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Home Improvement Tips


or most people, home is a special place. It represents our sanctuary from the world and the place where we spend quality time to rest and renew our lives. It also represents the single largest investment that we make in our lives. Since your home represents such a huge part of your life, you know that it makes good sense to do what you can to enhance and improve your home. Here, we share tips on the most important renovations to consider when improving your living space. Get The Right Permits: If you are doing a home improvement project which requires electricity, plumbing, structural or other trades that may involve permits, seek these out in advance. Hire a professional general contractor or trades person if you are unclear of what permits are required. Be Real With Budgets: It's a word that touches a nerve on both sides of the renovation process. Owners fear contractors will charge more if they know how much money they really have to spend, while contractors worry that owners expect a level of quality that doesn't match the price they want

When just one room in every home is brightened by Energy Star lighting, the change will keep over one trillion pounds of carbon dioxide out of our air. Make a quick trip to the hardware store or home improvement center for a hot water insulation kit to wrap your water heater and save on water heating costs. Make sure to add top of the line faucets and fixtures to prevent water wastage as well. If you have air conditioning, service it. Dirty filters can hamper airflow and cause your A/C to use more energy. Keeping filters clean can help reduce your energy bill.

to pay. But pretending there isn’t any money involved won't make the project any less expensive. It just gives you less than you wanted. A lot of people have a budget that's a little bit of a lie, but if they were honest, contractors would be able to use higher-quality materials and give them more value for their money. Be Energy Efficient: Change a light and save a bundle. Energy Star qualified light bulbs are 75 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Get a Good Gardner: Tidying up your garden costs nothing; regular maintenance like weeding, mowing and weatherproofing sheds, fences and garden furniture is also worthwhile. Spending small amounts of time and money on garden maintenance will save money in the long run rather than waiting till fences, furniture and outbuildings are in such a state they are beyond repair. On the topic of gardening, cut down on your garbage by creating a compost pile in your backyard. You can throw away everyday staples like eggshells, coffee grounds and vegetables. w w w . a bst r a c t hom e .c om

Paint, paint, paint: One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. A gallon of good paint roughly around $200, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter's tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy! Do Basic Updates: Basic updates add the most value to your home. Fix the roof when it leaks, replace wood that rots, and get rid of any mold that you find. These types of chores keep your home from deteriorating over time. Buyers want a healthy, solid, safe home, and they look carefully for signs of routine maintenance. Simple projects can keep a home in tip-top shape so that if you do decide to try and sell again, buyers will see a well-cared-for home. It's never too late to fall in love with your home again. Make the right improvements and you’ll be smitten again in no time. OCTOBER 2012




All You Need To Know About Cleaning Glass hard tiles and other surfaces for a great clean.

Windows Online cleaning Guru, Mrs. Clean House Cleaning Specialist, says that hot, soapy water should be used to wash down windows on a cloudy, mild temperature day, ensuring that all the dirt and debris is removed first. Once this is done, use a cotton cloth to dry the window quickly to prevent streaks. A chemical cleaner is suggested but is not necessary since soap water often does the trick.


owadays, more and more houses are being made of glass. Not just sliding doors or mirrors, but also the walls and surrounding areas are being made of this substance. Though it adds sophistication and elegance to any design it dirties easily and requires constant cleaning. For the beauty of the glass to shine through, careful cleaning methods must be employed. See below for tips that can be used to ensure clean glass at all times; whether they are wares, doors, mirrors or crystals.

Glass (cookware, drinking glasses, glass tables) Use hot soapy water when washing drinking glasses and cookware then rinse them off in hot water. Mrs. Clean House Cleaning Specialist suggests that a dish detergent that is mild be used. To get the sparkling effect that is seen in many dishwashing liquid commercials, a hint of vinegar in the washing solution helps. For harder stains, Mrs. Clean suggests a scouring pad that will be tough on stains but gentle on the glass.

Crystal Crystal deserves a special kind of care to prevent them from breaking. To clean crystal, Ms. Clean suggests that you follow these steps:

Glass (doors or mirrors) Because they are not used for consumption, rubbing alcohol can be added to a solution of water and vinegar when cleaning sliding doors or mirrors. The alcohol allows for quick evaporation and ensures a streak-free glass all the time. Mrs. Clean suggests that this solution also be used on chrome,

1) Use rubber or cotton gloves when handling them. 2) Do not place fine crystal in dishwasher; hand wash. 3) Use a mild detergent when washing crystal and use low water pressure when rinsing them. Be wary of the material used to wash the glasses with; if it’s too rough it may scratch the surface. 4) Wash and rinse with the same water temperature. Going from hot to cold can cause the crystal to shatter or crack. 5) Invert the crystal on a dry thick cloth. Allow them to air-dry before using a terry cloth to shine them later.

Make Your Décor Flow With Water


he uses of water are endless; not only is it a necessity for the continuation of life on earth, but it can add richness and vitality to any home. Water is such a pure and wonderful resource that some home owners are beginning to use water to add to the indoor décor of their homes. Why not? It’s one of the most innovative trends currently and its effects have been known to range from therapeutic to inspirational. Read below for creative ways in which water can be used.

nerves and ease tension in the body. So, having one of these in your home may not be such a bad idea especially those of us with stressful jobs. Plus with the advance in technology, fountains are being made to fit in homes as opposed to the huge ones that were available long ago or even in ancient times. Additionally, the prices for these accessories have dropped and are affordable on nearly any budget so it’s time to invest in a cheaper stress reliever than addictive pills or huge doctor fees.

