With amy daytime event - it's important not to overdo it with your makeup & attire.  We worked with a dress that I already had (Tory Burch for Forever 21), added some sick shoes from Zara & a cropped jean jacket and bangles from H&M.  So including my dress which I've had for a few months, I felt TIFF ready and totally appropriate for my first big screening for under $150. 

This is just the beginning of the Memories Festival tour.  Next up is the Rhode Island International Film Festival in August.  Road trip!  I'm confident that it will be screened at some other excellent film festivals as well, Joseph has done an incredible job with the piece.  

Just a couple of short weeks before MetCon Blu and my summer move to 4th Line Theatre.  Lots of updates on both these fronts but right now, I've gotta get out the door and go for a run!

Have a fantastic long weekend!

xoxo, Allie

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

My Half-Marathon Post Mortem

Post Race with my orange hat buddy Adam!
I can't believe it, but somehow the big day has come and gone and I managed to get my body from the start line to the finish line of the Goodlife Half-Marathon.  First of all, kudos to all the other runners and thank you to all of the amazing people pumping me up along the way.  At one point I had a raging cramp and this nice lady stopped and asked if i was ok.  Such a small gesture but it really meant the world to me at the time.  I was lucky enough to have my friend/lil sister's boyfriend, Adam, join me for the run and it really helped having someone there to calm my nerves before the start.  Of course, about 5 minutes before go time, I had to pee like a racehorse and had to run into the bushes, narrowly avoiding a cop and another runner.  I tried to be as stealth as possible in my neon hat but I think they just chose to ignore me, to which I say, thank you kindly! 

So now it's two days post run and my legs are feeling better than yesterday but still, pretty darn sore.  My blisters are healing, and my joints feel pretty good.  More than anything though, I just feel happy. I am happy that I pushed myself to achieve a goal which for a long time, made me too nervous to even commit to.  I am happy that both my body and mind were able to accept this challenge.  My sisters, brother in law,boyfriend, mom and her partner Ted were all there cheering me along.  Them being there and supporting me along the way meant more to me than I can say.  They believed I could do it, even when I didn't.  I realized about 10K into the run I wasn't really doing it to prove to anyone that I could, except for myself.  I needed to do it for me.  And that is the most satisfying part of all.  I proved myself wrong.  I can be a runner (despite the fact that as a child I hated all sports event and picked dandelions in the fields rather than participating).  I've realized that we put limitations on ourselves, and those are the ones that really hurt.  By saying "I'm not a runner" or "I'm not really an athlete" we put ourselves in these little boxes and don't see the world of opportunity around us.  So if you're reading this and thinking "I'm in my own box", open it.  You are the only one who can do so and it is so freeing.  Realize that your own fear is holding you back, but it has no real power over you.  You can do whatever it is you want to do and no one is responsible for your own physical condition or your own happiness but yourself.  Be your own life coach.  Believe.

Wow, ok that may have been an intense paragraph but I'm fairly certain it communicates the essence of what this Half-Marathon brought to light for me.  

I still don't know whether a full marathon is in my future or not but I would do another Half.  But now, it's time to focus on METCONBLUE!  And it starts tomorrow, with a recovery yoga class, and I can't wait.

I booted it to a print-ad "go see" audition this morning which seemed to go well but it's hard to tell when the directions are to jump up and down screaming like you're at a soccer game and your team just scored.  I find it hilarious how often I find myself in these brutally awkward scenarios in commercial audition settings but somehow my brain flicks a switch and I just giver.  I guess that's an essential part of being an actor - being able to disregard the fact that you look like a complete maniac sometimes.

On the way out of the audition I got an email from my agency that I booked a part in a multi-media project that I auditioned for initially in November and was called back for last week.  The project has some really cool aspects to it.  The characters will all infiltrate various social media venues (ie twitter, facebook etc) and the "episodes" will be on youtube.  It's fairly improvisational which I love and the director has some great ideas to work off of.  


