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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.


anta has come and gone, but he has left your house in disarray. The Christmas tree has to be dismantled and the decorations have to be stowed. All the bows and giftwrapping paper need to be removed and holiday dishes need to be returned to their original places. Where do you start? The key to post-Christmas cleaning is to ensure that items are properly stowed so that they can be found for the next Christmas season. To make it fun and interesting, post-Christmas cleaning should be done as a family activity rather than allowing one person to do all the work. There are a few tips that can help restore order to your home after Christmas. After all, we all want a clean house for the New Year, right? Get rid of Christmas decorations- These include the Christmas tree, garlands, wreaths any type of decorations that were used to add that extra Christmas spirit. They should be taken down and carefully stowed for next year’s Christmas. Sort before you stow - Often times the old worn decorations get mixed with the functional ones. If decorations have reached the end of their life cycle, it’s time to dump them. Separate the lights from the garlands and stow everything neatly and separately, in a cupboard or storage unit. Clean and vacuum- While clearing and moving away items, materials can become loose and

Post-Christmas Cleaning may be left behind. Be sure to clean and vacuum the living room, moving plants and furniture to get to those hard to reach areas where loose materials may be hiding. Give the household a general cleaning as guests may have used the bathroom, which should be cleaned after every use. Throw out unused foodChances are that the food you cooked on Christmas Day is no longer safe to eat unless it was properly frozen. If it wasn’t, get rid of any leftover food or eat leftovers before cooking a new meal to make room in the refrigerator. This new space can be used to store other necessary items. Put away gifts- Gifts should be neatly packed away by their respective owners and not left on the living room floor or where the Christmas tree use to be. Get rid of wrapping paper, bows or

gift bags as these can cause them to become too bulky when stowing away. Clean around the houseMaybe you hosted a Christmas event and didn’t have the time to properly stow chairs and tables. Before the New Year comes, clean the areas around the house and stow tents and chairs in their respective areas. Put away unused snacks or liquor- Oftentimes, we display our very best liquor for our guests who visit during the Christmas season by carefully laying it out on dinner tables or carts. The remaining stock should be returned to its original spot, sometimes in liquor cabinets or cupboards. Throw away unwanted stuffThis can vary from old curtains that have become too worn to use and have been replaced by w w w . a m g tt. c o m

new ones or old appliances that have also been replaced by new ones. Do not be afraid to dump old items, after all it’s the new year. If clothing or other items can be recycled, give them to charities and organizations that could give them to the less fortunate. Pack unwanted cookwareDishes used to bake, whether ham or fruit cake, should be returned to their respective places making room in the refrigerator or counter tops. Cleaning up after Christmas should be an easy task and should be done as soon as possible. The house should be restored to its natural order as this makes it easy for normalcy to set in. The Christmas is a very festive season but with the New Year brings change; welcome the New Year with a clean house or apartment.





Shelves… The Ultimate Space Savers


ne of the biggest complaints for people who live in small houses or apartments is that there is never enough room for storage. This is really a fairly common problem for most households with a large percentage of the population renting. There isn’t much that you can do in terms of creating space in rented homes. The solution to the problem is to create shelves. Shelves have the ability to hold a lot of stuff while only taking up a small space. They are also relatively inexpensive and easy to create. Shelving can be made of boards and bricks or they can be built like open cabinetry in living rooms and studies. Open shelves can display art as well as hold books and office supplies. In the kitchen they can hold glassware and food or cookware. They also come in handy in bathrooms. Shelves are versa-

tile and can be used in practically any room of the house. Shelves can be made to fit

any space from the tiny to the very large. You can have one shelf in a room or a whole wall

from top to bottom. Shelves can be fancy, plain or functional depending on what you would like to use them for. They can also be cheap or more expensive depending on materials and design. Some shelves can be fixed while others can be adjustable. Adjustable shelving is recommended because you can always change it when redesigning your home. It is also practical because you can take it with you when you move. To make more space in your living area add a simple shelf. The material used to make it should blend in with the other items of furniture in the room. You can build the shelves to the specific height needed to place a desired item on it. With more shelves you can free up your living space and have a designated place for everything. This makes finding things a whole lot easier.

