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, February 13, 2014

Valentine Series: Respect The Vagina!

It took me years to understand the worth of my vagina. When I was a young adult, I saw it as a tool to find and keep love.

I mean a bitch with some good pussy was a bad bitch who could name her future. I mean, what man wouldn't surrender to some good lovin' too, so  I thought.

As I aged, I saw my vagina as a brand of honor. In my twisted thinking, the fact that men would want to get it, disease and all, gave me a sense of worth. I had to be a bad bitch if men would risk their lives to get what was between my legs, especially in those early days when the risk of infection was greater than it is today, or so I thought.

Now at 51, living with HIV for 30 years, AIDS for 21 years and herpes for 31 years, all which came via my vagina, I've been forced to rethink the value of my vagina. Who would have thought that what I did with my vagina at 19 and 20 would alter my entire life, for the rest of my life?

When we are knee deep in the sex, typically we can't think past how good that shit feels. OMG, there's nothing like some good lovin'. I mean the kind that makes you drunk; Intoxicated by the 'feel-good' of the moment.

But even back then, if I'm really honest, I can remember those days, after I washed the wetness from between my legs, and I was left alone to face my self, there was something missing and sad.
It didn't matter how long we fucked, how intense the fuckin' was, when it was all said and done, I was still missing something.

It was an early clue that I was void of self-respect that I totally missed. I was using it, meaning my vagina, as a commodity, a marketable item to satisfy wants of others with the hope and a prayer that it was, in the end, would make me whole.

Growing up, my vagina was not my own. It belonged to those who took it for their own pleasure, brother, uncle, step-father, and I didn't even know that it was wrong. Then my mama only saw my vagina  as her enemy and she did everything she could to destroy me and "it" as a way to keep "it" from her husband, when she should have been trying to keep her husband away from "it."

My vagina has lived a life time. It's a wonder that it don't just pack up and walk the fuck away.

It never occurred to me that I didn't respect my vagina. Nor did I know, as a child, that "it" needed to be protected; so I grew up with this distorted idea that placed a value on my vagina that rendered no good outcomes. 

If I had known that I would lose a part of me each time I spread my legs. If I had known that the aftermath of the 'feel-good' was an emptiness that would chip away at my spirit, but I knew neither.

If I had known that love had nothing to do with lovin' what was between my legs. If had known that a man could love my vagina and hate me. If I had known that my vagina was connected to my soul and spirit and not a commodity in exchange for love. If I had only known, my life would not have been altered for the rest of my life

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