I've been matched up with my Foodie Pen Pals and have really been enjoying chatting with them via email.  It's amazing to connect with these people and listen to their stories and experiences.  I can't wait to get Nikki's package together!  I've already got some great ideas just from the couple of emails we've sent back and forth.

Take care, comb your hair, and enjoy this lovely tune by Great Lake Swimmers.



Friday, 4 May 2012

Make it Happen May


Just two more sleeps until my Goodlife Half Marathon and my mood about the whole thing is shifting fairly spastically from "Hell yes, you are ready, you got this!" to, "Oh God, oh God, what was I thinking?!".  Regardless, I'm still very glad that I made the decision to do the run.  It's been a life goal of mine and hey, if not now, when? Life really is too short to be a bystander.  I couldn't be happier to start off my 27th year with the biggest fitness challenge yet.  I've just got to remind myself that no matter how fast I run and no matter what my time is at the end, it's a huge accomplishment and has allowed me to push myself and run farther than I have ever before.

A little less than a month after my half, it's time for Met Con Blue Adventure Race!  It's a 5K fitness blitz with twists, turns and insane challenges.  My brother in law, the amazing Bill Pain, should be given due credit for my two sisters and our partners participating in this madness.  Not to mention everyone's favorite Darwinian Fail and her hubby will be participating!  How shall I train?!  Here's my tentative plan (starting after I recover from the half!):

Yoga or Pilates  -   1x per week
Crossfit Class    -   1x min per week
Running           -   2x min 5K run per week
Strength          -   Either Body Pump or solo weight training

Tweaks will inevitably be made I'm sure (especially after I discuss with Mr. Pain!).  But for now, I'm just going to try to enjoy my tapering before the run, and fuel this body as well as possible!  

Paleo Pre-Race Fuel!

Breakfast:  2 Eggs and a couple pieces of sweet potato or honeydew melon and the essential cup o coffee.
Snack:  Handful of Almonds
Lunch:  Giant salad with any protein, half an avocado, whatever veggies are in the fridge and maybe a couple of dill pickles (don't judge me)
Snack:  Snack size can of Tuna or last night's protein with leftover veggies.
Dinner:  Last night it was Fish tacos wrapped in bib lettuce with some awesome veggie toppings.  Always a protein and lots of veggies.  So many options.

Throughout the day I am trying to drink at least 2L of water as well as some herbal teas to keep the lattes at bay!  Good restful sleep is essential especially since pre race anxiety/excitement can interfere all on its own, no need to throw extra caffeine/alcohol into the mix to really eff it up!

I've signed up for The Lean Green Bean's Foodie Pen Pals! Check out her blog for more info but I'm really excited to pack up a bangerang kit!

In Other News...

"Memories" will screen at the TIFF Next Wave Festival on May 12th (yahooo!).
 Our new little car "Ricky" has arrived and she is an absolute beaut.  My 27th Birthday has come and gone and thanks to all of my amazing family/friends and the wonderful Andy it was a blast!  Plans for my secret business are developing really nicely and I will share details very soon.  I get to see my sisters this weekend and complete a goal that I've had for years, to run a half-marathon.  So this girl is pretty dang excited about Spring.  I'm officially calling it "Make it Happen May" because hey, if we don't do it for ourselves, it just ain't gonna happen.  

I'm off to the Goodlife Marathon Expo to pickup my race kit!  I leave you with this amazing tune which will DEFINITELY be on my playlist race day!  

