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e are often faced with questions about dealing with small room décor, but large rooms can be equally difficult to decorate to your liking. It takes some skill to make a large space comfortable. Here’s how you do it. Lighting Whether your room is small, medium or large, there is no denying the impact lighting can make on how the room feels. Bigger rooms usually have more windows, so during the day lighting isn’t as much of a concern. However, once dusk draws

Making A Large Room More Homey near, shadows and dark corners can make everyone feel uneasy. If you have just one center ceiling light, you will likely want to add more light with lamps. A room can look awkward if you have too many lamps, though so put some thought into it.

Fill Wall Spaces The best way to fill up a bare space is to cover it. Gaping amounts of open wall space should be covered with art or accessories to add depth to the blandness. In large spaces, it is best to pull furniture off the walls. Doing this can help you create something more cozy and theme specific closer to the center of the space. Just note that without using well-placed art, the extra space opened up by moving the furniture can

leave a great deal of wall space bare. One foolproof combo is a console table placed against the bare wall with a pair of benches tucked beneath it and a neat grid of frames hung above. Colour Another way to add comfort to a large space is to add creative colour schemes to the room. A

great option is painting walls in two tones. Painting color on your walls only part of the way up creates a cozier feeling; tricking the eye into thinking the ceilings are lower than they are. If you paint the ceiling a shade or two or even several shades darker than your walls, your ceiling won’t seem as tall and your room might feel more snug and cozy.

Preserving The Life Of Wicker Furniture


icker" refers to a variety of vines, grasses and plants woven into furniture. There are essentially four major types of wicker: rattan, reed, willow and bamboo. In the Caribbean with our natural greenery, it is easy to integrate wicker into nearly any furnishing theme, and it is often done. Mostly placed in verandahs or outdoor settings and left to the elements, it is still important to care for your wicker furniture. Wicker likes humidity but it is not outdoor furniture. Rain, direct sunlight, and dew are damaging. Dry indoor heat dries wicker causing it to crackle and creak under pressure. Wiping occasionally with a damp (not wet) sponge may help. Avoid exposing your wicker furniture to the elements, including not

only rain but extremely humid conditions. The moisture in the air can cause mold to grow on the caning. Put your wicker set in an enclosed sunroom or bring it inside overnight if you use it on an outside deck. To Protect your wicker A coating of clear varnish, shellac or lacquer should be applied.

Painted wicker can be freshened with a new coat of paint and again, allow several days for drying before using. A thin coating of liquid furniture wax applied after the new finish is completely dry will help maintain the gloss finish. Flat finishes will give the most natural look... glossier finishes will add more durability and cleaning ability. If w w w . a m g tt. c o m

sealed and waxed wicker is generally kept cleaner and should not need the complete washing. Extend the life of wicker chairs by using seat cushions. The cushions can help protect the seat and also add color to your room. Store your wicker furniture in an area that is not too dry and not too humid. The woven strands can snap if they dry out. Take damaged wicker furniture to a repair person who specializes in re-weaving wicker. He will know how to replace broken or missing strands without causing further damage to the item. If there are a number of wicker pieces that the same people use regularly, rotate the chair positions every once in a while to minimize repeated strain.

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Overcoming Regular Design Flaws


onstructing the floor plan of your house is as important as the actual construction itself. In fact, it is more important. When coming up with the initial design scope for your home, be sure to pay attention to these regularly overlooked flaws. Skimping on your lot Location truly is everything. This is one of those decisions in life, when you cannot make a mistake. Always, go heavy on your lot investment; you will never regret this decision. Rarely, will you find a good deal on a lot. Great location comes at a price. If you are talking to a Home Builder who is promoting one of his lots, make sure you have done your homework and thoroughly analyzed the other available building lots in the area. Do not make your decision based on price alone. Look at the other homes that are in or will be built near your location. Are they in the same price range? Are there water issues in the area? What are the 2

current and future traffic patterns? What direction does the lot face? What are the current and future schools? Going too simple Creating drama is much easier when building a home from the ground up. Within your building plan, you must design and designate some areas of unique opportunities. This is where you will be able to create the drama in your home. You do not necessarily have to spend a lot of money here, but you must think

