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And So It Ends

It’s probably no surprise to you that I’m writing this.

It IS a surprise to me.

I’ve been pondering about it for months now, trying to make time for everything, trying to hang on, trying not to say goodbye.

I’ve rationalized too long, finding comfort in my internet securities.

I’ve remembered that the hardest decisions are almost always the right ones.

I’ve realized that in order to keep growing, you must allow change.

And, wow, have I grown.

I’ve been in Germany for over a year now and I have moments where I don’t even recognize myself. And, that’s not a bad thing.

It’s just….time to keep growing and make more changes in the hopes of reaching even bigger goals.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I’m saying goodbye to this blog. I know people have found it helpful. I just received an email from someone the other day, thanking me, but I think this is the right decision for me.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I will delete it or leave it up, although I’m leaning towards deletion.

I can’t let go of this name though, or the cool idea that jolted me back into a lost dream. So, you’ll still be able to find From Casinos to Castles in social media.

As for me, I applied for almost 20 jobs today. The boy is in kindergarten now and I am hoping with all my heart that something works out. Anything.

I’m not giving up my dream of being a writer either, so, you can still find me over at Tipsy Lit. You may not know, but I’m Managing Editor over there now. I’m really excited about that opportunity and I think this year, I’m going to grow even more than the previous one. I have so many things in the works.

I’m working on a memoir as well as my first book of poetry.

I’m also working together with 7 other fabulous women on a new site we will be launching soon that is community oriented with a goal of helping and supporting women.

I’m working on finding myself again and figuring out who that is without all of the labels I had before.

I’m working on making one dream come true, while letting go of another.

I’ve loved getting to know all of you and I’ve appreciated you coming here and getting to know me. As I said, this is goodbye for the blog, but not for me. I wish you all the best and if you’d like to keep in touch you can find me at these places:

Facebook - Author Profile
Facebook Page - From Casinos To Castles
Twitter - Author Profile (C2C will be deleted)
Tipsy Lit

And the new site isn’t ready yet, but you can follow on twitter to stay up to date on the launch!

The Sisterwives

Thank you again and I hope to see you at one of my other online locations!

 

Sin City

A Look at How Casinos Have Changed

With my upcoming one year expat anniversary, I thought it only fitting to have some “Vegas” on my blog. It is From Casinos to Castles, after all. 

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Everyone knows that Vegas is a place of gambling, partying, and doing things we’d rather not admit to after the fact. It didn’t earn the nickname “sin city” for nothing, and it is certainly one of the best locations for nightlife in the world. However, Vegas has grown a lot over the years and offers much more than borderline illegal fun.

Only a few decades ago, the Vegas Strip attempted to expand its appeal by offering family-friendly attractions for all ages. This was not an initial success with resorts such as the original early ’90s MGM Grand’s Grand Adventures Amusement Park or Treasure Island. However, in 1998 when the Bellagio opened up, it arrived with a focus on luxury and high-end resort status.

While the Bellagio is a casino by every sense of the word, it is also host to one of the world’s finest hotels and offers dozens of top-class restaurants and shopping attractions. It is also home to the famous dancing water fountains and has many other amenities including a fine art gallery, botanical gardens, and live concerts or sports matches.

The Bellagio really set the stage for the Vegas Strip. Less than two decades later, casinos doubling as vacation resorts have become the standard. Not only is this giving Vegas a new image as a destination for high society and glamour, rather than debauchery and greed, but other cities have begun to mimic the Vegas theme, constructing their own casino resorts. The word “casino” itself is evolving from mere gambling games to include fine dining and resort hotels.

The online casinos maxi is a website that gives you good information about the best online casinos in the world. It selects the portals by anaylzing the bonus offers, payment optins, unique selling points, mobile friendly and many more aspects that please the players. You must check the site to pick the best of your choice.

Of course, casinos are still gambling destinations. This image itself is improving, however, and many are home to high-end poker tournaments. Poker has rapidly grown in popularity and become a mainstream sport, and casinos such as Atlantic City’s Borgata are home to tournaments worth millions of dollars each year. Likewise, casino and sport bettings in London are quiet popular. Check for information on top biggest uk betting sites here.

The Borgata, specifically, is known for being one of the best tournament destinations, with Matthew Pitt explaining it has “a reputation for running world-class tournaments and providing unparalleled service to its players.” In recent years, casino gambling has moved from what you see in mobster movies toward mainstream sports, and casinos are more like arenas or stadiums now.

Take the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, for example. While the casino ranks among the top in the world, the building itself was crafted to impress, and it is the most expensive building in the world at over $6 billion. If you’re ever thinking about seeing Singapore, this is something you can’t miss—whether you enjoy gambling or not.

While casinos gaining a reputation for being world-class is a great thing for them, it is good news for travel enthusiasts as well. Casino resorts spare no expense in making their hotels some of the best destinations to visit in the world and sights like the Bellagio fountains or the Marina Bay Sands Casino are some of the world’s must-sees.

