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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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he current scourge of Saharan Dust in the country has been a nuisance to allergy sufferers and pretty much anyone interested in keeping their surroundings clean. The dry and windy conditions have contributed to an accumulation of dust all around. Due to these factors, it is recommended that measures be taken to keep the extra dust out of your home. The entry of dust into the house and getting deposited on a variety of objects is responsible for the dirt and dust that accumulates inside the house. These are so small in size that stopping their entry is almost impossible for most of us. Therefore, a dust proof house is one which is made or arranged in such a way that there is minimal entry of dust particles inside the house. This justifies the idiom that prevention is better than cure. As such, it is wise to minimize the accumulation of dust rather than allowing the dust to settle in and then going about the substantial process of cleaning. For those who like to have large windows for good air circulation, dust might be a possibility along with the air. The simplest thing that one can do is to decorate the house with things that do not catch dust and other particles easily. One such item in the house that is prone for dust settlement is a small ornament. The more ornaments in your house, the more you will have to worry about cleaning. Taking care of

Home Dust Control

these objects is a very time-consuming job and lots of time goes missing from routine cleaning due to this. The use of air purifiers in homes is increasing as one of the common methods of treatment for dust entry. They cut down on the dust particles that circulate in the air via a complex filtration process. The use of dehumidifiers is a great help in removing humidity from the air, as the presence of humidity encourages dust collection. The floors and walls should be as smooth as possible. Wall paints come out in different forms which provide a smooth coating on the wall surface. This doesn’t let particles get deposit-

ed. In any case, if dust is found, such paints allow smooth removal of the dust by a simple wiping action. Similarly, the floors should have tiles and hard wood, so that the dust does not remain hidden in the crevices. If your house has carpets all around, then the chance of dust sticking in the carpet fibres and hairs is very high. Removing these dust particles is not only a headache for you, but also for the maid service providers. Additionally, steam cleaning these will incur further expenditure. Using hard wooden floors and tiles is therefore more economical as they last longer than carpets on the floor. Whether or not you have carpets, it is w w w . a m g tt. c o m

advised that you have a quality vacuum cleaner in your home. The type of upholstery used on your furniture is also a factor in how much dust remains in your home. Soft, fabric surfaces commonly found on couches should be cleaned regularly. Also, mattresses should be regularly changed and cleaned, especially if there are children sleeping on them. Pets are another worry for people under the list of things to be kept clean. So many things are to be noted, if you want to be free from dust and keep the house clean. You can do it all by yourself or ask a competent cleaning agency to take care of such things.

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LIVING QUARTERS

DIY Air Conditioning Tips

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ir conditioners require regular maintenance to keep them in good working condition. Much of the maintenance is, however, a responsibility of the owner. Using your appliance properly is one key to prolonging its life. Most AC problems can be prevented by proper use and maintenance. Owners do not have to call AC services that often if they know how to take care of their ACs. On the other hand, if your air conditioning unit is faulty and you cannot fix the glitch, you should always call for professional help. If you know the problem is not within your skill or expertise, do not attempt to fix it. With that said, here are some tips to make sure your air conditioner performs at its best. Set the thermostat right. Some people do not know how to set it properly. For instance, 2

they leave it to run continuously. Try setting it to fan auto, so the air conditioner will only run it when needed. Make sure all switches are on. HVAC systems may have heaters and air conditioners that share controls and components. What happens is that when you

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turn off the furnace switch, the air conditioner ceases to function too. The rule is to be familiar with your equipment. Are electrical breakers working? Breakers can stop working without you knowing it. So, turn the breaker off and then turn it back on. Clean the filter. After some time, filters become clogged with dirt. Clogged AC filters means inefficient operation. Hence, you need to remove the dirt. Filters may need to be replaced eventually to keep your unit working efficiently. Replacement of filters is done every month. You may need a qualified technician for this. Turn off the air conditioner when necessary. One of the times when you should turn off your unit is when there is buildup of ice. If this happens, turn off your AC and turn on the fan. Ice will melt in about six hours.

Call AC service when this problem recurs. Air conditioner maintenance is a great way of preserving your unit. Maintenance is the key to preventing costly repairs in the future. When you maintain your AC, it will not fail too often. Cleaning your unit and inspecting it occasionally, ensure efficiency. Efficiency means you are using less power for optimum performance. Keep in mind that not all maintenance can be done by the owner. In other words, you must call professional maintenance service. When is the right time to have your air conditioner serviced? Don’t wait until the most extreme part of the hot and sticky dry season. Even if you plan on doing maintenance for yourself, liaising with a technician can provide you with the recommended maintenance intervals for your unit.


