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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.

Important House Selling Tips


ost people are interested in getting a home of their own. Some of them are interested in getting rid of the one they already own. If you are interested in selling your house, here are some tips to help you get through. Price It Right Have your property evaluated. As much as you'd like to set the price of your home as high as possible, you have to be realistic. Many for-sale-byowner listings fail to sell because owners persist in thinking their home is worth more than the market will offer, or because they have already settled on a set amount of money that they want and refuse to budge. Having a professional, third-party assessment of your home's worth will help you get comfortable with a price range, in addition to providing you with a solid reference point if a

buyer or realtor accuses you of setting the price too high. De-clutter Take the collectibles off the mantel, put the mismatched armchair into storage (or better yet, donate it) and pare your closets down to what you’re actually wearing this season, packing away the rest. Ideally, all this extra stuff would head to charity (if in good, saleable condition), the garbage dump, or into storage. The more you store onsite, the more cluttered and small your home appears. Differentiate From the Neighbors In order to attract attention and to make your home more memorable, consider custom designs or additions, such as landscaping, high-grade windows or a new roof. This can help improve the home's aesthetics, while potentially adding value to the home. Any improvements should be

practical and use colors and designs that will appeal to the widest audience. In addition, they should complement the home and its other amenities, such as building a deck or patio adjacent to an outdoor swimming pool. Take your photo shoot seriously Today, many buyers get their first impression of your home online. Too often, listings go online with photos of a dark room, lights off or blinds closed. Even worse? A new listing without photos or that has only one. If your real estate agent isn’t hiring a professional photographer to take high resolution photos, then you should invest the few hundred dollars to do so. Have them taken at the best time of day. Clean the home in advance and put away clutter. Prepare for the photo shoot just as you would for an open house. If buyers don’t like what they see online, you may never get them in the door.

4 Tips To Keep Your Pool Clean


here is no better place for you and the kids to be than in your pool. Many of the best family memories are made at the pool. The splashing of water, children’s giggles and countless smiles are an instant recipe for future nostalgia. But in order to make sure those magical memories are indeed made, you must first make sure your pool is fit for fun. In other words, you must maintain your pool’s cleanliness and safety. We know there is uncertainty surrounding our finances especially with elections in the balance. However, you don’t have to spend a mint to keep your pool spic and span. If you follow a few simple steps and use the right swimming pool chemicals, you can keep your pool clean and crystal clear.

To keep a swimming pool clean, you have to maintain the correct chemical balance, inhibit the growth of algae, control pH and TA (total alkalinity) levels, and supply the water with enough calcium. Tip #1 - Pool Chemistry Well-balanced pool water is important to create a healthy pool and prolong the life of pool equipment. Keep chlorine tablets or sticks in the chlorine reservoir at all times, shock the pool on a regular basis, and add balancing chemicals when appropriate. Tip #2 - Prevent Algae Algae are microscopic organisms that start off invisible to the naked eye, and, without proper pool maintenance grow

and cause cloudy pool water. If you don’t know what this means just picture an unattended aquarium after a couple weeks. Tip # 3 - pH and TA Pool water can be unsafe if the pH is too low or too high. If the PH is too high the swimming pool walls and metal parts corrode and sulphates are formed. These sulphates are released from the water onto the walls and floor of the swimming pool causing ugly brown and black stains. If it’s too alkaline the calcium in the swimming pool water combines with carbonates and forms scale, just like in our kettles. This calcification is seen most at the waterline, where it traps dust and dirt, turning black with time. w w w . a m g tt. c o m

Tip # 4 - Calcium Calcium keeps the pool's liner flexible. Low calcium levels can lead to a brittle liner, so it's important to balance calcium levels. JULY 2014




Decorating Mistakes Designers Hate


n decorating creativity can be a refreshing approach that sometimes entails breaking the rules, which can be heart wrenching to interior designers. Some rules though, are really not worth the trauma that comes from breaking them, such as the need for a focal point or the need to allow for natural pathways in the room. So pause before you go rebel-decorator and reconsider because really some are not worth breaking. Here’s the DIY decorator NoNo-Please-Heavens-No-List. Don’t: Overdo. Most of the time less is more. One exquisite necklace will be more dramatic and draw far more attention than a necklace with matching earrings and matching bracelet. The same is true in home decorating. Avoid the look of matching your sofas with matching tables. It's boring. Mix it up for more impact - just don't overdo it. Swamp your home with photographs, especially don’t turn it into a shrine unto thyself. It’s fine and sometimes mandatory 2

nickel hardware. And always look for quality. Devalue art by placing furniture around and near it that competes for attention. Paint First. You can buy paint in every color under the sun. In fact, you can have paint mixed in any imaginable color you might want. Choose fabric, carpet, and upholstery first.

to have photographs of your family around the home but plastering the entire west facing wall into a family tree might be a bit too much. Martial your furniture. Your home needs to look lived in, and sometimes that means a bit of messiness. So everything doesn't always have to be "in its place", lined up according to height and size. Settle for the same old stuff, like porcelain or stainless steel sinks, or brass bathroom fixtures. Choose instead platinum or copper sinks, or chrome or

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room, and then recover, repaint, and coordinate all the elements. Find another place for or get rid of anything that doesn't fit your plan. Let Your Furniture Hug the Walls. Don't arrange the chairs, sofa, and tables all around the room unless you have no choice. Make groupings of furniture for conversations and pull pieces into the center of the room for a warmer feeling of comfort.

Make Your Favorite Color the Main Color. On the topic of paint, your favorite color does not have to be the main colour of your theme or used throughout your home. If you love purple, you don't have to choose it for your walls. Instead, choose a more subtle shade to provide a background that will let items in your favorite color really "pop."

Invest in Trends. Don't break your budget on every furnishing trend that pops up. Trends come and go. You'll want to spend your precious resources on pieces that will last for a while so choose things that you love. You will live with them for a long time, and your feelings will probably not grow with time.

