All posts by Ater Imber

Ater Imber became interested in writing fan fiction in 2013 after being talked into giving the Deviant Art website a chance. Ater began posting to the delight of Supernatural fans and continues to write new fan and non-fan fiction stories with regularity for an eager personal following. Ater also currently has four novellas available for purchase. 'First Try' is Aters’ debut, non-fan fiction novella, and is the newest released. It’s a collection of short stories Ater wrote during school after getting serious about becoming a writer, book-ended by the two ‘long’ first stories Ater ever wrote, published November, 2018. Ater’s third fan fiction novella, 'Holiday Treats', is about the holidays, forbidden love, and what can go wrong when the two collide, published in December 2016. Ater’s debut fan fiction novella, 'Don’t Get Caught', is a collection of short stories centered around a love theme, published in February 2016. Last, but certainly not least, Ater’s second fanfiction novella, 'Melting Hearts, Sunburns and Tanlines' is a collection of short stories with a main theme surrounding going on vacation and love, published in August, 2016. All three of Ater's fanfiction novellas are based on the T.V. series Supernatural. If you’d like to check out Ater’s books, you can do so here: http://aterimber.com/writing/books/ Ater Imber lives in Toronto, Canada.

Zero Waste Goals for 2021

This article was written 20.12.18, please excuse any reference to COVID that no longer applies.


Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a good holiday, despite not being able to see relatives in person. (Thank God for the internet, am I right?)

To kick off the new year, I thought I’d start with what zero waste goals I hope to achieve by the end of this year. I can’t remember if I made a post about it yet, but last year my main goal was to switch from disposable to reusable menstrual pads, and I’m happy to say, I succeeded!

It actually wasn’t as hard or gross as I originally thought, and if I haven’t posted it already, I promise I will make a dedicated post talking all about that transition.

Since I felt like that was my most wasteful thing, I was struggling to find what else would be a goal that would make a big (ish) difference by the end of the year. Then it finally hit me: I use a lot of paper towels. I’m kind of surprised I never noticed before, but I guess since I hadn’t really thought about it/it was just a ‘normal’ thing I did, I didn’t really pay much attention to it. And this is why we have a problem!

With that in mind, my next main goal for this year is to stop using paper towels. That seems like a crazy thing to say, but when you think about it, chopping down a tree that took years to grow just to be used in a product we only use 1 time? That’s crazy! (Same thoughts I’m having about toilet paper, but I think I’ll do better if I focus on changing 1 thing at a time, instead of trying to change everything all at once, so toilet paper switching will have to wait)

Since I started doing some research into zero waste living, I’ve discovered there are bamboo paper towels. These are better for the planet because bamboo re-grows a lot faster than trees do, so it’s not as devastating as (for example) cutting down a 40 year old tree, and then having to wait another 40 years for it to re-grow. Bamboo is a type of grass, so it grows a lot faster, which is great! Though switching to bamboo would still be producing waste, I’m just thinking of using them as a transition while I figure out what else I can use.

It sounds dumb, but it never occurred to me that most things I use paper towels for (wiping up spills) I can just use a sponge or a towel for. I’ve also seen reusable paper towels as well. Those look like they are just wash clothes snapped together into a roll, so I may actually attempt to make some homemade reusable paper towels, if it turns out that actually is all they are. I’ll of course continue to keep researching, so I can make the best decision possible, but right now reusable paper towels are looking like a great option. Not only will they eliminate the single use paper towels I use, but because they can be washed, I can throw them in with the reusable pads (which I’ve actually been feeling bad about, because I’ve had to wash them by themselves and while I set the machine to do a Small load, I still feel like it’s a ‘waste’)

If I begin succeeding with the paper towels, my next main thing I’d like to switch to reusable is Ziploc bags. I use them also a lot more than I originally thought. Since COVID started, I did start washing and re-using them, which is good, because I’m not using them as single use plastic. However, since my end goal is to be as zero waste as possible, I’d like to switch them to reusable silicone bags, or to use jars or something else to replace them.

Zero waste isn’t about going out and buying all new reusable stuff, and while I think it’s great and helpful there are a lot of reusable alternatives out there now, I don’t think it’s practical for someone to dish out all this money to buy reusables and then just throw out all the plastic stuff they own. When I say I’m going to transition, I literally mean it. I will use the plastic bags and paper towels I have left (which admittedly isn’t very many at this point – which I think is one of the few good things to come out of 2020) and then will start to look to things I already have before deciding to go out and buy new reusable things.

So there you go. My 2 big zero waste goals for 2021 is to reduce/stop using paper towels made out of trees, and to stop/reduce use of Ziploc bags.

Do you have any zero waste goals you’d like to achieve? Do you have any tips or tricks on how to transition away from using paper towels or Ziploc bags? Let me know in the comments!


Like this article? Check out more here!

Son of a Bitch! (#3 – Christmas Edition)

Started: 20.12.22

Finished: 20.12.29

Words: 459


“Son of a bitch!”

Sam bolted upright, reaching for his gun on the nightstand in the dark. He tore out of his bedroom, sweeping the bunker as he went, “Dean?”

“I’m in here!”

He approached the kitchen, mind racing as he heard his brother continue to swear, “… You okay?”

“Fan-freaking-tastic.”

Sam stopped in the doorway as he spotted his brother standing in front of the open oven door, baking tray laying on the floor, amongst scattered pieces of broken cookies. Sam blinked in surprise, tired brain trying to make sense of the scene as he tucked his gun into the back of his pants, “What uh… what are you doing?”

Dean made the short trip over to the sink, running cold water over his bright red hand, “Burnt my hand.”

Sam shook his head, coming down the few steps into the kitchen, “And you’re baking at 4am because…?”

“I was trying to surprise you.”

“Why?”

Dean shook his head, “After the year you’ve had, I… I just wanted to do something nice.”

Sam raised an eyebrow, “And you thought… baking was the best way to do that?”

