A Tail of Three Kittens Part 3

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Welcome to the continuation of 12 and Beyond’s original series, A Tail of Three Kittens. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to read the first two parts of A Tail of Three kittens. Click here to do so: Part 2 | Part 1

Like last time, this post will be set up in a journal format that goes day by day full of plenty of new photos and stories. Let’s begin on the night where I left you last…

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It was around 9:00 at night, and my mom and sister had just returned from dance practice. As they were pulling into our driveway, the car’s headlights illuminated our shed- and what do they see? Not a kitten, for sure, but a skunk and a humungous raccoon chowing down on the food we had left out for the kittens. (Pictures 3 & 4) When I came out, I saw them first. But little did I know, right behind me, sitting on the sidewalk, was baby Mac! Supposedly, while my mom was watching the raccoon, Mac started walking across the yard and eventually passed right by the car. She called out, “Mac!”, and he stopped. And he just sat there, watching her. As we’d come to learn, he’s so laid back and is so comfortable around humans. He didn’t run like we’d experienced with Callie- after a few minutes, he slowly walked back into the bushes. The girls had seen their kittens- this was my reassurance that my kitten was okay too.

Continue reading “A Tail of Three Kittens Part 3”

Linkin Park’s One More Light | In Tune

Image result for one more lightChester Bennington, Linkin Park’s lead singer, an outstanding rock/pop musician, committed suicide on July 20, 2017.

I was heartbroken having heard news of his death. Today, I want to honor him by highlighting a song from Linkin Park’s new album: One More Light.

If you haven’t already, watch the Official Video for One More Light. Please, take in the audio and visual.

I remember first being introduced to Linkin Park through an episode of Good Mythical Morning, and then I began following their music with the song “Heavy”. The song One More Light has only recently been ‘released’ onto the radio, yet it’s moved mountains for me.

“Who cares if one more light goes out? Well, I do.”

If nothing else, that line speaks volumes about the importance of life. I always remember the quote: “To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world”.  It’s so true.

The way Chester sings the song, embodies the song, is so heartbreaking, yet so beautiful. 

“We saw brilliance, when the world was asleep.”

This line of the song draws upon how amazing the world we live in is- how amazing Chester was- how amazing we all are.

Chester, we all miss you incredibly, and your music has and will inspire generations of music listeners today and to come. As I look back upon your life, your greatest achievements, your happiest of times, Chester- that’s what is most important: the positive, the most beautiful aspects of us as humans.

“Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.”


Suicide isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Most often, we never understand a person’s struggles until it becomes too late. If you need help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone.

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A Tail of Three Kittens Part 2 (With Pictures)

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Back in April, a cat gave birth to three kittens underneath our house: one grey, two orange and white. We named them Mac, Goldie, and Nutmeg. Two days later, the mother (Callie) took her kittens and moved them into the forest, and we wouldn’t see them again.

Or so we thought.

You can read about the beginning of our adventures here. The only thing about that post though, is that I failed to take any pictures of our kittens. Back in April, we only caught a glimpse of our new-born kittens, but they were so. darn. cute. You could hear their little “mew”s, and they would climb over each other, blind, while their mother would watch from a distance (heavily aware of our presence). All I wanted at that moment was to pick up baby Mac (whom I claimed as my own), or otherwise see him cross our yard as he grew up.

I felt personally responsible for scaring Callie away back in April, and for causing my sisters much despair. Now, I realize, the kittens needed a truly hidden spot to mature, and eventually they would grow large enough to roam around on their own.

Knowing that Summer Break was coming to an end, in Late August all we would think about was preparing for school. Since April, the kittens had begun to escape our thoughts. But the evening of August 18th would change everything. I’ll get to that soon enough.

Since then, I’ve gained so much writing material (and taken so many pictures) about our kittens, I’m saving a lot of content for a part 3 that will release come October. Let’s just say, Mac and Cali have become regular yard-cats.

I’m going to set this post up in a journal format from each day of kitten encounters, complete with stories and PICTURES! Just one thing to note- the pictures featured are the property of 12 and Beyond and I ask that they not be used for any commercial purposes without my permission.

So, let’s start with the evening of August 18, 2017 and see where this adventure takes us.

