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LIVING QUARTERS

Disclaimer: The views or opinions presented in this publication are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the company. Employees of ABSTRACT MEDIA GROUP COMPANY LIMITED are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal right. Any such article is contrary to company policy and is outside the scope of the employment of the individual writer concerned. The company will not accept any liability in respect of such article, and the employee responsible will be personally liable for any damages or other liability arising.

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oliday cleaning can be a hassle and Christmas is much closer than you know. It is important to get started early so that everything else flows. This will help to get you going. Get a jump start. To get a jump start, I like to grab a box and run through a room of the house, tossing in miscellaneous decor that I don’t need for the holidays. It is fun to make it a game to find maybe 5 to 20 things per room that you don’t need right now. You can do the

Getting A Jump On

Holiday Cleaning same thing with clutter, make it a game to run around picking things up. You can even get the kids involved. Getting a jump start is usually all it takes to get me on a roll and motivated to do more. Break it down. If you want your home clean and de-cluttered by the end of November, let’s say, you have about six weeks from today to do it. If you wait until Christmas it almost here, you’ll be frustrated and overwhelmed by all you have to do and it will probably make Christmas less than the warm cozy holiday you dream of. Maybe pick one room to focus on per week and perhaps work on your bathrooms a little

ever you do it, break it down into a manageable project. You can do this! I can do this.

bit each week. That seems doable, right? It does to me and I think I’m going to take myself up on my own challenge. If you don’t need to de-clutter that many areas, maybe just pick one or two rooms and give yourself a week or so each to whip them into shape top to bottom. How-

Maintain. Once you get on a roll with cleaning and de-cluttering, you’ll be inspired to keep going. You can then work on maintaining each room you’ve cleaned and de-cluttered so it doesn’t get out of hand again. Spend a few minutes every day putting that clean room back to clean. Once one of your rooms gets super cleaned and organized, it is much more fun to keep it looking good and you will enjoy the process all the more. It is always easier to maintain than to start over again. It’s Kind of like dieting. But let’s not talk about that.

Door Hardware Tips

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any times when something goes wrong with an entryway, homeowners blame the door itself. But a door is only as dependable as its components and most problems occur when the inner workings don't match up to the exterior function. So when on the search for new door hardware, be aware of these 4 simple tips to help in your selection. Maintenance: If a door is to remain functional, then you have to make sure all the in-

ner (and outer) workings are running smoothly. Never leave a lock broken (and if you can't fix it yourself, call a locksmith). Make sure your doors open and close smoothly (if they drag, call a handyman for help). And if there is a squeak in your hinges, don't use chemical lubricant as it may remove the quality finish or specialty coating. Simple soap and warm water will often do the trick, but always consult the manufacturer to see which maintenance option will work best for you Attachments: It's not just about latches and hinges. Door hardware can take on all kinds of components. For added protection to your walls, invest in some kick plates and spring door stoppers. To brighten up the entrance, buy an address plate or door knocker. In the bathroom, install a hanger or

two for those wet towels. New decorations are constantly being invented. For instance, if you have elderly guests, then door-levers may be better than handles or for handicapped residents, there are always new innovations in automatic openers. Safety: Locksets are probably the most crucial part of any entryway. You always want your locks to be state of the art (keyless lock systems have grown in popularity) but more importantly they have to be durable. In other words, don't go for high-tech models (keypads, card-swipes) if they require a lot of maintenance. If a lock isn't reliable, then it's worthless. For traditional exterior doors, go for a single cylinder dead bolt, which requires a key outside and uses a thumbswitch inside. If you have glass w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

porch doors, then you may want to go for a double cylinder, which requires a key for both the inside and out. This way, even if a burglar breaks the glass, it's still difficult to gain entry.

The Looks: Make sure to match all your door hardware throughout the house. Though you always want to put function ahead of form, you also want to keep an entryway looking good. A very popular trend, for both the exterior and interior, is to get retro. Nostalgic products, such as glass door knobs or brass handles, are timeless and never go out of style. These little accents can really enhance the look of a home. And since the entryway is the first thing people see, spending time and money on beautiful door décor will ensure that guests get an appropriate first impression.

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LIVING QUARTERS

Five Steps To Cleaning A Stinky Sink

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kitchen sink is where many great family moments begin, but after all the fantastic food prep, there is the possibility of odours emanating from the sink. If you have a smelly sink, there are a couple quick fixes you can explore that are very much environmentally safe. Here are five steps to getting the job done.

before rinsing the drain with hot water. Step 3 – Medium Clean Where something slightly stronger than a basic clean is required, use a mixture of 1/2 a cup of lemon juice and a 1/4 cup of salt with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Ensure the salt is dissolved before pouring the entire amount into the kitchen drain. Leave this in place for no longer than 20 minutes before rinsing with hot water.

