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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.


here is nothing like the outdoors even if it’s only right in your backyard. More and more people are investing in their personal outdoor spaces to both enhance curb appeal and extend the reach of the comfort of their homes. Enjoying the outdoor experience at home is not just about tying a hammock between your mango and sapodilla trees anymore. People are going all out with their décor to make their spaces special. Here are some of the trends you can expect to see. Landscape Lighting Installing landscape lighting is one of the most valuable improvements any homeowner can make to their home. The value of this particular install goes way beyond the obvious aspect of safety and security. Strategically placed quality landscape lighting will highlight a lovely garden area, cast light into the understory of a large tree, bring in light and shadow for a unique appeal, or illuminate a special piece of garden art or statuary. Indeed, landscape lighting can be utilized to enhance the ambiance by incorporating architectural or simple shapes or unique, fanciful and charming in designs that are pure works of art. Outdoor Hot Tubs We don’t celebrate the four seasons in Trinidad and Tobago (well, some of us do). Instead we are blessed with a year round enchanting and inviting tropical climate. That may lead a lot of people to jump to the misplaced

Examining Outdoor

Design Trends conclusion that due to the endless warmth and sunshine, a hot tub is an unnecessary addition. However, the modern hot tub is way more than merely a hot tub with its amazing array of features such as hydrotherapy, pressure point treatments and whirlpools. The hot tub is a perfect way to relax and rejuvenate after a long, hard day. It can also be a nice romantic spot to keep a romance going when the kids are away. This addition will not compete with, but complement the lovely weather outside by adding to the ambiance. Sustainable Style Going green or natural with a variety of natural materials and textures is also a great outdoor summer option. People are saying “goodbye” to plastic furniture and turning up their décor with entire sofa sets made of wicker and bamboo. Simple stone benches with throw pillows can achieve an unassuming yet fashionable look. Small

won’t be seeing the clunky outdoor furniture of the past. This year revealed some backyards that sport even better furniture than some people have indoors. Furniture made of materials like cane and wicker are extremely popular. However, they are used differently and available in far more attractive and sleeker designs and colours. A selection of powder coated furniture has also become popular.

herb gardens, a vegetable and flower garden. and plants that are drought-tolerant ensure that your garden is both hip and planet-friendly. Stylish Outdoor Furniture Speaking of furniture options, while it is nice to be sustainable, it doesn’t mean you have to fully compromise style. You w w w . a m g tt. c o m

Flowing Water Features Whether a waterfall, a fountain, or something more exotic, the magic of flowing water should be a must-have element of your outdoor space. The sound of it bubbling, crackling or trickling is serenity inducing while it adds touches of freshness and modernity to your outdoors. Plus water features can be adapted to also provide irrigation for a welllandscaped garden. No doubt a water feature (whether big or small) can be the focal point in your living space.





The Latest In Patio Design


ourtyard, quad, patio or piazza… whatever you call it this space is becoming a must for homeowners. No longer are people leaving their homes stock. Extensive renovations are being done and an outdoor patio is one of the first additions being made to the house. However, just having a patio is not enough. Your patio should speak volumes about what type of person you are and how you like to live. Therefore, the space should reflect a certain level of thought and effort. Many homeowners realize this and as such here are some of the more popular patio choices that have been made. Decorating A patio is no longer just a place for occasional eating or drinking. It’s an outdoor room and should be decorated as such. There’s now an emphasis on items that can survive the outdoors such as outdoor lights, accessories, beautiful furniture and outdoor fabrics. Colours These are becoming bolder and more fun. Simple brown, which was the most popular colour choice for ages, is now being 2

mixed with vibrant colours or taupe and grey. Bring out the colours with fabrics while keeping the frames more neutral and natural. Materials Exposed powder coated aluminum and stainless steel frames with outdoor cushions, as well as upholstered collections are becoming more and more noticeable on patios. Easy living Let’s face it – the outdoors is often a messy place. Dogs, kids running from the garden into the house, and wind carrying dust, all amount to extra residue. It all results in a mess and you need furniture that can handle it and be easy to clean and use. You should be able to use a hose to wash away dirt without worrying that the furniture will rot. Hence, aluminum and outdoor fabrics are used extensively. Illuminated accessories Multi-purpose illuminated tables, balls and squares are beginning to appear everywhere. At night, when the atmosphere is a bit more subdued, soft lights add an appealing element. Usually

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they are not messy (no food gets stuck in them) and they are ready for use within seconds (if they are dirty, just a wipe gets them ready in 15 seconds). It’s no wonder they are popular. They are easy to use, easy to maintain and they have a phenomenal look.

