Thursday, December 11, 2014

Top 5 Study Abroad Packing Tips

This time two years ago, I was getting ready to leave for a semester abroad at The University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. I could ramble for hours about how amazing my experience was there, but I will summarize it with one thought: If you get the opportunity to study abroad, DO IT! You will learn so much about not only the host country, but also about yourself. I grew so much as an individual living 10,000 miles from home.

study abroad australia melbourne

Packing was a huge struggle for me because I could only bring one suitcase under 50 pounds and one carry-on. 
My entire wardrobe, makeup, skincare, etc. was packed in these two suitcases...

packing light for study abroad

I learned a lot about what you should pack from this experience, so I have compiled a list of my top 5 tips about how to pack for study abroad...

Do your research.

Before you put anything in that suitcase, do your research. has a feature where they break down the average temperatures of a city by each month. Also, research if there are any social norms that you should be aware of in regards to how you dress. If you will be of drinking age and want to go out to bars or clubs, look up some of the popular places in that city and look through their pictures to determine what people usually wear. However, you still want to make sure you are true to your style.

Be honest with yourself.

If you never wear skirts, why would you wear them when you are abroad? If you haven't worn it in the past year, do not bring it. Save the limited space in your suitcase for pieces you will actually wear. Be brutally honest with yourself. I knew that I always reach for shorts in the summer, so I made sure to pack my favorite pair of jean shorts, and I never missed my cute skirts I left at home.

how to pack for study abroad

Comfort is key.

As a study abroad student in a new place, you will probably be doing a lot of walking. Pack comfortable walking shoes! (I opted for B.O.C. riding boots and Sperry's) I did not bring a single pair of heels and did not miss them at all. Also, you need some clothing that you feel comfortable just hanging out. Don’t just focus on the cute outfits you will wear on the weekend. Also pack functional clothing for everyday use.

fashion advice for study abroad
At the Rip Curl Pro, a surf competition for surfers from all over the world!

Prioritize Layering Pieces.

When I arrived in Melbourne, Australia, it was over 90 degrees, but when I left, it was around 40 degrees. So, I had to prepare for a lot of different weather conditions. I covered the bases by packing basic pieces that can be layered on top of each other. I brought one black and one brown cardigan that can be thrown on top of tanks and tees as well as dresses and skirts that can be paired with tights when the weather gets cold. 

Towards the end of my stay, when the weather was cooler, I LIVED in these boots, leggings, and jacket. (The B.O.C. boots were my go-to walking shoes!)

what to pack for study abroad

Plan for your return.

As a tourist, you will probably be buying souvenirs for yourself and your friends and family, which means you need space in your suitcase on your way home. It was easy for me to decide on a pile of clothing to donate before I returned home because I had worn my versatile items to the ground. This left me with more room in my suitcase for souvenirs!

Are you studying abroad soon? If so, where? Leave a comment below and make sure to follow me by email or on Bloglovin' to know when I post! 

xoxo Ava

Friday, December 5, 2014

Are Bean Boots Worth The Money? // Review

L.L. Bean “Bean Boots” have exploded in popularity over the past few years. This year, I finally caved and purchased a pair of the L.L. Bean Bean Boots 8” Thinsulate in Tan/Brown.  This particular pair was $139, but the simple Bean Boot 8”, which looks very similar, retails for $109.

(There are a variety of style options, including heights and colors, which are all clearly outlined on the L.L Bean website.)

Spending over $100 for a pair of boots is a big decision for most people, especially a college student like me, so I have compiled a list of pros and cons for you to consider when making your decision.

L.L. Bean Bean Boot Review


Lifetime Warranty & Quality

As with all L.L. Bean products, these boots come with a “100% Satisfaction Guarantee”, which means that if at any point the product is not to your standards (rips, holes, etc.), you can exchange the product for a new one. Additionally, the salesperson told me that if the tread of your boots wear down (which they eventually will because they are rubber), you can bring them into the store and they will replace the sole them for you. This free service is ideal because they keep the leather, which you have broken in to fit your body. L.L. Bean is known for its fabulous customer service, which, along with its quality products, is a strong reason to purchase boots from L.L. Bean. 

2 in 1

For me, the biggest reason I was willing to spend $139 on a pair of boots is the fact that they double as both rain boots and snow boots. Therefore, you can actually save money and space in your closet by purchasing Bean Boots. However, I would recommend not purchasing the $109 Bean Boots because they are not waterproof above the rubber, unlike the Thinsulate style. (Side-note: The popular Hunter rain boots retail for around $150, so Bean Boots are priced competitively.)

Versatile Style

Bean Boots can be seamlessly incorporated into almost any outfit. They look great with skinny jeans, leggings, tights, and even sweatpants! Also, as seen in the picture above, I love adding cute socks that peak out from above the boot. Adding your own flair to these boots can easily incorporate them into you own personal style.



I originally ordered these boots online in a size 8. I normally wear a size 9 or 9 ½, but the sizing chart online suggested wearing a size 8. When I received them in the mail, they were so small I couldn’t even fit my heel in the boot!  Therefore, I would highly recommend that you do not order the boots online, but rather go into your nearest store to try them on.


Trends come and go. Will Bean Boots still be stylish in 5 years? Or will there be another popular boot coming around the corner?

Not everyone’s cup of tea…

Many people, like my mom, do not think these boots are cute at all. If these opinions matter to you, that might be a major factor in your decision.


YES, they are worth the splurge! I have absolutely no regrets about purchasing my Bean Boots. Dreary days are made just a little better when I get to slip them on with a cute pair of socks. I would recommend these boots for anyone who lives in a climate with a lot of rain and/or snow.

Do you have Bean Boots or have considered buying them? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, follow me on Bloglovin', Pinterest, and Instagram! Links to the right.

Happy Friday!
Xoxo Ava