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 18, 2010

Fashion Friday: Seatbelt Handbags & Alicia Bracelet Collection

I simply Love Love Love this handbag. I am amazed that it's made with seatbelts. Yes, the seat belts that are actually in cars. For Real... I know, right? How did they come up with that? Take something as ugly as a seatbelt and create this wonderful handbag. I was wondering the same thing.

When I saw this handbag in the back seat of Alicia's car, I grabbed it to get a closer look. "WOW! This is fab!" I told her. In her easygoing manner she explained that it was made from seatbelts. "Unbelievable!" was my response. I wanted to know all the details. She frequents Harvey's Boutique in Los Angeles, where she lives. And she almost never misses a first Friday sale.

She explained to me how she acquired this particular handbag. I couldn't believe that she had been holding out on me, but she is a very modest woman. Alicia has breast cancer and is in the middle of her treatment. She has been doing incredibly well. Her strength is remarkable. For the most part, she has not missed a beat. But typically the week of chemotherapy her energy is not the best. Well, on Harvey's last first Friday, she explained to the manager through Facebook that she wouldn't make this one because the chemotherapy treatment had taken all the energy she had that week. Another Facebook fan of Harvey's saw the Facebook post and purchased this handbag for Alicia. That was a "wonderful act of kindness," Alicia concluded, and I concurred. I was so moved by it all!

I was still having a difficult time believing that these bags are made from seatbelts. How did they ever come up with such an idea? Well, in 1997, husband and wife team, Dana and Melanie Harvey were installing seatbelts in their 1950 Buick when they came up with the idea to make Melanie a matching handbag, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I explored their website and I am in love. The Lola Ruffle bag is my favorite. It is classic, feminine and modern. This handbag comes in four colors black, espresso, rose and peony. The espresso pictured here is my choice!! I am counting my pennies. For Real... For Real...

They also have sales and that is great news to this Diva's ears. This red handbag is my pick on the sale items and it is a wonderful price.

Post Script: I am proud to announce the Alicia Collection of bracelets. I designed this collection for the RLT Collection when Alicia was diagnosed with breast cancer. I recognized that African-American women are disproportionately impacted by this illness just like with HIV. This collection is dedicated to all breast cancer survivors. In honor of my friend, confidant and sister friend, Alicia Harrell.

Alicia makes me proud to be called Woman... This collection is primarily designed with rose quartz gemstones. I chose the soft feminine pink stone because pink is the color of breast cancer awareness. And also because pink is Alicia's favorite color. 

The collection is available for purchase. There will be more designs in the coming weeks. 

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