Tagged in: ruthmini

photo scanner

What You Need To Know Before Buying a Photo Scanner

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post.

Being the Family Historian is not an easy job, and it’s even more difficult when you don’t have the right equipment. Generally, people will scan less than 1,000 photos a year. I started digitizing all my family’s old photos and so far, I have scanned over 8,000 photos. Most reviews of a scanner you will read are from people who barely use their machine. Wouldn’t you rather hear the real benefits and problems from someone who has used it and then some? For weeks, I read every review on Amazon trying to look for the perfect scanner, and the truth is, it really depends on what you’re going to use it for.

Epson Perfection V39 Photo Scanner


This is first on the list, but it’s not the first one we got. I got it more recently, but I like it so far. I’m all about practicality so when my mom said we needed another scanner I sighed heavily. But after she showed me this scanner, I decided it was worth the investment. This scanner can scan photos and documents and it’s small and light enough to carry around with you. I’ve noticed that a lot of the older generations are a little more hesitant to let you borrow their pictures so scanner allows you to digitize the photos without ever leaving their house. Click here or the title to purchase this scanner.

Epson Perfection V600


This scanner is my favorite and it was worth researching it for an entire month before buying. I just saved you a whole month, you’re welcome. I love that you can scan multiple photos at once because it really saves you a lot of time when you’re scanning thousands of photos for one family. Before we got this scanner, it would take weeks to scan every single photo we were given. Now, depending on the size of the photo we can scan up to 4 at one time, and it separates it into individual files. That right there is reason alone to buy it. But just in case you that’s not enough for you, this is the same scanner that I use when I’m volunteering at the library to scan photos.

Sometimes it’s worth it to see what people in your everyday life are using especially if it’s someone you trust with technology stuff. I’ve ever single review and looked the product over at least 6 times. I even read at least 10 different blogs that compare scanners, and I can say with confidence that this is the best one out there right now. I say, right now, because technology changes so fast. Since I saved you so much time, doing the research and finding you a direct link, I would appreciate it if you would share or recommend this article especially if you see someone struggling to pick the right equipment for their photo projects. If you are doing genealogy or family history, look no further, and many will agree, this is the best scanner out there.

I also use an extension called Honey and it does so much work for you that it makes online shopping a breeze. Not only will it test around 10-12 coupons to get you the best deal, it also checks to see if there have been any price changes. For this item, Honey found that the price has dropped from $208 to $199. To purchase this scanner, click here or on the title.

Epson WorkForce WF-3640


I liked this all-in-one printer/scanner/copier because it’s very simple and easy to use. It’s not too expensive and it’s user-friendly. A friend of mine recommended it to me since he uses the same machine. It didn’t last as long as I would like it to, but you should consider how much I used it. We got a good two years of scanning thousands of pictures before having to upgrade. If you’re one of the people who only scan a few hundred photos a year, then I would recommend using this one. I will admit it’s a bit slow for my taste and kind of loud, but those are minor inconveniences. You know all I’m about getting the best deal, so right now Amazon has this item for 50% off. Click here or the title to buy this all-in-one printer/scanner/copier.

You can also use WikiBuy to compare prices to see if Amazon is giving the best deal or if you can find it cheaper somewhere else. I personally don’t ever buy anything without checking Wikibuy first.

If you click on any of the links, I will get a portion of the purchase. With that being said, my own personal disclaimer is that I will never recommend a product of service that I have not used personally. You can rest assured that I have done the research and I am recommending a quality product.

oral history project

Oral History Project: Martina Herrera (2016)


A few semesters ago, my professor Dr. Santos assigned us an oral history project to do on a family member or someone we knew. I had done something similar in the past, but I hadn’t really done anything family history-wise since high school. I was really excited to do this project for school. My mom also did an interview with my grandma about her days as an activist and how she participated in strikes and met Cesar Chavez. I will be posting that interview soon as well, and as a matter of fact, I have at least 6 interviews that are waiting to be edited and posted. I didn’t ask to be the family historian, but with my education, writing skills, and tech-savvy nature, I’m the perfect one for the job.

I’m hoping to write a book about my family history, but as we all know videos on the Internet are forever. I want to make our family history available to anyone and everyone, not just for future generations of my family, but because my family history is tied to the history of the City of San Antonio. I’m not saying I’m famous, but I will be in the future when more people find out that the beautiful San Antonio would not exist without my family and the 15 other families that came across the ocean in a boat.

