chocolate babkas + shine theory

I’ve recently become pretty addicted to this podcast called “Call Your Girlfriend” in which two long distance besties, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman catch up with each other on every topic from politics, to Kanye, to feminism and periods. I think the reason I love it so much is that it reminds me of some of the great conversations I’ve had with my besties, long distance and local – the kinds of conversations where you have so many things to talk about, mostly because you just can’t WAIT to hear what the other person thinks about Taylor Swift’s new video, or the Game of Thrones finale, or diva cups, or whatever.

But I think the best thing I’ve gotten out of Call Your Girlfriend has been discovering what they call, “shine theory”. Ladies: have you ever experienced that feeling when you meet another woman, who just seems so amazingly together, brilliant, well dressed and fucking cool and your instinct is to just kind of hate them a little bit? I know I have. Why do they have such a cooler job than me? Why do they always look so put together? Why do they always say such brilliant and insightful things? We all have had these thoughts at some point. And often our instinct is to push these people away, or build up an internal competition system that only we know about, wherein everything that we do is only good in comparison to that better  woman.

chocolate babkas + shine theory

But in the past couple of years I’ve worked really hard to flip these thoughts around, and I think Friedman’s shine theory really sums up my approach:

When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her.  Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.

The truth is, as Friedman highlights, when we hate on other powerful women it really just serves to highlight our own insecurities about ourselves – whether it’s our jobs, our minds, our bodies etc. Once you let go of all that bullshit, having amazing women in our corner has amazing benefits – confident, self-assured ladyfriends are your best cheerleaders, your best supporters. As Aminatou Sow (Friedman’s BFF) says, “if you don’t shine, I don’t shine!” But there’s more: surrounding myself with people who are just hauling ass, and pursuing their passions on a daily basis radiates an energy that is contagious. My best female friends are all super talented, passionate, creative people that inspire me to aim higher, be more creative, and live more passionately. Plus, it makes me feel like I’m part of the coolest girl-gang, and what’s better than that? So shine on sisters, shine on.

Babka (5 of 7)chocolate babkas + shine theory

Chocolate Babkas

Current cooking music: Ryan Adams, 1989

I got the recipe for these babkas via Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem and Smitten Kitchen. You can find it here. I accidentally used half the amount of butter required for the chocolate filling, but it still turned out delicious. Next time I think I’d follow Ottolenghi’s suggestion and add the chopped nuts, but I really liked Deb’s suggestion of orange zest instead of lemon.