The newest addition to the family - Mila Wait van Wyngaardt

Monday, January 30, 2012

That's a mouthful isn't it? Mila Wait van Wyngaardt. Mila, after the ever gorgeous Milas in the world, because my puppy is just the most gorgeous thing on earth. Wait, because that is my surname, and van Wyngaardt, because that is Flip's surname.

My family and I have always been huge fans of Staffordshire terriers, as they are smart and playful and they look fierce with their muscly bodies and big heads, so people tend not to come close to your yard (a prerequisite when living in South Africa). However, I can recommend, with the backing of Wikipedia, that Staffies are the sweetest breed on earth, even when mixed with other breeds. They would rather lick you to death than bite, and they make terrible guard dogs.

Mila is now the sixth Staffie in my family. We first had Bobby, a mix between a Maltese and a Staffie, and then came Liefie, who is a Staffie cross Rottweiler. She was followed, but not outlived, by purebred Jock (yes, as in Jock of the Bushveld, we are South African, we went there). Jock and Liefie made babies and along came Bea and Josh. Twinsies. The smartest dogs I have ever known, thanks to their mom Liefie's terrific smarts. Sadly, they both went to heaven.

Mila over here was born and raised for five weeks about an hours drive from here, and I fetched her on Friday afternoon, as soon as I got off work. I couldn't contain my excitement and I have already met her the week before. But, when I picked her up from the litter, I couldn't decide between her and her sibling, who had white toesies and a little white stripe on her nose.

What a mistake I would have made if I chose the sibling. This little facechild has crept right into my heart and Flip is almost like an overbearing father with her. She is sooo good, she hasn't really cried once since we got her and she has traveled with us, quite far, not moaning once. She just gets into her basket, with her teddy, aptly named Teddy and sleeps. She hasn't pooped or wheepsed in the house yet, but she makes it known that she wants to go, and when she wants to go at two in the morning, she does it on the newspapers we put out for her.  She is already a little genius.


I am simply infatuated with her and cannot believe I waited so long to get a puppy. (I had to, I lived on the Second Floor!)


We are moving to our new house on Tuesday, so she will have all the freedom and sweet grass her little mind can grasp. Don't you just want to eat her up!?

I'm a mommy!


This is my sweetface staffie-child Mila
I have already fallen head over heels for this little face and Flip is even more in love with her than I am
(although he doesn't or won't admit it)
I can't believe I have my very first pup as an adult! 

But more of this (and much, much better quality pics) coming up tomorrow!


Guest post: Jenna!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

People, get yourself a goood cup of coffee, a rusk or two, and read this post! Jenna is amazing, sweet and so much fun to hang out with, I should know, I consider her to be a bestie! And she is an American living in South Africa. That sounds like movie title. Maybe it just needs the word 'werewolf' in there. See why I said get some coffee? Yup

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Hello Second Floor Living Readers!  I'm so happy Megan's given me the opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my blog with you today :)

Photo Credit: Martina


My name is Jenna and I blog over at A Home Away From Home about my life as an American ex-pat living in South Africa.  I met and fell in love with a local here, so most of my posts are about our adventures together in Johannesburg, but I also incorporate some recipe, fitness, and fashion posts every now and again.




This year, if I could achieve one thing it would be balance; I'd like to see it as more of a motto than a resolution.   I want to work at living a more healthy lifestyle, making more time for spontaneous date nights with the boy, spending quality time with friends, excelling at work and at university, giving back through volunteering, you get the idea...



A normal day in the life of Jenna consists of:

6:45: Hit the snooze button on my alarm {I'm sure some of you can relate, no!?}
7:00: Get out of bed and start getting ready
8:00: Out the door and off to work for the day
8:25: Quick cappuccino run at Woolies {this is when my day really starts!}
8:30 - 5:00: Work at an Industrial Psychology Consultancy {lots of meetings, projects, and presentations}
6:30 - 7:30: Get my sweat on at the gym! {If I don't have a night class - bleh}
8:00-9:00: Dinner with the boyfriend
9:00-11:00: Blog/homework/reading time
11:00-12:00: More QT with the boy {which normally means watching a series}
12:00: In bed and ready to repeat everything the next morning!