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this process through. The additional investment for a Tray Ceiling, Niche, Barrel Ceiling, Dome Ceiling, Unique Drywall Spaces, Dramatic Dining Room, or Grand Columned Entry Way, is minimal compared to what they can add to the total market value of your home. Bring your Interior Design team together when you are drafting your floor plan. Their experience from previous projects and gift for great design can offer you a collection of ideas to introduce in your home. This additional step can ensure that you do not miss out on the many creative opportunities in the designing stage. Electrical issues It is so hard to visualize all of the areas where you will have future electrical needs. During the holidays it may be a receptacle on the stair landing, front porch, or separate breakers for outside lighting. Go through the year in your head, reviewing how all areas of your home will be used. Will a bedroom someday become a future office? Garage re-

ceptacle locations, separate light switch for outside holiday lights, entry way outlets, deck or outside activities, TV/Internet locations, Plasma TV wall outlets, correct location for main audio equipment, present and future wiring for speakers in your current and future media rooms. Another thing to keep in mind is the importance of lighting. When you are staging a room to create a functional and dramatic effect, this must be well thought out. There are so many lighting options available today, whether it is a wall sconce, rope lighting in a tray ceiling, unique puck lighting or shadow lighting an area, which is being staged, before a room of opportunity. These are not quick decisions to make; you must do your homework. Discuss the various lighting options available with your supplier of lighting fixtures. Also meet with your Home Builder, Interior Designer, Architect, Electrical Contractor and if, you are fortunate, a talented lighting specialist in your area.


Indications Your Plant May

Not Be Getting Enough Light


ight, especially sunlight is beneficial to all living organisms. Plants are especially dependent on light since they derive energy from it. If you have houseplants or a full garden and you are concerned your plants may not be getting too much light, this article should help you. Leaf Color In general, most plant leaves have a dark green appearance, depending on the plant type. This green color is due to the chlorophyll within the plant's cells; the chlorophyll soaks up the incoming light to photosynthesize. However, insufficient light exposure stops the chlorophyll from working at peak performance. Leaves will slowly lose their dark coloring and become lighter over time. If lighting does not improve, the

leaves will eventually become yellow and fall off the plant.

Plant Growth Since photosynthesis provides the energy the plant needs for growth, lack of light will stunt the plant's growth. If you had the plant near a window or potted in a sunny patio area, but moved it recently to a less bright location, you will notice this change. If you see that your plant has stopped growing, or is growing much more slowly than usual, it may be because it is not receiving enough light in its present location. Plants will naturally fight to stay alive and remain healthy. Insufficient light may still offer some energy to the plant so that its stems can grow slowly. However, you will notice that the spacing between leaves may increase. This space is called an internode. Longer than

normal internodes indicate lack of light. Thin leaves and unusually small leaves are other signs that your plants are not getting enough light. Leaning Photosynthesis uses mainly blue and red rays from the light spectrum for the best energy production. As a result, the plant may lean toward a natural light supply compared to an artificial light, such as an overhead incandescent light bulb, for those optimum rays. Stems and leaves will lean as far as possible toward the light; this action is a clear indication of insufficient light on a portion of the plant. You should orient the plant so that all of its stems and leaves can reach the rays of sunlight or use a fluorescent tube artificial light specially made for indoor plants.

Dealing With Glue Stains


lue is a binding agent that holds things together, but it can also be damaging if used incorrectly. Stains are not uncommon when using glue. That does not make them any more welcome. Because there are so many different types of glue, it's always best to check the package for any stain removal instructions. But if there are no instructions, or you're unsure of the type of glue, try these stain removal tips. • Scrape off any excess glue with a flat-bladed knife. • Soak the stained garment first in some water, to see if it loosens the glue. • Wash in hot water (the hottest temperature that the fabric can bear). Repeat this process if necessary. Let the garment dry and if the


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stain is still there, soak it again in cold water for 30 minutes.

• Scrape off excess glue with a flat-bladed knife. • Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with two cups of cold water. • Gently blot the stain, using a clean white cloth. Take your time, and be patient. • Using a dry, white cloth, blot till dry. • If the stain persists, repeat these steps. • When the stain is removed, sponge the area with cold water and then blot dry.

• Sponge the stain with a cleaning solvent such as dry cleaning fluid or a white spirit, let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinse again. • If the fabric is unwashable, it may require professional help. If the glue stain is on carpet or furniture try these steps.

More stubborn or older stains may require further treatment. Using a little acetone-based nail polish remover on a cotton bud can help. Test fabric in an inconspicuous area first. Slowly dab the stain with the cotton bud, until the glue softens. Then, rub with an old toothbrush until the glue flakes off.