The thing that I would take away from this interview with my grandma is that she showed me the importance of education and family. Many of my family members did not graduate from high school, and my great grandma was one of the few to go back later in life to get her GED. It was a big accomplishment for her, and I know how important education was to her. My paternal great grandmother had to drop out of school when she in the first grade so in the 98 years she was alive she never learned to read. She only knew enough English to cook but she raised 9 kids and that is also a big accomplishment.

If it wasn’t for these two amazing women I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I do today and I am really grateful for that. I think if they were both still here, they would be proud of what I’m doing with the access I have to resources that they didn’t have. For a while, it felt like the journey was too much and I would never make it. What keeps me going is when I remember that my ancestors came to this country on a boat and had to fight disease and hardships just to bring my family to the point we are at today.


If you enjoyed this video, check The Oral History of Rosendo Medina II


As Hard As It Seems We Need To Speak Up

While researching content for new blogs, I came across this post of a young girl who had been sexually assaulted on the bus far too many times and finally found the courage to speak up for herself.

My intention is not for this post to group all men in the same category because there are men out there who find this behavior repulsive and to that, I say thank you for being a decent human being. Understandably this girl was shaken after the experience and I applaud her effort for taking the time to process the event in a healthy manner by examining what happened and reflecting on it. She also took action by speaking up which is hard to do as a woman because we aren’t always sure that our concerns of feeling unsafe will be taken seriously. This girl who known as StitchesTheCub on Reddit (names have been omitted to protect her privacy) tries to make sense of the event by asking herself and the internet “why some men feel the need to take advantage of crowds to feel up other people’s bodies.”

The first time I was inappropriately touched was in 8th grade.

This statement is very powerful because for a lot of women this is real life. Many sexual assaults, both physical and verbal, start at an early age for women, and it’s usually around the time that they are just starting puberty. Things are already confusing enough at that age, there is absolutely no reason for a girl that young to be worrying about these kinds of events. Sadly this happens to thousands of women on a daily basis.

This is her story:

A couple hours ago, I was riding the bus home from my old high school where I was visiting a retiring teacher. It was an extremely crowded bus because the same line ran through at least a couple schools. A few stops away from where I was supposed to get off, I gave up my seat for an elderly man and started standing by the rear exit. Not a minute later, I felt fingers stroking my left butt cheek. I thought it was my imagination at first so I shrugged slightly away only to feel the fingers return. I was 100% sure those weren’t some stray bag at that point; those were human fingers stroking from my lower to upper butt. I was done. I’d gained confidence in high school thanks to mentioned teacher and I was sick and tired of being touched. I’ve gotten nothing but trouble from guys in college who just can’t take a damn hint. I was called a bitch for not giving them a chance (I have a boyfriend) so I did what I felt was right. I called him out on it. I turned to him, looked the middle age blond man straight in those sky blue eyes of his and said in the loudest voice I could manage, “Touch my butt one more time and I will report you.” I knew I had the right man. He met my gaze unblinkingly and slowly nodded. No one seemed to have paid attention or cared. But at that moment, I was relieved. When I got off, I found out that my sister was on the same bus and had squeezed onto the front of the bus. If she had gotten on the back door, my little sister could have been in my position instead. She could have been the one touched instead of me. And I know she wouldn’t have said a thing.

There is no shortage of similar experiences like this and the thread I found this post in had over a thousand comments of women describing their version of the same story. Instead of teaching women that they are to blame for these events, these men need to be taught that women are not sexual objects and that they are creating an unsafe environment for women everywhere. Any type of sexual assault is not okay, and I applaud this girl for doing what many believe they cannot do. It may not always seem like a good idea to call these men out because you fear for your life and safety, but as Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”


You Can Never Escape the Airlines

With all the craziness going on with Airlines in the United States lately, my family and I opted to drive to Florida. Even though it was an 18-hour car ride, we thought it would be better than flying. We drove from San Antonio, Texas to Pensacola, Florida in one day and decided to stop and stay at a hotel. We were about 15 minutes from the hotel when we called to make a reservation. I would like to point out that many of the hotels were full and when we called this one they said they had rooms available.