Indoor waterfalls- Just as the sound of the waves crashing on the beach or the sound of a river flowing downstream can be relaxing, so the sound of flowing water from a waterfall can provide relaxation. There are basically two types of indoor waterfalls: wall hanging and released (the ones that are built-in and flow to the ground). Each comes in various shapes and sizes and it depends on the home owners’ choice as to which area of the house it goes. The ground waterfalls are best as real pebbles and stones can be used to add a sense of authenticity to the scene but it is the more expensive choice. Either

Aquariums- Perhaps the cheapest and most affordable of the three, the aquarium has its healing effects too. As with the fountains and waterfalls, they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and the movement of water is created by the fish swimming around in the tank. The ripples that the fish create as they swim around in the water create a relaxing effect. Some people have been known to draw inspiration just by staring at the tank, sometimes for hours. Some have even fallen asleep in front of the aquarium. Whichever way you choose to use water in your décor, the benefits are endless.


way, it accentuates the decor and adds that calming effect. Indoor fountains- There are endless internet sites and books that boast

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about the wonders and positive effects that fountains have on the human nervous system. Just watching water in a fountain or seeing tiny bubbles burst at the bottom of the sprout can calm the


Unusual Uses For Coffee


Used coffee grounds are effective in keeping ants at bay. Just sprinkle some on the ant hills and the ants will move. However, this does not harm the ants so they will create another hill that you would have to remove them from.


Coffee grounds work well as a refrigerator deodorizer. Place a bowl of coffee grounds inside your fridge and your homemade deodorizer will gradually absorb all unwanted scents. Also, when kitchen drains get smelly, simply get a cup of coffee grounds and tip down the plughole making sure you slowly tip a kettle of boiling water down afterward & leave to work on the odours.


hough most of us consume our favourite caffeinated beverages in the traditional way, there are other uses for coffee. Here are some unusual ways to make the most of your coffee.


Gardeners can benefit from coffee as it helps plants to flourish. The grounds, when mixed with soil, release nutrients that make the ground richer and more acidic. Plants that flourish in acidic soil will be healthier since they can get the needed nourishment from the ground. If you have a good supply of coffee grounds, just spread them evenly in your garden. The

results will surely surprise you. Coffee also scares away certain worms and pests which threaten plant roots.


Pets seem to love turning gardens into toilets. You can keep your pet from defecating in your garden if you spread a mixture of coffee grounds and orange peels around the

area. Your pets (especially cats) will find the scent of the mixture a tad ‘exotic’ and they will opt for another choice of restroom. There is much more to what goes into your cup of Joe than you know. Remember these facts as you sip your next cup.

Home-Made Solutions That Get The Job Done M 2

any manufacturers of cleaning products give guarantees of their product’s effectiveness to “cut grease” or “remove stains”, but as many home-makers have learnt over the years, this is not always the case. At times, making one’s own concoctions is the only way to get the desired sparkle or shine on wares, tiles and floors. For this reason, many homemakers have devised little tricks that help with cleaning dirty items and ways of maintaining a clean scene. See below for household items that can be used alone, or in combination with cleaning products, to guarantee a clean surface.

no food residue stuck between forks after washing. It even gets rid of the left-over food scent.



Squeezing lime in the dishwashing liquid- Every dishwashing liquid boasts of the ability to “leave a sparkling shine” or being “tough on grease but gentle on hands” but nothing gets rids of the stains and grease better than lime juice. Squeezing half of a lime in the dishwashing liquid ensures that your dishes are left clean and that there is


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Adding vinegar to the solution when cleaning the tilesSome people have dumped cloth mops for the innovative ‘Swiffer Wet Jet’; but just a few drops of vinegar on the ground cleans tiles leaving the floor spotless. For those who still use mops, add approximately a cork full or a cork and a half of vinegar to the scrubbing solution and experience a difference in your tiles. It retains the gloss and maintains a clean surface for a long time.

Adding baking soda to your wash load- Baking soda is one of the most inexpensive yet effective ways to cut grease and stains from clothes. Add approximately ½ cup of baking soda to your wash load and watch the stains disappear. That does not mean that you need to remove the soap powder altogether, but used in combination, these can work wonders

for your clothes. It is tough enough to remove grease but gentle enough to be used on baby’s clothing too.


Toothpaste can make your silverware sparkle- Apart from the many other uses of toothpaste which include removing the offensive bathtub ring or removing stains from a carpet, it is known to effectively polish silver, leaving a glossy shine. Toothpaste can make an authentic diamond ring sparkle as much as it did when it was just purchased.. Simply wet the ring and use a toothbrush with toothpaste to scrub the surface.

AB Home Quiz

How To Attract Birds To Your Garden


any gardeners want to encourage birds into their gardens. Whilst it's true that they can cause damage, they can also help you because they have an enormous appetite for quantities of insect pests. Plus, there is nothing like the sound of beautiful birds chirping in the morning.

more frequently when there are lots of birds in your garden and/or when you suspect that some are sick – keep an eye out for lethargic birds sitting around with their feathers fluffed up. Pour over some boiling water now and again to clean off.

