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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gettin To Better!

What the hell have I been doing?   Well Lovely's, if I had an ounce of shame in my body, I would be wayyyy to embarrassed to tell you that I've been watching Netflix. But since my shame went out of the window when I started talking about my sex life 22 years ago, Netflix it is.

 I think I've watched about ten years of television shows in a sum total of 4 months. Well, honestly it's more than 10 years if you add up the 8 seasons of House, 4 seasons of The  Killing, 2 seasons of  House of Cards, 3 seasons of Law and Order, 2 seasons of Star Track the Next Generation, 6 seasons of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, 6 seasons of Luther, 9 seasons of Criminal Minds, 8 seasons of Foyle's War, 3 seasons of The Borgias, 5 seasons of Damages, 4 seasons of The Tudors, 2 seasons of Hack, 8 seasons of Dexter, 3 seasons of The Guardian and 1 season of Lie To Me. Not to name the movies and documentaries I've watched.

Yep, Netflix has been my go to as I go through this depression. If you recall, back at the beginning of the fall I confessed that I was tired of my complicated ass life and in the back drop of my dog Sophie's death, it all sent me into a depression. A part of me wanted to give up, but I didn't want to die. So Netflix replaced anything remotely productive in my life.  You can read my original blogs on my depression here. 

Seriously, these last 7 months have been interesting to say the least. I found myself in a space that I loathed but accepted in a healthy way so that I could get back to a better place. The overachiever in me made a difficult but smart decision, that is, to de-pressure myself from be all and do all. I just accepted my right now. I found that accepting my current state of mind gave me the space to really work on my dark places without the added pressure of, "I have to be OK because that's what everyone expects." 

While Netflix was my safe place, therapy has been the place where I've worked it all out. Both my therapist and psychiatrist have worked feverishly to help me.  I'm fully medicated now and we think that my hormones are leveling out. This menopause stuff is no joke and when you add that on top of the depression, I was one lost woman. 

I can see vast improvements from those early days. Espically in the days right after I lost Sophie.  I was so grief stricken that I couldn't function. My new puppy Chloe is 8 months now and spoil beyond any honest explanation. Other than, I was so grief stricken when I got her that I spent all of my time with her. She was only 3 pounds when I brought her home and I took her every place that I could get away with. But now Chloe is so attached that she expects to walk out of the door with me every time I go *smh* I created a monster. LOL  But her feisty personality was what I needed. She demanded that I live. Who knew that six pounds of fur could be that demanding and so full of life.

I knew that I had to get to a better place, so I started out slowly. I started with things that didn't require much of me.

Chloe demanded that I got out of bed each morning. That was my starting place. I had to get to better, but I didn't pressure myself. I just took it one day at a time. One project at a time. I did stuff that was easy, like de-cluttering my house. All I had to do was sit on the sofa and go through papers while I watched Netflix. LOL, but for real. This project didn't require that I dress up and be the center of it all. I went through years of papers and when I finished, I had like eight garbage bags, but most importantly I felt accomplished but not overwhelmed.

 As time went on, I began to gain interest in those  things that I enjoy the most. We take for granted the small things. I was so paralyzed by depression that even reading required to much of me. People tell you to just do it, but they have no idea how hard it is. I'm happy to say that time has gotten me to a better place and I'm reading and knitting again. My two favorite things on the planet. I also started painting. Many of you may know that I've been collecting art for over 20 years, but you might not know that I've always wanted to paint. About a month ago I got me some paint and brushes and the rest is history. I even enrolled in a drawing and painting class. YEY! for trying something new.

The hardest part for me has been work. I managed to get my 20 Collection completed by the time the Essence article was released celebrating the 20th anniversary of the iconic cover story. I kept up with the bracelet orders for the most part. A few people fell through the cracks, but I did my best each day.

I've completed a couple of blogs after the one about my depression.  I wanted to blog more but staying focus has been a challenge. While I have all these thoughts floating in my head, writing them down seemed like torture. I didn't force it. Adding pressure only added to my misery. Remember, one of the root causes of my depression was my super woman complex. I had to let her go to heal.  At least I got this blog completed and I see more in my future. Thanks for hanging in here with me.

I am also happy to say that I've been editing my memoir, Unprotected. I decided that it was time to tell the whole story about my crazy life that made me crazy. I've held on to the manuscript for seven years. When Hypierion Publishers walked away from the book deal I was crushed. 

Looking back, I understand that this is "my" story, not "a" story. I'm taking my ownership back, not just of the physical property but also the intellectual property. I have a right to tell my story how the hack I want. I said in the recent Essence's article on me that my memoir was to be released in March. I've pushed the date back because unrealistic, breakneck to get it done is not good for my emotional state.  May 2015 is the new release date. I'm planning my photo shot for the cover in April.    Thanks to everyone that have already pre-ordered my memoir. 

Honestly these last seven months have been one heck of a journey. The most useful thing in getting to a better place has been setting goals that are realistic. For example, my psychiatrist gave me the task of taking a shower everyday and I made the necessary adjustment to get it done.  I knew that I had to follow the plan to get better. What I found though, if I didn't get in the shower right after I brushed my teeth, it just might not happen that day. For real, I'm serious. It was so bad that showering required to much of me. Depression has this haunting way of interfering with your life and I've had to take baby steps to get to space that I'm in now. 

So here I am! I've made so much progress. My sadness is gone and the biggest thing for me is working on my anxiety. I'm not quite where I would like to be, but I'm better than what I was. For sure, I've taken it all in stride. I've done it one day at a time. Yep, I'm gettin to better! In the meantime, I'm honoring the space between no longer and not yet.
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