LIVING QUARTERS

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Make All-Weather Furniture Your Choice

o you need the perfect furniture for your allweather needs? When it is hot and dry we don’t mind a small lime in an outdoor setting. However, the rainy season presents a totally different monster for the patio furniture that was so cool just a few months ago. This reason is why you should think about choosing natural furniture for your all-weather furniture needs. Natural furniture comes from materials that are born in the elements. In the right hands, they can produce products that are not just products, but investments. Here are six benefits of all-weather furniture that keep homeowners and anyone with an outdoor lounging area coming back for more: Less upkeep: When you choose stronger materials such as those found in natural furniture for your all-weather living area, you will not have to worry as much 4

ing that each new year is another one that your all-weather furniture will last, and a longer amount of time you will hold on to your money.

with constant upkeep. Materials that come from nature are built to last within it. For this reason, most all weather furniture is highly self-maintaining. Good value over time: The longer your all-weather furniture lasts, the more it becomes an investment and not just a piece of furniture. When other homeowners or tenants with outdoor living areas are forking out dollars on new product every year, you rest easy know-

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Stunning to look at: On top of being cost efficient and durable, natural furniture selections are just more attractive to look at. That's because they are of nature's wonders and share in nature's beauty. With natural furniture, your all-weather furniture needs are met and exceeded in that you get a comfortable product to lounge in and beautiful decor for your outdoor living area. Comfortable to sit on: When fashioned by the right craftsmen, nature's materials can produce solid pieces of furniture that are comfortable to sit on, not just when brand new, but with each passing year of ownership.

Timeless appeal: Trends can cost you a lot of money and a lot of embarrassment down the road. Choosing natural furniture for your all-weather furniture needs helps you to avoid some of this. It helps you by giving your all-weather living area a timeless look that is in style no matter what year, decade, or century. That's because nature is never out of style. Unequalled durability: Born in the elements, furniture that is made from the elements means unequalled durability beyond compare. There is nothing these materials have not seen before and survived. This translates to a rather dependable piece of furniture. Make sure you're prepared with solid furniture that keeps you comfortable even as it helps beef up the purse and beautify your home!


LIVING QUARTERS

Getting Prepared For Hurricane Season

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s much as we would not like to hear it, God is not a West Indian, nor an American or any other nationality for that matter. Therefore, it is up to us to look out for ourselves and not hope for miracles in times of disaster. One such disaster is the hurricane. With that said, Abstract Home is offering some information that should help to prepare you for the worst-case scenario of a hurricane. Should your city or town be in imminent danger of a hurricane, chances are evacuation measures would have been put in place by relative authorities. These evacuation announcements should at all times be taken seriously and not treated with the “don’t care’ attitude we Caribbean people have been known for: Here is a checklist to consider before you leave for an evacuation centre or home:

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Don’t Lose Your Identity: We know the fear of an impending hurricane may cause you to act strangely, but that’s not what we are talking about. First, get important papers and special photos in order and secured in plastic. Identification is difficult and time-consuming to replace: so be sure to include ID cards, birth certificates, high school certificates, titles or deeds to property. Photos of special occasions or loved ones cannot be replaced, so including these is important as well.

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uation cause your mind to wander off. Keep focused on the basics such as clothing. Designate a spot, in the hall closet, to keep a bag of clothes for each person in the household. Make sure to include sleeping gear if you plan on going to a temporary shelter.

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Think Ahead for the Storm after the Storm: Think ahead and take video or photos of your property before you leave. This will help later with any insurance checklist claims for damage that may need to be filed. You don’t need any more drama.

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Get A Place to stay: If your house is more susceptible to damage than others, and staying with relatives is not an option, consider booking a room in a reasonable hotel or motel. A cheaper route might be to find temporary hurricane shelters.

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Don’t Forget Your Pet: Unfortunately, it is unlikely that your pet will have a place in a motel or hotel. Keep this in mind and try to find alternate housing for your loved one until it is safe to return, or check out pet-friendly hotels in your area.

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Keep a ‘clothes’ mind: Do not let the gravity of the sit-

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like that, but it does wonders for morale.

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Stay Downwind: If you decide to tough out the storm, stay downwind in your home. If the wind is hitting one window, go to the room opposite that window.

