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, July 29, 2014

Drowning... Part 1

I'm drowning in the chaos of my life. It started back in February when I started this emotional eating and Cheetos was always in my right hand, going straight into my month. Now, in full disclosure, I took a moment a couple of months ago to examine what had gotten me so off  track and all roads led to a man that I wanted, but who didn't want a relationship. So I walked as hard and as fast as I could to a place where I could hold onto my dignity. For me it's simple. No matter how much I want a man, I never want to keep him at the cost of me. 

Even with HIV/AIDS I would much prefer to be alone then to be with a man who is half in/half out. My tail is to old to "kick it," unless I'm kicking a ball in CrossFit. 

Not only am I not going to waste my pretty, I'm never going to let a man suck the life out of me. That is, him getting what he wants, while I'm just hanging and hoping that I will get all of him as my reward. Women are good for that, sticking around with the hope and a prayer that staying on his terms will render us victoriously. Let me tell you, it will never happen. When a man tells you that he does not want a relationship he means it and it does not matter how wonderful you are or if you make his toes curl in bed. Furthermore, staying will not only suck the life out of you, but it will kill your spirit and topple your self-esteem.  

While I know that walking was the best thing for me, it sent me on a down spiral of emotional eating. I mean who wants to be alone? Especially after you have started to bond and was hopeful for a future. I got sick after him with one back to back illness that sent me overboard. You do remember those sleepless nights caused by uncontrollable hot flashes that lead to mood swings and sleep deprivation, while the doctors tried to figure out the best combination of Hormone Replacement Therapy and HIV medication. After that, the health issues just kept coming. I had a bad case of HIV Peripheral Neuropathy in my feet and legs. Then I had a cold that turned into bronchitis and after that I pulled a muscle in my back and even breathing hurt. Then to pour salt in my wounds, I had a herpes outbreak that landed me back on IV medication. I was sinking, but fighting to hold my head above the water. 

With the death of Sophie I lost all control and started to  drown. I couldn't seem to keep my head above water no mater how hard I tried. Nothing seemed to be going in my favor and I took an emotional tumble. I was drowning and no matter how hard I fought, the depression kept coming and coming and coming. Eating became my enemy disguised as my best friend. I went from Cheetos to Flamin Hots mixed with Doritos and a Snickers on the side, and of course a cupcake or two. The three weeks following Sophie's death, all my healthy living died right along with her. 

When I made it to BlogHer last week I got off the plane in San Jose on the hunt for food - good comfort food. I had onion rings and beef brisket and burgers and fried chicken and hand cut french fires and milk shakes. I ate the danishes at the conference each morning instead of the fruit.  For real, my plate was filled with bacon and sweet rolls every morning with tea on the side.  I knew that I was drowning, but I couldn't seem to gather the strength to save myself. 

Now the best, and worst of it all, was this little bakery I found in the San Jose's Public Market, Chocatoo.  Chocoatoo has the best freaking cookies that I have ever eaten in life. I'm not sure which was my favorite. There was the chocolate S'mores rich with graham crackers, marshmallows and big dark chocolate chips. 

Then there was the basic chocolate chip with dark and milk chocolate but my God, that Reese's Peanut Butter with large chunks of Reese's and milk chocolate made my taste buds do a dance. I had 3 of these large cookies  a day, yes I said 3, 1-2-3. It was over the top, but it sure seemed to ease the pain. I knew that I was out of control but I couldn't seem to stop myself. I kept trying to come up for air but the waves kept pulling me back in. 

By Friday, I had been to Chocotoo twice  for a total of 6 cookies. That should have been my limit but when my girlfriend Dwana arrived to San Jose,  I had to introduce her to the best cookies ever. That day I got 2 Reees's and 1 S'mores. I should have stopped there, but following Dwana's lead, I got the homemade marshmallow S'mores. This delight was 4 inches of homemade marshmallow between two graham crackers dipped in dark chocolate, with caramelized bacon on top. 

I had eaten a cookie by the time we arrived back to the hotel. Once we arrived,  I got me a fresh cup of hot tea and dived into the homemade S'mores.  It was divine!! 

That left me with two cookies and I was straight out of control. It's crazy when you can see yourself in deep water but can't seem to pull yourself to the top.  After the MultiCulti party 
that night I came back to my room, made another cup of tea and had my last two cookies ... well all but a ¼ of the Reese's.  It was then time for sleep. 

I need to pause and say my food for that entire day consisted of; bacon and sweet rolls for breakfast, roast beef sandwich and salad for lunch with a fruit tart for dessert. Then Dwana and I had a meal at local restaurant a local couple hours after lunch, where I had homemade onion rings and beef brisket. That was a lot of food, then we must add the 2 and 3/4 large cookies and a 4 inch high S'mores.

Missing Sophie, I curled into a tight ball hugging the pillow to let sleep take me away from my misery. I closed my eyes and nausea swept over me.  It jolted me out of my semi-sleep. The nausea consumed my body and right to my very core, my soul. It was as if the universe was saying, "that's enough Rae that's enough." Tears started to flow. I knew that I had to make a change. Sophie is not coming back, that man is long gone and my health hangs in the balance by what I do and don't do. 

"Oh God, "I cried out. "Help me! God Help me!"

Drowning Part II

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