Vanity is my favorite sin!

a southern belle's spot in the big city

Study Abroad: Packing List

I’ve done some packing lists here in the past but those are for traveling on a short term basis. aside from my three-month stint in hong kong, the longest i’ve been traveling as a tourist is my 3 week-tour around europe, and for that i have just packed a week’s worth of clothes. I have also packed for different kinds of weather, like my summer trip in bangkok, my winter trips in hong kong, my autumn trips in hong kong, and my spring trip in europe, with a bit of thermal wear as we climbed the snow capped mountains in the swiss alps, and various other trips.

packing has never been a challenge for me as i have famously travelled around europe in under 15kilos worth of luggage (famous because i never shut up about it, hehehe), and i’ve also gone to a weeklong trip with just my carry-on.

this time tho, i would be packing for something entirely different. I will be packing for an entire year, and complete with all 4 seasons of the year, as i would be taking my masters in Sweden for 1 whole year. packing for an entire year is a whole lot different than packing for a few months, and yet, i have the same luggage weight limitations. am not about to pay a hundred dollars per excess kilo even if i had the money, which i so totally do not.

in my case, budget is an issue. Don’t get me wrong, i would never try to pass myself off as impoverished. that would be an injustice to my hardworking family. but that’s just the thing, even if my family has a little bit of spare money, i’m not about to just mooch everything off of them. With the prospect of studying abroad, i am a full-time student, unless i find a job there, and i have to take out my entire life savings just to come up with the first part of tuition for the first semester. i had to beg my parents and my entire family to loan me the money for the remaining half of my tuition fee for the first semester, plus plane ticket, plus food, plus living expenses.. you get the picture. i know, i’m extremely blessed and fortunate to have the most amazing, most supportive, and most generous bunch of people in my life that i call family. okay. imma stop now before i get all weepy and fizz out my laptop keyboard with snot and tears. lord knows i haven’t got the moolah to replace it!

also, packing for the winter is an entirely different process altogether, and especially difficult for me as we don’t exactly have winter in my home country. in fact, even the coldest months can still be uncomfortably hot, so i don’t exactly have winter clothes at the ready.  During my trip to the snow-capped Swiss alps, i’ve gotten away with just layering my clothes and a leather jacket, although i have never admitted it til now,  froze my butt off pulling that stunt! but hey, it was just a day trip so i survived. i don’t think that trick would see me off the entire winter in scandinavia!

another challenge is the packing process itself. if you’re traveling for a few weeks or a few months, you would probably survive without bringing your running shoes or your airbrush makeup or your laptop. but for an entire year? you’d probably miss those, and if budget is tight, you buying those things when you get there would probably financially hurt you, especially if you’ve got one at home in good working condition.

also, i plan to travel around europe, at least the ones that are close to sweden like denmark and finland, and for that, i have to make sure that the items i pack are “travel friendly” as well. i know, i’ve already said that budget is a little tight and traveling can be a little spendy. Not necessarily. what makes travel expensive are the plane rides and hotel accommodation and the shopping. i plan to take trains and whatever cheap mode of transpo there is, stay in cheap hostels, and i’ve never been a shopper when i travel even when budget is in abundance. i just like seeing the sights and taking pictures. so i guess i’d be okay on that front. plus, i got myself an ISIC (international student’s identification card) which is a discount card that’s practically recognized all over the world, and it gives the cardholder access to exclusive discounts on hostels, airfare, entrance fees to museums, shopping, etc. will talk about the ISIC more next time.

so my game plan is to pool every possession i own, weed out the most important ones (hello LVs and airbrush kit. I’m taking you with me even if that means i have to live on just one pair of jeans the entire year!), and fit a little bit of everything in my luggage, bearing in mind the weight restrictions. this entails a lot of surfing around the web for blogs of other study-abroad students to check what they’ve decided to bring abroad. I’ve tweaked a bit of it to be more “me” even though lord knows i cannot afford to be “me” right now! or anytime in the near future, for that matter.

My Travel Outfit

SA-travel outfit

for description please read my Plane Outfit post.

so behold my packing list!

1. Tops


so i’ve kept it really simple, at least just 10 pieces. i’ve taken a piece of everything that i love and i am most comfortable wearing. i’ve got my button down oxfords, a few statement tees, elegant flowy ones i can dress up or down depending on the occassion, and a plain white tee and a plain black tee. i love love statement tees, however, i feel as if it’s too easy to remember, hence i won’t be able to get away re-wearing  them as much as i would a plain shirt. especially when i travel, i’m all about how much mileage i can get out of my clothes before i actually have to wash them again! hihihi.

