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 11, 2014

Valentine Series: When It's New!!

When you first start talking to a guy you are always thinking about what's too soon and what's too much. You know, stuff like: How soon should I have sex with him? How often should we talk? If he doesn't call on one day, does that mean he's not thinking about me? If I call or text him first or often will he think I'm needy?

When it's new we are always in a state of what next, what's too soon and how should I behave as a woman. I know that this still runs true for me, even at 51. I've actually been "talking" to a wonderful man for the last couple of months and you take an A-type personality like me, I over think everything. And then growing up where the only thing that was normal was an abnormal life, I have had to feel my way in this world around relationships. I've been very open about my crazy dating life. At some point, I want to get it right. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. I'm on the path of getting it right.
The one thing that Mr. Handsome, as I like to call him, is teaching me, is patience. Often times we meet a guy and the chemistry is right and, good lawd, we want it all right then and now. But the fact of the matter, the best relationships are the ones that grow organically. With mutual respect, you take it each day as it goes. If you take your time, you will actually find it exciting to see what's next. Organic growth has no time-frame, it just grows naturally, and you both feel it deep within.

I know with Mr. Handsome, it feels like I've known him a whole lot longer than what I have and he has indicated the same thing to me. That can sometimes confuse the fact that it is still new. You both feel the connection and that can be scary and exhilarating all at the same time.

Mr. Handsome and I have the extra burden of distance. It's not like you can have a date-night when you want.  So trying to make sense out of what's right when it feels right it not always easy, and miles just complicate it even more. Men tend to be more practical, they  think, "What am I getting myself into? This woman lives miles away from me? If I keep going how will we work the distance out?"  Honestly, you don't always know what the fuck you are doing or where it's going, you just know that you are growing and you go with the flow of the growth, now that's organic.

Over all, this is what I think about new relationships. You have to respect the man that he is. For example, Mr. Handsome is not into any of this Social Media stuff, which is a great balance to me. Nor is he a big texter or phone talker. Welllllll, y'all know I sleep with my Ipad, lol so somewhere, he and I have to meet in the middle. If I respect the man that he is and he respects me, which he does, we work at it mutually. We talk, but I don't try to make him talk to me all night. I do reach out to him everyday, but I wasn't calling him on Sunday's interrupting his football time. Like, for real ladies, will those few hours he's enjoying sports or a cigar with the guys, be a game changer? Let him enjoy life. The fact is, each of you come to the table with your own lives and they should be respected.

I try not to over think any of it. When I wake up, if he is heavy on my mind I reach out and it's the same in the evening. If I have work to do that's pressing then I reach out later. His day starts long before mine. If I haven't reached out by late morning, he typically reaches out to me, "Good Morning Gorgeous," comes across my phone. *giggles* But if we don't connect until later in the day, it shouldn't change a thing. It just means you respect his/her day and time. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

We can't always talk throughout the day, but for sure, if a man wants to hear your voice and feel your spirit, he will find you no matter how busy the both of you are.

So what about sex? Well, I've never been one to play dick and pussy games. I'm a grown ass woman and have been for a very long time. I  don't withhold sex as a measure of how much he likes and respects me. I remember back in my 20's this guy had been wooing the heck out of me, flowers, calls even telegrams for months. It was a distance relationship, and I had an opportunity to have sex with him a few times when we were in the same town, but opted not to. I was holding back so that he didn't think that I was a whore, but he eventually moved to Chicago to work.

So when he got here, it was on! I mean it was on! Then toward the end of the second week, he dropped the bomb, his girlfriend was coming to town. WTH??????? My lesson learned. An asshole is an asshole no matter when you have sex.

What should matter is the connection that you have for each other. What should matter is the mutual respect that you have for each other. Respect that begins with a discussion about the role of sex in your relationship. If you have not talked about condom use and HIV testing then you definitely are not ready for sex. For sure, giving a man your innermost self is a big move. You should be comfortable with him and comfortable in your own skin when with him.

As for me and Mr. Handsome, welllllll, we are taking it one day at a time. He has said, "This distance shit is new for me." I must respect this fact.  The only thing I've asked of him, is to not shut down on his emotions.  So if he continues to allow us to grow, even with distance, and if I allow us to grow at a natural pace, we are for sure on an organic path. For sure he makes me feel like a lady and I like how that feels.

I don't have all the answers, but I'm learning to take my time.  Sometimes time can be your best friend. When the relationship is new, allow it to be new, stop trying to be in love, when you are still learning to like each other.
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