Force a Color Scheme. On matching things: don't "make" things match. Just because you have a red print sofa doesn't mean that it will coordinate with any red stripe draperies. Choose your color family, identify the major pieces, decide what you have that will have a place in the

Display Every Personal Treasure. Don't overcrowd your home with collectibles. Make each piece be important. If it isn't or if you don't have room, store them away and change your collection from time to time. Besides, think of the dusting!


Choosing A Water Feature For Your Landscape Design


ater features can add serenity and beauty to your home. The only question is which water feature will work best in your home? There are several types of water features and elements that you can add. The following are among the most popular: • Containers: A container water feature can provide you with many color and size options at a very reasonable price. Almost any container can be modified to become a beautiful water feature. Containers are great if your landscaping space is limited, but also work well in large spaces. • Water fountains: There are an unlimited number of water fountain designs for

ponds and water features. Moreover, the fountains don’t have to shoot water upward. The water can flow over or out of walls, out of decorative faucets and even gently spill out of rocks. • Asian inspiration: Make a water feature the central attraction in a landscape design. Create a large pond in the center of your landscape and surround it with decks. Incorporate aquatic plants and large stepping stones to add interest. • Pond-less Water Features: Imagine water that falls from boulders above on to river rock and disappears under the surface. Pondless waterfalls are gaining in popularity not only for their dramatic looks, but also for

their ease of maintenance. • Reflection pools: Not all water features bubble or cascade. Some have seemingly still waters that reflect their surroundings, making them perfect for water lilies and other aquatic plants. • Intricately flowing features: There is no rule that states that you have to seclude a water feature in the corner of your yard. If space allows, a water feature could begin with a fountain that spills over rocks, encircles a patio, flows beneath a short bridge and empties into a pond. • Pools and hot tubs: A water feature can be functional. Give a landscape design a touch of luxury with a place to take a dip.

Removing Cobwebs


ou may clean your house regularly. You may have your routine. However, in your regular routine, you may notice, every once in a while, growing cobwebs in the corners of your ceilings, and light cobwebs along your walls. The thing about cobwebs is that you don't usually notice them immediately, and you may even just get used to them before you remove them. Even if you dust and vacuum and pick up your house on a regular and frequent basis, cobwebs still happen, and your house won't look as clean if you don't remove cobwebs from your ceilings and walls. The first thing you should consider in terms of removing cobwebs is the source. If the source is removed, the problem evaporates as well. For this, use the natural remedy of citrus 4

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juice as a repellent. Many spiders and insects are repelled by the smell of citrus. You can buy citrus juice (sugarless) or mix any citrus juice with water and put the mixture into a spray bottle: Wipe your countertops with the citrus blend. You can also wipe down the insides of drawers and cabinets with this mixture. Be sure to spray the citrus blend in your doorways and on your windowsills. If cobwebs have already been formed or our natural remedy doesn’t work, try the following. To remove cobwebs from smooth surfaces: 1. Use a microfiber duster. 2. You may find it easier to use when the duster is wet, if the manufacturer says it can be wet.

3. Remove all hanging ends to stop them returning quickly. To remove cobwebs from textured surfaces: 1. Use your vacuum hose as a cobweb remover as sometimes the cobweb remover can smear the walls. 2. Remove all hanging ends to stop them returning quickly. For Outdoors: Spray water from the garden hose with a variable pressure nozzle to remove cobwebs from exterior surfaces like windows, stucco, vinyl siding and shrubbery. As a bonus tip: Remember, cobwebs extend 1-3 feet from the corner of a room. Be sure to remove hanging remnants of each cobweb so that they don't return as quickly.

LIVING QUARTERS time to have some crucial concerns addressed.

Surviving A Remodel


ithout a doubt, the most important aspect of a remodelling project is the planning stage. I know it’s difficult because once you visualise what that new area will look like you can hardly keep yourself from jumping right into the project, but without proper preparation consider yourself at a disadvantage. You should begin by writing down your expectations. Exactly what are the problems you are trying to solve? Are you pleased with the current design, or do you want to change styles radically. Is it that you simply need more space? Do feel that the house is too dark and how would you like to achieve more natural light? What additional functions would you like to incorporate in your spaces? Two of the most important questions to deal with realistically are how much do you plan to spend and how long can you live with the inconvenience? Most people embarking on a home remodel need to consider cost, since most remodelling projects cost more that initially estimated and take much longer than expected. Use your planning time wisely, allow your imagination to soar, consider how much your lifestyle has changed. Do you entertain more or less now, are the kids moving out or are you starting a family? Can you creatively add much needed storage space? Once you have answered those questions, prepare your budget and create a checklist of decisions to be made. Depending on the extent of the project, it may be wise to consult the architect who designed your home. If you did not use an architect then go ahead and hire a building contractor. If your 6

home is less than 15 years old and you are happy with the overall construction and quality, then I would suggest you use the same contractor if he is still available. Its wise to get recommendations from friends, relatives and co-workers and even then you should see the type of workmanship for yourself. When in the process of getting recommendations it is suggested that you ask the following questions: • Was he easy to get along with? Was he comfortable working with both you and your family? • How big was the job? • How was your working relationship? • Do you feel he considered your wishes on the design plan? • Did he give ample attention to details such as needs, costs, and design decisions? • Was there a contract? Did he stick to the details of the contract? • Did the contractor complain at every step of the project? • Have there been any unforeseen problems with the overall plan or design now that it’s completed? Has the contractor been willing to address them? • Find out if he returned calls promptly and questions willingly • Did the outcome meet your expectations? Once you find their answers satisfactory and you decide to hire the suggested contractor you then need to have a meeting, preferably at your house. When there is poor communication between you and your contractor from the onset it could prove disastrous, so the initial meeting is the most suitable

