Freitag, 27. Februar 2015

Getting into the California mood: my beauty favorites in February!

I am going to show you this month’s favorite beauty products today – all without chemical ingredients, very natural, yet at the same time glamourous. 

I am a huge fan of self-tanning lotions – as opposed to sunbathing for hours or visiting the tanning salon. 
This is why I apply self-tanning lotion year-round, even in summer. 
In my opinion it enhances your tan in a very natural way. 

And since I can hardly arrive in California with white legs – chances are they are going to expulse me! Does anyone know the details of their entry requirements? No? That’s what I thought. – I will show you my favorite one today. 

Let’s go!

1. Peeling, brush and hand cream. 

In order to avoid unsightly streaks or blotches with self-tanning, there is just one thing: 
peeling, peeling, peeling.

The big LaBruket jar contains a sea salt peeling, with a fragrance of wild roses and added almond and olive oil: no plastic beads, which are bad for the environment, no chemical additives. 

If you like, you can use a special peeling brush – I use a massage brush for the whole body, which works just as well. 
So keep scrubbing, until your skin is all bright and rosy, it’s beneficial for the whole body! 

Hands are given extra care with the LaBruket hand cream – it soothes even very dry and chapped skin and absorbs easily. 

2. Self-tanning lotion. 

I asked you on Instagram what your favorites were – very exciting to discover new products! 

I tested a new self-tanning lotion myself this month, one that has absolutely no chemical additives, which makes it ideal for everyone with sensitive or allergic skin. 

Trilogy is one of the best organic beauty labels globally, which keeps winning prizes due to its high standards and its excellent properties. 

The gel absorbs super quickly, is easier to apply than cream and does not leave the skin feeling unpleasantly sticky. 
It is already slightly colored, so as a kind of immediate effect you can see the tan and won’t leave out any spots. 
Unfortunately it has an unpleasant smell during the application (unfortunate flaw in general when it comes to self-tanning products) – luckily it disappears after a while and all that’s left is a light and natural scent. 

3. Powder duo.

Who does not prefer a quite un-made-up, natural look for during the day? 
Some task for pale winter skin! 

If this is what you wish for, you will love this duo: 
“Und Gretel” is a brand new and sought-after label from Berlin, which focusses on ingredients of the highest quality and uses no synthetic preservatives or chemical additives. 
Already a real insider tip in make-up-artist circles for one reason only: the products are simply that good. 

The little container features a light powder, to give your entire face a matte tone, and a darker powder to enhance contours – for cheek bones, hair line, temples and a touch for the chin and the bridge of the nose, just enough - as if the sun had kissed you gently. 

There are also two small brushes made of shorn goat’s hair in the container. 
My color is called Leve and looks very, very light and natural, nearly as if no make-up was applied at all.  

“Und Gretel” also makes top-notch lip colors: 
my lip gloss is called sunrise red and is a light, yet very deep red. 

My advice for daytime application: 
Apply, then dab with a paper tissue – lips will look slightly reddened and very natural. 

4. Tea to go.

Admittedly, this is not a classic beauty product, but essential for pretty skin: 
Lot of hydration.

If you, like my daughters, like to take your tea with you wherever you go, you will be delighted about this stylish glass bottle with stainless-steel strainer and wooden lid! 

Sources of supply:
Sea salt peeling: LaBruket
Hand cream: LaBruket
Peeling brush: Voya
Massage brush: Voya

Self-tanning gel: Trilogy

Powder and blush duo: Und Gretel
Lip gloss: Und Gretel

Glass flask to go: Teatox

Everything via GreenGlam

OK, so I am ready for California! 
Tanned legs included!


By the way:
Did you know that you can personalize your donuts at all Dunkin’ Donuts franchise stores in Stuttgart? You can order a box of 6 or 12, for example, and have a personal love message or good wishes inscribed – a free-of-charge service ;). 

Sweet idea, isn’t it? 
Unfortunately I do not know whether it is available everywhere in Germany. 

Whether it is available in Cali? 
I will find out for you. 

Soon to come on this blog! 

Thank you to Eva Ginnell for translating this post.

Mittwoch, 25. Februar 2015

5 things you did not learn in school: “How do you allow yourself to be treated?”

True to the motto: 
It is never too late to learn something new, today read the second part in the series about things that are TRULY important in life – and that are never once mentioned in the classroom. 
However, they are so crucial that you definitely have to internalize them. 

