Tag: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day on a Budget

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Photo Credit: http://time.com/

Breanna Hill, News Editor

It’s that time of year again; the colors pink and red are everywhere and the giant teddy bears seem to be at every store. That’s right, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, some of you might be a bit worried about finding the perfect present for your guy or gal, or what to do date-wise, or even more so, how to afford it all. Luckily there are numerous ways to make V-day special without it costing an arm and a leg.

Let’s face it, most college students and young adults are struggling as it is just to make rent every month and feed themselves something other than Ramen Noodles, so perhaps going to some extravagant restaurant just isn’t in the realm of possibilities—which is okay. There are always a few tricks that can be of great use in a manner such as this.

One of the biggest factors when coming to Valentine’s Day is trying to figure out where to take your special someone. Yes, there are tons of restaurants and other fun attractions that could be considered romantic, but is paying a ton of money to do those things always a choice for everybody? Of course not. There are alternatives.

For example, a great option is having a picnic. Not only is having a picnic a cheaper option, but it can also be viewed as more heartfelt and personal. Another great date idea would be either hiking or bike riding to a beautiful destination to enjoy the view. Nothing is more romantic than watching the sun set from a great spot.

Now that we have a couple cheap date ideas in mind we can talk about finding the perfect gift for that special someone. Again, not all of us are able to fork over 50-plus dollars for a giant stuffed animal, and that’s perfectly fine. As you’ve probably heard a time or two before, it’s the thought that counts. From a girl’s perspective, a well-thought out gift from the heart is far more important than the price of it.

Just reminding your significant other about your feelings for them is enough to make any Valentine’s Day a success. A great gift idea that doesn’t really cost anything at all is a letter. Writing a sweet letter to your date just to remind them how special they are to you is one of the sweetest gestures out there. Swing by any store and pick up a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers and you’re all set.

In the end just make sure you try your hardest to make the day as special as possible and things will fall right into place. Hopefully with these date and gift ideas you’ll be able to pull off Valentine’s Day on a budget.

From BFFs to Mr. and Mrs.: Active Minds hosts relationship workshop

Fred and Rochelle Smith speak at Active Minds’ relationship workshop on Tuesday, February 6 (Nick Adrian/The Chanticleer).

Nick AdrianStaff Writer

This Tuesday, JSU’s branch of the organization Active Minds held a Relationship Talk with husband and wife Fred and Rochelle Smith titled: “From BFF to Mr. and Mrs.”  The couple, who were once JSU students themselves, gave the story of how they met and offered advice on how not only to lead a good relationship, but a good marriage, as well.

While Rochelle Smith is the Director of the Office of Residence Life at JSU and Fred Smith is the director of the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama, they are also both pastors at the Bridge Christian Center in Alexandria, Ala.  They first met while attending school at JSU in gospel choir practice, but did not begin dating until Rochelle was in graduate school and Fred was out of school.  They have now been married for fourteen years and came to give advice to students as they “transition from to one day Mr. and Mrs.”

Fred Smith made the point that relationships are one of the few important things in life that we are not tested on.

“You actually are tested to get a driver’s license, but you’re not tested before you get married,” he said.  “How do you prepare yourself for something that you’re not tested on?”  He went on to explain that this “test” does not come along until you are already married.

Mr. Smith gave two ways for students (or young people, in general) to look at themselves and ask where they are in the process of choosing someone to spend the rest of their life with.  The first was to take a closer look at other relationships that we may model our own relationships after – whether they be the romantic relationships of our parents and couples on campus, or platonic relationships we share with our friends.

“Whether you like the model, or you don’t like the model,” he explained, “that model that you see influences how you perceive relationships.”

The flyer for “From BFF to Mr. and Mrs.” workshop (photo via Paris Coleman/Instagram).

The second way Mr. Smith discussed was allowing yourself to have good judgment, or “measure” when evaluating someone.  He recommended to know how to measure yourself in three areas: measuring your relationship with the model you have chosen, measuring your relationship with your partner, and measuring your relationship with yourself.

