Abstract Home Vol.5 Issue 9 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.


uilding a home can be a stressful period, but trust when we say the satisfaction of having your own home when the hard work is done will be worth the while. This article helps you make the right decisions to ensure there are few to no regrets when your building project is over. Work with a design Pro during conceptualization Consult an expert to get your spaces and flow working well before the build starts. This is an investment well worth making if you want to get it right first time and you want a polished look! Make your inspiration boards first; they will make it much easier to explain the look and feel you are aiming for. An inspiration board is like the ones you see in a police station with persons and objects of interest. It details all your various ideas and more. Make a different board for each area of the house: kitchen, bathroom, living room, laundry, and playroom… whatever you are building. Once you have pinned all your favourites, take a step back and study them all together. You will start to see a theme running through your selections. Spot the similarities and study the details and make sure you include these key elements in your final design. This is the time to talk about storage and where it should be, light sources, types of lighting, even the position of the light switches. Be specific about how you plan to use

Universal Home Building Advice spaces, the flow from indoors to outdoors, and where your north light comes from.

fixtures elsewhere. Simple clean door hardware in a brushed chrome finish may be all you really need.

Have an open floor plan Keeping the plan simple and open will accomplish several things for you. First, fewer walls equals less material. In addition, the visual connection between spaces increases the perceived space, making it feel larger. This means your family can be in different parts of the first floor (kitchen, living, dining), but still remain connected. When the space feels bigger, you can actually build smaller. This is a win-win situation. Insist on a good plan design to eliminate wasted space. Maintain continuity throughout Choose the same taps for all your bathrooms. Use the same floor finishes throughout the house. Apply a consistent colour palette in all your finishes. Continuity will make your house feel well designed, and buying in bulk is a good opportunity to negotiate a good price. Know how and when to splurge Frugality doesn’t equal sacrifice. If you want to have a few really

nice things, decide where it really matters. The remainder of the house can be more modest. The public spaces such as the kitchen, dining and living room can have a higher degree of finish while keeping the bedrooms and bathrooms subdued. You don’t need travertine in your bathroom if you’re building on a budget. You can definitely get by with ceramic tile or go green with natural linoleum. Another way to address this is to choose really nice lighting fixtures for rooms such as the dining room and entry. Use plainer, budget w w w . a m g tt. c o m

Source your own stuff When it comes to items like fixtures, door knobs, and even cabinets, you can often find less expensive options on your own rather than through your contractor. Most contractors will work with you, if you want to source some of the materials yourself, just make sure you agree before the project gets started. For example, if you're building or renovating a kitchen, you might be able to find cheaper counter tops at home improvement stores than through your contractor. You can often find gently used elements like shelves and fixtures there for a deep discount. Don't wait until the project has started to decide what you will and won't be sourcing on your own. Instead, sit down with your contractor before the project starts, and go through the budget line by line. You want to make sure you know when they will need each item on site, what the measurements need to be, and what the labor costs cover, if they are putting anything together for you. MAY 2014




Natural Fertilizers For

Your Home Garden


ertilizing your garden doesn’t have to be rocket science. You can keep your plants and lawn in tip-top shape with a little help from natural, organic sources around the home. Don’t toss those used coffee grounds! They could be adding lots of nourishing nitrogen to your soil. Contrary to popular belief, used coffee grounds are not acidic; they can act as a safe substitute for nitrogen-rich manure in the compost pile. They can also be mixed into soil as an amendment or spread onto the surface of the soil. Egg shells are a multi-purpose aid in the garden, acting as both fertilizer and pest repellant. Add crushed eggshells

to the bottom of planting holes, particularly when planting tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, or dry them out and blend them into a fine powder and spread them around the base of plants. Placing crushed eggshells (with sharp edges intact) in a ring around the base of a plant will deter slugs,

snails and cutworms. Want a beautiful, effortlessly green lawn? Don’t pick up those grass clippings when you mow the lawn! It’s that simple. Grass clippings are free fertilizer, adding precious nitrogen back to the soil. Short grass clippings decompose quickly, so as long as you mow often enough, they won’t stick around so long that they build up to unmanageable levels. Eating a banana helps replenish lost potassium. Roses love potassium too. Simply throw one or two peels in the hole before planting or bury peels under mulch so they can compost naturally. Get bigger and more blooms. You can also use banana peels on your vegetables.