Step 1 – Remove Accessories To prevent damage to any items that are in the sink, remove them and set them aside before proceeding to clean the kitchen drain to remove any odor. Step 2 – Basic Clean If the odor from the kitchen drain has only recently arisen, it is unlikely to need anything more than a basic quick clean. Do this by pouring a 1/4 cup of baking soda into the drain before following this up by slowly pouring white vinegar into the drain. The mixture will fizz up so you must watch it to ensure that it does not overflow, reduce 2

or stop the flow of vinegar if the bubbles grow too much. Leave this in place for at least 1 hour before rinsing it away by pouring hot water into the drain. Alternatively, mix the baking soda and white vinegar in a jar and add several drops of lavender essential oil before pouring the entire mixture into the kitchen drain. Leave it to sit for a while

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Step 4 – Deep Clean In the event that the odor is strong and has been lingering for some time, it is prudent to do some more work to clean the drain as it is likely to be debris clinging to the sides of the pipe. A drain snake is a thin length of coiled wire that is flexible enough to be fed into the drain to dislodge any deposits. After working the snake into the drain from several different angles, pour some hot water into the drain to rinse debris away. If this

method does not get rid of the odor, you may need to use some chemical assistance. In a large glass jar, carefully dissolve some caustic soda in accordance with the instructions making sure you are wearing protective rubber gloves. Carefully pour the mixture into the sink while avoiding any of the fittings. Leave it in place for no longer than the instructions advise and rinse with hot water. Step 5 – Prevention Use a sink plughole strainer to prevent any food and debris from finding its way into the drain. Keep half a lemon in the corner of the sink to create a fresh scent. These five instructions are great to consider if you have the problem of a stink sink. No matter how great your décor is, or how high tech your appliances are a bad odour will spoil the mood in any room (especially the kitchen). Be sure to try this the moment things go sour.


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LIVING QUARTERS

Tiling Mistakes To Avoid

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he most common floor finish in Trinidad and Tobago is unquestionably tiles. Yet, many homes and structures suffer from having a poorly finished tiling product. Avoiding these common mistakes will help you to achieve the right tile finish. The sub-floor is unstable, uneven or not properly prepared. When applying tiles to a subfloor, simply pulling up carpet or existing flooring and trying to apply tiles straight to the surface is definitely not advised. Unsuitable sub flooring might not be able to carry the extra weight of the tiles, or may shift and cause cracks in grouting and tiles to come loose. An uneven sub-floor can cause tiles to shift before the adhesive and grouting has dried, as well as creating issues with lippage. Even if the sub-floor is suitable and level, it should always be washed down and completely dried to ensure it’s clean. Poor tile application If, when laying your tiles, you don’t properly space them you

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ences in thickness will add increased pressure on the tile and will make cracking more likely.

can end up with a whole host of problems beyond the finish simply looking ‘off’. Unevenly applied tiles can cause ‘lippage’, where some tiles end up higher than others leaving you with both a dangerous tripping hazard and a finish that looks sloppy. Be sure to use battens to align your tiles properly, and tile spaces to ensure that you have even Using the wrong tile adhesive While tiling techniques can broadly be applicable to any room in your house, there are always special considerations needed and one particularly important one is when it comes to choosing the adhesive. If

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tiling somewhere like a bathroom, or around kitchen work surfaces, it’s vital that you use a waterproof adhesive – there are bound to be some small gaps between tiles and grouting, and issues with water getting in can cause adhesive to crack. Uneven application of adhesive. It’s vital to remember to apply the adhesive to the sub-floor and backs of tiles as evenly as possible. Whilst the pressure from fixing the tile will likely even out any small discrepancies, any significant differences will leave you with a significant risk of tile cracking. Adhesive shrinks as it dries – therefore, any big differ-

Poor forward planning! One of the biggest planning mistakes that people tend to makes is not buying more tiles than they need. While it might sound bizarre, if you buy ‘just enough’ tiles to cover the wall or floor you’re tiling then you leave yourself absolutely zero room for error. Mis-measuring an area, breakages and cutting tiles will all mean you need a few extra than you expected – it’s good practice to buy around 10% more than you think you need, so you’re prepared. Even if your tiling is absolutely perfect, the extra will come in handy as spares should any tiles need to be replaced in future. In short, tiling a wall or floor in your home shouldn’t be a daunting task, but it does pay to be prepared. Having to rip up all your tiling and start again is costly, time consuming and unbelievably frustrating, so follow these tips and always ask a professional if you’re unsure – they’ve done it more times than you!


LIVING QUARTERS

Laundry Tips For Keeping Clothes Bright

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oing the laundry is one of those tasks most people hate because it can often lead to bad results. After sorting clothes and washing and drying them you can easily end up with clothes that are discoloured, shrunken, stretched or not very clean at all. Here are some tips to overcome those wash day worries.

clothes. Do not use ammonia if bleach has been used. • Turn clothes inside out before washing to help prevent fading (especially helpful for black garments). • If line drying outdoors, colored items should be dried in the shade to prevent fading. • Pour two cups of strong tea in the rinse cycle to restore dark colors.