*This piece was written by Stephanie Nichols.

german_pastries_to_love

Five German Pastries to Love

Well, hello there. Have you missed me? I’ve certainly missed you. In the past few weeks, our son has become increasingly more active making it very difficult for me to do anything other than tend to him and the house. That being said, it is less than TWO WEEKS from him starting at the German kindergarten. I am so excited for him (and myself).

So, keeping up with my “Top 5’s”, I thought I bring up my most favorite treat, German pastries. A German bakery has so much to offer in addition to the wonderful fresh-baked bread. If I’m feeling so inclined (and they haven’t run out yet), here are my first picks, in no particular order,  for a treat at the bakery.

Enjoy! Yum!

1. Heidelbeer Frischkäse Kuchen

Translation: Blueberry Cream Cheese Cake

We have a small, but really good, bakery in our village that is in addition to the larger one. This one reminds me more of a little cafe and I first tried this cake only a few weeks ago. It is heaven! I’m not really a big fan of cheesecakes (I can hear you gasping at me!), but this is not like what you’d think of when you imagine American cheesecake as far as consistently and flavor. It’s a must try!

 2. Quarkbällchen

Translation: Cheese curd balls (Wait! Don’t let that scare you away!)

Quark is cheese curd that is most commonly found in Germany and Eastern European countries. As an American, I had never heard of it prior to ever living in Germany; however it is readily sold in many different types for different uses. These little pieces of awesomeness are like a more fluffy and moist version of an American donut hole. They have a little sugar sprinkled on the outside for a little added sweetness. I’ve also been able to find them with cinnamon which is my personal favorite.

3. Rotweinkuchen

Translation: Red wine cake

For those that know me, I know I’m stumping you with this one, considering it’s chocolate, but I love it! It’s very hard for me to describe, but the red wine gives it a unique flavor. In my opinion, the chocolate has a smoother and less overpowering taste. Sprinkled with a little powdered sugar, this cake is a great treat that is not too rich or too sweet. I’ve also found it to be very moist and I mention this because many German cakes are more on the dry side.

4. Berliner Pfannkuchen (Berliner for short)

Translation: word for word would be Berlin Pancake

Basically, these are the same as American jelly donuts, although they taste much better (in my opinion). They are called different names depending on where you live in Germany; everything from Berliner, Krapfen, Kreppel and I could go on. In Berlin in particular, they are simply called Pfannkuchen, which is typically used throughout Germany for “pancake”. They have different fillings of which raspberry and apricot/peach are my favorites.

5. Amerikaner

Translation: American (that was obvious right?)

Yes, yes, I know these aren’t German, at least according to the ever infamous Wikipedia. Apparently they originated in the United States, which would make sense, and are typically known there as a Black & White Cookie. While the origin may not be German, you can find them quite often at the bakery and they are so good! They are basically a spongy/fluffy shortbread cake that is topped with fondant icing. Whenever I eat one, I’m reminded of the fluffy, iced sugar cookies from home which is why I had to i include them on the list. They are a little treat I can have in my new home, that is part of my other home. Love.

So, that’s another list of “Fives” from me, but what about you? What are your favorite pastries where you live? I’d love to know!

The Value of Expat & Travel Writing

Deanna Herrmann:

And Writing Around the World is up in full swing! Monday featured Charlotte, from Sherbet and Sparkles, with The Value of Travel & Expat Writing.

Originally posted on TIPSY LIT:

valueoftravelwriting
From the age of 14 I wanted to live in Japan. It was all I could think about, and I’d spend hours every day dreaming about the day I could move there. Coming from a family who do at least 3 long haul trips a year, I have never been nervous about going to foreign countries, nor have I ever been scared of things like flying. It’s just second nature to me. So when I finally got to live in Japan I didn’t think anything of it.

Then I started writing my blog.

I was 20 and a university student in Japan. I’d write about how to live in Japan – about going to the supermarket, buying a cell phone, getting a hair cut and at the same time I’d give details about how much Japanese would be required to complete each task and give some key vocabulary.

I started to…

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Writing Around The World

Deanna Herrmann:

The Tipsy Lit feature this month is all about expats and travel writers! Make sure to check out new posts daily, Monday-Friday, and see which of your favorite expats wrote something fabulous!

Originally posted on TIPSY LIT:

writingaroundtheworld

You may remember me mentioning the fact that I rekindled my love for writing when I started my first blog, From Casinos To Castles. This blog was created as a way to document my journey of taking a huge leap of faith in becoming an expatriate. It started off fueled by the inspiration found in our courage and has become a place where I share things about every day expat life. The travel writing community is unlike any other I have ever found online, but they are similar in that they all share a glimpse of what it’s like to be a part of another culture, another world.

I’ve now had an expat blog for over a year as well as a separate writing blog. It occurred to me how different the communities are and how little may be known about the expat bloggers/travel writers. Granted, we all stumble…

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