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, January 14, 2014

Being Deliberate in 2014!

Yesterday, as I was making lunch, I started to think about living verses being alive. I've got to admit, some days in my past, I was just alive and not really living. That tends to happen when I get sick, like when I'm having a round of IV medication, I stop functioning at full pace - not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Then, when I get better physically, I have a hard time bouncing back emotionally and mentally because I had shut them down. It's almost like having to have physical therapy on my mind and spirit after each bout of illness.

Now these last few weeks I've been struggling physically and I had given myself over to the physical, and honestly, after the doctor dug that swab in my raw vulva on Wednesday, I was at a low place. Then something happened between Wednesday night and Thursday morning ... low and behold, I found myself at the gym Thursday morning - sore vagina and all ... Then again on Friday ... and again on Monday!  Still sore vagina and all.

As I settled back home from the gym on yesterday, it hit me right in the middle of cutting up fruit - while I am grateful to be alive, I said to myself, "Girl what you are doing at this moment is being deliberate, you are, living! Then it hit me, I like how this feels!

Yes, I was being deliberate about being deliberate. I could have stayed on the sofa, and I could have just as easily had potato chips rather than fruit. Then I was thinking that one deliberate thing creates a path to another deliberate thing.

See it's like this: CrossFit made me want to eat better. Like why would I have such a great workout then turn around and X factor it out? One good thing lead to another good thing. And while I'm still healing, those two good things - CrossFit and eating healthy - have added to my feeling better more each day and added to my productivity.

Yesterday I actually completed eight bracelet designs in the new 20 Collection, for RLT Collection commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Essence cover story.

I woke up this morning happy! Happy to be alive and happy in my skin! So it's official as I go into 2014, I am being deliberate about being deliberate about my life. I'm putting action to my life in all areas of my life to be my best me for me. 2014 makes 31 years that I have lived with HIV, 28 years that I have known my status and 22 years that I have had AIDS. I have no idea how much longer I will live, but I really want to live my best life for the rest of my life. Being deliberate is putting your best foot forward...

When you are deliberate you see progress no matter what areas of your life, whether it is working out, eating healthy, taking your medication, using a condom to keep yourself safe, studying hard in school, working on projects, pursing your dreams and putting action behind your goals. BTW, a goal without action is futile. Yep, I'm being deliberate about being deliberate!

Will you join me in 2014?
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