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
Showing posts with label Sex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sex. Show all posts

Friday, May 3, 2013

Damn Ladies You Have All The Control #FuckinFriday


Ladies, you have so much control, but often you give it up; You give it up because you don't want to be alone, lonely or without companionship. We give it up because we want to be loved. But having sex with a man will NOT guarantee love. The only thing it will guarantee is a fuck and maybe not even a good one. Furthermore, having sex without a condom sure won't earn you his heart forever, but it just might earn you a sexually transmitted disease that you will have to live with forever. Diseases such as, HIV, Herpes, HPV, Hepatitis.

So why is it that we continue to have sex without a condom? You, don't want to rock the boat? You don't want him to think that you think he is cheating? Well, the fact of the matter is, you don't really know if he's cheating. You think you know, but at the end of the day you just don't know.

You don't want him to think you may be stepping outside of the relationship? Well, if his mind is that small, then his penis should not be big enough for you. This is real talk here. If a man cannot respect the choices you make about your body and have respect that you want to keep yourself safe, then he is not worth your body.

This video has been floating around Facebook and I thought that I would share it with you. While it is super funny, it speaks volumes to the control that we have, but yet surrender each time we let a man penetrate us with out a condom... That's all I wanted to say... Wrap It Up! #FuckinFriday

And remember, every 10 minutes a person becomes infected with HIV in the United States. Don't let it be you!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Are you Kidding Me? More Questions: HIV, Sex and Dating

Here we go again. Remember the friend of a friend who felt that I was not being forthright about my dating life before I discovered that I was HIV positive? Remember she says, “My point is there are still major gaps in what she chooses to disclose and reflect on.” I told her to bring on the questions and I’d answer them as best as I can. While I felt some of the questions were none of her business, I also felt as if I had to do this. I choose to make my life public and I see this as a teaching moment. Some of the questions have already been addressed publicly, but she has never heard me speak and I realize that there may be more of my readers in her shoes. So here ya go... More questions and answers...

How did she determined who infected her? When I learned that I was HIV positive, I was shocked. We didn't know much about HIV back then and I was referred to the National Institutes of Health for a study on HIV. Based upon everything they knew back then, the doctors had a list of standard questions to help you determine the source of your infection. They were: 1) Have you ever used intravenous drugs? No, in fact, I have been both drug and alcohol free my entire life... For Real; 2) Have you ever had a blood transfusion or used blood products? No; 3) Have you ever been tattooed? No; 4) Have you traveled to Africa in the last six months to a year? No; 5) Have you had sex with a man who was gay or bisexual? No, not to my knowledge; 6) Have you had sex with someone who currently lives in Africa or has traveled to Africa? Yes, was the answer to that question. I had been intimate with an incredible man from Guinea Bissau. We met abroad and spent time together whenever he visited the United States. After monthly letters for years, we had lost contact. So for a while, I believed him to be the source of my infection. I started to believe that maybe he had stopped writing because maybe he was very ill or dead.


Then a few years after my diagnosis I had a partner die from complications related to AIDS. A light went off in my head. I was devastated to learn this fact. The time line seemed right. WOW! I had learned by chance the source of my infection. And believe me when I tell you, he was not on my short list of possibilities. (As I indicated earlier in this series, I will disclose his name only in my memoir). As of today, I have not had another partner die from complications related to AIDS. The African brother, in doing research for my memoir, I discovered was alive and doing well. In fact Guinea Bissau has a low HIV infection rate compared to some other African countries.  

How many people had she been with between being infected and finding out---Did she have to contact anyone after the fact? I was blown away by this freaking question. I mean damn why does she want to know how many men I have had sex with? What's the fucking point? To determine whether or not I was a hoe?
A legitimate question could have been: Do you think you infected anyone between the time you were actually infected to the time you learned you were infected? Why is the number so important to her? I have asked myself over and over. It seems to me, if you've been following the series, the questions that she asks are loaded.  She seems to think that I am hiding something. Or that I’m not the person I claim to be. Well, I am who I am. A strong black woman who has tackled HIV/AIDS head on! There is no trick to it. I made a choice to have sex and it left me with HIV. I've taken ownership of my culpability in my HIV infection. I wake to that demon every single morning!

But I will tackle this: I believe that I was infected in 1983, I donated blood in the spring of 1986, that donation determined my HIV status. So there was a three year window from the time I was infected to the time that I discovered my infection. When I first learned of my HIV status, I actually called ex-boyfriends. But generally speaking, I couldn't imagine anyone that I had been intimate with being HIV infected. Most everybody believed at that time that this disease was limited to white, gay men and IV drug users. I dated what I believed to be the cream of the crop. Nowhere in my wildest imagination would I think that someone I would be intimate with could have HIV. But I called most everyone I could locate. No one admitted that they were infected with HIV. That is a fact that still remains to this day. I have had only one partner that I know of to have HIV and he died years ago. This means I have pinpointed the source of my HIV infection and it confirms that I have not infected any one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Are You Kidding Me? More Questions: HIV, Sex and Dating

Here we go again. Remember the friend of a friend who felt that I was not being forthright about my dating life before I discovered that I was HIV positive? Remember she says, “My point is there are still major gaps in what she chooses to disclose and reflect on.” I told her to bring on the questions and I’d answer them as best as I can. While I felt some of the questions were none of her business. I also felt as if I had to do this. I choose to make my life public and I see this as a teaching moment. Some of the questions have already been addressed publicly, but she has never heard me speak and I realize that there may be some more of my readers in her shoes.  So here ya go... More questions...

