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, June 11, 2010

Fashion Friday: Jewelry Thats Says Love...

Have you ever loved someone so much that you wanted to immortalize that love in some special kind of way? You know, find that special something that will remind you of the love you share with that special someone. Something that shouts my love is forever and ever more.

Well, I've got to be honest. I was never really one of those people. I'm too much of a skeptic. "What if it doesn't work?" I always asked. Then you're stuck with that darn thing for the rest of your life. It then becomes wasted money in the back of your jewelry box. At least that's what I always thought. I have always been way too much of a pragmatist to waste my money if it wasn't a sure thing.

Then I came to realize that unconditional love is constant no matter time, distance or circumstance. If the love is true then that special thing becomes symbolic of the love you share. It does not matter if you no longer share the same space, the love is the thing the binds you to that person. It's simple: Unconditional love stands still in time....

Finding that special thing can be as easy as one, two, three. The most trendy and contemporary jewelry is the Tiffany heart bracelet. I chose for myself the extra large heart for that over the top Diva look. It didn't bother me that this bracelet is common. What makes the bracelet special and uniquely yours is the message you engrave on the back.

Once you engrave that message the bracelet then becomes a symbol of your love. I suggest hand engraving because it lasts longer than machine engraving. Yes, mine is engraved, but if you are that close to see the initials then you should be paying my rent... LOL... But for real. The message belongs to you. Cherish it, not flaunt it.

There are other ways you can express your love, I saw it first with my girlfriend Alicia and I thought that it was a wonderful idea. Tiffany has wonderful charms that are priced incredibly well. They are circles with engraved initials in the center from A to Z. They have them in both sterling silver and gold. I chose sterling silver because I wear more white gold and it's easy to blend.

Instead of putting the emphasis on him, you can place the emphasis on the two of you. Then you add a third thing that binds the symbol of your love together. I chose the Tiffany heart key, sterling with the blue enamel because the color pops and I didn't want it to get lost in all of the sterling silver. Another reason you should consider adding a third charm is rooted in a design concept: The eye is always attracted to odd numbers.

Lastly, you all know that I design bracelets, so it was fitting for me to create a design that is borne out of my creativity. I didn't set out to do it, but when I ran across this beautiful Cameo I knew immediately I had to have it. The passion that the Cameo exudes is undeniable. It spoke volumes to what was in my heart and spirit.

When I brought it home, I sat it on my table for a couple of weeks. Allowing the simple center piece to guide me in the design, I concluded that while the center was symbolic of the passion, I needed to create a design that was also symbolic of the love. Whatever you choose, it should be uniquely designed to fit the uniqueness of your love.

For me, love is cultivated just like a pearl inside of an oyster. The longer it is cultivated the more beautiful the pearl. The more time and energy spent cultivating the relationship-- mind, body and spirit, the more your love will glow, just like the luster on a pearl.

Good, bad or indifferent, people will not be able to deny the glow. The beauty will speak for itself. And like the pearl, love cultivates sometimes in the most unlikely places even in the dark spaces in the depth of the sea.... It's an unlikely beauty, a pearl growing inside of an oyster, wrapped in slime, but growing nonetheless in its own time and space...

Post Script: Pearls are also my favorite stones. I think that there is something beautiful and feminine about a woman wearing pearls. It says I am a Woman. The bracelet is designed with six strands of 3mm pearls. It has a sterling silver heart and rhinestone charm dangle with a tiny pearl dangle down the front of the clasp.

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