Life's Sweet Journey: First Friday Favorites: New Blog Link Up Party

Friday, January 6, 2023

First Friday Favorites: New Blog Link Up Party

Cheers to a New Year and a New Link Up Party! 

Well, another year has come and gone and it's been another year of mostly neglecting this space. I always start the year off with a plan to be more active on the blog and every year seems to send the same. But, here's to trying again!

To help me stay more motivated I am starting a new link up to at least give me something specific to post once a month... so, I am starting a First Friday Favorites link up party. It's mix of concepts from two of my favorite bloggers, Christina at Carolina Charm's Five on Friday, and a Currently link up that used to be hosted by Anne in Residence (she no longer hosts, but I think someone else may). Basically, I plan to share a monthly recap (even just for my own reflections to look back on), and then a few favorite prompted things each month.

Each month will always include a favorite read, favorite find, and favorite quote (since the initial reason I started this blog 10 years ago- wow, 10 years!- was to share my love for quotes). Then, I may include a few other "favorite" prompts. You can join in the prompts each month or just share any favorites in the link up (favorite blog post you wrote that week, your Friday favorites, whatever your little heart desires).

So, here's my first First Friday Favorites edition:

December Recap

December is always a crazy month. It's also usually a hard month for me and that trend held true for 2022. The older I get the harder the holiday season seems to become. I want so badly to feel the joy of Christmas, that it makes not feeling it sting that much more. This from the girl who started sobbing while trying to get through reading the end of The Polar Express to her nephew. I want to hear that bell, but it's getting harder and harder every year. Is it the same for anyone else? 

Thankfully we did have some beautiful moments thrown in that made the joy feel that much brighter! We had time with all of our family and friends, celebrated birthdays, new babies, ate way more than we should have, and drank probably even more than that. We had our first Christmas in our new home and got to ring in the New Year in our pajamas, playing games with my best friend and her new hubby. I'll give a toast to that!

Moving into 2023 I really want to try to open myself up more and look to the things I have to be grateful for. I always used to be a glass half full person and I think it was also because I was less cynical. Being grateful plays a huge part in that for me. So here's to a GRATEFUL 2023!

First Friday Favorites

{Favorite Read}

Favorite Read of the Month

I just finished The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley and flew through it! This one kept my guessing for a good portion of the book, though I did have it figured out by the end. I really loved the main character. She's edgy and not your typical likable character and it gave her an edge I enjoyed.


Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone's a neighbor. Everyone's a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

I don't do star ratings (more on that later), but I would definitely recommend reading this one!

{Favorite Listen}

Favorite Read of the Month

I am always reading one book and listening to another. Sometimes only one makes my favorites list, but my listen this month was noteworthy as well if you want something lighthearted and sweet, but with a small bit of mystery and magic. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna had been on my OverDrive holds since October. Of course it was finally ready to borrow just in time for Christmas, but I can understand why it was so popular...


As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules...with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos "pretending" to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn't the only danger in the world, and when peril comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for...

This is a great read for anyone who like Practical Magic and Roald Dahls' The Witches.

{Favorite Amazon Find}

I actually have two favorite finds this month. One that was a gift for Babe that has quickly become one of MY FAVORITE gifts I've ever gotten him.

Smoked Cocktail Kit: We have definitely stepped up our cocktail game with this great little gadget. I have considered getting it for him for quit a few Christmases now but wondered if it was worth $50. We only do stockings for each other and try to keep gifts smaller, but this was well worth the price. I got the smoked cocktail kit on sale during Black Friday so was able to snag it for about $35, but it's worth $50 in my opinion. 

The smoker kit is easy to use and makes the perfect smoked old fashioned in under 5 minutes. The kit I got came with ice molds, the torch, the smoker top, and four wood chip flavors. We've been trying out the different wood chip flavors. I like the regular and the pecan, he prefers the cherry chips.

Glass Plant Mister: I have recently started developing a semi-green thumb. Semi-green in that I go with plants that are really hard to kill. However, I have a small pine tree that has been clinging to life since we used it as a Christmas tree in the camper two years ago. It was recommended that it may need misting since it prefers tropical climates. Not only is my new glass plant mister functional, but I love the old world feel it adds and it's a fun little statement piece when people get curious about what it is! It also makes watering my plants feel a little more classy.

{Favorite Quote}

First Friday Favorites Blog Link Up Party

I love quotes, and Victoria Erickson is a favorite of mine! I have a lot of quotes I have been saving to my IG folder. I have someone who shared her favorite reels every Monday and I think I may start sharing my favorite quotes every Wednesday over on my Instagram stories. I guess a new way to bring back Words for Wednesday, which I used to share here when I first started this blog.

I think I am going to leave it there for the first month of First Friday Favorite since this post has gotten pretty lengthy. Feel free to join in the link up with any of our own favorites!

If you liked this post you might also like:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. What a fun new link up! Thanks for asking me to join. I have had The Paris Apartment on my reading list for quite some time now but never seem to get around to reading it.

    1. Of course :) Happy to have you here! Thanks for linking up. I hope you enjoy The Paris Apartment as much as I did once you finally dive into it!

  2. Oh how fun! I'm so late in getting back to you, but I love the idea of the link up. My December was okay - missed a lot of things because I was sick for most of it, so that was a bummer. I liked The Paris Apartment - my favorite from her is still The Guest List.

    Lauren @

    1. Awww, bummer! I am so sorry to hear you were sick. Being sick during the holidays is the worst. And agreed, The Guest List is my favorite of hers as well. I also just finished The Hunting Party and that was good, but a bit predictable for me.


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