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, September 6, 2011

I Love Blogging!!

Me and Dwana at  at Bloggers Tea  the Peninsula
I love being a blogger and everything about it.  It's definitely the new media; A way for ordinary people like myself to reach the world.

I'm so glad that I stepped out on faith a year and half ago with my blog because it has certainly paid off. Nope, no money, but I've met a lot of wonderful women through my blog, which has forged some wonderful friendships.  But most importantly, I've been able to touch lives world wide that I never would have if I hadn't started blogging.

Venturing out into this New Media was scary because I never saw myself as a writer. I am undeniably a speaker. But if the truth be told, when I first started speaking, I didn't see myself as a speaker either. But in such a short time, I have been able to take my message to places I would have never on the speakers circuit. And on the other end, it has increased my speaking engagements.

Overall, the e-mails and support that I have received as a result of my blogs have been nothing short of phenomenal.  Blogging has been a way for me to expand my ministry. But one of the greatest honors, is that my blog has made it to the CBS Chicago finals, as one of Chicago's Most Valuable Bloggers in the Health/Fitness/Medical category. You can vote for me once a day until September 9th. Vote HERE

Me and Dwana at a bloggers Event
To think that I didn't even believe I could do it and now my blog has been nominated as a Valuable Blog by CBS. I'm grateful for the strangers on Twitter that encouraged me. This one woman, Dwana, not only encouraged me, she started sending me e-mails about blogger/social media events and tools to help me make my blog the best it could be. At first I thought she was crazy, but then I finally met the face behind the tweets and e-mails and the rest is history, as they say.

Dwana and I have become very close and she is still trying to make my blog the best it could be, while working a full time job, blogging at her own site, Healthier, Happier, You @Houseonahill.Org, and the managing editor for Chicagonista Blog all things Chicago. But I think her most important job is raising her teen soon, I fondly call the Prince.

Raijean, Nikia and Kim at a Fashion Bloggers Event
It's been great hanging out in the bloggers world.  Three of my favorite fashion/lifestyle bloggers are Raijean, Nikia and Kim. Together we are our own rat pack. While we have lots of fun together, we also support the growth of each others blogs without any ugly competition. Nikia's blog Chi Town Fashionaita also made it to the the CBS Blogger Finals in the category of, "Everything Else." You can vote for her here.

There are some bloggers who never Retweet others blog post or give them any kind of PR because of fear that their blog will not shine.  But all of us, Dwana, Raijean, Nikia and Kim, do our best, support others and let our own work speak for itself.

The thing is, blogging is a way that we can share with our readers the best of what we know. It also focuses us to be our best. You will see us out and about learning all that we can. While some people take blogging loosely; A way to share what's on their mind, some of us, try to move beyond our own boundaries to provide diversity in our information.

To help my blog grow, I have attend Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula Hotel, sampled tons of teas, read up on dating, sex, sexually transmitted diseases, clothes and beauty and at the same time, attended serious Bloggers Conferences, like the one hosted by Chicagonista. I'm even keynoting a bloggers conference in October, Show Me The Blog, in St. Louis, MO.

Conferences, are an opportunity for me to learn and share with other bloggers as a way to help my blog grow and be the best it can be. Theses conferences are a great way of sharing information and bonding in a way that inspires you to be the best blogger that you can.

 I'm happy to have forged a wonderful friendship with Bloggers at the top of their game. But equally important, I am glad that I moved beyond my fears and self-imposed limitations to allow God to use me  through this new form of communication. Someone asked me on Facebook one day, "Where I get my topics?" Honestly, I just let God lead me. I'm never sure from day to day what I will write about, in spite of the fact, I have tried to work from a blog schedule like many bloggers do.  It does not work for me. I just begin typing and God does the rest. But in doing so, I try to share the fullness of what I know from self-love  to the best of life as a way to help enrich the lives of my readers.

Thank you for helping to make my blog a success by your readership!! Please help me grow continue to, share my blog with everyone you know. And don't forget to VOTE everyday until September 9th. Thanks! You Rock!

Blog Links For:
Dwana's Blog Houseonahill.org
Nikia's Blog ChiTownFashionista.com
Raijean's Blog Swag-Rai.com
Kim's Blog- AGirlAboutStyleAGirlAbout Style.com

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