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A Guide To Proper Plastering


lastering can be the difference when it comes to giving a wall the perfect finishing touch. Many consider plastering to be an art which is done by the most skilled workmen. While it is true that a certain level of skill is required to do a plastering job, the avid Doit-yourselfer can tackle plastering. The trick with plastering is to clean as you go as dry plaster is really hard to clean up and will affect your finish if it dries on your tools. Here are some plastering tips for the novice. Enjoy! Assemble and Clean Your Equipment The first step in any plastering project is to assemble your equipment, here's what you'll need: plastering trowel; hawk; mixing board; buckets (1 regular 1 x large); paddle accessory and power drill; paintbrush; multifinish or one coat plaster. Before you start any new plastering project one of the most important tips to keep in mind for the plastering begin-

ner is to thoroughly clean all your tools. Even a tiny piece of old, dried plaster can cause damage to the surface of the newly applied plaster and your whole project could be ruined. Prepare your Workspace Before you mix your plaster, take time to prepare your work space by clearing away furniture and spreading plenty of plastic sheeting over the floor. If you are plastering over new plasterboard, press scrim tape over all the board joints and screw metal reinforcing angle bead to all external corners. The surface you are plastering should be free from dust and dirt to help the plaster to stick properly. Before plastering it is a good idea to dampen the walls with a fine water mist. Mixing your Plaster Plaster can set in minutes, especially in warm weather, so only mix an amount you can use immediately.

have a thick, creamy consistency with no lumps. The recommended mix when plastering an external wall is five parts sand with one part water and one part cement. The recommended mix for an internal wall is 7 parts sand with one part water and one part cement.

Don't add new plaster to an older mix and don't add water to the plaster to try and make it more workable. A paddle accessory fitted to a corded electric drill is the best tool for the job of mixing the plaster. Mix your plaster according the instructions on the bag and always add the plaster to the water in a clean mixing bucket. It is essential to mix the powder and water thoroughly so that you w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

Plastering Many professional plasterers use one trowel for skimming and the other for floating. This protects the skimming trowel (which is used when the plaster is fresh and soft) from coming into direct contact with the harsh surfaces encountered during the process of floating (which occurs after the plaster has lost a significant amount of moisture and is more rigid). Make sure you always allow proper drying times for each layer of plaster. It is also worth noting that in between each application, you should ensure that you clean your tools before applying the next batch.





Ten Home Improvement Tips That Work


ooking to make improvements around the house? Making home improvements needn’t always be hard work – often subtle alterations can make all the difference. Here are our 10 top home improvement tips…

1. The kitchen is King… Remember, statistically the kitchen is the busiest room in the house. Therefore, if you’re serious about making improvements, they should start in the kitchen. 2. Get busy in the garden… In order to boost the value of your property, the garden will need specialist attention. Being clever with patios and decking could help transform the look of the garden. 3. Make use of extra space…

the entrance to your property should be one of your top priorities when it comes to home improvements. Whether it’s painting the exterior of the property or refreshing a hallway, it doesn’t take much to transform the entrance. If you have an attic, loft or basement, use these rooms to your advantage. Carrying out a little work could add an extra bedroom or bathroom, therefore adding value to your property.

6. Clear out the clutter… It’s simple this point – clutter can build up around the house. Every now and then it’s a good idea to take stock and have a clear out.

4. Focus on the flooring… Poor flooring can prove costly – it’s the first thing people will notice as they step into the property, so it’s important to think about how flooring can impact on the appearance of a room.

7. Detect the signs of damp and dry rot… Nip these two household horrors in the bud before they become a real problem – keep your eyes peeled for the warning signs of these two homeowner nightmares.

5. Make an entrance… First impressions count, so

8. Work on the windows…

Windows can sometimes look ugly if they don’t match with the period of the house. Consider revamping windows to gain that traditional or contemporary look you desire. 9. Take pride in personality… Some homeowners love period features such as old fashion stoves, others prefer modern, open plan living. Whatever you prefer, try and stamp some personality with your line of home improvements. 10. But always stay to budget… It’s easy to get carried away with home improvements, especially when new projects come to mind during your alterations. However, it’s important not to go overboard – try and set a budget with a little wriggle room for any extra costs incurred.

Watt Is Wrong With You? Electrical Missteps You May be Making

being burnt to the ground. Below is a list of common mistakes that home-owners make; be sure to avoid these.



ost house fires occur because of faulty electrical wires or poor installation. Some of these are caused by home-owners who neglect to follow strict rules and guidelines when dealing with wires or circuits in the house. But failure to do this may result in your house containing all your valuables and years of life-saving


Overloading outlets. Probably the number one mistake made by most home-owners especially around Christmastime. If the refrigerator and the freezer are plugged into the same outlet then it is overloaded as these appliances take up a lot of power. Ensure that these are plugged into separate outlets and watch out for multi-outlet circuit extenders (extension cords) as these can only supply about 20 amps of power.


