Behind the Bar: Cocktails and Questions with Annabelle

We like Tequila, a fact not lost on anyone as it sits within our name. Why? Not only do we participate in the industry that we work so hard to support, but also because we love a well crafted cocktail and a seat at the bar.

We are based in Richmond, VA- a city rich in food and cocktails and career bartenders and we want to share the part of our community and culture with our followers And so this week we will begin our series “Behind the Bar” and share a cocktail recipe of the week and quick questionnaire with a local bartender.

Stop in to support them at their place of business, try the cocktails at home and tag us on Instagram with your #tandcocktail #balancedandbadass hashtags. Learn a little bit more about our local watering holes and the people who make them thrive.

Today, we start our series with the lovely Annabelle. She’s not just stunning, she is a talented bartender and a wonderful friend.


We asked her a few questions, adapted from James Lipton’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” to share a little insight into what makes her tick:

  1. What is your favorite word?

    My favorite word would most likely have to be ravel, I know it’s an odd one but whenever I read a book and the author uses raveled it really brings to life what the character was feeling. Or at least to me.

  2. What is your least favorite word?

    Least favorite word would have to be moist and panties. You just sound like a creepy man behind a computer. Gross.

  3. If you had a super power what would it be?

    If I could have a super power it would have to be to fly, as cliché as it is I want nothing more than to be able to get up one morning and go to an island for a day. Escape whenever I need to.

  4. What is your favorite cocktail?

    I love anything with Mezcal or gin! So a Mezcal old fashioned, or an aviation.

  5. What is your favorite beer?

    If I’m going to drink beer for a while then a lager, or maybe a sour. The Anderson Valley Blood Orange is definitely high on my list.

  6. What is your favorite curse word?

    Fuck…. and damnit.

  7. What sound or noise do you love?

    I don’t think I have a favorite sound. I like listening to rain and the waves crash, I’ll pass right out!

  8. What sound or noise do you hate?

    Least favorite, anything too loud honestly.

  9. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Most likely open up my own restaurant.

  10. What is your favorite quote?

    My favorite quote was my second tattoo, “if only our tongues were made out of glass, how much more careful would we be when we spoke?” think before you speak and treat others the way you want to be treated.


Mezcal Old Fashioned with a Kick

  • 1.25 oz count Mezcal Banhez Joven

  • .25 oz count agave

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • Muddle jalapeño and add the zest of an orange peel

  • Stir and pour over fresh Ice 

You can find Annabelle slinging drinks 5 days a week at local spots, Monday, Thursday and Friday at En Su Boca (ask her to tell you why they’re called Porn tacos) and Saturday and Sunday at Bingo Beer Co.

Thanks for joining us for our first bartender feature and definitely support your local eateries and bar staff.

P.S. For those who want to know:


  • to disentangle or unravel the threads or fibers of (a woven or knitted fabric, rope, etc.).

  • to tangle or entangle.

  • to involve; confuse; perplex.

Pompeii- Bastille

Welcome! Happy New Year! We are finally open and it’s super exciting. Sessions are being scheduled, work is being adjusted, game plans are being improved upon, studying has started for the Fitness Nutrition certification.

But today we are going to take a step back and talk about setbacks, pauses, and this time of year. As everyone knows- this time of year in the state of Virginia is where you can experience all four seasons in two days, fluctuations from 60 to 30 degrees in a blink of an eye coupled with rain and snow and then the budding of spring leaves on the trees.

It’s also when everyone and their uncle gets sick. Including me. I thought I was struggling with a virus, because I’d feel fine for days at a time and then go down like a ton of bricks. Turns out I have a severe sinus and chest infection and if it wasn’t treated it would turn into pneumonia. Yikes. So I had some setbacks this week in business, I had to cancel several sessions because I need to get better, quickly, and I’ve learned that overworking and already compromised immune system is how one gets deathly ill pretty quickly.

However, I also work in the restaurant industry. A place where health insurance is hard to come by in shift work, so people are paying out of pocket for health care, and they have to choose between going in or getting written up for not making a shift. Let me make it really clear- not one bartender or server or host who is paid by shift work, not one of them wants to give up a money making shift to get better.

