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LIVING QUARTERS Disclaimer: The views or opinions presented in this publication are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Employees of ABSTRACT MEDIA GROUP COMPANY LIMITED are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal right. Any such article is contrary to company policy and is outside the scope of the employment of the individual writer concerned. The company will not accept any liability in respect of such article, and the employee responsible will be personally liable for any damages or other liability arising.

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hristmas is a time for love and cheer. However, if you are not prepared Christmas hassle can cause the growth of grey hair. You don’t have to stress. Just follow these Christmas preparation tips to get organized this year. Plan In Advance It is always best to have a plan of action. In this case it is best to plan at least a month in advance. Begin by filling out a centralized, all-encompassing holiday calendar for the weeks leading up to, during and after the holiday. Include everything you already know about or that's already been scheduled, such as travel plans, guest arrival days, parties and work functions. Continue to pencil in events as they are announced and planned, and only accept invitations for open dates. Make sure to block off shopping and preparation days, and factor in deadlines for shopping, shipping and baking, just so you don't miss anything. Don’t forget to include a day or two off days to rest. Shop Early Waiting until the last minute to purchase gifts will only land you in a store full of frenzied shoppers and empty shelves. To avoid this, make your Christmas list early and have all of your shopping completed a month before Christmas morning. Once you have all the gifts you intend to buy, wrap them and store them in a safe place;

Quick Ways To Get Organized This Christmas this is one less thing you have to worry about as the day grows near. Freeze Meals With all of the hustle and bustle, healthy dinners usually fall by the wayside. Even not-sohealthy dinners are hard to come by when you are busy and cant even stop for fast food. However, it is important not to neglect your health goals just because you are busy. Stock up on quick fix dinners. Even pre-packaged freezer foods will work. Season meats and store them for a quick thaw and cook. Every second saved counts. Look over your schedule while you are planning out your menu for the week and pick simple recipes for busy nights. Budget These pesky little things fre-

quently get thrown out the window as the holidays get closer and closer. Writing up a very specific budget and allotting actual dollar amounts to gifts and food will help keep you on track. Get Rid of Clutter One of the most popular items that cause clutter is clothing. Research has revealed that most people wear only 25 percent of what is in their wardrobe. The rest is just taking up space. Identify some clothes that can be used for charity, put them in a bag and donate them to your local shelter or thrift store. They will gladly take your clothes and give them to the less fortunate. Giving your clothes to charity lets you dispose of your old clothes and help people in need at the same time. If you are having probw w w . a m g tt. c o m

lems choosing which clothes to throw out or give away, use the two-year rule. This principle is perfect since fashion and personal tastes change. Anything that hasn’t been worn in two years needs to go. It may seem hard at first, but think of how frustrating it is to wade through clothes that you never wear or those that no longer fit.

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LIVING QUARTERS

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ou’ve painted the walls and some of you even got down and painted the floors and varnished the doors. Now, the ceiling looks a bit crusty next to all the newness. It’s time for a sprucing up and these tips will make sure you get the ceiling paint job done in the right way. Prepare the room. Sounds simple but many people do not take the time to do this and end

Ceilings Need Love Too up with a spill or accident to clean up. The ideal approach is to remove all of the furniture in the room and put a canvas drop cloth or high-grade plastic drop cloth over the floor. Low-grade or thin plastic drop cloths can get ripped or torn in the process of walking and moving things across them. This leaves your carpet or hard flooring open to an accident. Tack the drop cloth along the bottom of the base boards or floor so it stays in place while you move around on it. Remove all ceiling fixtures and any wall art or mirrors that might get splattered with paint. Sometimes you can lift a splatter off with a fingernail but if you are enamored with the piece and you can't remove the spill easily or at all then you will regret not having removed them.

Prepare the surface. You will need to analyze the surface. Ceilings are not painted as often as walls and probably not cleaned as often either. You want a clean surface to place the paint on otherwise you could end up with peeling. Take a broom and knock off any cobwebs or surface dirt. Wipe the surface lightly with a soft cloth. Now, what does the ceiling look like? Does it have water stains? Did a smoker use the

room? Does it need patching? If so, patching must take place before painting occurs. Leave time for the patching compound to dry. Make sure you are not creating a rougher surface when you patch. Sand down what you can to keep the ceiling uniform or apply the same texture the rest of the ceiling has. In the case of not being able to find the existing texture, you may want to retexture the whole ceiling so it is uniform.

Protect Your Home From The Rains

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our home normally shelters and protects you from the rainfall, but what protects your home? Surely there should be some give and take. You never know what could happen to your property with even regular rainfall (just ask the people of Manzanilla). While we are in the season of good tidings and cheer, these preparations should put you in gear to ensure you make it through a vicious weather year.

Trim Trees Make sure that dead branches have been cleared from around your house. This will reduce the risk that they will fall during the storm and damage your home. Even healthy branches hanging over your roof can snap in high winds. Check Gutters Ensure your gutters are clear and working. Remove muck 2

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and debris including leaves, bird nests and more. After that is done, test them by pouring water in yourself. This will prevent water from accumulating and causing damage to your roof.