Homemade Organic Insecticides


nsecticides can be costly and not to mention toxic. Your home garden should not facilitate either of those two problems. What you should be doing is getting rid of problems caused by garden pests. This article shows you how to do it yourself – organically. Many Trinbagonians swear by a spicy diet. However, many bugs can’t deal with the fiery food accessory. Hot pepper is a natural deterrent for many types of pests in the garden. To make your own homemade pepper spray, combine 6-10 hot peppers and two cups of water in a blender and blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, pour the liquid into a storage container to sit overnight and then strain out the pulp. Add this liquid to one quart of water in a sprayer, and spray your plants liberally every week or after each rain. Garlic can keep vampires away, so it’s no surprise it can work as a pest deterrent in your 2

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garden as well. Seriously though, garlic spray acts as a deterrent, encouraging insects to move on to more appetizing plants. Unlike many other types of insecticidal garden sprays, garlic can safely be applied to the leaves of plants. Drop the cloves from an entire bulb of garlic into the blender along with two cups of water, puree until finely blended and set it aside for a day. Then, strain out the pulp, mix the garlic liquid with a gallon of water and add it to a sprayer. Much has been said about the benefits of castile soap. The gentle vegetable oil-based soap makes a gentle and effective insecticidal spray for the garden. You can turn it into a very effective insecticide by filling a spray bottle with water and adding a tablespoon of either unscented or peppermint castile soap and a pinch of either cayenne pepper, cinnamon or powdered garlic. This mixture will kill aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and spider mites.


The Keys To A Kid-Friendly Yard


ou don’t have to send your kids outside to have fun. They can grow up enjoying the stuff you loved as a child and more from home. You can even invite neighbours to ensure proper social development, while keeping tabs on your child’s friend circle. Here’s how to make your yard more childfriendly.

Swing: If a big play set isn't realistic for your yard, how about just a swing? Swings have long been favorites for kids and it doesn’t take more than a sturdy tree or support beam to start one. Whether it is a tyre swing or a traditional swing set you can’t go wrong buying one or doing it yourself. Sandbox: Even if to the beach this can still have the sand. Buy one or

you can't get summer, you sun and the build one to

your specifications. It might be a little dirty, but that’s all part of growing up for kids. Plus, you know what sand your children are playing in unlike the stuff at parks. Lawn games: This option is great because there really isn’t any

assembly needed. If your yard is big enough then lawn games are a great way to get the whole family playing together and even the whole neighborhood. Football, badminton, cricket, horseshoes, lawn darts and even marble pitch are great games that can make your yard kid-friendly.

Hammock: Summer isn't just about playing - it's also about rest. A hammock in a shady spot will be the new family hangout for reading, napping and literally hanging out. Plus, while the kids are playing, a hammock gives you a great vantage point to look after them while you rock back and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Water Damage Repair For Ceilings


sn’t it embarrassing? Your friends come over and as they look up they see a big, oddly shaped water mark on the ceiling. Not only are those water marks attention-grabbers, but they cause mildew and mold buildup. A leaking ceiling is caused by a leaking roof which will need to be fixed first before attempting to repair the ceiling. Some people opt to change the ceiling or the piece that was damaged especially if the ceiling is made from drywall. But this can be very expensive and time-consuming. Before that happens, try this alternative. 1) Fix the roof- It’s inevitable; fix the roof first or the leak in the ceiling will re-occur. 2) Spray the damaged area with a solution of bleach and water. This will get rid of any mold or mildew buildup and will begin to erase the water stain 4

on the ceiling. 3) Allow the area to dry completely so that the primer will be able to stick to the surface. Keep area well ventilated 4) Use a high-power primer to ‘paint’ over the water stain, with stain-power blocking agents to prevent another leak. This will seal the ceiling and cover any remaining watermarks. If the water damage is too se-

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vere, then you may need to cut out the water damaged area and replace it with a new one. It is easy to do and can be done in little time. For gypsum ceilings, it’s as easy as replacing the old sheet square with a new one. If the ceiling is made from drywall, try these steps. 1) Cut the damaged drywall out and ensure that you can see the joists; remove the water damaged sheetrock.

2) Hang the new piece of drywall in the space provided. Ensure to cut a piece that is the same size as the one removed as the new piece would need to fit snugly in the hole. Using screws and sheetrock nails attach the drywall to the joists and hold it in place. 3) A thin layer of mud or joint compound should then be spread over the area to cover the screws and sheetrock nails. Use a knife or flat object to ensure that it is applied evenly. 4) Apply a piece of drywall tape over the area the joint compound was applied to and add another layer of joint compound over the tape. 5) Sand the area to make it smooth. After it dries, paint the ceiling and restore to its original colour.



