Abstract Home Vol. 5 Issue 16 2014

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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 a quick dusting to get your furniture looking refreshed and your home feeling lighter. It may be one of the most dreaded chores one has to do, but it is one hundred percent necessary. Dusting keeps your furniture and home looking good and extends their lifespan while also ensuring that your family is healthy. Before you start dusting, you will want to be armed with the right tools to get the job done. For most jobs, all you will need is a microfiber or soft cloth, a little water, and a fiber duster. If you dust your home on a regular basis, a fiber duster will likely be your best bet to pick up that thin layer of dust that accumulates on every surface. You can continue to use that one duster until it starts leaving little trails of dust on the surfaces. Even then, you can still get a little more use out of it by flipping it around on the duster handle. This will often give you a cleaner side of the duster to finish up a little more of the job. If the dust has gotten away from you, a soft cloth or microfiber cloth and a sprinkle of water may be your better bet. When the layer of dust is slightly thicker, it can clog up a fiber duster quickly. Using a slightly damp cloth will allow you to get the dust a little wet and collect it into the cloth so it doesn’t fly into the air (only to descend on some other unsuspecting surface). If you like to polish your finished wood, you may also want

Much Ado About Dusting

to have a can of furniture polish and another clean rag handy. Just don’t use the polish on glossy wood, like on grand pianos. It can add a film that is a pain to get off, so only use a dry or slightly damp cloth on any

wood that has a high gloss finish. Now that you are equipped with the right tools, the next step is to know your plan of attack. First and foremost, make It easy. Let's face it: Cleaning stinks. Leave a dust w w w . a m g tt. c o m

cloth in a cabinet in each room you dust frequently. The next thing to do is get a mat. Eighty percent of the dirt in a typical house is from what we track in on our shoes. Clean the mats periodically and let them dry before putting them back. For tricky jobs like corners, moldings and door frames, grab a mop pole and old sport sock, flip the sock inside out and place over the end of the mop pole. Now, you’ve got an amazing high-duster! You can also use microfiber cloth secured around the pole with an elastic band. Speaking of high dusting, always start your dusting jobs up high. Work from the top of the room to the bottom so that you wont have to redust. Imagine dusting a room only to forget cleaning the ceiling fan. No doubt, cleaning the fan would lead to redusting the entire room.





Things To Be Wary Of When Landscaping


andscaping is an art. That is why more and more people are looking to professional landscapers for help as opposed to just planting all willy-nilly in their yards. Also, even if you have the right design and you manage to get it right, the upkeep can cause problems. These landscaping mistakes are some of the ones you may have encountered. Sometimes we plan and try to develop a landscape that just isn’t workable with what we have. It is extremely common. Maybe you have a rocky yard, or maybe there is a lot of shade. Perhaps your yard's problem is a punishing heat that scorches all in its path. While these things are obvious to us, they are still overlooked when it comes to landscaping. Sometimes you can successfully fight the terrain you inherit in your yard, as in the case of building retaining walls for slopes to fight erosion. Other times, instead of fighting it, it's better to go with the flow and work with what you have. The key is to know what you're up against and what options you have. Don’t do something that is


near impossible to work. Another major mistake is neglecting hardscaping for softscaping. In case you don’t know the meaning of these terms, note that landscaping can be broken into two smaller categories – soft and hard. Soft landscaping is that which is live and has texture and can be planted. While hardscaping refers to pavements, driveways, rocks, mulch and pavers placed around your home for safety, function and beauty. Many of us tend to focus on vegetation, but the other aspects are equally important. Keep your driveways clean by power washing

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throughout the year. Lack of long term vision is another common issue. This is a common problem because many people don’t know what the long term growth of their plants will be. You need to find out how they will spread and what kind of maintenance you will have to look forward to. Many of us don’t have the time to monitor our landscape constantly. However, we should at least try our best to make sure weeds don’t go wild. Weeds destroy the aesthetic value of your property and also put your pricey vegetation at risk. Unwanted greenery will compete for water

and food. Weeds can also shorten the life of brick, stone, and pavers by growing in mortar cracks. The best way to stop weeds is to spread a pre-emergent about three weeks before weed seeds typically germinate. If you can’t stop them from growing, at least get rid of weeds before they flower and send a zillion weed seeds throughout your yard. Few things have the ability to bring down the look of your outdoor space like an excessive amount of lawn ornaments. One or two well-designed ornaments can be a nice touch to a lawn, but there's a thin line between enough and too much. If you do want to deck your lawn, carefully choose an ornament that will withstand hot sun and torrential rain to avoid a tacky, weathered look. The final consideration can be one of the most important. We all know how difficult it can be to do proper landscaping on a budget. With that said, before starting a landscaping project, make sure you have enough in your budget, because you want to do the job one time and one time only.