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Along with overnight clothes, consider stocking your Hurricane Kit with the following: Extra cash, generator, batteries, flash lights, battery operated radio/television, bottled water, toilet paper, nonperishable foods such as cereal or crackers, canned goods, can opener, a small cooler, candles, prescription medicines and any over-the-counter remedies you use regularly; and if you have small children - diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food and the like should always be considered as well.. Count on the power being out for at least a day or two: Remember that ATM's will be non-operational, so have at least some hard cash in your Hurricane Kit to see you through the storm. When TV and computer games no longer operate, board games or a deck of cards come in handy! Arts and crafts, crayons and downloadable coloring pages are always great distractions for the kids - so make sure you've stored some of these supplies in a tote bag or in the car trunk. You may wonder why you should pack games at a time

Stock up on Plywood: Plywood is a 'hot' commodity for those of who decide to stay through the storm. Boarding up windows that will take the brunt of the wind and rain is the wisest decision. If board is not available, protect your windows from the wind by criss-crossing them with layers of duct or packing tape. This will be enough protection for light-to-medium winds, but learning how to build and install plywood hurricane shutters is your safest bet. If you can afford it, have the plywood installed by a professional.

At All Costs, STAY INSIDE: As tempting as it may be to videotape or take photos of the storm, be sure to shoot from indoors - where it's safe, and dry! Hurricanes are serious business. Weather forecasters can only predict so much. Educate yourself and stay on top of weather updates in your area. There is no harm in being overly cautious. In most cases where a hurricane is concerned, it truly is better to be safe than sorry.


HOME OFFICE

11 Steps To Creating The Perfect Business Plan

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hat should a business plan cove? That’s the million-dollar question. For one thing, it should offer a thorough analysis of the need for the particular product or service you are planning to offer. It also needs to talk about why you are qualified to be making such an offering to the public. A business plan should address your strategies in terms of production and marketing, how you will be organized, any legal aspects that you must address, and what your accounting methods will be. In short, a business plan should address the following questions: 1. What do I want and what am I capable of doing? 2. What are the most workable ways of achieving my goals? 3. What can I expect from the future? Bear in mind that there is no one specific format that you should use, or one best way to lay out your business plan. However, there are some steps you can take to make the process go a little more smoothly. We’ve listed what we think is the easiest method, below. Step 1: Be Committed Be sure that your desire to work for yourself is truly greater than your desire to work for someone else. Step 2: Examine Yourself List your strengths and weak8

nesses. Determine how you can build on your strengths, and improve on your weaknesses. Remember, this can be a daunting task because you may have to own up to a few shortcomings you’re not prepared to recognize! Step 3: Choose the Right Product or Service This sounds silly, but just because you think you know what business you want to be in, it doesn’t mean your idea will be a profitable one. Take a look at the feasibility of your idea. Step 4: Research Your Market Market research is crucial to the success of any business, large or small. The more you know about your potential market, the greater your chances of securing the customers you want, right out of the gate, and that means making a profit. Step 5: Forecast Your Sales Revenue After you take a look at the market your product is best suited for, estimate the percentage of that market that you think you will reasonably be able to take over. Take in to account the number of competitors, their size, and the share of the market they already have. It is extremely important to be realistic during this exercise. Step 6: Choose a Location Is your new business going to be on the web? Or will you have a retail storefront? Will you con-

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sult out of your home office? Be careful to weigh both your personal preferences against what makes the most sense for the ultimate success of your business. You might like the idea of working in your pajamas every day, but if your shingle needs to be seen by the public for maximum growth potential, a home office might not be your best option. Step 7: Develop a Marketing Plan Here you will be forced to detail your plan to gain customers and turn a profit. Discuss possible marketing channels, price points, advertising, and sales promotion. Step 8: Develop an Organizational Plan What skills and talents does your new business need not only to survive, but to grow as well? If you don’t have all these traits, how are you going to get them in the door? Will you hire freelancers? Are you hoping to bring on an employee right away? If these individuals, and their skill sets, are vital to your success, do not make a plan without them! Step 9: Decide on Your Status Sole proprietor? Partnership? You need to decide how you’re going to approach this and investigate the legal ramifications of each situation. As a sole proprietor, you’re in control, but you’re also solely responsible. In a partnership, you share the responsibility, but you also share

the decision making and the profits. What works best for your budget AND your personality? Step 10: Address Your Accounting If you don’t know how much money is coming in and out of your business, you will never know if you are making a profit, or if you need to make changes. Keeping track of your digits is one of the single most important things you can do for your business. Decide on whether you will do it in-house or outsource it to a professional; if you take care of it yourself, decide on what software you will use. Step 11: Put it All into Numbers This may or may not be necessary for you; it depends on what type of business you are starting. When you approach a financial institution for a small business loan, they will respond better if they see all of your plans in numbers; they are, after all, in the business of numbers. So, go back through all the above steps, and assign dollar amounts to what you can; when you approach the bank, you can tell them exactly how much you need, and show them where their money will be going. You can then show them, with a number, how much of the market you are planning to corner, and your growth, by percentage, over the next X years. That’s it – wasn’t so hard after all, was it?