Examining Outdoor Trends


ou can make your immediate outdoors more akin to “the great outdoors” by taking simple steps to boost your landscape. Home décor and design is not limited to the rooms that make up your house. These three landscaping trends show how much importance people have been putting on developing the look of their yards. Less Water A popular outdoor trend is the use of less water in the yard. Some choose to follow intricately detailed xeriscaping plans while others simply favour drought-resistant plants such as cacti and succulents. When shopping at the nursery, more and more people are keeping water conservation in mind when deciding on what to plant in their yards. This landscaping trend isn't always entirely volun2

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ists or idealistic hippies. Lawns guzzle water, plus they require a ton of maintenance and suck up nasty chemicals. Some may even say lawns are boring. Instead people are opting to mix a variety of succulents, cacti, grasses, rocks, pathways, or other features in place of the usual lawn. Going green doesn’t necessarily mean having more green in your yard; it’s about what makes more sense.

tary, as water restrictions sometimes force the homeowner's hand in this regard. While we are experiencing rainier weather these days it does not mean we should not be conservative. Going Lawn-Free The idea of ripping out your lush green lawn is no longer limited to fanatical water conservation-

Fragrant Outdoors The first thing people do when they receive a bouquet is take a whiff. Yet, many garden flowers are not that fragrant. A fragrant garden is the new in-thing. It’s a much better option than putting Glade Plug-ins on your home’s outer walls. This is why plants that offer pleasant-scented leaves and blooms are skyrocketing in popularity.

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Four Fantastic Outdoor Cleaning Tips

ousehold cleaning tasks will often lead you straight into the out-ofdoors, especially in a climate like this that allows you to use your backyard and patio all through the year. Green cleaning is a must when cleaning outdoor furniture, grills, and toys. Plus, it's a nice feeling to know you're not harming the environment while you're out there surrounded by it. Baking soda, salt, vinegar, lemons and lemon juice are a huge help, this time with your outdoor cleaning. Here are some outdoor cleaning tips. The Deck You know, your garage floor isn't the only place in your home that can be stained by grease and oil -- your deck or patio may also be prone to these stains. And as with most cleaning projects, it's best to tackle any stains as soon after the accident as possible. If your wooden deck has become stained with suntan lo4

rinse your grill racks thoroughly before using them again. Pool/Toys If you have a backyard pool or just a collection of beach toys for the kids, you can remove the musty and mildewy smells that may accumulate during the offseason by washing them with a baking soda solution. Use 1/4 cup baking soda for every quart warm water. tion or grease from an outdoor grill, sprinkle baking soda on it immediately and let it sit for an hour. After brushing away the baking soda with a broom, check to see if any of the stain remains. If so, repeat the procedure. Grills You'll find all kinds of fancy sprays and specialized formulas in a store for cleaning the burned-on gunk off your outdoor grill racks, but good old el-

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bow grease and a stiff brush are all you really need. It'll help if you can tackle this project when the grill is still a little warm (though not hot!), but it will work regardless. If you have stubborn charred remains on the racks, try treating those areas with a vinegar and baking soda mix. First apply baking soda and then dab with vinegar to get the foamy action started. Both vinegar and baking soda are safe to use around food, of course, but you'll still want to

Screens The screens on your home are where the elements -- pollution, auto exhaust, tree leaves -- stubbornly grab hold. Cleaning them will help you have a brighter outlook onto the outside world from inside your home. Clean your screens by dipping a damp wire brush into baking soda and scrubbing. Then rinse the screens thoroughly with a damp rag or sponge. If you have removed the screens from the windows, use a hose to rinse them.

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Sustain our Green Spaces!

green space is defined as an area of grass, trees, or other vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an otherwise urban environment. In Trinidad and Tobago, and the world at large, the environment is continuously sacrificed for the sake of development. We have already begun to pay the price for such negligence through global warming and climate change. On a micro scale, the depletion of green spaces has had a great impact on urban lifestyle. Sacrificing green spaces for industry growth and further development of housing has affected the urban population by changing rainfall patterns, reducing recreational spaces, depleting the oxygen content, increasing the chances of flooding and decreasing temperature control. In most communities, green spaces function as a recreational ground for residents to socialize and engage in physical activity. When this space is taken away, the residents no longer have a place to gather to partake in such activities. As a result, we encourage a generation


of children to spend their time indoors playing video games or we may have a high percentage of our population being obese. The government will even have to develop new incentives for residents to become active by funding community programs and encouraging more physical education in schools. With the depletion of green spaces for further development of housing, more land is covered by concrete and as a result, the rate of infiltration of water into the earth is greatly reduced. This increases the chances of flooding in the area since the water is not absorbed into the earth. Flooding results

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in economic losses, business places are destroyed and vehicles are damaged. Social effects, increase in water-borne diseases and death and environmental loss also occur since natural vegetation is destroyed. Green spaces also function to control oxygen content in the atmosphere. Studies have shown that in urban areas that lack green spaces, the population tends to experience more respiratory problems and live shorter lives. It is thought that the low oxygen content in the atmosphere in those areas is responsible for this phenomenon. This low oxygen content is due to the lack of trees and natu-

ral vegetation in the area since plants produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. Having a high percentage of land covered in greenery regulates rainfall in the area. This is due to the stomata releasing water into the atmosphere through the leaves of plants. This rainfall is important to reduce the possibility of a drought in the community. Without rainfall, the water cycle is affected because there will be less water in the atmosphere. This would lead to water shortages and residents will not have enough water for daily living. These green spaces in urban areas are very important to the livelihood of the community. There are many benefits from having these green spaces. Without such spaces, communities face serious dangers to human life and the environment. As a country, we must understand the importance of the environment and the crucial role it plays in achieving sustainable development. We must be able to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations.


Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Spirit


nyone can own and even run a business. Taking a unique idea and transcending the bounds of business to get to a new plateau is being an entrepreneur in the truest sense. These tips show how to promote and maintain the ‘entrepreneurial spirit. Resist Your ‘Comfort Zone’ Nobody wants to be uncomfortable with a decision or mode of operation, but where Entrepreneurialism is concerned, too much comfort is not a good thing. If the call of entrepreneurship is important enough for you, take care with your life and never succumb to the comfort and apparent security of your comfort zone. Instead make constant and consistent efforts to be required in an area where you need to grow. Face these challenges that life brings with courage and faith. There are no victories without battles. There is no growth without challenge only the risk of falling into mediocrity.

recognized and promoted, regardless of age, experience or position. Not only does this create healthy competition, but it also encourages employees to be vocal and to participate in the bigger vision. However, you should not just take a back seat and look on as these inspired individuals operate. It is important to lead by example. If you’re not moving with a sense of urgency and adding your own ideas to the mix, it will be hard to motivate a potentially innovative team. When all levels of staff are involved in the change process, you create a broad support base within the organization.

corporate agenda. So hire those that match it as best as possible. These employees should be committed & motivated. They will act in line with expectations, making many procedures redundant. That means managers can now move their priorities beyond stimulating motivation and collaboration among staff. In order to get the right crop of people with entrepreneurial minds you have to have an open mind. Rebels cannot be written off. Even candidates that have rebelled against authority should be considered especially if they rebelled in the name of a cause or belief. True innovators have always swum against the stream. It is also important to look for people who have a history of thinking big. Thinking out of the box is the big difference between being just a businessman and being an entrepreneur. Once these criteria are met in staff, make sure to align actions, objectives and remuneration with your (longterm) corporate strategy.

Meritocracy Matters Create a work environment in which the most talented employees and the best ideas get

Hire the Right Workers From the Onset Your workforce should mirror the DNA of your particular

Take risks If there’s one thing most entrepreneurs are good at, it’s risk taking. In fact, this is often the


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key to their success. You can take on big risks in your career, but those opportunities can be few and far between. The best way to handle risk is by reducing your own personal limitations. Many people make up excuses for why they aren’t doing what they love, but another of the most important aspects of the entrepreneurial spirit is boundlessness. You may be conditioned to accept your life as it is, and move through it as you’ve been told to–realistically and practically. But if you can’t dream big and see yourself in new places and situations, your career will remain stagnant. Dare to dream and see your opportunities open up. Look Forward to Learning John Donahoe, CEO of eBay once posited that, “The best leaders learn the fastest.” With business growing more global by the minute and the distinction between virtual and physical transactions fading fast, the importance of understanding subtle shifts in the pulse of the market cannot be understated. Stay on top of the game and research your industry as much as possible.


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Open Bath Schemes

The use of a shower console gives this bathroom the effect of a lot more space. w w w . a m g tt. c o m





This big bathroom also has provisions for a full powder room. 12

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An open design merges bedroom and bathroom beautifully.


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Want Your Very Own At-Home Bar? Why Not!

irst off, it’s not half as difficult to do as it seems, despite the fact that the showoff down the street keeps boasting about how she had to order her stuff all the way from Antarctica to keep it cold. If you like entertaining at home, a home bar is a great idea. It can be a simple blender and cocktail shaker on the kitchen counter or a full-fledged bar complete with bar stools in the great room. A list of the supplies required is a good way to get started. Then with some furniture adjustment you’re nearly done with your superb Christmas entertainment set up. Don’t worry too much about purchasing fancy accessories or gadgets; with the correct supplies for different tastes your reputation will be safe. You’ll need the most basic supplies, stuff everyone who has a bar needs. You will need serving ware, including beer mugs, high ball glasses, shot glasses (of course) and even some wine glasses, keeping in mind the diverse assortment of concoctions you’ll soon be whipping up in your new fav room. Don’t forget elementary items such as a can opener, bottle opener, corks and 16

corkscrews and an ice bucket with tongs. Peg measures and cocktail shakers add an air of professionalism to your home bar. A strainer is also necessary; these often come with a nice set of measuring spoons for efficiency. Fancy cocktail paper napkins give your bar personality so too the straws and cocktail stirrers you choose.

your favor. Remember the power of aesthetics and shop around for fun garnishes such as cocktail rimmers in addition to your swizzle sticks.

