All posts by Ater Imber

Ater Imber is a Canadian indie author who 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 has since moved her ever-growing operation to her own website: https://aterimber.com/ Ater now not only writes Supernatural fan fiction, but has expanded the website to include articles about her other interests (including veganism, writing tips and nomadic/zero waste/sustainable living), and continues to write new fan and non-fanfiction short stories and articles regularly for an eager personal following. Ater also currently has 6 books available for purchase, including 3 fanfiction novellas based on the hit T.V. series Supernatural. Broken is Ater’s 6th book, and follows the adventures of James, Tommy and Emma as they navigate the hardships of abusive guardians, addiction and hallucinations, all while trying to keep from flunking out of school, published March, 2021. It is also the longest book Ater has written, to date. The Haunted Corpse is Ater’s debut, non-collection novella. It’s a dark (ish) fantasy centering around Sammy, and the challenges she faces as she’s thrust into a whole new (magical) world while she searches for answers in the wake of her father’s ‘suicide’, published October, 2019. First Try is Ater’s debut, non-fan fiction novella. It’s a collection of short stories Ater wrote during school after getting serious about becoming a writer, book-ended by the two first ‘long’ stories Ater ever wrote, published November, 2018. Ater’s newest fan fiction novella, Holiday Treats, is about the holidays, forbidden love, and what can go wrong when the two collide (Wincest style), 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, and all that entails (including a kidnapping Samifer fic and a Sabriel wedding) published in February, 2016. Last, but certainly not least, Ater’s second book, Melting Hearts, Sunburns and Tanlines, is a collection of short stories with a main theme surrounding going on vacation, published in August, 2016. If you’d like to check out these books, you can do so on her website, by going to the Books page, or, on Amazon. To keep up with all things Ater, you can check out the following social media accounts, all @AterImber: Instagram Youtube Tumblr Goodreads Facebook Ater Imber lives in Toronto, Canada.

Vegan Alternatives to Warm Fabrics

Living in Canada means I get the fun of dealing with 4-feet snow banks and -40C temperatures. Unfortunately, humans aren’t born with a layer of heated skin, so we have to find other ways to keep ourselves warm during winter. The most usual being winter clothes. Jackets, boots, gloves, hats, scarves, etc.

Also unfortunately, most of the go-to fabrics for winter clothing aren’t vegan friendly. Wool, down, fur – even silk! This makes it hard to find vegan-friendly winter clothes for new and veteran vegans alike.

Fortunately though, we’re living in the future!

This means with a little bit of research, you can find suitable winter clothes that will keep you nice and toasty – without compromising your ethics.

 

Thinsulate

This fabric is a synthetic, waterproof and durable cold weather textile. I’ve seen this stuff being used the most as an alternative to the down lining in winter jackets, but I bet with a bit of searching you could find it available for other clothing items, as well.

It also used to be much harder to find than it is nowadays, which is great news for vegans!

 

Cotton

Yes, this simple, well-known fabric has many uses – including being a great alternative to wool for winter!

While cotton isn’t water-proof, it does a great job of keeping you warm in the colder months. It’s also soft and breathable, which is a must when you’re layering ten fabrics together!

Another great thing about cotton? It’s super easy to blend it with other fabrics!

Looking for a clothing item that’s a mix of cotton and something else will give your innerds the best chance at staying warm and dry.

 

Polyester, Nylon and Acrylic

These materials are another synthetic alternative. While they’re some of the most widely-available fabrics, I’ll leave it up to you on whether or not you want to shoulder the environmental responsibility.

That said, keep in mind that buying a clothing item that contains one or more of these fabrics is still ethically better than one of the usual winter go-tos.

 

Bamboo

Not just for toilet paper – bamboo is another versatile material that’s breaking into the winter clothing market!

Bamboo clothes can be some of the softest, most comfortable pieces you’ll ever wear. It also has antifungal and odour resistant properties, which makes it a great option for doing activities such as shovelling snow.

One downside to bamboo is that it’s not the warmest option available. So you might want to skip wearing it on the coldest day of the year.

 

Wildflowers

Yes, that’s right! While this might be a harder alternative to find than some of the others I’ve mentioned, there are companies out there using wildflowers as an alternative stuffing option to down!

 

I don’t imagine you’d be able to find these clothing items at ‘normal’ retailers such as Old Navy, but they shouldn’t be too hard to find on a dedicated vegan clothing website.

I’ve also heard of a few companies using materials like coconut or soybean fiber, but like wildflowers, I don’t think those pieces are as widely available as some of the others I mentioned.

Some winter coats also have detachable fur lining on their hoods, so if you’re really in a pinch – and the rest of the materials used in the jacket are alright – you can always zip it off and donate it.

While there’s not too many widely available vegan materials for winter clothes, there’s definitely enough you should be able to find what you need to make it through.

And if you don’t… well you can have a 5 month house party!


Like this article? Check out more about veganism here!

One Taste and I’m Done (Preview)

Written: 22.11.01

Words: 1,603

General, C2C

Prompt: Irish Coffee Day


“Enough with the cryptic crap! Just tell me.”

“This thing…” Dean brought a hand up to rub at the back of his neck, “It feasts on livers – kid livers. And…”

After a moment of silence, Sam raised an eyebrow, “And…?”

“And you can supposedly hurt it by making it drink alcohol.”

Sam turned confused eyes to their father figure, “What?”

