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Introducing the Newest Member of the Cultivate Team

Friends, it is with great joy and a happy heart that I'm writing today's blog post. I am thrilled to be introducing you to the newest member of the Cultivate team–Kaylee Hobbs!

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We've had the privilege of working alongside Kaylee for the past two months, and I'm so excited for you to get to know her!

First, I want to tell you a little background about the interview process with Kaylee. When we went through the first round of interviews with all the amazing candidates from our job posting, I remember thinking, "Can't we just hire them all?" It wasn't until then that I truly realized how difficult it was going to be to choose just one new member of our team (Spoiler alert: we didn't just choose one!)

Nicole and I joked throughout the process that we weren't just hiring a new team member; we were hiring a new friend. One of the greatest joys of the work we do day in and day out is doing it alongside the women with whom we work. What makes our company unique is that we're invested in one another outside of our work lives. It's no surprise to find Lara and Amber sending garden pictures back and forth, Kristin and Marissa feverishly texting about the new Lilly markdowns, or Emily sending Nicole and myself her newest favorite recipes. A company culture that fosters this kind of team unity has become one of the biggest blessings of my life. All that to say, we knew this was a big hire, and I'd be lying if I said we didn't experience some nerves about it.

During one of our video chats with Kaylee, she started sharing her heart for the Cultivate What Matters brand, particularly for encouraging women right where they are, regardless of their season, and it touched me to the point of tears. Luckily, I was working remotely that day and behind a computer screen, so I could be sneaky. Kristin and I almost simultaneously texted each other with some form of "I want her!" I'm sharing that to tell you this woman's heart for the work that she does is BIG, and it's been evident during the past two months on the team. Her expertise and enthusiasm has enabled us to continue to serve each of you and cheer you on as you cultivate what matters.

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We had a close call during the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship where we (Kristin and I) thought we wouldn't be able to hire her if UNC lost to Kentucky (Kaylee's an avid Kentucky Wildcat fan). Lucky for us (and UNC) that didn't happen. (I'm only partially kidding). What a gem this lady is to our team! Now, without further ado, meet the lovely Kaylee Hobbs!

Tell us how you joined the team in a few sentences: I was introduced to the Cultivate brand when I was working for a bridal shop in Kentucky. At the time, I was spending my final summers as a student interning for a large corporation in Texas and enjoyed the challenge, learning opportunities, and people I worked alongside. When it came time to say yes to an official job offer, I couldn't ignore that my heart desired more purpose-filled and intentional work. I applied to Southern Weddings and Cultivate What Matters and immediately felt like it was a great fit! It all happened very quickly–I interviewed in March and become a North Carolinian two months later!

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What's your title? Customer Delight and Shop Manager

What have you been doing over the past two months? In office, I have been assisting with the launch of Cultivate, managing the affiliate program, soaking everything in at the Team Summit, learning a lot about Gracie's Garden (from Grace, herself), sending lots of happy mail from the office, and helping out behind the camera during live broadcasts (some of you might have caught a glimpse of me when I accidentally turned the camera around once!) At home, I have been trying to manage the transition from college to the working world, finding community in North Carolina, and learning how to budget my finances and new found free time (I was quite the busy bee in college).

What else will you be doing? In the months ahead, I am looking forward to managing everything Cultivate Shop-related: the affiliate program, Amazon shop and our shipping team. I'll also be joining Jess writing on the Cultivate blog and delighting all our wonderful customers.

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You know we're going to be fast friends when you show up twinning :)

Hometown: This question always gets me. I grew up moving around quite a bit, so here's a list of places I have called home over the years: Houston, TX; Benicia, CA; Baton Rouge, LA; Beaumont, TX; Dallas, TX; London, England; Vienna, VA; Lexington, KY

Birthday: May 24

Something you might not know about her: I would eat Panera Mac and Cheese for every meal if I could!

Favorite part about NC: I am going to try to choose just one here... I love that where I live in North Carolina is within an hours trip to the beach. I can pack up and take a beach day on the weekend without having to make many plans beforehand!

Friends, please help us give Kaylee a big CWM welcome in the comments below! She's been such a delight to our team and me personally, and we know you are going to love her just as much as we do! You can also say hi and get to know her on Instagram.

Photos by Ally and Bobby and Olivia Suriano of Nancy Ray Photography.