Maintain Your Roof Galvanized roofs should be inspected annually to ensure there are no leaks. Make sure your roof is treated so as to prevent moss or other elements from wearing away at the material. A tiny hole can result in a load of damage once the rains start. Be wary of Flooding Keeping water out means keeping water out whether it’s up high or on low levels. Consider the use of sandbags to put into the low areas around your house to help keep floodwaters at bay. Also try sealing doors with whatever you can once those waters start rising.


LIVING QUARTERS

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Understanding Paint

ainting has become a seasonal tradition in Trinidad and Tobago. We paint for religious holidays, events and for the Yuletide season. For this reason, you would think that we are all versed in the subject of paint; particularly types of paint and which type should be used for a specific area of the house, be it inside or outside. This is not always the case as some outside paints can fade within weeks and some inside paints peel off walls before the next painting session is due. So, how do you know which paint suits which area of your house? Try these tips below. Latex- This is a water-based coating that is ready to use straight out of the can. It glides on smooth and looks good. Clean up involves using soap and water to get rid of any excess paint. It’s cheaper than oil paint and is available in different colours and sheens. The 4

Alkyd- Like the oil-based paint, this can be used in places such as the kitchen and bathroom and uses the same substances for clean up. It can also be used on woodwork (chairs, floors) Epoxy-This is really used for steel and aluminum so most persons may never come in contact with this type of paint. Plus it requires a two-part mixing solution and is really good for use on tough surfaces. only shortcoming is that it is not as durable as its oil-based counterpart. Oil-Base- This is a solvent based coating which spreads on easily but needs the use of turpentine or paint thinner to help clear away unwanted paint. It is very durable and is the preferred paint for kitchen and bathrooms as these are heavily frequented and it wards off wear and tear longer than latex.

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It gives a warm glow especially when using higher sheens. Varnish- Ideal for both interior and exterior hard-grained woodwork; this type of paint is resistant to moisture. It is clear and dries with a tough, glossy surface. Enamel-This is the ideal paint for painting cabinets. It is basically a varnish with pigment, which also gives durability and toughness.

Acrylic- No ladies, not the finger-nail coating, but it is one of the most durable paints on the market and is extremely longlasting, ideal for high traffic areas in the house. Urethane- This type of paint is especially good for floors that are easily scratched. It tends to turn yellow with age and gives off an offensive odor but goes on clear and dries hard to give a tough surface.


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LIVING QUARTERS

10 Digital Photography Tips For Christmas

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ou have a digital camera but you have never really put it to use. Why not capture those special moments with family and friends during your Christmas Party. Here are 12 tips and ideas for digital camera owners wanting to capture the big day: 1. PREPARE - MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE…. Making sure you’re ready to capture any planned event is part of the key to a successful shoot. Getting the location of your shots ready is also worthwhile. Pack the camera – This goes without saying. Make sure your batteries are charged and you have extras and/or the recharger packed. Pack extra memory cards have them empty and ready to fill up Put someone on ‘photos’ - our family has someone on drinks, main course, dessert why not put someone on ‘photos’ so that in the craziness of the day they don’t get forgotten. Consider the light in the room that you’ll be photographing in. Is there enough light? Will you need a flash? Are the backgrounds too cluttered and distracting? 2. A WHITE BALANCE CHRISTMAS Many people around the world celebrate Christmas inside in unnatural lighting. Pay attention to what type of light you’re shooting in and set your white balance settings accordingly. Alternatively, if you’ve got a camera that shoots

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in RAW you can shoot away and set your white balance later. 3. SET UP A DIY ‘PHOTO BOOTH’ While you probably can’t afford to hire a photo booth for your party you can set up a ‘portrait zone’ of your own where you’ll take photos of your guests, trust me they will love it. Set it up in a well lit position with a fairly plain background with a few Christmas decorations around the edges- it would be fun. 4. CAPTURE THE PREPARATION STAGES The actual Christmas meal or party is obviously the best part of the day, but there are other photographic opportunities, particularly in the preparations stages of the day. Food preparation Putting up decorations Wrapping gifts Kids throwing a tantrum while getting dressed in their Christmas outfits • Setting the table • The shots before the event formally starts are often great because they show everything at its best before everyone descends on your party zone. • • • •

5. BEFORE AND AFTER SHOTS Speaking of shots before the party starts, why not set up some before and after shots of the place you’re holding your party. Make sure you take the shots from the same position.

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6. FIND A POINT OF INTEREST - BUT JUST PER SHOT All good shots should have a focal point that holds the attention of those viewing your images. The problem with Christmas is that there can often be too many competing focal points in shots with people, color, decorations, food in every shot. Work hard at de-cluttering your images. 7. FRESH GROUP PHOTOS One of the most common types of shots at Christmas is the ‘group photo’. It’s usually taken at the end of the evening or day when everyone is looking their worst. For a ‘fresher’ shot take it once everyone has arrived. Also think before hand about how you might pose everyone and where you might take the shot. 8. OPENING GIFTS - SHOOT IN CONTINUOUS MODE There are certain moments during a Christmas gathering that are filled with all manner of photographic opportunities and the opening of gifts is like no other in that it is filled with an array of emotions, facial expressions and excitement - especially if you’ve got kids around. Switch your camera to burst mode (sometimes called continuous shooting mode) and take lots of shots at this time of the festivities. You’ll find you end up with some excellent series of shots when you do this, that capture everything from the anticipation of getting the wrapped gift, through to the excitement of unwrapping, to the joy (or occasionally disappointment) of seeing what’s in-

