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General Daily Insight for November 22, 2023

Wed, 11/22/2023 - 01:21
General Daily Insight for November 22, 2023

Our fantasies are currently likely to show us what we don’t want. The sensitive Moon begins the day united with idealistic Neptune in dreamy Pisces — a vibe only heightened when the passionate Sun powers into exuberant Sagittarius at 9:03 am EST. Still, reality could intrude as sensual Venus opposes awkward Chiron, drawing our attention to relevant memories of things that didn’t work out in the past. After Luna steps into decisive Aries, we can thoughtfully choose how we’ll move forward.


March 21 – April 19

A frustrating dynamic in one of your close relationships could be grating on you now. As the energetic Sun bounds into your 9th House of Adventure, physically getting away from the other person may seem more than a little appealing. This is probably a good idea, but more of the problem than you expect might come with you — even if you travel entirely alone! Take the opportunity to work on your part of it, then see if things improve when you reunite later.


April 20 – May 20

Accepting help could challenge you today. As the potent Sun moves into your sharing sector, someone might actually be interested in helping you with responsibilities that they have a stake in too. However, you may struggle to let them in due to your inner hangups. Doing everything all by yourself isn’t necessary to prove your worth! In fact, that might be making the job harder than it needs to be. Look for ease on this front by finding another way to address your personal anxieties.


May 21 – June 20

You may currently feel like you must choose between presenting yourself in a way that gains peer approval and pursuing what really makes you happy. How do you know this perception is accurate, though? With the warm Sun bouncing into your relationship zone, you might want to confide in someone you trust for a reality check. Times could have changed since you got in the habit of deferring to certain sensitivities, so find out what’s still relevant before you commit to a path forward.


June 21 – July 22

Family drama could now weigh on you. Maybe you can’t solve the major cause of emotional tension right at this moment — and perhaps you don’t have to. While the focused Sun enlivens your 6th House of Daily Routines, you’re probably better equipped to satisfy the physical needs of your loved ones. That said, there’s a fine line between having a different focus and burying your head in the sand! If someone else must say their piece, don’t squelch that in the name of harmony.


July 23 – August 22

Keeping a conversation going with the people around you may be a bit of a burden at the moment. The longing to express yourself could be strong as the vibrant Sun shifts into your creative 5th house, but your beliefs about what’s acceptable to say might be holding you back. You probably want to make everyone happy, and that likely seems to require sticking to safe topics. On the other hand, perhaps others crave validation for their tough stuff too. Help them get it.


August 23 – September 22

Spending time with your family could currently be an appealing prospect. However, you might be a little worried about what they’re going to ask from you this time. While abundant Venus in your personal finance sector opposes wounded Chiron in your 8th House of Shared Resources, you may be seen as someone who has more wealth to spare than others. There could be parts of this ongoing dynamic that you enjoy. If it’s not supported by the facts, though, the truth should set you free.


September 23 – October 22

Attracting extra attention from the people you see regularly is presently possible. Even if these interactions are generally positive, you might start to worry. The increased closeness may be awakening some long-standing fears regarding connection, particularly as appealing Venus in your sign tangles with touchy Chiron in your relationship zone. Try not to worry so much about whatever will come next. This current flurry of activity could just as easily drift away later, so simply enjoy what feels good in the moment.


October 23 – November 21

Putting your finances in order could be a high priority at the moment. While the illuminating Sun shifts into your 2nd House of Money, clearly identifying what you already have can help you figure out how to earn more. The next hurdle might be keeping your beliefs about work from getting in your way! Although you may feel like you must earn everything you receive through your own effort, life isn’t always that straightforward. Stay open to all the options you have available.


November 22 – December 21

Defining who you are could become an urgent question without warning. You may get a lot of positive attention from your friends and acquaintances for displaying a particular side of your personality. However, that’s probably not all you have going for you. With the powerful Sun moving into your sign, you have a chance to shift the narrative if you’d like. There are no guarantees regarding what will happen when you change an established dynamic, so choose a level of risk you can live with.


December 22 – January 19

Positive recognition is possible for you now. Still, as the personal Sun slides into your 12th House of Secrets, there may be more to the story than the public hears. Your recent achievement has potentially provoked you to think about wounds related to your early life. Even if you can see how your current success wouldn’t be possible without your past pain, that doesn’t necessarily stop it from hurting. Honor the full complexity of your experience — you’re not required to feel a certain way.


January 20 – February 18

Your optimistic beliefs probably aren’t what a struggling friend needs to hear today. While cheery Venus in your philosophical 9th house trips over tender Chiron in your communication zone, you risk coming off flippant when that isn’t what the situation calls for. Perhaps you feel like it’s your job to fix your pal’s problem — and you worry that it means you’ve failed if you can’t quickly come up with a solution. Remember: not everything is about you. Just sit back and listen to them.


February 19 – March 20

A solution to your current anxieties about money could be available, but it’s potentially not an answer you’d prefer to hear. As generous Venus in your sharing sector tempts prickly Chiron in your personal finance zone, you might be skeptical of an offer you receive because you don’t want to be beholden to anyone else. Your desire for autonomy is absolutely valid — but this opportunity may not threaten that as much as you think. Ask enough questions to make the best decision possible.

Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets: Who has the edge?

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 22:14

Here’s a look at how the Miami Dolphins (7-3) and New York Jets (4-6) match up in six key areas ahead of Friday’s Week 12 game at MetLife Stadium (3 p.m., CBS4, Amazon Prime Video):

When the Dolphins run: Miami is monitoring De’Von Achane’s status after tweaking the same right knee he hurt more than a month earlier, causing him to miss four games. He was listed as limited on the injury report early in the week, so possibly a good sign for his outlook. Meanwhile, the Dolphins placed fellow back Salvon Ahmed on injured reserve with a foot injury, so it could be all Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. on Friday, if Achane can’t play.

Also trying to play is right guard Robert Hunt after he has missed the past two games with an ailing hamstring. Hunt’s presence would boost a run game that already ranks second in the league. If he does play, it would also mark an eighth different offensive line combination if he plays with Terron Armstead and Lester Cotton on the left side. The Dolphins have been consistent up front, however, amid the shuffling.

The Jets, for as strong a defense as they are overall, rank No. 30 in run defense. That said, they have talented defenders up front in defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and linebackers C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams. And as much as the Miami run game produces, it needs to be trusted and effective in short-yardage situations. Edge: Dolphins

When the Jets run: New York is only ranked 23rd in the league in rushing offense, but the Jets are capable of breaking out for big games. They had 234 rushing yards against the Broncos earlier this season and opened with 172 on the ground in the Week 1 win against the Buffalo Bills. The elusive Breece Hall has been solid, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Dalvin Cook, for as much offseason hoopla as there was surrounding his free agency, hasn’t factored in much, at 3.3 yards per attempt.

The Miami run defense is now up to 10th in the NFL after limiting the Raiders, with standout running back Josh Jacobs, to 36 rushing yards as a team, a season-best for the Dolphins. The defensive tackle combination of Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler rarely comes off the field, and it’ll pay dividends for Miami as long as the duo remains healthy. Edge: Dolphins

When the Dolphins pass: The league’s No. 1 passing game puts up the numbers, but quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is adamant this week about cutting down on his turnovers. He had another two Sunday against Las Vegas for 11 on the season, eight interceptions and three fumbles lost. Nonetheless, he’s sensational overall, among league leaders in passer rating (106.0), passing yards (2,934) and passing touchdowns (21).

Star wide receiver Tyreek Hill remains steady on the pace necessary for a 2,000-yard season but is nursing a hand injury sustained against the Raiders. He and Jaylen Waddle will have to go against All-Pro second-year cornerback Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed, the cornerback combination of the Jet’s fifth-ranked pass defense. Safety Jordan Whitehead has four interceptions this season on the back end.

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New York also has a strong pass rush that can come up the middle with Williams and Quinton Jefferson, as well as off the edge with Jermaine Johnson, John Franklin-Myers and Bryce Huff. While the Dolphins have been shuffling at guard, they should have tackles Armstead and Austin Jackson, although both were limited in practice early in the week, nursing a knee and oblique, respectively. Edge: Even

When the Jets pass: Zach Wilson has been benched, and it’s Tim Boyle at quarterback for the Jets. With a small Jets sample size to work off of late in the loss to Buffalo, Dolphins defensive coordinator and the rest of his staff have been analyzing tape of him at previous stops across the NFC North, with Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay — mostly his three starts he had in 2021 with the Lions. Fangio is known not to alter his game plan too much and blitz an inexperienced quarterback more than others.