She doesn't talk about her partner at the time:
There are many reasons that I have not talked publicly about the person I believe to have infected me with HIV. For one, I guarded his privacy and in some ways mine. (I talk about the reasons in my book.) But most important, I just wasn't emotionally at a place where I wanted to share many of the details. However, when I was writing my memoir for Hyperion Publishers, I had to face this head on. As part of the book deal, I had to explore the intimate details of my relationship with him, which I did. Thoroughly! I left no stone unturned! For Real...

How long were they together?
We were together for four months. I moved out of town for a job. And that job required a lot of travel and the distance ended the relationship.

What kind of relationship did they have?
I’m not sure the root of this question. Like, was it a one night stand?  Is that what’s really being asked? NEVER!!! It was not casual in my eyes. He was the only person that I was seeing at the time. In my memoir I talk about this pretty extensively.

How did they meet? 
Ahhh... We met at this private party that was very chic and upscale. And he was a freaking catch!! For Real.... So I thought and so did every other woman in the room.

What type of man was he, was he using drugs, gay, bisexual, etc.?
I also wondered why this answer is important. What does it really matter at the end of the day. He still infected me and who he was will not change that fact. But hey, I’m a trouper, let's go there.

First: He was one of the most handsomest African-American men I have ever known.
Second: He was a millionaire.
Third: He was very accomplished.
Fourth: He was one of the sharpest dressers I have ever known.
Fifth: He was brilliant. OMG! He could talk to you about any subject, any time and any place. That's one of the things I loved most about him. We would talk for hours and hours.

Drugs: I had never seen him use drugs.

Gay/Bisexual: I had never seen him with another man nor has his reputation in all these years suggested that he was anything other than heterosexual. If you want to know how he became infected? I have no idea....

At the end of the day, it does not matter for either of us. AIDS took his life and, unless I get hit by a truck, it will do the same to me. All I can do now is accept that I made a choice to have sex and that has left me fighting for my life, for the rest of my life. Like with most women infected through heterosexual contact, what we thought we knew is often derailed by our HIV status. The only thing that will keep a woman safe from HIV is either no sex or sex with a condom. It does not really matter to me who or what he was because it can never change the fact that he infected me and I had a choice.

By the way, 30% of all newly diagnosed cases of HIV are people infected by people who didn't know their HIV status. Getting tested will go a long way in HIV prevention. For Real... For Real...


Post Script: Yes, I have a Healthy Vagina! Part Three is coming next week. I promise. I was on the road speaking and didn't have the time to sit down and really give it all that it required.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Are You Kidding Me? HIV, Sex and Dating

Are you freaking kidding me was my first response, then anger, then an overwhelming sadness. That’s what I felt when I read the list of questions that had been sent to one of my close friends from one of her friends about my dating life. It is the same exact feeling I had when I was attacked on the blog a month ago. Or when the young man at a private school asked me 15 years ago, did I think God was punishing me because I had premarital sex. I don’t know who this person is and I want it kept that way. For Real... For Real...

But she apparently has been reading my blog because of my girlfriend since I launched it. Thank you!! My girlfriend had said to me that this person felt that I was not addressing the things that I should on my blog. My first response was gee it’s only nine weeks old. I do have AIDS and need to balance my life and health with the blog. Can’t talk about everything in nine weeks. And like with most bloggers I write where the spirit leads. But that was cool too. It seemed to me that some of the questions she asked were very old school AIDS judgmental. But at the core, I felt like she was telling me that because I had not directly answered these questions in my blog posts that I was being superficial or hiding something. Whether she meant it or not, it’s what I felt.

Now anyone who has ever read an article on me, heard me speak or listened to an interview knows that this isn't the case. In fact, I get tons of criticism about being so freaking candid and transparent. But she states: “my point is there are still major gaps in what she chooses to disclose and reflect on.” I don’t know a whole lot of people who have ever been as open and honest about their life as me. I wonder sometimes do I tell to much? I have given so much of myself to the public that maybe I have no expectations for privacy. Is there a private place or space for me, or did I give that up the day I appeared on the cover of Essence and the countless other magazines.

But anyway I got over myself and asked my girlfriend to have her friend send a list of things she wanted to know. I see it as a teaching moment. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not mad, well not anymore. If I'm truly honest, I just didn’t see the point in it all. But I’m a trooper and I want people to learn as much as they can about HIV/AIDS. So over the next month I will answer all of her questions. It fits perfectly with the current series I’m doing on sex, dating and HIV.  If she keeps reading, which I hope she does, she may not always like my answer. But it’s what I have to say.

Many of the things she wanted to know, I have already addressed in some way publicly but she has never heard me speak and there may be others out there who read my blog that have some of the same questions so I will do what I can. That’s only fair. But, some of the questions are reserved for the book deal. Those reserved for the book deal will be just that (which by the way, is a tell ALL book). For Real...

 I learned a long time ago to face my critics head on. I take all of my hits standing and I never fall down. At the end of the day, after you’ve done all you can... You Just Stand!! I choose to do it wearing lipstick, St. John, Christian Louboutins and eyelash extensions. And I have no apologies for it... It is what it is...

First question: “She doesn't talk about her partner at the time.” (This category had a ton of subquestions that I will address individually.) “How did she determine who it was that infected her?”

ANSWER:  I donated blood in the winter of 1986. In 1987, the Red Cross diagnosed me with HIV. When I first discovered my HIV status, I was in a relationship with a guy. We had been using condoms so I know he didn't infect me or I him. I have also said this in Essence magazine and actually in an earlier blog. Side note: This was still very early in the HIV/AIDS ependemic, so I had actually started using condoms early. The problem was, I was already infected.

After I learned my HIV status, I called ex-boyfriends, but no one admitted that they had infected me. For a long time, I use to call once a year to see who was living or dead. Eventually, I did have a partner die from HIV. His name is reserved for the book deal. Since his death, I have had no other partners to my knowledge die from AIDS. So that’s how I determined who infected me. More answers will come. That's a promise...
 
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