“Yep.” Dean nodded, “Alcohol literally burns the thing from the inside out. We think it’s tied to the feasting on kid livers but… there’s like zero lore on this thing. The only reason we know that is because of the coroner.” Dean gave a half-shrug, “Apparently they hunt in packs.”

Sam opened his mouth, only to close it a moment later in silence, brows furrowing as he turned over this new information.

Dean nodded at the look on his face, “Told you.”

Bobby let out a sigh before digging out his wallet, handing over a ten-dollar bill, “Yeah, yeah. Here.”


Like the preview? Check out the FULL story here!

2022 Zero Waste Goal Recap (+2023 Goals)

*This article was written 22.11.01, please excuse any information that is no longer applicable.


I’ve decided to make these goal recap posts an annual thing as well. I think it’s important to hold myself accountable to the goals I set for myself, and one of the ways I’m able to do that, is by announcing them here on the website, and then making follow-up posts.

Now, usually, I don’t like shouting my goals or future aspirations from the rooftops – if you’ve been on following this website/my posts for a while, you’ll know this – but I’m trying to change that, at least for my zero waste goals, because I think it may be helpful to any of you readers to see how the zero waste journey goes.

It’s not always a straight line to changing your lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!

As cliché as it sounds, you only get one life, and it’s worth it to put in the effort to live the way you want. Not the way your parents, friends or even your partner want. It’s your life.

Before I get too far off topic, let me circle back to the point of this post: did I reach my 2022 zero waste goals?

If you missed 2022’s post, I said my goals for last year were to stop using or reduce my overall use of paper towels. I’m happy to report, I did it!

Kind of…

As said in the last post, I noticed my main consumption (is consumption the right word even though I’m not eating them?) of paper towels was when I needed to cut something up, or to use instead of a plate.

While I have managed to re-train myself and just use a cutting board or plate, I was/am still using paper towels for their main purpose: as a napkin. And I know, there are cloth napkins I could use, or even just get up and wash my hands/face after every meal. As I said above, changing your lifestyle is more of a marathon than a sprint. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Like veganism, you can choose to focus on changing one area, before moving on to changing another. And yes, technically using paper towels could be considered one area, but since I was using them for different reasons, I counted them as two.

So while I’m happy to report my consumption of paper towels has gone down, I haven’t completely eliminated them from my life. And truthfully, I don’t think I’ll ever eliminate them entirely. The trade off to using a paper towel as a napkin is to use a reusable cloth one, which sounds like a better zero waste option up front: it’s made of cloth, you use it multiple times and wash, instead of using it once and then throwing away.

While that sounds great, you’re really just exchanging one problem for another. Sure, you use a cloth napkin multiple times, but you have to wash it, which means you use more water than if you were to just use a paper towel.

I’m not trying to make excuses at all, just show you guys that even the ‘better’ options still have their… let’s call them complications. No matter what option you pick, you’re still potentially harming the planet, or not doing as much good as you think. Keep this in mind when also shopping for reusable substitutes – if you’re attempting to ship something new from overseas, that’s actually less environmentally friendly of an option than if you were to just continue using the plastic version of whatever the item is.

That said, I am going to continue attempting to lessen my use of paper towels, and am definitely interested in exploring reusable napkins. While I attempt to work my way toward 100% paper towel-less living, I will also continue to explore more sustainable options. As mentioned in last year’s post, Who Gives a Crap offers what they call Forest Friendly paper towels (which actually aren’t made out of paper at all) and while I was excited to try them, before I had a chance, they unfortunately had to stop selling their products in Canada. Their website says this is temporary, and they’re hoping to be back ‘soon’, but it’s been a few months* now and they still haven’t returned.

While waiting for my favourite brand to come back to Canada, I may have to explore other toilet paper alternatives, as well as explore other paper towel options. One thing I read said that as long as a paper towel didn’t have meat juice and/or cooked sauces on it, it could be put in a compost pile or backyard dirt instead of the garbage.

I’ll obviously have to continue to research that to learn all the ins and outs to ensure I’m doing it correctly and not just… littering while calling it being environmentally friendly.

Aside from continuing to reduce my paper towel consumption, I’m also going to focus on reducing my use of notebooks/notepads. As a writer, I use a lot of notebooks, notepads and random scraps of paper to write story ideas, character concepts, etc.

While I do mostly use my laptop, sometimes I don’t always have it with me, so instead I reach for a paper and pen. Other creatives will relate to the ‘I have to write this down right now before I forget’ moments. For those who aren’t, it’s sort of hard to explain. But, being a writer is definitely not an excuse for me to continue to use paper all the time!

I’m honestly not sure what options there are for reducing my notebook consumption, aside from using my laptop and phone notepad instead, but I’m very excited to learn!

If you have any suggestions of what I can use instead of a notebook for writing, or if you have any zero waste goals you’re hoping to achieve this year, let me know in the comments!


Like this article? Check out more of my zero waste articles here!

Pizza Oggi’s Mini Calzones with Cauliflower Crust Review

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hope you all had an amazing, relaxing holiday and are ready to get back into it. First article this year is this product review!

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I’ve never heard of this brand before, but decided to go out on a limb and try their product. After all, I like pizza, so how bad could a calzone be?

I first tried these mini calzones on 22.12.14, and I was immediately surprised by how big they were. Considering they were supposed to be ‘mini’ they were a lot bigger than I thought they’d be. One calzone was roughly the same length as my hand (tip of middle finger to palm).

