Page 1

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.

Non Toxic Homemade

Fixes For Cleaning


leaning products can be as harmful as they are effective. If you are looking for non-toxic ways to clean your home, these simple concoctions can help you get the job done. For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to

clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener-the vinegar can react with the

drain opener to create dangerous fumes. For disinfecting, pour a mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and hot water into a spray bottle of your choosing. Vinegar is a strong acid that kills

most germs. The vinegar solution sprayed onto the affected area will kill germs left by common household contaminants such as pet accidents, vomit or raw food. According to a study conducted by the University of Florida in 2003, when sprayed on strawberries contaminated with E. coli and other germs, a 10-percent vinegar solution reduced bacteria by 90 percent and viruses by 95 percent. The downside is the vinegar smell which will dissipate when the area fully dries. A cleaner that works well on floors and walls can be made by adding 2 to 4 tablespoons of Castile soap and 10 drops of lemon essential oil to a large container. Fill with 1 gallon of hot water and stir to mix. If the floor is greasy, add up to 1/8 cup of vinegar.

Picking The Right Scents For Your Rooms


inding the appropriate fragrance for your home can be as important as finding your own personal fragrance. It goes a long way toward maintaining the right mood and it also provides guests with a pleasant aroma whenever they visit. While nothing beats the scent of a naturally clean house, instead of one where odours are masked, sometimes a good fragrance can transform your room. Bedroom If you think we are going to recommend a certain scent that “gets you in the mood,” you’re absolutely right. Fill your bedroom with fragrances that are natural aphrodisiacs, like lavender, jasmine and sandalwood (used in a majority of colognes and perfumes). If you’re more concerned

afternoon can be made to feel more comfortable through the use of fresh clean scents like green tea or cucumber.

about getting a good night’s sleep, go for scents that are made for soothing, stress-relieving aromatherapy. This includes vanilla (which helps induce sleep), eucalyptus and mint (which helps reduce stress levels). Living Rooms It is important to consider the

lighting of the room you’re selecting a fragrance for. Depending on the direction the room’s windows are facing, you might enjoy a warmer scent, like cinnamon, plumeria, or vanilla. If there is more natural light a more sterile, clean linen scent might work better. Rooms that tend to get hot and stuffy in the w w w . a m g tt. c o m

Kitchen Kitchen scents should be emotive. Scents that remind us of childhood usually work well in such spaces. Cookies, vanilla, apple, and cinnamon all add a touch of cozy flair to our nostrils. For some, savoury scents such as basil bring the kitchen to life. Scents which mimic baking also work well in the kitchen. Bathrooms Bathrooms benefit from floral scents and scents which favour light citrus tones. These scents provide a feeling of cleanliness and the image of sanitation is important to bathrooms.





Exploring Dining Room Décor


dining room can serve many functions from office to family room and of course for dining and entertaining. So how do we fit all of this into one room and still keep it looking great for guests? These ten tips will show you.

own home theatre.


Bring in additional lighting. If you’re planning on using your dining room for reading or crafts, you’ll need to add task lighting. Place an accent table and lamp next to an upholstered chair to create a cozy reading area. Keep a light with an adjustable arm handy so you can focus light on crafts and other close work.


Start with a plan. It’s a good idea to determine how you plan to use the dining room before you actually do any decorating. This way you can make a list of everything you’ll need to make the room function properly.


If you use your dining room as a multi-purpose room, one of the most important considerations is adequate storage. Add an extra buffet table or sideboard for all your office supplies and kids’ games. It can also do dual duty as an additional serving area when you have guests.


Add layered window treatments. By installing blinds, shears and solid drapery, you can adjust the light and privacy level to suit your needs and your mood. 2

9 4

Include bookcases if you have a lot of books or need additional storage for craft supplies and other items. Use decorative boxes or baskets to hide the clutter.


Use a functional dining table that you can adjust to suit your needs. If you have a table with leaves, you can remove them to gain more space in the room. Simply replace the leaves when you have guests for dinner.

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


By adding a loveseat or a couple of upholstered chairs to your dining room, you’ll provide a great place to relax and read a book. Plus upholstered pieces will add warmth to the room.


Add an entertainment center. People rarely use a dining room for formal dining anymore, so why not make the room truly functional? Install a sound system and a flat screen TV and you’ll have your

Add a touch of nature by bringing in houseplants and flowers. Live plants can do wonders for any room and flowers are amazingly cheap these days. You can pick up a bunch right along with your groceries. You can also add a lot of interest to an otherwise bare corner by filling it with a tall palm and placing an up-light underneath.


Don’t forget floor coverings. Carpeting and area rugs can make a room feel warm and inviting. If you place a rug under the dining table make sure that it is large enough so the chairs remain on the rug even when they are pulled out.


