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Gemma’s Gem of The Week: Complexities of Love



It’s 11pm on Valentine’s Day, and I’ve been pondering as the day wraps up. I value human connection and human interactions so much, and being deprived of that for almost a year has been unbearable. There are too many people I’d give anything to be with at this very moment; to hug, hold, and adventure with. And to not be actively exploring these yearnings hurts, which I suppose is a result of this collective trauma reaching its almost one year anniversary. However, I will say that seeing so many people share their stories and journeys about love today felt surprisingly well-needed; especially considering what a painful year it’s been. As complex as my feelings have been towards this holiday, I’m feeling a sense of gratitude to have witnessed people having something to feel good about. 

Something that led me to writing this piece in the first place was when I began to feel better today after not feeling so hot. I let myself feel and eventually, I was able to get up, carry on with my day, and take the day in a way that felt right to me. Giving myself that much-needed time and attention was a beautiful thing, and I want to continue making this a habit that stretches beyond falling on only holidays or special occassions. I’ve come a long way, longer than I give myself credit for, in the journey of healing. And I was reminded of that progress today when I was able to take those drearier feelings and take the necessary actions into feeling better. In those moments, I was able to find the essence of love; love for myself, and the love that comes with pain. To love deeply is to feel deeply. To feel deeply is to be deeply, truly human. To be deeply human is a gift; there is nothing wrong with that, and everything right about that. 

As a hopeless romantic, I always held onto the “honeymoon phases” that seemed to be a huge element of love. Growing up, I was desperate to hold onto the people I had in my life; because in my fairytales, none of those people were left behind. It was always ride or die. I thought that any alternative would mean failure, and sometimes I wouldn’t even consider an alternative at all. I will admit that the pain resulting from losing people made me a cynic for some time. Sometimes, it would be far easier to sneer or scoff at movies and the idea of love being unrealistic, than it would be to explore those deeper, unresolved emotions that were causing those feelings to resurface. It’s much easier to put up a front of the “strong, independent woman who doesn’t need anyone”, than it is to admit “I’m strong, independent, and also crave the company of others to share this life with.” Loss and grief are hard roads to bounce back from. I don’t think anyone ever comes into life initially expecting others not to stick around, but maybe that’s just me – after all, we’re all experiencing this life at our own pace. Honestly, I think big factors in developing a newfound, deeper appreciation for life, are the hardships we endure, and the decisions we choose to make moving forward. We may not have control over what happens to us, but we will always have control over the choices we make moving forward.

Someone once gave me advice that stuck. The deeper you hurt and grieve, the deeper you love. Meaning, feeling pain very deeply can be an indication of a person who has a very big heart, with a lot of love to give. Now, I’m no licensed therapist or health professional; I’m writing about my life experiences in the hopes of normalizing these discussions and having others listen, and perhaps relate.

Before I learned what I know now, I would be terrified of showing others the sides that were less glamorous, less bubbly, less happy. There have been many instances where I’ve struggled with opening up and letting others in. I always saw my role as the person who would make everyone around her happy, at all times, no matter what. I convinced myself anything otherwise was a burden. I imagine some of you dear readers can relate to what I’m talking about. Quite the exhausting road, right? There have been so many occasions where I’ve retreated back to being alone because I’m convincing myself that it’s safer here and it’s easier, because I won’t risk losing myself or someone else. It’s been really hard to make peace with the idea of losing someone else. To be honest, I haven’t quite made peace with this idea yet. But let me tell you what I have made peace with; letting go of relationships that are no longer serving you, that have served their purpose, and thanking them for the lessons they provided. And, understanding that we are unconditionally, absolutely, worthy of love; in any capacity, and in any definition we choose to make of the word.

