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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Get Over it Rae!!

When I woke up this morning I was so fatigued that I didn't want to get my ass out of bed. It was one of those days when AIDS took center stage. The fatigue that I experience from AIDS feels like I have been walking around with sandbags in my Chanel handbag, in Jimmy Choo stilettos no less. I laid there frozen in my fatigue. "Not Today God!" I cried. Yes, I have been working like a mad lady, but there is still so much work to do be done. "I need energy," I mumbled to God. I started to feel overwhelmed and depression started to set in. If I hadn't made this choice with my life 27 years ago, I wouldn't be experiencing this right now. I took a deep breath and fought back the tears. In my despair, Superwoman kicked in. I centered myself. "Get Over it Rae!" I demanded. "God has blessed you beyond your own understanding."

Yes, God has blessed me and these past two weeks are a clear example. They have been nothing short of  AMAZING. I launched my blog with the help of Luvvie @ www.awesomelyluvvie.com, it is fast becoming a success because all of you are dropping in. I am featured in the March 15th issue of Jet with an update on my life. I helped Ebony launch their faith section in their April issue. Both are on stands now.

Yes, the list of how God has blessed me and my ministry recently goes on. Yesterday, I launched a monthly column on HIV/AIDS and wellness in the South Suburban News online newspaper. My Spring and Summer collection of bracelets are at the photographers. I partnered with the beautiful AIDS Activist Hydeia Broadbent to design an AIDS Awareness bracelet celebrating her life and work. www.rltcollection.com. I started a Facebook Fan Page less than three weeks ago and to my amazement I have over 1600 fans (join!). I am being honored for my work and commitment to HIV/AIDS on March 25th by a wonderful group of young African-American women who run The Red Pump Project. I am so excited! I hope you all in the Chicago area will come.

Even my overall health is good. After just completing (a week ago) four long weeks of IV medication, 2 times a day, 2 hours a drip, I was able to beat this nasty little infection, with no permanent damage from the side-effects of the medicine. Yes, God has blessed me beyond my own understanding.  What the hell do I have to complain about? Get over myself is right! Yes, I crawled my ass out of my bed. I will not let AIDS wins!  Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever!!

God has taken my mess and made it a message, next to life, this is the ultimate blessing. Each morning I wake,  no matter the condition, I know that I am still an apart of God's Earthly Plan. I will not squander the gift of life.... It  is the ULTIMATE blessing from God!!!
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