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 31, 2010

You're Gonna Make It After All!

"You're Gonna Make It After All" was playing over and over in my head as I made my way to Chicago’s public transit system, better known as the “El.” As I strolled down the stairs, I tried hard to remember the other lyrics to the Mary Tyler Moore theme song: da da da da da. Who can a take nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? You’re gonna make it after all. “Yep, that’s it,” I declared to myself! I boarded the train with a huge smile on my face. You’re gonna make it after all!

Taking the train is a new adventure for me. Not one that I originally chose for myself but was forced to make. In October, I was so behind in my car payments. I had two choices: get them their money or give them their car back. I thought about it long and hard. If I really needed to, there was someone that I knew would loan me the money in a crunch. She would have lectured me (being like a mother to me and all). But in the end, I’m sure she would have come through. Another part of the equation at the time was access to my now ex-significant other’s car. So, giving up my car didn't seem that bad after all.

I mean it really made sense. Once I borrowed the money to pay the back bill, I was still going to have to generate enough cash flow to keep the car payments and my insurance current. And that was no guarantee. The economy had hit most of America pretty hard, including me, and speaking engagements have been few and far between. So I looked on as they loaded my beautiful Black Jaguar X Type onto the tow truck. “You’re making a smart decision, Rae,” I told myself confidently!

But now six months later, I’m winging it on my own. And honestly, the thought of getting on the train was depressing. It was such a convenience walking out of the door and getting in my car. But if truth be told, I had some pride issues that needed to be conquered. Getting on the train was dreadful. It was a painful blow to my ego. It felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach with combat boots. Ugh. I knew I had to adapt. “Get over it!” I kept telling myself that every time I made my way down the stinky, damp stairs leading to the underground train. But it just wasn't happening. I mean the train? A Diva like me should have a driver, but that was also a song I was singing to myself. LOL! This is the real world. And in this world, you pay for everything you get. So an occasional taxi ride and the “El” are as far as my money will stretch. I had accepted it by default, but I sure didn't like it.

But today, something magical happened as I strolled down the street with the sun beaming in my face and my Burberry wrap blowing in the wind. I could feel God’s presence. It was as if He was saying, “Hey Girllllllll! I’m with you no matter how you get there. Don’t you feel my warmth on your face?” And I could. That acknowledgment provided me with instant comfort. By the time I made it to those same damp, nasty steps leading down to the transit system I was singing, “You’re gonna make it after all!”

 I started tweeting and taking pictures with my iPhone. I knew people must have thought, "Who’s that rich nut?" Cause I was looking kinda cute and rich with my, "Im waiting on my next breakthrough," (i.e. broke) behind. I tweeted and Jenna Marie, who coordinates #TeamRae, tweeted back that she was proud of me being on the train and all. “#StillaDiva” was the latest Twitter tag I created as I maneuvered my way through Chicago using public transit. Yep! Being a Diva is also a state of mind. In the end, it does not matter how you get there, just as long as you do it with your head held high.
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