As hard as it is, as hard as it may seem, the truth is we humans are constantly evolving. Some people might not be with you for that entire journey. But that doesn’t mean those experiences were wrong just because they weren’t permanent. I tell people all the time that I never see any experience as wasted; especially if they helped you grow and left an impact in some capacity. I care so deeply for people, so it’s a strange, bumpy journey for me to embark on. But I’m learning what it means to be with people who truly love you. I’m learning how that feels. I’m observing who I feel like my absolute best around. I’m learning to trust my gut and my instincts (because lord knows I’ve ignored her time and time again, so it’s definitely time to change that narrative.) Once I trust myself, life seems to unfold in the way it was meant to unfold. Once I trust myself, my expectations grow, and I value quality over quantity far more. 

And I’m learning to let that hurt in as opposed to fighting it. It’s the harder path of course, and a very sucky, messy process. I’ve tried to fight it before and shove it down. But that’s even worse. Your mind and body know what it needs, and when it needs to feel, it’s telling you that this is a necessary step in order to heal properly. As tempting as it is (and it’s so, so, so tempting) to shut your eyes and ignore every ounce of sadness and bad feeling, you’re only hurting yourself more at the end of the day by ignoring yourself. 

When LA was colder than I imagined and gave me a different feeling than what I was expecting, I panicked. When my expectations of love became swayed, I panicked. But as I’m writing this now, I’ve learned an abundance of lessons from the people and experiences that have changed my life forever. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And I wouldn’t change the person I am today for anything.

Consider how the complexities of love have shaped and impacted your life; write them out, even. We often look at pain and grief and loss as huge flaws and fears in humanity. I can’t deny that they still do scare me to this day; after all, no one is superhuman, and no one should be. However, they also carry lessons and knowledge that can result in newfound strength and love towards the self. Think about that.

So here’s to the messiness, the mishaps, and the miracles, my friend. I’m right there with you.

Gemma Farquhar is the writer of "Gemma's Gem of the Week" and author of "The Shape of Something New." She is passionate about the future of storytelling and welcomes all ages to her column.

Food and Drink

Halloween Delights with Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey



Boo! It’s time to get your Halloween on with a sweet and sinfully delicious delight – Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey.

Spooky cocktails with rich flavors and bold tastes will have your festive spirit soaring this year. Try these phenomenal recipes to make the most of an incredible holiday.

Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini


  • 1 ¼ oz. Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey
  • ¾ oz. coffee liqueur
  • ½ oz. pumpkin syrup
  • 2 oz. espresso
  • Dash of pumpkin spice


  • Combine 1 ¼ oz. Skrewball, ¾ oz. coffee liqueur, ½ oz. pumpkin syrup, 2 oz. espresso & a dash of

pumpkin spice into a shaker with ice.

  • Shake vigorously.
  • Strain into coupe glass.
  • Sprinkle with pumpkin spice & drizzle with chocolate.


Pumpkin Hot Buttered Skrew



  • Add sugar, butter and hot water to mug and stir until dissolved.
  • Add Skrewball, pumpkin spice syrup, star anise and stir.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.


Pumpkin Paradise


  • 1 ½ oz. Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey
  • ¾ oz. Zaya Gran Reserva Rum
  • ½ oz. orange juice
  • ½ oz. pineapple juice
  • ½ oz. pumpkin cream of coconut mix*
  • 3 pineapple top leaves
  • Pumpkin spice


  • For the pumpkin cream of coconut, blend all ingredients to taste.
  • To make the cocktail, shake all ingredients together in a shaker with ice and pour into cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with three pineapple leaves and powdered pumpkin spice.

Pumpkin Cream of Coconut Mix Ingredients:

  • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 15 oz. can cream of coconut
  • 2 dashes vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp. sugar



Cover art by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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The Mayor of Times Square Interviews Billionaire John Catsimatidis on The Motivation Show Podcast



John Catsimatidis went from rags to riches to become the CEO of the Red Apple Group where he began his meteoric rise to billionaire status as the founder of the Gristedes supermarket chain in New York City.   As a child immigrant from very modest beginnings, he struggled to learn English.  He worked at a Sloan’s Supermarket without a pay check where he had to hustle for tips.  He went on to own one small grocery store and turned it into a sprawling empire. He has gone on to be wildly successful in other industries including real estate, energy, sports and media as the owner of WABC Radio in NYC. His book is How Far Do You Want To Go: Lessons from a Common-Sense Billionaire. If you ever dreamed of hitting the Lotto, dream on…or learn the blueprint from this book on how to get to the top…the very top.

