Apples to Apples!


I guess you’re wondering why Mamma Biscuit is seated in the pumpkin patch, right? After our last post where our Biscuit Lady stumbled upon the Great Pumpkin while taking a short walk through Fort Tryon Park, why would she waste her time (as she does every year) waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear when she’s already had a one-on-one with him in NYC? Good question. I myself wondered why she wanted to head into the pumpkin patch right after having a picnic with our friends before embarking out into the fields in search for the biggest apples we could find at Wilklow Orchards and all I could come up with is that she’s a pug, she’s stubborn and she’s a creature of habit. Moreover, I believe she really wanted to show off her new black cable knit sweater and bat wings accessory amongst all those big, round pumpkins in the patch.


With children running around everywhere and parents following several steps behind with their respective cameras in hand, Mamma Biscuit provided a much needed distraction from all the noise. I could have set up a “take a picture with the pug in the pumpkin patch” booth and made a killing. Instead, I steadily worked through our seasonal photoshoot of Mamma Biscuit while people everywhere crowded around us. I had to gently tell the children that they could pet her and give her a squeeze once I got my shots and they all waited patiently. With her wings spread wide and far, our little gremlin began to spook everyone around us with her batty disposition. She was giving us all gargoyle realness and had that been a legitimate category in Paris is Burning, Mamma would have won, hands down!


Once she got her fill in the pumpkin patch, the Biscuit Lady literally began to flutter her bat wings violently in attempts to fly off into the fields only to smash into an apple tree, mouth first, tongue out! I mean, Mamma barely has enough finesse and grace on any given walk through the neighborhood, you didn’t expect her to be able to fly smoothly, did you?


Now before we even get into the actual apple picking, I have to say, this is the first time we planned our annual visit to the orchards on a Sunday and the first time we ever scheduled it on the second week of October (normally, we go on a Saturday and on the third week of October) and I will never make this mistake ever again. I could not believe how fucking crowded the orchard was! It was like everyone on the Northeast got the memo to go apple picking over the weekend, specifically on Sunday and specifically at Wilklow Orchards. When the crowds are this dense, the activity is less enjoyable in my opinion, until of course, when we got out into the fields where we could find desolate areas of peace and calm amongst the beautiful and bountiful apple trees. Tommy and I have been making the annual trek every year for the past 10 years to Wilklow and we just couldn’t believe the sheer volume of people. Picnic seating was limited, parking was packed and there was a 10-minute wait for apple cider doughnuts, all of which depressed me beyond repair considering I have great memories of years passed where there were maybe 10 families in total at the orchard. I blame social media and blogs like this for glamorizing apple picking to the point of national hysteria. Just remember who was ahead of this trend: MAMMA BISCUIT, bitches!

At any rate, if you are the only one in America who has not gone apple picking, or pumpkin picking, or apple cider tasting, or pumpkin throwing, or corn mazing or whatever-the-hell October enthusiasts will come up with next, then sit back at home (which must be under a rock according to the fact that you have not participated in this trend), away from the crowds and enjoy a virtual tour of Mamma Biscuit’s day in the orchards with friends and family. We ended our day touring the historical town of New Paltz, specifically in an old cemetery, exactly where every Halloween excursion should lead you to.


And that’s all folks! Only two more weeks before we reveal Mamma Biscuit’s official Halloween costume for 2015!


Posted in Fashion, Holiday, Knitware, Outdoor Life | 4 Comments

The Great Pumpkin and Mamma Biscuit!


There is something really special about Autumn in New York and it has little to do with cool weather and cable knit sweaters and everything to do with Mamma Biscuit and her impending Halloween costume. I cannot wait to show you all what we have come up with for her this year because to merely say it’s EPIC is really just a gross understatement. It’s beyond EPIC and unfortunately, y’all will have to wait another three weeks before we unveil it here. In the meantime, to usher in our most favorite and spookiest season of all, we bring to you the Great Pumpkin and Mamma Biscuit!


I know, I know, you’re wondering how the hell did this happen! It’s so crazy that Mamma Biscuit has been wasting all of these years planting her cute butt in the pumpkin patch at the apple orchards up in New Paltz waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear the way Linus does every year . . . and of course, every year, he never shows up. Who would have thought that a nice brisk walk through Fort Tryon Park on a perfect Autumn day would bring these two together?


