Sweeter than Serenity: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Liebster Award!


I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Amber from Fashion, Floss, and Lip Gloss! If you haven't checked out her blog yet, you definitely should! She's very sweet and posts great outfits, and her blog is one of my daily reads!


1) Post the award on your blog
2) Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog
3) Write 11 random facts about yourself
4) Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter ank 11 for your nominees to answer.
5) Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 1000 followers.
6) Let the nominees know you have nominated them.

11 Random Facts:

1) I am a really healthy eater, and I enjoy experimenting with new recipes to make them healthier. Much to C's dismay, I super love my fruits and vegetables! 

2) I have a really weird way of making myself do cardio. I turn on an episode of The Biggest Loser on my Hulu Plus app on my phone and do some form of cardio during the entire episode (which is about an hour and 20 minutes on Hulu). Watching that show just motivates me to do my cardio.

3) I am addicted to cottage cheese. I disliked it for years, but I have recently introduced it into my diet, and now I'm hooked. I literally go through 3 of the 0% Great Value cottage cheese containers in a week all by myself. (at least it's a healthy food!)

4) I ate so much peanut butter for years that my body stopped tolerating it. I had to stop eating it for a year, and now I'm slowly reintroducing it back into my diet (finally!).

5) I absolutely love fashion and clothes (obviously), however, most of my days are actually spent in fitness attire and ponytails thanks to all the group exercise classes that I teach.

6) I am the third child in my family with 2 older sisters and 1 younger sister. No brothers!

7) I am in love with dogs, particularly labs. I don't currently have one of my own, but first chance I get, you better believe I'm taking home a soft, cuddly lab puppy!

8) I'm definitely a homebody. Give me a movie, snack, and either C or a few good friends, and I'm set for the night.

9) This is probably no secret, but I have the biggest heart for missions, and the biggest love for travel (I'm sure God gave me that love for a reason, ha!). If I wasn't going to physical therapy school, I would definitely move to another country and be a missionary right now.

10) I love being outdoors. Whether it's a day at the lake or hiking in the mountains, I absolutely love it.

11) I love to help people. As silly as it sounds, I have a deep love for people in general. If I see someone in need, I feel overwhelmingly compelled to help them (which is probably why I try to stop and give food to the people holding the signs outside of Walmart every chance I get).

11 Questions from Amber:

1) What is your day job?

I am a student! I just graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Arkansas, and I'll be starting my Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree at the University of Central Arkansas in August.

2) What do you do for fun when not blogging?

I really love to do just about anything with my friends and C. I love hanging out, watching movies, cooking, hiking, swimming...and so much more. I also love working out. Basically, I'm an active person.

3) Describe yourself in 3 words.

 Athletic. Caring. Girly. (can athletic and girly go together? haha)

4) What is your favorite social network?

My favorite social network is definitely Instagram. 

5) When you were little, what did you imagine growing up to be?

When I was 5 I thought I wanted to be a cheerleader, haha. As I got older I thought I wanted to be an astronaut! 

6) Do you prefer brick-and-mortar shopping or online shopping more?

I love online shopping. I feel like I get better deals when I online shop because I can compare prices at different places and stalk sales at the sites I love the most!

7) What is your no-fail go-to outfit, AKA your uniform?

My go-to outfit that I know won't fail me is skinny jeans, wedges, and a piko top paired with either a scarf or a statement necklace. That's always flattering, and always comfortable.

8) What is (are) your style icon(s)?

I don't know that I really have any style icons. I'm a pretty big Lauren Conrad fan, but that's about it. I just love style in general, not really one particular person's style.

9) What song has been stuck in your head lately?

"Lay Me Down" by Rush of Fools. It's a pretty upbeat Christian song, and I love it!

10) How did you come up with your blog's name?

 My blog's name is pretty simple. I knew that I wanted it to reflect Christ without having to flat out say that. So I took something that I thought was great, which is serenity (because being in a peaceful state is pretty awesome), and knew I wanted to say that there was something better than that. So, Sweeter than Serenity is about my relationship with Jesus Christ. Serenity is a great place to be, but having a relationship with God is just sweeter than that.

