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, August 6, 2010

Fashion Friday: Louie Baby....

For as long as I can remember I have always loved the finer things in life, from cloth napkins to handbags. And buying the finer things began for me with an Easter dress when I was 13 years old. It’s never been so much about the price tag but more about quality. I can identify the best made and the finest fabric from a mile away.

I was introduced to fine handbags when I was 20 by Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson, the wife of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. From the first moment I saw her Louis Vuitton luggage I knew I was hooked. I remember during Rev. Jackson's first presidential campaign after I received my first pay checked, I informed Mrs. J as I call her, that I was headed to Louis Vuitton on Wisconsin Ave in one of Washington DC's upscale shopping areas “to put my bag in layaway.” She laughed. “Really now? Well, you just go right ahead,” she chuckled. I came back to the office defeated. “Ha!” I declared. “The nerve of them!” I lamented, “Everyone has layaway!” She explained that she was going to tell me that they didn't have layaway, “But you already know everything," she said shaking her head, “I decided to let you discover on your own.”

But layaway was only a minor infraction to owning my first quality handbag. I took money out of every pay check until I had saved enough to march right back up there and walk out with my first Louie. I carried that Speedy until it met its maker. In fact, out of sentimental reasons, I still own it, all beat up at the top of my closet. That was the first of many and many more. But lately I have not been buying. I've told you all the story. My finances hit rock bottom. I even explained it in the April 2010 issue of Ebony. I found myself a year or so ago selling off my fine handbags, Louie included. I kept a few, but I sold more than I kept.

I hadn't even thought about buying a new one until I saw my friend Trey with one that I simply loved. So yesterday I made a trip to the Michigan Ave. Louis Vuitton store to take a closer look. Once I arrived, I saw one that I loved even better.

It's a perfect tote! The strap is large enough to go over your shoulder even when wearing a coat. And it is spacious! It has all the space you will ever need. Everything can fit in this bag, my knitting, a bottle of water, even my mini computer. I want it!! No harm in wanting, huh? I'm putting it on my wish list. Who knows how the tide will turn. Someone even suggested I should start a Louie Fund. *SMH*

The Delightful handbag is delightful indeed. I love the zipper details in the front. It gives a modern twist to the traditional tote. It also gives me a place to put small items like my keys that I need to quickly locate. At $1100 it is moderately priced for Louis Vuitton. That's another thing I love about their handbags, they have something for everyone.

The Artsy handbag that Trey has is still a close second. I love the size and shape. But the strap on the Delightful is more user friendly. Also this bag is $1630 for the equivalent size to the Delightful, a much better deal.

Over the years I've owned some beautiful Louis Vuitton handbags. Some of my collector's items I had to sell. I figure that it was better to sell my handbags at a fraction of the cost over being homeless or living in the dark. I'm grateful that I have had the chance to experience this luxury in my lifetime. I believe every women should.  Some women choose a fake handbag just so they can sport the LV logo. But for me it's not about the logo, it's about quality. The logo represents the quality. Honestly, I'll take a good quality leather handbag over a fake any day. Fake is a waste of money. We must move beyond the "logo syndrome." Owing a Louis Vuitton should be so much more than about the show. 

Louis Vuitton has a rich heritage. He opened his doors in 1854 in Paris. No one has been able to dethrone him as the handbag king. It is a timeless bag that is known worldwide for its craftsmanship... Yeah, Louie Baby!!

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