Ten Indoor Gardening Tips


beautiful outdoor garden can do wonders for the look of your home, but an indoor garden can be equally beneficial. In addition to providing you with the right amount of oxygen and the ability to be used as a food source, indoor plants can be aesthetically pleasing as well. Here are some indoor garden maintenance tips. Tip 1 Although certain plants do really well indoors, they still have the tendency to reach towards a light source. For instance, if your light source were on the right side, all your plants would be inclined towards the right side in order to get sunlight. It’s better to rotate your plants occasionally for them to grow straight. Tip 2 Make sure your plants get enough sunlight. If your plants do not get their daily requirement of sunlight they might appear very thin and frail. If your home doesn’t get ample sunlight, do not worry. You can buy plants that are appropriate for medium to low light environments. Otherwise you can try placing your plants outside on mornings for a few hours and


and dust tend to settle over the plant leaves and stem so it is important to clean them. You can add a spray attachment to the nozzle of your hose and gently shower your plants. If not, wipe each individually with a soft damp cloth.

then move them inside for the rest of the day. Tip 3 Watering right would solve most of your problems. More plants tend to die of improper watering than from any other problem. Make sure you use room temperature water. Although different plants have different watering needs, you can follow one thumb rule – Too much dryness and too much wetness are both bad for your plant. Make sure your containers and your soil have proper drainage. Tip 4 Bathe your plants occasionally. Yes, we said bathe. Often grime

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

Tip 5 Like ample sunlight, plants require ample fresh air too. The plants tend to suffer a great deal if they are kept in smoky or stagnated air. Keep your doors and windows open and allow your plants to breathe fresh air. Second hand cigarette smoke is dangerous to plants in much the same way as humans, so don’t smoke around your plants (especially in enclosed areas). Tip 6 Keep a check on your home temperature. Plants tend to grow well at a certain temperature. Around 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and 10 degrees lower at night. Air condition units should be monitored to ensure it is not too cold. Tip 7 Keep a record of each of your plants’ name, species, purchase date, fertilizer dates, repotting dates etc just as you would maintain your child’s medical reports.

It will help you to maintain your plants systematically. Tip 8 Fertilize your plants regularly. Every time we water, some of the soil’s essential nutrients get flushed out of the soil. You can use a liquid fertilizer and add it in small amounts when you water your plants. Keeping track of your fertilization dates would help you. If you fertilize your plants too much or too often, you will end up burning your plants. Tip 9 Soil is an integral element for a healthy plant. If you are growing your plants in a container, avoid using soil from the garden. It will not yield good results. Besides, it may also risk introducing insects, weeds and other diseases to your indoor plants. You can buy good container soil from a plant nursery. Tip 10 Make sure your pots have proper drainage holes on their surface below. Most pots tend to be sold without drainage holes, but you should make holes on your pots yourself. Without proper drainage holes, the water in the soil tends to collect in the pot and damage the roots and your plant will almost certainly die.

Up to

8 times your


Weekly cash prizes


Grand prize


Everything you want this Christmas and more

Get everything you want this Christmas and more with a loan from RBC! Let RBC make all your Christmas wishes a reality.

You’ll also get:

family… just any family. t o n e r ’ ur They ld be yo for they cou to vote

> Secured and unsecu red loans > Reduced interest rates on all loans > Lower monthly installments > A $6,000 pre-approved credit card*

bbean, d for om/cari an will be use ! .c c rb it lo lets Vis ir b e a T th Galaxy u think what yo 1 of 3 Samsung and win

RULES: • Only clients approved for a loan during the promotion get a chance to win the weekly $5,000 prize plus a chance at the Grand Prize of $20,000 • Promotion runs from October 6th to December 31st, 2014 • Winners will be selected by random draw • Employees of RBC Royal Bank and its advertising agencies are not eligible to enter • Promotion is approved by the NLCB • Subject to normal lending criteria. Special conditions apply • The cost of borrowing will be made available upon application *Applicable only to the Visa Classic credit card. Special conditions apply.

® /™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence.

Call 625-4722, visit any RBC Royal Bank branch or go online at



Home Technology Tips

ou don’t have to be a manager at Google to appreciate all that technology has afforded us. You can’t escape the benefits of technology and it is best to make the most of this ubiquitous resource. Incorporating technology into your home is a must, but before you do there are some things to consider. Wire for everything now: If you are building or remodeling your home, wire it with a plan for future needs. There is no telling what the future will look like, but at least try to make it your business to stay current about technologies that are on the horizon. Beware of the hype and focus on your reality and prepare for it. Plan for future TV technology now: If you're buying a new TV or video projector, make sure to ask about LED, 3D and how it will integrate with your existing equipment. This may lead to spending a bit more in the short term by making sure to get a TV with discrete codes, adding a blu-ray player or upgrading your AV receiver at the same time, but the longer term enjoyment 6

and ease of use generally far outweigh the short-term costs.

make in updating technology in their homes.

