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, May 28, 2014

When Cheetos Run Your Life...

Awwwwwwwwwww!! Knowing better don't always mean doing better! That is a freaking fact! Well, let me speak for myself, this is sometimes my truth. No matter how hard I work to be my best and to do my best, it doesn't always happen .

Since about April, right after I declared war on my fat, you remember that blog post? Well, right after that, I started spiraling down. I could feel myself falling deeper and deeper after almost two months so I told myself, "Girlllll you better catch yourself before you have to pick yourself off the floor," that is from self-loathing. Cause when I know better and I don't do what it is I know, I tend to sink way down into a even deeper mess - and then depression. I'm not sure what drives that behavior, whether it's the all or nothing Gemini in me or just some childhood shit I haven't worked through.

So I took a week off from blogging to center myself and try and figure out what's got me spending money I don't have, eating Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and half-ass working out.

My dietary intake has been so poor that I'm constipated yet again. Now my constipation is a clear message from my body. It is demanding to be treated like I love it!  Our body always speaks whether we listen or not. Of course for two months, I wasn't listening and it has manifested itself in the form of Irritable Bowl Syndrome, yet again as well as, weight gain of about 10 pounds.

I got a 101 excuses for making it to the gym only 1-3 times, (mostly 1 or none) a week and some are legitimate.

I had a really bad round of HIV related peripheral neuropathy in my legs and feet and then a bout of bronchitis, and for the last two weeks back pain that I learned yesterday in ER to be a muscle strain and inflammation. So, no CrossFit or Yoga until I get better, doctors orders.

 Now truthfully,  I can't blame my health issues on the other unhealthy behavior that has manifested itself in my life. Like the Cheetos ... and more Cheetos.  Maybe  I could argue that the surge in Cheetos was because of the decrease of serotonin in my body. I stopped taking antidepressants because they interfere with the medication I take to treat the peripheral neuropathy, so Cheetos became my drug.

On a side note, I've been on antidepressant for about 3 years straight and I went cold turkey. Now that I'm off the neuropathy medication, I'm going to stay off the antidepressants as well and give my body a break. The less medication is also the best philosophy. I'll try some other things to help me be happy, like working out.

Back to the Cheetos,  I know the week of the Rev. Charles Jenkins blog my stress level increased by leaps and bounds and so did my intake of the Cheetos. I'll be blogging about that separately because that madness took some real examination of self and others.

So here I am, I crashed with the healthy living thing. I started out doing this for my health. The combination of the Irritable Bowl Syndrome  and the menopause issues were demanding a life-style change.

The benefit was the weight lost.  I wonder though, if there was a transition in me from the most important to the  most superficial. The soul  said do this for your "inner most self," and the ego said, "get it  Diva".

The compliments fed my ego and that then  transcended into vanity and that became my purpose over and above living healthy. Vanity will fuck you up every time.

Somewhere there was a shift in my spirit and it manifested itself in my behavior. I got cocky instead of consistent. In the end, the lack of consistency led me to excuses and that lead my ego to  comfort itself, the days became soothing and self-loathing instead of working out and eating fruit.

I had to reel myself in and think back to when I started actually eating Cheetos and oh yeah, Gummy Bears, after 6 months of eating healthy. When I finally put a pin in that donkey,  I had a few aha moments. Once I had some clarity on the combination of things that caused my spiral down, I had to stop and except this space that I currently find myself and take ownership of the madness that I had created. 

I can't beat myself up, none of it can be changed. Nor can I over think it because that will lead to a  full fledged conversation in my head and then before I know it, I'll be acting on that shit and eating more Cheetos because I created even more drama.  I'm learning that the head-game is only your ego trying to justify, because the ego always needs to protect, defend and manipulate, rather than just be. 

The bottom line, I got out of my head after the aha moments. There is no need to beat a dead horse. Most importantly, I stopped eating the freaking Cheetos.

The real key is to let go of the self-loathing and just let it be. I cannot undo a thing that has been done, all I can really do is live in the right now.

And while I'm not eating Cheetos right now I do recognize that there is soot around the light that shines within me. I'll let therapy help me clean the soot from that vantage point and on the other end, I'll get a rag and cleaning solution and get to work. 

The biggest thing for me,  is that I recognized the Cheetos had taken up a life of it's on in my space.  The good news is that the Cheeots have been evicted. In the long run, it's better to clean the soot off the light that dims your soul rather, than add layers of grit on top of the soot.  
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