Sorority Recruitment 101: What's Off Limits, Reputations, Social Media, and MORE

Summer is flying by and before we know it, it will be back to school season and, for some of us, that also means sorority recruitment season. Because I have gone through recruitment for two years (in and out of the house) and have a younger sister that is getting close to her college years, I felt like I should use this platform to dive a little deeper into common questions that a lot of people have about preparing for rush as an incoming freshman. To some it might feel like what goes on in sorority life is a secret, but I feel like the more you know, the more prepared you are for the experience. I will admit, joining a sorority is not for everyone, but there are a lot of pros that make it a lot easier to adjust to college life. If you want to read a little more about the basics behind sorority life, click here for my first post.

I'm just going to dive into some of the questions that I got and if you have more questions that aren't answered here, feel free to DM me on Instagram! There are a couple of topics that I am planning on creating a separate post for, so stay tuned for that.

What is off limits to talk about during recruitment?
In general, we were always told to steer clear of the 3 B's: boys, booze, and Bush (which just basically stands for political views). Boys and partying/drinking are an obvious no when it comes to conversation as joining the sorority is about sisterhood. In my personal opinion, you want to share unique things about you, whether that be experiences you've had, what values are important to you, or just cool facts about you. Anyone can go to a fraternity party, so really think about why you want to be in a sorority and make that the topic of conversation.

What and what not to wear?
At the University of Kentucky, we were given two t-shirts for each day of open house and then the other 4 days, we could choose. I always chose a casual-ish dress and sandals. Be yourself, don't go out and buy Jack Rogers and Lilly Pulitzer unless that's actually your style. Wear what you would normally wear out in public. With that being said...
Don't wear booty shorts or crop tops, look somewhat modest. Think something you're comfortable wearing around your dad or grandparents, you know? If you need examples, let me know lol.

Should I consider a certain sorority's reputation or just go in with an open mind?
This is such a cliche answer, but don't go in with any expectations of what you think you will join. I promise that only sets you up for disappointment. This may be harsh, but in all honesty, if you are a freshman going through, you have never been at the school before and you really have no idea what a sorority's true "reputation" is. Make those calls for yourself. Enjoy it and just find girls that you click with and want to be around. If you listen to other people's opinions and go in with a biased perspective, you might not end up in the right place and the experience might not be worth it for you.

Is my social media something to consider?
Not necessarily. Use common sense. Making sure that your social media posts are appropriate is important whether you join a sorority or not.

Is going through the recruitment process really worth it?
Being in a sorority is what you make of it. You can be involved as much or as little as you want to be. Keep in mind, it is a pretty significant financial commitment. Obviously like anything, there are some cons. Is there drama? Yes. Can it be clique-y at times? Yes. But I can honestly say, it has given me the structure I need to really thrive and flourish in college. It allows you to surround yourself with girls that have similar values as you that are constantly motivating you to be your best. It has really shown me the importance of service, friendship, and holding myself to a higher standard. Transitioning into college life is a challenge no matter where you go, but it is helpful to be around people so early on that are going through the same struggles and supporting you. You probably won't find your best friend right away and that's okay, but like I always say, nothing worth having comes without struggle, so everything happens for a reason and works out how it is supposed to.

I hope this post was informative and gave you guys a bit more insight into the recruitment process and what to expect. As always, I am all ears to any other questions or comments you have. You know where to find me!

Thanks for reading. xx

Studying Abroad, Hustling, and Struggling to Save Money: Spilling the Tea #1

Hiiii friends! Welcome to my "new" site: same look, but new name. I have been thinking about shedding Class in the Bluegrass and moving the site towards just my name (Baigin Thiel). This is definitely an adjustment as I try to figure out what direction I want to take the blog, but you all can rest assured I will continue to share my health and fitness journey, as well as all of my upcoming travels. So in continuing to share, I'm starting a new series called "Spilling the Tea" where I'm going to be doing just that: spilling the tea. I have like 9 million thoughts and ideas in my head pretty much at all times, so I think it's time to get them out in the open, shall we?

I don't think I've officially announced it on the blog, but this fall I will be studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain to complete my International Business minor from September to December. As someone that has been in the same town her whole life, I really could not be more excited to get out of my comfort zone and have this unbelievable experience. I don't know anyone participating in my program, so this is truly going to be unlike anything else I've ever done and I really can't wait to share these travels and positive experiences with you guys, as well as struggles that are inevitable in adjusting to a new culture and being away.