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ELEGANT IDEAS

Go Green With Your Decor

A bold outdoor furniture piece can take your garden to the next level. w w w . a m g tt. c o m

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ELEGANT IDEAS

Add atmosphere to your domestic dining experience by feasting in this fine outdoor space.

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ELEGANT IDEAS

This simple terrace is a cool place to chill out on hot days.

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ELEGANT IDEAS

You don’t need lots of space. Utilize green growth on your walls to spice up your solarium.

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ELEGANT IDEAS

Overload your front door with floral, festive appeal.

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KITCHEN

Healthy Cooking And Eating Tips To Beat Obesity

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alance, variety and moderation are what constitutes a healthy diet. Eating too much or too little of any particular type of food can be unhealthy. Living a long and healthy life depends largely on the types of food we eat and how we take care of our bodies. Food is our main source of vitamins and nutrients and how we cook it greatly affects its nutrient content. Cooking healthy means that you cook the food in a way that retains as much of the nutrients as possible. Doing this also helps eliminate excess fat from the diet. How you cook food is also important. Giving up foods that you love for the sake of staying healthy can be hard. It’s also not necessary. Eat what you love in moderation and you will be glad to see the difference. Remember that there is no such thing as bad foods, it all depends on 16

tips for healthy cooking and eating.

the amount that you eat. Try to incorporate different cooking styles as well as different food groups when preparing your meals. I know that many of you have grown accustomed to a regular menu. It’s now time to change it up and try out different menus and cooking techniques. If you are accustomed to cooking with a lot of seasoning salts, substitute them with fresh herbs instead. Add some fresh salads to your menu with little or no dressing. Here are some

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• Bake, broil, grill or roast meat instead of frying it. • Use a rack to roast meat on so that the fat can drip out. Instead of using drippings to baste meat use a low fat broth. • Trim away any visible fat and skin from meat. • Cook vegetables in the least amount of water to preserve nutrients. Steaming is a good way to cook vegetables. • Use low fat options to substitute for high fat recipes, such as low fat butter. • Choose whole wheat products as a way to get more fiber in your diet. • Use soy products as a replacement for meat or as a meat extender in food such as meatballs. • Cut back on mustard, ketch-

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up, pickles and other sauces if you need to reduce your sodium content. Add more fish to your diet. Salmon and tuna are both high in omega-3 fatty acids which is good for the heart. Plan what you are going to eat in advance. This helps you prepare a healthy meal instead of a rushed and unhealthy one. Do not skip meals, this makes you feel extra hungry at your next meal. When you feel that way you are more likely to gorge on excess food to make up. You are also more likely to snack on junk food. Have at least two servings of fruit everyday. Use olive oil, peanut oil or canola oil as they have the lowest fat content. When buying sandwiches choose whole wheat or pita bread over white bread.


RECIPES

Succulent Seafood

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ou know the Trini tradition about fasting for Lent. While most people say they give up meat for the period, they still enjoy seafood. Thus, it would be remiss of us to not give you some seafood recipes to fit the occasion.

SCRUMPTIOUS SALMON CAKES Ingredients 2 (14.75 ounce) cans salmon, drained and flaked 3/4 cup Italian-seasoned panko (Japanese bread crumbs) 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley 2 eggs, beaten 2 green onions, chopped 2 teaspoons seafood seasoning powder 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons creamy salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip) 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed, divided Directions Mix salmon, panko, parsley, eggs, green onions, seafood seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, and creamy salad dressing together in a large bowl; divide and shape into eight patties. Heat enough olive oil in a large skillet to cover the cooking surface over medium heat. Fry salmon patties in batches until browned, 5 to 7 minutes per side. 18

Repeat with more olive oil, as needed.

FANTASTIC FISH CHOWDER Ingredients 2 tablespoons butter 2 cups chopped onion 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced 1 stalk celery, chopped 4 cups chicken stock 4 cups diced potatoes 2 pounds cod, diced into 1/2 inch cubes 1 cup clam juice 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay SeasoningTM, or to taste Salt to taste Ground black pepper to taste 2 (12 fluid ounce) cans evaporated milk Cooked crumbled bacon (optional) Directions In a large stockpot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. SautĂŠ onions, mushrooms and celery in butter until tender. Add chicken stock and potatoes; simmer for 10 minutes. Add fish and simmer another 10 minutes. Mix together clam juice and flour until smooth; stir into soup and simmer for 1 minute more. Season to taste with Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in evaporated milk. Top each bowl with crumbled bacon, if desired.