Insist on Integrated systems: As you buy new electronic components, think of the big picture and how everything will be hooked up together and operated. Try utilizing a universal control system to simplify operations and to maximize ease of use. Look for components that have "Discrete codes" for turning your equipment on and off as well as changing sources and settings.

Don't think you have to put up with hard to use remote(s): Easy to use, all in one control systems are available for any type of system. Many companies specialize in creating custom programs for customers to make controlling multiple devices single button simple. They can design a customized program, layouts, sequences and graphics to match your lifestyle or decor and can even create hidden/locked sequences that can only be activated by you. No doubt, this will really impress your friends and neighbors.

Beware of discounts on older products: Many stores make large "special purchases" of older equipment and sell it at discounted rate. As little as you think certain technologies have been updated over a specific period of time, it is a bad idea to buy from the old product bargain bin. Instead, shop with a dealer that provides you with the newest equipment and technologies. Consider adding integrated lighting control with your home electronics system: Lighting sets the mood for home theater, entertaining, or

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

just a quiet night in. With the right equipment you can control some or all of your home’s lighting simply with the press of a button on a wall keypad, touch screen or the same hand held universal control system you use to control your TV and/or home theater. Think with your wallet, but lead with your head: Planning, quality and long-term dependability are the most cost effective attributes that you can build into a home. Plan ahead but be willing to spend a little more now to get what you want later. Infrastructure and proper System Design are the best two investments consumers can

Consult a professional: Look for someone who can design and install reliable, easy to use systems that improve the quality, efficiency and convenience of your life. From simplifying and improving your TV watching experience to creating dramatic lighting effects which save you money to conveniently accessing your music, movie or photo collection from any room (or environment...or remotely) professionally designed systems allow for the best results.



Managing Employee Turnover

s employee retention a recurring issue in a position or several positions in an organization? Poorly defined job descriptions can contribute to that, but there are many more things which can impact high employee turnover. Poor employee retention can be a headache and a serious cost to your company as sourcing replacements and training them requires spending money. Plus, productivity always takes a hit as new workers seek to adapt. Here are some measures toward helping reduce employee turnover. Goal alignment Every employee should have individual goals that are directly linked to higher-level organizational goals. These goals, like the employee’s job description, help to set expectations for performance, and give employees a context for their work. By linking their individual goals to corporate goals, employees understand how their day-to-day work contributes to the organization’s success and understand their value, which impacts employee engagement and retention. Realistic and Competitive Remuneration Offering a competitive and appealing compensation and benefits package is important too. Work with human resources to get current data on industry pay packages, and get creative when 8

necessary with benefits, flexible work schedules and bonus structures. Once a year review compensation and benefits packages. Offer flextime Offer flexible schedule adjustments showing respect for an employee trying to balance work, career, education, and community (job sharing, flex time, telecommuting, full time to part time and back again) and do it all without jeopardizing advancement opportunities. Working parents are especially likely to leave a company if they’re unable to fit family obligations into their schedules. Offer eligible employees the opportunity to work flexible hours and telecommute when possible. Show Interest Show an active interest in your staff's welfare and enjoyment in their employment. Don't wait until the once a year interview. You could try offering a company Social Club, or staff picnics, or a newsletter primarily for and about the staff rather than a strictly business newsletter. Do any of your staff members do things like volunteer work, or work with Boy scouts, just for examples; because if they do, some recognition and perhaps some kind of donation or sponsorship towards their activity, sporting group, etc. would go a long way to ensure their loyalty and appreciation?

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

Develop People Organizations that focus on employee development enjoy higher employee satisfaction, which leads to lower turnover. If each employee has a concrete development plan that is reviewed at least annually and which contains a variety of growth opportunities, the employee will have little reason to look for greener pastures elsewhere. Cross Train Employees, who have been trained to perform several different jobs recognize they are of higher value to the organization and tend to be less inclined to leave. Along with the pleasure of having more variety of work, employees appreciate the ability to take on additional skills. Having good bench strength allows the organization to function well, even during times of high vacation time or illness. Evaluate your management team If you have had tremendous turnover in a certain role or department, it is time to evaluate if there is more to the story. Focusing on exit interviews is always a good practice, and you may discover weaknesses in management or company structure that are an easy fix. Employees will often feel that they do not have a way out from a difficult management situation or an unpleasant

boss, and they tend to feel the only option is to go to another place of employment and start over. Human Resources can be great to assist in this area, but the most important step is to gather information and address any management situation that might be occurring, before it becomes a repeated pattern. Regular performance appraisals A regular, formal performance appraisal is the best vehicle for ensuring employees are performing as expected, and know and understand the competencies important to the organization and their role, have development plans in place, and have clearly defined goals. It helps set employees up for success and addresses many of the core needs for employee engagement. Performance appraisals form the foundation for an ongoing dialogue about performance between managers and employees and should serve as the central driver for all other talent management programs. Put more effort into the hiring process Obviously, proper HR recruiting is a great start. Many people who leave jobs were not the right individuals for the jobs in the first place. Thorough background checks and the right interview scrutiny should assist in making the right choice.


