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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Reflection: Before The Year Ends..

So we have made it to Spring! We are three months into the new year and what have you accomplished of your New Year Resolutions? As for me, going to the gym went to hell in a hand basket. Every single week I say, "I'ma do it this week," but then I have some reason or another. Now some of my reasons are real and others are excuses. I had a bout with my health in January and February. Then there was the bronchitis I had two weeks ago, but for the most part, not going to the gym has been nothing but excuses, excuses, excuses. I think if I dig deeper enough, there may be some other New Year Resolutions that are lagging in progress too.

We make these resolutions and we whisk right pass them like the Chicago wind. The good thing about a quarter of the year assessment is that you still have 3/4 more of the year to go before it ends. Right? Right! This means that it's not to late. I remember a trainer at one of the gyms I worked-out at frequently. He wanted to go to graduate school for Sports Medicine. We talked often about his dream. In the meantime, about a year in, I went to seminary for my Master of Divinity degree. Three years later, I was graduating and he said to me, "Shoot, I was talking about going to school long before you went and now here you are graduating and I still haven't applied." This was the truth and my only response was, "It's never to late, but first you have to fill out the application Boo." We laughed and he said, "And you know you're right."

So here we are 3 months into this year and your  goals are floating in the wind. This means it's assessment time. Ask yourself these questions, Why was that particular thing on my list?; How important is it to Me? I want you to rate it, 1-5 with 5 being most importantly and then move from that point.

Now, its importance should be about YOU. Not about what people will think of you, but about how it makes you feel about YOU! Ask yourself, what sense of accomplishment will I get from it?; What values will it add to my life? You have to ask yourself, "Will this thing in the long run make me happy, content, accomplished?"

With these questions I want you to be really honest. If it was on your list because you saw it on Twitter or Facebook and there was peer pressure to say YES count me in, ummm then you need to get it off your list. That was not about your fulfillment but about how others will view you when you said you were going to do it.

You have to dig really deep within yourself about your list. Some of those things were superficial, but some had some real meaning; substance that will add to the the quality of your life, making it a better life.

So now that you have reassessed your list. Ask yourself what have been the impediments in my life to making this thing happen? Ask yourself, "Am I just lazy?" Or is there a deeper reason that I have not done that thing? Sometimes we sabotage ourselves because we are afraid of what it will mean and the lifestyle changes it will require.

Or, we are afraid that it will take longer than we would like? Especially when it comes to weight lost,  it takes time. You have to change your behavior and be consistent. Consistency takes work; but in this I want success right now, we devalue hard work. That's why so many "quick fix" diets have been more successful at sucking people in, then the actual amount of weight people have lost. For Real... If we added up all the quick fix diets and the amount of people who have tried them, there would be so many pounds in that number.

Trayce's Before and After to date!
My hair Stylist Trayce Madre has lost over a 100 pounds but it has taken a lot of hard work and she is still at it! Trayce's commitment has been STELLAR!

Commitment is key and so is your reason! She told me once, that there were to many health problems in her family as well as, early deaths connected to weight. She wanted more for herself. Not only did she want it, she went after it, one work out and meal at a time! She has made a life style change, not a diet.

I'm sure that we all have areas of our life where we want something for ourselves; something more; something better. When I started RLT Collection I had NO customers. August 9, 2013 will be 4 years and I have built my business one bracelet at a time; one customer at a time.

I have had to reinvest the dollars that I make, forgoing a new handbag. I have had to invest time. Learn my skill and most importantly spend time with my gemstones. Sure making a stretch bracelet takes 5 minutes, but designing a stretch bracelet and an entire collection takes hours. Yes, I could just put some beads on stretch and sell them, but excellence is my standard. I have a gift of design and I work hard at growing that gift. My BFF Luke will tell you, he calls and ask, "What you doing?" My response, "Working on bracelets. Let me call you later."

New Unisex RLT Collection!
There has been a natural growth to RLT Collection. I know another bracelet company that had major contacts. They got in with the stars and athletes and BAM! recently they made $30,00 at a truck show at Nordstrom's in a couple of hours. You know what? I'm not even mad. Kudos!!! I know a woman that has brought bracelets from both of us. The world is large and there is enough to go around. Don't be jealous of what others got! Thats the wrong spirit. Get your ass out of their success and direct your energy on your own!

Would that kind of mind blowing success be great? Damn straight, but everyone don't get those breaks, some of us have to work hard. We should NOT measure our success by others, but by what is organic. I just don't think God would plant a seed in our spirit and gift us with talents to go unfulfilled. Sometimes our measuring stick is off. Our energy and spirit is directed on the wrong think.

Luke's Instagram Meditation this morning confirmed this blog for me!
Now with that being said, get off your tush and do the things that will add value and enrich your life! My former therapist use to say to me, "Rev I know you can do it!"

"But Doc," I would wine.
He would say,  "Rev, discipline is a transferable skill."
 I would give him that black woman side eye. He would continue because he was not intimidated by my side eye.
"But Doc I would wine."
He'd cross his legs and say, "Rev, and I know that you have discipline. Ask me how I know? I know because you take your medication like clock work twice a day."
 At that time I was on Fuzeon that I had to inject in my stomach twice a day. It was incredibly painful and I cried everyday for a year; But I did it because not doing it meant death over life. My value was placed in my living.

Where is your value placed? If it means that much to you then why haven't you done it? What are you waiting on to be a better you? You have ______days ahead of you before the year ends!

I'm headed to the gym!

Postscript: I had a little writer's block but I'm back :)

 FOLLOW my new Instagram account for RLT Collection @RLT Collection It's all about bracelet fashion-- the latest trends in bracelets, as well as, RLT Collection news and contests.

And send me your bracelet pictures, I would love to post you wearing RLT Collection.

You can Tweet, Facebook, Email or Instagram your pictures, but make sure you tag @RLTCollection #RLTColleciton on Instagram so I can find it. I want pictures of YOU wearing the bracelets... but I'll also take pictures of your arm wearing  arm candy from RLT Collection.

My personal Instagram is @RaeLT

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