Mamma’s Big, Bad Holiday City!

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You’ve all seen Mamma Biscuit’s holiday city before but you haven’t seen it quite like this. You’ve been dreaming about this all year long haven’t you? Visions of a bustling ceramic Christmas city peppered with bottle brush trees have been clogging up your holiday head-space for the past twelve months now and quite frankly, you can’t begin celebrating this season until Mamma Biscuit unveils her famous display! Well, the wait is finally over people because the moment has arrived. I’m not even going to discuss the 20-year history of collecting this Department 56 extravaganza because you all know how I spent the better part of my youth painstakingly obsessing over this ceramic display. Instead, feast your eyes on my newest acquisition: THE CHRYSLER BUILDING! Architecturally, the Chrysler Building is one of my most favorite buildings in New York City so when I saw this giant beauty on display at Max is Back in New Jersey last year, I was over the moon.

Here’s the thing, many years ago, when Fortunoff was in business, Tommy and I stumbled upon the Empire State Building and the Flat Iron Building within their Department 56 holiday display. I was so in awe of the Empire State Building and the sheer height and size of it that I knew I wanted it almost instantaneously! Tommy on the other hand was actually working in the Flat Iron Building at the time and thought it would be more sentimental to purchase that building instead. Now I have nothing against the Flat Iron Building and I actually love it’s old world charm and how it comes to a point where 5th avenue and Broadway meet (Broadway is actually an old Native American trail so that’s why it cuts through the rigid grid of Manhattan at a diagonal) despite the fact that the interiors of the building are a disgusting, dismal display of 1970s municipality! In the end, we obviously chose to purchase the Flat Iron Building thinking that these two landmark buildings would simply be part of Department 56s’ permanent Christmas in the City collection. Boy was I wrong. The very next year, they decided to retire the Empire State Building while still carrying the Flat iron Building for a couple more years until they retired that too. All of this left me disillusioned and in Ebay limbo ever since. The only time I ever see the Empire State Building come up for auction on Ebay, it sells for 600 bucks or more! So you see, when I saw the Chrysler Building last year, I knew I had no time to sleep on my decision because when it comes to Department 56, you either shit or get off the pot immediately! Those bastards know what they are doing when they only make a limited amount of specialty buildings and then decide to retire them after one year of unveiling them. Makes for great exclusivity but annoying for a collector a who needs to count his pennies. At any rate, the Chrysler Building is pure magic in it’s LED glory. It has a very small footprint but it’s super tall and dwarfs every other building on the table.

Now I have no idea where I actually found the time or energy to continue this particular year with our tradition of erecting this Christmas Metropolis but I’m glad I did—and so is Mamma Biscuit. It gives her an opportunity to snack on some fallen snow from the white drape lining the perimeter of this massive display—and you all know how much pugs like to lick up unknown objects from the floor. When most people think of Christmas, they think of the giant Christmas tree and skaters on the ice at Rockefeller Center, the windows at Bergdorf Goodman and the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall but we Biscuits know that you all yearn for something grand and truly magnificent—you all yearn for Mamma’s amazing Christmas Metropolis! So bundle up and let’s take a stroll through this festive city!

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We hope you enjoyed your annual digital tour through Mamma Biscuit’s Christmas Metropolis! Only 6 days and 14 hours until Christmas, are you excited or what?

Enjoy

Posted in Holiday, Vintage | 2 Comments

The Art of Christmas!

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It’s that special time of year again when Tommy and I head out in the middle of the night to Midtown to visit the most spectacular holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman. Now if you’re looking for high fantasy, dramatic surprises, extraordinary fashion, and captivating storytelling then make it an annual tradition to see these holiday window displays—they are the best New York City has to offer if not the world! Of course we never take Mamma Biscuit with us when it comes to this holiday excursion but we did leave her curled up in her toile bed right below our revolving Christmas tree with Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas playing softly in the background. As our little gremlin drifted into Christmas La La Land, Tommy and I made our way down to 5th Avenue on one of the warmest nights I could recall ever having in December. I literally could not tell what excited me more, the prospects of viewing these dazzling windows or the fact that I left the house without a scarf and felt completely comfortable–all leading me to believe that for once, just once, I would not feel like I was going to lose a finger from frost bite while photographing each window. Now onto the good stuff. There is just one word, one all encompassing word that defines the Holiday windows of 2014 and that word is ART! Let me be more specific here. Art defines the very essence of the human experience and is the end product of all inspiration (not to mention that Mamma Biscuit herself is a canine work of art) so It’s no surprise that David Hoey (the store’s senior director of visual presentation and the man behind these legendary windows) has drawn equally from the fine arts, performing arts and applied arts to create a thematic homage to art!