Keeping Clothes Fresh Long After Wash Day


f you have thoroughly washed your clothes, yet you still find them to be smelly or musty after some time in the clothes cupboard or drawer, then you should consider a couple things. Moisture can cause clothing to develop undesirable odours. In order to reduce dampness in your closet or drawer, tie a string around a bundle of chalk and hang it to your wardrobe ceiling or hanging rack. You can also place it in a part of your drawer where it won’t make contact with the clothes and just leave it there. The chalk will do the rest, absorbing the moisture in the air around your clothes and preventing it from becoming musty. Your bar of soap can come in handy down to the very end. You can place a new bar of scented soap in your clothes drawer or you can take the bits, pieces and ends of soap that you are unable to use when they become too small, place them in an old stocking and put them in your 4

down with a strong antibacterial cleanser as well. In order to create a nice scent backdrop you can add a touch of essential oil (a fresh citrus or pinewood scent is always good) to the water when you do so, and as you clean your drawers and closet you will also be rubbing a scrumptious scent into the wood.

drawer. Your favourite scent will permeate through the clothes, leaving them lightly scented when they are ready to be used. Another easy remedy for keeping clothes smelling fresh is to simply stick a dryer sheet in your drawer. If you want to be frugal, you can cut the sheets in half so you won’t have to use as many. They will be just as effective. This will give you that ‘just washed’ scent and the great thing is, the fragrance lasts for

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up to three months. Before you try any of the aforementioned remedies make sure your drawers and closets are clean! Empty your drawers and closets and examine them intensely in bright light. Then get rid of any dust, grime or mold. These can transfer onto your clothes and leave them physically damaged at worst, and smelling old and musty at best. A good dusting is a good way to start, but be sure to wipe

Additional tips • It is important to ensure your washer and dryer are clean and functioning well. A dirty dryer or washer will not clean clothing properly and can contribute to unwanted odours. • A little baking soda added to your detergent gives an added boost of freshness. • Consider using white vinegar instead of fabric softener. This neutralizes odours just as well. • Never let clothes sit in the washer or dryer for extended periods. Take them out as soon as the process is over.


Disaster Preparedness Quiz


mergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep you and your family safe. How many of these measures are you equipped for? Read this quiz and find out. 1. A Family Emergency Plan should NOT include which of the following? 1. Information about the emergency plan at your children’s schools 2. The name and phone number of an out-of-town contact person 3. A list of important phone numbers, including those of doctors and emergency services 4. Arrangements for each person in the family to be at a specific land line telephone at a specific time 5. A central meeting spot outside your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you need to leave the area The answer is 4. The arrangements for each family member to be at a specific land line telephone at a specific time may not be possible or useful under many conditions, as people may have to relocate or evacuate entirely during


a disaster. Families should create an emergency plan and carry important information with them so they know how to get in touch and get back together during an emergency. Finally, both telephone land lines and cellular phones may be overloaded or out of service during or after an emergency, so knowing in advance where to meet is important. 2. When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival. Which of the following is NOT considered a necessity for survival? 1. Drinking water 2. Food 3. Clean air 4. Comfortable shoes 5. Warmth The answer is 4. While sturdy protective shoes are important during and after a disaster, they are not necessary for survival. 3. Which of the following items should NOT be included in a basic emergency supply kit? 1. Water (one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation) 2. Non-perishable foods 3. Battery-operated radio 4. Dust mask or cotton fabrics 5. Whistle 6. Important family documents 7. Candles

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8. Flashlight and extra batteries 9. Manual can opener 10. Plastic sheeting and duct tape 11. Garbage bags and plastic ties 12. Wrench or pliers 13. First aid kit 14. Unique family needs such as infant formula or prescription medicines The answer is 7. All of the items listed above should be included in a basic emergency supply kit, except for candles. Candles pose a serious fire hazard, and it is safer to use a battery-operated flashlight or lantern. 4. Which of the following is NOT a recommended action for emergency preparedness? 1. Creating a family emergency plan 2. Stockpiling antibiotics 3. Becoming knowledgeable about types of potential emergencies and responses 4. Getting an emergency supplies kit The answer is 2. Stockpiling antibiotics is not recommended because it is impossible to predict the exact nature of a biological emergency and there is not one antibiotic that effectively treats all possible bioterrorist-related sicknesses. In addition, inappropriate use of antibiotics can potentially lead to dangerous side effects and also contributes to the

problem of many organisms developing antibiotic resistance. 5. Which steps should pet owners take when preparing their pets for emergencies? 1. Assemble an emergency supply kit with enough pet food and water for three days, as well as medications, medical records, leashes and ID tags. Develop an emergency plan that considers the pets’ needs and make a list of animal shelters or veterinary hospitals in other cities where a pet may need to be temporarily sheltered in the case of an evacuation. 2. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate pets if you are unable to do so. 3. To alert rescue workers during a fire or other emergency, place “Pets Inside” stickers on doors or windows, including information on the number and types of pets. 4. All of the above The answer is 4. Pet owners should take all of the above steps when preparing their pets for emergencies. Now that you know where you stand where natural disaster preparedness is concerned, put it all into practice and put safety first.



