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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.

Achieve Zen In Your Bedroom

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fter a long day at work, most people head to their bedrooms to relax. The bedroom should be the most intimate and personalized room in your entire house. It is where true expression can take place, allowing you to create your own little world. For many this simple place can be an escape from the outside world. This article will guide you on how to set the energy right in your bedroom by showing simple way on how to Feng Shui your bedroom. Say goodbye to the TV, computer and exercising machine - these items disrupt the Feng Shui in the bedroom. Open windows - Allow fresh air into your room. If this is impossible to do, invest in an air purifier to remove any tox-

ins that may be present in your room. You would feel better just knowing that you are inhaling clean air. Plants in the bedroom - this is only a good idea if it is a fairly large bedroom and the plants are located far away from the bed. Colors - Use soothing colors to achieve Zen in your bedroom. A good example of this would be deep chocolate brown sheets contrasted with white pillows. The walls should be painted in earthy tones to match the sheets and pillows. De-clutter - A messy room will definitely disrupt the Feng Shui. It symbolizes unfinished business and can make you feel anxious - the opposite of what Feng Shui represents. Keep books

stacked neatly and in size order, clothes packed in the respective places and the stuff that you can’t just seem to categorize, place them in baskets, hidden away from eye sight. Keep them together - Similar furniture should be placed together as this creates harmony in the room. Ultimately, this can help you sleep better at night. Placement of the bed - Move it against the wall and allow access to it from either side. Remember, soothing is the objective so choosing sheets should have the same effect. Circular patterns are known to have a soothing effect. Doors - keep all doors closed at night. This will help block out noise and distraction which can disrupt your sleep.

Having a Mouse-Free House

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he recent rains have brought several problems with them from flooding to inadequate water treatment. Another side effect of the weather is the prevalence of rodents seeking to enter homes. While Trinidad and Tobago has a variety of rodents; we seldom find any more invasive than rats and mice. These particular rodents can pose health problems to you and your family so keeping them out of your home is a must. This is how you do it. Patch all possible entry points. This can be extremely difficult in older houses, but it is the most guaranteed method of prevention. Even a small hole big enough for a mouse’s head to fit through can turn into a veritable “mouse highway” into your home. Peppermint oil can keep mice away as well. It is such a powerful scent, it overloads the

sensitive olfactory senses and they will try to avoid it as much as possible. It is also strong enough to mask the scent of any food in your home. Try dabbing a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and placing them near any places a mouse may enter your home. A great way to keep mice away is to keep food away from rodents by keeping kitchens and outdoor cooking grills clean, and by using thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids for foods and animal feed. Also, pick up any fruit that has fallen from trees in your yard. If a mouse is attracted to your yard, the house is not far away. Finally, rodent-proof your garbage cans by setting them on 6-in. high wood platforms. Make sure lids fit tight; use rubber cords to fasten them down if necessary. Replace garbage cans that have cracks or holes.

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LIVING QUARTERS

Bathroom Design Guidelines

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pdating your bathroom designs involves more than just deciding what colour bath to pick! A re-design means that you can swap the layout and make room for a separate shower and more storage units. The first step is to plan the design as with kitchens, your local supplier will run off a computer-generated plan based on the bathroom's dimensions and your particular requirements. If you're sticking with the same layout, make sure you measure your bathroom suite carefully before you go shopping for a replacement so that you know the new items will fit. Re-plumbing and re-wiring will push the cost up. So stick with the existing service points if at all possible although this may not be unavoided if you want to change the positioning of the bathroom suite. First decide on the correct place for the bath and/or shower. If your toilet is in your bathroom, decide where this will go and then position the

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washbasin. Once the fittings are planned you can work out how to use the remaining space which, in modern bathrooms, may be quite limited. Some kind of storage, either cupboards or shelves – preferably both is required for toiletries, cleaning products, toilet rolls and children's bath toys. If your bathroom is spacious you may also keep clean towels and your linen basket in there. Choosing the bath and basin can be a time-consuming task. Even if you're not opting for something like a Jacuzzi spa or indoor hot tub, baths come in all shapes and sizes standard oblong, roll-top bath, corner, curved, wider at one end than the other and colours. Unless you desperately yearn for a particular colour it's best to stick with white. It's clean-looking, inoffensive and will go with any colour you decide to use for paint and furnishings. Taps, too, come in a bewildering array of styles – choose a design that will complement

