My Pink Valentine!


Hey guys, it’s Mamma Biscuit and family and we’re back from a long break from blogging. So sorry for staying away for so long but we took a much needed rest from the digital world to get through the holidays and to welcome in the new year. So for starters, Happy New Year! I know, it’s quite odd saying that in the middle of February but I guess the phrase, “better late than never” seems serviceable with our greeting. What a fabulous year 2015 was and we hope to make 2016 even better as we continue to share Mamma Biscuit’s twilight years with you all who love her as much as we do. So much has been happening since our last post. We’ve been super busy cleaning and decluttering the Pug Palace to make it more spacious for our little gremlin who demands a spotless home the way she demands a soft-chew peanut butter treat. We’ve even gone through her extensive wardrobe and have shed many garments that no longer fit our pooch. She’s been growing a bit in her waistline lately and honestly, at 15 years old, she can be as big as she wants to be—she’s earned it baby!

Now close to three weeks ago, New York City endured a record-breaking blizzard that seemed to disappear as quickly as it arrived. The snow was so intense and the winds were so blustery that even the idea of taking Mamma Biscuit outdoors for a photoshoot seemed almost dangerous. I was still disappointed that I could not document Mamma and her wagging tongue in 30 inches of snowfall but this fabulous pink dress you see here that our little spumoni face is wearing was an even bigger trade-off than photographing her in the park. Let me explain. Like the typical New Yorkers that Tommy and I are, we never went food shopping to prepare for such a storm. You can’t blame us though, we have a bodega in the lobby of our building and a mini mart directly across the street that stay open 24-hours a day. Even an earthquake followed by a tsunami wouldn’t make these owners close their establishments down so 30 inches of snow to a household that does not drink milk nor need bread to feel “safe” is a piece of cake—that would be vegan cake for Tommy. With that said, Mamma Biscuit’s food supply seemed to be low and since the snow was so intense and they weren’t making any deliveries either, off I went to the local pet store to stock up. I walked into the establishment and there were customers everywhere, grabbing as many cans of food they could possibly hold in their hands, clearing out the shelves as if the world was coming to an end! Everyone was in a frenzy except for me because all I could focus on was the fact that the pet store finally brought back their clothing merchandise and my eyes zoned in on this pink fabric folded up and slightly hidden under a pile of cable knit sweaters. I ran over to the shelf, literally pushing a woman and her kitty litter out of my way to lunge for the fabric. When I unfurled the dress, I suddenly realized that this was the exact dress I had seen several years ago that I never bought for Mamma Biscuit. For some reason, I was on the fence about it back then, probably because it was around 40 bucks and it lacked a bodice but now, it was 15 bucks and I was so excited that the garment made it’s way back to me that all I could do was march up to the register and pay for it. As I walked out of the pet store, proud and feeling accomplished with Mamma Biscuit’s new fabulous frock, I suddenly realized, having walked two blocks away from the store, that I never purchased Mamma’s food. Clearly, I have my priorities in order, especially during an emergency snow storm! Fashion first, food later!


At any rate, Tommy and I plan to have a very low-key Valentine’s Day with Mamma Biscuit and over the weekend, the temperatures were super warm and we decided to bring our little gremlin out to Fort Tryon Park to photograph her in her pink dress. I had that iconic scene of Molly Ringwald as Andie in Pretty In Pink making her Prom Dress rolling in my head when I put this fabulous frock on Mamma’s back. Still uneasy about the fullness of her bustle, I decided to whip out some pink tulle fabric I had in the closet (yes, I have such a fabric laying around the house because I’m a gay man and you never know when you’re gonna need such a thing) and added it to Mamma’s dress for more drama! What a stir she caused as passer-byes looked on at Mamma working her 10foot train of pink tulle. Many people would shout out, “where’s her groom?” as they passed on by and it took everything in me not to turn around and scream, “how presumptuous of you. She’s a lesbian and she’s waiting for her bride to arrive.”


So that’s it folks, Mamma Biscuit is Pretty in Pink wishing you all a very dramatic Happy Valentine’s Day!


Posted in Fashion, Holiday | 14 Comments

Our Brilliant Holiday!