A couple days ago I was talking to my friend about this and that and because it was appropriate at the time I told her a story from my childhood. 

From the age of 6, I was in gymnastics: 
This meant hours of daily training and long train rides to the gym from home and back, which I accomplished as a little girl on my own, right through the middle of a big city (having parents act as a taxi service was rather unusual, or even unimaginable then;)). 
For years I set out straight after school to attend training, and often did not return until after dark. 

The coach was Russian and her training was compliant with any possible preconceived notion: we were treated with great strictness and were pushed to the max to deliver peak performances, far from pedagogically correct behavior – but since this was the norm then nobody questioned it and nobody took offense. 
Besides, I loved doing this sport. 

One day there was a team meeting after a competition – us girls sitting on the ground, coach talking and while she was talking I thought of something funny to say and spontaneously said it out loud (at least I thought it was funny, being 12 years old ;)). 
Coach, however, did not think it was amusing at all – she narrowed her eyes to slits and, loudly and directly, made a mean and very hurtful remark about me in front of everybody. 
I fell silent immediately and felt mortified and exposed. 

I told my parents the incident later that evening, and had to cry a little while recalling it. 
My father – who generally held sports in high esteem, as he was a P.E. teacher himself, and who had supported me very much up to this point – listened to everything and simply uttered one sentence: 

"You will NEVER return there.” 

And he unenrolled me from training that very instant. 
And thus I never went back from that evening forth. 

I know that these days most parents would have conversations first, listen to both sides of the story “You have to talk about it, with all parties involved…maybe it was a misunderstanding, etc….”, and they would try to rectify things. 

My father’s decision was rather drastic in comparison (and definitely final, no discussion!) – but the underlying message was engraved deep in my heart. 
His reaction did more for my life than the sum of all those years practicing the sport – as in this moment I felt it deeply:  

Nothing in the world is so important that you let yourself be treated without respect. 
Nobody is allowed to hurt my dignity. 
Nobody may trample upon me, or put me down. 
If it does happen after all, I never have to return there. 

And this is exactly my message of love for you today. 

See, there are idiots anywhere in the world. 
There are people who talk badly about you, who put you under pressure, who do not treat you with respect, who do not appreciate you enough. Or, to use this nice old-fashioned word: they do not honor you. 

It will happen here and there, and it should not confuse you or astound you. 
And it is not even your responsibility. 

Your scope of responsibility is: 
How do you allow yourself to be treated?  
What do you tolerate? 
How precious are you to yourself? 
How much value do you attach to yourself? 

- NO man in the world is so fantastic that he may walk all over you.  
No partner may diminish you, embarrass you on front of others, crack crummy jokes about you, or put you under pressure. 
No relationship on this planet is worth tolerating humiliation for: even if it is ever so subtle, hidden or indirect. 

No man can possibly be so good-looking/rich/attractive/sexy/of social standing/whatever that he may treat you condescendingly – all the while expecting you to turn a blind eye over and over again.  

A loving relationship is designed to lift each other up, inspire, encourage, push and boost each other (and not due to life-changing sex, financial security or “so that you don’t have to spend Sundays by yourself”. Even if this is a hard pill to swallow for some of you ;)). 
UPLIFTING, remember. 
And not humiliating. 

- No job on the whole planet is so important that you’d have to lick someone’s boots for it in a kind of modern-day slavery situation – despite having the distinct feeling that you are worth nothing to the other person and are being treated in a condescending way. 
You do not have to let any boss in the world insult or terrorize you. 

- No friendship is so essential that you’d have to permanently tolerate rejection and repudiation for it. 

- No so-called “elders and betters” may treat you badly: 
No priest, no minister, doctor, boss, parent, rich uncle – NOBODY IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. 

Jil said to me recently: 
"Mom, you will always be treated the way you ALLOW yourself to be treated.” 

And for you as a love messenger this truth is an absolute one. 
No “but in this field you HAVE to do it this way, otherwise you won’t make progress.” 
No “but I will never find such a great man again.” 
No “but this person is so important to me, and besides, she has good days, too.” 

You will have a CLEAR sense of being treated without respect – you can sugarcoat it all you want and bring up counter arguments – deep down in your heart of hearts you know. 
Truth is: 
You are so precious and unique that NO HUMAN BEING ON EARTH may spurn your dignity. 