The blonde gave his brother a pointed look as he turned the water off, shaking out his hand, “It is the holiday season.”

Sam scoffed, making his way over, to help pick up the broken cookies, “Yeah, but we aren’t exactly the celebrating types.”

Dean slammed his fist down on the counter, immediately regretting it as his knees buckled with the pain. He took in a sharp breath, momentarily closing his eyes as he let it out, “I just… I wanted to give you at least one good holiday memory. I mean seriously, it shouldn’t be that hard to-”

The blonde cut himself off as he felt his brother nearly slam himself against his chest, arms wrapping around his back, tightly. He opened his eyes and hugged his brother back, in spite of his surprise. Sam let go in the next instant, going back to picking up broken pieces of cookies, as if the hug didn’t happen. Dean stood there a moment, brows furrowing in confusion.

He made his way over to help his brother pick up the broken cookies, occasionally glancing at him as he helped, unsure of if he should say something. They continued in silence for a few minutes, before Dean couldn’t hold back anymore, “Sammy-”

“Don’t.”

He raised an eyebrow at his brothers’ tone but complied. Sam flicked his eyes up to the blonde’s face and sighed, running the hand that wasn’t piled with broken cookies through his hair, giving a sheepish shrug, “Sometimes you just need a hug, y’know?”

Dean nodded, unable to hide the smile that pulled at the corner of his mouth, I know.


Like this fic? Check out more FULL short stories here!

Bailey’s Almande Review

This product review was written 20.06.12, while COVID lock down restrictions were just beginning to ease. Please excuse any reference/joke that’s no longer relevant.


This is the last post of 2020!

As per last year, I will be taking the last half of December, and first half of January off from posting.

Posting will resume on January 15th, which will be the 1st Throw Away Fic of the new year!

I hope you all enjoy your holiday festivities, and get some much needed rest after what a crazy year this has been.

I’ll see you guys in the new year!


Now that we’ve made it to the end of the year, I thought it fitting to make the last product review a celebratory one. Because let’s be honest, 2020 was not what anyone expected, and we definitely deserve to have a (socially-distanced) party.

And what better way to say ‘party’ than to booze-it-up?

I’ve never had ‘real’ Baileys before, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this. Some of the Youtube reviews I saw said it just tasted like almond milk. I figured how bad could it be?

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Bailey's Almande - vegan booze, vegan alcohol, surprising vegan alcohol

Baileys Almond is 13% alcohol, which is way above my usual 5-7% Smirnoff Ice and Blackflys. I tried it by itself initially, to see if it really needed to be added to something else. Immediately, I tasted regular almond milk, but when I swallowed, I got that familiar burn-in-your-throat ‘this is alcohol’ taste. It was a lot stronger than what I was expecting.

To actually drink it, I mixed it 2 shots of it into a regular cup (500ml) of Silk Chocolate Almond, and after mixing it with the drink, that burning alcohol taste completely disappeared. It just tasted like a regular glass of Silk.

Buzz wise, it was pretty good but it did end up giving me a headache. (Maybe I just drank it too fast/have a low tolerance?)

All in all, I would say that if you like almond milk, you’ll definitely enjoy it, and if you need a boozy vegan creamer, I think this would work pretty well.

They don’t make small bottles of it, though, which kind of sucks, because the 750ml bottle is $33, so if you don’t end up liking it, you’ll be stuck with a lot.

Or at least, you’ll have to throw another party so you’re not stuck with it.


Like this review? Check out more here!

No Place I’d Rather Be

Reminder: This is 2020’s last fic. I’ll be taking the last half of December and first half of January off from posting. I should be back January 15th with the first fic of the new year.


Written: 19.12.09

Words: 1,395

DeanxReader

Written for the SPN Amino apps’ Secret Santa 2019. I got Not Natural – The Parody, who’s favourite characters are Dean and Charlie. Their bio said they were a Dean girl, hence the xReader part. I posted this in the app last year, and apparently forgot to post it here.

Enjoy!


Oh, no-no-no-no! You spin around, eyes desperately sweeping over the boxes of Christmas decorations that litter the floor. I can’t believe I can’t find it… you drop to your knees and begin digging through the nearest box, it has to be here… he’s gonna kill me!

The turning lock of the front door made your head whip up like a dog, and you feel your heart leap out of your chest as the blonde walks through the door.

He shakes the snow from his hair and toes off his shoes, before stopping, eyes glancing to the half-decorated tree behind you, thousand-watt smile splitting his face, “What’s this?”

You stand quickly, nearly knocking the box of decorations over, fidgeting with your sleeves, “I-I thought you were going to be working all day.”

“Eh,” he waves a dismissive hand as he makes his way over, “Tony slipped a little something extra into Boss-Mans’  coffee, he should be out till tomorrow.” He notes the look on your face and raises an eyebrow, “If you don’t want to spend Christmas Eve with me, I can-”

“No! No, I do,” you force a smile and take a step closer, he’s so going to kill me, “I just wanted to finish before you got back, that’s all.”

“Oh, well,” he wraps his arms around you, and pulls you against him, winking, “Now I can help.”

 

 

“You…” the blonde closes his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose, “You lost it?”

“No! Of course not!” Your hands are shaking and you’re doing your best to hold back tears, “I distinctly remember putting it in one of the decoration boxes last here. I just…” you sigh, hanging your head, “I can’t remember which box.”

“Oh well,” he drops his hand and shrugs, giving you an incredulous look, “That’s just great.” He stomps a few feet away from the tree, “the one ornament I have that actually means something to me, and you can’t find it. That’s… that’s awesome.” He snatches his coat and makes his way to the front door.

You feel your own rage begin to rise, and stomp a few feet toward the door, crossing your arms over your chest, “It’s not like I lost it on purpose.”

Dean shakes his head, wrenching the front door open, “I can’t deal with this right now.”

