Ideas to spend a romantic (but inexpensive) Valentine’s Day

Portrait of a happy gay couple outdoorsToday we released our Love Issue, where we get suggestions from couples on how to make a relationship work. But there’s still the mechanics of finding something to do on Valentine’s Day, so our contributor Mikey Rox came up with this list of inexpensive ways to make woo.

Make a surprise visit to the office for an impromptu lunch date. Dinner reservations may be hard to come by on Feb. 14, or pricey, but lunch is usually wide open. Worried that the time constraint will force you to rush? Slow it down and abandon the dine-in option altogether by bringing a picnic (or something that you grabbed on your way) that you can share in a quiet cove nearby.

 

Participate in a couple’s activity that facilitates closeness. Daily-deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are excellent resources for finding inexpensive activities that you and your significant other can do together. Options will vary, but even with minimal research you should be able to come up with a great activity to create a new memory — like naked yoga or a fencing class, for instance.

Take the day off and head out for an adventure. Feeling less than connected lately? Make an effort to reignite that fire by taking the day off work so you two can concentrate on the relationship. Sleep in, have breakfast together, and then head out for a local adventure with the goal of being attentive and affectionate to one another for the duration of the day.

Set up a cozy candle-lit screening of your favorite films at home. Just like every restaurant in town, movie theaters also will be mobbed on Valentine’s Day (Fifty Shades, anyone?) which gives you the perfect excuse to plan a private film screening at home. Instead of ordering a new release on-demand and cuddling up on the couch like you usually do, build a comfortable “screening nest” that consists of piles of pillows and blankets, provide your partner’s favorite snacks and drinks, and pick up a few movies from a bargain bin or a neighborhood rental kiosk that you’ll both enjoy.

Cook dinner as a couple. Cupid never intended for one half of the couple to do all the prep work on Valentine’s Day just so the other can reap the benefits. Rather, this celebration is about making each other feel loved and appreciated, and that’s only accomplished if you’re each contributing equally. One delicious way you two can spend quality time together while getting your hands dirty and enjoying the fruits of said labor is to cook a romantic meal side by side. The one with the most kitchen talent can still take the lead, so long as it’s a combined effort all the way to the finish. There’s no law against cooking in the buff either — just so you know.

Browse an antique shop together to find a thoughtful gift separately. Affection isn’t about material possessions, but there’s a way to make buying your sweetie something tangible much more memorable. Instead of ordering an arbitrary item online or stopping by the florist on the drive home, schedule an outing to a local antique shop. Once there, establish a reasonable budget (say, $20 each) and go your separate ways to find a thoughtful, personalized trinket for the other that you’ll both cherish forever.

Rent a motel room and enjoy a tantalizing little tryst. Sex can get stale in the same environment over and over — and Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to spice things up. This year, go low (rent, that is) by booking a less-than-luxurious motel room to set up a seedy-yet-steamy encounter with your S.O. In anticipation of the evening’s events, sext your partner throughout the day to help elevate their arousal level so they’re rarin’ to go as soon as they step through the door.

Recreate your very first date. There’s a reason why you two fell in love – even if it’s sometimes hard to remember it. Take a trip down memory lane this Valentine’s Day by retracing your first date from start to finish – whatever that may entail. The feelings from that initial encounter will come flooding back like they never left, and you’ll be reminded of the myriad reasons that you work so hard to keep this one-of-a-kind coupling intact.

— Mikey Rox

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Want some candy? Here’s the best

Sarabeth Yeli Marshall

Sarabeth Yeli Marshall, artisan chocolatier extraordinaire

OK, so it’s only two days til Valentine’s Day, and there is probably a large number of you frantically trying to find just the right gift for your loved one. Let me make a suggestion: Chocolates.

And no, I don’t mean run down to your neighborhood grocery and grab a heart-shaped box of blah chocolate. Don’t even settle for the “high-end,” more expensive chocolates there. I am talking about “flavor-infused truffles and candies” hand made by an artisan chocolatier, and I can tell you just where to go get exactly that.

Sarahbeth “Yeli” Marshall is a registered dietician by trade who for years made chocolates as a kind of side business or hobby. A year or so ago she decided it was time to follow her dream and make chocolates full time. And now Yelibelly Chocolates shares a storefront with Delicious Cakes at 2634 Northwest Parkway in Southlake. (By the way, the Belly part of the name comes from the fact that Yeli also happens to be one of the best belly dancers in North Texas.)

Yes, I know, for you Dallas folks (and some of you Fort Worth folks), Southlake is WWWWAAAAAAYYYYY too far to drive for some chocolate. But once you have a taste of some Yelibelly goodies, you won’t think that anymore. Trust me on this one. Plus, you can have chocolates delivered (although it is too late for Valentine’s Day delivery by now),and Yelibelly frequently does “pop-stores” and events around the Metroplex. Keep an eye on her Facebook page or the Yelibelly website for details.

And, with full marriage equality expected any day now here in Texas, all you couples planning your weddings need to keep Yeli in mind, too. She can do custom orders with special designs on her delicious chocolates, too. (And it’s not just for weddings, y’all. If you need a special treat for a client or an upcoming event, think Yelibelly.)

