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After being married for over fifteen years (in New York City) and being single for nearly two decades (in Los Angeles), I never thought I would find love again. I moved to Venice Beach in 1999 to reinvent myself and instead became a serial dater. That’s a whole other article…actually a book. But I digress. I met Richard soon after I arrived in LA, via a much older man that I was dating at the time. He was warm and charming. I remember thinking, “What’s this guy’s story.” We would cross each other’s paths several times throughout the years, and he would show up at my gigs (I am the lead singer of several bands). I had always liked him…this laid back LA dude. He was always so kind, but he never asked me out. I just assumed I was not his type.

Turns out Richard was shy, and my manic NYC energy was preventing the connection from culminating. Instead, I decide to stop dating all together and threw myself into my business. I had started an online event listing website (LAArtParty.com) in 2010 and decided “To hell with men. I’m going on a man fast.” And I did…I actually almost completely lost myself in my writing as the months ticked away. I was always out covering events as a writer (not only for my website, but for many local papers), and men would regularly talk to me, but I was so focused on my job that I just didn’t pay them any mind. One day I thought, “I am going to die over my computer. I better get out there and start dating again.” That was when he called, literally the next day – My Richard. There must have been a shift in my consciousness, and apparently he had worked through some of his own life issues, done some hypnosis and was ready to take a chance and go on some dates. He started by asking me out and says he did so with no expectation of success. He was sure I had a man. Basically we both landed on our feet, in front of each other, at the perfect time – it was meant to be. I was home.

Kathy Leonardo, Richard Bilow, Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Three years later we were married. The great thing about being with someone so different than yourself is the opportunity it presents to embrace the differences…remember, he’s a Cali boy, and I’m East Coast. He has slowed me down to a nice simmer, and I have sped him up more than a tad. We have shared a couple bumpy and challenging years with several life challenges. We each lost a parent. There were hospitalizations, landlord battles, moving, home refinancing, and more. But, our ability to work as a team has prevailed. Our differences as individuals have become our strength as a couple. With many challenges overcome, and some deeply meaningful successes along the way, we both agreed that a honeymoon was an important way to take a breath and start our life together… so we decided to have a no-frills wedding, get married at city hall, and spend our money on a great honeymoon. FYI this article is the first, of a three-part series. See the next article…Honeymoon on the Garden Island, Finding Love # 2

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