The Miami pass defense is really coming together as the season goes on, especially with Jalen Ramsey now having three games under his belt. He says he still doesn’t even feel like his regular self, while he came down with two incredibly acrobatic interceptions against the Raiders, including one to clinch the win at the end. Ramsey, Xavien Howard, Jevon Holland and the rest of the secondary will be sure to account for top receiver Garrett Wilson, who has 651 receiving yards on the season despite poor quarterback play without ballyhooed Jets offseason acquisition Aaron Rodgers.

The pass rush has been a force for the Dolphins, and Bradley Chubb should have his way with left tackle Mekhi Becton out for the Jets. Jaelan Phillips had two sacks and an interception against the Raiders, and Wilkins has also been providing pressure up the middle. Edge: Dolphins

Special teams: Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders is coming off missing a 50-yarder, but he made his other two field goal attempts, including another try from beyond 50. Miami could get return specialist Braxton Berrios back for this game.

Jets punt returner Xavier Gipson had a big game-winning touchdown in the opener against Buffalo, so Miami will have to look out for him. Greg Zuerlein is 22 of 23 on field goals for New York. Thomas Morstead, who was with the Dolphins last season is their punter. He and Jake Bailey, who shanked one last week, could factor into the field position battle of what could be a low-scoring game. Edge: Jets

Intangibles: Sure, it’s a short week on the road, but the Jets are reeling right now. They’re the team that’s having some internal turmoil and just switched quarterbacks. It’s hard to imagine Boyle doing anything against a Dolphins defense that’s rolling, but if Miami keeps turning the ball over against a good New York defense, it could get interesting in this rivalry game. Edge: Dolphins

PREDICTION: Dolphins 17, Jets 6

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Dolphins’ Hill, Tua, McDaniel highlight ‘Hard Knocks’ debut — along with intense assistant Campanile

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 19:55

HBO series “Hard Knocks” aired its debut episode chronicling the Miami Dolphins for the rest of the 2023 season Tuesday night.

The stars, of course, were wide receiver Tyreek Hill, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and coach Mike McDaniel.

But fans also got an inside look at some lesser-known members of the organization — most notably in the premier episode, linebackers coach Anthony Campanile, who gave an impassioned, intense speech to the team about pursuit in football.

The episode also featured the defense’s reward system of cakes for defenders who force turnovers. McDaniel said it was safeties coach Joe Kasper’s idea.

Hill got the early spotlight, which wasn’t much of a surprise given that he got married during the bye week, as “Hard Knocks” cameras started rolling. The crew had access to an at-home conversation between Hill and his now-wife Keeta Vaccaro Hill.

By the time Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders rolled around, Hill was heard repeatedly shouting “I’m the best in the world!” after his first-half touchdown Sunday.

A humorous moment came in Hill’s response to referees warning him not to flash the peace sign on touchdowns: “I’m spreading world peace.”

The series revealed that he injured his hand before the fourth-and-1 screen but aggravated it on the failed fourth down. Hill exited the game momentarily but re-entered.

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Hill’s mother was a highlight with her enthusiasm on the field pregame and in the stands. She and Hill’s wife had a run-in with a fan sitting behind them that spilled food on them.

Like Hill, Tagovailoa also went through a major change on the bye week. He braided his hair into cornrows, and there was a humorous moment between him and quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell, with Tagovailoa explaining the purpose of a durag cap in keeping his braided hair down.

Tagovailoa was then chronicled at practice. McDaniel was amazed at a no-look pass he threw in drills.

Tagovailoa spoke to HBO about McDaniel’s impact on the team through his personality.

“I think the swagger starts with the head man, the head man allowing everyone to be themselves,” the quarterback said.

The docuseries followed the offensive line having a team dinner. Left tackle Terron Armstead, the leader of the unit, was seen echoing a sentiment made in the team meeting, that the Dolphins have to be aware of Raiders star defensive end Maxx Crosby.

The Dolphins devoted ample time to preparing for Crosby, with Bevell emphasizing to Tagovailoa that the standout pass rusher would hit and chip him after the throw to get in his head.

The premier episode opened with McDaniel giving his team a speech upon a return from the bye week. The basis of it: Don’t change just because the cameras are rolling; remain authentic.

By the way, McDaniel drops a lot of F-bombs in his regular speech with his team. Also, Hill, on top of everything else, has a decent jump shot, as exhibited by his two made baskets on the basketball hoop inside the team meeting room.

Don’t you want $35 billion worth of border security? | Opinion

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 03:36

Americans widely believe two things about immigration. First, it’s not controversial to want a secure border. Second, immigration has been an asset to the country. So where are the politicians marrying these to get immigration reform done?

The central problem is a political one. Too many politicians want to emphasize their preferred fixes without making real offers of compromise. This results in a continual stalemate on reforms because it ignores how the political system works. The name of the game is compromise.

The leading immigration reform bill in Congress has been running into this problem. It represents a compromise combining border security investments with legal reforms. Yet, it’s facing an uphill battle.

This is despite the bill making significant concessions to border hawks. The Dignity Act has all the teeth that an effective border security program needs. For every dollar that we spend today, the bill adds fifty cents — raising our total spending from about $25 billion to about $35 billion.

At the same time, the Dignity Act is no free ride for those who break the law. It requires that people come out of the shadows and pay fines for crossing the border illegally. You can think about this like a speeding ticket — it’s a first step for them to make up for it.

A recent Congressional Hispanic Caucus meeting put this failure to understand the politics of immigration on display. When the caucus met to discuss the Dignity Act, Democrats in safe Californian seats complained that the bill isn’t what President Joe Biden proposed to Congress. It’s no surprise that this argument doesn’t move Florida Republican Rep. Maria Salazar, one of the Dignity Act’s original sponsors. But it also shouldn’t be a surprise that Texas Democrats, like Dignity Act sponsor Rep. Veronica Escobar, are trying to take a harder line than Californian Democrats would like.

If you want to pass reforms, rather than just talk about them, then you need a marriage of what both sides want. Democratic lawmakers in deep blue California shouldn’t hold out for an idealized version of immigration reform. It will never materialize.

To be clear, it’s not just people on the left holding up immigration reform. Republicans have their own sacred cow: the idea that any policy qualifies as “amnesty” if it even slightly opens the U.S. to more immigrants. In 2022, when an earlier version of the Dignity Act was moving forward, Salazar noted that her fellow Republicans couldn’t pinpoint the amnesty in her bill. When she asked them to give her a definition, none of them could.

The truth is, as Salazar emphasized at the Dignity bill’s original announcement, Republicans are confusing “amnesty with dignity.” The Dignity Act is a perfect example of how reforms to immigration rules can be combined with border security in a way that makes both Border Patrol and legal pathways more effective.

If reforms like the Dignity Act can find a way through the political maze, they will represent a huge benefit to the country. The combination of increased legal pathways and border security efforts reinforce each other. They work best together. Border barriers have their place, but research shows they deter illegal immigration more effectively when migrants know future legal immigration is a possibility. Migrants are more likely to wait their turn.

On top of this, if you have simple and established legal paths, then you are better able to sort out the bad actors trying to sneak across the border. Today’s failure to create meaningful guest worker programs means that bad actors and those simply in search of a better life are difficult to distinguish. This is what Victor M. Manjarrez, a former border patrol agent turned academic, calls the masking effect. Legal reforms have the benefit of unmasking the minority that are actual public safety threats.

The real lesson for those serious about border security is this: Border security and immigration reform are not opposing goals. Instead, they are two sides of the same coin. An investment in one strengthens the other. Legal immigration reform bills like the Dignity Act are not bleeding-heart humanitarian efforts. They are key ingredients in a robust border security system.

In the end, $35 billion worth of border security, when it comes hand-in-hand with immigration reform, will make America stronger and more secure. That should be something everyone can celebrate.

Josh T. Smith is the immigration policy director at the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. You can follow him @smithtjosh or via his monthly immigration policy newsletter, Entry Point.

Investor-owned utilities often prioritize profits over people | Opinion

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 03:35

This summer, soaring temperatures brought soaring energy bills for Floridians. While we all felt the heat and the corresponding burn on our bank accounts, some communities, especially  communities of color, felt these effects even more drastically.

The dominating narrative regarding higher energy bills is that they’re directly related to the higher outside temperatures, but this ignores the greed of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and minimizes the intersection of climate change, energy and race.

Every Floridian deserves access to electricity, regardless of one’s racial or socioeconomic background. However, IOUs often prioritize profits over people, leading to higher utility bills, low-grade infrastructure and inadequate service in many communities of color.

Chelsea Rivera is a policy organizer at Central Florida Jobs with Justice.