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your bathroom. Before making your final decision on the bathroom suite it is helpful to check your plans with your plumber to see if there are any potential snags with the designs you have picked. Even if your window has frosted glass make sure you have a curtain or blind with ‘blackout' lining unless you want neighbours or passers-by watching the silhouette of you bathing, washing or worse. When it comes to decoration, remember to use or specify, if someone else is doing the work grout that is resistant to steam and water. Similarly, choose paint and wallpaper that will stand up to heat and steam look in the ever-expanding ‘kitchen and bathroom' ranges. Pale colours brighten a small bathroom, especially one with no natural daylight but it's fun to experiment with colour. And a large mirror across one wall, especially the wall opposite the window, will help make a small bathroom look and feel much bigger and lighter. Floor coverings, too, come in all types

of material and colour but avoid carpet which is impractical and unhygienic in the bathroom. If you're installing a shower either as a separate feature or above the bath – investigate the different types before deciding which to choose. If you have high water pressure you could opt for a thermo shower which is connected direct to your heating system and keeps the water temperature even. An electric shower system heats the water itself and is mostly used above the bath. Power showers will give you the ultimate shower experience, even if you have low water pressure. Look for a non-slip surface in both bath and shower. Speak with your plumber and find out that the drainage can take the amount of water your shower is producing an overflowing shower tray can cause serious problems. Above all, the main thing to remember when redesigning your bathroom is choose a design that works for your lifestyle.


LIVING QUARTERS

Fire Safety For Your Home

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ire safety is an important factor for any home-owner as its negative impacts are numerous ranging from loss of valuable possessions, loss of homes or even loss of loved ones. The financial burden caused after this tragedy is ever -present as persons adversely affected has to devise strategies to rebuild what was once there place of refuge and solace: their home. What is even more hurtful is the idea that the fire may have been prevented, if simple steps were taken to ensure fire-safety in the home. 1) Smoke Alarms- Smoke alarm systems are the first line of defense as they detect the slightest sign of smoke- there is never smoke without fire. It is suggested that one fire alarm be installed on every floor of the house and specifically close to the bedroom. The batteries should be changed

twice a year and the device should be checked regularly to ensure that it is operational. These devices are very sensitive; to ensure that it used when there is a real fire, have the fan turned on when cooking or ensure that guests are aware of the ‘No smoking’ rule in house to curb the chances of a false alarm.

3) Use fire-resistant materialsIf you're building a new house or renovating your existing home use building materials that are fire-resistant, like asphalt-fiberglass or masonry roofing. Try to avoid using wood shingles and shakes. Make sure all vents and weep holes are fitted with spark guards

2) Fire extinguishers- Owning a fire extinguisher is one step but learning how to use it is another. Ensure that it is a multichemical extinguisher and that each member of the household knows how to use it and where it is located. These should be placed strategically in areas of the house where there is greater risk of a fire occurring than others. These include kitchen or garage. Similar to the smoke alarms, these should be checked regularly.

4) Electrical appliancesElectrical appliances should always be turned off in case of a power outage as the surge of electricity available when the power is returned may be enough to overload the outlets causing a fire. Similarly, too many extension cords plugged into one outlet causes it to become overloaded. It is advisable to unplug all electrical appliances when leaving the house as power outages often occur when no one is at home.

10 Plants That Keep Your Air Clean

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lants can be a great addition to any room. But did you know they can actually help purify the air you are breathing? The list below shows a compilation of house plants that can do more than beautify your homes. Aloe Vera - This multi-functional plant is known for removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air. These by-products usually come from cleaners, glue, plastics, detergent and paints. Gerber Daisy - Like aloe vera, this also removes benzene from the air. As well as carbon dioxide and trichloroethylene (this can come from dry cleaning).

and the water and light must be right. Bamboo palm - lives in shady surroundings and acts as a natural air purifier. It filters out trichloroethylene, benzene and even some traces of formaldehyde.

it receives sufficient light. Chrysanthemum - Other than adding aesthetic value to your home or office, this beautiful flower can also remove benzene from the air. Boston fern - It is a natural air purifier and removes formaldehyde.

Golden pothos - Also like aloe vera, it removes formaldehyde. A good place to put this plant would be a garage provided that Chinese evergreen- removes a ABSTRACT HOME SEPTEMBER 2013 w w w . a b st r a c th o m e . c o m 4

variety of air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene and is known to emit high levels of oxygen. It is a low maintenance plant as even in low lighting it can produce berries and bloom. Weeping fig -is perfect for those with carpets and rugs as this plant is known for filtering out pollutants that generally accompany carpets. However it is a high maintenance plant

Peace Lilly - like the bamboo palm, it requires a shady area to survive and lots of watering. However, it purifies the air from trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde and some traces of toluene (solvent used in adhesive films, floor polishes and automotive chemicals) and xylene (a solvent used in rubber and leather). Spider plant - very little maintenance is needed for this plant to survive and cleanses the air from benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.


