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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 Lisa Perez, Founder of Lark House Club, which just so happens to be home to the incredible comfyMask line! Our own Marissa Rubenstein (as well as loads of our IG followers) can attest that these are “the BEST face masks”, so if you’re in short supply of quality PPE, definitely a solid investment move! Lisa suggests spending time with pets, MasterClass, comedy sets on Spotify and more to maintain a vibe of safety and sanity this summer:

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

I don’t know if it’s because I’m from the Caribbean and my sign is Leo but I LOVE summer! I usually spend part of the season chasing magic somewhere in pursuit of my dream of creating a great fashion brand. In years past, I’ve spent time learning from fashion master Carlota Alfaro at her atelier in Puerto Rico, checking out fashion trade shows in New York, or surveying the scene at Milan and Paris fashion week. This summer, I feel grateful that I’ve been able to bake some of that magic into the products in development at my startup Lark House Club. 

What is your summer shaping up to look like? 

Professionally, it’s looking like the start of something really cool. I’m grateful to have a great team and we’ve managed to create three exciting new garments to serve our clients in the post-corona new normal. We are focusing on ultra-comfortable clothes that feel like you’re wearing pajamas but fit and look like seasonless high-end fashion. I’m also really happy with our line of comfyMasks because they offer great protection without sacrificing comfort and style. Personally, I’m incredibly grateful that my loved ones are healthy and that I get to invent new traditions with my husband and live to see more dreams come to pass.

Is there anything in particular you’re actually looking forward to this summer? 

I’m looking forward to turning 39 this month and to finishing the prototype for a separating jumpsuit I’ve been working on called the Lark Suit. I really hope it proves to be as awesome in reality as it is in my head. 

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

Spend time with your pets because they know how to stay in the present moment, indulge your sense of beauty and curiosity, invest in a high quality mask that brightens your spirits (PPE is so much easier to wear if you actually like what you have), get takeout from local restaurants, contribute to something that is important to you and remember that if you’re alive then so are your dreams and they’re worth pursuing. To that end, I recommend the app MasterClass, a platform where experts in a range of disciplines teach the fundamentals of their work.

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

I’ve been taking regular epsom salt baths while listening to Amy Schumer and Bridget Everett on Spotify (they help me LOL when I’m taking things too seriously). I also started doing “designated porch time” where I sit outside and enjoy the plants or meditate during times of day when I tend to feel most overwhelmed. My husband is hilarious and he always cracks me up. In terms of particular spots, I visit Takoma Park to see my spiritual coach, Beatrice Pouligny, and I love going to Takoma Beverage Company (they make a great turmeric latte) and buying gifts in the shops nearby.

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

I’ve been fortunate to be able to test out the comfyMasks from our collection myself. I’ve been wearing the Gotham, the Rock On, the Ultralite Reversible and the Fancy a lot. I’m also excited to wear the Alice and the Lark Arielle collection next. We have different styles available at www.lark-house.com. I’m really excited about our Angkor Mask, which we’ll be launching to benefit a great nonprofit called the Orphan, Elderly and Disabled Organization of Cambodia (OEDDO). The OEDDO is run by an extraordinary social worker from Oregon named Betsy Guinn, and I’m so grateful that our designs can be used to support her work. Aside from our masks, my summer uniform has consisted of our petal skirt prototypes paired with bodysuits, DvF wrap dresses, leggings from Spanx, murakami tees from Uniqlo and a vintage kimono paired with Rodarte x Cole Haan handbags in several colors. I’m pretty psyched to add our Lark Suit to the mix once it’s done.

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

I’m re-reading a book by Robin Givhan of the Washington Post called The Battle of Versailles, and I recommend it wholeheartedly because it shows that you can prosper with passion and authenticity even in the face of difficult odds and despite being underestimated. I’ve also been comforted a lot recently by reading Maya Angelou’s poetry and autobiographies.

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? 

A few years ago my dad got into making a green salad with summer peaches, basil and fresh mozzarella and I stole the recipe because it was so delicious. This year, I made a variation with fresh roast corn and burrata for an outdoor dinner. We managed the distance by using separate serving dishes and implements for each couple.  My other “go-to” move in the summer is to make Rosa Mexicano’s classic guacamole recipe, which you can apportion separately.

What about a great summer cocktail or mocktail recipe? 

In addition to margaritas and mojitos, I love making a vintage cocktail called the Lutter III Horse’s Neck by Colin Field. It is made on the rocks with an orange peel, 4 parts Henessy VSOP to 6 parts ginger ale and a couple dashes of angostura bitters. 

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

I randomly love Italian pop culture, so I’m listening to “Soldi” and “Barrio” by an Italian singer-songwriter named Mahmood. I also love anything by Spanish artist Rosalía and she has a new song out this year called “TKN” with Travis Scott.

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

I wish I could go back to the atelier in Puerto Rico to work with my mentor Carlota, to Portugal to build out the collection with several companies outside of Porto and to Thailand to visit our friends and clients there. 

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 colleague Yugsha and I recently gave ourselves a bit of a self-directed architectural tour of Georgetown, which I recommend. We also visited the maze installation on the Georgetown waterfront and had an al fresco dinner at Kafe Leopold in Cady’s Alley. The beautiful fountain in their courtyard is lovely, the food is delicious and the service is wonderful.