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LIVING QUARTERS

Home Improvement Mistakes

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ou have a home, but it isn’t your dream home until you can get a few changes made here and there. Fine… No problem! Just be sure to note that there are some things that should be avoided at all costs when doing renovations or additions. Hiring a Friend to do the Work This is not a good idea unless they are a licensed professional in that field. Even then, expecting someone to work for a six pack instead of a paycheck begs the adage: "You get what you pay for." Hiring a professional that carries their own insurance can keep you out of court and keep your friends. If you hire a company, when someone calls in sick they have someone else to send out.

Bad Timing Take into account when you want to do the project. The middle of the rainy season is not the best time to replace a roof. Yet, replacing a roof during a contractor's busiest time is not the best choice either. Talking to your professional and working out a schedule when you can help him out the most may end up helping you the most. Using Low Grade Material Many home owners improve their homes in order to sell them and make poor choices related to materials. If a carpet, kitchen cabinet, bathroom tub etc, is poorly installed or doesn't fit the neighborhood property norms, the new home owners may ask for concessions on the price to replace what was just replaced. Keep your old carpet in place

and offer a contract concession, it may cost your far less to do so. Working Without Design Many homeowners don’t know how to come up with a plan or design, and don’t understand the importance of how design will affect the final outcome. Design is not decoration. It is the practical application of where permanent items will be installed in your home, how they will func-

tion, and what they look like. One easy example of poor design is a bathroom where the door can’t be opened without hitting the toilet. Never start without design. Visualize it and do a final check when the construction is in the rough in phase. Check the height, distance and spacing for countertops, electrical switches, shower heads, and faucets. Otherwise, fixing mistakes later is quite expensive.”

Six Steps To Fixing Drywall Cracks

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t some point a crack or two is going to show up in the walls of your home. These cracks can be the result of several things, with house settling being the main culprit. No matter the cause of the fissure, the emergence of this crevice can be mended with six simple steps. It should be noted that the ways to fix cracks vary according to the composition of the wall. Here, we show how to fix cracks on drywall.

Cover the crack with drywall tape. You need to cut the tape into strips long and wide enough to be placed over the entire area.

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Sand down the area. This gets rid of any lumps and makes the surface smooth and ready for paint. Repeat the process of spackling and sanding as necessary until the area is smooth.

Clean out the crack. Use a knife to remove as much of the debris inside of the crack as you can. Vacuuming the crack can also help you remove the cracked pieces.

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Fill the crack with spackle. You can use a putty knife to apply it, and remove any excess by hand. w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

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Put more spackle over the cracked wall. Once again, use a putty knife to place a thin layer over the wall. The knife should be wiped down throughout the application in order to keep the spackle from becoming lumpy.

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Paint the area. Find the matching wall color and paint the crack, or the entire room.

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LIVING QUARTERS

Choosing A Water Heater

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aving a water heater is not merely a luxury anymore, but a commodity. It saves the hassle of having to manually heat up water for kitchen, laundry and bath use and frankly, many people cannot function without a water heart in the house. The size of your family, the utilities in your area and the space available for your water heater all play a role in determining how to choose the best water heater. It's important to keep the following things in mind: • Storage tank water heaters are the most common type and the best water heaters to buy. These units have an insulated tank where water is heated and stored until it's needed. They're available in electric, liquid propane (LP) and natural gas models. Natural gas and LP water heaters

normally use less energy and are less expensive to operate than electric models of the same size. Storage tank water heaters are designated by the amount of water they hold in gallons. Tank size is one of the major considerations when purchasing one of these water heaters. Another consideration for storage tank water heaters is recovery rate — the number of gallons of water they can heat in an hour. The greater your demand for hot water, the higher recovery rate you need. When you buy a water heater, look at the energy efficiency and yearly operating costs of a water heater before you decide which one is right for your needs. Know the dimensions of the space where your water heat-

er resides. If your hot water use increases and you need to upgrade to a larger tank size, it may be necessary to run plumbing to a different area so the new, larger unit will fit. Tankless or on-demand water heaters don't store hot water; they heat water as it passes through a series of coils in the unit. Since the unit only heats water as you use it, a tankless heater is usually more energy-efficient than a traditional storage tank water heater. They're available in electric, LP and natural gas models. A tankless unit can provide only a limited volume of hot water. Most tankless units can provide up to 3.5 gallons of heated water per minute. These units are a good choice for anyone whose demand doesn't typically call for hot water at more than two points at a time.

Getting An Air Purifier

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hough they are not common in homes in Trinidad and Tobago, soon enough a lot more people will be gravitating toward the use of air purifiers. They are great additions to households where asthma or allergies are present. When choosing an air filter for your home consider the following: Ease of Use Replacing filters and periodic internal cleaning can require weekly additives, filter washing, heavy lifting and special tools. Other air purifiers have maintenance regimens that simply require a filter change. Select an air purifier that meets your requirements. Capacity Measure the size of the room where you want to purify air. 2

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Choose a unit that can handle the total volume of air in the room. Remember that high ceilings affect the total cubic footage. Size Smaller units are generally best because they are able to be placed strategically throughout the house or business. While larger air filters are available, it's difficult to get enough air flow through the unit to affect the entire structure. Closed doors and other obstructions make it hard for even the most powerful air filters to have an effect on homes with more than just a few rooms. For large open spaces, a single large unit is sufficient, but when there are obstructions blocking air flow, the filtration may need to be broken up into smaller areas.