Your jaw drops as he disappeared, slamming the door shut behind him. What the… Fuck! You run a hand through your hair and take a deep breath. Okay, you shake your head, swiping at your eyes, spinning back around to face the mess behind you, back to problem number one.

 

 

“What are you doing here?”

Dean scoffs, easing himself down onto the bar stool, reaching for the beer bottle, “Save the lecture.”

“Hey,” Charlie held her hands up in mock surrender, “I was just curious.” She jumps up on the stool next to him, “Although, now that you bring it up…” she gives him a crooked smile.

He lets out a heavy sigh, “She lost Moms’ ornament.”

“So?”

He turns, “What do you mean ‘so’? It was Moms’ ornament!”

She raises an eyebrow at him, “Did she lose it on purpose?”

“Well, no, but still, I-”

She shrugs, “Then it doesn’t matter. Yeah it sucks, but are you really gonna let that ruin your holiday?”

He shakes his head and takes another swig, “You don’t understand…”

“Maybe.” She began twirling around on her stool, “But if that’s the worst thing to happen to you this year?” She shrugs again, “I’d say that puts it in your Top 10 Best.”

He gives her a sideways glance, “I hate you.”

She gives him a cheeky smile, “I know.” She bumps his arm, nodding toward the door, “Now go save your Christmas.”

 

 

You take a step back to admire the freshly decorated tree, giant smile splitting your face, damn, I’m good. He’ll love it! Your face falls as the knot reforms in your stomach, stop that. He will love it. You chew your lip as the cloud of worry begins to creep back in.

“Wow.”

You jump and turn around, cheeks burning as you see the blonde standing in the hall, “I-I didn’t-” you cut herself off, shaking your head, “You really like it?”

“’Course,” he flashes a small smile as he comes closer, “How could I not when it was made by my favourite girl?”

You’re unable to ignore the pang in your heart at the statement, “I’m your favourite girl now? Huh.” You turn back to the tree, crossing your arms.

You hear him take a few steps closer, but don’t bother turning, “You’ve always been my favourite girl.”

You feel tears well up in your eyes as he places his hand on your shoulder, and need to use all your strength to break out from under it, heading toward the kitchen, “Could’ve fooled me.”

“C’mon. That’s not fair.” He follows you in, placing his hands on the counter, “You know I’m not good at this.”

You scoff, “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out you don’t accuse your girlfriend of purposefully sabotaging your happiness.”

“Wow, hey,” he holds his hands up in mock surrender, “I never said that.”

You spin away from the oven to give him a look, “You might as well have. The face you made when I told you I couldn’t find it?” You close your eyes for a moment, image flashing through your mind, no longer able to hold back your tears, “God, Dean you looked at me like I killed her!”

His eyes went wide and his jaw dropped, “Wha-? I-I… No, I…”

“You can’t look at me with that much hate and then just waltz back in here like everything’s fine!” You turn back to the stove, swiping at your eyes, “That’s not how it works.”

You hear him take a deep breath, before you feel his hands on your shoulders, “I didn’t… I could never… I’m sorry.” He pressed a kiss into the top of your head, “I shouldn’t of overreacted.”

You sniff loudly and swipe at your eyes, willing yourself to stop crying as you feel his arms slide down to wrap around your waist, chin resting on the top of your head, “I-I’m sorry.”

“No, hey,” he spins you around, lifting your chin so you’re looking into his eyes, “It was just an ornament.”

You sniff loudly again before digging your hand into your pocket, pulling out the carefully folded picture and placing it in his hand. He gives you a quizzical look but opens it, revealing the faded family photo that had been in the ornament, “I…” you take a steadying breath, “I found it at the bottom of one of the boxes. The bulb was shattered, but I thought if we got some ribbon, we could put her at the top of the tree.”

He lifted watery eyes to you, smile on his face showing his gratitude.

You give him a small smile of your own, before sniffing the air, oh no! You push him back a few steps, grabbing the oven mitts before wrenching the oven door open, smoke billowing out, “No-no-no-no!” You reach through the smoke and pull out the burnt pie. “Shit!”

He peers over your shoulder and smiles at the black rock, “My favourite.”

You roll your eyes as you take the oven mitts off, “Please, don’t.”

“What? I’m serious!” At your pointed look, he sighed, before grabbing a fork  and digging into the middle, plunging a giant forkful of burnt pie into his mouth. He squinted his eye as he crunched through it, swallowing before flashing you a blackened toothy grin, “Yummy.”

“Yeah, I bet it tastes awesome now that you’ve burnt your taste buds.”

He shrugs at you before diving back in, unflinchingly putting another forkful in his mouth.

You can’t help but smile as you watch him continue eating, “You really don’t have to eat it. It’s fine.”

“I know,” he smiled at you around the black bits, “It really is my favourite.”

“Somehow I doubt that.”

“No, really.” He took another mouthful, “this is great.”

You shake your head as you watch him continue to devour the pie, “Okay, fine, I’ll bite: why is burnt pie your favourite?”

He shrugs, barely looking up from the ruined dessert, “It’s how Mom used to make them.”


While you’re waiting for new fics to arrive, why don’t you check out my Patreon page? You’ll get access to FULL versions of ALL of the fics from this year, as well as all the fics from PREVIOUS years, AND all the NEW fics I’ve yet to write – for JUST $10/month!

Higher Tier Patrons have other goodies, too – like getting to vote in Patron exclusive polls to help me decide what kinds of fics to post.

Surprising Vegan Cookies

Important Note: Aside from Decembers’ product review, and the End of Year post, this is the last article for 2020!

I’m going to be taking the last half of December, and the first half of January off, so I will be back with a short story Jan. 15th, meaning the first post will go up the following Monday. (Jan. 17th)

Keep an eye on my social media for the announcement or if anything changes. (Or if you just want to say ‘hey’)


This article was written 20.06.23, when COVID-19 lock down restrictions were just beginning to ease in Toronto/Canada. Please excuse any joke, comment, etc. that is no longer applicable.