these lights are rechargeable and provide a nice comfortable light for entertaining. Wicker furniture Wicker furniture that can withstand the weather is still the rage. Did you know that cane is hardly suitable for outdoor living and yet when we picture outdoor furniture in our minds, we tend to see cane furniture? This is because technological advances allow HDPE wicker (plastic wicker) to look so close to the real thing. Traditional vintage looking cane is making a big splash right now, and this time it is here to stay. Glass and aluminum Glass and aluminum tables with extensions are becoming really hot. People like glass tops because

Back to basics With outdoor living becoming all the rage, too many new untried and untested products are coming onto the market. Stick with basics until the new technology has proven itself. Use only proven materials that work for your area. In the Caribbean, with the harsh UV rays, most materials don’t last as long in direct sunlight and it is important to go back and use those materials that worked in the past, again and again. Gathering of people There is nothing like eating outside, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Make sure that your seats are comfortable so that you can spend hours outside. Have tables that allow social interaction – round tables are becoming popular again with a Lazy Susan in the middle to allow access to everything on the table.


Making Mulch Work For Your Garden


uch is made of manure and mulch, but what is mulch and are you utilizing it correctly? Mulch has been defined as a protective covering made up of organic material which is laid over the soil around plants to prevent erosion, retain moisture, and sometimes to enrich the soil. This article shows some of the premium types of mulch and their benefits. Black polyethylene plastic does a great job in preventing weed growth and holding water in the soil, though isn’t recommended if your area is poorly drained. You can get material that has small holes in it that breaks down fast if it’s exposed to sunlight. Cocoa bean hulls, the dark brown shells of cocoa beans are attractive, easy to apply, are fairly

stable and their strong chocolate scent disappears quickly. Be careful if you have dogs; the hulls may contain residual theobromine that can be poisonous to them.

Shredded bark from redwood or cedar trees may be available from tree trimming companies. If they’re fresh, they tie up soil nitrogen as they break down, making it unavailable to the plant, so you’ll want to add some compost or well-aged manure on the soil before adding the bark.

Grass clippings are a quick source of nitrogen though they can form a thick mat that water can’t penetrate. They decompose rapidly building up a great deal of damaging heat, making them a short-lived mulch and potentially harmful to plants. Be careful not to use clippings from lawns that have been treated with herbicides. Gravel, pebbles and crushed stone are permanent and will provide good weed control. These materials reflect solar radiation and can result in a very hot environment during the summer.

Tree leaves are best used shredded or composted; they’re easy to get, attractive as mulch, and after they decompose, you can dig them into the soil and add a new layer of mulch on top.

Newspaper can effectively keep down weeds; to keep it from blowing away, weigh it down by covering with another mulch material. Avoid using paper with color dyes that may be harmful to soil.

Wood chips contain bark and pieces of wood of various sizes and make attractive mulch. They also provide good weed control. Wood chips may attract termites and other insects, however so be sure that they are from healthy trees so that you don’t perpetuate any pest or disease.

Doing Deck Duty: Staining And Treating Your Deck


s much of a tropical paradise as Trinidad is, we are still pretty much a concrete country. We can build homes with the best of them once we don’t try to do any quick backdoor work. However, there are some of us who still prefer the traditional essence of 4

wood structures. If you have a wooden home or deck there would be intensive treating needed to keep the finish on point. Here are some steps to achieving this. Remove furniture from the deck. Sand any rough areas on the deck surface with 80-grit sandpaper and wash debris from the deck with a forceful spray of water from a garden hose. Scrape debris from between the boards with a putty knife. Fill a bucket with hot water and laundry detergent. Scrub the wood deck with a longhandled scrub brush dipped into the soapy water and rinse with the garden hose, working on one small surface area at a time. If the deck is unusually dirty or stained, a 2000- to 2500-pounds-per-square-inch

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(PSI) pressure washer with a 25-degree nozzle will clean the surface without chemicals. Let the deck dry for at least 48 hours. Apply painter’s tape to areas of the house adjacent to the deck, three feet above and below the deck surface. Spread a drop cloth on the ground under the deck. The tape and drop cloth

will protect the walls and the ground from the deck stain. Stir the deck stain in its can and pour the stain into a paint tray. Dip the roller into the stain and apply a thin coat of stain to the deck surface, working from one end of the deck to the other. Stain one small, three-board section at a time and repeat the process to apply a second coat. Brush on two coats of stain in corners and on railings, posts and steps. Work from the bottom up as you paint the posts and vertical sides of the steps. If you wish, you can brush on a cosmetic coat of stain on the support beams underneath the deck. Let the deck dry for 24 hours. Place furniture on the deck and walk on the deck only after it dries completely.