For Keeping Colours Bright • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a load of laundry during the wash cycle. • Color Protector: Soak new items in a straight solution of vinegar to protect dyes

from running. You can also try soaking them in lightly salted water. • Soak new garments and items in a mixture of 1 tsp Epsom salts mixed with one

gallon of water. Will help prevent fading and dyes running. • One-half cup of household ammonia added to rinse water will help brighten colored

Doing the laundry doesn’t have to cause you any unnecessary headaches or tress. Follow these simple tips and you’ll feel more confident about your wash worthiness.

Removing Toilet Bowl Stains

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sparkling clean toilet bowl can really bring your bathroom’s décor to life. Missing a couple regular cleanings can cause hard water and mineral deposits to accumulate resulting in that dirty look many of us dread. However, it does not have to remain dirty. There are ways to remove even the most stubborn of bowl stains. Vinegar is a readily available product at home and this can help you with your toilet bowl stains. First, turn off the water connection to the water closet. Flush the toilet so that the water level will go down to below the normal levels. Now pour a gallon of white vinegar to the toilet bowl and allow it to remain in the bowl for the whole night. The acidity of vinegar would help in breaking down the calcium deposits and the buildup of lime in the bowl. In the morning, get a stiff-bristled toilet brush and brush away the stains. You can also use a scouring pad if you want some extra abrasiveness. If you’re up to it, you can actually use sandpaper to remove 6

toilet bowl stains. Use wet/dry sandpaper with a grit of between 600 and 400 and sand away the stubborn toilet bowl stains. Be prepared to exert yourself because you’ll need to forcefully scrub away to really remove the stains. Don’t worry about damaging the porcelain finish of the

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toilet bowl, the grit of the sandpaper is fine enough not to damage it. An alternative to sandpaper is a pumice stick, which will also achieve the same results. In order to prevent stains from reoccurring, use baking soda and vinegar to clean your toilet bowl. The combination of

the two products will help break down stains and even prevent mildew. Just sprinkle baking soda on the toilet bowl and using a spray bottle, spray the vinegar on to the baking soda. Leave the solution for thirty minutes before you scrub it with a stiffbristled brush.


home office

Which Bank Best Suits My Needs?

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resh in our minds is the CL Financial (Clico) fiasco and how Government has had to bail out the multi-billion dollar company. Clico showed no signs of being an unsettled company whose affairs were not in order; they have been serving the region for many years and were continuing to do so. So were persons wrong to invest their money in the company? What else should a person look for when deciding to place their monies in an investment company, more so a bank? Apart from a clean track record what else is needed when choosing a bank? See tips below.

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Deciding the type of account you need. Do you want long-term saving or money that is available right now? Locally, there is The Unit Trust Corporation that can assist with longterm saving and which offers the option to withdraw money when necessary. However, withdrawal fees are high and depending on the account, large lump sums need to be requested and monies distributed via cheques. If you need cash now, then this may not be the type of account that you need. Try a bank with the cheap-

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est ATM withdrawal fees so that getting cash quickly, can be convenient and can be done without joining a line.

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How do you bank? Some persons visit the bank because they have been dealing with the same representatives for years and enjoy the conversation, while others prefer a quick and easy method. Check for banks which offer online services such as paying bills or transferring money to different accounts. This means that even if you’re up at 2:00a.m but go to bed at 9:00p.m you can have your banking transactions completed on your time. This is especially handy for persons who have limited mobility.

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What good can it do for you? A cheap ATM withdrawal fee can be a good thing but does this mean that I can only withdraw a certain amount? Or only from that particular bank’s ATM? Some services are needed and as a result you may need to pay for them, but the positives surely surpass the negatives.

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Shop around. Ask questions: both to people using

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the bank and the bank’s representatives. Take brochures, scrutinize then carefully. After all, it’s your money and you need to know if it will be securely stored.

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Locations. Banks that have several locations mean that there is greater availability of branches. You can choose to go to the one closest to you or, when the most popular become crowded, you can visit the less prominent ones. Look for banks that have Mall branches; they usually stay open later than the average branch.

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Fees. Some banks add on fees as they come: withdrawal fees, service charges, loan fees, card replacement fees and the list goes on. Some you may not even know exist until they show up on your statement as deductions. Some may even appear after you have joined, but be sure to enquire about all fees before becoming a member and ask about additional charges to safeguard against rip-offs.

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Interest rates. How much more will you have to repay when taking that loan? Al-

though loan-taking helps build your credit score, a bank loan may not be necessary for all things. But if choosing a bank loan, maybe to repay a car loan, try taking it from the bank with the lowest interest rates.