side. Don’t forget to shoot the reactions of those who GIVE the gift as well. 9. FILL YOUR FRAME One of the most common mistakes people make in taking Christmas photos (or any party/ even photography) is that people often end up with shots of their subjects off in the distance on the other side of a room with lots of space around them. Fill your frame with your subject either by using your zoom or getting up and moving yourself closer. While this is one of the simplest tips I ever give it is one that can have the most profound impact on your shots. 10. DIFFUSE/REFLECT YOUR FLASH Another common problem with Christmas shots is ending up with shots where the flash is so bright that subjects look like rabbits in a spotlight with harsh shadows behind them. One way around this is to use some sort of a flash diffuser or reflector. If you’re lucky enough to have an external flash try bouncing it off walls or the ceiling. Another way to reduce the impact of your flash and to create some interesting effects is to switch your camera into ‘night mode’ (slow sync mode). This will tell your camera to choose a slower shutter speed but still fire your flash. In doing so it’ll capture some of the ambient light of the room as well as freeze your subject. Be warned, you can end up with some wacky shots doing this (but they can also be lots of fun).


HOME OFFICE

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Shopping On A Budget For The Holidays

is’ the season for shopping for expensive gifts and crying over our bank account balances later. Having a merry Christmas doesn’t mean that everyone should get an expensive gift; you can still get the perfect gift on a budget. With the economic downturn everyone should be thrifty this Christmas and should look for cheap gift alternatives. It’s as simple as it sounds and can ensure that everyone on the list is covered including you, without putting much hurt on your bank account. See tips below.

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Make a budget. Set aside money that should be spent on gifts and then place a figure next to each person’s gift so that you don’t overspend on one person’s gift idea. If this happens, before you purchase another gift try to cut cost from other gift ideas so that you don’t have to use extra money from what was budgeted.

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Be creative- Gifts don’t necessarily need to be purchased; think about what the person that you are buying for really loves and if presenting something heartfelt would be better appreciated than store bought gifts. Brainstorm gift ideas before making a final choice 8

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Make a gift list- Think about all the persons that you want to purchase a gift for and list their names along with their gift choices and the amount that you are willing to spend on a gift. Remember the budget; although it is not the final cost, it will help to keep your spending in check.

ping paper.

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Trim your gift list- Yes the new girl at the office is friendly but does she need to get a gift especially on your tight budget? You may want to purchase a gift for everyone but your budget just won’t allow it. Christmas cards are always a great idea to let someone know that you appreciate them. Plus with the invention of the internet, E-cards are the new, fun and exciting way of sending salutations on any holiday.

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Start early- Some stores begin their Christmas sales at the end of October and continue throughout the Christmas season. If you have the money and the right deal comes along, purchase the gift as soon as possible. Some stores often raise the prices on goods before they advertise a sale so if you wait too long you might miss the opportunity to save a couple dollars off an item. It might not be much, but it will sure come in handy.

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Don’t shop for yourself- At least not while shopping for your friends and family. The “maybe-I’ll-buyone-for-myself-too” can cause you to pick up unnecessary stuff that will only hurt your bank account in the end. Get everyone off the list first or shop for your Christmas gift first, but never combine the two.

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Forget pricey giftwraps- Choosing pricey gift-wrap and bags can really add up when you think about how many are needed to wrap gifts. Some gifts such as jewelry are already presented in boxes with some being adorned with bows just for the Christmas season. A cute tag or bow can be placed on any gift without the need to buy extra wrap-

Stay away from expensive stores- Unless you really want to get someone a gift from an expensive store, stay away from these even if they advertise a sale. Most of these stores mark-up their prices by as much as 20% before slashing prices, making the new prices similar to the original price. These are quick easy ways to trap spenders especially those wanting to get the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

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Check out online sitesShopping sites such as Amazon and E-bay are perfect for gifts as persons may be selling second-hand items at a reduced price. There is also the “daily deals” section available that can help you save a couple extra dollars if purchased at the right time.

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Postpone the giftthis is a bit tricky as Christmastime is the one time of the year that people get excited about giving and receiving gifts; especially receiving. But if they’re your friends, they’ll understand if you won’t be able to exchange gifts this year or if the Christmas gift won’t be ready until the New Year.


ELEGANT IDEAS

Doing DĂŠcor Right With Accessories Turn bland into bold with gold accessories and furnishing. The large white floral decorations help to tie this room together.

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ELEGANT IDEAS

Bedrooms are not exempt from holiday decorations. Spruce up your sleep space with well-placed accessories.

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ELEGANT IDEAS

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Use a white tree in the absence of snow. Bolster the look with traditional gold and red.

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ELEGANT IDEAS

A faux fireplace and walls adorned with festive patterns help to create a warm Christmas vibe.

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ELEGANT IDEAS

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KITCHEN

Christmas Cocktails

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t is no secret that drinks are as synonymous with the Christmas season as Christmas trees. In Trinidad and Tobago each person would have his/her version of sorrel, ginger beer or ponche de crème. However, there are other drink alternatives which can and should be incorporated. Here are some alcoholic cocktails that are sure to spice up your holidays.

a stockpot. Place orange slices, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and cloves in a muslin pouch or directly into the apple cider mixture. Bring apple cider mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until flavors have blended, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove orange slices and spices before serving.

