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, April 28, 2010

Press My Way Through...

Last week was no walk in the park for me. My body is currently being attacked by something that the doctors don't know and it seemed as if everything stopped. I barely had energy to go the bathroom. By Friday night I was in a real funk. I thought the week was an absolute bust! I missed important deadlines; barely got my blogs posted and did no work toward completing my Breast Cancer Collection bracelets.

My prayer was that people didn’t lose faith in me because I didn't produce like superwoman and couldn't really explain what was happening to my body that shut me down and gave me a funky attitude. Among other things last week, I had promised Jessica Walden a fellow jewelry designer and blogger, that we would do tea and cupcakes and share war stories on designing jewelry and I even failed at that. Later that evening, out of guilt and “over achiever syndrome,” I looked at Jessica’s blog and read her post about the Smart Jewelry Show.

I was so intrigued that I tweeted her about it. But right after I had done it, I regretted it. I wasn’t feeling well and wondered if it was the wisest thing to do. But in no time flat, Jessica was sending an e-mail to the PR team on my behalf. It was late in the evening and I had no reason to believe the show would respond positively. But to my surprise, by the morning I had press credentials. My first as a blogger and I was VERY proud.

 I knew I could not let this opportunity pass me by. I wanted to get there for the ribbon cutting but my body said NO! I listened and decided to take my time. Jessica was definitely in sync with me. I walked into Navy Pier at 12:10. She had arranged for us to have a briefing with the press staff at 12:30. In its second year, the Smart Jewelry Show had 543 vendors, 1200 storefronts and an estimated 5000 participants. After the briefing, our first stop was the social media seminar learning how to use Facebook to expand your business. And yes, it was overflowing with people. We didn't stay long with Jessica being an expert in this field and most of the information was a refresher for me.

 After that, Jessica and I were like two kids in a candy store. We were a tag team all day long. Tweeting about jewelry, taking pictures, meeting designers and distributors. The vendors made it easy. Everyone was nice and approachable. The jewelry was unbelievable! Y'all know that pearls are my favorite gemstones. I’ve talked about it in several past blogs. So my first stop was Honora Pearls. I actually own some of their designs and was delighted that the staff was so cool. Before it was over, their Digital Marketing Director, Michael Schechter and Honora were following me on Twitter. I was so inspired by their bracelet designs. (More on that in a Fashion/Beauty Friday Blog.)

 For Real, Honora Pearls have given new life to your grandmother’s pearls with color and designs that have a modern twist. Their denim line is absolutely fabulous showing the versatility of pearls from jeans to dress. They are Diva approved! The funny thing is that the staff at Honora told me their designs have become so popular that grandmothers are actually wearing them. That just goes to show that you are never too old to update your look.

Jessica and I were among several bloggers and Tweeter's JewelryBizGuru, Trace Shelton and YaelDesigns were there too. You can also search Twitter hashtag #smartjewelryshow. But the vendors' responses  to us varied from: “What’s your Twitter tag,” to “Twitter who? Blog what?" But no one denied us the opportunity to discuss jewelry designs and techniques.

 I saw fabulous jewelry and tried lots on. I met female CEO’s, visually impaired designers, saw pearl necklaces designed with 45,000 peals, each pearl hand drilled.  Beautiful Carbon Setting Diamonds and Sterling that can easily compete with Yurman, but at a better price; Diamond Hoop earrings  that I can't stop thinking about, designed with oxidized sterling silver. The list goes on and on. I had a blast and learned a lot. Just in its second year, I  think the Smart Jewelry show is something to keep an eye on.

 Jessica and I ended the day with a great dinner at Mity Nice Grill. I was so tired that I went straight to bed when I arrived home and spent the following day resting. But it was well worth all the exhaustion my body felt.

 At the Smart Jewelry show I was inspired to be a better jewelry designer and to take RLT Collection to new heights. But most important, attending this show was one way that I fought back! I didn't allow AIDS take all of me! Sometimes you just have to press your way through... On the other side of the press is a blessing waiting on you!

 Post Script: To my surprise there were many questions about HIV/AIDS from designers and vendors to me. I was struck by the most basic questions people were asking and how shocked they were to learn that I had AIDS. The questions become so regular that Jessica even tweeted about the education I was giving at each stop we made.

I went to this show to learn about jewelry and in the end shared knowledge about HIV/AIDS. It illustrated to me, that there is still so much education to be done on this topic. It seemed to me that people’s basic knowledge about HIV hasn’t matured with technology about HIV/AIDS. The thing is, I’m always willing to share what I know wherever I go. My ministry never stops and there is never any shame in what I do. It is what it is... Just like having AIDS is what it is.... I Keep It Moving (KIM)!!!
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