Name | Hometown | Currently Reside In?
Merl Kinzie | small town from Southwestern Wisconsin | current Chicago resident
Is your work influenced by season or changing weather?
As I’m a jewelry designer, I don’t believe in seasonal jewelry, instead focusing on timeless designs that can be worn year after year without a need to transition with the changing seasons. Heirlooms if you will.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten in the mail?
My mom is actually pretty legendary when it comes to her care packages and the combination of sweet thoughtful gifts alongside truly head scratching weird ones inside each box never failed to bring a smile to my face with an accompanying “what the heck??” chuckle when I was in college.
What is your favorite holiday tradition (new or old)?
I think one thing that my family makes a point to focus on, is being consciously grateful that we can be together and catch up while making new memories. It’s less of a tradition per se, and more concentrating on being wholly present and thankful for these cherished folks and good fortune surrounding us.
How do you find comfort?
I find when I’m stressed or anxious about work or life that a combination of re-arranging/decorating our apartment does wonders. I’m about 2 years overdue for a massage, but I always make time to switch a room around. It gives me a sense of control and breath of fresh air in a sense, which allows me to refocus and tackle whatever is giving me grief. I’m also a notorious plant retail therapy fiend. Not only does getting your hands literally dirty repotting them do wonders for anxiety levels, there’s something about reconnecting with nature that really puts life in perspective for me. Plus, living in a jungle helps me get through our brutal Chicago winters!
Do you have a favorite fall/winter/holiday memory?
When we were little, my parents used to close the creeky, antique pocket doors into our living room behind which would be perched all my sisters and my stuffed animals dressed in the Christmas presents for us that year. It’s such a wonderfully weird and unique memory I truly cherish from my childhood.
What is your go-to holiday dish?
Veggie chili in a crock pot! Not only does it take under 10 minutes to get started, but you can stir it once, then leave for 6 hours and return to a home filled with sumptuous aromas and ready to eat meal. There’s a multitude of recipes online depending on whether you like spicier or sweeter, but I STRONGLY suggest adding avocado + fresh basil to the bowls you dish up. The avo adds such a buttery creaminess and the basil not only looks beautiful but brightens up the dish as well. Oh and tortilla chips! And maybe cornbread, but again, I’m all about the less work and cooking effort the better.