Communities of color often experience higher utility rates, burdening them with a greater financial strain. Studies have shown that these disparities are not coincidental; they are a result of historical redlining and discriminatory practices that have left these communities with fewer resources to invest in infrastructure improvements.

IOUs have a history of prioritizing investments in more affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods while neglecting the upgrade and maintenance of systems in communities of color. This neglect leads to more frequent power outages, longer emergency response times and a lower overall quality of service. In some instances, it can even put lives at risk, as we’ve seen in the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

In Florida, IOUs operate as monopolies, meaning customers don’t get to pick their power provider. In exchange for their service territory, utilities are regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC), a board of Gov. Ron DeSantis appointees who are responsible for ensuring that the utilities provide reliable and affordable electricity. IOUs’ continual dependence on nonrenewable resources not only raises bills for consumers but also contributes to rising temperatures and further exacerbates climate inequalities across communities.

State Rep. Michele Rayner is a Democrat from St. Petersburg representing House District 62, which includes parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

According to leading climate scientists, we must cut greenhouse gas by 50% by 2030 and significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions to stabilize global temperatures and reduce extreme weather events. Unfortunately, in this past legislative session, Florida lawmakers voted to pass numerous bills (HB 1645, SB 250, HB 1281, SB 170 and HB 125) that set us back even further.

However, there is still hope. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserts that we have options across all of our sectors in order to achieve these emissions goals, thus we must call on our colleagues in the Legislature and municipal governments to champion the following demands:

  1. We demand municipal authority of utilities. Municipal utilities are publicly owned with a community-elected board. They do not operate on a for-profit basis, which often means lower rates for residential customers. With Duke’s lease in St. Petersburg set to expire in 2026, we are presented with a timely opportunity to enact this change locally.
  2. We demand a publicly elected Public Service Commission. If the PSC’s mission is to provide reliable and affordable electricity for its customers, then we should have a say in who is defining “affordable” and “reliable” on our behalf.
  3. We demand renewable, clean energy that is backed by research. Carbon capture and storage, hydrogen power and biomass are not sustainable and efficient solutions, nor are they equitable. In the Sunshine State, we choose solar.
  4. We will not further marginalize the communities that have borne the brunt of environmental injustice. Latino and Black communities are exposed to 63% and 56% more environmental pollution than they produce, while non-Hispanic white Americans are exposed to 17% less pollution than they produce. As we build out the infrastructure for clean energy, we must do so in a way that is clean for all of our residents, not just the privileged few.

For more information about the Florida lawmakers that spent the 2023 legislative session fueling corporate greed and the ones who championed their communities’ best interests, visit “The Corporate Greed Report” at StopCorporateGreedFL.com.

Chelsea Rivera is a policy organizer at Central Florida Jobs with Justice, which is a coalition of labor unions, community-based organizations, faith-based and student groups coming together to build power for worker rights. State Rep. Michele Rayner is a Democrat from St. Petersburg representing House District 62, which includes parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. This opinion piece was distributed by The Invading Sea website (www.theinvadingsea.com), which posts news and commentary on climate change and other environmental issues affecting Florida.

We must address America’s epidemic of medication non-adherence | Opinion

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 03:35

As the president and executive director of the National Transitions of Care Coalition, we know all too well the dangers many Americans experience when aging and the health care challenges that come with it — like moving from a hospital to a nursing home. Medical information gets lost, new caretakers remain uninformed, and patients suffer. That’s why we strive to put life-saving information in the hands of those who need it.

In October, we spoke at two conferences here in Florida about the critical role medical professionals play in this transition of care and avoiding fatal errors like medication non-adherence.

Jacqueline Vance is president of the National Transitions of Care Coalition.

Few causes of death are so preventable yet so common as medication non-adherence, a silent killer that takes away more than 100,000 lives every year. Taking medication incorrectly is an increasingly prevalent issue in Florida, where our state’s large retiree population means many Floridians rely on multiple prescription medications with specific instructions on how to take them. This patient medication information (PMI) is not standardized, overwhelming and hard to read and understand — leading to confusion, adverse health side effects, and — all too often — death.

Printed PMI that’s provided when prescriptions are picked up is our first defense against medication non-adherence, but it can be muddled and confusing. There is no legal standard PMI must satisfy, which leads to inconsistency, inaccuracy and incoherence. Most patients we encounter do not even attempt to read their PMI and simply throw it out because they’re overwhelmed with information. Instead, they rely on word-of-mouth, memory or their caregivers, increasing the likelihood of error.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a rule to provide standards for PMI, but unfortunately, it doesn’t do enough. First, the rule updates and standardizes PMI formatting but fails to use research or scientifically backed methods to ensure the updated format is effective. Second, the rule allows for PMI to be provided digitally at the expense of printed PMI, which is a huge problem. Our seniors disproportionately take more prescription drugs than any other population; they’re also the same demographic that has trouble with technology and would not be able to access PMI reliably online.

Cheri Lattimer is executive director of the National Transitions of Care Coalition.

Our experience in the health care field has taught us that convenience is key, and paper is simply more convenient and more reliable for most people taking prescription medication. Not only would digital PMI risk more lives, but going digital would put an unnecessary burden on our pharmacists. Any update to PMI needs to guarantee that no additional burden falls on pharmacists and require drug manufacturers to pay for and print PMI.

In order to protect seniors and avoid unintended consequences that would put Floridians’ lives at risk, the FDA must revise its rule to ensure PMI is accurate, effective and printed.

Sometimes, all it takes to save a life is putting the correct information into the right hands, literally and figuratively. We are tired of seeing Americans die from a preventable problem that our health policymakers have failed to solve.

Jacqueline Vance, of Tampa, is president of the National Transitions of Care Coalition. Cheri Lattimer, of Dewey, Arizona, is the organization’s executive director.

UCF women’s basketball gets to 3-0 by topping Auburn

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 22:52

Led by Laila Jewett‘s 19 points,  the UCF women’s basketball team (3-0) prevailed 60-53 at home on Monday night for its first victory against  Auburn (3-2).

Jewett went 7-of-11 from the field while Kaitlin Peterson recorded her third consecutive double-digit game with 16 points. Jayla Kelly and Peterson tallied seven rebounds apiece.

“That’s a team that beat us by 40 points last year and now we flipped it around. It’s different,” UCF coach Sytia Messer said. “I’d like to give my players the credit for the opportunity to come here. It’s a different team and these young ladies know me, which is the main difference from last year. Our players work hard and we are going to continue to challenge them to get ready for the Big 12.”

UCF led 27-26 at halftime before Auburn tied the game 45-45 in the fourth quarter. After Kelly made a layup off an Auburn turnover with 5:26 left,  the Knights never trailed.  Peterson pushed the ball in transition following a defensive rebound, leading to an and-one layup to give the Knights a five-point advantage with 1:35 left.

The Knights return to action in the Discover Puerto Rico Classic with three games running from Thursday through Saturday.

UCF men edge Charlotte in OT to advance to Jacksonville Classic title game

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 22:17

ST. AUGUSTINE — Ibrahima Diallo had a go-ahead layup with 16 seconds remaining in overtime after Jaylin Sellers’ grabbed Diallo’s missed free throw and UCF rallied for a 74-71 victory over Charlotte at the Jacksonville Classic on Monday night.

UCF (4-1) will play George Mason in the championship game on Tuesday.

Charlotte (3-2), which won its only previous meeting with UCF, will play South Dakota State in the consolation final earlier Tuesday.

Darius Johnson led Johnny Dawkins‘ Knights with 25 points, adding 6 rebounds and 3 steals.

Sellers hit 3 3-pointers, scoring 19 with 5 of his 6 rebounds coming on offense.

Diallo finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.

Lu’cye Patterson led the 49ers with 21 points and 4 assists before fouling out.

Igor Milicic Jr. had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jackson Threadgill scored 11.

Charlotte took a 26-22 lead into halftime, but the Knights battled back and used two free throws by Johnson with 11 seconds remaining to knot the score at 59-all and force overtime.

Both teams shot under 43% overall and under 30% from 3-point range, but UCF made 19 of 24 foul shots while Charlotte sank 11 of 16.

The Knights had a 15-7 advantage in second-chance points.

General Daily Insight for November 21, 2023

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 20:33
General Daily Insight for November 21, 2023

Making progress is currently possible, but we might have to cut through a lot of chatter first. While the impressionable Pisces Moon squares inquisitive Mercury, we’re likely to wander off on innumerable fascinating tangents. Don’t worry — once decisive Mars sextiles transformative Pluto at 8:18 pm EST, we can demand to know what truly matters. Luna then sextiles innovative Uranus, possibly exposing the most promising prospects among the many things on our minds. Patience, within reasonable limits, can obtain its rewards!