Tree Trimming Tips


ree trimming is a common occurrence in a tropical climate like ours where there is no shortage of plants and trees even in city yards. But as all with things, there are important considerations to be had. Below are some tips for tree trimming. - Be wary about the size of the branch that you are going to remove. If it is less than five centimeters in diameter, removing it is fine. If it is between five and 10 centimeters in diameter, you might not want to do it. If it is more than 10 centimeters in diameter, you should only do so if you have a really good reason. - Only trim branches that have weak, V-shaped, narrow angles. Retain branches that have strong, U-shaped angles. - Lateral branches should be


shouldn’t leave a large stub or remove the branch collar. Now that you have taken these things into account, there are pruning concerns to consider. The following tips and techniques will help guide you if you’re planning on pruning a tree or if you just want to educate yourself about typical tree trimming care and maintenance techniques. - Keep lateral branches as evenly spaced as possible, especially on young trees.

between one-half and threequarters the diameter of the stem at point of attachment. Otherwise, they should be removed. - When pruning is complete, the ratio of living crown to tree height should be two-thirds.

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- Try to prune away branches when they are young. They are much easier to manage at that point, and the risk of leaving nasty scars is much lower. - Don’t trim a branch too close or too long. You

- Prune away branches that cross other branches or run against them. - Never remove more than one-fourth of a living crown at once. If you need to remove more than that, spread it out over a number of years.


Enhancing Your Entrepreneurial Skill Set


he modern entrepreneur is not successful by chance. The business world is far too populated and competitive for luck to be a major factor in success. Moreover, there are important qualities which must be taken advantage of if one is to develop as an entrepreneur. Here are some important additions to that skill set.

is people who are asking for your time and attention. That’s why protecting your time makes the list of essential entrepreneurial skills because as your business grows, so does the number of people requesting your time and attention. Learn how to filter requests and say no to the ones that don’t fit from the get-go.

Planning Being able to project into the future and build a plan to accomplish your objectives is a skill that can take any entrepreneur far. Effective planning is what will guide your business and ultimately define what you’re all about. The skilled business planner knows that planning is only an effective skill when combined with action, so they don’t get bogged down in planning but rather plan with flexibility in mind. Don’t exclude strong time planning and management here, as without it, little else can be planned well.

Adaptability We live and work in a fast-paced world. Managers have to be flexible, capable of adapting on the fly to changing conditions. If you can't adapt, you'll never last. You won't be able to face the obstacles that competitive markets throw at you and, not just persevere, but come out on top. And you won't be effective working with a diverse group of peers and executives, either.

Time Management Besides the potential distraction in the form of email, voicemail and the ENTIRE Internet, the other main source of distraction 8

Strong Decision Making Attributes There are a lot of decisions that you are going to need to make, and these decisions are going to impact your future. Nevertheless, you can't afford to spend too much time thinking about these things. Instead, you must simply make a decision and go for it. Of

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course, you can always make adjustments along the way, but in order to get going you must first make a judgment call. Confidence Confidence is an important skill to have. You should have confidence in your ideas, in yourself and in others. You have to trust others to do their job and to do it well. No matter how amazing you may think you are, you cannot work everyone else's job along with your own. If you are confident in the abilities of others, you can allow them to shine. Your ideas are not always the only ideas or the best ideas. By showing confidence in the abilities of others, you allow for new ideas to emerge into the business. Also, in my experience, people try harder to do a better job when they know people trust in their abilities and can count on them. Being confident in your own abilities is critical to your success. Confidence is not only an attribute, but a skill to be mastered. Many people can show confidence when certain things are going in their favor, it takes a great leader to have confidence even when things are not going well.

Communication & Persuasion It is a skill to be able to express an idea in a clear and concise manner. You should be able to pick out the most important concepts of your ideas and speak about them with clarity. You will also need to understand thoroughly the business industry in order to be persuasive. If you are talking to a potential investor and you get asked a hard question, be prepared to be asked an even harder question if you are unable to answer the first question. If you don't have an answer, it shows a gap in your knowledge. Too many gaps and you are out of a deal. You should also have enthusiasm. If you are not enthusiastic about your idea, it is hard to persuade others to believe it is a good one. Knowledge, Experience & Expertise Experience allows one to tackle challenges with confidence in a given area. Broad knowledge facilitates the same success in other business areas. Entrepreneurs need this, because their challenges are across the spectrum from technical to legal, operational, financial, and organizational.


Enjoy The Oudoors

This second floor patio gives you a bit of the indoors and the outdoors all at once. The glass roof makes it a treat in good weather. w w w . a m g tt. c o m






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A cool outdoor area featuring brick floors and wrought iron furniture is balanced with painted wooden accents. w w w . a m g tt. c o m





This patio is as cozy as the average living room. The surrounding green adds tranquility to the environment.