LIVING QUARTERS

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Landscaping Don’ts

e’ve said before that a lovely yard landscape is just as important to your homes’ aesthetic as the house itself. There is no sign that we are going to change our minds where that is concerned, since we fully endorse and encourage landscaping. However, there are some things which definitely should not be done. Don’t Forget To Plan If you avoid planning out your landscape you could end up with an odd design that doesn’t aesthetically flow. You don’t even have to use a professional landscaper to do this, as you can do a lot of things yourself. Plan out where you will place different flowers, plants, trees and your grass so that everything is balanced out perfectly. Don’t Think Straight You may think we’re crazy for telling you that, but we don’t mean thinking straight in the traditional sense. Although a straight line is the quickest way from point A to point B, they do not leave much to the imagination. Curved walks and beds slow down the eye and add interest. Don’t Eliminate Yard Space Taking away lawn and putting in a large patio or brick surfacing will be easier to maintain. 6

However, it is a lot less pleasing to the feet, and the eye. A fun yard is a soft yard when asking children. There is no substitute for grass. It is hard to put in, but once it is there, the maintenance really isn’t that bad. No matter the climate a lawn is a much better choice than gravel or pavement. Excessive gardens and small pathways will actually create more mud because the grass will be so trodden on that it can’t grow back. Don't underestimate the size of mature plants It's hard to imagine that an agave the size of a basketball will grow to an eight-foot monster or that the cute little ficus benjamina will overwhelm your house and undermine your foundation, but it will. And the cost of yanking them out will blow you away. For trees destined to stand near a single story house, don't plant anything that will grow taller than 15 or 20 feet. You have a lot more leeway with two story houses and trees that go in parking strips. Still, huge trees in front yards make generous-sized houses look like Monopoly pieces. Don't use too many different plants Too much variety dilutes a design, making it look more haphazard and messy than it oth-

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erwise might. Try to keep the number of plants down to five or six in a setting. If you must use more plants, layer them. Put some behind others, with the tallest in the back. Don’t Forget The Miscellaneous The most important decisions you’ll make will hardly be noticed with the naked eye. You must have proper drainage, a solid deck foundation and the pond must have the appropriate amount of sand and gravel underneath. These little things won’t be noticed by your average guest, but they will make all the difference. Another important decision is the hardware, or sprinklers. Be sure to get your sprinklers done properly and ensure there are no shortcuts. If you let anything slide, you may be digging your yard up a few times a year to make repairs that should have been done correctly the first time.

Don’t forget to consider maintenance While you may envision the yard of your dreams, don’t forget to think about practicality. Your yard must remain functional and you must be able to maintain it. Do not block access to utility poles and boxes. You may choose to “hide” these things with a garden trellis perhaps, but be sure utility workers still have access to them. Also think about your schedule. Do you have enough time to trim trees and shrubs to properly maintain them? Even though they are beautiful now, overgrown and untrimmed trees, plants and shrubs will detract from your yard’s overall appearance in the years to come. In a similar manner, if you don’t have time to mow the yard or hate doing it, think about all the open grassy areas you have, especially if you don’t want to hire a lawn crew either. Consider planting easy-to-maintain ground cover in areas that are hard to mow like a tight corner or a steep hill. Think about these things as well. Do you want to clean out that garden pond on a regular basis? Will you want to repaint the picket fence every couple of years? Will the rose bushes be more of a hassle than a pleasure? Remember, if you take on too much, your yard will become a burden rather than an asset.


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Being Financial Role Models

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uilding a family is a hard job. So is managing finances. However, part of building your family entails financial management and a lot of what you do will be passed on to your children and grandchildren. That is why you need to devote serious thought and energy into the fiscal tenets you teach your children. After all, you are their financial role models. Save Hopefully, you are already in the practice of putting money aside for a rainy day. If you have a cushion, focus now on making it deeper. Your expenses have grown, and your emergency fund should grow accordingly. Experts recommend having six-to-nine months of living expenses set aside in case of job loss, which becomes even more of a hardship if one spouse is at home now on childcare duty. This also serves as a safety net in the case of other unexpected expenses such as major medical bills or a sudden need for a new car, water heater or roof repair.

in effort to earn money. Some default to the common arrangement of doing household chores for an allowance, but doing so runs the risk of teaching kids they only should clean their room in exchange for Avoid Impulsive Spending Make a budget and stick to it. The actions of a parent speak louder than their words. Parents who purchase items impulsively using a credit card often have children who develop the same habits. A credit loan should be there for when it is an emergency, not for every day impulsive purchases. Teach Your Kids The 10 Percent Rule Your kids can start learning about money as early as 2 or 3. That's when you want to start the grocery-cart dialogue about why we're buying this raisin bran

Emphasize The Importance Of Earning Money Many parents strive to teach their children they have to put ABSTRACT HOME SEPTEMBER 2013 8

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instead of that raisin bran. But the number-one rule to hammer home from the day your child can talk is the 10 percent rule. If your kids save 10 percent of every dollar they get, from the time they're babies until the time they stop working, they'll have plenty to retire on. Be Open About Your Financial Situation Although children like sweets, you don't have to sugarcoat the truth about your family's financial standing. Teach your kids about money from objective reality. It's a nice thought to say everyone - regardless of financial status - has access to all the good things in life. It's also naĂŻve and untrue. Instead of trying to shield your kids from your household budget, include them in the decision-making process on when to save and when to spend money.