Noise level Operating noise can become a concern when the system is running 24 hours a day. Most air purification manufactures list a decibel rating for each air purifiers fan speed. HEPA Certification Though studies are conflicting as to whether or not air purifiers are actually effective, non-HEPA filters are not recommended. HEPA filters remove at least 99% of particles in the air that are 0.3 microns and up. However, the filter must be replaced every six months to maintain effectiveness. Also avoid ozone generators in models. This can result in severe respiratory problems including permanent lung damage, asthma, and a compromised ability to fight off respiratory infections.


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LIVING QUARTERS

Lawn Care - Getting The Perfect Lawn

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part from making you the envy of your nieghbours, having a healthy, green, well-manicured lawn has many advantages. The proper garden landscape can add the finishing touch to your abode, by giving it that refined and lively feel. A good lawn can also raise the value of a property considerably. With that in mind, this article has some of the best solutions for dealing with lawn maintenance, weed control and fertility. These tips should assist you in having a lawn that is stronger and greener than the Incredible Hulk during a jealous streak. Preparing your soil properly is an integral part of getting proper growth from the seedlings you intend to plant on it. A major part of soil preparation is making sure the soil is well aerated. Aeration is especially important if you have a lawn that is in fairly good health, but needs to be thickened up. For this an aerator will be needed. Core aerators poke several small holes in the ground whilst laying a core of soil on the surface. Other aerators simply poke holes in the ground without relaying parts of the soil. Once aerated

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make sure any existing grass is cut down to approximately one inch in length. This will allow the new grass seeds to grow with little competition amongst old grass. It is best to plant grass at the end of the dry season when the soil is warm. This speeds germination. Sodding is an alternate albeit expensive way to plant a good lawn. The advantages of this method are that sod can be laid at any time and it only takes a couple of weeks to give you the lawn you want. An added bonus is that sodding smothers existed weeds. Be sure to note that when you decide to sod, make sure to roll the sod so that the roots are firmly pressed and embedded into the soil. The soil should be watered thoroughly once laid. When watering sod, do not walk on it (sod) as this may have adverse effects on lawn growth. In terms of preparation for sodding, keep the soil on which it is to be laid moist and well fertilized. This is to accelerate the deep rooting process. The process of fertilization is one of the most important processes with regards to having a healthy lawn. Fertilizers give the plant the required amount

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of Rhizomes, Tillers and Stolons needed for thick, lush growth. Grass should be fertilized no more than 3-4 times per year and not every month as some people do. These should be spread out by no less than 60days between treatments starting roughly a month before the growing season for your grass. You should follow the respective guidelines on the products before fertilizing your lawn. Be very wary of over-fertilizing as this usually leads to fungal growth and subsequent weakening of grass and plants. Over-fertilizing may also lead to an unmanageable lawn as it grows too quickly. The maintenance stage of your lawn basically deals with its weeding and mowing. Any topical weed treatments should be applied specifically to the source. Do not kill your whole lawn by spraying it with unnecessary chemicals. Whatever weeding can be done by hand should be done by hand. The extra work will pay off in the end. Extra effort should be used when mowing as well. Do not try to cut down on the number of times you mow the lawn by cutting it down too low. That practice will eventually lead to no lawn at all

as the root systems become shallow. The grass becomes thin and dried out because of this. Watering is another part of lawn maintenance where more effort has to be put in than one would expect. After all, why plant a beautiful lawn only to watch it wither away due to lack of attention (Especially in our tropical climate). If you have some money to spend, invest in an underground sprinkler system. This ensures even distribution of water to the lawn unlike the normal topical sprinklers. It is also more efficient as a large lawn would take forever to water by hand or with ordinary sprinklers. Lawns do not need to be watered everyday according to the weather. Plants and shrubs should follow a different watering pattern to grass as they require different levels of supervision. These tips are merely the basics with regards to having the optimum lawn. These basics though can make a heck of a difference to your lawn once followed. So do some research and find out which of these tips suits your lawn type best. Put them into action and make your thumbs up signal a green one.


LIVING QUARTERS

Home Safety

Is your home child-proofed?