Make them feel at home Reduce the opportunities for predators like cats and chickenhawks by placing feeders where the birds can spot danger easily. Avoid using garden netting, especially during the breeding season, and place feeders away from your house to minimize the risk of birds colliding with windows. Keep Water Close from great distances, and many curious You may have remembered to put out species will come to investigate. If you food, but a supply of clean, unfrozen wahave the space and budget, consider a ter is just as important, both for drinkfountain birdbath or even larger water ing and bathing. Use a sloping bath with feature. water 2.5cm-10cm deep, which will allow different species to bathe in comfort. It Offer the Right Food helps to add a flat stone or two to give Most birds eat most types of nuts, seeds, birds an easy way in and out. Try to pofats and fruit. However, here are a few sition the bath some¬where prominent tips for you to try: where it won't be a chore to clean, and refill regularly. Stone bird baths are the • Keep your feeder near to cover if you traditional if pricey choice, but birds can. Not to close that squirrels or othwon't turn up their beaks at a dustbin lid er food stealers get near. sunk into the soil and filled with water. • Try to keep all feeding stations off Plus, instead of just a static birdbath, the ground. Although, putting a bit of add a dripper, mister or bubbler to create feed on the ground to attract ground motion. Birds will see and hear the water ABSTRACT HOME OCTOBER 2012 w w w . a b st r a c th o m e . c o m 6

feeding birds is good. • Don’t put feeding stations to near nest boxes as the noise may affect any occupants. • Feeders are perfect, try different feeds for different types of birds. Some prefer seeds, fruit and fat. • Experiment with various feed to attract different types of birds. Try sunflower hearts, millet seeds, varied seed mixes as well as fat products and live feed too. Sterilise feeders Remove mouldy seed from feeders and sterilize them regularly to reduce the risk of spreading diseases. Clean them

Plant the Right Stuff How you garden can affect the number of birds that visit. Planting native plants helps enormously. Birds are attracted to numerous tropical fruits that are found in most yards. Be sure to include a few. Clothing walls and fences with climbing plants and shrubs can turn them into a living boundary, providing cover and nesting sites that are unavailable on unplanted vertical surfaces. If you have the space, planting a native hedgerow, which can be left untrimmed, will give birds a really good habitat to nest and feed in. In the same vein, be careful about what you plant as some plants are toxic and can keep birds away as well. Reduce Chemical Usage Reducing the amount of chemicals you use in your garden will have a beneficial effect on birds, as well as other forms of wildlife. There are several organic options to use in your garden. Generally, you don’t need much more than a little manure or compost anyway. These are simple and effective methods of ensuring a safe and happy habitat for the birds in your garden.

home office

Steps Toward A Mortgage


or many people, owning a home brings a sense of pride and freedom that cannot be matched by renting. When you own your own home, you aren’t bound by a landlord’s rules, and your monthly payments are actually building equity. Although buying a home may be the first step you take toward building long-term wealth, it is important to understand the pros and cons of home ownership before taking the plunge. Many of us no matter how hard we work are unable to purchase a house with cash. In order to make our dreams of home ownership come through we have to take out a mortgage. Steps towards a mortgage are sometimes a bit complicated. The process usually takes about three to six months and during this time many find it to be quite frustrating with the many trips that need to be made to the bank. Home ownership is not something that you wake up one morning and decide to do. It is something that you should have been preparing for in advance. In preparation for a home purchase, take a look at your finances. Save as much as you can towards your downpayment. The downpayment for mort-


gages is usually 10% of the amount of the home. The earlier you start to save in life the more money you would have towards your mortgage down payment. The bigger the down payment you make the smaller your monthly mortgage payments would be. In addition, your savings should take into account closing costs of acquiring your home. If you cannot find the 10% downpament required for a loan, many banks and lending institutions would lend you the money. One of the key factors that banks and other lending institutions look at before giving a loan is your credit history. They want to see how many loans you have taken out recently and whether or not you have repaid them on time. If you were late by more than 30 or 60 days for 2 or more times, your credit score will be negatively affected. This does not mean you will not qualify for a loan, however you may not qualify for the amount that you want. So keeping a good credit score is important. Before you get too attached to that million dollar home with the great view, find out how much you can afford. Through the process of prequalification the banks and lending in-

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stitutions will look at your credit score and salary and give you an idea of how much home you can afford. Now that you have an idea of what price range you can afford, you know exactly what to look for. A real estate agent can help you with looking for something in your price range. Once you have decided on an area in which you want to live, research the area. Find out as much as you can about the area’s schools, shopping centers, traffic, recent trends, crime stats, property taxes and cost of hazard insurance. One source of information is the local media especially the newspaper’s archives. The local police station and real estate agents who live in or around the area, are others fine sources of information. A valuable piece of information you should have in your negotiation “arsenal” is the price of recent home sales within a mile or 2 of the house you are about to make an offer on. Your agent has access to an extensive list of recent home sales. If you want to do some work on your own you can ask friends of friends who know people who live in the area. The real estate agent that is representing you will help you in the

bidding process. This includes preparing an “offer sheet” that shows the seller you are seriously interested in purchasing the house. Some offer sheets contain specific conditions, such as making your offer valid only if a thorough inspection reveals serious defects or safety concerns that can be fixed within a certain time. The closing of the deal tends to be a bit scary for some. This is where you put pen to paper and the house is turned over to you. If everything was done correctly up to this point including making sure the title is free of any liens, the process should merely be a formality. To make sure there are no surprises some home buyers bring a real estate attorney to the closing procedures to examine all the documents. In addition there is title insurance to protect the bank and you in case there is a claim against the title that was not revealed during a title search. These are the general steps that must be followed when obtaining a mortgage. Take each step into consideration and follow them closely. Once you have followed these steps you are surely on your way to owning your own home.

