Beauty Thief: LastCraft’s Amanda Stilwell Has A Shocking Beauty Sleep Secret | Autostraddle

I had so much fun chatting with Aja at Autostraddle for this piece on my favorite skincare and beauty tips.


A little sample…

AA: I know our readers are curious about others’ skincare routines. Tell us more about yours!

AS: My regimen is to wash with a no-soap product, Melee Facewash by Brazen Bee, apply a tiny bit of jojoba/almond oil and then apply some sunscreen before my makeup, which I keep really simple during the week (concealer, mascara, lipstick). At night, I remove makeup with the jojoba/almond mix and a warm washcloth.

Beauty Thief: LastCraft’s Amanda Stilwell Has A Shocking Beauty Sleep Secret | Autostraddle

InTheThickofIt – Best Outfits of 2015

These were the most popular posts on InTheThickofIt in 2015. It was a fun year for me that included my first trip to Tulum Mexico and I was in a @proudmaryfashion Fashion show. 

Thanks as always for the love!

Outfit 1 – Greetings from Chicago Anna Scholz Dress

Outfit 2 – Transitional Stripes Eloquii Dress

Outfit 3 – Plus size Beach wear in Tulum by Asos

Outfit 4 – Lace for Spring

Outfit 5 – Proud Mary Fashion Show

Outfit 6 – How I rock a Crop Top

Outfit 7 – Winter Tunic and Leather Jacket

Pop Art and a Polkadot Dress

Happy 2016 friends!  I started the year off with a BANG! with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art’s POP ART show. I’m in love with so many of the artists in the exhibit but I especially love the intense graphics all over the exterior of the building advertising the show.  Just look at the geometric red bars and the newly redesigned MCA font – perfection!

I felt right at home in my very graphic outfit of this polka-dot Carmakoma sweater dress (they are one of my favorite plus size brands) and black/white Rebecca Minkoff purse. I have been absolutely lusting after this plus size sweater dress for a year and it finally went on sale via Gwynnie Bee so I snatched it up.  Other reviewers complained that it was sack-like and see-through but neither of those things seem like downsides to me.  I love the tunic shape and bold print and I just paired it with leggings and a cami so it doesn’t matter if it’s sheer.

I’m still trying to grow my hair out as you can see, but it’s getting longer! I’m really looking forward to some fun styling this year once I get some overall length. 

My goals this year aren’t quite solidified yet, but I’m getting there. I hope to have up a post once I have some downtime in Los Angeles next week.

Carmakoma Polkadot Dress – Sz L (this is special sizing – Sz L = US Size 20)
Leggings – Lysse – Sz XL (I’m in LOVE with these wide-waistband leggings)
Cami – St Eve – Sz XL
Necklace – Forever 21
Booties – Lucky Brand
Bag – Rebecca Minkoff

Oh look I got dressed and hung out with my favorite femme and went to an actual party. I haven’t done that in ages. Nothing like gossiping with a small gaggle of femmes in a bar. Seriously. 

It’s busy season for me my loves – I’m deep in the weeds of small business holiday shopping for my little shop LastCraft

I am hoping for lots more outfit posts in early next year and perhaps a few small holiday party posts. There are SO many good plus size holiday party dresses available this year. My favorites so far are from Eloquii (seen above). Any favorites you can share?

For those that are interested, I’ll be doing a few upcoming markets in the Chicago area – I’d love to see y’all! We’ve got some amazing new totebags and enamel pins! 
Show of Hands – Nov 20-22 at Architectural Artifacts
Renegade Holiday Show – Dec 5&6 at Bridgeport Art Center

Outfit Details (on me – on right)

Black Body-Con Dress – Dorothy Perkins sz 20
Petite Black Leather Harness – Zana Bayne
Porcupine Earrings – Etsy
Glasses – SEE Eyewear

On Plus Size Advancing Style

Lately I’ve been drawing inspiration from some of the women of Advanced Style. Now I realize I’m not in the Senior Citizen category, but I so greatly admire women older than me – as mentors, as icons, as wonderful friends. 

I am solidly over the age of 35, which still feels like a surprise to me. As a queer person, I never really knew what my life-path would look like, but I knew it didn’t have a lot of roadmaps. The folks I knew growing up that were older than me fit a very heteronormative path. They got married, had kids, wore J. Crew, strived to be a certain size.  I never felt those people were my people. I have known for a long time that I have a different path. It’s been such a journey! In my late teens, I found new role models like drag-queens Divine and Leigh Bowery and oh goodness the fun I had experimenting with all sorts of pieces of me.  It took me a really long time to learn to accept  myself in the body I have and get over a plethora of self esteem issues.

Oh and what does that have to do with fashion? Well a lot really – in that I always assumed  when I was younger that women in their late 30s dressed in frumpy shit – I mean there’s a reason why the term “mom jeans” exists. And frankly most of the options for plus size women women of any age were just embarrassingly bad and frumpy up until very recently. Posting photos of my outfits has always been to fight against those assumed norms.  

So here I am, a 36 year old plus size woman. I have no kids. I am (queer) married. I love fashion. I hope that my life can be a marker of what is a possibility. Now on to the clothes…(and my sweet little pixie hair cut that i’m just loving this summer) 

Cricut Plus Size Maxi Dress – via Gwynnie Bee – Sz 2X
Black Faux Leather Belt – Forever 21 – 2X
Black Faux Suede Shoes – Urban Outfitters
Glasses – SEE Eyewear
Clutch – Vintage
Bar Necklace – Dana Rebecca

Just a few photos from the birthday trip to Palm Springs

Going to the desert in the middle of summer is probably not the best decision – it stayed in the 100′s the entire time we were there. But since several of my favorite bloggers had made posts about it in recent months, I really just needed to see what all the fuss was about.