With the end of the year fast approaching, and the holidays coming up, I figured now would be the perfect time to do the next Surprising Vegan post.

Whether you’re hosting a circle-of-10 approved party, or want to eat a box while you sit alone watching holiday movies, the below list of surprising vegan cookies – along with the candy and chocolate collages – you now have the snack trifecta of perfect vegan approved stocking stuffers.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Surprising Vegan Series - Surprising Vegan Cookies - vegan food, vegan snacks, cookies, Oreos, Dad's cookies, Pirate cookies, Fudgee-Os, Maple Cookies, Mr. Christie Cookies, food blogger

Starting from the top left corner, and going clockwise:

  •  Original Oreo
  • Golden Oreo
  • Birthday Cake Oreo (Red 40, Yellow 5+6, Blue 1)
  • Chocolate Creme Oreo
  • Dark Chocolate Oreo
  • Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie Oreo
  • Mint Oreo (Yellow 5, Blue 1)
  • Double Stuffed Original Oreo
  • Double Stuffed Golden Oreo
  • Original Thins Oreo
  • Golden Thins Oreo
  • Oreo Mini Originals
  • Dad’s Original Oatmeal
  • Dad’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
  • Dad’s Oatmeal Raisin
  • Dad’s Chocolatey Coating Oatmeal
  • Pirate Cookies
  • Fudgee-O Original
  • Christie Maple Leaf Cookies 

I was actually surprised that not more of the Oreo flavours used food dyes. This also isn’t a complete Oreo vegan-friendly list. There were some flavours I found that were only available in the US, and while they technically aren’t vegan in the US (due to bone char being used in sugar processing),  I was also (only midly) surprised that some of the more… fun flavours – like Mega Stuffed and Heads or Tails – were US only.

As always, the following are based on the Canadian ingredients I could find. I was also quite disappointed to learn that Mondelez International owned the Dad’s and Oreo brands, which made finding the ingredients much harder than it needed to be. I ended up having to e-mail them, only to get a generic ‘check the package’ answer.

The way their websites are set up is just not user friendly. Every time I do one of these collages and I see that they’re the parent company of a brand, I just know it’s going to be a headache to deal with. You’d think if they didn’t want to take the time to answer e-mails with ingredient questions, they would put it in part of their FAQ or make it readily available on their website, but alas…

Anyway, due to their less-than-helpful response, I had to rely on grocery store ingredients for the above, instead of the actual companies ingredients. This means that the ingredients I found may be wrong, or may change, and I recommend checking the ingredients each time you buy a product, along with checking for your specific country.


Like this article? Check out the rest of the series here!

You Look Good (In My Shirt)

Originally for an art trade, for NerdyDork (Tumblr), who asked for: a DeanxReader x-mas fic.
Started/Requested: 19.12.08
Finished: 20.06.25
Words: 2,414
DeanxReader, Christmas Fic

I can’t believe they didn’t have it, you huff in annoyance and adjust your grip on the shopping bags, blowing hair out of your eyes. I don’t even know what other store might have it!

You transfer all your shopping bags to one hand, carefully digging your phone out of your pocket, I’m running out of time. You sigh in disappointment at the blinking low battery in the top right corner, I told him I wouldn’t take too long…

You stop at the stairs leading down to the subway, chewing your lip, okay, I’ll go check two more stores. And if they don’t have it? You begin down the steps, then he’s getting coal.

 

 

“Thank God,” Dean took a few steps back, collapsing onto the couch as he admired the freshly decorated tree.

“Told you we’d finish in time,” Sam placed the lid on the box of decorations.

“We wouldn’t of if she got back on time,” Dean glanced up to the clock on the wall, “she should’ve been back by now.”

“Maybe she’s still shopping?”

The blonde picked his phone up from the table, frowning at the lack of messages, “She would’ve told me.”

Sam made his way over to sit beside his brother, “Maybe her phone died?”

“Yeah, maybe…” the blonde sat up, boulder of worry beginning to grow.

The giant noted the movement, “Hey, don’t go there.” He clapped him on the shoulder, “She’ll be back soon.”

The blonde settled back onto the couch, keeping one eye on the clock, I hope so.

 

 

Am I blind? You spin around, wild eyes scanning the shelves, the sales rep said it would be right here. You begin reading all the tags on the shelf, maybe they’re just sold out? restlessly switching the shopping bags to your other hand.

You huff in annoyance as none of the tags are what you’re looking for, where else could this stupid thing possibly be? This was becoming less and less about finding the perfect present, and now was closer to a vendetta. I can’t go back with nothing for him. You internally groan, beginning to walk back down the aisle, maybe I missed it? They do rearrange the stores at this time of year.

You hurry down the other shelves, eyes barely registering the blur of shapes and colours, c’mon, c’mon… you huff again as you reach the first aisle, oh, well that’s just great. You shift your weight to your opposite foot, why would he lie to me about it being here? A sinking feeling comes over you then, as you feel yourself beginning to lose hope, I really don’t want to go back without it.

You close your eyes momentarily, taking a deep breath, okay, girl, think: where else could it be? It’s not like it’s holy oil, I know you can get it at a regular store. You re-open your eyes, the store name hitting you like a bolt of lightening, of course! I’m so dumb!

You hurry out of the store, ignoring the confused stares of the employees, resolve strengthening, he’s gonna flip.

 

 

“Okay, now can I worry?”

Sam watches as his brother paces the living room floor, “Dean, I’m sure she’s-”

“No!” He stops, pointing an accusatory finger at him, “No more of this ‘she’s fine’ crap! She was supposed to be here three hours ago!”

Sam sighs, holding his hands up in mock surrender, “I’m sorry, okay? I just figured-”

“It doesn’t matter.” Dean turns on his heel, going over to the door, pulling his jacket on, “I’m going after her.”