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• Ask to see a portfolio. • Ask if he will act as project manager and if not, how much more it will cost to hire one. • Ask if he has ever had a client bring a suit against him. If so, why? How was it resolved? • Find out how involved he will be in recommending and selecting materials, appliances, fixtures and finishing products. • Find out the fee and payment schedule Even when all is said and done and you are convinced this is the contractor for you, do remain involved every step of the way, especially when product substitutions are to be made and let them know you want to be consulted when decisions affecting the completed look of your home are concerned. Selection of countertop materials, cabinets, faucets etc should be done before the work starts. It saves time and does not hinder the workmen from doing what they came to do. Make sure to review the contract with your contractor. Ensure that everyone agrees on the work that is to be completed and the duration. Also be clear on what days and hours work will be conducted. Don’t take it for granted that a carpenter wouldn’t show up on your door step at 6:30am while you’re getting the kids ready for school. So clear that up. On the days that you have to be at work, find out which worker will be responsible for your house keys. If you are married it is wise that you and your spouse decide who will be the spokesperson so as to avoid sending conflicting messages. Decide on a work free zone, a place where you can continue life as normal. Set up a makeshift kitchen or plan to eat out as much as possible. If your bathroom is the work zone, organise to shower at your neighbour’s house or with the garden hose (just kidding). If your remodel involves removal of your roof, living elsewhere might be a good idea. Store valuables crystal, china, photos. The items that cannot

be stored should be covered with drop cloths. Request plastic sheets to put over doorways to work areas to prevent plaster dust from spreading. I have found that bathroom and change room facilities are often neglected, so show workers which bathroom to use. If you prefer they not use your personal bathroom rent a portable one. Also, show workmen where to wash brushes. Set up an area where they can store tools and supplies. Some other useful advice would be to: • Put away your phone whenever you’ll be away from home • Remind workers to keep the noise level down, especially if you live close to neighbours; noise would include disagreements, radios and of course profanity. • Tell them where they can and cannot park their vehicles • Double check all key pieces for ceiling fans, tiles and faucets before they are installed as there are some things that are very difficult to rectify once installed. • Keep children out of the workmen’s path and you do the same unless you really need to communicate information. • Don’t pressure your general contractor too much when there are delays as unforeseen issues do come up. The less upset you are the quicker the job will resume. • Speak directly to the general contractor or designer when requesting changes. My last bit of advice is to keep track of cost over runs, let the contractor know that you want to be informed of this and try not to add too much extra work because it throws off the schedule and can cost you a lot more than you catered for. Ask questions when in doubt, but don’t nag, workmen remember these things and try to avoid you when you need repairs later on. But enjoy the process, unless Alvin from the Murphy Brown series is your contractor, the remodel should be completed within a reasonable period.

home office

IT Safety Tips For Your Home Business


here are many different kinds of cyber crime. A criminal might try to gain access to your information – like your email password, banking details or social security number. They might do this by installing malware on your computer, trying to hack into your account, or tricking you into giving them the information. Then they could steal from you, impersonate you or even sell your details to the highest bidder. That can be especially nightmarish for those operating a small business. Don’t let all your hard work go down the drain because some nerd with daddy issues decided to use your information for their own benefit. Instead, follow the rules of IT safety mentioned here. Use discretion Ignore unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments, links and forms in emails that come from people you don't know, or which seem "phishy." Avoid untrustworthy (often free) downloads from freeware or shareware sites. Install protective software and use firewalls there are numerous quality virus scans which are available for free download for Windows, Macin8

tosh, and Linux. However, since free downloads can be dangerous, feel free to invest and buy one for your business. When installed, the software should be set to scan your files and update your virus definitions on a regular basis. It is also important to note that Macintosh and Windows computers have basic desktop firewalls as part of their operating systems. When set up properly, these firewalls protect your computer files from being scanned. Choose strong passwords Choose strong passwords with letters, numbers, and special characters to create a mental image or an acronym that is easy for you to remember. Create a different password for each important account, and change passwords regularly.

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Don't enter sensitive information into a public computer The world of business is just that… a world. Therefore, it is unlikely you will conduct all of your business from the comfort of your office. You may have to use public computers once in a while. However, it is advised that you refrain from entering sensitive information on any pc that is not yours. There are several casual hackers who use public computer after you have and God knows what they may be willing to do with your information. Also keep in mind that an industrious thief might have installed sophisticated software on the public computer that records every keystroke and then emails that information back to the thief. Then it doesn't matter if you haven't saved your information or if you've erased your tracks. They still have access to this information. If you really want to be safe, avoid typing your credit card number or any other financial or otherwise sensitive information into any public computer. Require substantial verification before accessing a company computer To ensure that your business’

computers are only used by approved employees, request that a username and password be given before even gaining access to the desktop. In addition, request a password for access to other programs used by your business. Plus, make sure that employees know the importance of not leaving their computers on or unattended with open access to sensitive information. Map out a disaster preparedness plan Don't wait until it's too late. Identify your critical resources, use appropriate security and backup solutions to archive important files, and test frequently. This is usually the last thing most people think of doing, but having a working plan is critical to your recovery after an unplanned unfortunate event. Educate yourself and employees This would first mean educating yourself. Keep abreast of the latest security measures and pass on the information where possible. Develop Internet security guidelines and educate employees about Internet safety, security and the latest threats, as well as what to do if they misplace information or suspect malware on their machine.

elegant ideas

Make Water Work For You

While it may be harder to maintain, wood and water work well together in tropical settings

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elegant ideas

Why stick to squares and rectangles? A curved pool can add a new dimension to your outdoor decor. The additional of wellplaced foliage can enhance the landscape 12

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elegant ideas

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elegant ideas

This beautiful setting stands out even more with the addition of a small water feature 14