11) What is your favorite blog post you've written?

This is a hard one, because I like a lot of my posts. My favorite outfit post would have to be Pineapple Express because I just love my pineapple shirt. On the other hand, my absolutely favorite post of all time I just wrote last week when I was open and honest about myself and my blog. It was hard to write about the most vulnerable parts of my life, but I think it had a way bigger impact on people than any outfit post I ever could've written. You can check out that post here. 

My Nominees:

1) Kylie from Dress in Sparkles

2) Maggie from Polished Closets

3) Elizabeth from Closer than Yesterday

4) Pamela from Sequins and Seabreezes

5) Anna from A Lily Love Affair

6) Melissa from Rockin Heels

7) Katie and Brittani from Pleasantly Petite

8) Jacqueline from The Sunshine District

9) Amanda and Jennie from 2 Girls in 2 Cities

10) Tiffany from Just Another Shopaholic

11) Darcy from A Memory of Us

Not all of these bloggers are new, but I wanted to include some of my favorite bloggers in this list so you can check them out! :) My nominees definitely don't have to participate if they don't want to (especially those that I know aren't new bloggers but that I just nominated because I love reading their blog everyday!). Thanks again to Amber from Fashion, Floss, and Lip Gloss for nominating me!

My Questions for Nominees:

1) What made you decide to start blogging?

2) What is your biggest inspiration for your outfits?

3) Polka dots or stripes?

4) What is your favorite tv show?

5) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

6) What is your favorite color to wear?

7) What are your hobbies? (besides blogging)

8) What is your day job?

9) Who do you look up to most in your life, and why?

10) What is your favorite outfit that you have posted?

11) What genre of music is your favorite?

Thank you to all my wonderful readers for their support! I love blogging, and I am thankful to have such wonderful followers! :)

God Bless!

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Make-Up Essentials

I got a few emails asking me about what make-up I use after my close-up shot the other day, so I decided to do a post about it today! Being a poor college student, I don't use anything fancy! So, here we go!

My Face Wash

I know what you're thinking: isn't that super harsh on your face? NO! I have very sensitive eyes, so I have to make sure I super scrub my make-up off of my eyes every night. This tear free soap keeps my eyes from burning, and because it's designed for babies, it actually makes my face pretty soft. Seem crazy? Maybe so. Does it keep my face clean, clear, and soft at a low price? Absolutely.

My Moisturizer

I've been using this stuff for a few years now, and it does wonderfully. It has SPF 15 in it, which keeps my face safe from the sun, it doesn't make my face oily at all, and it keeps my face hydrated well. 

My Foundation


I use a combination of the Almay Clear Complexion and Covergirl loose powder foundations to create my look. I apply the liquid foundation first, which keeps my face safe from breakouts (I actually break out when I DON'T wear it!), and then I apply the loose powder just to seal the liquid foundation in.

My Concealers


I use a combination of these two concealers to hide any blemishes on my face. I use the Covergirl + Olay concealer to hide the discoloration under my eyes. The Almay Clear Complexion concealer is what I use everywhere else on my face for blemishes. I use the yellow concealer to highlight the areas on my face that I want to be highlighted, and I use the green concealer to hide any redness on my face.

My Bronzer

I don't worry too much about my bronzer since I just use it for contouring my face. This bronzer is pretty cheap at walmart, and it does the trick for me!

My Blush

This is by far my favorite blush that I have ever used. I use the color "rose petal" on my face. It goes on so smoothly and the color lasts a long time!

My Brow Liner

I don't like to go crazy with shaping my brows, because they pretty much do what they want anyway, and I don't want them to look fake. I use this pencil to just outline my brows and lightly fill in wherever needs it, then I use the brush to brush it all in and make it look natural. With blonde brows like I have, it really helps to make them stand out more without looking fake, and once again, the Maybelline brow liner is not an expensive brow liner at all.

My Eyeliner

I have been using the Maybelline Unstoppables eyeliner since I was in high school! The color "pewter" or gray is my favorite. With as fair of skin and light of hair as I have, black is way too harsh. I don't like to go heavy on the eyeliner, and this one is just perfect for controlling exactly where I want it.

