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 3, 2011

Tea With Rae: The Real Truth About High Tea!

As I was having tea with Valencia at the Peninsula Hotel last Friday, I started to think about the history of this wonderful tradition. Sitting there drinking some of the finest tea, from some of the finest china known, in one of the best hotels in the world, clearly this is not your run of the mill activity. Even Valencia, the winner of the #TeaWithRae raffle, had to plead her case of why she should be chosen to have an afternoon of tea with me at this wonderful hotel.

The tea enthusiast that I am, combined with my passion for history, led me in search of the truth. I asked some fundamental questions that became my starting point. What the heck is high tea and has it always been for the rich and privileged class? In the United States it is certainly an indulgence that the average person cannot afford on a regular basis, but I started to wonder has this always been the case?

Let me tell you it is one tangled web that gave me a headache. So I will be reading some books about this topic to fill in the voids. But, in nutshell, High Tea, which is sometimes called "Afternoon Tea" and "Meat Tea," was originally called "Low Tea," mainly because it was typically served on a low table near a sofa. And on top of that, in the British tradition, afternoon tea was in the evening. Go figure, but its true. Because dinner was served so late in Europe for both the middle and upper classes, it was a "hold you over meal" until dinnertime and typically it was served with meat, not fancy pastries.

However, the tradition of tea drinking in England didn't began until 1662 when Catherine of Braganza married King Charles II in 1662 and brought the tradition from Portugal. She was known as an avid tea drinker. A women after my own heart, LOL.

Ok, so how did we get this fancy tradition of afternoon tea that Valencia and I enjoyed at the Peninsula? Well, it goes like this. It changed to this fancy time in the 19th century with the help of Anna Maria, Duchess of Bedford. While many people still had the tradition of "low tea," Anna Maria changed it to a four o'clock social occasion. The Duchess found taking a light afternoon snack before dinner was much more enjoyable than the heavier "meat tea." Soon she began inviting her friends over for afternoon tea and that fancy social time became the norm among the middle and upper classes. In fact, Anna Maria enjoyed her daily routine so much that when she visited friends at other castles and palaces she took her silver kettle and the whole shebang with her.

Today, many four and five star hotels worldwide offer, "Afternoon Tea." For sure, The Peninsula offers one of the best I have ever experienced. They serve tea in Wedgwood China. The pastries and sandwiches are unbelievable and they have a selection of over 20 teas. But equally as important, the service is wonderful.
I would recommend that everyone experience Afternoon Tea at least once in their life. It's a wonderful treat, and a great excuse to put on your fancy clothes and enjoy great conversation in a beautiful atmosphere with a great cup of tea. Afternoon Tea typically ranges from $30-50 depending on where you go. Yes, it is a bit pricey, but nonetheless, it is an experience you will never forget.

And Valencia, well, she said that sitting with me soaking up my wisdom was what she wanted to do. The time we have on Twitter was way to short. I think we accomplished her goal. We sat for 4 hours eating and drinking tea over great conversation.

A Special Thanks to the Peninsula Hotel for Participating in the #TeaWithRae Raffle! 

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