Workday Reading

The Edition: No. 60

Conflict cannot survive without your participation. — Wayne Dyer

Arrangement. Negotiating your salary, bonuses, and retirement. Because it all matters.

Worked Over. To wear this white dress in winter, add tights and a blazer.

Fitted. How to know if a dress fits, and tailoring tips from MM. LaFleur.

Slimed. Snail serum, are you brave enough to try it?

Exhausted. The strength in admitting that you’re tired and need a break.

Celebrated. $49 Sequin Dress + $13 Earrings +$39 Booties = NYE Outfit.

Toned. Carrie Underwood’s 10-minute jump rope leg workout.

Knocked Off. The $595 Philip Lim sweater I love. The $83 J.Crew sweater I can buy.

Oddities. The untold story of Maureen Dowd and Pres. George H.W. Bush.

Considered. Thoughts on these classic Adidas? Asking for a friend.

Becoming. Michelle Obama is Done with the Gospel of Lean In.

Next weekend, Kyle and I have our annual Christmas Cookie Exchange.  Last year, I went overboard and made six types of cookies (or was it seven?).  This year, I need to rein it in.  Two.  Three at most.

Kyle hates peppermint, so that knocks out one-third of the recipes.  He’s also ambivalent about chocolate (another third gone).  So I’m not really sure where to begin.  What are you favorite recipes and must-have holiday cookies?

{photo via Pinterest; this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}



  1. B says:

    At our house, Santa requests a fine bourbon (neat of course) and snickerdoods. We love the Trisha Yearwood Snickerdoodle recipe on Food Network – classic, easy, no chilling required. We sub coconut oil for the butter, and they still taste decadent. We also love Jenny Steffens Hobick’s Gingerbread Cookie recipe with cream cheese frosting. Just a little bit spicy, but still warm and comforting.

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  2. Summer says:

    Deb’s twice-baked shortbread are fantastic:

    They are easy to make and so delicious!

    December 4, 2018/Reply
    • Kelly says:

      I will truly vouch for every cookie recipe created by Deb at Smitten Kitchen. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, you should!

      December 4, 2018/Reply
  3. MK says:

    Nut horns! They are so buttery and they look old-school elegant arranged on a tray. They are my favorite that my grandma would make for the holidays. You can also fill them with apricot filling instead of nuts if you prefer.

    There are a lot of different recipes available, this one (no affiliation) is closest to the kind that my family has always made: The cottage cheese part sounds bizarre but it is so good!

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  4. Denise says:

    These are a family tradition in my house at christmas:

    Super easy, makes a ton, and is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee!

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  5. raq says:

    gingerbreaed! also espresso shortbread cookies

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  6. Monica T says:

    Re: I’m tired. So timely. The last several years I’ve been pushing myself so hard, training 4-5 days a week at first just to keep from spontaneously combusting and then for races with my work team. A month or so ago, I just couldn’t anymore. I felt so tired, like I just wanted to lay down and close my eyes. The psychic drain of everything happening in this country, the need to be strong and keep fighting no matter what…it’s so dang hard. I don’t want to be the woman who gave up, so I’m refocusing my energy on other things. Reading! Mindfulness! Listening when my body and my soul say ‘rest, girl.’

    Also, I would agree with Mr. Dyer except that unless you plan on letting people control you, sometimes you have to engage in conflict. Opting out of a fight only works if you’re willing to give up what you wanted in the first place.

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  7. A says:

    We love Deb here too! But her homemade oreos are our go to’s:

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  8. Emily says:

    These Chai-spiced snickerdoodles are a really delicious twist on a classic:

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  9. Elizabeth says:

    I tend to make linzer cookies this time of year. They are labor-intensive (and take a while to prep dough / bake) but I think they are worth it.

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  10. Crystal says:

    These “Exotic Spice Cookies” won an Ultimate Recipe Showdown for cookies — and they’re excellent.

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  11. Crystal says:

    These Spoon Cookies likely take too much work — but I have never had people rave about my cookies like these things. They’re incredible, like a very elevated shortbread, and even better a few days later.

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  12. Cait says:

    Chewy ginger molasses cookies. They’ve become my signature- there are people who know me as “the one who makes the super soft and yummy ginger cookies.”
    This is the recipe I use:

    Just be careful not to bake them too long. They come out super soft and gooey and cool to the perfect chewy cookie when I bake them for 9 minutes, not 10-12 as the recipe states.

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  13. MK says:

    I use and LOVE the CosRX snail serum. After a move from DC to Chicago, my skin was so dry and unhappy. A combo of Origins Drink It Up and CosRx snail has saved my poor face! I also use the Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream, and if you have dry skin, would recommend going for it over the serum. I can tell the difference in my skin (more hydrated, bouncier) as soon as it’s on.

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  14. C says:

    Smitten Kitchen’s nutmeg maple butter cookies are amazing

    December 4, 2018/Reply
    • SC says:

      Oooh, these look fantastic. I’m going to make these for our office potluck — I even have locally made syrup too!

      December 7, 2018/Reply
  15. Jules says:

    I bought a bottle of CosRX snail serum but it did nothing for me. I prefer a good moisturizer.