Stay On Top Of Bill Payments True, monthly expenses can be daunting. But paying off debt and staying on top of bills will prevent a host of problems in the future. Of course, keeping your lights on, your water running, your car in the driveway, and a place to live are a really good excuse for paying your bills. Keep in mind that one missed rent check could legally have your landlord drawing up papers to evict you within days, and mortgage and auto lenders are also pretty stuffy about that whole paying-on-time thing-meaning you could be suffering serious consequences pretty soon after a missed payment Get Life Insurance Many young adults without children can actually spend their money more wisely than on life insurance. That concept changes immediately upon conception. Now, someone will be depending on your income for years to come. You’ll need to be sure that if something unfortunate happens to you, your child can still maintain the lifestyle you’ve been providing. Only life insurance can provide that financial security.


elegant ideas

Exploring Future Finishes Skylights and ornate ceiling architecture will be a popular fixture in future home design

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elegant ideas

Traditional thoughts of texture will take a backseat to innovative flooring options

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elegant ideas

A creative wall accent acts to enhance a simple bedhead. Such accents will add boosts to furniture all around

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elegant ideas

Bold colours will be a common fixture of home interiors‌ even in kitchens w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

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KITCHEN

Keeping Your Kitchen Germ Free

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he kitchen for most is a place of creation. It is, a place where you can put together a meal and share with love ones. It is a place where ideas are formed and pots and pans are immediately pulled out of cabinets and your inner chef emerges. However what some of us may not know is that bacteria can take up a permanent residence in the kitchen. The following are some tips to avoid unwanted germs and bacteria in your kitchen. Countertops - This is where most of the prepping takes places so it is highly important to always keep here as bacteria and germ free as possible. The trick is to use a disinfecting spray/wipe as soon as the prepping stage is over. This will help to eliminate the spreading of bacteria unto other parts of the kitchen/household. The disinfectant label should read “kills 99.9% germs.” Cutting board -Each household should have at least two cutting boards. One dedicated to vegetables and the other to meat. 16

various germs and can even lead too salmonella poising. Knife Block - Always ensure that once a knife is used, it is thoroughly washed with warm water and soap and properly dried. By doing this, it can prevent the risk of mold growing in the knife block. Sponges - Use different sponges for each task to avoid cross contamination. To clean them soak them in hot water with a teaspoon of bleach. Frozen Food - Do not thaw frozen food under hot water as this can cause the bacteria to multiply. Plastics are usually considered to be better than the wooden cutting boards since it is less porous. However if the board has numerous cutting indentations, it is time to replace it as these spaces can trap bacteria. Dish towel- When handling raw meant, use paper towels and discard them immediately after. Dish towels are all well and good, but, raw meat can carry

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Kitchen Sink - Each time meat is placed in the sink, it can leave behind bacteria. Make sure to disinfect the sink with bleach after each interval. Soap dispensers - Invest in a soap dispenser, it would prevent contaminating the pump. Cooked meals - The average time each meal should remain in

room temperature is two hours. Don’t let dirty dishes or appliances sit overnight - By doing this you are inviting bacteria, germs, flies ants, cockroaches and even rodents into your kitchen. Take the trash out frequently - Rotten food is not a pleasant aroma, especially one for your kitchen. Prevent the spread of germs and horrid smells out of your kitchen by removing the garbage. We suggest every night. Organize your fridge - Keep meat and seafood away from fruits and vegetables to avoid cross contamination. Make sure to wash fruits before consuming. Throw away any leftovers after three days of storing it in the refrigerator. Go green - Let’s admit it; cleaning products can be expensive. However, there are alternatives. Products such as baking soda, vinegar, distilled water and lemon juice can be substituted for cleaning products. This can be a less expensive route, without the harsh chemicals.


RECIPES

Amazing Appetizers

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ans of food know that a good appetizer sets the tone for a great overall meal. Here, we acknowledge the importance of appetizers as we share some easy recipes with you. Happy Eating!

Bacon & Date Bites Ingredients 1 (8 ounce) package pitted dates 4 ounces almonds 1 pound sliced bacon Directions Preheat the broiler. Slit dates. Place one almond inside each date. Wrap dates with bacon, using toothpicks to hold them together. Broil 10 minutes, or until bacon is evenly brown and crisp.