Although Jurgen and I moved to Johannesburg in the beginning of 2010, I think 2011 was the first year that we really started to feel comfortable in the city, familiarise ourselves with the different suburbs, and discover our favorite "go-to" places.  I made a lot of friends, both through the university and through the blog { Meg being one of them!}, and started to really embrace all that Josi had to offer.  I think the thing which stood out most about 2011 was the actualization that I've come to consider Jo'burg as a second home and wouldn't mind living here over the long term one bit!

The truth about blogging: Part1


*Disclaimer – this post is my point of view. I am not aiming to offend anyone, but if you feel that I did or that it is untrue, please feel free to comment. *

It is a lonely world. I have learnt in my year of blogging that, despite the sense of community people can feel from Blogger or your chosen platform of expression, it is a very lonely place.

It is a very shallow place.

Why am I saying this? Well, let me explain. In my search for blogs to follow, I have found quite a few big ones, and by big I mean over a thousand followers, that I have kept up with throughout the year.

I have found that some of the bloggers are so committed to blogging and getting a significant following that they risk their personal relationships, they start letting go of friends to gain virtual ones.

I have experienced this in my own personal relationships, particularly with Flip, that this addiction (because, let’s face it, it is no less than that) has kept me from communicating with him. Instead of talking to him about things that are important I would get impatient and ask him to keep silent, even turn the volume of the TV down, so that I can concentrate on a virtual reality.



I try to change this and Flip understands that I sometimes need my blogging time, but I see that I need to prioritise. I need to find balance between gym time, TV time, blogging time, friends time and our time. (Right now, the TV is on, and I am typing this, because I can, Flip is still at work.)

On countless blogs, I have seen that the blogger is either talking about either their spouse or a parent. There is the odd number of bloggers who meet up with other bloggers and then becoming ‘best’ friends. I myself have made a great friend through blogging, and she is coming up tomorrow. But in some cases, these friends are up to 1 000 km away and the only way they can keep in touch is through social networking, very little personal networking involved.

My question is where are these bloggers real friends? Am I being naive here? Are they not posting about their friends on purpose? Perhaps to keep a measure of privacy? I know that I don’t blog about everything my friends and I do, because sometimes I feel that it is personal and should be kept between my friends and I, but I have mentioned and posted about them.

I believe that blogging should have its limits and that one shouldn’t compromise relationships to build virtual ones.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear it.


Guest post: Tammy

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sticking with the one-year celebration of my blog, we have Tammy from Lemons, Avocados and the Bay. She has some really interesting reads, so take some time and stop by her lovely blog! 

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My blog, is well.. all about me. I'm a 20-something girl living in San Diego. I can't get enough of the beach, and I love to take photos. My boyfriend makes me smile, and I'm lucky to have some incredible family and friends. I have a knack for fashion, want to travel the world, really enjoy exercising, and am always working on renovating our little beach bungalow. 



If I could achieve one thing this year it would strive to break be the very best version of me. I blogged about all of goals for 2012 here

On a typical day in my life, I wake up earlier than most people should.. 6:15am so I can get ready (cough, read blogs) until I have to leave for work. I work with kids who have pretty severe disabilities, and although I really really love my job, I spend lots of days dodging punches and kicks. Let me tell you, it can get draining. After work I come home for a bit, watch trash (read: reality) tv and then head to the gym. I really love to exercise and I'm a big boot camp, pilates, yoga, and zumba fan. Once I'm done working out I head home give the boyfriend a kiss, and we figure out dinner. Usualllly... we go out to eat because I'm not much of a cook, but everyone once I'll try to expand my cooking horizons. We spend the next few hours cuddled on the couch while I catch up on blogs and Nadav watches TV. Normally, I fall asleep on the couch way earlier than is necessary.





This past year we bought and renovated an old beach bungalow. It was one of the most wonderful, but difficult experiences of my life. You can learn more about our home renovations here

Andddd one last thing, I'm planning the Southern California Blogger Meetup that will be held in San Diego on February 4. Are you a SoCal local and want to meet some amazing lady bloggers? Read more about the event here

The evolution of Second Floor Living

I was looking through the past photos of my blog and I realise that this space of mine has really grown in the last year or so. Seeing as this is still the month I am celebrating my first year of blogging, I thought I would give you guys a glimpse into the past.