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Bank services. Other than depositing and withdrawing money, what other services does the bank offer? Online banking, account updates by text messaging, telephone banking? It’s good to know your options, because at any time these services may be of some value to you.

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Safety. Is there a Security presence on the compound and inside the bank? What will happen if there is a robbery? Check that officers are armed. Though there is no way of knowing if he is trained in combat, it gives the assurance that someone is there when needed.

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Coverage. In case the bank goes bankrupt, will I be compensated? Am I insured? Some Banks ensure that their members are insured up to a certain amount so that their monies can be repaid if the company dissolves.


elegant ideas

Style With Tile

This modern bathroom utilizes tiles to form a mosaic finish

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elegant ideas

Large earth-toned tiles give a fairly simple space a bold appearance

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elegant ideas

Different sizes of tiles combine for a cornucopia of colour in this bathroom w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

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elegant ideas

Blue tiles are the perfect choice for this aqua-inspired setting

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elegant ideas

Tiles can be used to create patterns for the entire room from wall to celing

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KITCHEN

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New Kitchen Trends kitchens. This look is far from boring, and is perfectly paired with touches of stainless steel for a clean and streamlined aesthetic.

he kitchen is often the room with the most traffic in any house. That’s why more homeowners have decided to focus their energies on kitchen décor for efficiency and aestheticism. These are some of the kitchen trends you may have encountered in recent times. High-Tech If you love your gadgets, there’s plenty of room for them in your kitchen. From unique LED lighting to appliances that can be altered to suit your needs or mood, technology has changed the way we think about appliances. Pop-up rangehoods and dishwashers hidden behind kitchen cabinetry are now possible, as well as combination ovens that offer over 100 cooking programs and induction cooktops that turn off automatically. Retro There are some things that never go out of style when it comes to kitchen design. Classic round lines and chrome accents offer a truly individual retro aesthetic. Add a pop of colour and have a bit of fun transforming your kitchen into a mix of yesterday’s looks with today’s technology. Outdoor Whether you’re hosting a party of a simple family dinner, there 16

is no better place to do so than outdoors! Transform your alfresco space into another useable room, accessorizing your BBQ cooking area with stateof-the-art appliances such as an outdoor dishwasher or wine cabinet so that you can spend more time in the sunshine instead of the kitchen. Compact When space is at a premium, you want your appliances to offer as much as possible. Creating a complete kitchen solution can be tricky in an apartment or other small space, so all-in-one and compact options mean that you don’t have to compromise on technology because of a smaller size. White The colour white has long been synonymous with appliances, but a new take on this idea has put the ‘white’ back into ‘whitegoods’. The reinvigorated tint has resulted in crisp exteriors of fridges and dishwashers being effortlessly integrated into contemporary

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Black Why not make a statement with dark and glossy appliances? Not only do they look great, but they are practical too- hiding dirt and requiring little maintenance. The growing trend of ebony and charcoal appliances is changing the definition of ‘whitegoods’. Personality meets functionality for a stunning and sophisticated result, and you can add as much or as little as you like, from fridges, dishwashers to cast iron trivets on cooktops. Family Growing families need space and lots of it! Innovative design means that larger capacity fridges are no longer a bulky presence in the kitchen. Family-friendly appliances not only have to be budget-friendly, but they also have to offer a additional safety features, such as triple-glazed oven doors and child locks on dishwashers. Modern This sleek and contemporary aesthetic is a timeless look that many people now choose. Clean lines such as stainless steel combine with some of the

latest in kitchen innovation to produce a modern space. Built-in appliances, pyrolitic ovens and eye-catching rangehoods are all synonymous with this trend, while black ceramic cooktops offer a modern twist on the kitchen staple. Industrial Homeowners are increasingly looking to bring professional quality into their own kitchens. Statement rangehoods matched with large cookers and ovens help to tie the robust stainless steel look together, while the extra cooking capacity allows you to create restaurant quality meals in your own home. Cast iron trivets and easy to reach burner controls offer precision, allowing you to take your cooking to the next level. Country The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and there is nothing more heart-warming than the country trend. New technology with a touch of vintage is encapsulated in an upright cooker, which is ideal for preparing Sunday roasts for the family. Appliances such as a built-in rangehood or refrigerator can be cleverly disguised behind your custom cabinetry, while wine cabinets offer a sophisticated option for storing beverages.


RECIPES

Authentic Indian Cuisine

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ove Indian Food? Sure you do, you’re Trini. Even if you don’t particularly favour Eastern cuisine, these authentic Indian dishes might just sway you in taste buds and opinion.

