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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beauty Tuesday: The Best Anti-Aging Secret

I've heard black women say proudly, "Black don't crack." And I've got to admit, African-American women do age well. But I've often wondered what that meant for me being neither black nor white.

Right, my mother is white and my father is African-American. Yes, that makes me a good old fashion mulatto. And honestly, I seemed to be uniquely blended with both of their genes. So I wonder about my skin, if it will hold up. I've seen it both ways with biracial women. Take a woman like Halle Barry, she seems to never age. But then there's Jasmine Guy, who hasn't aged as gracefully.

While I believe that some of it is genetics, there is still something every woman can do to help slow down the aging process. Yes, some of it is diet, exercise and skin care regiment. But scientists have repeatedly shouted from the rooftops, "It does not matter your race, sunscreen is the God of skin care and the secret to slowing down the aging process."

Beauty Guru Iman's "most important" tip for the skin is "sun protection!"  She argues no matter your complexion you have to protect your skin from the sun's rays and free radicals. I had a hard time wrapping my brain around that for the longest time, then I surrendered to the experts. Finding the right sunscreen was difficult at first. They tend to be oily, heavy and interfere with my make-up.

But I started following the reports on sunscreen and experimenting. My choice is Clarins UV Plus with a sun protection factor of 45.

I love it because it is light and not greasy. Yes, like with most sunscreens you have a tad of a shine, but once you apply your foundation or face power the shine disappears. It does not run when you sweat or interfere with your make-up regime at all. It's concentrated so you only need to apply a small amount. It's a little pricey so I only use it for my face.

My second more economical choice is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock. Like with Clarins, they both continually make In Style Magazine's best beauty list. It's half the price of Clarins, but with some of the same benefits. It's light and non-greasy. Aveeno also comes highly recommended and I plan to give it a try soon. I apply my moisturizer first and then my sunscreen. I wait 10 minutes to allow the sunscreen to absorb then I apply my make-up.

Post Script: I'm not sure if the sunscreen is working or not. Well, I have nothing to gauge it with. I could not use sunscreen and wait to see if my skin will age quicker or have more damage. But really, I have more to lose in the scheme of it all. So at 48 I'm working hard to maintain what I have.

This picture is me at 46 with no make-up two days out of the hospital, gray hair and all, well, that is until I decided to color it and it started to fall out in the sink... But that's another beauty blog... For Real...

I think I'm aging well... Other than a little fat loss in my cheeks due to the side effects of medication, I'm hanging in there. So this is the bottom line for me: I've lived a lot longer then I ever dreamed I would. While I'm living I'm taking advantage of every possible thing that can help me live longer and healthier. Anything else, I believe, is a lazy excuse. Always be the best that you can be. You owe it to yourself!!
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