A Guide To Conflict Resolution

riends, family, spouses, team members and colleagues help to complete our daily dialogue. Without them, the world would absolutely be a dull, boring, one-dimensional arena. The more we interact, the more we have a golden chance to purposefully navigate through various personalities, who, might I add, have different goals and aspirations lending some insight into the dynamics of one’s persona. Helpguide.org makes reference to ‘conflict’ as a perceived threat by either party, real or not. Basically, conflict surfaces due to differences in goals, desires, ideas and values. In the workplace, it is like a busy highway. Regardless of the size of the organization, people walk with their own personal and religious beliefs and values and they react to several circumstances in different ways. However, that is not an invitation to critically analyze the right or wrong way to deal with an issue. Certainly, this is where the challenge begins. There must be meaningful discourse with the willingness to interpret and understand other people’s opinions and point of view, personal or otherwise: essentially being mature enough to use the blanket of respect in its entirety throughout the discussion. Yet ‘conflict” still can arise. Conflict is a part of mankind’s adaptation process, which can promote personal growth and a level of maturity in all aspects of one’s life. Indeed conflict can conjure up both positive and negative emotions, but realistically this too can be beneficial to everyone because it can allow a person to diligently seek out the tools and techniques to deal with conflict and conquer situations by learning to diffuse or master the art of conflict resolution. Conflict can sometimes be as complex as the issue itself. The environment can be8

come cold as ice, creating a barrier to communication and by further extension a hindrance to productivity in the organization. According to mdbroup.com there are two types of conflict; one which is creative and the other destructive. Here is an example of creative conflict: Case #1 Jane Watkins (Manager) suggests senior management work on weekends to eradicate backlog in three weeks instead of recruiting additional personnel whilst increasing the company’s budget. Response: The group respects Jane’s idea and votes to ascertain a general consensus, then agrees to forge ahead. This type of business dialogue is positive, each member believes their concerns, ideas and opinions are valued. Without a doubt it is a mental safety net established within a team’s mind that it’s okay to convey thoughts, amicably. They feel welcome and acknowledged as assets and problem solvers. Therefore, one can confidently expect increased productivity, innovation, creativity and agility. On the other hand destructive conflict is simply the resemblance of a ‘selfish’ syndrome: ‘my way’ without understanding someone else’s point of view. It is often an argumentative and ineffective way to communicate for example as in Case #1 Jane’s idea would have been disregarded, purporting a negative environment that in the long run could lead to low productivity and broken relationships. This can be hefty for an organization’s pocket in the long-term. It is also akin to time deficiency. Be willing to forgive. After all, people are just human and every action brings a reaction. It takes two to ‘tango.’ It is not about winning the battle, but ultimately preserving relationships. Remember, peaceful conflict resolution can create a harmonious

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atmosphere. Freedom to admit wrongdoing and retrieve respect in every facet of one’s job’s journey is much to be desired by an organization’s internal/external customers. Ultimately, it would achieve a positive status in the public’s eye as one of the best places to work! Here are some tips for dealing with conflict: i. Don’t hide or ignore conflict, or try to wave a magic wand for it to disappear. Simply approach it with an open mind. ii. Make contact with parties and have both agree on one main objective to resolve conflict. iii. Manage body language send professional signals. iv. Be problem focused, but not person oriented. v. Present boundaries for productive dialogue, open, respectful and free. vi. Listen to the other party’s points of view, expressed emotions and opinions. vii. Maintain professionalism at all times, “Don’t take it personal” viii. Present the right ‘positive’ attitude at the resolution table. ix. Interpret and comprehend the issue at hand. x. Don’t be tempted to intimidate, or freely use words which hurt the person’s feelings. xi. Recognize your role in the conflict and admit it. xii. Be honest with yourself, if possible verbally indicate you understand e.g. “Yes Jane I understand fully what you’re saying… Please accept my apology.” xiii. Agreeing to disagree is not a sign of weakness, but rather a portrait of maturity.



Enjoy an old school atmosphere facilitated by the right combination of dated furniture and wallpaper.

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This classic bedroom is elegantly decorated with Victorian era furniture.

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A rustic approach to dĂŠcor is achieved with vintage wooden furniture pieces throughout.