Continue reading “A Tail of Three Kittens Part 2 (With Pictures)”

My View of the United States


From June 22 until July 1, I took a Cross-Country trip from Chicago to California, and from California back to Chicago. I’ve blogged about photos, highlights, and experiences, which you can view on the Traveling Beyond category. This post, however, is a culmination of everything the trip meant to me. It was my first time leaving the East Coast, and boy, has my life changed because of it…

The first part of our trip was a plane ride from Bradley to Chicago. I hadn’t been on a plane in 11 years, but I  really enjoyed it (despite having a fear of heights and the window seat). I was just amazed by the clouds- being over them, in them, and through them. And then, being completely over every cloud, to see nothing but a clear, blue sky, was fascinating. When we weren’t engulfed in clouds, I could see massive rivers (not to mention the massive Lake Michigan), miles and miles of forest and fields, and then coming into Chicago, miles and miles of city. The landscapes changed so quickly, and they differed so much from the type of life I’m used to. The plane rides I took on my trip were something completely different, especially when we took a night one, and saw nothing but endless city lights. It’s a totally different perspective. Throughout the trip, I kept thinking, “Wow. This is my country.” 

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I do have to say, though, that the best part of the trip was the Grand Canyon. In transit to the canyon, though, I was very intrigued by the wildfire happening just outside our window- the smoke from it alone was fascinating (though that’s all we could see of it).

Grand Canyon, sweet canyon. You don’t see anything like this, anywhere. We stayed on the rim, but the scale of the cannon was massive- and to think that it goes on for 277 miles? Wow. The only words that came to my mind were, It’s so beautiful. 

I speak about tear jerkers on this blog a lot- songs, books, but the Grand Canyon is one too. Just the way the colors and layers of rock blend together, and the fact that Nature created all of this… it’s like a blessing from above.

Pictures could never do it justice- you have to see, in person, the endless canyon that fades off into the horizon, the Colorado River that looks massive even from a mile up, and the infinite gorges and hues that make the Grand Canyon, well, the Grand Canyon. Continue reading “My View of the United States”

A Tail Of Three Kittens

Very recently, a series of events occurred that were both heartwarming- and heartbreaking. It was almost a miracle, and so I wanted to share this story with you:

A few weeks ago, my younger sister was outside on our patio, in the process of trying to move a metal table, when all of a sudden, a calico cat darts out from beneath our house and passes right by her. Out of curiosity, she investigated the area that the golden, white, and grey cat had come from, which was the indent beneath our house. From where she was standing, she could hear distant ‘mew’s coming from the area, and eventually investigated the area near our basement’s windows, like these, except below the indent:

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My first involvement with this story came when I happened to glance out of the kitchen window to see my sister frantically waving at me to come outside, and boy, was in for a surprise. Tucked within the semicircle were three kittens: one grey, two gold.

These kittens were literally a day old, and coincidentally were born on my youngest sister’s birthday. (This had devastating consequences later). I swear, when looking at them, blind and cuddled up next to each other, they looked exactly like this, except there was a second gold one as well:



Continue reading “A Tail Of Three Kittens”

MacBook Motivation

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MacBook Motivation

Good morning! 12 and Beyond is back- and so am I! As you probably know, the reason for my recent brief posting break was partly because I had just purchased a new MacBook, or a MacBook Pro, to be exact. And that, precisely, is the subject of this 12 and Beyond Special Edition post.

For as long as I have worked on a laptop, it has been a clunky 8-pound Dell “laptop”. It wasn’t my dream laptop, at all, though it worked for what I needed. But as I started moving onto larger-scale school projects (especially since almost all of our schoolwork is submitted online) and as I continued to greaten my passion for blogging, I decided that it would be an appropriate time to start saving for a new laptop.

Continue reading “MacBook Motivation”

An Abundance of TIME

specialfeature1It all started with an Amazon gift-card I had received during a holiday grab-bag…

$25. A minimal amount- but enough to purchase something worthwhile. It took me a few days to decide (and I’ll be honest, a few LEGO figures were considered along the way), but I knew what I wanted. I recently began focusing on reading articles, and I often use Apple News (which was how I discovered some of these news magazines as well). As I read about different perspectives about the world (exactly the purpose of my blog), I began to really appreciate and understand the happenings around the globe. And so, I desired to start a subscription to a paper magazine (I much prefer paper reading over electronic), but not just any magazine.

TIME Magazine. A largely well-known magazine, I knew that I wanted to start here. I know, I know, “don’t judge a book magazine by its cover”, but in this case I did. You know how grocery stores often have magazines at the checkout line? After seeing a few TIME magazines, I was further convinced that this was the magazine for me. The cover alone was exactly what I needed: a streamlined design, simplistic yet pronounced. Not clouded with gossip articles about the most recent Hollywood drama. Even the inside style of the magazine was so me. So yeah, the cover did play a large role in me opening a subscription to TIME.