Here’s how it all went down. Mamma Biscuit woke up that morning with a pep in her step and a glimmer in her marble eyes and I knew something special was about to happen the moment she pranced out of the apartment door. At first I thought it was the sheer comfort of her pumpkin pajamas that gave her this extra boost of confidence but when she started tugging on her leash, literally walking me straight into the woods, I knew something was up. The moment we cleared the brush alongside a park lamp post, there he was, the famed Great Pumpkin in all of his glory, waiting patiently for our little gremlin to arrive. It was a Halloween miracle really and all I could think of was how poor Linus and Sally was missing it all. I unclasped Mamma’s leash and off she ran right into the Great Pumpkin’s lap soaking in all of his magical Halloween powers. It was as if I was charging a battery because Mamma Biscuit eyes were twirling as her Halloween tank was being filled. The Great Pumpkin gave her a few words of Halloween encouragement, wrote down a witch spell to make her daddies give her loads of peanut butter treats against our will and then he disappeared, right from under her.


Poof, he was gone and Mamma Biscuit was titling her little pug head from left to right wondering if it was all real. Thank goodness I was there to witness the whole thing with my camera!


So there you have it folks, Mamma Biscuit and the Great Pumpkin are officially ushering in the Halloween season. Star your engines and may the best costume WIN!


Posted in Holiday | 6 Comments

Tails From Her Booth!


Sit . . . stay . . . smile . . . a common command from my mouth to Mamma Biscuit’s ears during the hundreds of photoshoots I have taken of her throughout the years. Unfortunately, that command alone is completely meaningless without a bag of soft-chew peanut butter treats that I dangle before my lens to entice my little gremlin to strike a pose as I click my camera to capture the magic that you see laid before you in this blog. Now have you ever wondered how dogs would look and act like squeezed together in a traditional photo booth? I know, it never really crossed my mind personally but fortunately, it did for Lynn Terry, a professional photographer from St. Louis, Missouri—and the results of such a concept are sidesplittingly hilarious and adogable! Coming this October from Gallery Books is Lynn’s book entitled Tails from the Booth, a heartwarming collection of over one hundred photos of dogs in photobooths cuddling, wrestling, smooching, laughing, yawning, howling, jumping, sneezing and generally looking too cute for words. As an Art Director in book cover design, there are a few projects that come across my desk annually that I can actually get excited about and when Tails from the Booth was presented as a book that we were going to publish, I was beyond excited to get started. Halfway through the cover design process, Lynn Terry came to Simon & Schuster to give our staff here who own dogs the opportunity to capture them on film in a booth for the book and of course I made sure Mamma Biscuit was a part of this.

On the day of the photoshoot, I brought Mamma Biscuit into work wearing her plaid Vivienne Westwood punk dress. You know me, I’ll do anything to set her apart from the pack although her epic tongue alone would suffice in making Mamma unique to other dogs. The photoshoot was hilarious. Mamma got to lick peanut butter straight from the jar while the flash bulbs went off in her face. In other words, it was like a canine red carpet experience. In the end, not only did Lynn Terry put Mamma Biscuit in the book but I made sure to incorporate one of her photos somewhere within the jacket design. Take a look at the back cover and tell me if Mamma Biscuit hasn’t stolen the show with her curled tongue?


And now for the the moment you all have been waiting for, the final interior photographs of Mamma Biscuit mixed in with unused outtakes from the photoshoot.


And how about some behind-the-scenes video . . .

Tails from the Booth is a must-have book for dog lovers and Mamma Biscuit enthusiasts from around world. It’s the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday season. There are over one hundred photos of dogs of every breed, size and background making funny faces and striking silly poses. Share a slobbery, wet smile with the dog lover in your life with Tails from the Booth, out on book shelves everywhere in October!


Posted in Book Club, Design, Fashion | 4 Comments

School’s in Session!