Well, as it turns out, that was not the case; at least technically. The lady took our payment information and we made a reservation. You would think that would be the end of it, but you’d be wrong. So we arrive around 8 PM to the hotel and at this point, we had been in the car for approximately 12 hours and we just wanted to relax. My grandma gives them her name and info and the woman at the front desk says that there is a problem.

If you know me, I always use a coupon whenever possible. I found a coupon that would make our hotel stay $70 instead of $130 (the Saturday price). I would like to preface this next part by saying it’s not the first time I’ve experienced something like this with coupons. Logically, you would assume that if you make a reservation they have to hold the room. Apparently, this is not the case. The fine print on the coupon says subject to availability which is why I called to confirm they had rooms in the first place. I’m not a beginner at couponing by any means and I understand they have certain rules, but what happened next I was not expecting.

I don’t stay at hotels very often, but I always use a coupon. I’ve never had a problem with using one for a hotel even once. We walked in looking tired and completely disheveled and inform the woman at the front desk that we have a reservation. She goes on to explain that occupancy was too low (I think she meant too high because if it was too low they’d have plenty of room) to use the coupon. Basically, they want to save the last few available rooms for people who are willing to pay full price.

This is not the first time I’ve encountered a policy like this because this was a policy we had at the movie theater I worked at, so I can completely understand where they are coming. However, that is the exact reason I called ahead of time; to avoid this situation. Then, the lady says the policy works like an airline. She didn’t say these exact words but essentially if you aren’t willing to pay full price then you’re not going to get a room. That would make sense if I hadn’t called ahead and reserved a room. Apparently, that reservation means nothing, and it reminded me all the recent situations surrounding the airlines recently.

We got lucky, and they decided to honor our coupon despite repeatedly saying that they don’t normally do this. I thought it was ridiculous that they would allow us to make a reservation and take our payment info without informing us that something like this might come up. I haven’t been to a hotel in a long time, but as I stated before I’ve never had a problem like this before. If any hotel owners are reading this, heed this advice: Don’t compare your policies to an airline and if a customer makes a reservation you should honor it.


You Never Know How Your Actions Affect People


With the popularity of Thirteen Reasons Why growing, I decided to write a blog about an impactful moment that I was a part of. I am a very open person so I want to share a very awkward memory that I had when I was a teenager. I think it’s important to share because sometimes you never know what will happen or how things will work out when you decide to do something. Sometimes what you do can really have an impact on someone else’s life, good or bad.

When I was in high school, I was in an organization called Civil Air Patrol which is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. There weren’t that many girls when I first joined, but after a year or so there were at least a handful of girls. There was one girl named Melissa who was friends with the girls before she started coming to the meetings. The only person she didn’t know was me because my family didn’t live on base. I always had to have someone pick me up and take me to the meetings because we didn’t have a way to get on base. It was sweet of Melissa to invite me to her birthday party even though she didn’t know me. Her birthday party was going to be a bowling party and it was just going to be all girls. At the time, I was doing hand-painted tote bags so I made Melissa a tote bag that had Winnie the Pooh on it and her name in big letters. Her mom picked me up at a restaurant near the base and took me to the party. We waited for about 90 minutes before we realized that no one else was going to show up. It was so awkward because we weren’t friends, barely knew each other, and I was the only one who showed up to her party. I felt bad because she invited me thinking I would feel bad for being left out. Another 30 minutes went by and she decides to call her friend Emma. Apparently, Emma was with all the other girls that were supposed to go to the party and said she totally forgot about the party. I could tell that Melissa was sad because she told her she would just see her late instead of trying to meet up to try to salvage the party. I really hope that Melissa is okay because I never saw or heard from her after that. I had been sitting here trying to think of what to write, and this memory came to me, so I thought I would share just in case this helps someone make a friendly decision to help someone else.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small percentage of your purchase if you click the link.

Their trash will be my treasure

Their Trash Will Always Be My Treasure

If you’ve read my last couple of posts, you’ll know that I’m running my own mobile library and I received a huge donation recently. Well, a week later, the numbers are in. It would have been more, but I shamelessly kept a few for myself. I will donate them back to my library when I’m done reading them. The total ended up being 419 books, and that’s because that’s all we could fit in my car. Since January I have collected a total of 1,643 books and I only paid $70 for all of them because they are mostly donations. As of right now, I have 1,200 books available in my library.