Chicken Tikka Masala Ingredients 1 cup yogurt 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 4 teaspoons salt, or to taste 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces 4 long skewers 1 tablespoon butter 1 clove garlic, minced 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons paprika 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro Directions In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. Melt butter in a large heavy skil18

let over medium heat. Sauté garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Palak Paneer

cilantro (add more or less according to taste). Blend for 15 to 30 seconds, or until the spinach is finely chopped. Pour back into the saucepan and keep warm over low heat. In a medium frying pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, and fry cheese until browned; drain and add to spinach. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Season with salt to taste.

Ingredients 6 tablespoons olive oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root 2 dried red chile peppers 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 3/4 cup sour cream 3 pounds fresh spinach, torn 1 large tomato, quartered 4 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves 8 ounces ricotta cheese Coarse sea salt to taste

Coconut Tofu Keema

Directions In a large saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of ginger, red chilies (optional ingredient) and onion until brown. Mix in the cumin, coriander, turmeric and sour cream (add more or less to achieve desired creaminess). Add the spinach, handfuls at a time until it is cooked down, about 15 minutes total. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour spinach mixture into a blender or food processor and add the tomato, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of ginger, and

Directions Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, onion, and tofu; cover, and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, cumin, curry powder, ginger, salt, and red pepper paste; bring to a simmer. Stir in tomato sauce, peas, and carrots; simmer, covered, about 30 minutes.

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Ingredients 1/4 cup olive oil 4 cloves garlic, pressed 1 medium onions, minced 1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu, diced 1 (16 ounce) can coconut milk 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon curry powder 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon red pepper paste 6 cups tomato sauce 1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed 1 1/2 cups chopped carrot

Aloo Matar Ingredients 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2 medium onions, finely chopped 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste

1 bay leaf 4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped 1 cup frozen peas 1/2 cup tomato puree 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika 1 teaspoon white sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro Directions Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Stir in the onions, ginger garlic paste, and bay leaf. Cook until the onions are tender. Mix in the potatoes and peas. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Stir the tomato puree, garam masala, paprika, sugar, and salt into the vegetable mixture. Continue cooking about 10 minutes. Mix in the cilantro and continue cooking about 2 minutes.

Strawberry Lassi Ingredients 9 ripe strawberries, rinsed 2 tablespoons white sugar 1/4 cup whole milk 1 cup low-fat yogurt 3 ice cubes Directions Cut 3 strawberries into small pieces and set aside. In a blender, place the remaining strawberries and sugar; blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Pour in the milk and blend another 30 seconds. Add the yogurt and blend on high speed for 1 minute. To serve, place 1 ice cube in each of 3 glasses and pour in the lassi. Top with the strawberry pieces and serve.


BRIDAL

Writing Personalized Wedding Vows

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ven though most attendees can’t wait for the kiss, wedding vows should indeed be the focal point of the wedding. These vows are the promises used to religiously and (to some extent) legally bind couples into marriage. Though they may vary from culture to culture, these vows generally speak of each partner’s love and commitment for the other. Therefore, these words are special. Some may choose to add even more meaning to them by making personalized vows. If you are considering this option, here are some helpful tips. First, decide what you want to promise to each other. Take time to think about what is important for you and your partner. Zone in on each promise whether it be love, honour, fidelity, loyalty, obedience or any other quality needed for your marriage to work. You will probably want to include some of the traditional concepts, but also take the time 20

to think of values that are important to you that aren't included in the typical vows. Try not to sound too cliché. This is your time and you should express how you truly feel. Say what you must even it seems a tad out of the box. To assist in putting it together take some hints from the best. Take some time to

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read a variety of passages of poetry, love stories, and famous writing about love by the pros. Research other couples’ wedding vows as well and see how you can match or improve on how theirs were done. Print out your favorites, and highlight passages that especially speak to you. How much of a part does

religion and spirituality play in your life? Your vows should also express a spiritual connection that you hope to share with your partner and God. After all, marriage is a sacred sacrament. Marital vows are a promise to God as much as they are a promise to each other. In fact, it is spirituality which often helps us to keep those vows in check. Couples might also promise to help each other in their relationship with God. Before all of this is done, meet with all parties involved. Before constructing vows, talk with your officiant and make sure that personalized vows are acceptable. Certain celebrants may require traditional vows only, especially for religious ceremonies. However, many will allow personalized vows or offer compromises. However, you may need to include sections of traditional vows in your personalized ones.