I have a lot of places in Europe that I want to cross off of my bucket list while I'm there, but I'm still researching and figuring out how I can see all of these places as inexpensively as possible. I am really lucky that I have received scholarships and have my family to financially support my studies, but most all of my travels and personal expenses are on my own dime. This has always been the case for me and I'm really grateful for that because it has taught me how to really hustle for what I want without the heavy burden that student loans and debt can create. Creating goals, strategies, and a strong work ethic are critical life skills that I probably wouldn't have developed if my situation were different, so I'm really lucky for that. Being able to travel and see the world has always motivated me to keep my eye on the end goal and keep hustling.

This past semester and summer, I have really been working my tail off trying to make money, so that I'm able to travel and have these experiences abroad, but sometimes I'm not the best saver... I'm an accounting major, so it's about time to get with the program in regards to saving... This month, I created an Excel Spreadsheet for my budget and it has really kept me on track so far. Summer is a really social time; it's vacation season and I find myself constantly meeting people for lunch or dinner. While I love reconnecting with people and shopping for new outfits for summer trips, it is really important to keep track of your spending, especially while you have a specific saving goal in mind. 

We're only halfway through July, so it is possible that my budget spreadsheet could go downhill from here, but I'm optimistic. If it ends up being effective, I will share a quick tutorial on the blog for how I created it as well as some tips and tricks for saving. If you guys have a goal (money related or not), I just want to encourage you to keep working hard for what you want. It is so satisfying to make progress and know that you earned your results and didn't settle or take the easy way out. Nothing truly great in life comes without a little struggle. You got this guys! Follow along on Instagram (@baiginthiel and @balanced_baig) for a little day to day inspiration. We're in this together.

Thanks for reading. xx

3 Easy and Healthy Recipes for the Girl on a Budget

I asked on Instagram what you guys wanted to see on the blog and so many people responded with more recipes. While I wouldn't consider myself a chef or anything, I have found what works for me to cook healthy meals on a budget in as little time as possible. Cooking can feel really intimidating (speaking from experience) so I try to find ways to make the process as easy as I can.

I will share with you guys a complete roundup of grocery tips and a haul soon, (probably on my Youtube channel) but I always share grocery finds on Instagram stories, so make sure you are following along on @balanced_baig to keep up with that. While you guys know I love Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, you can also get a lot of inexpensive items on sale at Kroger. I try to keep my shopping trips to around $50 at the absolute most and I try to only go every two weeks.

First thing's first: what I like to call a "power bowl". These are so easy and yummy, but my favorite part about making this for lunch or dinner is that it is so easily customizable. I always have some variation of veggies, greens, protein, and healthy fat. Some examples here:

  • Veggies / Fresh Produce: brussels sprouts, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash noodles, broccoli, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, etc. Get creative! Summertime is the best time to experiment with veggies because they are so fresh and in season. I love seasoning my veggies with Everything but the Bagel from Trader Joe's, sea salt, pepper, garlic, really whatever I'm feeling at the moment and then roasting for 15ish minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Greens: almost always spinach or kale. This could be roasted or lightly dressed with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Protein: my go-to proteins are chicken and salmon. When you're shopping for meat, make sure you are looking for pasture raised chicken and wild caught salmon. Speaking from experience, I have seen a lot of meat and fish with hormones or colors added and that kind of freaks me out, so it's worth it to me to pay a little more for good stuff. When I'm cooking for myself, I always season my meat or fish with a little bit of olive oil and some kind of combination of sea salt, garlic, and pepper. Maybe a little lemon juice. My rule of thumb is typically cooking for about 5 minutes each side on the stove, but use your judgment. (side note: cooking meat/fish used to scare me so much, but I promise it's not as intimidating as it may seem!)
  • Fat: pretty much always half an avocado! I usually cook with olive oil, so that's in their too. I also love adding a big spoonful of spicy hummus if I have it on hand.

I have been loving the black bean pasta from Trader Joe's. It is full of fiber and protein and can be made a variety of different ways. You could do regular tomato sauce and parmesan, but I have been loving plain olive oil or the pesto quinoa (also from Trader Joe's). Immediately after I strain most of the water from the pasta, I throw in a big handful of spinach, let that cook down, and add whatever sauce/toppings. This keeps me full until the end of the day when I bring this for lunch!