For the main windows, the team settled on literature, architecture, theater, painting, music, dance, sculpture and film and the secondary windows focused on intimate portraits of photography, cartography and the culinary arts. Each window was designed independently from the others and each would be made from its own set of materials. The entire set of windows would constitute a sort of eight-lesson course in art appreciation—and boy did we appreciate it. So come along and let’s take a tour of the most fabulous Holiday windows you will ever see. Just be warned, this is a long post!

We start our tour with the Literature window.

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A vision in red, this vitrine showcases a detailed collection of portraits of celebrated writers rendered in tapestry, needlepoint, macramé and felt appliqué. Over 100 artisans worked on these pieces and at the center of it all is a mannequin dressed all in red sitting beside a sheep dog overlooking this magical library of literary inspiration.

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From Literature we move to Architecture, a vitrine dressed entirely in blue.

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Taking the blue print to the max, this window is a paper masterpiece. Thousands of building models layered one on top of the other frame a mannequin wearing a stunning blue and white lace gown with matching blue wig and opera gloves.

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The highlight of this window is the lion and eagle, all made from a million bits of paper intricately cut with an X-Acto knife. I’m almost positive David’s team went blind creating this room and a few must have lost a finger or two with the amount of paper cutting involved. Job well done, no one is left blue after viewing this stunner!

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From Architecture, we move to the Painting window.

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Clean as a canvas, this entire window is white save for the bottom left hand corner of the canvas sitting in the room of a colored painting inspired by the window itself. It’s a painter’s studio with all the works; paint brushes, paint cans and model busts and off to the side is a giant wooden horse with a mannequin dressed in a gorgeous couture gown perched on top. There is something about an all-white window that inspires me more than anything else!

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From the Painter’s studio, we head straight to the Theater window which is a dazzling neon vignette of flashing Broadway lights.

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You can’t miss this baby nor can you miss the female lead in mid song wearing an exquisite gold gown center stage, framed by the blinding lights. It would have been great to see more detail in this window, like an audience of some sort, possibly viewers in box seats flanked on either side but the neon light stage is a masterpiece all by itself and lucky for me, it was warm enough outdoors for me to look at the different blinking stages of the lights without freezing my ass off!

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Naturally, from Theater, we head to the Music window which is a show stopper in my opinion.

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What a blinding background of thousands of horns and tubas mangled together to make one impressive stage for the featured mannequin blowing her French horn while wearing a diamond encrusted jumpsuit with matching opera gloves. WOW, just WOW!

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Before we head to the final main windows, it’s worth highlighting some of the smaller windows such as the Calligraphy, Photography, Culinary Arts and Cartography windows. Small and intimate but just as detailed and dramatic as the bigger windows!

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As we turn the corner and head toward the Paris Theater, we move from the Music window to the Sculpture, Dance and Film windows. All smaller than the main windows but beautifully detailed and highlighting some really gorgeous fashion. We’ve got ice sculptures, a moving screen background with stuffed Siberian huskies pulling a sleigh and a rotating mannequin in McQueen showcasing the mechanisms of dance.

The Sculpture window.

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The Film window.

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The Dance window.

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So that’s it folks, the Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Windows of 2014. Forget Saks 5th Avenue, Macy’s or Lord & Taylor, these windows are where it’s at!

Enjoy

Posted in Fashion, Holiday, NYC Life | 2 Comments

And the Season Begins . . .

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City sidewalks busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There’s a feeling
of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you’ll hear

Silver bells silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
ring-a-ling hear them ring
soon it will be Christmas day

Silver bells ringing on every street corner is not the only indication that the most glorious Holiday on earth is upon us. Some people say that the stampede of shoppers and deal-seekers killing security guards nationwide on Black Friday is the start of the season while others say that the lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is when everything really gets into high gear, but we at the Pug Palace say that the official start to the Christmas season worldwide is when Mamma Biscuit makes her annual visit to the North Pole (also known as Dees’ Nursery out on Long Island) to sit on Santa’s lap and snort her long list of wants into his ears. Mamma was sure to give Santa many pug kisses while looking extra cute to make up for her Diva behavior lately—all in hopes of getting her name on Santa’s VIP list! She’s got her eye on a yacht, and really, that’s not a lot. However, she needs a new wardrobe to wear while lounging on that yacht and Santa better have Chanel on speed dial! Chanel and Vivienne Westwood for that matter! Problem is, she’s been barking on the spot for peanut butter treats when the mood strikes her and of course, I cave into her every wish when she twinkles her marble eyes in my direction between pug growls and gremlin barks. She’s got a lot of nerve damn it. Even her foster mother once told me that Mamma Biscuit is all “attitude and sass.” I often wonder, “where does she get all of this attitude from” as I drape a gorgeous vintage pearl collar around her fat neck and fit her into a sateen green and maroon Holiday dress!

