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Two’s Company: Local Love Stories

'Tis the season for romance! We're ushering in Valentine's Day with three love stories that'll warm your heart despite the February chill.

Shannon Robb & Rico Bundalian

Some love stories begin in the unlikeliest of places. In 2014, Shannon and Rico met at a divorce care group through Hills Church. Both were navigating their newly single lives and not considering a relationship. So, they became friends—working out and traveling together, running into each other at community events, and even playing on the same softball team. “Still, it never crossed either of our minds to date one another,” says Shannon. Until the 2019 Folsom Pro Rodeo, that is. After inviting Rico to help at the event, where Shannon was working, they spent a magical evening dancing in the saloon, laughing, and having fun together. The evening ended with a first kiss under the stars. Rico asked Shannon to marry him in 2020, and they tied the knot in 2021. “Rodeo magic is a real thing!”

Shannon Robb & Rico Bundalian


Favorite date spot: Thursday is our weekly date night. We typically stay in Folsom and rotate between Land Ocean and Scott’s Seafood Roundhouse. 

Secrets to success: Since we both come from failed marriages, we feel strongly that it starts with good communication. In our relationship, we talk about everything—even when it’s a difficult or sensitive topic. During premarital counseling, our pastor recommended we hold business meetings to address business issues such as finances, parenting, and home responsibilities. This keeps the business side of us separate from our dating/fun side. We also love to travel and make quarterly trips a priority. We think it’s important to show our children that relationships take quality time, nurturing, and hard work. 

What's your favorite thing about your partner?

Shannon: Rico is kind, thoughtful, loving, and an amazing listener. He’s always fun, and I still get butterflies when he walks into the room. He’s also an amazing stepdad to my three kids.

Rico: Shannon is always positive and makes me smile. She’s beautiful inside and out.

MaryLisa and Charley Cornell

It may sound “cheesy,” but MaryLisa and Charley first connected because of their mutual passion for great cheese. In 2015, MaryLisa was content with a career she loved (looking after her herd of goats and owning Jollity Farm). “Life was good,” she says. But then it got better! While volunteering with the Gold Country Dairy Goat Association at a show, Charley—a fantastic cheesemaker—sent her a Facebook message. He wanted to donate cheese to the Jollity Farm raffle table. From there, they began chatting and spending time together. A year later, they got engaged while on a cheese trail journey along the coast and eventually married on MaryLisa’s farm surrounded by her beloved goats.

MaryLisa and Charley Cornell


Favorite date spot: Stumpy Meadows Reservoir or Marco’s Café for live music.

Secrets to success: Some days you have to choose the relationship—do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?

What's your favorite thing about your partner? Sense of humor! 

Rose & Steven Gonzales

Rose and Steven’s story is one of triumph. Despite the odds of young love (they met in eighth grade) and teen pregnancy, their relationship has stood the test of time. Nearly three decades later, they cherish the life they’ve built—with four children, a grandbaby, and a thriving business—more than anything. But getting here was no easy task. The loss, near-death experiences, and struggles that face a young family threatened to tear them apart. “We [eventually] realized how much our marriage meant and really worked together to be better as a team,” says Rose.

Rose & Steven Gonzales; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Favorite date spot: Waking up early (before the kids), drinking coffee, and reading in the same room without talking is a special connection we have. Occasionally, we go on lunch dates to Flame & Fire while the kids are at school.

Secrets to success: Work as a team and put pride away; learn to listen; keep the passion alive; and find things in common (ours include going to the gym and personal development).

What's your favorite thing about your partner?

Rose: Steven is my biggest supporter—always pushing me to be better, encouraging me, and reminding me of the possibilities I’m capable of—continues to “make moves” on me, and is a great dad!

Steven: Rose always wants to help other people, strives to be the best person she can be, and lives every day trying to make the world a better place. 

by Nelly Kislyanka

Photo courtesy of Shannon & Rico Bundalian. MaryLisa and Charley Cornell photo by Cheryl Dimont Photography. Photo by Taylor Gillespie ©stylemediagroup.

Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group—please don’t steal our copyrighted photos. For more information about our editorial photos, please click here to contact us