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

About Rae

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy award winning AIDS Activist, Life Coach, Award Winning Blogger, Social Media Expert, Author, Jewelry Designer and Tea Connoisseur. RLT has been living with HIV for 32 years and AIDS for 22. She lectures world-wide on the topic of  living with HIV/AIDS, challenging stereotypes and myths surrounding this disease. 
 Rae Lewis-Thornton rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with HIV/AIDS in a cover story to Essence Magazine. The past twenty-two years, Rae has traveled worldwide in an unending crusade in the fight against HIV/AIDS. 
Rae Lewis-Thornton has written and published two books, The Politics of Respectability and Amazing Grace Letters Along My Journey. Rae is currently editing her Memoir Unprotected, due to released World AIDS Day, December 1, 2015.

Rae Lewis-Thornton has been featured in countless magazines such as, Glamour, O-The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, Essence, Jet, Ebony, Emerge, Black Excellence, Heart and Soul, WOE, Poz and The Crisis, as well as, many newspaper outlets, including The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-times, to name a few. 

Rae Lewis-Thornton served as a contributing editor for WBBM-TV, a CBS owned and operated television station for an ongoing series of first person stories on living with AIDS. She received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement Within A Regularly Scheduled News Program: Feature Series Hard News, Living With AIDS, 1994-1995, Rae Lewis-Thornton, Reporter. RLT Also received the Cardinal Bernadine Communication Award for a Hard News Series. View

Rae Lewis-Thornton has been featured on countless national news, television and online shows including Huffington Post Live, TV One, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nightline with Ted Kopel in a news article Rae’s Story, AIDS the next Wave and AIDS at 25 years in review with Ted Kopel. She has also been on Dateline, Black Entertainment Television (BET), CNN and the Montel Williams Show and countless other news and radio shows around the world.

Rae Lewis-Thornton has been featured in the following books:
Rae Lewis-Thornton has become a pioneer in Social Media as a way educate and challenge stigma around HIV/AIDS and to promote issues of health and wellness. Her integrated use of Social Media has gained her national acclaim. She was featured on BET News, and in a cover story for the Chicago Tribune, which was picked up by the Associated Press on her savvy use of Social Media. 

Rae Lewis-Thornton BET Feature

Rae Lewis-Thornton has been asked to share her expertise in blogging and the use of Social Media for Social Change. 

2014 Walgreens Corporate Office-Social Media-African-American and Health
2014-BlogHer Annual Conference-Pathfinder Leader- Social Media and Blogging for Social Change
2013-BlogHer Annual Conference- Closing Keynote Healthminder
2012-  Chicago Social Media Week Social Media for Social Change Panel

Rae Lewis-Thornton Addressing Walgreens Corporate Employes on Social Media

Rae Lewis-Thornton's award winning blog Diva Living With AIDS has had unprecedented success. In 2014 she was named Top Ten Social Makers in HIV/AIDS by ShareCare, Dr. Mehmet Oz’s interactive online health and wellness website. 

Rae Lewis-Thornton received the CBS Most Valuable Blogger Award in Health and Wellness in 2010 and the Black WEBlog Award in Health and Wellness in 2012. Her blog receives approximately 75,000 views monthly, with over a million views in just three years. Diva Living With AIDS Blog is also syndicated on the Body.com, which is the largest HIV resource in the country, Poz Magazine.com one of the oldest HIV/AIDS Magazines in the country, BlackDoctors.com. Rae also writes for ChicagoMoms.com about health and wellness. 

Rae Lewis-Thornton Brands Include: Tea With Rae, RLT Reads, an on-line book club, RLT Collection, a line of fashion bracelets designed and handcrafted by Rae and exclusive at her web-store. Her bracelets can be seen on the wrist of celebrities as Sheryl Lee Ralph, Phadrea Parks, Dionne Warwick, Kim Coles, and Judge Glenda Hatchett, 

Rae Lewis-Thornton has received hundreds of awards. These are just a few:

Emmy Award- Chicago/Midwest-Outstanding feature Series in a regular programing
Cardinal Bernadine Communication Award-Living With AIDS News Series
National Association of of Black Journalist- Community Service Award
National Association of Black Journalist- Facing AIDS
National Medical Association-Scroll of Merit Award
National Association Black Social Workers-Community Service Award
National Association of University Women-Distinctive Imprint Award
National Rainbow/ Push-Achievement Award
Top Ladies of Distinction- Status of Woman Award

Rae Lewis-Thornton has lectured extensively throughout the United States as a feature speaker for college, universities, non-for-profit, churches, and cooperate. The following list is a brief overview of Rae's speaking experience. She has spoken at universities such as, Stanford University, Yale University, Spelman College, Howard University, Duke University, Drake University, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois and the University of  Mississippi and the list goes on. She has also spoken for countless national organizations, such as The lInks, Inc Jack and Jill, Inc. The National Association of Black Journalist, the NAACP, SCLC and all of the African-American Black Sororities and Fraternities nation-wide. She has been feature in countless cities for HIV/AIDS service and prevention organizations across the country. She has conducted HIV/AIDS staff training's at, Humana Health Care, AT and T, Commonwealth Edision, Near North Health Clinics, and Walgreens. 

Rae Lewis-Thornton graduated Cum Laude from Northeastern Illinois University. She began her Masters in Political Science at the University of Illinois-Chicago, two classes from graduating; she developed full-blown AIDS and quit school because of her health. Ten years later, alive and moving forward in spite of AIDS, Rae attended McCormick Theological Seminary on a Merit Scholarship and earned a Master of Divinity Degree. Rae received the Author Hayes Fellowship in Church History from McCormick upon graduating. Rae worked on her PhD Student in Church History at the Lutheran School of Theology-Chicago. She is an ordained minster.

Rae Lewis-Thornton received the Distinguished Alumnae Award from her alma mater Northeastern Illinois University in 2011, as well as, countless other awards for her work around HIV/AIDS. In May 2012 she was asked by Mc Lyte to serve on the Advisory board for her Hip Hop Sisters Network. Rev. Rae Lewis-Thornton has lived with HIV for 31 years and AIDS for 22. She continues to use her life and story to enrich the lives of others.

Prior to Rae’s motivational speaking career, she was on her way to a promising political organizing career. Having served as Senator Carol Mosley Braun’s 1992 Senatorial Campaign Advance Coordinator, Illinois State Youth Coordinator for the 1988 Dukakis Presidential Campaign and National Youth Director for Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 Presidential Campaigns, Rae retired in 1993 as a result of her health.

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