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The Keys To Picnic Perfection


icnics are often viewed by many Trinidadians as too much of a hassle. Trinidadians are naturally impatient and anything that requires a little extra work can cause a Trini to just step away altogether. However, picnics don’t have to be a hassle. Just work some onepot magic or do easy to make food like hot dogs on the spot and you are in for a treat. If you want the perfect picnic, here are some things you will need apart from the obvious main dish. Utensils - Picnics are mostly about the food, but we civilized people know that the utensils for consuming and dispensing the food are equally important. Think of all the tools you will need to eat the meal you planned. Plates, forks, spoons and knives (if necessary) are obvious. It is important that you don't forget napkins. Cloth napkins work well during a picnic since they won't blow away and litter the environment. Wetnaps and hand sanitizers are a must have for almost any outdoor oc16

ture. Keep everything cold with refreezable ice packs, or fill a couple of resealable bags with ice cubes: They’ll chill food as it’s transported. Add ice cubes to drinks during the picnic. Empty out whatever remains before you go, for a lighter trip home.

casion. Glasses, can openers and the often forgotten garbage bag are all things that can make or break your picnic. Ice - If you can lug a cooler around to a boat ride party, you can definitely take one to a picnic. In fact, it doesn’t have to be a cooler. An ice pack or ice bag works well. The thing is, food spoilage can ruin your lime and food can harbor bacteria when not stored at the right tempera-

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Ground cloth - Insects always have a way of storming a good lime. It is crucial to keep these stormers at bay! A tarp, washable tablecloth or old blanket that you don’t mind ruining is an essential addition. It creates a barrier between the ground and your clothes and picnic basket. It doesn’t matter if you have clean rocks or a picnic table to sit on, bringing a blanket will make for a cozy and comfortable experience. Fresh fruit - The best desert for a picnic is fruit. It doesn’t require any special packaging like cakes that might break or ice cream that might melt. The best kinds of fruit are the ones that aren’t messy. Easy-to-eat fruits such as cherries, grapes, straw-

berries, and five finger fruit are the best for picnics and can be popped right into the mouth. Wash them just before you leave your house, and pack them with a paper towel to soak up extra moisture. Juicy melons also make great choices for a picnic; just make sure that you prepare them by removing the rinds and seeds and slicing. Entertainment options -Books, magazines, or other literature can come in handy for lazy reading during breaks in conversations. If reading isn’t your thing, there is no shortage of other options to consider such as a small stereo or your cell phone to stream/play background music. Depending on the type of picnic (whether family or romantic) this can be the best way to set the right mood. Your phone can also be used for gaming. Speaking of gaming, a frisbee, ball or board games are ideal choices for the competitive types. Cards are not always the best option since they are likely to blow away in the outdoors.



The Perfect Picnic Basket

e’ve included a salad, main course, dessert and beverage to make a simple, but gourmet picnic basket. Enjoy!

Grill for about 10 minutes per side, or until well done, taking care not to press down on the burgers as they cook as this will make the cheese ooze out. Serve on buns with your favorite toppings.

VEGGIE PICNIC SALAD Ingredients 6 slices bacon 4 cups broccoli florets 1 cup chopped celery 1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries 1/2 cup chopped green onions 1 cup seedless green grapes 1 cup seedless red grapes 1/2 cup slivered almonds 1/4 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons grated onion 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise Directions Place bacon in a skillet over medium high-heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the bacon, broccoli, celery, peas, cranberries, green onions, green grapes, red grapes, and almonds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, vinegar, grated onion, Parmesan cheese, and mayonnaise. Pour dressing over the salad. Gently toss to coat. 18


CREAM CHEESE JALAPENO HAMBURGERS Ingredients 2 cups seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 2 pounds ground beef 8 hamburger buns, split Directions Preheat a grill for medium heat. When hot, lightly oil the grate. In a medium bowl, stir together the jalapenos and cream cheese. Divide the ground beef into 16 portions and pat out each one to 1/4 inch thickness. Spoon some of the cream cheese mixture onto the center of 8 of the patties. Top with the remaining patties, pressing the edges together to seal.

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Ingredients 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup white sugar 1 egg 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/4 cup butter 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup white sugar 2 eggs 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch square baking pan. Combine cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir 1 cup chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off, and set a heatproof mixing bowl over the water. In the mixing bowl, combine butter with the remaining cup of chocolate chips; stir until just

melted and blended together. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 eggs, then sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into chocolate until evenly blended. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer. Top with remaining chocolate mixture (this doesn't need to completely cover the cream cheese layer). Using a knife, swirl the top chocolate layer into the cream cheese to make a marble pattern. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is crinkled and edges pull away from sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly. Cut into 12 to 16 squares. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.

