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, January 27, 2011

Tea With Rae: The Wonder of Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea has a wonderful place in my heart and memory. On hot Chicago days I would sit in the yard of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and Ms. J as I call her (Jacqueline) would pick peppermint leaves from her yard and make us a wonderful iced tea. I think I was in equal awe of the taste of this delight as much as I was by Ms. J traveling across the country campaigning for her husband to be president of the United States but yet had time to grow peppermint. She is amazing!

I so enjoyed those days sipping peppermint tea and soaking up Ms. J's wisdom and knowledge. Over the years it seems that each time I drink peppermint tea, my heart goes back to those days when I was young, vibrant, and HIV free. But those days are long gone. These days I'm dealing with the daily struggle of living with AIDS. And with this comes a ton of medication and side effects. #ForReal.

About two years ago I started a medication, Isentress, the very week it was approved by the FDA. I didn't really care about the side effects because taking it meant that I would be free of Fuzion, the HIV medication I injected in my stomach twice a day. Anything was better than that drama. I cried every time I injected myself. Well, let me tell you, it's been one uphill journey with this switch. The medication is working just great so there is no point in changing. I just gotta cope regardless.

But honestly, I was fed up with the intense headaches that Isentress cause, and equally fed up with popping pain medication every day in addition to already taking 15 pills. So, while writing my tea blogs, I've been in search of teas that have wonderful health benefits. One of my tea partners, The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, is very health conscious with their teas.

They had seen my tweets about my headaches so when I received a package of teas from them to review, to my surprise, they had added two teas to help with my headaches.

I gotta tell ya, these two teas, Mint Medley and Amore, are very different but equally wonderful. When I opened the tin of Mint Medley it sent me instantly back to those days in Ms. J's backyard. The aroma of this perfect blend of organic spearmint and peppermint, made from dried leaves of those plants, made me feel as if I was surrounded in a garden of peppermint leaves. The strong aroma is equally matched by the smooth but strong mint taste. Until now I had never experienced a blend of mints. There is something to be said about mixing the two different mint flavors. I can't quite put my finger on it, but they seem to go together just like strawberries and bananas. Alone they are equally great, but together they are sublime.

Now Amore is different in so many ways, but it shares the same aroma power as Mint Medley. Amore is an organic white tea, blended with rose, peppermint and other botanicals, but you clearly know that it has the power of peppermint when you open the tin. The rose and botanicals soften the tea like a flower garden in the middle of a park dominated by green grass. While you can clearly taste the peppermint, the softness in the smell is also in the taste.

I loved them both! Now did they help my headaches? Yes, they did! Not only did they help reduce the pain in my head, but they also helped me to relax.

The benefit that I hadn't counted on was my tummy. You all know the ongoing GI issues I've been having. Well, the peppermint seems to have a calming effect on my nausea.  Basically, the peppermint soothes the inflammation in the digestive tract which decreases nausea and vomiting.

Overall I give these peppermint teas two tea cups up! In addition to helping headaches, including migraines, they are rich in Vitamin B which boosts the immune system. This would be a perfect choice for a cold and/or the flu. Additionally, it is said to reduce muscle pain, which means ladies, it is GREAT for menstrual cramps. And let's not forget, Amore is a white tea, so it is also good for depression. Peppermint tea is a winner! And The Persimmon Tree Tea Company has two wonderful blends that are now a staple in my tea cabinet.

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