Top Hat Coffee

July 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Posted in coffee, Maine | Leave a comment
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My friend is debuting his new business this weekend! Very Exciting! He is quite the coffee connoisseur, so I’m excited to get in line for my first cup of wonderful!

Top Hat Coffee will be on Main Street in Lisbon Falls at Moxie Fest!

Getting Rid of That Thrift Store Smell

June 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Posted in auction, budget, CLEANING, coffee, flea market, Goodwill, NEAT STUFF, shopping, SUPPLIES, thrifting, thrifty, Uncategorized, Vintage | 7 Comments
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If you love thrifting like I do, chances are you will bring home something that has that awful musty smell. Sometimes it’s a book. Sometimes it’s a vintage suitcase. It could be a dresser or other piece of furniture. Mold, mildew, mustiness, cigarette smoke, moth balls, old lady perfume, or someone just used too much fragranced detergent. Whatever the unpleasant smell is, if you thrift, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes that great item from a yard sale, eBay, Etsy, Goodwill, or inherited from your great aunt Sally, just smells BAD. And life is too short to live with bad smells. Ick.

I found some great tips for getting rid of that awfulness. Depending on how powerful the smell is and how saturated the item is, you may need to use more than one of these tips to totally rid it of the funk. I’ve tried a lot of these but a couple were new to me too!

  1. BAKING SODA — This is usually the first thing I try. There is always some in the house and it requires almost no effort. If the smell is in a book, you need to put the book into some sort of container with a lid first. A large cooking pot works. Vintage tins would work too. Leave the book inside the container with an open box of baking soda or put the soda into a small dixie cup next to the book. If the smell is in furniture, you’ll need more than one box baking soda. If it is a dresser, you can use individual open boxes in each drawer or pour a bit into a bowl or small open container and leave it inside the drawer for a few days. Depending on the power of the smell, you may need to leave it for weeks. (If you aren’t going to use the furniture for a while, you just set it up and forget about it for awhile.)
  2. DAMPRID — This product is great for sucking moisture out of the air in a closet or other swampy area of your house. It also works to get rid of smells that are moisture based like mold or mildew. You can usually find it at the dollar store, but if not, you can usually find it at larger grocery stores or Walmart. First clean off any mold or mildew from the surface of the object. Then use the Damprid just like you would use Baking Soda. It’s just a more powerful option which is great if you are impatient like me.
  3. SUNLIGHT — Leaving your laundry out on the line to dry makes it smell great – fresh and clean. This works for musty tablecloths or garments that the previous owner stored in mothballs. I also hate when I buy a piece of clothing and it was washed and dried with WAY TOO MUCH fabric softener. Since I’m allergic to fabric softener and lots of fragrances, this is especially annoying. If you don’t have a clothesline, put the fabric item on a hanger and hang it in the sunshine on a tree or porch railing. As long as air and sunlight can get to it for a large part of the day. Again, depending on the saturation, this could take anywhere from a few hours to multiple days.
  4. PINESOLOkay, personally I can’t stand the stuff. It burns my nose and sinuses and so you’ll never find the stuff anywhere near my house. (the product tagline is “The powerful scent of real clean.”) But some folks swear by the stuff. If you like the smell, more power to you. Folks say that you can water it down a bit and scrub the item with a brush to really get into the crevices. Be sure to let the item dry thoroughly though or you’ll have new smells due to excess moisture. Kinda defeats the purpose if your cleaning method makes things worse.)  So…..If you can stand the stuff, go for it!
  5. COFFEE GROUNDS (or beans) — Personally, I can’t see wasting perfectly good coffee this way but I suppose you could buy a really cheap brand of ground coffee just for this purpose. I would never drink pre-ground coffee. For shame! (yes, I’m a coffee snob) If you’ve ever shopped for perfume, you may have had the salesperson hand you a small cup of coffee beans to cleanse your palette between different fragrances. Same principle.
  6. DRYER SHEETS — Since this is another item I never use due to allergies, it’s not a method I use. Plus, a lot of times they really just cover up the underlying smell. Sort of like spraying “air freshener” after someone stinks up your bathroom. You still have toilet stink but the air freshener fragrance sort of adds to it. In my book this is just worse. Again, you might love dryer sheets and this is the perfect product for you. If so, rub the dryer sheet all over the surface of the item or put the dryer sheet into a closed container with the the item (or inside a drawer) just like the baking soda method.
  7.  SCENTED CANDLE — Basically this is just like the dryer sheet; it covers up the smell but doesn’t get rid of it entirely. You burn a scented candle in close proximity to the item.
  8. LAUNDERING — Don’t underestimate the power of your washing machine. Add Oxyclean (or equivalent) to the wash. It is great for dissolving oils, stains and scents. Just remember NOT to wash the item with your normal laundry. If it requires more than one cycle to rid it of the smell, it can add the horrible smell to the rest of your clothes. I learned this one the hard way. Also, make sure the machine isn’t totally loaded up. The smaller the load, the more effective the Oxyclean is. If running it through your machine isn’t working, you can also dissolve a bunch of the Oxyclean into a large bowl or plastic bucket and then add the item. Let it soak for a few hours or days, depending on how bad it is. Oxyclean is seriously my best friend. It rocks.
  9. HOT MILK – Some people say this works like baking soda to absorb bad smells. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to waste the milk. That stuff costs more than gasoline!
  10. VINEGAR — You can add vinegar to your regular wash and it will act like dryer sheets to make your stuff softer. But the vinegar smell doesn’t always wash out so this isn’t a method I usually use. Vinegar cleans all kinds of stuff. It gets rid of water scale in your coffee maker or funk in your dishwasher. But again, you have to rinse it SO MUCH to get rid of the vinegar smell. I used it to clean a coffee maker once and mistakenly made coffee thinking the vinegar smell was gone. SO GROSS. It seriously takes a lot of rinsing. Other folks say you can but heated up vinegar nearby the object to absorb the smell. I’m just not a big fan of vinegar smell so….yeah, it might work if you aren’t lazy like me. Okay, enough about vinegar.
  11. MURPHY’S OIL SOAP – This is great for cleaning musty furniture. And it smells a heck of a lot better than nasty ol’ Pinesol. Just spray it on or dunk the item in a bucket of the diluted soap (same mixture that you’d use to clean a hardwood floor). Then just give it a really good scrub.
  12. ENZYME PET SPRAY – The sprays that you use to get pet urine smells and stains out of fabrics or hard surfaces also works to rid the item of other smells. It can cost a bit (I get mine really cheap at Big Lots or a local salvage store) but you can’t beat it for speed or easiness.
  13. RANDOM OTHER STUFF — Other folks swear by this other stuff but since I’ve never tried them, I can’t attest to how well they work. If you try one of them and it works out, lemme know! TEA TREE OIL, CARPET FRESHENER, ACTIVATED CHARCOAL (or charcoal for barbecue grills), WADDED UP NEWSPAPER (changed daily), KITTY LITTER, PAINTING IT WITH HEAVY PRIMER, VANILLA EXTRACT, CEDAR CHIPS (the kind from the pet store for the bottom of cages is an inexpensive source), BORAX, BLEACH (using bleach scares me because I’ve ruined lots of stuff because I didn’t add the right ratio of water), TILEX, VODKA (seriously? $$$!), LEMONS, APPLES (sliced), POTATOS, and BARS OF SOAP.