FAMILY

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Getting Your Child Into A “Good” School

ou always hear of parents saving their money for their kids to go off to college. The many stories of children getting into a great university are told by happy parents whose kids have successfully gone through the system. Being a parent of a child who is nearing school age I have started investigating what it takes to get a child into school. The preparation, planning and saving that it takes to get a child into college applies to toddlers too. That’s right toddlers; there is quite a process to get your toddler into one of the “preferred” private schools. Now I don’t have an issue with public schools, as matter of fact I attended one and I guess I turned out ok. However since conception of my child I have always wanted to get him into a private school. To me the children at those schools are well rounded, cultured and also they 22

speak proper English. To me that is a big selling point right there. I also see it as a good foundation for my child. So I researched a couple of schools right here in Trinidad. I was a bit shocked by some of the responses that I got from some administrations. Did you know that some

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schools have a waiting list that is years long? In an instance like this it would be advisable to apply for admission from the time you miss your period. Being on the list that long doesn’t say that you can automatically get into the school either. The next thing is that if your name

isn’t Dr. John or Lawyer Sally your chances of getting into the school are slim to none. No minimum wage parents allowed in the PTA. I wonder if they think they would not get their school fees. Parents it is therefore important to be of good standing. If you can get a recommendation from someone who has a child attending the school you would have a great chance of getting in In one of the schools it starts with a processing fee of $500. You then call in April and make an appointment for an interview. After the interview you would know if you qualified or not. If your child is accepted you then pay the school fee of $3,500 a term. After all this you should be crying tears of joy. Though appalled by the system I am still going to be standing in line with hopes of getting my child in. Sigh…the things we do for our children.


WARDROBE

POWDER ROOM

Make Moisture Your Face’s Friend

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n the quest to stay young forever, men and women try all sorts of quirky methods. From heavily priced facials with weird names and equally weird ingredients to morning rituals that involve skin shaving, the market has also become bombarded with moisturizers that promise a youthful glow. Apart from the cheapest secret known to radiant skin, which is water, careful moisturizing can help keep skin looking young and soft to the touch. Facial cleansing is probably the most important of them all as the first thing that people are drawn to is your face. The skin type helps decide the type of moisturizer that is needed from oil-free to hydrating to non-comedogenic. See below for reasons why one should moisturize.

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Persons with an oily skin type have questioned the use of moisturizers on their face. But even if your skintype is oily, you should moisturize as this helps retain moisture that would have been washed away when cleansing or toning. Lack of moisture on the face can cause the face to produce its own oil, adding to an already existing situation.

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Your skin’s constant exposure to the sunlight and other factors such as dust and climate changes can cause it to look dull, therefore losing its radiance. Moistur-

izer helps keep the skin free of blemishes and can cause the luster and brightness of the skin to return.

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Make-up can dry out the skin and if it is not removed by cleansing at the end of the day, it can clog pores, leaving room for the appearance of blackheads and pimples. Moisturizing can replenish the skin’s surface and fight off the early signs of aging, that dead skin cells are known for causing.

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Moisturizer with SPF (Sun protection factor) is the ideal moisturizer especially for those who live in tropical countries that have sun year-round. That does not mean that persons who experience hot climates for certain periods of the year should not wear sunscreen also. Moisturizers with SPF do just that: protect the skin from the sun. Sun has been known to dry skin and create rough patches which can flake, peel or leave a white, kind of ‘chalky’ appearance on skin.

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Moisturizer can also rejuvenate the skin at night. Although one school of thought suggests that moisturizing at nights is bad, while sleeping your skin tends to get dehydrated. As a pre-cautionary method, moisturize your face. This provides the hydration your face needs to pump up your skin cells.

4 Quick Ways To Cut Clothing Costs

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udgets are tight these days. However some expenses are necessary for living. One thing everyone needs… clothing. Even with many discount stores and thrift shops to choose from, it is still an expense that can add up if not managed properly. Here are some quick ways to monitor clothing costs. Focus on quality, not quantity. Define your own personal style with the classics and select articles of clothing that match your life, personality, and body type. Plan any new purchases to fit within your current wardrobe, and avoid fads or buying items that will quickly fall into disuse. Don’t be so brand focused. Most people think of store brands in association with grocery stores, but there are store brands of clothing that are decent quality as well. Know the difference between a sale and a deal. A “markdown” in a store or outlet mall isn’t necessarily a deal. A sales item only saves you

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money when it’s something that you need and will actually wear. Beware of percent off sales because the retailer probably marked the item up too much in the first place. Give yourself the opportunity to think. Avoid impulse buying! Sometimes what looks great in the store under perfect lighting loses its appeal after you bring it home. Make sure you know the store’s return policies and keep receipts in your wallet or in a specific file/ envelope so that you can bring the item back if you change your mind about wearing it. Always avoid stores that refuse refunds or exchanges. Check out the Internet. Use online price-comparison tools to find the best prices on particular clothing items. Some online retailers can also stretch your clothing budget. However, make sure you account for shipping and handling costs as well as any potential sales taxes. Some sites charge a sales tax as well as shipping charges. Avoid them. It’s all about saving.

OCTOBER 2013

ABSTRACT HOME

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MEDICINE CABINET

home gym

Caloric Consumption Guide

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he number of calories that you should eat depends of your weight, age, height, your activity levels and whether you are trying to lose, maintain or gain weight. You need to balance the calories that you take each day in the diet with the calories that you expend each day. This list estimates the number of calories you should consume each day to maintain, increase, or decrease your weight based upon your gender, height, weight, age, and activity level.