“Whoa, dude.” Sam followed, “Relax. Let’s take a minute and think about this logically.”

“Okay, sure,” he toes on his boots, “She wouldn’t just not come home!” He walks the few steps over, hand on the knob, “So – logically – I’m gonna get to the bottom of it.”

 

 

Finally, you feel as though a weight has been lifted from your shoulders as you pick the God-forsaken present off the shelf, snaking your way back toward the checkout line, I’m never shopping on Christmas Eve again.

Your eyes go wide as you walk down one aisle, line of people halfway down it, oh come on! It wasn’t this busy when I walked in! You walk out to the end of the aisle, scanning the rows of closed checkouts, really? Not even the express is open? You hang your head and walk back to the end of the line, noting most people ahead of you had overflowing carts. Should I even try? You chew your lip before shaking your head, no, no. I decided to go shopping tonight, I deserve this.

You join the end of the line and sigh, he better enjoy this.

 

 

“Yeah, she was here.”

Thank God, “Great,” Dean breathed out a sigh of relief, “where did she go?”

The cashier gave him a once over, suspicion evident on his face.

Dean sucked his teeth, pulling the picture of them out of his wallet, “I’m her boyfriend.”

He still didn’t look convinced, why does she have to look so young, anyway? “I’m not sure, sorry.”

“Great, that’s… great.” Dean breathed out a heavy sigh, leaning his arms against the counter, giving him a pointed look, “You’re sure you don’t know? Did she say anything at all?” His eyes glanced to the door, “Did you at least see which way she turned down the street?”

The cashier shook his head, “Sorry, man.”

Dean resisted the urge to punch the counter, giving the cashier a tight smile before exiting the store, opting instead to punch the brick wall, “Damn it!” His heart quickened as he checked the time on his phone, and his sinking feeling grew as he starred out into the empty street, where are you?

 

 

“I’m back!” You burst through the door, dropping the shopping bags, smile sliding off your face as you don’t see your lover. “Dean?”

“Thank God!” Sam came rushing out of the living room, eyes wild, “where have you been?”

“… Shopping,” You toe off your shoes and give him a smile as he reaches for some of the bags, leading the way into the house, “Where’s Dean?”

“He went looking for you.”

“What?” You chuckle as you drop the bags, sliding out of your coat, “I know I was a little late, but-”

Sam gave you an exasperated look, “A little? Try three hours!”

Your jaw dropped, “What?” Your eyes shoot to the clock on the wall, showing it was passed midnight. Oh my God…

“He wouldn’t of been so worried if you had y’know called or something. He left you like, twenty messages.”

Oh no-no-no-no! You rush over to the couch, plunging the charger into your phone, impatiently waiting for it to turn on, “My phone died.”

Sam let out a triumphant chuckle, shaking his head, “I knew it!”

Your heart begins to sink as the screen flashes on, notifications popping up in a steady stream. You shake your head and punch in his number, bringing the phone to your ear, shaking your head, “I can’t believe this.”

You’ve reached Dean. Leave a message.”

Damn it, “Lover Bear to Batman,” you do your best to keep your voice calm, “Big Brown said you went solo? I’m back at base, so don’t unleash the cavalry. Give me a holler.” You hang up and collapse on the couch, closing your eyes, God I hope he doesn’t wait too long to check his messages.

“Big Brown?”

You crack an eye open to look at the giant, “Yeah…?”

He shook his head, “You couldn’t of picked a code name that doesn’t make me sound like a turd?”

You shrug, “You’re tall and have brown hair.” You stretch before getting up, heading for the box of wrapping paper, “Besides, Dean picked the names. You really think I enjoy referring to myself as Lover Bear?”

 

 

Dean scrubs a hand down his face, come on, where did you go? He lets out a heavy sigh as he continues down the sidewalk, why would you even be out this late? He pulls his jacket tighter around his body as a cold gust of wind blows by, worry deepening, of course this had to happen the week when Baby’s in the shop… He shakes his head at himself as he continues down the street, picking up speed as the wind picks up.

I never should’ve let you go shopping alone, He hasn’t seen another person on the sidewalk for about twenty minutes, which is doing nothing but making him lose his shit. He shakes his head again, what was I thinking? Now she’s missing on Christmas Eve. If anything happens to her, I swear to Chuck-

Dean stops as he feels his phone vibrate. Eagerly reaching into his pocket he suddenly realizes he can’t feel his fingers. Oh, come on! He rubs them, blowing breath into them, ends of fingers beginning to tingle as he shoves his hand into his pocket. Come on, come on… He pulls the phone out with the two fingers that have feeling, and feels triumphant as it lifts out of his pocket.

In the next instant, it’s caught on the lip of his pocket and goes crashing to the sidewalk, shit-shit-shit.

He sighs as he bends down, nearly frozen legs protesting as he reaches for it, letting out a heavy sigh as he sees the phone is now broken. He straightens back up, holding down the power button, half hoping to see the screen flash to life.

Well that’s just great… he scrubs a hand down his face as the screen remains black, doing a quick sweep of the street, I can’t keep going without a phone. He groans as he shoves the useless thing back in his pocket, now I have to drive all the way back… maybe I should pick it back up in the morning? He turns and begins walking back the way he came, shaking his head at himself, yeah, right. Like I’m gonna leave her out here all alone, at night… in the freezing cold. He pulls his jacket tighter around himself as the wind picks up again, get it together, Winchester!

 

 

“Please, just calm down.”

“Calm down?” You scoff as you struggle to pull on your boots, “How do you expect me to calm down? He’s still out there and he’s not answering!” You throw your scarf around your neck and take a step toward the door the giant is blocking.

“I know,” he has his hands out, eyes pleading, “But you leaving again and getting lost isn’t going to do anything. What if he comes back while you’re out, and then he decides to go looking for you, again?”

“B-but I-” You cut yourself off as his words sink in, crossing your arms over your chest, “You’re too logical, y’know.”

