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, July 24, 2014

Fashion Loves Art!

Last week I done something that I have never done before. Yep, I got up extra early, with no make-up on my face, not even lipstick and with a  scarf on my head no less, to wait in line to get a handbag. Now you all know that I love fashion and I especially love handbags. I think a girl can never have to many handbags and thats for real. But I have never been a crazy woman standing in line to buy anything.

Well, let me give you the tea, as the young people say; that means the scoop. LOL. The British store H and M collaborated with American artist and sculptor Jeff Koons to create a handbag displaying Jeff Koons art.  I love Jeff Koons work.

He is most known for his large, eye catching sculptures of ballon animals. In November 2013 one of his ballon poodles sold for a $58.4 million dollars at Christie's Auction House, making it the  most expensive piece of art sold by a living artist. I love the ballon sculptures, I also love some of his other work, like the sculpture of Michael Jackson with his monkey, Bubbles.
Ballon Art

While I love his poodle ballon art, I adore his sculpture of the apricot poodle. It  captures the very essence of every poodle and thats just some of his work. His ability to capture images on a large scale is remarkable. Now,  I bet you think that the only reason I like Jeff Koons is because of  has poodle art and my love for poodles. I would be lying if I tell you that getting this handbag was not in some way a tribute to my dear Sophie. It was actually a cathartic moment, but it was not my only reason.

It's not to well known, but I collect art. I started collecting right after I made a transition to AIDS twenty-one years ago. I had just moved into my own apartment, prior to that I shared a house with a couple of people and I wanted to create my own space; a place of peace, comfort and solitude. Over the last 21 years I have acquired original pantings, sculptures and pottery. My art is my safe place and provides a peaceful energy in my home. Art gives me life, as I fight for my life.

I remember when I went to South Africa with Sheryl Lee Ralph, the other woman in the delegation went power shopping and I went to art galleries hunting for work by South African artist. I don't know if I could live without art in my life. It's difficult to explain what art means to me. It speaks its own language and if chosen wisely it will speak to your soul.

For me, wanting the Jeff Koons handbag was both my love of poodles and my love of art. When I arrived to H and M, I was shock to find only two people in line, me and a woman named Elizabeth.  She, like me have a love for art and she actually works in the art arena. I was happy and sad all at the same time that the line was so short. It spoke volumes to me about the modern day appreciation for art and artist, verses fashion designers. In recent history, when stores like H and M have collaborated with big name clothing designers like Lavin the lines were around the corner. People actually camped out and H and M were sold out by mid-day. I think if the handbag was a big name designer, rather than an big name artist, it would not have mattered what was on front of the bag, it would have been in high demand.
Well, I tip my scarf off to H and M for going a different route this time around! Jeff Koons was a great choice and this Diva approves! By the way, I don't know if they are sold out nation wide, but I know that the H and M Chicago, Michigan Ave store still have some bags. The bag is made of leather and it actually has some depth, making it a great cross shoulder handbag. The bag goes for $49 bucks, not bad for a leather handbag that will one day be a collectors item. The only thing better than one of these bags for me would have been to have it signed by Jeff Koons; but then I would never carry it. LOL. By the way, there is already a signed bag on Ebay for $500. I guess someone understands the value of art and the artist.

Jeff Koons and his Ballon Poodle

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