If one method isn’t working or you don’t have the patience to let that method work it’s magic, try another. I’ve been told that TIME rids all things of smell but I’ve never found this to be true. The quicker you tackle the smell, the less chances you have of it migrating to other stuff.


What’s A Starbucks Girl To Do?

June 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Posted in coffee, Food and Drink, JUST DUMB, Starbucks, Travel | Leave a comment
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So….when times are tough and the day has beaten the life outta me, I turn the wheel and my faithful minivan/mom-mobile heads to the closest source of quality caffeine – Starbucks.


The downside of living in a town (actually it might really be considered a “village” since the population is so small – one of these days I really should find out) instead of a city, is that there are no coffee shops nearby. The closest Starbucks location is a rest stop on hwy 95. Since Maine is classier than those people “running on Dunkin'” over in Massachusetts, all of OUR rest stops have a Starbucks inside. (I tell you, no state was longer to drive across on my last roadtrip than MA. ONLY mcD’s and Skunkin’ Dunkin’ for what felt like a thousand miles!)

Fortunately there is a backside access to our rest stops so that the locals don’t have to take the hwy (and pay the tolls) to get there. The first time I found my way there, I did a little happy dance of joy!


Recently, all of our rest stops have been getting a little added flair. One has a giant metal moose sculpture, another has a large metal sculpture of another example of Maine wildlife. Up until recently, the Grey location was without such decorations. Someone apparently thought this should be remedied. Unfortunately, the latest addition leaves something to be desired.


Instead of an impressive artistic rendering of a majestic animal, WE got a pair of fiberglass deer that look like they,d be right at home on a put-put golf course. Or possibly a backwoods grandma’s trailer park lawn. Seriously – I suspect they were purchased from Walmart’s lawn and garden section. They are SO sad.

And last week, they put up a little plaque in front of them.

I decided to get a closer look to see if maybe their true purpose was to educate the public on the local deer population or some other informative tidbit. Unfortunately, even the plaque was disappointing. It instructs the observer to look but don’t touch the deer. I guess in addition to their being cheap looking, they are fragile as well.

Welcome to Gray, y’all!

Starbucks closing 600 stores? What the…???

July 1, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Posted in coffee | 1 Comment
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CoffeecupCoffeecupCoffeecup Starbucks To Close 600 Stores, Cut Up To 12,000 Jobs [Starbucks]…

Starbucks To Close 600 Stores, Cut Up To 12,000 Jobs MSNBC says that Starbucks has announced that it will be closing 600 locations in the US and could eliminate up to 12,000 full and part-time jobs.