Choosing The Right Carpenter


arpentry is an art form that is worth appreciation. It is a fantastic way of carving furniture and creating beautiful pieces. The art of carpentry has been in existence since the early Ages and at that time people carved out beautiful sculptures by hand. Carpentry in our time has entered into the machine world where carpenters use machines to design and build an item. The term carpentry is related more with wooden items, furniture and decors. Having beautifully designed furniture at your home elevates the elegance of your entire house. These beautifully crafted pieces of furniture jazz-up the atmosphere of the home every time you enter. We also need the services of carpenters for improving the old boring look of our house and to save our furniture from further damage. Therefore, it’s very important to choose a well-experienced and professional carpenter to design and construct furniture for your home. Here are some tips that 6

can help you in selecting best carpenters for your home. Identify What Type of Carpenter You Require? There are different kinds of carpenters who specialize in different things. For instance, a rough carpenter does things like framing, formwork and other structural work, a residential carpenter builds homes, installs flooring and specializes in molding and trim, decking and other jobs that need to look good aesthetically, whereas a repair carpenter is the one who specializes in repairing woodwork. While choosing a carpenter

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you shouldn't feel shy to inquire about referrals from your acquaintances. Make sure the carpenter you are selecting is aptly qualified, licensed and insured. Make phone calls to the references and ask if they were happy with the work done by the carpenter. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof. Check all licenses, certificates and insurance and ensure that they are all updated. Keep all of the warranties, guarantees and promises in writing before the work begins. It is important to get more than one proposal so that you can choose the best quote for

a particular job. Ask each carpenter to quote on the same things and then compare them accurately. The quotes should include labor, the cost of materials (make sure the materials are of the same or similar quality), and anything else that is required. On another hand, it’s worth considering that the cheapest quote is not always a best choice. Price is apparently an important aspect, but it is also important to choose a carpenter who offers high quality work by using high quality materials. While choosing a carpenter for your home it’s important to check out their availability. There is no point in selecting a carpenter who is not available within your timeframe. You want your project to be done within a couple of weeks and the carpenters you have selected might not turn up even in a month’s time. There is not anything worse than waiting for your carpenter to turn up so it’s better to check out their availability first.

home office

What’s Wrong With Your Saving Strategy?


ractically, we know saving money is smart, yet… sometimes we try to do it in not so smart ways. Do you walk around the store, even after you’ve picked up the 3 items on your list, looking for something that you ‘need’? Or what about buying things in bulk, all of which we rarely use, unless it’s TP. We’re powerless against the S word, SALE – grabbing up stuff even if we don't need it, “I’ll use this someday, for something.” Beware the term ‘zombie consumerism’ the almost mindless habit of ‘buying stuff ’ regardless of the overall especially long-term effect on our finances. Just the idea that something is on sale seems to trigger compulsive buying in some of us ending with huge credit card bills. Below are some actions that we found helpful. Only take the amount of cash necessary when you go shopping. You will spend only what you have available and by con8

and end up coming out with much more than we originally intended; the supermarket and the cosmetic store are places where this is likely to happen. A list means focused shopping and it increases the chances of a successful mission away from all the colorful, sweet smelling distractions. Speaking of groceries, leave the shopping cart in the front of the store. When we use a cart we are unconsciously encouraged to fill the space. Take a basket if you must. You won't buy as much if you have nowhere to put it. tinuously doing this, you will start to create positive spending habits. You will get used to the convenience of cash and spending within your means. Go shopping with a list. Which you will now have since you’re going with just the amount of cash you need. Many of us enter a store with the intention of buying a few items,

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Keep it realistically simple. With the ever-helpful ‘list’ practice - list all the non-essentials that you spend money on (almost all of us have a few) and work on eliminating these from your daily routine. Somehow we survived in the Caribbean all these years without $30 Java, think we’ll be ok without it if saving for something. The term ‘banding your belly’ may be

Trinbagonian but it’s practised universally, especially when saving for something tangible - cut out the expensive shoes and restaurants for the brown paper bag sandwich if need be, and besides, who can make a ham & turkey sandwich just the way you like it other than you? The small change adds up and soon that huge figure that seemed so unachievable at one point does not seem quite as overwhelming. Forget the trends, its expensive; ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ is costly. From the obvious clothes and shoes advertised that we suddenly must have, to the latest laptop, iPod and iPhone and its accessories. It’s futile to chase the ‘latest’ of these things as the models change continuously, leaving you always one step behind and a couple thousand bucks lighter. Do you, your daughter and your god-daughter really need the latest Smartphone?

elegant ideas

Celebrate Space

A sparsely decorated space is a great way to show off the finer things such as beautiful flooring w w w . a m g tt. c o m

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elegant ideas

A nice separation of colour and accents such as vertical indoor plants help to make this spacious room more inviting


