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, March 13, 2013

A Woman's Vagina Should Not Be A Pawn...

I was speechless when I watched this video that one of my Twitter followers, Ann sent to me. As I was shaking my head, I had to look down at my PJ's and remind myself that I am a woman, with a vagina and HIV.

So this guy Mike Frey actually said a woman's vagina protects her from contracting HIV. This reminds me of the 1987 article in Cosmopolitan Magazine that said a, "Woman with a healthy vagina couldn't get HIV." That was 1987 when we didn't know that much about HIIV and they still got picketed by Act-Up.

This is 2013, thirty-two years into the AIDS Pandemic and HIV/AIDS has had some of the most ground breaking research in a short period of time. To think that someone actually believes this crap and would part their lips and say it. *Blank Stare* Not only was his information WRONG about woman, but it was also WRONG on the why same sex male's contract HIV.

The internet is buzzing with articles challenging his views on male same sex and HIV, but I've seen very little on what he said about women. I get it, Gay Activist are on their A game and I ain't mad. So my blog post is not on the same sex point  or same sex marriage that Mike Frey tried to make; I'm speaking for and about women. But just so you know, I do support civil unions of the same sex.

I so dislike when people USE HIV to spread hate. If you don't support same sex marriage then say it. But don't push some ill-informed, jack ass reason to support your position.

I practically dislike men using women's vagina's for their politics. When I was in undergrad I did a 30 page research paper looking at how men have used a woman's vagina to promote there political agenda, usually around birth control, but even around issues of race.

The problem with misinformation around HIV, for both Women and Men, could be the difference between life and death.

To tell women that they can't get HIV through heterosexual sex and to speak it with authority is just pure sinful and irresponsible..

So he claimed that female to male sex is safer because a woman has a, "Barrier of cellular tissue that doesn't allow the sperm... to penetrate the blood flow," but anal sex doesn't have this protection. With 34 million adults living with HIV world-wide and approximately half are women, I wonder what planet is Mike living on?

The fact of the matter, women are generally at greater risk of heterosexual transmission, meaning it's easier for a man to transmit to a women, then for a women to a man. According to the HIV/AIDS Charity Avert, "Biologically, women are twice as more likely to become infected with HIV through unprotected heterosexual intercourse than a man."

According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Women are at greater risk for infection through heterosexual contact for the following reason:

  • The vagina has a larger area (compared to the penis), that can be exposed to HIV-infected semen.
  • Semen can stay in the vagina for days after sex, while men are only exposed to HIV-infected fluids during sex. Semen left in the vagina means a longer exposure to the virus for women.
  • Having untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) makes it more likely for a person to get HIV. This is especially true for women. Small cuts on the skin of the vagina are hard to notice but may allow HIV to pass into a woman's body.

In the back drop of Woman and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on this pass Sunday, I am aware of the fact that we must educate our women and girls about their risk factors around HIV/AIDS.

While treatment is great, I believe that prevention is our best defense against this disease. We cannot save lives with half-truths and misinformation. I have no idea who Mike Frey is, but what I know for sure is this kind of misinformation coming out of his mouth is dangerous.  I was reading some of the comments people made on line at various articles on this topic and for sure, people cling to crazy out of the fear of the truth.

When a woman believes the truth that she is at risk for HIV, she has to then adjust her behavior to meet this new information. Half truths are easier to embrace sometimes. Who wants to believe that their boyfriend  or even husband, could put them at risk? Who wants to think about using condoms with that man who is your best thing since slice bread? The truth then becomes the barrier between what you hope for  in a relationship and what is the reality.

Condoms have become our enemy that is buried under the hope for a better truth; My Partner will keep me self, I am not at risk, I'm in a monogamous relationship, He loves me...

But when you pull the layers back, the most profound question you must ask yourself is, how much do I love me?

In 2013, we have come a lone way. But clearly Mike Frey has reminded us how far we still must go. We must challenge misinformation head on. The TRUTH is our sword in the fight against new infections, against stigma and shaming.

 A Man who cannot respect the truth about a Woman's vagina, should not be privileged to enter it.  And a Woman who loves the love of a man, over the love of her own vagina, is living in the world of Mike Frey.

A Woman's vagina should not be a pawn... Bottom Line.

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