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ith all of the technological advances available to us today there really should be no reason for all of the household accident related deaths and injuries to children that we have. However, one of the major problems is not that these safety products are not available, but that there is so much ignorance of what safety measures to take. This quick quiz should be a good test to see how equipped you are to deal with child-proofing your home. 1. Children may be at risk for lead poisoning if they... a) live in a house built before 1950 b) live in a house built after 1985 c) live in a house built before 1978 that is being remodeled d) a and c 2. Smoke detectors should be... a) placed near bedrooms b) located on the first floor of your house only c) inspected and have their batteries replaced every two years d) all of the above 6

3. Carbon monoxide... a) is safe b) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas c) can be detected with a smoke detector d) b and c 4. To prevent your child from getting trapped in your car's trunk, you should... a) consider installing a trunk release mechanism if your car doesn't have one b) secure your car keys so your child can't get them c) lock your car d) all of the above 5. If you have a hot tub, you should make sure that you... a) set the temperature to at least 110 degrees b) use a locked safety cover when the hot tub is not in use c) take the drain cover off so your child's hair doesn't get tangled in it d) all of the above 6. You should have... a) Safety Latches and Locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas to help prevent

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poisonings and other injuries. b) Safety Gates to help in preventing falls down stairs and to keep children away from dangerous areas. c) Door Knob Covers and Door Locks to help in preventing children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers. d) all of the above 7. Home trampolines are... a) fun b) safe c) dangerous, especially for children under age 6 years d) only dangerous if your kids fall off of them 8. Window guards are... a) only needed if you live above the 6th floor of a building b) dangerous because you can't get out if there is a fire c) important to prevent children from falling out of windows d) not needed, because screens can keep children from falling out of windows 9. What should you usually do if your child eats

or drinks a substance that might be a poison? a) call your Pediatrician b) make him vomit c) take him to the doctor d) call Poison Control 10. Which of the following can hurt your child? a) a curling iron left unattended b) window blind cords that have loops c) a bucket of water d) any of the above The correct answers to the questions with the corresponding reasons as to their validity are as follows. If you have any qualms or questions surrounding this quiz, feel free to drop us a shout on the Abstract Home facebook page. 1. d) 2. a) 3. b) 4. d) 5. b) 6. d) 7. c) 8. c) 9. d) 10. d)


home office

Finding The Job For Your Personality

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henever I go to the bank I marvel, “How on earth can people work here? Dealing with customers all day, supervisors walking around everywhere, no munching or chewing gum, NO FACEBOOK? Faint!” My friends remind me that not everyone is a night-owl, own-way, blood-type-LATE sort of person. And because I am so much more mature than my icky friends, rather than resort to name calling I have learnt to appreciate the differences in personality types. Choosing a career that doesn't suit your personality leads to an unhappy you, nobody wants that. Along with your soul and reasonable quality clothing outlets, finding a career that fits your personality (lucky you if it’s one that involves the big bucks) one that makes you want to get up in the morning instead of growl in despair, is essential to your lifespan. Everyone has preferences, your personality has traits, strong and not so strong points to be considered when deciding on your choice of career – this will very rarely be that job straight out of school. What career would fit me best? Personally, I know which won’t work at all for me: anything that involves being in an office all day, anything that involves dealing 8

with rush hour traffic – I’ll never make it to the office for 8. So maybe something more autonomous for me, like, say writing, wink. Readings on the whole shenanigan identifies six personality types according to Holland’s theory: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. Realistic people are the more hands-on people, practical and straightforward. They prefer working with concrete objects. Careers compatible with this personality type: electrician, orthodontist, surgical technologist, biomedical engineer. Investigative people are analytical, intellectual, and scientific. Typically, they like to gather a lot of information before making decisions and question ideas that aren't backed up by rational data (that annoying person at the meeting.) Compatible careers: professor, software developer, physician's assistant, veterinarian, librarian. Artistic people are creative and imaginative but they can also be strong problem solvers, since they bring an intuitive mindset, and we’re better than everyone else! Compatible careers: landscape architect, graphic design-

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er, director or producer, interior designer, editor. Social people often end up in "helping" professions where attributes like patience, empathy, and generosity make a difference. They're often strong team players good at achieving consensus. Compatible careers: school psychologist, mediator, nurse, physical therapist, social worker. Enterprising people are competitive, energetic extroverts with bundles of energy and no time for the nitty-gritty – they want to see end results. They often end up as entrepreneurs or group leaders, and prefer to delegate the pieces of a project while focusing on the big picture. Compatible careers: executive, financial manager, sales rep, sales manager. Conventional people, also described as orderly, are not what you’re thinking. They're not necessarily bland though they do tend to be reserved, careful and efficient. These are the folks who handle all the minute details that keep the busses running on time. Compatible careers: accountant, actuary, financial planner, technical writer, building inspector. These aren’t cast in stone, in-

dividuals vary greatly and many people are a combination of two or three different types. A few people might feel they don't fit into any of these categories but whatever your idiosyncrasies, it’s simply better if you match your job to your personality, for a happier you. Some jobs have a high flexibility factor using a wide variety of mental functions and these match many personality types. Also it is worth considering careers that aren't a direct match for your personality preferences, because you can provide a different perspective to others in that field or doing a job that too closely suits your preferences may not provide enough personal development for you. So ok, you’ve been doing your job over 7 years, you do it oh so well and think it’s too late to start something new. We come up with bundles of excuses when we choose right? You decide, do you want to growl or smile at the Monday morning sunrise? Special note to my ladies: I BEG OF YOU: being clerks and typist is not in our genes (really, ask a scientist) so dream on, we all have to start somewhere, start not die. You should know though, once you’ve gone above your first M.Sc. the corporate world has no idea what to do with us, tough huh?