POINSETTIAS Ingredients 4 ounces brut Champagne 1 1/2 tablespoons cranberry juice

NOGTINI Ingredients 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup 1 cup ice, or as needed 4 fluid ounces eggnog 2 fluid ounces coffee-flavored liqueur (such as KahluaÂŽ) 2 fluid ounces vodka 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 tablespoon whipped cream, or to taste 1 pinch ground nutmeg Directions Swirl chocolate syrup around in a martini glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour eggnog, coffee-flavored liqueur, vodka, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg over ice; cover and shake. Strain mixture into prepared martini glass; garnish with whipped cream and 1 pinch nutmeg. 16

Directions Pour champagne into a champagne flute, and top with cranberry juice.

CHRISTMAS WASSAIL Ingredients 1/2 gallon apple cider 1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice 46 fluid ounces cranberry juice cocktail 1 orange, thinly sliced 5 cinnamon sticks 1 tablespoon allspice 1 tablespoon whole cloves Directions Pour apple cider, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice into

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HOT CRANBERRY CITRUS PUNCH

namon sticks. Stir to dissolve sugar. Cook on High for 4 to 6 hours. Turn heat to Low and keep warm for serving.

CHRISTMAS COSMO Ingredients 2 fluid ounces vodka 1 fluid ounce cranberry juice 1 fluid ounce triple sec (orangeflavored liqueur) 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 1 lime wedge 2 cranberries Directions Fill a cocktail shaker with ice; add vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, and lime juice. Cover and shake. Strain cocktail into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and cranberries.

Ingredients 2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail 3 cups orange juice 1/4 cup white sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 pinch salt 2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks

COFFEE AND CREAM COCKTAIL

Directions In a 4 quart or larger slow cooker, combine the cranberry juice, orange juice, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and cin-

Directions Fill a small glass with ice cubes; pour in coffee-flavored liqueur and Irish cream liqueur. Stir well.

Ingredients 4 ice cubes, or as desired 1 1/2 fluid ounces coffee-flavored liqueur 1 1/2 fluid ounces Irish cream liqueur


RECIPES

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Delightful Christmas Dishes

t’s Christmas again and it’s only right to dedicate this page to some local Nativity favourites. After all, what’s Christmas lunch without black cake, pastelles or turkey? Enjoy these three tried and true recipes.

erous amount of the rosemary mixture under the breast skin and down the thigh and leg. Rub the remainder of the rosemary mixture over the outside of the breast. Use toothpicks to seal skin over any exposed breast meat.

ROSEMARY ROASTED TURKEY

Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Roast in the preheated oven 3 to 4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C).

Ingredients 3/4 cup olive oil 3 tablespoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 1 teaspoon ground black pepper Salt to taste 1 (12 pound) whole turkey Directions Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt. Set aside. Wash the turkey inside and out; pat dry. Remove any large fat deposits. Loosen the skin from the breast. This is done by slowly working your fingers between the breast and the skin. Work it loose to the end of the drumstick, being careful not to tear the skin. Using your hand, spread a gen18

OLD-FASHIONED PASTELLES Ingredients: 1 pound beef steak, minced or ground 1 pound lean pork, minced or ground 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1 small onion, minced 1 small bunch green onions, minced including the tops 1 clove garlic, minced 3 medium tomatoes, diced 1 tablespoon vinegar ¼ cup raisins, minced (optional) 2 tablespoons capers (optional) 10 green olives, minced (optional) Salt and black pepper to taste vegetable oil 12 7-inch square pieces of ba-

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nana leaf for wrapping 3 cups grated fresh corn, excess juice squeezed out cotton string for tying Directions 1. Brown the meat in the oil, then add the onion, green onions, garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, the optional ingredients (if desired), and the salt and pepper and cook down over medium heat for 15 minutes. The mixture should be fairly dry. 2. Using the vegetable oil, coat the inside of the banana leaves. Divide the corn among the leaves and spread it about 5 inches square and ¼ inch thick on each leaf. Divide the meat mixture and spread it out over the corn (about two tablespoons per leaf ). Fold up the leaves into envelope-like packages and secure them with the string. Either boil the pastelles or steam them for an hour.

CARIBBEAN BLACK CAKE Ingredients 1/2 lb butter, softened 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons browning sauce (helps to darken the cake, especially if you don't use dark rum in the cake) (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 large eggs 1 cup dark rum (brandy can be substituted, as can red wine) 1/4 lb mixed peel 1/4 lb cherry 1/4 lb mixed nuts (unsalted) or 1/4 lb nuts, of your choice 1/2 lb prune, chopped 1 lb raisins 1 lime, zest of, freshly grated 1 lemon, zest of Directions Preheat oven to 325°F; spray a nine-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and browning until soft and creamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a third bowl, beat the eggs with the rum. Add egg mixture to butter mixture and thoroughly combine, then stir in zest, fruit and nuts. Fold in flour mixture; do not overbeat. Put batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for approximately 90 minutes, or until cake tests done; may need longer. Remove cake from pan when cool.