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Ways to Love on Your Momma

I was a little late getting this posted in time for Mother's Day to our Cultivate Team Summit, but I'm hopeful you'll bookmark Emily's list of favorites for the mommas for a day when they aren't expecting a gift. After all, as my mom likes to remind me, every day is Mother's Day :) -Jess

One of my favorite things about my PowerSheets is that they remind me to stop and look both forward and backward regularly - a good way to ensure I'm living an examined, and hopefully more purposeful and fruitful life! With that heart, I have Mother's Day in my sights this May. This month's favorites are all themed around lovely things the moms in your life might appreciate it (including, if applicable, you!).

Farmgirl Flowers | Bouquets from this company are a go-to gift for Lara. They're designed by florists usually the freshest blooms you know and love, and are delivered ready for gifting in a burlap wrap. So different from the stiff, plastic-y arrangements you might be familiar with from mail-order florists!
Mother of the Bride Guide | April showers bring May flowers AND weddings! Our sister brand, Southern Weddings, recently came out with this in-depth e-book detailing everything an MOB could ever want to know.
Plum Pretty Sugar pajamas | File "nice pajamas" under a luxury your mama never knew she wanted. Research suggests that going to bed in actual pajamas set aside for sleeping (instead of the same lounge clothes you use for the gym!) can help ensure a better night's sleep!
How to Celebrate Everything | I am mildly obsessed with this book! It's a beautiful celebration rituals and traditions that make life meaningful, and I know you will enjoy it just as much as I did.
Social Print Studio prints | One of my favorite gifts to give is a year of printed out Instagram photos! Social Print Studio offers a 4x4 size on stiff stock I love. My Mom practically cries tears of joy when her a handful in the mail, but only if they include grandbabies' faces
Pinhole Press memory game | Fun for big and little hands alike! Especially if your family is far-flung, printing a set of these cards with beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins is a great way to cultivate a closer family connection.
Life Handbook | Our own Life Handbook is the quintessential Mother's Day gift. It's an easy and beautiful way to collect all of your favorite stories and life advice to share with a loved one, through 150 pages of prompts to tell your best stories, memories and advice.

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Fruitful Summer Week Is Over. Now What?

What a great week with each of you celebrating Fruitful Summer, and this is only the beginning!

We talked a lot about making new friends, spent time together chatting about staying motivated on your summer goals, and talked about how to cultivate friendships in your life.

All week long we've had a blast reading your blog comments, listening to your stories via email, and hearing from you on social media, so we decided to keep it going!

Starting Wednesday, May 31st, Lara and I will be walking through the new Fruitful Friendships Workbook together every week through the entire summer! Grab your Workbook today to get it in time. We can't wait to get to know each of you better this summer!

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We've loved hearing how many of you are ready to dig into setting meaningful goals for the summer, so Lara has decided to host a live Get the Most Out of Your PowerSheets classnext Wednesday at noon on Facebook Live. No need to register--just mark your planner and be there!

 

 

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Celebrate Your Friendships with Traditions

Traditions help us cultivate connection through meaningful shared experiences. Guess what? You're never too old to start a new tradition! Whether it's something you've done before or a tradition you want to start, now is the perfect time to make it happen!

When I think about my favorite memories from my college years, it's easy to notice a thread–the place I called home my senior year of college, 2 Marilyn Lane. A house is just a shell, and what makes it a home are the people with whom you share it. We shared our lives–not perfectly, but willingly. One of my favorite traditions we have is gathering together for a weekend each year. No amount of technology can make up for time together, so early on we made a promise to prioritize in-person time together by planning a reunion weekend once a year. This trip consistently ends up being one of my favorite weekends each year!

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2 Marilyn Lane celebrating at a baby shower together last year

You might not have the finances or time to plan annual trips with your friends in this season of life, but that doesn't mean you have to wait to start traditions. We've created a list of friendship traditions you can start below!

Host a holiday gathering. Take it one step further and make it themed! An annual Friendsgiving potluck or an adult Easter egg hunt, the possibilities are endless!

Schedule monthly Google hangouts or FaceTimes with faraway friends. A group of my boyfriend's college housemates has started a monthly Google hangout on Saturday mornings. Everyone can join, and they get a chance to share big updates in their lives.

Start a group text message thread or photo stream. There's a good chance you already have this, and if so, start being more intentional with what you're communicating. Offer encouragement, ask for help, and send funny photos! It will help you feel connected to your friends throughout the day.

Take an annual vacation together. This takes some forethought and intentional planning, but it's worth it! Use Doodle to find a weekend that works for everyone, get creative about your locations, and start planning!