Using the wrong light bulb in the socket. Some home-owners screw a 100watt light bulb into a 60watt socket. Yes it’s going to

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light brighter, but the socket contacts were not designed for that type of load. When this happens the base becomes hot as it tries to handle all the power and overheats, which may eventually cause a fire.


Loose wire connections. Stripping a conductor and wrapping another wire around it to make a connection is a complete ‘no no’. This is a free invitation to start an electrical fire. Instead, make the connections by using twisting the wires together using wire nuts.


Cutting the wires in outlet, switch and junction boxes too short. Longer conductors make it easier to work on them. Try cutting the conductors approximately 3 inches longer, after it extends

outside of the box giving you more wire to work with.


Using small electrical boxes to house a lot of wires. This is often done to save money but can become detrimental in the long run. The electrical boxes are made to accommodate switches, outlets and conductors and depending on the size, adequate room will be needed contain all the wires.


Having electrical installations done after renovating. A common mistake most home-owners make is to paint or decorate first before calling the electricians. Depending on the work that needs to be done, wiring will need to be installed inside walls and ceilings which would mean drilling of walls. So call an electrician before you decorate.


Vacuuming Tips


or most of us, vacuuming the house is a chore we dread, maybe even avoid. So it behooves you to do it well and do it right, so you won't have to do it nearly as often. Here are 5 tips to better vacuuming in your home.


Replace your filter regularly! Not only does it help your vacuum suck better, but it also ensures that you are capturing all of the grime you want off of your floors and out of your home.


Use baking soda to remove stains and keep your home smelling fresh. This simple powder does wonders to remove pet hair and other grime from your house in addition to leaving your carpet feeling soft and new.


Turn your fan on in your HVAC to help remove any material you kick up into the air and make your lungs happier.


Many vacuums tend to fling debris backwards instead of sucking them up when they are used upright on hard floors. No fuss. If that happens just break out your wand attachment and suck up everything up that way. While tedious at least you are getting

all of the dirt and grime that otherwise was flung against your legs.


While the vacuum is a miracle worker in the home sometimes, a dustpan and a broom are more effective at moving debris to where they can be removed. Try to sweep things like cat litter into a pile to make it easier to suck up. Even if you compulsively clean, this tip can save your times and keep your house grime free.

Garden Safety

year sees people end up at the hospital for a variety of reasons related to gardening. Although most injuries are minor, like cuts and scratches, some can be quite severe. While you may have a green thumb with plants, it is not a good idea to be green about how to protect yourself as you care for your lawn and garden. The following safety guidelines are recommended to prevent yard injuries:


hile our backyards and gardens are usually peaceful havens from the world's hustle and bustle, their upkeep can lead to injury when proper safety precautions are not followed. Every 4

• Wear protective eyewear (glasses, goggles, face shield) when operating all gardening equipment. • Wear earmuffs or earplugs. • Wear protective clothing such as close-fitting clothes, gloves, long pants, longsleeved shirts and slip-resistant shoes.

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• Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. • Don't lift yard waste that is too heavy for you. Utilize a dolly or wheelbarrow to help transport heavy loads. • Don't walk on slippery or uneven surfaces while carrying yard waste or operating equipment. • Follow the manufacturer's directions when using any chemicals on your lawn. • Keep your child away from

the lawn after chemicals are used. Store all gardening chemicals in a locked, ventilated area that is out of a child's reach. Hoses should be stored properly after use to avoid tripping. Lay ladders on their sides. Lay rakes with tines down. Never work with lawn and garden equipment in damp or wet conditions. Install a ground-fault circuit interrupter to avoid electrical shock. Before mowing, remove debris from the lawn such as rocks, metal, glass, sticks and branches. Keep a first-aid kit in your home and emergency medical numbers posted near your phone.


Choosing Wall Art


ou spent the vast majority of your life studying in school and then slaving at your job and now it has finally paid off. You get hold of the ideal apartment or house and you start the furnishing process. You bought the coolest electronics and the coziest couch your money could buy. You even got some sexy side tables and positioned them perfectly so as to make the room uncluttered. You covered everything to make your house feel like a home except for the minor fact that when you sit and stare at the walls they seem barer than Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboards two seconds after they were installed. Cause for concern? Fear not, Abstract Home has tips to help you choose the perfect art and wall coverings for your abode. Colour is usually the first thing one considers when purchasing art for the home. Many people choose art which matches the colour of their furniture. However, this is a big mistake as 6

this can often cause your décor to become boring. As a result the art is replaced often. It is important to choose art based on colour, but try not to match it with your furniture and/or home accessories. Instead, look for combinations of colors and tones that you commonly associate yourself with on a personal level. More than likely these colours will already be present in your home in some form or fashion. The art will always seem welcome and more importantly, it will not clash with your furnishings. Though this statement may not be true of some things, when it comes to art; size does matter. The scale of your art varies according to the wall on which it is to be placed and the furniture and accessories in the room. If you have soaring ceilings, bigger pieces will be more suitable. In a smaller room smaller pieces are appropriate. Where there is a need to cover more wall space, small paintings can be grouped