I had already experienced TIME articles from Apple News (by the way- I’m purchasing a MacBook in March), and I became familiar with the writing style. And, with several different authors, the magazine provides so many sides to one topic. In this way, I could begin to develop my own opinions. I was already so much more informed about the world through my phone, but I didn’t realize how much the actual magazine would benefit me as well. I found I was learning so much more than I already was (like, who knew about the inner workings of Steve Bannon?), and I have actually read each of my magazines so far cover-to-cover.

Now, granted, all of my magazines (starting with January 30th) have been political, but I mean, of course they are! And truthfully, I don’t mind reading about politics, and so far I have become so much more informed about Washington. I also knew, based on seeing past issues, that TIME delves into other global issues too- health, science, global news, that I knew would be right for me. But even if the featured story is political, each issue brings so much more as well.

I love both The Brief and The View, and I also like how the featured stories (usually 3) contain some politics, but also include other topics (like Roger Federer’s win). The Brief, the first section in the magazine, I find I get the most out of. It involves small news stories from around the globe that I find very interesting. And then The View, the second section in the magazine, offers commentary articles that give me insights as well. After that, the Features, three main articles which I take a lot from.

I’m not too much into the last section, Time Off, but that’s probably for a few reasons:

  • 1, I’m at the end of a 4-hour reading stretch (the time it takes me to read through the magazine in one sitting, which I normally do)
  • 2, Many of the articles contain reviews about adult movies or books, but believe me- that’s perfectly fine, it just doesn’t work for me as a 13 year old.

Though I do love the graphics throughout the magazine. They very much help me understand the content, and I also love the pop-charts, or the quotes just before The Brief.

I also try to take in as much as I can from the pictures- TIME has a section called “Lightbox”, which offer some really deep pictures. I remember the full-2-page Inauguration picture from my first issue really struck me. And I also purchased Barack Obama: 8 Years, a TIME Special Edition, that is full of ad-free full page pictures: pure gold.

Heh, I can’t tell you how excited I was to start this subscription- It was my first subscription to a magazine, and TIME was the one I knew I wanted. Before the first issue arrived, I would constantly check the mail in hopes of it being there. And I’m still ecstatic for every Saturday when a new issue will come in.

I get it though. It’s just a magazine. But starting this subscription meant a lot to me, and I get a whole lot out of reading it. Not only do I keep up with current events, I am inspired and informed of the world I will one day play a role in forming.

And no, this is not an advertisement for TIME, but instead a way for me to share how TIME magazine has affected me. And if this were to be counted as a “book review”, I have phenomenal things to write about TIME. In the near future, I’d also like to start a subscription to National Geographic, a totally different genre of writing.

I’m only on my fourth issue, but TIME has provided me with a perspective I never would have experienced otherwise. And its also provided me with several Word of the Days through its use of vocabulary. This was more of a personal post, but I thank you so much for reading. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend.


Why am I an Apple Person?

Image result for apple logoThis past week, I began to think: Why do I prefer Apple phones over other brands, like Samsung? At lunch one day, I remarked to one of my friends, “Samsung phones are so confusing!” My friend responded with just the opposite: “Apple phones are so confusing!” He then brought up some really good points as to why we both had different perspectives on our preference of devices.

Personally, I have been an apple person since I first received an iPod Touch several years ago. Nowadays, I own an iPhone, and iPad mini, and I’m looking into one day writing my blog posts on a MacBook. I would choose an Apple device any day over something else. But why?

First off, I was born into a (mostly) Apple family. My mom owns an iPhone, and while my dad owns a Samsung Galaxy, I guess I took my technological insight from her. Plus, I’ve spent my whole life with Apple. My parents bought me an iPod one Christmas, and since then I’ve only used Apple devices. Had I first been introduced to a Samsung device, I could very well be writing this post from a completely different perspective today.

As I’ve used Apple products for years, Apple has become, in my mind, easy to use, convenient, and they have become my choice for technology. One reason to this is because, well, I’ve pretty much been forced to use Apple products all my life. At my elementary school, we had (very old) MacBooks. They soon transitioned to having all-apple computer labs as well. At my middle school, we have 17 carts of modern Macbook Airs, along with two carts of iPads. And after receiving my iPod, I’ve truly gotten used to their technology. No, not that. I’ve fallen in love with their technology.