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elegant ideas

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The Connoisseur's Dream

connoisseur is a person who is an expert judge in matters of taste. True alcohol connoisseurs don’t discriminate between the various types of alcohol; discrimination usually comes in terms of quality. Various types of champagne, wine, scotch, rum, brandy and vodka top the master list of the connoisseur’s dream. Of course the price tag tells a lot about the level of satisfaction attained by any alcoholic drink. Price enhances the value of alcohol as does age and in depth curing processes. The phenomenon of fine alcohol can turn any old celebratory occasion into an unforgettable extravaganza. Clearly it’s worth it so let’s dream on together about a purely exquisite time in heaven! Our dream begins at Shetland Island; the factory of Blackwood’s Distilleries has introduced Diva Vodka, the world’s most expensive liquor. The highest price tag begins at: USD$ 450,000! Its price can be very high because the bottle is made up of Swarovski crystals and diamonds. When the vodka is poured, the liquid will be filtered by the diamond. Price per bottle is dependent on the quality and quantity of the diamonds. Next stop in taster’s dreamland is Champagne. People often drink Champagne as part of a celebration and when celebrating success many feel the need to show off. The most expensive champagnes are more about image than what is in the bottle. Champagne, a sparkling 16

wine named after the Champagne region of France is the costliest wine to produce. To produce champagne there must be two fermentation processes, with the second step trapping carbon dioxide and making the bubbles. In most of Europe, the name “champagne” is legally protected meaning only the most expensive sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region of France can be marketed as champagne. Cristal Brut 1990 “Methuselah” $17,625 This six-liter, gold-labeled bottle of Cristal Brut 1990, dubbed the Methuselah, was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in New York to an undisclosed buyer in 2005. At the time, Cristal was a favorite of the hip-hop crowd. Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam” $40,000 During the same year, a limited edition bottle of Dom Perignon became the most expensive champagne in the world. Sold in three-liter bottles, the Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam was sold to commemorate the New Year. Much of its price, however, is surely due to the white gold bottle from which the expensive wine takes its name. Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet” $50,000 Each of the 100 sets contains twelve bottles of fine, expensive champagne. Marketed only to the ultra-rich, buyers will have the chance to personalize their drinking experience by choosing the liqueur used in the cham-

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pagne—and they’ll have to fly to Eastern France to do so. The sets are being sold to consumers in the United States, Britain, Japan, China, Russia, Switzerland and France. The price even includes a storage nest where the champagne may be allowed to age for up to eight months!

light is more accessible to champagne drinkers worldwide with the product being sold in various retail outlets. This brand has starred in various music videos and dined at red-carpet affairs worldwide. The drink is absolutely delish and makes any dull moment into one of ecstasy.

Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck” $275,000 These hundred-year-old bottles of Champagne from the Heidsieck vineyard in Champagne took over eighty years to reach their destination. Shipped to the Russian Imperial family in 1916, a shipwreck off the coast of Finland caused this champagne to be lost at sea until divers discovered over 200 bottles in 1997. Now they’re finally being sold—to wealthy guests at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow, at least. Of course, the wine’s extraordinary tale and incredible age are what makes it the world’s most expensive champagne.

Whisky is a colorful character with an ever-changing spirit. It has been the subject of literature, culture and folklore throughout the world; finicky boozehounds have long paid a pretty penny for bottles of the most coveted casks. Among the top runners of the colored tongue-twisters are Ladybank Single Malt: $4,700; The Macallan 1947 Fine and Rare Collection: $6,800; Chivas Regal Royal Salute 50 year old: $10,000; The Macallan 1939 40 year old Fine and Rare Collection: $10,125; Glenfarclas 1955 50 year old: $10,878; Dalmore 50 year Old Decanter: $11,000; Macallan 55 year old Lalique Crystal Decanter: $12,500; Glenfiddich 1937 Rare Collection: $20,000; Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch: $58,000; The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare: $75,000…the key words here are rare and fine! Whisky just gets better with age.

Moët et Chandon, is a French winery and co-owner of the luxury goods company MoëtHennessy - Louis Vuitton. Moët et Chandon is one of the world's largest champagne producers and a prominent champagne house. The company holds a Royal Warrant to supply champagne to Queen Elizabeth II. Moët et Chandon was established in 1743 by Claude Moët, and today owns more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of vineyards, and annually produces approximately 26,000,000 bottles of champagne. This de-

No matter the label, origin or price tag, true connoisseurs are of the belief that these demanding factors should not limit pleasure. When seeking drinks for that celebration, always remember age, experience and fine taste are key factors to take into consideration when purchasing a celebration making drink.


Wonderful Wraps


raps are adored because they are so versatile and easy to create. You don’t need lots of special ingredients. In fact, even leftovers can turn into wraps with gourmet flavour. Look at these easy wrap options.

Microwave BLT Wrap Ingredients 1 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces 4 (12 inch) flour tortillas 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded 1 tomato, diced Directions Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over mediumhigh heat until evenly brown. Drain, and set aside. Place 1 tortilla on a microwavesafe plate. Sprinkle tortilla with 1/4 cup cheese. Cook in microwave 1 to 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Immediately top with 1/4 of the bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Fold sides of tortilla over, then roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each wrap in half before serving.

Wrapped Salmon Ingredients 4 (6 ounce) fillets salmon, with skin and bones removed 8 sheets phyllo dough 1/2 cup melted butter Salt to taste Ground black pepper to taste 18

4 tablespoons Dijon mustard Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Cut the filets into log shaped pieces, about 2 inches wide by 5 inches long, keeping the filet portions separate. Take 2 sheets of phyllo dough, placing one on top of the other, and brush lightly with melted butter, covering the one side completely. Place a portion of salmon (6 ounces), on the edge, nearest you, of the phyllo dough. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Coat the portion of salmon with 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Fold the phyllo dough, nearest you, over the salmon and make one complete wrap. Take the sides of the dough and fold them towards the center, and continue rolling up the dough. Brush all sides with butter, covering completely and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat steps for remaining portions of salmon. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until phyllo dough is golden brown.

