Category Archives: Life

Life / Sponsored

A Romantic Valentine’s Night In


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Whether or not you celebrate with a significant other or with your girlfriends (love a good Galentine’s Day celebration), there are a few essentials you need if you plan on celebrating it from the comfort of your own home! We tend to keep Valentine’s Day pretty low-key at our house. In the past we have typically done a dinner/movie date. With the arrival of Jack, I have a feeling we will be enjoying the evening from the comfort of our own home in between diaper changes and feedings. Here are a few items and gift ideas that will help us do just that!

Edible Arrangements Valentine Day Gift Set – While flowers may be the traditional gift of the holiday, Edible Arrangements make the their bouquets not only decorative, but delicious too, the perfect unique Valentine gift. Fresh fruit dipped in chocolate, heart shaped pineapple, and a bouquet of festive balloons?  What more could someone want? Edible Arrangements are made locally, even offers same day, hand delivery, so make sure to get yours ordered in time for that special someone in your life! Get 20% off your order with discount code DISC2249 at checkout for any order over $49 and ordered/delivered through 2/13.

Maidenform Bra + Pantie Set – A night in may not call for getting dressed up, but putting on a matching lacy set underneath your joggers and oversized sweatshirt can still make you feel amazing! Going from being pregnant for nine months and living in leggings and oversized shirts, this matching set can do wonders for your confidence! Their lace lace bras are lightly lined for a touch of support and their  lace panties lay flat under your clothing!

Popcorn, Indiana Kettlecorn – A night in isn’t complete without a delicious snack (or two!). Popcorn, Indiana offers this non-GMO, gluten free treat that is made with a pinch of salt and pure cane sugar. There is no mess or prep time with this popcorn treat, simply open the bag, pour it into a bowl, and serve! My favorite flavor happens to be the Black & White, dark and white chocolate drizzled over their kettlecorn. Yum!

Chesapeake Bay Candle Mind & Body Love + Passion – This soy wax blend made with essential oils will infuse your space with a grapefruit mango aroma. This Valentine’s Day Candle with it’s stylish design and nature-inspired fragrance is sure to set the mood.

The Traveler Beer Company – After abstaining from any and all alcohol while pregnant with Jack, I’m going to happily indulge with one Blackberry Shandy this Valentine’s Day. Their shandies are a wheat ale made with real blackberries. Traveler Beer Company brews their own ale with real fruit! Check out their website for all their flavors and recipes for delicious cocktails! I can’t wait to make the Blackberry Punch!

This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that make The Brunette One possible!

Life / Motherhood / Sponsored

Easy Like Sunday Morning


We are officially one month into parenthood. Is there a way to slow down time? If so, I’d like to try it. Our days are pretty slow around while I soak in every ounce of maternity leave with my little man. We’ve spent a lot of tip cooped up due to negative temperatures but this past weekend we had temps in the high 40s which almost feels tropical after the weather we’ve had earlier this month. We finally took our first walk around the neighborhood, it was wonderful!

The living room is where we spend most of our days, binge watching all the shows (I strongly suggest The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), working on our thank you notes (Jack came two weeks early so my to-do list pre-baby arrival was postponed), scrolling through Instagram, and snuggling with our puppy sister, Lola. Lola has made the transition to big sister and is handling the new role fairly well. She is a lap dog, so she finds any way possible to weasel her way onto my lap or to position herself so she is at least touching me when I’m holding/feeding Jack. She will follow us into his nursery in the middle of the night for a feeding and is always on high alert when he starts to cry. It’s the sweetest thing and thankfully put all my fears to rest that I had prior to Jack’s arrival.

My mom helped us out a few days last week and we were able to go out to lunch and then to Gordmans for our first outing! We made it through lunch with Jack napping the entire time, but I had to speed shop as Jack started crying half way through our trip at Gordmans because it was his dinner time. I ended up having to feed him in the backseat of my car. I even ha a moment of panic trying to remove the carseat from the stroller, talk about mom brain. Google saved the day. #newmomprobs

I was a woman on a mission as we made our way through the store. I ended up grabbing a modern wooden planter that fits in perfectly with our living room decor. Along with the planter, I grabbed a larger dog bed for Lola who keeps eyeing all of Jack’s blankets and play mat as a place for her to rest her head. So far, she knows to use the dog bed instead of snuggling up on Jack’s blankets. I also grabbed this fleece monkey blanket for Jack, he loves to lay flat and actually seems to enjoy tummy time. Bring on all the cozy blankets for Jack Finley!

Last but not least, I grabbed these beautiful thank you notes and the perfect mug. It symbolizes all the sleep I wish I was getting right now. I know the nights are long (he’s a marathon eater between the hours of 9-11pm which is hard, but once he’s down, he sleeps like a champ until 2:30/3am) but give me ALL. THE. COFFEE. :)

The best part about all the new goodies I picked up, I knew I was getting the best bang for the buck. Gordmans not only has amazing prices but they have something called their “Lowest Price Guarantee.” To make sure they offer the lowest price possible, if you find the same item elsewhere for a lower price, they will match the competitor’s price and give you a $5 gift card! How awesome is that? I walked out of Gordmans with my haul for under $100, this new mama is ballin’ on a budget and my wallet couldn’t have been happier!