Have a fabulous day and hey, do something nice today for yourself k?

xoxo, Allie

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Top Ten Signs You're a Grown Up:
  1. You start reading home decor magazines and or food magazines
  2. Before splurging on a pair of jeans, you consider what kitchen appliance you could get instead
  3. You stop eating kraft dinner (except maybe once a year...obviously with hot dogs)
  4. You refer to your youth as "back in the day" and are shocked when tweens aren't familiar with N'Sync or Backstreet Boys
  5. You start to really appreciate your grandparents and wish you knew more about them
  6. You own a slow cooker
  7. You either own a dog/cat or are seriously considering it...and possibly have a tester plant (mine's name is Joseph...he may or may not be a cactus)
  8. You pretend like the book you're reading on the subway isn't The Hunger Games
  9. You stop hanging out with people who don't make you happy
  10. Benders are replaced by epic dinner parties.
Yep. It's offical.  I think I might be grown up now.  

There are some fairly major parts of being an adult that I'm still not caught up with yet (ie buying a house), but I've finally made the decision to lease a car.  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  It's a little black Honda Fit named (probably) Ricky.  It's going to make this summer of performing at 4th Line Theatre even better.  On top of that, I get to pick her up on my birthday!

Half-Marathon training is going pretty well.  I invested in a "Fuel Belt" from running room and bought myself a foam muscle roller.  Now I've just gotta keep my training on track and not freak myself out too much.  Hit the 10 mile mark last week and tomorrow's 11 miles.  Wish me luck, and please feel free to msg me with your favorite running tunes.  

xoxo Allie

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Spring Fever!

I had an amazing time shooting an episode of "Cold Blood" last week - so great to be back on a set!  The late shoot got me home around 4am but I didn't mind.  When you're up really late doing something you're not invested in - resentment is inevitable.  When your heart's in it - it somehow makes it a million times easier to keep your eyes open and your brain in gear.

My 27th Birthday is coming up and I'm actually pretty excited about it.  Some of my friends are freaking out about our age - insistent that we should "have our shit together" by now.  What does that even mean?  I think that comparing yourself and your life to other people's, you are bound to feel inadequate and behind the pack.  The truth is - you are wherever you are supposed to be right now. And your future, is spotless, no excuses not to do everything you want to do and get everything you want out of life.  Stop putting up artificial barriers and making excuses.  I have a hard time keeping these thoughts in check sometimes but something about the Spring, and my birthday, is just reminding me more than ever to be present and enjoy life.  Somehow it's a little easier to keep these things in check when the birds are a chirpin and the buds are blooming.

I've been putting a lot of this positive excited energy into my half-marathon training as well as working on my business plan for the small business I will be opening in September.  I have hummed and hawed a lot about the ever challenging question of what day job is the best for me as an actor.  I've done the bartending thing, I've served a ton, and most recently I've been babysitting.  Each has their pros and cons and although currently I'm just thrilled not to be working in a bar until all hours, I still find myself frustrated that I can't be using more of my skills and that my hours are so weird (right now I work long hours on weekends and short hours weekday evenings).  I'm trying to think long term here.  How can I support myself when acting is inconsistent and live a comfortable life, but also be able to see my family and friends more, ie have a more balanced life overall?  So that's where the starting a business idea came into play and I will give more detail about it as it comes closer to the start date in Fall of 2012.

I am also getting a car soon as I'll definitely need one doing the musical in Millbrook this summer...YAAAAAY!  I have my eye on a Honda Fit but we'll see... So excited to be able to go visit my sisters whenever I want!

I'm excited for my 27th year to start with a half marathon and a new side job option on the horizon.  It's so easy to get overwhelmed with the past and the future but something that keeps bouncing around my brain is: the only one responsible for your own happiness is yourself, so do what you need to do for it to be a reality.

I leave you with an amazing catchy tune by the Avett Brothers...

Friday, 2 March 2012


A word of advice to those looking to save some dough and find someone who will do something for your career on the cheap: do your research.  I happened to cross paths with a young film student who seemed to have all the necessary qualifications for the job.  I hummed and hawed when I finally got the reel back but the fact of the matter was - it wasn't great.  And there is no point in putting something out there if you don't like what it represents. 