Bacon Jalapeno Wrap Ingredients 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese 12 slices bacon Directions Preheat an outdoor grill for

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high heat. Spread cream cheese to fill jalapeno halves. Wrap with bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Place on the grill, and cook until bacon is crispy.

marinade. Dredge chicken in the flour mixture to coat. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the coated chicken strips 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and juices run clear. Squeeze lime juice over chicken, and discard limes. On each tortilla, place equal amounts of rice, chicken, coconut, and green onions. Wrap burrito style.

Fruit, Veggie, and Tuna Salad Wrap Polynesian Wraps Ingredients 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch strips 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice 2 cups water 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder 1 tablespoon garlic salt 3/4 cup vegetable oil 2 limes 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas 1/2 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup chopped green onions Directions Place the chicken and coconut milk in a bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour. In a pot, bring the rice and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the flour, curry powder, and garlic salt. Drain the chicken, and discard

Ingredients 1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 4 cups chopped fresh spinach 1 large carrot, shredded 1 apple, cored and diced 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup fresh blueberries 4 (10 inch) flour tortillas Directions Combine the tuna with the mayonnaise in a bowl, and mix until well combined. Mix together the spinach, carrot, apple, mozzarella cheese, and blueberries in a bowl, and gently fold in the tuna salad, making sure not to crush the blueberries. Microwave the flour tortillas for about 10 seconds, until slightly warmed and pliable. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups of the spinach-tuna mixture into the center of each tortilla, fold up the bottom 2 inches to enclose the filling, wrap, and serve.


Ten White Lies Girls Tell Their Boyfriends


think that it’s human nature to lie. Our natural ability to tell the truth seems to get distorted by the time we are able to talk. Think about it, kids tell lies even when you catch them red handed. I often ask myself when and how they learned to tell a lie or when to use it. To date no one has been able to answer this question. So it seems as if we have been born with this lying capability. Women as well as men lie to their spouses in an effort to try and save themselves from conflict. Telling a blatant lie could be harsh, but I can see the use of a white lie. Now a white lie is not a whole lie, it is what I would consider to be a half truth. With a white lie you cover the truth so as not to cause discomfort or hurt someone’s feelings. Guys here are ten white lies commonly used by your girlfriends. I am sure all guys have heard this one before “I called you, didn’t you see the missed call?” This is a common white lie told by girlfriends. The truth is that sometimes they forget or they are just too busy to return a call. This lie can work really well especially since phone companies have a reputation for dropped calls and delayed text messages. Another common white lie told by girlfriends is “I would never change anything about you”. Guys if you believe this just sit back for a while and observe your girlfriends. Notice how she tells you about your style of dress, how you take care of your apartment and the big one how often you lime with your friends. There is going to be at least some part of your existence that she would


want to change. She may not start at it all at once but slowly and surely she is going to get there. So guys watch out. This next lie is for those of you guys who have roaming eyes. Yes, those of you who can’t see a pair of pants or skirt past by. Now your girlfriend may not seem to mind where your eyes wander as long as you are with her. She may even tell you the famous white lie “it doesn’t bother me when you look at other women”. I think this white lie is to allow you to think that she is cool and down with everything. This is, however, the opposite of how she really feels. Women are generally conscious of how they look and they feel insecure when you decide to let your eyes roam. Just be aware of her feelings and try keeping your eyes to yourself. Families are considered to be the stronghold of society so they are very important to both boyfriends and girlfriends. However some girlfriends may not be exactly crazy about their boyfriends’ family. She keeps this to herself however and covers up with the white lie “I love spending time with your family”. This type of lie could have grave consequences, especially if the relationship progresses into a marriage. Be sure to observe your girlfriend when she is around your family. If she acts weird or uncomfortable be sure to find out what the problem is. One of the biggest white lies told by girlfriends is that the size of a man does not matter. The main thing about telling a lie like this is to help a man retain his self confidence. If your girlfriend doesn’t mention anything about

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your size, try to avoid asking her about it. If you are however conscious about the size and think that it may be causing a problem in your relationship, talk it out with her. Constantly being aware of yourself can cause your performance in bed to drop. In a situation like this remember that it is how you use your tool that matters not the size of it. Both males and females have their own set of friends. These friends could be people they work with or people they have known for years. It is okay for boyfriends and girlfriends to have their own set of friends, but sometimes there is that one particular friend that is more than just a friend. A girlfriend is more likely to keep her ex as a friend and still carry on a close relationship. This can be and often is dangerous to relationships. This type of scenario often brings about the white lie “he is just a friend”. If you notice that your girlfriend is a particularly friendly with another male companion talk to her about it. Watching weight is a big issue with girlfriends. They tend to be conscious of their size and how they look. They want to know that you think they are beautiful at all times. If your girlfriend asks about her size please refrain from giving an answer. She will tell you the famous white lie “I would not get mad if you say I look fat”. Guys please don’t fall for this lie because if you say she looks fat she will get mad at you. Just as girls like to know that they look good, they want their partners to look good as well. Some guys may have a problem with extra hair on the chest

which at times can be gross. The best method of removing this hair is by waxing. Girlfriends often coax their guys by telling them the famous white lie, “believe me it doesn’t hurt that much.” This lie is one that will cause you to end up with eyes full of water. I have tried it and it hurts that much. But look at the brighter side, your chest will be cleaner and it will add to your appearance. Lies about how many partners one has had sex with are common. They help prevent partners from getting scared and create a level of trust. The trust created can hardly be thought of as trust because it came about as the product of a white lie. These lies are often told by the men. The white lies told by women about sex are usually “I don’t feel like having sex I have a headache”. This white lie is one of the most commonly used lies by women of all ages. Girlfriends often say stuff to get into their boyfriend’s good books, just the same way boys do. So if you have a new girlfriend who tells you she “likes watching sports”; be aware. I am not saying that girls don’t like to watch sports, but most do not especially if it is on a regular basis. So if you ever hear that line remember it’s often just another white lie. White lies are not meant to hurt the feelings of others, but to prevent the other person from feeling bad. So don’t take it personally if your girlfriend has been telling you a bunch of white lies. Instead tell her one of the white lies she loves to hear. Tell her you would not get vex if she tells you the truth about things.