It took me a week, and I do mean a week, to process all these books. I used every single moment of my free time to get it done. I would sometimes log books for 8 hours a day. I would stay up until 1 AM and then wake up at 9 AM just to try to get it done. I posted a request for volunteers, but I didn’t get anyone to answer so I had to do everything myself. It was probably the biggest thing on my to-do list so far, and I’m glad to finally get it done.

The best part was the kind of books I received in the donation. I received at least 6 first editions and several books from the 1920’s to the 1940’s. One of the best books I received was a 1937 edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and a 1950 edition of Leaves of Grass. Can you believe that someone was going to throw these books away in the trash? It’s heartbreaking, to say the least. With that in mind, I remember going dumpster diving as a kid and finding all kinds of books in good condition so I might start doing that again. I hear people do that for a living, so I’m sure I can save these books from sitting in a landfill while saving the environment in the process. I’ll post a blog about what I find dumpster diving if I find something good. If you are inspired to go dumpster diving because of this post, please check your local city laws because dumpster diving is not legal in all areas.

If you would like to know more, check out out my library page.

I Never Do Anything Special for My Mom on Mother’s Day

Yes, you read that correctly. I say it with pride because it’s true. My mom and I are close and we spend a lot of time together. I used to take her to the movies when I worked there every week. When I had a steady income, I would buy her dinner and help her pay for groceries. So today for Mother’s Day, I got up early at 7 AM to get her favorite meal: a dozen tamales, barbacoa, corn tortillas, and Big Red. I paid for it and had it ready for her when she woke up. She likes to do family interviews so I got her an old-school tape recorder. After she ate and relaxed, I took her to the movies where we saw “Lowriders” and I went to a movie theater that I rarely ever go to because it was the only one playing it. I did all this for my mom, but like I said it’s nothing special. This is stuff I do for her all the time. I always tell people that I don’t do anything on Mother’s Day for my mom, but they don’t realize how much I do for her on a daily basis. I always tell her, “If you want to celebrate Mother’s Day, then I’m not going to do all this stuff for you all the time. I’ll save it all for Mother’s Day.” She really does appreciate everything I do for her. In my opinion, Mother’s Day is like Valentine’s Day. Do you really need a special holiday to appreciate your mom? That’s something you should be doing every day. I will always cherish the memories I have with my mom because she has always pushed me to do my best and has always been my biggest fan. I love you, Mom.

If you want to know more about my mom, check out her website rosiemini.com

Store Closings are a Dangerous Sign of Collapse

Retail stores across the country are having to close their stores, but many insiders are saying that this won’t help the inevitable collapse.

According to one former retail executive, closing stores isn’t a path to profitability. Instead, it’s a warning signal that a retailer is in an irreversible death spiral.

store closings

Part of the problem is that while many stores are losing foot traffic, many online stores are gaining more traction. Most Americans enjoy being able to shop online and like the luxury of having their items shipped to their house. Even the idea of the self-checkout at places like Walmart are getting more popular because they rarely have more than 3-4 cashiers to help their customers check out. Some customers complain of their local stores are desperately in need renovations. Customers often complain about crowds, especially during holidays and Black Friday. Theft is also a growing problem with these big retailers, which is having a huge impact on their profitability.

Instead of taking a chance and making changes, they think the best course of action is to close a massive amount of their stores. Some of these retailers are well-known names and I was a bit shocked when I saw that they were going to close, but realistically I’m not surprised with the way things are headed. It’s a lot cheaper to operate an online store than it is to operate a physical building. There are repercussions that come with closing their stores. A lot of them will have to sell their properties at a loss, they will have to lay off their employees, and sometimes they have a going out of business sale and I know a lot of people who take advantage of those sales. Even though it’s good for people like me who are always seeking a deal, it’s sad to think about everything that goes along with a store closing.

Source: BusinessInsider


Couponing: It’s Not Just For Groceries Anymore

On my last post about couponing, I wrote about how the stores try to trick you with their prices. Lots of stores do this, but you probably don’t notice if you don’t buy multiples of each item. I love using coupons because I hate paying full price for anything. My great grandmother would be rolling in her grave if I didn’t take something that someone was giving away for free. I’ll give you some real-life examples to show you how couponing can help you in ways you might not have thought of before.