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elegant ideas

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elegant ideas


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elegant ideas

This large living room stands out thanks to an open design scheme which links it to other parts of the house

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Bread Machine Tips

ost Trinbagonians bake bread the traditional way. However, technological advancements have made the process much easier in recent times. Bread machines have become increasingly popular, but that doesn’t mean bad loaves have become non-existent. While bread machines offer freshly baked bread at the push of a button, some people have still baked several duds. Below are twelve tips you might find helpful when baking with the bread machine. 1. Carefully read your manufacturer's directions and follow instructions for adding and layering ingredients. 2. Use 80°F water or liquids. 3. Always use fresh ingredients, and ensure dry ingredients are at room temperature. 4. Use bread flour - it is stronger that the other wheat flours and will tolerate the actions of the bread machine better, giving better volume and texture to your bread.


add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

5. Active Dry yeast - use 3/4 tsp for each cup of flour in your recipe for regular cycle bread machines; Active dry yeast is not recommended for onehour or express bread machine cycles.

rect contact with salt or sugar, as this will decrease the activity of the yeast. Use the back of a spoon to create a shallow pocket in the top of the flour and place the yeast there.

6. Instant Yeast - use 1/2 tsp for each cup of flour in your recipe for regular cycle bread machines; if using a one-hour or express bread machine cycles - yeast amounts must be doubled or tripled; suggested liquid temperatures vary with machines - follow your manufacturer's instructions.

8. Humidity – the way flour is measured and the moisture content of the flour affect dough consistency. Open the bread machine's lid after 5-10 minutes into the knead cycle. By this time, the dough should be in a soft, tacky ball. If it is dry and stiff, add liquid (80°F), 1/2 to 1 tablespoon at a time; if too wet and sticky,

7. Never place the yeast in di-

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9. Flour is sifted many times before being packaged. During shipping, it settles and becomes compact. First, aerate the flour in the bag or container by using a whisk. It is important not to dip the measuring cup into the flour; instead, scoop the flour lightly into a dry measuring cup. Do not tap or shake the cup to put more flour into it. Using a flat edge, scrape off the excess to make the flour even with the rim of the measuring cup. This method will assure an accurate measurement. 10. When using margarine or butter, cut it into small pieces to ensure that it is properly blended with the other ingredients. 11. Use a plastic spatula to help a loaf out of the pan. 12. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to remove the kneading paddle from the hot loaf of bread.


Pumpkin Recipes


t’s cheap and easy to find, yet we scarcely ever use it as the star of our dishes. Pumpkin can be so much more than a small addition to your pelau pot. Here are some great pumpkin recipes to try.

Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup Ingredients 1/4 cup coconut oil 1 cup chopped onions 1 clove garlic, minced 3 cups vegetable broth 1 teaspoon curry powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin 1 cup light coconut milk Directions Heat the coconut oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in the vegetable broth, curry powder, salt, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes. Cover, and boil 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the pumpkin and coconut milk, and cook another 5 minutes. Pour the soup into a blender, filling only half way and working in batches if necessary; process until smooth. Return to a pot, and reheat briefly over medium heat before serving. 18

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 pinch ground cloves 1 pinch ground nutmeg 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed Directions Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Ingredients 3 cups sugar 1 cup vegetable oil

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4 eggs 2/3 cup water 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground allspice 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cloves 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Pumpkin Pineapple Chili Ingredients 1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 (4 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 1 carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 3 cups vegetable broth 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, or as needed

Directions Set oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven's broiler. Spread corn and pineapple onto a baking sheet. Broil corn and pineapple in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onion, mushrooms, yellow bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper in the hot oil until vegetables are softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Mix vegetable broth, tomatoes, pumpkin, black beans, coconut milk, cilantro, onion mixture, and roasted pineapple-corn mixture in a large pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until soup is heated through and flavors have blended, 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish each serving with Cheddar cheese.


