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, December 27, 2012

Dejango Off The Chain! Movie Review!

Dejango Unchained was off the chain! OMG! It had good guys, villains, a damsel in distress, action and even some historical moments. I'm still trying to figure out the controversy around the movie. As an action movie, it was off the chain; a European and a slave teaming as Bounty Hunters, brilliant! There was NEVER a dual moment! As a historian, I loved the authenticity of the era.

1858 was the height of slavery, an Institution matured and perfected by time and practice. It was a way of life and the relationship of the slave and slave owner was complicated and complex at best. For sure this was great fiction story telling at its best with some intense and funny historical moments.

So how do I review this movie without giving away the full plot? Hummm, so in a nut shell Jamie Foxx is a slave, rescued to help a bounty hunter find three criminals that he can identify  (former slave overseers at his former plantation) When I tell you he was magnificent, I mean it. I fell in love with Jamie and started following him on a twitter and I follow almost no stars. LOL

For sure Jamie was a slave with the spirit of free man, as was he wife Bloomhilder, portrayed by Kerri Washington! She didn't have a lot of speaking parts, but every move she made was significant for her role as slave woman sold away from her man. This was a great historical truth! On many plantations marriage was not allowed and on those that were, the couples were separated at the drop of pin both as a way of punishment and other times because the owner needed quick cash.

STOP! Telling this story without giving away the plot of this action pack movie, with a new twist every minute is harrrdd. Ok, Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed Calvin Cotton a 3rd generation slave owner of one of the most powerful plantations in the country. The Cotton Planation is in the heart of the Delta, just outside of Greenville, Mississippi. The Delta by far had some of the most intrenched slavery of all the Southern states.

DiCaprio character was brilliant and so was his head slave Stephen portrayed by Samuel Jackson. By the way, their relationship was yet again another complex, hard to watch but historical truth. Don Johnson portrays yet again another cunning slave owner.

Last but not least, was the character Dr. Schultz, portrayed by German actor Christoph Waltz. His character was the most complicated to me and a living breathing dichotomy. It illustrates the complexity of moral/ethical issues. On the one level, Dr. Schultz has a sense of outrage around the degradation of slaves, but yet can shoot a wanted criminal without flinching for the bounty on their head.

Ok, so now that you have all of the main characters, here are some historical truths. Hot Boxes existed, blacks were called niggers, white people were not use to seeing a black man doing, "normal" things that whites did in the South like riding a horse, there were house slaves who had the best interest of the slave master, even at the expense of other slaves, not every white person supported slavery, most common among Europeans, who were themselves discriminated against, slave families were separated, there were brothels ran by slave owners, Mandigo fighting was apart of the Southern Culture, slaves did runaway over and over again, slaves were rented out to mine  companies for cheap labor, ummm the list goes on and on. The fact is, this was a action packed fiction movie, set in the backdrop of the height of slavery. I think it was a brilliant script.

Now some people are boycotting the movie because it says the word nigger I think 111 times.  Who counts? I'm not gonna debate the use of the term. Yes I use it, just like I use the word bitch. For me language is powerful, but for sure, context is everything. Someone tweeted one day that Dr. King would turn over in his grave with our use of the world.. Ummm so when he  (Dr. King) referred to Andrew Young as his, "Little Nigger," I wonder his context?

Well whether we like it or not, the use of the word nigger was actuate, historical writing. Blacks called each other nigger and for sure that's how whites referred to most blacks in common everyday conversation. A black person was not seen as human, well not like white people were human.  Calvin Cotton makes that point very well. White people of that era actually believed Cotton's analogy of submissive behavior. They needed to believe it, otherwise they had to address the hardcore moral and ethical dilemma of slavery.

My bottom line, this was a great movie! But if you can't stand blood you should pass because blood was the past time in this movie.. And yes Lawddd, I concluded that Jamie Foxx was sexy as all get out in this movie, he was the sexy, compassionate bad guy that was packing more than a gun, if you know what I mean!
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