I shared this recipe on my Instagram, but I picked up this cult favorite from Trader Joe's and it did not disappoint! Once again this is so easily customizable (why I love), but the TJ's pesto quinoa was super yummy on top with a little mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. This is more of an example of something I would make for dinner. As far as cooking the crust, I just followed the directions on the box for cooking and it turned out perfectly.

I hope you enjoyed those three easy recipes. While it's definitely not rocket science, sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get started in the kitchen. At least I know I do. If you like the food related posts, make sure to let me know and I will keep them coming.

Thanks for reading. xx

Thoughts on Anxiety and Slowing Down + a Morning Tip

I am really making an effort to write more every day. I find that getting my thoughts on paper really helps to clear my mind. One of my favorite podcasts is Lewis Howes on The Skinny Confidential and his tips on dealing with anxiety are really awesome. One in particular that I really took away was just simply practicing gratitude. It's so easy, but when we get caught up in our lives, it's becomes hard to remember even just 3 things that you're thankful for every day. 

Practicing simple habits every day can help set us up for success, mentally and physically. If you are like me and have a mind that's always flooded with thoughts and worry, getting your thoughts on paper or typing them is really therapeutic. Today, I'm going to share a habit I've implemented in my morning routine that really does make a difference in calming anxious thoughts.

It's 7:00am and the alarm begins to go off. 
Side note: If you aren't setting your alarm in the Bedtime part of the clock on your iPhone, I highly recommend starting tonight. The sound is much more peaceful to wake up to- it really does make a difference! 
I brush my teeth and then either make the bed or get back into bed and pull out my journal. I just start writing and try to get at least a page (front and back). Write how you're feeling, what's going on in your life, any worries or fears you're having, and then write just 3 things you are grateful for. If I'm especially tired, sometimes I'll just call to mind the 3 things I'm grateful for and write them down and call it a day. It almost sounds silly how simple, but can you remember a time you sat in silence without looking at your phone and thought of 3 blessings in your life? 

Anxiety sucks you guys. When it hits, it takes over your mind and, often, you really can't even pinpoint what is really bothering you. While this is a horrible feeling, when that feeling hits, stop and practice gratitude. There are so many blessings in life that we can and should stop and thank the universe or God or whatever you believe in for. It is crazy how much this has helped me calm down and calm my thoughts. 

I really wanted to share this simple thought on the blog in hopes that it might help you if you suffer from anxiety like I do. There are so many incredible moments in life that we need to start slowing down and acknowledge and I am totally guilty of getting too caught up in my busy life to take this time. I want to encourage everyone to take time out of your day to slow down. Take a walk, get up 15 minutes earlier and write down your thoughts, eat your breakfast without looking at your phone or computer; whatever it is that allows you that time to just chill.

I hope this small tip was helpful to whoever is reading and that you know I'm right there with you in trying to be more mindful and grateful in my day to day life. If you want more thoughts of morning routines or my efforts to be more calm and mindful, follow me on Instagram (@balanced_baig) and let me know.


20 Things I've Learned in 20 Years

20. The beginning of a new and exciting chapter of my life. I know a lot people don't care about 20 as they'd rather get to 21 (ha!), however, this is a really exciting milestone for me. While I by no means know everything about life (quite the opposite actually), with growing up comes experiences and moments in our life where we grow as people. I've made so many mistakes in 20 years, but through those mistakes I've learned so much. I'm all about constantly pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself that you can be. While I have so much to learn and see in this world, I wanted to share 20 lessons I've learned that have been really impactful for me.

1. You can't do it all. And you really shouldn't have to go through hard times alone. Going off of that...

2. It's okay to ask for help. It is a sign of strength to admit you need help in all aspects of life I think.

3. Be kind. You never know what people are going through in their life and people remember kindness.

4. The most important relationship is with yourself. Invest in yourself and always continue to push yourself to be the best you can be.

5. Mental health is important. I've talked a little about my struggle with anxiety, but it's a real thing and more people are suffering than we even know. Take time to take care of yourself.

