Thursday, January 15, 2015

Season 2014: Growing Pains

 Change is the only constant in life~Heraclitus

2014, my fourth season, went by in a whirlwind....I barely had time to sleep and eat, let alone write about it! So much food, so many new faces, so much learned. Sometimes, in the midst of the madness, I ask myself, "Why? Why do you do this? Why do you work so hard, take on so much, risk so much?" And the answer, always? Because I LOVE what I do. I meet so many people, make connections, travel to new places, and work for myself (priceless!) It feeds me. It is my art. My creation. My little love letter to the world, and to myself. Like anything of value, it takes a large investment, but it gives back tenfold. It is my baby, and as Pippy's grows I look on with pride and amazement, humbled by all I have been given.

Here, for what they're worth, are a few of the lessons I have learned...

Show Up and Do your Best

Running a food truck is hard. There's rain, cold, heat, far drives, near disasters, disasters, grouchy name it. But, I have found, that if I just keep on going, it will work out. If I say I will be there, I am there, no matter what. If I give my word that I will pop up at 12 midnight at your wedding reception, when all of your guests (and you) are drunk and they think the party's over, I WILL (even though I got lost 5 times, the muffler fell off, and the light to the dashboard blew out). I will be prepared. I will be on time. I will smile and stay til the end. It may be a successful event, it may not, but I will have honored my word and done my best, and this will be enough.

Year 3 of the Hudson Valley Foodtruck Festival and going strong!

Kinderhook Food Truck Festival

Front and Center at the Windham World Cup

Don't Be Afraid to Fail

2 Words- Hudson Project. I dogged them to get in. I was relentless. Then, at the final hour, I got the okay. I spent all the money I had, and then some. I shopped, and cooked, and planned. I had a great crew and enough food to feed thousands. Our set-up was beautiful and top notch....and no one came. Huge expectation, HUGE disappointment. But, you know what, we did it. As far as I'm concerned, we were the finest act at that damn festival. I left the Hudson Project beaten, but not broken. I was smarter, seasoned, and determined to make the most of the remainder of my season. And I did. 

It's Official

Lovely Lady Helpers

Sunset on the first day...the calm before the storm

The Aftermath


If you fall, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn from it. Every failure is a lesson, and nothing is a waste of time. Nothing. Even if I end up losing money at an event or during a day at my spot, I have made a connection that will prove useful, talked to somebody who may talk to somebody else. Somebody may have taken a business card that they will put in their wallet or leave in a restaurant, only to be found later and used. Everything is an opportunity, even if it is disguised as a disappointment. And at the end of the day I am doing what I love on my own terms. Over the past 4 years, I have dabbled in everything from children's birthday parties, to street festivals, to music festivals, to wedding receptions...and much more. Stretching keeps my business fun and exciting!

Kicking it at the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Neighbors at the Rosendale Street Festival

Know Your Worth

This has been a hard thing to learn. In the beginning, I was so honored that people wanted to have me, that I would do practically anything that came my way, for little or no compensation. Don't get me wrong, it was necessary and fulfilling, but it is, indeed, WORK, and how I pay my bills at the end of the day. It has taken many tough lessons for me to know what I am worth (and much encouragement from the people who support me), to establish what I need to get me to leave my beloved spot in Palenville and travel to other places. Turning down work or having something fall through is scary, but I have found that something else will always come my way. Missed chances or cancelled jobs simply make space for new opportunities, and I no longer sell myself short. I think of it as finding my voice, and it grows stronger and clearer with every passing year.

Went all the way down to Katonah, longest drive yet!!

Ask for Help

Pippy's is, for the most part, a one woman show. Every aspect of the business is exactly how I want it (perfect for the control freak in me), but sometimes, I need help. I can't do it all myself, there's no way, and I am lucky to have found a core group of people to share the experience with me. They are young, enthusiastic, fun, and eager. And I'm always looking for new help so please, feel free to contact me. You never know!

Talula manning the window

Ali is wiped out!!

Hudson Project Crew (sans Mimi and Brandon)

Make it Personal

Pippy's is a labor of love, an homage to my childhood and to my grandmother who ran a hot dog truck during the late 70's-early 80's. The truck is from 1972 and I use her meat sauce recipe for the Lonnie Dog (named after her) and her onion sauce recipe for the Doug Dog, named after my grandfather who passed away. Every item on my menu (except for the dogs and the buns) is either homemade or sourced from a local artisan. I collaborate with my friends and family about new ideas and listen to feedback from customers to change and improve. I put all that I am into my truck. It is a true passion, and I am passionate about every aspect of the business. This is the only way to succeed, in my opinion. Do what you love and do it all the way.

The Banh Mi and The Hendrix

Dave and Murphy (her Mom makes a mean cookie!)

The Elvis Dog

Rivertide Aikido in the house

Gus knows how to strike a pose

Take Time for Yourself

I struggle with this. During my busy season, the truck can be consuming. It takes everything: my time, my money, my thoughts....everything. I feel as if I am working 24-7. If I'm not actually working on the truck I am shopping, cooking, answering emails. When I go out I am talking to people about it and networking. I am researching new ideas and scouting for new events. I can get so caught up in it that I can forget what is truly important-myself and the people in my life. Luckily, I have a partner who helps me with this. He takes me on adventures and reminds me about the importance of balance. He listens to me go on and on and offers me invaluable advice and help. I also have dear friends, a loving family, and a fitness family to go out with, vent to, and workout with. It's okay, every once in awhile, to forget about all of my responsibilities and have a play day or do absolutely nothing at all. In fact, this time is essential.