WATERMELON AND STRAWBERRY LEMONADE Ingredients 8 cups cubed seeded watermelon 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 1 cup white sugar 2 cups water Directions Combine the watermelon, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and water in a blender. Blend until smooth.




A Guide For The Best Man Who's Clueless!

n the sixties, the words bachelor party would strike fear in the heart of every bride to be, and testosterone in every groom to be. In those days, bachelor parties comprised a lot of booze, a lot of friends – all male – and a lot of big breasted girls - all hookers - jumping out of oversized cakes. These days the male species has evolved. There is a lot more that may interest him than alcohol and women – or so we hope! Now, when planning a bachelor party for your best buddy since kindergarten, you might find that you would have to get a little more creative than the norm. But don’t be daunted. We can help you plan a bachelor party that would spare his bride to be dreams of wanting you dead. Let’s put the alpha male in different categories so that we can cook up the perfect bachelor party experience The Sports Lover Sport is always a great male bonding activity. Here’s an idea. Organize a tournament for married friends’ vs. bachelors; losers buy the drinks. It could be football, cricket, basketball, or even obstacle matches. Words 20

to the wise though…never plan these events for the day before the wedding. Especially if the married men are bigger than the bachelors and the groom to be is not as athletic as you thought. You’d hate to see him getting married in a cast.

friends and the bride’s friends hook up, you might have a lot more party planning to do in the future.

The Nature Lover There is nothing that could say “you’re my pal’ like taking the hard core nature lover on an overnight hike to some beautiful, far off, forest covered location. After he gets married, he may never be allowed to go again. Period. Organize tents, food, cross bows if you intend to do a little hunting, and most importantly, get permission from his bride-to- be. You can fish, raft, hang glide, climb, whatever there is to do where you’re going. Prepare well.

The Car Lover Rally anyone? There are a lot of treasure hunts that involve driving all around the country searching for clues to find a hidden treasure. Organize a road trip like this for the guy who loves everything about cars and driving. The ultimate prize would of course be to have his bride to be waiting at the end of the game as his long hunted treasure.

The Party Lover An interesting concept for this one is to invite the bride-to-be, and her single friends to meet the groom and his single buds to have an all night bash. You can rent the VIP area of your favorite club, or even do it at one of your houses. Be careful though. When the groom’s

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The Home Lover Let him stay home and send him a card.

The Church Lover Pray for him. (Just kidding). The church lover may find interest in lots of things, but they should be spiritually based. There are those who would even suggest bible-based trivia. Suffer the boredom. He’s your friend. The Travel Lover The Caribbean is full of beautiful islands. Pick one. Organize a trip, and plan to see all the

islands’ beauty. If you and your other friends can afford it, island hop. Each destination is unique and you are bound to find something to do. The Poker Lover There are some people who just love card games. For them, weddings = cards. Funerals = cards. Holidays = cards. Work days = cards. Honeymoons? There are Casinos all over the Caribbean that cater to the whims and fancies to the poker lover. Take the night and turn it into magic for him. After the wedding, the only cards he’ll be playing with are the ones he’ll be using to pay for his wife’s luxuries. The Vice Lover Throw everything that you just read out the window and do what your father, and your father’s father, and his father did. Go to the sleaziest strip club you can find, drink yourself into a stupor, and get a stripper to give you a lap dance before you throw up all over her fifteen dollar dress. After all is said and done, go home and pray to Jesus, Joseph and Mary that his fiancé would still agree to marry him.

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Enjoy The Outdoors With Your Family


njoying the outdoors with your family is not difficult at all. It is so perplexing when we see or hear parents who claim they are lost when it comes to spending fun time with the family apart from going out on excursions or watching the occasional movie. You can have tons of fun right in your backyard playing the basic games everyone grew up on. The kids will love it and it’s a good way to keep active yourself. Here are some easy ways to bond with your kids outdoors while on school vacation. Tug of War: If you're looking for a fun outdoor game for large family gatherings, tug-of-war just might be the perfect choice. Sidewalk art: Encourage your kiddos to get in touch with their inner Picasso and make the pavement their canvas. Whether outlining shadows or creating a self portrait, sidewalk chalk is fun for kids of any age. Be sure to snap a few pics of the master-


door activity that children and adults can enjoy together. Treasure Hunting: On your own, plant little dime-store jewels and treasures in the garden. Then draw up a map with directions. (For an ancient look, let some coffee soak into the map to brown it with age; while the paper is wet, rip it around the edges). You can even hide the map somewhere in the house and let the kids find it while making the bed or putting away toys.

pieces with your camera before seasonal showers wash it away!

joy playing the game for hours at a time.