March 21 – April 19

Your ambition is likely strong at this time. Nevertheless, you don’t have to go for your goals alone. As motivated Mars in your collaborative 8th house supports powerful Pluto in your 10th House of Purpose, joining forces with someone else can boost you further faster. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a person you’d choose to hang out with socially — it’s okay to keep your political or spiritual beliefs to yourself if they’re not relevant to the task you’re trying to accomplish!


April 20 – May 20

Your focus on ideological purity may currently limit your circle. As confident Mars in your partnership zone aligns with subconscious Pluto in your philosophical 9th house, you’re more inclined to trust people whose political or philosophical views are similar to your own. Interacting with your larger community could be harder — especially if you’re less certain what you’re going to get from them. A good outcome isn’t guaranteed if you broaden your reach, but discovering what’s out there might be worth the risk.


May 21 – June 20

You might enjoy the challenge of working hard to impress another person today. While energetic Mars in your productive 6th house eggs on intense Pluto in your 8th House of Collaboration, friendly competition with a rival could push you forward. In the end, you’ll potentially receive recognition for what you accomplish under the circumstances. Just remember: you’re not required to hoard all the glory for yourself! If you feel like someone else legitimately deserves more credit than they’re getting, don’t be afraid to say so.


June 21 – July 22

Competition could bring you closer to a loved one now. While you may tend to believe that connection is all about fostering an atmosphere of nurturing and security, your circumstances might benefit from an approach that accommodates more of your complex nature. While aggressive Mars in your expressive 5th house encourages potent Pluto in your partnership zone, you need to let some tension out — and your companion is probably tough enough to handle it. Embrace being a full, well-rounded person.


July 23 – August 22

Your living space might need a little attention at the moment! However, others involved in the situation, whether they live with you or simply visit often, may not appreciate the brilliance of your vision. While the sensitive Moon in your 8th House of Shared Resources argues with intellectual Mercury in your expressive 5th house, you might think their critiques aren’t rational enough to justify changing your course. Don’t solely focus on protecting your ego — true leadership is strong enough to hear out dissent.


August 23 – September 22

Communicating boldly is possible for you at present. As courageous Mars in your conversation sector complements insightful Pluto in your 5th House of Self-Expression, you may want to tell a personal story that carries a deep and relevant message. You won’t necessarily feel secure the whole time you’re doing so, and your narrative could bring up some hard feelings for your audience as well. However, rocking the boat now can actually make your relationship stronger in the long run. Consider taking the risk.


September 23 – October 22

Your desire for financial security could currently motivate you to search for ways to earn money. When the attentive Moon in your 6th House of Work stimulates chatty Mercury in your conversation zone, you might ask the people around you if they’ve heard any good tips lately. You’re not guaranteed to get actionable results immediately, but you must begin your search somewhere! A suggestion you receive may remind you of something else that would be a better fit, so listen with an open mind.


October 23 – November 21

Today, you can be both confident and creative! As the impulsive Moon in your speculative 5th house challenges clever Mercury in your finance zone, you might boldly daydream about interesting ways to expand your resources. Although you have a lot to offer, that doesn’t necessarily make every money-making scheme you think up a good one. Don’t waste this opportunity to communicate powerfully on something that’s not worth it. Know when to drop a particular idea in service of your larger aims.


November 22 – December 21

Making plans quietly could serve you well at the moment. While determined Mars in your 12th House of Secrets supports incisive Pluto in your money sector, your understanding of your finances may not be terribly detailed, but your intuitive read of the overall picture is probably accurate. Being too vocal about what you’re doing might awaken your fears regarding security and throw you off a promising scent. You know on some level that you’ll land on your feet, so trust that vibe.


December 22 – January 19

Discretion could seem key to your leadership in a current social situation. When the passionate Moon in your communication zone hisses at perceptive Mercury in your secretive 12th house, you may not want to reveal everything you know about the people and events involved. Unfortunately, an impulsive disclosure that threatens your grip on the narrative is possible. It won’t necessarily be the end of the world — perhaps whatever you wanted to keep private will make your decisions seem more understandable to others.


January 20 – February 18

Your thorough understanding of the broader situation can help you progress toward a goal of yours. As dynamic Mars in your ambitious 10th house harmonizes with deep Pluto in your 12th House of the Collective Unconscious, you’re capable of picking up a lot of subtle information throughout the day. Still, figuring out which tidbits are relevant could require more focused thought. Hear everyone out, but don’t forget that you’ll ultimately be the one who must pay the costs of whatever path you choose.


February 19 – March 20

Coming together with others who share your political or spiritual views could energize you today. Even so, you might be disappointed to discover that agreeing on the big things doesn’t entirely eliminate conflict from your connection. While the emotional Moon in your sign clashes with logical Mercury in your focused 10th house, you may think that sharing a dramatic personal story is the best way to convince the larger world to support your cause. A factual approach is also valid, though — avoid friendly fire!

Winderman’s view: A bench boost allows for a Heat exhale vs. Bulls

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 20:24

CHICAGO — Observations and other notes of interest from Monday night’s 118-100 victory over the Chicago Bulls:

– The bench boost helped, no doubt.

– But this was about more than the points or statistics.

– It was about how the Heat bench contributed.

– It was Kevin Love stepping into 3-pointers with confidence.

– It was about Josh Richardson attacking the rim at one point for a dramatic follow-up dunk, scoring on assured jumpers otherwise.

– It was Jaime Jaquez Jr., for 3, again and again, even if that is not necessarily the preferred shot from the rookie.

– And it was Caleb Martin at least getting back to the court, as his slow-go comeback continues.

– With Tyler Herro out, it could have meant compromised depth these past two weeks, especially with Duncan Robinson moved to the starting lineup.

– But nights such as these offer bona fide hope, particularly when it happens on the road.

– At one point, the Heat were searching with Dru Smith and Thomas Bryant.

– Now they appear to have what they need.

– Confidence with nine.

– Soon enough to make it 10 with Herro.

– It again was Bam Adebayo, Haywood Highsmith, Jimmy Butler, Robinson and Kyle Lowry as the Heat’s starting five.

– Inactive for the Heat were Herro, Nikola Jovic, Jamal Cain, Cole Swider and R.J. Hampton.

– It was Love and Jaquez again as the first two Heat subs.

– Martin followed.

– Martin said he wasn’t on a specific minutes restriction in his third game back for 10 off due to knee pain, but that there is an understanding with the training staff.

– Richardson made it nine deep.

– Richardson’s second point was the 6,000th of his career.

– Richardson’s sixth point moved him past Bimbo Coles for 20th on the Heat all-time scoring list.

– Love’s initial stint was cut short by two fouls in his first five minutes.

– Adebayo returned then, rather than an entrance by Bryant.

– Adebayo tied Tim Hardaway and Eddie Jones for seventh place on the Heat all-time list with his 315th career game scoring in double figures.

– Adebayo’s fifth free-throw attempt was the 1,500th of his career.

– Lowry’s first 3-pointer was the 2,100th of his career.

– Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked pregame about learning to win without Herro, who remains out with his Grade 2 ankle sprain.

– “We’re working through it,” he said, “and in the meantime, you can still win games, and that’s what we’ve found a way to do. That’s also a talent that a team can acquire. We know we have areas that we need to improve and we’re aware that our fourth-quarter offense will get better. That’s all I’m looking for.”

– Spoelstra added, “In the meantime, we can win some games while we’re working through these teaching moments.”

– Bulls coach Billy Donovan spoke pregame of Chicago guard Zach LaVine refusing a request for a televised interview following Saturday’s victory over the Heat.

– “It’s been handled internally,” Donovan said.

– The incident came in the wake of reports of LaVine seeking a trade.

– “My conversations with him have been more about the basketball piece of how as a staff and myself can help him, what he’s seeing out there, how he can impact the slow starts,” Donovan said. “I did not see anything different from him in that locker room when I walked in. I didn’t get a guy who wasn’t in the locker room or in a different room or upset or pouting or turned around. I talked to him after the game. He talked to players after the game. I saw a normal Zach in there.”

– Donovan again pregame was asked about his team’s slow starts.

– “We have an unselfish group that’s willing to try to move the basketball,” he said. “Vooch (Nikola Vucevic), Zach and DeMar (DeRozan), those three guys, in particular, have generated a lot of shots for others. They’ve got to also be aggressive. They’re all playing to move the basketball, to help one another, but we also got to be able to attack from different spots when we have it. Especially when we’re in close-out situations. We’ve got to be able to handle those better.”

Heat this time hold lead, get back at Bulls with 118-100 victory

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 20:22

CHICAGO — The first three quarters again weren’t a problem. For the second consecutive game at the United Center, there wasn’t a deficit for the Miami Heat over the game’s first 36 minutes.

