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

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chocolate Divine! Review of Phillip Ashley Chocolates!

I love Chocolate! So when I saw these beautiful chocolates on my BFF's Luke Facebook timeline, my mouth started to water. I was excited when Luke reached out to his fraternity brother Phillip and he agreed to send me a box. First off, when I opened the box of Phillip Ashley designer chocolates I was struck at the mere beauty of them. Honestly, each piece is like a work out art. Truth be told, I am a bit of a chocolate connoisseur and I'm not easily impressed, but right off  bat I knew that Phillip was at least creative.  His chocolates are so beautiful you have to take them in before you eat them.

The visual aesthetic impressed me. Seeing them on Facebook was one thing, but in front of me they more than met my expectations. Seeing the culinary skills of a young African-American male before my eyes, I had an immediate sense of pride. Phillip just turned 35, so to me he's a "young in". Luke and I stood looking at the chocolates and reading the descriptions before we reached for one. We were both fascinated by the sheer beauty and all the exotic flavors.

I reached for my first chocolate to see if taste matched the sheer beauty, and as the chocolate melted in my mouth and the ganache serenaded my taste buds, selfishness consumed me and I told Luke, "You can have ONE!" LOL

They are divine! Now, you know how you get a box of chocolates and while they look good, half of the box is ... umm ... nasty? Well, you won't have that problem. Of course there were a few that didn't sit well with my taste buds, I tend to not like savory and sugar mixed. Overall, I really enjoyed the box that Phillip sent me. Each chocolate is an exotic experience that is worth the try.

Most of you know that I have altered my diet and I'm only eating refined sugar in very limited amounts. Each night I would have me a cup of tea and a few Phillip Ashley Chocolates. It only took a week for me to max that box. Luke went home the next day and I told him to get his own chocolates. By the way, Earl Grey goes well with chocolate.  Earl Grey is a black tea with a bergamot flavor which complements chocolate no matter the flavor and a great pick me up after dinner.

Let me be honest, they are a tad pricey, but so is Godiva, and I think these are equal to other fine chocolates. I'm happy that Phillip has agreed to give my readers a 15% off discount. The coupon code at check out is DIVA2014. It will show up after the subtotal.  Remember, Valentine's is coming!! Shoot, treat yourself.

Lastly, I'm really impressed with Phillip Ashley Rix.  He is award winning chocolatier who began, self-trained in the art of chocolate. I can relate because that's how beading has been for me.  He left corporate American to follow his dream in 2012. It took a lot of guts to say, I want to make chocolates. Like huh? But in two short years, he has opened a shop in Memphis, Tennessee and is following his dream. This deserves to be supported.

Do me a favor, he is in the running for a small business grant at Federal Express. Take a second and vote for him. VOTE HERE! Voting ends February 23, 2014.

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