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, March 31, 2011

TeaWithRae: Urbana Tea Lounge and Spa!

When I walked into the Urbana Tea Lounge and Spa, I was in awe, and it takes a lot to impress me. I have traveled throughout the United States and have visited many establishments, but this spot is simply fabulous! It's warm and cozy atmosphere invites you to relax, have a cup of tea, and stay a while. And that's exactly what I did.

Tucked away in Charlotte, North Carolina, Urbana Tea Lounge is a gold mine! The owner, Nancy Urbana, is the mastermind behind this jewel. This spa/tea lounge is a one-of-a-kind in the United States and if I had some money I would open one up in a heartbeat.

Spa/Lounge? Yes, let me explain. The front end of Urbana is a warm cozy lounge and bar with an impeccable selection of loose leaf teas. There you have two areas to sit and enjoy tea. There are cozy lounge chairs (top  photo) or you can sit at the bar. It has the atmosphere of a private lounge of sorts, but here you cannot find an ounce of alcohol. Instead, you can enjoy a cup of tea, and the list of premium loose leaf teas is staggering.

It's the perfect after work place or lunch spot to meet a friend, relax, have a great conversation and enjoy a wonderful cup of tea. I personally think, if I lived in Charlotte, it would be my spot to get renewed and forget the craziness of life. If only for a little while. But what was so wonderful here is that you can also have a specialty massage. Yes, I said massage. The spa area is wonderful. And each massage begins and ends with relaxing tea service. And yes, I had a massage and I promise you, it was just what I needed!

We began our tea adventure with the two teas of the day, Blueberry and Dream. And if that wasn't enough, they brewed us up a pot of Peach tea. The service matched the atmosphere and the quality of the tea, wonderful!

They paired our tea with chocolates and cookies. And later with hummus and bread that was paired perfectly. The Southern hospitality was on point, we had to say no to sandwiches and soup, but make no mistake that they were determined to share all their delights with us.

My hosts, Kyara and Melissa from Johnson C. Smith University, and I had an absolute ball! Great tea, great atmosphere, and great treats. They also have the cutest little teapots and tea specialty items. In fact, the blue one in my RLT Collection pictures came from there. It was a nice addition to my teapot collection. And if I can pull my coins together, I'm gonna order this little copper cast iron jewel, Peace, but Serenity is cute too. Shoot, the bottom line, their teapots are too cute! I was in heaven educating Kyara and Melissa on tea and exploring the selection of tea and tea specialty items.

Let me tell you, you can always tell the freshness of a tea if the aroma hits you in the face when you open the tin and it jumps up your nostrils. I think I smelled almost every tea in Urbana and I was not disappointed one time.

I brought a ton of teas home with me and I am in love! I already have some favorites. In fact, I'm out of one of the teas and am ready to put in my first order. That Chamomile/Lavender is the bomb! I've drank it before bed almost every night since I came home. I have one cup left. *sigh*

In the coming weeks I will be reviewing them for you. I know you're saying, but ummm Rae, they are in Charlotte. Don't fret, one of the most exciting things about Urbana is that everyone can enjoy their teas even if you don't live in Charlotte. They have an online store for their entire tea selection. Not only are the teas fresh, but I think they have some of the best prices around for premium loose teas. And I love the fact that Urbana Tea is owned by a woman entrepreneur who was willing to take a chance on such a wonderful concept! 

You cannot go wrong with Urbana Tea! Stay tuned as I review their teas!!

Post Script: But in the meantime, Urbana and I are giving you a chance to win one of their most popular teas, Almond Cookies. Yep! This green tea blend smells and tastes just like Almond Cookies. I am pairing a RLT Collection Tea Bracelet with an 8 oz. package of this particular tea. Just a little something to say thank you for being on this tea journey with me.

To Enter the Raffle You Must:
1. Like Urbana Facebook Page;
2. Follow Urbana on Twitter;
3. And make a comment about this blog.

BTW: I know you know that you should be following me on Twitter and Facebook. Good Luck! The winner will be announced on April 12th.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Clicky Web Analytics