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, December 12, 2013

Tea With Rae! Holiday Teas and Hostess Gifts...

The holiday season has arrived and many of you will be receiving guests or making stops yourself. I thought that I would share the perfect teas for the season, from dessert teas to after dinner teas. You can serve them or you can pick them up for your hostess. Every great guest enters with something in their hand. While most people will bring an assortment of drinks, tea will be a great change of pace. Tea is a wonderful way to end a perfect dinner. I've chosen some of my favorites in black, green, herbal and Chai.

First on my list are After Dinner teas. At the top of my list is a seasonal tea that I look forward to every year. Joy Tea. This tea is absolutely divine. It's a perfect blend of black, oolong, jasmine and green tea.

While I didn't think that Tazo could improve on this tea blend, this year they added a hint of peach and all I can say is divine. This is a smooth tea that will compliment any dessert. It can only be purchased doing the holiday season at Starbucks. I typically pick up a few tins for the months after the holiday. This Tazo tea can be ordered online or you can drop into Starbucks and pick up a tin.

Earl Grey is my absolute favorite black tea. It's rich bergamot flavor add to black leaves gives black tea a welcomed pop.  While I tend to be a loose leaf person, my go to, is a tin of Tazo Earl Grey. Tazo bag teas are full leaf, thus rendering the same effect as loose left without the clean up. Earl Grey is perfect pairing with any dessert. This black tea will give you a caffeine boost after a heavy meal, but it has just enough flavor to give it a pop, but it won't overshadow your dessert.

This year Starbucks have a great selection of holiday mugs perfect for your hostess. I plan to pick up a couple for my tea cup collection. I love to drink my tea in as many different mugs as I drink in teas.

Also, at the top of my hostess gift list is  Mary J. Bilge Holiday CD. This is her first holiday CD and it is wonderful!! She has a variety of artists singing with her, including Barbara Streisand. I have listened to it often since  I picked it up a few weeks ago at Starbucks. Let's say, Mary J has certainly grown up.

Back to tea, sometimes after a large meal, you simply don't have room for dessert, but you want to have the taste of sweetness. My suggestion is a tea that taste just like a dessert.  My first recommendation is a new tea for me. Chocolate Chai by Adagio's Teas. I have never been big on Chai teas, but this tea is wonderful. This spicy chocolate tea is a blend of black tea, ginger root, cinnamon bark, cloves, cardamom, and coco nibs.

My all time favorite dessert tea is Coco Carmel Sea Salt by Teavana. This herbal tea taste just like its title. The first time I tried it, I couldn't decide if I felt like I was having a chocolate salt carmel cup cake from More Cupcakes or a sundae. I swear you will think this is cake or some decadent dessert. It's an herbal tea so there is no caffeine. It's made with sweet caramel, decadent chocolate, a hint of cream and a light sprinkling of sea salt. When I tell you this is delicious,  It's a WINNER!

You might have some guests that don't want chocolate, but still they want a tea with a rich flavor. My all time favorite oolong tea is also by Teavana, Spiced Mandarin Oolong. It's not as spicy as a chia tea but the rich flavors or orange, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and  pepper gives you an exotic flavor. Full Review Here.  A new seasonal tea at Teavana is Pumpkin Spiced Burlee Oolong. I sampled it a few weeks back and with the flavors of butterscotch carmel, toffee and vanilla I gave it a thumbs up. I plan to pick some up before they run out.

Now for sure you will have some guests that prefer green tea. Its half the caffeine of black and oolong teas and has the most health benefits. I know that since I've been on this health kick  these last few months. I've had more green tea than I have in my life-time. First up is Sakura Allure Green Tea. 

At the center is the Sakura flower grown in Japan and blended with pineapple, rose, hibiscus, cherry and mango. This is one of my favorite green desert teas. Full Review Here!

Last on my tea least, but certainly not least, are two new teas for me that I have yet to review. One of my girlfriends introduced me to Andrew's Own green teas. I love both the Organic Jasmine infused Green Tea and the Green Earl Grey. They can only be purchased at the Home Shopping Network.

For the tea lover, don't forget tea accessories. My handcrafted Tea Balls are a perfect gift! Shop Here!

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