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elegant ideas

Lavish Lavatories

Elegant lighting is just one of this modern bathroom’s star qualities w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

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ABSTRACT HOME

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elegant ideas

Adding some Asian feng shui to your bathroom can provide simplistic luxury 12

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elegant ideas

Simple and scant, but laden with rich colour themes is this luxury half bathroom w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

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elegant ideas

A dream bathroom for the fairer sex 14

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elegant ideas

Picture washing away your troubles in this perfect tub w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

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KITCHEN

Guidelines For Handling Shellfish •

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round this time of year, fish and crustaceans become popular additions to our diets. Like most forms of meat, seafood should be handled carefully. However, there are specific ways to deal with shellfish. Here are some considerations. • Fresh mussels, oysters, clams are sold live because when they die, their internal organs start to deteriorate. This way fresh shellfish should have unbroken shells and should

be closed. If the shells gape slightly, tap them: the shells should close up. If they do not close up, throw them away. • The shells of fresh, live shellfish should be shiny and moist. It should smell sweet and mild, like a fresh sea breeze. • Fresh lobster and crabs are also sold alive, because they spoil quickly when they die. Thus when selecting them they should show leg movement (they will not be very

Dining Donts

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inner time should be a fun, relaxing time where all involved can get to enjoy great hospitality, food and forge friendships via the “breaking of bread”. However, some people think of dinners as something stressful (especially as there are rules to dining). At the end of the day, there are rules to everything and it is up to you to take them in stride and make the most of it. With that said, still try to be considerate of some forms of protocol when dining. Here are some definite donts. Don’t jump the gun. You might be incredibly hungry, but you can start eating when your host starts eating. If the first course is brought to the table in twos or threes and not everyone has food yet, don’t begin to eat; wait until all the people around you have been served the first

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course, and then begin to eat together. Sometimes the host may encourage you to “Go ahead, please don’t wait.” In this case, beginning eating is perfectly fine. Don't stretch across the table crossing other guests to reach food, wine or condiments. Instead ask a guest sitting close to pass the item to you. Don’t Criticize. Good din-

active if they have been refrigerated, but they should move at least a little bit). Raw shrimp meat should be firm and should smell mild. The shells should not have blackened edges, black spots or other dark areas, because this indicates loss of freshness. When buying fresh squid, select those with clear and full eyes, the skin should be cream-colored with reddish brown spots (when they start losing freshness the skin turns pinkish) and the meat should be very firm. Fresh shucked oysters should have a fresh smell. A clear slightly milky or light grey liquid should surround freshly shucked oysters. And last but not least, when shopping buy your fresh fish or seafood last and then take them home straight away to storage them appropriately

ner table etiquette sometimes involves a degree of diplomacy when it comes to the host's choice of food and wine! Even if you feel that you can do better, don't ever offer your criticism. If you feel unable to pay any compliments, at least remain silent on the subject. Using your device during a meal is like saying, “my text message, email, or phone call is more important than our conversation.” Build your people skills and put the phone on “stun” or vibrate, and keep it off of the table. Especially at formal event or office or networking party – keep your mobile device stashed away and check it in the restroom. Never cut your food into bits all at once; cut only two or three bits at a time. Take small bites and always remember to chew with your mouth closed — and don’t talk while you have food in your mouth.


KITCHEN

Helpful Tips When Storing Wine

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rinidad & Tobago and the greater Caribbean as a whole has been developing quite an appetite for wine in recent times. The beverage which was seemingly only popular around Christmas and Valentines has transcended this now and several major brands have had to be restocked frequently due to demand. Now, more than likely you would hve bottle or two of the famed brew in your home, but are you storing it correctly? Proper wine storage will make a difference in flavor, color and character, for both the novice

wine drinker and the experienced wine connoisseur. When storing the drink we favor, we should adhere to these steps: • Keep it in the dark – UV rays can ruin wine by giving

it an unpleasant smell. • Store corked wine bottles on their sides – Moist corks keep air out; air eventually spoils wine. • Keep the temperature steady – Any changes should be steady, wine suffers premature aging from fast changes in temperature. • Movement adversely affects wine aging – keep it steady and avoid vibrations, the delicate process prefers no disturbance. • Monitor Humidity with a Hydrometer – 70% is average for safe storage.

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• Store away from strong odours since it can permeate through cork to taint any wine.

Monitor your storage time – Red wines can last from 2-10 years while White wines have a 2-3yr lifespan; not all wines improve with age so check them regularly. The most volatile is the Chardonnay which can be aged for over 20 years. However you choose to have your wine, whether solo or in combinations such as food and cheese be sure to make it safe…Cheers!

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RECIPES

For The Love Of Cheese

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ove cheese? Sure you do (Well that’s if you aren’t vegetarian or lactose intolerant of course). If you are one of this marvelous milkbased products’ fans, these recipes are for you.

Cover pan, and remove from heat. Allow omelet to rest in covered pan until the cheese is melted.