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instead of one big painting. Do consider that wall art is not a means of covering your wall, but highlighting it. Wall space should be left back to fully show off the accentuating power of the art. You may have chosen the perfect piece that you know you will want to hold on to forever, but you still cannot put it up because you haven’t chosen a frame. This can be an intimidating process as the wrong frame can ruin the best work of art. With that said, think of the frame itself as a work of art. Whatever you choose should complement both your décor and the artwork and not be too overpowering. Start by choosing neutral frames in metal or wood. Thin black frames are usually the best compliment to your art and décor. Other good choices include brown, silver, and natural wood. Apart from framing, proper matting of your images is integral. A quality white matt board increases your art’s value

more than the white border around any image. Speaking of value, it is important to note that the value of your art should influence what you purchase. Art should be seen as an investment. The value of art often appreciates depending on who the artist is. Read up on artists to make the best decision on whose art has the best chance of appreciating in value. Some art appreciates fast. However, the value of art usually grows over time. Original pieces are the most valuable. Limited edition pieces are also a good buy. Like fine china, you will be disappointed if you dispose of old art pieces. Mother Hubbard cupboard walls you need not have, if you consider utilizing the many types of wall art available. These investments called art are somewhat of a necessity in modern décor. Try one of the many art options available for your wall today and make your unfinished room look complete.

home office


Reasons To Stop Renting And Get A Mortgage

roper shelter is a basic human right. However, obtaining the right abode is not easy for all. Where the wealthy can splash the cash for a home outright, some have to seek alternate measures. One of these measures is renting. Though rent is prevalent it may not be the best option for you. Getting a home of your own may prove more beneficial. Here’s why: Lots of Choices: Housing volume is at an all time high, so you have a lot of inventory to choose from when searching for your dream home. You Can Invest In Yourself: Stop Paying Your Landlord. Start paying yourself! By buying a house, YOU will be gaining the benefits instead of putting money in a landlord’s pocket each month. Rules: Not allowing tenants to hang newly washed clothing on their porch rails is one rule we don’t have a problem with. However, there are some rules which can really hurt a renter. Because of the nation’s safety code, most apartment complexes don’t allow grills, but if 8

you own, you can host outdoor BBQ’s with your friends every week! Speaking of friends, are they even allowed to visit your home and stay as long as they want or talk as loudly as they want? Many who rent can’t enjoy these privileges. While we’re on the topic of rules and privileges…don’t even think about getting a pet unless you own your home.

able. As a matter of fact, because of all the houses on the market, many sellers need to sell their home! This could make them more apt to work with you by lowering the purchase price, paying for your closing costs or leaving some furniture! In any event, many new homes are already overpriced just to facilitate the negotiation process. So do not fear the large overall cost.

Ability to Personalize: With your own house, you will be able to redecorate and renovate any way you like, any time you like. You have total freedom to choose your paint colors, install carpet, re-tile the bathroom or throw out the kitchen sink!

Get Back From the Government: While you will have to pay interest each month, it is tax deductible and gives you a lot to write off at the end of the year. By continuing to rent, you will only be paying that money, not saving!

Upgrading Capabilities: Adding your own personal touch is one thing, but doing an all out addition or upgrade is a definite no-no when renting. Building an extra room for your old motherin-law who needs taking care of is not going to be possible. Prepare yourself to tell her she’s being sent to the hospice.

Yard Space: Buy a house and link up with the neighbourhood whacker man or better yet, buy a mower! You will enjoy the opportunity to plant trees, flowers, herbs (the legal kind) grass or even a garden in your own yard.

Sellers Want To Negotiate: People complain about not getting homes. This does not mean that there are no houses avail-

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The Ability to Buy Bigger and Better: Fist time homeowners seldom stay in the same house the rest of their lives. Events like marriage, children, and career changes can all make it necessary for you to move into

a different house. Buy owning a house you can use your investment to buy up when needed. Be it the need for more space, a better neighborhood, to accommodate a new job, or just to fulfill your housing dreams, owning a home gives you the money or at least the equity to do so. Unpredictable Cost of Living: When you buy with a fixed rate mortgage, you have a great deal of predictability over your monthly costs. Property taxes may increase your payment over time, but basically you have a good understanding of what you'll be paying for the life of the mortgage. When you're renting, you don't have much predictability beyond the end of your lease. Insecurity: Although you may have signed a year-long lease, you don't have any control over what happens at the end of that period. Maybe your landlord will want to renew, or maybe he won't. Additionally, if your landlord has fallen on hard times, or has been financially imprudent you could face the consequences of foreclosure, even though you yourself have paid your rent conscientiously every month.

