Alanna Chiefari

Alanna Chiefari is a 2007 graduate of Saint Mary's college-Notre Dame. She has been writing for Fra Noi since the winter of 2011 and is absolutely thrilled to feature young Italian-American adults who are off to a great start. Alanna has been working as a client associate on a wealth management team for Merrill Lynch since May of 2007. In her spare time, she loves exploring Italian culture by reading books, trying new restaurants and meeting Italian Americans who are benefiting the community. Follow her on Twitter at @LannaDionne.

An afternoon with “The Sister Project”

During the holiday season, I met at one of my favorite Chicago landmarks, the Palmer House, with the three women who founded the lifestyle blog “The Sister Project.” When Nicole, Michelle, and Lauren Massarella walked in, I immediately knew we would become fast friends. Although I knew quite a bit about them already from reading their blog, it was another experience entirely to watch them interact with each other. Each in their own way is unique and beautiful, and together the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. We settled in for a fun few hours surrounded …

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Event and wedding planner Michelle Durpetti

    Entrepreneurial roots run deep within event planner Michelle Durpetti. The daughter of Tony and Marion Durpetti, owners of Chicago’s legendary Gene & Georgetti restaurant, and granddaughter of the restaurant’s late cofounder Gene Michelotti, she boasts an impressive hospitality industry pedigree. Never one to rest on her family’s laurels, she co-founded McGowan Durpetti & Associates, later flying solo with Michelle Durpetti Events, a full-service wedding and event production company. Since the inception of Michelle Durpetti Events in 2008, she has planned and produced over 300 weddings and special events, including such celebrity-studded festivities as Chicago Gateway Green’s annual Green …

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Theater scion Drew DeSantis

From a young age, Drew DeSantis, (grandson of the late Anthony DeSantis, founder of Drury Lane dinner theatre) recalls helping his grandfather update the Rolodex, clean banquet chairs and peel carrots in the theater kitchen. It was good, honest work that prepared him to follow the family dream, and prepare it for a robust future. Having recently graduating from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business with a masters degree, DeSantis serves as the CFO of Drury Lane, where he’s helped produce more than 41 productions. It’s still a family affair; his brother Kyle is Drury Lane’s CEO. And …

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Operatic financial advisor Frank De Vincentis

By day, Frank De Vincentis works as a financial advisor. But De Vincentis also has a hobby — and a passion — he hopes to share with others through charity: opera singing. De Vincentis credits his High School best friend for his love for opera and introducing him to the Golden Age of singing. De Vincentis recalls performing from a young age in musical theatre and was later introduced to his best friend’s father and vocal coach: Carl Lawrenz. “I owe a lot of my love of classical musical to Carl.” states De Vincentis, who graduated from DePaul University in …

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Rising vocal star Gianna Capra

Melrose Park is a town with deep Italian roots, and Gianna Capra draws from those roots daily as she reaches for the stars. A lifetime resident of the near western suburb, Capra plays an integral part in the business, spiritual and cultural life of her community. By day, she is a familiar face at Pan American Bank, where she serves as teller. And each Sunday, she is a beloved voice at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, where she performs as a soloist at Mass. A classically trained soprano, Capra has been singing at church since she was 12 years …

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Ridgewood graduate Cettina Nardulli

Persistence and focus are the keys that open up the doors to success. Eighteen-year-old Cettina Nardulli has unlocked those doors, and a bright future lies ahead of her. Nardulli graduated with honors from Ridgewood High School in Norridge on May 27, having blossomed into a capable young lady. During her high school career, Nardulli managed to juggle participation on the pompom squad and soccer team with a leadership role as class council president and still earned a GPA of more than 4.5 along with an honorable mention on the 2013-2014 Illinois High School Association’s All-State Academic Team. “My parents are …

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Karate Kids: Christina and Angelina Romano

Christina and Angelina Romano have mastered the art of karate at very young ages. At 12, Christina has earned one third-place trophy, two first-place medals, four second-place medals and four third-place medals. And at 9, Angelina has earned three first-place trophies (including one in national competition), five first-place medals, three second-place medals, two third-place medals and two fourth-place medals. For the past four years, Christina and Angelina have made their way regularly to the Illinois Shotokan Karate Club ( in Geneva, Ill., to practice. They have learned from some of the best, including Sensei Brian Mertell, who serves on the …

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Traveling hair stylist Livia Caporale

Walking down the aisle in a beautiful white dress, graced with impressively coifed hair, is the picture-perfect dream for any bride. Traveling hair stylist Livia Caporale feels happy — and lucky — to be a part of that special day. A graduate of world renowned Pivot Point Academy, Caporale has had a love and passion for hair styling since her days at Trinity High School in River Forest. A typical schedule for Caporale consists of meetings and consultations during the week with her clients. She also dabbles in commercial photography, and offers lessons in hair care and maintenance. When …

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Musician Vince Chiarelli

Not a day goes by that Vince Chiarelli Jr. does not think about his grandfather. Chiarelli — a Rockford, Ill., native and music enthusiast — has recently taken on the role of president of Vincent Records, an independent label his grandfather founded when he moved to Rockford from Sicily in the 1950s. Also named Vince, Chiarelli’s late grandfather rubbed elbows with some of Motown’s finest to up-and-coming artists in the music capital of the world, Nashville, Tenn., and his innovative work all those years ago is helping his grandson realize his own dreams today. The elder Vince Chiarelli passed away …

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Student Chef Domenic Serritella

Domenic (Nico) Serritella has a lot to be proud of. As a junior at Kendall College, the acclaimed school for hospitality management and the culinary arts, he was offered the opportunity of a lifetime and he seized it. As a result, he found himself interning at Trattoria Delle Tele, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Porretta, Italy. Growing up, Serritella vividly remembers watching his culinary inspiration, Mario Batali, on television, and years later he was cooking in the same kitchen that Batali once trained at. Serritella’s father, Domenico, hails from Ricigliano, Salerno, and a family friend and attorney helped Nico make contact …

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