Sam cracks a smile and lowers his hands, “I know.” He moves away from the door as you begin sliding yourself out of your coat, “He’ll be back, soon. I promise.”

“I just…” you feel the pit growing in your stomach as you quick your boots back off, “I’m worried. If something were to happen to him because of me, I couldn’t-”

“Pfft, please.”

The voice from behind you gets you to turn, and you bolt to him, nearly knocking the blonde over, giant smile on your face, “Dean!”

“Whoa!” He catches you easily, and spins you around in a circle to keep from falling over.

“Where the hell have you been?” You back out of the hug, but slide your hand into his, “Oh my God, you’re freezing!”

“Yeah, well,” he allows you to pull him into the house, nearly tripping as he kicks off his boots, “I had to find you. Why didn’t you tell me you were here?”

You let out an exasperated laugh, “My phone died, and then I got back and you weren’t here. I left you a message after I got back. But that was still a while ago.” You all but push him down onto the couch, climbing into his lap, beginning to rub the cold from his arms, “Didn’t you get my message?”

Dean lets out a chuckle, eyes crinkling as he pulls his phone from his pocket, showing you the shattered screen, “It broke.”

You shake your head and nuzzle your head into his neck, “I’m just glad you’re back.”

Sam turns expectant eyes to the two of you, “If only you had someone to tell you everything would work out…” He pretended to tap his chin in though, “Oh, wait a minute… didn’t- yes, I think so – didn’t I say that?”

You share a look with Dean, mischievous smile on your face, before he reaches over, tossing a pillow at the giant, “Shut up, Sammy.”

He catches it easily, before raising an eyebrow, “Sooo…” He looks between the two of you, “do you want to do the presents now or…?”

Dean chuckles, shaking his head, “I knew you didn’t stay just to see if she was okay.”

“Wha-?” Sam scoffed, “Of course I did!” He turned half-panicked eyes to you, “I’m glad you’re okay, really, I am.” He turned back to his brother, throwing the pillow back, “But we do have a tradition, you know.”

You snuggle yourself closer to the blondes’ chest, rubbing the arm you can’t reach with your free hand, “Well it’s gonna take a while to defrost him,” you flick your eyes up to the clock, “And it is pretty late. Maybe we should just do it tomorrow?”

“Welp, you heard the lady,” Dean wraps his freezing arms around you, sly smile on his face as he stands up from the couch, raising an eyebrow at his brother as he starts toward the stairs – you still in his arms, “I don’t know if you want to stick around for how I plan on warming up, but you’re welcome to sleep on the couch.”

Bitch Face Number Four, with a small chuckle, as Sam starts toward the door, “No! No, I’m good.” He shrugs his jacket on, waving as he opens the door, “I’ll come back tomorrow.”

You shake your head, unable to keep your smile off your face, as he starts up the stairs, “You didn’t have to kick him out, y’know.”

“Sure I did,” He reaches the top and brings you into the bedroom, kicking the door closed behind him, “I gotta give you your real present first.”


Like this fic? Check out more FULL Supernatural fanfics here!

Gardein Chick’N Scallopini Review

I don’t know what a ‘scallopini’ is supposed to be, honestly I think a better name would’ve been a ‘cutlet’ (like their breaded turk’y cutlets) so this review may not be the most accurate.

Call that a disclaimer or warning, whatever floats your boat, but yeah. If I miss something that has to do with it being called a scallopini I apologize in advanced.

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I want to start this review off by saying there’s only four that comes in a bag, similar to the Chick’N Burgers.

Also similar to the Chick’N Burgers and nuggets (and tenders) is the flavour of the chick’n minus the breading. They’re also similar in size to the cutlets which I like. They’re not too small or too big. They’re roughly the size of a chicken breast (I think) albeit they’re not nearly as thick as a non-vegan breast. They’re actually about the size of my palm, which is about 3in x 3in. (Yes, I did just measure that)

They’re a good texture too. They’re not too squishy like some tofu nuggets I’ve had, they have a good bite to them, and you have to put some pressure to the knife if you want to cut them.

The first way I tried one was just pan fried (no oil) and I topped it with some Daiya shreds and put it on a sandwich.

My dad even tried a piece and said he liked it!

Taste-wise there’s not really anything new – if you like their other chick’n products, you’ll probably like this too. Also, the texture is pretty much the same as all their other chicken products. It’s that firm-soft texture that uncooked meat has. (If you remember that)

I think the best way to cook these is in a pan. I think the instructions on the back say to cook them in the oven, but that just takes way too long. Why would I put them in the oven and wait 20 minutes, when I could pan fry and have them done in 10? Also, if it’s a tad under-cooked, it’s still fine, because it’s not actually raw meat, so you don’t need to worry about getting sick. (I’m not a doctor, so don’t quote me on that)

One of the things I’ve actually noticed since going vegan is that most of the premade stuff takes so much less time to cook, it’s insane! That’s definitely another bonus of these, and a lot of the other Gardein products, too.

All in all, these are pretty much their Chick’N burgers, if they were naked instead of being breaded. I like them a lot, and similar to the Chick’N Burgers, I wish they put more than 4 in one bag!


Like this review? Check out more here!

Vegan Cheese Alternatives

Disclaimer:

This article contains sensitive/graphic (ish) images depicting what happens to cows in the dairy industry for a process called articifical insemination. Please continue with caution and skip over the pictures if needed.


Ah, cheese.

What can I say about cheese?

There are so many different flavours, aromas and ways of making cheese out there… so why would you choose to eat the cruel cheese?

In case you don’t know, to make cheese, you need milk. And milk comes from cows. But, cows only produce milk only when pregnant, much like humans. They don’t ‘need’ to be milked.