The concern was the fourth quarter, after falling in the final seconds Saturday night at the start of this five-game trip after not trailing until the final minute.

Challenge accepted.

Mission accomplished.

Up double digits in the final period for the second time in three nights, the Heat this time closed out the Chicago Bulls 118-100 Monday night to make it eight victories in their past nine games.

It was the Heat’s first double-digit victory of the season – the previous largest margin of victory had been eight – as they moved to 9-5.

Two nights after blowing a 21-point lead, the Heat got balance throughout the rotation and remained on the gas long enough to ease any doubts.

“Sometimes you do have opportunities to get better from tough losses,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That can humble you. It’s really the approach after that.”

The approach was contributions across the board.

There were 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assists from center Bam Adebayo; 22 points, including six 3-pointers, from guard Duncan Robinson; 19 points, including three 3-pointers, from guard Jaime Jaquez Jr.; and 16 points from forward Jimmy Butler, who did not need to be called up for late heroics, sitting out the final period.

The trip continues Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers and concludes with a back-to-back set Friday night against the New York Knicks and Saturday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

Five Degrees of Heat from Monday night’s game:

1. Game flow: There was no 22-1 lead for the Heat this time, after such an open Saturday, but instead a 12-2 edge at the outset, with the Heat closing the first period up 33-27.

The Heat then pushed their advantage to 14 in the second period, before taking a 65-53 lead into halftime and a 93-81 lead into the fourth.

From there, the Heat pushed their lead to 22 as Butler sat at the top of the fourth quarter, not needed for more than 29 minutes.

“I’m glad we responded tonight.” backup center Kevin Love said. “A great bounce back.”

2. Eyes on rim: A game after going for a career-high seven assists, Robinson had eyes on the rim at the outset, converting his first three 3-point shots and then a driving layup for a 4-of-4 start, scoring 11 of the Heat’s first 17 points.

The second of Robinson’s 3-pointers was off a scrambled offensive possession as the shot clock was expiring.

He closed 6 of 9 from beyond the arc.

It was Robinson’s sixth consecutive start in place of sidelined guard Tyler Herro.

“I thought we were very intentional in our preparation,” Robinson said, “and you could see that tonight.”

3. Monday fun day: Butler not only was up to 12 points by the intermission, but was maximizing his moments.

Sent to the line on what was ruled a clear-path Bulls foul, Butler between free throws paused to offer air high-fives to imaginary teammates, with the lane cleared during the shots.

But the topper was Butler not only scoring on an early skyhook, but mouthing the words “sky hook” in the midst of his sweeping motion.

“I had to let everybody know,” he said of his during-the-shot-intonation.

Spoelstra said it could have been an homage to Heat president Pat Riley, who coached Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Pat always wants our guys to work on the sky hook,” Spoelstra said.

“It just shows you haw gifted Jimmy is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him practice that.”

Butler also closed 0 for 2 on 3-pointers amid his goal of shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.

“I’m in a 3-point shooting slump right now,” he quipped, “so I gotta go to what I know, which is the skyhook.”

4. Clean sheet: After costly turnovers at the close of Saturday night’s loss to the Bulls, the Heat at one stage stood with 17 assists to one turnover Monday night.

Kyle Lowry again made passing his priority, with five assists and no turnovers in the first half.

The crisp ball movement fueled an 8-of-17 first half on 3-pointers.

While the Heat would close with 10 turnovers to 31 assists, the play was crisp throughout.

“We learned a lot from last game,” Jaquez said, “and we applied what we learned.”

5. A little Love: A game before his first game back to Cleveland since leaving the Cavaliers on a buyout last February, Love was up to 11 points and five rebounds at the intermission.

Entering the night at .282 on 3-pointers, Love was 3 of 4 from beyond the arc in the first half, tying his previous single-game season high of three conversions, closing 3 of 5.

Love helped fuel the Heat bench to 29 first-half points, a decided boost after the Heat bench was limited to 23 Saturday night. The Heat’s reserves outscored the Bulls’ bench 42-21.

Niko Mikkola scores twice as Panthers overcome two-goal night from Connor McDavid to rally past Oilers

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 20:16


SUNRISE — Niko Mikkola had the first two-goal game of his career, Kevin Stenlund had a three-point effort and the Florida Panthers rallied to defeat Edmonton Oilers 5-3 on Monday night.

Stenlund had a goal and two assists for the Panthers, who have won six consecutive games at home and are 7-1-0 in their last eight games. Carter Verhaeghe and Sam Bennett also scored for Florida, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 shots.

Connor McDavid scored twice for the Oilers. Evander Kane also scored for Edmonton, and Calvin Pickard — making his first start since March 27, 2022 — stopped 27 shots.

The Oilers fell to 1-10-1 this season when allowing three or more goals.

“We are trying to keep the puck out of our net, obviously,” McDavid said. “That’s our main focus and we haven’t done that.”

Edmonton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by McDavid and Kane. Verhaeghe and Mikkola tied it up for Florida, and McDavid scored on a penalty shot 5 minutes into the second period for a 3-2 lead.

It was the 52nd multigoal game of McDavid’s career and his first of the season. He was due for a breakout; the four goals he had entering Monday night represented the fewest he’d had through 14 games played to start any of his nine NHL seasons.

He was also due for a big game at Florida — McDavid entered Monday with only one goal in five appearances on the Panthers’ home ice.

But Mikkola tied it up for a second time just 1:08 after the penalty shot, and Stenlund put the Panthers up for good with 6:18 left in the second.

Mikkola had two goals, total, in his last 148 games played including playoffs entering Monday — spanning 2,559 minutes of ice time for the Finnish defenseman.

“The coaches and teammates trust you to jump up into the play every time you see it,” Mikkola said when asked about his offensive success. “We want to have one defenseman up in the play and get chances that way. I like it.”

It was Florida’s second successful rally from a two-goal deficit this season, after coming from 2-0 down to top Seattle 3-2 on Oct. 28. Edmonton wasted a two-goal lead for third time this season and the second in as many games; the Oilers blew a 2-0 lead in what became a 6-4 loss Saturday at Tampa Bay.

The Panthers improved to 10-0-0 when leading with 5 minutes left in regulation. Bennett sealed it with an empty-netter with 42.6 seconds remaining, his first goal of the season after dealing with injuries for much of the early part of the year.

Florida was without captain Aleksander Barkov, who is listed as day-to-day. He took a knee-to-knee hit in Florida’s win at Anaheim on Friday, and tests over the weekend showed he avoided serious injury.

“You can win on any given night no matter how many injuries you have, but you just can’t win long-term with key guys out,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “But the pro scouts have done a good job of finding players that fit the style of hockey we play and we brought in some key players that helped us survive.”


Panthers: Host Boston on Wednesday.

Carter Verhaeghe (L) and the Florida Panthers celebrate his first period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Amerant Bank Arena on Monday in Sunrise. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Are Beautyblenders worth it?

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 02:13

Applying liquid foundation might seem intimidating to some. However, the Beautyblender is a makeup sponge that revolutionized the beauty industry. It comes with a price tag that may raise some eyebrows, but if you want a secret weapon for flawless-looking makeup with basically no learning curve, here’s everything you need to know about the tool that’s a staple in makeup artists’ bags.

What is a Beautyblender? 

The Beautyblender is a makeup sponge invented in 2003. It has won Allure magazine’s Best of Beauty awards numerous times due to its ability to blend makeup more smoothly than standard brushes. The rounded egg shape helps leave a seamless finish while the pointed end can blend in the under-eye area. The original Beautyblender is a hot-pink egg, but multiple colors, shapes and sizes are available.

How to use a Beautyblender

Squeeze and release the sponge under running water to thoroughly dampen it. This helps keep it from absorbing makeup, which means less product. Apply the foundation with your fingertips first, then use the dampened Beautyblender to blend it out, using a bouncing, blotting motion. This helps makeup spread evenly and gives it a smooth, streak-free, natural-looking finish.

After you’re done applying the makeup, clean the Beautyblender with a liquid brush cleanser and let it air dry.

What you need to know before purchasing a Beautyblender

Even compared to other premium makeup brushes, the Beautyblender isn’t cheap, particularly since it’s recommended to replace them every three to six months. They need to be cleaned regularly — ideally after every use — since the sponge can harbor bacteria. Cleaning the Beautyblender does add another step to the makeup routine, but it’s an important step, and since the Beautyblender makes doing your makeup so quick and easy, you don’t ultimately lose that much time.

The Beautyblender is mainly intended for use with liquid foundation but you can use it to blend out BB cream and tinted moisturizer. It can even be used to achieve a poreless finish with powder foundation or to blend out contouring products.