Tag: You can friendly family your own back other location room to run.

Frisbee: Throwing a Frisbee is something that you and your family can enjoy anywhere. You can play Frisbee in your own backyard, at the beach, in the park and in any other location where there is an open field.

put together a game of tag in yard, or in any where there's

Horseshoes: It only takes a few minutes to set up a game of horseshoes in your backyard, yet you and your loved ones can en-

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Jump Rope: Holding a jump rope competition is a great out-

Hide and Seek: Hide and seek is a classic activity. When playing this game outdoors, be sure that youngsters know the boundaries and establish a signal that means "game over, come out of hiding". If very young children are playing, pair them with adults to ensure their safety. Hopscotch: If you have a sidewalk or concrete patio, all you need to get a game of hopscotch started is some chalk.



Get The PostSummer Spa Treatment


o recover after summer vacation Abstract Home recommends a final sea bath and a spa visit. The salt water would draw toxins from your body while the beach sand will exfoliate your skin. At the spa there are a variety of options. However, we recommend the following: Deep Tissue Massage This massage targets the connective tissues of the muscle. It removes scar tissue. Scar tissue hampers the absorption of oxygen and nutrients. Scar tissue causes toxin build up which leads to stress. We recommend soaking in a warm bath with Epson salts to relax the muscles and draw toxins/alcohol from the body. To optimize results you must be hydrated before your appointment. Note this massage would cause a little discomfort; alert your masseuse if you are experiencing pain outside your comfort level. Do not schedule strenuous activity for up to two days after your massage to give yourself time to enjoy the full effects of the massage. If you would like to perform the massage for someone note that the strokes go against the grain and must be deep and slow. The massage should last ninety minutes. Tools made of ceramic and wood could be used to maximize penetration. Your client needs to be relaxed, in a hori-

zontal position and naked with a light towel covering important areas. Aroma therapy can be used. This is an ancient method of healing. It uses essential oils i.e. oils derived from plants, to promote healing. Different oil combinations have different effects on the body. To dilute the effect an oil carrier can be used. Full Body Scrub and Polish This is a more pleasurable massage experience. It uses the sensation of touch and our natural need to connect to stimulate the body and release endorphins. Endorphins create a general feeling of wellbeing and thus promote healing. The scrub would exfoliate all dead cells while the polish would replenish moisture to your sun burnt skin. Deluxe Manicure and Pedicure If you are not comfortable with the nakedness and a stranger touching you then schedule a deluxe pedicure. Your feet will be soaked in warm water to relax them. Epsom salts would be used to release toxins, then your feet will be exfoliated. All corns, sores and dead skin will be removed. It would then be moisturized and your nails trimmed, cut and polished. This is a unisex procedure because guys need to rock sandals too. Since your feet should match your hands get a manicure too.



eggings haven’t died yet and this season is all about letting your leggings do the talking with graphics and powerful prints. From plaid to paisley, Aztec to animal, striped to spotted; patterned leggings are one of the cheapest yet biggest fashion statements for those who dare-to-wear. Whether you love or loathe them, leggings are everywhere this year, from high-street to high-end designer labels. They (leggings), have long been the domain of the slender-inleg and slight-of-frame and for those women the right-side of 30! Undeniably, leggings are not the most flattering when it comes to fashion. They can show every bulge and cling in all the wrong places. They can accentuate chunky thighs and knobby knees. With no pockets, stitching or firm material to hide the lumps and bumps, leggings can be as cruel as they are fashionable.

TWO THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE WEARING LEGGINGS: Does the top compliment your shape? If you are wider on the bottom, you DO NOT want form fit-


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ting short tops. Choose a top that has wider shoulders and hits mid hip; this will help to balance you out.


Do you need to CYA (cover your assets)? When leggings are too sheer and too short, people are likely to see more of you than you’d like. Make sure you chose leggings with the right opacity. LEGGING LENGTHS Knee length: These leggings require lean calves and a good eye for proportion. The top that's paired with them should end around mid-thigh. High heels will help stretch the silhouette. Mid-calf length: This is the easiest to wear because the wearer can help control what is highlighted and what is hidden depending on the top she chooses. Wherever the top ends, be it a miniskirt or kneelength dress, that's where the eyes of passers-by will land. Ankle length: Wear these like tights. The "maxi length" shows off nice ankles, especially when worn with an unfussy shoe with a medium heel.






Twelve Tips To Strengthen And Maintain Healthy Nails


ot only are nails helpful when scratching an itch or getting a can open, most men agree that long, healthy nails are very sexy, which makes it more important to keep nails clean, well-shaped and groomed. Since a regular visit to the manicurist can be a bit expensive, try these cheaper, easy to follow alternatives that can help you get and maintain the healthiest nails, whether on your fingers or toes.