SO...luckily my amazing friend and director of Footsteps, Noam Kroll came to the rescue!  Over a two hour session together yesterday, not only did he create and edit a new reel for me, he also helped me understand how to get it online and onto the internet ASAP.  What a gem.  So here it is ladies and gents! Hope you like it!

Must give credit where credit is due!  The footage on my reel is from the following projects:

Footsteps - Independent Feature Film, Directed by Noam Kroll
David at Home  - Short Film, Directed by Alexa Di Cambio (official selection, Hills Film Festival)
Enamour - Short Film, Directed by Justin Ho (official selection, Soho International Film Festival)

       Allie Dunbar - Demo Reel 2012

Run, Run, Run!

It's "long run" training day and I am thrilled to say that I've completed a 5mile run!  I thought it would never happen!  Fellow blogger and everyone's favorite Darwinian Fail, Krysten, told me that every increase in distance would seem impossible but somehow if you stick to your guns it will happen, and she was right!  Now I'm feeling a little sore but ready to rock a long overdue girls night out!

And this song goes out to...

Krysten's half-marathon is coming up this Sunday in Burlington.  We had planned to run the Goodlife May 6th one together, but her surgery date was set after we made this plan and she wouldn't have enough time to recover and train pre race.  So the amazing lady found herself a half-marathon that would work with her surgery (literally the day before!).  GOOD LUCK KRYSTEN!  This song is for you, this helped me through the last bit of my run today, maybe it'll help on Sunday! 

xoxo Allie

Friday, 24 February 2012

Looking Forward / Looking Back...

The past couple of weeks have been a little slow for auditions.  It's times like these where I have to try extra hard to keep my head on straight and power through.  By some bloody miracle, I had a HUGE cleaning binge this week and I gotta say, it's helped to keep things in perspective!  What is it about having a lot on the brain plus laundry all over the place that can cause a minor meltdown?!

I also decided to personalize our little office space.  I got some cheapo frames from Ikea and a little bulletin board and put together an inspiration board and a tribute to some of the acting work my boyfriend and I have done.  

Looking Forward:

Inspiration boards get a bad rap.  All you need are some pictures that make you happy and motivated and remind you why you're doing what you're doing.  I have a fantastic picture of Diane Keaton and Richard Pinter on mine and just the look on Pinter's face reminds me of a very important lesson he once taught me in class at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre:  "Who will take over for the other great actors?  Why not you?".  

Put a little board together and make it filled with things that make you excited about the future. Somewhere to stick quotes that you find remarkable and energizing, somewhere to put pictures of friends and family who believe in you.  These little things can make a big difference on an "off" day!

Looking Back:

When you don't book a big part, or things are a little slow in the industry, I find it really helpful to remind myself of where I've come from.  The "whore" (read blog entry if confused) can tell you that nothing is going on in your career at the moment but that's not true.  Everything you have ever worked on is behind you, backing you up on your journey.

I really think this applies to all kinds of work.  Sometimes if you find yourself in a field that you don't want to be working in, or studying the wrong subjects in school you may think it's been a waste of time, but every experience gets you to where you need to be!

This wall is small for now, with just a few of our favorite projects displayed, but it's nice to have a visual reminder of how much can happen in a short period of time.  THe top row of pictures are from films that we have shot since moving back to Toronto, all of which are being submitted to some very major festivals around the world.  So, "whore", you can put a cork in it because even if I don't have any auditions laid out at the moment, I've got some great work behind me which is keeping the ball rolling.  Ha!

If you're feeling like you're in a rut, but want to do a little fun work, make yourself a board, or a wall to keep you positive.  Positive thinking can change everything!

Half Marathon Update...
Not too much to report but today is my longest run yet (4 miles) and it's a blizzard outside..oooookie dokie.  To the treadmill!  Wish me Luck!

xoxo Allie

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Training and Tidbits

After weeks of anticipation and the finale to my "26 days of fitness challenge", it's time to start training for the  Goodlife Half-Marathon in May!