BRIDAL

Makeup Tips For The Boxing Day Bride

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t’s easy to run off to the little girl’s room to touch up when you are on a date or just hanging out with friends. However, your wedding day affords none of that. Once you are prepped and dressed you have to stay that way pretty much until your wedding night or maybe even the morning after. On such an auspicious occasion it is important that your looks don’t fade away as fast as the bottles of champagne at the reception. The key in order to ensure this, is getting proper wedding makeup done – more importantly, makeup that lasts. The first part of getting your makeup to last is preparing the canvas. In this case the canvas is your skin. By taking care of your face, staying out of the sun and remaining properly hydrated you have won half the battle. Cleansing your face is the first step in the other half of the fight. Don't use harsh treatments on oily skin as you could actually increase the oil in your skin. Instead, create a skincare routine using cleansers and balancers that have been customized for your skin type. If you are into facials, get your last regular facial a week before the wedding. Use the weeks before your wedding to experiment with your canvas. Find the right shades to match 20

your colour and get accustomed to using lip balm or moisturizer. Color fades unevenly on dry, chapped lips. The next step in the quest for long-lasting makeup is laying a proper base. In order to make sure that the makeup stays on and to minimize slide, apply moisturizer twenty minutes before starting your makeup. Use concealer under your eyes. Oil-based concealers are the best choice for those inclined to be teary brides. Weddings are not the Olympics; there is no need for your makeup to run. A strange, but battle-tested formula for conquering foundation that wears away easily is trying a formula with a little oil. Complete your foundation with face powder. After the perfect base is applied the rest becomes easier.

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After all, a good foundation is the start of all good things. Now you can approach other areas such as the cheeks. Makeup applied to the cheeks gives structure to the face and has the power to define a look all by itself. When applying cheek makeup two techniques work best. The first technique involves using a powder-based blush, which lasts longer than a cream blush. Secondly, as an alternative to the first technique, try a cheek stain. Just be sure to blend fast. Once the stain sets, it stays put. One’s eyes can tell tales that would make even Paul-KeensDouglas blush. These windows to your soul are likely to get as wet as a windshield during Hurricane Katrina at the wedding. Here is how you make sure the tears don’t ruin your finish. Prep your eyelids with an eyeshadow

base or a little face powder. Use waterproof mascara – waterproof means tear proof. Allow each coat to dry for a few seconds before applying the next layer. To avoid smudging leave your lower lashes clean. The French technique of the eyelash perm can also be employed to keep your makeup intact. Results last for roughly two months. When you kiss the groom it should not look like there was a lip transplant between both of you. Your lip-makeup should stay on you and you only. Prep lips with a little foundation. Try to refrain from using moisturizer within one hour of application of makeup. Before filling out lips with colour outline them with lip liner. Lipstick should be applied with a lip brush. It is important to blot between layers when applying lipstick. Lip stains are also a good choice especially for those who choose to go with bright lip colours. However, make sure your lips go through a thorough moisturizing regimen leading up to the wedding day as stains dry out your lips. These tips go a long way toward ensuring your makeup stays on you for extended periods. There are a thousand things that can ruin a wedding. Don’t let your makeup be one of them.


FAMILY

5 Tips For An Enjoyable Christmas

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hristmas, though officially a Christian holiday is celebrated by numerous religious sects worldwide. Many use the season to spend time with close family; others use it to simply relax, reflect and catch up on good times with distant friends. This season was made for celebration; see to it by inspiring others and shaking things up in your life. After all you deserve to be happy… Here are some simple helpful tips that will ensure that you will increase your yuletide pleasures: Plan well in advance: Ensure that you do your Christmas shopping early in the year. Most times the adrenalin rush is anticipated by most holiday shoppers. However, if you want to get in on the big bargains the best time to reel in the savings is during a slow season like just after the Christmas rush in January or February. In doing this you can be sure to catch new products at the lowest prices. Simply hold on to them until the holidays come back around again, you will have extra cash in hand and your wallet won’t regret it! 22

Keep get togethers simple: Celebrators love to go all out by extending their workload in preparing for the perfect gathering. For party planners this can be very tiresome, so cut down on your entertainment time. A Christmas dinner will give you more time to make the occasion exquisite, short and sweet! Guests will enjoy the cool evening, forget the luncheons. Family members especially tend to appreciate each other’s time at a laid back dinner. For drinkers, be careful to incorporate a moderate amount of alcohol! This will help to keep persons who may have any hidden grievances in check. Make a vacation date: The preparations can be overwhelming for most persons who have heavy workloads. This is the best time of the year to take a vacation and reflect on how you are going to face the workplace and relationships in the New Year ahead. You will have plenty of time to plan your self elevation methods and de-stressing will be at its peak because the only work on your mind will be Christmas gatherings. Visit the spa, relax and wind down totally

