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 9, 2010

The Making of a Diva...

I have always been full of life, zeal and determination. Even as a child I was never afraid to see what was on the other side of the tracks, to learn and grow in all areas of my life. Growing up we didn’t shop at the big fancy department stores like Marshall Field’s, but it never stopped me from opening those doors to see what was there.

 I will never forget the first time I went into Marshall Field’s one Sunday after church. My church, Second Baptist, was located in downtown Evanston, a north shore suburb of Chicago, literally next door to Marshall Field’s. For months, I’d stand and look for long periods of time before and after church admiring the window displays. One Sunday, I made up my mind; I needed to see if what was in the store, was as pretty as what was in the window. From the moment I walked in I was mesmerized by all the pretty things I saw. I went from floor to floor, looking and touching the soft fabrics. On each floor, people would look at me with puzzlement. I knew I must have been out of place, this 11 year old little black girl cruising the rich department store in 1972, but I didn't care. I was in heaven.

 That day, I fell in love with fashion. And this was the beginning of my transformation into a Diva! I started making weekly stops after church to see what was new, coordinating ensembles from head to toe, day dreaming about the day I would be able to shop at this store. At such a young age, I had concluded that  the best look was a totally polished look, so I’d even stop at the Este Lauder counter and play with makeup colors that matched the ensembles that I had coordinated.   I loved those Sundays afternoons, and I  couldn't wait for the day when I’d be able to shop at Field’s.

 To my surprise, it only took two years for my dream to come true. One Saturday morning, Mama called me into her bedroom. “Here girl, take this money girl and go get yo Easter outfit.” I had learned to not ask questions, so I took that money and went straight to Marshall Field’s. I spent hours making a selection, but I finally settled on this beautiful peach dress that fit me perfectly. I decided that day that peach was a great color for me. After I finished up, I went home and showed Mama my dress. She stood there looking puzzled. “Ok, and your shoes?” she asked slowly. “I didn't get any shoes,” I declared. “I need some mo money.” Mama looked at me like I had lost my mind. “Bitch!” “Oh boy,” my heart dropped to the floor. I knew it was coming. “You spent all of my fucking money on a dress?” I stood there, looking all silly. I knew not to open my mouth or it would be over. There was a long silence and then Mama said, “Hand me my purse.” She just shook her head as she handed me more money. I couldn’t believe it! She didn't cuss me out much. She didn't beat me. I took a deep breath, “Thank you Mama! I love you soooo much!” “Mmm huh” was her response still shaking her head.

 As I made my way out the door, I took it as a sign from God that I must be doing something right. My relationship with fashion had been approved by God because Mama didn't beat me for spending all the money one dress. After that day it was a wrap. A Diva was born! There was no turning back for me. By the time I was 14 I had subscriptions to Vogue, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. I learned how to coordinate an ensemble with the blink of the eye. I learned about color and texture. I was fast becoming a fashion guru, at least in my own mind. By the time I was 17, I was seriously considering a job in the fashion industry, I had decided that I wanted to become a buyer for the big fancy stores like Marshall Field’s. Then, of course, in college I got hooked on politics and the rest was history as the saying goes. But, I never lost my love for fashion. If I do say so myself, I have impeccable taste and an eye for whipping together a fabulous ensemble. That will always be a part of who I am! AIDS will never take that away from me! #StillaDiva. Welcome, to “Fashion-Beauty Fridays” @ The Diva Living With AIDS Blog. More to Come....

 Post Script: Five years ago, Macy’s purchased Marshall Field’s. Like most Chicagoans I was sad. But when Macy’s changed the name I was outraged! I felt like a part of my history had died with this change. I have tried and tried, but I have not been able to bring myself to purchase anything beyond candy at the old Marshall Field’s. Thank God they didn’t change the recipe of Frango Mints...
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