Delightful Dining Spaces

This plush dining area makes for a luxurious eating experience. w w w . a m g tt. c o m





A glass table with modern chair design is a great place for breakfast, brunch or lunch.


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


An all-white dining area that exudes class. w w w . a m g tt. c o m





Bring the five star restaurant experience to your home with recessed lighting and accessories. 14

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


This colourful area rug really makes this dining room pop.

w w w . a m g tt. c o m






4 Knives To Start Your Kitchen Collection

ne size doesn't fit all for this kitchen essential, so be sure to find the right types of knives for the job. Just as every meal is different, so are the tools used to prepare each meal. This article explains the uses of the most essential kitchen knives for your collection. Paring Knife Dividing a radish, trimming asparagus, peeling an apple, cutting celery--these are the tasks a paring knife does best. It's the essential fruit-and-vegetable knife (and also comes in handy when there's string to be cut or a package to be opened). Available in lengths from 2 to 4-1/4 inches, a classically shaped paring knife has a thin, narrow blade tapering to a tip, which is perfect for digging out a potato's eyes or paring away a peach's blemishes. Bread Knives All true bread knives have serrated edges, and cutting through bread is their single purpose. The serrations (large enough, in knifespeak, to qualify as "scal-


than the Western meat cleaver. Cook’s Knife The chef ’s knife, also known as the cook’s knife, is the workhorse of the kitchen. This type of kitchen knife comes in varying lengths and has a fine, curved blade. Chef ’s knives are particularly useful for slicing and chopping vegetables and for cutting boneless meat. The chef ’s knife handles over 90% of the cutting required to prepare a meal. An 8-to-10-inch chef ’s knife is recommended. lops") grab hold of the thick, rough crust of a loaf so it can be sliced. Because a good, hard crust withstands the repeated sawing of a nonserrated blade, a bread knife is essential for anything but soft-crusted sandwich breads. Usually 8 or 9 inches long, a bread knife's blade is too big and too thick for neatly slicing tomatoes or soft-skinned fruits, and the serrations will rip a roast's fibers rather than slicing cleanly through them. Cleavers A meat cleaver is a large, rec-

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

tangular knife that is used in cutting meat. The blade, approximately 15 cm (6 inches) long, is very heavy, with a thick spine, enabling the knife to chop through bone and joints with relative ease. Many cleavers have a hole in the end to allow them to be easily stored on a rack. Cleavers are an essential tool for any restaurant or home that prepares its own meat. The so-called 'Chinese Chopper' or Chinese chef's knife is actually a form of general-purpose cleaver, most varieties being much thinner in cross-section

Kitchen shears They may not actually be knives, but shears can make working with certain things a snap! They’re handy for all types of jobs, including cutting open packages that won’t tear, snipping herbs, and trimming fat from meat. For example, instead of trying to cut up the slippery poultry with a knife, kitchen shears can complete this task much more quickly. They’re so versatile in the kitchen; you’ll wonder how you got along without them.


Corny, But Good Recipes


orn can be found whether fresh or frozen year round. Trinis love it boiled, roasted or in soups and it is popular in Tobago as a base for sweet pone. We are giving special attention to corn in this week’s recipes. Sit back relax and enjoy our corniest recipes yet.

CORN AND BLACK BEAN SALAD Ingredients 1/3 cup fresh lime juice 1/2 cup olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels 1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced 1 red bell pepper, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 6 green onions, thinly sliced 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro Directions Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small jar. Cover with lid, and shake until ingredients are well mixed. In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Shake lime dressing, and pour it over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetables and beans with dressing, and serve. 18

CRAWFISH AND CORN SOUP Ingredients 1/2 cup butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 medium onion, chopped 1/4 cup chopped green onion 4 cups milk 2 (15 ounce) cans cream-style corn 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup 1/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 dash pepper sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot®) Salt to taste 1 pound crawfish, peeled Directions Melt butter in a large pot over low heat, and stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly to make a light roux, about 5 minutes. Add onions, and cook until wilted. Pour in milk, creamed corn, whole kernel corn, and cream of potato soup. Season with Creole seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, and salt. Stir to blend, and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the crawfish, and cook for 20 more minutes.

SCALLOPED CORN Ingredients 1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn 1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel

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

corn 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream 2 eggs 1/2 cup butter 2 tablespoons white sugar 1 (8.5 ounce) package corn muffin mix Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Mix together corn, sour cream, eggs, melted butter or margarine, and sugar. Mix in muffin mix. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted midway into pan comes out clean.

