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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Conquering My Fears Through Christmas Cards! For Real.. For Real!

I used to be on top of my Christmas game, #ForReal. Every year I would choose the most fabulous cards I could find to send to friends. Occasionally I sent a fabulous picture card like me holding my Emmy. But in the last few years my card game has been a total loss. I couldn't get cards in the mail before Christmas to save my life. And to make matters worse, I stopped sending cards with my picture even years before that.

Yes, I became very very self conscious of how my AIDS medications reshaped my body. I’ve written about it before. Yes, I understand that I have no control over how HIV medications reshaped my body, but no argument in the world makes me feel good about the hump in my back, my sunken cheeks and fat chin. Lipodystrophy hit me hard and I felt defeated because pictures exaggerate and distort my face even more than it actually is. Even the thought of taking a picture creates anxiety for me.

But this year I decided to throw caution to the wind. What the heck? I’m alive and that’s all that matters. I can’t change things. It is what it is! And really, thinking about it, allowing people to see the effects of AIDS is what my life is all about. At my tree trimming party we took pictures galore. I couldn't do a darn thing about the Facebook postings and tweets of me so I joined in the fun just like my buddy Trey. I took pictures playing around in my fabulous sapphire mink coat and that will be my Chirstmas card this year.

I’m going all out. No, it’s not perfect picture, you can see my chin hanging and my sunken checks, but if I’m truly honest, what in life is perfect? So I’m stepping out of this that has me paralyzed, the fear that people will judge me because I don’t look exactly like that woman who appeared on the cover of Essence Magazine. It’s scary, but I believe in my heart it must be done.

Yes, I’m sending out a picture Christmas card this year. About five years ago, I bought the most fabulous Christmas cards but never used them. They are designed to stick a picture on the front, so I was delighted when someone tweeted me a card company that was a perfect fit. When I went to Shutterfly's website I was amazed at the selection of cards. They have over 800 Christmas cards to choose from. Picture cards you can use with another card  like mine or a picture card to send alone. Either way, Shutterfly makes the best cards with tons of choices. The prices are equally as great and there is free shipping for purchases $25.00 or more. I’m excited about my choice of picture card from Shutterfly that will coordinate with the cards I purchased five years ago. Yes, they are #DivaApproved. 

But no sneak peaks. Maybe you will be a lucky one and get it in the mail. If not, I’m sure someone will Facebook or Tweet it. I hope you check out Shutterfly. They will even print your picture on ornaments, mugs, calendar and home decor. 

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