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with a massage that will keep you rejuvenated for all those activities you will have time to partake in. Enjoy the festivities and keep smiling. Try something new; create new traditions: Take the monotony out of your season and keep an eye out in the newspapers for new recipes to try out. The worst thing that can hamper any Christmas meeting is when guests cringe at doing the same old thing every year. Keep your guests wondering…? “What will they do next? Or I can’t wait to see” That will make them really appreciate your time and effort. For those with a significant other in your life, this will be fun. Spouses are sure to be very anxious to see how you are going to spruce up the holiday. Do this and you can look out for an eventful time and an even longer lasting relationship. Surround yourself with people who light up your life: Christmas must not be spent alone, get up and create some excitement in your life. Your closest friends look forward to the annual gift exchange; it’s

nice to share with those you love. If you don’t get what you expect however, don’t hold them at arms’ length unless they do something really dreadful like re-gifting you and are careless enough for you to notice. This will be sure to lose points with even the closest friends so don’t attempt it if you have not done so before. The smiles and gossip you catch up on during this time is even more amazing. Stay in the know and bump to some smooth music with your gals or guys. Don’t think about moping if you think you have a reason to. Friends are sure to make you smile during the even worst times, keep them close for the holiday and all year round. Follow these tips and be sure to make your life and season very fulfilling. Moderation is the key to making these tips work, so put a measure on it. The right balance must be sought to keep everyone smiling through the season of togetherness. Most importantly, everyone should avoid Mr. Scrooge’s reincarnates at all costs to see the light of enjoyment. Have a Happy Holiday!


WARDROBE

POWDER ROOM

The Dos And Don’ts Of Body Spray

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hen using body spray or cologne, you are trying to create allure and leave people around you enjoying your scent. Too much fragrance triggers breathing problems or allergies in some, turning them off to the person wearing it. Too little scent is a waste, since it dissipates before having the desired effect. Use the right amount of cologne and body spray and choose wisely when purchasing so that your signature fragrance gives the public the right message about you. Body Spray Tips Shower using a shower gel or soap that complements your selected fragrance. Towel off. Using a scented shower gel that complements your fragrance creates a layered effect and helps the fragrance last longer. Apply body spray while still naked and warm from the shower. Spray once, holding the spray at least 6 inches from the body and covering the portion of your body that will be covered by clothes. If you are using cologne instead of body spray, you only need a small amount as it is more concentrated. Dab a bit on the underside of your elbows. Body Spray Don’ts Do not wear cologne or scented

Three Fashion Tips For Skinny Women

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body spray to a job interview or in a close office environment since it creates allergic reactions or breathing problems in some sensitive people. Only combine perfumes if they are products by the same fragrance such as when they come in a Gift Set (like lotion and perfume, or shower gel and cologne). Otherwise do not mix brands, or different colognes together. Do not use perfume as a deodorant. This should not have to be stated, but since we are stating it there must be a reason for it. There are some spray deodorants, but your body spray is not one of them. Lastly, do not replace your bath with a fragrance. The end result of that will be a fragrance that is not so chipper. Always shower or bathe before applying a fragrance.

eople think skinny people have it easy. The big girls complain that they can’t find anything stylish to fit them, but we Caribbean people know that if you are too skinny, finding clothes can be equally challenging. Here’s how to attack this problem. Find The Correct Cut Focusing on how to create curves and volume is the main goal for skinny girls when fashioning their attire. You need to create curves where you want them, or to add a balanced weight to the entire look. Here, you can dare to wear very close cuts or longer, a dress that hugs the body slightly, or bigger cuts to make you look wider. Nowadays, there are a number of designs that specialize in creating perfect slim size cuts with feminine curves in places exactly where they are desirable. Find the Right Fabric Fabrics with some structure are great for creating the illusion of curves, but you don’t want to go too bulky as this can make your w w w . a m g tt. c o m

frame look rigid. If you want to accentuate your figure then clingy fabrics are great but if you want to add curve to your frame then avoid them and go for something thicker like wool. Find Amazing Accessories Accessories take your look from scary skinny to model-like stylishness. However, very oversized accessories are not good on a skinny body. Choose belts of moderate width and shoes that are in the current fashion but not too chunky. For ladies, unless you are super tall, skip the grossly oversized handbag; choose a similar style that's scaled down.

DECEMBER 2014

ABSTRACT HOME

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MEDICINE CABINET

HOME GYM

4 Ways To Prevent Body Pain Resulting From Exercise

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Four Underrated Foods That Are Good For Your Health

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here seems to be much debate about diet these days and whether or not certain foods are as healthy as they are touted to be. Research has shown that the foods identified here are actually better for you than you think they are. Oysters Per calorie, oysters are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and are particularly high in essential omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which is notoriously tough to get from food. Sardines Canned sardines are an economical package of omega 3 fatty acids, protein and calcium. Learn to love these little guys on wholewheat toast for breakfast or a light dinner. Choose sardines in spring water or olive oil. Cloves This is more of a spice than an actual food. However, cloves are useful for helping soothe an upset stomach and help aid digestion and prevent excess wind. 24

Cloves also have an antimicrobial action which helps rid the digestive tract of unwanted parasites and bacteria. Cloves are beneficial for easing coughs and expelling phlegm. They have also been traditionally used topically to help relieve toothaches. Hot Peppers Though they are feared for their fierce flavour, hot peppers are loaded with capsaicin, a compound that helps your body burn more calories by boosting metabolism. Research shows the compound can also help reduce blood pressure by relaxing arterial walls.

