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, August 18, 2010

Chicago Spa Week

My closest friends and all of my followers on Twitter know that I have been sick to my stomach, literally: diarrhea, severe nausea and no appetite for a week now. Even the smell of food makes me sick. It has been one long week. I'm not sure if I have food poisoning or some kind of stomach virus. But whatever the case, it has been no joke. And even today, I'm only a tad better, but I'll take a little over nothing any day. My reality is this, my immune system is compromised and with AIDS, common things that most people get over quickly, take a lot longer for me to get over.

Needless to say, I was in need of a break. So when I received a late invitation on Monday to a bloggers Spa Event hosted by Single Edition and Chicago Spa Week at the fabulous Joseph Michael's Salon and Spa around the corner from my house, I didn't give it a second thought. Well, actually I did, the diarrhea started up again about two hours before the event, but I shrugged it off and kept it moving. Miss a free spa event kicking off Chicago Spa Week? Are you kidding me? Let AIDS take away all of my joy? I don't think so! It was a wonderful event and I'm glad that I had a chance to hang out with my blogger friends Nikia, Raijean, Kim and Patrice and also meet some new bloggers in the city.

Yesterday was Beauty Tuesday on my blog and I don't know what I was thinking about... #fail. I wrote about the Chicago AIDS Walk and likewise I failed at taking any pictures at the event. I'm glad that my blogger friends did. Feel free to check out their links. I have been off my game. But still, I didn't want my readers to miss the last two days of Chicago Spa Week. All week long, many of Chicago's premiere salons give discount services for as low as $50.00 for spa treatments from facials to massages.

I simply loved the services at Joseph Michael's. I started out with a chair message. Oh My God! When he finished I was so relaxed that I had to sit for a while to regain myself. It was a great start to a wonderful event. 

Afterward, when I regained myself, I got my nails done. The colors these days and just beautiful and I was tempted, but in the end my boring self went with what I know for sure, Essie Sugar Daddy. But Raijean is never afraid of color or glitter. Her nails were simply fabulous in the OPI Shrek Collection. Check out her review of the collection.

And Kim went with in Essie Lilacism. It was equally as pretty. I loved her nails so much that she loaned me her bottle to try the color out at home. I'll report back when I get my nerve up.

In addition to nails and messages, they offered us brow and lip waxes and make-up applications. And have no doubt, a room full of mostly fashion and beauty bloggers took full advantage of all the services.

The owner of Joseph Michael's was an absolute sweetheart. He was the the hostess with the mostest and the staff equally as friendly. And let me not forget the food. Unlimited wine, sushi, cheese and crackers, and dessert to die for. But my stomach was not having it. So I munched on crackers all night but there could have been worse things. I had a wonderful time and at least it took my mind off the fact that I was so sick if only for a few hours. And Kim even won a raffle prize. Single Edition and Chicago Spa Week clearly know how to throw a fabulous party!

I encourage you to take advantage of Chicago Spa Week September 13-18. There are two more days to  indulge in services such as massages, facials and scrubs at Chicago's premiere salons. Many of the services are $50.00. I highly recommend Joseph Michael's Salon and Spa. The Spa is eye pleasing and the staff is both skilled and delightful.

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