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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Worst Nightmare!

I can remember being told that I was cute from the time I was a little girl. Call it vanity, conceit, or what have you, but the fact remains that I was blessed with a certain physical beauty. Yeap, I was cute and I knew it! I carried myself through life unapologetically, a “fine” black woman.

When I appeared on the cover of Essence, people were shocked at how “pretty” I was. It was mainly because we hadn’t seen many people with AIDS whose physical appearance had not been distorted, let alone a woman with AIDS who could grace the cover of a beauty magazine. We had images of people with AIDS and it stuck to us like Gorilla glue. We had seen the movie Philadelphia and Tom Hanks’ character with the purple blotches all over his face (Kaposis Sarcoma) but, no matter how hard you looked, my skin was without blemish. Like most people, I too marveled over the fact that my beauty had been unchanged by AIDS. In the early days of this disease, I could have very well have had a host of things, dry peeling skin, blemishes, discoloration and thinning hair to name a few.

 I actually prayed that God would not allow AIDS to change my appearance. It was the one thing that I believed would be a constant reminder of this disease. To look at myself in the mirror and see someone I had never known would be the ultimate attack. For almost 14 years, I was home free. Yes, I had lost weight, but Americans are so weight conscious that even my size 2 was appealing to most. Then, almost overnight it seemed, I had to face my worst nightmare.

My body reshaped without my permission. I was embarrassed by this transformation. I went to my doctor for an explanation and she told me to “Get over it. So what, you are living,” she said dismissively. Then a few months later, I appeared on Nightline and Ted Koppel began the discussion with the very apparent changes in my beautiful face. I sat there, with mixed emotions, discussing the fat redistribution that was a side effect of my HIV medication. I was horrified that my face became his starting point, but at the same time, I knew we were educating millions that evening. Yet again, I had made my life transparent to help others but it was not cathartic. I flew back to Chicago overwhelmed with sadness and quietly asked God, “Who was going to help me?”

The next day, my doctor called to have a real discussion. I was told that I had Lipodystrophy. It’s a syndrome that occurs in individuals with HIV infection who are being treated with antiretroviral medications. I sat there and tried to digest it all but it seemed way too complicated. There are two different side effects. One called Lipodystrophy, which refers to abnormal central fat accumulation, basically a fat pad around the neck, abdominal, upper back and the breast. The other is Lipohypertrophy, which is a localized loss of fat tissues in the face (cheeks), arms, legs and buttocks. And the worst thing is that they had no idea what to do about it. The fact remained: doctors were a day late and a dollar short.

When they first saw this disfiguration of the body in HIV infected patients, they did not take it seriously. Now it was causing health problems other than vanity. So this meeting, while informative, provided no solutions. My body shape became as complicated as the diagnoses. I went from a perfect size 6 to a 14 at the top of my body. I was a size 2 at the bottom and my waist was a size 12. And, just when I thought that it couldn't get any worse, my cheeks started to sink inward and I developed a hump at the top of my back.

I was MORTIFIED! And I felt betrayed by God. “How could You set me up for failure?” I asked. I had lived so long with this disease without any serious defects to my physical appearance and now I looked like SpongeBob. No doubt I had been blindsided, literally overnight. AIDS proved to be a worthy opponent. I went straight into a depression.

That summer I almost never left the house. Not only did I not want people to see me, but I had absolutely no clothes that fit. I had spent one sad day trying to find clothes and walked away from the shopping experience feeling defeated. Then late that summer, I was introduced to Cornell McClellan, a personal trainer and owner of Naturally Fit Gym, who had a solution to my problem. I began an INTENSIVE training with him that included cardio, resistance training and diet modification. It took almost a year of working out 5- 6 days a week, but I started to see improvements.

Now, seven years later, I muddle through. There is a part of me that absolutely hates what AIDS has done to my physical appearance. Yes, I’ve had some acceptance, “This is what it is.” I fight back by making sure I’m well put together in all other areas (hair, make-up and clothes), and I work hard at trying to keep the fat under control. When I’m coming off a bout of illness, like last month, I’m at my highest weight, which means I look more distorted. I hit the gym hard to Get My Diva Back, as best as I can. But I must admit, every time I see a photo of me, I feel as if AIDS has won this round. I know that I am blessed to have lived so long with this disease. The fighter in me just wonders if I will ever shake this insecurity.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Clicky Web Analytics