B is for Banner

These are the banners I have had on my blog since the first day I had it, up until now. I designed each and every one myself. Which one is your favourite?





(yeah, not my proudest moment, but I did love this font!!)



And finally, the one we are seeing now!

But now, a new chapter is opening in my life, and we will be moving to our very first house soon (with a yard, haha).
Do you think I should change the name of my blog? Something more fitting to the new chapter in my life or should I stick with the one you have grown to know? (and love! yes, I'm that cheeky.)

I have started a poll on my facebook page to help me decide. Go check it out and vote!


Cuppi cake, cuppi cake...

Monday, January 16, 2012


I found this lovely cupcake recipe on A Beautiful Mess! Would you believe that all these gorgeous little things are the same basic recipe, that has just been customised to create different and delicious flavours! The cupcakes were made from chocolate and vanilla base and the same icing, altered to make the six treats.


Cupcakes made were: 
1. PB & J cupcakes
2. Homemade Hostess cupcakes
3. Marmalade Dream cupcakes
4. Peanut Butter Monster cupcakes
5. Classic Party cupcakes 
6. Cinnamon Sugar cupcakes




Simple Vanilla Cupcakes makes 1 dozen 
Needed: 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups water, 2/3 cup oil, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons vinegar. (Note: this cupcake recipe is vegan friendly!)
In a bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients. Combine these and stir just until no lumps are left. Pour the batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes. 
Simple Chocolate Cupcakes makes 1 dozen
Needed: 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups water, 2/3 cup oil, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons vinegar. (Note: this cupcake recipe is vegan friendly!)
In a bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients. Combine these and stir just until no lumps are left. Pour the batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes.
Simple Butter Cream Frosting makes about 2 1/2 cups
Needed: 4 sticks of softened butter (2 cups), 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (the clear kind is better for frostings) and 2-3 cups powdered sugar.
In a bowl cream together the butter and vanilla extract. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mixing in between until you have the perfect frosting consistency.



Now Mix and Match to your heart's delight!

1. PB & J cupcakes- vanilla cupcake base. Use a sharp knife to carve a small (inverted) pyramid out of the center, fill with jam or jelly (she used Blue Chair Damson Jam). Now take 1 cup of your butter cream frosting and stir in 1/3 cup peanut butter. Pipe the peanut butter frosting over the top.
2. Homemade Hostess cupcakes- chocolate cupcake base. Use a sharp knife to carve a small (inverted) pyramid out of the center, fill with marshmallow cream. Pipe marshmallow cream over the top.
3. Marmalade Dream cupcakes- vanilla cupcake base. Use a sharp knife to carve a small (inverted) pyramid out of the center, fill with marmalade (she used Blue Chair Orange-Kumquat Marmalade). Top with marshmallow cream, toast in the broiler for a few seconds if you like.
4. Peanut Butter Monster cupcakes- chocolate cupcake base. Pipe on peanut butter frosting (see flavor #1) and top with chopped peanut butter cups!
5. Classic Party cupcakes- chocolate cupcake base. Top with classic butter cream and sprinkle on some pretty sprinkles. 
6. Cinnamon Sugar cupcakes- vanilla cupcake base. Top with classic butter cream and sprinkle on a little cinnamon and sanding sugar.

Check out Elsie's blog for more of these delicious ideas and amazing creative things!

Coolest art ideas!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My mom and I were discussing the differences between an arum lily, a calla lily and a pig lily. Turns out they are all the same flower, but their botanical names are different, Zantedeschia and Calla Palustris. Confusing? I know.

Curious to see the differences between the flowers, I searched the images on the internet and came across something brilliant!


X Ray Flowers

Can you imagine how amazing these must look in a series on a wall? I'm in love!









Guest post: Gentri

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This girl is just amazing. There is nothing I don't love about her. Her lust for life, her upbeat sense of style and her humour that she so wittingly uses in her posts, not to mention that she's having a massive giveaway at the moment! 