Jalapeno Poppers Ingredients 12 ounces cream cheese, softened 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese 1 tablespoon bacon bits 12 ounces jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved 1 cup milk 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup dry bread crumbs 2 quarts oil for frying Directions In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Spoon this mixture into the jalapeno pepper halves. Put the milk and flour into two 18

separate small bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos first into the milk then into the flour, making sure they are well coated with each. Allow the coated jalapenos to dry for about 10 minutes. Dip the jalapenos in milk again and roll them through the breadcrumbs. Allow them to dry, then repeat to ensure the entire surface of the jalapeno is coated. In a medium skillet, heat the oil to 365 degrees F ( 180 degrees C). Deep fry the coated jalapenos 2 to 3 minutes each, until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.

Garlicky Shrimp Scampi Ingredients 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon minced shallots 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/2 teaspoon paprika 2 pounds large shrimp - peeled and deveined Directions Preheat grill for high heat. In a large bowl, mix together softened butter, olive oil, garlic, shallots, chives, salt, pepper, and paprika; add the shrimp, and toss to coat. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook the shrimp as close to the flame as possible for 2 to 3 minutes per

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side, or until opaque.

Sugar Coated Pecans Ingredients 1 egg white 1 tablespoon water 1 pound pecan halves 1 cup white sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Directions Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Grease one baking sheet. In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg white and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add pecans to egg whites, stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

Spicy Sweet Potato Chips Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices Salt and pepper to taste Directions Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking

sheet with aluminum foil. Stir together olive oil, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Brush the sweet potato slices with the maple mixture and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, then turn the potato slices over, brush with any remaining maple mixture, and continue baking until tender in the middle, and crispy on the edges, about 7 minutes more.

Deviled Egg Appetizer Dip Ingredients 12 eggs 1 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon red hot sauce Directions Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; remove saucepan from heat and let eggs cook in hot water off the heat for 12 minutes. Pour off hot water and place eggs in a bowl full of ice water to cool. Peel and halve eggs. Chop about half the egg whites and place into a bowl. Put remaining egg whites and yolks in a food processor with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and hot sauce; process till smooth and transfer to a bowl. Fold chopped egg whites into the mixture to serve.


BRIDAL

The Wrong Ways To Propose

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ou and your partner are having dinner and as you drink your glass of wine, you choke on an object. While someone is administering the Heimlich maneuver, you realize that you’ve choked on an engagement ring. You won’t be so eager to say yes now will you? Well, maybe, depending on your feelings towards your partner, but this shows that television romance is very different from reality. There are various ways to propose to your partner but there are also some proposals that may end a relationship. If you’re looking to propose to that special someone, try to stay away from these. Proposing over the phone: Women have several ideas of how they want to be proposed to and over-the-phone is not one of them. You don’t have to go down on one knee or announce it during a big event (which is also a ‘no no’) but you have no idea what your partner will be doing when you make that call; they may be out shopping or washing the dishes, not a very romantic setting. Plus, it takes away 20

from the intimacy and emotion that a proposal brings. In an e-mail, text message or instant message: Messaging, although useful, is very impersonal and, similar to calling, removes all intimacy from the request. Additionally, there is the possibility that he/she may not even receive the message or receive it and dismiss it as a joke. Having a friend do it: This is an obvious ‘no no’ but there have been persons who have been proposed to by their partner’s friend. How childish! If he/she isn’t willing to confront you on such a decision, how bright is the future looking for both of you, as a potential married couple? At a Sports stadium or big event: A marriage is a union between two people, so why ask that person to spend the rest of their life with you in the presence of screaming fans or at a party? Not only is it unoriginal, but it may upset patrons who are interrupted because of your news and who

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do not wish to share your happy moment. It can also make your partner very uncomfortable if they do not like being around crowds of people. With a ring that was meant for someone else: This is cheap and says a lot about your character and not in a positive way. When your partner finds out about it, and in most cases they do, he/she will feel unappreciated; like second-hand tools. After a fight: Some people do this in an attempt to save a dying relationship or to prove how much they love their partner. But it is better to work things out first, than to get married and realize you made a big mistake While drunk: We’ve all made some pretty bad choices while drunk but let’s not make a marriage proposal another one on the list. Ensure that you are sober and thinking clearly; a marriage is not something to be taken lightly and an engagement eventually leads to a wedding.

Do not be too humorous. Yes it is a joyful occasion for all parties involved but it is also a serious decision. How will your partner pay attention if while proposing, you keep telling jokes or get easily distracted? Keep the focus on your partner and what you are about to say. Spur of the moment: You’ve just spent a wonderful day with the one you love and you immediately see yourself spending your life with this person. Then just as the thought occurs, you blurt out those four words: “will you marry me”? Don’t get lost in the moment; you may not have been serious but your partner may be and you may end up hurting his/her feelings.