Bathroom Safety Tips

oung children and the elderly are the most vulnerable when it comes to injuries in the home. Slips, spills, falls, shocks and burns top the list of issues to be encountered, while accidental drowning is a frightening reality as well. These tips will help to make you bathroom a safer place. Use slip resistant mats on the floor and in the shower. Tile and laminate surfaces in the bathroom can be extremely slippery. Use slip resistant mats with rubber backing on the floor, and mats specifically designed for the shower with suction cup backing. Keep electrical appliances away from water. Electricity conducts through water very easily. Your hair dryer, curling iron, or razor charger can pose a serious electrocution hazard. Consider purchasing waterproof devices for the bathroom area. To prevent burns, set hot water heaters at, or below, a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, select anti-scald faucets. It's also a safe idea to keep a bathroom window ajar to prevent overheating. If there is no 6

bathroom window, an exhaust fan can be helpful in keeping air circulated. Your bathroom should be adequately lit during the day. At night, put a nightlight on the path to the bathroom. Within the bathroom, use a nightlight, or install an illuminated switch. Install grab bars in the shower area and near the toilet. Especially important in homes with persons age 65 and over, where falls in the bathroom account for many emergency room visits and hospital stays each year. It's always good to use drain

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covers and waterspout guards. Children often hit their heads on the waterspout, leading to injuries. Soft covers on faucets protect children's heads. Speaking of kids, don't store your medications in the medicine cabinet if there are children in the home. Even child-proof lids can be opened by a determined child, so it's best to eliminate their presence all together. This includes both prescription medications and over-thecounter medicines. Similarly, cleaning supplies should be kept out of reach of children, as well.

Children are very curious, and may be attracted to the bottles of liquid. Poisonous material of any kind should be kept under lock and key, and out of sight from small children. Equip your shower with a handheld or adjustable shower head. You can maneuver it where you want it, minimizing your movement in the shower. Also, you can use it while sitting safely on your bath seat or bench. Mop up any accumulated water from the floor. If children are in the home, always inspect the floor surface after bath time, hand washing, or teeth brushing. This will ensure there aren't any water puddles on the floor. Not only can this water cause slips and falls, but it also goes back to the aforementioned bathroom safety tip on electrocution. Prevent drowning in the toilet and tub as two inches of water is enough to drown a child. Do not ever leave children unattended in the tub. A lock on the toilet seat in the closed position is an effective safety practice. Never leave a bucket full of water in the bathroom.



home office

Expanding Your Small Business


usiness expansion can offer the business owner a path to even greater fortune, and provide that next level of excitement and rededication of purpose. Besides, sometimes it becomes obvious that you have outgrown your current market. However, expansion is not an easy decision. There are still things to consider before deciding to expand. Is Demand For Your Product/ Service Growing? Your business could be doing great, with customers lined up out the door. But if the reason you're so successful is that you run the only sewing machine repair shop within 30 kilometers, you likely don't have a rosy future branching out. It's also important to understand the geographic side of your industry and how that breaks down both in terms of demand and of the labour market. There may be great demand for an all-night convenience store in a wealthy suburb populated by senior citizens, but finding the people to staff it might pose an insurmountable challenge. Are Your Competitors


Expanding? It is always a good idea to keep up with what your competitors are doing. If you find that your current status is equal to theirs, you may be okay for a while without having to expand. However, if you notice that they are growing and adding new features while you are remaining the same, without expanding, you may run the risk of becoming obsolete. Don’t misunderstand this. It is important "NOT" to overreact to every little thing the competition does. It is advised that you "evaluate" the situation thoroughly first. Is Expansion Within Your Budget? Getting a business loan can be difficult. If your profits are so through the roof that you don’t require financial help at all then you definitely should not be wondering if to expand anyway. You should have already started the process. However, for the others, there is a lot of calculation and risk involved. A loan may require you to leverage large pieces of collateral, like your house. Do you want

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to lose a healthy business and a house for a chance to make more money? It is important to consider the expansion you are going to undertake will be funded? How Does The Future look For Your Product or Service? Expanding a business is a logical choice if you're working in an industry where consumer interest is high and you're keeping pace with your industry's technology. However, if new technology is slowly making your business obsolete and you aren't planning to phase out the old to make room for the new, you shouldn't be thinking about expansion. Neither should you consider expanding while your industry's experiencing a temporary downturn. Wait for the upswing before moving forward with your expansion plans. Do You Have The Right Team To make It Work? If you've got a strong team of employees and you can leverage their skills and abilities to grow your business, you'll have the resources you need to expand. If you don't have a strong

team in place, you'll need to recruit them before you expand, unless your business is truly a one-person operation. Recruitment can be tricky though. Your business may not have had to go through a lot of HR trouble to get it off the ground, but moving forward could pose a serious problem. Are Their Changes In the Marketplace or Industry? Your business is affected by many factors. One of those factors is the very industry you are in. Government regulations may force additional equipment or other costly changes. New products or services might force you to change the way you do business. How are these affecting you? Do the new requirements imposed lead you to believe you need to grow? Will The Necessary Resources Still Be Available? Can you still acquire the quantity of material needed as easily as before? Can you meet output demands? Is transportation an issue? These need to be factored in before expansion takes place.

elegant ideas

Make The Most Of The Weather

A solarium is a great place to enjoy the sun without too much exposure to the elements w w w . a m g tt. c o m

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elegant ideas

Now is the time for a serene stroll in your wellmanicured flower garden 12

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elegant ideas

A tub is a nice place to relax and beat the heat

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elegant ideas

Enjoy backyard, breakfasts, brunches and more in a simple patio setting


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elegant ideas

You don’t need an Olympic swimming pool to enjoy a bit of outdoor fun

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Superb Scotch Cocktail Recipes


rinidad is known for being one of the World’s best producers of rum. However, the majority of Trinis would agree that Trinidad is a Scotch-consuming country. If you can’t get to savour the flavour of your favourite whiskey at your favourite watering hole, practice making the perfect scotch cocktail at home. Here are some recipes.