CITY STYLE CEVICHE Ingredients 1/2 pound sea scallops 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and

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deveined 1/2 cup fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 1 tablespoon grated orange zest 1/2 cup halved, thinly sliced red onion 1 finely chopped red bell pepper 1 finely chopped yellow bell pepper 1 cup diced seeded tomato 1 small serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro Kosher salt to taste1/8 teaspoon ground cumin1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) 1 avocado, diced1 tablespoon olive oil Directions Remove the tough side muscles from scallops, if necessary; slice scallops in half horizontally. Fill a 1-quart saucepan 3/4 full with salted water and bring it to a boil. Add scallops and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Poach scallops until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the scallops to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Return the water to a boil and poach shrimp in the same manner, transferring them to a bowl of ice water after they become opaque inside and turn pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the scallops and shrimp well and pat dry; place them in a glass or ceramic bowl and pour in lime juice and orange juice. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Pour off most of the juice from the seafood (just leave it moist) and mix in orange zest, red on-

ion, red and yellow bell peppers, tomato, chile pepper, cilantro, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Refrigerate an additional 30 minutes. Just before serving, gently mix in avocado and drizzle the ceviche with olive oil. Serve in martini glasses or stemmed margarita glasses.

HOT CRAB DIP Ingredients 2 cups crabmeat 1 cup sour cream 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 1 cup white Cheddar cheese 1/2 cup capers, drained 2 (8 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 2 tablespoons minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon dried dill, or to taste 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x8 inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, combine crabmeat, sour cream, cream cheese, buttermilk, mayonnaise, Monterey Jack cheese, Cheddar cheese, capers, artichoke hearts, garlic, black pepper and dill. Stir until well mixed. Spoon dip into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Old Bay SeasoningTM. Bake in preheated oven until top is crusty, about 15 to 20 minutes.


BRIDAL

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Why Platinum Is The Perfect Choice For A Wedding Band

ou’ve probably heard that platinum is the best of the best when it comes to wedding bands, but do you really know the reasons why? Platinum has numerous qualities that make it the optimum choice for engagement rings and wedding bands. It is for good reason that platinum is the premier choice for a band. It is pure, rare and eternal making it a great way to show your love and commitment. Platinum is also extremely durable which makes it perfect for a lifetime of everyday wear and tear and unbelievably it grows stronger over time. Here are some of the reasons why you should choose a platinum wedding band. Platinum is a naturally hypoallergenic metal as it is so pure and naturally white, and this makes it ideal for those people who have sensitive skin. Because platinum is naturally white it will not cast any of its

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own colour onto a diamond if you choose to have diamonds set into your wedding band. Platinum is 90% to 95% pure which means that it will never fade or tarnish and will keep its natural white colour for its lifetime. Platinum is very rare and is found in very few places around the world and is actually thirty times more rare than gold. Platinum is a metal that

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has been coveted by rich and influential people for centuries and because it is very valuable it holds its value over time. Platinum’s durability is unequalled by any other metal and its resistance to wear and tear makes it the most protective and secure metal. This means that your platinum wedding band will be protected for a lifetime of wear. Platinum also does

not wear away or change shape, so if you have precious stones set into your platinum wedding bands they will be held securely. All precious metals will scratch, but because platinum is so dense, when it is scratched it is only displaced whereas gold will lose small slivers of metal when it is scratched. When you propose to your loved one, you want everything to be perfect and on your wedding day nothing is more exceptional that presenting a pure platinum wedding band. Platinum is precious and rare and is the ultimate symbol of love and commitment and like your love will grow stronger over time. When you consider all the facts mentioned about platinum, you can rest assured in the knowledge that platinum is the best choice for a ring that should be perfect in every way. Just like your love platinum is eternal and has everlasting radiance.


