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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Reflection: You Cannot Go It Alone...

I'm going to admit that sometimes I tend to self-isolate. This is especially true when I'm not feeling good. And that's how it's been lately. It seems like I can't get ahead of this darn illness. As soon as we figure out one thing, there's yet another complicated issue on the table. It becomes emotionally draining on top of the physical discomfort I'm facing. Sometimes I'm so over it that I just shut down. But yesterday I was reminded yet again that I cannot go it alone.

I saw a fellow blogger and Twitter friend, The Cubicle Chick, tweeting about being in Chicago, so I invited her to tea and cupcakes. Another Twitter friend, Curvatude, joined us. But by the time Sunday came around, I was dragging. It took everything I had to pull it together. But the fact that she was from out of town made me push forward.

Cubicle Chick and Curvatude
Since being on Twitter and blogging, I have met some awesome women! Social media has done wonders to help me expand my work around HIV/AIDS. But, it has also helped to expand my network of friends. My therapist used to tell me that you're not gonna meet any new people stuck up in the house, and I'm learning that's a fact! So Sunday I pressed my way and met up with The Cubicle Chick, a lifestyle blogger, and another lifestyle/fashion blogger from Chicago, Curvatude, and we had a blast!

We started out at Starbucks but decided that we needed to get some real food in our stomachs before cupcakes. I was grateful that Danyelle, aka The Cubicle Chick, treated because I was so broke I couldn't pay attention. But after an hour of chatting over brunch we ended back down the street at More Cupcakes and Starbucks.

Over tea and cupcakes, we talked about everything from A to Z. It was really great to share freely with two women who use social media the same way I do. Sometimes there is so much competition between bloggers that it makes you mad. In fact, my trust has already been violated in these ten short months, which has made me skeptical.

But they both shared information to help me step up my game. I am forever more grateful and have already begun working on those suggestions. Soon to come will be weekly videos: A Day In The Life Of A Diva Living With AIDS... And yep, you will see me without make-up #ForReal.  Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube Channel. I need all the support I can get!

We bonded in those four hours. And we laughed and laughed and laughed. I'm sure a few of Starbucks' other customers were over us, but it didn't matter to us. This was not a time for put-ons. Each of us let our hair and guards down as we fellowshipped over Red Velvet cupcakes and tea...

And yet again, it was confirmed for me, that there is no darn reason I should go it alone. There are some good women out there who will lift you up and add value to your life. They both renewed my faith that everybody ain't a user... And we laughed so hard, I'm sure we increased the serotonin to help make me a little more happier in this difficult time full of health challenges. Remember, no matter what you are going through, you cannot go it alone. Sometimes it may be the least expected person to help lift you up. Be open to the possibilities, because you cannot go it alone!

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