Affinity 1 1/2 oz Scotch whisky 1 oz sweet vermouth 1 oz dry vermouth 2 dashes orange bitters

Joe Collins recipe

Delta Cocktail Recipe

Pour scotch and sweet and sour into a collins glass over ice cubes and stir well. Fill with cola and stir lightly. Top with the cherry and serve.

Black Jack 1 1/2 oz Scotch whisky 1 oz Kahlua coffee liqueur 1/2 oz triple sec 1/2 oz lemon juice 16

1 oz Scotch whisky 1 oz creme de menthe 1/2 - 2 oz dark tea

Scotch Fizz

Morning Glory Fizz In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass.

1 oz Scotch whisky 2 oz sweet and sour mix Coca-Cola 1 cherry

Pour the scotch whisky, Southern Comfort, lime juice and sugar into a cocktail shaker halffilled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into an oldfashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of orange and a fresh slice of peach, and serve.

glass, and serve.

Pour the Scotch whisky and creme de menthe, into a mixing glass half-filled with ice cubes. Add dark tea, to taste. Stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a mint sprig, and serve.

In a mixing glass half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Stir well. Strain into a cocktail glass.

2 oz Scotch whisky 1/2 oz Southern Comfort peach liqueur 1/2 oz fresh lime juice 1 tsp superfine sugar

Black Stuff

Culloden 1 oz Drambuie Scotch whisky 5 oz Champagne Pour both ingredients into a champagne flute, stir, and serve.

Jay Leno 1 1/2 oz Scotch whisky 3/4 oz amaretto almond liqueur 1/8 ozfresh lemon juice Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

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2 oz Scotch whisky 1 1/3 oz lemon juice 1 tsp caster sugar 1/4 oz egg white 1 dash Angostura bitters 4 oz soda water Add scotch, lemon juice, sugar, egg and bitters to a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a collins glass half-filled with ice. Add the soda water, and serve with a slice of orange and a muddler.

Scotch Mist 2 oz Scotch whisky crushed ice 1 twist lemon peel Pack a collins glass with crushed ice. Pour in scotch. Add the twist of lemon peel and serve with a straw.

Hell Hole 1 1/2 oz Scotch whisky 1/2 oz peach schnapps 1/2 oz dry vermouth 2 oz pineapple juice 3 oz sparkling bitter lemon soda Pour into an ice-filled collins

1 tsp superfine sugar 1 oz lemon juice 2 tsp water 2 oz Scotch whisky 1 maraschino cherry 1 slice lemon In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the sugar, lemon juice, and water. Shake well. Strain into a highball glass almost filled with crushed ice. Add the Scotch. Stir well and garnish with the cherry and the lemon slice.

Cherry ‘Poppin' Scotty 1 1/2 oz white creme de cacao 2 oz Scotch whisky 5 oz milk Pour single-malt scotch in collins glass over ice. Add Milk or cream until nearly filled, then pour Creme de Cacao slowly, layering on the top. Top with 2 maraschino cherries.

Coffee Egg Nog 2 oz Scotch whisky 1 oz coffee liqueur 6 oz milk 1 oz half-and-half 1 tsp sugar syrup 1/2 tsp instant coffee 1 egg Combine all ingredients in a blender with half a cup of crushed ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into a collins glass, sprinkle with nutmeg, and serve.



Exciting Egg Dishes

lmost every fridge contains a carton of eggs. These protein-rich wonders have many uses in the kitchen from being a binding agent to being the actual star of a meal’s flavor profile. Here we salute and celebrate eggs with some fun recipes you probably never tried.

crumbs to cover evenly. Deep fry until golden brown, or pan fry while making sure each side is well cooked. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Cut in half and serve over a bed of lettuce and sliced tomatoes for garnish. If mustard is desired it looks beautiful over this.