elegant ideas

Dare to Dine‌ With Style

Colourful napkins and a creative candle holder are part of what makes this simple look special w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m




elegant ideas

A beautiful floral accent centerpiece complements the pastel table accessories and wares


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elegant ideas

A narrow full-length table mat pairs function with style w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m




elegant ideas

These colours pop to add a welcoming pizazz to this dining space


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elegant ideas

This classy dining locale has two center pieces if you add the chandelier above the table w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m





8 Underrated Health Foods


ating healthy is the in thing, but many of us would be surprised to know that maintaining a healthy eating lifestyle is not as hard as it seems. Some healthy foods are often overlooked and instead we seek much more expensive alternatives. These foods are some of the most underappreciated in that regard. Coffee Many people view their morning brew as a vice, but in reality coffee is a healthy beverage. Coffee is one of the best sources of polyphenols and antioxidants in many people’s diets, and has been proven to protect against liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and a host of other diseases. The biggest problem most people have with coffee is confusing the brew itself with the creamy, sugary drinks that are closer to milkshakes than the basic beverage. And the only real risk of too much coffee is that it can upset your sleep. Oysters Per calorie, oysters are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and are particularly high in essential omega-3 fatty 16

acids and vitamin D, which is notoriously tough to get from food. Also, because oysters lack a central nervous system and 95% of the world’s supply are sustainably farmed, some vegetarian thought leaders have argued that oysters can be included in the diet as an ethical source of natural vitamin B12 (present in significant quantities only in animal foods). You might relegate onions to the list of old-fashioned kitchen standbys, as you can slice and dice them into everything from home fries and soups to omelets and casseroles. Onion But onions can lend your dishes a powerful nutritional punch in addition to their trademark flavor. These pungent bulbs are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins C and B6. Scientists are interested in onions' abundant polyphenol and sulfur-containing compounds, such as quercetin and allyl sulfides, that may lower the risk of some cancers and help maintain heart health and immune function. Shrimps While most of us know that fish

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is good for us because of its high Omega 3 fatty acid content, we don’t realize that shrimp is a health food, too. Yes, it does have a high level of cholesterol, but its fat content is low, and it is high in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin B12, which boosts heart health and prevents cardiovascular illness. Mushrooms American’s tend to view mushrooms as neutral foods, but they been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Though there really isn’t enough evidence to make conclusive statements about the health benefits of all mushrooms, many compounds have been identified in mushrooms that show potential for boosting immunity and possibly protecting against cancer. Mushrooms are also an unappreciated source of vitamins and minerals, and shouldn’t be ignored as low calorie sponges that only go on pizza. Cashew nuts They’re not only delicious, but also healthy--a handful of cashews every day is enough to keep heart disease away and boost energy. Just remember not to fry

or salt them, or eat too much of them as that could lead to weight gain and nullify all the positive effects. Yogurt If it’s not sweetened, yoghurt offers various health benefits that other dairy products don’t. It has high levels of calcium, potassium, Vitamins B6 and B12, and is also a good source of protein. If you don’t like it plain, you could use a fruit of your choice to make frozen yogurt, a healthy and delicious dessert option. Canned Tomatoes Did you know that a can of tomatoes is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, potassium and iron? What makes these ruby gems even more special is their rich load of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that becomes more bioavailable to your body when it is cooked. Lycopene has a host of benefits, including inactivating free radicals, protecting against cancer and slowing the development of atherosclerosis which leads to heart disease. Stir canned tomatoes into pasta dishes, soups, stews, curries, casseroles, Mexican dishes and side dishes for delicious, nutritious comfort.


Pasta… Pasta… Pasta…


e may not have a large Italian demographic or influence in Trinidad and Tobago, but we do enjoy their Mediterranean cuisine. More so, we love pasta. Pasta of all types is enjoyed locally with our own Caribbean twists. Here are some pasta recipes you may or may not have tried before.