CORN CRUSTED SNAPPER Ingredients 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels 1 tablespoon red bell pepper, chopped 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped 1 tablespoon cornstarch 4 (5 ounce) red snapper fillets 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, or to taste 1 cup all-purpose flour 3 egg whites, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon vegetable oil Directions Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine corn kernels, bell pepper, onion, and cornstarch in a bowl; set aside. Sprinkle the Creole seasoning over the red snapper. Dredge

the fish in the flour, then dip them in the egg whites. Coat both sides of the fish by pressing the corn mixture into the egg whites. Heat the vegetable oil in an oven-safe skillet over mediumhigh eat. Arrange the fillets in the skillet and fry until golden, about 5 minutes on each side. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and continue cooking until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 5 more minutes.

CHEESY CORN Ingredients 1 (16 ounce) package frozen corn kernels 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 1 teaspoon chopped garlic 1/2 teaspoon Creole-style seasoning 4 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup diced onion 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese Directions In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn, parsley, garlic, Creole seasoning. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter and onion; sauté until onion softens. Add corn and cream cheese. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, chill completely and serve cold.


Prioritizing Your Wedding Budget


hen you start to plan your wedding, it is very easy to become overwhelmed at the thought of everything you are going to have to address and pay for in order to plan your perfect wedding. You can easily help yourself to take away this stress by breaking your wedding planning down into smaller steps and by building a priority list. This will aid you in budgeting and saving. In order to prioritize a budget, you must first actually have a budget. The bride should not spend a single cent until she knows who is contributing to the wedding and where the money is going to go. Once the budget is set, it is important for the bride to prioritize. Whether it is the flowers, the reception or the dress, the bride needs to pick out what she feels are the most important elements of the wedding. Though we often speak about the bride when discussing wedding finances, the groom is equally important. Sit down with your fiancée and compare 20

the lists of things you both want and need for your special day. Then you can begin to prioritize to ensure you don’t go over budget. Don’t price individual needs or wants before coming up with a budget. Come up with a figure and then start looking for items and services that fall within the budget. It is amazing how cheap you can find stuff for when you have little to work with. With that said, determine the maximum dollar amount you want to spend and then set your wedding budget 20% below that max. Be absolutely disciplined to sticking to that 20% lower number, since a few incidentals and surprises will make that 20% disappear in no time. The next step in prioritizing is deciphering between needs and wants. You will quickly see that there are some things you both must have. Come to a consensus on what's the most important of these must haves to both of you. When you have picked the top three things,

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

you can begin to allocate funds accordingly! If you are on a $20,000 wedding budget and an amazing wedding photographer is #1 on your priority list, then go for the gold and book that $6,000 wedding photographer! And since hiring a cheap photographer is one of the most common regrets expressed by newlyweds, take a cue and don't skimp on the photography. You'd be shocked at how much money is spent on things that don’t matter to the newlyweds or their wedding guests. So just prioritize your must-haves to avoid falling into this trap. After satisfying the budget need of the key items, you can see how much money left for the other things; let’s call them “Extras”. These are all the other items that would be nice to have, but are not crucial for the success of the event, so eventually you can compromise on them, or exclude them completely if the budget does not allow them. The saving on these items may allow you to allocate the neces-

sary budget for the most important things. Example: let’s assume that the menu is crucial for you, because your guests are very sophisticated and sensible on the food quality. But the wedding menu is too expensive for your “taste”, and you would like to cut $10 from the menu, but it would mean compromising the menu. On the other side, you allocated $20 per person for the wedding favours, which are in the “Extras”. You can find simple and lovely gifts for $10 each. Now you have the $10 missing for the wedding menu. It’s a matter of compromise on the gifts, rather than on the menu. It is also important to note that while the actual wedding is important, the overall goal is the marriage. When the wedding is over the real bliss begins. Prioritize and plan for what comes next. Honeymoons are the beginning of the next step. Remember to put some money aside for the honeymoon and to say your thanks you's etcetera.



The Happy Family Guide

veryone wants the ideal of a happy family. We often envision mommy, daddy, kids and dog all smiling their way through life. While things may not be that perfect, your family can definitely enjoy happiness if they follow a few tips. Start At The Head Put your marriage first. Too many families operate by putting the children first. As noble as it sounds, it may not be the best option for you. A strong relationship at the head of the household is essential for ensuring healthy relationships throughout. Don’t let your kids become substitute providers of love in the absence of your mate. It is way too big a burden for a child. Also, what will happen when your kids move out? Be Spiritual God should be at the beginning of everything you do in life. When you make a decision to incorporate strong spirituality into your home, the benefits show. Happy families tend to spend time reflecting on gratitude and blessings. Prayer tends


to keep people grounded and the goodness will emanate throughout the house and by extension all your family is touched. Encourage your family to be thankful and to solve problems with faith over fight. Set Boundaries Boundaries are not merely obstacles, but important barriers within which you can operate as leader of your home. While it is true we often use boundaries to protect children from harm or danger, don’t neglect to explain the purpose of the rules and boundaries implemented. If not, it will seem as though you are just issuing orders and nobody likes to be pushed around. If you move with too tight of an iron fist without explaining the way of your rule, you are sure to encounter some rebellion from your children and mate (even your pets). Measure Your Discipline Since there are boundaries, there must be ways to enforce them. Just note, that all discipline should be meted out with consistency. Clearly expressed expectations and consistent fol-

