Here we are, month two of Meet the Blogger! I am super excited about each and every one of the women I’ve asked to contribute, but this one is a slight personal fave as she and I have grown to be great friends over the course of our Instagram followship (uh… is that even a thing?)
She is poised, an amazing mother, a strong voice for those who struggle to have their own, and her aesthetic is the thing that dreams are made of. I am proud to be counted the ranks of baal teshuvahs with her, and I’m pretty sure if you get to know her you’ll think she quite the cool gal as well.
Without further ado, I introduce you to:
Britt Cohen-Schlesinger, aka @thebrittedit & @newyorkandnarrative!
Here is a bit about Britt in her own words:
Britt Cohen is the founder & designer of New York & Narrative, a text-focused stationery & curated gift boxing shop. She lives in New York with her husband, Joseph & their toddler, Ezra. They hope to one day adopt a pug, because they’re just too ugly-cute!
Full disclosure; I would like to vouch for the wonderful work that is New York and Narrative. The product is beautiful, and I was lucky enough to be sent a card from Britt and really get a feel the for product. Ladies, gents, all those reading this who need stationary or the like– CONTACT HER!
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty Q&A:
What inspired you to start New York & Narrative? What does it mean/represent to you?
I’ve always loved stationery & the happiness that gifting provides. There’s something so satisfying about designing my own work &/or having the opportunity to showcase someone’s product in a parcel I’ve curated. (Gifting is definitely my love language.) The purpose of New York & Narrative is to help someone else tell their unique story, hence the tag-line I adore: For anyone with a story. After all, New York & Narrative is, through & through, my story (how far I’ve come as a mother & wife & entrepreneur & Jew). “New York” represents my journey. I have a love affair going with New York City, in particular. There’s so much diversity, so much excitement; & it’s the only place I’ve ever felt like I could truly be my Jewish self. “Narrative” represents the art of written word (which I have a deep appreciation for) & how I value telling someone else’s story through text-focused stationery or a meticulously put-together gift box. Providing this service to my clients is so rewarding!
How does your style define or represent who you are?
My fashion sense, home decor, small business, & even my Instagram feed all seem to carry over a similar look — New York edge meets Parisian femininity (with a hint of rustic, mid-century modern minimalism). It’s taken me years to feel comfortable with my own aesthetic. It’s easy to want to follow trends, but what’s made me most happy is listening to my gut & truly sticking to what brings me joy in my life. My style is a clear representation of the products I enjoy, of the colors & shades I gravitate towards, & of the lifestyle I thoroughly believe in. I can’t stand clutter. I have a very small wardrobe, beauty products, & everything in between. All of my purchases (& PR collaborations on social media) are intentional. I’m not into owning stuff just to have more stuff. There has to be a purpose beyond, “Well, that’s sort of cute.” This philosophy has helped me to see what’s really important in my life — my husband, our toddler, & my overall health.
How did your yiddishkeit journey come about?
This is such a long story. (Seriously, we’d be here for three days!) So here’s a quick synopsis: I was born into a Jewish family, but didn’t know what Orthodox Judaism was until I was around fourteen-years-old; I didn’t apply this lifestyle to my life until I turned twenty-one. During these years, I survived a lot; abuse, suicide attempts, eating disorders, sexual assaults. So I turned to G-d. & when I allowed Him to, He helped me. I’m by no means a perfect Baal Teshuva or wife or mother or daughter or sister or friend, but I try my hardest to love & accept every person for who they are (Jewish or not Jewish, observant or irreligious), as I believe Hashem’s Judaism is peaceful, beautiful. I’m going at my own pace, with my husband by my side. Our mission statement for our household is Hashem knows our struggles, Hashem understands. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. We’re worthy, no matter what anyone might say about our level of Judaism. Judaism is all about our relationship with Hashem. That’s the most important thing. All the rest is background noise. My journey is ever-changing, & I’m really content with knowing that.
What is something or who is someone that inspires you?
Hands down, my son, Ezra. He’s almost two & a half years old & he inspires me every single day. He doesn’t expect much from me, he doesn’t care what I look like, he doesn’t care how much money I make or how many followers I have on Instagram. I’m just his mama. His simple perspective of life is astounding. Dust bunnies are the coolest thing to this kid. Trying a new food for the first time is exciting to watch. Hearing him say word after word is mind-blowing. His heart is pure & kind & generous. To know that I helped to create this little life is the most profound thing I’ve ever done & will ever do. I try to be the best version of myself, & Ezra pushes me to try harder & harder each day. I love him unconditionally. No, but really. Unconditionally.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t worry, the world will see how wrong your abusers were & you’ll get through all this pain (& inspire people along the way). You’re gorgeous, inside & out. Your IQ is a more important number than the one on the face of the bathroom scale. Don’t hate food; it doesn’t hate you. Also, a college degree doesn’t determine your worth. Neither does the length of your skirt.
What does being Frum & Fashionable mean to you?
It means embracing my Jewishness, my personal growth, my sense of humor in dark situations, my accomplishments, my healthy relationships, my unwavering strength. It means feeling more like myself as a modest woman than I ever did showing skin. It means I value G-d. It means I can’t un-know something that speaks so much truth to me. It means knowing my journey is far from over, that there’s always room for improvement, & yet, that Hashem loves me just as I am. It means #frumwomenhavefaces. It means teaching my son to respect himself & women. It means being a role model to anyone trying to figure out if they want to delve into Judaism or not. It’s acknowledging that we’re all on different journeys, & that’s okay. For you, for me, for Hashem. I believe Frum & Fashionable goes beyond “style”; it’s a mindset, a home, a way of life. & when practiced with love in your heart, it’s the most wonderful lifestyle to have ever been created.
I must say, reading through all of this pulled at my heart strings and made me respect Britt all the more. I hope you feel like you’ve gotten a peak at knowing the awesome lady that I’ve gotten to befriend, and that you follow along her journey, because her insights are quite profound and astounding.
PS: Ezra, her son, is the cutest thing ever and he deserves equal praise. That’s all.