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Duff McKagan Taught Me the Secret to Success

Inevitably, when you’re a woman coming up in the boss babe world, everyone tells you that you have to read the book by Sophia Amoruso. You know the one I’m talking about. Girl Boss? I read it and there’s no denying that I vibe with it extremely heavy. It’s a motivational read but for me, it just wasn’t enough. See.. I come from a world of gritty, cruel and unfortunate proportions. My career has brought me to some places that most would be ashamed of. I’ve got some pretty cringe worthy stories. Of course table top books like Girl Boss do touch on these sort of things but I’m not a “put your high heel shoes on and keep your head up” type of gal. I’m a ‘Lace those combat boots up and trudge through the bullshit” type. I honestly thought I’d never find a book out there that was written for me. I was wrong. Along came Duff McKagan and Its so Easy. Guys, my prayers were answered. This Fan Friday is all about Duff McKagan’s novel “It’s So Easy and Other Lies.

 

Duff McKagan from…?

You’ve probably heard of Duff Beer. Yes, this is a Simpsons reference but it’s also the bassist of Guns N Roses. (Rumor has it, the brand on the Simpsons was actually inspired by the King of Beers himself!) If you haven’t noticed, I’m sort of obsessed with the band. Duff McKagan is the punk of the group, and has carried a great deal of his teenage “youth in revolt” standards into later life. Being an alternative lifestyle chick, very heavily influenced by punk ideals, you can only imagine excited I was to read about it!

What Does that have to do with Success?

Duff McKagan It's Not So easy- book review by Jasemine-DeniseThis book outlines Duff’s journey from an aspiring young Seattle punk to become one of the most successful bands in the industry. He touches on his childhood, his battles with his inner demons and his legendary journey from Seattle to LA. He talks about his influences generously and gives us an inside scoop on how drug usage affected him and everyone else around him.

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s an honest and well written interpretation of what it means to earn your fame. I felt like it should’ve been called Duff McKagan, the struggle of a lifetime. I read this whole book on the flight to Canada to shoot a wedding. A lot of things had came to pass before this trip departed and honestly my spirits weren’t that high. I bought Its So Easy on a whim knowing that I had a long flight ahead of me and if I hadn’t had to keep reminding myself that this was a real life persons account, I wouldn’t believe a word of it. It was that deep.
The main notion of this tale is that success ain’t easy. It’s actually a terrifying hike and much like true punk, not everyone’s down to ride or so Duff demonstrates when he recounts the transition between two former members and the arrival of Slash and Steven.

What did I learn?

Spoiler alert: Duff becomes a rock n roll hall of fame artist after many years of lessons but he can recall every hardship by date… Well unless he was heavily intoxicated but that’s not the point. He left behind some killer lessons.
So what Duff teach me that has me asking myself “What would Duff McKagan do in times of struggle?”
  • Keep your friends close and your connections closer. Duff played in a bunch of bands as he was growing up before he found Guns. It’s like having a lot of small jobs. He kept in communication with a lot of his past band members both over the phone and even having some of them visit his various places. He later utilized a lot of these people to help the band start its first small tour and had a huge welcome home party thrown for him.
  • Being broke doesn’t exactly mean you have nothing. His story of working as a cook in Black Angus is powerful. He tells us briefly that he often couldn’t afford food and was only given one employee meal a day. Oddly enough, he made that shit work and gives us two recipes I have bookmarked to try.
  • Cockroaches don’t bite. Though he meant it literally, this stood out as a metaphor for me. He was just satisfied to have his own place, and the cockroaches that surrounded his apartment won the war. Eventually, he focused his energies elsewhere. To me it means, sure you’re gonna have some ugly moments but that shouldn’t take your mind off the prize.
  • Not everyone is down to ride but those who do are ones worth keeping. When Guns went on their first small tour, they had to hitchhike from Los Angeles all the way to Seattle. Duff who was used to traveling in those conditions was psyched! It was the moment he realized that his bandmates were as devoted to the art has he was. That’s how he knew that was the company he wanted to keep. At one point, the band was sitting on the road waiting for a truck driver that they had hitched a ride from. They seemed silent and out of hope but Duff was proud nonetheless.. Those were his brothers.
  • Finally, life is precious. Duff talks about everything from fighting because that’s how he learned to cope to drinking ten bottles of wine a day until he was begging the nurse to kill him. He thought he was gonna die. He lived on a block that was more dangerous than half the south side of Chicago, but he’s still here. In the turning point of the novel, Duff begins to rediscover the man he lost when he started drinking heavily. He talks about how invigorating it was having his life on track. It’s motivating. He’s still here.

How does this all relate to business today?

He’s still here. Being part of a band heavily influenced even just partially by the punk community is a lot like being a business owner in your early years. You have no business plan, no rubric, and most of all no clients. You have to DIY your marketing materials, finagle your way into social media, and most of all build your brand with hope, faith and the ambition of where it all started. A lot of Duff’s “coworkers” aka old band members died of a heroine overdose. Mine simply backed out when times got rough! This book put a halt to my whining and really motivated me to remember where I started.