2. Bottoms


so i’ve brought several bottoms. way more than i should. i am bringing three jeans in dark blue, light blue, and grey. 2 of them i’m packing and the other one i’ll be wearing inflight. i love wearing jeans, and as i will be in campus most of the time, i can wear jeans all the time. it dresses down most of the elegant tops that i’ve brought. i also brought 2 pairs of skirts, a denim mini and a flowery spring mini. note though that these are not as short as the miniskirts i normally wear, as i plan to travel in them. these are above-the-knee length at least.

you will notice that i’ve packed quite a few shorts, including a daisy dukes. i’m even trying to talk myself into taking another one. what can i say? i really love shorts. everyone whose ever known me can attest to that. i wear shorts practically everywhere! mainly because it’s my comfort clothing, especially here in the philippines where it’s so hot even sweat perspires! you might be thinking that i’m crazy to be bringing so much shorts to a really cold place. let me tell you now that i once wore my skimpy shorts all around switzerland when it was really cold and i stuck to my guns because i loved my shorts! worse comes to worst, i can always wear it through my tights or leggings. yes. i’m sticking to my shorts!

3. Dresses


i’ve never been a dress kind of girl. i prefer my shorts and jeans. but there are times when wearing a dress is simply unavoidable. for that i decided on bringing 3 dresses. 1 maxi dress i can wear during the spring, and if budget permits me, to santorini, rio de janeiro, or even madrid! aaawww fingers crossed! I also decided to bring one corporate dress that I can wear through meetings, thesis defense and other events when “grown-up” clothes are necessary. the third one is my LED (little emerald dress, duh) you’ve all heard about how everyone must have an LBD (if you don’t know what an LBD is, then my friend i suggest pick up a woman’s magazine. any woman’s magazine), but i think that’s over-rated. i know that black is classic, and slimming, and all that, but i’m a big girl. i’ve long accepted that fact, and i’ve decided to embrace my curves! and shades of green just look good on me

4. Undergarments


okay, so i feel like i should discuss more extensively why i packed so many undergarments, even more than actual clothes it seems!

a. tanks, sandos tubes – so i decided to bring these in different colors because i will be going in a really cold country and i heard that layering is best to combat the cold. i decided to bring different colors to make sure that i can wear something under any outfit i choose. these are not only great to combat the cold, but these are also great in preventing wardrobe mishaps! i can wear it under my button downs or directly underneath my trench or jacket or even as is, if the weather permits.

b. underwear – i brought 14 pairs of undies, just to make sure that i will not have to do the laundry for at least a week! hey, i can even stretch it to 2 weeks with the help of those disposable liners!

c. socks –  to combat the cold, and for my sneakers

d. 3 t-shirt bras – for t-shirts. duh.

e. convertible bra – i brought one multifunctional bra that can be worn under a strapless top or dress, a racerback, a one-shoulder or whatever the heck kind of top there is!

f. 2 sports bras –  sports bras are great, especially since i run, and i plan to take up wall climbing, if ever i find a wall somewhere near. sports bras are also great to travel in as it is more comfortable than a conventional bra, especially when you’ll be in a cramped plane, bus, or train seat for hours.

g. leggings. may be worn on its own or under the skimpy shorts that i brought with me! in a pinch, it can double as a pyjama. i can also wear it on my runs, and when it gets really cold, i can wear it under my pants. i brought a black one, a gray one, a loud pink one and a printed one.

h. thermal bottoms –  okay, so the picture describes knee length ones, but i bought the full ones that goes up the waist. i packed one with toes and one without.

5. jackets


i decided not to bring a lot of jackets, simply because it is hard to find good ones here, in a country where a cold weather is unheard of. it is more expensive to get the really good ones here and i don’t want to gamble on the cheap ones mainly because they are still not so cheap and for another thing, i’m not so sure if it would hold up to sweden’s winter. also i don’t have the luxury of luggage weight nor space. i think it would be a lot smarter to buy my winter wear there.

however, i got myself a trenchcoat (something i’ve had for a while now) because i absolutely adore trench coats and i hate the fact that it’s not socially acceptable to wear them here, not to mention it would be impractical because of the weather. the same goes with boots. i love love love boots, but it is not so acceptable to wear them here in the philippines. but i don’t care! i still wear boots a lot here in the philippines! anywho, i will be wearing the burberry trench inflight, that way it wouldnt bulk up my luggage.

i also decided to bring a windbreaker, and i have decided on The North Face. i would also be bringing 2 hoodies, (my pull&bear one and my forever21 with a sparkly heart.)

i also packed a light cardigan for all those tank tops!

6. Shoes


i decided not to bring too many as well, because i need to find one that can grip the slippery ice and i am not sure i can find one here. to travel in, i will be bringing my brown kneee length boots that i got in hong kong. i will also be putting a pair of tory burch ballet flats in my carry-on luggage so i can change into them if my boots become too uncomfortable inflight.

I will also bring my chucks because it’s comfy, practical, it goes with everything, and let’s face it, every college kid wears ’em! i packed my vibrams too for running.

i will be bringing 3 pairs of tory burch ballet flats because i love love love them and practically live in them. (my usual get up consists of my skimpy shorts, sunnies, my lv neverfull and my tory burch ballet flats) i also brought my fit flops and my havaianas.

i brought a pair of heeled boots too just so i have a pair of heels with me.