A Case For Prenuptial Agreements


etting married is a really big commitment. It means spending the rest of your life with that special someone. It also means that your finances are about to be combined with someone else’s. The thought of this can scare many. To help solve this problem there has been an increase in the number of people who opt to have a prenuptial agreement before getting married. A Prenuptial agreement or prenup as it is often called is a contract between two people who are getting married. The prenup determines the right of each spouse to property, responsibility for debt and even for a right to alimony. A prenup however cannot affect the right to custody of a child. Such determinations are made in the best interest of the child. Getting divorced can cause pain and financial loss. Couples who have prenups often want to maintain their assets in the event that things go wrong and end up in divorce. Losing the person to whom you gave the best years of your life, can be hard. Losing that person along with everything that you worked hard for can be devastating. To protect yourself from this it’s best to consider a prenup22

tial agreement. Now I know that many may find it hard to ask the person that they love and trust to get a prenup. Some feel uncomfortable to even speak about prenuptials with the person that they intend to marry. It is okay to be a bit uncomfortable, but you two should be able to talk about anything because after all you are getting married right? When things get ugly in a relationship the people in it can get ugly themselves. Having a prenuptial agreement ensures that you are left safe after a divorce. It is a statistical fact that roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. That means that you have a 50/ 50 chance of getting a divorce. If for instance one partner is a business owner who has a lot of money and assets they may not want to part with their earnings in the event of a divorce. During divorce settlements the spouse is usually given half of everything. Someone who came into a relationship with nothing can walk away with a lot. This can be devastating to the person who is losing money and assets. To see hard earned money walk away is a heartbreaker. To protect against losing assets it is good to have a prenuptial agreement.

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Some argue that prenups should not be done because it means that you have doubts about the person. Having doubts about someone is normal. You have been with this person for say five to ten years and you still want to get a prenup? That’s ok, because you are never able to truly know someone. If you get married and down the road neither of you is thinking of leaving then the prenup can be burned. It can be a ceremony that shows that you trust and love each other to a point where a prenuptial agreement is no longer needed. If you have gone through a divorce before you will know the importance of a prenuptial agreement. You may want your assets and property from the previous divorce to go towards your children from that relationship. You can be assured that your children will receive the benefits of your work. Many stories have been told about children whose parents have second and third marriages. These children often don’t get any inheritance because the children of the current marriage inherit it all. To prevent a situation like this the agreement comes in handy. Getting a prenuptial agreement is based on a persons’

choice. Letting your partner know in advance can help settle any issues that may arrive. It is recommended that you both sit and talk about the decision. Talk about why you think a prenup is important. Look at each other’s assets and create an agreement that is fair to both parties involved. All assets must be listed. A full disclosure is important for the prenup to be binding in the future. Discuss how debts will be repaid and how property bought together will be shared. The agreement must be in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses. It must also be acknowledged by both parties in the presence of a person authorized to administer an oath. Both partners must be represented by separate lawyers. In most cases prenuptial agreements are upheld unless there was not full disclosure of someone’s assets. Everyone may not like having a prenuptial agreement but it can be good at protecting both parties involved. I have spoken with some people and heard their views on prenuptial agreements. To make the research safe people from different income brackets were asked the question. What do you think about prenuptial agreement?



Summer Style For Kids

Have Your Kids Looking Neat In the Tropical Heat

Removing Eye Bags Naturally


ye bags are usually called eyelid bags, puffy eyes, tired eyes and dark circles under the eyes. They are mainly caused by the pushing out of fat which lies beneath the eyelid. This fat is usually held directly beneath the eyeball. It acts as a shock absorber which prevents the eyeball from coming into contact with the bones of the eye socket. As the skin ages the skin of the eyelid becomes loose and loses tone. As such it cannot hold the fat which then pushes forward against the surface of the weakened eyelid and creates the eye bag. Here are some of the treatments recommend for removing eye bags. Teas are one known way of helping to reduce and remove eye bags. The most common forms of tea used are black tea bags, green tea, and chamomile. Black tea bags contain tannin which is helpful for reducing puffy eyes. They also contain caffeine which constricts dilated capillaries diminishing the dark circles under the eyes. Green tea has an anti inflammatory agent and chamomile contains soothing substances. These teas can be applied directly to the skin in the form of a tea bag or cotton pads can be soaked in the tea and then applied to the skin. Both the tea bag and the cotton pads must be stored in the refrigerator to cool

before being applied. Another home remedy that can be used for the elimination of eye bags is sliced vegetables. Potatoes and cucumbers are most commonly used. Cucumbers have an astringent effect and help constrict the skin, blood vessels and capillaries. This lessens the puffiness and dark circles caused by dilated blood vessels. Potatoes however must be placed in water as soon as they are sliced because they oxidize and turn brown quickly once exposed to air. As with the previously mentioned home remedies, these too must be placed in the refrigerator to cool before use. These treatments are also some natural ways of removing eye bags. A cold spoon can be placed on the eyes for about fifteen minutes. This helps sooth the eyes and helps reduce some of the puffiness. You can also help yourself by drinking lots of fluid and sleeping with your head elevated. If the dark circles under the eyes are prominent the use of a concealer can hide them. Removing eye bags can help you look years younger and improve your self confidence. So go ahead and try one of the treatments recommended. I hope you get the results that you are looking for.