Monday Adventures

Mr. Django Houston and I in Maine

Oh no she didn't!!!

Union Falls in the Adirondacks

Be Grateful and Enjoy the Ride

I am so blessed and lucky to be doing what I do!!! I am so grateful for the people I have met, the opportunities I have been given, and the connections I have made. Pippy's has enriched my life so much, and sometimes, in the midst of all the madness, I want to pinch myself. How did this happen??How did this absurd, exciting, wonderful thing happen to me? Then, I realize, I CREATED it. And I smile.

The lovely Jenny Hyde surprised me with a visit!!

The Triangle, my spot in Palenville at the Junction of 23A and 32A

Driving through the glorious Hudson Valley

Here's to an even better Season 5! Love to you all and Thank You from the bottom of my heart <3


Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Wow, what a year!! Looking back upon 2013, I am filled with gratitude for all of the gifts I have been given. Never in a million years did I envision myself doing what I do, but it appears life's journey takes you down many roads, and I am learning that if you have the courage to surrender, things will work themselves out exactly as they meant to...Easier said than done, true (especially for a control freak like me!), but an important lesson nevertheless. This season has been the toughest yet the most rewarding to date, and I have faith that if I continue on the path I've begun good things will come my way. So, on that note, I would like to thank all of you who made 2013 such a great success.

Last year Pippy's did about 4 events, this year--19!!! I took that little red truck to places I never thought possible: trespassing on private property for a wedding after-party in Beacon, an apple orchard in Rhinebeck, a couple of school playgrounds, a block party in Kingston, festivals on the Hudson River, and much, much more. My truck really is like therapy to me, just driving her lifts my spirits! And even better? The truck brings happiness to others, too. Can't ask for more in my book. Here's just a glimpse through my eyes into some of last year's events....

At the entrance of Bacon Alley at Troy Pig-Out

Cornell Street Studios Craft Fair in uptown Kingston 

Set up in the park for the O+ Music Festival

Hudson Valley Foodtruck Festival has a new home, Cantine Field in Saugerties!!

The Basilica Soundscape in Hudson

Kristen's Birthday Party in a beautiful apple orchard in Rhinebeck

Drumboogie Festival in Woodstock...awesome event!

Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. Hittin the big time : )

Felice County Fair at Opus 40. Nice to see my Pville peeps!

Morse Course Benefit at Grant D. Morse Elementary...those kids love their dogs with catsup!

Suzanne, Isaac, and Luca at Woodstock Day School

Some dissatisfied customers at the ZombieFest in Rosendale

I am so lucky to have so many lifelong friends, and they are good enough sports to help me out from time to time. I feel as if by working with me on my truck they get an insight into who I am, and we have a blast doing it. Who knows, maybe I am igniting the fire within some future food truck owners?

The lovely Ms. Kelli Rae Gilmore...a long way from 40's and Tribe Called Quest with Kingston boys ;)

My adorable nephew and niece, Michael and Aubrey. Aubrey loved working the truck, Michael...not so much.

Steve Murphy, aka Gold Jesus, has worked the window a few times. He's the best!

BF and sister Anne McGrath. No words.

Sean McCormick. The sassiest thing Kingston ever has seen!

My sister Michelle, the biggest badass besides me to work the truck ;)

Truck Friends
My little truck has come a long way from the lonely, solitary days in the Kaaterskill Clove. Now she has a whole stable of other truck friends. Here are a few....

Wandering Dago from the northern parts

Kingston's Danzante serving authentic Latin fare

Slidin' Dirty, my fellow BaconFest 2012 soldiers

The adorable Yum-Yum Noodle Truck

Truck Pizza from Hudson

Newbie Ate-O-Ate from near Westchester

The super friendly folks from Jumpin Jack Flash

Fell in love with this little guy at Troy Pig-Out.

Sean's Tin Cantina. Awesome homemade hot sauce!!

Bootleggers...these guys are new to the scene, and they're hungry ;)

The gorgeous Black Forest Flammkuchen Truck

Marc and Michelle Propper's 'Cue Truck

I am especially grateful to my hometown of Palenville for another wonderful season. It appears as if our little hamlet is experiencing a Renaissance of sorts, and the community is uniting for positive change and growth. Thanks to the efforts of Jill Burkholder and Christine Clark, Palenville had our first of many Hidden Gallery Walks, celebrating the hamlet as the heart of the Hudson River School of Art Movement. Dan and Jen Souza not only opened a charming wine shop, Lower Clove Wine and Spirits, but they also organized and implemented the Plant Palenville Project and purchased the Swinging Bridge property, giving hope to future rebuilding efforts. The Circle W Market continues to serve as a community center of sorts, uniting like-minded people and providing the town with a place to eat, laugh, and connect. Michael's Restaurant is up and running and a welcome addition to the main street. Guys n' Gals is busy, even adding a third stylist to the crew. Kindred Spirits, the Rip Van Winkle Country Club, and the Fernwood Restaurant provide a variety of dining options for locals and tourists alike...all good stuff. It just goes to show that people are eager to support each other, if given the chance.

Just one of the many Plant Palenville gardens

Lower Clove Wine and Spirits

The beloved Circle W Market, going on 3 years!!

So, season 3 is a much work, so much fun, so much learned. Thanks to all the people who helped in so many ways (you know who you are), with your patronage and your words of encouragement. I truly love what I do and cannot wait for 2014.