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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 entrepreneur, writer, author, speaker, podcast host and women’s advocate Meredith Fineman as she gives us her best tips for beating the heat, plus we’ll be giving away a copy of her new book, Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion, over on our Instagram this afternoon!

Here’s to margaritas, chocolate hummus, Jon Marc masks and, of course, bragging better:

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

I’m more of a fall or Spring girl because of my outfit options, but I do love splashing in pools in the summer and hopefully getting away. This summer – feels especially swampy. I’ve been consumed promoting Brag Better, so that has felt like a solid pastime when I can’t do the normal fun things. An added bonus is that I don’t feel bad for being inside and watching all six seasons of Dawson’s Creek for the first time. I’m a hero! 

What is your summer shaping up to look like?

It’s been all Brag Better, and I’m going to explore two local destinations – some wine country in VA, and the beach in Delaware. I’d love to go to France but they won’t let me in. Also, as I said, it has mostly been watching Dawson’s Creek while eating a 1.5-pound bag of Haribo mix.

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

As I said I’m getting away to two local-ish destinations, and I’m moving to a bigger apartment, so now I can obsess over that.

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

Work out. I’m sorry, I know. But it’s one of the only things that makes me feel better. Plus takeout from local restaurants. I’m also doing a lot of regressive crafty activities like making bracelets and tie-dyeing everything in eyesight.

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

Treat yourself to chocolate hummus. I know. I KNOW. But it’s delicious. It’s just having a PR issue. I’ve absolutely loved walking Howard University campus, it’s lovely and has been my secret since quarantine started. I have been donating to the school for all the time I’ve spent walking the quads.

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

I have a Brag Better mask from Jon Marc, which is a local DC Black-owned fashion business. I collect vintage tee shirts, so I am usually in one of those, plus some fun hoop earrings, jeans if I can stand them, and those waterproof Birkenstocks.

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

I’ll obviously plug my new book Brag Better, but this summer I’ve loved How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones, Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby, Buy Yourself the Fucking Lillies by Tara Schuster, How to Do Nothing by Emily Odell, and as always, revisiting all my Nora Ephron books.

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 don’t really cook, but my one move is Rice Krispie treats. They’re pretty hard to mess up. Then I decorate them with varying sprinkles or chocolate chips or icing. They’re always a nostalgia hit.

What about a great summer cocktail or mocktail recipe?

I only drink tequila and mezcal, so my go-to margarita is 1 part tequila or mezcal, 1 part triple sec (the cheaper Triple Sec is better than Cointreau somehow?), 2-ish parts lime juice, 2-ish parts water (or more water if you want), and a squirt of agave.

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

The new Chicks Album, the new Dua Lipa album, constant Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, Christine and the Queens Essentials always, and I am unironically loving the Eurovision movie soundtrack.

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

France. Anywhere. 

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?

I’ve been walking constantly around Shaw, Petworth, and Bloomingdale, plus walking in and around Rock Creek Park. I’m from inside of Washington, and yet I never walk or hike through Rock Creek. What was I thinking??


Order a copy of Brag Better here.