He then added one more tip, “I couldn’t leave this out because I figured that this is the real reason for success with any relationship: measure your relationship with God.”

“Good relationships are not accidental.  Healthy relationships take work,” Mr. Smith warned.

Rochelle Smith also took the floor, warning about signs of unhealthy relationships.

“Secrecy, dishonesty, lack of respect…make sure you look out for those signs,” she advised.

The couple also wanted to emphasize that it is important not to rush into relationships, even if it seems like it is what everyone else is doing.

“Continue to develop yourself,” Mr. Smith said.

“You’re able, as a single person, to love yourself, show yourself respect…” Mrs. Smith added.  “Just treat yourself really, really good.  So, that way, you know how you want to be treated.”



Popping the question in the season of love

Katie Cline, Editor-in-Chief

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, boxes of chocolate and giant teddy bears are sure to be some of the most popular gifts, but a few lucky lovers may end up with something extra special: an engagement ring.

Ashlee Jones shows off her engagement ring (photo via Ashlee Jones/Facebook).

Holiday proposals in general are popular. Between November and February, the time of year known as “engagement season,” there are several major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.

JSU alumna Ashlee Jones has firsthand experience with the joys of engagement season. Her boyfriend, Jesse Hall, proposed on Christmas Day 2017 with a Russian doll-style proposal. He gave Jones a large box that held progressively smaller boxes.


“A ring box was at the bottom with my engagement ring inside, and he asked me to marry him, and I told him, ‘Well, duh!’” Jones said.

Jones and Hall met at JSU when they both had shifts at the radio station. This Valentine’s Day will mark their seventh anniversary together.

“I do think that holiday engagements are cheesy,” Jones admitted, “but I think it’s different if the holiday has a certain significance for your relationship. Technically, Valentine’s Day would have made more sense for us since it’s our anniversary, but Christmas is my next favorite holiday, and he knew that, and since my family was there with us, it made the proposal even better.”

When the couple gets married on October 13, it will have been a long time coming.

Jones and her fiancé, Jesse Hall, celebrate after getting engaged on Christmas Day (photo via Ashlee Jones/Instagram).

“I knew I was ready to get married because Jesse is my own personal cheerleader, and he always knows exactly what I need to cheer me up,” Jones said. “A lot of guys these days aren’t so quick to support their partners fully and honestly, but I’m truly blessed to have found a man that encourages me to pursue my goals and treats me as an equal, and I give him the exact same.”

Mariana Alvarez, a freshman biology major, got engaged to her high school sweetheart at the start of the new year. She and her fiancé, Andy Abercrombie, met at Southside High School in Southside, Ala. and have been dating for three years. Abercrombie proposed after a scavenger hunt around town.

“I did not see the proposal coming at all!” Alvarez said. “He said it was a surprise date, and I totally bought it.”

While some may worry that they are too young to get married, all Alvarez is worried about is forgetting to invite someone to the wedding.

“We have been through a lot of big changes together,” Alvarez said. “He graduated high school and went to college while I still had two years of high school left, and we made it work, and that’s something that I know I can count on him for. We’re going to make things work even when they aren’t easy or convenient, and that was a big part of knowing that we are ready.”

Alvarez and Abercrombie don’t plan to get married until after Alvarez graduates, but part of what she is looking forward to is having someone to grow with through all of life’s circumstances.

“Marriage is a huge commitment,” Alvarez said, “and I have someone who liked me when I was a weird sophomore in high school and loves the person that I am becoming, and while I’m unsure of so many things in my life, I’m 100 per cent sure about him.”

Andy Abercrombie proposes to Mariana Alvarez in January after a scavenger hunt (photo via Mariana Alvarez/Facebook).

It really is the season of love, but before you run out and buy a ring for your significant other, Jones has a word of advice: communicate.

“If you can’t tell your partner everything and be able to discuss things you may have issues with and be able to compromise, you’re not ready for a mature relationship,” Jones said. “Your future spouse should be your best friend and never a source of stress and anxiety in your life, so make sure the person you marry has always got your back and relaxes you on the worst days and that you’re there for them just as much.”