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Now the moment we stepped foot in Dees’ the place literally shut down. It was like Mamma Biscuit mania in there. I haven’t seen that many screaming people since The Beatles landed in our country during the British Pop invasion! Everyone from all departments migrated to Santa’s workshop in the rear of the store for some personal time with our infamous pug! They must have turned the sign around to read, “Sorry, we’re temporary closed, MAMMA BISCUIT IS IN THE HOUSE” on the front door because business seriously came to a screeching halt! As we walked up to Santa, we stumbled upon him having a conversation with the girls running the camera. They were speculating whether Mamma Biscuit was going to show up on the day we showed up (which was Black Friday) or the following day. How great is it that Santa is concerned about the arrival of Mamma Biscuit. I wouldn’t be surprised if he put out some peanut butter treats and a bowl of milk in anticipation for her arrival—and she doesn’t even have to stuff wide butt down anyone’s chimney! It was also great to see that so many people brought their dogs along with their children to visit Santa although the only dog Santa seemed to be concerned with was our little Biscuit Lady!

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So there she was, in Santa’s loving embrace dressed in her finest Christmas attire accented with vintage jewelry as she barked her list of wants in his ear in between a few tongue rolls, some wet kisses and a couple of pug snorts! Mamma Biscuit is such a pro when it comes to luring Santa into giving her the green light on a huge list and this year, her list is beyond ridiculous! It started with a whole new wardrobe furnished by Chanel, a trip to China to get more acquainted with her roots, a lifetime supply of peanut butter treats, the deed to a platinum mine and ended with a stocking full of diamonds and a Black American Express card with an unlimited credit line! In other words, our little bitch has turned into a very big bitch!

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If there is one thing we love to do during the holiday season (besides scouring the streets looking for badly decorated homes) it’s hitting the local nurseries to check out their holiday wares—and boy were they a-plenty here at Dees’. So after our photoshoot with Santa and catching up with the store owners and workers, business resumed as usual as Tommy and I roamed around with Mamma Biscuit in our arms—taking in the Christmas scenery! We totally got lost in their fresh wreath and garland section and took some gorgeous holiday portraits!

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We bid farewell to Santa and the entire staff at Dees’ and spent the rest of the day gathering up gifts for family and friends. Who says you can’t enjoy Black Friday?

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So that’s it folks, Mamma Biscuit’s Santa portraits for 2014! The special day is only 20 days away, are you prepared?

Enjoy

Posted in Fashion, Holiday | 8 Comments

Giving Thanks, 2014!

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Today we pause from our whirlwind of a life to reflect and give thanks to the many wonderful friends, family and animals that surround us every day. It’s also a time to be grateful for the luxuries and securities that we have an to never take any of our material privileges for granted! Mamma Biscuit has so much to be thankful for in 2014. Aside from the fact that she is 14 years old and still has the spirit, health and energy of a puppy, she’s also incredibly grateful for the fabulous wardrobe she has amassed in the six years she’s been with us—and her outfit today is a testament to just how flawless her Autumnal style really is. No other pug can work a two-pumpkin-park-bench-set quite like our little gremlin—and no other pug ever will. The Biscuit Lady is also very thankful for the plethora of yummy peanut butter treats she gets every single day just for being so damn adorable. Most of all, she’s thankful for having two loving daddies who practically worship her and go through great lengths to provide a pampered life she deserves.

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So in the spirit of being thankful and actually applying it to our lives, Mamma Biscuit has decided to change Thanksgiving to Thanksliving—because in our opinion, appreciating what we have while we have it is what can cultivate true happiness in our lives. Having Mamma Biscuit in my circle-game of life has truly made me reflective about her life, her horrible past and of course, our lives before this beautiful creature became the lady of our home. I have a mini thanksliving holiday in my head every day of the year when I look into her eyes—and what eyes she has! Big, wet, expressive marble eyes that can either endear or stare down even the toughest kitchen-keeper around. Just knowing that this beautiful creature is all mine, ready to give and receive love is what brings true comfort and joy in my own life!