The box itself was relatively small, and 1 box also only came with six. This surprised me, because they were listed under the Appetizers section, and I naively assumed it would come with more, since when I hear ‘appetizer’ I immediately think of a party.

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Don’t get me wrong, these would absolutely still work for a party, but you’d need more than one box. Or, you could cut the calzones into bite-sized pieces, but that might defeat the purpose of eating a calzone.

They also cooked a lot faster than the box recommended. Though my oven burns hotter than most, I was still surprised at just how fast these cooked. The boxes instructions say to cook them at 425 for 12-15min, or until golden. (And to flip halfway through)

I cooked them at 400 for 6min, then had to turn the oven down to 350 for the last 6min because the outsides were starting to look burnt. After the second 6min cooking time, I took them out and they were done! So if your oven tends to burn hotter like mine, I’d recommend doing 350 for the entire cooking time, unless you like calzones extra crispy.

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Once they were cool enough to bite without burning my tongue, I went ahead and divided them between me and my non-vegan friend. (He agreed to help me out with product reviews when he was able to)

My first impression of the calzones was that they didn’t smell very ‘deep’ like regular pizza. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve ever had pizza, it’s almost like you can smell every layer: the dough, sauce, cheese (or lack thereof) and toppings. These smelled more like… nothing.

I’m not sure if it’s because the dough was made out of cauliflower, or if it was a lacking of spice in the sauce, but when I held it up to my nose, it was almost like there was nothing there.

Which is very weird considering how many things were in it!

These calzones had: cauliflower crust, Beyond Meat Italian crumbles, vegan cheese, potatoes, bell pepper, peas, mushrooms, onions and more! Which is great for a food to have that many veggies in it.

But not so great for the taste.

Not that the taste was bad, but I definitely wouldn’t have said they were calzones. Calzones are supposed to taste like pizza, right? Just in a not-quite-pocket shape. These… didn’t. These calzones tasted closer to samosas, Perogies, or even a veggie Jamaican Patty.

They tasted like veggie soup in a wrapper, essentially. And speaking of the wrapper, neither me nor my friend could tell it was cauliflower dough. Even though the box proudly exclaimed it was made with a cauliflower crust, we couldn’t tell at all. In fact, if the box didn’t tell us it was cauliflower, we wouldn’t of guessed. It was that close to ‘real’ dough.

Though it’s clearly listed in the ingredients, you also couldn’t really taste nor see the vegan cheese. There were maybe 3 dots of white mozzarella. The inside of the calzones even looked more dry and crumbly than a calzone is supposed to.

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And sure, you could argue that maybe that’s my oven’s fault for almost overcooking, but even if it did dry them out, the pizza flavour was still missing. My friend agreed. They were great! But neither of us would’ve labelled them as ‘calzones’.

So, the big question: should you try them?

If you like the taste of samosas, Perogies or veggie Jamaican patties, then yeah, absolutely!

But if you’re craving something pizza flavoured? I’d skip this one.


Like this review? Check out my Product Review page for more!

Goddamn Fighting

Happy 2023 everyone!

 I hope you had an amazing, relaxing holiday season, and are as excited as I am to dive into all the new stories coming this year!

In case you forgot or missed the post, this year all the stories will have the same theme: National Food Days/Months! Each story will have the day/month I chose under the tags, and it will be written as Prompt: ______. (It will also be listed in the Previews/descriptions for each story)

I hope you guys enjoy reading this year-long challenge as much as I’m enjoying writing it!


Written: 22.10.26

Words: 1,175

General

Prompt: Gluten-Free Day


“What took you so long?”

Sam did his best to keep his eye roll at bay as he kicked the motel door closed, eyes flicking up to his brother as he attempted to keep the drinks and paper bags of food steady, “Nah, that’s okay, I got it.”

Dean didn’t bother hiding his eye roll as he closed the distance, snatching one of the bags out of the giant’s hand, “We were supposed to be on the road twenty minutes ago!”

Sam huffed, narrowly getting the food in his hands down on the small kitchen table without spilling any, “They had to bake more muffins.”

“You waited for that?” The blonde shook his head, crossing over to the closest bed, dropping the bag he’d snatched down on it as he kicked his duffle out from underneath, “We could’ve got something on the road.”

The giant ran a hand through his hair, forcing himself to take in a deep breath, “You’re the one who told me to return with a muffin, or not to come back at all.”

“Well if I knew it was gonna take you forever…”

Sam took a sip from one of the coffees, pushing down the annoyance he felt bubbling up. They’d clearly been on the road too long. Luckily, this would be their last hunt for a while. Bobby needed them to watch the phones while he went to take care of something for Rufus.

Though Dean wouldn’t admit it, Sam could tell he needed a little down time, too. Or at least, Sam hoped being on the road too long was the reason he’d been acting like an entitled dick. The giant took another long sip from his coffee, relishing the warmth that spread through his chest as he swallowed it down. He reluctantly opened his eyes as he heard his brother huff.

The youngest watched as his brother tossed his duffle up onto his shoulder, snatching the paper bag containing his breakfast off the top of the bed, before stomping his way over to the door, “Wheels up in five.”

Sam barely had a chance to open his mouth before his brother disappeared out the door. He let out a long sigh as it swung closed, you’re welcome. He ran his hand through his hair as his eyes swept over the motel room, what are the chances he forgot something?