Surviving An Interracial/Cultural Marriage


ome things mix well naturally. Peanut butter and jelly; vodka and orange juice and salt and pepper immediately come to mind. However, when things outside of the realm of edible things are considered, things get a little trickier. Especially where relationships are concerned, some people have the potential to make oil and water look like bosom buddies. Interracial relationships tend to do just that. The pressure placed by society on the people trying to make it work might become too much. Even within the relationship the obvious differences may prove too much to cope with as race usually carries along with it cultural implications. It should also be noted that while interracial dating and relationships are tough to maintain, there are also advantages. Interracial dating assists you in learning about cultures you never knew existed. Plus, it can lead to a more colorful family history. Family members can learn more on their heritage and their ancestors. It can be an interesting 20

subject whenever there are stories about why their ancestors came to this place and how they have lived their lives since then. If you’re in love with someone who comes from a different race and a different culture, then here are some of the important things that will help you in developing a successful relationship with that person. Respect: As it goes for all relationships to work, mutual respect is one of the vital factors, which decides the likelihood of

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success or failure in interracial marriages. However, apart from respect for each other you need to begin respecting each other’s cultures, customs and traditions. You both have lived drastically different lives, and now since you plan to live together you need to learn to accept these differences and avoid pressurizing your partner to change his ways. Your religious faiths may also be different, and while there’s nothing wrong in following your religious practices even after marriage; you must learn to respect your partner’s religious faith too. Bridge the gap: Communication is the tool that you will find most useful in bridging the gap that exists between the two of you because of your different upbringing and because of your different cultures. You need to learn to discuss your likes and dislikes in a manner which is pleasant and doesn’t involve any kind of nagging or howling. In interracial relationships there

is sometimes not just a cultural barrier but also a verbal (May speak same language but different dialects) barrier and both these can be overcome only with honest and pleasant communication. Body language also falls under communication. Intimacy and commitment: If you want your interracial relationship to be fruitful, intimacy is not the only thing because commitment is also needed to prevent the unknown fears and worries from entering into and disturbing your relationship. Intimacy, both on physical and emotional levels, will help you to break the barriers and get to know each other better. And commitment will help you in making the right choices, whenever you’re faced with peculiar situations. Lastly, just keep in mind that the success of an interracial marriage depends entirely on the way the two of you support each other, instead of trying to overpower each other.


Parenting Tips For Busy Parents


he world is a fast-paced place and time waits for no one. Families are important and so are the jobs needed to keep them sheltered and fed. Therefore, we must find a balance between our busy schedules and our families. Try putting these pointers to use. Waking up earlier is a great way to handle efficiency issues as a parent. An early rise gives you a jump-start on planning your day. It also gives you the opportunity to find a spiritual space to meditate and find peace and calm before the hectic day begins. Everyone else will still be asleep so it will help you zone out and strategize. Having a strategy is important when it comes to dealing with kids in limited time. Make the most of the time you have with family members even if it’s on the fly. Try to be in the moment whether it’s while carpooling, sitting at activities, running errands, walking home from school, etc. There’s time for joking around, catching up on each other’s day, outlining a problem, or even brainstorming


solutions to problems. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time for a family meeting, or time to schedule a sit down conversation. Try to make sure everyone knows that the lines of communication are open – despite a hectic schedule. Eat together as many times as possible each week. Meal times are traditionally the time of day when family comes together to eat and discuss the events of the day. Working overtime, sports and after school activities all make evening meal times unpredictable, if not nonexistent. Try to plan daily meals

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to include as any family members as possible each day, and let everyone know what time they are expected to show. No matter what, make a full family attendance meal mandatory at least once a week. A busy schedule does not only affect your time at home with your children, it affects your ability to monitor his/her school progress and development. Make sure to visit your child's classrooms and meet his/ her teacher. Attend key meetings at the school, such as open house, back-to-school night, parent conferences, and parent

council meetings. That way you will pick up on any problems that need rectifying that your child may not have told you about. Also, find out about the school's homework policy and grade-level standards. Review homework with your child and make sure it is complete. Schedule a date night at home once a week with your spouse. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. For example, purchase a favorite dessert from a nearby bakery or restaurant. When the kids go to bed, enjoy it with your spouse and talk about the high and low points of your week. It is important to know that an enriched life with your spouse is important to the entire family. Your bond is an example passed on to your children. Be sure to protect your marriage in the ‘busyness’ of life. Does your spouse feel like you spend more focused time with the kids than you do with him/ her? Whatever the case, just note that if that bond is broken, raising children as a single parent is even harder (especially with your busy schedule).




Basic Beauty Tips For Men

n today's world men are not afraid to make themselves more attractive by using personal care products. You're already fly, but why not help nature out a bit and boost your ego? Indulge yourself by implementing these simple, proven beauty and grooming tips that will have you a cut above the rest. Men's Grooming Tips • Keep your fingernails trimmed and clean. Same for toenails. • Trim your nose hairs occasionally. What you're used to, others may notice. • If you don't iron your clothes, remove them immediately from the dryer so wrinkles don't set. • In hot weather, wear lightcolored, cotton clothing and socks. This will absorb less heat and "sweat stains" will be less visible. • Consider trimming your armpit hairs in warm weather. Fewer hairs, less bacteria, less smell. Think about it. • Don't be reluctant to trim or tweeze any stray eyebrow hairs. • Good dental hygiene means a dazzling smile. • Brush your tongue when you brush your teeth. Your tongue attracts bacteria and can cause bad breath.