elegant ideas

Decorative Theme Options

This Asian inspired room is ethnic dĂŠcor at its finest w w w . a bst r a c t hom e .c om




elegant ideas

Bare, but bold‌this sparse setting is highly futuristic 12

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elegant ideas

Some splashes of colour and softness help to make this bathroom ideal for kids w w w . a bst r a c t hom e .c om




elegant ideas

A little feng shui goes a long way in this simple oriental bathroom 14

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elegant ideas

This dĂŠcor will make you feel you just visited grandma w w w . a bst r a c t hom e .c om





Mix It Like The Pros; Mixology Must Haves


like to see the show that bartenders put on. You know, the one where they send the bottle up in the air, spin and catch it behind their backs? Yep, that one. I love seeing them perform, not to mention the fact that I love the drinks too. The intense flavors that tantalize my taste buds every time I take a sip take me to a place and moment in time where everything is all right. I can’t take the exciting show home with me, but I can create a similar environment by having good drinks. Making good drinks is like any other job, it all starts with having the right tools on hand. Every mixologist must have a wine opener which includes a corkscrew and a sharp blade to cut the seal of the wine. There are many other different types of wine openers available on the market; the choice is yours in getting one that works for you. Electric bottle openers are the go these days as they take the pressure off of your hands. A bottle opener and a can opener should also be kept at hand. While they are usually found in the kitchen it is best to keep them on hand in the bar as well. They are needed for opening the likes of canned pineapple and fruit cocktails.


The right measurement is what makes a drink pop. Sometimes you may say to yourself this drink has too much of this or too much of that. To prevent this you would require the bar tool known as the jigger. A jigger is used to measure the amount of liquor that flows from the bottle. The small end of the jigger measures one oz, while the larger end measures 1.5 oz. of liquor. Depending on the size of the drinks, the jigger will help to perfect your measuring skills at the home bar. You don’t want to put in too much of one type of liquor as it throws off the taste of the final product. Another measuring tool that is necessary is the measuring spoon; these spoons measure anything from juice and sugar to syrup and even salt. Standard measuring spoons like the ones used in most kitchens are perfect for the home bar. To get iced drinks to a nice consistency, a high speed electric blender is a home bar essential. Nearly every household has a blender and the same should go for the bar. The blender will be used to make frozen drinks of all sorts as well as to mix certain drinks that the shaker just would not do justice to. Bartending is nearly impossi-

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ble without a good quality blender for those specialty drinks. It is essential in the preparation of daiquiris and mudslides‌. yummy. Mixology requires a lot of mixing as the name suggests, especially when it comes to those fancy mixed drinks that are full of flavor. Every home bar should have a set of long handled mixing spoons that will fit into most glasses. A few pitchers are also needed to keep the drinks flowing. For the home bar, it is good to have at least two pitchers available on hand to keep drinks read-

ily available. The pitcher is essential in making various stirred drinks such as the Martini and it is also used to store drinking water. Ice is an essential ingredient to drinks, especially those blended drinks. Therefore the home bar must have an ice bucket to store the ice along with a set of thongs. Another essential ingredient for the home bar is fresh juice. Fresh juice is often part of a great bar drink, so every bartender needs a juice squeezer on hand at the home bar. There are some excellent electric squeezers that you can buy or you can use the regular hand squeezer. For the martini lovers who like it shaken and not stirred, a cocktail shaker is essential in preparing your favorite drink. The stainless steel thingy which you see bartenders pour ingredients into for a martini or shooter and shake vigorously is called a cocktail shaker. These tools mixed together with some quality liquor create the most wonderful drinks. Add a nice ambience, some music, friends and good food and you are on your way to having a great time. Remember to do it like the pros do, you need the tools the pros use. Drink up and enjoy!


Important Fluids To Include In Your Diet


here are many options for what to drink, but without a doubt, water is the best choice: It's calorie-free, and it's as easy to find as the nearest tap. After plain water, there are some other drinks which do pose significant health benefits. Of course, there are pros and cons to drinking these beverages, so drink them in moderation. Green tea contains a rich concentration of flavonoids and polyphenols, natural antioxidants that may protect cells from carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and inhibit tumor growth by helping to neutralize free radicals in the body. The tea's antioxidants may also guard against heart disease by relaxing blood vessels, inhibiting the formation of blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes. Green tea also contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth; the flavonoids may build up bones as well, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and tooth decay. Soy milk contains soluble fiber and soy protein, which lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and triglycerides, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you're drinking it instead of cow's milk, buy soy milk fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D. One caveat: Soy contains

phytoestrogens, which may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about drinking soy milk if you have a family history of the disease or have had it yourself. Research suggests that the same antibacterial properties present in cranberry juice that fight off urinary tract infections may also protect against periodontal disease. Experts theorize that a component of the juice called nondialysable material (NDM) inhibits bacteria from sticking to the gums. Many nutritionists are wary of fruit juices because of their sugar content, so limit your intake to no more than one glass (6 to 8 ounces) daily The high potassium and low sodium content of coconut water has a nutrient profile shown to help lower high blood pressure. Plus, because it is very low in fat, you can drink as much as you can without worrying about ingesting a lot of fattening agents. Also, coconut water has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that can help you steer clear from these diseases. It has more hydrating properties than the average tap water so drinking it can certainly help your digestion well. Thus, you’ll be able to absorb food nutrients better and have easier bowel time when you drink it.


Awesome Appetizers


ood food is normally the spark needed to ignite any lime. However, the main course doesn’t necessarily have to be the main attraction. Here are some appetizers that will take your mealtime from mundane to marvelous.

