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 4, 2010

Pretty Woman Syndrome

If the penis ain't in your pocket you have know idea what it's doing when it ain't with you. This is a fact. Yet women continue to behave as if they have a crystal ball that knows all and tells all about a relationship. Yes, in an ideal world a monogamous relationship and even a marriage should stand on it’s own. But many of us know that this is not always the case. We all have a story of some sort about a man who was with two women at the same time. Yet we live in this fairy tale world that I call the “Pretty Woman Syndrome.”

You all know the story. It is one of my favorite chick flicks. But what man picks up a woman on prostitution row and marries her at the end of the week? Highly unlikely in the real world. But yet we all cling to that hope of being swiped off our feet by the rich gent. As a result, we live in some make-believe world that puts us at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. And let's not forget the broken heart and spirit that also tags along. We are paralyzed by the “Pretty Woman Syndrome.” I’ve heard it over and over, “My relationship ain’t like that. My man isn’t like that.” You don’t know what your man is like! You think you know, but at the end of the day, you really don't know. All you know is what he tells you and what you can see.

I've been watching the Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz story unfold. And many women are blaming Alicia for wrecking a home. Of course she is the most likely villian as the story unfolds. We also saw it with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

It looked like these “bad girls” just walked in and took them a man. But that is also unlikely in the real world. In the real world, relationships look one way to the public and another in private. We have no idea what happened in either of these relationships if the truth be told. All we really know is the end result. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, that's for God to say.

What I’m talking about is women making smart choices about their life and body, regardless of what men do. Stop blaming other women for the failure of your relationship. The chances are, things were not as great as those on the outside looking in believed in the beginning. Even you saw the signs and ignored them. Yet again paralyzed by the “Pretty Woman Syndrome."

I remember talking to a woman newly diagnosed with HIV. Her long term boyfriend had a high powered job that keep him on the road and at the center of the rich and famous. I asked, “Why didn't you use a condom with him?” I mean I didn't understand. He spent more of his time away then at home. I paused and asked, “Did you think your pussy was made from gold? You had it like that?” She took a deep breath and said, “Honestly, yes.” In the beginning they used condoms but the longer they were together, the more comfortable she felt. Believing that the love and longevity of their relationship would keep her safe. Now like me and many other women, she is fighting for her life for the rest of her life.

Yes, we need to stop blaming others and take control over our bodies. A young man asked me one day, “Would you forgive the person who infected you?” I told him, it’s not about me forgiving him, it’s about me forgiving me. I had a choice to have sex or to not have sex. To have sex with a condom or without. I have to take ownership to how I treated my own body. You have all the power in the palm of your hand, why surrender it? I have a friend whose husband was in a relationship outside of their marriage. It devastated her, but she decided to stay. I respected her choice. Again, you don’t really know what's happening in someone else’s relationship. People kill me thinking they know the real deal. *SMH* So I helped my girlfriend rebuild herself, as they rebuilt their relationship. Her choice to stay was her own, but she stayed grounded in reality. I was proud. She told her husband that they both had to get tested for HIV and that he had to use condoms and regain her trust again. It took years to rebuild it again. That’s real. Only in the movies do things resolve themselves in a week. Typically, we must make behavior changes and work constantly at it.

What’s my bottom line? Stop living in the ”Pretty Woman Syndrome.” No man is going to rescue you. No man is going to love you more than you love yourself. Self love is the key to your wholeness: mind, body and spirit. AIDS is a reality. For African-Americans it has set up camp in the middle of our community and it has no intention of leaving. It is up to us to put his ass out. What am I saying? We can change this tide one woman at a time. This means that you must demand that your partner use a condom 100% of the time. If your man does not want to respect your choice about your body, then my question to you is, “Why would you be with a man who does not respect the choices you make about your body?”

Married woman: Well, you must also find the power from within just like my girlfriend. Not all married men step outside of their marriage, but for those who do, you must renegotiate the relationship on terms that put you first.

Single women: Stop talking about how long you've been with a man and how much he loves you and using that as your rationale for not using a condom. If he loved you that much then he would stop wasting your pretty and marry you. But most important, if you loved you more than you loved him, then you would stop wasting your pretty.
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