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, October 21, 2013


Gettin Ready For The Procedure!
I sat in a daze as I listened to Dr. A. and Dr. S examine my face. Dr. A. had called Dr. S. into the room to take a look at my face for both a professional, and a woman's, opinion. Dr. A's German accent came through soft spoken and authoritative at the same time, "I don't think she really needs anymore," he said to Dr. A. "Maybe a little here," Dr. S. pointed to right under my eye, "but she's fine without it,' she added.

They continued to talk to each other as I sat waiting for the bottom line. "I think if we could get rid of her chin, Dr. A said, while pulling back his own chin to illustrate, "I think she would be perfect." Dr. S. started examining me closer as Dr. A. started explaining to me what he and Dr. S. had just concluded.

My Chain A Week ago in The Gym!
Dr. A. had been giving me Sculptra injections since February and this was my last and final round. I didn't think that my HIV face, as I call it, would ever get any better. The shifts in my body fat have been my worst nightmare. The extra fat in my stomach, back and under my chin...and then the lost of fat in my legs, thighs, buttocks and checks has been the pits.com. Read Older Blog Post On Lipodstrophy HERE!

HIV Lipodstrophy transformed my body without my permission well over 12 years ago. The cupcakes, stress eating and lack of exercise only made the stomach and back worst. It's been the one thing that has caused on-going emotional baggage for me.

It has been the one thing that has made me feel unattractive with HIV. Having HIV never made me feel unworthy, but how HIV reshaped my body, for sure, made me feel ugly and caused me a lot of doubts.

I didn't think anything would ever be done, until my HIV doctor refereed me to Dr. A., who is a medical dermatologist that sees patients in the HIV clinic where I receive my care. My HIV doctor told me that Dr. A. was doing great things for people with HIV. I thought that I had nothing to lose, so I made an appointment.

When I saw him, he thought that I was a candidate for Sculptra. The drug Sculptra builds collegian in your face. Many women use this drug for vanity purposes, but the pharmaceutical company has been giving compassionate use to people with HIV Lipodstrophy. More on Lipodstrophy HERE!

The first time we applied for Sculptra, I was declined. You talking about being disappointed and sad, man oh man, but Dr. A. didn't give up, and they finally said yes.
So, on this last round of Sculptra, I sat and listened to the medical dermatologist examine my face closely. We could see a difference for sure in my face. I'm not as sunken as I was before I began the Sculptra injections.
Two rounds of Sculptra, but that chin.
The problem was, this darn chin of mine. As Dr. A, talked about wanting to get rid of my chin, Dr. S. said, "You know, I think we should check to see if she is a candidate." My face lit up, huh, what? LIPOSUCTION!!! I started praying right then and there, LOL, but for real y'all. 

Dr. A. whipped out a camera and took a picture of my chin as Dr. A. explained that there might be a slim possibility that they would be able to give me liposuction. You should have seen my inner light beam. Not in my wildest imagination, or dreams, did I think it would be possible.

My chin outlined for the Procedure
They took the picture and promised to get back with me on Tuesday. Four long days, and I couldn't wait for Tuesday, but as 4:00 P. M. turned into 5, and 5 into 6, and I hadn't heard from Dr. S., I started to lose hope. Then, as I settled into my bed about 9:30 on Tuesday night with a book and a cup of tea, I checked my e-mail, and POW!!! An e-mail from Dr. S. was waiting, "It's a GO!!"

The Fat they Removed From My Chin!
So on this past Thursday, I had LIPOSUCTION!!! They removed 20 cc's of fat from my chin. I was awake during the entire procedure. There was no pain during the procedure, but I could feel Dr. A. pushing the fat into the syringe and the pressure from the suction. Afterwards, I was swollen, but that has gone down a great deal. I was in pain over the weekend. There is still some mild pain and I'm still really sore, especially to the touch.  I'm sure time will make it all better. 
Right After!
WOW!! I'm still basking in this blessing. I have to wear this pressure gauze for two weeks and you better believe I'm following directions. If I don't wear this gauze I stand the chance of the skin under my chin sagging. This is a blessing that I do not intend on messing up. I never understood people that are given a breakthrough with their health and then turn around and mess it all up again. No, the gauze ain't cute, but neither is a sagging chin. There's no way, that will I trade a fat chin in for a sagging chin. People can stare all they want!!!
Headed Home!!
I go back for my follow up visit on Thursday. I have a stitch at the lower part of my chin where they inserted the needle. As it stands now, I think I'm done, but they want me totally healed before they decide. The bandage under my chin, I was able to remove on Sunday. The stitches will come out on Thursday!
As you can see in the picture on top, I'm a new me! This was taken Sunday after I removed the bandage. The picture below, is a side by side. Someone at the knit shop took the picture of me in the grey sweater two weeks ago.

All and all, this is pretty remarkable! I'm happy, happy, happy! I thank God for doctors who really want to treat the whole person. Thank you Dr. A. and Dr. S.!!!! I'm feeling really blessed right about now!!

Now that the chin is gone, watch me get rid of the body fat in the front and back upper parts of my body. I have already lost 13 pounds since I began my year long body transformation in September. CrossFit will do the job, but for sure it's not for the faint at heart!

I keep telling people with HIV to just keep on living! What may seem your worst nightmare today, may end up being a blessing in years to come. All you have to do is just KEEP ON LIVING!!!

SALE! RLT Collection Sale has been extended until October 31st! 15% off Coupon Code at check out Oct2013. SHOP The new AIDS Awareness/Tea Snob mugs have arrived!!! This is your chance to get them at 15% off!!



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