Tuna Cream Cheese Omelet

Ingredients 1 pound rotini pasta 1 (16 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce 3/4 pound shredded Cheddar cheese 1/4 cup bread crumbs, or more to taste 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese, or more to taste

Ingredients 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 1/2 small onion, chopped 1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained 1/3 cup sour cream 3 tablespoons cream cheese 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives 1/8 teaspoon dried dill weed 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 5 eggs 1/4 cup milk 2 teaspoons vegetable oil Directions Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large skillet. Cook and stir onion over medium heat until onions begin to brown. Combine tuna, sour cream, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, olives, dill, garlic powder, and cooked onion in a large bowl. Beat eggs with milk in a large bowl. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in the skillet used to cook the onions. Pour the egg mixture into the hot pan. As eggs set, lift the edges to allow the liquid to run underneath for even cooking. When eggs are almost fully set, spoon tuna mixture onto one half of the eggs; fold the untopped half over the filling. 18

Easy Baked Mac-NCheese

Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook the rotini at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes; drain pasta and return to pot. Stir Alfredo sauce and 3/4 pound Cheddar cheese into pasta until cheese begins to melt. Pour pasta mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish; top with bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Double Layer Pumkin Cheesecake Ingredients 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs

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1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 pinch ground cloves 1 pinch ground nutmeg 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed Directions Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

Bacon and Cheese Quiche Ingredients 1 (3 ounce) can bacon bits 1/2 cup chopped onion 5 ounces shredded Swiss cheese 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese 1 (9 inch) deep dish frozen pie crust 4 eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup half-and-half cream Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix the ba-

con, onions, and both cheeses. Place this mixture in the unthawed pie crust. Mix the eggs and half and half in a bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 35 minutes, until top of quiche begins to turn brown.

Blue Cheese Dressing Ingredients 3/4 cup sour cream 1 1/3 cups mayonnaise 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled Directions In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. Season with mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in blue cheese. Cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.


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BRIDAL

Wedding Websites

The perfect way to preserve matrimonial memories

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he World Wide Web has become one of the most integral facets of modern society. Nowadays, there is a website for any and everything. People create sites as a means of advertising products for business or even personal reasons. That may be the reason behind the growing trend of wedding websites emerging across the globe. People have a lot to gain from creating a wedding website and we at Abstract Bridal are going to show you what those gains are and how to achieve them. Hopefully this article will serve to show why all engaged couples should consider wedding websites. The first perk of a wedding website is it can help you to plan your wedding more easily. Turn your site into an online calendar of sorts. In that way you are liable to keep track of details and in turn get news out about upcoming events. All of your wedding activities can be included on this online almanac creating a virtual notice board. The website helps in preventing arguments between you and the bridal party as well as all suggestions can be done over the internet via a private chatroom on your site. Everyone will be thankful you installed that measure as it saves on gas and phone bills which usually skyrocket from planning run arounds. That isn't the only 20

way a site can help you plan. Guests can R.S.V.P online and any last minute plan changes can be done quickly on the site. The fun thing is you do not even have to run the operation of the site yourself. A trusted friend can handle it for you. The second reason for the construction of a wedding website is it is a great way to keep long distance family and friends updated as to what is going on with your wedding. If you live in Trinidad and you have relatives in Timbuktu they need not feel left out (that is if Timbuktu has adequate internet infrastructure). You can post pictures of yourself and your mate and show your development as a couple or even cute pics from each your childhoods as bonus background information. This is also a terrific way to introduce the friends and family who are away to your fiancĂŠ before the wedding. A well constructed site will make everyone feel like they have known you guys forever. This is an especially great feature for extended families. As trite as this reason may sound, a wedding website is a good way to keep grooms involved in wedding planning. Men are not usually the type to beg to be involved in projects such as these. However, men do feel left out when big occasions come around and they are sitting

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on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs. Find things that men will be more likely to be excited about and let him handle that aspect of the site. After all, the wedding website should not be built by either one of you alone. Let him help by writing about his life, his family or friends in the wedding party. Allow him to have a groom's forum on the site where men can indulge in some old fashion male banter. There is absolutely no reason why both of you cannot have fun on one website. Heck! Look at Facebook; millions of people enjoy that everyday. Another reason to create a wedding website is the fact that it is ultimately a great way to preserve and share your wedding memories. It can be viewed as an online scrapbook and is a near perfect beginning to your personal family history. Photos pre and post your wedding day can be uploaded to your P.C. in an interactive format. The best thing about this is, it is easily updatable as well. It becomes fun when you allow viewers of your site to comment on the photos and say what feelings the pics evoke in them. Change the structure of your site from wedding to family site as time elapses and add baby photos and much more. This allows you to continue to keep connected to your family and friends, as your

own family grows. Now that you know some of the benefits of creating a wedding website, here are seven suggestions as to what features would make your site ideal. 1. A Home Page: Create a tasteful welcome to site visitors. Include a countdown and encourage people to sign in to keep track of visitors. 2. Couple's Story: Tell how and when you met. 3. The Bridal Party: Give some insight as to the wedding party and maybe even their roles. 4. Bios: Tell a bit about yourself. Guests will learn about you as an individual before seeing you as a couple. 5: R.S.V.P.: Reserving spots and catering was never this easy. 6. Gift Registry: Guests can search links on your site for gift ideas. 7. Wedding Details: Last, but not least give information on the wedding and reception. Include everything that is on the invitation and more. There is no doubt that a wedding is one of the biggest events that will take place in a person's life. Share this moment with the world via your wedding website. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the journey to your wedding and can create great memories after.


