Ask Monica

Hi friends! I hope you all are doing well in these crazy times we are living in. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, I have been searching for ways to stay connected with family, friends, and followers. I had grand plans of doing YouTube/IGTV videos, chatting it up on IG stories, FaceTiming with loved ones, and so much more. Unfortunately, I have been having some vocal cord issues, so I’ve had to shift my strategy a bit to do more writing instead of talking. Last week I put up a Q&A on my Instagram story but rather than answering questions via stories, I opted to select a few questions and go more in-depth here on the blog! Let’s dive in.

What is your favorite wine besides Pinot?

I have yet to explore another varietal to the extent that I have explored Oregon Pinot Noir, so I can’t say for sure that I have a favorite other than Pinot. If I’m not drinking Pinot I tend to gravitate towards Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Italian wines made from Sangiovese, such as Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino. Every once in a while, I may even find myself drinking a Syrah, Zinfandel, or something sparkling. There’s a time and a place for everything!

Speaking of Italian wines… one of my goals in terms of wine and travel is to start exploring more wine regions around the US and the world, and dive deeper into other varietals. Last year, I visited Italy for the first time and did a six-day wine tour through Tuscany. It was incredible to say the least and I learned so much about all things Sangiovese, which you can read a bit about in this post. I cannot wait to book another trip to a different wine region!

A few places/varietals that are on my bucket list:

  • Argentina for Malbec and Patagonia Pinot Noir
  • Northern Italy for Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Prosecco and Lambrusco
  • France for Bordaeux, Burgundy Pinot Noir, Rhone Valley GSM, and Champagne
  • Spain for Tempranillo and Cava
  • Napa Valley, California for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir

What inspired you to start Pinot+Pistols?

Pinot+Pistols was born from a desire to learn as I began my journey into gun ownership and concealed carrying. I wanted a way to engage with the 2A community, ask questions, and share what I was learning without having to do so from my personal social media accounts. As I started thinking about creating an Instagram account to accomplish that, I knew I wanted my page to be unique and I didn’t want to be just another gun gal on Instagram (not that there is anything wrong with that, just wasn’t what I was going for) and I wanted a way to tie in learnings on a different topic, as well. It wasn’t until I started brainstorming words and saw “Pinot” and “Pistols” written next to each other in my notebook that I started to form this specific idea.

I loved (and still love) the idea of bringing Pinot and Pistols together in one space. It represents two things that I have fallen in love with since moving to Oregon and two things that I am very passionate about. I love the juxtaposition between the two and the parallels I’m able to draw between my separate journeys into wine and firearms. Frankly, I didn’t expect to get much traction, and I am continuously surprised and delighted at the positive response I’ve received from people that encounter this journey of mine!

First thing you are going to do once the Stay Home order is lifted?

More than anything, I just want to return to normal life. I am incredibly lucky in these times and I am counting my blessings every single day that I am healthy and able to work from home.

Here’s a few more positive things I am looking forward to most:

  • Hugging my Grandma, Dad, and best friends
  • Eating at my favorite local restaurants
  • Wine tasting at my favorite local wineries
  • Booking a trip to somewhere I’ve never been
  • Throwing a dinner party for friends
  • Celebrating success in-person with my team at work
  • Getting under a barbell at the gym and high-fiving all my gym buddies
  • Hanging out a my favorite gun shop
  • Hitting the range with friends
  • Eating hotdogs and drinking cold beer at a baseball game

Have you opened up more with friends, family, and coworkers about your gun ownership?

Yes! It all started with an Instagram post on my personal page a while back where I introduced my my friends and family to the “other” side of me. I also shared that post on Pinot+Pistols here. I was honestly surprised by the positive feedback I received, and I even had a few female friends reach out to find out how they could begin their journey into gun ownership. Since then, I’ve also shared Pinot+Pistols with friends that didn’t already know about.

The most impactful thing about my “coming out” was a conversation with my best friend after she learned about Pinot+Pistols. I know, it sounds strange that one of my best friends didn’t even know about this part of my life. She lives in a different country and we don’t talk all the time, so it’s easy to leave stuff out. I know she doesn’t agree with my stance on firearms so I chose not to tell her about Pinot+Pistols. Honestly, I regret not telling her sooner. Keeping a part of yourself from the people you love is never fun. When she learned about Pinot+Pistols she said, “Who are you and how did I not know about this alter ego of yours?”. I explained that I kept Pinot+Pistols on the down low because I didn’t think certain people in my life would be receptive to the firearms stuff. Her response only reinforced why she is my best friend: “It’s definitely not for me, but it’s a part of your life and I love you.”

Moral of the story: I have no reason to hide who I am. There are people in my life who will not agree with certain aspects of my life, but the ones that truly care about me will love and support me anyway. I don’t need everyone in my life to agree with everything I do or share the same stance on every topic. And if someone feels they can no longer be in my life because of my stance on firearms, then so be it. I don’t need people in my life that I can’t be myself around.

So, to answer the question… yes, I have definitely opened up more and I am more candid about the activities I participate in. If I’m talking about weekend plans with friends or coworkers, I’ll talk about going to the range, filming a video for Instagram, or picking up a new part for my rifle in the same manner I would talk about going wine tasting, whipping up a killer cheese board, or picking up a new bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s. It’s been so refreshing to just be me and not worry about what others might think.

Thank you all for the great questions! I hope to do more “Ask Monica” posts in the future. Comment below if you have any topics that you’d like to read more about!

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