In a medium bowl, stir together pasta sauce, mushrooms and reserved mozzarella and Parmesan. Pour over stuffed shells. Bake in preheated oven 45 to 60 minutes, until edges are bubbly and shells are slightly set.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Ingredients 1 (12 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells 2 eggs, beaten 1 (32 ounce) container ricotta cheese 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided 1 tablespoon dried parsley 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms

Ingredients 4 ounces linguine pasta 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning 2 tablespoons butter 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced 1 green onion, minced 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 1/4 teaspoon dried basil 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In a large bowl, mix eggs, ricotta, half the mozzarella, half the Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper until well combined. Stuff cooked shells with ricotta mixture and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Directions Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, and toss to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken in butter until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers, sliced mushrooms and green

Stuffed Shells


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onions; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat, and stir in heavy cream. Season the sauce with basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper, and heat through. In a large bowl, toss linguini with sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Lasagna Alfredo Ingredients 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach 3 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced 2 (16 ounce) jars Alfredo-style pasta sauce 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 2 pints ricotta cheese Salt and ground black pepper to taste Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and one jar of Alfredo sauce, stir together. In a separate bowl, combine ricotta and drained, cooked spinach, and stir. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, place one layer of lasagna noodles, edges overlapping. Pour chicken

and Alfredo sauce mixture over noodle layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella over chicken mixture. Top with another layer of noodles. Spread spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Pour 1/2 of remaining jar of Alfredo sauce over spinach mixture, spread evenly. Sprinkle another cup of mozzarella over sauce, lay on the final noodle layer and top with remaining 1/2 jar of Alfredo sauce, 2 cups of mozzarella, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until top is brown and bubbly.

Cold Tuna Macaroni Salad Ingredients 1 (12 ounce) package macaroni 3 tomatoes - peeled, seeded and diced 3 stalks celery, chopped 1 (12 ounce) can tuna 1 1/2 cups light mayonnaise 1 tablespoon Italian-style salad dressing 1 tablespoon white sugar 1 pinch ground black pepper Directions In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, tomatoes, celery and tuna. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, salad dressing, sugar and pepper. Add to pasta salad, mix together, and refrigerate for 1 hour.



Formulating A Bridal Shower To Remember

our best friend is about to take the plunge and you were put in charge of organizing and hosting a bridal shower. It seems like a big task and it is, with all the preparation and pressure that comes along as you focus on ensuring that everyone is happy: the bride’s friends, family and more importantly, the bride-to-be. But once proper planning and great execution takes place, this could be one of the most memorable days of your friend’s life. If you’re still unsure, follow these tips that could help the planning and hosting of a bridal shower seem simple and effort-less. Perfect planning- I stress ‘perfect’ because everything from the theme to the location, even the games need to be perfect. Time and date is a major factor as a bride-to-be never seems to have enough time, so you need to organize an afternoon when she is free. If it’s a surprise (and it should be) pick a day where she may not have much to do or may be doing something trivial that can be easily postponed. Select the persons to invite and go shopping. Select a theme- When choos20

ing a theme; keep in mind the personality of the bride. It’s easy to get caught up with what you like but keeping asking yourself: “what will she like” and let that answer make the decisions for you. Try any one of these below: 1) Traditional theme. Similar to a mini reception, these are decorated with traditional bridal-shower items, such as balloons and streamers or risqué decorations that would make the reserved guests blush. These feature games, the exchanging of gifts, music and food and the really kinky ones invite strippers, with the ultimate goal being to send the bride-tobe home totally intoxicated. 2) Tropical theme. The area would be adorned with tropical items such as pineapples, coconut husks or palm trees and a lot of tropical drinks and fruits would be served as cocktails or appetizers. 3) Dinner show. You host a dinner in the bride-to-be’s honour and tell jokes, even reminisce about the past or get actors and actresses to act out funny skits of what

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to expect from a typical married couple.

about ways to have fun during a bridal shower.

4) Cooking theme. Not many people try this option but it’s different from traditional showers. Have guests buy new utensils and bring the ingredients to their favourite dish and have each person make that dish. After the meal has been cooked, all the guests can eat, share stories and swap ideas, leaving the utensils and the recipes of each dish for the bride-tobe.

Refreshment- These are even more important than the games as you need something to keep the guests refreshed and full of energy. Be sure to inquire of the guests’ preferences when inviting them. Things like allergies and vegetarians choices need to be considered in order to ensure that everyone has a great time. Keep it light though. Appetizers are a favourite as well as cocktails, juice and carbonated beverages. The cake should be the centerpiece of the table with mints, candies and nuts kept close, to keep everyone lively if the mood drops.

Decorations- These are purchased according to the theme of the shower, but basically include balloons, flowers, lighting and music. A photo collage of the bride and groom, from birth to present can also be showcased. Games- These are what really make a bridal shower interesting apart from the free food and the quality time spent with the bride. For extra pizzazz, choose games that the bride can actually learn from and games in which she can participate. The internet is flooded with games and new options,

Gifts- These can range from lingerie to money, but remember the couple when choosing a gift. The main gift ideas are usually toys and sultry items that the couple could use on their wedding night. But, if you want to give to make it fun, suggest to the guests that they give items ‘out of the box’. Think about a VISA gift card, or an account that gives the couple a kick-start towards the purchase of their new home.