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any experts speak of ways to reduce pain and inflammation after it has occurred. In this article I would like to tell you how to prevent body pain that happens as a result of exercise. You see many of the aches and body pains that people experience after exercise can actually be prevented by following these 4 simple rules. Rule 1 - Warm Up the Body: – Before engaging in any physical activity, the body must be warmed up. Basic things like jumping jacks, waist twists or light bouncing will do the trick. The warm up is used to get the blood moving, to warm up the muscles, to break the synovial capsules to release their joint fluid and to prevent injury. Simple range-of-motion movements will elevate respiration enough to make a difference before you start. Rule 2 - Stretch Before and After: – Once the body is warm, the muscles are ready to be stretched. You do not necessarily need to do intensive full body stretches before playing ping pong, but loosening the major muscles you will use in your activity is a must. As long as the muscle stretches are held within normal range of motion, and until tension is released, they will be effective. The important point is this: Stretch to feel good, not to be flexible. With that in mind, you won’t overstretch and cause injury. Rule 3 - Target Weak Muscles: – If you are doing strength

training, be sure to vary your routine and target the weaker muscles. The larger muscles do in fact depend on the weaker and smaller ones to hold the body frame in place. Yet most people forget about the small guys in favor of making the big guys even bigger. Needless to say, they feel pain from muscle imbalances. So avoid this exercise pain by targeting the smaller and weaker muscles as part of your ongoing routine. Rule 4 - Reduce Pain and Inflammation: – Injuries like strains, tears and inflammation hamper exercise progress and overall health. It is therefore important to begin the healing process as soon as possible. If an injury is acute, it is best to apply cold within the first 5 minutes to reduce swelling. Ice packs, ice cubes, a frozen bag of peas or cold gels can be applied. On for 20 minutes, off for 20 minutes, continue as necessary. When swelling is down and the pain cycle is broken, stop the cold and apply heat. This will bring oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the area to relax muscles, remove waste products and promote healing. Additionally, supplements containing both a natural anti-inflammatory herbal extract and natural acid that increases flexibility and relieves joint pain can be taken. I hope these five simple rules will help you prevent injuries that arise from exercise. Simply warm up, stretch, strengthen weak muscles, reduce inflammation and rest … and you can enjoy your workouts injury free.


GARAGE

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Car Painting Mistakes

ave you recently got your automobile painted, but you aren’t pleased with the work that was done? If so, the painter/ straightener may have made one of these mistakes. Using wrong sandpaper You need to use sandpaper specially designed for car paint repairs. Regular wood sandpaper or sanding block is too rough and will leave scratches. If you want to do wet sanding, make sure it says wet/dry on the label. Not removing dirt and wax before paint touch-up Applying touch up paint on top of a dirty surface will prevent it from adhering properly. First, you need to wash it with water and some dish soap. Next, follow it up with prep solvent. Prep solvent removes oils, road grease, dirt, car wax, and other surface contaminates and also improves adhesion to the surface. Not applying primer You need to apply primer be-

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PETS

cause paint doesn’t stick very well to bare metal. Primer ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases paint durability, and provides additional protection for the material being painted. If you don’t apply primer, you paint will start chipping after a while. Applying paint layers all at once Not giving each layer enough drying time might result in a paint bubble, because the top layer dries faster than the bottom layers. Drying time varies from 30 min to 1 hour depending on the product and the temperature. Painting in the wrong temperatures Painting your car in the temperatures lower than 55F or higher than 80F is not a good idea. As the weather gets colder or hotter, the behavior of the paint changes which might result in blotches or blushing, bubbling, discoloration, or a gritty texture. The ideal temperature is 72F with 50% humidity.

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Pets As Presents Are A Bad Idea

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addy’s little princess wants a pony for Christmas. While that may be definitely out of the question for most of us, some people actually do give pets for presents. Puppies, hamsters and rabbits are often given to people as gifts but that may not be a good thing for these reasons. Lack of Preparation Before a pet is brought in, petproofing and other preparations should be done. Getting a dog for someone who lives on a busy street and doesn’t have a fenced-in yard may just be creating more of headache for the recipient. Without proper preparation and safe-guarding, it can put the animal at risk. There is a Financial Responsibility Even if you acquire a pet that has had its first round of vaccinations or even the complete set, there’ll be a financial responsibility to maintain the pet’s health over a lifetime. In addition to food and pet supplies, there will be veterinary

costs. The recipient may not be able or willing to invest in maintaining the animal’s care. Regardless of whether you purchase a pet or adopt one for free, that animal will require a lifelong financial commitment. Surprising someone who is financially unable to care for a pet isn’t fair to the person and it certainly isn’t fair to the pet. The Pet Lives Beyond Christmas The recipient of the pet may be overjoyed initially but unprepared for the lifelong commitment. How many times have you seen children thrilled at the surprise of receiving a puppy or kitten for Christmas but then the novelty wears off as the animal grows into an adult and isn’t as “cute” anymore. The recipient may also not be prepared for the lifelong care the animal will need. You may think that beautiful Persian kitten would be a great surprise but if the recipient isn’t capable or willing to do the necessary daily grooming, the cat will suffer.