Skin Care • Wear sunglasses outside, not only will the sun damage the skin around your eyes, constant squinting will leave permanent creases over time. • Men need moisturizers and sunscreen just as much as the opposite gender. If you don't have a skin care regimen, start now. • Quit smoking and heavy drinking and restore your healthy glow. • Never pick a mole. If one looks suspicious or is bothersome, your dermatologist can remove it with a very simple procedure. • Visit your dermatologist annually for a complete examination. • If you're prone to acne and breakouts, wash your face twice a day with antibacterial soap. • Use a toner to remove excess oil and shine on your face. • Use lip balm to prevent chapped lips in the tropical heat or air-conditioned rooms. Now that you have furnished yourself with swagger for days, go out and have fun. The women will definitely notice and the guys will envy you. After all, guys need a little attention too right?


Finding A Suit To Suit You

very man’s wardrobe must contain a good suit. You never know when you will be required to click on your dapper switch so having a well-tailored suit more than just comes in handy. It’s a muchunderstated requirement. Since many of us tend to overlook this, here are some tips to assist you in getting suited up correctly. 1. Make sure it fits properly in the shoulders when you try it on. If it doesn't, the suit will never fit well — despite what the salesman tells you. 2. It pays to have your suit altered by a good tailor. After all, you're not a fitting mannequin — your suit needs to be tailored to your body. 3. At the least, have the sleeves shortened. They should end at the hinge of your wrist so a sliver of dress-shirt cuff peaks out. 4. Have the length of the pants altered. Most guys walk around with their pants too baggy, or as they say in the tailoring biz, with too much "break." 5. If you're a slimmer guy, have the sides of the jacket taken in a bit, so the suit contours to your torso. Of course, no suit is complete with just a jacket and trousers. Other things should be considered as well. Accessories such as pocket squares, ties and bow ties can polish off the perfect look. If you're wearing a colored shirt, w w w . a m g tt. c o m

keep your accessories in the same color family and aim for a richer, more saturated hue. For example, a charcoal gray suit layered over a lavender dress shirt would look great with a deep, blue-based violet tie or pocket square. If you choose to wear a tie and pocket square together, they should not match exactly; rather, aim for less saturated hues of the same color or keep the pocket square white. If your shirt is already a bright, saturated color, it's a better idea to match your accessories to your suit. Imagine a black wool suit with a maroon dress shirt---a black silk tie would complement the look nicely. Also, your dress shirt can change the look of your suit, depending on the color, collar and fabrication you choose. For a traditional look that exudes confidence (perfect for a job interview), stick with a crisp, classic point-collar dress shirt in white or soft blue. Stay away from glossy, casual fabric weaves like twill and choose a sturdy cotton broadcloth or pinpoint fabric. Solid white or pale blue are can't-go-wrong choices for color, but if your suit is solid-colored, you can bring it to life with a pinstriped shirt. Keep the stripes small and evenly spaced---no variegated stripes for this traditional look. Hopefully, this article was tailor made for you and now you have what it takes to get dressed to suit the big occasion. JUNE 2014




home gym

Certified Fine Fitness Tips

A 3 Signs Your Sodium Level Is Too High


odium is an important mineral that the body needs for proper functioning. However, as with all things, too much of it has negative and sometimes dire effects. If you are concerned about your sodium levels due to excessive salt intake this article helps you to identify the signs.


After consuming too much salt, you’re likely to feel bloated and uncomfortable. Sodium is a mineral that naturally retains water, and a side effect of this water retention is a bloated sensation. This is also a sign to be aware of, as a constant bloated feeling could mean you’re eating too much salt.


Feeling thirsty is another sign that you’re consuming too much salt. Your body works hard to maintain a precise concentration of sodium. When levels get too high, systems kick in to restore the right balance. Because sodium is dissolved in fluids, your body lowers the concentration of the mineral by increasing


the amount of fluids. The kidneys help accomplish this goal by excreting less urine. At the same time, receptors that sense the sodium imbalance tell your brain to trigger the feeling of thirst.