our children are indeed a reflection of you. Hence, you want them to reflect as good an image as possible. Not only should their behaviour be on point, but their dress code should say a lot as well. No matter if you are a homemaker or headed to the top of the corporate ladder, dressing for personal success on any level is important. Getting your children in the habit of looking good from now is important. So is dressing them functionally. After all, they may look good in a turtleneck sweater, but are you going to let them wear that to the beach? Here are some fashionable alternatives for dressing your children in the Caribbean heat. Girls' Clothing Choose light colors when making clothing purchases for summer, as they will be cooler when the weather is hot. Pastels make great summer colors – think about cool lime green, aqua blue and cotton candy pink. Think about dresses or jumpers for summer. You may be able to utilize jumpers that you already have – just pair them with short sleeve blouses or tee’s to instantly update a fall or spring jumper. Shorts and Capri pants are a must for girls during hot summer months. Shorts come in many lengths – very short or mini length, Bermuda, and regular, mid-thigh length. Capri pants reach anywhere between the knee and mid-calf. Shorts and Capri pants come in every w w w . a m g tt. c o m

color imaginable. Pair them with a light tee or tank top. Sandals, flip-flops or Crocs are great shoe choices for girls. These types of shoes are open enough to ventilate their feet and keep them cool. Boys' Clothing Knee-length shorts in plaid or denim are a good choice for a boy’s summer wardrobe. Patterns and denim will hide dirt and stains better than solid, light colored shorts. Camouflage and cargo shorts are a trendy addition to a boy's wardrobe and will match nicely with a plain tee. Pair a solid tee with a plaid, unbuttoned short sleeve shirt for an instant trendy look. Sandals or flip-flops are also good choices for boys. Skip hightop leather sneakers for the summer months and let them wear low-top canvas sneakers which will be cooler. Hats make a great accessory for boys too. Have an assortment of caps on hand from favorite sports teams or in an assortment of colors to go with any outfit. Children’s clothing can be mixed and matched easily to create a variety of summer outfits. Pair a tee with a jumper and then mix it again with a pair of capri pants for girls. Match shorts with a tee one week and a button down shirt the next to mix up a boy's wardrobe. Purchase summer friendly fabrics that can breathe, such as cotton or lighter denim when buying clothing. Your kids will be cool and look cool at the same time. JULY 2014




home gym

Home Cellulite Treatments

Home Treatments And Products For Cellulite Reduction


ellulite occurs when the connective tissue pulls down on fat causing the fat to bulge under the skin. The less fat you have the less noticeable cellulite is. Diet and exercise play an important role in reducing the appearance of cellulite. If you want to reduce cellulite you need to detoxify your body, especially your liver and colon. Lay off nicotine and caffeine, do not consume excess salt or fat and drink plenty of water. Eat foods rich in nutrients such as soy, blueberries and nuts. Make sure you get the nutrients glucosamine, B vitamins and essential fatty acids. Onions are also a wonderful food to combat cellulite. Onions act as a natural diuretic releasing water buildup from skin cells. Exercise to lose weight and tone your legs and buttocks. Do specific exercises to increase muscle mass in your thighs like walking, biking, stair climbing, yoga and Pilates. Having less fat and more muscle will make cellulite disappear. Muscle will stretch the skin and smooth out the dimpled bumpy appearance. To increase circulation and break up the fat do daily massages to troubled areas. You can also use a body brush in the shower or bath with a body wash or exfoliating product to help increase circulation. Use aromatherapy oils in your bath to stimulate your system: Sage, cypress, and juniper oils aid with cellulite reduction. 24

Wearing pantyhose will also help combat and reduce cellulite, especially the body shaping ones that contour your thighs. Pantyhose compress fat and aid circulation. There is cellulite reduction pantyhose on the market now which is specifically made to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. You can make a body wrap at home with coffee grounds and seaweed to help reduce cellulite. Take warm coffee grounds and spread on troubled areas, wrap with moist seaweed (can be purchased at health food stores) then cover with plastic wrap. Keep the wrap on for about a half hour. Unwrap and rinse off in the shower. Massage your thighs as you rinse off. There are also many commercial products that you can purchase to help combat the appearance of cellulite. Some of the most popular are: L’Oreal Sublime Slim which consists of a day and a night gel to apply daily, Clarins Total Body Lift, Murad Firm and Tone Serum, Body Creator Aromatic Firming Cream, Algotherm Pulpe Activ Minceur, and Guinot Absolue Minceur home version products. If you have money to spend on your cellulite treatment, there are also many good Spa cellulite reduction methods. Cellulite may never completely disappear but at least you can minimize it and make your thighs look as good as possible when you want to put on a bikini or a mini skirt.

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Say Farewell To Fat


Burn Belly Fat And Get Great Results

he best way to slim down in the middle is to do plenty of cardiovascular exercise. Some good examples of this are walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics, cycling and high-activity sports like racquetball, tennis and basketball. Anything that brings your heart rate to its training zone and keeps it there for at least twenty minutes conditions your heart and burns fat. As you lose subcutaneous fat, your skin will become tauter. As the fat within your muscles decreases, you will appear more toned and less flabby. The number one thing you need to think about is the cardio. Five times a week. MAKE YOUR BODY A MORE EFFECTIVE FAT BURNER: Toning along with cardiovascular work will speed up and improve the process, but don't think that you only need to work on your abs. This is another grave misconception. The truth is that when you work all the larger muscle groups, adding more mass to your muscles, you rev up your metabolism to heights it has never before reached. Your

muscles need extra calories to maintain themselves, so more of the food you eat will be feeding your muscles instead of your trouble spots. Your conditioned heart (from the cardiovascular stuff ) is more effective at burning calories as well, so you have the golden combination, there. As the fat comes off your body, it will come off your belly. Your body fat is like one organ, located throughout your body, and you can't take it off of just one spot unless you have liposuction done. The large muscles that you should concentrate on are (in this order) front and back of thighs, buttocks, back, chest, triceps and biceps. Then, you can throw in calves, hips, forearms and shoulders. Always work your abs at the end of your workout. There's a good reason for this. You are indirectly using them for all the other exercises you do. The abs are important stabilizer muscles that keep your form in check. If you do abs first, you will tire them out, and your whole workout will be less than optimal. Work down from the largest to the smallest muscles.