Barbeque Meatballs Ingredients Meatballs 3 pounds ground beef 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk 1 cup oatmeal 1 cup cracker crumbs 2 eggs 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 2 teaspoons chili powder Sauce 2 cups catsup 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 cup chopped onion Directions To make meatballs, combine all ingredients (mixture will be soft) and shape into walnut-size balls. Place meatballs in a single layer on wax paper-lined cookie sheets; freeze until solid. Store frozen meatballs in freezer bags until ready to cook. To make sauce combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place frozen meatballs in a 13 x 9-inch pan; pour the sauce over. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Makes 80 meatballs.

1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon allspice 4 cups pecan halves 1/4 cup butter – melted 1/3 cup molasses

1 cup white sugar 1/4 cup pineapple juice 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 3 pounds chicken wings or drumettes

Directions Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine salt, cayenne, white pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspices. Add the pecans and toss well to coat. Drizzle melted butter oven pecans and mix well. Spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet, scraping any spices and butter from the bowl and spreading the nuts into a single layer. Bake until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally for approximately 9 minutes. Drizzle molasses over the nuts, stir and bake for another 10 minutes or until the nuts turn glossy and slightly dark. Allow to cool on the pan. Pour into a bowl and break apart any large clumps or clusters.

Directions 1. Whisk together the water, soy sauce, sugar, pineapple juice, vegetable oil, garlic, and ginger in a large glass or ceramic bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the chicken wings, coat with the marinade, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. 2. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease baking dishes, and set aside. 3. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and shake off excess and place the chicken wings into the prepared baking dishes. Discard the remaining marinade. Bake the wings in the preheated oven until the chicken is cooked through and the glaze is evenly browned, about 1 hour.

Teriyaki Wings

Ingredients Dough 4 c. flour Pinch of salt Put into bowl, run warm water slowly

Ingredients 1 cup water 1 cup soy sauce

Spiced Pecans Ingredients 4 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1 teaspoon white pepper 18 ABSTRACT HOME OCTOBER 2012

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Pot Stickers

into flour and mix with hand until dough forms. Put aside. Filling 1 lb. pork, ground raw 2 tsp. sesame seeds 1 c. chopped onions 2 c. chopped cabbage Soy to taste 1/2 tsp. ginger Directions Mix. Roll out dough into small ovals. Put in some filling, pinch shut. Brown in oil, both sides, then fill pan with water and cook until water evaporates. Sauce: soy, sesame seeds, onions and a pinch of sugar. Use sauce as dip.

Mango Shrimp Salsa Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh crushed garlic 20 raw shrimp, peeled and cubed 1 teaspoon fresh crushed ginger 2 large mangos, small dice 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped 1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped 1 large tomato, chopped 2 avocados, cubed 1 cup canned or fresh corn, drained 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro Juice of 2-3 lemons Salt and pepper to taste Directions In a medium skillet, heat oil and garlic until garlic becomes fragrant. Add shrimp, ginger and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes on medium heat until shrimp are pink, then let cool. In a medium bowl, add mango, onion, jalapeno, tomato, avocado, corn, cilantro, lemon juice, shrimp and drippings from pan. Mix all together, then add salt and pepper to taste. Great with chips, fish or chicken.


Keeping It Real With Your Spouse


e have been doing the same thing every day for years and it is about time we decide to change. Relationship statistics show that on average 50% of marriages don’t last, not to mention how many boyfriend/girlfriend relationships end. The problem is that there is too much cheating going on between the sheets. The biggest cheating on the list is the fake orgasm. Why fake it, if he is not doing it right tell him straight up he sucks. Pretending that you are all into it won’t make him get any better at it, he is only going to get worse and you will be left feeling unsatisfied and pretty frustrated. Men this goes for you too if you had a hard day at work you can simply say “Honey I am tired”. Don’t get into bed and have a poor showing and act as if you are the thunder in her paradise. It just won’t work; faking is wrong on so many levels. “I am not feeling good tonight I think I might be coming down with something”. So many women have used this line when they just don’t feel to get down with it. They then wake up the next morning and are back to normal. They move around, fix breakfast, get dressed and head out the door as if they had the most wonderful night of their lives. The man would most certainly want to know where he went wrong the 20

night before especially if this keeps happening. Questions start rushing to the forefront of his mind. Thoughts of the “horner man” come into play and then you create the over protective, jealous and most suspicious man in the world. The psychopath who now decides to go through your phone and mark your coming in and going out times. Then you say he wasn’t like that, all of a sudden he started to act weird, but you created your own monster. Men this one is especially for you. This is the scenario you are lying in bed with your significant other, the phone

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rings you answer. On the next line is your ex or the girl you met in club the other night. The conversation goes like this. “Hi what’s up? Well I am at home watching some TV”, no mention of the woman lying next to you. The woman at your side starts edging closer to you to ear hustle the conversation, because she knows if it is your boy you won’t be giving all those short answers. You notice this and all of a sudden you decide that you need to use the bathroom. Now tell me what sort of BS is that. As before you are creating a whole different C.S.I, Monk and F.B.I woman and trust me

women know how to investigate. Keep it simple, keep it real between the sheets with your women. I have quite a few friends who use this one; they find the smallest thing to make it into an argument. Ever noticed how just before the playoffs or some big game your boyfriend suddenly finds that you are coming home late or he notices that the friendship you have with your co worker seems to be getting a little serious. Then the whole issue gets blown out of proportion and you end up going by your friends to get out of the house because you feel as if you are so wrong. That’s a game plan that these men have, so that they can get to watch their sports or go their parties in peace. More relationships just don’t seem to last and it has so much to do with our cheating ways. Then again where did these ideas come from? The answer is our parents; keep in mind a lying puppet named Pinocchio, a woman who lived with seven men called Snow White, Cinderella who snuck away to go to a party, Sleeping Beauty married the stranger who kissed her and Jasmine had a forbidden relationship with Aladdin, all these stories and more our parents grew us up on what else did they expect. If we want to keep each other happy we need to start keeping it real between the sheets.