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Treating Food Allergies

ver got a funny tingling in your mouth or an itchy rash after a meal or snack? If so, you may be allergic to one of the substances you consumed prior to the reactive episode. Food allergies are very common although they are sometimes mistaken for forms of food intolerance. Common intolerances to foods such as dairy are different to allergies in that intolerance occurs without allergic antibodies being present in a person’s bloodstream. Also, food allergies can be more severe and occur faster than intolerance. That aside, we are going to break down what food allergies are and more importantly, how to treat them. A food allergy is the body's natural response to eating certain foods. It occurs when someone's immune system mistakenly believes that something the person ate is harmful to the body. The most common food allergens include shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, milk, peanuts, soy and wheat. Coughing, sneezing, a runny nose and red, itchy eyes are among the first signs of an allergy. An itchy skin rash or


hives and a tingling sensation in the mouth, lips and throat may also be symptoms of an outbreak. Severe reactions include dizziness, abdominal pain and diarrhea, vomiting and wheezing. Mood changes are sometimes brought about by an allergy. In the worst case scenario, swelling of breathing passages (anaphylaxis) and cardiovascular problems may arise. Young kids who have food allergies often outgrow them — but that is not always the case. Some people have allergies from birth while others develop them as they grow older or as the body is exposed to the allergens. Now that we have baldly covered what allergies are, let us delve into the control and treatment of these allergies. The first very obvious step to dealing with allergies is to avoid foods which may have the potential to harm you. It sounds simple enough, but it may be tricky. In these fast-paced times we are often forced to eat out and menus do not list all of the ingredients. Therefore, asking about ingredients or mentioning what you

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are allergic to when ordering is a vital step. To avoid allergens completely, you'll need to become an expert at reading labels. Make sure to read the labels carefully because there are two other challenges: Food allergens can also lurk in non-food sources, and cross-contamination can render otherwise allergen-free food unsafe. Otherwise be sure not to take chances when it comes to food. No matter how tastefully a meal is presented do not give in and eat it if you really should not. Injectable epinephrine shots are a must have especially for those who suffer severe food allergen reactions. These shots have the potential to save lives in emergency situations. However, even if an epinephrine shot assists in controlling reactive symptoms that should not be the be all and end all of everything. The next step would be to seek follow-up care at an emergency health facility. This is because the injection may have counteracted the allergen to an extent, but traces of the allergen may still be in your sys-

tem and may flare up again. More recently, alternative measures have been utilized to combat food allergies, especially in children. In a two-year study conducted by researchers at Duke University, a method of desensitizing allergic people to allergens was tested. Children who were highly allergic to eggs and nuts were given eggs and nuts in extremely small portions, gradually introducing them to their diets. The method of desensitizing the children worked well as their bodies did not reject the allergens. However, parents were warned not to try it at home since the tests were done under specific conditions and the quantities were very small and precise. When allergy attacks consume a person they may feel at times cursed. However, there are some measures which can be taken to combat the effects one is liable to face. Though we cannot cure you of your allergies, we at Abstract home will continue to try everything in our power to make your life more comfortable with our informative tips.



hicken is the most popular meat option in the world. Therefore, it is no surprise that there are so many chicken recipes available. In this issue we dedicate our recipe page to chicken. It won’t be the usual baked or stewed recipes so don’t be afraid to try it.

PARTY CHICKEN SALAD Ingredients 1 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon curry powder 1 small apple, finely chopped 1 tablespoon lemon juice 4 cups cooked chicken breasts, shredded 1 cup chopped celery 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved 1/2 cup chopped pecans 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained Directions Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, and curry powder in a bowl until smooth. Toss apple and lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir in chicken breast meat, celery, green grapes, pecans, and pineapple. Pour mayonnaise mixture over chicken; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

CHICKEN AND STUFFING CASSEROLE Ingredients 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast meat 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup 1 (14.5 ounce) can green beans, 18

Chicken Recipes drained Salt and pepper to taste 1 (12 ounce) package unseasoned dry bread stuffing mix 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese Directions In a medium bowl combine the chicken, soup, beans, salt and pepper; mix well and set aside. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spoon chicken mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish, top with prepared stuffing and sprinkle with cheese. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes; remove cover and bake another 5 minutes to brown the cheese.

CHICKEN LASAGNA ALFREDO Ingredients 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach 3 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced 2 (16 ounce) jars Alfredo-style pasta sauce 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 2 pints ricotta cheese Salt and ground black pepper to taste Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain.

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In a medium bowl, combine chicken and one jar of Alfredo sauce, stir together. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and drained, cooked spinach, and stir. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, place one layer of lasagna noodles, edges overlapping. Pour chicken and Alfredo sauce mixture over noodle layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over chicken mixture. Top with another layer of noodles. Spread spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Pour 1/2 of remaining jar of Alfredo sauce over spinach mixture, spread evenly. Sprinkle another cup of mozzarella over sauce, lay on the final noodle layer and top with remaining 1/2 jar of Alfredo sauce, 2 cups of mozzarella, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until top is brown and bubbly.