Just a note here for “full disclosure,” as we journalists say: Yes, Yeli is a friend of mine. But I’m not just saying all this because of that. I’m telling you about her and her chocolate because it truly is some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted, and I know that if you try it, you won’t be disappointed.

chocolates

Yelibelly Chocolates not only taste delicious, they look delicious. And if you need something customized — like maybe some chocolate-topped cupcakes for your wedding — Yeli can do that, too.

cupcakes

—  Tammye Nash

LISTEN: The first cut from Madonna’s new album, ‘Living for Love’

Madonna Rebel Heart

Madonna Rebel Heart

Madonna’s newest studio album, Rebel Heart, won’t be out until the spring, but you don’t have to wait that long to sample some of the songs. Taking a cue from Beyonce, Madge offered her fans an early, unannounced Christmas present over the weekend, releasing six tracks off the album for early download, including a free video (well, there’s no video, just audio) of her single “Living for Love,” which was supposed to officially launch on Valentine’s Day. But you can listen to it now! Right here! Why? Because last week, someone began leaking versions of the songs, spoiling the surprise. Rather than fight it, the Material Girl jumped onboard to get ahead of the cheats. (Maybe Sony could learn something…?) RCA’s loss is our gain! Enjoy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Lon Burnam files marriage equality bill as Valentine’s Day gift to LGBT Texans

State Rep. Lon Burnam

State Rep. Lon Burnam

As marriage equality supporters prepare for marriage counter protests today, State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, gave the LGBT community a Valentine’s Day gift in the form of HB 1300.

The bill filed this morning would remove provisions in the Texas Family Code from 2003 that deny same-sex couples the ability to marry in the state. It would also allow Texas to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

“Marriage has been the greatest and most rewarding experience of my life,” Burnam said in a statement. “Continuing to deny all Texans the freedom to marry robs them of that experience and is detrimental to their families. Texans want a state where anyone can work hard and provide for their families. Our Texas values mandate defending the right of all Texans to have their rights and responsibilities as couples recognized by the state.”

This is the fifth relationship recognition bill filed in two weeks in the Texas Legislature. Reps. Garnet, D-Houston, and Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, filed joint resolutions to repeal the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment last week, as did state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, marking the first time the repeal legislation had a Senate companion bill. And earlier this week, state Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen, filed legislation to create civil unions for gay couples.

The marriage amendment repeal legislation would need to receive a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers to be placed on the ballot, as well as support from a majority of voters in November, in order for Hinojosa or Burnam’s bill to go into effect.

Hinojosa has already received harsh criticism from both opponents of marriage equality and members of the LGBT community who want full marriage equality, not civil unions. Equality Texas’ field organizer Daniel Williams wrote about the threats and hateful comments the senator has received since filing the legislation Monday, adding that while he disagrees with him, he still supports his efforts to move Texas toward equality.

“I know that Sen. Hinojosa filed SB 480 because he is a good, kind man who sincerely wants Texas to be a state with fairness, freedom and equality for all people,” Williams wrote. “I respectfully disagree with the Senator that civil unions are the best avenue for achieving equality (let me rephrase that: I STRONGLY disagree with the Senator that civil unions are the best avenue for achieving equality), but that disagreement doesn’t mean that he’s evil or stupid… it just means we disagree.”

Watch Burnam’s video announcement and read Equality Texas’ full release about the bill below.

—  Dallasvoice

Last minute Valentine meal ideas

heartsFor those who really wait until the last minute to plan for Valentine’s — hey, first you gotta find a boyfriend — here are some other suggestions for what to do tonight:

• Bread Winners has a three-course dinner menu (salad, entree choice, sweets) that runs about $34/person (you share a dessert), more if you choose their wine pairings, at all four locations, including the one in Uptown (214-754-4940).

• The Gin Mill has paired local craft breweries like Deep Ellum and Four Corners alongside the pub-inspired courses. And heck — if you want wine, they have that too, from gay-owned Times Ten Cellars. Cost is $60/person. 214-824-3343 or GinMillDallas.com.

• Q de Cheval at the Hotel Inter-Continental is extending Valentine’s through the weekend, with a selection of four courses (including dessert — a heart pastry filled with raspberry mousse for two) plus a glass of champagne for $69/person. 972-386-3061.

• The Cedars Social offers a three-course menu including beet gnocchi, dayboat scallops, Berkshire pork rack and steamed fluke, plus dessert, for $75/person. 214-928-7700.

• If you’re over in Fort Worth, Lanny’s Mexican cocina’s Valentine’s menu also extends from Feb. 14 to 16, with main courses of ribeye or trout, a first course of lobster agnelotti or scallops, and a dessert, for $95/person. 817-850-9996.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Same-sex couples to request marriage licenses on Valentine’s Day in Dallas

Valentines

On Valentine’s Day 2012, County Clerk John Warren, right, explained to Daniel Cates, left, and same-sex couples trying to get married that he could not issue marriage licenses to them. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Mark “Major” Jiminez is planning a Valentine’s Day marriage counter protest in Dallas, in coordination with protests across the country organized by Freedom to Marry.

“Nothing better highlights the state-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples than having same-sex couples, often with children and grandchildren in tow, turned away from the counter that serves every other heterosexual couple that approaches – no questions asked,” Freedom to Marry’s Brian Silva wrote in a press release.

Last year, several couples applied for marriage licenses in Dallas on Valentine’s Day and were turned away.

Jiminez, who attended the rally, walked to City Hall with GetEqual’s Daniel Cates after the protest to deliver Valentine’s cards to Mayor Mike Rawlings. The mayor had just refused to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. Jiminez was arrested on July 5 when he applied for his own marriage license and refused to leave the building.

The County Records Building is at 509 Main St. and protesters will gather outside on the plaza before noon.

Also, on March 25, Cates is organizing a rally in coordination with the National Call for Equality — called “Dallas says, ‘We do,’” — in advance of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases on March 26 and 27.

“Please bring signs in support of equal rights, Pride flags, candles and plenty of friends,” Cates writes on the Facebook event page.

People will meet at the Legacy of Love Monument on the corner of Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road.

—  David Taffet