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SUMMER RULES is a series where we ask people to share with us how they’re staying safe and sane during this very different summer season; from mask suggestions to soundtrack selections, we’ll take a peek into how others are making these challenging times work.

Today we’re joined by Kelly DiNardo, owner of Past Tense yoga studio; in addition to yoga, she’s been going on urban hikes with her five-year-old to check out murals around town, reading, enjoying the odd Tom Collins and more:

How do you usually feel about summer, as a season overall, and how do you feel about THIS summer, by comparison? 

I realize this is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t typically like summer. July and August in DC feels like the inside of a dog’s mouth. But this summer, we moved camp quarantine to Michigan and spent several weeks with my in-laws. It was a throwback to how summers used to be and as close to being Mrs. Maisel in the Catskills as I’ll ever come. 

What are some of your tips for staying safe and sane right now? 

To stay safe, we follow the WWAFD rule – what would Anthony Fauci do? To stay sane, there’s yoga and outdoor social distanced dates with friends. 

Go-to summer wellness practice advice? Any spots in particular that have been helping you on that front? 

Like everyone else, my usual routine was completely upended when COVID hit. I joined a 40 Days of Yoga Practice group in June that helped me get back into a regular routine. And, since then, I’ve been making wellness dates with friends. We’ll go for walks or practice yoga together virtually. That’s one upside of virtual yoga, I can practice with friends who live in other cities. I’m also really looking forward to outdoor yoga, which Past Tense will be offering in September as the heat starts to settle down.

Where did you get your mask from? And what, aside from that, has been your more or less go-to summer uniform? 

I have several masks. My favorites are the Wonder Woman one my mother-in-law made and two by local textile artist Tulusa. One is a block-print lotus flower and the other is a shimmering gold cheetah print on turquoise cotton. Other than that, my summer uniform is bold print tops and cropped pants or maxi dresses. 

What (if anything) are you reading right now, and why do you recommend it? (Alternatively, just share a favorite book.) 

I’m also a writer and author and the studio’s name, Past Tense, is a nod to that part of my life. So, I adore reading and always have several books piled up next to the bed. Right now, there’s Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, an Elin Hilderbrand book and A People’s History of the United States

Do you have a go-to summer hang-out recipe that still works for a socially distanced gathering? And/or just a favorite general summer recipe that’s still a go-to, even now?

I love to cook and have a few summer go-tos: a green grape and cucumber gazpacho, a lentil salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled carrots and feta cheese, baked zucchini fries that are actually better the next day if you warm them up on the grill. But probably the best thing about summer is that you can sprinkle a little salt on top of a proper tomato and call it lunch. 

What about a great summer cocktail or mocktail recipe? 

I love a Tom Collins in my vintage pink and gold highball glass from Salt & Sundry

What’s on your summer playlist this year, or are there three songs that are permanent summer favorites for you? 

I have been playing Barack and Michelle Obama’s favorite summer songs on Spotify. And, yes I realize that is a very Washington answer. 

Where do you wish you COULD GO this summer, if there were no restrictions or safety risks? 

Oh! I want to go everywhere. I miss traveling so much. If I could, I would visit my mom and dad, who I haven’t seen since February. And, then I would go to Switzerland. I miss the mountains. 

And is there anywhere you’ve been safely going that you could recommend for people who live nearby? Any day trips or local spots worth mentioning, for example?

My five-year-old and I go on urban hikes to look at the murals around town. At the start of COVID, I commissioned an incredibly talented artist Chelsea Ritter-Sorenen to do two murals on our building. We’d take almost daily walks to the studio to see how it was going. We’d take a different way to the studio each time – cutting through alleys or zigzagging up different streets. There is incredible street art hidden throughout Mt. Pleasant and it was so fun to find. Then when the protests started, I took him to see the murals on the boarded up windows of 14th Street. It was an easier way into some of the conversations I wanted to have about what was going on. Now, we are both more attuned to the street art in our city and have been plotting out some urban hikes to explore it all. 

Featured photo via Stacey Vaeth Photography

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