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

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Reflection: Coming To Terms!

It is no secret that I started downsizing my life three years ago. At first as a way to help me heal from the sickness of more, more, and more, i.e., the more you buy, the more you want to buy.

I believe that my need for more was connected to my Mama who raised me. She beat the shit out of me and at the same time gave me everything I wanted. The more she bought for me, the more I asked. For me, it was how I interpreted her love for me. Then as I grew up, I was always gainfully employed, able to get what I wanted whenever I wanted. The problem was deeply rooted, but I always made a way to live.

Used- Mint Condition! Michael Kors!
Then when I made a transition to AIDS and my political career ended with 32 pills a day, my finances changed. Even as I rose in fame as an AIDS activist I always found myself in some kind of hot and cold struggle. There seems to never be an in-between. Even the month I was on the cover of Essence Magazine, I couldn't afford to pay my rent. And to make matters worse, I married someone who felt a sense of entitlement. When my speaking engagements were at their peak so was our spending.

For me, there was this belief that I was dying anyhow. Might as well enjoy life while I can. Why save? And make no mistake, clinically, I was dying. At my worst my t-cell count was 8, my viral load was 400,000, I was a size 0 and had three bouts of PCP, the number one infection that killed people with AIDS at that time. So I spent and my husband spent. We spent for different reasons, but we spent. And when the marriage ended I found myself scrambling. Speaking became more cold than hot. For Real.

And then when I thought I was finally ahead, the bottom fell out. 9/11 had a deep impact on the economy and also on my finances. The speaking engagements dwindled yet again and so did my saving. And to make matters worse, during my peek season I became ill and had to cancel ALL of my speaking engagements.
Patent Paloma Picasso

Every time I thought I was on my way to recovery with my finances, something new would happen. I would have a good season of speaking engagements but by then I would be so far behind that I would have to play catch up. And as soon as I caught up, I would get sick again and have to cancel another group of speaking engagements.

 It was a vicious cycle that never seemed to end.

But then I got a book deal. It was a blessing. I paid off all my back bills and things were looking up. But then I got sick again and yes, it was during my peak season and all of my speaking engagements were canceled yet again. I spent 12 days in the hospital and 4 days later I spent another 22 days, and then 33 days on IV med at home 13 hours a day.

I thought my book deal was the answer, but then that savings started to dwindle with no speaking engagements. See the cycle? But I was determined to get ahead.

I had already started to downsize my life. My therapist was working with me to move beyond this need for more.

Used-Mint Condition! Louis Vuitton
It was working and I decided to sell everything! At the time I lived in a fabulous three bedroom apartment that was decked out to the nines. I started to sell and sell and sell. I set up a store in my apartment and it was on! I sold over half of all my clothes, shoes, handbags, and all of my furniture except my bed, bookcases, and a few other items.

I moved into a studio apartment. I cut my expenses in half. It was a perfect plan. If I sell everything I would have enough money to live off of until the other portion of my advance came through from the book deal. But then I lost the book deal. Hyperion just walked away. My editor said I couldn't write and she and I couldn't come to terms and I found myself dirt broke.

I had hit rock bottom! Even my electricity was turned off that winter.

So here I am two years later still trying to keep my head above water. I promised myself when I get out of this mess, that I would never be here again. I've learned that I didn't need as much as I thought I needed.

I haven't purchased anything major in literally five years. And last year I had to give my car back to Jaguar. I could've figured it out, but it was just way too much month after month, so I told them to come get that bitch.

Off and on I would sell a handbag here or there or some jewelry to get me out of a bind. Like when I needed a new computer I sold three Chanel handbags for a total of $1500, yep... I sold $2000 worth of handbags for $1500... Sista gotta do what a sista gotta do...

Speaking has been at an all time low. I haven't been this broke since I was 17. For Real. Even when things perk up, like last week I had a speaking engagement but it was gone before I could get to the bank. I was so behind, I can't even seem to get ahead. My girlfriend Audrey has been helping me keep groceries in the house. But enough is enough. I have got to get ahead of the race. This cycle is killing me!!!

Used-Great Condition! Gucci Belt
So I've made another major decision. I went through all my jewelry and I pulled 55 pieces of mostly fine jewelry to let go. It's doing me absolutely NO good in my jewelry box. I also pulled shoes and handbags out of my closet, some new, some used in great condition, all at great prices.

I'm letting it go! This is a big decision for me, but I just see no other way out. Thank God I have it to sell. And sometimes, you have to help yourself out of a situation. You can't keep complaining and spending at the same time. And just stop it with those stupid ass realizations! You can only get in a better place by doing better.

I can't spend all my time complaining and I have all this stuff that I can sell to help me get ahead. You can't keep complaining about not having a job if you aren't REALLY looking. You can't save if you gotta have a new outfit for everything! At some point, something has got to give or it will NEVER get better. It's not enough to want a better life, you gotta do your part to help make your life better.

So, I'm doing this for me!! I don't really care what people think of me doing this... Whatever! I'm trying to help myself out of this bad situation.

My only hope is that people will find something here they like. I have fabulous things. For Real and I'm letting it all go at a great price! Even a better price than what you could get at a designer resale store.
New! Bally

These are the pictures of Shoes and Handbags... The jewelry is coming before the day is over. 

If you are interested please email me at raelewisthornton@gmail.com  for the prices and further descriptions. It will all be done through Pay Pal, sorry NO CHECKS.
Used-Great Condition! Gucci
I'm giving the best prices I possibly can. For some of the jewelry items I can provide appraisals and receipts. However, I've accumulated so much over the years. For some I just don't have receipt. 
New! Gucci Leather!
Maybe this is my breakthrough, coming to terms with it all... Maybe God is waiting to see if I'm willing to  really let  it go. Well, Lord... whether this is what you want of me or not, this is the smartest decision I can make!!
Not Leather.. But  A Fab Hand Bag in Mint Condition!

I'm hopeful that you all will support me in this endeavor. There will be something in everyone's price range from $25-1200. Thanks much. #IcannotdoitAlone. Jewelry Here!

New! Bruno Magli

Email me at raelewisthornton@gmail.com if you are interested in more pictures of a particular item and the price. Shoes are ALL 71/2 and European 38...

Used Great Condition! Chanel
New! Farragamo

Used-Mint Condition! Gucci
Used-Mint Condition! Ralph Lauren
Used-Great Condition! Gucci
New! Stuart Weitzman
Used-Great Condition! Christian Louboutin
Used-Mint Condition! Chanel
New!  Stuart Weitzman

Used-Mint Condition! Steven
Used-Mint Condition! Via Spiga
New! Anne Klein
New! Ellen Tracy
Used-Mint Condition! Donald Pliner
New! Unisa
New! Stesto Muucci
New! Stuart Weitzman

Used-Great Condition! Versace

Four Part Two: The Jewelry Go Here
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