A NEW world of

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Myths About Bad Parenting

t is easy to get overwhelmed with parenting these days. There are societal pressures and ever-changing childrearing theories that have created a lot of stress and anxiety for parents. Then there’s the Internet which has made everyone an expert on everything, resulting in gigabytes of personal opinions masquerading as facts. More and more misguided notions about good and bad parenting are cropping up, many of them myths; you really should get back to feeling confident about doing a ‘thumbs up’ job. Parents are supposed to be stressful and chaotic. Television shows, movies, and magazines seem to be driving this message - images of overwhelmed and exhausted parents in gloves and aprons chasing mini minions everywhere. This is a myth. If certain tools are learned and used, time with family can be absolutely magical and peaceful.

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The more you do the better parent you are. Car-pooling, rushing around taking your children to lessons and practices does not make you a great parent. Love, one-on-one time and creating and participating in family traditions seem to have won this battle.. You are a bad parent if you use the word “discipline” instead of “managing my child’s behaviors”. The scary word discipline comes from the word disciple, which means “learner”. Our children are the learners in our family…along with parents of course, who are constantly learning. It is the parent’s job to teach and guide children through each stage of their lives, using values and experience as our reference. True, not all discipline is equal, however, using the word “discipline” should never label you as a bad parent.

The more talking and explaining you do, the more your child will do the right thing. This is a myth because children, particularly from the ages of 2-7 are concrete learners and do not have an understanding of logic and reasoning. They need simple sentences that they can follow and concrete experiences that they can understand. Long lectures are not best. Add more talking and explaining as they grow older and can actually comprehend what is being said. Letting your child struggle or get upset is bad parenting. Everyone can agree that it is not easy to watch our children struggle or be upset, but it is necessary at times and actually helps kids learn to do new things and as a result feel good about themselves. It is known that one of the ways children learn new things is to practise and practise, and that along with the practising, there will be some frustration. Once they do master something they will feel great about themselves and THIS is the time to jump in and give them a high five, a hug and all the attention. So, the next time your child is struggling, just stand back, let them try and try again, and if after some time, 5-10 minutes, they are not able to succeed, offer them encouragement and a little bit of help if needed.



Points From The Beauty Editor


magine a job where you get to leave the office at noon for a beauty and spa treatment, it’s FREE and YOUR BOSS wishes you good luck. Sounds ultra right? Meet the Beauty Editor of top fashion and glamour magazines. After some time in the business they harbor great knowledge, and honest behind the scene information on the beauty industry and they can tell you in 10 seconds, what type of shampoo is best for your hair. Beauty editors have rules and are more firm about some things than other. You don’t have to live your life according to anyone’s rules (do obey laws) and there are exceptions to every rule but consider these loose guidelines. Here we get a heads up on the beauty rules from past Beauty Editor Nadine Haobsh The Beauty Editor Commandments 1) Never wash your hair two days in a row 2) Always wear SPF 30 sunscreen, come rain or shine. 3) Wash your face every night before bed, even when drunk or dead tired 4) French manicures are not an option – do it. 5) Everybody looks better with a hint of color on their face 6) Avoid frowning—just like your mom said, your face will stick that

way 7) Don’t smoke—it causes wrinkles, sallow, uneven skin and yellow teeth. (Oh and that whole cancer thing, too) 8) Introduce acids into your daily routine—glycolic, salicylic, retinoids, whatever. Your skin will thank you 9) Antioxidants are your best friend. Eat them, drink them, wear them, learn to love them. 10) Smile. When you carry yourself beautiful, you are beautiful

Personally I latch on to number 10 and try to schmooze my way through on that – pearly whites *ding!* Note these are for the real ‘beauty people.’ They live and breathe beauty and their only concern is to get their client sparkling with perfection. There are old rules of long ago (if they weren’t we just made them history) like never wear red nail polish. While this likely still applies if you work in a bank, this is totally breakable (unlike the law.) Become as beauty informed as you can, and take everything you read (even this) with a grain of salt. Everyone is unique and reacts to different products and tips in different ways - we aren’t all completely the same, thank goodness.

Beneath It All: Underwear Tips For Women


earing well fitting, nice underwear can not only make you feel great, it can also make you look great too. Plus, some can make you look up to 10lbs slimmer or add some junk to your trunk if chosen well. Here are some tips to finding the right undies. First, get yourself measured professionally. Many places do it for free, and it will make the world of difference to your look. So get fitted and know your exact size before you start shopping. Fitting is important for more reasons than you know. For example, a badly fitting bra not only makes your breasts look smaller and your stomach look bigger, but it is also bad for your back and can cause the muscles that support your chest to become weaker, which can lead to sagging. Professionally fitted bras will make you look a few pounds lighter. At a fitting you are likely to find out that the bra size you are wearing is much too small and that the fitter will tell you that you need a much bigger one. Don't be disheartened but listen to them. They know what they're doing! Another important factor in choosing undergarments is considering what you will be wearing over them. Will it be a tight smooth top? If so, a lacy bra will not be the best w w w . a bst r a c t hom e .c om