7. bags


okay, before you raise your eyebrows, i’ve thought really long and hard about bringing my purses, and after so much debating with myself, i finally came to terms with the fact that i absolutely cannot live an entire year without them. and hey, i’ve weeded ’em out. it’s not as if i’d be taking my keepall or my chanel shopper’s tote (which i love beyond words!), or my burberrys. no. i’m just taking the absolute necessities. i’m not being completely frivolous or unreasonable.

i’ll be taking my black backpack with wheels as carry-on, and i will also be able to use it as main luggage for my various weekend travels (fingers crossed)

i packed my pink jansport backpack for school, as it can effortlessly hold my macbookpro without hurting my shoulders too much.

longchamp le pliage – it’s foldable, zippered and lightweight! perfect!

LV neverfull – because it’s my go-to bag ever since i got the big version in 2008. i’m using the midsized one. (i can never remember which ones LM,NM and PM)

LV Speedy – as my main handbag when i travel

Coach wristlet – on quick errands. it can hold my cards/ID, keys, some cash, cellphone, and even a lipbalm!

LV wallets – i have 2. a big one that holds all my cash and cards. (i’ve had this for a really long time and i’m afraid i’d wear it out if i don’t switch it up but i don’t want to retire this wallet completely because ever since i’ve had it, it’s never run out of cash. i’m a little superstitious that way)  and a smaller one, (still full sized though) that’s fairly new. my grandma gave it to me in anticipation to my big move to sweden as one of several “going away presents” i love my grandma.

a coach bag  – i don’t even know what it’s called. the important thing is it is roomy enough for my laptop or my ipad or both.

8. accessoriesSA-accessories

for accessories, i decided to bring several key pieces (not too much cuz these can be cheaply bought anywhere.) a black fedora for that added oomph to any outfit or simply to hide those unavoidable bad hair days. several sunnies simply because i cannot function outdoors without them. just 1 scarf, simply because i can buy some more in sweden cheap! 2 belts (a brown woven one and a pink leather one, that i can alternate depending on my mood) my diamond studs (set in gold) that my grandpa’s sister gave me when i turned 18, a pair of small gold hoops, a gold necklace, a set of pearl earrings and necklace, a vintage watch my uncle gave me as a “going away present”, and my philip stein watch that can tell time in 2 different locations (which i love love love)

9. Cosmetics


okay, so my cosmetics. i have been a makeup junkie even when i was 3 years old. it’s no wonder that i’ve accumulated more than a few, and the hardest part for me is trimming down the ones imma be taking.

i’m not sure if i’d be taking the brands that i’ve posted on the board because i’d be terrified of breaking them in transit. i might substitute the others for local brands. i’m still mulling over which brands to take, but i’ve finally zoned in on the shades, which is an achievement in itself. unless i mention the brand name, i’m still undecided.

a. airbrush kit – no question about it, i’d be bringing my airbrush makeup with me.

b. nars bridal palette – i’m taking this with me too!

c. mac studio fix powder and studio finish concealer – concealer in NC30 and powder in NC35

d. shu uemura eyelash curler

e. lipsticks and lipliners – not sure if i’d be taking my macs but i’d be taking a red, a pink, a coral and a nude shade , as well as lipliners in those shades. every girl should have these shades. in case of doubt, take the red one.

f. eyeshadow palettes –  one in neutral shades, one in shades of green (the bridal palette’s already in shades of purple). the neutral ones are necessary. i just prefer greens and purples because it complements my brown eyes.

g. eye pencils  – black, brown, bronze and white, as well as a pencil sharpener. these shades are non-negotiable. anything else is optional.

h. liquid eyeliner in black

i. mac paint pot in rubenesque – as eyeshadow base.

j. nars laguna bronzer

k. nars amour blush (the orgasm blush is already in the bridal palette) – okay, for blushes, you should always have 3 shades: red, pink and coral. a good rule of thumb is your lipstick must match your blush, or at least it must be in the same shade family (notice i keep saying coral? this is because i don’t want to be misinterpreted or taken too literally and see a whole row of ladies in orange lips or blush.)

l. brow kit –  i might take ModelCo one in dark, as well as a brown brow pencil

M. mascara – it doesnt matter to me what brand as long as i have a fresh tube every 3 months

n. primer – smashbox photo finish primer

o. brushes – i love me my mac brushes. here is where i’m still undecided on whether i should bring my suesh ones or my mac ones


a foundation brush (mac 190 or 187)

a blush brush (mac 168 or 188)

a buffer brush/kabuki brush (mac 182 or 109)


pencil brush (mac 219)

blending brush (mac 224) – optional

paddle brush – (mac 239)

angled liner brush – (mac 266)


BB Cream – absolutely in love with bb creams!

lip and cheek tint – for that effortless/natural rosy glow.

okay. there you have it. my packing list. i haven’t completely finished it yet, but i’m about 90-95% done with my shopping, which is okay because i still have about 15 days to go before i leave for the big move.


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