TRAVEL

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Top 10 Caribbean Christmas Destinations

hristmas is a time for celebrating the year that is about to end and ushering in the beginning of a new one. Family and friends who migrate often come home at this special time of the year to be close to their love ones. The main things about Christmas celebrations are love, family, food and drinks. Some of us may be unable to make it back home to our families for the holidays because of work or school. This means that Christmas this year will be spent in a country or island that we are unfamiliar with. I have prepared a list of the top ten Caribbean Christmas destinations and some of their Christmas traditions. This list should be useful to you if you plan on visiting someone for the holidays, or if you are spending Christmas on a new island.

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Christmas celebrations in Aruba officially begin on October 1st. “Sinterklass” (Saint Nicholas) is said to celebrate his birthday on December 5. On the days preceding his arrival children put out their shoes and treats in anticipation of his nighttime arrival. Sinterklass’ arrival by boat is celebrated with much fanfare including a parade through the town. Spice cookies and candies are given out to children by his helpers. On December 25 the musical tradition of “Noche Buena” is carried on by a group of singers who tell the story of the birth of Christ. The main New Year’s Day celebration is called “Dande”. It involves a music band which travels from door to door to express their best wishes and blessings for the New Year. A hat is passed around to col28

lect money for the singers. Each year a Dande queen or king is elected.

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The Abacoa Christmas festival is celebrated in the Bahamas each year by the Ministry of Tourism. Among the attractions are boats sailing around the harbor, colored lights and garlands of local flowers. A wide array of culinary delights and a display of wares from local artists and craftspeople also add to the attraction. The music is provided by local choirs, quartets and soloists as well as calypso bands. Children are entertained by junkanoo parades and spectacular fireworks. The visit from Santa and the giveaway of free toys to all children is said to be the highlight of the evening.

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In the middle of December, trucks in Barbados are decorated with Christmas decorations and lights and form a parade through the streets of Bridgetown. Hundreds of kids and residents line up along the route to see the parade. The kids are always eager to see Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman and their favourite cartoon characters. Barbadian Christmas music is mostly based on church and concert performances. Barbados is also the home of the distinctive practice in which “scrubbers” travel from house to house singing hymns and receiving gifts from households.

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The annual Bermuda boat parade showcases boats of different sizes decorated with brilliant festive lights that light up Hamilton harbor. The evening is finished off with a brilliant firework display. In St Georges

ABSTRACT HOME DECEMBER 2014 w w w . a mg t t . c o m

there is an annual New Year's Eve event which is open and free to all. You can spend the night enjoying the live performances of bands, food, dancing, a fireworks display and the traditional lowering of the Bermuda onion from the flagpole.

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As Christmas approaches in Trinidad and Tobago the songs of Parang and Soca Parang could be heard coming from almost every home. Local cuisine at Christmas time often consists of pastel, ham, pigeon peas, and rice. The desert of choice is black cake, the main ingredients of which are fruits soaked in rum for months before Christmas. The popular drinks are ginger beer and sorrel.

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One of the most revered Christmas traditions of the Cayman Islands is a sand yard. From as early as October women and children bring sand from the beaches to cover their yards. On Christmas Eve morning the sand is swept across the yard covering it in white. Food is also a very important part of their Christmas tradition. Each house is stocked with more food than at any other time of the year.

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Christmas day in St Lucia starts off with midnight mass as most of the population is Roman Catholic. A group known as “Sewenal” who celebrates by singing Creole songs, goes from house to house early Christmas morning. The local characters such as the “Pai Banan” with their clothing of dried fig leaves, “Mary Assent” and “Papa Jab” dressed in his red suit wine until they are offered drinks.

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Christmas dinner in Jamaica consists of rice and gungo peas, chicken, oxtail and curried goat and it is a really big feast for them. The drink of choice in Jamaica is sorrel made from dried sorrel petals, cinnamon, cloves and sugar. The traditional Christmas carols are sung but most are done with a reggae beat.

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Christmas in the Dominican Republic is such a large celebration that it starts in October and ends in January. Fireworks are very popular and can be seen almost every day leading up to Christmas. The big feast takes place on Christmas Eve as family and friends come together to eat and celebrate. December 25 is considered a day of recuperation. Gifts are given out on January 6, which is said to be the date of the wise men’s arrival at Jesus’ birth place.

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Christmas in Antigua and Barbuda entails barbeques on the beach, live steel pan music and the tasty Caribbean drink, sorrel. There are various Boxing Day fetes held all over the island which add to the festivities of the season. On New Year’s Day the annual street costume parade is a sight that should not be missed. These are some of the traditions and festivities that take place in the Caribbean islands. It’s a basic outline of what you can look forward to. There is no need to worry about feeling lonely or left out. Everyone is friendly and it is the season to share. I assure you that there will not be one boring moment.


Abstract Home Is Published By Abstract Media Group, Premium Commercial Complex, San Juan, Trinidad, W.I. • Tel: (868) 638 1156/9 • Fax: (868) 638 1160. Printed By The Office Authority - Printing Division And Distributed By AMG

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Abstract Home Vol.5 Issue19 2014  

In this issue Five Tips for an enjoyable Christmas Sumptuous Seasonal Recipes and More Holiday Accessorizing for your Ho-Ho-Home

Abstract Home Vol.5 Issue19 2014  

In this issue Five Tips for an enjoyable Christmas Sumptuous Seasonal Recipes and More Holiday Accessorizing for your Ho-Ho-Home

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