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, May 19, 2010

Are You Kidding Me? More Questions: HIV, Sex and Dating

Here we go again. Remember the friend of a friend who felt that I was not being forthright about my dating life before I discovered that I was HIV positive? Remember she says, “My point is there are still major gaps in what she chooses to disclose and reflect on.” I told her to bring on the questions and I’d answer them as best as I can. While I felt some of the questions were none of her business. I also felt as if I had to do this. I choose to make my life public and I see this as a teaching moment. Some of the questions have already been addressed publicly, but she has never heard me speak and I realize that there may be some more of my readers in her shoes.  So here ya go... More questions...

She doesn't talk about her partner at the time:
There are many reasons that I have not talked publicly about the person I believe to have infected me with HIV. For one, I guarded his privacy and in some ways mine. (I talk about the reasons in my book.) But most important, I just wasn't emotionally at a place where I wanted to share many of the details. However, when I was writing my memoir for Hyperion Publishers, I had to face this head on. As part of the book deal, I had to explore the intimate details of my relationship with him, which I did. Thoroughly! I left no stone unturned! For Real...

How long were they together?
We were together for four months. I moved out of town for a job. And that job required a lot of travel and the distance ended the relationship.

What kind of relationship did they have?
I’m not sure the root of this question. Like, was it a one night stand?  Is that what’s really being asked? NEVER!!! It was not casual in my eyes. He was the only person that I was seeing at the time. In my memoir I talk about this pretty extensively.

How did they meet? 
Ahhh... We met at this private party that was very chic and upscale. And he was a freaking catch!! For Real.... So I thought and so did every other woman in the room.

What type of man was he, was he using drugs, gay, bisexual, etc.?
I also wondered why this answer is important. What does it really matter at the end of the day. He still infected me and who he was will not change that fact. But hey, I’m a trouper, let's go there.

First: He was one of the most handsomest African-American men I have ever known.
Second: He was a millionaire.
Third: He was very accomplished.
Fourth: He was one of the sharpest dressers I have ever known.
Fifth: He was brilliant. OMG! He could talk to you about any subject, any time and any place. That's one of the things I loved most about him. We would talk for hours and hours.

Drugs: I had never seen him use drugs.

Gay/Bisexual: I had never seen him with another man nor has his reputation in all these years suggested that he was anything other than heterosexual. If you want to know how he became infected? I have no idea....

At the end of the day, it does not matter for either of us. AIDS took his life and, unless I get hit by a truck, it will do the same to me. All I can do now is accept that I made a choice to have sex and that has left me fighting for my life, for the rest of my life. Like with most women infected through heterosexual contact, what we thought we knew is often derailed by our HIV status. The only thing that will keep a woman safe from HIV is either no sex or sex with a condom. It does not really matter to me who or what he was because it can never change the fact that he infected me and I had a choice.

By the way, 30% of all newly diagnosed cases of HIV are people infected by people who didn't know their HIV status. Getting tested will go a long way in HIV prevention. For Real... For Real...

Post Script: Yes, I have a Healthy Vagina! Part Three is coming next week. I promise. I was on the road speaking and didn't have the time to sit down and really give it all that it required.
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