Keep nails hydrated-This can be done by applying pure Vitamin E to the cuticles and the area surrounding the cuticle. Easy to find substitutes are castor oil, petroleum jelly or olive oil.


Push back the cuticle at a 45 degree angle- Be very gentle when doing this as the cuticle can get damaged and may weaken the entire nail.


Wear rubber gloves when doing housework, especially chores that involve water- Vinyl gloves are highly recommended as they protect the hand and nails from becoming weak. Water makes the nails brittle which causes them to become easy to break. For extra care, apply hand lotion before wearing gloves.


Drink lots of milk and eat hard-boiled eggs- Ever see those white spots on your nails? Those signify a lack of zinc which is found in abundance in eggs and milk.


File nails in one directionNever file your nails in a


back and forth movement; file it in one direction. Also never file nails when they are wet; wet nails are weak and will break easily.


Massage the nails- Statistics show that buffing supplies blood flow to the nails which stimulates the matrix of the nail to grow.


Avoid polish removers with Acetone- Acetone dries the nails leaving them very vulnerable or easy to chip or break.


Polish your nails- Even if it’s a top coat or a thin coat of any colour, polishing your nails will keep them in tact and protect against damage.


Take your daily vitaminsParticularly B vitamin biotin. Swiss researchers found that people who took 2.5 milligrams of biotin a day for 5 1/2 months had firmer, harder nails.


Apply a fresh top coat every day- this is the secret to extending the life of a freshly done manicure.


Never wear sweaty boots- try to air-out boots and athletic shoes after every wear to avoid embarrassing infections such as rashes and athletes’ foot. Also, wear 100% cotton socks- the cotton absorbs any dampness that may linger on toes.


Cut toe-nails straight across- this reduces the chances of ingrown toe nails.

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Kid Friendly Exercise

etting your child involved in fitness at a young age is one of the best things you can do to establish a lifetime of healthy activity. Children who get the appropriate amount of daily exercise also sleep better and experience reduced stress levels. The trouble is finding the right activities that your kid will enjoy doing on a regular basis. Aerobic exercise should make up most of the one hour you spend on physical activity every day. What counts as aerobic exercise? Skateboarding/ rollerblading, rowing, hiking, jogging, dancing, housecleaning, jumping rope, biking, swimming, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, tennis, hockey, and football all constitute great forms of aerobic exercise. Do muscle-strengthening activities at least three times a week. Strong muscles aid in a child’s physical development and ability to perform tasks. Some exercises to be considered include rope/rock/tree climbing, running, rowing, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and Tug-of-war.

In addition to cardio and muscle-strength activities, bone strengthening exercise helps your bones grow and keeps them strong. These exercises should be included at least three times a week. Bone strengthening activities include jumping rope, hopping, skipping, gymnastics, volleyball and basketball. Remember that even though your kids are flexible it is still important to stretch. Stretching makes your muscles more flexible. They can help you to reach and bend and turn better. Also, being flexible can help you avoid getting hurt.



Are You Ready For The Road?

t is very easy to jump into your motor vehicle and go while neglecting the fact that your vehicle is indeed a machine that should be looked after and maintained for optimum performance. Looking after your car daily is integral to ensuring its longevity and your own personal safety and that of others on the road. Here are a few things to check before driving out of your garage. Fluid Levels: This is really important; although the fluid levels don't go down easily unless there's a leak somewhere, it won't hurt to check them. Check the engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, clutch/ transmission fluid, and water for your radiator and washer. Bring some just to be sure. Just remember that overheating is quite common for long drives so bring lots of water just to be sure and make certain your radiator and its reserve are at the maximum level. With that said, make sure the coolant levels are between the minimum and maximum marks. Overfilling the coolant reservoir can inhibit circulation thereby causing overheating. Use only straight water in an emergency. Coolant contains anti-corrosion properties, which prevent premature wear of the water pump and the cooling system. 26


Tyre Pressure and Condition: Always make sure the pressure in your tyres it at the correct level. Pumping the tyre pressure too high may lead to a blow out, especially on hot tarmac. High tyre pressures may also lead to uneven, rapid wear. And don’t forget to check the spare tyre. Underinflated tyres produce friction which would lead to more energy being used by the car to propel itself. Therefore, this would increase fuel consumption. Papers: We aren’t talking magazine print here. Check to make sure you have the proper documents and licenses. Check and ensure the presence of these in case you are stopped on the road by the authorities who check vehicle registration. First Aid Kit/ Survival Equipment: Your vehicle may not be an army tank, but it should be as well equipped for its duty as one. The fact that you won’t be in a steel reinforced tank is reason enough to make sure to pack medical supplies in case of an emergency. Bandages, gauze, rubbing alcohol, scissors, tape, matches, a blanket and a flashlight are some of the major things that should be packed. You never know when you would experience difficulty along remote, dark or dangerous roads.