This means that in order to get the milk from a cow, the cow first needs to be pregnant. And let me tell you, if you think farmers just wait for the cows to go get it on, you are sorely mistaken. To keep up with demand (which, I don’t really understand because from my memory milk didn’t even taste good), farmers’ need to artificially inseminate the cow, which is a fancy way of saying they shove their arm up it’s ass and shoot semen into the cows cervix with a giant needle looking thing.

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Seriously, who in their right mind would a) think this is a good idea and b) want to continue to fund this? I mean look at that! You see why this is messed up, right?

Anyway, after they do that, they then steal the baby, and either do the same thing to the baby if it’s a female, or they cart off the male to get butchered and if you’ve ever wondered what veal is, well now you know.

To turn milk into the actual cheese that you eat, they add rennet, which is an enzyme that curdles the milk. Yes, you read that correctly, the milk is curdled to make cheese, because cheese is a mold. Check out more on the whole factory process of milk being turned into cheese here.

This also isn’t even mentioning the fact that cheese is addictive. One of the most common things people who want to go vegan struggle with giving up is cheese, and that’s for good reason! Not only is cheese more crave-able because it’s high in fat, but it’s also addictive because of the high concentration of casein. (A milk protein) When casein is digested, it becomes casomorphin, which is a type of opioid. And I think we all know how that affects the brain.

With that said, you don’t have to fear! You can make cheese out of a lot of different things, not just out of cows’ milk! You can not only use other animal milks (like goat or buffalo), but you can also use tofu or different kinds of nuts. Which brings us to the vegan alternatives for cheese:

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In case you don’t know, here are the brands/kinds of cheese in the collage, listed starting in the top left-hand corner, and moving clockwise:

  • Daiya Medium Cheddar Style Block
  • Daiya Jalapeno Havarti Style Block
  • Daiya Smoked Gouda Style Block
  • Daiya Provolone Style Slices
  • Daiya Swiss Style Slices
  • Earth Island* Mozzarella Style Slices
  • Earth Island Garden Herb Style Slices
  • Earth Island Pepper Jack Style Slices
  • Nuts for Cheese Un-Brie-lievable Wedge
  • Nuts for Cheese Super Blue Wedge
  • Nuts for Cheese Smoky Artichoke and Herb Wedge
  • Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge
  • Violife Prosociano Wedge
  • Chao Tomato Cayenne Slices
  • Chao Creamy Original Slices
  • Miyoko’s Double Classic Chive Cheese Wheel
  • Miyoko’s Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Cheese Wheel

As you can see, there are lots of different types of cheeses out there. These aren’t even all the cheeses these brands make. I tried to showcase some of the different options available, which are tofu, cashew and potato. (Yes, potato!)

I recommend checking out these brands, if you’d like to dip your toes in and see what’s out there, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try making your own cheese at home!

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(This is a picture of my attempt at homemade cashew cheese. While it didn’t turn out quite as hard as I expected, it still tasted good, and was fun to do!)

Quitting dairy cheese may be hard if you find yourself addicted, but begin by replacing it with some of these alternatives, and in the blink of an eye, you won’t even remember not being able to not eat it.

*Earth Island is called Follow Your Heart in the US.


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(Artificial Insemination photo from here)

Human Nature

Written: 20.06.14

Words: 445

Crobby


Bobby startled awake at the crash that came from the kitchen. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he cautiously got up from his desk, the boys shouldn’t be back yet.

He grabbed the Colt off the edge of the desk as he approached, taking aim as the kitchen door opened.

“Wait!” Crowley held his hands up in mock surrender, “It’s just me.”

“Jesus!” Bobby let out a breath as he saw it was the demon, tucking the gun into the back of his pants, “How the hell do you keep getting in here?”

“Let’s just say some of your warding isn’t as up-to-date as you think,” Crowley smiled, taking a sip from the drink in his hand.

Bobby took the drink and made his way back over to the desk, “Thanks for the tip.”

“Is that any way to treat an old friend?”

Bobby shot a look at the demon, “Friends usually don’t have to break in.”

“Please,” Crowley waved a dismissive hand, “Breaking in would actually require effort.”

“You said you were here why again?”

“Can’t I come by just to chat?” At the disbelieving look on the hunters’ face, the demon sighed, “Fine.” He took a few steps toward the desk, “I was hoping to get your help with something.”

“No.”

Crowley let out an exasperated sigh, “You don’t even know what I’m going to ask!”

“Yeah, well, last time you needed my help, I ended up losing my soul,” Bobby shot him a look as he took a seat at his desk, “So excuse me if I’m not exactly jumping at the chance to relive that.”

Crowley took a seat on the edge of the desk, “I gave it back, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, after I had to dig up your bones.”

“Semantics.” He waved a dismissive hand, “The important thing now is that you have it.”

Bobby gave the demon another look as he took the Colt out of his pants, placing it down on the desk, “You better get to your point if you don’t want another hole in one of your suits.”

Crowley shook his head, “Must you always be so… you about everything? I mean, honestly…”

Bobby gave the demon a once over as he let his voice trail off before sighing, taking his ball cap off to run a hand through his hair, “Listen, Princess, I don’t got all day. So why don’t you make yourself useful and wait for me upstairs?”

Crowley’s jaw dropped at the hunters’ suggestion. He open and closed his mouth a few times in stunned silence, before a wicked smile split his face as he eagerly hopped off the desk, “Happily.”


Like this fic? Check out more FULL stories here!

Blood Drips (PHSH Effect #13)

A quick disclaimer:

While this tutorial isn’t too realistic (we’re not adding this effect to a person or animal), I still want to say that if seeing blood makes you nauseous, faint or is in any way triggering for you, please skip this tutorial, or continue with caution.

The purpose of these tutorials is to be helpful, not to negatively affect a persons’ health or cause anyone any harm.


This is the last PHSH tutorial for 2020, so please feel free to check out the other tutorials while you wait for the next one, which will be coming some time next year.

Keep an eye on my Twitter account for posting updates and anouncements!