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So the Lady of our house has been pacing back and forth throughout the Pug Palace working her nose into a frenzy. She throws her nose in the air at every corner, sniffing the scent of baked goods wafting from the oven in our kitchen. She knows the drill. The days get shorter, the air becomes crisp and cold and before she knows it, that day of over-eating followed by a visit with Santa Claus on Black Friday has arrived! On a side note, Thanksgiving to me has always been a road block between Halloween and Christmas. I know it may sound harsh but aside from the actual meaning of giving thanks, the rest of the holiday revolves around food and whether or not I can control my growing waistline! Of course Mamma Biscuit loves Thanksgiving for the exact reasons why the holiday gives me anxiety—FOOD!

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So to calm the Biscuit Lady down from the impending feast, I thought it would be a great idea to throw her into her finest knitted sweater, grab a couple of table pumpkins and head out to the park to take a few Autumnal portraits to commemorate Thanksliving, 2014. Doesn’t she look absolutely stunning in this shade of orange? The crowds spilling out of Fort Tryon Park could not handle how cute Mamma Biscuit looked perched upon this bench and of course, being the consummate professional that she is, she always gives 150% back to her fans. Getting Mamma out of the house for an hour or so was the least I could do to give Tommy a chance to bake for the holiday without having a pug shadow at his feet. Our pug can be quite the bully in the kitchen, barking at the drop of a crumb! At any rate, I’m always happy when I can capture our gremlin in her element through photography.

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Expressing true gratefulness is difficult in one day, for grateful deeds span throughout the year, however, the abundance of joy and love that Mamma Biscuit brings to us everyday allows us to feel the gratitude we feel most on this very day—all year long. May you all enjoy a delicious meal with your loved ones—Mamma will sure be feasting on some Tofurkey during ours!

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Happy Thanksliving

Enjoy

Posted in Fashion, Holiday, Knitware, Portraits | 4 Comments

Pugs in Costumes!

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To say that we’ve been decompressing from Halloween within the past two weeks is an understatement because Mamma Biscuit is totally exhausted from all of the fun and festive Autumnal activities of October. From apple picking up at Wilklow Orchards to decorating the Pug Palace with all of our spooky delights to concluding the season with her annual Halloween costume, our little gremlin is spent. She’s been streaming in and out of one really long nap for the last two weeks which actually works to my benefit because she hasn’t been at my feet like a shadow while I begin the long, arduous task of erecting Christmas Land at the Pug Palace. Don’t even give me the side-eye people, the sheer volume of seasonal decor is so daunting that it’s like playing an intricate game of tetris in our apartment. I have to start this early in order to get everything up and running at a decent date —and besides, who doesn’t want Christmas to simply materialize with a flip of the switch on Black Friday? I have other plans on Black Friday that revolve around trampling a security gate officer at the mall to get my hands on a free flat screen televisions—Jesus wants it that way! At any rate, coming off of the high of Mamma Biscuit as Stevie Nicks for Halloween, we have some really exciting news to share with all of you guys. Mamma Biscuit has been featured in a book aptly titled Pugs in Costumes published by Ebury Publishing/Virgin Books in the U.K. Pugs in costume is a collection of the best-dressed pugs from around the world, so naturally, Mamma Biscuit would be a part of it. From Marilyn Monroe to Vivienne Westwood, there isn’t a breed on earth that can rock a costume quite like a pug and this book is a testament to that fact. There are three sections to this book that will keep you howling with laughter and squealing from the unbearable cuteness of pugs dressed in costumes. Section one is entitled Puggywood which focuses on pugs dressed as icons of the stage and screen. Section two is entitled Pugoween which focuses on those little gremlins of the trick-or-treat variety. The third and final section is entitled Pug Couture which focuses on the best-dressed pugs in town. Of course Mamma Biscuit is featured five times within the Pug Couture section—a natural spot for our high fashion gremlin. Here are the spreads. . . .

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Glamour Pug!

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Vivienne Westpug!

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Bjork Pug!

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Pug Life!

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And last but not least, Pug No. 5!

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We are so excited to have Mamma Biscuit published in a book but this isn’t her first time at the rodeo. Back in August of 2012, Mamma Biscuit graced the cover of The Royal Treatment by Dr. Barbara Royal. All I can say is that it pays to be a book cover designer and an art director. Remember this?

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At any rate, The Biscuit family implore each and every one of you to go out and buy Pugs in Costumes. It makes for the perfect Christmas gift not to mention a perfect addition to the avid Mamma Biscuit memorabilia collector!

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Happy Friday y’all!

Posted in Book Club, Fashion, Media | 1 Comment