I arrive in the middle of nowhere and when I get off the car and follow a row of lined up wooden chairs, I fall in love with the simple but charming structure of this old ranch house that overlooks an impressive piece of landscape with a massive mountain range in the back. The covered patio is decorated with fairy lights and vintage furniture and the sublime desert sunlight on this late afternoon brings a magical glow to the venue. The owner of this desert oasis is Lili Tanner, a former writer who has made her passion, to create beautiful things by hand, her profession.
When you meet Joanna Szachowska for the first time, you immediately feel a connection that you cannot specify and I even ask myself if we were related in another life. She spreads light and warmth and welcomes you as if you were a lost sibling who she has never met before but looked for her whole life. Joanna is a true creator and it is impossible to describe all the things she has done in her life because it would go beyond the scope of this format. She says on her website that ‘curiosity creates constant happiness’ and I guess this is what actually describes her approach to art and life itself.
Lisa is the first women I have ever met who worked for the Military. Originally from Upstate New York, she got stationed on the base of Twentynine Palms in 1991, where she operated as a navy corpsman. From 1995 to 1997 she was in Quantico, a place that people like me just know from the movies because FBI agents are trained over there. So, I feel a little bit uneasy because I do not know how to talk to military people. Also, we do not have a lot of women joining the army in Austria and it has only been 20 years that they are even allowed to do so. Lisa is so different from what I expected. She is a self-effacing and calm, almost a bit shy person. The more we talk though, the more she opens up and I completely fall in love with her story and her humor, not to mention her pictures.
Kat Green calls herself an artist, a maker and a dreamer. Well, I guess, those features perfectly qualify her for the desert. Originally from South Carolina, Kat found the perfect place to produce and display her art in a sunny studio in the high-desert of Joshua Tree. When you ask her how long it took her to paint something, she will simply tell you: All of my life. She says that she is like a sponge that soaks everything in that surrounds her, hence all of her experiences are reflected in her pieces of art. Kat has been painting for over fifteen years and as she constantly changes and evolves, her art does as well.
WTF Am I Doing in the Desert?
So, here I am. In the desert. Everybody knows that I am a beach girl. I absolutely love the ocean and I am tremendously grateful that since a short while ago – three months to be precise – I actually do live near the beach. A fact that is not given when you are born in the middle of Europe in a country with no sea access (we lost it after the First World War and it is still a traumatic topic for us). I am talking about Austria and yes, I know, all American JUST love it and find it amazingly beautiful. It is – but try to live there. Especially in the foggy, freezing season, which can last for six months (of course I am exaggerating, but it actually feels like forever). Believe me, it took me a long time to live that dream and as I said, I deeply appreciate my new home at the ocean.
Who needs perfect, if there is happy?
Ever since I landed in California, I’ve been feeling happier than ever before. Which is funny. Actually, I was a bit worried about moving to Los Angeles. Why? Women over here tend to put themselves under enormous pressure – in terms of their appearance, their marital status, their children and their job. California, and especially Los Angeles, is based on the dream of being successful, finding the right partner, creating little geniuses, and maybe even being spotted and made famous. Not that I thought anyone would ever discover me, but this delusion of having a perfect life can be pretty daunting. This is what I thought before moving to California. Life here seems like a soap opera with millions of protagonists and terms like “organic, vegan, healthy” or “fit” are haunting me at every corner, on every billboard and in every shop. Therefore, excessive sun, alcohol, fat or cigarettes are no-goes and you protect yourself with SPF 50+, sip Green Smoothies (ideally based on kale) and do excessive sports. The code word for everything is “amazing”.
About arriving and leaving something behind
If you follow our social media channels (Instagram / FB), you of course already know that womanly has split up geographically. I (Conny) moved to the US, while Elisabeth continues to paint the town red on the European continent. So we have broadened our field of vision and now perceive the world from different perspectives – although there will of course also be shared time / projects in the future. I will be in Austria on a regular basis, because there is a lot over there that I care about. And I’m not talking about Wiener Schnitzel or Apple Strudel (you can get that in Los Angeles, too, if you know where to go).
The arthotel Blaue Gans in Salzburg is not only a treasure chest of modern art, but also a place where you can enjoy a good drink, such as the Lillet cocktail KaMi. Marketing manager Iris Niederreiter knows a lot about the historic house and the culture that has been cultivated for so many years.
Your house stands for design, culture and of course art, as you provide a kind of gallery with more than 120 works of art. According to which aspects do you choose the artists or the exhibited pieces?
Our house stands and falls with the owner Andreas Gfrerer, who based the concept of the hotel on the idea of “encountering”. Art is his passion and hence, he also knows many people from the arts and culture scene. They meet here, exchange ideas, talk about common interests and sometimes an artist leaves a piece of art. For example, Julius Deutschbauer stopped by with Bibliothek ungelesener Buecher or Carsten Fock, from whom we received numerous drawings. Of course, we also have a professional partner, Patrick Ebensperger, who runs a gallery in Salzburg and Berlin and keeps making suggestions about certain works of art that would match the house. When a new piece arrives, we discuss where to optimally position it – in terms of content and style. The green painting in the courtyard, Mr. Gfrerer got for his wedding and when it did not perfectly fit into his home, he hung it up in the hotel, where it has been decorating the house ever since.