Now for your main ingredients: Liquor: You should have the alcohol bases of most cocktails: Brandy, cognac, gin, Pimms, rum, schnapps, tequila, vodka and whisky. For mixers you’ll need: cola, ginger ale, Indian tonic water, soda and mineral water and fruit juices such as tomato, lime, pineapple and orange. Get Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce and be sure to add some liqueur and tonic and soda water to the supplies as well. A bottle of Angostura bitters is a good investment as our ‘good ole’ Trinbago product is used in cocktails the world over! And some excellent wine will be much appreciated by your poetry reading circle. A bar without plenty of beer will certainly be

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considered under stocked so get plenty of it. Spend some time organizing the bar by first setting the alcohol in related groups and glasses according to type and size. Place small jars with garnishes and seasonings to be used in making cocktails in a spice rack to keep things organized. In anticipation of big nights, prepare in advance. Have all your dry ingredients to hand, pre-cut your fruit, and ensure you have enough glassware. Have fun making mistakes and learning how to create nice cocktails and what goes in which glass. Luckily making great cocktails is far more about the quality of the ingredients than the talent, so the stars are already in

Cocktail Trivia Since the majority of cocktails are made with some kind of fruit juice, the quality of the juice affects the finished drink as much as the quality of its alcoholic ingredients. Opt for the freshly squeezed juice rather than the 'juice from concentrate'. Where the recipe tells you to 'shake with ice and strain', place all the ingredients with cubes of ice in a cocktail shaker (fill with two thirds ice) and shake briskly for 20 seconds. Leave the ice behind as you strain the liquid into your glass over fresh ice. And finally, a home bar leans heavily on decoration. Some take a lot of pride in decorating with items collected over the years. Cap collections are often seen in “pub style” home bars. Though not a pre requisite to an awesome bar, you at least want to create some sort of atmosphere. Soon your slogan will be, “Stirred, shaken, neat, on the rocks, straight up, with a kick, or dirty?”



Leftovers Recipes To Love

eftover does not have to mean left-behind. Use your leftover meat and starches and incorporate them with other ingredients for fantastic food options. Here are some ideas for utilizing your leftover food.

SWEET AND SPICY TURKEY SALAD Ingredients 5 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped 1 cup finely chopped celery 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 1 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon dried cilantro 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons pepper Directions In a bowl, mix the turkey meat, celery, jalapeno, relish, and mayonnaise. Season it with cilantro, salt, and peppers. Chill in the refrigerator until serving.

OVEN BAKED JAMBALAYA Ingredients 1/2 cup butter 1 large onion, diced 1 large green bell pepper, chopped 4 stalks celery, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste 3 bay leaves 3 tablespoons Creole seasoning 4 teaspoons Worcestershire 18

sauce 2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes 7 cups chicken stock 3 cups chopped cooked ham 3 cups cooked Andouille sausage, sliced 3 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces 3 cups frozen cooked shrimp 4 cups uncooked long-grain white rice Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Melt butter in large stock pot. SautĂŠ onion, green pepper, celery and garlic until tender, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add tomato paste and cook to brown slightly, stirring constantly. Stir in bay leaves, Creole seasoning blend and Worcestershire sauce. Pour into a large roasting pan. Squeeze tomatoes to break up into pieces, and add to mixture in pan. Stir in juice from tomatoes, chicken stock, ham, sausage, chicken, shrimp and rice. Mix well. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

CRESCENT CHICKEN DELIGHT Ingredients 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1 tablespoon butter, softened 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat

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1 tablespoon minced onion 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon chopped pimento peppers (optional) 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls 1 tablespoon butter, melted 3/4 cup croutons Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, stirring once halfway through baking time. Remove bay leaves before serving. Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine until smooth. Add the chicken, onion, salt, pepper, milk and pimento. Mix well. Separate crescent dough into four rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture onto the center of each rectangle. Pull 4 corners of dough to center of chicken mixture and twist firmly. Pinch edges to seal. Place sandwiches on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops of sandwiches with 1 tablespoon of melted butter or margarine; sprinkle with crushed croutons. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

BROWN RICE BREAKFAST PORRIDGE Ingredients 1 cup cooked brown rice 1 cup low-fat milk 2 tablespoons dried blueberries 1 dash cinnamon 1 tablespoon honey 1 egg 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon butter Directions Combine the cooked brown rice, milk, blueberries, cinnamon, and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Temper the egg by whisking in some of the hot rice, a tablespoon at a time until you have incorporated about 6 tablespoons. Stir the egg into the rice along with the vanilla and butter, and continue cooking over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken.


