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

Friday, February 4, 2011

Facing AIDS Together

Monday is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and African-Americans across the country will have to face AIDS whether they want to or not. HIV/AIDS programs, radio, TV and newspapers across the country will intrude on your lives. But then on Tuesday many can walk away and not give AIDS another thought, unlike me, a woman who has had to face HIV/AIDS over half of my 48 years of life. Facing this ugly disease head on, all day every day, don't seem fair in some ways, but it's the way it is.

So how does one face AIDS most of their life and not lose their freaking mind? Glad you asked, there are many factors that aid in my sanity. My faith is solid as a rock. I have a support system that lifts me up like Aaron did Moses when his arms were too tired to go it alone. I have a will, zeal, and determination sealed in God's plan for my life. And I make it count. I make sure that the choices I make about my life are not in vain.

So like many African-Americans in this country, I will be doing what I do on Monday to make my mark in spreading awareness, like I do everyday of the week. As usual, I will be using social media to spread the message of HIV prevention. But, on Monday, Chicagoans can join me at my second Tweet-Up. It will be a little more laid back than my last one at Hotel Allegro, but fun nonetheless.

We will Tweet-up at Kilwin's Chocolate and Ice Cream, 1405 N. Wells, Chicago from 6:00-8:30 p.m. It's free!!! Hosting this Tweet-Up with me is my friend and fellow blogger, Dwana, aka Houseonahillorg. Thanks to our sponsor, Kilwin's Chicago, we will hang out, enjoy the fudge, caramel corn, ice cream and hot chocolate, and tweet about HIV/AIDS. You can RSVP right now!

For those who are NOT in Chicago, you can help by being a part of the conversation. Tweet and re-tweet about HIV/AIDS using the hashtag #heart2heart4HIV. For those of you who are NOT on Twitter, don't worry, you can come to the blog and be a part of the conversation through the live feed.

Then on Tuesday, I ask that you continue to be a part of the solution: 1) Go get tested for HIV; 2) Use a condom when you have sex. There is no sex worth your life. And I promise you, if the penis ain't in your pocket, you have no idea what it's doing when it ain't with you; 3) Learn all you can about HIV/AIDS; 4) Help me use social media effectively! Tell your friends and family about my blog. You can also subscribe to my blog and come every darn day! Please... Have your friends and family follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, and Like my Facebook fan page. All of these things help me to build my social media base and make the work I'm doing even more powerful.

Ask your pastor when he/she is planning to have a HIV program at the church. Students, go to your student leaders and ask them when they are going to have a program on HIV. And you can get connected all across this country volunteering around HIV/AIDS education and prevention... I say it often but it's really true, #IcannotdoitAlone.

And last, if you have a friend or family member who is living with HIV/AIDS don't let them go it alone. In many of our families we will know someone who is infected. It's the pink elephant in the room that no one talks about. Reach out! So what it's a secret! I promise you, knowing that they are loved will overshadow the fact that the secret is exposed. The only reason it's a secret in the first place is because of the fear of rejection.

As we approach yet another National African-American HIV/AIDS Day, let's face this disease together!! Together we stand, divided we fall. #Truth.

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