Similar to the wedding day, a proposal is a very memorable experience. Although there are no clear-cut rules or list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ as each relationship is different, remember to keep it fun, straight-forward and more importantly romantic.


FAMILY

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Secrets To A Healthy Stress Free Family

rincess Diana once said “family is the most important thing in the world.” Indeed this statement is true. Where would most of us be without our families? Families provide a safe haven for us and can be a support center. However, with the current economic situation and demanding jobs many times families are often put on the back burner. This article should provide some insights on how to create a healthy stress-free family.

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Create a game night - you’re never too old to play games. Pull out the Monopoly board and indulge in healthy competition between each other. Not only will your kids find this amusing but it is a good way for interaction between each other to occur, at little or no cost at all.

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Movie night - this can be done twice every month. A roster should be done to ensure each person gets a chance to choose a movie of his/her choice. By doing this, no one is left out and the activity can help everyone to unwind. Afterwards a discussion can be done regarding the movie. 22

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to know that their parents are in control of things.

Create a chore chart this will help to ease the burden of one person having to do all the chores as well as it will help everyone to prioritize their schedules better.

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Stick to the rules - set rules and enforce them. However kids should know the reason for these rules. Whether it is based or your own morals or values since social behaviour differ from each family. This will help avoid confusion between parents and their kids.

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Family activity calendar - create an activity calendar and place it in a location where everyone can see it, for instance the refrigerator. Let each member of the family suggest an activity he/she may be interested in participating with the family.

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Fun family meals - instead of buying take-out, get the entire family involved in making dinner. The kids can add colour to salads by arranging their favorite vegetates and fruits into various meals. According to Health Magazine “we know that eating together can boost achievement in children, lower the chance for eating disorders in girls, and lower depression rates in both girls and boys. “ It would also be a memory kids will remember when they become adults.

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Have an adventure Join a hiking group and go on a hike together. This can be an enjoyable mo-

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ment for everyone since it is believed that being in a new place increases dopamine (feel good hormone) and would be a memorable experience as a family.

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Do not fight about money - Create a budget together (excluding the kids of course). Determine how much money both salaries are equated too. Discuss all outstanding bills and try to reduce this figure as much as possible. Subtract the expense from the monthly income. By dealing with these issues without getting kids involve, will help them

Be playful in your relationships - There is no need to be constantly uptight with your family. When kids see this side of you, you become more approachable to them and they feel as though they can share things with you. This therefore increases communication. Playfulness is also noted as a form of stress reliever.

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Show affection - it is not fair to your family that you keep your feelings mustered inside. Give hugs, kisses or even a pat on the back to show appreciation. It will help to foster closeness between each other. Parents should also show affection to each other as often times, these simple gestures can help relationships to remain alive and necessary.


WARDROBE

POWDER ROOM

Dressing To Suit Your Shape

Tips For Luscious Lips

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our lips are one of your face’s defining features. Supple, soft, pink lips can add tons of sexy to a simple look without the addition of makeup. However, it takes a bit of work to get your lips looking luscious at all times. The secrets are as follows… Hydrate For beautiful and naturally pink lips, it is very important that you always keep your body hydrated. It is best to increase your water intake and include a lot of fresh fruit juices in your diet as it would keep your lips healthy and soft. Scrub a Dub Scrubbing your lips is one of the best natural remedies for getting pink lips without spending on expensive cosmetics. At night, before you hit the bed, use a soft toothbrush to scrub your lips. This will not only help to remove the dry chapped skin from the lips but will also keep your lips soft.

Keep It Clean Always remove the lip makeup you have applied during the day before going to sleep. To remove the makeup, you can use a soft cotton ball and put some almond oil or olive oil on it and gently rub the lips with it. Sleeping with lipsticks and lip gloss on your lips can be the reason behind your dark lips. Don’t Smoke If you want to be smoking hot, you have to make up your mind not to smoke. Smoking has some of the most damaging effects on your physical appearance you can encounter.

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inding a dress that fits well depends on finding one to suit your shape. Hourglass figures are shapely with the curves in the bust and hips and a slender waistline. Rectangular figures are shaped evenly from top to bottom. Triangle figures have a narrow upper body and the lower body is full and/or wide. Inverted Triangle figures have a full and/or wide upper half with the lower half of the body being narrow. Analyze your body by asking yourself specific questions about your shape. Some questions you can ask are: Where are my curves? How does my upper body compare to my lower body? Am I shaped evenly? You can also measure your bust, waist and hips. Taking these measurements will help you determine how your body is proportioned. Once you know what shape you most match, it will be easier for you to choose styles to compliment your figure. If your shape is similar to the hourglass, your figure can be complimented by most styles. You want to go for styles that will emphasize your curves without making you look bulky. Choose a close fitting dress that’s not tight. This will add w w w . a b s tr a c th o m e . c o m

emphasis to your body. When your shape is more like a rectangle, many styles leave you looking boxy. You want to give the look of having curves. Wearing shirtwaist dresses and a fitted dress with little or no waistline will help you create that look. The woman with the triangular body shape wants to even out her body. Choosing dresses with shoulder pads will help balance the upper with the lower body. Dresses that are loose fitting but narrow in the skirt will help create a slimmer look. If your shape resembles an inverted triangle, you also want to create a balanced look. Full skirts will add to your lower body, giving you the appearance of having fuller hips.

