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Welcome to the Friday Finale. It’s been a while since we did one of these, right? After January and February’s editions, I was excited to continue sharing my monthly favorites with you all… and then I got hacked.
It was terrible. Tears were shed. I nearly said adios to five years of content.
But that’s a story for a different day. Instead, let’s focus on the good, and there is a lot of goodness in this list. I went back and forth about including some of my favorites from March, April, and May in here, but ultimately decided to keep it short and simple.
Without further ado, here are all the things that inspired me and made me smile in June. Onward to the Friday Finale!
Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet.
Now that’s a tagline I can get behind. Give a Sh*t is a detailed, no-nonsense guide to all the little pieces that encompass green living. (And also, Ashlee Piper is hilarious and relatable and everything you want from a green living fairy godmother). I’ve been working on my own sustainability journey one tiny, eco-friendly swap after another, so I loved how thorough this book was.
Want to learn about composting? Yep, it’s in here. Alternatives to fast fashion? You got it. Vegan recipes to help you out with your meatless Monday planning? This book has got you covered.
But perhaps most important is the author’s genuine and welcoming tone. There’s no judgment in Give a Sh*t. You won’t be made to feel like the changes you’re making to help the environment are too small to make a difference. Instead, there’s a whole bunch of acceptance and cheerleading, and that’s honestly refreshing coming from an industry that has a tendency to alienate people for not doing enough.
No one is perfect, but Ashlee will help you get there, one badass sustainability tip at a time.
If you, too, were horribly sad (and let’s be honest, disappointed) when Game of Thrones came to an end, fear not! You can catch everyone’s favorite tiny badass on Netflix in the latest teen with terminal cancer movie.
This isn’t your average teens dying movie though because 1. Maisie Williams and Asa Butterfield are just super fantastic actors and make you believe it. (I’m obviously a fan of his since his Netflix series made January’s Friday Finale list.)
2. The two main characters aren’t in love, which is a refreshing take on an old trope. In fact, there’s even a love interest character for Asa’s character, played by Nina Dobrev.
3. This movie felt a lot more realistic in a “What would a teenager who’s dying of cancer actually put on their bucket list?” There are teen parties and sex and pranks, and it all feels very real in a way other movies like this don’t tend to.
4. Did I mention Maisie Williams is the most fantastic actor? She is so damn good at being vulnerable onscreen. You get the full range of what it must feel like to be a teenager going through a terminal illness. I cried my little eyeballs out, you guys. You’ll love it. Go watch it now.
Normally I like to add a recipe or two to the Friday Finale, but this month I did very little cooking because I traveled so much. And that’s why I thought I’d do a little section on my favorite sight from my trip to Vancouver a few weeks back!
Vancouver is beautiful, it’s got great food options (hello, oysters!), and it has a green space to rival the big ones (think Hyde Park or Central Park). First of all, Stanley Park is big. 1,001 acres, to be exact, and since I was visiting on a business trip, I only got to explore a tiny fraction of the park.
It also has a million and one things to do. We walked around the perimeter for a bit and encountered a lighthouse, a selection of statues, an aquarium, a salmon stream, several play areas for kids, and my favorite attraction of the bunch: the First Nations totem poles.
You can get to the totems by walking along the eastern side of the Stanley Park Seawall. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to miss the crowds flowing into the area; the First Nations totem poles are the most viewed attraction in all of British Columbia!
There are nine totem poles in all. Although the original totems have been returned to their native lands or are being preserved in museums, the ones you can view in the park are beautiful replicas and commissions. Each totem has a descriptive plaque in front of it with an illustrated guide to the different elements of it, including significant animals and symbols.
Overall, I’m just really impressed by the way British Columbia, and perhaps Canada as a whole, has embraced its indigenous populations and the role the country played in removing them from their homelands. At the beginning of each conference day, the emcees would publicly thank the three peoples whose native lands had been acquired to create Vancouver.
And it didn’t feel like a rote, forced, lip-service kind of thing. There was a First Nations woman who gave a traditional welcome song before the opening keynote, and she seemed genuinely happy to invite us onto her native land.
I’d love to know more about the history of the First Nations and their relationship with the Canadian government and how it grew to what it is today. If you happen to have any knowledge about it or know of a book I should read, throw it in the comments please!
Speaking of comments, what did you love this month? Books you’d like to recommend? Shows we should all tune into? Leave them below, too.
P.S. If you’ve already put Give a Sh*t on your tbr pile, check out my blog post about a more sustainable lifestyle.