A Parent’s Guide To Sleepovers


lmost every person has had a sleepover at some point of his or her life. This experience should not be omitted from your child or your child’s peers’ lives. Sleepovers are fun. However, it is important that if you are hosting a sleepover, you do it right. Here are some tips. Communicate with Parents Be clear when your child invites friends over that you speak to their parents. Having a few words with the parents of the children is a nice way to touch base, discuss any food allergies, share concerns and to let the other parents know your philosophy on these sorts of things. It might also be a good time to discuss what time the other parents plan to pick up their children the next morning. Unfortunately, the parents who survive a sleepover don’t usually do so with a great deal of rest. Being a parent who communicates with other parents will also help the guests stay a bit more closely in line.


The child who knows you’re on chatting terms with his parents might think twice before doing something outlandish. And all parents know that even the best behaved child can do outlandish things during a sleepover. Prep the Home Squad Warn other family members of the impending event and arm them well. Rent special movies for siblings or corral a close friend to take them on an outing for a portion of the big night. Do not even think of having your partner take them out;

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you will need all hands on deck at home. Later in the evening, consider special dispensation for younger children to "sleep over" in your bedroom (on the floor in sleeping bags) if they feel left out of the action. Best bet: Just get 'em outta the way. Ask a relative to take younger siblings for a sleepover of their own so they're completely removed from the scene. At least some family members may get a bit of sleep.

ty. Have your child give you the names of the children who will be invited. Involve you child in designing the invitations, preparing them and handing them out. Ask your child's opinion about what food and drinks to serve and what activities to have. Some children prefer theme parties, such as a princess party for the girls or a pirate party for the boys. Let your child choose the theme he or she prefers.

Expect the unexpected Have extra sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and toiletries available. Toothbrushes are forgotten most. Be sure to prime their guests’ parents to expect a phone call in case their child gets homesick or out of control. We even recommend having a sign-in sheet so contact numbers are easy to find at 3 a.m.

Lay Down the Law Rules are important in any activity which involves kids sleeping over. The rules should be drilled into the head of your child before the sleepover actually begins. That way, you won’t have to embarrass your child by (especially older kids) by acting like the over restrictive or overprotective mom. Also, on the day of the sleepover, tell all the guests which rooms they can't go in, where the bathroom is, when they have to be quiet and any other info you think they need to know.

Involve the Child Let your child participate in the planning stages. Ask for your child's opinion on what theme he or she would like for the par-



Sultry Summer Makeup


e don’t have a summer season as far as climate is involved, but we do live like we have a summer season. Time away from school or work is usually spent on the beach or on the streets. During these extended periods of exposure we should pay attention these unforeseen makeup disasters lurking in our midst. Summer make-up should be light. Your skin should have a natural glow. Keep Foundation to a minimum, if possible just use some cover stick on the areas that really need coverage and apply a light oil-free moisturizer and work it in over your cover stick to give you a light natural glow.

Here are some other tips to keep you pretty like sunshine: Let your skin breathe and use sheer makeup that serves more than one purpose. It is important to keep the humidity locked in as sweating dries out skin. So, lock away your foundation for the season and use a light moisturizer with sun block instead. Instead of using foundation to cover up freckles, use translucent tinted powder to blot the skin and add color to it. Go for ing use

for the nude natural look the lips. Even for evenparties, it is preferable to loose shimmer powder on

arms and neck and a soft gloss on lips. Sensual and bronze skin and a natural look is the look for summers, so work on it. Eyes should be done simply. Use neutral and soft, shimmery eye shadow on lids and work on lashes instead. Curl your lashes and use a glossy black shade on them to make them appear longer and your eyes bigger. Use only a very fine line with eyeliner. Cheek sticks and crème eye colors are easy to apply and last longer in summer. If you must apply foundation, mix it with loose powder to keep you looking fresh throughout the day. Gold shimmer under brows or across cheekbones can be a luxury you can use. For the lighter skinned woman, a light shade of bronzer on cheekbones and chin gives you a beautiful suntan. Colors such as golden-green or mango green for eyes can be used along with black or brown mascara. Staying cool but looking hot is the name of the game this summer. Keep it light and natural and the beauty of your face would stand out in a crowd.