Arthotel Blaue Gans
When you come to Salzburg, there is always a bit of culture in the air. The city of Mozart welcomes us with sunshine, which automatically adapts our mood. The arthotel Blaue Gans is located right at the famous Getreidegasse and when you enter the building, you immediately feel that you are walking on historical grounds and wish that those walls could talk. The hotel is elegant and decorated with a contemporary chic – apparently someone has mastered the balancing act between an antique shell and a contemporary hotel very well. You recognize at once that they focus on art, which is perfectly staged everywhere. Iris Niedereiter, who is responsible for marketing, welcomes us friendly and enthusiastically and we start with a tour through the house right away. It does not take us long to be enchanted by the old building, which has been adapted to modern needs and yet has not lost any of its authentic charm. On the contrary, the combination of a landmarked building and modern pieces of art makes the hotel a unique holistic work of art. We love the fact that everything is full of nooks and crannies, unexpected and hence “different” and still used in an ideal way. It turns the stay in this hotel into an emotional experience. The rooms and suites have a stylish, timeless and very appealing design, you feel right at home and do not want to spend just one night. When you look out the window, you realize that you are right in the heart of the city of Salzburg, where everything is just behind the corner.
The design hotel Bergland in Soelden is an elegant hotspot for winter sports and a retreat in the middle of the Oetztal Alps. Hotelière and owner Elisabeth Gruener invites us to taste the house-made Lillet cockail Bergfrische and tells about James Bond, the sheep of her husband, and her source of power.
Apparently, in 1999, the takeover of the hotel, which stems from your family, was a gut decision. Why?
Because gut decisions are always the best as they come from the heart.
They involve a lot of passion, which you definitely need to manage a project like this.
We really hurry to our next destination as we are way too late. So we arrive sweating and with a bad conscience because normally we are always on time, if not too early. Typical Austrians. In the lobby, we already run into Jochen Scheurenbrand, the marketing director of the Design Hotel Bergland, who we apologize to sincerely and promise to make up for the lost time with even greater commitment. No sooner said than done, we work in record time. We build up the photo set, arrange matching decoration, position the Lillet drink Bergfrische and off we go. Within half an hour we have everything in the box and see a relaxed smile on Jochen’s face, because he seems to have the feeling that everything could still go according to plan. Of course it will.
At the Nidum Hotel in Moesern, we taste the bubbly Lillet summer drink Elegant Summer while we chat with the hotelière Michaela Lechthaler about casual luxury and Tyrolean nonchalance.
You advertise the Nidum as a hotel “created for a new generation of travelers” – what is this new generation of guests like?
For our guests it is important that they have nothing to forego – a beautiful house, good food, perfect drinks, a welcoming staff – and yet be completely relaxed. Our concept is designed to not being traditional or formal. The guests can leave everything that stresses behind. We live and work according to our slogan “Casual Luxury” and there is even a tie ban because we wish to take out the pressure and stiffness that very often characterizes our hotel category.
Nidum Casual Luxury Hotel
Anyone who has ever visited the Nidum Casualy Luxury Hotel will know “Michi”, hotelière and better half of owner Maximilian Pinzger, in short “Max”. Michi is not only the soul of the house, but also the one who keeps the clockwork of the 57 rooms and suites hotel running – of course together with Max and a great team. She greets us exuberantly with her cute Tyrolean dialect and is glad that we are “normal” women, whatever that means nowadays. We also love her natural and down-to-earth nature and immediately are on good terms with her. There is not a lot of asking from her side and we start right away. Michi tells straight from the heart how it all started with the Nidum, the “nest”, and how Max, after buying the house a year and a half ago, redesigned the whole concept of the hotel previously run by Russians. Now there is a recurring theme running through the whole building: The Nidum is based on non-chalence and casualty, but still offers everything at the highest professional level. Michi and Max are perfect hosts and want their guests to leave everything that stresses them at home. What counts at the Nidum are the things that are relaxing, joyful and entertaining – the things the guests will positively remember. Therefore, in the summer, guests can walk in flip-flops to Lake Moeserer, where there is a jazz trio playing twice a week to accompany their swim. Or, in winter, Michi, armed with a bottle of warming schnapps, guides an evening tour with torches through the beautiful Tyrolean landscape, and thus creates unique memories.
While enjoying a Florentina, the Leogang version of the Lillet signature drink, Bianca Weber, who is in charge of marketing and sales at the Puradies, gives us an insight into their hotel concept and their local bar culture.
What makes the Puradies a “Pure Paradise”?
Our goal is to create the pure, real holiday experience, in combination with the surrounding nature. The whole house is designed to match our philosophy of less is more. In a fast-paced and hectic world, our guests should be able to reconnect with themselves and experience our home and surroundings with all their senses.