The giant grabbed his own duffle from underneath his bed before doing a quick final check of the bathroom. After a moment of grabbing Dean’s toothbrush, and confirming they weren’t leaving anything else behind, he shoved the toothbrush into his duffle. Once that was tightly zipped, he flung it up onto his shoulder, before grabbing both coffee’s and his own breakfast bag off the table.

With one more look around the room, he shut the door behind himself.

He swallowed thickly as he approached the car, not needing to see his brother’s expression to know something was wrong. As he got closer, he noticed his brother’s brows were furrowed. He shoved his duffle in the backseat before taking his place on the passenger side of the car. As soon as he got the coffee’s settled in the cup holders, he raised an eyebrow at his brother – who was staring with furrowed brows at the muffin his brother had bought him.

“What’s this?”

“A muffin.”

The blonde let out an impatient huff, “Yeah, I can see that,” he lightly shook the offending food with a roll of his eyes, “I mean what’s wrong with it?”

Sam looked between his brother’s face and the muffin in his hand for a moment, doing his best to keep the twitching corner of his mouth in check, “Is that a trick question?”

“Something’s wrong with it!” The blonde flung the object down onto the paper bag in his lap, gesturing for the giant to pass him the other bag, “Let me see yours.”

“Oookay,” Sam handed over his bag, brows furrowing, “They’re both the same.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” Dean dug his brother’s muffin out of his bag, scrutinizing it with the careful examination only a non-trusting sibling had. After a minute of looking it over, his shoulders deflated, “They’re the same.”

“Told you.”

“Well,” The blonde tossed the muffin back at his brother – who barely caught it before it hit the floor – before running a hand through his hair, “well what the hell?”

Sam was careful to keep his tone level, “What do you think is wrong with them?”

“I don’t know,” Dean shook his head before jamming the key into the ignition, making the car roar to life, “They just look… off.”

“I had to wait for them to finish baking.”

“Not old off, just…” The blonde pulled out of the motel parking lot, turning down the road before shaking his head again, “I don’t know. Never mind.”

“Okay.” Sam turned to look out his window, taking a bite from his muffin, it doesn’t taste weird to me. Chocolate chip, as requested.

They drove in silence for a moment, before Dean slammed on the breaks, much to the giant’s dismay. He looked around wildly for a minute, and upon not seeing anything on the road, turned his eyes to his brother, “What the hell, dude?”

Dean pointed out the window, to the strip of shops on the opposite side of the street, “Is this the bakery you got the muffins from?”

“Yeah…” Sam’s brows furrowed in confusion at his brother’s groan, “Why?”

“I told you to go to George’s!”

“George’s is half an hour away!” The giant held his hands up in mock surrender, still not understanding what the big deal was, “We were in a hurry!”

Dean rolled his eyes before pulling the car back out onto the street, “I knew something was wrong with the muffins!”

“What do you think they did to them?”

The blonde shook his head, “It’s a gluten-free bakery, Sammy.”

“…So?”

“What do you mean ‘so’?” His brother gave him an incredulous look, as he tossed the offending bag into the backseat, “You thought I wasn’t gonna notice you trying to poison me?”

“Poison?” Sam’s jaw dropped, “It’s just a gluten-free muffin!”

“Exactly! Why bother making something out of wheat if you don’t want to eat wheat?”

“Uh, Celiac disease, gluten sensitivities, not to mention-”

“Look,” Dean huffed, knuckles going white around the steering wheel, “If other people want to eat rabbit food, more power to ‘em. But don’t try to feed that stuff to me.”

“Wha…?” Sam shook his head, forcing his next sentence to die on his lips. He took in a deep breath, running a hand through his hair, “Fine. Next time, I’ll go to the place you said to.” Even though it’s farther away.

“Good.” The blonde ran a hand down his face with a huff, “You can eat both of those sad excuses for baked goods.”

“Yeah, thanks.” The giant shook his head again before opting to look out his window, thank God we’re not that far from Bobby’s.


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Gardein Chick’n Noodl’ Soup Review

This is the last post of 2022!

I’ll be taking the last half of this month and first half of January off from posting. I’ll be back Jan. 13th 2023, (9am, ET) with the first short story (and product review) of the new year!

Hope you all enjoy the upcoming holiday season, and get well rested for 2023!


Now that the winter weather is in full swing, I thought what better product to review than a soup?

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Now, I’m going to be honest, I’m not that big of a fan of soup. I hardly ever eat it (Mr. Noodles not included). I think it’s a little weird as a food. It’s practically just juice with chunks in it.

I’m a much bigger fan of stew. Food should be solid, or fork-able. If I wanted to drink something, I would just get myself a beverage.

That said, I decided to take a chance on this soup, because I’m a big fan of most of Gardein’s other products. And let me tell you, I’m very glad I took the chance!

This soup had big chunks of chick’n (the pieces were roughly the same size as their Meatballs), had pretty big pieces of carrot and celery, and there was a decent amount of noodles, too. My can only had 6 pieces of chick’n total, which I guess I could let slide since they were pretty big, but for a soup that is called Chick’N Noodle, you’d think there would be more. That could entirely vary by can, though, so don’t let that be a reason you write this soup off before even trying it.

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The can also made a full bowl, which I was admittedly impressed with – I was half expecting it to be a little under, if anything. The can itself is pretty small, it’s the same size as the Amy’s Kitchen soup cans.