Self care in an industry where you get paid only when you work and only get paid well if work is busy is extremely hard. But it has to be done, especially for those with two gigs.

Rescheduling sessions was necessary for me to get better. Am I going to be a little more broke this week? Yes. That’s the nature of owning your own business and making those decisions. Am I actually going to get better? Yes. Thanks to a lot of antibiotics. Soup. Ginger lemon tea. And more sleep than I’ve had in 6 months.

Am I a little behind schedule? Yes. But progress is not linear. Repeat after me: PROGRESS. IS. NOT. LINEAR. I’ll be back up to snuff next week, I’ll get back on schedule with my clients and I’ll get back on track with my workouts.

So I’ve got some tips for you from Precision Nutrition on how to heal up quicker when you are getting sick and how to actively fight getting sick ahead of time.



And lastly- for all my fellow shift workers, here is a list of options for healthcare and their costs so you can find help when you need it:

  1. CVS MinuteClinic: $99-129 for minor illnesses

  2. BetterMed Urgent Care: $119 for minor care

  3. Patient First: $119, total visit cap at $299

  4. Center for Healthy Hearts: Can help if you don’t have insurance or employer provided insurance

  5. Health Brigade: Cannot make more than 200% of federal poverty line

  6. Crossover Healthcare Ministry They don’t list their requirements but they are listed on charitable websites and free clinics.

I hope this helps anyone in need. Here’s to setbacks and getting back on track.


Don't Leave- Seven Lions

I’m a little obsessed with Ellie Goulding. And when I need a boost into the realm of getting my head out my ass or my brain out of my feelings- I blast this on repeat. I also REALLY like Powerful as well. It’s the next on the playlist.

I’m four days out of Rebellecon and I’m finally in a place where I feel I can actually have a conversation about it. Because I spent so much time discussing all of the ideas and knowledge bombs and experiences over the weekend that my brain literally felt like it couldn’t function. I had to take an aggressive self care day on Monday, where I lay in my pajamas all day, ate pizza in bed and binged the hell out of season three of DareDevil on Netflix. (Which I LOVE, but also struggle with because it’s really painful to watch Matt Murdoch get the shit kicked out of him in every single episode.) I can’t tell you the last time I purposely put myself in a place where I actively chose to do nothing.


RebelleCon taught me an incredible amount of lessons. From reinvigorating my faith in the business I am trying to build with Tequila & Deadlifts- to valuing myself and works. I found some ways to monetize things I do everyday for my clients, making it a simple and effective gift to them with some small effort on my part. I learned some tools to help streamline my business on the backend and ended up sharing some tools with our speakers that they’d never heard of.

Pia Silva, Priya Malani, Rhada Agrawal, Shannon Siriano, Dominique Broadway, Michelle Grant, Anika Horn, Jay Ell Alexander, Malikah Karim, Nikki Nash, and so many more - each of these women stepped up to impart their own stories and struggles and the wisdom of their successes. I shared my goals with so many women, I gave my elevator pitch and answered all the questions asked to me, over and over again. My jaw hurt from smiling so much, my chest was sore from the level of anxiety. It was validating to talk my plan out and ask for feedback and advice and also to see that in a lot of ways I’m ahead of the game.

If my only two barriers are paint clean up and painting to getting my doors open, then I’m much farther ahead than I thought. I’m working on Pia Silva’s Branding Mini Shrink to really focus on my touch points and continue to improve the message and focus of what Tequila & Deadlifts brings to the community. And Nikki Nash’s advice on getting paid for being your badass self comes with a whole workshop of self reflection that helps me move forward. And as I sit here right now, waiting for the next contractor to come by and give me a quote, I’m making sure I’ll do those things and that my gym will open in the right time.

The best part of Rebellecon is the amount of actionable advice that I received. Not just “You can reach your goals WOO” but actual, workable items that can get you to the next step. And most of it was manageable and not too much, just the right mix of exhilarating and nerve wracking. And it’s mostly nerve wracking because it requires you to be realistic, optimistic and actually DO THE DAMN THING. And taking that step is the part where people get stuck- they get stuck saying they want the dream but cant force themselves over the edge into the reality of it.

