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, April 19, 2011

Tea With Rae: Small Pleasures!

Living with AIDS, keeping the breakneck schedule that I do and working out of my home, I try to carve time out of the house just for me. At the top of the list are browsing bookstores and shopping for beads for my bracelet designs. These are the small pleasures that help to keep me sane in my crazy life.

But one day while looking around Water Tower shopping mall on Chicago's Mag Mile, I stumbled upon Teavana Tea Shop. Now at first it was a rocky road, the salesperson that day was a bit of an ass. But I gave them another try months later and it's been heaven ever since. When I explained to the new manager what had happened, she explained that he was the first to go when she took over the store. I was glad to see that she was on top of her game.

Customer Service is everything and they have it down pat at Teavana. So Saturday after putting in 9 hours of work on my latest bracelet designs I took a walk over to Teavana.

I had no intention on making a purchase, I just wanted to have a smell of their teas. Boy does it bring me pleasure when they open that tin of tea and then fan the aroma your way. The tea lover that I am, it's as if all of my senses had gone straight to heaven.

I'm getting ready to begin a series on Oolong teas and I wanted to smell all of them. I gotta admit, the staff was real patient with me as I asked to smell over and over again. I get so much joy from it, I really do!

Well like I said, I had no intention of buying any tea, I still have tea from Teavana that I have to review. I'm so honored that they are one of my Tea With Rae partners.

But when I smelled Toasted Nut Brulee, OMG! I just had to have it. I came straight home and put the tea kettle on. The taste was everything that the smell promised it to be. I'm in love! I promise, since Saturday, I have had no less than ten cups of this tea.

How do I describe this tea. It's creamy, nutty, with fruity undertones. You can even see the pieces of hazelnuts, almonds and candied fruit in the tea. I think the Rooibos tea added to the Oolong ensures that the the nutty taste is not woody. It's a perfect blend of tea! I'm going to even put it in my top five teas that I have ever had. Now that's a big one for me! Stay tuned for my series on Oolong teas, coming real soon!

Oh yeah, I also love looking at there wonderful tea pots. I think I'm addicted to them also. For Real! If any of you were wondering about the teapot I used for the RLT Men's Collection, yep, I got it from Teavana. It's the perfect little teapot for one or two. I can't wait to use it. And yes, that's another one of my small pleasures, making a cup of tea and enjoying it in a fancy teapot and cup set!

The best thing about their teapots is the price! They are affordable for good quality high end, teapots. And yes I already have my eyes on my second little teapot. It's the cutest little thing! Don't you agree? Those Cherry Blossoms are just too cute! And don't be surprised if you see this teapot featured with my bracelet collection also. By the way, the pictures of these teapots make them larger than what they truly are, little miniature teapots for two.

So there you have it. This past Saturday, at Teavana I discovered a new tea that I can't stop drinking and a teapot that I just have to have. These are the things that help to keep me sane in the chaotic world of AIDS and pushing forward with my work and ministry in spite of my health. This is just one of my small pleasures!

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