Swimwear Myths To Avoid


t’s the season to strut your stuff in the sun amid the soft sand and sweeping seas. However, the beach experience should be good for everyone. Don’t be the person who made the young couple lose their lunch because you chose the completely unflattering bath suit. Make sure you know what you are about when it comes to beachwear and avoid these four pesky myths. The four myths you are about to see can lead you to make the wrong swimsuit choice, so beware. Myth: Never wear a white bathing suit. Fact: A white suit in a textured fabric with a thick nude lining will block any showthrough. Myth: The more coverage, the better. Fact: Extra fabric can emphasize the thing you want to hide. Boy shorts, for example, can squeeze and exaggerate excess flesh, whereas a string w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

bikini adjusts to lay flat on the skin. Myth: Wear black to look slimmer. Fact: Navy, plum, brown, and dark green do the trick, too. Vertical and diagonal stripes and tiny prints can also make the body look leaner. Myth: With swimwear, buy the same size as you do in clothing. Fact: Swimsuits are typically sized smaller than clothes because they are meant to fit snugly. You may have to go up a size or two, especially with brands targeted to juniors.





home gym

Herbal Arthritis Remedies


hose who suffer from the effects of arthritis would know that anything that works is worth trying. While the doctor generally knows best, arthritis sufferers in Trinidad would have no doubt employed the use of some familiar natural remedies that were endorsed by a friend or family member. Here are some of the herbal remedies that have proven to be beneficial to many.

often recommended for treatment of cancer, cataracts and Alzheimer’s. While you can totally add this spice to your daily diet, you will need to take turmeric in supplement form in order to experience the full medicinal benefits. When cooking, try adding black pepper or dried ginger to help activate turmeric. The herb can also be applied topically to relieve pain

Eucalyptus oil An old traditional home remedy for arthritis pain requires the use eucalyptus oil. A small quantity of eucalyptus oil is warmed before applying it in a very thin layer over the painful joint. You would then cover the joint with a plastic wrap. Follow up by applying continuous heat to the joint with the help of steaming towels. This can be a relaxing pain relief routine that can prove beneficial at bedtime for maximum reduction of the arthritis pain.

Bathua Drink one tablespoon of the juice of fresh leaves of bathua every day on an empty stomach for two-three months. Do not add anything to the juice and do not eat anything for two hours before and after.

Turmeric Turmeric is an extremely effective anti-inflammatory herb, and thus an effective pain reliever. It contains at least two chemicals (curcumin and curcuminoids) which decrease inflammation. Incidentally, this anti-inflammatory effect is also why turmeric is 24

Flax Flaxseed is one of the best vegan sources of Omega-3 which is so important to a strong immune system and for fighting inflammation (the vegan bit is important because animal fats often lead to inflammation in arthritis sufferers). Try to include two tablespoons of flaxseeds or flaxseed oil in your daily diet. Do not heat or cook seeds or oil. Also, if you suffer from a digestive condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), use the oil rather than the seeds—they could irritate your condition.

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Enhance Your Workout With The Right Accessories

f you are serious about you fitness and gym has become as much a part of your life as surfing the net then you may be looking for ways to enhance your workout. The right tools can take your exercise routine from drab to fab in no time. Check out these three great products. Weightlifting Belt A belt should only really be used for heavy lifts such as squats and deadlifts. Make sure you start your training journey without one in order to build up strength in your mid-section, frequently known as your ‘core’, and only purchase one when you truly feel that it is necessary: either for back safety reasons or in order to increase the intraabdominal pressure of your mid-section and therefore lift slightly more weight. Gloves The utilization of gloves can prevent serious injuries from occurring, and this is mainly through you being able to grip the weight being used. Contrary to popular belief, the

use of weight training gloves is not for preventing calluses or blisters, although it does help a bit, but not much. They are not for style, but for grip! When choosing gloves make sure that they provide the grip you need, and are not too big or small. Big gloves will actually create blisters by being pushed up and taking the skin with it. Small gloves will cut off blood circulation. Wrist Wraps Wrist wraps and straps are different. Wrist wraps only go around your wrists and do not contain a strap that you wrap around the barbell or dumbbell. They are used to keep your wrists straight and prevent them from bending to far, which can lead to serious injuries. You want to wrap them nice and snug, but not so tight as to where your cut off blood circulation. Wrist wraps are perfect for exercises that involve pressing mainly such as military press and chest press. They can even be good for keeping your wrist straight during squats to prevent them from rolling back.



The Top 3 Sightseeing Destinations Outside The US


any Trinbagonians have a States-centric frame of mind. We think the United States of America is the place to be when it comes to travel and some would swear that it is the best country in the world. While the US is no destination to turn you nose at there are some other travel destinations worth visiting. Tue travel connoisseurs know that the places we are about to mention are in fact the most popular travel destinations around. France France has an abundance of beautiful sights which make this country the most popular tourist destination in the world. Over 80 million visitors per year visit the country. Paris is especially popular as it boasts the “City of Romance” title. The resorts, sea-side towns, and casinos of the French Riviera are spectacular, but sightseeing in France would usually lead you to the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, or the Eiffel Tower. Italy Italy is somewhat of a sightseeing goldmine. A gondolier ride down the Grand Canal in Venice 26

can be mind-blowing in its own right but a trip to Rome can lead you to the Coliseum or Vatican. Your digital camera may very well run out of memory before you even make it to the infamous leaning Tower of Pisa. China The Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven are tourist treasures in the capital city of Beijing. The Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium is also a sight to behold and one can get a tour of it for a small fee. Xi’an offers visitors an opportunity to see the terracotta army and other ancient ruins in the well preserved ancient place. However, the biggest tourist attraction in this large country is the Great Wall of China located about 90 miles outside of Beijing.