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FAMILY

Taking On Single Parenting

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t’s not easy raising kids on your own; whether by chance or voluntarily, being a single-parent is tough and you often have to find ways to deal with the daily struggles as they come. Single parents undoubtedly need to be a vital part of their children’s lives: knowing their whereabouts, their daily activities, their academic choices and their personal life decisions; for example, if they are courting. Although there are no set rules when it comes to parenting, these tips might be helpful to a single-parent family.

1

Develop a support group. This can be a group of people closest to you such as family members or friends, but they must be people who you can trust. They can also be a shoulder to lean on or a helping hand when one is needed.

2

Schedule “me time”. Because you have to be accountable for everything, you often forget about yourself. But being alone gives you time to rejuvenate, to think about simple things in life or to take that much needed rest. 22

you sometimes forget that your kids are not chores. They are emotional beings who need emotional support. The next time you talk to your child, really talk to them. Listen to what they are really saying and forget about the other task at hand.

5 3

Time finder. Time for yourself is sometimes impossible to find especially if you have two or more children. If this happens, try waking up half an hour earlier or have the baby-sitter arrive earlier than usual. This extra time that you squeezed in will be more valuable and it allows you to find your inner strength.

4

Be emotionally present. Because you have to wash the clothes, clean the dishes and help with home-work

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Be a parent and a friend. Knowing when to be a parent and when to be a friend is also important as this helps to build the relationship between the two: if your child knows that he/she can confide in you, he/she will reveal more. And isn’t that what you want? A child who is verbal about his/her life situations? Think about it: the more you know, the more you can be aware and offer solutions.

6

Pay attention to your health. Because you are the only parent in the equation there is all the more reason for you to take care of yourself. Stop ignoring that constant headache or that troubling cough that you’ve had for weeks. Remember, your children need you healthy and alive.


WARDROBE

POWDER ROOM

Combat The Elements With Fashion Tips These Must-Haves Five For The FullFigured

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arnival might be over, but the sun isn’t going anywhere soon. If it does, you’ll have bigger problems thaan we can fix in this magazine. In any event, the elements wait for no one and you will be exposed to the elements all through the Easter and beyond. With that said, you will need the right cosmetics and skin-care products to make your mark without leaving your skin marked up.

rays with the aid of specific chemicals. Sunscreen products are sold as lotions, creams, gels, oils, sprays, sticks, and lip balms, and can be bought without a physician's prescription. They can be found in scented or unscented form to complement your fragrance choice.

Lip Gloss: This is a cosmetic product used primarily to give lips a mildly glossy luster and sometimes subtle color. It is distributed as a liquid or a soft solid which is sometimes infused with medicinal properties like lip balm. It can be completely clear, translucent, or various shades of opacity, including frosted, glittered, and metallic looks. This is vital as it supplements your look while keeping your lips protected from blistering and cracking.

Concealer: A concealer or colour corrector is a type of makeup used to mask pimples, dark circles and other small blemishes visible on the skin. Concealers usually do a good job of hiding blemishes by blending the imperfection into the surrounding skin tone. Once concealer is used, there is hardly a need for any additional makeup. Foundation should especially be avoided by young ladies. This product is mainly used by women, but use among men is increasing. It is good for spot treatment use for those abstaining from makeup since makeup is liable to run when they sweat.

Sunscreens: Sun block is crucial to keeping your skin looking and feeling supple and smooth in the sweltering Caribbean sun. These products are applied to the skin to protect against the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV)

These three products are must-haves for overall facial beauty. They keep you looking good while saving your skin from the harsh seasonal weather. Keep reading Abstract Home for more Powder Room tips.

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he Caribbean woman is naturally curvy (unlike those rail-thin European models in the mainstream media). Some women even have a little extra poundage on their frames and we aren’t talking British bucks. It’s ok though, because you can still look hot to trot with these fashion tips for the full-figured. Forget the mainstream media because plus sized can be hot too.

1

Dress from head to toe in one tone - clothes which are a dark color like black, dark navy or dark red to aubergine give the illusion of a slimmer figure because dark colours absorb light. Don't wear shiny material in dark colors.

2

Get A Fashionable Fit - Do not pick clothes based on the size you wish you were or think you might be. Always try on clothes, and be willing to try on a variety of sizes. Sizes vary by store and brand, so a size that fits you in one store may not in another store. Make sure the clothes fit your body well and are not too tight or too loose. Clothes that fit well always look fashionable. w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

3

Find your style - Just because its popular doesn’t mean you have to wear it or add it to your wardrobe. Finding your individual style is very difficult for plus sizes but not impossible and with the increase in the number of stores dedicated to plus size fashion it’s getting easier.