What You Need To Know About Wedding Loans


hen you first announce your big day, spirits are high and the outlook is bright. It isn’t until you start working on the details of your wedding that you realize that you might fall a little short on budget. The average cost of a wedding in Trinidad and Tobago is roughly half the combined annual salaries of the couple being wed. Clearly, that money isn’t going to magically end up in your pocket. That’s where a wedding loan might come in handy. Wedding loans can be used to finance rings, honeymoons and more. Even if you have been saving for that special day for years, a wedding loan can take your wedding from memorable to momentous offering you the ability to afford new, extraordinary and exotic options. Weighing up the pros and cons is really important. A small loan might be ok, and necessary, for some people. But you should take a look at your current level of debt. Do you already have other loans or credit cards that you haven't cleared a balance on? If so, you should think carefully about taking on further debt. 20

Utilizing past savings for a one day affair like a wedding would be a waste. It would have been a lot better had the past savings been used for some more productive purposes. Besides, wedding loans can be a much cheaper option to use for the payment rather than credit cards or past savings. Using a credit card can be simple if one goes by the immediate outcomes. But when the credit card debts are due for payment you find them to be much more than what you really spent. No, the credit card company is not indulging in any king of overcharging or cheating. This is only because of the accumulation of interest. Payment through credit cards is just like drawing a loan, but at a much higher rate.

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You should also consider what you can afford to pay back each month on your loan before you get one. You don't want your wedding loan to become a burden for the rest of your lives together, so don't borrow more than you can repay in 3 years. Remember, you’ll have a mortgage or rent to pay. Plus, things only get more expensive when you add the prospect of children to the equation. When you are looking into taking out a loan you will find that there are loans that are secured and loans that are unsecured. If you take out a secured loan then you will be using something like a car or home as collateral. So if you don’t keep up your repayments you could end up losing your car or home. By taking out an unsecured loan you won’t have to worry about this happening. Interest rates are reasonable on wedding loans, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't shop around. Compare the details of the different wedding loans available in the market. Borrowers can consult advisors or independent

experts about the matter. However, if you are planning for a grand wedding, it will require a huge amount. Collateral-free loans have higher interest rates than ones where collateral is required. Good credit history enables you to get the loan faster. If you have bad credit history, you have to convince the loan provider that you will pay regularly .You should be prepared for high rates of interest then. Finally, before, you borrow, it is very important to carefully mull over if a loan is really needed to cover the wedding costs. Most people find that it is hard to manage. And, couples are most likely to have serious fights about money. Before you apply for a loan, try to budget so that you will be able to pay it off as quickly as possible. If you get turned down for the first loan you apply for you ought to ask them what the reasons are. This way you can work to resolve any issues. Also, before you take out a loan, make sure you don’t go doing anything that could cause your credit rating to go down such as applying for a bank account or loan.



Proper Guest Etiquette

very one of us has either been or met a bad guest at some point in our lives. They are the ones who challenge all that you stand for as a good host and make your hospitality seem in vain. Well, the holidays are here once again, so expect that with all of the limes and get-togethers there will be at least a few bad guests you will come into contact with. In order to sensitize the public on proper guest etiquette, Home is giving you a list of violations guests usually commit. This should help you define how much liberties a guest should have at a host’s expense. Etiquette Violation #1: Don't ignore your hosts and their other guests. Friends are often invited over at the same time, and they usually have a lot of news to catch up on (having not spoken in at least an hour!). So they seat themselves at the end of the table, turn to each other, begin talking and proceed to ignore the rest of us the entire evening. Under such circumstances, I feel like a waitress and am tempted to ask if "Table Two in the corner" needs anything! Etiquette Violation #2: No whispering. This is a behavior that even very young children recognize as slightly mean and exclusionary, which is of course


why they do it! Whispering is a crime usually committed by married couples, and while their comments may not really be about the tastelessness of the soup or the recent weight gain of their hostess, it is nevertheless inappropriate and, dare I say it, rude. The same goes for speaking in a foreign language! Etiquette Violation #3: Don't make derogatory, impatient or dismissive comments about your host's children (even if they deserve it!). As parents, even though we may find our children occasionally frustrating, it is always tempered by tremendous love. Without the love, it's only hurtful. It's my children's home too and they are sharing it with the guests. Conversely, guests who pay special attention to all the members of our family, who treat them with respect and sincere interest, become regular invitees, and often, good friends. Etiquette Violation #4: Never insult your hostess' cooking. In fact, obsequious flattery is a fine strategy. Etiquette Violation #5: Don't communicate that you can't wait to leave, even if your children keep piping up, "Can we go yet?" Some people are always rushing. They've squeezed a