Reality means taking the risks, even if you fail. But believing that you won’t.

bus cards.png

I have ordered my business cards. And I’m building wish lifts of office furniture on amazon right now, because that’s the rational thing to do. And I’m hoping that my December 1st opening date is a reality too, because I won’t be handing these cards out for no reason.

Rebellecon was a real eye opener for me. It was a live wire into a tired soul and I highly suggest any woman looking to continue to improve her business or self work with any member of the Rebellecon community. My mom and I are headed to the next session in April. And we’ve set our own personal goals as well, to align with what we wish to do by that date. We’ll come with new updates and better realities. And make sure that we’ve taken more steps of action on our to-do list.


I’m ready to make big moves.



Orinoco Flow- Enya

My legs have shooting pains in them today. Walking the dog this morning had me crying in an alley. Exhaustion rears it’s ugly head every once in a while and brings with it an entire host of emotional baggage I like to keep buried. I feel like I’m getting sick, drinking ginger and lemon tea and eating oatmeal to feel better. Comfort food. 

I have 4 weeks until my next show and I’ve been getting judges feedback from the OCB Tidewater show. Bodybuilding is an interesting sport. We work our asses off for weeks, reducing body fat all over to show case the muscular structure underneath, muscle we spend years building. When you look at how the

Women first looked in the sport, Amanda Latona being a great example, they were wearing off the rack swimsuits and looking a lot more like swimsuit models than the hard bodies and tiny waists we see today. 

A lot of pros have stopped competing because the look has gotten increasingly harder and less focused on a natural look. 

It’s ironic how a health industry that claims to be so focused on doing things in a maintainable and balanced manner is so focused on the smallness of its women in the bikini division. In fact- they downright ignore the facts that many women take dangerous routes to achieve that look.

My feedback has been overwhelming- leaner, leaner, leaner. More ab work. More glute and ham work. More leanness. And maybe adjust my hair.

I knew going in that I didn’t have the smallest package compared to the other competitors and that this was a possibility. I knew it. But hearing it still stings. I have an almost 300 lb. deadlift. I train 5 days a week, work three jobs, maintain my household and train others as well. And none of that counts on a stage- none of it. I’m strong but I’m not skinny enough. In a subjective sport- I am too thick.

I’d love to tell you that this kind of feedback hasn’t gotten under my skin, but I’m not trying to lie about these experiences. I see a lot of fitness inspirations post about how being first place requires that kind of sacrifice and dedication and that everyone at an elite level is not necessarily healthy. 

But it’s something I really struggle with. I love building and the discipline of cutting and getting into the best shape of my life. But I don’t support making myself smaller- for a subjective competition. I don’t talk to my clients that way. I don’t train others that way. I celebrate health and the difference it makes in your day to day life. The sport is about building muscle and health and your mental strength as well. It seems incredibly counterintuitive to keep pushing beyond the scope of health in order to win a higher placing.

My heart hurts. It feels like all the hard work I put in falls short. And that’s another danger of this sport- I struggle with depression as it is. Most days I have a great handle on it- but dieting for 16 weeks and looking at yourself every day and seeing if you’ve dropped pounds or inches to be enough for someone else’s judgment wears on your mental health.  And I can’t say that the repeated feedback of lean down hasn’t made this worse for me.  I don’t want to struggle with  someone else’s opinion of me, I don’t want to question the opinion I have of myself. 

It bleeds Into my other goals. My faith in the gym I’m putting together. My faith in my work skills. My faith in myself as a daughter, friend and partner. The doubt can become crippling. And depression doesn’t always manifest itself as crying jags and unending sadness, it’s just a lack of joy and a bleak nothingness. The doldrums. I’ve always loved that description from the Phantom Tollbooth. The time where there is no wind in your sails and you seem stuck in place.

It’s not always like that. It won’t stay like that. But sometimes you just need to hide from life a little until you feel like you can figure it out again. You can go through the motions and keep smiling but you can only hold yourself together with tape and glue for so long. Your body shuts you down eventually - forces you to take some time. I’m hiding in my bed with two bowls of chicken noodle soup and ginger lemon tea. I’ve watched a lot of Orange is the New Black. I have cried out some of the frustration at feeling this way. But I’m not forcing myself to keep stepping forward when a pause is necessary. 

