8 Apr

Don’t forget that today is #wipeitoffwednesday!  To enter, you just need to post a fresh-faced pic of yourself (a #nomakeupselfie) and tag it with the #wipeitoffwednsday hashtag and my Twitter name @divataunia.  Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, and you’ll automatically be entered into a raffle to win a bottle of sunshine (kind of):


Prize:  St. Moritz Instant Self-Tanning Lotion

For girls who prefer a lotion application that develops into a fabulous golden tan and leaves you with a feel good glow, this award winning St Moriz Instant Self-Tanning Lotion – Regular is for you.  A unique blend of beautifully fragranced active tanning agents work their magic, leaving you looking subtly bronzed and ready for anything. St Moriz Instant Self-Tanning Lotion – Regular is ultra easy to apply, quick drying and very moisturising, great for dry skin.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Dihydroxyacetone, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/ Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteth -10, Laureth-4, Polysorbate 60, Methylparaben, Parfum, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Citronellol, Coumarin, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Alpha-isomethyl Ionone, CI 16035 (FD&C Red40), CI19140 (FD&C Yellow 5), CI42090 (FD&C Blue 1).

Photos must be posted between 12 midnight (Tues) to 12 midnight (Ends Thurs 4/10/15) so it falls on #wipeitoffwedesday.

Have fun, and good luck!  :)


31 Mar

Don’t forget that tomorrow is #wipeitoffwednesday!   To enter, you just need to post a fresh-faced pic of yourself (a #nomakeupselfie) and tag it with the #wipeitoffwednsday hashtag and my Twitter name @divataunia.  Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, and you’ll automatically be entered into a raffle to win this lovely little gift bag:

LULUPrize Includes:

Lulu for Clinique Small Makeup Bag
Clinique Lip Duo:  Longwear GlossWear in 04 Sunset and Different Lipstick in 62 Tenderheart
Clinique High Impact Mascara
Maybelline Perfect Pastels Eyeshadow Duo in 35D Pink Suede

Photos must be posted between 12 midnight (Tues) to 12 midnight (Thurs) so it falls on #wipeitoffwedesday.

Have fun, and good luck!  :)


22 Mar

How’s THAT for a cookie title, huh?   That’s right, there’s a lot going on with these cookies, and they are going to BLOW. YOUR. MIND. First, let me say this:  if you are not a thin and crispy cookie lover, you will probably want to skip this recipe and go find some pedestrian chewy cookie recipe somewhere (I kid, I kid).  These are definitely thin, definitely crispy, definitely delicious!


I teach in the middle schools here in Southern California, and my school principal is awesome:  he’s always running fun team-building-like things and so we had a cookie bake-off.  There were NINETEEN different entries, and I WON!  WHOO HOO!  Since then, I’ve altered the recipe slightly (got a suggestion from a friend about using rice crispies that I incorporated that’s the BOMB-DIGGITY, so thank you!), and now they are really out-of-this-world. I am clearly very humble about these.

So here is the recipe.  If you make them, please let me know what you think.  Even better, post a pic! :)


1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of regular table salt
(mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl and set aside)
1 and 1/2 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of rice crispies or any type of crispy rice cereal
14 tablespoons of COLD unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup of packed light brown (preferably) or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Large Crystal Pink Himalayan Salt or any other finishing salt like sel gris or fleur de sel (**)
1/2 package of high quality white chocolate chips OR (even better) chopped white chocolate bar
1/2 package of Kraft Caramel Bits.  These are fairly new and you can find them in the baking aisle.  They look like this:
caramel bitsThey’re little tiny caramel balls that melt into the cookie and create the most amazing texture and flavor.  Don’t skimp!  Get these.  They are totally worth it, I promise!  And don’t use dark or milk chocolate.  The white chocolate is crazy good with the caramel!


1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  I swear by parchment paper because the texture of the cookies is perfect and they come off the paper with no problems and without any sticking.  If you’ve never used it, try it.  It will change the way you make cookies!  And PS – you can usually find it in the dollar store. :)

2. Set aside the bowl you mixed with the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  You will be gradually adding that in later.

3. Add in the butter by using a butter knife and cutting one tablespoon of cold butter at a time.  It’s important to keep the butter as cold as possible to help the cookies keep their shape. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl again. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats.  If you are using a mixer, take the bowl AWAY from the mixer before adding the rest of the components (rice crispies, caramel, white chocolate)!

4.  Stir in the rice by hand.  It will be chunky and clunky, and that’s ok. After the rice is incorporated, add in the caramels and white chocolate.  I actually found it easier to add those in to each cookie ball individually as  I went – completely up to you.