Because I don’t eat soup all that often, I don’t really have much to say in terms of how good it is specifically as a soup, but compared to the Chunky Soup Hearty Chicken I used to eat before going vegan, it definitely stacks up!

One thing I didn’t like about this soup – or any soup that has noodles in it – is how soft the noodles are. I understand that’s what happens when noodles are left soaking in liquid for a long time, they get super soft. And I’m not sure if that’s something others would say is a plus in their soup, but as for me, I like my pasta to have a little bit of a bite to it.

This soup definitely gave me classic chicken noodle soup vibes, and even though I’m not that big a fan of soup in general, I could definitely see myself enjoying this during the cold winter months.

On occasion.


Like this review? Check out more here!

Teasers for 2023 Posts

That’s right, I’ve decided to make these teaser posts annual!

As you should know by now, I’m taking the last half of December and first half of January off from posting. (The last article for this year will be December’s product review)

I’ll be back January 13th  (9am, ET) with the first product review and first short story of the new year.

I hope you all have a relaxing holiday season, and get excited for the new year!

I’d also like to thank you all for continuing to read and support this website. Your support means the world to me! If you’re looking for a way to support me and this website more, consider signing up for my Patreon. You’ll get cool insider goodies like getting first looks for upcoming books (including cover and plot reveals), for as little as $1/month!


National Eat Your Noodles Day, Coming March 10th

Reusable Pads: My Experience, Coming May 8th

How to Make Water (PHSH Effect #23), Coming March 27th

Vegan Fast Food: Dairy Queen, Coming June 19th

So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Ice Cream Review, Coming July 13th

National Toasted Marshmallow Day, Coming August 25th

No Delay (Preview)

Reminder: This is the last story of 2022! I’ll be taking the last half of December and first half of January off from posting. I’ll be back January 13th, 2023 with the 1st fic of the new year!


Written: 22.08.10

Words: 499

Fluff, Destiel, 2022’s New Year’s fic


“Well I’d rather you did something I actually needed help with, like the decorations, or the appetizers, or warming the pie up in the-”

“Pie?” Dean raised an eyebrow, “You said the store didn’t have any pie.”

The shorter man huffed, “You really don’t listen, do you?” At the continued confused look, he shook his head, taking a few steps backward to finish his bowtie on his own, “I said the store didn’t have any, which is why I had to make them myself. I was in the kitchen baking all day yesterday! What did you think I was doing in there?”

Dean shrugged, moving to sit back on the bed, scratching his bare knee, “I don’t know. Making appetizers?”


Continue reading the story here!

Different Types of Toilets (For Going Tiny)

I know, I know, “You’re writing an entire article about toilets? Gross! Who would want to read that?”

Well, actually, that’s the funny part.

In my research of tiny house living, one of the most recurring things I see is people are absolutely fascinated by the fact that tiny houses (or vans or buses) can still have a toilet. While to me it seems silly – I mean, there are toilets on greyhound buses and airplanes – I guess I understand the confusion. If you can’t be hooked up to the cities sewage line, where does all that waste go?

It’s an important issue to tackle for sure, if you don’t know how you’ll be able to go, can you really ever be comfortable with tiny living? Thankfully, there are a few different options available for tiny toilets, which I’ll be going through with you now.

Also, as a disclaimer: I’m not currently living tiny, though I am saving up to do a bus conversion. So the below isn’t from personal experience.

While I’ve done my own research, and I implore you to do the same, I thought I should make an article about this now, while I’m still in the learning/pre-building phase. This way, you can learn from my experience, and (if needed) I can always update or make a new article once I’ve experienced living tiny to give you some insider advice.

There are three main types of toilets that people use when going tiny, so these are the types this article will be focused on: flushing toilets, composting toilets, and bucket toilets.

Let’s get started!

Instead of jumping into the deep end first, I figured I should start with the easiest type of toilet to understand: a flushing toilet.

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These toilets are almost exactly the same kind that you’re already used to using in your house, or in public restaurants. These toilets have a tank that fills with water, and you use a handle to flush your waste away.

But when you flush it ‘away’, it still has to go somewhere. It’s not like it just magically disappears off the face of the earth.

So, where does your waste go?

Well, if you live in a city, it most likely connects to the city’s sewer line. This means it goes on a looong journey away from your home, and you personally don’t have to deal with it passed flushing it down.

Alternatively, some people also have a septic tank, instead of a sewer line. A septic tank is a giant underground tank that connects to your toilet, just like a sewer line, except instead of having your waste be whisked away to some far away place and you never have to deal with it again, it goes into the tank – which is usually somewhere on your property.

The septic tank’s job is to hold your waste – both from your toilet and from other sources, like a kitchen sink – until it’s no longer, uh, waste, and then it disperses the contents into a designated drainage field. This could be your backyard garden, or even just your backyard grass. (Or front yard!)

So, how would a flushing toilet work on in a tiny house? Well, that would depend upon the type of tiny house you have. If you have an actual 400sq foot tiny home on or off wheels, you could plumb your flushing toilet directly into a sewage line, or into a septic tank. Your waste management really wouldn’t change all that much.

If you were to have a flushing toilet on a van or bus however, obviously because these homes are more mobile, you can’t connect your toilet to a permanent line in the ground, whether it’s for sewage or septic.

