12/22/2014 08:14 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Holiday Survival: Life Recipes for Office Parties, Winter Shoes, and Seasonal Drinks

Seasonal Recipe Medley

Recipe for Winterproofing Leather Shoes


You're still into the ankle boots you bought in October, it's not that. It's just that now that it's cold and the streets are paved with gross you're starting to wonder if these shoes really have what it takes to go the distance. Never have you known such feelings of conflict! Your boots would so complement your holiday knit wear, but you just don't know if they're strong enough to face up to the winter sludge. You just. don't. know.

Get up off that fainting couch. You're about to become the Banksy of winter footwear.

Recipe Yield: Winterproof Leather Shoes

Leather Shoes
Moist Cloth/ Sponge
1 Section of Newspaper
1 can Sno-Seal
White Vinegar

Recipe Procedure:

  • Use Moist Cloth/Sponge to thoroughly clean off Leather Shoes until surface is smooth.
  • Bring newly shiny shoes into Garage/Alley or similarly out-of-the-way area.
  • Ball up Newspaper -- except for one sheet -- and stuff shoes so that interior is covered.
  • Shake can of Sno-Seal. Take aim at Leather Shoes.
  • Fire.
  • Place coated Leather Shoes on remaining sheet of newspaper.
  • Set Timer for 24 hours and wait.
  • To serve, remove Newspaper and wear Leather Shoes into the frigid unknown.

Sub Recipe: Stain Removal

To combat salt stains from shoe interaction with road, mix a little White Vinegar and Water in a Cup, dab a Soft Cloth in the tincture, and voila: a kitchen-made Tide pen.

Recipe for Office Holiday Party Damage Control


The office holiday party went better than you thought; a lot better. Come to think of it, you have no idea why you're getting so many smiles on the way to the coffee machine. Until an angel-coworker-friend puts you on alert that part of the cheery blur of last night was actually you doing an impression of your boss for 20 people/hitting on your hot coworker (no, there was no mistaking it)/reliving some of the more glorious cut-aways from Bridget Jones' Diary.

And you thought the stale eggnog aftertaste was the worst of your trouble. Now all you want for Christmas is the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs to make a return trip.

Breathe. It's definitely awful, but you're going to get through it. Here's how:

Recipe for Office Holiday Party Damage Control

Recipe Yield: Reduced trauma/distant hope of maybe eventually making eye contact with your coworkers again.

Recipe Ingredients:
Vault of Silence
Basic Knowledge of How Time Works

Recipe Procedure:

If you got caught doing an impression of your boss:

  • Put it in the Vault of Silence and never breathe a word about it EVER again. And DON'T DO IT AGAIN.
  • If people bring it up, add Humility: shake your head, smile, and say something to the effect of "Wow, what a douche I am on the nog." You don't know if your boss has heard about this, but if it's getting back to her/him, it would also be helpful for them to hear how utterly humiliated you are.
  • In rare cases, your boss may confront you. If this happens and you don't immediately shit your pants, add Apologetic-ness and Groveling. You are so, so sorry, you honestly don't remember, you're sure it was in good fun, you never meant to be disrespectful, it won't happen again, and if there's any way you can ever make it up to them, you will sell your first born to do it.
  • Add Patience and Basic Knowledge of How Time Works. The good news is you can't actually be fired for this, but things will be uncomfortable for a while. Lay low and keep your nose to the grindstone. It will get better eventually.

If you hit on your hot coworker:

  • Add Avoidance. Maybe there is attraction there, maybe it's mutual, but chances are it's not appropriate to act on if you haven't acted on it already. So for now, avoid like the plague. You both know what happened (sorry.), but this is one of those rare and cherishable situations in life where it really is better if you just don't talk about it.
  • When Avoidance has reached critical point, put exchange in the Vault of Silence and try not to think about it again.
  • Add Gentleness. This literally happens to everyone at some point. It's probably happened to them.

If you did karaoke/recited a poem/gave a tearful speech/did the Mean Girls dance/ otherwise made a spectacle of yourself:

  • SLAM that sucker in the Vault of Silence and heap on the Gentleness. Holiday parties are tricky to begin with, but having some sort of microphone floating around is just an invitation for total and complete disaster. You were feeling like Santa! You just wanted to share. It was all in good holiday cheer, and chances are you made everyone else happy... it's just you would so so rather it had not been you.
  • Add patience. People will talk about it for a few days. And if you don't change jobs in the next year, they will most likely bring it up again at the next holiday party because WHAT DO COWORKERS REALLY HAVE TO TALK ABOUT WITH EACH OTHER ANYWAY? But that leaves a solid 340 other days where everyone will totally forget this ever happened.
  • Add Basic Knowledge of How Time Works. This stinks right now, but in about two to four weeks is New Years and then all bets are off. By the time you come back from break, most of the people who are making you feel like you want to die right now will have done something to humiliate themselves and will be feeling a bit less smug. Promise.

For all three variations, serve warm and with promptness.

Recipe for Seasonal Drink Shame Reduction


"I love pumpkin spice lattes (and other "this is basically just a hot milkshake" coffees), but I'm ashamed to be seen ordering them and drinking them." -- recently submitted to

Boy if I had a nickel. Yes, in an ideal world you would be comfortable enough to order just the froofiest, frilliest, most indulgent liquid treat every day and feel fine about it, but since this is earth where hot drink shame runs as rampant as reindeer in the North Pole, it can be tough to live your life. Don't let your inner-Scrooge get you down; follow these steps instead:

Recipe for Seasonal Drink Shame Reduction

Recipe Yield: Hot Bev Insecurity Net

Recipe Ingredients:
1 Shameful drink order
1 Alias
1 Resolution to get over this charade

Recipe Procedure:

  • Order your froofy, frilly drink. When they ask who it's for, insert Alias.
  • Wait for drink to be made and think about your life.
  • When they say "Venti Caramel Mint Fudge with Frothy Leche Steam for Byron," pick that sucker up.
  • Enjoy your beverage. Enjoy the feeling of all the baristas thinking that Byron has such an amazing girlfriend who brings him such good coffee. Enjoy telling people you took the wrong drink (oops!) as proven by the fact that the cup says Byron.
  • Finish your drink and note the aftertaste of shame. Add Resolution to Get Over This Charade. It's time.
  • Repeat as necessary.

For more recipes for life (not food!), visit Emma's blog re·ci·pro·city.


The Best Moments For Women In 2014