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

low-through produce responsible kids. Make your goal of discipline one of teaching kids responsibility not evoking obedience. In addition, do not favour any of your children when dealing with disciplinary issues. Treat everyone equally. Communicate Openly The less open the communication between adults and children, the more pessimistic the children are likely to be and the less likely the children are to feel secure in their family relationship. This is nearly doubly as significant in stepparent-children relationships. Communication is key in mom-dad relationships as well. Keep an open door and open mind to family members and they will feel more comfortable with you. Speaking of comfort, it is important for the members of your family to be there for each other through the hard times, as well as the good times. If there is a family tragedy, or a family member has a problem, pulling together can really help. Your children will need your help at this time, and it is important to be open and communicate with

them. They will need reassurance and explanation, and will react differently depending on their ages. It can also help to talk to someone impartial. Break Bread Families that pray together stay together, but families who eat together have similar results. Studies have shown that families who sit together for meals bond better than those who eat at separate times and spaces. Even if it’s just for the preparation of the meal, try to sit around the table. Even when your schedule is incredibly tight, try to arrange for family dinner at least once per week. If you can’t do a full dinner, a brief breakfast bonding will work just as well. Be Active Together Finally, fun time with the family should not be overlooked. Work off the calories from family dinner with a night of playing. It can be a game in the backyard or even something more sedate indoors. Whether it’s Charades, or All Fours, play and share some laughs with the family.



Getting Your Makeup Kit Started


ell look at you all grown with your push up bra, taking that bold leap into makeup land. Even though most of us have been messing around with mom’s makeup from way too early there is the other group of us who’ve never given it a single thought – busy outdoors playing pitch and beating up on boys. Whichever journey has brought you to this door of makeup, we say welcome and be warned. Why? Because cosmetics and this business of beauty is a multi-million a year industry, they make that money off of you honey. Talk to friends about quality buys. Your kit will consist of all the basics you need for a quick makeup job. Foundation - This is the beginning of every make-up regime. It evens out skin tones and adds color and smoothness. Stop by any cosmetics counter and ask for help finding your shade or if you're a DIY person, swipe a few colors across your jaw line, and whichever is barely visible is your best bet. Concealer - For touch-ups of discoloration or blemishes the liquid concealer make-up goes on light and blends well. The pen-style applicator tubes are nifty but don't contain very much so they can get a bit pricey to keep up with. Pressed powder - Several brands now have multi-hued powders that mimic the skin's natural combination tones. Skin looks more radiant and natural, rather than flat and uniformly bland. It's a loose powder that comes from mixing several different shades of make-up pow-

der pearls to give a flawless, richly toned finish to any complexion. Eye shadows - you don’t need the massive array with 201 colors. A 6 piece set with your choice of shades is quite sufficient. Apply them dry for light day coverage. For dramatic, deeper colors (best for evening wear and excellent staying power) run water over the applicator and apply the make-up wet. Mascara separates lashes. And know that mascara thickens over time as it's exposed to air which leads to clumps, so toss it out or switch brands. Eyebrow pencil - eyes are sensitive so prodding them to slather makeup on is probably not the best idea ever. Always use a soft pencil that glides on without any pressure or tugging. Blush - blush should make you look like you're blushing, not like you're wearing blush… So if you do blush… one that looks as natural as possible is what you want to get. Lip glos-. Gloss works well for day and evening looks. Try for rich glosses that won't dry out lips. Don't be afraid to get a little sparkle in the pink shade, but keep the tones neutral, also consider a ‘nude lipstick’ A Good Brush Set - because with the right brush for the job, you can perform makeup miracles. Your kit can contain as little as six products or a bit more but try not to move your entire bedroom dresser of products into your purse, even though the sheer size our purses these days might very well make the feat possible.