It’s hard to believe but Summer of 2015 is quickly coming to an end here and at the Pug Palace, we couldn’t be happier than ever. Autumn is our favorite season of the year and we are so looking forward to the brisk, cool days ahead that get shorter and shorter by the minute, the falling leaves in every color imaginable, apple picking, pumpkin carving and one of Mamma Biscuit’s favorite holidays of the year, Halloween! But before we jump the gun to Halloween here (and boy will you all be impressed with her costume this year) Mamma Biscuit has finally decided what she was going to do this Fall to continue her education and she would like to share it all with you. It took a while for her to make up her mind considering this isn’t her first time at the rodeo when it comes to going to school for our little gremlin. It’s hard to believe but our Biscuit Lady has behavioral problems and does not do well in a classroom setting. She’s easily distracted, falls asleep at the drop of a dime, she pants excessively when she’s around male bull dogs, is always looking to hop into open car doors and seems to have lunch on her mind at all hours of the day. She’s like Dawn Davenport from Female Trouble except Mamma Biscuit wouldn’t dare topple the Christmas tree over my limp, lifeless body if I didn’t make sure that Santa brought her a pair of Cha Cha heels. OK, maybe she would trash the tree if she didn’t get a stocking full of peanut butter treats but I digress. The point here is that Mamma Biscuit has a problem with authority. She tried her paw at beauty school many years ago only to become a beauty school drop-out after trying to give a shampoo job with her tongue. I tried to speak with her hair and make-up teachers but they just felt that hair styling wasn’t her calling. We then tried to send her to finishing school to see if we could refine her ways to match her impeccable wardrobe and boy was that effort fruitless. Bitch would give anyone the side-eye, pee on their leg and walk off as if nothing ever happened—and don’t even get me started on having her try to walk with a book balanced over her head either because she failed that test a long time ago. In fact, Mamma Biscuit would show up to etiquette class with ripped fishnet stockings as if she were Madonna circa 1982 which ultimately got her kicked out completely. The only good thing to come out of finishing school was that she befriended a gay teacher on staff who encouraged her to become a fashion muse instead of a refined New York City socialite which I think Mamma ultimately fulfilled here with her blog, successfully, don’t you think?


Mamma Biscuit is definitely a pug that walks to the beat of her own drum so when she came to me this year and barked up a storm to say that she wanted to enroll in classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology to become a fashion designer, I thought maybe we had potential here for something new and exciting. Being the good parents that Tommy and I are, we didn’t want to discourage our little gremlin by reminding her of her previous failed academic endeavors (especially since she’s a bit senile these days) so instead, we showed much enthusiasm as we quickly enrolled her in a class entitled, “Fashion Design 101” and I personally whipped up a fabulous pin-cushion brooch that Mamma could wear for her first day of classes to give her the confidence boost of making her feel like Diane Von Fürstenberg or even John Galliano rather than some old pug broad hitting night school to take a stab at dress making.


Before she headed out to her very first class, I decided to take some back-to-school photos of her in the park. Decked from head to brisket in all pink, Mamma Biscuit was sure to turn heads at FIT looking like she was about to take over the world in this ensemble! Despite her constant yawning and general boredom of it all, I believe she makes the Think Pink segment in Audrey Hepburn’s Funny Face seem practically beige by comparison!


After snapping a few photos of her I thought I would quickly leaf through Mamma’s black leather bound sketch book to see what has been inspiring her lately and this is the kind of shit she’s been doodling.


I mean really, after looking at these sketches, I give her three attended classes before she wanders off to the dog run to hang out with the other delinquent dogs to smoke cigarettes and look for some poor schlub who will give them peanut butter treats or worse, I’ll find her hanging out in the East Village spray painting some of these illustrations on a brick wall!


At any rate, wish Mamma Biscuit good luck at school and keep an eye out for our upcoming posts this September. We have so many exciting things lined up for you all!


Posted in Fashion, NYC Life, Portraits | 7 Comments

Mamma’s Quinceañera . . . Not Really!