You are a messenger of love, you have the highest dignity and the highest standing possible:  
No matter whether you have “succeeded” in anything in the material world already or not. 
Nobody has the right to look down upon you, only because you are still too young, too inexperienced, attend a certain school, are a housewife, a foreigner or drive an old, rusty car (random list that is surely not complete).  

You have VALUE. 
You have DIGNITY. 
You are full of beauty, love and strength – no matter whether you can see it yourself already or not. 
Deep within you is this treasure, your uniqueness, waiting to unfold its potential. 

"But Joanna, I am being treated without respect. It happens to me over and over again!” 

I’ll tell you something: 
Nobody treats me without respect. 
Not in earlier years as a very young mom with 3 little kids – and even less so today. 
Because I am so aware of my dignity and value myself so much that nobody even DARES to say something of that kind. 
It’s true!

And if it does happen every now and again, I know for sure: “Oh, this is not a good place for me.” 
And that’s all there is to it. 
I never return there anymore – just like with the training ;). 

And this is exactly what you are going to do from today on. 

Remember: if somebody does not value you, he usually does not value himself either. 
But you are not responsible for that anyway. 
You are only responsible for: you do not allow it. 

"But Joannaaaaaaaa, my partner is the most treasured thing I have!” 

YOU are the most treasured thing you have. 
Your honor and dignity are in-vio-lable, it does not matter that you are convinced you cannot live without him anymore. 
God does not send you to this planet to be with an idiot, who restricts you and your personality, because he keeps telling you what you need to “improve” upon, who diminishes you, makes you insecure, or subtly puts you under pressure and manipulates you. 

"But Joanna, if I refuse to tolerate this in my job from now on, I might get fired and will not reach my potential!” 

Believe me, God has much, much better and more beautiful paths to unfold your potential – He does not need pressure, stress or slavery to accomplish it. 
The path to your dreams is NOT via self-abandonment, self-denial, abasement or brown-nosing. 
If God has planted something in your heart that burns within you, if He prepared something wonderful for you, then He will make sure that it will happen. 
The path towards it is by no means free from challenges, but it is certain that nobody will trample upon you while you’re on the way. 

You are not in this world to please everyone. 
You are not here to be liked by everyone. 
You are not here to bend over backwards and tell people what they want to hear. 
You are not here to satisfy anyone. 

You are here to love and to be loved: 
Radiant, strong and beautiful! 
Those who recognize this may enjoy you. 
Those who do not recognize this and don’t value it – are not worthy of you. 

But YOU and you alone must be the one to take the step towards not being treated badly anymore – nobody can do it for you, which means that you cannot blame anyone else afterwards either. 

Don’t ever fear to part ways with people that are bad for you and do not value you. 
Be it in your private life or your professional life. 

Because those who do value you are already waiting in the wings and are only waiting to conquer the world by your side and to live their dreams. 
You will only ever win and never lose out. 
I promise!

"But Joanna, I cannot imagine how this is going to work, being in the situation I am in!” 

Then you’ll just have to trust me in this ☺. 
There are so many wonderful things that you cannot imagine – and they are true all the same, so you cannot rely on that. 

A wonderful life is awaiting you, great people and exciting projects – feel free to do without anything that keeps you from them.
You can really believe me. 

And now we all say:
"Yes, ma’m, Ms. Liebesbotschaft!"



p.s. Read the first part HERE.

Thank you to Ginnell Studio for translating this post!

Sonntag, 22. Februar 2015

Fairytale give-away!

What happens, if someone is a cookie manufacturer’s female CEO, at the same time full of passion and creativity – and still a young girl at heart? 

Fairytale cookies are born: 
Delicate, crunchy princess crowns, embellished with diamonds (or…hold on…maybe they were sugar crystals?), hiding green froggie princes. 

But these are no ordinary frogs – they are Lisa and Fredi! 

The two of them live in a pond close to the cookie manufacturing plant and are the heroes of the small soft-cover picture books featuring wonderful illustrations and lovingly told stories, which are available complementing the cookies: 
Stories about the smell of cookies, big froggie adventures and finding happiness in small things.
A sweet (no pun intended) idea, isn’t it? 

