How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport?
Deanne: I have a 12 year old boy, 9 year old girl, 4 and 2 year old boys (soon to be 3; I can’t believe It!) I actually live in Ridgefield, but am in Westport all the time given our dermatology practice and skin care line. Also, my brother and sister in law are Westport residents.
Ronnie: I have three boys – Lucas who is 8, Tyler who is almost 7, Cameron who is 5 – and my daughter Isla. We’ve lived in Westport since 2008; I was starting my Dermatology residency at Yale and my husband Gentry’s job is in Greenwich, so the location was perfect. I grew up in Old Greenwich, but always loved Westport and was so excited when the stars aligned for our family to plant our roots here.
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
Deanne: I have always found 3 years old to be tough. Everyone always talks about the terrible twos, but I find three to be very challenging. What has helped me the most is support from friends and family and talking with other parents and realizing I’m not alone with the challenges.
Ronnie: All ages have been difficult! With each stage I feel like one thing gets easier and two get harder, ha! My youngest just turned two in July and her terrible twos started extra early. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that she’s our first girl so everything is different or if it’s the fact that she has absolutely no schedule because she gets dragged all over the place based on her big brothers’ schedules, but she has quite the temper these days! Otherwise, I’ve always found three a hard age – it’s at the intersection of “baby” and “big kid.”
What is your favorite family activity to do in Westport or the surrounding towns?
Deanne: We love Sherwood Island beach. The kids love walking from island to island, exploring, crabbing and tubing. We always have a great day on the beach.
Ronnie: Compo, of course. There’s nothing better than dinner at the beach, barbequing by the cannons or just grabbing food at Joey’s. These days though, we seem to live at the soccer fields, which is super fun and special as well. However, I must admit, I’m not disappointed when it occasionally rains on the weekend and we get the rare lazy family day at home because all the games are cancelled…don’t tell my sons!
What was your most memorable family vacation and why?
Deanne: Recently, we took all the kids to La Jolla in California and had the most amazing time. It was the first trip we had gone on in many years without an infant or me being pregnant. We relaxed, spent time with family and had surfing lessons with cousins. Legoland was pretty fun, too. The kids had a blast.
Ronnie: My entire extended family has time shares in Antigua over the holiday break that were originally my grandparents (up until 2 years ago my 90 year old grandparents were still making the trip!) and have grown over the years as everyone has more and more kids. I can count on one hand the number of times we haven’t made it down to the island over the holidays. On any given trip we have up to thirty people between the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The limited technology and internet makes this trip a great time to reconnect and take a break from the grind.
What is the best white lie you have told your kids?
Deanne: That their father and I met at a library. We actually met at a bar when I was in college and my husband was playing in the NLL (National Lacrosse League).
Ronnie: We actually pulled off the Disney lie this year. The kids thought we were going to VT skiing and we were all the way through security at the airport before the kids put it together. We had a bet going on as to how long it would take them to realize we were not going to VT (I thought they’d figure it out on the plane), but Tyler got very upset when he couldn’t find the gate for our VT flight and was looking for security to ask where the right gate was, so we finally had to tell them! My oldest, Lucas, who is normally the least emotional actually started crying out of excitement.
What is your proudest mommy moment?
Deanne: I’ve been a mom for over 12 years now and had my oldest while in medical school. Needless to say over the past 12 years, my kids have been a huge support and present in all my accomplishments from graduating medical school, residency, fellowship, starting my own practice, or conducting research.
Ronnie: I have yet to lose a kid! I was convinced I would leave someone somewhere this past spring with their insane schedules, but it has yet to happen!
What’s your favorite app right now- for you- and for your kids?
Deanne: Probably YouTube Kids, especially at a restaurant because it actually gives my husband and I a few seconds to eat our dinner!
Ronnie: Cozi- totally crucial for busy families; the shared schedule is perfect for my husband, au pair, and me to all stay on the same page.
What’s your can’t live without beauty product?