5. You’ll make approximately 24 cookies.  Each should be formed into a 2 tablespoon ball rolled in your hand.  If adding chips in per cookie, add them to the dough first, then roll into a ball.   Place on the parchment paper about 2.5 to 3 inches apart.  Don’t smoosh the cookies down.  They will naturally spread out and flatten as they bake, and they’ll also need a good amount of space to do that!

6.  Bake cookies about 12-14 minutes depending on your oven.  At the halfway point, open the oven and rotate the cookie sheets to make sure there’s even heating.  Watch cookies closely.  They should be golden brown, and the edges will be slightly darker than the rest.

7.  As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle with finishing salt while hot so the salt sticks.  Salt to taste.  Let cool about 10 minutes so they can get crispy.  (They’ll be chewy once they come out of the oven.)

That’s it.  Enjoy!!  :)

(** Finishing salt sounds all fancy and weird, I know.  You can usually find it in the spice aisle of the bigger grocery stores.  I actually always find great bargains and some extravagant ones at a fraction of the cost at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx.  I know that sounds weird, but I almost always find great gourmet salt there!)

#WIPEITOFFWEDNESDAY WINNERS (and a sneak peak at next week’s prizes!)

20 Mar

Thanks to all the gorgeous faces that entered last week’s #wipeitoffwednesday hashtag contest!  Here are the winners:


Vinessa Vasquez ‏@vinessavasquez




Congratulations to both ladies!  Winners should contact me at info@divataunia.com to arrange for their prizes. :)

Continue reading


11 Mar

Here’s the thing:  I love makeup.  Like most women I know, I’m always on the lookout for new products and I’m easily seduced by new makeup products.  As I get a bit older (just turned 43 – how did that happen?!) and wiser, I have come to realize that makeup is fun, addictive, artistic even – but it’s not true beauty.

I cannot tell you how many times my husband has told me that I don’t need any makeup and I’m beautiful the way I am.  BUT, it’s only been recently that I’ve come to realize that my face IS beautiful.  The lines I see now, they show how much I’ve laughed in this life.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I can see my mother in my reflection (a woman who was always beautiful with barely a trace of makeup on) and I want to freeze frame that moment when I see her staring back at me.  The lines and wrinkles that I have now?  They’re well-earned, and they are beautiful.

Sure, I love makeup but I love my face – plain and simple too.  And out of nowhere, I thought it would be great to have a hashtag that celebrated our natural beauty.   So I’ve decided to create #wipeitoffwednesday.   And of course, I’m going to offer a prize for those of you who want to celebrate with me!   I’ll start by posting my photo:


Do I have dark circles under my eyes?  Sure, yep.  Do my eyebrows need some help?  You bet they do.  But do I look at this picture and see a 43 year old woman?  Actually, no. I see a smile with nice straight teeth that never needed braces.  I see my funky left half-brown / half-hazel eye.  And most importantly, I see my mom. I see her in my face without all the makeup I usually wear, and she’s beautiful and I love her.  So my bare, naked face – wiped off of my usual makeup routine, it’s pretty good for a middle-aged gal.  So, how about yours?

To kick this off, I’m going to offer a couple of prizes of guess what?  MAKEUP.  Yep, I know.  lol  But you know what?  I’m not saying never wear makeup – never!  I love it!  I’m just saying love the gorgeous canvas you get to work with.  :)

So here’s what you can win:


This prize comes with the following BRAND NEW awesomeness:

❥ Gorgeous Clinique Floral Makeup Bag
❥ Clinique Chubby Lip Stick in 07 Super Strawberry
❥ Clinique High Impact Mascara Mini
❥ Ulta Complete Eye 4 Eyeshadows 1 Powder Line Compact in “Classical” (Browns/Neutrals)
❥ Ulta Splendor Bronzer & Blush Compact
❥ Ulta Dual Ended Eyeliner
❥ Ulta Fabulous Face Concealer in Fair to Light
❥ Ulta Nail Polish Mini in Peach Parfait
❥ Ulta Eyeshadow Quad in Sunrise / Sage/ Khaki / Copper Bronze
❥ Ulta Mini Brush Set
❥ Japonesque Velvet Touch Primer Sample
❥  Deva Curl One Condition Sampler Pack


Anti-Aging Lip Tint Duo Gift Set Includes:

0.5 oz. Clinical Corrector Anti-Aging Lip Tint SPF 20 (pink)
0.5 oz. Clinical Corrector Anti-Aging Lip Tint SPF 20 (plum)

NOTE:  I can only ship to the US.  However, if you are outside the US and would like to enter and want to pay the extended shipping costs for international shipping, you are more than welcome to enter.  In any case, I encourage everyone to post their gorgeous pictures, whether entering for a prize or not!   :)


Simply post a photo of your fresh-faced gorgeousness anywhere on social media and hashtag it with #wipeitoffwednesday and also be sure to tag me @divataunia.