Start a traveling scrapbook. One of the traditions I want to start (you'll see it in my Fruitful Friendships Workbook!) is to create a notebook that is mailed from person to person. When it's received, the person will fill it out before mailing it to the next person! Whether it's funny memories from their week, a day in the life, photos, or anything, I know it will be a sweet and funny thing to look back on together.

That's a small list, but it's a start! Our Fruitful Friendships Workbook is full of lots of other ideas! It will also walk you through brainstorming and action steps, and then helps you transfer those goals to your PowerSheets.

I'd love to hear from you! What tradition do you want to start with your friends? Leave a comment below!

 

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How to Cultivate the Friendships in Your Life

One of my PowerSheets goals over the past two years is some iteration of loving others well, and while this is something I like to think comes naturally to me, in reality I know I have a long way to go! One of the hardest parts of an ambiguous goal like "love others well"? Figuring out tangible action steps for you to make little by little progress on that goal!

When we were working on creating the Fruitful Friendships Workbook, I was pretty adamant about having a section with Tending List ideas so that you could easily transfer them to your PowerSheets Tending List each month. We didn't want the Workbook to be just a pretty magazine you flipped through; we wanted it to be practical and encouraging as you cultivated friendship in your life.

I'll share a few of the ideas below based on where it could fall on your Tending List (monthly, weekly or daily goals). I'd love to hear how you incorporate friendship tending into your goal-setting routine, too!

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Monthly Tending List Ideas

Make a list of things your friends love. I keep a running note on my phone of things my friends love or things I need to know about them. A few ideas: their favorite candy, shirt size, any significant holidays or milestones, their Starbucks or Chipotle order. The possibilities are endless here!  The times I feel the most loved are often because someone is recalling a detail about me that seems insignificant, but shows that they listen to me.

Plan a summer meet-up to bring together friends in your community! We created an entire meet-up packet to make this easier for you! Send a text, post it on Facebook, or email a group, and start making new friends in your neighborhood.

Leave an unexpected treat on your friend's porch. Whether it's a sweet treat you baked or a small gift you picked up at your favorite shop, it's sure to be a fun thing for your friend to come home to at the end of the day. Bonus if you download one of our bright notecards or punny gift tags.
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Weekly Tending List Ideas

Call a friend. I've oftentimes said I am a terrible long-distance friend, but here's the thing, picking up the phone for a catch-up call or Facetime isn't that hard! Adding this to your monthly PowerSheets is a great way to stay accountable while showing your faraway friends that the distance isn't keeping you from caring about their life.

Send a gratitude note. My best tip for gratitude notes? Keep stamps and notes together and in a place where you are often sitting. For me, it's my top desk drawer or my car (in case I have a few minutes to spare). It'll make it so much easier to write a quick note of thanks or encouragement to someone.

Offer to pick up something for a friend on a grocery run. If you're already headed on an errand, why not text a friend to see if there's anything you can pick up for them and drop off at their home? A new momma might especially appreciate having someone offer to grab a new pack of diapers as they're throwing the last one away and preparing to load the baby in the car.
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Daily Tending List Ideas

Respond to your text messages. How often do you get a text message, read it, and then wait to respond at a "better time"? No one else? Just me? I might be preaching to myself here since I'm the worst at responding to texts (I have 5 currently sitting unread on my phone). Here's the thing: if your friend were to ask you a question to your face, would you turn away and not respond? Absolutely not! So don't treat them that way with your electronic device. I'm working hard on this, and I've added it to my PowerSheets daily goals for a few months now.

Make eye contact. Commit to looking your friend in the eyes when she is talking to you. Nothing is more distracting and hurtful than watching a friend look around or worse, check their phone when you are spending time together.

Encourage someone. Smile, and offer a genuine compliment to someone today.

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There are more Tending tips in our Fruitful Friendships Workbook as well as worksheets to help you set friendship goals. We created each of our companion guides to be used in conjunction with PowerSheets, so if you're not a PowerSheets user, now's the perfect time to join us!

Our Fruitful Summer Bundle is available to help you set meaningful summer goals and grow meaningful friendships this season. It includes a set of Six-Month Undated PowerSheets Workbook in White, Fruitful Friendship Workbook, Fruitful Summer Postcard Set, and Take the Leap Mini Print.

Save the date for Wednesday, May 31st when Lara and I are going to work through the Fruitful Friendship Workbook LIVE alongside each of you on Facebook! We can't wait to spend some time together chatting about our friendships. Grab your copy today so you can have it in time for our hang-out!

 

 

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