Where we Stayed:
The Saguaro Hotel – A colorful hotel with a great pool and decent location.  About a mile from downtown – but near the ACE and a lot of really lovely little spots. 

What we Ate: 
Date shakes and lots of snacks at Hadleys Fruit stand in Cabazon on the way in to Palm Springs. Personally I wasn’t blown over by the Date Shakes, but I LOVED the dried fruit and veggies and nuts

Absolutely delicious brunch at Cheeky’s – perfect iced coffee, cute outdoor seating and beautiful art

Sweet little hippie meal at Nature’s Health Food cafe – love vegan options and I had a great red bean taco and a smoothie

There were tons of ice cream and candy shops downtown.  We stopped in a few while shopping during the Thursday evening Market.

What we Did:
Of course we had to stop and see the Cabazon Dinosaurs and take some photos

We took the Aerial Tram up to the mountains and hiked around. I highly recommend this excursion, but wear decent shoes and bring some water. The shortest hike is about 2 miles and I was totally unprepared.  It is $25 to go up and honestly it’s completely terrifying to travel 9,000 ft by tram, but once you’re up – it’s totally gorgeous and about 30 degrees cooler than it was in the desert.

A visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum is a MUST. Absolutely lovely collection of modern art and we had the pleasure of enjoying a contemporary woodwind quartet while we were there. It was one of my favorite museum experiences ever

And I’m obsessed with succulents, so we had to make a stop at the Moorten Botanical Garden. I was amazed by how many different types of cacti they had. However, it was too hot to enjoy it too much – my fault for going in the middle of the day.

Overall the trip was wonderful, but off-season when it is over 100 degrees the entire time was not super pleasant.  Even the pool was too hot to enjoy a dip in.  And shopping wasn’t happening either because it was too hot to even walk around from store to store.  NEXT TIME there will be a lot more shopping and hiking.

Summer Days in Los Angeles

My birthday is smack dab in the middle of the summer and when I was a kid, I just hated the fact that all my friends were away on vacation when my big day came around. It made for a lot of family filled birthday events – I guess it helps that I have FOUR siblings.

Keeping with the family theme for birthdays this year, I planned a trip to visit my sister in L.A. Usually when I visit, I stay on the west side (UCLA area) and stay with her and my lovely nieces and nephew.  This time, I still spent lots of time with her, but S and I wanted to check out some stuff in other parts of L.A. We booked a gorgeous little airbnb in Silverlake – our hosts had two sweet pitbulls and a lovely patio area for us to hang out on. We spent a lot of time between Silverlake and hollywood.

Our trip was so fantastic – I want to share my favorites with you!

The best coffee in Silverlake was Dinosaur coffee by far – they had delicious almond milk lattes for S and I am an iced coffee or iced mocha girl and all were perfection. The pastries were also just to die for – the strawberry croissant just took me to a new level. I also loved my rice bowl from Sqirl – a hearty and filling breakfast at this hip brunch spot.

Of course no trip to LA is complete without a visit to Lucky Scent’s Scent Bar where I sampled lots of delicious perfumes and bought Kilian’s Imperial Tea which smells like sticking your nose into a big glass of iced tea (and it was my wedding day scent!) – perfect for a summer night.

There was record shopping at Amoeba Records and browsing for tchotchkes at Wacko/Soap Plant. My favorite dinner of the entire trip was the vegan mexican food at Gracias Madre. The patio was perfect and the food was unbelievably good (and with a hot queer chef to top that off!)

I also experienced the largest Forever 21 plus size section I’ve ever been in while at the Ontario Mills Mall – I highly recommend a trip if you’re anywhere in the area.

OH! Also I chopped off my hair! Fat girl pixie cut and silver toned 🙂

Gray hooded dress – 2x – Forever 21+
Necklace – Forever 21
Glasses – SEE eyewear
Bag – Rebecca Minkoff

White/Black shirt – 3x – Forever 21+
Black skinny jeans – 18 – Torrid
Silver sandals – Sam Edelman
Glasses – SEE eyewear
Bag – Rebecca Minkoff

How I wear a #croptop

The topic of fat people in crop tops has been trending recently because of the statement in O magazine. I haven’t really weighed in with my fellow plus size friends because frankly, I don’t really wear crop tops all that often and honestly I’m of the option that everyone should wear whatever they want to whenever and don’t go making big statements about it.

So I personally don’t like showing my midriff skin, but I do really like this chopped up crop top sweater vest that I layered over a sheer button up top. It gives me the layered look I love and a way to wear a shorter shirt.

I love seeing how all of you are rocking and styling your crop tops. I add mine to the mix and recommend trying this if you’ve been feeling shy about trying it!

Outfit Details
Polka dot sweater – thrifted, chopped
Sheer shirt – forever 21+
Black shorts – city chic
Espadrilles – Aldo

It’s the little things that keep me feeling good at my office desk job.  It’s sometimes a bit weird to dress up in corporate drag and so I wear my tattoos out and put on accessories that wink at my non-corporate life. My lovely friend Natalie of Bake & Destroy lovingly refers to these little rebellions as “Office Punk.”  I’ll take it. 

And so my little object today is this lovely Heart Lolli Pin from Tuesday Bassen. I adore her zines and little objects. Very girl gang. Femme. Perfection. You also get a little sneak peek at my Moon Phase Baggu bag (it’s my go-to carry-all in my purse) and of course my favorite denim jacket from the GAP a million years ago.

Someone asked yesterday about my nails – they’re an essie no-chip color that I didn’t catch the name of. I am currently growing out my (real!) nails into little sharp almonds. 

Not a lot of make up today – just some NARS lip pencil and Buxom Mascara (and Mac studio fix always). I mostly just wanted to share this awesome Tuesday Bassen pin and encourage y’all to check out more of her work!