As someone who is relatively new to running, I've spent a lot of time online figuring out what the best training schedule will be for me.  I've taken into account the suggestions from a variety of fitness disciplines, including crossfit to come up with this schedule:

The main points that I have learned from crossfit instructors are to keep up with the strength training and to incorporate sprints into each training week to increase endurance.  I've barely begun this plan but I already feel like it's a good balanced regime for me.  After the intensity of the workout challenge, having full two full "rest" days is awesome, and as I've realized, incredibly important!

I'm happy for suggestions from anyone in terms of tweaks, so please feel free to leave your comments.

And as for my careeeeeer...

I'm starting to realize how essential it is for me to take care of myself in all respects in order to be at my absolute best in auditions.  Sounds pretty basic but it's easy to let things slide and convince yourself otherwise sometimes.   My goal for this week is to respect every element of being in a great mindset for             acting.  This includes:

  • Fitness
Almost any actor that you talk to will agree with me that your body is your instrument.  It's SO easy to get caught up on weight and appearances.  Instead of focusing on the scale, I am going to go into each run or workout thinking of the confidence that I will take with me into my next audition as a result of my exercise.  It also just helps me clear my head and keep things in perspective!
  • Networking
The whole business side of acting is a complicated balancing act of staying in touch and keeping doors open without pissing anyone off.  It's very easy to think that your talent will take you as far as you want to go but I've come to realize that it's not always the case.  Keeping in touch with important people and letting them know how you are doing and what you are working on is not something to feel sheepish about, and this is something I need to keep reminding myself.  So this week, I'm going to get in touch with my mentors and other people I know in the business and send some packages out to TV shows that I want to audition for.  Also - things like updating the ol' website and getting new business cards are some practical steps I can take to get the other side of my career in shape.
  • Sleep
There are lots of benefits to not having a typical 9-5 job as an actor but there are also some downfalls.  One of those is when you don't have to be up at a certain time in the morning, it's easy to stay up too late and sleep later than you want to.  Problem is - this schedule or lack thereof does not help in creating a working mindset in the morning.  Artists have to put in the same time as any other working person, and getting up and starting the day at a reasonable time is the first steps in being productive.
  • Nutrition
I follow a paleo diet in my day to day life and have for the past 6 months or so.  When I follow it properly that means that I don't have any processed foods in my diet (including dairy and grains!).  It may sound extreme, it may sound like torture but I swear to you if you try it for 30 days, you will never go back.  My energy is better, my digestion is better, and I just plain feel better.  I will do a full blog on this soon, but if you're interested, read Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution.  I am not a robot.  If I'm out for dinner with friends and everyone's getting pizza, I go for it.  If it's a beautiful day off, I might have some frozen yogurt.  It's not as extreme as it sounds but after cutting these things out of my diet I realize I'm happier and healthier without them.

  • Education
This is something that I definitely have to make more of an effort to keep on top of.  Education at this point for me means staying on top of training, reading plays, seeing theatre and making sure to stay on top of what is happening in the entertainment scene in Toronto.  I'm going to try to spend a little time every day educating myself!

Hope this inspires an actor who needs a little push.  Take care of yourself :)  You deserve it.

xoxo Allie

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Perfect Winter Wedding

This is some of the best stuff life has to offer.  Incredible people coming together and celebrating an amazing relationship.  This weekend, my big sister Sarah was married to her fiance Bill at Oslerbrook in Collingwood.  It was an outdoor cermony (they are super athletic and love winter sports), so the weather holding up and showing some beautiful snow had all of us crossing our fingers for the last month!