Lisa and Fredi cookies are packaged in pretty, sturdy tins, while a little accordion fold booklet on the lid tells their story. 
Everything is lovingly designed and of high quality and is perfectly suitable as a little gift for anytime – or as a snack on the couch while reading to somebody. 

Lisa and Fredi are usually only to be seen on the pages of books or as a snack. 

Except here and now: 
Because today, at Liebesbotschaft exclusively, you can win these georgeous soft toys, hand-sewn in Germany! 
The frogs are cuddly and soft, each is about 20” tall and embellished with loving details, such as embroidery and appliqué. 

Together with the Hans-Freitag-shop I give away the following: 5 froggie couples, each paired with 2 tins of fairytale cookies and two small softcover books. 

Each fairytale package is worth about 100,-€.

What you need to do to participate:

Leave a comment in the comment box of this post: if you like you can tell me you would like to surprise with the fairytale cookies. 

2. If you share the link to the give-away on Facebook you have DOUBLE the chances of winning. 
If you link the drawing on your blog, you have an EXTRA chance of winning!
NEW: if you share the give-away on your Instagram account, you have an EXTRA chance of winning! 
Please use hashtag #liebesbotschaft to do so and mark me on the picture – otherwise I will not be able to see it. 

Please feel free to take the above image (with text) with you for this.  
Please leave a note in your comment to let me know, too.

Everyone can participate – with or without blog.

You have to be registered to be able to leave a comment – to avoid mistakes and multiple drawings.
You can do this quickly and simply: HERE.

Please NO mails, you will be considered ONLY by leaving a comment.

The competition is open to all readers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Participation for minors only with consent of a parent or guardian. 
Jurisdiction of a court is excluded, prizes cannot be paid out in cash. 

Please note that I do not contact the winners in writing – I publish them on the blog at the bottom of this post.
If the winners of the draw do not get in touch within two weeks I will raffle off the prize again. 

The competition starts now and ends on February 28, 2015. 

Love from 

(who ate a whole lot of little crowns and frogs. Only for inspiration and test purposes and out of selfless commitment to my readers.) 

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

Freitag, 20. Februar 2015

American sweet table

Your reactions to my last post truly overwhelmed me: 
Many thanks for your kind words and for being happy for me! 

I myself was surprised about the effect and power one single decision on my part can have on the lives of other people – how it liberates them, encourages them and inspires them. 
It is of no importance, whether this means the nudge to dream a dream, the courage to rediscover an old dream or to take actual steps already that you hadn’t dared to take before. 

I know that many of you started dreaming and thinking big immediately after reading the post – and this is the only way we can also LIVE big.  
I know that inside of many heads boundaries were pushed, familiar things were scrutinized and a good few ways of thinking were challenged. 

Shall I tell you one thing: 
This fact fills me with more happiness than my actual trip (sounds a little unbelievable, but it’s true). 

I would love to write an extensive inspirational post on this subject right now – but to keep it brief for today one reader’s comment will cover it; one that summarizes the spirit of the whole affair in the most accurate way for me:  

"Even, if you yourself cannot drop everything and fly out to California (or anywhere else) this very instant, the thought takes hold like a small seed: everything is possible. 
I just have to make it possible.  
Simple as that."

It wasn’t and isn’t about a move to California – I experience the same happiness wherever I am, whether this is Buxtehude or San Francisco, changing residence does not do anything to me. 

It is exactly this little seed. 
And most of you took it precisely this way. 

However, we all should be full admiration for Eva instead, who takes 5 kids to 4 different schools in the morning – and all of them on time! 
(my children attend other schools than hers, and neither do both of them attend the same school together). 

This makes Eva my personal hero of the year. 

Neither the children nor I will return to our present place of residence, as soon we have left here – we will move to a new city, so their departure for California was at the same time a farewell from their school friends.  

I prepared a small dessert table for this occasion: with chocolate cupcakes, a stars & stripes cake, vanilla yogurt with berries, and hot dogs (served in little wooden boats) for the evening! 

I baked a whole pile of star-shaped cookies and embellished the cake, cupcakes and the give-away boxes with them. 

America cookies:

1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 sticks and 1 ½ Tbsp butter
3 cups flour
1 egg
zest of one lemon 

Quickly knead everything together to form a dough, place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. 
Roll out, cut out cookies and bake at approx. 350°, until edges are slightly golden – depending on your oven and the thickness of the cookies this will take about 8-15 minutes. 
Let cool and decorate with lemon sugar frosting, if desired. 