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meal at your home in between birthday parties, golf games and afternoon tea. They never stay until the end of the meal. This can be disconcerting and a little demoralizing to the hosts. As hosts, it is our responsibility to end the meal before the natives get restless (We operate by the principle of "leave 'em wanting more"). As guests we need to be attuned to social cues and stay until the end, unless that end is seriously delayed or there is a genuine medical emergency. Etiquette Violation #6: Don't ask unnecessary personal questions, such as details about your host's income and business deals. Along another vein, when my kids and I were younger, people would walk into our home and be surprised by the size of our family. Frequently their first question would be, "Do you plan to have more?" Back to manners class you go.

Etiquette Violation #7: Failure to appreciate that the host and hostess have spent time, money and effort on your behalf. Though the host may try to dismiss it as "I was cooking anyway," the clever guest knows that this is not all true. Hostesses plan for the individual needs of their guests. They plan for the number of guests and types of guests and carefully match personalities. Even if they enjoy entertaining (which I do), that doesn't make it effortless. This means that last-minute cancellations should only be done in the case of the aforementioned medical emergency, with very few other exceptions. But certainly not in the case of another invitation, laundry to do, work to finish or when "something came up". Etiquette Violation #8: Not saying thank you. Thanks can be expressed in many forms -- oral, written, or a small present upon arrival. Expressing gratitude is essential for the character of the guest and the continued good spirits of the host. Proper interpersonal interactions are not always instinctive. We need training and guidance to treat others appropriately in each unique situation. Assimilating this knowledge and putting it into practice is what makes one a good guest.



Common Beauty How To Find The Mistakes

Perfect Dress For Your Figure


chieving the perfect beauty look can take work. However, it is important to make sure that the work you put in is the right work. Avoid these common beauty mistakes for the results you truly desire. Overzealous Skin Care Over-cleaning can cause problems and harsh exfoliation can scratch the surface of the skin, which leads to irritation. Harsh astringents that contain alcohol strip the skin of its natural sebum, which will in turn send sebaceous glands into overdrive, creating more oil. Greasy or heavy creams, meanwhile can block pores and exacerbate spots. If your skin is already irritated you should avoid exfoliating your skin as well as excessively perfumed products for at least a week. Not Moisturizing No matter how much makeup you apply, you can't hide a dry face. After your morning cleanse, moisturize your skin. This will make your makeup application smooth and silky looking. Without moisture, makeup looks cracked and unflattering. Using the Wrong Product Never use too much of a foundation to hide pimples, scars,


small pimples or dark circles under the eyes. For this use concealer — use a light creamy formula that provides good coverage. You can apply the concealer before or after the foundation depending on the result you want to achieve. Applying Lipstick to Chapped Lips Never apply lipstick if your lips are chapped, as it may aggravate the condition. Instead use a lip balm, Vaseline or petroleum jelly to keep your lips moist and soft. If you still want to use a lipstick, apply lip balm before the lipstick to give your lips moisture. Gentle exfoliation with a mild exfoliator and a toothbrush may help you but do it once or twice a week.

inding a dress that fits well depends on your shape. Hourglass figures are shapely; the curves are in the bust and hips with a slender waistline. Rectangle figures are shaped evenly from top to bottom. Triangle figures have a narrow upper body and the lower body is full and/or wide. Inverted Triangle figures have a full and/or wide upper half with the lower half of the body being narrow. Analyze your body by asking yourself specific questions about your shape. Some questions you can ask are: where are my curves? How does my upper body compare to my lower body? Am I shaped evenly? You can also measure your bust, waist and hips. Taking these measurements will help you determine how your body is proportioned. Once you know what shape you most match, it will be easier for you to choose styles to complement your figure. If your shape is similar to the hourglass, your figure can be complemented by most styles. You want to go for styles that will emphasize your curves without making yourself look bulky. Choose a lightly close w w w . a m g tt. c o m

fitting dress. This will add emphasis to your body. When your shape is more like a rectangle, too many styles will leave you looking boxy. You want to give the look of having curves. Wearing shirtwaist dresses and a fitted dress with little or no waistline will help you create that look. The triangle body shaped woman wants to even out her body. Choosing dresses with shoulder pads will help balance the upper body with the lower body. Dresses that are loose but narrow in the skirt will help create a slimmer look. If your shape resembles an inverted triangle, you also want to create a balanced look. Full skirts will add to your lower body, giving you the appearance of having fuller hips.