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FAMILY

Ideas For Easter Children's Parties

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ny party, not just children's parties, will likely be very boring without fun entertainment and games. The main reason why kids attend parties is to be entertained. Thus, you don't have to worry too much about what types of food you're serving and, instead, focus most of your attention and energies to making sure that you have exciting games and prizes lined up for the young guests. The most common children's party games include Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Hit the Piñata, and relay races. You can stick to this lineup, but you can also modify these games to fit your theme (if you have one) or to coincide with your child's gender. For instance, if your child is a girl, you can modify Pin the Tail on the Donkey into Pin the Bow on the Princess, or whatever tickles your fancy. The first and most obvious

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game is the Easter Egg Hunt. Hide chocolate eggs and candy around the house or yard and strategically place clues that would help the kids to find them. It is fun and give your child’s brain a workout at the same time. One party game raved about by young and old guests alike is Charades. For your young guests, you can have participants guess animals and objects by having one of them act out what the animals do. The Piñata is a staple at al-

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most any children's party. To make your own Piñata, all you need is a paper grocery bag filled with all kinds of treats. Decorate the grocery bag with colorful paper and drawings or mold it in such a way that it resembles a particular animal or object (even a person or cartoon character). Make sure that this game has enough adult supervision, though, because it involves the use of a stick (to hit the Piñata). Without forgetting the symbolism of the Easter egg, consider hosting an old fashioned spoon race and bring together the whole family as they race to the finish line without dropping the egg. Balloon Burst. Gather the children in a circle and have them hold each other's hands. Everyone begins to blow his own balloon at the signal of the birthday child. The circle widens and grows until they can no longer hold each other's hands,

until eventually the balloons pop and everyone is startled and laughing. This game is best for toddlers. Make an Easter Bingo card out of cute, clip art images. Mix the order up for each card you print. Cut up one card and place the images in an Easter basket. Give the kids jelly beans to use as bingo markers. Pull one image at a time out of the basket and show it to the kids. They must mark the spot that matches. Play until someone gets a bingo. As mentioned earlier, no party would be complete without games. There are many game ideas you can choose from, so you'll need to select wisely to fit your child's particular interests. You can stick to the traditional games or you can make modifications. However you carry it out, always keep in mind that it's for your child's enjoyment on his or her big day.


WARDROBE

POWDER ROOM

Luscious Lips Tips

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aking sure that your pucker does not lose its power is often overlooked. Here is how to keep those lips luscious. The first step to having beautifully kissable lips is hydration and protection. Refrain from constantly licking your lips as they will only feel drier due to enzymes in the saliva. Try conditioning your lips every day with lip products that contain vitamin A, vitamin E and natural emollients. Also consider that the sun, wind and other elements can dry, chap and wrinkle your lips. Choose lip products with SPF protection of 15 or higher. Check that your lipsticks contain condition-enhancing ingredients, especially if you use long-lasting lipsticks, which tend to dry out lips. Some of the finer lipsticks are packed with lip-softening shea butter, wheatgerm oil, natural waxes and the aforementioned vitamin E. For a relaxing, at-home boost to your lips, we suggest mashing

a quarter of a ripe paw-paw (papaya) until it makes a juicy paste. Then, lie down on a towel and apply a generous amount to the lips and the skin around the lips. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. After that process rinse it off and apply lip balm. Exfoliating enzymes are contained in pawpaw and can help to soften and refine lip lines. As a caution to older women: Be careful with the lip gloss! If your lips are thin, dry or creased, slippery glosses are likely to feather and run off. Apply lip gloss beginning at the center of the lips and reapply as necessary. Also, don't count on glosses to condition your lips. Gloss on dry, wrinkly lips may emphasize your flaws just as a shimmery lip treatment can do. So make sure your lips are conditioned and smooth before applying a very lustrous gloss. Lip care, though underrated is essential to beauty. Follow these pointers and tips and you will be well on your way to having the perfect pout.

Pump Up Your Easter Wardrobe With Pastels

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astels don’t have the sharp pop of our regular Caribbean fashion colour palettes. Yet, a well puttogether pastel outfit does not look out of place and will hold their own with the loudest or jazziest of wardrobe choices. Pastels are most common around Easter time as they are traditionally Easter colours. However, these soft, powdery hues seamlessly translate to the various seasons throughout the year and they also play nicely with many of our favourite fabrics. The problem is, a lot of people do not know how to complete their pastel look. It is not just a matter of incorporating pastel colours into your outfit. It must be done in such a way that it works. Here are a few tips for how to wear these colours. The monochrome look also works if done correctly. Simply, choose one colour and stick with it throughout your outfit. Try it with one of Easter’s other big trends. For instance, rock a crop top in a light pink colour and you will be surprised that w w w . a m g tt. c o m

this looks sophisticated. An outfit is not complete without the right accessories. Try starting by adding a pastel coloured bag. Whether it is pink, mint green or powder blue, you can pair it with white, black or any other neutral shade top and bottom. This pairing with a neutral tone gives the pastel coloured accessory the pop it wouldn’t necessarily have on its own. In other words, make your pastel piece pop by keeping the rest of your colour palette simple. The fabric makes a world of difference in opting to wear pastels. Choose a delicate fabric such as chiffon or lace to for a more feminine feel. Finally, you can achieve the look by colour blocking. Different pastels work well together. As a matter of fact, mixed and matched pastel colours blend better than putting the same regular colours together. This means, you can confidently combine pastel pink with pale lemon, blue with mint green, creamy orange with purple, and wear pastels the best way.