In my previous posts, I told you about my mobile library. Anyone who has ever had a business knows that start-up costs can pile up if you aren’t careful. Although my library started off as a box of books it quickly grew into the cozy little booth I have today. You can’t use a coupon for everything, but if you save money anywhere you can, then you’ll have more money for things that you can’t save money on.

Storage Containers

In the beginning, I was using crates that I bought at Target for $3 each. It was fine when I only had 100 books to carry around, but I quickly learned that we didn’t have enough room and we needed more storage. I liked that you could stack the crates on top of each other, but they had holes that didn’t protect the books in case it rained. I decided to look online and found an ad from Office Depot that had storage containers that were retailed at $15 each and were on sale for $6 each. At first, I ordered 4 of them online and shipped them to store for free. I got the email that they were ready and went to go pick them up. In true retail employee fashion, they had no idea about the order when I went to pick it up.

Luckily there was no one in the store and one of the employees went to the shelf and got it for me. The storage boxes held twice as many books as the crates and I decided that I should buy some more while the sale was still going on. I purchased another 8 boxes at Office Max (which is apparently the same company now), got the email that it was for pick up, and went to go pick them up. Of course, the cashier had no idea what I was talking about and picked up my boxes several times before saying, “Oh, wait, these are yours.” So, I got 12 storage containers that retailed at $180 and I paid $54. You might be thinking, “Wait a second, that math doesn’t add up because 12 boxes at $6 each are $72.” And you would be correct.

So, here’s the best part: You can use coupons on items that are on sale. Not only did I take advantage of the fact that they were on sale, I used my Wikibuy and Honey Google Chrome extensions to find any online codes to make it cheaper. I ended up saving another $20 in addition to getting the item more than 50% off. All I did was spend about 10 minutes researching deals online and my browser does the rest. On a side note, never buy from Amazon without checking Wikibuy first. It will notify you if they find it cheaper somewhere else.


I found a cute foldable bookshelf for my library and I fell in love instantly. Unfortunately for me, it arrived a week late and I couldn’t use it for my book event. The bookshelf was retailed at $100 and was on sale for $50 with free shipping. I called to complain and they gave me a 15% discount for their error. This won’t always work since my package was late and I had a legit excuse to complain, but you should always contact the seller if there is anything wrong with your delivery.

Fast forward to now, I bought 3 more bookshelves from a different company who had the exact same bookshelves for $40 with free shipping and no taxes. I even got $4 cash back. There are so many cash back sites that if you aren’t using them already you need to start. I use Ebates who also have a Google Chrome extension that makes online shopping so much better. So instead of paying $300, I ended up paying $120. I used the money I got from donations from book events to purchase it since I had been saving the money to build up my library fund.

500 books

From 5 to 500, Nothing Can Stop Me Now

When I started my mobile library, I never thought it would get so big so fast. With a blog, this amount of growth would be welcome. But when you have a product that takes up actual space, that kind of growth must be controlled. The first time I got books for my mobile library I bought 50 books for $5. 38 books went to my library and the other 12 books went to my personal collection. Just recently I had a sweet little girl named Anika come to our booth this past weekend, and she was so excited to get new books. In fact, she was so excited that she went home and cleared out her bookshelf of her old books and donated 50 books to us. For a while, we hadn’t gotten any donations and I had to spend my own money to purchase books from the bookstore, yard sales, and book sales around town. Now, I have too many donations. Well, let’s just say I’m starting to run out of room for current book inventory. I would like to donate them anywhere I can (I’m open to suggestions).

It’s hard to fathom what 500 books even looks like, and luckily I took a picture (see photo above). Since January 2017, I had collected 1200 books and given away 500. You would think it would easy as pie to give away free books, but I’ve run into some obstacles and naysayers. I am so grateful to have been given these books for free, so I want to continue to pay it forward. I would say 85% of the books I received are for adults and are very old books. They can sometimes be harder to give away because while there aren’t many adults who like to read there are even fewer people that have time to read. I totally understand, I never had time to read for pleasure until after I graduated college.

To give you an idea of how big my library has gotten, I started on March 11, 2017, with only 150 books. Today, only 2 months later, I have close to 2,000 books. I’m doing this all by myself. I only have two people who help sometimes (my mom and my best friend), but 80% of the works is done by me. It’s not easy doing all this work, but I started this on my own and I’ve never been one to expect help from anyone. I am always grateful for those who do help, and I will always accept help to whoever offers.

Check out my mobile library