Fashion Help From The Guru


t never ceases to flabbergast us when we observe atrocious kaleidoscopes of cloth covering bodies unaware of how conspicuously they stand out among the more fashion conscious and stylishly up to date “Joes’ and ‘Janes” that saunter through our society. We are even more astounded to note that more of these misguided fashion miscreants are not bombarding professionals - like us – who are always ready and willing to render much needed assistance. For yet another time, we are about to attempt answering the conundrums that perplex the genes and jeans of those of you who wonder what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear it. I just got a really cool pair of white jeans. It’s a colour that I won’t usually wear in pants, but they fit great. Do I absolutely need to wear them with white shoes? It’ called the monochromatic look and it’s as boring as listening to the wind. All that white would be blinding. Create some contrast for goodness sake. If you must match something, twin the colours of the shoes and the shirt. w w w . a m g tt. c o m

How old is too old to wear something that’s in style now? In the fashion world, the saying that age is just a number is a lie. A huge, humongous, gargantuan, massive, unforgivable lie. What is even more unfortunate is that we are forced to face these lies every time we pass a fifty-year-old woman exposing wrinkled cellulose laden legs or a forty year old balding man trying desperately to hold on to a dreadlock with diamond studs, and a golden grill. I rest my case. I got a pair of black leather sandals with white shorts for my birthday. Can I wear them together? Also, should I wear black or white socks? You can get away with wearing them together if you wear a black polo T, but for the love of God, don’t wear socks with sandals. PLEASE!






What To Do To Prevent The Flu


othing beats vaccination as the best form of protection against the flu. However, there are other measures which should be taken to prevent contraction and the spread of flu. The first tip is to wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. This cannot be said enough. Even when your hands are washed often it is also wise to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are spread this way. When you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (not your hands), and be sure to throw the tissue away immediately. You can also cough into your sleeve if you don't have a tissue handy. Hand sanitizers can also help. Another tip is to make sure you are in a well ventilated area. Proper ventilation significantly reduces the concentration of pathogenic bacteria and viruses in the air. Opening windows is an easy and extremely effective natural ventilation technique. Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce immune functioning, thus low24


Perfect Your Pushup Form

t is one of the best exercises to get started on, yet not many people truly maximize its full potential. The pushup can give you a great upper body workout if done correctly. Too bad, so many people are doing it wrong. Here are some things to look out for.

ering the body’s ability to fend off colds and flu. Speaking of the body, maintain a moderate exercise program 3-4 days a week. It will strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s natural ability to fight infection. Diet is just as important as exercise and rest when it comes to keeping the flu at bay. Sometimes various factors may reduce your physical feelings of thirst, but you should never skip regular water consumption. The effects of dehydration can be severe at flu season. Finally, eating healthfully is imperative. Remember to eat the recommended 5-9 servings per day of fruits and vegetables.

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

Tighten Up Many people do it with a raised butt. Suffice it to say that is wrong. If you can’t keep your core tight, you won’t get the proper intensity for that exercise–both for your upper body and core. Keep that butt in line with your back and legs, and squeeze your glutes and abs to keep your form tight. Similarly, when you’re not strong enough to manage the push-up, your spine and/or head will sag toward the ground. This increases stress in the spine and even into the shoulders. Keep Hands Close Placing your hands wide is a sneaky way to do less work. It shortens the distance from your body to the floor. It also puts a greater emphasis on your chest, increasing the stress to your shoulders. Your palms should

be directly beneath your shoulders. This enables you to keep your elbows tucked close to your sides, working both your chest and triceps. It will feel a lot more difficult because it is, but it’s for your benefit. Don’t Use Gravity Don't just drop to the floor. As you lower your body down, drive your palms into the floor and use your arms to pull your body to the ground. This engages your upper back muscles, giving them more of a workout. It also makes you stronger instantly, since the elastic energy you create by lowering your body makes pushing up easier.



What To Do When Common Questions Selling A Car


lanning to resell your car in the future and buy a new and more advanced model? Then you have to exert more effort in keeping it in good shape and excellent driving condition now. Even if it’s already old, you can sell it at high price if it looks and performs like new. Here are some tips that will assist you in upping your car’s resale value.


Resist the urge to customize. Spending money on your car can actually decrease its value. If you do have your car customized, stick to non-intrusive upgrades such as new wheels or an upgraded stereo that won't require extensive re-wiring or cutting up the dashboard. Save the old parts so you have the option of returning your car to its original condition before selling.


Avoid Crashes. Any history of collision damage can ding your car's resale value, and a trained used car appraiser can spot body work from a mile away. If your car is in a collision, use an experienced repair shop with a good reputation and insist on using factory (also known as OEM, for Original Equip26

ment Manufacturer) parts. Save all receipts and be up front and honest about any collision repair work when it comes time to sell or trade. Being evasive about collision repair may lead the buyer to believe that the damage was more extensive than you are letting on. Keep it clean. The better your car appears to be kept up, the more it will be worth, and most people associate cleanliness with care. Washing and waxing your car on a regular basis is a much easier way to keep it looking good than paying for an expensive detail job when the time comes to sell.



Get It To The Garage. Swap out any broken or old parts for refurbished parts that you can buy at a discount. This won't directly affect the resale value, but a private used car buyer will pay more for the car if all the parts are in working order. Your car should be a lot more attractive to a potential buyer if these steps are followed. So give it some thought and make a few thousand extra bucks that you can put toward your new automobile or project.