The Importance Of Sleep


e’ve all heard the sayings “Humans need to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night” and “Early to bed, early to rise”. Our ancestors have been practicing these principles for many years and with good cause; they know the importance of sleep. But each individual’s body is different and, it has been argued, that some people can function at full potential for a full 14 hours a day while others would falter if they do not get their allotted 8 hours sleep-time. It all depends on the mind and body and what it has become accustomed to. The Harvard Women’s Health Watch, list six reasons why individuals should get enough sleep:


Learning and MemorySleep helps the brain retain new information it has learned. Statistics prove that persons who learnt a new task before going to bed performed better when taking the test later.


Safety- Sleep deprivation can cause a lot of 5-10 minute lapses during the day at work. These are particularly risky for persons who drive or operate machinery as part of their jobs. A lapse in concentration can cause accidents that can lead to an individual or others demise. For doctors and medical associates, lack of sleep can cause medical 24

errors, which can lead to pricey lawsuits.


Metabolism and Weight- Serious sleep deprivation may cause weight gain in some as our bodies are not getting enough time to store and process carbohydrates. It can also affect our body’s hormone levels, which in turn affect our appetites: eating more rather than eating less.


Disease- Because a lack of sleep alters our hormone levels, our immune system can become weak leaving our bodies susceptible to infections. Recent studies have also been trying to link a good night’s sleep to a decrease in cancer.


Cardiovascular HealthHypertension, increased stress, and irregular heartbeat are just some of the risks that persons who have serious sleep disorders can experience. Though these risks are suffered by persons with serious sleep disorders, it is better to prevent them at an early stage.


Mood- A lack of sleep can affect the way we interact with other persons. Persons who lack sleep can often be irritable, impatient, unable to concentrate, and moody. It can also make you feel too tired to even do things you like to do.

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Party Your Way To Fitness With Zumba


his accident inspired dance fitness programme was created by Colombian native Alberto "Beto" Perez, who happened upon the workout routine ten years ago. Since then, the workout has been adopted by millions of people and is finding its way into the homes of many celebrities and average citizens worldwide. Statistics show that the Zumba programme has grown to become the world's largest – and most successful – dance-fitness program. Zumba’s website, zumba. com, states that the workout is a Latin-inspired dance-fitness programme that blends red-hot international music, created by Grammy Award-winning producers, with contagious steps to form a "fitness-party" that is downright addictive.

merengue, cumbia and reggaeton, mixed with a party- like atmosphere.

Below are six types of Zumba class you can enjoy according to the website.

Zumbatomic ClassesChildren are not left out of this fun experience; the fitness programme for children involves workouts that improve metabolism, self-confidence and co-ordination.


Zumba Classes- Zumba classes feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats. While dancing, you will be burning calories and maintaining high levels of energy in no time.


Zumba Gold ClassesThis class is carefully suited for active professionals or those who are new to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. All of Zumba’s key elements remain including the catchy Latin beats of salsa,


Zumba Toning ClassesThis is a toning class that doesn’t feel like one. It takes away the pain and seriousness of toning while still getting the job done. Zumba’s website states that lightweight ‘maraca like’ toning sticks are used to tone abs, glutes, arms and thighs.


Aqua Zumba ClassesCombining the aqua fitness discipline with the innovative Zumba routine, this workout involves a cardio-conditioning and body-toning experience like never before. While stretching and twisting, shouting and even laughing are some of the sounds heard in this class.

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Zumba in the circuit classes- This is a thirty minute circuit training exercise which involves a group of strength building exercises, while maintaining the Zumba fitness signature dance workout. Best of all it is conveniently timed so that you can enjoy a good workout, build energy levels and burn calories in just 30 minutes.



10 Gas Saving Tips


as prices in Trinidad and Tobago are pretty good when compared with other countries. Premium gas is starting to rival world prices, but generally we are in good shape. This does not mean drivers would not like to save some extra bucks here and there. In fact, we urge you to save. Here are ten tips to help you conserve gas and save your hard earned dollar bills.


Keep your car tuned up. Cars in poor running condition use more gasoline.


When you run your air conditioner you get much worse gas mileage. Use your air conditioner sparingly. If you have a lower setting, use it. Turn it on until the car gets cool, then turn it off and let the fan circulate the cool air. Never run your air conditioner with your windows open!


Keep your windows closed when traveling at high speeds. Open windows cause additional drag and lower your gas mileage. At high speeds, an open window can add to your gas consumption more than many air conditioners (especially if they are on a low setting).


Check your tire pressure. Over-inflated tires can ac-


tually reduce your fuel efficiency, so don't overfill.


Take unneeded items out of the car. You don't need to carry the heavy power tools from your weekend job with you everywhere you go.


Try not to idle your engine for long periods of time. If you are stuck in traffic and you don't think you aren’t going to go anywhere in the next five minutes, you may want to turn your car off.