Now, of course, technological preferences can change. In fact, at one point, I really was considering a Microsoft laptop. Today, my opinion has reverted back to Apple. But these days, the only experience I have had with another technology company is my dad’s phone. I can figure it out well enough, but what kept me away from Samsung was, at the time, my dad had owned an older phone. Because that phone had a glitchy keyboard, the speed was astronomically slow, and the touchscreen was definitely off, that became my perspective of Samsung. I’m sure, these days, that Samsung phones are quite up-to-speed to Apple. However, based on my experiences, I’ve come to get used to Apple, love Apple, to the point where I wouldn’t choose any other device.

So now that I think about it, that’s why I’m an Apple person. What about you?

Thank you so much for reading. It means a lot.


My Latest Trip to Barnes and Noble


Truly, I am, hooked on books. And so I tend to visit my favorite bookstore, Barnes and Noble, quite often to pick out my latest good reads. If I haven’t made this clear already: I love to read.

In fact, I almost literally go through books like water. By the time I finish a book review for one, I have added three more onto my sidebar lists of upcoming books to be reviewed. Speaking of book reviews, I have been re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and writing my book review as I go. It should be released sometime in the coming weeks, but I’ve barely reviewed half the book!

Last weekend, my family took another trip to Barnes and Noble, and I picked up two new books to read. Having had extra time to spend at Barnes and Noble, I was able to delve individually into each of these books. I can already tell that both will be great reads.

While we were there, I also was looking at one other book. I would have purchased it if I had adequate funds, but having two other books that I was excited to read, I decided to pass- for now. Here is the title and author so that you can check it out. I think it will be an excellent read for the future for me:

The Last Leaves Falling

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This book will certainly have me crying by the end. Just from reading the back of the book, I can already understand the main plot of the story.

The boy in this novel has been diagnosed with ALS, and can’t move his legs. This book reminds me of The Fault in Our Stars, as the narrator is concerned on how as his condition worsens, it will effect the people around him. From the look of it, I can tell that he has to decide as to whether he wants to continue living.

I’m looking forward to reading this book soon- check it out!

As you can probably tell from my previous reads, I have lately been into reading books about World War II. So, I wanted to highlight the book that I am currently reading:

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain

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This book is by the same author as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, one of my favorite reads
of all time. You can read my book response for it here. The book is similar but different in many was from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. (I’m going to refer to the Boy in the Striped Pajamas as SP and The Boy at the Top of the Mountain as TM). SP covers both sides of the war- the Jewish, who were put into death camps, and the German, who in Bruno’s case had a close relationship with Hitler. In TM’s case, Pierrot is French but staying at Hitler’s house.

The book covers how Pierrot travels from France to Germany and adapts to life there. In fact, there was an area where both Bruno (from SP) and Pierrot (from TM) met at the train station. I loved the connection between both books, along with the appearances of Adolf Hitler in both books.

I haven’t finished reading The Boy at the Top of the Mountain yet, but so far I have really enjoyed it.

Now for the two books that I have just purchased. Instead of WWII, I decided to choose both a fantasy and realistic book, realistically. This first book caught my eye and looks really good:

The Leaving

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This book got me hooked in immediately, in fact just from the caption on the front
cover: Six were taken. Five came back. The story follows six children in kindergarten who never came back on the school bus. When they returned 6 years later, they had lost most of their memory- and one was left behind.

From reading the first few pages, dozens of questions are already swarming around in my head. I’m sure you, like me, will already find yourself addicted to the book.

I think that I’ll start reading this after I finish The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, and I would recommend for you to start reading it too!

I had heard a lot about this final book, and so I decided to start reading it. Immediately I already loved the character Willow Chance:

Counting By 7s

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The first thing I noticed about Willow is that she is different: in a wonderful way. She
notices unique things about the world around her; as opposed to being obsessed with technology, she prefers nature and medical diseases.

And, like me, she treasures her friends. She accepts the life can be unfair and that family is most important.

While I didn’t get too far into the book, I can already tell that I am going to love reading it.

Thanks for joining me as I ‘muse’ about my latest reads!


More About Election Day

Amusing MusesAfter daylight savings time, I am more than happy to be able to sleep in. And getting a day off to do so? Even better. So for Election Day, I’m going to be giving you some more information, fun facts, and history on the holiday.

<Election Day>

  • Election day is the day where all federal elections are held.
  • Election day is always held on the first Tuesday of November.
  • Presidential elections are only held every 4 years, and only on even years.
  • In 1792, a law was passed mandating states to conduct presidential elections.
  • In 1845 a single date was chosen for all states.
  • Inauguration Day is on January 20, when the elected president and vice president are sworn into office.

I hope this brings some new insight to you on this holiday! Thanks for reading!