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, September 3, 2013

The Queen Remembered..

I spotted a picture of Queen Latifah and Eazy-e on Queen Latifah's Instagram and I was excited and sadden all at the same time. It sent me into thinking overload and Lord knows when my mind get's going I dissect every angle before I'm done. It made me appreciate Queen Latifah even more than I already do, but it also reminded me of the shaming around HIV/AIDS still in 2013.

The posting of this picture on the Queen's account is significant. Significant because it gives voice to the voiceless, even in death. It sent a subliminal message that a person with HIV/AIDS's life still have worth, even in death. It said, I am not ashamed that Eazy-e died from AIDS. It said, I remember him and what he was to me and what he was to the world.

This subliminal messaging is important because still today the shaming around HIV/AIDS is alive and well, even in death. It amazes me how we have written off individuals who have made significant contributions to society that passed away from AIDS.

We have even done it in our families. I've met countless people in their 20's and 30's who told me that their mother, father, brother, aunt, uncle passed away from AIDS and how it's the family's, "Well kept secret."

One woman told me that her mother gathered everyone in the living room after her sister died and laid down the law, "We will NOT talk about this," Then, there are the families that just don't talk, like the college student that explained to me, that after 2 aunts passed away from AIDS, she said enough is enough and became a pier educator on her college campus.

We, have done it not only with Eazy-e, who is the father of Gangsta-Rap and also formed N. W. A., but with Rev. James Cleveland, the founder of contemporary Gospel music. He paved the way for the likes of artist such as, Yolanda Adams and Kirk Franklin. We have done it with Arthur Ashe, who paved the way in pro-tennis for the likes of the Williams sisters. We have done it with Max Robinson, the first Black national anchor man for national news. There wouldn't be a Don Lemon if there hadn't been a Max Robinson. 

Our silence  has spoken loud and clear. We will NOT talk about these people who have died from AIDS. We will not, because  we would  then have to face that, "Normal people," "Talented people," "Wonderful people," can become infected from this disease and that could mean me too. We will Not talk about this because it would mean that we would have to have an honest conversation about who is at risk, and how we are at risk. God forbid if we made the line around HIV/AIDS between them and us thinner.

We will NOT talk about them and let them shame our family and our community. At the center of this concept is how we view people with HIV/AIDS. At the center of this is an ugly stereotype of who and how one becomes infected with HIV. 

Easy-e made a significant contribution to the music Industry and help to usher in a new music form. His untimely death at age 31 was a shock to us all. I was already public and speaking at that time and he was the talk of town. People had questions. His death made AIDS real for that young generation. As did my infection for Black women and Magic's for heterosexual men. High School students wanted to know as much as they could about the how and why he died. His death brought a new conciseness to HIV/AIDS.

It also made clear the need to get tested for HIV. When he was admitted into the hospital, it was for asthma. Basically, he was having shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. However, what he really had, was an AIDS related Pneumonia, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, (PCP). The reality was, if Easy-e had known his HIV status, he could have taken medication to prevent PCP and his life would have been prolonged. His death made it clear the need for testing and early diagnosis of HIV

But today, no one really talks about him. I see all the pictures of other Gangsta rappers on Social Media on their birthdays and death anniversary all over Instagram and Twitter, but not until last week have I ever seen a picture of Eazy-e until I spotted that one on Queen Latifah's Instagram

That you Queen! Thank you for giving voice to the voiceless around HIV/AIDS, even in death

Post Script Are you tuning into The Queen Latifah  Show? I know that I am. It  premieres Sept 16th at 9:00 A. M. on CBS. I will be talking more about the Queen Latifah Show soon.  Click Here For More Details!

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