For a person who practices 30 minutes or less of moderate physical activity, the number of calories that they should eat: Children: 2-3 years old 1000 calories Children: 4-8 years old 12001400 calories Girls: 9-13 years old 1600 calories Boys: 9-13 years old 1800 calories Girls: 14-18 years old 1800 calories Boys: 14-18 years old 2200 calories Females: 19-30 years old 2000 calories Males: 19-30 years old 2400 calories 24

Females: 31-50 years old 1800 calories Males: 31-50 years old 2200 calories Females: 51+ years old 1600 calories Males: 51+ years old 2000 calories For a person who practices 30 minutes to at least 60 minutes or more of moderate physical activity, the number of calories that they should eat: Children: 2-3 years old 10001400 calories Children: 4-8 years old 14001800 calories Girls: 9-13 years old 16002200 calories Boys: 9-13 years old 18002600 calories Girls: 14-18 years old 20002400 calories Boys: 14-18 years old 24003200 calories Females: 19-30 years old 2000-2400 calories Males: 19-30 years old 26003000 calories Females: 31-50 years old 2000-2200 calories Males: 31-50 years old 24003000 calories Females: 50+ years old 18002200 calories Males: 50+ years old 22002800 calories

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Three Mass Building Tips

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lot of people go to the gym or workout to lose weight. Others, hit the gym to build muscle mass. If you are one of those people who want to bulk, these tips are for you.

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Do 3-4 Hard Strength Training Workouts Per Week Some guys can train more often than this but for most average people with busy, stressful lives four sessions does the job quite nicely. This is especially true if you are doing other physical activities such as hill sprints, jumping rope, etcetera on a regular basis. When your goal is to build muscle, recovery time is just as important as training time. You grow when you are recovering; not when you are training.

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Limit Your Workouts to 45-60 Minutes The hormonal response to training is a very important consideration. To keep your anabolic (muscle building) hormones high and catabolic (muscle destroying) hormones low you want to

keep your workouts under an hour. If you can’t get the job done in that time frame you aren’t working enough. On top of that, results are greatest when energy and mental focus are at their highest. That is during the first 30 minutes of your workout. Get in, warm up, hit it hard, and get out.

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Lift Heavy and Use Big, Compound Exercises Squats, deadlifts, military presses, dips, pushups, rows and chin ups should always be the bread and butter of your training programs. Show me a guy who can deadlift 500 pounds for reps and I will show you a guy with an incredibly muscular back that didn’t require any bent over lateral raises or pullovers. Someone who can military press 225 for reps is going to have big, round shoulders and is probably not going to need cable lateral raises. If you can squat 315 for 20 your legs will be jacked and I honestly don’t see what a set of leg extensions could give you on top of the squats.


GARAGE

PETS

Motorcycle Safety

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nyone who has ever owned a motorbike knows the reaction they get from loved ones when they first say they are getting one. Those reactions aren’t caused by hate or jealousy. It’s almost always concern. That is because motorcycles are of the most unsafe vehicles you can own. However, adhering to strict guidelines can make your biking experience safer and better. WATCH THE NO-ZONES Never hang out in a truck's blind spot or "No-Zone." Trucks have large No-Zones on both sides, the front and behind the truck. Truck drivers cannot see you when you ride in these blind spots, which allows for a greater chance of a crash. The front blind spot is particularly dangerous if you need to stop quickly. Because of their lightweight and braking system, motorcycles can stop much faster than trucks. A truck may not be able to stop as quickly as you do, so you need to take special precautions to avoid crashes before they happen. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET Make sure to always wear a helmet. Helmets are the most important piece of equipment you can wear when riding your motorcycle. A helmet could be your only source of protection in a serious crash. DRIVE TO SURVIVE Motorcycles are the smallest ve26

hicles on the road. Unfortunately they provide virtually no protection in a crash. Other drivers may not see you on your motorcycle, so you must be aware of everything on the road. Be extra cautious, paying attention to the signals and brake lights of other vehicles, especially trucks. However, you still need to be prepared in the event their signals or lights don't work. Ride with caution and drive defensively. Even though your motorcycle may be small, you must adhere to the laws of the road. Never ride in between lanes in traffic or share a lane with another vehicle. Don't instigate aggressive driving with other motorists; you will only increase your chance of a crash. CHECK YOURSELF AND YOUR BIKE Conduct a safety inspection of your motorcycle before each ride, and wear protective clothing including gloves, boots and a jacket. Proper maintenance and protective clothing will help reduce your chance of an crash or the severity of injury if you are involved in a crash, especially with a large truck or bus. WATCH YOUR SPEED Of all vehicles, motorcycles accelerate the fastest, while trucks and buses are the slowest. Please watch your speed around trucks, especially in bad weather or at night. Colliding with the back of a truck will end your riding days.