It’s been such long time since we’ve given you all an update on Mamma’s life but we are back(ish) to say the least. I have no doubt that you all thought that Mamma’s little corner on the web here was tapering off, or worse, that she fell seriously ill but fortunately, neither of those two thoughts are true. You see, on New Years Eve, I made a resolution of giving myself a much needed blog hiatus. We have been trucking along, nonstop, since 2011 and I just needed some time off to relax, regroup and find some new inspiration. It’s also been a very busy four months for me professionally (working on Grace Jones’ memoir has been taxing to say the least) as well as socially, and blogging is like having a second job. So I hope you all can forgive us although after viewing this post, I have a feeling you won’t even remember our absence. A few things have changed since our last encounter with the Easter bunny. For starters, I shaved my giant beard off. I woke up one morning and simply decided to buzz it off. When I was finished, there was hair everywhere in my bathroom and Mamma Biscuit was standing by the doorway with glassy eyes as if she had been sobbing under the noise of my buzzer. That little gremlin of ours really enjoyed warming up her snout within the folds of my facial hair all Winter long so my bare face traumatized her. To console her, I had to remind her that I’m Italian and within a week or so, half of what I had shaved off would be right back on my face. And so here I am now, writing about a shaved beard that is practically back on my face, and Mamma is happy as a clam about it although with this Summer heat, she just admires my facial hair from a distance.


But enough about me. After visiting the Easter Bunny in late March, all Mamma Biscuit could do for the next four months was bark on and on about wanting an extravagant Quinceañera for her birthday this year. Seriously, the arguments at the Pug Palace have resembled several from a few episodes of MTV’s Sweet Sixteen. You see, this is exactly what happens when you live in the little Dominican Republic of New York City, and for me, the thought of spending all of that money on a Quinceañera makes me want to vomit. The money is an obvious issue but then all of these horrible vignettes of aggressive brides alla “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” flood my head when I think of such an event leaving me just as frustrated as Mamma Biscuit was when I flat out denied the request. Somehow though, Mamma got it in her head that she wanted one. I bet it had something to do with that pack of female chihuahuas she hung out with at the dog run several months ago. They were yapping in her ear, setting off all sorts of expensive ideas about how we should celebrate Mamma’s 15th birthday. At one point, I had to sit her down and give her a talk about how it’s not a good idea to have people tack money to her dress at her birthday party—money that I would inevitably use to pay for the party because we do not belong to the 1% of the Latino community. On the bright side though, the only thing I would sincerely approve of is having a piñata in the shape of Donald Trump at her party so that we can honor the Latino culture the right way (by violently bashing the head of that comb-over bigot) instead of appropriating it the wrong way. Thankfully, the moment I put Mamma Biscuit into one of those frilly, cake-like gowns, she frowned in disapproval. Thank goodness she has impeccable taste in clothing because I entertained the thought long enough for her to see that it was a bad idea and a typical Quinceañera dress really put everything in perspective for our little Biscuit Lady.


So after much debate, we all settled with the idea of having a small and intimate celebration for Mamma Biscuit instead of a crazy Quinceañera and I found this amazing mint green seer sucker dress with peach flower accent and dramatic balloon neckline (a Martha Stewart original) to mark the special occasion—all without compromising her Halloween costume budget. I know, I’m good like that! Now this dress is part Vivienne Westwood and part wealthy-woman-at-the-vineyard-in-the-Hampton’s. Mamma Biscuit is ready to ring in her 15th birthday with tons of style and panache wearing this number, don’t you think?


On a reflective note, I cannot believe that Tommy and I have had this little gremlin in our lives for the last 8 years and I could never imagine life without her. Mamma Biscuit is so much a part of who Tommy and I are, not only as people, but as New Yorkers. She’s an incredibly special pooch who captures the hearts of the young and the old and can bring even the most masculine of men to their knees from her unbearable cuteness.


After taking these portraits of Mamma Biscuit wearing her fabulous frock in the park, Tommy decided to surprise her with a wild berry doughnut from Dun-Well Doughnuts, a vegan doughnut bakery in Brooklyn. My mom, dad, brother and Tommy sang Happy Birthday to our hungry Biscuit lady who looked on with bulging eyes at the sugary concoction and bowl of honeydew melon, waiting to be devoured after our song was through.


So here’s to Mamma Biscuit and her 15th birthday. The actual day is July 11th, the day we picked her up from Curly Tail Pug Rescue 8 years ago. We decided to celebrate and post something a week early so you all can enjoy the festivities of Mamma’s 15th birthday. Make sure you all go out and do something special to mark the day your favorite toothless pug on the Internet found true family love, and the day this very creature rescued us!


Happy Birthday Mamma Biscuit!

You’re only fifteen
But you’re my teenage queen
You’re the prettiest, loveliest girl Ive ever seen


Posted in Fashion, Holiday | 13 Comments