Someone you all know

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My blog is about life and how I live it. I blog about adventure, fashion, food, crafts/ DIY's, inspiration, and things that make me laugh.



A normal day in my life would be... Wake up, get ready, go to work, work, blog, come home, blog some more, go to bed, repeat. That's just your typical day. haha! Things don't always stay that non-exciting.






  If I could achieve one thing this year it would be to ride in a Hot Air Balloon! This is the year!



  What stood out the most about this past year would be my trip to Alaska! I was in AK for a month then drove from AK to UT for a week. It was amazing!




I'm angry!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life isn't moonshine and roses! Life is cruel! People can be so thoughtless, so wrapped in their own world, so selfish!

Watch this video 

and pass it on.


My first vlog!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hello lovelies! Oh my goodness, I can't believe that I am actually doing this, but I though what the heck, I have never done this before (as you can see from my terrific presentation down here!) and I decided let's spice things up and try something new!

My very first vlog. This is quite scary. But bear with me and don't laugh. Promise you won't laugh!? Here goes nothing. I explain what it is all about in the vlog itself.

video

What did you think? Yay or Nay? Should this be my one and only, one hit wonder?
Should I retire from the world of vlogging?
hahahaa
Let me know what you think!

PS If you want to do this, you can check out the questions here: 
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

Words:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

Send me a link if you decide to do it! I would love to see it!

Friday Fancies: Shoes galore!

Friday, January 6, 2012

This week Alison from Long Distance Loving asked us to put our best foot forward and create an outfit around a pair of shoes. I for one am not a fan of high heels, being sooo tall, but I decided to go outside my comfort zone and chose this gorgeous pair of lovelies as the base of my outfit.

As always, I created my set on Polyvore, so you can check it out there.





Guest post: Ashlee!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

To celebrate my one year of blogging, I lined up a few awesome people to guest post and to celebrate this milestone as well as the new year with me. First up is the most gorgeous Ashlee! She tells us a bit more about herself and what she would most like to achieve this year.  Read on!

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Well, hello there. I’m Ashlee from And They Lived Happily Ever After!  I am so excited to meet all of Megan’s followers.  Isn’t her blog just fabulous?


If you can tear your eyes away from hers for a second, come take a minute and join me on my journey through this exciting, love-filled, health-crazed, exercise-obsessed, quite lovely life o’mine.

I post health recipes, workout tips, entertainment news, and stories of my life with this guy.





That’s my Naval Submarine Officer of a Husband.  He keeps my life exciting.


This year, I have one goal: Laugh More.  I read this article on how you should throw out resolutions because they are usually unfocused and unattainable.  They say to have an un-resolution: a word, that you can focus on and repeat to yourself everyday.  I liiiike it.  So, mine is Laugh. (I know, I threw in the More but who are you the unresolution police? Sheesh…ha.) I mean, when you say it to yourself, don’t you just think happy thoughts? I do.


Source: weheartit.com via Jamie on Pinterest


A normal day in the life of Ashlee looks like this:
615:Alarm goes off, Hit snooze button (just….can’t…..resist….)
630: Get out of bed
630-7: Quiet Time
7-8: Get Ready
8-830: Drive to Work
830-5: Lots of fun work as an Electrical Engineer, Be Jealous.;)
5-530:Head to Power Yoga
530-7: Power Yoga Goodness (Sweat!!!)
7-730: Finally head home
730-8: Eat Premade Dinner (I make my dinners on Sunday for the week!)
8-10: Shower, Blog, Talk with hubs, Watch TV, Clean Up Kitchen
10:Lights out! I’m an early to bed girl! The only bags I need are Coach bags!


The event that stood out the most from this past year was surviving my husband’s four month deployment.  Any submarine officer’s wife out there knows it’s a tough life.  I get emails about 20% of the time from him and the rest of the time there is silence.  Surviving any deployment is always a challenge but those four months was a doozy.  It is behind us now and we are absolutely stronger for it.  And just for the record, this is what it feels like when he comes home. And we live happily ever after….



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Isn't she just a peach?! Now make sure to check out her blog! You won't be disappointed. 

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