In early 2002, Lorena took a star-fated trip down to Florida for a company-wide meeting with other employees from around the country. One of those fellow Nestle Ice Cream Company employees, hailing from New York City, was Dean Cicciari. They quickly discovered they had more than a work history in common. Both were going through divorces and each had three young children. Lorena reminisces, “Dean emailed me about 6 months later to say hello and see how I was doing. I emailed back and this began a chain of daily emails that after a few months turned into daily phone calls.”
Thus began a love connection for the ages. On New Year’s Eve in 2002, after months of daily emailing, Lorena spontaneously purchased a plane ticket to NYC. Dean picked her up from the airport at 11:15 and whisked her straight down to Times Square, where the annual NYE Ball Drop celebration was quickly approaching. With just minutes to spare, they arrived in time to share their very first kiss. They went into the New Year together and have shared their lives with one another ever since.
After a tough 3 year long-distance relationship, filled with lots of frequent flyer miles, hours on the phone, and shared bi-coastal movie nights, Dean made the journey west to join Lorena here in Danville. They were married on September 16, 2007 and their blended family has only grown up and grown stronger. Their six kids are now grown and off doing amazing things. Marc and his girlfriend, Jillian, got scuba certified last year, along with Dean and Lorena so that they can all go on new family adventures. Juliana is a SRVHS and University of San Diego alumna. Vanessa works at St. Francis Hospital in New York and is currently pursuing a nursing degree. DJ joined the Navy and served for 5 years; he is now attending San Diego State. Jeffrey is still local and serves as a Deputy Sheriff for Alameda County. Brenna is a recent graduate from LIM.
Lorena has worked as an executive assistant for C level execs at several big name employers, and is currently working at Dictionary.com. Dean is an army veteran, at one point stationed in Germany for two years. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records thanks to his former work with Carvel and creating the world’s largest ice cream cake! Now he is semi-retired and helps Lorena run their successful business, Fiamma Candles. Fiamma Candles was born out of a family hobby and a shared entrepreneurial spirit.
“We often make family trips to go wine tasting. Our love of wine is what led us to start our candle business. We started out making candles from repurposed wine bottles. Dean cuts and hand polishes the bottles for our wine candles. Our mission was to reduce the waste of all the empty wine bottles and run an eco-friendly company that uses sustainable products. We have since expanded to order more than just wine candles, but all of our candle containers continue to be reusable. What started out as a hobby quickly became a growing business. We founded Fiamma Candles in Jan 2019 and have many retail accounts throughout the Bay Area, Napa and Livermore Valley. We do not have a storefront location, but our candles can be purchased on our website www.fiammacandle.com or in the East Bay at Ella J Boutique, the Flower Theory and Wish Walnut Creek.”
Although their candle business has blossomed greatly, the last year hasn’t been without its hardships for the Cicciaris. In January of 2020 Lorena was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to her treatment and lumpectomy, she is currently in remission. She says, “I am so grateful for my family, friends who supported me during my recovery.” And then last September, their 19-year-old dachshund/chihuahua mix Daphne passed away. They had previously lost their other dachshund, Peanut, in 2019. But, life is made of peaks and valleys, and just before last Christmas, Lorena and Dean were able to adopt a 1-year-old Shepherd/Bull Terrier mix named Sophie. The family says, “she has brought so much joy to our home. She quickly bonded with our family and loves to go downtown to stroll and meet other 4-legged friends. Her favorite store to visit is Molly’s Pup-Purr-Ee and she loves playing at Hap Magee dog park.”
Prior to the pandemic, Dean and Lorena were avid hikers, traveling to National Parks around the country. “We used to take an annual road trip to hike as many National Parks as we could in a 10-day span. In 2018 we went on a 3,000-mile road trip and hiked 8 National Parks all along Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.” During the pandemic they enjoyed sitting outside on their deck, enjoying socially distanced meals and birthdays. Hopefully now that things are opening up again, they will be able to enjoy more of their many hobbies together!
They have lived in their current home in Garden Creek for 18 years. Lorena’s love of small town Danville and the desire for great schools and proximity to family is what made her decision an easy one. They’ve known many of their neighbors for years now and truly enjoy watching parents and children in their neighborhood walk by each year to see the elaborate Christmas decorations that they spend three days putting up!
The last year allowed Lorena and Dean to feel even more supported when small businesses took a hard hit: “During the pandemic, I really experienced what a truly amazing community we live in. The community really rallied around small businesses and local restaurants to support them.” The Cicciaris would like to thank their neighbors and fellow Danville residents for making our community such a wonderful place to work and live!
Do you know a neighbor who has a story to share? Nominate your neighbor to be featured in one of our upcoming issues! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Alexandra Sullivan, Resident since 2017