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MEDICINE CABINET

HOME GYM

Keep Up Your Carnival Routine For Firm Legs Year Round

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4 Flu Vaccination Myths Debunked

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here has been lots of talk about the flu shot. Many claim that it is unnecessary and the flu is simply a common cold. However, the flu is different and requires different treatments and precautions in dealing with it. Here are facts that will debunk some of the various myths about the flu shot. The Flu Vaccine Can Make You Sick The injected flu vaccine contains an inactivated virus that cannot give you influenza. If you feel achy or slightly feverish, it is a normal reaction of the immune system to the vaccine, and generally lasts only a day or two. While the flu shot is proven to be safe, it can cause side-effects. However, severe side effects are extremely rare. One in a million people may get Guillain-BarrĂŠ Syndrome, which cause muscle weakness and paralysis. Healthy People Don't Need To Be Vaccinated. While it's especially important for people who have a chronic illness to get the flu shot, anyone (even healthy folks) can benefit 24

from being vaccinated. It is recommended that everyone (older than 6 months of age) gets a yearly vaccination against influenza. Pregnant Women Should Not Get A Flu Shot Pregnant women should especially get the flu vaccine since their immune systems are weaker than usual. The inactivated flu vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy. You Cannot Get The Flu If You Had A Flu Shot Flu shots are made to fight the most strands of flu. But it is still possible to get another strand. The shot can still protect you and others unable to get the shot – from flu related complications.

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arnival is over! However, there is still reason to keep in shape and those legs looking cute. Keep working out and try these leg exercises for sexier stilts. Looking good in those new pants requires lean firm thigh muscles. The front thigh muscles benefit from exercises which involve squatting and bringing the shins forward. Try this exercise for the front thighs. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright and straight, not bent at the waist, with abs tightened. Squat slowly while breathing in; keeping your back straight at all times. Breathe out as you come up. This must be done slowly especially as you go down into the squat. Every inch of you should be felt while going down as you should not let your body weight bring you down. This exercise should be done in three sets of 20 with 90 seconds rest in between sets. Do this every evening except on weekends for optimum results. Be sure to warm up your knees before this exercise by lying on your back with hands under your butt. Raise shins until legs are straight then bring them back down. The warm up routine should follow the same repetitions and sets as the squatting exercise except with 20 second rest intervals instead of 90 second ones. In order to firm the inner thighs we recommend two exercises. The first exercise involves

spreading your legs apart and bringing them back together. This exercise is a gem as it also works out the outer thighs as well as the abdominal region. Lie down on you back and place your hands under your butt. Without bending your knees too much, raise your legs straight up. Keep your back flat on the floor to prevent the waist from straining. Move legs to the side and bring them back together. Start by opening the legs a little apart and gradually increase the distance between them. This will protect the inner thigh from injury. Open the legs to the point of mild tension, not pain. Breathe in when opening the legs and out when bringing the legs together. Do three sets of 20 reps with 60 second intervals. Next we target the muscles at the back of your thigh for our workout. Stand up and use a chair, wall or table for balance and support. Tighten and flex your butt and legs. Bend the knee of your support leg a little while you raise the opposite leg behind you. Keep legs tensed and hold at the top of the movement until you feel the muscles working. It is important to keep your toes counter-pointed so as to avoid stiffening and also create more tension on the legs. Breathe out while raising the leg and breathe in while dropping the leg. Remember, to make all of your movements slow, but fluid.


