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, August 23, 2012

Driving The Midwest! YESSS! The Grand Prize!

I remember when I was working heavy in politics back in the 80's you couldn't catch a progressive politician in a foreign car. Even Rev. Jesse L. Jackson drove a Buick. Well, that was the family car and what he rode in back and forth to PUSH and to the airport. Mrs. Jackson drove it mostly.

The Jackson's only had one car and Rev. Jackson would go get a new one every two years and it would always be the same Buick. We cracked up one year when he came home with a different color of the same car. Us young folks would laugh and laugh, thinking he was way old fashion.

Then in 1984, I went on the campaign trail during the Democratic primary and met many of the workers who actually built these cars. I listened to their stories as they told them to Jesse Jackson, then a presidential candidate. I started to understand why Rev. Jackson never diverted from American made cars. Buying one meant that we helped to feed our own. At my core, I understood the importance of Made in the USA, but something happened along my way.

Well, call it buppyism. By the time I was 32, I was driving a BMW, the ultimate in the statement car. And I rationalized it in spite of what I felt was right by saying, "Germans makes the best cars." When asked, I would mumble, "American technology needs to catch up with the rest of the world."

Grandmama had one just like this!
 I know we've all said it at one time or the other, so STOP lying. Then I watched in horror at the possibility that American made cars would be something of the past and then with a sigh of relief our government thought it was worth saving; not just because we have a rich history in the automotive industry, but we also save jobs for thousands of Americans.

Somewhere between one of my BMW's I started to take notice. My last car was a Jaguar the once British, now American made vehicle. But honestly, I never really paid serious attention to GMC/Chevy until recently.

Connie in the all black... BBSumitt
I first started paying attention when I met Connie Burke the Social Media Guru at GMC. I was hanging out at a Tweet-up with my good girlfriend/blogger Dwana.  It wasn't a vehicle I saw that day that got my attention, but a program that I thought was admirable called, Chevy Missions. I really started to pay attention. You know I'm a sucker for a good cause. In the months after, I would see Connie at other Social Media events and get a peek inside of the GMC/Chevy vehicles she had on hand. I was impressed. Then last year, Connie asked me if I would like to have a car for a week. It came right on time. That Buick LaCrosse was wonderful!!  You can read about my Thanksgiving ventures driving a Buick HERE.

So this time, I reached out to Connie. Living on Chicago's Gold Coast, I don't always need a car, but I this Tweet-Up requires one. Cause let me tell you, my first Tweet-up I did 90% of the running around picking up raffles and swag bags items on the bus, walking and taxi. I was not trying to do that this time around.

So I thought I would reach out to Connie. They have another program that I love and I thought this would be a chance to give them some PR. GMC Our Town, Our Heroes is a wonderful program. It allows people to nominate individuals from their community that are making a difference.  The winner gets a vehicle for a week and a $500.00 gift card. Here are the details....

Our Town, Our Heroes information:
  • Our Town, Our Heroes is an Illinois-based program seeking to recognize and reward local heroes making a difference in their community.
  • Each month, we feature nominated finalists and showcase them on DrivingtheMidwest.com for a two-week voting period.
  • The public chooses the winner by voting for the hero they think is the most inspiring.
  • The winning hero, and his or her nominator, wins a one-week loan of an all-new General Motors vehicle. The winning hero also receives a $500 gift card.
  • Nominations are easy – submit a photo and a short description on why your hero inspires you on DrivingtheMidwest.com

Markeeda's Car!
Now that's Cool!! If you know someone who is worthy, Nominate them HERE. I think it's a wonderful thing that GMC/Chevy are giving back to the communities that have helped to make them a house hold name over the years. I know that was true for my family. The only car my grandmother ever owned was a Cadillac and now my BFF Markeeda drives a Cadillac CTS. These types of programs by GMC/Chevy are America at our best; when we not only take notice of our community, but we give back.

You must checkout the Our Town, Our Heroes Program, I know there is someone that you know that is worth the recognition. There are so many unsung heroes, who do the work daily to help enrich the lives of others. I think it's great and GMC thinks so too.

I'm also honored that GMC/Chevy are partnering with me. Y'all know I am a tad provocative on Twitter and in this Blog, but my ministry is meeting people where they are at, right in their heart and gut. I'm always elated when a company does not mind attaching their brand to my work. At the core, there is still so much stigma around HIV/AIDS. When a brand supports my work, they are taking a stand against this stigma.

So let me tell you, I've been driving this wonderful Terrain Truck around all week, picking up the raffle prizes and all the goodies for the swag bags thanks to GMC. But guess what?  You could also win a chance to drive around a GMC/Chevy Vehicle. YESSSS! The grand prize raffle at my Book Signing, Meet/Tweet-Up is a one week free use of a vehicle. You MUST be 21 to enter with an Illinois Driver's license. You MUST be there at the time of the drawing to win!

I have rules to enter and GMC/Chevy have rules to enter

RLT Rules--- All The Links Are Live... You can just click them there.

1. Follow on Twitter @ThisisGMC

2. Follow on Twitter @DrivingMidwest

3. Follow on Twitter @ConnieBurke

3. Follow on Twitter @DonnasCafe

4. Like on Facebook Our Town-Our Heros

5. Like on Facebook Donna's Cafe

5. At The Event you must take pictures and or video of the Terrain that will be parked in front of Donna's Cafe and Tweet, Instgram  Facebook them. We want to know what you like best about the Terrinn AND what you think about them partnering with me/RLTEvent... I want some creativity Lovely's! The Hash Tags #GMCRLT #FightHIVStigma

You can ONLY enter after you have done all the above things the evening of the Tweet-Up and we will look...  Event Details HERE!

GMC/Chevy Rules

1. You Must Be Twenty-One Years of Age.

2. You must have a current Illinois Drivers License

3. You will win a one-week loan of a General Motors vehicle. Please know vehicles are subject to availably

4. You must book your loan within six weeks of the event date August 25, 2012

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