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, July 23, 2010

Fashion Friday: Little Black Dress

It is no secret that black is my favorite color! No matter how hard I try to do something different I always come back to black. A few months ago, after seeing Sex and the City Two, I declared that I was a changed woman. But I have failed miserably at that change.

I was planning to wear something vibrant and very SATC2 for #RLTEvent, but it just didn't happen. After being on IV medication another 33 days going into the event my weight loss program went straight down the tube, my IV tube that is.

Being self conscious about the weight shift I experience at the top of my body because of HIV and the extra weight from being on the IV drip, vibrant colors were  simply out of the question. I didn't want to look like Spongebob at the top of my body. Yes, it is true that people wear darker colors to camouflage  undesirable weight, but for me, it is also true that I just love the color black.

When I originally went searching for something to wear for #RLTEvent, I was looking for a gray lace dress from Ann Taylor that I  had seen in Essence magazine in an article featuring celebrity make-up artist Tia Dantzler. I was hoping that they had it but I was not very optimistic about the fit. Typically, dresses do not fit my body shape and I end up wearing separates 99% of the time. Well, the gray dress hadn't come in and I noticed a little black dress. There was something about the simple elegance of it that caught my eye. I didn't think it would work because of my body shape but I tried it on anyway. And OMG!! To my surprise it fit me perfectly.

This was the most perfect fitting dress that I have purchased since my body fat shifted because of HIV over nine years ago. I love this dress!! It was not only a great fit, but a great buy at $98.00. Plus, the manager gave me an extra 30% off. It pays to be a regular at some stores.

The little black dress was made popular by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and I first became a fan of it from watching Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast's at Tiffany's. In fact, the simple elegance of Audrey Hepburn has for the most part helped to define my style.

Every woman needs a basic black dress. It has withstood the test of time, from first lady to first lady. The dress I chose for #RLTEvent can go across seasons. You can simply slip a cardigan over it for the colder months. You can dress it down with kitten heels or up with stilettos. You can accessorize until the cows walk from Chicago to L.A. If you like, you can add color with your wrap, shoes, or handbag. It is the most perfect dress to own.

Look at the first ladies in the pictures below. The dress that First Lady Obama is wearing in the middle is fun and fit for the red carpet. The one she is wearing on the right is a modern twist to the one that First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is wearing on the left. These two dresses are timeless. My suggestion is to go with one with simple lines. If you have more curves you may want to consider an a line dress. For those of us with no hips and behind, a straight dress may be your best bet. My overall suggestion is to try on black dresses until you find the perfect fit. When you discover it, you will know without a doubt.  Happy hunting!!

Post Script: A guest of Art Sims, who didn't know me prior to the event, said, "I simply admire your style. It is elegant and it seems effortless." Well, dressing to look fabulous is always an effort, but without a doubt it should come across as a way of life. When you try too hard people notice. I was happy that I didn't second guess myself. I wore what I knew for sure! So, I'm declaring that I've come to my senses!!!  Black is my favorite color and simple elegance is my style. Yes, I will add color from time to time to spice things up, but I'm not going to let peer pressure try to fix what was never broken. Talk to ya later... I'm headed to the gym. I am determined to get this extra 12-15 pounds off! #ForReal #I'mgettinmyDivaBack

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