4

Avoid stretchy fabrics except for intimates - these cling to all the wrong places like boobs and sticking out bellies. Lycra in outer clothes, silk, rayon, and other jersey fabrics that have a sheen are the worst offenders. Look for tailored clothing: well cut pants, for example, are a great investment and it’s worth it to have them made to measure.

5

If you must wear stripes, vertical rather than horizontal for a plus size dress, but the other way around if you are wearing a striped top over big bottomed pants. Make sure the top is broader shouldered, and that the stripes are wide rather than narrow.

MARCH 2013

ABSTRACT HOME

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MEDICINE CABINET

home gym

Cosmetic Health Issues

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e should all aim to be in good health and to do this we need to have a balance of exercise and diet. When we look good our clothes fit well and we feel confident and comfortable with who we are. Looking good is something that each person should try to maintain. There are some health issues that can affect the way a person looks. One health issue which can affect a person’s image is a cold sore. Cold sores are small, painful, fluid-filled blisters or sores that appear on the lips, mouth, or nose and are caused by a virus. The sores can be painful and usually last a few days. Unlike most viral infections, the cold sore virus is not completely eliminated by the body’s defenses. There is no cure for it; this is the reason, cold sores often recur. The virus that causes cold sores is known as the Herpes Simplex Virus. Cold sores are usually caused by type I of the Herpes Virus. Stress shows itself on our skin with conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne and psoriasis. It is often noticed that when an individual is under a considerable amount of stress they would get an acne break out. This is also noted in people who are not prone to having pimples and acne. Stress increases the levels of the hormone cortisol in the body which in turn increases oil production and this can lead to oily skin, blocked pores and consequently acne. 24

Research has even shown that skin heals more slowly in times of stress, and it has been found that stress has a negative effect on the barrier function of the skin, resulting in water loss that inhibits the skin’s ability to repair itself after an injury. Stress can also cause hair loss. Events such as a new job, moving, pregnancy or a major surgery can trigger hair loss. When stressed the first thing that most people start doing is biting their nails. This leads to brittle jagged and unsightly nails. Varicose veins are another health issue that can affect the way you look. Veins are blood vessels that return deoxygenated blood from the outer parts of the body back to the heart and lungs. When veins become abnormally thick, full of twists and turns, or enlarged, they are called varicose veins. Generally, varicose veins tend to develop in the legs and thighs. Defective/damaged valves within the veins are the cause of varicose veins. Pregnancy which is associated with an increase in blood volume adds pressure on the veins in the legs because of the weight of the growing uterus and the relaxation effects of the hormones estrogen and progesterone on the vein walls. This contributes to the development of varicose veins during pregnancy. Obesity and standing for prolonged periods of time also contribute to the development of varicose veins.

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Boost Your Workout Effectiveness

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eing a gym rat is no guarantee that you’ll have the body or fitness level you’ve always dreamt of. It is what you do at the gym that is important. Here are some tips to help you maximize your effectiveness at each workout. Compound exercises. Instead of isolating your muscles with exercises such as the bicep curl, you can maximize the time you spend in a workout by doing exercises that work out multiple muscle groups at once. With just a few exercises, you could get a full-body workout. Another benefit is that your muscles are working together as they do in the real world, rather than alone. Some great compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, good mornings, lunges, pushups, bench presses, military presses, rows, pullups, dips, and more. Slow lifting. Many people contract their muscles slowly and then release more quickly. But if you lift slowly in both directions, you are maximizing each move. Lift and lower to a 5-second count in each direction.

Shorten Workouts. Though the tendency of some people who really want to get a lot out of their workouts is to spend a lot of time at the gym, the truth is that after 30 or 40 minutes, the benefit isn’t as great. To go that long, you’d have to lower the intensity of the workout, and that means that you’re spending too much time working out. It’s better to work out at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time. Mix it up. Don’t stick to the same workout routine for too long, or your body will adjust to the stress level and you won’t be getting an effective workout. For strength training, change your routine every few weeks. For cardio, it’s best to cross train rather than, say, to run every time. Water. Be sure to hydrate throughout the day. It takes a couple of hours for your body to absorb the water, so you can’t just drink right before exercise. Make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day.


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GARAGE

PETS

Three Silent Dangers In Your Garage

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s your garage a disaster waiting to happen? Read as we reveal the hidden dangers and easy ways to fix them. Ineffective lighting With tight spaces and lots of tripping hazards, a garage should really be the brightest room in the house. However, the sad truth is that most garages have only one dim fixture in the center of the room. The Fixes: Have additional light fixtures professionally installed over stairs and work areas, and use the maximum wattage bulb allowed (listed on the inside of the light socket). Protect bulbs with plastic or metal cage guards, available at hardware stores, in case you accidentally hit them with tall tools, broom handles or golf clubs. If rewiring for extra light fixtures isn't an option, consider a portable outdoor work lamp with a retractable cord, which you can move with you to different parts of the garage. The wrong electrical cords A regular household extension cord isn't heavy-duty enough to be used outdoors or in the garage, where damp concrete floors increase your risk of electrical shock. 26

