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, July 25, 2013

Never Doubt Your Place in this Space!!

Last year this time I was trying to scarp up money to go to BlogHer. I knew it was an important conference in the life of a blogger. Thanks to some of my biggest supporters, friends I've met through twitter, off to the Big Apple I went. I met a lot of sponsors and a lot of bloggers.

I got a lot of stuff "freebies" from companies us wanted us to blog about their product. I got a lot of helpful hits on how to make my blog better. But when I left, I had not met one person in BlogHer's leadership nor had I secured one sponsor for my blog.

In the year following the conference  I came up with some Aha Moments. For sure my blog is a serious content blog. For sure it will remain first person. My blog is my journey, my life, my opinion, my laughable moments, my good, bad and ugly. My blog is about my life, when I shit on myself and when others shit on me. I'm ok with the path that I've taken because my gift is my life. Ironically, my life has also been my curse. It's been such a painful journey for me from birth to 51, but yet God has given me that extra; the stuff that makes me keep going when I wanta quit. 

I had resolved that I may never get a sponsor and I'm ok with that. I'm ok because my blog is not about making money, it's about enriching the life's of others. I share my life with the hope that someone will keep going, will do something different, something better about their lives.

So low and behold, I was knocked out of bed one morning when I received an email from BlogHer asking me to be the closing keynote speaker for their HealthMinder Day! Shut Up!! I mean someone else thinks that what I do is worth sharing. WOW! So tomorrow I will have what's called a keynote conversation. Interviewing me in front of hundred's of bloggers will be Jeannine Harvey the Social Media director of the powerful organization Onemoms. 

We will discuss my groundbreaking work in Social Media; How I've used Social Media to advance the issues of HIV/AIDS. We will talk about how I've built my brand though my authentic, candor and transparency. I'm honored to have been asked to talk about what I do and why I do it. I've said it over and over, I came to Social Media when my speaking engagements died up with the dead economy because God still had work for me to do. Social Media was a free forum  to continue to challenge stigma around HIV, educate and give hope.

I'm proud that I've been able to grow with the 21st century I've been criticized for my candor and transparency. I've even been criticized for my overall use of Social Media. Tomorrow is worth every negative conversation about me and my work. I'm honored that BlogHer, recognizing my ground breaking use of Social Media and I'm excited about giving other bloggers some insight  on how to grow their brand through the use of Social Media. I'm honred to be among the list of keynote speakers. U. S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Seblius is the opening speaker.

What I know for sure is this simple. If you follow the path that God has chosen for you... God will make room for your gifts. Never doubt your place in this space called the universe. 

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