My very favorite Valentine

My husband’s distaste for Valentine’s Day is long and well documented, but it doesn’t mean he’s a complete curmudgeon when it comes to love.  In fact, my husband is the most romantic guy I know, even though he spends vast amounts of energy protesting otherwise.

my valentine

This was our engagement photo.  I wanted to buck tradition and go with something a little more casual than the traditional super formal fare of the day.

We’re not really formal people, it isn’t in our blood.  And I liked this random shot Babcia took of us on a road trip so much we sent it out in our wedding announcements.  There’s something about the look on our faces that captures so perfectly how Viktor and I feel about each other: 

like a cat that got the cream.


I was a child bride {no you may not ask how old I was when we married; see also: child bride} and Viktor wasn’t much older, but the thought of us going one more minute without being together permanently made us jump the gun and get married a decade before either of us thought was a great idea.  I wanted to get a PhD and join the Peace Corps.  Viktor wanted to join the Coast Guard.  But we took a huge leap of faith, making an unspoken vow that we’d finish college and follow our dreams together.


It totally paid off; it was a long, hard road getting to where we are now with college degrees, two children, two careers, a mortgage, and a horse {don’t forget the horse}, but I wouldn’t take any of it back for a second.  Truly, even the bad stuff.  The only thing that remains the same about this adventure we started a decade and a half ago is our mutual love and admiration for each other.

valentines day

No, no that’s not right.  That sounds like something out of Pride & Prejudice, which is my favorite movie of all time for its understatement and restrained emotion, but what Viktor and I share is more like:

Kaboom! Fireworks! Crazy love!  I-can’t-live-without-you-you’re-my-one-and-only.

my favorite valentine

I wasn’t sure this type of romance really existed, but there’s nothing I’ve ever been more sure of than us.  Me and him. 


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Hello there! I’m Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I’m super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we’re a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Celeste :

    Soooo… did/where did you two meet?

    • Allison :

      That’s a different story for a different day, but I’ll share it eventually.

  2. the emily :

    First, your daughter looks EXACTLY like you. Second, this made me tear up a little. Lovely.

    • Allison :

      She totally does! She swears we’re not related, but she’s kind of a mini-me.

  3. Kelleyn :

    Happy Valentines Day! Your wedding dress looks so similar to mine. Your sleves look a little different and I don’t know about your dress from the back, but mine had three rosettes on the back.

    • Allison :

      Kellyn, I don’t remember the back at all. It’s entirely possible there were rosettes? I had a bow in the front for heaven’s sake. The 90’s, oh the 90’s.

  4. Jennifer :

    I happen to love your engagement photo :) Being untraditional keeps things from becoming boring…Hope you had a fantastic Valentine’s Day!

    • Allison :

      It’s kind of how we roll, but I wish we’d had the cool options out there today. It’s alright, it was the 90’s! And thank you.

  5. Rainey :

    I loved your “pics through the years”. I always thought that getting older would be really hard for me. And sometimes, it still kind of is. However, having someone that you truly love and truly gets you, makes all the difference. Best friends is always the way to go. With some serious physical attraction on the side. :)

    • Allison :

      You know, I don’t think I thought much about getting old, just finding the right person to get old with. But now I’m not a fan of the aging nonsense!

      Good spouses are golden, aren’t they? Golden.

  6. Wendy :

    Cannot ever get enough of the two of you. You’re my favorite love story.

    • Allison :

      What a lovely thing to say. I love you.

  7. Sarah :

    Isn’t it the best! Great valentines day post!!

    • Allison :

      We’re lucky Sarah, thank you!

  8. kristen howerton :

    Love these! You guys look soooo young. C’mon, how old were you? I promise, your secret is safe with me. Because I bet we were the same age. Child bride fistbump! (Now how do we keep our daughters from marrying so young?)