Here are excerpts from the riveting, exclusive interview:

Eli Marcus: Tell us what life like was like growing up in West Harlem, John?

John Catsimatidis: Well, it was a mixed community. I was in West Harlem by City College.  I went to PS 192.  We had Irish.  We had Hispanics. Dominicans.  Blacks.  Italians.  Greeks.  We had almost everybody.  We all played together.  We all had a good time together.  There was no such thing as prejudice and there was no such thing as crime.  It was a great melting pot.

Eli Marcus: What inspired you to write this book and what are the main takeaways you wish for our audience to learn from reading it?

John Catsimatidis: I wanted my kids and grandkids someday to know where they came from.  I want them to have respect for their forefathers.   The other aspect is to help make a difference in young kids.  You know who is buying this book?  A lot of grandfathers.    A lot of grandmothers for their grandkids. A lot of fathers, mothers for their kids.  We are hoping that it will make a difference in these kids’ lives.   That was very important to me.  Someday if I have grandkids that they know where their origins are from.  I remember before my dad passed away that we sat down and wrote everything down. The 1860’s.  About his great grandfather, about his grandfather.  So it makes a difference.   We did a DNA test.  I’m 28% Italian. 60% Macedonian Greek.  6% Jewish.  The definition of my 6% Jewish is either one of my great grandmothers or great grandfathers was Jewish.  That’s what 6% means.

Eli Marcus: John, what do you believe are your secrets or not so secret principles that have enabled you to build not only a successful business empire but a very successful personal life as well?

John Catsimatidis: My parents taught me never to do anything to shame the family name.  My father worked two jobs to never have to go to his brothers to shame himself on asking his two brothers.  He worked Monday thru Friday as a busboy.  The reason he worked as a busboy is that he didn’t speak English properly.

Eli Marcus: What is your idea of common sense that you allude to in the subtitle of your book?

John Catsimatidis: How to do the right thing. It’s not about being a Democrat.  Not about being a Republican.  I was Bill Clinton Democrat.  I ran his campaigns in the New York area for quite a few years.  I started as a Democrat.  I helped run Jerry Nadler’s campaign for Borough President against David Dinkins.  Since my daughter married a Republican, we wanted to have peace around the Thanksgiving table.  When I ran for Mayor, I ran as a Republican liberal.

Eli Marcus: In the book, you say that you were insecure in public School.  It’s hard to believe that John Catsimatidis was insecure. 

John Catsimatidis: Well, with a name like Catsimatidis, there were not many Catsimatidis’s around.  People were always cutting their name short.  There is no such thing as a Pappas.  It used to be a bigger, longer name.  We never cut down our name.

Eli Marcus: What role does collaborating with others play in your life and do you have a prime example that comes to mind of a particularly mutually successful collaboration that stand out to you?

John Catsimatidis: I believe in communications.  I believe in talking.  Whether it’s Democrats or Republicans I believe that everybody, they should all sit down with each other.  We work very closely with other radio stations.  We’re syndicated in over 250 stations around the country. Our stream can be heard in 50 states, 173 countries.

Eli Marcus: Can you tell us what is the sink or swim theory you learned from your cousin in Greece when you visited there?

John Catsimatidis: I didn’t know how to swim. Forget about it.   I’m the kid from Harlem.    We didn’t have any swimming pools or go to the beaches much.  So we were on the dock on the island I was born.  We went there to spend two weeks.  My cousin taught me how to swim.  He threw me off the pier! What is the ole expression?  Sink or swim!

To listen to the entire interview on The Motivation Show podcast, click here:



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Outsmarting Scams in the Australian Solar Rebate System: A Fail-Safe Approach to Extracting Value




With a surge in interest towards renewable energy, the Australian solar rebate system has gained significant attention. However, like a double-edged sword, it’s not just the popularity that has risen, but also the scams lurking within the solar industry. Being vigilant is inevitably a part of extracting maximum value from this system. Let’s set the stage and dive into this topic further.