So, what do you do? Instead, you would need to add a Black Tank to your vehicle. A black tank is a (usually metal) tank that holds all your toilet waste (both liquid and solids) until you’re able to dump it out. There are designated black tank dumping stations around, but to do this, you would: need to make sure there’s one on the route you’re taking, manually hook up a pipe to the tank and hold it over the dumping hole while the waste comes out, have to then disconnect the hose, wash it out, close your black tank, and then get back on the road. You would have to do this every single time the tank gets full, and keep in mind that while standing over the dumping hole, you would be smelling everyone’s waste, not just yours.

Basically you’re dumping your waste into a giant hole in the ground. Like an outhouse.

If you think that’s way more up close and personal you’d like to get with your waste, don’t worry.

The next toilet we’re talking about is a little less hands on than a flushing toilet with a black tank.

AterImber.com - No. Mad. - Tiny Living Toilets - Compost Toilet - tiny living, bus life, van life, tiny living tips, zero waste, zero waste tips, lifestyle tips, lifestyle blogger

This type of toilet is called a composting toilet. If you’ve spent any time on van or bus life Instagram, or watched any tiny living videos on Youtube, you’ve probably heard about composting toilets.

These toilets are a type of dry toilet. This means these toilets require 0 water to handle your business. Some composting toilets separate your liquids and solids by using two different containers, and a short seat separator on the actual toilet seat itself.

One container holds your liquids, and needs to be dumped by hand, while the one that holds the solids actually turns it into compost.

Or at least, it starts the processes of turning it into compost.

The names of these toilets are somewhat misleading. Because the containers they have is usually small, and because humans release waste way too often, they don’t actually have the 3-6 months they need to fully break down your waste to make it actual compost.

In the solid waste container, you would add some sort of starter material (like coconut coir), then when you do your business, you would crank a handle that’s on the side of the toilet to mix your waste in with the starter. You would crank it each time you go, to make sure your waste and the starter is thoroughly mixed each time.

Once your container is full, you would then theoretically go dump it into a bigger compost mixer/compost pile, where it would sit and continue turning into compost. However, for some people who don’t have that as an option (for example, tiny lifers who are constantly on the move) you would instead dump your waste into an area that has heavy dirt. Ideally, a place where your waste could continue it’s compost journey.

If you have a separate liquids container, you would need to dump that somewhere separately. Some people choose to do this in public bathrooms, when the visit friends (so basically, they find a flushing toilet to use), or they dump it in a similar area to that of where it’s safe to dump the solid waste.

You would then wash/rinse out both containers, let them dry and then essentially reassemble your toilet to get it ready for next use. For the solids container, you would also have to make sure you put more starter into the bottom.

These types of dry toilets can be great to have, but they can get pretty pricey. Also, there are not very many sizes of seat to choose from. This makes a frequent complaint that the seat is too small for many people, which in turn makes the toilet hard to use.

This brings me to the last type of toilet: a bucket toilet.

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These toilets are similar to composting toilets, but have more of a DIY angle to them. You can also make them as simple, or complicated as you like. Technically speaking, you can just attach a toilet seat to a 5 gallon plastic bucket and call it a day.

If that’s for you, great! However, most bucket toilet users I’ve seen have a little bit of a more complicated set up than that. People who use this type of toilet usually build some sort of wood bench to fix the toilet seat to, then place the 5 gallon bucket (and liquid container!) into the box.

This set up is good because, depending on how big your bathroom is, you can usually put another hole in the top of the bench next to the toilet to house your cover material.

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What’s cover material? It’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s a material you use to cover your solid waste. This could be most types of organic material: coconut coir, peat moss, hay, wood shavings – some people even use coffee grounds!

It really depends on your individual needs. Some people find peat moss works best for them, while others swear by using hay. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can be 100% sure of before you start using your toilet. Because there are so many factors, most people usually end up trying a few different materials before deciding which one works best.

The point of cover material though, is to cover your solid waste, and help break it down into compost. Similar to a compose toilets point, except bucket toilets don’t use a crank. (Though you could certainly add one!) Instead of crank mixing your waste with the cover material, every time you finish your business, you would sprinkle a layer of cover over top of your solid waste. Think of it like you’re making a waste lasagna. (… Sorry)

Then when the bucket is filled, just like with the compost toilet, you would need to find somewhere to dump it. Alternatively, if you get some bio degradable bags (and the waste weighs less than 5kg) you can toss your waste into a city public trash can.

I can’t say for sure whether or not this is allowed in every city around the world, but I know here in Canada, it’s allowed. This is because if it’s a small amount, it is technically treated the same as dog waste, or an adult diaper, which are both also allowed to be thrown into the trash.

If tossing in the trash isn’t an option for you – or if you just happen to not be in a city when you need to dump your toilet – you can also bury it in dirt, provided it’s a specific distance away from harvestable crops, and drinkable water.

You could theoretically do this without having it bagged, but I think it would be way less messy.

Practically any hardware store you can think of has 5g buckets for sale (Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, Lowes, etc.) and they’re all pretty cheap, which is a great pro if you choose to go this route.

I would give a long, hard think to the type of life you want to live while in your tiny before deciding on what kind of toilet you’ll get. If you’re planning on constantly travelling, setting up a flushing/hard-lined toilet would definitely hinder that.

Alternatively, if you plan on staying stationary and are too grossed out by the thought of having to get so intimate with your waste, a flushing toilet might be the best choice for you!