This post is sponsored by Gordmans. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that make The Brunette One possible!

Life / Motherhood

Jack Finley’s Birth Story


Introducing Jack Finley McClelland.

He made his swift, unexpected, and early arrival on December 28, 2017 at 9:37am.

He came in at 7lb 3 oz and 19.5 inches long.

I wanted to document his birth story so I wouldn’t forget a single detail. Tomorrow he’s two weeks old (and just shy of his due date, 1/13/18) and I already can’t believe how time is flying. Can he stay this little forever?

I went into labor Wednesday night (12/27) around 11pm, I woke up from watching the Iowa Bowl game to go to the bathroom, after a few trips, I noticed that my back was starting to hurt and that more of my mucus plug (TMI – sorry not sorry) had come out (it had come out earlier that morning and I had called the nurse’s line – they said it could be labor was happening soon or could be happening in two weeks – not very helpful). I hadn’t had pain like this throughout my entire pregnancy and thought to myself, “Could these be real contractions?”

To distract myself, I turned on Pride and Prejudice (the Kiera Knightly version, of course). About an hour or so later, I decided to wake up Cody and told him that I thought that I was in labor. I had been timing the contractions and sitting on an exercise ball as the contractions came and went. We ended up calling the after hours nurses line and told them we were going to come in, my contractions were following the 5-1-1 guideline, plus I had noticed some spotting.

We made it to the hospital around 3 am, after the first snowfall, of course, but thankfully the roads were cleared just in time. I had 3 or so contractions in the car and tried to breathe through them while still tracking them on my app. Cody parked the car and I had another couple of contractions in the waiting room.

We checked into triage and I was only dilated to 1.5cm but was now around 80% effaced (one of those disappointing moments where you think you are a lot further along then you actually are). Instead of sending me home, they had me walk around and labor for another hour to see if I progressed any further. My contractions were getting closer together and started in my back and would radiate around. All I could think of so this is the ‘back labor’ that they speak of. I had Cody put pressure on my sitz bones/lower back area during every contraction.

The nurse came back in and I had progressed to about 4cm and said the doctor would be admitting us. I know Cody and I both had sighs of relief, we really didn’t want to drive all the way back home only to drive all the way back to the hospital a few hours later.

I had no birth plan other than getting baby and me here safe and healthy. I knew if the time came, I would ask for drugs if I needed them. So trust me, I asked for them once we got settled into our room. Once they got the epidural in place (much scarier process in my head then in reality), the doctor on call broke my water (he had noted some blood when he did it, but didn’t seem any cause for alarm) and said that he could see this baby being born by 5pm. My nurse said let’s try for 1pm, before the shift change. Not finding out the gender of the baby really gets people excited!

With the epidural in place, Anne recommended trying to get some rest. I remember being in a state between sleep and awake when Anne came back in and said she wanted to adjust how I was laying and put a monitor on the baby’s head vs. on my stomach. I hadn’t started to panic even though she came back a couple more times to adjust me and said that during my contractions Baby Mack’s heart rate was going down. She left the room briefly and I had another contraction, it was when I could hear the heartbeat slowing down and I started to have a bit of anxiety, but was out of it enough that I wasn’t sure how serious things could get or were getting with every contraction.

Nurse Anne came back in and said if we couldn’t find a good spot/side for me to lay on to get Baby Mack’s heart rate back up, there would be a chance for an emergency c-section. With one last check of our vitals and contractions, she called our doctor. They made the call and soon I was signing papers for an emergency c-section. Our doctor even had to bump someone’s scheduled c-section for me. It felt like it happened in a blink of an eye and there was little time to process what was happening in the moment.

Within fifteen or so minutes, Cody was dressed in scrubs and we headed into the OR. I’m not sure how much time passed, I was awake during the c-section but in a really foggy state of mind due to the drugs. They pulled out Baby Mack and Cody was able to call out that it was a BOY! I remember my doctor telling me all the reasons why we ended up needing a c-section, but I couldn’t really comprehend what she was saying. I could hear crying and saw him get taken over to the warmer to have his umbilical cord cut. They brought him closer to me so I could see him get weighed, I couldn’t help but cry as I finally got to see him. So we went into the hospital around 3am and Jack arrived by 9:37am.

As it turns out, our little one who had been heads down for months, was sunny side up. His cord was also wrapped around his shoulders and my placenta had started to pull away from the uterine wall. Despite all of those things, he arrived healthy, safe, and sound, which at the end of the day was all we wanted.

Cody and I were able to go back to our room and spend a few hours doing skin-to-skin, feeding, and snuggling Baby Boy McClelland. We admired his tiny fingers, toes, and how much hair he had already. We waited until the afternoon to call our immediate family to tell them the good news. Cody and I were torn between two names and ended up flipping a coin to come to a decision, and that is how we landed on Jack Finley.

We are so over the moon with his arrival and he is practically perfect in every way. Here’s to a speedy recovery for Mom, sleepless nights, and endless cuddles as we figure out life as parents and Lola adjusts to her baby brother.