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The Keys To Summertime Travel


hile we have the perfect holiday climate right at home, Trinbagonians usually do a lot of travelling during the JulyAugust period. Going to another hot destination during summer takes some proper planning and consideration in order to truly enjoy the trip. Here are some considerations. You may take a friend or family member’s car, rent or take the bus. Whatever you choose, you have to be sure that it is a reliable option. If borrowing a car, have it checked so you won't have problems on the way. If you're renting, do the same and if taking the bus, check the safety of the bus and its drivers. You may say these are "basics" but oftentimes, the "basics" are neglected. Better to be sure than spoil your summer trip. It’s summer and while you may be accustomed to the rays, you’ll still need to be protected from the sun. Don't ever forget to take your summer shades and sun block with you. It's very important. You wouldn't want to miss seeing how hot the beach can be or you wouldn't want to spoil Day 2 of your vacation because of sunburn. Choose a sun


block that matches your skin. Some people are sensitive when it comes to cream applications on skin. Here's another thing to consider, the Beach. It has to be as gorgeous as you. It has to be as clean as you expect it to be. Trinidad does not have the best of beaches, but your summer destination may just have one or two great spots. Research the best water hang outs to cool off. It makes no sense going to another tropical location if the beach sucks. Another great tip is to make sure to spend less time on the road, and more time in action. While trips can be fun, traveling often brings out the worst in people (especially children). If you must travel, plan fun stops along the way. Research sites and activities and utilize them. People have a tendency to drink less water and pay less attention to health when on vacation. While travelling, it is very important for you to stay healthy. During summer holidays make sure you are supplied with enough water to avoid dehydration. Moreover, a properly hydrated body will also prevent you from getting motion sickness while travelling.

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Avoiding Pet Obesity


besity and its related illnesses are among the leading causes of death in humans worldwide. Unfortunately, while not as prevalent, obesity in pets is also becoming more common. If you want your pet to live a long, healthy life, you should consider these obesity avoidance tips. Diet Changes - You may not necessarily need to change your pets’ food. It’s usually the amount of food that’s the problem. Try to avoid table scraps, and make sure that you account for treats when deciding how much to feed your dog during his meals. The guidelines on the pet food bags are just that, guidelines, so experiment with your dog and see what works best for him. Each dog has a different body and activity levels, all of which need to be considered when setting the pace on diet. It’s best to feed scheduled meals rather than free feeding, as you have full control over the amount of food your dog eats. If your pet is acting too hungry when you know he’s getting enough to eat, try adding in some fresh, steamed green beans. These are an excellent source of fiber with almost zero calories – so your dog will feel full without adding on any weight!

Talk to Your Vet - Weight loss is important, and your veterinarian is one of the best places to start. If your dog is severely obese, your vet can help you get started without causing too much discomfort for your dog. Remember than an overweight dog is more prone to injuries, so you’ll have to ease into exercise. Your veterinarian can also help you rule out ailments that can cause obesity, such as hypothyroidism. Even if you don’t think there’s anything medically wrong, it’s advisable to always to consult your veterinarian if you’re making any drastic changes for your pet. Monitor Weight - This is something you would do as well! Keeping your pet’s weight in check is easier when you check it regularly. Your dog should typically lose about 1lb per month, and monthly weigh-ins will help you determine whether or not your pup’s weight loss program is working for him. Working with your veterinarian in determining this plan and making sure it’s working (and not too well, too much weight loss at once can be dangerous) will guide you and your pet back on track to a healthy weight.



Common Car Buying Mistakes

veryone argues that there are too many cars on the nation’s roads. Yet everyone who doesn’t own one wants one. Whether or not traffic will be an issue when you finally get one, there are some things to consider when making a car purchase. More importantly, here are some things you should be careful of. Not Getting The Right Car You have to determine what kind of car fits your lifestyle. Most men, fancy a sporty racer, but if the wife is expecting, this isn't the best idea. Consider basic sedans, coupes, SUVs, and station wagons. Think of the functionality of each and then make your purchase. If you take a lot of road trips, check if there's adequate trunk space for your suitcase or gear. Fuel economy is important for the longdistance driver.


holdback incentives, options, packages, interest rates, negotiating techniques, reviews, forums and much more can be found for your particular car. Try not to go to a dealer without information. That would be akin to walking into a lion's den.

Failure To Ask About Hidden Fees If you want to see good tricks, either visit a magic show or a car dealership. Salespeople there will say and do almost anything to sell a car (at your expense). Dealerships have been known to tack on a "dealer protection package" which will incorporate advertising costs, document processing fees, and

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more. These costs are often found in the small print of your invoice. Try to remove some unnecessary fees, or at least reduce them where possible. Poor Research Some homework goes into buying a car. This homework does not have to be too difficult a process thanks to the advent of the Internet. Pricing info,

Not having a used car checked by an independent mechanic. If you are buying a used car, my bet is you need every bit of money you can save. Don’t waste it on a crappy purchase. Even the most reliable vehicle can turn into a lemon if it's poorly maintained. Before you buy a used vehicle, have it scrutinized by a repair shop that routinely does diagnostic work. A good mechanic should be able to tell if the car has been in a major accident or has a hidden but costly problem.

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Abstract Home Vol.5 Issue 14 2014  

In this issue: Make Water Work in your Decor Wonderful wraps for the entire family What are the white lies your spouse is telling you

Abstract Home Vol.5 Issue 14 2014  

In this issue: Make Water Work in your Decor Wonderful wraps for the entire family What are the white lies your spouse is telling you


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