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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Paying It Forward: Through Twitter?

I tell people every day that I can bank on the Power of Twitter and Social Media. It connects people  and issues worldwide who in other circumstances would have never known each other.

I remember last fall when I walked into Kilwins Chocolates in Chicago's Old Town. I had been waiting for what seemed like all summer for them to open. Boy was I one happy woman; Being a chocolate lover and all. I was delighted to learn that first day that the owner was an African-American woman.

After the fall started to turn into winter, I wondered how Kilwins would make it through the cold winter months where business typically slows down for Ice Cream and Candy specialty stores. Each time I went in, I would talk to Jackie about hosting one of my HIV/AIDS Tweet-up's to help bring awareness to both the issue that is dear to my heart and her business. I mean, here we have an African-American woman owning a chocolate shop in Old Town, I knew I needed to help.

Serving Ice Cream at the Heart 2 Heart Tweet-up
So one day, I just went in and put my foot down. Jackie and I spent hours talking. Me of course giving bits and pieces of my life story and work, while teaching Jackie how to tweet. When I left that day, the deal was set, she would start using Twitter to bring more PR to her store as well as, host the Heart 2 Heart HIV Tweet-up on National Black AIDS Awareness Day.

That day I shared with Jackie how I was struggling finically. AIDS is no longer a sexy topic and speaking engagements are far and few in between. I talked about my dream to have the latest IPhone, but I just didn't see it in my budget. I needed the phone for my work. Even though I wasn't speaking as much, I was using Social Media heavily for my work. God called me to do this work and I must use every tool that is available, rather than cry about what isn't.

Well, the next day Jackie called and asked me to stop by the store. When I arrived her husband had his coat on and took me straight to the Apple Store. Jackie said to me, "You need to have the best technology possible for the important work that you are doing" WOW, I was so overwhelmed! And just a month later the Heart 2 Heart Tweet-up was a huge success.

Just the other day I told Jackie she needed to get back on her Twitter game because competition has moved into the neighborhood. Kilwins is not just an ice cream parlor but a wonderful chocolate store. She assured me she would once she got a new phone.

Well with a new phone in tote, she's been just tweeting away. And a week ago she tweeted Oprah and POW she was featured on one of the Life Classes.

I'm so honored to have been the one to introduce Jackie to Twitter, clearly it is doing wonders for her. But isn't it interesting how life works? Look how it all pays forward. I suggested Jackie host one of my HIV/AIDS Tweet-Up's. From that I got a new IPhone to Tweet about HIV/AIDS and now, through the power of Twitter, she reached Oprah.

Now Jackie is hosting her own Tweet-Up; How about that?! This Friday she will be hosting a viewing of Oprah's Life Classes and bringing attention to the Own Network. Yes she will have lots of free fudge for you to sample.

I'm joining her and you should too as we watch Oprah Life Class and Tweet to draw attention to the wonderful and powerful life classes and the new Oprah Winfrey Network. 

I'm going to be honest. I'm a new comer to Oprah, Life Classes, but boy am I hooked. You can check out my first blog here about the impact of Oprahs life class on my life.

But most of all join Jackie this Friday for Fudge, Oprah's Life Class and lots of Tweets. Kilwins Chocolate's,  6:00 p.m. to 9:30, 1405 N. Wells in Chicago. I will be there to hang out and watch O's Life Class with Jackie too. You gotta keep paying it forward. You can RSVP here! See ya tomorrow at Kilwins Chicago.

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