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Seeking Companionship? Get A Pet

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orried about an older aunt or a recently widowed elder family member? Getting them a pet could prove to be one of your best moves yet. Surveys published online show that seniors think their pets give them the "feeling of being useful", of "being able to look after somebody", of "not being alone and isolated". Moreover, dogs, for instance, because of their interactive nature, can take up some meaningful space in a void caused by sudden loss. All these arguments are important for people reaching later chapters of their lives. Pets, after their gold medal award for the fight against loneliness, also help to fight against apathy and indifference, becoming somewhat of a new object for affection. They can cause older people to regain interest in events in their vicinity and in their surroundings. They prevent or reduce absent-mindedness by communicating the sense of time and by maintaining a rhythm of the day. Spates of depression can be avoided because the pet owner has to take care of things other than himself and his own problems. A pet's need to be fed, exercised and attended to can provide pet owners with mental and physical exercise, but also provide an extra set

of eyes and ears for protection. Walking a dog is a great form of exercise while the soothing motion of stroking a cat may provide a calming effect that can reduce anxiety. Pets do not always have wagging tails and fur; they may be fish in an aquarium or a canary. The very presence of an aquarium in one’s home, old or young, is soothing and people have been known to confess, “I can stare at this fish tank for hours!” Of great, often overlooked importance is the fact that pets amuse us, make us laugh and generally improve our morale. Pets need love, companionship and attention just like the rest of us. They are there in most cases because either no one wanted them any longer, or they were dumped having been through a horrific ordeal. Realistically, even though some of us would like to sit and visit with older relatives frequently, our lives get in the way and these visits are relegated to every other week or on weekends. Knowing they have a companion, or even three can give some ease of mind. The older person’s individual abilities should of course be taken into consideration, for instance, mobility limitations or the demands of caring for the pet.


TRAVEL

Making The Most Of Christmas Travel

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here's nothing very jolly about standing in a long queue at the airport, or sitting in traffic on the highway out of the city when you should have been lying in that hammock, swimming in the pool or chilling at the beach hours ago. However, that's what often happens in the peak Christmas travel season, when everyone hits the roads and airport and tempers start to fray. Here are our top-10 tips for keeping your cool this Christmas travel season.

Christmas Day, consider doing at least some of your shopping when you get there, as airlines have little Christmas spirit when it comes to overweight bags.

Be digital If you're flying, check in online in the 24 hours before your flight and save yourself a lot of standing around at the airport. There will still be a queue for bag dropoff but it tends to move fairly quickly. Online check-in also allows you to choose your seat.

Pack smart Don't be among the many who cause delays at airport security checkpoints by packing sharp objects, aerosols and other prohibited items in hand luggage. Despite several awareness campaigns, airports still confiscate hundreds of items a day at security checkpoints. If you're travelling overseas, remember there are also restrictions on liquids in hand luggage: each item must be 100 milliliters or less and all containers must be in a clear, zip-lock bag. If you're carrying Christmas gifts, it's best not to wrap them, as they need to be available for inspection.

Pack light It's hard to pack light at Christmas, but it does make life easier, as well as help you avoid excessbaggage charges. If arriving at your destination well before

Pack safe Don't put presents in your checked-in luggage unless you absolutely have to. Christmas is the busiest time of year for air travel, meaning a greater chance

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of luggage going astray, so make the most of your seven-kilogram-a-person carry-on baggage allowance. Most airlines allow laptops, handbags and cameras to be carried on in addition to the allowance, which leaves more room for small gifts. Think ahead If you're going to need airport transfers, airport parking, hotel parking or other arrangements, book it now. Seeing the "car park full" sign when you have a flight to catch can make you feel wretched and you shouldn't assume hotels will have parking available when rooms are fully booked. If you're likely to be arriving late at your accommodation, you may need to call and make arrangements to collect a key or be given an access code. Be distracted If you're flying, get yourself that book you've been wanting to read so you can turn waiting time into relaxation rather than frustration. Accept that things are going to take longer than

normal and use the time enjoyably. If you're driving, downloading some podcasts or new music before you leave can make a big difference. If you're going on a long drive with children in the car, a cheap, portable DVD player may help bring peace and goodwill. Don't forget your Christmas spirit If there's one guarantee about the summer travel season, it's that there will be spectacular tantrums in the airport and on the roads - and we're not talking about children. In the airport, remember the staff are doing their best to get thousands of passengers on the right planes at the right times it's not in an airline's interest to take off late. On the roads, it helps to remember that everyone else is trying to get to their holiday destination as well. Wear a Santa hat, listen to music, do whatever it takes to remember that Christmas is supposed to be fun, not survival of the fittest.


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 17 2013  

In this issue: Add to your style with tile Kick-Start your Christmas Cleaning Enhance your feast with Cuisine from the East

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