    Re: the tiredness….. I guess maybe I am not as ambitious or goal oriented as I thought…?? All my life I’ve had a sort of “go with the flow and don’t fight the stream” attitude. I would tell family, friends, bosses things I just was not going to do that day. I don’t mean to sound lazy, but it’s never been a problem for me, and I guess I’ve never really pushed myself to a breaking point. I guess it helps that my friends are all generally the same as me; they’ve been taking mental health days and throwing in the proverbial towel for years. I now wonder what message me and my friends received when we were young…

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  16. Dee says:

    Oh wow so glad I read that Dowd column. Thanks for sharing!

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  17. Amelia says:

    Coconut Macaroons – easy & delicious (also gluten free),CreamCheese Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing -creamcheese takes them decent to decadent

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  18. Erin says:

    I’ve had the Adidas superstars for a few years now and I love them. Very comfortable and go with a lots. As a bonus, since they’re leather, they are fairly water-resistant to water proof.

    December 4, 2018/Reply
    • Courtney says:

      Agreed! I’ve had mine for three years and with regular care they’re still in great shape. These are a nice alternative to workout sneakers.

      December 5, 2018/Reply
    • Ab says:

      Also a fan of the adidas. I bought a pair of white knit (like the Nike fly knit material) Stan Smith’s at the Nordstrom Aniversary sale last year, and love them. Not leather, so not waterproof but get this… you can wash them in the machine! I never worry about them getting scuffed or dirty. I just throw them in the wash and set them in the sun for a few hours

      December 5, 2018/Reply
    • Lindsay says:

      Agree! I love my classic adidas’ and I can wear them to work to dress down, no problem. I’d keep an eye on scuffs, but it’s not too hard to keep them looking nice.

      December 5, 2018/Reply
  19. CM says:

    A version of these sugar cookies has been passed down through my family for a few generations and are so delicious. Not gorgeous, but light and fluffy.

    We use condensed milk instead of buttermilk, but I might have to try the buttermilk now!

    December 4, 2018/Reply
  20. Mara says:

    These are the go-to Christmas cookies of my childhood and super easy to make too.

    December 5, 2018/Reply
  21. Brandi says:

    I have a few recipes that go over really well every year:

    Rice flour jam thumbprints:
    Eggnog sugar cookies:
    Champagne sugar cookies (I make these with the cranberry sparkling wine from Trader Joes, and they are a big hit):

    We are definitely taking opposite tacks with baking. I have 15 different cookies, plus two kinds of mince pies, torrone, candied orange peel, pannetone, and sugared walnuts to make. My baking weekend is next weekend, so this week I’m finalizing recipes and amounts and putting together grocery lists. It’s always fun 🙂

    December 5, 2018/Reply
  22. e says:

    These are probably the best cookies I’ve ever had – my SIL made them last year – they have chocolate but it’s not the main feature:

    Also, love the sequin H&M dress but the green one looks so much like a mermaid tail I can’t get past it!

    December 5, 2018/Reply
  23. Michelle Kirst says:

    The classic Adidas sneakers? I just bought my THIRD pair!! They’re comfy, go with EVERYTHING, and are easy to clean! BUY THEM! You won’t regret it!

    December 5, 2018/Reply
  24. Carr says:

    Back in 2009, WaPo had a Christmas cookie feature I saved. The molasses cookies from 701 Restaurant are my favorite, with powdered and crystallized ginger. They’re soft and a bit surprising. I’m sure the recipe is in their archives.

    December 5, 2018/Reply
  25. Kathleen H Lisson says:

    Loved the Dowd piece. This reminds me of why I joined the party almost 30 years ago.

    December 6, 2018/Reply
  26. J says:

    Jacques Torres’s chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made them with toffee chips or butterscotch chips and they were still great (although much sweeter…don’t skimp the salt on top). If you’re making 2-3 cookies, you can make this dough first or ahead of time and let it rest while you make your other cookies, then bake these last. You don’t necessarily need the 24 hour rest period, but I have found they taste better the longer they rest!

    December 6, 2018/Reply
  27. Madison says:

    Hello! The NYE outfit links aren’t working, they just error page 🙁

    December 7, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Apologies. H&M has been having trouble with Shopstyle. I will switch them over later.

      December 7, 2018/Reply
  28. SC says:

    The only thing that survived my relationship with an ex was his aunt’s recipe for chocolate orange shortbread cookies — it uses minis, so the chocolate is not the strong flavor — orange zest is! They’re really delicious and stupid easy to make. I’ll email the recipe if you’re interested!

    December 7, 2018/Reply
  29. Blondie says:

    If you’re looking for a baking challenge, you could try Dutch banket (pronounced “bonn-kett”). I’m descended from Dutch immigrants and this is a Christmas treat. It’s sweetened almond paste inside a very thin, flaky, buttery pastry and soooo good!

    The family recipe requires cold butter, muscle, and two days. The trick is that you have to mix the butter in really well because the pastry is so thin. If there are chunks of butter left, they will melt while baking and the filling will leak out.

    This recipe looks about right:

    You could also look for other almond treats. I’m used to it, but I think almond is a traditional Christmas flavor.

    December 8, 2018/Reply
  30. Caitlin says:

    Since I have seen absolutely every teen wearing Adidases as of late and my face reads very young, I opted for an all-white pair of theirs (still Superstars, I think?)… but they’re honestly great and fit my wide feet better than most sneakers. I have an old pink pair that have withstood multiple trips to Disney World.

    December 19, 2018/Reply