The snow came, right on time, and it fell throughout the short but sweet and full-of-love ceremony.  Betty, their beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog walked down the aisle with a double string pearl necklace (which she was very excited about wearing!).  Jose Gonzales' rendition of "Heartbeats" played as we, the bridesmaids, walked down the snowy aisle.  As Sarah emerged in her GORGEOUS gown and fur shawl, Bob Marley's "I Don't Want to Wait in Vain" played.  It was perfect.  The biggest reason it was such an incredible wedding was because of the two individuals coming together.  Sarah is truly one of the strongest, most beautiful, hilarious creatures on the planet and I am so blessed to call her my big sister.  Bill is her perfect counterpart and I cannot be happier that they found each other. I love him so much and am so excited to call him my brother in law.

Because Sarah and Bill are so active, and avid "Cross-fitters", there were some pretty strong and healthy looking guests at the wedding!  It was pretty awesome dancing the night away with some of their gym buddies.  Work hard, play hard!

Moving home was the right decision for me for career reasons without a doubt, but it's also been the right decision for me personally.  I am so happy that after the ceremony I didn't have to fly off to NYC and not see them for a few months.  I want my life to be here right now and make up for a little lost time with my sisters, friends and other family.

I did a fairly spastic speech at the wedding but incase I didn't get everything across that I wanted to I hope this blog helps.  Sarah and Bill are celebrating their honeymoon/first Valentines Day as a married couple/Sarah's 30th Birthday in Costa Rica now.  Cheers to you both Mr and Mrs Pain!!

xoxo Allie

Monday, 6 February 2012

"11 Random Things"...

If you read my last post you know all about my dear friend Krysten.  This lovely lady just tagged me in a "11 Random Things" post, so it's my turn to share.  Here are the rules:

1.       Post these rules (done and done!)
2.       You must post 11 random things about yourself
3.       Answer the questions set for you by the person who tagged you
4.       Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5.       Select 11 peeps and tag them on twitter, facebook, or on their blog

