I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I hate when I wake feeling this way: like I’ve done 10 sets of lunges in 4 inch Manolo Blahnik’s; like I hadn’t been to sleep in two days; like I’ve been flipping burgers for twelve hours; like lifting my body is an effort; like I want to sit in a chair while I brush my teeth because each stroke of the brush makes me just want to lay my head on the sink.

I hate this thing that HIV/AIDS does to me that I can’t describe or explain no matter how hard I try. Over these years, when people ask how I’m feeling, I typically say, I’m moving slow, I’m struggling or I’m having a bad HIV day. If it’s really bad I do say, I’m not feeling well. But those answers are inadequate and people want to know what that means. So inevitably I get asked, “What’s wrong?” Even my closest friends, after years, continue to ask, “What’s wrong?” I want to shout it from the top of the roof: I have NO freaking idea or my brilliant self would’ve named it nineteen years ago! STOP asking me that stupid ass question and making me give you a stupid ass answer! For Real! For Real! We have traveled this road before and it’s frustrating. I know the underlying theme in this question is: how do we make you better? But it ain’t getting no better, so man-up, like I do. I have  AIDS!

Since my transition to AIDS nineteen years ago, I’m guaranteed to wake with this indescribable feeling one to three days a week. If I’ve had a busy week, like last week, (speaking at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and then the Red Pump Project event honoring me), it’s even worst. When “it” first began, as usual, I went straight to the doctor. The best explanation was that HIV causes fatigue. The fact remains, no matter how healthy I look, the break neck schedule I keep, or the work load, my workaholic self maintains, I have no immune system. This means that my body does not work properly. The end result, among a list of things, is this fatigue.

When my T-cell count started to improve over twelve years ago because of advancements in treatment, the assumption was that this condition would also improve. But that has not been my case. That has been one painful reality. This is just another way AIDS intrudes in my life. I don’t like it but there is nothing I can really do medically to change it.  A regular workout schedule does mildly help, but that is not always possible. Adjusting is what I have had to learn to do.  Learning to adapt to this fatigue means different things on different days and “it’s complicated,” just like loving a man. For Real!

This is how I negotiate with my fatigue. If I have nothing to do, then I give into the madness and lay around the house. I'm never really idle, so I read or knit. When it comes to personal endeavors, I pick and choose. There have been times when I missed an event such as Passover dinner with my girlfriend’s family because it required more effort than I could muster up. However, her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah was a once in a lifetime event, so I pressed my way through. It’s the balance that I have learned to live with. I painfully accept the losses that come with this disease but I never surrender all of me. This means when I lay around the house, I at least brush my teeth, shower, put on clean PJ’s and earrings before the day is over. Diva Rule!

When it comes to work, the rules change drastically. When things must be done, or I have to speak, I force myself to get out of bed and “Keep It Moving.” I never cancel a speaking engagement unless I literally cannot stand. While I’ve recently been blessed with a team of people to assist, I am a one woman show. The buck always stops with me. If I have to work, I do. Now with the bracelet line and the blog I have added to my plate it’s over flowing.

 As I write this post, I’m literately sitting in bed with the laptop. I will admit that in a moment of self-pity I was thinking it would be nice if someone knew what was in my heart and mind and could write these posts for me. But reality always sets in. It is only me. My curse... My gift… My call... My life! At the end of the day, AIDS is not going away. There is no cure. Yes, I’ve been blessed with years beyond my understanding, but this does not change my daily struggle.

 No matter how I dress it up, Living with AIDS is not cute like a pair of my Blahnik's or Louboutin’s. AIDS is a hard life that I have been forced to adapt to. With this disease, the alternative to adaptation literally means death. So, I’ve chosen life over death... Despite the fatigue that plagues my body... Despite AIDS!
blog comments powered by Disqus
Clicky Web Analytics