Once you hear the word “Puradies”, you of course immediately think of pure paradise so we are curious about how close our destination will come to the heavenly site. Our navigation system is confused and we cruise around the wrong slope but since we are still okay in terms of time, we dedicate ourselves to rural sightseeing. Then Google Maps finally knows the way and guides us to the right hill, where the Puradies is prominently located above the rest of the civilization.
Tina Neudegger runs the hotel Nesslerhof in Grossarl (Salzburg) together with her husband Hermann. She is a mom of three daughters. Today Tina is preparing the Lillet Cocktail Summer Herbs for us and afterwards we sit together and learn a little more about her and her family’s approach to the hotel industry.
When we arrive at our first stop of our hotel tour in Grossarl (Salzburg) as part of our cooperation with Lifestylehotels and Lillet, the Nesslerhof is still completely embedded in a wintry snow ambience. An icy wind is blowing and we hurry into the inviting area of the hotel building, because we know that it can only get better. Although we are an hour too early for our interview, they direct us to a comfortable lounge area, where we wait for the hotel owner, Tina Neudegger. The hotel lobby, which fluently blends into the bar / lounge / dining area, is a welcoming and appealing area that is well attended by hotel guests who drink coffee, gossip, or are lost in their digital equipment. We start to shoot the first photos and capture the stylish interior, which is based on high-quality furniture, beautiful decoration and refreshing art accents.
Dr. Silke Seemann (58) is an entrepreneur, economist and researcher. She is the mother of two adults (Florian 35, Nana 32). The native German has been living in the Salzkammergut for almost 40 years and runs the Hallstatt Hideaway, a guesthouse with 5 private suites. At FH Salzburg she teaches Change & Knowledge Management and at the University of Innsbruck Organization & Processes. For almost 20 years, large companies such as Nestlé or Deutsche Bank have been working with a digital analytical tool that provides information on employees’ ideal working conditions. Apparently self-reflective employees are more motivated and capable of dealing with change. The motivator analysis is the basis for Silke Seemann’s approach in consulting and coaching. Being an expert she was invited by the Federal Ministry to help shape the digitization strategy of tourism and she hosted the Tourism Workshop at the Blockchain Summit of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The upcycling of small tourist businesses with a high degree of digitization and completely new organizational and leadership concepts are on the agenda for the coming years.
5 Questions for Rebecca Schilcher
As part of our Hallstatt adventure, we discover a delightful traditional boutique/ dirndl workshop, run by a petite, pretty lady. It smells of steam irons and fabrics and I feel transported back to my childhood when I grew up in the tailor shop of the Carinthian Heimatwerk, which my mother headed. The displayed dirndl on the tailor’s dummy, which attracts us right away, turns out to be the official Hallstatt dirndl, designed by the business owner Rebecca Schilcher and her former business partner Katharina Stork.
Love at first sight
The “Golden City” is conquering my heart by storm, because on my very first stay it shows itself in its most beautiful light and its most charming side. When I arrive on an October weekend, the sun is shining, it is pleasantly warm, good-humored tourists from all over the world are bustling everywhere, and everything seems to be pimped with a warm color filter. So the city lies at my feet and I fall into a conglomerate of people, foreign languages, merchandise and amusement options – it seems like this city would never sleep. Why should it?
Goodbye Winter, hello Spring!
Roberto Collina is a family business that has stood for Italian excellence for more than 60 years. They are famous for their knitwear-based collections made in in Italy, exactly in Crevalcore, North of Bologna, but Roberto Collina is not just a synonym of knitwear; it has also extended and perfected its range over the years, to meet the needs of an increasingly selective market. Roberto Collina is now a true lifestyle for men and women, with its full range that also includes accessories and where the knitwear includes precious textures that differ depending on the season and trends.
On the road to Hallstatt
Completely unbiased, we embark on a journey to explore a patch of land that has been inhabited for millenniums, chosen by Emperor Franz Josef for his engagement trip with Sisi, and in its unique form, has even made it to China. We are not sure why and so we are kind of curious. What makes the fascination of this almost 800-inhabitant village, which we associate with salt, the lake and mountains? Why should we go there at all and what will we find – apart from a lot of Asian tourists, as we are told by various online portals?
Barbara Klein & Margarethe Yoshida
Please define pleasure in terms of food – is there a certain time of the day to perfectly enjoy food?
B: Not really. For me what is essential is the atmosphere, the right people at the table and of course also the proper food. Still, I am somebody who is very open, who tries and tastes everything. The perfect enjoyment also includes a good conversation and the feeling to go home intellectually or emotionally enriched.
M: I can really enjoy food when I feel that the aliments were made with love, that the manufacturers stand by them and enjoy them themselves. I also care about the atmosphere. I need to feel comfortable. This also includes nice people, relaxing a fine sip of wine. It needs to be a harmonious combination of all that. Also time is an essential factor, I do not want to hurry when I eat.
It all started with a book. A book that has never been written. Not because we cannot write, but because our idea of dedicating ourselves to the topic of women has been spun out and digitized in the form of a blog. Which does not mean that we will not publish a print work about the wonderful and complex nature of women someday.