Since we’re in October now, I thought what better PHSH effect to teach you then to add blood drips to an image?

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It also just so happened to work out that this is the 13th tutorial – it’s like it was meant to be!

As with most of these other tutorials, it isn’t actually that hard, once you know how to do it. There’s just a few very precise steps you need to follow. And, as always, practice makes perfect, so the more times you do it, the better you’ll get!

Let’s get into it.

Step 1:

This will either work on text or an image, but for the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to stick with a plain text layer. The technique is the same whether you’re doing a basic picture or something more complicated, so it’s best to start simple, and work your way up.

Starting with Step 1, which is opening a new document, and adding some type/a word to a layer. To keep with today’s theme, I’m just going to type Halloween. The colour doesn’t matter, but it may look more realistic to use a closer-to-blood colour.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Plain Halloween Text - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Step 2:

Using your brush tool (and a shade of red), hold down SHIFT and make vertical lines coming out of the ends of the words. (Holding down SHIFT will make the lines perfectly straight) You’ll also want to vary the length of the lines and the size of the brush you use, so it looks more realistic.

Tip: Before you use the brush tool on your Type Layer, you may get a dialogue box that says something like ‘you must rasterize this layer before proceeding, and it will no longer be editable as a Type Layer’. Just click ‘Okay’. This just means you can’t use the type tool to edit the layer anymore, but that’s okay. If you mess up you can always delete this layer and make a new Type layer.

Or if you like, you can paint the lines/drips in a new blank layer, so you don’t mess up the text.

Example:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - All the Same Sized Lines - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Compared to:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Varying Length and Size - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

See the difference? The varied length and size already is starting to look like blood!

Step 3:

Now that you have your lines, we’re gonna go up to Filter – Liquify.

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You may get a dialogue box that says something like ‘Liquify supports hardware acceleration to improve performance. Verify that ‘Use Graphics Processor’ is enabled in Performance Preferences.’ Just click okay, and then once it opens, set the following values in the Tool Options panel on the right hand side:

Brush Size: 40

Brush Density: 25

Brush Pressure: 48

Brush Rate: 28

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Liquify Brush Settings - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

The lines you made may show up by themselves in the Liquify panel, this is okay! It’s just because I painted them in a different layer than the Type Layer, just in case I needed to change something.

This technique will work whether they’re attached to the word or not.

Step 4:

Now that you’ve set the Tool Options, select the Pucker tool from the left side menu, and drag it down the line you made, stopping just short of the end. Do this for all the lines you made. To do this step, we don’t need to keep the lines perfectly straight, because blood doesn’t drip in a perfectly straight line. So, try your best to make the lines look a bit ‘wiggly’ or just non-straight.

You may also have to hold the brush an extra second above the bottom, just so this part is the most puckered. (You can also change the Brush Size if needed)

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Pucker Line 1 - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Pucker All Lines - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Step 5:

Now to make the actual blood droplets, use the Bloat Tool (directly underneath the Pucker Tool) and hold on the ends (or wherever you want blood drops) until you get the desired blood drop size.

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AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Bloat 1 Line - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Repeat on all the lines, and then once you’re done, click Okay. If you need to, you can always re-pucker parts of the lines, or if you accidentally puckered part of the line too much, you can use the Bloat Tool to make it more even.

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Step 6:

This is looking pretty good, but they’re still not quite as realistic as they could be. So now, we’re just going to add a simple Drop Shadow to the layer.

If you need help in doing this, head back on over to my Drop Shadow tutorial.

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Be sure to un-check the box marked Use Global Light, and then play with the Distance, Spread and Size until it looks right for your document. You can also change the Opacity to 100%, and the shadow Colour by clicking on the colour square, and selecting a new colour.

I’m going to make the new colour a darker shade of red, instead of pure black.

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Once you’re happy with how the drop shadow looks, click Okay.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Drop Shadow Done - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

If you did the blood drips on a separate layer like I did, then you will also have to add a Drop Shadow to the word Halloween (or whatever word you typed), because as you can see right now, it looks a bit odd to have a drop shadow on the blood, and not on the word.

These next few steps are optional, but I feel it helps take things a step further, and makes the effect look better. However, this completely depends on what you’re adding blood drips to, so it may not be needed. This is why I always suggest playing around with the effects, so you find what works best for you. That said, this is a Halloween themed tutorial, so I think the extra steps below help add that extra ‘creepy’ vibe.

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Step 7:

We’re going to go back into the Blending Options, and this time we’re going to click Bevel and Emboss.

Set the Levels to the settings below:

Inner Bevel

Technique: Smooth

Depth: 590

Up

Size: 10

Soften: 7

Shading:

Angle: 120, 30

Highlight Mode: Hard Light, Opacity: 63

Shadow Mode: Overlay, Opacity: 80

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Bevel and Emboss - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Bevel and Emboss Halloween - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

Then set the Contour to the below:

Gaussian (Round one that looks like a hill)

Range: 0

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Step 8:

And finally, we’re going to add a Gradient Overlay, with the below settings:

Soft Light

Opacity: 24

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And add it to the Type layer as well:

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Gradient Overlay Halloween - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

And to add just that little extra ‘oomph’ to the image, I’m going to change the background colour to black, so the red colour really pops.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Black Background - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

As always, don’t forget to save your work! (Both as a PHSH file, and as a JPEG/PNG)

Then you can use the image to show your friends, and keeping the photoshop file is always a must, just in case you forget how some of the steps, or if the picture file somehow gets corrupt, or you need to quickly go back and change something.

AterImber.com - Writing Tips - PHSH Effect Seris - PHSH Effect 13 - Blood Drips - Finished Effect Black Background - phsh, photoshop, phsh tutorial, photoshop tutorial

And ta-da! That’s it. Not too hard, eh? I would suggest to practice this technique with different text, and then once you feel comfortable, to move on to actual pictures. Since this is the last tutorial of the year, you’ll have lots of time to practice!


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