My Mascara

I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of a mascara snob. With as long of eyelashes as I was blessed with, I really like to play them up! The Maybelline Falsies mascara works perfectly at adding volume to my eyelashes! It also lasts all day and doesn't get clumpy. It's perfect!

My Lip Liner and Lipstick


I use Rimmel lip liner and NYC lipstick. I don't use either very often, so I don't worry about spending much money on it. I always go with neutral colors on my lips as well, because if I want my eyes to pop (which I do), then I play it down on the lips so I don't end up looking like I painted my whole face on!

I hope this helps for those of you who were curious! Not all my choices are the top of the line choices, but they work well for me and are very affordable!

God Bless!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Healthy Pancakes, for When You Just Can't Kick the Craving!

I've recently seen several recipes for an oatmeal pancake, and I decided to develop my own recipe of oatmeal pancakes. Somehow I happened to nail it first try (that's actually a first for my recipe experiments!), and I'm excited to share this recipe with you!

Healthy Oat Pancakes (serves 4)

  • 2.5 cups Oats
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 1.5 cups Milk
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • Stevia to taste (optional)

As you can see, I used a gluten free version of quick cooking oats. You can use any oats that you wish. I also opted for skim milk to make them healthier, but again, any milk will work. Same thing with the oil. I used olive oil for the good fats that it provides, but you can use any type of oil that you have on hand. I did not include stevia in my pancakes, but if you have a strong sweet tooth, then I would suggest adding a couple packets.

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them up. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth (takes only a minute or two). Pour your mixture back into your bowl.

The rest is easy, just like cooking a normal pancake! I used one ladle full of batter per pancake, and this allows for about 3 pancakes per serving (depending on your ladle size). 

Once your pancakes are done, top them with whatever you choose, and eat up! I've already made them twice now, and the first time I topped them with a little dollop of fat free cream cheese, blueberries, and sprinkles (I'm obsessed with these). The second time I only used sprinkles to save on the calories, and I actually think I like them better plain! 

Nutrition Facts:
  • 361 Calories per serving
  • 14.5 grams fat
  • 44.9 grams carbohydrates
  • 12.1 grams protein
The biggest thing to remember with these is that if you used olive or coconut oil, then the fats included are good fats! These carbohydrates are whole grains that will keep you fueled all morning, and having 12.1 grams of protein in pancakes is great! 

Just a side note: they will have a stickier texture since oats are the grain used instead of flour, so keep that in mind! Also, if you store leftover batter in the fridge overnight (like I generally do), it will thicken overnight and get sticky. Don't get worried. Your pancakes will still turn out perfectly! 

Have a great Thursday!

God Bless!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Let's Be Honest...About Jesus

I'm going to start out by saying that this is not going to be a normal outfit post. This post is me being completely honest about my intentions for this blog. This isn't about clothes. This isn't about recipes. This isn't even about fitness. It's about Jesus. All about Jesus.

When I started this blog, I was driven by the idea of impacting people's lives through things that I love: Jesus, clothes, food, and fitness. It's important to me to keep the focus of what I am trying to accomplish through this blog. I love to share my outfits and favorite brands and products with you. I love to represent companies and showcase their items. I love to share my favorite recipes and exercise tips. However, I especially love to share the love of Jesus with people, and I want to make sure I take that opportunity every chance I get.

The longer I live on my own (4 years and counting now), the more my need for Jesus exists. Life never gets easier, in fact, it only seems to get more stressful every day. My list of things to do never grows shorter, and my bills never get smaller. In fact, my bills are only growing larger now that I'm starting physical therapy school. I cannot work near as much, and I'm no longer going to be on scholarship. I realize that most college students live off of loans, but I have never ever been in debt. I dislike asking people for money, and I am the kid who has even had a savings account for years to prevent myself from ever having to ask for money. That's a huge stress that I'm about to take on, and I couldn't do it without God on my side. I am investing in my future and investing in my abilities to serve my God through medical ministries in the future. That is what keeps me focused on getting through the next 3 years. I want to help underprivileged people in poor countries get the therapy that they need, and bring them the Gospel while I'm at it. Whether that's full time or during short trips, I have no idea. I just know that's somewhere in my future.