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 New York City has to offer. Forget Saks 5th Avenue, Barney’s, Bloomingdales, Macy’s or Lord & Taylors because Bergdorf Goodman owns this motherfucker when it comes to the craft of holiday window decorating—and they truly are the very best in our city, if not, the very best the world has ever seen. 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 because you simply won’t believe your eyes. Outside of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, these windows are truly an exquisite gift from New York City to 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 while snoring like a pig in a barn and dreaming of peanut butter treats dancing around her little head, Tommy and I made our way down to 5th Avenue not having a clue what to expect. Every year, I try to avoid any online media coverage regarding these windows so that I can allow myself the space to be surprised and truly dazzled—and this year, David Hoey (BG’s senior director of visual presentation), Nadja Swarovski, Linda Fargo (Bergdorf’s legendary tastemaker) and their amazing team of artisans did not disappoint. Awash in more than seven million Swarovski crystals, Bergdorf’s 2015 holiday windows have been appropriately named “Brilliant Holiday” in celebration of Swarovski’s 120th anniversary and the release of a lavish monograph from Rizzoli documenting the company’s history and its far-flung collaborations in fashion, jewelry, performance, and design. Three fashion designers—Johnson Hartig of Libertine, Naeem Khan, and CD Greene—have contributed Swarovski-embellished looks for the windows, and the store’s salons are tricked out with dazzling chandeliers by design maestros Michael Anastassiades, Tord Boontje, D.B. Kim, and Yves Béhar. To celebrate its exciting new windows, Bergdorfs also opened a pop-up shop on its seventh floor —which offers limited-edition holiday pieces by designers including Tanya Taylor, Alice + Olivia and Edie Parker. Now come along and let’s take a visual tour of all five main windows and three smaller windows. Thank goodness the weather has been so unseasonably warm lately giving me the opportunity to get lost in these magnificent windows while photographing every single angle and detail for you all without worrying about frost bite on my finger tips!

We start with The Crown Jewels window which boasts two crystal-bedecked suits of armor and life-size lions flanked on either side of the Queen who has taken center stage in her lime satin crystal detailed gown—all within a massive red-velvet–lined jewel box. Bergdorf Goodman has launched a social media contest on Instagram, asking consumers to guess how many Swarovski crystals were used to bring this particular pane to life. With just one day to enter, consumers who submit their guess in time are in the running for a $1,000 gift card.


The second window entitled Hidden Gem is exactly what you would expect—an exquisite, cavernous adventure within a cave of deep purple stalagmites. Front and center is their diamond hunter, decked out in a lavender pant suit with matching fur-trimmed jacket adorned with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. Honestly, my favorite detail in this window is the crystal encrusted bat flying beside the crystal chandelier hanging over head.


The third window on our tour is entitled Glitterati depicting a raucous party in which mannequins dance or lounge atop cakes and larger-than-life instruments while details of treats add to the festivities—all in honoring each and every birthstone to match the twelve months of the year. This is the kind of busy window I can really get lost in, especially since everything is encrusted with crystals making it almost blinding to look at. I love that the main mannequin is sitting on a stacked aqua marine cake, holding her slice of birthday cake, in honor of the month of March—clearly because I’m a Pisces!


The fourth window entitled The Treasure Chest is really the gem (pun intended) within the series here. A monumental sculpture of Neptune enrobed in Swarovski pearls presides over a pelagic fantasy so alluring that no mermaid—even Disney’s Ariel—would ever consider abandoning the deep. I mean, they must have drained the entire sea for this amount of pearls because I just could not believe my eyes. The actual treasure chest almost seems irrelevant to everything else within this underwater vignette of pure beauty.


The fifth and final window on our tour is entitled The Crystal Ball depicting a fortune teller monkey sitting across from a client decked out in Gucci while a bejeweled wheel spun behind the pair to determine her fate, whether love, fortune, fame or other! This window was probably the hardest to photograph because the lights reflecting off the moving wheel and all of that glitter could probably be seen from Oslo, Norway.


These three smaller windows were just as fabulous and just as blinding and full of details as the bigger five windows, all showcasing some really exquisite shoes, jewelry and handbags.


So that’s it folks. It’s about brilliance for the holidays at Bergdorf Goodman so let it all shine baby!


Posted in Fashion, Holiday, NYC Life | 2 Comments

Let the Season Begin!


The official start to the Holiday season worldwide can only happen when Mamma Biscuit makes her annual visit to the North Pole to sit on Santa’s lap and snort her long list of wants into his ears. And boy is her list super long this year. Fortunately, for us, the North Pole is really local. I mean, local as in Dees’ Nursery out on Long Island local. Every year, on Black Friday, Tommy and I outfit our little gremlin in some fabulous canine couture and drive on over to Dees’ Nursery for some Christmas magic with Santa Claus. The moment we walk in, the entire store literally comes to a halt. It’s a family business so everyone knows who we are and most of all, everyone says that it wouldn’t be Christmas without Mamma’s entertaining visit. I have to say, we were totally surprised when we realized that the Santa we have been visiting for the past six years is no longer on staff. That man not only had a real beard but he absolutely adored Mamma Biscuit and would wait patiently every year for her visit. We were told that he moved down to South Carolina but this new Santa was just as charming and full of sparkle, especially when we placed Mamma in his arms. The bonus to this new set up was having Mrs. Claus there as well. What a treat for Mamma Biscuit as she could charm both Santa and his wife in an attempt to land herself on his VIP list.


So as Mamma eased into the arms of Santa Claus wearing her faux fur coat and giant pearl heart brooch, she began to snort out her Christmas list while falling asleep in his cozy embrace. Our little gremlin has 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! Let’s see, what else . . . oh yes, she wants a few diamond brooches, the Art Deco kind and last but not least, she wants a giant bag of peanut butter treats.


Of course, Mamma has done nothing to deserve all of these gifts except for being the cutest pug one has ever seen. I mean, her marble eyes and charming pug head tilt could really make you forget that she peed on the rug or woke you up at 2am demanding to be walked and fed. In other words, it’s a pug’s life, specifically, it’s a Mamma Biscuit life.