Where to buy a Beautyblender

The Original Beautyblender Makeup Sponge ]

The hot-pink latex-free foam expands when wet to smoothly apply makeup for an airbrushed-looking finish.

Other products worth considering

Beautyblender Liquid Blendercleanser ]

Use this vegan, soy-based liquid cleanser on your Beautyblender sponge daily or soak the sponge to treat stubborn makeup stains.

Beautyblender Blendercleanser Solid Sponge and Brush Cleanser ]

This cleanser bar is available in three different formulas and comes with a silicone scrubbing mat for deep cleaning.

Beautyblender Blender Defender Protective Case ]

This ventilated, shatterproof silicone case gives your Beautyblender a secure place to dry while protecting it from grime.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ]

The foam and the shape are different from the Beautyblender, but this wallet-friendly sponge applies makeup almost as easily and seamlessly. It’s a solid choice if you’re not ready to spring for the Beautyblender yet.

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Laura Reed writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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How do you make your home smell good for the holidays? Try these top-rated candles

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 02:11
Many scented candles are available in scents that are perfect for your holiday home

You don’t have to bake cookies or decorate with real pine to make your home smell like a Christmas wonderland. The simplest way to fill your home with holiday fragrances is to light a scented candle.

Whether you love pine, sweet treats, spicy berries or another tempting scent, chances are you’ll find a candle that will emit your favorite holiday aroma into the air as it burns with a warm, inviting glow. The best candles produce potent scents that linger and burn for numerous hours so they’ll last throughout the holiday season and beyond. Another bonus is when you find them on sale, like the 12 delightfully scented candles in our roundup.

Holiday scents to look for in candles

While there are no rules about which scents are appropriate for the holidays, certain popular aromas come to mind when this time of year rolls around. They can be classified as sweet, spicy, earthy or fruity. Additionally, many scented candles that are designed for the holidays have a combination of notes from one or more of the categories for a nicely balanced fragrance.


When you think of the sweet family of holiday fragrances, delicious Christmas-time treats come to mind. Peppermint, vanilla, cocoa, gingerbread and sugar are some of the most popular notes used to produce these enticing scents.


Some spices are warm, fragrant and perfect for the holidays. They are found in delicacies like sugar plums, cider and pumpkin pie. When a candle is scented with spices such as cloves, mint, cinnamon, anise and ginger, it fills a room with the aromas of the season.


There’s nothing quite like the scent of evergreen during the holidays. That’s why many seasonal candles are infused with pine and balsam. Some candles in this category also contain sage, bayberry, holly, nuts or cedarwood.


Holiday candles with fruity notes are light and pleasant. Berry, citrus, pumpkin, apple, pear and cranberry all deliver a lovely smell for the holiday season.

Types of scented candles

Votive, pillar and taper candles can all be found in scented forms. However, jar scented candles are by far the most popular. They also stand out for providing long burn times, as some models can provide more than 150 hours of luscious scents.

Wicks of scented candles

Ideally, the wick of a candle will burn slowly and won’t produce a lot of smoke or contaminants. Most well-made candles by top brands have wicks that are made of cotton or other quality materials. While many scented candles have single wicks, some larger models have two, three, four or more wicks.

Best scented candles for the holidays

Root Candles 3-Wick Honeycomb Mulled Cider Scented Jar Candle ]

This three-wick candle smells like mulled cider, a classic hot beverage of the holiday season. Hints of cinnamon, apple and cloves give it a warm, inviting fragrance. It’s made of a beeswax blend and contains fragrant essential oils for a clean burn.

Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie Large Jar Candle ]

Who doesn’t love the smell of Christmas cookies fresh out of the oven? This candle mimics that delightful scent with notes of cinnamon, butter, nutmeg, vanilla and sugar. It’s a large paraffin wax candle that will burn for up to 150 hours.

Symple Stuff Holiday Forest Scented Pillar Candle ]

Made by hand, the Holiday Forest candle delivers the fragrance of fresh pine. It’s a well-made pillar candle with a bright green color that looks great on a candle plate or pedestal-style holder.

Yankee Candle Balsam & Cedar Signature Large Jar Candle ]

It’s a combination of balsam, spices, berries, vanilla and more that gives this jar candle the smell of the holiday season. It’s made of a quality soy wax blend that will burn for as long as 100 hours.

Yankee Candle Frosty Gingerbread Large Jar Candle ]

Gingerbread is an ideal scent for the holidays, and this jar candle will make your place smell as if you just baked a batch. Ginger, cinnamon, clove and vanilla are the notes that make it so irresistible. It’s constructed of quality wax and will burn as long as 150 hours.

Star Hollow Candle Company Peppermint Sticks Scented Jar Candle ]

A soy-blend wax and essential oils make it possible for Star Hollow Candles to burn clean and produce pleasant scents for many hours. If you want a candle that makes you think of candy canes, the brand’s peppermint stick jar candle is for you.

Root Candles Bayberry Scented Honeycomb Beeswax Blend Scented Candle ]

This is another beeswax-based candle that is scented with essential oils. It has a bayberry fragrance that’s a holiday tradition and includes notes of patchouli, balsam and vanilla. It has three wicks and burns for more than 50 hours.

Yankee Candle Snow Globe Wonderland Signature Large Tumbler Candle ]

Not sure which scent you want to fill your home with during the holidays? The Snow Globe Wonderland candle has you covered with an interesting blend of scents that are sweet, spicy, fruity and earthy. It includes berry, praline, nutmeg, holly, anise, mint and more. It burns clean, thanks to the soy-based wax.

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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Everything you should consider when buying an emergency radio

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 02:07

If you’ve ever been away from the city, you may have noticed that getting cellular reception is difficult in remote areas. Disconnecting from the rest of the world can give you a sense of tranquility, but staying disconnected for too long is not a good idea.

Unplanned events sometimes occur, so it’s best to be prepared for an emergency. An emergency radio can be a lifesaver when your phone is out of order, but there are a number of features to look for when buying one.

Multiple power sources

A radio may be no good in an emergency if the battery dies and the only way to charge is at a wall outlet. Access to electricity is scarce in the wilderness, so your emergency radio should have several ways to draw power. The best emergency radios have a rechargeable battery, a solar panel and a hand crank. Some even let you use regular batteries if the rechargeable one dies.

Multiple kinds of channels

For music listening, you want access to FM bands. However, you need a radio that can receive AM and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration signals to get news and weather updates. The best radios have an auto-scan feature that automatically finds the station with the best signal for your area.

Power bank size and life

The larger the battery, the longer the battery life, but radios with rechargeable power banks should last at least six to eight hours on a full charge. Radio power banks can also juice up your smartphone or a small tablet, but this drains power faster.

Radio size

Compact emergency radios are best if you want to travel light, but the battery life isn’t as long as with a large radio. Also, since smaller radios aren’t as powerful, the speaker isn’t as loud, and you may find sound quality somewhat lacking.

LED flashlight

If you want to be prepared for an emergency, a flashlight is essential. It can get very dark in the wilderness, so you always want to have enough light to be aware of your surroundings. It’s best to have a separate flashlight, but most emergency radios have a built-in LED flashlight, which can come in handy if you misplace your flashlight or the battery dies.

Sirens and beacon lights

If you find yourself alone in an emergency, the first thing you want to do is find help. However, it can be difficult to contact others in a desolate area, so you need a way to alert somebody to your presence and location. The best emergency radios have bright beacon lights and can emit a piercing SOS sound to help others locate you in dire situations.

Best emergency radios

Esky Emergency Hand Crank Weather Radio

Receive updates from NOAA and AM/FM stations with this handy weather radio. It has a large 2,000 milliamp-hour battery that can power up your phone, a bright LED flashlight and an SOS alarm. It can be powered with AAA batteries.

iRonsnow Solar Crank Real NOAA Alert Weather Radio with Alarm

This radio lets you activate an alarm to receive updates on disaster weather conditions and warnings. It has a loud siren and a micro SD slot that lets you use it as an MP3 player to play your favorite tunes.

Eton American Red Cross FRX3+ Emergency NOAA Weather Radio

This rechargeable radio has a built-in solar panel and a hand turbine power generator. The alert function broadcasts emergency weather alerts for your area, and the red flashing beacon can catch someone’s attention in the dark from miles away.

Sangean MMR-88 AM/FM/Weather+Alert Solar Hand Crank Emergency Radio

This radio has 19 preset functions, a triple LED light, a USB port for charging your phone and a loudspeaker with an emergency buzzer. It can be powered via a solar panel, rechargeable battery or a hand crank generator.