6. Your outer appearance doesn't define who you are as a person. 

7. Always stand up for what you believe in. 

8. Accept the things you can't change. Despite how much of a fight I've put up with the universe, some things are out of our control. Accept those things and move on.

9. Support others. There is room for everyone to succeed in this world. Cheer people on for their successes.

10. A positive mindset is everything. Being negative has never gotten anyone anywhere.

11. Never give yourself the opportunity to say you didn't try your best. Always work hard and give your best effort.

12. Spend money on experiences, not things. Being able to travel has been one of the greatest opportunities of my entire life and has opened my eyes to so much. I've also never regretted a Sunday brunch with my girlfriends!

13. Don't be afraid to do something new. Stay tuned for my semester in Barcelona!!!

14. Fight for what you want.

15. Be a listener.  Never underestimate the power of lending a listening ear to someone.

16. Not all relationships are meant to be. Friendships, relationships with boys, whatever. Not everything is supposed to last forever and that's okay. We learn and grow from every situation.

17. Put your phone down and enjoy life. Just try it for one day and trust me.

18. Not everyone is nice. Back to #3. Be kind anyways.

19. Always push yourself to keep learning. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Ask questions. Listen to stories from wiser people.

20. Admit you don't know it everything. Let's be honest. No one likes a know-it-all and no one really knows it all. We are all constantly growing, making mistakes, and learning from them.

VLOG: Traveling to CA + World Surf League Founder's Cup

Now that it is officially summer and my life is getting a little more exciting, I am bringing back the vlogs!!! I just uploaded a new video from my trip to California for the World Surf League Founder's Cup where I interned and helped with the first time event. As always, message me on Instagram if there is anything that you all want to see this summer!
Thanks for watching! xx

What @balanced_baig Really Means

I get questions constantly about what my Instagram name @balanced_baig means and the story behind it. I have been in a mental "fog" lately and overall just really confused about the direction that I want to take my life, etc. etc. Nothing new, as this is something that we, as humans, deal with 24/7 as a part of growing and changing through life.

In terms of fitness, I am very much an experimenter and I don't really know the best way about achieving my goals in a healthy and sustainable way. I have really struggled with being weighed down by the perfectionist mindset in all aspects of life, so by giving myself the nickname "balanced" Baig, I hoped I would get closer to finding the balance that I truly crave. I am a naturally curious person and I love reading, learning, and consuming content, but sometimes I can get lost in the sea of Instagram and Youtube. Every single person that shares their story online is different and they've had a totally different journey and experience than every person watching, so the amount of (often conflicting) information is overwhelming, especially for a Type A individual (aka me) that likes to have rigid structure and guidelines at all times. I have consumed so much information over the past few years that I really developed a passion for learning new things particularly in the health and fitness category. 

I'm just a college girl that shares the same struggles that most women face every day. I struggle daily with anxiety, OCD, and the pressures of feeling like I'm not enough. Lately, that pressure and weight has been so heavy on me and, when I reflect inward, I'm realizing that the root of this is comparison. You hear it all the time: "Comparison is the thief of joy". At times, it goes in one ear and out the other, but, you guys, comparison is killing my joy. I'm embarrassed to admit...probably 75% of my day is spent on Instagram stories watching my favorite people...I know it's a horrible habit, and, while I love these (ultimately) strangers and their content, I constantly ask myself why my life isn't as perfect or amazing. If you really sit and think about the act of watching a 10 second video and tearing yourself apart over it, it sounds freaking crazy and it is, yet it happens all the time, especially with people around my age. The truth is there is no right answer or secret to living a healthy or happy life because every individual is on their own journey.

Although I try to be "balanced", recently, I've struggled with finding inspiration to post because I feel like I have to post that I have my life together all the time and, honestly, it is so far from together it's hilarious. I found a love for writing and posting because, by sharing my daily experiments and struggles, I literally feel like I'm exhaling all the anxiety and thoughts that I have swirling around in my head. In attempts to find peace within myself, I'm kind of shifting my outlook on posting to the blog and Instagram. I understand the stress and negative feelings that come with beating yourself up on a daily basis and I hope by my sharing a glimpse into that struggle, you feel a little better about your own journey to finding that balance. I have so many exciting changes coming up in my life and I don't want to waste another second feeling less than because of what I see on social media, so I hope you'll stay tuned as I share a little more realness. As always, follow along or message me on my Instagram.