BRAISED BALSAMIC CHICKEN Ingredients 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 1 teaspoon garlic salt Ground black pepper to taste 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, thinly sliced 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme Directions Season both sides of chicken breasts with garlic salt and

pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook seasoned chicken breasts until chicken is browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add onion; cook and stir until onion is browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken; season with basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

SPICY BUFFALO WINGS Ingredients 1 quart vegetable oil for deep frying 24 chicken wings, tips removed and wings cut in half at joint 4 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar 5 tablespoons hot pepper sauce Salt and pepper to taste Directions Heat the oil in a large skillet or deep fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Deep fry chicken wings in oil until done, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet or deep fryer and drain on paper towels. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Stir in the, vinegar and hot pepper sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked chicken to sauce and stir over low heat to coat. The longer the wings simmer in the sauce, the hotter they will be. Serve warm.


Cutting Wedding Costs


person’s wedding will be one of the most important days in their life. Most will also want to ensure that it is also one of the most beautiful. However, weddings have costs attached to them and cutting costs at your wedding may be crucial to the sustainability of your marriage in the long run. Here are some tips for getting wed on a budget.

specially tailor made, consider cheaper fabrics. Remember that you will wear that gown only once. If not, consider renting a gown and a tux for your wedding in order to reduce this wedding cost.

Season Though people get married all through the year, there is a peak season for weddings. Wedding companies and services are more expensive and less willing to negotiate during these busier periods. You could save across the board on limos, photographers and caterers, etc., by getting married during one of the quieter months, such as January or March.

Guest List It's very easy to over-invite people, so scrutinize your guest list. Costs will balloon especially if you are having a sit down meal. Stick to close friends and family, and do not feel obliged to invite plus-ones or distant relatives. Consider whether you would happily buy them a meal and drinks on any other day of the year. If the answer is no, perhaps they don't need an invitation! Furthermore, many of the people who come to weddings are there for the reception. Are you willing to wine and dine someone who really doesn’t care?

Attire Attire is ten percent of an average wedding cost. Check out sample sales, department stores and outlet stores for the best bargains. Smaller boutiques may also be willing to negotiate better prices than designer shops. If you are having stuff

Venue Forget glitzy hotel halls or big time banquet spaces if you want to save cream for your wedding. Local meeting halls can be acquired for less and can be decorated to look fancy on a budget. Church halls are often good options as well. You can even try


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for beach side or at a national park. For a minimal fee you can set up and get hitched with the added bonus of beautiful natural scenery. Food/Drink A brunch or hors d'oeuvres reception is typically less expensive than a main meal/sit-down dinner. A buffet may be less expensive than a served meal, although not necessarily. A new trend is having a salad bar reception which costs less. Alcohol usually takes up most of the catering costs at receptions. Try having an open bar only during the cocktail hour or if the bride and groom are not drinkers have a ‘dry’ wedding. Wedding Planning Wedding planners can be extremely helpful during this stressful period. However, since spending needs to be monitored the need for a wedding planner should also be optional. For most folks, doing it yourself is the more economical, albeit harder, option. Wedding planners aren't all bad though, they have a network of folks they are familiar with and can potentially negotiate discounts in

your favor. Instead of paying for a planner, try getting a wedding planning book and utilizing the checklists provided. Plus, professional wedding planners aside, there are normally several resources that you can utilize to assist with the planning and execution of your wedding. Amateur Photographers/Videographers This particular tip is risky but you can save a few thousand dollars by forgoing the professional photographer or videographer and leveraging any burgeoning amateurs you may know. With how far technology has come, amateur photographers can do just as well as the professionals when it comes to taking stills. If they understand composition and other basic photography concepts, you probably will be happy with their work. Plus, you could probably get two up and coming photographers for less than the price of one professional. This would increase your chances of getting great photos. Don’t forget, every dollar you save is one that you can blow on the honeymoon or put toward your future children’s tuition.


3 Common Relationship Killers


e’ve all heard our family, friends, coworkers and loved ones speak about relationships. The thing is sometimes most of what they’re saying seems to make a lot of sense. Other times you just look at them and shake your head knowing what they’re saying is “bull.” But do you really know what is a love myth and what’s not? Well… Here are three love myths to help you get started on the journey toward answers.


There Is Nothing To Learn Love is not enough to get by on and since you were probably not taught how to communicate and solve problems, it's time to learn. Even couples who have come from the best of homes probably never saw their parents solve problems. Parents are rarely able to teach their children the skills for handling difficult times or for keeping love alive. There are ways to keep romance from dwindling even when the children are crying and the job is a bore. As you grow through life, you will change. Your partner will change. Your relationship will change. If you stay open to accepting change, you can grow from it. It seems as though we pass through phases as individuals on about a five-year cycle. We are constantly alive. Learning who you are and who your partner is can be a wonderful experience. Just remember that it doesn't stop when you think you have learned everything from the past. You have the present and the future to look forward to. Some of the key skills for love relationships are: handling money issues, communication, handling conflict, solving problems, han22

dling anger, building self-esteem, understanding and supporting your partner, decision making, compromise, and keeping romance alive. Just being aware that there is so much to learn is powerful. Taking action will allow you to reap the benefits.