4 for 4: Life and Liberty

As a special Valentine’s Day treat, the four editors of The Chanticleer have written about a few of the things that they love. Here’s Arts and Entertainment Editor Alissa Camplin:

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To the most wonderful little girl I’ve ever loved,

I knew you would change my life the first time I saw you. It was a hot and muggy 4th of July and you walked up to me in the middle of my shift without a care in the world, despite your bleeding paw and the fact you were soaking wet.

I was so smitten by your sweet and understanding eyes and the most gentle disposition I had ever seen in a dog. I remember asking Facebook to help find your parents, only to have people respond that you had been wandering around JSU for over a year. I was heartbroken.

How could anyone not want you? You were kind and considerate. Especially now, I just had to accept the fact that I will NEVER understand how anyone could turn you down.

I went digging. I found the owners that were supposed to keep you safe. I found the people that were responsible for you roaming the streets. And I decided that you would never, EVER have to do that again. I changed your name to Liberty in honor of 4th of July and promised you would eventually like scheduled feedings and pet insurance more than the “freedom” you were finding in chaos. Sometimes I feel like we’re still working on it, but it’s getting better every day.

I don’t know exactly the moment I decided that you were coming home with me, but I know that by the end of my shift, I was calling you mine. I was telling random people in my checkout line that a pup had adopted me that day and how excited I was to get you home and in my arms.

Not all of it was roses and daisies. I had some things to work through. I wasn’t in a pet friendly apartment and I had no knowledge of the Pyrenees breed. Both of these issues ended up being resolved with Google searches as I found a place that we could both call home and did so much research on your breed for hours on hours.

After that, you quickly became my favorite part of the day.

Thank you for being my go-to date to Lowes whenever I don’t want to go alone. Thank you for cuddling my when you can sense my stress level is high. Thank you for being my most understanding and most loyal companion. Thank you for letting me dress you up and take pictures of you to post on your Instagram. Also, thank you for never ever ever having an accident in the house. You’re the best, Lib.

My sweet Liberty has changed my entire life for the better. Every second since you picked me has been full of love and tenderness that I’m convinced only you could bring.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lib. I love you more than life itself.



4 for 4: Let’s taco ’bout us, baby

As a special Valentine’s Day treat, the four editors of The Chanticleer have written about a few of the things that they love. Here’s Associate Editor Chris Brown:

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Sorry Daniel, I didn’t mean to steal your pun-under with my headline … or did I?

Anyways, if you know me at all, especially my best friend’s wife Leslie, you know I’m all about tacos. (You thought I was going to say sports, didn’t you? It’s OK, I don’t blame you, but I write about that enough, so I figured I’d write about my favorite food since I’m always eating.)

There is no wrong soft taco: shredded chicken, beef, steak, etc. It all sounds and tastes amazing. In fact, I know I’m not the only person who loves tacos. I mean, there is even an entire day decidated to tacos.

Quick story time: growing up, I would go to Taco Bell and order tacos just to see how many I could eat at one sitting. As years passed, every time I’m really hungry, I still figure out how many I can eat. In fact, there have been many a Saturday nights that one of my best friends, Matt, and I just sit at his house playing Mario Kart 64 and eat tacos. It’s a lovely way to pass the time without getting into trouble.

I will say, though, that when I eat at Mexican restaurants, I decide to order chimichangas rather than tacos.

But back to the topic at hand …

there is just something magicial about tacos. Maybe it’s the way they’re made or the taco sauce I pour on them, but they’re amazing. Thankfully, though, Taco Bell doesn’t have a buy one, get one free promotion or else I would weight more than 250 pounds … maybe that would get me a tryout on the football team.

But really, it’s OK to love eating a certain food, especially if it’s tacos. You may think you’re a terrible person by eating food to cover up your feelings of being alone this Valentine’s Day, but, if you do, just think about how I’m writing about tacos rather than a girlfriend.

Did that help?