Understanding the Australian Solar Rebate System:

The Australian Solar Rebate System, whilst an intricate one, serves as an advantageous tool for homeowners across the country. It essentially reduces the upfront cost of installing solar panels, acting as a financial helping hand. However, not all that glitters is gold. With benefits come potential pitfalls and scams that can sneak up on us if we don’t tread carefully. It is crucial to maximize value from the solar rebate by exploiting legitimate avenues.

Identifying Scams in the Australian Solar Rebate System:

Hence, vigilance and knowledge assume paramount importance when it comes to identifying scams. Most of these scams present themselves in rather enticing ways, only to trap unsuspecting homeowners. Be that as it may, we can avoid falling prey to them by understanding the common characteristics of these scams and learning from past case studies. The golden rule? Use a reputable solar installer.

Filing an Effective Application for Your Solar Rebate:

Applications for the Australian Solar Rebate System, whilst they may seem daunting, are indeed manageable. The gumption lies in avoiding common mistakes during the process and arming ourselves with the knowledge to submit a foolproof application. Fortunately, there is an array of resources and tools at our disposal that can assist us in gearing up for a successful application.

Advocate and Legal Support Against Solar Scams:

In terms of legal assistance and expert advice, they essentially serve as our knight in shining armour when outsmarting scams. Should homeowners find themselves ensnared, legal agencies step in to help. Equally important are advocates who amplify awareness on solar rebate scams. Testimonials of Australians who emerged victorious over these scams further substantiate the power of legal and expert guidance.

Harnessing the Solar Energy Movement without Getting Scammed:

Moving ahead, the future of solar energy in Australia is certainly promising, which makes staying scam-free all the more essential. Participating responsibly in the solar energy movement is a path ripe with opportunities. However, staying informed about the evolving tactics of crooks and reiterating vigilance remains critical.

The Australian Solar Rebate System, while a boon for homeowners looking to make a shift towards renewable energy, comes with its share of challenges, most notably scams. As interest in solar energy continues to soar, it is imperative for individuals to arm themselves with knowledge and remain vigilant in their quest for legitimate benefits. Employing reputable solar installers, understanding the intricacies of the rebate application, and leveraging legal and advocate support can provide a shield against potential pitfalls. In the pursuit of a greener Australia, staying informed and cautious will ensure that the advantages of the solar energy movement are harnessed without falling prey to deceitful tactics

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Embracing the Virtual Marketplace: Upsurge of Online Garage Sales for Pre-Move Purging




As technology continues to redefine traditional norms, the concept of a virtual marketplace isn’t far from everyone’s lips. Forget your dusty, drive-by garage sales, the wind of change has blown in the direction of online garage sales, a contemporary trend resonating with Aussie homeowners. This new-fangled phenomenon seamlessly marries with another prevailing trend – pre-move purging, a systematic elimination of unwanted items before a move. When these two modern elements join forces, they offer a raft of fiscal, environmental, psychological, and space benefits. So, let’s dive headlong into the fray.

The Online Garage Sale Phenomenon

Strutting onto the stage in recent years, online garage sales have taken the world by storm. But what’s sparking this escalating popularity of swapping the lawn for a laptop? A key driver is convenience. Buyers can browse and bargain from the comfort of their homes, while sellers can pitch their wares to a massive audience, not limited by their local neighbourhood. Traditional garage sales, with their geographical limitations and weather dependencies, can’t hold a candle to this.

Benefits of Pre-Move Purging

Let’s turn our attention to pre-move purging, an exercise that allows homeowners to streamline their belonging before a move. Besides the obvious economic perk of making some quick bucks from selling unwanted items, there are hulking environmental benefits too. By rehoming perfectly functional items that would otherwise have wound up in a landfill, we’re giving our planet a much-needed breather. And as the saying goes, empty spaces, happy faces – the act of purging can regenerate mental and physical spaces in our abodes, turning chaos into calm.