Deanne: I’d have to say the antioxidant serum that we are about to launch (Pure BioDerm). It is an antioxidant powerhouse and I love the way it makes my skin look and feel. I don’t leave home without that and my SPF.
Ronnie: Sunscreen! I love a good tinted sunscreen that I can use as my foundation- I really try not to use too much makeup on the weekends to give my skin a break, and am always a fan of multitasking products that save time. Right now, I really like the Elta MD UV clear SPF 46 tinted or IT Cosmetics Your Skin or Better SPF 50+ CC cream. And of course, I use my PURE BioDerm B5 hyaluronic acid serum, retinol, and topical antioxidants daily!
What’s your favorite restaurant for a family dinner? A night out with friends?
Deanne: We are Bar Taco fans. Our kids love good chips and dip and tacos and we love the relaxed atmosphere. Our favorite restaurant for a night out with friends is Inn at Pound Ridge or Terra Sole in Ridgefield.
Ronnie: Family dinner- Match Burger Lobster, Sakura or Bar Taco. Friends- Whelk for happy hour so I can still be in bed super early!
What are you most excited about in life right now?
Deanne: Being in control of my professional life. I am so excited to be co-owner and founder of our dermatology practice, Modern Dermatology, with Ronnie Klein. We are both dedicated to be providing exceptional patient care in a welcoming and relaxing environment. I can’t wait to love going to work everyday!
Ronnie: My friend and colleague, Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson and I are opening a new Dermatology practice here in Westport! We are so excited to open Modern Dermatology this summer and provide medical, surgical, pediatric and cosmetic services to Fairfield County. This is a dream come true and we can’t wait to share it with all of our patients.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Deanne: My first job was as an oil change technician. I’m a jack of all trades.
Ronnie: I’m very much a homebody. I love to hang at home with our family and friends whenever possible.
If you weren’t doing what you are today, what do you think your career path might have been?
Deanne: I was a dancer growing up and have always loved music, dance, and movement. If I didn’t go into medicine, I would have tried out to be a Rockette
Ronnie: Tour guide. I love traveling and exploring.
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted – what would you do?
Ronnie: I’d take the kids to South Africa and show them the flats and hospitals and then go down to Cape Point to see the penguins. I’ve spent a lot of time in Africa during medical school and residency working and volunteering in hospitals, as well as traveling, and I can’t wait for my kids to get a little older so we can go back for a few weeks and expand their perspective and view of the world.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Ronnie: Honesty. I’m often told I’m too blunt!
What do you most value in your friends?
Deanne: Honesty. I find that to be the single most important attribute in friends.
Ronnie: Honesty, reliability, and integrity. No drama and no nonsense.
What is your greatest regret?
Deanne: I wish I would have kept my maiden name. Mraz is a pretty cool last name. I was always bothered that no one was able to pronounce it correctly but now with Jason Mraz being a famous singer, that isn’t as an issue!
Ronnie: Not having more time in the day and spending too much time on my phone/computer. I have to remind myself to enjoy the moments with the kids and not rush them to bed so that I can tackle my endless to-do list. Nothing is more important than quality uninterrupted and focused time with the kids (and occasionally my husband)!
How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing?
Deanne: My good friend and fellow dermatologist, Ronnie Klein, and I always knew we would open a practice together. We have very similar goals, passions, and the desire to provide high quality care to our patients. It seemed like there was no better time than now to take the plunge and bring our dream to life. This year has definitely been a challenging one, but equally exciting with the launch of both a skincare line and new practice.
Ronnie: After staying on faculty at Yale for three years after residency, and then joining a local private practice, I am now ready to be my own boss and make my own rules. I am so excited to give my patients the quality of care they deserve in a beautiful medical setting. And I’m so happy to be doing this all with my good friend, and highly respected colleague, Dr. Robinson.
Launching our skin care line, PURE BioDerm, has also been a dream for years. After researching products for our patients and recommending them on a daily basis, it became clear that there is a need for a clean line that actually delivers results. Our first product has been wildly successful already and we are in the process of rolling out several more products this summer and fall.