You will find the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes HERE.
Instead of frosting I cut out a fondant circle with the help of a wine glass, placed it on top of the cupcake and added a cookie. 

America cake

Ingredients and instructions are for ONE layer of cake – which means you have to repeat the procedure and multiply the ingredients according to the desired height of your finished cake. 

My cake only had 2 layers. 

Cake layer:

8 egg yolks
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar
a heaped ½ cup flour
2.5 Tbsp corn starch

Whisk egg yolks and half of the sugar until frothy. 
Whisk egg whites with the rest of the sugar until stiff peaks form, fold into egg yolk mixture (by hand, not with an electric mixer). 

Mix flour and corn starch well, sift over the egg mixture and fold in. 

Preheat oven to 425° (regular oven, not convection). 
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, add the dough and smooth it out.   

Bake for approx. 8-12 minutes, until dough is golden brown.  
Remove from oven and let cool briefly. 

Trick to remove cake layer: 

Take two clean dish towels, dampen one with cold water. 

Spread out second towel and sprinkle with granulated sugar, carefully turn sponge cake upside down onto the towel. 
Now place the damp towel on top of the parchment paper, leave it in place for 2-3 minutes, then slowly pull off the paper from the top – that way it will separate from the cake much more easily. 
Finally cover the cake layer with the damp towel so that it does not dry out. 


2 cups whipping cream
1 bag frozen raspberries 
confectioner’s sugar (amount according to taste, I always add it little by little) 

Whip cream and confectioner’s sugar, add the frozen raspberries, spread filling on cake layer.
Cover with the second cake layer. 

Now it’s getting a little tricky: 
You can leave the cake as is and just distribute the stars & stripes cookies on top, or else, if you want to achieve a perfect shape and an all-over coating of chocolate frosting use a rectangular cake ring. 
Adjust the ring to the size of the finished cake and cut the cake layers according to this size. 
Usually small margins will remain – PLEASE do not throw them away, but line the sides of the cake ring with them. 
It will look like this: 

Set up cake ring – insert (cut-to-size) cake layer – line sides of the ring with cake rims – spread filling over cake layer (if you did a good job lining it, no whipped cream will touch the ring! It will touch only the cake!) – place second cut-to-size cake layer. 

Cover the whole thing with one or two small cutting boards, weigh them down (e.g. with a casserole) and put it into the refrigerator over night. 
You will have a perfectly rectangular shape the next morning, that can easily be covered in chocolate frosting. 

Chocolate ganache:

You can prepare the frosting with regular or bittersweet chocolate, depending on your taste. 

21 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 ¼ cups whipping cream

Briefly bring the cream to a boil in a small pot, add the chopped chocolate (see HERE) to the hot cream. 
Let sit for a moment so that the chocolate has time to melt, then stir very well. 
Next mix everything with an electric mixer, so the ingredients come together nicely. 
Let cool over night (preferably not in the refrigerator, it is a little too cold – if this is the only option, remove from refrigerator 1-2 hours before using it). 

Cover the cake in the chocolate mixture the following day; I cut off small amounts with the help of two small spoons and smooth everything out with a big knife. 

You will need star-shaped cookies for the decoration and rectangular cookies in white/red – I just added them loosely to the top of the cake, which makes cutting it easier. 

Sources of supply:

cake stands, 
fondant in white+red,
straws with stars, 
white gift boxes, 
wooden boats for hot dogs,  
cupcake wrappers:
everything via Blueboxtree

Quick info: I ordered these cupcake wrappers, tore one of them apart and used it as a template for the dark blue ones made of craft paper.  

star-shaped cookie cutters in 3 sizes:  Amazon
rectangular cookie cutter in 3 sizes: Amazon
cake ring, rectangular: Amazon

I always use this type of food coloring, because a pinch is enough to achieve an intensive color hue in the icing. 
For the very dark colors like the blue and the red, however, you will need at least 1/3 of the jar, depending on the amount of cookies. 


Yesterday I spoke with the kids on the phone for the first time. 

Me: "Noelle, our lives are exactly equally strong and happy – no matter, where we are.” 
Noelle: "I know. Only some of us have warmer weather than others!” 


This post was translated by Eva Ginnell.