Okay, seriously, if someone decided that they wanted to rock the very foundations of my world just for fun, this is the kind of info they would tell me to induce a heart attack, stroke, loss of bladder control, etc…..(seriously, who knows with me?). Then they would laugh and point at the terrible expression on my face and the way that all the blood had drained out of it, due to a sudden huge loss of blood pressure due to, of course, shock…….and they would then pride themselves on pulling the funniest practical joke ever.


We just barely got our starbucks out here in Maine (Auburn), which for some is considered the very edge of the civilized world. I just hope hope hope that ours our spared.

Oh great and mighty starbucks, do not deprive us of the bean!!!


June 18, 2008 at 12:44 pm | Posted in coffee | Leave a comment

First things first…I read a couple AWESOME medical-ey articles over the past few days that I want to share with my fellow addicts…To sum up, they say that coffee will help you live longer and cocoa is a wonderdrug! So take THAT, all you non-addicts!!!

Here is the link for the site that frankly is CHOCK full of neato stuff…

Will Cocoa Soon Be Used as Medicine?

Specially formulated cocoa very well might soon be considered part of a treatment plan for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in diabetics.

According to new research, after diabetic patients drank a special high-flavonol cocoa for one month, blood vessel function went from severely impaired to normal. Flavanols are natural plant compounds also found in tea, red wine, and certain fruits and vegetables. They are responsible for cocoa’s healthful benefits.

The improvement was as large as has been observed with exercise and many common diabetic medications. The cocoa used in this study is not sold in the supermarket.

Coffee May Reduce Mortality in Women

Long-term consumption of coffee may reduce the mortality rate in women, according to a study in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers looked at data from some 130,000 healthy women and men from two large cohorts — the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study — who regularly answered dietary questionnaires.

After roughly 20 years' follow-up and adjustment for other risk factors, they found that higher coffee consumption in women was associated with a slightly lower risk for all-cause mortality — largely due to a reduced risk for cardiovascular death. The effect was observed with as few as five to seven cups per week and was independent of caffeine intake.

Men who drank more coffee also saw a benefit, but the association did not reach statistical significance.

The authors say that coffee's potential perks could be due to its effects on inflammation, endothelial function, and insulin sensitivity.

Frothy Goodness

November 2, 2007 at 4:20 pm | Posted in coffee | 1 Comment

Two days AFTER a large-ish earthquake shook northern CA (where a big part of my family lives), I actually HEARD about it.

Since I rarely watch the news (except for The Daily Show and/or The Colbert Report and let’s see….also the weather channel), I was completely unaware of anything going on in CA except for the wildfires and ever-rising gas prices. So where did I finally get this info that everyone seemed to know about but me??? My mom sent me an email to let me know that a few things fell off of some shelves but they were okay. I inferred from her email that there had been some sort of big event, likely an earthquake, but didn’t know for sure until subsequent emails confirmed this. Several days later, I also got a text message from my sister in CA saying basically the same thing.

What the…???

So I’m wondering— Am I the only person who remains completely out of touch with the outside world for a good percentage of the time? In my defense, I will add that every couple of days I listen to NPR but basically I only learn about things going on in other countries and newsbyte coverage on whatever special programming will soon be appearing on our local public broadcasting television channel.

Okay, after admitting my HUGE CAVERNOUS IGNORANCE OF EVENTS, let’s see…..what else is new??

After the clothes swap I hosted, I loaded about five bajillion yard-size garbage bags of clothes and whatnot into my van and then unloaded them at Goodwill. In so doing, I pulled a muscle in my back and one in my shoulder. Why do I never accept help when it is offered??? STUpid STUpid STUpid.

In other news…..

I have laid to rest my old espresso maker.

Given my caffeine addiction, this is a major milestone in a life such as mine…..

As much as I adored it when it first moved in to my kitchen, I have equal LOATHING for it now. I had it for like a year and in that short lifespan, ALL of the inner seals died and towards the end, only drip coffee was dribbling out of the espresso nozzles and it was filling the container (that should have contained frothy milk) with water. This goes beyond annoying when you are jonesing for that morning-ish caffeine rush and you take that first sip of weak liquid, completely devoid of taste AND caffeine. No WONDER I was getting all those headaches. D’oh!

So now I have a NEW love. Coffee

After searching high and low (online of course….who actually comparison shops in physical stores anymore??) for an espresso maker (with frothing capabilities) in my price range (all the really spiffy ones were out of my league completely….I could have spent the same amount of money on gas to take me all the way to the nearest starbucks AND paid for my latte/mocha AND a pastry AND generously tipped the person who would make my coffee AND paid to have their laundry profesionally dry cleaned AND their shoes shined) ….uh where was I? (I hate it when I get completely distracted by a rant)…

…oh yeah, my NEW LOVE. It is a Farberware FES15B 15-BAR Pump Driven Espresso Machine. Frothy goodness everytime. Looooove.

But Buyer beware….

just because it makes a brimming steaming cup of wonderfully yummy frothy goodness, small flying insects will show NO appreciation for this WHATSOEVER and will still have no reservations about gleefully practicing their backstroke in it.

STUpid bugs….

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