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, March 20, 2014

Ms. Chanel Part One!

As I strolled down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, I was feeling too good and looking too cute to do anything other than take full advantage of the great weather. Chicago’s premiere shopping area was bustling with shoppers and sightseers, and I was one of them. Looking like a diva, from head to toe in my black and white pinstripe St. John’s pantsuit.
My black Chanel pumps and matching Chanel shoulder bag set my ensemble off just right. My jewelry was perfect. The sun’s reflection beamed out from the Pave diamonds in my ears. My three-carat diamond cross necklace, which was a gift from my sorority sister and friend, Allison Payne, draped perfectly around my neck. Catching a glimpse of myself in a store window, I was one poised woman. I felt alive. I felt totally in control. I was a power shopper in my element, and having a ball.

After hours of shopping, I glanced at my watch. It was really close to dinner time and skipping meals was a luxury I could not afford. I tore myself away and continued on to Houston’s, my favorite restaurant. On the inside, Houston’s was dark and cool, compared to the bright and sunny outdoors. The Maitre-d showed me to a booth, and as I sank down into its security, I gave God a silent “thank you” for the beautiful day. I thanked Him for the wonderful respite from this monstrous disease called AIDS, which was occupying my body. I hated all the ways AIDS tried to control and destroy me like an abusive lover, whose grasp I was not able to escape.

“Stop pondering negative stuff,” I told myself. I felt so good that I decided not to spend another minute thinking about AIDS or medications or side effects or anything but having a great time eating at my favorite restaurant. Any thoughts of HIV/AIDS would just have to wait for another time. I got down to real business. I ordered the Houston Hawaiian steak, a loaded baked potato, a Caesar salad and a glass of lemonade. Of course, dinner is never complete without dessert. So I ordered the Five Nut Chocolate Brownie Ala Mode in a Champagne sauce in advance. Before I knew it, the waiter was back with my meal. I hadn’t realized how hungry I actually was. I said a blessing over the food and then dug right in.

The steak was tender and juicy, cooked just right and the loaded potato was scrumptious. Somewhere between a forkful of steak and a bite of bread, I began to feel a somewhat familiar sensation. Something warm and liquid seemed to be easing its way out of my body. My first reaction was, “Oh no, this cannot be happening! Not here! Not now!” But as reality set in I realized that yes, it could be happening and probably was.

Still determined not to let anything ruin this day, I tried to gain control by flexing my anal muscles. I was bent on stopping it, but it was just as bent on continuing its course, right into my LaPerla panties. Slowly and cautiously, I stood up. It was then that I began to feel it drip down the leg of my St. John pants. That was the ultimate insult!

I started to the bathroom, determined not to panic. Diva Rule kicked in: “Beautiful people in beautiful clothes do not poop on themselves in public, and if they do, they remain in complete control of the situation.”

As I pulled down my panties and sat on the toilet, I kept telling myself, “It’s not as bad as you think it is.” Even in my distress, I reminded myself that the diarrhea was tapering off as of a couple of weeks ago, so how terrible could it be now? I got the answer to that question when I finished using the toilet.

Sitting there, I proceeded to take my pants off. In no way was I prepared for what I saw. My pretty lace panties were completely saturated in shit that covered the entire center of my butt. My left leg was covered with it, from the top of my thigh right down into my beautiful black Chanel shoe. Needless to say, it had painted the entire inside of my St. John pants leg.

At that moment it became abundantly clear to me that AIDS does not care about designer clothes or respect the solitude found in a favorite eatery. Neither St. John nor Chanel could do a damn thing to protect me. Not even my diamond cross was able to ward off that sudden onslaught of diarrhea. The ugly truth was that AIDS had a complete and utter disregard for everyone, everything and every body. Finding myself unprotected once again, I sat there, and faced up to the fact that there was no protection in clothes, no matter how big the designer names, no matter how huge the price tags.

AIDS had ambushed me, literally from behind, my behind, and all I had to fight it with was a roll of toilet paper. I pulled some off and began to wipe myself. I wiped and I wiped, and the more I wiped, the more I spread the poop around without actually cleaning it off.

I realized that nothing less than water was going to get rid of this mess and that posed a real dilemma. This was a public bathroom with multiple stalls, and the only privacy I had was in a tiny stall with a toilet. The sink was on the other side of the room. I knew I couldn’t walk out of that stall, leg covered in shit, wearing neither pants nor panties. And what was clearest of all was that this was one huge mess!

I sat for a moment trying to regain myself. I had to think this thing through. Looking to heaven, I whispered, “God, I know you’re up there.” And really, I did know He was up there, looking down on me. But just for a brief moment, maybe a split second, I felt abandoned. I felt unprotected.

I was almost ready to engage in a total pity party, but when I felt a lump in my throat and my eyes started to water, I put my foot down. I refused to let that tear emerge from my eye. Crying was not an option. This was my day. Maybe AIDS had ambushed me and tried to ruin my clothes, but I refused to let it ruin my day or my disposition. “Sorry, AIDS,” I thought, “this is one battle you’re not going to win.”

It was the only solution possible under the circumstances, a toilet bath? Never heard of it? Neither had I.

Part Two! Click Here... 

Post Script:
This Blog Post was taken from my current book, The Politics of Respectability. For more of my best blogs  get your copy HERE.
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