It all depends on you, so be sure to really think about it before committing. Especially if you’re not planning on going tiny alone! Be sure to get your partner’s input! Maybe you’d be okay with using a bucket toilet, because you’re not grossed out by the thought of handling your own waste, but how would your partner feel about it? Is that something they could do?

And if not, are you okay with always being the designated toilet emptier? Or would it be easier and save you a lot of headaches and potential arguments if you just started with a different toilet to begin with?

It’s not impossible to switch between the types once you’ve decided, but it will definitely save you a lot of time, energy and possibly even a lot of money, if you allow yourself time to take a step back and have a good long think about what truly fits your lifestyle.


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Can’t Change Us

This is the 2nd last story of 2022. I’ll be taking the last half of December, and first half of January off from posting. I’ll be back January 13th 2023, with the first story/post of the new year!

Written: 22.08.10

Words: 1,917

Fluff, Destiel (Implied), Sabriel (Implied), 2022’s Christmas story


“Daddy!”

Dean turned around at the excited yell, quickly tossing the box of Christmas tree ornaments he was holding onto the couch in order to catch the daughter who was running at him full speed.

She launched herself at him, giggling as he easily caught her, nearly taking the newly set up tree with him, “Hey, Sweetheart.” He shifted her in his arms, raising an eyebrow, “What’s got you so excited?”

“Dad said we can make cookies for Santa!”

“Oh, did he?” Dean flicked his eyes off his vibrating daughter to the raven-haired angel who was standing a few feet away, “And who did he say was going to the grocery store to-”

“Relax, Dean-O.” The new voice from behind him made the retired hunter turn around, semi-surprised to see Gabriel and his brother come out of the kitchen, holding up a grocery bag, “We already wrestled an old lady for the last bag of chocolate chips.” Gabriel unceremoniously tossed the bag toward the blonde, “All you have to do is bake them.”

“Me?” Dean let out an incredulous chuckle, flicking his eyes between the three men, “You guys expect me to bake? Don’t you remember what happened last ye-”

“Please, Daddy?” Taylor’s voice got him to look back at his arms, “Dad doesn’t make them right, and they need to be perfect for Santa.”

Dean let out a sigh as he stared into her big, round eyes, silently cursing his brother for teaching her puppy dog eyes. “Fine.”

“Yay!”

He winced at her loud shriek, unable to help the smile from splitting his face. He adjusted his grip on her, sliding the grocery bag partway up his arm as he started over toward the kitchen, “But if we’re baking,” he stopped in the doorway, pointing to the three men standing in the living room, “You guys are finishing the tree.”

 

 

“Are they done yet?”

Dean chuckled, catching his daughter as she tried to get closer to the oven, “Not yet, Sweetheart.”

“Ugh!” She let out an impatient groan and stomped her foot, “They’re taking forever!”

The blonde had to bite his cheek to keep the smile off his face as he flicked his eyes up to the clock, “It’s only been 10 minutes.”

“How much longer?”

“10 more.”

Taylor let out another loud groan, head falling back to look at the ceiling in annoyance, “But we made them so small!”

Dean shook his head, carefully letting his arm fall from her chest once he was sure she wasn’t gonna head butt the oven. He straightened up with a shrug, getting started on cleaning up the mess that was all over the kitchen island, “We gotta make sure they’re cooked. You don’t want to give Santa cookies that’ll make him sick, do you?”

Her eyes narrowed as she climbed up onto one of the stools at the island, watching the blonde, “I guess not.”

“Good. Cause kids who poison him don’t get presents.” He had to resist the urge to chuckle as he bent down to put the flour away at her gasp.

He straightened back up to see her staring at the closed oven door. She was staring so intently, it was as if she was attempting to will the cookies into baking faster.

He shook his head as he slid the small bowl with leftover cookie dough he put aside toward her, grabbing a spoon, “You know they won’t cook faster just because you want them to.”

“I know.”

Despite her matter-of-fact voice, she continued staring, much to the blonde’s amusement. He let out a dramatic sigh as he grabbed the wooden spoon off the counter, “Guess that means you don’t want to help me eat the rest of this, huh?”

That got her attention.

She raised her eyebrows in surprise as she noticed the bowl, and the wooden spoon that was now in front of her. Her brows furrowed slightly in confusion, and she tilted her head to the side, “I thought you said eating raw cookie dough would make you sick?”

Dean couldn’t hold back his mischievous grin as he dipped his spoon into the leftover batter, “I didn’t put eggs in this one.”

She didn’t seem all that convinced until he put the spoon of dough in his mouth. After watching him swallow it, she tentatively picked up the wooden spoon, taking a small scoop from the bowl. She cautiously brought the spoon to her mouth, eyes not leaving the blonde.

Dean chuckled and lowered himself down to rest one arm against the counter as he went in for another scoop, “Pretty good, eh?”

“Yeah…” She still seemed like she wasn’t sure if this was a test or not, but went in for another scoop, anyway.

They ate in silence for a few minutes, Dean flicking his eyes up to the clock every so often to make sure he didn’t burn the cookies.

Taylor huffed after a while, dropping her spoon into the bowl, holding her head in one hand.

“Relax, Sweetheart, they’ll be done soon.”

“They’re taking so long!”

Dean chuckled at that, “Patience isn’t your strong suit, is it?”

Taylor shrugged, keeping her eyes on the island, “Dad says I get that from you.”

“Oh, does he?” Dean chuckled again, reaching across the island to tickle her.

