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, July 19, 2011

Fashion/Beatuty Tuesday: Fall Fashion Trends 2011

Everyone knows, knows, knows I'm the handbag queen; And I tend to be a bit of a handbag snob. Now don't get me wrong. I don't have to have a designer name attached to my handbag, but I  do require quality; And if the truth be told, you pay for quality.

While sick and shut in I had nothing better to do but look at the fall 2011 fashion tends on my iPad. And I have to tell you, I like what I see. First out of the gate is a deep rich color  that will go with every skin tone and is a perfect alternative to black. Am I trading in my favorite color, NO but I will be adding the rich burgundy /bordeaux to my wardrobe this fall. As I looked at the trends, I found myself in handbag heaven. There were so many I wanted, I had to take a chill pill. For Real!

I love Prada, however, it has been out of my price range for a while. In these hard times, the last few years, I  had to sale all of my Prada handbags with the exception of two, that I knew I needed to hold onto. It was two bags, that I could never replace, especially at the price that I actually paid for them. That's why it's important to develop relationships with sales people at the high end stores. They will call you when something great is on sale. Any who, I sold all my other Prada handbags because I prefer to have a roof over my head, than to be homeless with a designer handbag. For Real For Real

When I saw the Prada Saffiano Lux Top Handle (top)and Lux Tote  (bottom) I was in love. Now this handbag is a staple in Prada's line. They claim it is the most durable leather you can buy. And let me tell you, the fall colors are singing my song.  The bag at the top is $1990 and the bag at the bottom is $1560
Of course I wanted the larger bag with the zippers and the center pocket. It has a cleaner structure then the bag below, and it is larger; And my motto, the larger the better. And it makes a STATMENT! But I knew that I couldn't afford to have the larger bag, especially because I had already decided on the Lux Tote in another color to match a Hermes bracelet on my want list. Now don't be confused, Prada makes a statement any size and shape. But there is statement and then there is STATEMENT.

Let me tell you, when I left Prada, I had to talk to myself all day long.  I knew in my right mind, there was no why in hell I could justify buying two Prada handbags in the same year, having just started to get back on my feet.  So I reminded myself that the world would  not end if I don't own this Prada handbag in burgundy.  But in honesty to myself, I should stick to the original plan, the handbag  to match my bracelet. By the way, that other color is also a trend and I will tell you all about it in the weeks to come as I continue to highlight my picks for fall fashion 2011. 

Now,  I had come to my senses, but what was I gonna do about the fall trend of burgundy /bordeaux? I was firm, I needed to be practical. Practical being living within my means. But the Fashion Diva that I am wanted to add this wonderful color. Especially since I wear a lot of black, it pairs beautifully. 

I was sad about it LOL... But For Real. Then one of my favorite American designers made me one happy Diva. You can always count on Tory Burch to render quality and cute at a more moderate price. 

The Robinson Tote is also a staple  in Tory Burch Handbag line like Prada's Saffiano,  she just also updated the colors for the fall. Now this handbag is wonderful! It has structure like the Prada Top Handle bag. Even though it's a tad shorter than Saffiano Top Handle, its lager than Prada's Tote. The bottom line, you get the look but only at faction of the cost. The Robinson handbag is $550.00. And might I add that both Prada and Tory Burch have these bags in grey which is also tending for the fall.

Now, I'm going to suggest to you that you invest in a good quality handbag at some point in your life. It will last you for years and will always make a fashion statement.  Let me say this... 

When I purchased my first Louis Vuitton, I was 20 years old. I saved a little out of each pay check until I had enough money to get a bag. I didn't try to but the largest, I got what was age appropriate and affordable for a 20 year old.. 

However, if you can't afford a bag this season don't stress, just get you a beautiful scarf with this rich color of burgundy /bordeaux and tie it on the handle of your carmel and or black handbag and you will still be trending for fall 2011.

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