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, March 27, 2012

What I Do: Part One

I'm on the road today, speaking at Florida A and M University this evening. Traveling is hard on my body, but I do it because it's what I'm supposed to do. God has given me a gift and I dare not squander it. For the Last 20 years I've been clear, I have work to do and whatever doors God open, I will go through.

I love the young people at FAMU. In the last few years they have made it a point to include me in their student programming. They really value my work and that makes me feel great; Like I've reached somebody. The Woman's Program is having a week long event's and this one of many.

I'm honored to be featured in honest discussion, Things My Mama Never Told Me, with Dr. Julia Hare. It should be a powerful evening for the young people in attendance. If you are in the area, it's free and open to the public, please join us.

Lawd knows that I'm excited about having a speaking engagement. As I've shared before, the speakers circuit died up for me a few years ago and the chance to speak is far and few in between.  He hardest part about no speaking engagements is struggling to live. It's hard putting food on the table, when the money is far and few in between. But God always seems to work it out. It seems like when I'm at my lowest, I'll get a bracelet sale or a donation to the blog. I don't always have extra, but I never go hungry.

Me in Emerge Magazine
I say that making ends meet is the hardest, because, while I'm not speaking as much, I still do the very important work that God has called me to do. Yes, I say God called me to do. I see my work as ministry and that's my bottom line!

As many of you know, I use Social Media heavily. I turned there as away to continue the work, when the gigs slowed down. I had a message and Social Media was an open audience.

 I'm on Twitter from the time I wake, until the time I go to sleep each day, educating and challenging stereotypes and stigma around HIV/AIDS. Also, through blogging and Facebook I'm able to keep  alive HIV/AIDS and all the issues I address, such as, self-love, self-esteem, self-worth, love, family and so on.

But there are other ways I do the work. I also allow the media into my life, both print and camera. I'm an open book because I want people to get it. Get that you have choices and how you make them will impact your life. Get that you can live in spite of what you face. Get, that self-love should always be the first love.

I thought that it would be neat to feature some of the very open interviews that I've had in recent years. So I will begin with a two-part, one on one interview with seasoned political reporter, George Curry. George came to Chicago two years ago and spent the day with me.

George Curry
I've know George since I was 19 years old, working on the Jackson for President Campaign and he a reporter assigned to cover Jackson. Later, when he was Editor and Chief of Emerge Magazine, he featured me in a cover story. George has always had his pulse on important issues facing African-American's and he has made sure that the topic of HIV/AIDS sits center stage.

The interview took well over 6 hours and this is what he pulled together from the day long interview in my home; Facing AIDS!!

Facing AIDS! Part One!

Facing AIDS! Part Two!

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