FosPower 2000mAh NOAA Emergency Weather Radio

If you want an affordable radio with a sleek build and plenty of great features that are useful for emergencies, this radio is an excellent buy. It has three separate power sources, a 2000mAh power bank for juicing up your phone or a small tablet and a loud SOS alarm.

Givoust Hand Crank Radio

This radio runs for up to eight hours on a full charge and has a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack on the side for private listening. It has a bright beacon light, an SOS alarm and an angle-adjustable reading lamp.

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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High school girls basketball preview: A new-look St. Thomas Aquinas takes aim at a four-peat

Sun, 11/19/2023 - 22:23

St. Thomas Aquinas was the lone team from either Broward or Palm Beach County to win a girls’ state championship last year. It was the Raiders’ third straight title at the FHSAA state basketball championships in Lakeland.

St. Thomas Aquinas will see what it is like to play without two-time Sun Sentinel 7A-6A player of the year Karina Gordon, who is now a freshman at East Carolina University. Gordon finished with 20 points and five rebounds in a 67-43 win over Winter Haven in the Class 6A state championship game for a third straight title.

Aquinas can become the fourth Broward County team to win four consecutive state championships, joining Plantation’s American Heritage, who did won five in succession from 2018-2022, Dillard (2010-2013), and South Broward (2000-2003).

“Our expectations are to improve each day and to go for that four-peat state championship,” said Raiders coach Oliver Berens, who is 129-50 in his seven years at the school. “We expect to take the next step in continuing to establish ourselves as an elite program nationally.”

St. Thomas Aquinas added sophomore Jaynae Gilbert, a transfer from Monarch, and freshman Tyla Mori to go along with junior wing Nyla McFadden and senior guard Khadee Hession.

The Raiders also return seniors Kamryn Corporan, Mya Johnson, and Ka-Zahria Johnson.

American Heritage came up a point short in its bid for a sixth consecutive state championship. The Patriots spotted Daytona Beach Mainland a 50-30 lead and almost came all the way back to win a sixth straight state championship. Instead, the team left with a 62-61 loss.

They return sophomore guard and Fab 5 selection Jasleen Green, who is coming off a 21.2-point, 6.5-rebound freshman season.

Cardinal Gibbons (4A) and King’s Academy (3A) each also reached the girls final four in 2023.

Kevin Gordon, who is in his 16th season coaching, said the Chiefs are hopeful of a deep run this season. Cardinal Gibbons will be led by junior Kayla Greyvensteyn and senior Jordan Kosoy.

King’s Academy, which made its second straight trip to the final four, was hit hard with graduation and injuries.

“We have no seniors and six new players so I think it will take us a few games to build chemistry,” said Lions coach Chris Race. “If we can stay injury-free, I think we could be competing again for district and region championships.”

St. Thomas Aquinas rival Blanche Ely has also loaded up following the graduation of Ashleigh Battle and Aniyah Ruddock by adding senior Arielle Facyson (American Heritage), junior Chardae Rumph (Miami Norland) and sophomore Teriyah McFadden ( American Heritage) to go along with senior center Gianna Corbitt (15.2 points, 11.4 rebounds per game) and senior guard Janessa Kelley.

“Our expectations are to win nationals,” said Tigers coach JR McNabb, who won two state championships with Somerset Prep in 2018 and 2019 and then with Blanche Ely in 2020.

Broward teams to watch

Westminster Academy: finished 22-8 last year falling to eventual Class 3A state champion Miami Country Day in the regional final. The Lions lost a key member from last year’s squad in junior SG/SF Lena Girardi, who transferred to IMG Academy. Girardi, the daughter of former Florida Marlins manager and current Chicago Cubs commentator Joe Girardi, averaged 23.4 points per game, 12.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals per game.

The Lions are also going to be led by juniors Abby Price and Maddie Wallhoff and sophomore Liliana Rosario, a transfer from Trinity Catholic.

Coral Springs: Senior forward Rhael Sayers, who averaged 17 points per game last season, returns with several key players as the Colts hope to make it past the regional finals this season.

Cypress Bay: Gabe Pean moves over to coach girls after 15 years of coaching boys. The team returns senior guard Peyton Looky and has added sophomore transfers – Sofia Gonano (Argentina) and Nevia Miletti (Canada).

Dillard: The Panthers graduated the team’s leading scorer, rebounder, and blocks in Khyala Ngodu (UCF). Dillard coach Craig Prather expects to compete for the postseason. Guided the team to a 19-9 record in his first year as head coach.

Nova: The Titans picked up sophomore transfers from Chaminade in Jaelynn Housey and J’yan Tyrell, however, they continue to play in one of the toughest regions in the state.

Western: Coach Brandie Taylor believes her team will grow and play to their potential as they travel to tournaments in Washington D.C. and Tampa. They picked up two key additions Laurie Severe (Everglades) and Maria-Luiza Machado (Fort Lauderdale) to go along with senior point guard Tamara Elliott.

Palm Beach teams to watch

Atlantic: The Eagles went from 3-13 to 13-5 last season but graduated four seniors. They did pick up two transfers in sophomore Aiyana Sheely (Olympic Heights) and senior Myrella Guerra (Santaluces).

Berean Christian: The Bulldogs are coming off an 18-7 season and return senior G/F double-double machine Ashley Hendricks and a new coach in Josh Robinson. Berean Christian also returns sophomore DeeDee Innocent, freshman Kalia LeBrec and seniors Yemeli Tavarez and Abbee Legrand.

Boca Raton: The Bobcats will rely on senior guard Courtney Lowe, but will have to deal with the loss of guard Stefania Markel (graduation) and sophomore guard Katelyn O’Brien, who injured her ankle and will likely miss the season. O’Brien who was first-team All County in cross country and track last year, sat out the fall while dealing with the injury.

Palm Beach Gardens: Expect another strong season from the Gators who return four out of five seniors, including Fab 5 selection Kyana Poitier. They will have to look hard to replace Cienna Thigpen, who graduated and is playing at St. Petersburg College..”

Palm Beach Lakes: The Rams picked up a key acquisition in senior G/F Ezria Pierrelouis, last year’s Sun Sentinel Palm Class 7A-6A player of the year. “We only graduated one senior who had a very limited role,” said Rams coach Cassandra Rahming. “We have five returning seniors.”

Seminole Ridge: The Hawks graduated Iasiah Suprius from last year’s team, however, they do return younger sister in guard Janiah, who is a Fab 5 selection this season.

UCF men edge S. Dakota State in Jacksonville Classic when 3-pointer misses

Sun, 11/19/2023 - 21:43

ST. AUGUSTINE — Marchelus Avery scored 22 points, including four 3-pointers, and Jaylin Sellers scored 20 Sunday night to help Johnny Dawkins‘ UCF team beat South Dakota State 83-80 at the Jacksonville Classic.

Darius Johnson finished with 11 points plus 4 steals and Omar Payne, who made 4 of 4 from the field and 2 of 2 from the free-throw line, added 10 points and 3 steals for UCF (3-1).

Johnson made a layup through contact and missed the and-1 free throw but Sellers grabbed the offensive rebound, was fouled and hit 2 free throws to give UCF an 81-78 lead with 7 seconds to play.

Zeke Mayo made two foul shots to make it a one-point game and Payne answered with a pair of free throws to make it 83-80 with 4 seconds remaining before Charlie Easley missed a potential tying 3-point shot.

Easley led South Dakota State (1-3) with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Luke Appel fouled out with 19 points, Mayo scored 12 and Nate Barnhart hit three 3s and finished with 11 points.

UCF returns home for a week off before Stetson visits Nov. 26. South Dakota State plays at Southern Miss on Wednesday.

Palm Beach County girls basketball Fab 5

Sun, 11/19/2023 - 21:01
Philleah Bright, Suncoast High School (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Philleah Bright, PG/SG/SF, Suncoast junior: Averaged 21.4 points per game, 3.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2 steals and 1.2 blocks; three-year varsity member, setting school records in various categories; also on the school’s flag football, and track teams, along with the marching band.

Jade Jones, King’s Academy (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Jade Jones, SF/SG, King’s Academy junior: Three-year varsity member surpassed 1,000 career points and helped Lions go to the state tournament; said beating Seffner Christian was career highlight; averaged 12.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per game.

Courtney Lowe, Boca Raton. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Courtney Lowe, SG/PG, Boca Raton senior: Three-year team captain has scored 810 career points; made a game-winning 3-pointer against Timber Creek and 27 points against nationally ranked Liberty High; averaged 13.5 points per game, 3.8 assists, 3.1 steals, and 3.5 rebounds in 29 outings last year.

