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, July 18, 2012

Stuck On Stupid!

HIV is Preventable!!! So why won't we use condoms to prevent it? Why are we stuck on stupid? I just don't get this. I was infected with HIV in an era where they were telling heterosexual  women that they couldn't get HIV. It was viewed as a gay male, IV drug user disease. But in the 21st century there shouldn't be a drop of confusion. Like For Real!!

So what is it? What is the barrier to using a barrier? Is it we don't like how the sex feels? Is the feel worth the risk? Do we trust our partner that much? Do you think it will never happen to you? Do you think if you ask your partner to use a condom they will think you are cheating, or think you think they are cheating? What is the deal?

I remember a young man, 18 years old reached out to me after he was diagnosed with HIV. He had heard me speak a year earlier. I had to ask, "What the hell were you thinking?" He said to me, "I trusted him." I'm sick of this, just plain sick of it! Trust what you know for sure!!!

Y'all kill me with this, talking all big and bad like you think you know your partner. You know what they tell you and what you see. Beyond that you don't know a damn thing.  I have blogged and blogged and blogged about my life. Telling you things that no one in their right mind would admit publicly just so you can get it and you still don't get it.

I done told you about men who cheated on me with other women. I done told you about married men texting me about hooking up and yes I told you recently that I fell in love with a married man. We lived together and  back then you couldn't pay me to believe that he wouldn't be here today. I thought that shit was forever. The love was, but our life together was just too complicated.

Stop banking on what you think you know.  Life is crazy and complicated. Nothing is a sure thing, not even tomorrow. It's some stupid shit to put your life in the hands of what you think, when you can place it in the comfort of certain. And don't go super crazy on me and say condoms aren't safe.

The fact of the matter, a latex condom used 100% of the time correctly prevents the spread of HIV and they rarely break. For as long as I've been having sex, I've had one condom break and that's because we were ummmm screwing on top of the ceiling so to speak. :)

Come on Yall!! Get UnStuck!! Nothing in life is for certain. I say often, I pray that what you THINK you know about your partner is true. I know for a fact, from both sides of the coin; when the penis ain't in your pocket, you have NO idea what it's doing.

What will it take for you to move beyond stupid? What will it take for you to stop looking at my life from the lens of interesting, but with no application to your own life?  Let me be clear, if I were in your shoes, not infected with HIV, a man couldn't look at my vagina without a condom.

And let me be extra clear, I'm not trying to be re-infected with HIV; a different strain that will take my ass out of here faster. Nor am I trying to get any other STD's, I have enough. So a man still can't look at my vagina without a condom.

If he doesn't want to put a condom on, then you put it on. Female condoms work too. But this is my bottom line. If he ain't willing to use a condom, then he might not be the person with your best interest at heart. There is NO sex worth your life. I need you to get this. I mean really get this!! Stop playing with your life!

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