    • Allison :

      We were tiny little children. I’ll tell you privately, it’s kind of embarrassing. But seriously, my daughter talks about what a great age that was to get married! I’m going to spend the next 10 years begging her to get her PhD first!

  9. Kerry :

    Oh my goodness- so you have **always** been crazy gorgeous. I love that engagement photo! Such a lovely post. Beautiful couple.

    • Allison :

      Oh Kerry, you are the nicest ever. You win the nice award. Thank you! Seriously, I don’t even remember where we were exactly when the photo was taken but it’s one of my favorites.

      Thank you!

  10. Cindy Fisher :

    Blah! I loved this so much I’m crying! I think you should give a class on how to be loving. I actually am more the Pride and Prejudice kind-of person, or Emma Thompson’s character in Sense and Sensibility, and I think husband’s like it more when you act gaga, flipso crazy for him. So I need a major reteaching of my brain. What do you mean you didn’t pick up on my subtle showing of love by washing the dishes? I aspire to what you have.

    • Allison :

      Aww Cind, I didn’t mean to make you cry! You’re the most loving person ever, you always have been. And honestly, I hate doing dishes so my husband does them most of the time. Perhaps if I did them more it would spice things up a little? I could take notes from you!

  11. Lisa N. :

    Agreed – your daughter looks JUST LIKE YOU! Love the pics thru the years. Fellow childbride here. Met the love of my life at 17 and married him at 18. 24 years we are still crazy for each other!

    • Lisa N. :

      that should say 24 years LATER :)

      • Allison :

        I love it, that makes me totally happy that you’ve been together for 24 years! You’ve gotta grab the love of your life even if you’re young {don’t tell my daughter I said that!!}

  12. Carol :

    You both are truly blessed! To find the one true love in life is a rarity!

    • Carol :

      I should add to that, that I have been married 40 years to possibly the only man who could ever fill my dreams and we share so many likes together! We have traveled around the US in a panel truck for a year, lost ourselves in countless antique stores (before malls) and malls, flea mkts, raised 2 boys and now enjoy our 2 grandchildren 3 afternoons a week and sporadically when needed! We moved near our son and daughter-in-love, we are in our own little cove, with their house in the front, so the grands just walk up with mom or dad when they want or need to! We are truly blessed as well!
      Enjoy the ride! The best is yet to come!

      • Allison :

        Carol, congratulations on 40 years, that’s amazing. I aspire to your story, and hope I feel the same way about my grandchildren as I do my own kids.

  13. Erica :

    You guys really are adorable together. I love that your family came en masse to evo last summer and pitched in to help! I also like this walk down your “hair color/style” memory lane :)

    • Allison :

      Erica, you’re kind, thank you. We really do just love to hang out, all of us. Can’t wait to come to Evo and do it again next year! Aren’t the hair photos ridiculous? This isn’t even the half of it.


  14. Jenn :

    What a perfectly wonderful love story – I wish you many more happy years together.

    • Allison :

      Jenn thank you! Thank you very much.

  15. Natasha :

    How fun! I love your wedding dress. Where did you and Viktor meet?

    • Allison :

      Thank you! We met in college; someday I’ll share the story.

    • Allison :

      Were you? I had no idea!

  16. vanessa :

    I ADORED looking at these photos :) Such fun to see.

    -A Child Bride of 19 ;)

    • Allison :

      Oh Vanessa! We’re all babies. But you probably haven’t regretted it for a minute, have you?

  17. Kalli :

    You two…

    Don’t tell Viktor but he looks hoooooottttttt. Polish stallion indeed.

    And you, I adore you. Love your relationship, thanks for the example.

    • Allison :

      Oh he’s a smoking hot piece of Polish stallion, that one. Mmmm.

  18. Marie :

    You guys are babies in that photo!!! I love the flowers on your shirt. I totally have floral print pictures like that one. Love it!

    • Allison :

      Oh my gosh Marie, it was a dress! Which is worse? Oh the 90’s were super special. At least it’s not a vest. I think.