My health is also an area of worry in my life. My pictures showcase me in my best state. My hair is fixed, my makeup is on (usually - although sometimes I hide my no makeup eyes with sunglasses!), and I have on my best clothes. What you don't see is my struggle with P.O.T.S. I take beta blockers every single day in order to try to keep my symptoms away, but sometimes it's not enough. I probably drink twice as much as a normal human everyday, but I'm still chronically dehydrated. This tends to cause migraines at times, which totally throws me out of the game. I have several food allergies and intolerances which have made the actual medications for the disease impossible for me to take, so I just have to try to manage it day to day. I'm blessed to have the degree in exercise science that I have in order to understand exactly what is wrong with me so that I can still exercise safely and manage it as best I can, because sometimes I get attacks while I exercise, which is frustrating, especially when I'm in the middle of teaching a group exercise class. I know that God has a reason for me to have this, and I pray everyday that I'll grow out of it (the doctor seems hopeful!), but until then, I'm still praising Him.

Now, I'm not sharing my struggles in order for you to feel sorry for me. That is not at all what I want. I am a strong human being, and I tend to feel like I could take on the world with God's help despite my obstacles. I am sharing these things with you to show you that although I like to post pictures of myself looking my best in my favorite outfits, I am human, and I struggle just like anyone else. I have bad days, and my life is not all rainbows and sunshine. I do not fix my hair or put on makeup every single day. Although I love to eat healthy and exercise, I struggle with my sweet tooth. I am human, and I absolutely cannot live a fulfilling life without God at the center of it. Our world loves to portray women in their perfect states, but I want to be honest about myself. I want to be real with my readers, and this is as real as I can be.

Yesterday I posted a verse for encouragement, and it is one that I have been really focusing on this week:

1 Corinthians 10:31 - "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

This verse is a constant reminder that no matter what I am doing, it is for the Lord. He died for me, so I am living for Him. I am nowhere near a perfect Christian (and probably never will be - it's a process of growth, not perfection!), but I want to strive every single day to bring Him glory in all that I do. So that is the point of this blog. It's to use the gifts that God has given me in fashion, food, and fitness, and using it to bring Him glory. I am excited to grow this blog even more so that I can reach even more people with the love of Jesus.

So what is Sweeter than Serenity? It is Jesus. Serenity is a peace, but Jesus is even better.

If you don't know the love of Jesus, please send me an email and I would love to talk with you! (hannahmarieanderson11@gmail.com)

God Bless!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Fun



Top: American Eagle (old) (similar) // Shorts: American Eagle / Bag: Steve Madden
// Sandals: Target (old) (similar and love!) // Sunnies: Forever 21

I apologize for the lack of a post yesterday, my weekend was crazy! C came to visit me on Friday, and on Saturday we took a road trip to Branson to go to the Dixie Stampede with his parents and grandparents. As we were walking into the arena to begin the dinner show, C turned to me and said, "wouldn't it be fun if we got put in the show?" Funny that he said that, because sure enough, our waiter asked us if we would like to be in the show, so we did! We got to participate in a game, and it was so much fun! Our luck didn't stop there, because later we were given free tokens to play a game and free passes to ride on the zip line at the Branson Landing. I've never been a lucky one, so I'm giving C all the credit for that!

On Sunday, C helped me move most of my large furniture to my new place in Conway (yay!), so my room in Fayetteville is starting to look a bit sparse! With just a bed and a few boxes left, I'm almost done with the move!

This shirt is one that I have had for a couple years, but it still is one of my favorites. The lace detail just adds a great girly vibe to the outfit, and the shirt is just so comfortable. I like my clothes to be stylish, but if they aren't comfortable, then I'll never wear them! This shirt fits both requirements perfectly.

