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, January 11, 2011

RLT Reads: Book Two and Chat Schedule!

Almost everyone I know had to read one of Richard Wright's books when we were in high school. I read Black Boy my sophomore year in two days and went searching for more. Native Son was my next Wright read. Honestly, I don't remember the fine print in the book. But the overall character of Bigger will ever be imprinted in my mind and in my heart. And the scene that sticks out the most, I cant tell. You gotta read the book to believe it!

Bigger Thomas was a young black man born and raised in an area where being black and poor created a culture and circle of degradation that kept you hopeless and led you into hopeless situations. There were many Biggers of his generation, just like there are similar Bigger Thomas's today. While this book was written in a different era, it still has meaning for today, 60 years after it was first published. I am proud to announce that Native Son is the second RLTReads Book Club Pick. I choose this book in honor of black history month and the remembrance of the Writers of the Harlem Renaissance period that gave Black people a voice and hope though their writing. Richard Wright is one of my favorite all time writers! The Online Book Discussion for "Native Son" will be held on Tuesday, February 15, 2011, at 7:00-8:30 CST. You have five weeks! SAVE THE DATE!

NOTE: The On-Line Book Discussion for What Looks Like Crazy On a Ordinary Day is Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 7:00-8:30 PM CST. Click the RLT Reads Section on the top of this Blog and sign in under Chat. Tha Twitter Hashtag is #RLTReads

REVIEW: What Looks Lake Crazy On An Ordinary Day

The first RLT Reads book club pick was chosen because I had never read it and my shame was getting the best of me. I'm gonna confess, I didn't want to read about a Black Woman Living With HIV, fiction or not. Shoot, I'm the Black Woman Living With HIV. I've owned this book for 12 years, but I couldn't seem to get past the first five pages.

While I assigned this book out of guilt, I will go on record saying it was the best decision I could have made. It was a very timely book club first pick. A book that resonates with the life of the book club's founder, me. While reading the book with the club, I put it down many times. There were too many realities I was forced to face in those pages. But I forged my way to the very end. Pearl Cleage does an excellent job portraying the topic of HIV/AIDS for the year it was written, 1992.

In spite the time distance, there were many truths about living with HIV that still resonate in 2011. The issues of disclosure, shame, stigma, and dating, portrayed in the life Ava are very much relevant for a woman living with HIV almost twenty years later. The characters in this book from The Right Rev. and his wife, to the rise of crack in our communities and it's impact on HIV, was honest. At times it made you shake your head and at other times it made your heart sink to the bottom of your stomach.

The characters in this book are alive. You feel their pain and their joy. And yes it's a love story. Love between sisters, love between Black Woman and Black Girls and yes, love between a man and a woman. The other themes that Cleage weaves though the book, such as the impact of War on men, Black men and Prison, Pedophilia, Alcoholism, Addiction, Social Change, all help to make this story not only interesting but relevant. I think What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day is a must read!

RLT Reads Up-Dates: 
AIDS Awareness Book Marks Coming Soon!
1. The Book Discussion for What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day is Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 7:00-8:30 PM CST Click the RLT Reads section on the top of the Blog and sign in under Chat.

2. Within the next week I will be reaching out to the entire group by e-mail. We currently have 110 people signed up for the club, it's been a lot of work for me to balance with my health. But Soon Come! I will also generate the list of your favorite five books soon. Promise!

3. RLT Reads AIDS Awareness Logo T-shirts are available in both male and female, short and long sleeve.

4. AIDS Awareness Book Marks and Book Nook Charms are coming soon. I am still working on the designs. They should be on the RLT Collection website in another week.

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