11 Random Things About Me:
1. What is your theme song for this year and why? 
         This is a very difficult question for me because I'm a little obsessed with music.  I literally just downloaded a new album (Bon Iver's "Bon Iver") which I can't believe I don't already have on my ipod.  I'm listening to Fleet Foxes like crazy recently, and other fairly mellow tunes but when I'm workin out - it's all pump up music and I LOVE IT!  
        So I'm going to say, tentatively, that my theme song for this year is "The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga.  Some awesome things have happened in my career in the past year and although I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket, I have high hopes for "Footsteps", which has its first private industry screening in LA next weekend, and I'm also really excited to see what happens with "Memories".  I also feel, more than ever, that great things are just around the corner.  I can't wait to spend the summer performing in Millbrook.  This is also the year that I will accomplish my goal of running a half-marathon (Goodlife in  May!).  So I really feel like I'm on the edge of something great,  and I'm really excited for what's to come.  I also just watched a special on Lady Gaga and am pretty blown away by her positive attitude and general confidence.  She's like a modern day May West, whom I LOVE!
2. What is the one thing you could never live without?
Sarah and Meg and I having some quality tub time
        Do people count for this one?  I'm going to go ahead and say yes.  Although I do depend on my magnesium pills these days for ahem, digestion as well as my chocolate and red wine, I can easily live without those things and there are two people that would be nearly impossible to do without; my sisters.  We have SO much fun together it's insane.  One of my fave things to do with them is have dance parties, which happens pretty much everytime we see each other.  They are the most incredible duo that you could ever hope for in family.  They are hilarious, kind, generous, and so incredibly patient and helpful.  They are my best friends.  I will always have their backs and I know they will always have mine.  I am working on Sarah's wedding speech right now which is really difficult.  I feel like there is so much I need to fit in to a tiny little speech.  I am so lucky to have them.
3. Who or what inspires you?
        So many things inspire me and totally inconsistently.  Some days I'll stick on a great tune and I'm amped for the day.  Other times I'll read articles about actors I respect and admire or watch movies with parts that I know I am right for, and I feel a blast of motivation and inspiration to keep truckin. My family and friends (esp those of you have been tagged in this!) are an incredible inspiration to me and have always provided an insane amount of support, so Thank You!
4. What is your dream vacation?
        My boyfriend Andrew and I have never been on a real vacation together before, so anywhere with him would be fantastic.  I'd love to go to Paris with him and bike around the city.  I'd also love to go to Italy with him and enjoy the amazing food and beautiful cities.  I think it'd be pretty darn romantic.
5.  Brag time, tell me what you are most proud of accomplishing?
        My last year living in NYC, Andrew and my friend Katie and I started a theatre company and produced the world premier of a play called Vincent 1979.  Andrew and I also acted in the show.  I was scared out of my mind to actually commit to doing it, but I knew that once we had said the words, we could make it happen.  We raised over $7,000.00 and did a two week run of this amazing play at The Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan.  We had an incredible group of actors including Suzanne Shepherd (Goodfellas, The Sopranos), and Lawrence Jansen (Damages) and was directed by one of the best acting teachers in the world, Ron Stetson.  The amount of support we got from out families was absolutely incredible.  Everyone came down from Canada on closing night and we closed with a big bang and a huge party.  When things feel tough, I remember that we did that, that we made it happen and I literally feel like I can do anything I put my mind to.  
6. Sparkles, yea or neh?
        ABSOLUTELY!  Love Tom's sparkly flats.  Need to get a pair of those.  I also occasionally sport a sequined top, although I always regret it because it feels like a torture device.
7. What is the best thing you ever ate?
        A meal at "Blue Hill at Stone Barns".  It's a farm-to-table restaurant in upstate New York and it was literally the most incredible meal of my life.  I had to close my eyes I was overwhelmed with flavor!  Awesome cocktails too.  If you have a very special occasion or are in New York and feel like treating yourself big time, GO!
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
        I love watching TV shows that I hope to be cast in one day.  I get a little obsessed.  I'm watching Bomb Girls right now and loving it (sad that the season finale is this Weds!), and I also LOVE Being Erica. Those are some quality Canadian shows!
9. What is your favourite form of exercise?
        Dancing!  At Theatre School, ballet, jazz and modern dance was a part of our curriculum and i was in heaven. I even got to use pointe shoes in ballet which I always wanted to do when I was little!  
10. What are you afraid of?
        Failing.  I am trying to keep this in check (check out my "The Whore and How to Conquer Her" blog).  Every now and then, I get overwhelmed for whatever reason and plagued by self doubt.  The thing I keep telling myself is:  I'm doing what I love, and I never have to doubt that.  I am happy and even though things might be a little simpler in my life than I would like in the long run, I am happy.  The rest is all material, and isn't what life is really about.
11. Who is your celebrity crush?
        OMG Ryan Gosling.  Have you seen Crazy, Stupid, Love?!  As if I needed any more reason after The Notebook.
Ok, my questions are:
1.  Who is the one person you would make sure to thank if you won a huge award (oscar, nobel peace, whatever applies!), and what would you say?
2.  What's your favorite thing to do on a day off?
3.  If you were able to go to any concert in all of history, what would it be?
4.  What's the wildest thing you've ever done?
5.  What short term goal do you have?
6. What long term goal do you have?
7.  If you were stuck on an island and could only bring 1 item, 1 food source, and 1 drink other than water, what would you pick?
8.  If you could have dinner with anyone in the world right now, who would it be?
9.  Who is your biggest fan?
10.  What's your favorite breakfast?
11.  Who was the most influential teacher in your life?
And I am tagging... 
Megan Dunbar
Sarah Dunbar (almost Sarah Pain!)
Jane Currah
Stephanie Case
Anne Case
Kim Foley
Katie Venezia
Edwina Haddon
Jennifer Rosart
Lauren LaCaprara
Kirsten Temporale
        For the skeptics - I know it may seem chain letter-y but it was really fun to do, and I'd love to hear all of your responses. 
xoxo Allie