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, December 9, 2013

Taking Back Control...

In the month prior to going on this last round of IV medication I was on top of the world. Overall, I was feeling BETTER. My Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) seemed to be under control. I was having regular, everyday bowel movements.  I had more energy and was feeling great. I believe the combination of my new diet, working out and juicing was the sum total of my better days. I've been eating Paleo since the middle of October. Basically, meat, vegetables, fruits nuts and seeds. No dairy, legumes, gains or refine sugar . I was juicing everyday and working out everyday. I love CrossFit. It is the workout to get me off the sofa and the people of at River North Crossfit have been very supportive.

Then WHAM! I got another herpes infection. Man, oh man, you talk about being hit from nowhere. Yet, I was still determined to not let the IV medication stop my routine. Somehow, though, it seems that I lost my control with no return. That first week I made it to CrossFit one time. My body just was not cooperating. This round of IV mediation hit me harder than any others while on Cidofovir. I'm typically able to bounce back a few days after the infusion before I have to go back for the next one.

This round I was weak and nauseous the entire time.  I wanted to juice, but had no energy and my meals were 90% carryout. I could barely make a cup of tea, so cooking wasn't even an option. This lead to some depression and the depression led to emotional eating and this led me right back to a hard case of IBS.  Last week was the first full week off IV medication and I was sure that I would start to bounce back. I did make it to the gym 3 times but working out was hard and when I came home I was done for the day. This of course led to more emotional eating, mostly sugar. It hit me by the weeks end that I was really constipated, again. It had snuck up on me from out of nowhere. My back pain has been intense since last week and I just don't feel good.

I get it today, clearer than I ever have.  My body needs certain things in this stage of my journey. There has been so much early damage to my immune system that my body needs help to be its best, especially as I age with HIV/AIDS. Yes, the antiviral medication keeps HIV under control, but basically thats all it does. So it's up to me to do the rest.

This week I'm back on it. I will be at the gym everyday, even if it means I come home and crash. If I keep working out, overtime I will have more energy, just like before. Yes, it's disheartening on some level, that I seem to be right back where I was 3 months ago. That first month of doing CrossFit was hard and I wasn't able to do a whole lot afterwards. I know in time it will render the results I'm shooting for, so I have to start somewhere.

Yep, I'm taking back my control.  I Love myself enough to be good to myself. I only have one me and the choices I make today will impact my tomorrow. I wish I understood this when I was 20, before herpes, before HIV, but I can't beat myself up about what I didn't know. Instead I will take what I do know and use it to my advantage for my best life.

When I leave the gym, I'm stopping at the store to pick up items to get back to juicing everyday and I will be cooking, even if it's a light meal. I'm getting back to my chiropractor this week and trying some other alternative things like acupuncture and massage therapy at a new alternative clinic.

When I feel like I want to cling to food to comfort me, I will pop a grape in my month or have a slice of pineapple, rather than a cookie. Yes, there's sugar in fruit, but it's natural sugar and that's better than refined sugar any day. If I don't have the will-power to not eat emotionally right now, then I will eat the things that will do the least amount of damage to my body. Anyway, on the Paelo diet you can eat as much fruit as you want.

I've learned somethings about my body these last 3 months, it really does operate better under certain conditions. Every time I tried to have a big meal of pasta or some other unhealthy food, my nausea was compounded and my bloating was at full force. While I don't seem to be able to control herpes, I'm taking back the control I do have. I'm doing it today and I'm not giving it up again. My body is all I have and I want to be my best me for the rest of my life, even with HIV/AIDS.

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