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ABSTRACT HOME

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MEDICINE CABINET

home gym

3 Natural Medicinal Must-Haves For Your Home

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e have dealt with medicine cabinet must-haves before. However, these natural products are equally important to keep at the ready even though you may have to store them properly. Eucalyptus Essential Oil Good for: Upper-respiratory infection Because: Squeezed from the leaves and branch tips of eucalyptus trees, eucalyptus oil also has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which may help fight off infection and speed recovery. Eucalyptus oil is also an expectorant, meaning it helps expel mucous from the Aloe Vera Good for: Mild to moderate sunburn and household burns Because: Aloe vera gel soothes and cools the surface of the skin, calming the heat and irritation of a burn. The viscous juice of the aloe vera plant contains natural inflammation fighters, called salicylates. As pain and swelling subside, other aloe ingredients (a.k.a. polysaccharides) goad the body 24

into making antibodies, which speed healing. Petri-dish studies show that regenerating skin cells, called fibroblasts, reproduce up to four times faster when treated with aloe vera. Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Good for: Cuts, burns, athlete’s foot, minor infections or as a natural disinfectant Because: Both are natural antiseptics, so they are great for killing germs, and each has its own medicinal prowess. Although best known for its relaxing aroma, which is proven to quell anxiety, lavender can also cool the pain of minor kitchen burns and sunburns, as well as prevent scarring. Meanwhile, tea tree oil is an equally powerful disinfectant, so a drop or two of essential oil can be smoothed onto cuts to stave off infection. Plus, its antifungal properties make it a natural weapon against the common toe fungus that causes athlete’s foot. In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, tea tree oil was more than twice as effective as a placebo in relieving the burning and itching of athlete’s foot.

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Nine Tummy Tucking Workout Tips

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ant the dream six pack and you don’t know where to start? This article will set you on your way. Here are ten tips. Walk/jog for 30 minutes at least 3 times per week to boost your metabolism in order to burn that fat. Eat a small handful of almonds (6-10) every morning. Almonds are one of the healthiest snacks you can eat and the protein is good for burning fat.

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Add Pilates to your exercise regimen. Pilates works on toning your entire body with concentration on your powerhouse (middle section) and will improve your flexibility.

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Add fiber to your diet and cut down your intake of the bad carbs. Foods such as white bread, pastas, potatoes, and white rice should be limited. Eat brown rice and whole wheat bread instead. To get that needed fiber, increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially the leafy green ones).

Drink skim milk instead of whole milk. Keep your dairy intake at a minimum because these products often cause bloating and gas. Perform proper crunches at least 3 times a week to train your abs. Avoid situps because they really do very little to firm your stomach. Situps work your hip flexors more than anything else.

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Drink plenty of water. You should be drinking 6 to 8 glasses per day. Not only will it help fill you up so you eat less, but it aids in digestion.

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Eat smaller meals more often instead of 2-3 big meals per day to keep from having that bloated look and feeling. Eating more meals actually kicks up your metabolism.

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Take a break from healthy eating once in a while and treat yourself to your favorite dessert. If you completely deprive yourself of the foods you love you'll run the risk of going back to your bad eating habits. Moderation is the key.


GARAGE

PETS

Mistakes Made By Dog Owners

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Things You Should Not Store In Your Garage

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ome people see their garage as a room to facilitate wanton hoarding. While it is true that garages are no longer just for parking cars, there are limits to what should be stored in your garage.

Do not assume that your dog communicates the same way as humans. This is the biggest misconception that owners have as they try to treat their dogs like human-beings. Owners should understand that although dogs have been domesticated, they have different needs and wants and should work on finding these out through training.

Clothing and Bedding Rodents would just love to nest in your extra duvet. Let them find a B&B farther down the block. Plus, it is usually way too damp for storing clothing; as the items will mildew. Fresh Foods Some of you may be thinking we are crazy for even mentioning this while others may be saying, “but I always keep my food there.” For those of you in the latter, you need to stop. In theory, a nice cool room would be a great place to keep extra potatoes, carrots, onions, and etcetera. However, ants, mice, and rats think so, too. Plus, car exhaust fumes and toxic chemi26

hey are known for being one of the most loyal pets; dogs or “man’s best friend” as they are fondly called, have been around for ages and have played the role of protector, helper and most importantly friend. They are fun-loving and can be taught to perform a myriad of tricks. But some owners are unaware of their dog’s needs and the best ways to care for them. See below a list of doggy do-not’s that you should follow.