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Why A New Dog May Not Be For You


ome people get dogs with the best of intentions, but often times those dogs end up at a shelter because the owner cannot or will not properly care for it. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, and not something to be done without real forethought. Do the right thing, if any of the five reasons below apply to you; wait until you're ready before becoming a dog owner. They Are Expensive Can you afford the dog? Unless you have the money to take care of your dog’s vet care needs, shots, flea and heartworm pills, spaying or neutering, buying dog food and treats and shampoo to wash it; you should not own a dog. You are responsible for making sure your dog gets what it needs to be healthy and happy. Other Animals in Your Home If you have other dogs that are aggressive and may injure or kill the newest puppy in your family, you should not have the puppy. Is it fair to your newest addition to be afraid to go outside because a bigger dog may make puppy chow out of it? On the flip side, if you have small children, you need to be careful about what type of dog you add to your

family, as some may not do well around kids. Time to Properly Train a Dog If you don't have the time to properly potty train and exercise your dog, you don't need to have a dog. Dogs need attention, interaction and regular exercise. A dog needs a leader who can love it and train it. It takes patience to properly train a dog. Long Term Commitment A dog will usually live 10-15 years. Are you prepared to care for a dog for that long? As a dog gets older, they need more vet care and often times will need meds. Where will you be in 10 years? Remember the long term commitment and consider it before adopting or purchasing a dog. A Puppy Is Not a Toy A dog/puppy is not a toy. If you know you are not truly prepared to own a dog or puppy, don't get one. To get a puppy because it's small and cute is not a good reason. Puppies turn into dogs and they still need love and attention. Too many people end up taking their dogs back to a shelter or simply abandoning them because they got too big to handle.


Car Issues You Really Don’t Want To Have


ou’ve had a flat tire or a dead battery before, but you were able to quickly and cheaply overcome those issues. Those issues are some of the most common car problems you’ll face and while nobody wants a car problem at all, believe when we say it could have been much worse. How much worse? Check our list of issues that could really un up your bills and cause you a world of stress. Burnt Out Clutch The operation of the clutch is based on friction. It's a tricky business to apply that friction slowly enough so that A) your engine doesn't stall and B) your passengers don't get whiplash. At the same time, you have to apply the friction quickly enough so you don't "sand down" the clutch and end up with no friction material left. When you continually let out the clutch too slowly, while giving the engine lots of gas, you're essentially wearing out the friction part of the clutch. Like a piece of sandpaper, a smooth clutch with no grabby surface can't do its job. If you're doing


moving parts of your engine scraped each other into a heated glob of useless scrap metal. Unfortunately, there's no way to fix a seized engine. Instead, the engine needs to be replaced with a used or remanufactured engine. What happens to your old engine? A recycler will finish the melting job, and the engine will be transformed into thousands of tiny Bic lighters.

a bang-up job of it, you can actually start to smell the clutch burning as you wear it down. This has actually happened in as little as 20 miles. No kidding! The money saved going manual instead of automatic should not be used to fix a worn clutch. Transmission Fluid in the Brake Fluid Reservoir So you put transmission fluid in the brake fluid reservoir… If you catch this mistake before you actually get back in the car and step on the brakes, and have the car towed to your me-

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chanic, you may get by with just a new master cylinder. But once a petroleum-based product, like transmission fluid or motor oil, is pushed through the brake system, pretty much everything has to be replaced. The oils attack rubber seals, and everything except the metal brake lines has rubber seals. Seized Engine Due to Lack of Oil A "seized" engine means that your lubrication failed (that is, you had insufficient oil or oil pressure), and the expensive

Fried Computer In lots of cars, there's some type of protective circuitry in the event that you accidently reverse polarity when hooking up jumper cables. However, that's by no means true for all cars. If your car is one of the unlucky ones, you might be looking at having to buy a new computer for your car, and maybe a few new wiring harnesses, too. Even worse, you may incur so many confounding electrical problems that the best thing you could hope for is ... fire. Even if your car is OK, you might blow up one of the batteries in the two cars. If that happens, you might need to buy yourself a new face, too.

Abstract Home Is Published By Abstract Media Group, Premium Commercial Complex, San Juan, Trinidad, W.I. • Tel: (868) 638 1156/9 • Fax: (868) 638 1160. Printed By The Office Authority - Printing Division And Distributed By AMG

Abstract Home Vol. 4 Issue 12  

In this issue: Elegant Decorating Ideas for Your Kitchen Recipes: It's all about Pasta