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, February 25, 2014

Happy Is, As Happy Does....

It hit me yesterday morning that I've made it past the 3 month mark that I haven't had a herpes outbreak! This is major, considering that almost like clock work, for the last 2 years, an outbreak has been my norm.

As many of you know, I've been very open with the fact that I have this aggressive, drug resistant herpes that requires me to go on this aggressive anti-viral medication that I get intravenously. It's been a pain in my ass, or should I say, right between my legs and that has made my life hell, at least during the IV treatments.

As I was sipping my morning tea, I tried to think about the bottom line in my life-style that could have brought this change about in my health. All I can think about is the fact that I'm happy and happy can go a long way in helping to boost your immune system.

They say that happy is as happy does and for sure I've been doing a lot of good stuff! At the top of the list is Mr. Handsome. While we are taking it one day at a time, we have connected beyond words in a short period of time. There have been some great moments and laughter with him.

For sure, he has added value to my life and for sure that goes a long way over and above a relationship that you are trying to make work. Those relationships that you are trying to make fit and feel right tend to be stressful. If it don't feel right, then it's not right. Sometimes when I see women in distress tweeting about a man, I butt in and remind her that she deserves more and a man who really likes you, will want you to have more. For sure Mr. Handsome is treating me like a woman who deserves the best and that goes a long way in reducing stress.

Now don't be confused, my happiness isn't just because there's a man in my life. I've been working on me and the results have made me feel good about myself. And feeling good about yourself, for sure, creates the happy feeling and that happy feeling does boost the immune system.

There is a mind-body connection that operates in each of us. The bible says, "As a man thinketh so is he." But it's also true, we are what we do.

For sure, I've been doing a lot of good stuff. I got my ass off the sofa and started working out back in October. I've lost 17 pounds. I changed my diet. I've been eating the Paleo diet and that even helped my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  If you recall, my IBS was so bad that I wasn't using the bathroom for 3-4 days at a time and the doctors had me on powerful laxatives daily, (READ ABOUT MY IBS HERE)

Diet and exercise has definitely helped my IBS, but it has also given me more energy. By the way, exercising 45 minutes a day will release endorphins equal to taking an antidepressants.  Exercise has a three tier benefit, makes you feel happy, makes you feel good about yourself and that makes you happy and contributes to your overall well-being. I no longer have that anxious feeling when I have to get dressed that there's nothing to fit in my closet and that makes me happy.

I've been working on a couple of exciting projects. One that I can't talk about right now. Just hold on, info will be forth-coming. I am also writing a one woman show. YES!! "The Politics of Respectability!" and I'm honored that my sista friend, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph will be producing the show.

Many of you know that Sheryl has a one woman show on the lives of woman with HIV, "Sometimes I Cry," I''m honored to have been the inspiration for her show and to be the anchor character, "Ms. Chanel." She and I thought that it was time that I took my own story to the stage. For sure, it will be one more way for me to minister to women. I'm so excited!

So I've really been burning the midnight oil between the two new projects I have going, as well as keeping the bracelet business afloat. I've been working hard on the 20 Collection. So far I have 8 bracelet designs on the website and early next week I'm sending my photographer the first of the necklace designs. I've really been humping over here.

Overachiever is in full gear!! With everything going on in my life right now, I don't have time to think about what ain't. The focus is on what is and what is, 'is' is always more positive than what 'ain't'.

A positive attitude goes a long way toward happy. For sure, I have the herpes virus and it can flare up at anytime. For sure I have AIDS and I can wake up in the morning and have a major issue with my health. But I'm not giving either of those any energy. I'm just operating in my happy place.

At the end of the day, happy goes a long way in your overall well-being. Happy is as happy does. Find your happy place and watch your life transform into something wonderful!

PS.... RLT Collection is having a sale all week... 20%off Coupon code at check out black history SHOP HERE!

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