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 7, 2010

Together We Stand!

Today is a big day for my social media campaign around HIV/AIDS. I am proud to announce my partnership with BlackDoctor.org. Unbelievable! The Diva Living With AIDS Blog is going mainstream in record time of four weeks flat.

This partnership is important for many reasons, in particular but for one that is really close to my heart. I often get asked by the media and some well-meaning people, “What are African-Americans going to do about HIV /AIDS in the Black Community?” Over the years, I have graciously answered the question to the best of my knowledge and ability. But recently, the radical in me has begun to resent the question and the irony of it all. Ok, hear me out. They are asking a black woman, a member of the race in question, who has dedicated a good portion of her life to dealing with the “AIDS issue” what are “we" doing? As if to put in question, not only my work, but every other African-American that has in some way addressed HIV/AIDS in our community since the beginning of the pandemic.

 When this light went on in my head, I flipped the script and asked these questions, point blank, “What is the AIDS community going to do about HIV/AIDS in the Black community? What is America going to do about HIV/AIDS in the Black community?” How dare you drop the entire HIV/AIDS problem in our laps. Don't we deserve the same help that the Gay community received in the first half of the epidemic?

 I bet I I know what you are thinking and probably mumbling to yourself, “OMG! She is soooo politically incorrect.” But like I used to tell my ex-husband, don't make me lie because you can't handle the truth. The fact is, a free-standing Black America would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with HIV. That seems to me, to be an “us” issue rather than a “them” issue. Ok, I've said it. I feel better now. I’m moving on. I’m not gonna press the issue, at least not today. Just wanted to give you something to think about.

As an African-American woman living with HIV/AIDS I am proud of my commitment and the commitment of those I have worked with along the way. I have used every avenue available and now, despite  the critics, I am using modern social media avenues such as Facebook, Twitter and now my Diva Living With AIDS Blog. The World Wide Web is where the people are and BlackDoctor.org is proof of that fact. They have over 1.8 million readers.

 BlackDoctor.org is a credible and trusted resource for African-Americans to get healthy lifestyle information. They are a "WebMD" for Black consumers with a comprehensive database of accurate, relevant information. They have become the first point of call whenever African-Americans need medical/dental information or a referral to a qualified Black doctor.

 Beginning today, BlackDoctor.org will feature weekly one of my Diva Living With AIDS Blog posts in their HIV Learning Center. While they have had a long standing commitment to educate on HIV/AIDS, I am especially proud that this trusted medical resource is partnering with me to educate their readers on the issue of HIV/AIDS. They understand that I am not a doctor or a journalist, just simply a woman living with AIDS and having her say, her way. We are both hopeful that their readers will be enlightened about HIV/AIDS through my lens. And likewise, my readers will utilize BlackDoctor.org as a resource on HIV/AIDS and other medical issues.

 Today, I am especially proud that BlackDoctor.org believes my voice should be heard and are giving me a new avenue to do work around HIV/AIDS. For sure, the next time I get asked the question, “What is the Black Community doing about HIV/AIDS?” I can proudly point to this partnership as one more way we are working hard to educate our community about this disease.
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