My Mate Will Change. Yes, they will and you have no control over that. The only person you can ever change is yourself. People who expect that their mate will change in the direction that they, personally, want are going to be very, very disappointed. This is a relationship-killing expectation. Be aware that the addictive behaviors of others with alcohol, drugs, or other substances are outside your control. Your love cannot cure this type of illness. This calls for professional intervention. You may help your partner by making resources available and being supportive but it is up to them to work through the disease. Have you ever heard an engaged person say something like this: "Well I know it's annoying when he/she just goes out with his/her friends to play sports in the middle of the week but you know what, as soon as we're married that's going to change."? Or "I know she runs around on me now but once we're married, she'll change." Or "I know he drinks a lot but he'll cut back once we're married." If you've heard it at all, you've just heard a relationship-warning siren. Such demands are unreasonable, unwelcome, and unlikely to succeed. People change because they want to not because you want them to. People entering marriage

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and committed relationships do change some of the things they do. And all people change and grow as they age. But people rarely change for the better when they are under pressure from someone else…even a loved one. In a partnership, you work together to create the new relationship. It is a sharing process. Yes, it may have its painful moments but you are both working together for the betterment of each other and the relationship. The strongest relationships are founded on the commitment of two strong individuals who bring themselves to the relationship. It means compromise, growth and change but it does not mean giving in to the unreasonable demands of another.


I'll Do My Half. There is no such thing as a truly successful long-term relationship where each partner gives only their half (50%). It's the terrible lie of the 50:50 relationship. The only truth is that our expectations for a fairy tale bond lead us down the road to disappointment, disillusionment, and sometimes divorce. "I've had it. You're selfish. If you really loved me, you'd understand what I need. I've been giving and giving and I get nothing in return. You don't give me what I want anymore. Maybe we should get divorced." This conversation or others like it, is held thousands of times per day as millions of people all over the world decide that it's time to divorce. After the mystical magic of today's glamorous weddings, these words ring cold on the hard pain of disappointment. No other thing that we do starts with so much joy, optimism,

and celebration and, all too often, ends in so much anger, fear, and disappointment, as does the modern love connection. It doesn't have to be this way but we have a difficult time seeing the alternatives. The truth will help you create your role in a positive lifetime marriage. The Truth: Men and women are not equal. Thank God. We are different as individuals and, in that difference, lies part of the answer to a happy love life. What we choose to do with those differences determines, perhaps more than love, what our relationship will look like. And it's not a fiftyfifty deal. A truly happy and lifelong marriage or relationship is a seventy five: seventy five proposition (75:75) and all relationships will have problems at some time. It's inevitable. Differences and intimacy is a recipe for conflict. By giving more than half, with the faith that you are both committed to the same love team and by communicating for understanding, with the goal of a winning commitment, you can overcome the inevitable obstacles to creating a happy love life. When you know that your partner is contributing more than their fair share, it's easier for you to do the same. Even though the fairy tales aren't always right, there can be a happy ending; a happy love life for those of you who commit to giving more to your relationship. Yes, it takes work. And that's part of the secret to success within the seventy five percent solution. Working on your relationship is a fulfilling labor of love.



Understanding Attire

D Wrinkle Prevention


rinkles can be considered a woman’s worst enemy. These dreaded lines affect men too and are dreaded just the same. While we all get them as we get older, they can be delayed and prevented in some instances. Here’s how… Eat Berries & Veggies Certain foods may have specific wrinkle-preventing capabilities. Antioxidants found in berries, for example, are known to markedly prevent collagen destruction and inflammatory response in both animal and human skin following exposure to UV-B rays, the sun’s most damaging rays. The specific antioxidant used was “ellagic acid,” found in raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, and pomegranates. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fats boosts the skin’s natural defenses against sun damage. People who eat wholesome foods but pass on sugary confections are less prone to wrinkling and have smoother skin. Drinking tea also helps thanks to the large number of anti-inflammatories found in various teas. Speaking of drinking, cutting out alcohol and keeping hydrated also boost an-

ress Codes… Jobs, schools and even clubs have them, but do you really know what they mean? When someone hands you an invitation that states “dress code in effect” do you quiver? Well stop the shaking, because Home is here to help you define your dress code.

ti-aging abilities. Water flushes out toxins from the body, keeping the body hydrated and delivering nutrients to the cells. This helps organs function properly, leading to plumper skin cells and firmer, clearer skin.

COCKTAIL ATTIRE Appropriate cocktail attire always depends on the formality of the event you'll be attending. As a general rule, evening cocktail parties are usually more formal than afternoon ones.

UV Protect Yourself Sun is the number one offender when it comes to causing wrinkles (and skin cancer), so try to stay out of it as much as possible. That would be extremely hard in T&T’s tropical climate, so at least take the precaution of using daily sunscreen. It is recommended that you use a broad-spectrum SPF 30 every day. While we’re on the topic of the sun, wear sunglasses regularly. Not only will wearing sunglasses protect the delicate skin around your eyes from the sun, but it'll also help prevent squinting, which directly contributes to wrinkling.

