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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Heart to Heart

Without a doubt I always meet a young adult, who says to me, "I heard you speak when I was in ___." It can be anywhere from 8th grade to 12th grade and it tickles me pink. It's so special to see them all grown up, telling me that they are happy I am still alive and that they were in some way impacted by hearing me speak. It confirms the importance of my work and it warms my heart.

Raijean's 30th Birthday Celebration
And that's exactly what happened this past summer. I was at H&M checking out their AIDS awareness clothing line and some fashion bloggers, who were also there saw my tweets and before I knew it, we were standing on the Mag Mile for well over 30 minutes chatting.

Well, midway through the conversation one of the young ladies said to me the she reads my blog and follows me on Twitter and that she was happy to see that I had not changed one bit since she heard me speak when she was in high school. She went on to explain how I had touched her deeply. I liked that child instantly. Not only was she singing my praises, LOL, but she had this wonderful style about her that I liked instantly. At that time I was in the middle of planning my first Tweet-up; she offered to help and she kept her promise.

I started hanging out with Raijean Stroud and other bloggers over the summer. The blogger world is very small. We all know each other, but honestly, we have paired off into groups of women that think alike and have similar values. Once I got to really know Raijean I discovered that she had heart disease. HUH? But she was only 29. It took a minute for me to digest it all. But in a nutshell, she was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy. It's a weakening of the heart muscle or a change in the heart muscle structure. Basically, her heart wasn't pumping right which led to congestive heart failure in 6 months.

This baby was given a dual defibrillator to detect any cardiac arrhythmia. The doctors are not quite sure of the cause but it's the law of her land right now. She takes 8 pills a day. And she has to continue to lose weight. She has about 50 more pounds to go. The thing that I like most about Raijean is that she has taken it all in stride. She's always been a Diva and she has not allowed her health to interfere with her fabness!

Honestly, I am so proud of her. She has not stopped one bit. She's a single mom raising a "man child," as she puts it, who is two. She never slacks on her fashion blog and she is building her brand as a fashion critic. She is doing that thang!

But it's one thing to do for you, it's another thing to do for others. Raijean is stepping up her game to bring awareness to heart disease. She was recently asked the be a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. But she is taking it a step further with the launch of her own organization, Bleeding Heart, promoting heart health awareness, one heart at a time.

This Tuesday she is having the official launch party for Bleeding Heart and I will be there dressed all in red as she has requested ready to work! Who would have thought, I touched her heart 15 years ago; she has touched my heart with both her friendship and support of my work in HIV/AIDS prevention and education 15 years later.

Please join me and others as we support Raijean in her mission to educate about heart disease. You can also support her Bleeding Heart Project on Twitter and on Facebook .

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