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, January 1, 2013

Tea With Rae: The Making of a Tea Snob

Happy New Year Lovely's! January is National Hot Tea Month and I decided to pay homage to my favorite beverage for my first blog of the year! I started drinking tea with my biological mother who I met when I was 18 years old.

For about 5 months I lived with her and her husband in Boulder, Colorado. Her husband was a professor at a Colorado university and my mother, a recovering hereon addict and housewife. They lived a simple upper middle class life. Believe it or not, they didn't even own a television. Not because they couldn't afford one, but because books ruled their household.

My mother with a book and a cup of tea...
She and her husband were devout Buddhist, so the eastern ritual of tea was deeply ingrained in their home. Back then, their were no fancy teas just a good variety of black teas. Thus, my love for black tea.

Each evening we would grab a book and a cup of tea, descend on the living room and sip and read. It was a simple uncomplicated way for she and I to bond. Her life had been plagued by years of addiction and mine by years of abuse. Books and Tea became our spiritual connection. Very few words were spoken back then, but for sure this ritual spoke to our souls.

I learned something about myself and tea. My love for books was heighten and that deal was sealed. But tea was an experience all unto itself. It wasn't just drinking a beverage, each sip was a moment that consumed all of you. It was calming, soothing and even exhilarating all wrapped into one.

At the end of those five months she and her husband moved out of the country, I came back to Chicago to begin life on my own yet again, but for sure, I took the ritual of tea with me. Over the years I started experimenting with different teas. I learned that each tea flavor spoke to the moment that I was seeking. From a brisk black tea to jump start me in the morning to a chamomile to soothe and calm in the evening.

Just try it! Start in the evening after a long day and experience the pleasure that comes in a simple tea cup. Happy New Year! Happy Cuppa!

Tea Ball Give Away! I am giving away 5 of my handmade Tea Balls. One Tea Ball each week for the month of January. Special design! Leave a comment on any Tea with Rae post  this month on why you like tea or about your favorite tea and the best comments will win! The winner will be announced every Thursday!

Post Script: I will be blogging all month about tea and there after my weekly Tea Reviews will again be a permeant fixture on my blog. Hopefully I will get some tea give always from tea companies. But you have to show interest so they will say yes.. Always use my Hashtag #TeaWithRae when you tweet me about tea. Xoxoxo

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