A short walk through Dees’ always gets our creative juices flowing and in the spirit to deck the halls. This is THE place artificial Christmas trees, lights and garland among other holiday decorations.


The weather may be unseasonably warm this year but Mamma Biscuit and Santa sure know how to make everyone feel like it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It may not be a marshmallow world this Winter (yet) but Mamma Biscuit is ringing her silver bells and letting you know that it’s Christmas time in the city!



Posted in Fashion, Holiday | 4 Comments

Thanksgiving Not Forgotten!


Whenever I hear people complain about how the Christmas season infringes on the Thanksgiving holiday, I only half sympathize with them. Yes, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that seems to get shafted every year and in theory, this day of binge eating should be given proper attention that both Halloween and Christmas get but let’s face it, there just isn’t enough damn time to get everything done. If I don’t start decking the halls of the Pug Palace almost immediately after I have dismantled Halloween, then I simply cannot flip a switch and have Christmas just appear on Black Friday. See, that’s what I have been doing for the last three weeks, hanging over 1,000 vintage ornaments, and that doesn’t include Mamma’s exquisite Christmas tree, which I’m only half way through decorating it. I’ve got more ornaments to hang and more boxes and boxes seem to appear whenever I turn around. So you see, I have no time to think of cornucopia displays, turkeys (although in our house, that would be a tofurkey for Tommy) and harvest themed decor that may or may not involve pilgrims and Native Americans made to look like they had a peaceful encounter when we first arrived onto this continent! In Mamma’s household, we go from jack-o-lanterns to Santa Claus seamlessly and I’m not ashamed to admit that.


With that said, I do make sure every year to carve out some time to take some Thanksgiving portraits of our little gremlin to acknowledge all of the wonderful things we have and to give thanks. It’s also a great way to document the pumpkin we pick up every year from the apple orchards as a prop before handing it over to my mother so she can make her amazing pumpkin frittellas, a traditional southern Italian recipe.


What to wear, what to wear . . . I love that I can just simply open up Mamma’s closet and find some new sweater or jacket to throw on her for a quick photoshoot. This black cotton jacket with biker-style zipper details is the perfect Autumn jacket for our little gremlin. We paired it with one of our vintage bake light brooches of a man’s physique . . . because Mamma can really appreciate the muscularity of a man!


Of course, after five minutes of being on set, Mamma Biscuit begins to yawn. She gets bored very easily.


So, Mamma Biscuit and family would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. Make sure you pace yourself at the dinner table and stay clear of talking about politics, unless of course, you’ve got Adele’s new album to keep the peace!


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

Do Unto Animals!


The more we know about the animals in our world and the better we care for them, the better our lives and theirs will be. No one knows this sentiment more than former veterinary technician and animal advocate Tracey Stewart, and she’s on a mission to change how we interact with animals with her thoughtful, beautifully illustrated new book entitled Do Unto Animals.


Tracey Stewart has been a huge fan of Mamma Biscuit ever since we stumbled upon her and Jon and her entire family in Tribeca in 2013. They were running a bake sale to raise money for dog adoption and we had just finished up a photoshoot of our little gremlin at the Irish Famine Memorial here in NYC. It was Spring and Mamma’s unbearable cuteness in her pink trench coat, her adoption story and her incredibly stylish blog made Tracey and her entire team at Moomah Magazine instant die-hard fans. They loved our shenanigans (and our core message of encouraging people to adopt dogs, especially senior dogs) so much that they created a Senior Spotlight feature of Mamma Biscuit entitled A Day in New York with Mamma Biscuit. So it was no surprise when Tracey’s team contacted us earlier this year to let us know that they wanted to include our little Spumoni Face as an illustration for her upcoming book entitled Do Unto Animals. Take a peak at Mamma’s adorable cameo at the very beginning of the dog chapter.


I know, just when you thought you have seen every angle of Mamma Biscuit’s cuteness, here comes along the cutest illustration ever and all I can say is that Lisel Ashlock, the illustrator who is responsible for all the gorgeous illustrations is a regular Michelangelo!


But back to the nuts and bolts of this book. Through hundreds of charming illustrations, a few homemade projects, and her humorous, knowledgeable voice, Tracey Stewart provides insight into the secret lives of animals and the kindest ways to live with and alongside them. At home, she shows readers how to speak “dog-ese” and “cat-ese” and how to “virtually adopt” an animal. In the backyard, we learn about building bee houses, dealing nicely with pesky moles, and creative ways to bird-watch. And on the farm, Stewart teaches us what we can do to help all farm animals lead a better life and reveals the hidden superpowers of pigs!


Part practical guide, part memoir of her life with animals, part Mamma Biscuit memorabilia and part testament to the power of giving back, Do Unto Animals is a gift for animal lovers of all stripes and perfect for the upcoming Holiday season. Go out and get this book, now on book shelves. You’re gonna love it!

All images © Tracey Stewart at Moomah Magazine and Lisel Ashlock


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