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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tea With Rae: The Perfect Ginger Blend Tea!

No matter what kind of stomach problem I was having, Grandmama would say, "Get you some ginger ale girl." I would just laugh. But honestly, there are some truths to this old wives tale that ginger ale is good for the digestive system. Since I've never been much of a soda drinker, I only drink it occasionally as a natural remedy to my digestive problems.

When my GI system first became out of whack, my girlfriend and fellow blogger Dwanna was on a mission to get me better. She went straight to Chinatown, no less, and got me some pure ginger tea to help settle my stomach. Yes it helped, but boy was it strong. It wasn't that I disliked the taste of ginger altogether, but it was clear to me that I needed a ginger tea blended with other flavors. Now, with a sick tummy for five months, (Yes! Five months of being nauseated everyday, all day, off and on diarrhea with misses to the bathroom and the feeling of bloating after I eat, no matter how large or small the meal.) I needed some relief. The doctors are working on it, but they have not solved the problem.

My OCD kicked in and I started my mission. I knew that pure ginger tea was not a taste I could acquire. I decided in the early days of taking HIV medication that only if they told me it will save my life would I eat, drink or take anything that didn't agree with my taste buds. Let me tell you, after taking first generation DDI for two years, you would agree with me.

So I tried teas from some of the popular tea companies that I frequent and, honestly, I found some that I liked, but didn't love. Then I started tweeting with ESP Emporium one of the largest on-line tea companies in the U.S. Reading my timeline, the owner of this company sent me a link to all his teas with ginger. I love Twitter!! It started a conversation that has led to a relationship and he wanted to be a part of my Tea With Rae Blogs.

This husband and wife duo gave me an exclusive on one of their new premium Oolong teas (the review is coming). And, they sent me enough tea to do my first tea video. #HappyDance. In addition to those teas, they were thoughtful enough to send me some ginger blends for my stomach. One I liked, but oh boy, one I loved!

That Ginger/Orange/Pepper blend gave me life. OMG! When I opened the bag to have that first smell, the mixture of orange, pepper and almond jumped straight up my nostrils. It was heavenly. The perfect mixture of nuts, fruit and spices. This is a Rooibos tea, which is a red tea grown primarily in a provence near Cape Town, South Africa. The Rooibos tea began conquering the world in the 1990's because of it's naturally sweet taste.

This particular tea is blended with almond pieces, pistachios, orange peel, coriander and pink peppercorns. You can definitely see the mixture of all the ingredients. The tea has a wonderful taste. The notes that I taste the most are almond, orange and nuts. Which is great for me because I can have the benefits of ginger without the taste of ginger. The ginger is an anti-nausea remedy and has helped to reduce the sick feeling in my stomach. When you drink ginger tea the digestive juices are secreted, which relax the muscles of the intestines and also reduces the acid in the stomach. It is often used as a natural remedy to reduce nausea for pregnant woman. There are also claims that ginger is an anti-inflammatory, and ladies it can help reduce menstrual cramps. Rooibos is an added plus because it is rich in antioxidants. It's not only enriched in vitamin C, but a host of minerals. Some say it even supercedes green tea in antioxidants.

I have had a cup of this tea every night since it arrived. Typically after dinner, which is perfect for me. It's caffeine-free which means I can even have a second cup and not worry that I will be up all night. But most important, it helps my digestive system. After I eat, my stomach is upset. I feel bloated and my nausea increases. This tea has definitely helped to calm my stomach. It is at the top of my tea list. In fact, I love it so much I ordered me some, because what was sent is almost gone.

As a testament to this tea the night before last when my girlfriend Alicia and her mother came over to visit, I let her mom smell seven different teas and she chose this one because of the fragrance. Primarily a coffee drinker, she asked if I could give her some to take home. And yall know I'm the hostess with the mostest. I sent her home with some ginger/orange/pepper Rooibos tea and this wonderful tea bracelet.

ESP Emporium is fast becoming one of my favorite tea companies, and for sure this ginger/orange/pepper has become a staple in my house. I highly recommend this tea!! #DivaApproved!

Note: I'm excited to announce that ESP has created a 10% discount for all of you who follow my blog. Your coupon code at check out is TeaWithRae. And if you'd like, you can follow them on Twitter. They always tweet great health benefits of tea and Steve will answer any questions you have about tea.

And don't forget to enter the raffle to have High Tea with me at the fab Peninsula Hotel. I'm so excited about meeting one of my many supporters and spending an afternoon in conversation, fancy tea and food.

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