Life

In Tenderly. More on Medium.

The winners of the most recent Ocean Photography Awards are utterly mesmerizing

A photograph of a shark with bared teeth swimming in clear, gradient blue ocean water, another shark appears in the background
A photograph of a shark with bared teeth swimming in clear, gradient blue ocean water, another shark appears in the background
Photo: Tanner Mansell. All photos courtesy of Ocean Photography Awards

Vast, inaccessible, and astonishingly beautiful, the ocean can often feel like an alien place, full of danger and enchantment in equal parts. This makes the achievements of photographers who are able to shine a light on this part of our world all the more impressive, as they draw attention to the threats that the ocean faces, reveal its hidden beauty, and bring us face to face with its fascinating inhabitants.

The recently announced winners of the Ocean Photography Awards, organized by Oceanographic Magazine, are truly incredible achievements in this field. Seven major awards were granted, in categories for Ocean Conservation…


Boosting their traffic can help save lives

A cat sitting on top of a pile of newspapers, against a yellow city wall
A cat sitting on top of a pile of newspapers, against a yellow city wall
Photo: Nathan Riley via Unsplash

What could possibly be better than cute cat blogs?

Cute cat blogs that help cats.

With cat videos forever basking near the top of the viral content pyramid, the entire world loves to be entertained by these amazing creatures to no end. But true cat lovers care about more than just entertainment. We want to see every cat in the world looked after and happy. We want a world where no animals are left hungry and alone.

As per the latest estimate, 10 million cats live abandoned or stray in the UK alone. …


Sanctuary Stories

Fur farms are slaughtering mink by the millions, but Olaf found a way out to the good life

A white-furred, pink-nosed mink looks curiously towards the camera lens from a hammock in a cage.
A white-furred, pink-nosed mink looks curiously towards the camera lens from a hammock in a cage.
Olaf at Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. Photos provided and taken by Beth Randall, unless otherwise noted

When Beth Randall started feeling sick with Covid-19 symptoms in March, before testing was widely available, she knew right away she needed to stay out of the ferret and mink room at her sanctuary. As much of the world was just learning about the virus, the president and founder of Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary in Northern Illinois was already aware that ferrets and mink are uniquely susceptible, and started taking precautions.

Today, Randall is recovered and well, but also heartbroken to learn that mink can spread the virus back to humans in mutated forms, leading to the culling of…


In a Pickle

Pickling mustard seeds in the fridge makes a wonderfully rich condiment that my secret ingredient duos enhance perfectly

A photo taken from above of a dark, maple-y glass jar of mustard with visible mustard seeds and a small spoon resting nearby
A photo taken from above of a dark, maple-y glass jar of mustard with visible mustard seeds and a small spoon resting nearby
Photos: Laura Vincent

Mustard is a truly superlative foodstuff, managing to embody humble diligence as easily as it can seem celebratory and luxurious, depending on whether it’s spread on toast or sitting next to the cranberry sauce and gravy. Either way: necessary. Non-negotiable, even. Making mustard from scratch — essentially, pickling mustard seeds — might seem overzealous when there’s perfectly good stuff at the supermarket, but it’s the work of minutes and tastes glorious: zingy, intense, each vinegar-swollen seed popping with flavor. Your future scrambles, sandwiches, roasts, marinades, sauces, soups, and pastas will be all the better for this mustard. …


Our dog died and nothing else has seemed to matter as much ever since — aka where I’ve been for three months

A black dog reclining in the author’s lap in a hammock above bright green grass
A black dog reclining in the author’s lap in a hammock above bright green grass
Jessie. Photos: Summer Anne Burton

I haven’t been getting anything done since election day. Like, nothing. I’m an extrovert, someone who derives a lot of my energy, creativity, and joy from socializing with others, and the pandemic had already squished my characteristic joie de vivre into a pebble before last November’s election night, triggering anxiety and depression that I was already treating with new medications and mostly-failed attempts to change my less healthy habits. …


If we had only stopped to think, we might have realized that this was inevitable

A white rabbit eating the carrot nose of a small snowman outdoors on the snow.
A white rabbit eating the carrot nose of a small snowman outdoors on the snow.
Photo: Hannah B via YouTube

In retrospect, it was hubris that led us all to believe we could somehow give our precious snowmen carrot noses without incurring dangerous interest from local bunnies, and it has only been sheer good fortune thus far that has prevented the inevitable from happening. But our luck has run out. Our pride and our recklessness have caught up with us. Our snowmen—defenseless against the ravenous cottontails who lurk in the darkness, drooling with carnivorous rapacity at the very sight of an orange protuberance in the snow—are under attack.

Footage of this recent incident is not easy to stomach. A mother…


In an abysmal year, these cats showed us hope and resilience, and (in one case) climbed into a pair of pants

Photo: Master Poe Poe via Instagram

The cats, at least, did nothing wrong in 2020. In fact, they distinguished themselves, and we would be remiss if we did not take a moment to acknowledge them. These are the most important cats of this most difficult year. Let us celebrate them and sing their praises.

30. Pant-Leg Cats

If like so many of us you have often felt unequal to the challenges of this year, remember that we all put our pants on one leg at a time and that for at least one of us, that’s gonna result in two very scratchy surprises.

29. Whole Mouthfuls Cat

Each moment of joy is…


Serving up creamy, rich vegan desserts since the beginning of ‘vegan desserts,’ and there’s still nothing better

Ramekin of chocolate mousse on top of The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, Vegan Pie in the Sky, Brooks Headley’s Fancy Desserts
Ramekin of chocolate mousse on top of The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, Vegan Pie in the Sky, Brooks Headley’s Fancy Desserts
Photo: Alicia Kennedy

Blending silken tofu up in order to create a creamy dessert is one of those things that sounds like only a vegan could love. Tofu, in my dessert? Yes, tofu in everyone’s dessert! It works perfectly, seamlessly every time.

I have long maintained that this is the absolute best, most fool-proof egg replacement in creamy applications. It brings bounce and density, tastes like only what you flavor your mixture with, and it is both cheap and easy, while the end result is incredibly impressive. Silken tofu has historically been my favorite way to make pumpkin pie, but this year I…


A revealing look at the furry, miraculous goofballs we share our world with

A sweet looking dog with a goofy expression, tongue out, poses in front of a “guard dog on duty” sign
A sweet looking dog with a goofy expression, tongue out, poses in front of a “guard dog on duty” sign
This year’s winning photo, by Elke Vogelsang. All photos via Mars Petcare Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2020

Nature is full of wonders, and the splendor, variety, and majesty of the animal kingdom is a miracle that ought to inspire reverence in even the most cynical among us, but the fact is that some of these guys just didn’t get the memo. …


Virtual Serotonin

What a Babe!

4 people holding out cellphones in front of an illustrated pastel rainbow.
4 people holding out cellphones in front of an illustrated pastel rainbow.
Design: Summer Anne Burton

There is real contentment to be found in browsing Wikipedia — learning about resolutely antisocial animals; chortling at the solemnly literal List of Lists of Lists; or streaming a television series, phone in hand, scrolling through the cast’s filmography. History is usually recorded by the most powerful, and even with Wikipedia’s egalitarian ethos of gathering information, it’s not entirely trustworthy. But it’s a solid starting point, and I consult Wikipedia so often that its presence in my browser history is as good as a diary when the days merge into one — what on earth was I doing on Tuesday…

Tenderly

good living for every being

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