I keep seeing a post on Facebook that says it’s ok not to be ok. “Reminder to ANYONE that my house is a safe zone. Coffee can be on in minutes or if you prefer something stronger or heavier, no problem. I will always be available - even if we haven’t talked in a while. Text me, call me, message me, anything. I will be there. I am always a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. Nothing worse than being alone and going through things alone.”

I’m not ok right now. And that’s ok. I will be. I’m struggling, but I’ll keep moving. I want you all to see the double edged side of things- especially competing. I want you to understand that even people who look like they have their shit together really might not be as strong as they look. And that depression can still look like a 5’4” fitness fanatic with a great dog, family and boyfriend. 


Ready- Esterly, Jung Youth

If you haven't noticed by now- my blog posts titles are songs I'm currently listening to. A lot of that has to do with Spotify and their discover weekly playlists.

10 weeks of prep culminated in an awesome show day on September 8th at the OCB Battle for Tidewater. It's my first show day in two years and my first in a tested federation. I made the switch because I'm tired of competing against others who are willing to "go the extra mile" so to speak in a sport where the building is supposed to be the main focus. 


I'm a dedicated gym-goer- I am not dedicated enough to use additional supplementation to succeed. I rarely even use protein powder anymore, switched to whole foods quite a while ago and I found Crystal Light to be a better alternative and way cheaper to BCAA's. 

I worked with @SwoleSarah, or Sarah Moorman for this prep. We had a weekly training guides and macros and I checked in with her every other day if I had questions or concerns. I am currently training quite a few people myself, and my brain doesn't have the bandwidth to check myself throughout a prep period when I have them to focus on. 


It was a slow process and while I placed third and am still waiting to have feedback from the judges- I felt pretty great about the package I brought to the stage. My feedback from NPC was always that my legs/butt were too big for my body shape, they wanted a leaner and tighter look. OCB is traditionally a more natural focused look, so I didn't expect to have to be as lean as NPC requires. I will say that I definitely felt more muscular than the majority of my bikini competition overall. I wasn't as "tiny" as the other ladies. 



I could definitely work on my posing the next few weeks and my T-walk. It was the first time implementing that in my stage presence. My posing could be tweaked to make my waist appear smaller, my midsection is a bit thicker from the amount of deadlifting I do. I could decrease it- but that means being less strong. And I don't care enough about competing for that. I want a 300lb. deadlift more than a skinnier waist. But overall- I felt really, absolutely wonderful. And I brought home 3rd place in Novice B and Open C. 

*I apologize in advance that you're going to see a lot of my butt in the next photo*



I didn't do any absurd cardio hours, but I do think I could add a bit more in over the next few weeks. We also didn't do any insane dieting, which was a big part of the discussion over prep in general. I love being in shape- but I have health boundaries I wont cross. And I love having a coach that respects that. I definitely had muscle and a body I was proud to show off. 



I had an incredibly supportive and wonderful prep too. My parents, siblings, friends and significant other were all on board. My friend and fellow competitor, Gigi, joined me for show to help glue my bikini on and nail my posing. She was an absolute champion. My coworkers, loved ones and friends joined me out to celebrate. I ate cupcakes and fried rice and a ton of shrimp and chicken tenders and a charcuterie board and two ice cream sandwiches. And now I'm back on the grind. And ready for the normalcy of foods I love and exercise.


I have 5 weeks until the OCB Chesapeake Classic in Baltimore, MD. And I'm ready to be done with the season after that. I promised myself that 16 weeks of dieting would be the max amount I'd do for the year.  I refuse to diet through my anniversary, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays are important, being present for family and friends is important. Dieting and competing needs to find it's place in your life- not be your whole life. I have a gym to open. And a life to live.

I guess we shall see what I look like 5 weeks from now. Honestly I can't wait. Thanks to everyone who has followed along and been a great supporter along the way. You make all of this more fun!