choice. You will be able to see the material very clearly and this just looks cheap and unprofessional. Make sure you have a smooth bra under your top. With this in mind, another thing to consider is the dreaded visible panty line. These are never a good look. Make sure you cannot see the outline of your underwear through your trousers/skirt/jeans, or whatever you choose to plop your booty into. Thongs are very rarely visible through clothes, but if you are not comfortable with thongs then seamless shorts will work just as well, just make sure they fit properly, they should be snug, but not too tight and fit properly around your bum. Shapers are another option for women looking to get their underwear in the correct gear. Gone are the days when body shaping tights were huge, black and unbearably uncomfortable, nowadays, slimming tights just look like normal tights. They hold your belly in, give you a more toned appearance and no one will ever know! You can also get full body shapers which go from your breasts to your calves, these are great if you are wearing a slinky dress, and they don't roll down like some of the other tights do. OCTOBER 2012




home gym

Your Health

Questions Answered Common Fitness


gnorance is not bliss when it comes to your health. It is always important to be in the know. Here, we use the advice of experts to answer some of your health questions. You can call us your health hero.

hard. When I get home I am usually very tired. Somehow, no matter how tired I am, I have problems sleeping. What could be the cause of this and how do I get a good night’s sleep? Jerome

1. I am a middle aged mother who has decided not to make any more children. I do not want to do any permanent contraceptive surgery because of the risk factor and because I may eventually change my mind. Because of this choice I am on conventional birth control (the pill). How do I know if I have reached menopause if I am using the contraceptive pill? Arlene

I think you have already identified your problem; it is the stress at work. The most common reason for sleep disorders is stress, either because of a hectic lifestyle, or from the stress of a bereavement or lifestyle change. Find a way to ‘wind-down’ at the end of the day so that you can get your brain to “switch off’. Because your body is tired does not mean that it is sleepy.

As you have already recognized, you may have no symptoms of menopause because the pill continues to deliver more than adequate amounts of estrogen and progestin. Unfortunately, there is no simple way to tell, especially as a percentage of women suffer no symptoms of menopause. This is really a question for your physician who may perform a number of tests that may help reveal whether or not menopause has occurred. 2. I recently took on a new job which really has me a bit stressed out. The hours are long and the days are 24

Myths Explored


eople (especially Trinis) generally have a habit of listening only to what they want to hear. As such, it doesn’t take much for any sensationalized tidbit of info to become law in most minds. When it comes to exercise there is a host of myths that have stuck around for ages. This article should help dispel some of them.

3. I have been hearing a lot about Ketosis recently. Some people have said it is dangerous. Is Ketosis safe at all? Margaret

Myth # 1: If You Are Not Going to Work Out Hard and Often, Exercise Is a Waste of Time. This kind of thinking keeps a lot of people from maintaining or even starting an exercise program. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Ketosis is the term used for the body’s use of fat for energy and is not actually something that you take. The subject got highlighted when the Atkin’s diet became very popular and dieters started eating less carbohydrate. In eating fewer carbohydrates, your body turns to its fats for energy. I don’t believe that ketosis as a process is dangerous but I have heard that ‘no-carb’ diets can be unsafe for individuals who have high cholesterol.

Myth # 2: If You Exercise Long and Hard Enough, You Will Always Get the Results You Want. In reality, genetics play an important role in how people respond to exercise. Studies have shown a wide variation in how different exercisers respond to the same training program. Your development of strength, speed and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know.

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Myth # 3: Exercise Is One Sure Way to Lose All the Weight You Desire. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. All individuals will not lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. It is possible to be active and overweight. However, although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management. Myth # 4: If You Want to Lose Weight, Stay Away From Strength Training Because You Will Bulk Up. Most exercise experts believe that cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both valuable for maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage. Myth # 5. Going to a Gym Is the Best Way to Get Fit. Research has shown that some people find it easier to stick to a home-based fitness program. In spite of all the hype on trendy exercise programs and facilities, the “best” program for you is the one you will participate in consistently.



Three Common Car Maintenance Mistakes


ack in the day, drivers had to contend with oil changes and tune-ups to keep their cars running. Compared to the monstrosities that ruled the road just a generation ago, modern cars require far less maintenance. However, they still need maintenance and sometimes people make basic mistakes when it comes to taking care of their cars. Burned Out Bulbs How many times do you take a walk around your car or truck and check the lights? You’re not alone. Many of us neglect vehicle lamps. Lamps are (obviously) very important, and there’s no reason not to check them regularly, since it’s a very simple process. Turn on the headlights. Check park lamps; high and low beam lamps and the license plate light. If equipped with fog or driving lamps, inspect them. Examine the turn signals (all four corners) and follow up with an inspection of the emergency flashers. Back up against a wall where you can see the lights, apply the foot brake and check the brake lights. Place the vehicle in reverse (with the park brake on) and check the backup lights. If any bulbs are burned out, or if there is a lighting problem, it’s obviously time to repair. And the repairs


aren’t that difficult or expensive. Fluid levels too high or too low Not only do you need to check the fluid levels but you need to be sure to check them at the correct time in the correct way. For instance if you own a car in an automatic the car should be warm. On top of the car being warm the parking brake needs to be on and the car in neutral. When checking the engine oil the car again should be warm but in this case the car needs to be turned off. It is important to remember the car must be cold when checking the radiator fluid levels. Not doing so can result in serious injury due to build up. Driving On Soft Tires There’s no excuse for making this toocommon car maintenance mistake, so make it less common and do your part. Check your tire pressure often, preferably when the tires are cold (less than a mile or so from start-up). Rather than following the pressure stamped on the sidewall or defaulting to the old 32psi adage, check the sticker on your driver’s door jamb -- it tells you exactly what front and rear inflation should be. By avoiding underinflation (and overinflation for that matter), you maintain ideal control and avoid blowouts.

