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

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Never Stop Growing!

As long as live I will never stop growing. I fundamentally think life is a wonderful gift from God and we should never squander it.

I've talked a lot about purpose on this blog. Yes, I was lucky to discover my purpose early in life. But the longer I lived, I discovered that I had hidden talent, honestly. A few years ago I wanted to learn how to bead just so I could make pretty AIDS Awareness Bracelets that women would love and wear. But after about six months I discovered that I had a real talent for designing bracelets. So on a whim I decided to launch RLT Collection, a full line of bracelets handmade by me with wonderful gemstones. My motto is that I have a bracelet for everyone, every personality at every price range. Shoot, I didn't want to leave anyone out, I even design unisex bracelets. And yes, I do weddings, proms, cotillions, Bat Mitzvah's and so on and so on.

Well, almost three years in, I haven't become a millionaire, but a sale here or there sure helps to buy groceries. Last week a sale paid for Sophie's doctor bill. Launching this line I didn't know if anyone would support me, but that didn't matter. I had a vision and I went for it. I learned, I liked what I learned, and I took it to the next level.

I love making the bracelets. And I figure if one person wears my bracelets then I had accomplished something. More strangers have purchased my bracelets than friends. I've even had friends look me in the face and tell me a baldfaced lie about how they don't wear bracelets. #ForReal. But I didn't let that stop me either. People will kill your dream and stump the hell out of your growth. I've even had someone say to me, "You still making those bracelets?" That told me then that they had not been to my bracelet website. I shrugged it off, ended that phone conversation and kept on working on my new collection of Stackable Bracelets. And they are simply fabulous. I have taken my designs to the next level, mixing and matching, and creating new looks. That's what designers are supposed to do.
But I didn't stop there! Nope! Because of the the new RLT Reads Book Club, I decided to add bookmarks to RLT Collection. Yes! Wonderful bookmarks handmade by me from gemstones. And the best news is they are at a great price. I want people to buy them and sport them on your books to help challenge stigma and shame around HIV/AIDS. Book Nook Charms are coming next!

And nope, I didn't stop there! When I spoke at Johnson C. Smith University a month ago I saw a young lady wearing a hand knitted AIDS Awareness Pin. As soon as I saw it, I said, "I can do that." Then later that night I saw another young lady with a crocheted flower pin and I encouraged her to make and sell them. Her response was, "Well I want to when I get things together." Let me tell you, if you are waiting on the right time you will be waiting forever. Don't let time be your enemy to growth. When I came home I couldn't shake the idea, and now a month later, I'm launching my own hand knitted AIDS Awareness Ribbons. Yep, there are six designs to choose from. I tried to get everyone's personality, and yes, I knit every single one. And yes, they are also at a great price.

What am I saying... Don't be afraid to grow! Don't be afraid of failure! Don't be afraid of what people will say! Don't be afraid of success! And... as long as God gives you breath in your body, NEVER, ever, stop growing! To do less than your best is to squander the wonderful gift of life!

Postscript: Don't forget the Tea Bracelets I launched two months ago. Diva Approved Tea Balls to strain your tea!
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