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

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tea With Rae: Bonding Over Tea...

I simply LOVE tea and I think I enjoy sharing tea with others equally as much. That's why I blog about tea; to share this small pleasure with you. Yes, I've been off my tea blogging game this past year, but I'm coming back. I've been reaching out to new tea companies so I can have some exciting new teas to share with you.

I enjoy a cup of tea after a long day. It's such a joy to my spirit to kick back and savor the flavor and the moment, but sharing tea with others is also a special moment.

There's an intimacy that happens when you share tea; a bonding between friends. It's a great way to get to know new friends too. When you share tea, it becomes a relaxing space and you are able to block out the noise of the world and enjoy the flavor, each other and the moment.

That's exactly what I did with J. Nicole last month.  We  had so much fun laughing over tea.  Looking back over my life, you never know who you are going to touch. I tell people all the time, be careful how you treat people.

This young lady heard me speak when she was in high school over 15 years ago. That day, she came up to me with tears flowing down her face and I gave her my card and told her to reach out to me anytime. Well, she did just that. She hit me up on Twitter  over 15 years later and invited me to be her guest in a play that she's currently in at The Goodman Theatre. OMG! She was soooo good! This play Immediate Family is a must see.

I invited J. Nicole to tea at my home and it's safe to say that we bonded over Earl Grey Lavender Tea by Gschwendner Tea and homemade lemon pound cake, by me. I chose black tea because it is her favorite. However, traditional  Earl Grey has a wonderful Bergamot flavor and the lavender,  adds additional flavor. Check out an old review on Lavender Earl Grey Here.

It was a perfect match with the lemon pound cake, a little tart was perfect for the highly fragranced black tea. When serving, don't be afraid to mix up your tea cups and tea pot.  There's no need to be matchy-matchy and it adds character. This yellow tea pot is a 1960s Collector's from my Hall's Tea Pot Collection and the heart shaped tea cup is modern and was purchased from Nordstorm's a couple of years back.

Bonding over tea can happen in your home or you can fancy it up with a formal tea. A couple of weeks ago my bestie, Markeeda and I went to tea at the Peninsula Hotel. Hands down, the Peninsula serves one of the best afternoon teas that I have ever had. And OMG they serve high tea on Wedgewood China. One day I hope I could afford a Wedgewood Tea Set.

Anyhoo, you have well over 20 teas to choose from and they are all divine. I had an Orchid Oolong Tea and Markeeda had a Jasmine Mist Green Tea.

It's interesting how the Tea Time dining room is typically full, but somehow it feels like it's just you and your friend (s). I've had that feeling with one person and with 15 having tea at the Peninsula.

Their tea is typically traditional, with fancy sandwiches, desserts and scones. But these scones are some of the best I have ever had. You also receive, butter, jam and lemon curd on the side. The service is impeccable and I always ask for lemon curd to take home. The experience of High Tea should be on everyone's bucket list.

Something happens over tea; whether it's in your home or a wonderful Afternoon Tea. The tea offers a calm that transcends into the space that you are sharing. Invite a friend over. It doesn't have to be so fancy. Just put the tea kettle on, grab a mug have some tea and cookies and just see the magic.

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