Related to its role in maintaining blood volume, sodium can also affect blood pressure. Hormones act on your kidneys to help regulate how much sodium and water they excrete into urine. The higher the sodium level in your blood, the higher your blood volume, because your kidneys excrete less water in order to dilute the sodium in your blood. The increase in blood volume, in turn, raises blood pressure. Ingesting too much sodium, especially over long periods of time, can lead to a chronic increase in blood pressure as your body continually battles to maintain water balance. In addition, long-term overconsumption of sodium can damage the walls of your blood vessels and predispose you to developing high blood pressure, or hypertension.

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chieving the right body can seem like quite an undertaking for those who don’t regularly work out… or as Bane prefers to call them “The uninitiated.” However, a few simple tips can go a long way toward carrying you in the right direction. The first tip should not be overlooked especially if you're just getting started. This tip is finding professional help. It is suggested that you have a professional assessment to determine what types of exercise you need most. For some people, attention to flexibility or to balance and agility may be more important than resistance training or aerobics. By getting a professional assessment, you can determine your weakest links and focus on them. This will improve your overall fitness balance. Plus, it can help you hone in on the proper ways to do exercise without injuring yourself. Working out while you have the most energy will yield the best results. Therefore, it is important to watch your body clock. Figure out which time best suits you. If you're a morning person, schedule your fitness activities early in the day; if you perk up as the day goes along; plan your activities in the afternoon or evening. Another great tip to maximize your results is to chart your progress. Stay motivated using a fitness report card. Jot down these subjects: Cardio, Muscle Conditioning, Flexibility and Attitude. Set goals (for example, doing 10 "boy" push-ups) and grade yourself A through F at least four times a year. When you see how much you improve, you'll want to stay in great shape. Similarly, you should focus on setting proper goals. Set exercise goals you can meet. Otherwise,

you'll stop working out all together. Try to work out on two weekdays and one weekend day for 30 minutes to start. If you can only do 20 minutes, that's okay too. The point is to get moving and keep moving. Variety is a must. It is important to keep switching up your routines in order to achieve the best results. A change of scenery can add value to your exercise routine so head outside. Going to the gym day after day can start to feel monotonous, and the last thing you want is to dread your workouts. Instead, get some fresh air with a walk, run or bike ride. While maintaining a proper diet is not actually a workout plan, it should be stated that the right nutrition is imperative to your results. If there is one thing to take from your diet, it is the fact that you should not eliminate carbohydrates. Your body needs them for energy. If you need added energy for a workout, eat some carbs about an hour before. Your best bets are low fat cheese with crackers, trail mix, or a half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Even if your goal is getting your weight down, you will need those carbs to help you build energy and burn. An often-overlooked issue when it comes to getting yourself gym ready is to make sure to create a healthy environment around you. Clean up your fridge of "prohibited" foods and stuff it with fruits, vegetables, and yogurts! Stop smoking, or hanging out in places where a lot of people smoke. Ask your spouse or significant other to smoke outside - or preferably not at all! It's healthy for both of you. Don't drink too much, and don't sleep too little. Fitness is not just about working out; it's about living healthy, in a healthy environment.



Cat-Grooming Tips

Keeping Tools In Tip Top Shape


arden tools are what make your laborious days tending to your plants and yard manageable. Try digging holes and planting seedlings by hand in even the softest of soil and you’ll see just how important that spade or shovel really is. Since we understand the importance of our tools, it’s also important for us to know how to care for them.

from your hose. Keep a firm brush around to help you remove caked on grime and muck. An old school trick is to plunge tools into a sand and oil mixture to remove the grease. Tree sap on shears can be removed with some turpentine.

Sharpen Tools Sharp tools not only are more effective, but they reduce your frustration. A sharp pruner will cut through a branch with ease, and a sharp shovel will dig into hard clay soils. You might think this chore is limited to knives, scythes and lawn mower blades, but sharpening will make a definite difference.

Remove Rust This can be considered cleaning too, but we placed it in a different category because of the importance of it. Proper storage, cleaning and drying will go a long way to preventing rust and other forms of decay to your tools. If they are already rusty you can dip them in cola (yes, the type you drink) and scrub the rust off. Applying a protective coating to tools is also vital to preventing rust. Car wax can be used on your tools’ metal parts.

Clean Tools Garden tools are used for dirty work, but that doesn’t meant they should be left dirty. Keeping tools clean increases their longevity and performance. For shovels, rakes and trowels that come in contact with soil, wash the dirt off with the strong spray

Storage Proper storage is important for keeping tools in shape. Keep tools off the ground and in their own space if you want them to last longer. Be sure than your storage space is not damp as moisture does serious damage to tools.


