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

Guest Blogger:ChiTown Fashionista:Captures My Style On A Budget!

Simply put, Rae Lewis Thornton is a diva! Those who know and love her understand that although she must constantly battle illness and fatigue, she will never leave the house looking any less than a diva. And her style plays a large role in why she is always perceived as such.

 Rae's style is the epitome of my favorite trend...the "non-trend". Rae has mastered the ability to select timeless items that transcend trends but never looks outdated. Classic style is hard to grasp and requires a little bit of psychic ability. You have to have a keen eye for selecting pieces that have longevity and will work well with multiple items in your wardrobe for seasons to come. Rae is also a fan of layering jewelry; whether it's multi-strand pearl necklaces or a wrist full of RLT Collection bracelets. That is her signature and it is what allows her to add character to her wardrobe.

If and when you see Rae, you can guarantee she will be draped in some Chanel, Burberry, Van Cleef & Arpels and/or Tory Burch (Rae's newest favorite). That being said, classic style does not necessarily have to be made up of only high-end designers. Stores like Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, L.K. Bennett and even your local boutique carry low to mid priced items that will help you achieve the same goal. If you're looking to achieve Rae's timeless look, quality is key. Here are some great items - at a variety of price points - that will start you down the right path.  
Natalia Necklace - L.K. Bennett ($70)
Lee Angel Tangled Pearl Necklace - Neiman Marcus ($180) 

Cap Sleeve Half Peplum Dress - Calvin Klein ($99)
Natasha Dress - Tory Burch ($350) 

Jardin Clover Bracelet - Bluefly ($93)
Van Cleef & Arpels Vintage Alhambra Bracelet - Betteridge (price upon request) 

Gold Coast Maryanne - Kate Spade ($445)
Marc Jacobs Quilted Saffron Astor Bag - Saks ($1495)
Miss KG Lychee Ballet Flat - ASOS ($78)
Bruton Shoe - L.K. Bennett ($320) 
And there you have it. Classic pieces for every budget. Now, get to shopping, my aspiring divas!

Nikia Jefferson is a fashion blogger. Her blog is www.chitownfashionista.com She can also be found on Twitter @shoelovadotcom
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