You no longer need to warm your car up for long periods of time, especially new cars. New cars are made to run when cold.


Don't travel at fast speeds in low gears unless you need the compression to slow down.


Try to accelerate slowly when leaving the stop light. It's not a competition with the driver in the lane next to you. The fastest person through the intersection just gets to spend more on gas.


No need to buy the highest priced gasoline. Most cars are built to run on regular or super unleaded. Check your owner’s manual or consult a mechanic. The more expensive gas is a waste of money.

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Choosing The Right Guard Dog


guard dog's job is to watch and alert the owner by barking and also threatening the intruder. Guard dogs should be athletic, powerful and aggressive. Guard dogs should also be loving and sociable; this is achieved when they are properly trained. Guard dogs are an investment and should be looked at as such. When choosing one there are certain things that you must consider. Consider what the dog will be guarding and what their job will be. This will help you determine what breed you want. Many dogs bark loudly enough to scare away a stranger and alert you. The dog should not be afraid of an intruder and should attack if one enters the property. So research on the dog is important. Go to the library or go online and research the various breeds of dogs. Narrow it down to a few breeds and talk to reputable breeders or longtime owners of such dogs for more information. Factor in your own personal or family habits and needs. Some breeds of guard dog require regular grooming, a large space to exercise in and lots of food. Do you have the necessary space to keep the dog? Do

you have time to take care of the dog’s grooming needs? Can you afford to maintain the dog's food consumption rate? These questions should be thought of while going through the selection process. After you have made your choice of guard dog buy it from a reputable breeder. There are those who are out to make money and who have exploited certain breeds. If you are a first time buyer you won't know what you are getting. Ask questions of the breeder you select. They can tell you what the dog’s temperament is like and if they are good with other dogs and animals, as well as with family members, especially young children. If possible, arrange to interact with the parent dogs before choosing a puppy. Evaluate the specific dog. A guard dog puppy should be neither too shy nor too aggressive.


Cruise Ship Safety


f you are thinking about going on a cruise this year, we’re happy for you. We love when people take time to relax and enjoy what the world has to offer. However, your cruise can turn out to be a nightmare if you run into safety issues. Here are some tips to consider before jumping aboard. Health comes first If you have special needs or allergies, bring your own medications and supplies. Keep an “emergency kit’’ ready to go; it should include prescriptions, your cell phone, room key, glasses, and a photocopy of your passport. To avoid shipboard illnesses such as the norovirus, wash your hands thoroughly and often, and use the hand sanitizers placed around the ship. Use your safe Your safe is not just there to take up room in your closet. Though often small, you can usually get a mid-sized laptop, a tablet (or two), cellphone and jewels/watches inside. The vast majority of cabin stewards are 28

honest, but it's not worth putting temptation in their way. Or better still: leave your valuables at home. Pay attention to the safety drill Also known as the muster drill, the safety drill is required by all ships. The crew designs this drill to ensure you understand everything you need to know in the case of an emergency or evacuation. These drills may seem boring or unnecessary, but they are vital to your safety and security while cruising. Don't carry around large wads of cash Unless you're a gambler, there is no reason to bring a lot of money onboard. All onboard transactions can be carried out with your room key as a debit card. When on shore excursions take out what you need, but don't advertise it. Keep your cash in a money belt. Look out on land Be careful on your shore excursions. The cruise lines organ-

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of quagmires including trip interruption, baggage delay/loss, and medical expenses. If you purchase travel insurance, pay attention to the type of policy you're purchasing and what it covers. Look at how the company will help you if something goes wrong.

ize the shore trips because they are moneymakers for them; in return, you get some assurance of quality and security. You can save a buck (or many) by going it alone, of course, but beware. Make sure you negotiate any fares and fees upfront. Most cabbies are honest when the cards are on the table, but if you do not agree in advance, the sky will be the limit and you may find yourself in a police station for failure to pay the fare. Get Insurance Consider travel insurance. Travel insurance policies can bail travelers out of a multitude

Research This should have been the first point, but the whole saving the best for last thing applies here. Statistics, crime reports, and safety protocols are available online for each individual cruise line, and you should read these carefully before making your decision. Many of the biggest cruise lines in particular abide by many of the same rules, set in motion by various acts and inspections required by cruise organizations and national governments. But you want to be sure that you know which crimes occur the most on which ships so that you can better plan for your trip ahead of time. Therefore, before even booking your next cruise, make sure that you do your research.




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Abstract Home Volume 7 Issue 1 2016  

In this issue: Home tips for a Happy New Year Make your leftovers likable again Beautiful bathroom designs and more

Abstract Home Volume 7 Issue 1 2016  

In this issue: Home tips for a Happy New Year Make your leftovers likable again Beautiful bathroom designs and more