PETS

Keeping Your Canine Cool

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he temperature gauge just keeps climbing up and leaves you wondering what can I do for my dog? Summer heat can cause health and comfort issues for us as humans, as well as our beloved four-legged friends. Since Trinidad and Tobago is a tropical climate in the midst of a dry spell, dealing with this heat is a real problem for many dog owners. Dogs have a much harder time cooling down than humans. This is because they can’t sweat like us. They can sweat only a tiny bit through their paws, but this is not nearly enough to cool them off. Panting is a dog’s main avenue for keeping cool. However, panting isn’t very effective in hot and humid climates. The best thing to do on super warm days is to keep your dog in the shade as much as possible. Your pup is still going to be want to be active, but when you take him for walks try to limit activity between noon and 2 p.m. since it is the hottest part of the day. This will help to prevent heat stroke. 26

Want to do more? There are some wonderful dog gifts available to help your dog cool down during the worst of the summer heat. To start you can buy your canine friend a dog pool which is made of tough PVC. They are lightweight and durable, so they aren’t easily punctured. The dog pools are also easy to fill with cool water and empty for cleanup. This will keep your dog refreshed for hours. A pool is relaxing and will provide your dog comfort in the heat. Humans enjoy a cool shower on a hot steamy day, treat your best friend to a nice cool bath. If your dog is ready for a bath take advantages of a warm day to

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soap him up with dog shampoo and cool him down! Choose an organic dog shampoo with tea tree oil to naturally relieve some skin irritations and conditions. That will also help your dog be more comfortable. If you have access to online shopping, getting cooling coats for dogs is another option. There are two types of cooling coats. The first one has fabric that absorbs water and then as the water evaporates it slowly releases it over a long period time. This evaporative cooling coat will work to keep your dog cool for hours. The second choice to beat the heat is to get a dog cooling coat that uses an

advanced technology. This type of coat has specially designed inserts which release long-lasting, temperature-specific (58 degrees F, 14 degrees C), cooling relief. They are designed to fit inside the dog coat. You can purchase cooling, coat replacement packs. If you cannot splurge on a cooling coat, then another designer dog summer gift item is a cooling bandana. These bandanas are made of a special material that absorbs water and then slowly releases the moisture over time. If you put the bandanna in the refrigerator it extends the time your pooch can stay cool. These bandanas are a hundred percent reusable. Just rinse and use a mild detergent on them after use and then dry it completely. There are several different styles to choose from featuring different designs or extras, like reflective tape for your dog’s safety. Don’t let the extreme heat catch you and your furry friend unprepared!


TRAVEL

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Overlooked Travel Hacks For Your Easter Trip

he Easter vacations period happens to be one of the best times to enjoy, relax and spend an exotic holiday with friends and family. Many people choose this time to travel and they are right for doing so. Leaving Trinidad is fairly reasonable at that time (especially if you are headed to a temperate country). If you do plan on an Easter overseas trip, here are some often overlooked hacks that can make your vacay less stressful. Pack a Pillow: A neck pillow might not exactly look much, but this common tool can greatly make it easier to loosen up and maybe even go to sleep on your journey. A superb memory foam pillow can avoid or lessen neck, shoulder and upper back problems to get a much more comfortable trip. Stay Charged Up: This hack works on some airlines and almost every place of accommodation these days. In instances where you can’t get a wall con-

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clothing, foodstuff or just inside your expensive bag. You could start using a shower cap to shield the bottom part of your sneakers. This is extremely helpful to save space or just in case your own bag does not have any additional section for the footwear.

nector or you forgot your phone charger adapter, you can use an alternate means of charging your items. Look for a TV set that has USB slots. All you need to do would be to charge your own gadget utilizing the USB slot of the TV set in the room. Some of the newer planes even have USB slots which makes staying charged possible. Scan Travel Papers: This is a handy backup plan should you lose your own travel files. You can scan your own travel files

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and save all of them inside your smartphone or even tablet. You could also save it on your Dropbox to help you access it where you go. Be sure to save these scanned images and barcodes as well. You may not always have access to WI-Fi or data and you will need to find the content easily. Alternative Usage of a Shower Cap: Shoes are high usage and can quickly get dirty. As such, you must be super careful when packing them amongst

Help Headsets Stay Tangle Free: To avoid having your headsets twisted you can wind them around a folder clip. You can also affix the actual binder to your bag or back pocket for quick access. Collars and Belts Go Together: This is often convenient if you happen to be going on a business trip. To prevent ruining or wrinkling your shirt you're able to line the actual collars together with your belt to make sure they are crispy. You also get to save some space in your baggage when carrying this out. We hope that you find those pointers were helpful for your next trip. Happy Easter travails.


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

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Abstract Home Volume 10 - Issue #1  

In This Issue: DIY Air-conditioning Tips Getting Prepared for Hurricane Season Overlooked Travel Hacks

Abstract Home Volume 10 - Issue #1  

In This Issue: DIY Air-conditioning Tips Getting Prepared for Hurricane Season Overlooked Travel Hacks

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