Living and Giving: Values of Personal Philanthropy

People with a desire to share what they have for an important cause must balance their charitable intent to their ability to maintain financial stability. Philanthropy is not all about giving huge sums of money to charities in one go, but it also requires planning that comes out of a desire to help make the world a better place. Here are questions philanthropists must ask themselves before beginning giving to charity.


Image source:

How much? It’s not true that philanthropy is about giving more than one can afford. Sacrificing too much for a cause can threaten one’s financial and overall stability. It is better to give small, consistent numbers than going for one-time big amounts.

How? There are many ways to practice philanthropy other than financial provisions. People can donate their old books, clothes, and even their hair for various causes. Individuals can also volunteer for these groups. Other organizations prefer these kinds of donations over cash.

Who? Before deciding to give to a cause, individuals must have a clear background on what the organization is about. The donor must uphold similar values with their chosen organization. Donors should also learn about the projects that will benefit with their donations.


Image source:

Sandra Balan is a traveler, architecture fanatic, and a philanthropist. Read more about her interests when you follow this Google+ page.

Unclutter Your Mind in the Kitchen: Cooking as Meditation

Anything that boosts creativity is an excellent way to de-stress, and cooking can be one of those activities. For some people, being in the kitchen helps them resolve major issues. In the midst of frustration, most people tend to dwell and end up not finding a solution. However, solutions are usually found when there is detachment. Cooking lets people detach themselves from their problems even for a little while and helps them focus on the sole activity of making good food. When inside the kitchen, the only goal is to cook. But in the process, life begins to brighten up, and the cook realizes bits of insight.

Image source:

The eureka moment people experience inside the kitchen is perhaps due to the sensory release one experiences while cooking. When the body’s senses are stimulated, it becomes more dynamic and focused. This could be similar to taking a walk to blow off steam. Once the ingredients are in the stove, the flavors are released.

Thinking of others while in the kitchen could also be helpful. Once the attention is removed from the frustration and directed to happy thoughts, details of the bigger picture materialize. The same is true with cooking. What started as a few raw ingredients begin to look like a whole meal that could feed many. All the efforts from chopping, broiling, baking, and steaming could benefit more than one person. Doing something for others makes one feel good.

Image source:

Sandra Balan loves to cook, travel, and visit interesting places. For more delicious insights, visit this Google+ page.

Your First Mexican Adventure: An Itinerary

Image source:
Image source:

Mexico is a popular destination among travelers aching for its ancient ruins, beaches, and beautiful coastline. Here are a few things a traveler should not miss when visiting Mexico.

Teotihuacan is known as Mexico’s biggest city before the Spanish colonized the country. The site is a complex of pyramids and ruins of the Aztec civilization.

Chapultepec Forest
Now a main park in Mexico City, Chapultepec was once a home for the Aztecs. It is Mexico’s largest and most famous park, with a zoo, large lakes, and a museum.

Acapulco was Hollywood’s most favored getaway in the 1950s. It is a popular destination for locals and foreigners, with its white sands and deep blue waters.

Palenque used to be a living site for the Mayans. It may be smaller than its neighboring Mayan cities, but Palenque is filled with beautiful architectural and archeological discoveries. It is also host to the Temple of Inscriptions, or the only pyramid built as a monument for the dead.

Copper Canyon
This network of canyons is several times larger than America’s Grand Canyon. Visitors may pass the canyon via the “Chihuahua al Pacifico” Railway. This track will expose visitors to 37 bridges and 86 tunnels.

Image source:
Image source:

Chichen Itza
This is the largest of all Mayan cities in the Yucatan peninsula. It houses El Castillo, a 91-step pyramid-temple that holds an astronomical significance for the Mayans.

To know more about Mexico’s history-rich sites, visit this Sandra Balan blog.

The Many Ways to Support National Parkinson Foundation

The National Parkinson Foundation is a nonprofit organization that strives for finding treatment and family support for people with Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative brain disorder that impairs one’s motor skills. The NPF has been actively campaigning for the effective management of this disease and has so far developed several programs that try to address at least one aspect of the condition. These include:

Moving Day® Walk. An inspiring fundraising event, Moving Day® Walk unites families, friends, and communities in the fight against Parkinson’s disease. It is the first grassroots campaign in the country to provide a clearer strategic plan for the treatment of the disease on a national level. It is held in several cities nationwide.

Image source:

Team Hope™. Dubbed as a “FUNdraising” program, this allows people in the community to freely build funds and develop awareness for Parkinson’s in a variety of ways. These community fundraisers take the lead in planning their activities or participating in athletic events.

Image source:

NPF Chapters. These are community organizations that provide people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers access to a wide range of relevant resources and services, such as support groups, health and wellness classes, and education programs, among others. They educate the community about the disorder through special events to help ensure that patients, their families, and caregivers live a full life.

Sandra Balan is also a staunch supporter of nonprofit charitable organizations, including the National Parkinson Foundation. Know more about her other philanthropic endeavors by following this Twitter account.