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, February 24, 2011

RLT Reads: Book Club Review and Announcement

I read Native Son when I was 18 and honestly what I remembered most about the book was that Bigger Thomas, the lead character, cut the white lady up and burned her in the furnace of her family's basement.

But opening these pages 30 years later, I was just blown away. Without a doubt this book is an indictment on race relations in the United States during this period. Wright shows how degradation and demoralization of a people can have tragic consequences for us all. He illustrates how one's validation can come from something as horrific as murder. And that even when you want to do the right thing, the social boundaries of race can make a person act out of desperation and then in a twisted way become validated by that very thing they knew was wrong.

I understand why the New York Times named this one of the 100 best books written in the 20th century. Wright illustrates how race relations in America has deeply wounded us all. I didn't know who I was angrier with most, Bigger or America. The book was laced with powerful and rich themes of class, Communism, race relations, Democracy, equal protection, I could just go on and on. If you have not read this book in years, it is worth picking up. But take your time, it is a heavy read.

The online book discussion for Native Son will be held on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Just go to the RLT Reads page on the blog and sign into the chat. Can't wait to see what you think of Native Son.

Our next book is in honor of Woman's History Month. I know Native Son was heavy and I wanted to lighten it up, but I was torn. I wanted a book written by a woman author dealing with an issue that is particular to women. So here goes, my pick for March is Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat. It is a wonderful book. I first read it for the Oprah Book Club. I will re-read it with you so I can be caught up for the discussion.

I do not yet have a date for the discussion. I'm trying to see if I can get the author to participate in the online discussion with us. My goal is the last week of March. It's a short book, about 230 pages. You can buy it through my Amazon Store if you like.  Happy reading.

Note: I am postponing the book from Tina McElroy Ansa. I didn't get a chance to work out all the details because of my unexpected bout with pneumonia. It will come in a couple of months.

I am also looking for someone to help me with the administrative work for the book club. I'm still trying to enter all the information and email addresses so I can officially begin emailing you.

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