She shrieked with laughter and tried to wriggle away from his hand, but alas, the island wasn’t quite long enough to get her out of his reach without her getting off the stool.

“Daddy, no!” She turned her head from one side to the other, taking in some gasping breathes between her laughter, “Stop!”

He kept tickling for a little longer, stopping only once her face started to turn red. He looked up to the clock, smile splitting his face, perfect.

Dean made his way around the island toward the oven, taking the tray of cookies out. He carefully placed the tray down on top of the stove, inspecting the cookies.

Taylor was still trying to regain her breath as she jumped off the stool, taking a few steps toward the oven, “A-are they ready?”

Dean poked one with a toothpick, smiling as it came out clean, “Yep, they’re done.”

“Finally!”

He couldn’t help but chuckle as he picked the tray back up, walking it carefully over to the island. The blonde placed the tray down, sliding the oven mitt off his hand as he reached for the cooling rack with the other.

Taylor watched in wide-eyed fascination as he moved the cookies onto the rack. After a few moments of intense staring with her mouth open, he raised an eyebrow, “You’d think you’ve never seen me make cookies before.”

“These ones are special.” She rolled her eyes, “They’re for Santa!”

“Yeah,” He finished placing them onto the rack, before spinning around to place the tray in the sink, “But until he eats them they’re still just regular cookies.”

“Can we put them on the plate me and Tyler made last year?”

“Sure.” He walked the few steps over to the plate cupboard, pulling out the crudely drawn Santa and reindeer painted plate, sliding it across the island, “We have to wait until the cookies are done cooling before moving them, though.”

“Ugh!” She threw up her hands, letting out another annoyed groan, “More waiting?”

Dean chuckled at that, nodding, “Unless you want Santa to get soggy cookies…” At her look, he nodded toward the door, “Why don’t you go see if Dad and Uncle Sam need help with the tree?”

She crossed her arms over her chest, giving the blonde a pointed look, “I’m too short to decorate the tree.”

“Riiight,” He came back over, sliding himself across the island, lowering his voice, “Then why don’t you grab your brother and see if you can find where Dad and I hid your presents?”

Her face lit up at that, and she leaned toward him, “I thought Dad said you didn’t get us any.”

He gave her a pointed look, lowering his voice further, “Dad lied.”

Her jaw dropped open in surprise at that, eyebrows disappearing under her bangs, “Whoa.” She leaned impossibly closer, eyes sparkling, “Where are they?”

The blonde chuckled at that and he leaned back, shaking his head, “It wouldn’t be much fun if I told you, would it?”

She was bouncing with barely contained excitement, “At least give me a hint!”

“Fine,” Dean flicked his eyes up to the closed kitchen door, “You didn’t hear it from me, but you know that square on the ceiling at the end of the upstairs hall?”

“Yeah…”

He gave her a shrug and a wink, “If I were you, I’d start there.”

Her face broke out into a big smile at that, and she all but ran out of the kitchen, nearly smacking Cas in the face with the door as she exited.

“Taylor, slow down!” Cas shook his head as he made his way into the kitchen, raising an eyebrow, “Do I want to know what that was about?”

Dean waved a dismissive hand, coming around the front side of the island, “Don’t worry about it.”

Cas chuckled as the retired blonde wrapped him up in his arms, “Uh-oh.”

“No, no uh-oh.” The blonde placed a kiss to his cheek before backing out of the hug, making his way over to the sink, “Everything’s fine.”

The raven-haired man snorted, “Yeah, cause I don’t know you well enough to know that’s bull.” He was smiling as he watched the blonde start on the dishes, “Hey, those can wait.”

Dean turned from the sink, raising an eyebrow, “The dishes can wait?”

“Yeah.”

“Christo.”

“Very funny, Dean,” Cas rolled his eyes, before holding out his hand, “Sam said he wanted to talk to you.”

“Pfft, send him in here.”

Cas took in a deep breath, eyes flicking skyward for a moment, before he nodded, “Fine.”

He disappeared back out the kitchen door, giant walking through a moment later.

“Hey, Sammy,” Dean nodded as he started scrubbing the tray, “What’s up?”

“Well, I didn’t want your hands to be covered in gunk when I handed it to you,” The giant made his way closer, sliding a slim newspaper wrapped package toward the edge of the sink, “But merry Christmas.”

The blonde raised an eyebrow, “You couldn’t put this under the tree with the rest of them?”

Sam huffed, “I didn’t want- can you just open it?”

“Okay, okay, geez.” Dean turned the water off, drying his hands on a spare towel, before flicking it up to rest it on his shoulder, “I’ll open it.” He picked up the package with one hand, other one slipping into one of the pockets of his apron, producing a similarly wrapped smaller package, “But you gotta open this one, too.”

The giant eyed his brother as he accepted his own gift, “This one couldn’t go under the tree?”

“Just shut up and open it, Bitch.”

“Jerk.”

The brother’s shared a smile before they went to work opening their respective gifts. They chuckled in unison as Dean unveiled skin mags, and Sam unwrapped beef jerky and car freshener.

Dean shook his head as he stared at his gift, “You know I have a husband now, right?”

Sam smacked his arm at that, “Does that mean you don’t want it?”

“Well, I didn’t say that.” Dean chuckled, rolling the magazine up before sliding it into his apron. He clapped his brother on the shoulder, “Merry Christmas, Sam.”

“Merry Christmas, Dean.”


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