FORMAL ATTIRE White tie A white-tie event requires full dress. Ultra-formal, for men a white-tie affair entails a freshly laundered white wing collar pique shirt, crisp white pique vest and white pique tie. You'll also have to wear classic black trousers with a formal satin stripe, a traditional black tailcoat only covering the vest, and black patent shoes. Also, don't forget the cufflinks. White gloves are optional.

Quit Smoking Heavy smokers are almost 5 times more likely to show excessive wrinkling than nonsmokers. Smoking can damage collagen, and the squinting and lip pursing that comes with smoking directly create wrinkles over time.

White-tie events include: • Important fundraisers and galas; • Some debutante dances and diplomatic balls; • Proms and other important receptions. Black tie Black-tie events always involve wearing a tuxedo (unless it states "black-tie optional," in which case you have the option w w w . a m g tt. c o m

but should realize the formality of the event), whether it's a classic or trendy one. Generally, you should wear a black tuxedo with a white shirt, vest or cummerbund, and matching tie. Wear button studs and cufflinks, and remember that if you choose to wear a cummerbund, you should do so with the pleats facing up. Most formal events after 6pm, at which women will be wearing formal dresses, necessitate a black-tie dress code. Dinner jacket A dinner jacket event entails wearing a white dinner jacket with a white formal shirt and black formal trousers. The vest or cummerbund should be coordinated with your tie. Finally, wear a fine pair of black dress shoes. A dinner jacket dress code might be required at proms and at black tie optional events. Semiformal Attire Most purists refer to black tie rather than "semiformal" wear. In looser circles, you can get away with wearing a dark suit at semiformal events, and a more casual suit for daytime occasions. Hopefully, these short descriptions will give you a better idea of what to wear the next time you're invited to a special event. To be on the safe side, ask other guests or colleagues (that you trust) what they'll be wearing to the event -- you'll never lose points for inquiring. As well, it's usually better to be overdressed rather than underdressed.






4 Steps To Great Oral Health


e seldom acknowledge the importance of our teeth until we lose them. Proper dental hygiene is a must if we are to save our teeth as well as keep the entire mouth healthy and disease free. Here are four steps to good oral hygiene.


he gyms are packed with people doing workouts for cosmetic purposes. While these people may look like athletic specimens from their routines, many of them aren’t as fit as you may think. These tips are for those who truly want to build endurance and stamina.


Clean your tongue. Use a tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath. One major cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping will help banish. Plus, using a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush.


Watch what you consume. Limit acidic drinks like soft drinks, cordials and fruit juices. Food acids soften tooth material and dissolve the minerals in tooth enamel, causing holes (cavities or caries). In severe cases, teeth may be ‘eaten’ right down to the gum.


Brush twice a day and floss daily. Gum disease and tooth decay remain big problems among all ages. Half of these 24

Endurance Training

problems can be fixed with the most basic and common dental care routine. Brush your teeth after meals or at least twice a day and try to floss daily. This will save your teeth and gums. Also, note that toothbrushes should be changed 3 to 4 times a year.


Chew Sugar Free Gum. You probably thought this was some silly cosmetic tip only for bad breath, but in addition to brushing and flossing, rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial rinse can help prevent decay and gum problems. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can also protect by increasing saliva flow, which naturally washes bacteria away and neutralizes acid.

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Do more reps Strength and endurance can be developed by performing the highest number of repetitions of an exercise using a weight that represents approximately 40% to 65% of your maximum weight threshold. This is particularly suitable for those that want to increase their strength, but not get too bulky in the process. Incorporate recovery techniques There are a number of ways to incorporate recovery into your routine. Biofoam rollers and massage sticks help sore, achy or stiff muscles recover from exercise. Watching movies, spending time with family, reading, listening to music or socializing with friends can all be effective relaxation strategies that allow

you to disassociate from physical exercise and reduce tension while developing positive mood states of happiness and calm. Choose compound movements over isolation Compound moves that require using more than one joint—like squats, step-ups, push-ups and pull-ups—will improve your endurance more so than exercises in isolation. Isolated exercises like bicep curls and leg lifts aren’t going to stimulate you enough to increase your stamina. Monitor your immune system If your immune system is compromised from training hard, it could sideline you from your training regimen. While having a solid diet will help keep your immune system running strong, sometimes that won't be enough. This is where supplementation comes in. Ingredients that include Selenium, Vitamins A, C, E, B and Coenzyme Q10 prove helpful. This variety of nutrients helps provide the body with critical anti-oxidant defense and cellular protection mechanisms.


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How To Maximize Your Garage Space


he garage is seldom just a place to house tools and vehicles; it is now a place where house-hold junk is stored in the hope that it may again be useful one day. But when all these items are strewn across the floor, it can become clustered and soon tools get misplaced and it is very difficult to move about. There are simple tips that you can follow to make enough space in your garage, to house the existing items and make room for more.


