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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

That's What Friends Are For!

Monday with my IV medication in tote, I made my way to New York to participate in the Dionne Warwick That's What Friends Are For Town Hall Meeting. I was honored to have been asked to be a panelist. But I was most impressed that Ms. Warwick decided to celebrate 50 years in entertainment hosting a town hall meeting focusing on HIV/AIDS.

I was double impressed that the Town Hall Meeting was hosted at Harlem United, a full service agency focusing on the mind, body and spirit for people living with HIV/AIDS. Think about it, Ms. Warwick could have done anything, anywhere, but she chose to focus on a health and social issue affecting African-Americans and she did  it in its epic center.

There was an esteemed panel of experts around HIV/AIDS, Jacoby Johnson, Soraya Elcock, Rev. Kevin Taylor, Dr. L. Jeannine Bookhardt-Murray, along with Tony Nominated, AIDS Activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, Former Manhattan Borough President, C, Virginia Fields and BET's Ed Gordon was the moderator.

Ms. Warwick sporting RLT Collection F/W 2011 Collection
I could tell you all about it, but instead I'll let you watch part one of the video of the Town Hall Meeting to get a tone of the evening that did not sugar coat one thing. Part Two is coming soon. The only disappointment for me was that the auditorium was not packed and NO mainstream media thought it important enough to cover.

I learned a lot about Ms. Warwick on Monday. She was the United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United States Ambassador of Health.

Ms. Warwick traveled the world bringing attention to important health issues, as she puts it on, "Her dime." She was appointed during the Reagan years and it lasted through the first year of Clinton's administration.

It is no secret that  the early days of the AIDS epidemic were scary and President Reagan's refusal to mention the word AIDS out of his mouth did not make it easy. Ms. Warwick recanted a piece of history that I never knew and proud to learn.  President  Reagan was recognizing her work at the Washington Press Club and as he spoke of her good works, she asked, "And what am I working on  Mr. President, and with reluctance he mumbled, "AIDS."  It's interesting that the media only recounts the official interview where Reagan mentions the word AIDS for the "first time."

Nonetheless, Ms. Warwick has been a giant in the advocacy of HIV/AIDS since the very beginning.  No one will ever forgot her pulling together a group of friends  to record the song, That's What Friends Are For that raise 3 million dollars for HIV.

Ms. Warwick, reinforced her commitment to HIV/AIDS on Monday night. And she was loud and clear. While former President Bill Clinton has done great work on AIDS in Africa, she is going to challenge him to expand his work to AIDS in the United States, where African-Americans are hit the hardest.  Make no mistakes, AIDS in the African-American community is comparable to some Sub-Saharan counties.

I commend Ms. Warwick for her continued work around HIV/AIDS. Listening to the panelists and the audience, Ms. Warwick said that, "She had learned a lot." This town hall meeting was a renewal of sorts for her efforts; And believe that she will not only challenge Bill Clinton to focus more on HIV/AIDS in America, I believe that she will challenge all Americans to do better and in doing so, it will remind those impacted with HIV/AIDS that we are not alone in the struggle because that's what friends are for.

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