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


About Dogs

he most common pet one would find in a Trinbagonian home is a dog. Therefore, it would not be strange to hear questions like the ones below being asked from time to time. However, the answer (the correct ones at least) are seldom heard. This article deals with answering some of those frequently asked questions. Question: My dog eats grass. Should I be worried? Answer: Dogs, unlike their catty counterparts, are not carnivores. But they're not like your garden-variety omnivores, either. For tens of thousands of years, these opportunistic scavengers have devoured anything and everything, as long as it fulfilled their basic dietary requirements. The modern dog, partly because of evolution and domestication, is no longer like its ancestors, which frequently ate their prey entirely, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals. Instead, dogs today seek out plants as an alternative food source. Most

commonly the plant is grass -- since that is what is closest at hand -- but wild canines are known to eat fruits, berries, and other vegetable matter, too. Question: What is a dog's normal body temperature? Answer: The normal body temperature for a dog falls within the range of 100.5°F to 102.5°F (about 38°C to 39.2°C). If your dog's temperature is outside of this range, you should contact your veterinarian. Body temperature over 104°F or under 99°F indicates an emergency situation. Question: How long is a dog's pregnancy (gestation)? Answer: Pregnancy in dogs, also called gestation, typically lasts 63 days (about nine weeks). The duration of a dog's pregnancy can fall in the range of 58 to 68 days. Though estrus (heat cycles) can vary from breed to breed, the normal gestation period falls within the same range for all dogs, regardless of breed.


Travel For Beach Bums


he Caribbean is such a wonderful place to live: tropical climate, endless festivities and sandy beaches. Some beaches flow into rushing rivers then meet gushing waterfalls. Our beaches have been known to attract many tourists who visit regularly to experience them and more; especially the warm temperatures. Whatever it is, Caribbean beaches stand out as being pristine, with sandy beaches and cool waters. Apart from us in Trinidad, our sister island Tobago can boast of clean beaches as can our neighbours Barbados and St. Vincent. Trying to decide the best is impossible; (it’s best to try them all) but we, at Home Elegance, have been able to narrow it down to the top ten choices.


Sandy Point, St Croix, US Virgin Islands. This beach is famous: the final scene in the critically acclaimed movie “Shawshank Redemption” was shot on location at this beach. Vacationers’ paradise on weekends and turtle nesting hub on weekdays, the soft sand and warm water 28

make the trip to St Croix an unforgettable one.


Shaol Bay, Anguilla. You can marvel at the colour of the sand alone, much less the water. With a somewhat silvery hue and supporting different types of fish, the beach is a snorkeler’s paradise. Blessed with coral and clear waters, it is no wonder that superstar Janet Jackson owns a home on the island.


The beaches of Turks and Caicos. Particularly Dickenson Bay, in the northwestern corner of the island, and Half Moon Bay, which is located along the eastern coast. Another snorkelers dream, there is coral along with cool, clear waters; waters that allow you to see your feet and the white sands. The beaches stretch for 12 miles (20 kilometers) and are the pride of Provo; Condé Nast Traveler has hailed these beaches as being among the world’s best beaches.


The Beaches of St. John’s U.S Virgin Islands. Combining a jungle filled with never

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

ending fauna and a beach with sand resembling sugar crystals, St. John’s is every nature lover’s dream. Clear, warm beaches with equal rays of sunlight help make this beach a must see tourist destination. Trunk Bay is especially known for its snorkeling trail; be sure to go with a guide


Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. While relaxing on the beach you can also take in the breath-taking views of the mountains that surround the turquoise waters. It does not only feel good but looks inviting; I dare you to see this beach and not run into the water immediately. Adorning the beach also are colourful flowers in shades of pink and yellow.


St. Jean Beach, St. Barthélemy/ St. Barts. This is just one of the seventeen beaches that St. Barts can boast of but it is the one that stands out the most. What is more of an eye-opener is Eden Rock, a hotel located on the beach. No not on the sand, the hotel is located on a little island in the water. It’s like an island on

an island. The view is marvellous and even more awesome are the beaches that are never too far away from your hotel room.


Petit Tabac, Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Long before this beach was shown worldwide on the theatre screen in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, this has been a shining jewel for the citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The movie only partly does the beach justice. In addition to its blue waters, powdery sands and lush jungle, the beach lies just outside the main reef system.


The Beaches of the Dominican Republic. Cabarete and Bavaro are the two names that are frequently called, when discussing beaches on this island. Compared to the other beaches, the sand practically melts at your feet and is perfect year-round. Activities such as kite-flying and wind-surfing are totally encouraged, as tourists take advantage of the inviting winds.

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

Abstract Home Vol. 5 Issue 2014  
Abstract Home Vol. 5 Issue 2014  

In this issue: Our corniest recipes yet Make dining decor delightful Unearth the keys to family hapiness