Navigating the Australian Online Marketplace

In the sprawling savannah of the Australian online marketplace, there are numerous platforms vying for attention. Web stalwarts like Gumtree and eBay shoulder up against social media behemoth Facebook Marketplace, each offering a unique selling experience. An Aussie homeowner eyeing success in online garage sales might find some hedge-wisdom in taking stunning product photos, penning engaging descriptions, and practising patience.

How to Successfully Combine Pre-Move Purging with Online Garage Sales

Hooking up pre-move purging and online garage sales can be as easy as pie. Kick-off the exercise by being ruthless in selecting your sale items – if it’s gathering dust, it fits the bill. Create appealing product listings, balance between being descriptive and maintaining intrigue. Pricing requires juggling fair market value against your desire to sell, while the logistics challenge can be tackled using a mix of pick-up and delivery options.

Legal and Safety Aspects of Online Garage Sales in Australia

Bearing in mind the legal connotations and safety aspects of online garage sales is paramount for Australian homeowners. While it is largely a free-and-easy landscape, the Australian Consumer Law has rules for private sales and online auctions that all should be aware of. Ensuring safety during transactions, shirking scams, and keep a tight lid on personal data is just as important.

As we wrap up, the combo of pre-move purging and online garage sales is an unwrapped gift to Australians – a virtual golden goose. It’s a nifty way to pocket some extra cash, carve out de-cluttered spaces, and score a victory for the environment. So, why not give it a whirl? As the sands of time trickle, so too will the growth and evolution of our virtual marketplace. And from the looks of it, online garage sales in Australia have a bright and booming future ahead.

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Top Tips to Choose the Right Assisted Living Home for Your Loved Ones




In later life, it can become increasingly difficult to manage in your own home. When people age and become senior citizens, it is common that health and mobility problems start to become apparent. Your elderly relatives may find that they struggle to move around their home safely and may start to experience chronic health problems that have the potential to impact their quality of life. It can be upsetting to see elderly parents or grandparents enter this stage of life, but it is important to remember that this is a natural part of aging. In some circumstances, it can be highly beneficial for the elderly family member to relocate to an assisted living facility where they can get specialist help with their needs and be in a community of other senior citizens. In this article, some top tips will be discussed to help you choose the right assisted living home for your loved ones.

Consider the distance

As a first tip, it is vitally important to consider the travel distance to the assisted living home. Close friends and family members will want to visit the elderly when they relocate to the new premises and the location should ideally be as close as possible to facilitate this. When making a shortlist of assisted living homes, use an app, such as Google maps, to gain a clear understanding of the travel times from your location to the premises. Consider that any assisted living facility over an hour’s drive away will make it difficult to visit on a regular basis. Your loved ones will want to see you as often as possible, especially in the first few months following the move when they may be a little apprehensive about their new surroundings.

Visit the premises

After you have created a list of suitable premises that are within a reasonable travel distance, it is highly beneficial to visit the premises in person. By doing this, you can talk to the existing residents in the assisted living facility and gain their opinions on the services provided. A well-managed facility will be happy for you to visit and speak to residents as they will be proud of the standards of service and care that they provide to the elderly. Ask the residents key questions such as:

  • Do the staff respond quickly to their requests for assistance?
  • Are there sufficient stimulating activities to take part in?
  • Would they recommend this establishment to others?

These types of questions will give you a clear understanding of how life is like for the residents and will be useful in helping to make your final decision on which premises to choose.

Meal option

Elderly people require a nutritious diet that is higher in protein than that required by younger adults. This is a key factor in maintaining muscle mass and bone density for senior citizens. Any professionally run assisted living establishment will recognize this fact and will offer a range of high-quality meals that are rich in protein. Look at the websites of the homes and see if they list the meal options that are available for residents. In addition, a high-quality establishment will be happy to adjust menu options for residents with specific dietary requirements or allergies.

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