If you don’t want to enter for a prize, but want to encourage other women to celebrate their inner beauty, simply post something and use the hashtag #wipeitoffwednesday.

I’d love to get this hashtag going and then offer more sponsored prizes in the future!

I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner on Thursday night (possibly Friday morning).  Everyone who enters will be entered in a raffle and I’ll draw the winner at random.

I can’t wait to see your gorgeous faces!

NOTE:  I will select a winner next Thursday, 3/19.  If you already entered this week, you’ll get 2X the entries AND you can enter again for next week.  Giving the tag another week to catch on and get more gorgeous faces!

diva signature

BACKSTAGE PASS RADIO PLAYLIST: Lunchtime Concert Series (1/26/15)

24 Jan



We’re back this week with some more great music from around the country, and around the globe!  As always we encourage you to visit the websites and social media pages of the artists you hear today, and let them know you heard (and love!) their music.  Also, don’t forget to follow Taunia on most social media platforms with @divataunia.  Today’s playlist include:

1.  The Voodoo Hawks with “Stand Tall”
2.  Habib Marwane (for Create Emotions Music Recordings) with “Ruthless Love”
3.  Mr Eurodisco + Blackbird with “Wanna Make You Dance”
4.  Xavier Toscano with “Never Wanna Leave”
5.  Mr. Bout-It Feat Slim Deez – “Last Girl”
6.  Benjamin Akira Tallamy with “The Teignmouth Electron”
7.  Justin Magnaye with  “Imagination”
8.  Corey Primus with “Too Far Away”

Be sure to bookmark the radio show page at http://www.backstagepassradio.com.  The chat room opens 15 mins before showtime, and we’d love to have you as part of the show!  Follow on Twitter at @divataunia

TORe – FOR me?

20 Jan

I’ll be honest:  I’ve regained this year and it has SCARED THE BAGEEZUS OUT OF ME. Now granted, it is to be expected. They tell you up front that you’ll probably regain 15-20 lbs of your original loss.  Mine was a bit skewed, though, because of my unexpected kidney-near-death-illness for a few years when I lost WAY more weight than I was ever supposed to.  When I settled back in to a normal and healthy safe weight, I landed right around 165.  That was my happy weight.  I stayed there for a few years. Until recently.

I’m almost seven years out now from my gastric bypass surgery, and I’ve regained a LOT this year.  At one point, I was up to 186.  Right now, I’m at 176.  My appetite?  Pretty big.  I can eat – a lot.  Not as much as pre-surgery, but a lot more than post-surgery.  I get hungry now.  I can eat almost anything except steak and ice cream.  And it scares me – a lot.  Am I going to regain it all?

I went home to Boston for the holidays and I was right around 186 when I got there.  No one in my family said a word, and I was truly thankful for that.  I knew that everyone could see it, but they were all very kind and even though the last time they had seen me was twenty lbs lighter, they were just happy that I was home.  They focused on what mattered, and my weight wasn’t it. (Thank you, family. You guys are the bestest.)

My sister was listening to NPR and heard about a bariatric procedure called TORe, which is a transoral outlet reduction. Apparently, it’s s less invasive procedure to make your stomach smaller again. It involves inserting an endoscope through the mouth into the stomach while the patient is under anesthesia. It costs $8,000 to $13,000 and insurance coverage varies (although I’d be willing to wager that Kaiser, my insurance, would laugh me right out the office if I requested it). New sutures are put in place to once again reduce the size of the stomach, and most patients can immediately return to work.  It apparently can help return your pouch back to it’s previous restriction, leaving you feeling fuller and less hungry.

The interesting thing about the article (linked above on “listening to NPR”) is that when you click on the link that NPR provides about the procedure, this is the description that UCLA Health uses to describe transoral outlet reduction:

Endoscopic suturing for bariatric revision has been studied for more than a decade. A study published in 2013 in the journal Gastroenterology on patients who had weight regain after RYGB compared 50 patients who had endoscopic suturing for bariatric revision (also called transoral outlet reduction, or TORe) with patients who had a sham procedure. Patients who received endoscopic suturing experienced a 3.5 percent weight loss compared to 0.4% among the patients who underwent a sham procedure. (10). No significant procedure related complications occurred.

That doesn’t exactly leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.  A sham procedure?  Yikes!  My procedure was done quite well in very capable hands.  It’s just the nature of our bodies – eventually the pouch will stretch a bit.  In any case, I sent the article to my surgeon and asked him about the procedure and his thoughts.  I’ll follow-up with anything he responds with.

I wouldn’t consider this now, but if my regain continues and/or gets worse, I may. I’m curious:  what are YOUR thoughts? Would YOU consider this procedure?  What do you know about it?  Have you had the procedure?  Leave your comments below.


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