Set rules about what goes in to the garage and stick and to it. This can help prevent persons from storing unwanted items that are not allowed in the house in the garage. Before putting anything in the garage, think about disposing of it first. More than likely you would never use it again and it will become junk.


Get rid of any useless garbage- there are certain items in your garage that are unnecessary and won’t likely ever be used again. You need to rid your garage of these so that you can find other ways to save room. 26


Install flexible shelving. Ensure the shelves can be adjusted and rearranged, allowing flexibility when more space is needed.


Assign a designated space for tools. This area should be decked out with a pegboard which can be used to hang tools used more frequently and a bench for quick repairs.


Periodically, search the garage for items you may no longer need. Maybe a broken tool kit is still available in the garage although you purchased a new one. Save the stuff that can be used and get rid of the others.


Organize like items so that you can capitalize on efficiency. This way you can organize your garage and still find space to store other items.


Maximise your walls. Garden tools and bicycles can be placed on hooks along the walls, leaving floor space available. Rafters could be used to hold boxes in place and overhead racks could be used to store items that are not for everyday use.

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Is Your Dog Depressed


ogs are highly psychological beings. They can be happy or depressed just as we can. You’d be shocked to learn that their reactions to these mental states mirror ours as well. Just look at these symptoms of doggie depression and you’ll see what we mean. Inactivity - A depressed dog might no longer show any interest in taking walks or playing. He might also tend to move slower and not seem to have much purpose to his wandering. It is important to note that some dogs are generally less active than others, but there should be some level of activity in all breeds. Irregular appetite - Depressed dogs often eat far less than they normally do. They may spend some time playing with their food, but not ingesting it. This semi-starvation can develop into a physical fitness problem if it continues for weeks or months. If you have recently switched the brand or type of dog food, try feeding him some of the old variety. If

he is still unwilling to eat, or if he continues to eat less than normal, then there is a good chance he is physically or mentally distressed. Excessive shedding - Shedding in cases of dog depression links to dietary changes too. When a dog stops eating, its body redirects any nutrients that he/she does get. Nutrients redirect from some areas of the body, usually the organs. Hair falls out because of the lack of nutrition sent to the hair follicles and skin. Withdrawn behavior - Your dog may stop interacting with you and/or other animal companions. It may keep to itself and stay away from the action. This is similar to social withdrawal in humans. Much like with humans, when you try to intervene during its withdrawn stage, there may also be signs of aggression. These are some common symptoms of dog depression. Note how similar to humans they are.


Choosing A Travel Agent


here are so many things to worry about when traveling. The possibility of lost luggage, visa issues, accommodations not being as advertised and so much more can all play a part in creating paranoia. The early stages of travel should be far less stressful. The process of buying a ticket or securing accommodation should make you feel at ease. However, you are unlikely to feel truly at ease without the aid of a professional travel agent. Here are some tips to help you find the best agent available. Many people tend to overlook the first tip. However, it is extremely important if you want to ensure the best service. Your travel representative should possess powerful credentials. Treat them as you would your private doctor or dentist. While in the office, it is a good idea to search the walls for special certifications. If none are visible, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the travel agent about his or her qualifications. How can they really help you if all they are doing is pulling information from on28

line when you have been doing the same thing all the time? Doing your own physical research is the best way to analyze if your agent is a good one. However, you should not hesitate to rely on the power of a strong personal recommendation. If one for a travel agent cannot be obtained, thumbing through the telephone directory for an agent is another option. After placing a phone call to a potential travel agent, it is best to follow up on the phone call by doing what was mentioned in the first tip. Visit the agency, but before you quiz your agent, try

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to determine whether or not the prospective agent’s office meets certain standards and expectations. The next tip for finding the right agent takes a bit of knowhow from you. You should know the questions that the travel agent will need to ask. You will undoubtedly have your questions, but so should your agent. A good quality travel agent will ask you to outline your trip. They will ask where you’re going and why, how you would wish to travel, how long you plan to stay, and what your travel budget is. You should be co-operative with

your responses. Be open and honest with your answers and an agent worth their salt will gladly put together a sample of tours that describe availabilities in transportation, accommodations, and estimated costs. The final way to know for certain if your travel agent is a keeper is to see what happens when you run into trouble. Indeed a true test of one’s mettle is watching how they react under pressure. If you travel enough, you will have that opportunity, eventually. A travel agent’s job isn’t done when they hand you your receipt for your ticket purchase. When your flight is delayed or your hotel is overbooked or your travel insurance claim isn't being honored, they should be able to provide help for you. Agents are compensated for the booking (either with a fee you pay or a commission they take directly from the company). If they leave you hanging or opt to do nothing more than send you the company's basic phone number, they are not your agent. Chances are, they're just in it for the commission.

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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