Peanut Butter Eggs

Scotch Eggs Ingredients 1 quart oil for frying 4 eggs 2 pounds pork sausage 4 cups dried bread crumbs, seasoned 1 cup all-purpose flour 4 eggs, beaten Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place eggs in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs sit in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool and peel. Flatten the sausage and make a patty to surround each egg. Very lightly flour the sausage and coat with beaten egg. Roll in bread 18

Ingredients 1 cup creamy peanut butter 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons butter 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar 1-1/2 cups crispy rice cereal 1/2 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips 1 tablespoon shortening Directions In a mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and butter. Stir in confectioners' sugar and crisp rice cereal until a dough is formed. Place this mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour to allow it to cool until it is easier to work with. Shape mixture into egg shapes and freeze for 20 minutes. Melt chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler over low heat. When melted, dip egg shapes in chocolate. Place on waxed paper and allow to cool.

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Bacon and Egg Potato Salad Ingredients 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, quartered 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup petite green peas 5 hard-boiled eggs, chopped 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped 1/4 cup minced onion 2 tablespoons mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper Directions Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. Mix potatoes, mayonnaise, peas, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, onion, mustard, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl. Refrigerate to allow flavors to blend and bacon to soften, about 1 hour.

Sausage Egg casserole Ingredients 3/4 pound ground pork sausage 1 tablespoon butter 4 green onions, chopped 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms,

sliced 10 eggs, beaten 1 (16 ounce) container low-fat cottage cheese 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chile peppers, drained 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup butter, melted

Directions Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and set aside. Melt butter in skillet, and cook and stir the green onions and mushrooms until tender. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and chiles. Stir in the sausage, green onions, and mushrooms. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the melted butter. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake 40 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


electing the right wine glass is thought to influence the way the wine is perceived. The type of glass used for consuming wine is usually composed of three parts known as the bowl, the stem and the foot. The bowl contains the wine; the stem prevents the bowl from being smeared and the foot makes the glass stand on a table or any surface for that matter. One of the most important characteristics of a wine glass is its shape. The shape is responsible for concentrating the flavor and aroma to give emphasis to the characteristic of the varietals. There is also an idea that the shape of the glass leads the liquid into the best area within the mouth as it comes from its varietals. Wine glasses should be chosen based on the type of wine whether it be white wine, red wine or champagne. Red wine glasses have a round, wider bowl and a tall stem. These characteristics provide a high enough rate of oxidation, as the oxygen from the air interacts with the wine, subtly altering the

flavor and aroma. Accordingly, this oxidative procedure suits red wines because its complex flavors will smooth out after it has been exposed to air. White wines are thought to be more subtle, that is why unlike red wine glasses, white wine glasses require a smaller bowl, a narrower mouth and not much height in the bowl. For champagne always choose a glass with a long stem and a tall, narrow bowl. This keeps the bubbles bubbling and keeps wine sparkling. It is also advised to hold the glass by the stem to help retain the temperature of the champagne and to prevent it from warming. The bowl will keep the carbonation of the beverage through the reduction of the surface area at the opening of the bowl. The flute design of the glass gives a pleasant visual appeal to the champagne. Having the best wine glass can help in making the wine taste much more delicious. By following the aforementioned steps one can have the best wine drinking experience.


Becoming A Better Husband


hen marriages fail, people often look at the “we” and “us” in the marriage to find answers. However, there is a real need to look internally. If you cheat, it wasn’t because your spouse didn’t satisfy or nurture you. It is because you wanted to cheat. Otherwise, you would have just left. Instead of looking at technicalities, look at the things that will make you a better person within your marriage. This article is for the guys. What makes you a better husband? Be deliberate about being positive: Take a look at your interactions with your wife: What percentage is confrontational? How often are you fighting? Do you tell one another jokes? What’s the ratio of purely informational dialogue to talking that advances the relationship? Now make a concerted effort to initiate positive, intimate, redemptive conversations. Learn a new joke every day if you have to; the point is to be proactive, not reactive. Listening Is The Key To Her Heart: Few people – men or 20

women – feel that anyone truly listens to them. If you wish to change the way your wife perceives you, increase her sexual satisfaction, and become in her mind the best man on earth, listen to her. That means that you do not interrupt her with your stories, your thoughts on what she just said, or by changing the subject. Listen to her heart as well as her words. As she talks ask yourself, “What is she feeling as she tells me this?” Even more importantly, ask yourself, “What is the message she really wants me to hear?” Once she knows that you are genuinely interested in her views, thoughts, and feelings, you can actually ask her those questions. However, do NOT ask them until you know that she knows that you are trying to understand her, not correct her. Try counseling: This may sound intense, but think of it as necessary maintenance (just as you would regularly tune up your car. Tell your wife you’re looking for ways to be a better husband, and that you want to work on moving forward, all the time. This could involve