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Tips For A Multiple Pet Home

iven the right resources, a multiple-pet household can be a positive experience for you and your pets. Sharing the house with another animal allows pets to use their natural, instinctive behaviour, communicating in their own language. Multiple cats and/or dogs can keep each other company while you’re out of the house, as well. Whether raising a puppy with the resident feline or adding an adult dog to the mix, a little management goes a long way toward fostering a peaceful coexistence. Consider creating a “safe-haven” for the cat by installing a baby gate in one room of the house. This allows the dog and cat to familiarize themselves with each other without the dog being able to engage in a chase. It also prevents unwanted pillaging of the litter box and cat food dish! As the novelty begins to wear off under controlled settings, it will become easier to teach your dog how to properly conduct himself around the cat. Another point of note is that pets need to stay out of each other's food bowls for various reasons. First and

foremost, pets of varying ages and breeds often require different nutrition. If your dog gets into the cat food or vice versa, serious health problems could result. Sometimes veterinarians prescribe special food for certain pets. For example, pets with chronic systemic diseases might require special diets, as would overweight pets. The key to ensuring dogs and cats eat only the food intended for them is to feed all your pets at the same time in separate areas. Feed one in the kitchen, one in the laundry room, et cetera, and then put away the remaining food. Given the feline propensity for high places, another solution is to place the cat’s food on a counter or other lofty location out of your dog’s reach. Be sure to exercise patience. Several short introductions over several days or weeks works better than a few longer sessions filled with tension. Remember that pets have different temperaments so while some pets may get along easily, it may take longer with others. If your pets have not been fully integrated within a week or two you may need to consider professional assistance.



Freshens and cleans



Avoiding Jet Lag


et lag is inevitable when you are traveling long distances by plane, and it can leave you feeling completely wrecked for several days to a week after you arrive at your destination. It is caused when you cross multiple time zones (which tend to disrupt your circadian rhythms, confusing your natural 24-hour body clock). These rhythms regulate your waking and sleeping hours and keeps you aligned with your environment. Symptoms of jet lag may include: Fatigue, Insomnia, Disorientation, Swollen hands and feet, Headaches, Digestive problems and lightheadedness. For people who simply cannot afford the few days to completely recover from the physical and mental exhaustion of jet lag, there are a number of simple preparatory steps you can do before, during and after your long flight to minimize your jet lag fatigue.

Get Your Mind Right If you want to get more out of the start of your holiday, it's important to be well rested before you embark. It's best to leave the airport in a calm state of mind; otherwise you pay at the other end. More than fifty per cent of prominent jet lag is psychological. If 28

you think you're going to suffer badly, then you will. Monitor Your Hydration For 12 hours before, as well as during, your flight, avoid alcohol and caffeine. Although caffeine can help keep you awake longer, it makes you wake up more often once you do fall asleep and so reduces total sleep time. It also dehydrates you. Cabin air dehydrates passengers, and altitude changes can quicken the effects of alcohol (the rule of thumb is one drink in the air is the same as two or three on the ground). A cocktail may relax you, but it's also apt to dry you out, and even worsen symptoms of jet lag. With that said, be sure to drink lots of water before, during, and after your flight. Experts recommend that you drink at least two 8-ounce glasses just before departure and 1 liter for every hour you spend in the air -- in addition to beverages you drink with meals. Even if you don't feel thirsty, drink up. Thirst doesn't necessarily precede the symptoms of dehydration, which can set in without warning. Eat carefully Pressurized cabins can have odd ef-

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cantly reduce jetlag. Do Mini Workouts Exercising on a long flight will help alleviate such common discomforts as backaches, swollen legs and feet and general fatigue. Stretch at regular intervals and walk up and down the aisles of the plane from time to time to prevent dangerous blood clots from forming.

fects on your gastro intestinal system. Avoid gas producing foods preflight, such as apples, apricots, beans, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower - even milk if you’re lactose intolerant. And pack high fiber snacks in your carryon, such as dried fruit, nuts and whole grain granola bars. Dehydration and lack of activity can also often result in post-flight constipation, even among those who never experience it at home. If you often have irregularity, bring your favorite remedy - it may not be available in foreign pharmacies. If you plan ahead and follow a pre-flight diet that alternates high-protein meals with high-carb meals, you may signifi-

See if melatonin is for you Consider taking the nonprescription drug melatonin. Research suggests that the body uses this hormone to set its time clock. Because melatonin seems to control when we go to sleep and when we wake up, a number of scientists advocate supplements to alleviate jet lag. Some (but not all) studies suggest that taking 3 milligrams of fast-release melatonin prior to bedtime for several days after arrival in a new time zone can ease the transition. Keep Up With the Times If you're travelling west over four or more time zones make sure you get bright natural light in the early evening. This will help you to adapt to the new time.

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Abstract Home Vol. 3 Issue 18  

In this issue: Quick and Easy Home Improvement Tips Decor: There's a Theme for Every Taste Learn from these common car maintenance mistakes

Abstract Home Vol. 3 Issue 18  

In this issue: Quick and Easy Home Improvement Tips Decor: There's a Theme for Every Taste Learn from these common car maintenance mistakes


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