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cals also stored in the garage can pose health risks for you if they contaminate your food. Wine Because this room is not insulated, the temperature fluctuates too much to make it a good spot to keep the fruits of the vine.

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Do not assume that your dog understands English. Dogs communicate through a serious of barks, growls or grunts and to expect them to understand the human language is simply unreasonable. For this reason, and as trainers would tell you, it is easier to use body language and different signals to fully communicate with your dog.

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Do not allow unacceptable behavior- A dog’s natural instinct is to dig

up dirt, chew on furniture or jump up and down excitedly when he sees his master. But a chewed up chair or an unsightly hole in your garden can be quite annoying. This is where dog training can take place so that your dog can learn the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviours.

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Do not assume that your old dog cannot learn any new tricks. You can teach a dog new tricks as dogs are continuous learners with good memories. The three things that primarily influence a dog’s behavior are association, instinct and experience which also allows them to think. Proper training and extra time spent practicing one action can ensure that your dog learns a new sport or trick.

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Do not beat your dog to train it. Your hand should be a sign of gentleness and affection to a dog. Physical discipline is inappropriate and since dogs do not have hands they find this type of punishment threatening. Instead, correct a dog when he has done something wrong the first time; although it may be difficult to catch him in the act, certain actions can be set-up which will cause him to behave. When this happens, teach him the right way through the use of body language or signals as was mentioned earlier.


TRAVEL

Avoiding Lost Luggage

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ost luggage is one of the worst things that can happen to you during travel. In fact, it can downright ruin your entire vacation. Therefore, preventing lost luggage and knowing how to deal with it is critical. Here are some tips. Ensure Early Check In Late travelers – whether they arrived at the airport with only minutes to spare or got held up in a meandering check-in line— are more likely to get separated from their bags. Baggage handlers need time to process luggage and load it onto planes. Many experts say that 30 minutes ahead of departure is the cut-off, but it all depends. In our opinion, the earlier you can check in, the better. Fly Direct There’s huge room for error with connecting flights. Luggage often doesn’t make the next flight when the previous one is delayed. You never know what to expect at random airports, so it should make you feel safer to know your luggage is making the same moves you do. ID the Inside of Your Bag Put your name and address on

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luggage people what your bag looks like. If you have it in your phone and have a hard copy, you can leave the copy at the baggage counter if you have to leave the airport without your bag.

the inside of your bag as well as the outside and include a copy of your itinerary just in case the baggage tag gets torn off. Take A Photo You are likely to be taking a million pics when you get to your destination, but one that you take before your journey begins could be the most important. Take a picture of your bag, preferably with color tag, and store it in your phone's camera or in your digital camera. Print it out and keep it with your passport in your carry on or passport holder, too. If you have to report a missing bag, you have an easy way (your phone) to show the lost

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Forward Your Luggage Early Ship your luggage ahead to your destination, with services like FedEx, Luggage Concierge or Virtual Bellhop. It can cost $40 a bag and up, but it saves you hours of time. No need to stand in line checking luggage, or waiting for it upon landing. You can even have friends pick you up at the departures terminal. Choose Unique Luggage Get luggage that has an uncommon colour or pattern. Alternatively, put a distinctive detail on your suitcase. While a traditional bag that looks durable may be your thing, losing luggage may not be your thing. In the luggage store we often laugh at the more outlandish pieces, but those that strange piece of luggage is that much more identifiable than anything else. Consider copping some or modifying yours to look unique. Be Early to Baggage Claim Get to the area of the airport

where your baggage will be being unloaded as fast as possible after your flight lands. If you're going to what's called Baggage Claim, you'll arrive long before the bags; look above big oval carousels for your flight number -that flight's bags will be dumped down a chute to that carousel. If bags are being unloaded on the tarmac from a small plane, watch yours until it's in your hand (you can probably walk up and grab it). Stay Vigilant after Check In Ensure all old destination stickers have been removed from your luggage and that staff affix the correct destination stickers at check-in. Keep your portion of the luggage sticker provided at check-in (usually affixed to your boarding pass) as in the event your bags are lost this will greatly assist in their recovery. Speaking of stickers, get a small roll of bright tape (like fluorescent lime) and wrap a piece around something on your bag, like a backpack strap or handle strap. You can spot your bag in a whole pile of similar-looking bags or in someone else's hand. You can also list it as an identifying mark if reporting lost luggage.


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 15  
Abstract Home Vol. 4 issue 15  

Abstract Home magazine espouses all things ‘Home.’ It is a twice-monthly publication centered on Home décor, cuisine and family life. It is...

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