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a few weekly appointments, a marriage enrichment seminar, a couples group at your faithcommunity, or any number of other intentional interventions. Always choose affection: We know guys don’t like being cuddly. Being affectionate after sex takes time and it doesn’t make men feel manly, but women need affection sometimes. If you only give them that stuff to get to bed, your wife is going to notice and think it’s insincere. Of course, this goes beyond the bedroom. If you show your wife spontaneous affection occasionally, it reassures her of the love bond. Continue to Grow: No husband or wife reaches perfection in his or her roles. There will be plenty of times throughout your marriage when you will make mistakes, say the wrong thing, or leave your dirty underwear lying on the bedroom floor. It happens to the best of husbands. But it is important to not let those moments of blunders define your marriage. Use every opportunity you can to continue to grow closer to

your wife and learn more about her wants, needs, desires, and aspirations. Keep learning and growing. Just like a fine wine or aged cheese, marriage gets better over the years. Don’t judge: Put down the gavel, Joe Brown. When you live with someone every day, it’s hard not to build up resentments and overanalyze your partner’s every move. But no one is going to stand up to that level of scrutiny. Try not to sweat the little stuff, because it has a way of becoming big rather quickly. If you judge every action or opinion your wife has, that’s going to come through in your words and actions. Your wife is different from you. Of course she isn’t going to perceive things the way you do. She’s had different life experiences than you, not the least of which is the general experience of living life as a woman. She won’t always like what you like. She won’t behave like a man does. Apart from sexual needs and having children, that’s one of the reasons men get into a relationship. We feel the need for a woman’s companionship.


Bond With Family Fitness

Eight Fun Exercises To Share With The Entire Family


ooking for a fun way to get the family to spend more quality time with each other? Why not try exercising. No, not boring crunches or weight-lifting; fun exercises that the whole family can enjoy as part of a team. With all the talk about families not spending enough time together, this is a great way for members to bond or for the love and unity to return to the family unit. Try these exercises below.


Walk to school. If your child lives very far from school then this is impractical. But most villages are equipped with nurseries and primary schools that your son or daughter may attend. If this is the case, take a brisk walk with your child to and from school each day. 22


Encourage active games. These include hopscotch, jumping rope, even gymnastics. They not only keep your children active but they promote strong bones.


Visit the Park or Zoo. This should be done regularly and can be a reward for any positive work done by your child. The sights would encourage good conversation and an open park encourages running or the playing of outside games.


Learn a new activity together. This one would definitely provide some bonding time, particularly with mother and daughter or father and son. For parents with teenage girls, exercise together; take a yoga class. For teenage boys,

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take a martial arts class together.


Get creative with birthday gifts. Forget the Nintendo Wii; hook up a basketball hoop ring in the backyard or purchase a badminton or tennis set. This gets both parents and kids active while enjoying a simple game.


Walk the dog. Dogs love a healthy lifestyle and they thrive on being active. Take the dog for long walks or take it to play outside in the yard or to a Park. The constant playing and running with the dog provides a good work-out for the whole family.


Dance. Put your favourite record or video on and get to dancing! It doesn’t take much and dancing burns

calories faster than running on a treadmill. Not to mention the fun and excitement from seeing your child’s dance moves.


Follow the lead. If your child shows interest in any activity, encourage them by participating in it. This lets them know that you support them and all parties would be involved in a group activity.




The Keys To Softer hands

he caress of a smooth, soft hand can almost be as fulfilling as a kiss. While your hands are a rugged tool, you should keep them soft and well-maintained. Here are three tips for ensuring your hands stay soft. Watch Your Washing You may have noticed TV commercials lately for dish-soaps that boast they’re better for your hands. It may seem silly, but it’s true — most dish-soaps and other cleaners are far harsher for hands than they ought to be. If you can, purchase soaps that are gentle, or that have added moisturizers. If you can’t, then try using gloves to protect your hands while you wash, scrub, and clean! Gloves will protect your manicure, too, so they’re not a bad idea. Moisturizing Lotion is important for keeping your hands soft, and is available in dozens of scents and styles to meet your personal needs. Moisturize your hands with lotion after every wash, and keep small bottles hidden around your regular haunts to ensure you always

have some on hand. Look for lotions that contain shea butter, B vitamins, and retinol. These are all beneficial for keeping your skin soft long after you’ve applied the lotion. Hydrate Good hydration is the key element to having nice and smooth skin. They say that you should drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. However, that may be a bit much for some people. It’s great if you can drink that much, but don’t force yourself to drink. Don’t allow yourself to get thirsty, and keep a glass of water near you the whole day. That way you’ll reach for it more often and drink more water. A good moisture balance keeps your hands and entire body supple.

