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, May 10, 2011

TeaWithRae: Relax! Relate! Release!

I'm the queen of workaholics. Some people even question if I ever sleep. Of course I do... But I have to be honest, sleeping don't always come easy for me.  When I'm not working, I'm thinking. It seems as if my mind never stops working even when my body wants to.

So one of the things I do at bedtime is have a cup of tea to help me relax. Traditionally, everyone goes for chamomile. She has been queen of the relax teas since forever. But chamomile is boring by itself it.

So I set out to find for us some other teas to enjoy at the end of the day that have a tad more character to them. And I've done good! So today, I begin the first reviews of teas in my Relax, Relate, Release Series.

Chamomile is Queen, this is fact! So many tea houses blend chamomile with other indigents to give it a pop. I found one I really like. Berry Sleepy by Sweet Simplicitea .

I found this tea company on Twitter and I like the owner as much as I like her tea. Sweet Simplicitea is a small African-American owned company that is in the process of expanding. In about a month she will have over 20 teas. But for now she has about 4 dessert teas that I will be reviewing soon.

I decided to focus first on Berry Sleepy. This tea is a wonderful blend of chamomile, hibiscus, lemongrass, boysenberries, roasted chicory root, cranberries and blackberry leaf.

Now let me be clear, none of this is traditional tea. Traditional tea comes from the tree plant Camellia sinensis (black, green, white, oolong). But there is a long tradition of taking other plants and drying them to make the perfect beverage. The Chamomile flower actually originated in Egypt and has been used as, among other medicinal purposes, a calming beverage for centuries.

Rich in antioxidants, it is believed that chamomile contains relaxants and anti-spasmodic properties and combined with warm water provides the perfect relaxant.

It is also believed that something warm and soothing a half hour before bed helps your body to relax and make it more susceptible to sleep. So the combo of warm water and chamomile does the trick.

I wasn't sure if I would like the blend of Berry Sleepy. My assumption was that the "berry" was going to make it sweet and at bedtime I shy away from sweet flavors. But this tea is the perfect blend of sweet and spice. The chicory root and the lemongrass provide balance to the berries. And combined they all help to give the chamomile character.

I liked Berry Sleepy and it's a keeper for me! Sweet Simplicitea is in tea bags, biodegradable, dye free, which does not destroy the flavor of the tea. But I've been talking to her about loose teas... They are always Queen, but I will admit that Sweet Simplicitea is a princess! Happy Cuppa!!

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