The Fixes: To plug in power tools or radios, opt for outdoor extension cords and power strips: They're thicker and rounder than the regular cords. They will clearly be marked Suitable for Use with Outdoor Appliances. Check the voltage listed on each outlet to make sure you're not overloading it, and keep long cords wound up so they don't get tangled or cause someone to trip. Store unused power cords in the house to protect against deterioration from temperature fluctuations-and throw away any cord that has fraying or exposed wire. Troublesome toys Shelving toys or sports gear near liquid chemicals (cleaning or automotive products, for example) ups the odds that kids will be exposed to harmful toxins. Storing them up high may encourage youngsters to stand on unsteady boxes or climb to get to them. The Fixes: Designate a corner of the garage for bikes, skateboards, sports equipment, and toys. Stash them on a low shelf or use hooks to hang them on the wall within easy reach of kids. Corral loose items like tennis, golf, or soccer balls in bins or mesh bags.

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Choosing Your First Pet

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etting the first pet is one of the most joyous days for the family. Memories are created as the pet grows to become a member of the family. The choice of a pet would be based on the amount of space available, family health and financial availability among other things. Before welcoming a pet into your home you need to have adequate space available. The amount of space needed would depend on the size of the pet. A dog for instance would take up much more space than a bird. Therefore it is necessary to have a plan as to where the animal would be kept so you can then decide which pet to pick. Some members of the family may also have health issues such as allergies. Pets such as dogs or cats can cause health problems for them. If most members of the family are not allergic you may choose one that would least affect the family. If this is the first pet that is being welcomed into the home, it is recommended that you pay close attention to any changes in health that may occur when

the pet comes into the house. Pets need food, shelter and love to survive. You may be able to give them all the love and shelter they need but may be unable to provide them with enough food. Research each animal and their eating habits before making a decision. Ask neighbors with similar pets about their feeding patterns. Keep in mind that the visit to the veterinarian is important and may take up a bit of your finances. Pay attention to all details before choosing a pet. When you bring home that first pet your family is going to be overjoyed. So have some fun and look for a pet that works for you.


TRAVEL

Eight Exciting Easter Destinations

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he Easter period is a time of reflection and homage for many Christians around the world. Others see it as just another long holiday to facilitate a beach visit or party. It can be so much more if you check your travel guide. Experience Easter differently by visiting one of these hotspots.

New York’s Fifth Avenue is turned into a sea of extravagant bonnets on Easter Sunday. Get yourself a hat and join the informal parade that dates back to the 19th century, when it was the tradition to wear new clothes on Easter Sunday. The action revolves around Manhattan’s neo-Gothic St Patrick’s Cathedral. Florence In Italy Easter is celebrated in the most festive way. Solemn religious processions are held in many cities and villages during the two days before, accompanied with rituals and medieval costumes. The day after, on Easter Mondays, Pasquetta, is generally the time dedicated to do picnic and trips with family 28

or friends. Visit Italy in this period is warmly suggested since every town has its own spectacular way to celebrate this important religious event. Florence, for example, has its beautiful Explosion of the Chart or in Italian “Scoppio del carro” an ancient tradition dating back to the 11th century. During the Easter Sunday morning, two white oxen, decorated with flowers, drag an antique chart across Florence streets. This is one of the most fascinating festivals in the country starting from the church of SS Apostoli to Piazza del Duomo where all tourists and locals can admire the chart beautifully adorned and the costume procession. Madrid The festival of the Resurrection drums is highly popular in Spain. Drummers in white robes assemble on Madrid’s grand Plaza Mayor square on Easter Sunday, beating their instruments in celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Watch the noisy spectacle before catching one of the sombre processions happening across

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the Spanish capital. Jerusalem, Israel Observant Christians celebrating Easter may wish to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where they can see for themselves the sites of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The Easter significance of these sites makes Jerusalem one of the top 10 Easter destinations for Christians of all denominations. The Czech Republic Easter Monday is called "Whipping Monday" in Czech Republic. Boys spank girls on their legs with a braided whip made of pussywillow twigs, but don't worry, there is no harm intended! The girl gives the boy a painted egg and ties a ribbon around the whip in return. However, it is quite the spectacle. Bulgaria A unique tradition takes place in Bulgaria, the "good luck crack" consists on cracking eggs before lunch during the festive season. The eggs are cracked on the wall of the church and people also take turns in tapping their eggs

against the eggs of others, the person with the last remaining egg is considered the luckiest person for the rest of the year. Amsterdam Amsterdam comes into bloom with Easter colors throughout. From pastel decorations in store and home windows to daffodils and tulips popping up all around the city, this European city welcomes Easter and the beginning of much needed warmer weather and new beginnings. Scotland Easter in Scotland is a mostly laid-back event. The Scots do the traditional things commonly associated with Easter like attending mass and having a big meal, but they also add a bit of fun, particularly for the kids. Easter fun here is all about eggs. After they’re boiled and painted in all kinds of colours and designs, they’re taken to the park hills for rolling on Easter Sunday. While it may just sound like playtime for the kids, the event is very symbolic as it is carried out to represent the rolling away of stones on Jesus’ tomb thereby assisting in His resurrection.


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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 3 2013