Stay Protected And Style Savvy With Hats


he pre-summer, dry season period in Trinidad and Tobago is usually one of the hottest times of the year. During this period, people’s gym physiques are still in order so they try to max it out as much as possible. The women feel comfortable getting dressed up and going out at night and as soon as the sun is out, the bathing suits along with the shades and other accessories start making their appearances along the nation’s beaches. After months of hard work women want to show off their summer bodies and often forget about protecting their hair and faces. Hats are a wonderful accessory that should be added to a woman’s collection. The latest trend these days is wearing hats made of straw. These hats often have broad rims which keep the sun from being directly on your face. What you must have in your wardrobe is a wide selection of straw hats with wide edges. This kind of hat is definitely the most fashionable this season. Choose light or pale colors because they hold less heat. You may even choose any color that would fit in better with your clothes. w w w . a m g tt. c o m

Another fashionable way to cover your head is a cap. Of course you have to pick them very carefully and they definitely go with sporty style or jeans. If you are into the t-shirt and jeans look a cap would certainly work for you. A brightly colored cap will make you look trendy and add charm to your appearance. Crocheted hats are also popular. You can have them made into your original style and in any color that you like. When choosing a hat this season, go for ones that are easy to carry around. You may during this period decide to go on a vacation so a hat that fits into your suitcase easily would be better for you. Part of ensuring that your hat complements your look is making sure you have a perfect fit. Before buying try it on and make sure that you are comfortable with the way it fits. Now is a great chance to start wearing it, because no matter what you choose - you look trendy. You're already fashionable if you wear one! And you may feel free to experiment with various materials and forms. Being original this season means being fashionable. MAY 2014




home gym

The Benefits Of Colonics


s you keep stuffing your body with toxins contained in processed and overcooked foods and drinks, excessive alcohol, caffeine and nicotine as well as drugs and medications for all kinds of ailments, the organs in your body, especially your digestive tract, liver, kidneys and colon start requiring more and more energy in order to fight this waste and get rid of it. The colon is the biggest of these and should be paid the same amount of attention as the heart. A healthy colon leads to problem free skin as well as an increased immunity and resistance to diseases. Most people also end up losing weight as a result of better digestion and lower rate of water and waste retention. These are only some benefits of colonics and you can definitely count on becoming healthier if you start following a regular colon cleansing regime. Here are some more benefits.

Overall Cleansing and Detoxification Our bodies are bombarded with toxins acquired from the environment and from food that is processed or grown in soil that is already polluted by toxic waste. Due to the large amount of toxin intake, our body is generally unable to get rid of all these harmful materials while performing its normal functioning and this leads to an accumulation of toxic waste in our organs, especially in the liver, lungs, skin, lymph nodes, kidney and colon. Some major side effects of toxin accumulation are lowered immunity, gastro intestinal problems, bad looking skin, headaches and sluggishness and irregular bowel movements or constipation. 24

Internal cleansing of these organs (especially the colon) gets rid of toxins and their side effects.

Freedom from Digestive Tract Problems The most common and easily identifiable symptom of an unhealthy colon is constipation and irregular bowel movements. Stomach pains, heartburn, acidity, gastritis, flatulence and bloating are other major symptoms that point towards an unhealthy and clogged up colon. When you clean up your colon using natural methods, then all the waste and toxins clogging up the colon are flushed out, which helps your digestive system resume its normal functioning, thus making you healthy and free from all gastrointestinal tract related problems. Greater Energy and Vitality While your organs, which are already weakened by all the trash that you consume and expose yourself to fail in performing their tasks properly, more and more energy is diverted towards getting rid of all the waste that is clogging them. As a result, you start feeling drained and sluggish right from the moment you wake up till the end of the day. When you clean your colon and other internal organs, then you can feel a considerable increase in your energy levels because of two reasons. Firstly, your gastrointestinal tract starts performing better, leading to better digestion and absorption of the energy from your food. Secondly, less energy is involved in digesting food, thus leaving more energy to be spent on external tasks.

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Buying Athletic Shoes


etting a good pair of athletic shoes is integral to the success of your workouts and health. The wrong footwear can result in long-term injuries and pain that will debilitate you and leave you unable to work out. These tips for buying workout shoes will help you get your gym on in the right manner. • When purchasing shoes, make sure you have plenty of time, and don't rush. Buying the wrong shoes may play a role in the development of stress fractures. • Go later in the day when your feet are slightly larger to ensure you get a good fit. • Take your old shoes with you so the staff can look at wear patterns. • Take your running socks with you. If you wear orthotics, take them along too. • Make sure the shoes are comfortable in the store. If they are not, they won't be for running.

• Don't be swayed by appearances or brands. Try on several styles and brands. • Don't go by what your friend wears as they may run completely differently from you. • Be prepared to invest. Shoes will last 300-500 miles, so it is worth spending more to get a decent pair, rather than opting for the bargain bin!



