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

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fashion/Beauty Friday: Back of the Closet - Part Two

Last Friday I explained how I was one of those people that always had to have something new for every speaking engagement. Remember I said, "I had it bad! And to make matters worse, I always had some stupid ass rationalization of why I just had to have something new. But that reality has changed for me."
Well, a couple of days after I spoke at FAMU, I spoke at Davidson College. I was plagued with a different kind of problem that almost became rationale for a new ensemble: Facebook and Twitter. Yep, I knew that pictures of FAMU would be all over cyber space. And true enough, on my layover in Atlanta, half way home, my best friend Luke was already telling me how "wonderful" my pantsuit looked. Oh Brother! The challenge was on. Could I go to the "back of my closet" and pull together something equally as fabulous?

This time I went all the way wild. I broke a cardinal rule: Never wear a St. John Knit jacket with anything other then St. John separates. At least for a St. John purest and I've been a member of that club for the last 15 years. But I did it! This top picture is me and the Red Pump Ambassadors from Charlotte.  Brittani on the left and Tawanna on the right. They met me fresh off the plane and were a part of #teamRae all day. They had no idea what the other was wearing. I thought it was soooo cute how they were matching. They illustrate how you can have similar looks with different pieces. I also think them showing up in the similar ensembles showed that the Red Pump team was in sync. 

My starting point was basic black. I was speaking for the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and I wanted to wear at least  one of their colors. My slacks are a European designer, Faconnable that I have owned for seven years. I paired these light weight wool slacks with a black shell from Ann Taylor that's five years old. By the way, Ann Taylor has some of the best classic, well made designs that last for years. I choose narrow pants, straight lines and a solid color so that my soft pink, white and black striped jacket would sit center stage. 

I remember the day I purchased this St. John jacket. I thought it was toooo cute! It took all of five minutes to make the decision that I had to have it for an upcoming appearance on BET with Tavis Smiley.  It's approximately 7 years old and is atypical in that it's not santana knit. This fact was also another rationale to buy it. It was a "different" St. John look. I remember the next day watching the View, Star Jones was wearing the same jacket and I was feeling even better about the decision to buy. Say what you want, Star does have good taste in clothes. She paired it with pink St. John, also another solid color look for this jacket. 

 This light weight wool St John jacket was perfect for Charlotte's climate. The fringe outlines the entire jacket and sleeves giving it a youthful appeal. And the fringe is the highlight of this very typical plaid design.

As usual, accessories are important. They help to pull an ensemble together. I choose a very wide black patent leather belt to give my waistline a slimming effect and 3 1/2" heel pumps to add even more length to the straight lines under the jacket. Both are Ann Taylor. My jewelry was simple. It completed the look. I choose multi-color pink and white pearls and layered it with a white gold and diamond cross. My earrings were the 12 mm south sea pearls highlighted last week. 

Of course, I completed my ensemble with 12 mm black onyx bracelets from RLT Collection, a preview for the fall 2010 collection. I think I pulled  my outfit together pretty nicely, proving two things. You can go to the "back of your closet" often and still look fabulous and you can create your own rules. Paring this St. John jacket with something other than St. John separates gave it a fresh look that still had that St. John allure.

By the way, the event was wonderful!  These Alpha men were the perfect hosts! I was proud of these young African-American men!  I was not only honored that they featured me as their Alpha Week speaker, but that they put HIV/AIDS and women at the top of their agenda. In conversations with them they clearly understand that African-American women continue to be the largest rising group being infected with HIV. 

It was a packed house, a great audience and God gave me something to say. As always when I speak, I don't come with some arrogant idea that I'm going to save these young lives. I know that they have to make their own choices. My prayer is that my honestly and transparency will be enough for them to take and use to save themselves. At the end of the day, the only person that can save you, is you.

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