Kyana Poitier, Palm Beach Gardens. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Kyana Poitier, PF/C, Palm Beach Gardens senior:  Four-year varsity member was co-captain last year and captain this season; averaged 11.8 points per game, 3.2 assists, 15.9 rebounds, 2.6 steals; had 19 double-doubles; also plays volleyball.

Janiah Suprius, Seminole Ridge. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Janiah Suprius, G/F, Seminole Ridge junior: Three-year varsity member expects to top 1,000 career points at the end of the season; averaged 13 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals per game; said the best thing that ever happened to her playing the sport was when she was a freshman and “scared” and her teammates were there to lift her up.


Brielle George, SF, PF, C, King’s Academy junior

Ashley Hendricks, C/PF, Berean Christian senior

Kate Nash, PG, Dwyer senior

Ezria Pierre-Louis, G/F, Palm Beach Lakes senior

Emma Smith, G/F, Saint Andrew’s junior


Class 7A: Dr. Phillips; Class 6A: St. Thomas Aquinas; Class 5A: Mainland; Class 4A: Lake Highland Prep; Class 3A: Miami Country Day; Class 2A: Faith Christian; Class 1A: Hawthorne.


General Daily Insight for November 20, 2023

Sun, 11/19/2023 - 19:16
General Daily Insight for November 20, 2023

Emotional intensity is likely to find focus today. The Moon enters hypersensitive Pisces but then unites with structured Saturn, toning things down. At 4:26 pm EST, the illuminating Sun sextiles subconscious Pluto, helping us sort through deep and tangled feelings. Talking about some of them may be possible, thanks to verbal Mercury comforting tender Chiron, but knowing which discussions aren’t ready to go anywhere productive is also crucial. We should avoid pushing past discomfort and focus on what flows smoothly instead.


March 21 – April 19

You’re likely on track to reach an important goal at present. However, the process may not look the way you expected it to look. You could be starting to realize that the day after you cross the finish line will actually be pretty similar to the day before. When intellectual Mercury in your 9th House of Beliefs supports sensitive Chiron in your sign, take the opportunity to remind yourself that you’re already worthy of love. Your accomplishment will just be a lovely bonus!


April 20 – May 20

Having the same basic beliefs about the world can give a close relationship a strong foundation today. When the warm Sun in your partnership zone complements profound Pluto in your philosophical 9th house, you’ll probably appreciate the sense that you quietly understand each other without having to explain every little thing. You might also feel like you and your companion must band together against a larger community that doesn’t get you. Whether or not that’s totally true, don’t let comfort cross the line into isolation.


May 21 – June 20

You may currently resent that circumstances are pushing you to work uncomfortably hard. Perhaps you believe that your peers have it easier. While curious Mercury in your relationship zone reaches out to competitive Chiron in your community sector, you might ask around for a reality check. You’ll probably learn that you’re not alone! You will still have to get stuff done, but at least you shouldn’t have a sense of martyrdom weighing you down. That can free you to rise to the occasion.


June 21 – July 22

The best strategy for navigating a recent dramatic connection might be to match the other person’s intensity. When the vibrant Sun in your 5th House of Self-Expression locks eyes with potent Pluto in your partnership zone, you’ve got plenty of enthusiasm in you too. Letting it out could convincingly demonstrate to your companion, regardless of context, that they can’t just walk all over you. Although you may believe a more reserved approach is morally superior, trust what your present experiences are showing you.


July 23 – August 22

You may have a clear vision of how you’d like your living space to look. While the Sun in your domestic zone encourages deep Pluto in your 6th House of Work, you’re probably willing to put in the effort to make it happen. That said, if you share your residence with anyone else, you might need to precisely limit your changes to areas that are yours to control. Let these boundaries give you focus — you can do a lot with a little!


August 23 – September 22

A routine conversation could take a deeper turn without warning. While the bright Sun in your 3rd House of Communication entices brooding Pluto in your self-expression zone, you might wind up telling an acquaintance a very personal story. If your tale is too much for them, they’ll probably let you know. On the other hand, they may be moved to demonstrate their commitment to you and take your bond to a more serious level. Either way, you’ll know exactly where you stand.


September 23 – October 22

Financial security is likely a high priority for you at the moment. You may have a traditional mindset concerning how that must appear as the authoritative Sun in your money zone collaborates with rooted Pluto in your land sector. Talking to others can reveal alternative approaches — collaborating with someone else could get you a lot of what you want at a lower price. Although you might still prefer your original idea, recognize that you have options, whether or not you like them.


October 23 – November 21

Talking a big game is fine for you now because you’ll probably be able to back up whatever you say with practical action. While calculating Mercury in your resource sector aligns with wounded Chiron in your grounded 6th house, you’ve potentially learned lessons from difficult past experiences that you can bring to your current situation. You already know what works and what doesn’t, so you’ll be able to go directly to the good stuff without getting sidetracked. Speak with authority — you’ve got this!


November 22 – December 21

You’re likely going through a time of intense personal change, and some of the stuff on your mind could still be too raw to put into words. On the other hand, as articulate Mercury in your sign harmonizes with healing Chiron in your self-expression sector, maybe a few choice tidbits are actually ready to be aired. Whether you write in a journal or talk to someone you trust, pinning down something you’ve learned lately can show you how far you’ve come.


December 22 – January 19

You could be a power player in your community at this time. While the dynamic Sun in your 11th House of Networking negotiates with strategic Pluto in your sign, you may see the whole chessboard clearly and make deals behind the scenes to put people in the right places. You can do a lot for the common good if you set your heart to it, but you’ll have to be careful — the temptation to gratify your ego might be hard to resist!


January 20 – February 18

Success could be a complicated experience for you now. You’re possibly receiving a bit of recognition, but the whole story doesn’t seem to be coming out. While the cheery Sun in your public 10th house aligns with dark Pluto in your 12th House of Secrets, telling the world about all the hardships that led up to the present moment might be tempting. It should probably remain tastefully limited! You can let your friends provide the validation you seek once you’re off duty.


February 19 – March 20

Your passionate convictions may require an outlet now. As the energetic Sun in your 9th House of Beliefs supports collective Pluto in your community zone, getting involved with others who share your views can help you be the change you want to see in the world. However, your fellow activists might not do everything quite the way you’d do it yourself. Is there such a thing as going too far in the service of a good cause? What you observe can clarify your values.

Broward County girls basketball Fab 5

Sun, 11/19/2023 - 19:14
Gianna Corbitt, Blanche Ely basketball. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Gianna Corbitt, SF/PF, Blanche Ely senior: The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga commit and team captain poured in 17 points per game, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks per game; five-year starter, including the last four at Blanche Ely, said she was most proud of winning a district championship.

Jasleen Green, American Heritage. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Jasleen Green, CG, American Heritage sophomore: Last season’s Sun Sentinel Class 5A-1A girls player of the year led the Patriots to a state runner-up finish last year; averaged 21 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in 31 games; team captain entering second season on varsity; said making it to states and becoming Player of the Year was season highlight; already been offered by several D-1 schools.

Nyla McFadden, St. Thomas Aquinas (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Nyla McFadden, PF/Wing, St. Thomas Aquinas junior: Entering third year on the Raiders’ varsity; averaged 13 points, 6.5 rebounds, one block, and one steal per game; tallied 27 points and 10 rebounds in state semifinal win; said highlight last season was battling through adversity to win state title; also plays flag football.

Rhael Sayers, Coral Springs. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Rhael Sayers, PF/Wing, Coral Springs senior: Four-year varsity player had six 30-point games last year; hoping to top 1,000 points this year; got her first triple-double last year; averaged 16 points, 8 rebounds, and five assists last season; most proud of helping the team reach regional final for the first time in more than 10 years.

Markeli Jones-Tynes, Westminster Academy. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Markeli Jones-Tynes, PG, Westminster Academy junior: Four-year varsity starter averaged 10 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 3 steals for the Lions in 30 games last season; said winning district title over Miami Country Day was season highlight; also swims and runs track for the school.



Jamesha Card, SG/PF, South Broward senior

Tamara Elliott, PG, Western senior

Kayla Greyvensteyn, PG/CG, Cardinal Gibbons junior

Janessa Kelley, SG, Blanche Ely senior

Peyton Looky, G, Cypress Bay senior


Jan. 24-27: BCAA Big 8;  Feb. 5-9: District tournaments;  Feb. 14: Class 2A-7A regional quarterfinals, Class 1A regional semifinals; Feb. 19: Class 2A-7A regional semifinals, Class 1A regional finals; Feb. 22: Class 7A-2A regional finals, Class 1A regional finals; Feb. 27-March 2: Class 1A-4A State tournament at RP Funding Center in Lakeland; March 6-9: Class 5A-7A State tournament at RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

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