There is no glory without a story.

 I aspire to have a colorful story of how my determination brought my dreams to life. Duff taught me that no matter how rocky your past present and even your future can be, you can do it. You can build an empire out of dirt and inevitably have everything you ever wanted. All of that, with all the nitty gritty no one wants to really point out.
I urge anyone who wants a raw recollection of a success story, I urge you to read Its So Easy and Other Lies because the biggest truth Duff McKagan left me with is that it may not be easy, but it damn sure is worth it.
Fan Friday makeup artists

Fan Friday: MUA On The Go

Last week, I posted a photo to Facebook of a makeup job that my friend Gabbie did for a contest at her school. I was super proud she’d asked me to come sit down and be the face of her project. While I’ve known Gabbie for about four years and worked with her on various projects throughout that time, I never get a chance to show you guys the end result. Here it is. For those who don’t know, she is the face behind MUA ON THE GO, and what a talent she has.

I appreciate makeup so much considering I’m still learning how to get my wingtip even, so I appreciate this look so much more and am actually pretty sad I didn’t take more pictures.

Fan Friday // MUA On The Go:

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Fan Friday fashion

Fan Girl Friday: Nasty Gal

I don’t typically follow trends but I got a particular inbox message from a site that I follow about a fashion collaboration that involved Courtney Love. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m more a fan of Love’s late husband Kurt Cobain than I was her. (Especially with the coming of documentaries like Montage of Heck.) The one thing I always loved about Courtney however was her unique and eclectic style. I didn’t want to just jump straight into buying everything specifically from Courtney’s collaboration; I wanted to check out the clothing company first… Guess what.. I loved it. 

Note: I was not paid or given any form of compensation to write this post! For the love of fan girl, I bring you..

Fan Girl Friday: Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal is having a 30% sale right now and that got me hype. I wanted to get something under $50 to see how it fit and how I was gonna love everything before I transitioned into the possibility of getting into the Courtney Love collaboration line. Let me tell you, what I immediately loved about Nasty Gal before I even made my purchase!

The CEO of Nasty Gal is Sophia Amoruso!

As in the Sophia Amoruso, author of #GirlBoss. This book is every young entrepreneur woman’s mantra right now. I quote it all the time. It’s amazing and so I was already motivated to fall in love with this clothing company because it’s owned by a GIRL BOSS! Can you believe she started Nasty Gal on EBAY?! It’s motivating.

Valentine’s Day Messages All Across The Front Page Motivating Self Love!

“Who needs boys when you’ve got bank?”

I’m going through this awesome phase of life where I am loving my single self. I’m in love with being able to take care of myself and be financially stable. The greatest part of looking at Nasty Gal website is that they were openly saying “Hey, you. Girl over there! Continue to love yourself!”

 

Shopping on Nasty Gall!

 

XXS?! No way.

The website is awesome. The reviews on all the items really motivated me to buy it but what was the most great was the fact that they had xxs listed as a size. Hello! That’s me! Being 4’11 and 90lbs, it’s always awkward being at family events because everyone calls me “anorexic” and worries about my size. I can assure you, that I eat all the time. There’s not really a place to feel “safe” being a smaller woman. Nasty Gal actually took that fear away for me. It started its size listings at xxs which made me comfortable ordering something that I felt would be “flattering”.

Nasty Gal - Jasemine Denise Photography - Fahsion Blog-8

30% off turned my $50 order into a $33 order.

So I bought two shirts. I was super excited for it. I get to check out, and the 30% coupon immediately applied! The two shirts I bought were already sale items [items that I can’t even believe were so cheap] and wham! My order came down by $20.

The shipping was only $5.

When a site says free shipping off of items $75 or more, I picture myself paying my arm, leg, and two pineapples for shipping. Seeing that my order really only had five dollars of shipping made me really excited and a bit emotional.

How soon will my item arrive?

It was crazy! So, I ordered my item on Friday. FRIDAY, okay? It arrived that Monday. I was so excited when I got the package that I tore it open, ripped it out and immediately threw it on. Fit like a glove. A really cute, adorable, and sexy glove.

Nasty Gal - Jasemine Denise Photography - Fahsion Blog-13
Nasty Gal - Jasemine Denise Photography - Fahsion Blog-14

 

I included a few items that you guys might like below.

Get you some girl! (Or guys, get your girl some!) They have some cute lingerie under $50 for my bargain shoppers and it’ll get to you before Valentine’s Day! I know I’m about to start putting in some saving money to get some of that new Courtney Love inspired looks because hell yes! Down below is my shirt, and two Courtney Love pieces. Click on them, they’ll send you to NastyGal and you can either buy them or check more out!

Have you already heard of NastyGal and wanna fangirl about it yourself? Tell me all about it in the comments.