Three Bicycle Maintenance Tips Factors To That Should Not Consider Before Be Overlooked

Buying A Dog Leash


he weather is right and you are itching to exercise on the roads. However, if riding is your thing, you should take the time to make sure your bike is well-maintained before hitting the streets. Here are three things you should never overlook. Brakes Brakes are a vital component of all bikes because they provide control over the speed you travel. Controlling speed reduces the likelihood of being in an accident. Brakes also permit the cyclist to maneuver while turning, riding up and down hills and avoiding debris or other obstacles. First, check the brake pads. Just like the brakes in your car, bicycle brakes wear down over time and need to be replaced. Wheels Clean the wheels with rubbing alcohol and a clean, dry cloth. Inspect the rims for nicks, scrapes, dents or other damage. Next, elevate one end of the bike and spin the wheel. The wheel should move smoothly, without wobbling. Repeat for the other wheel. Damaged rims cause uneven wear to tires and brake pads, which can shorten their lifespan. In addition, un26


og owners should consider three primary factors before buying a dog leash. These factors are pertinent regardless of the type of dog leash and the material used to produce it.

even tire wear usually leads to flat tires or a blown tire while riding—a potentially dangerous situation. Lubrication Oil lubricant coats the chain and other components of the drivetrain, helping them last longer and work more efficiently. Lube also reduces accumulation of dirt and grime, which helps increase performance of the moving parts. Apply lubricant evenly to the chain while slowly rotating the pedals in a counterclockwise direction. Also, remember to lube moving parts on the derailleur, the pivot point on the brake levers and any exposed cable wire. Remember to wipe off any excess oil with a clean, dry rag, especially on the chain. A properly lubricated bike makes shifting and braking smooth, thereby increasing performance.

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Length Dog leash length is what determines the amount of autonomy that a dog owner chooses to provide for a canine. Length matters for standard, adjustable, and retractable leashes. While dog owners can purchase retractable leashes that can reach up to 26 feet long, they should consider buying a leash that has less slack, and then progress to additional length as a dog shows signs of training maturation. Length, not the type of material used, often determines whether a dog leash becomes obsolete. Clip The material used to make a dog leash is irrelevant if the leash clip cannot securely connect the leash to the collar. Dog leash metal clips must securely fasten to a metal ring on a dog’s collar. Both the clip and ring

should be able to resist rust; therefore, the best metal to use for a clip is stainless steel. Dog leash clips must also be securely attached to the leash to avoid snapping off whenever a dog exerts force. Durability Durability is an important factor because dog owners do not want to repeatedly buy dog leashes because of sturdiness issues. However, the most important aspect of durability is a dog’s safety. A dog that tears apart a dog leash can bolt into traffic before a dog owner has time to recover it. It is a good idea to spend more money if it ensures a dog's safety.


Making Flying With Babies Easier


raveling can be a difficult experience that tests your patience. Flying with a small child or baby can make this even more difficult. This article attempts to help you get through your flight easier with baby in tow. The first tip is to aim for the bulkhead seating. Even if you won't be getting an extra seat for your baby, make sure to let the booking agent know that you'll be flying with an infant since you won't be able to sit in any of the emergency exit rows. Request the bulkhead seats -- the ones in the front row. That way you won't have to worry about your baby pulling on or kicking the seats ahead of you. It also gives you more floor space for stretching out and for diaper changes. Bring a birth certificate, especially if your child could be mistaken for a 2-year-old by any stretch of the imagination. Once your child is 2, you have to pay for a seat for her, and the airline would be happy to charge 28

you for that. Pack several small novel toys and books that your child hasn’t seen before. The best bets for travel books at this age are ones with lift-the-flaps or touchand-feel textures. Consider swapping toys with a friend so your child has something new and exciting without buying more toys. Ease ear pressure. The baby should suck on something during takeoff and landing. Nursing

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works, as does bottle feeding, pacifiers, or a lollipop. Go to the toilet before getting on board. Don't think for a second that it's possible to hold the baby whilst going to the toilet in a tiny plane cubicle and emerge looking like a decent human being. You simply can’t protect a baby, especially a mobile one, from germs while traveling. If it makes you feel better, wipe down your tray table and arm rests with a baby wipe. You will drive yourself and your child crazy trying to keep her from touching potentially germy surfaces, which is every surface on planes and in airports. Wash your hands and your child’s hands when possible. And for what it is worth, seeing the multitude of faces from around the world reminds you just how important vaccines are to protect your family from the world’s worst diseases. Make friends. Be extra kind to every crewmember you en-

counter. When you board the plane, show the flight attendants your baby, introduce them, take your baby’s hand and help him wave. Flight attendants are awesome, and they’re your allies in keeping the little one quiet and happy. They’ll heat bottles, bring extra blankets, supply cup lids, you name it. But only if you’re pleasant. Note that you don't have to board at family boarding. After first class and priority boarding, airlines typically give families the chance to board before the rest of the plane. This is great because it gives you access to the overheard compartments and gives you a chance to get all settled in without feeling hurried. However, if you've got a squirmy baby or an overactive toddler, boarding before the rest of the plane just means you have to sit in a tight space with a baby for a little bit longer. Depending on your child, you may want to wait until the last possible moment to board.

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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