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Pets: The Perfect Companions


orried about an older aunt or a recently widowed elder family member? Getting them a pet could prove to be one of your best moves yet. Surveys published online show that seniors think their pets give them the "feeling of being useful", of "being able to look after somebody", of "not being alone and isolated". Moreover, dogs, for instance, because of their interactive nature, can take up some meaningful space in a void caused by sudden loss. All these arguments are important for people reaching later chapters of their lives. Pets, after their gold medal award for the fight against loneliness, also help to fight against apathy and indifference, becoming somewhat of a new object for affection. They can cause older people to regain interest in events in their vicinity and in their surroundings. They prevent or reduce absentmindedness by communicating the sense of time and by maintaining a rhythm of the day. Spates of depression can be avoided because the pet owner has to take care of things other than himself and his own problems. A pet's need to be fed, exercised and attended to can provide pet owners with mental and physical exercise, but also provide an extra set of eyes and

ears for protection. Walking a dog is a great form of exercise while the soothing motion of stroking a cat may provide a calming effect that can reduce anxiety. Pets do not always have wagging tails and fur; they may be fish in an aquarium or a canary. The very presence of an aquarium in your home, whether you are old or young, is soothing and people have been known to confess, “I can stare at this fish tank for hours!” Of great, often overlooked importance is the fact that pets amuse us, make us laugh and generally improve our morale. Pets need love, companionship and attention just like the rest of us. They are up for adoption in many cases because no one wanted them any longer, or they were dumped after having been through a horrific ordeal. Realistically, even though some of us would like to sit and visit with older relatives frequently, our lives get in the way and these visits are relegated to every other week or on weekends. Knowing they have a companion or even three can give some ease of mind. The older person’s individual abilities should of course be taken into consideration, for instance, mobility limitations or their ability to cope with the demands of caring for the pet.


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Family Field Trip Ideas

he kids are home, but you don’t have the time off or the finances to facilitate an overseas trip with them. That doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up indoors with the children. Family field trips are great ways to spend time with the kids while having fun and learning in brand new environments. Farm: Visiting a farm or farming supply company can teach kids a lot about raising animals and growing food. On a farm or agricultural locale, kids can learn to identify horse, cow, and small animal food and talk about the differences in texture, smell, size, and color. Check out the seeds and fertilizer for a quick lesson on growing. Then of course there's the heavy equipment. Ask an employee if you can take a seat on a tractor. Point out how large a tractor tire is compared to those on your car. The children might even get a horse ride. 28

nized equipment and assembly lines are fascinating to watch and it is interesting to learn which raw materials are used and how they are used to make the final product.

Post office: Before your trip, encourage your child to write a letter (younger children can draw a picture) to Grandma, a friend, or a faraway relative. Take it along. If you have packages to mail, bring them along and see how their weight determines the cost. Or, mail several letters to different locations and ask the receiver to notify your child when the letter arrives. Back home, make a chart that shows how many days it took each letter to arrive. Manufacturing facility: This would include any factory where cars, equipment, tools, toys, packaging or anything else is manufactured. The mecha-

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Television station: Anchor desks and television cameras will certainly grab a child's attention. Children can learn how the news is broadcast and what types of jobs there are in the biz. If the station covers the weather, see if it's possible to meet the meteorologist. Ask them to show you the weather map and explain how he/she predicts the weather. Museum: Whether cultural history, sports history or even military museums, this is one location that will always be quite interesting to visit. Check around your area to see what is available. Again, be prepared for evolutionary content. In addition, some museums (particularly art museums) may contain displays that aren’t suitable for

children. Use appropriate parental caution when planning a field trip to these types of places. Plant nursery: Take along a plant book to help you identify different plants, trees, flowers, and shrubs. If you schedule a tour in advance, a horticulturist can provide tips on how to plan a child's garden. Once home, you can put your child's new knowledge to work by planting a small garden to tend all summer long. Local stream or pond: You'll have tons of fun exploring what lives in and around a stream, pond, or even beach. Check under rocks and along the water's edge. You may even be able to capture some tadpoles to take home. (But be sure to set them free once they become frogs!) Nature field trips are a great way to introduce your child to the world of ecology. Encourage your child to draw pictures of what he saw or to write about the experience.

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 15 2014  

In this issue: Embrace the great outdoors The keys to picnic perfection Pretty patio options inside

Abstract Home Vol. 5 Issue 15 2014  

In this issue: Embrace the great outdoors The keys to picnic perfection Pretty patio options inside


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