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ver wonder why some cats always look sleek and beautiful and others look like...well, like something the cat dragged in? While it's true that some cats (like some people) are just born with "good hair," a lot of it has to do with grooming. Cats are fastidious critters. They tend to take care of themselves pretty well, always licking their fur to keep it clean and in its proper place. But any cat can go from Fluffy to Scruffy without a little help from her human pals. Here are a few tips for home grooming: Make it fun. Most cats love being stroked and enjoy the feeling of light grooming. It's good social behavior -- cats who get along well will blissfully groom each other for long periods of time. When it's time to do some grooming, approach your cat in a friendly way, and intersperse the grooming strokes with some regular petting. Use restraint. It's okay to restrain your cat (gently!) as long as she doesn't start to panic, but be sure to restrain yourself, too. Don't try to force your cat to sit still or stay in an awkward or uncomfortable position for too long. And be careful not to get

too exuberant in your grooming strokes. Think about how much you don't like having your hair pulled, then imagine what it's like to have hair being pulled all over your body. Know when to quit. You may not be able to groom your cat completely in one session. That's okay. If you get her back and tail, and then she starts to fight you, give up and try finishing in a day or two. It's better to have a half-dozen five-minute grooming sessions spread out over a week and a happy cat than one 25-minute battle and a cat that runs and hides at the sight of the brush. Get professional help. If your cat has a bad mat or tangle -- or gets something nasty on her fur -- put a call in to your veterinarian or professional groomer. If your cat just doesn't seem to be cooperating with home grooming, schedule an appointment with a professional. While you're there, ask for some tips and a demonstration of basic techniques. Groomers are usually happy to do this for clients; there's nothing more annoying for a groomer than having to constantly shave out and untangle bad mats. The cat suffers, and the groomer is more likely to get bitten or scratched.


Things To Consider Before Visiting Brazil


he World Cup is here and Brazil is all people seem to be talking about. With the country being placed under a microscope for all to see you may be considering visiting. If you are, there are some considerations before heading south. Language Foreign travel can be daunting especially in countries that do not share your native tongue. It can be a scary proposition not knowing what is being said when you are looking for help or even bargains. Brazil is one place you are likely to encounter such issues. The majority of Brazilians speak Portuguese even in major tourist destinations. Chances are you will not have a translator at your disposal so make sure to learn a bit of Portuguese to make your travel easier. Just the basics can go a long way. This will help you make a few friends along the way and minimize your chances of being hoodwinked. Health Overseas travel opens you up to a world of new experiences. 28

should do the trick, but visits to the depths of the Amazon may require Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hep-A and even Malaria.

Some of these experiences can be extremely unwelcome. For instance, while cholera may seem as outdated as the Black Plague was in Trinidad, such diseases still rear their ugly heads in some rural areas in Brazil and along the Amazon. Get vaccinated and avoid spoiling your vacation by getting yellow fever or any of the myriad illnesses awaiting you overseas. Basic Hep-A and Typhoid

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Security Safety is another major concern for travelers to Brazil. The country receives a lot of bad press about its violence and high crime rate, but just like Trinidad & Tobago, the country is generally safe for tourists. With that said, precautionary measures should still be taken in major urban areas. Rio de Janeiro, Recife and São Paulo are hot spots of note. The basic laws of travel safety should be used. Follow all local safety messages and bulletins as well. Also heed additional warnings. Never take anything of value to the beach, use ATMs only inside banks or shopping malls, and do not walk along empty streets, in deserted parks or on urban beaches at night. Budget If you thought Tobago’s prices were high then you may not want to buy anything in Bra-

zil. High taxes, disgusting bureaucracy and poor national infrastructure all combine to increase the cost of doing business and that is bad for everyone. A trip to will highlight that Brazil was fifth worst in the world on their Big Mac index. While it may be a light-hearted study using the cost of internationally renowned fast-food as a judge, it does really reflect prices generally. Know your Surroundings If your phone’s GPS is working while you roam, then thank God. It can be a great asset. If not, be sure to get your hands on a city map. When traveling, especially in countries where they don’t speak English it is important to know where you are, at least generally. General pieces of knowledge are surprisingly useful as you navigate unknown city streets. You will notice when you get down there that almost half of major cities are not on the official maps. Avoid these areas and you will be fine.

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 Issue 11 2014  

In this issue: How to make a large space work Important advice for busy parents Male grooming tips fit for Father's Day

Abstract Home Vol. 5 Issue 11 2014  

In this issue: How to make a large space work Important advice for busy parents Male grooming tips fit for Father's Day


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