I hope everyone had a great Monday! I just wanted to leave you with a bit of encouragement for the rest of the week: 1 Corinthians 10:31 - "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

God Bless!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Reading


Top: J.Crew Factory // Jeans: (old) (similar) // Bag: Tory Burch 
// Shoes: Bearpaw Danica c/o // Bracelets: ILY Couture Alex and Ani // Necklace: Born Pretty c/o

One of my favorite things about summer is my ability to read whatever I want. I've recently been re-reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. This is a wonderful book, so if you ever get the chance to read it, I highly recommend it. I also got the chance to listen to Francis Chan speak back in January when I was at the Passion Conference, and he was wonderful. He is so inspiring, and I hope you get a chance to check out his book!

Now, on to the outfit! Bearpaw does it again with these espadrilles. They are the perfect color to match my new J.Crew tank (yay!), and as with every other Bearpaw shoe, they are incredibly comfortable! My jeans I actually bought last summer when I was in Australia. When I bought them I thought they were navy, then I realized they sometimes look purple, but either way, they are one of my favorite pairs of skinny jeans! Have a great weekend everyone!

God Bless!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In My White Tee

Top: Dillards (old) (similar) // Scarf: Francesca's (old) (similar) // Jeans: American Eagle
// Bracelets: ILY Couture

A simple white tee is one of my favorite staple items in my closet. It can be dressed up with a skirt, or dressed down with some simple jeans. The look can be totally changed by adding different accessories, making it one of my favorite travel staples as well, because it literally goes with everything, making it easy to make several outfits with one shirt. What are your favorite closet and travel staples?

These moc style shoes from Bearpaw are one of my new favorite shoes. No matter what shoe I put on from Bearpaw, they never fail to exceed my expectations in comfort. I am so excited that these shoes came in red, because I have a feeling they are about to be a staple shoe for football season this fall (woo pig sooie!). 

God Bless!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Going Green

Dress: Forever 21 (old) (similar) (sale!) // Shoes: Bearpaw c/o // Necklace: Walmart (old) (identical) (J.Crew version) // Bracelets: Walmart (old) // Sunnies: Forever 21 (old)

Green is one of my favorite colors to wear, so when I found this dress in Forever 21 back in February, I knew I had to have it for Spring and Summer, especially at the incredible price of just $12.80!! I don't even care that emerald was last year's pantone color of the year, I am still completely obsessed with it. For all you blondies out there like me, it's such a flattering color to wear (with or without a tan - because clearly I don't have one!).

Happy Hump Day! :)

God Bless!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Believe

I Believe

In case you missed it, the USA soccer team beat Ghana 2-1 last night in the World Cup. This is HUGE for us after all the doubt that the USA team would be able to win any game at all. Now that the team has us Americans totally pulling for them, the next game should have quite a few watch parties going, meaning you want to show up looking fabulous!

The dress is from Old Navy and currently on sale, and on top of that sale, they also have an extra 30% off going on right now. Talk about a steal! Also, I just got the red moccasins from Bearpaw yesterday, and after wearing them around for a bit, I can honestly say they are one of the most comfortable shoes that I own now! I definitely recommend them!

In case you missed the incredible commercial that was made for the USA World Cup team (it's pretty cool, and short), here it is:

I hope you're having a great Tuesday!

God Bless!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Daisy, Daisy


Top: Square Hearts c/o // Shorts: American Eagle // Shoes: Converse All-Stars 
// Bracelets: ILY Couture Alex and Ani // Necklace: Square Hearts c/o 

Last week when C was in town I struggled to find outfits that would work because the weather was being super weird! One minute it would be cold and raining, and the next the sun would pop out and it would be super hot! I put together this outfit for our outing to check out the new food trucks here in Fayetteville (typical college town!), and we had such a fun time! This top from Square Hearts is an absolutely perfect top, and I got so many compliments on it! It's not quite as wide as a piko top (I'm a big fan of piko tops!), but it fits loosely, but is still very flattering! If you haven't checked out Square Hearts, visit their website here for affordable and trendy clothing!

Now let's talk about this bag! I have always wanted a 3.1 Phillip Lim bag (I mean, who hasn't?), however, there is no way in the world I could ever afford one, so I settled for an incredible look-alike for just $37! It's the perfect bag to just throw a few items in and go, and I love it!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

God Bless!