February 25th, 2021 / posted by paularath

Living in a tinker’s caravan in County Cork, Ireland, with a couple of British friends                                            Photo courtesy Helga Hoefert

When I was about 10 years old, I read a travel article in my mother’s Sunset Magazine about a trip in a horse drawn tinker’s caravan in Ireland. The idea quickly became an obsession. It took me ten years to get there, but the girl you see on the left is 20-year-old me, with friends I met at the W.B. Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, Ireland.

The jeans I was wearing in Ireland are my beloved green jeans. When I traveled to Europe for the first time in 1967, I was determined not to look like a hippie. In those days nearly all the young Americans in Europe were hippies – or dressed like them. They often got stopped and searched in airports, and it was hard for them to escape a stereotype. I didn’t want any of that.

I did not carry a backpack; I had a turquoise Skyway suitcase my grandmother gave me. I did not wear ratty sandals, I wore red ghillies (Scottish dancing shoes). Instead of flowing Indian dresses, my “uniform” was a polka dot shirtwaist dress. My coat was not a well-worn sheepskin jacket, it was a proper double breasted trench coat. And I did not wear blue jeans; mine were green.

Those green jeans spent 12 months going around the world with me, all by ourselves, from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, to Hong Kong. They had many adventures, such as hiking in Norway, dancing in Mykonos, visiting the Wailing Wall in Israel and Taj Mahal in India, touring bazaars in Istanbul, kicking a soccer ball in London, walking the beach in Ireland. They served me well for years.

On our Irish caravan trip, we went all the way to the coast of Cork. The horse was smarter than the poetry scholars; he refused to go more than 14 miles a day!

In the summer of ’67, I spent a month in Norway with the family of Erik Holtedahl, who had been our foreign student at Punahou my senior year. My grandmother was Norwegian and so is my middle name, which was her first name: Ragna. I felt right at home in the Rondane mountains, in Oslo and in the Holtedahls’ second home, perched over a fjord.

In Norway, I hiked in my green jeans for a week in the Rondane Mountains with my Norwegian “brother,” Erik Holtedahl.  It was a glorious time and place!       Photos courtesy Knut Mugaas


We stopped by a glacial stream for a picnic lunch. The water is gorgeous but freezing cold. We ate cheese the color of caramel, a type of beef jerky, and that delicious iced water.

I honestly can’t remember what happened to my beloved green jeans. I looked for another pair similar to them for many years, and about five years ago, I found these:

Jerry gave me this terrific green safari jacket for Christmas last year, and I love it with my green jeans! The shoes are a gift from my dear friend Cheryl Tipton.

Everything in my wardrobe has to have a story, or else why bother with it?

Paula Rath



February 18th, 2021 / posted by paularath

A gleaming new look for pearls in a most original pendant

Walking into the Punchbowl studio of jewelry designer Lynda Caris of Muse IX Design first reminded me of a walk I took in Vienna, Austria in mid-winter. There was magic in the air in that winter wonderland where every tiny tree branch was shimmering with icicles. I felt magic in the air at Muse IX as well. Dozens of strings of glistening beads hung everywhere, from lamp shades, chair backs and overloaded jewelry racks. Jade, amethysts, amber, tourmalines, pearls and crystals were strewn in every nook and cranny. I was transfixed.

For Caris, COVID has been a time of creativity. She doesn’t have to worry about her materials, as many years of travel to gem shows and repeated visits to her secret sources in Beijing have given her an amazing inventory with which to create. For her, lockdown has actually been a time for growth, learning and experimenting.

I visited Nohea Gallery in Kahala Mall to see what Caris has been up to for the past ten months. She hasn’t missed a step along her path to creating new and beautiful pendants and earrings.

One of Muse IX Design’s “Waterfall” series, featuring Edison, Tahitian, Akoya and cultured pearls with gold overlay links


“Champagne Rhapsody,” cultured golden bronze pearls, keishi shells and cultured white pearls


Natural amber whimsically woven with baroque glazed cultured pearl


Carved jade pendant with Tahitian/Akoya pearl drops


A pair of dramatic drop earrings with crystals

The pendants all have adjustable chains so they can adapt to a variety of styles and necklines, from crew neck T-shirts to plunging evening gowns. Some can even be worn down your back.

Nohea Galleries are the exclusive purveyors of Muse IX Design. Nohea takes pride in presenting the best Hawaii has to offer in arts, crafts, jewelry, home and fashion accessories. Find them online at www.noheagallery.com or in Kahala Mall (open 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday or at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki (open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday).

Paula Rath


February 16th, 2021 / posted by paularath

A maternity dress that didn’t quite make it to nine months.

It was a mistake to go to a traditional Nigerian tailor in Lagos – a man – to have my special maternity dress made. What’s worse, I neglected to ask him if he was a father. Clearly he was not. Or he would have had a more realistic take on how a woman’s tummy grows as the months go on. This got me through to about 7 1/2 months.

But oh well. I love the embroidery and I can still wear the dress, and every time I wear it, I am taken back to my strange pregnancy in Nigeria.

The nine months in 1974 leading up to the birth of my beloved son, Duncan (my only child) was an adventure all the way.

At the time, my ex-husband, Dick Graham, and I were living in Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. We were pioneering for the Baha’i Faith, and pioneers must support themselves with jobs. Dick was working for a Canadian advertising agency and I was freelancing for women’s magazines, focusing on the issue of the importance of breastfeeding your baby.

You see, it had become quite trendy for Nigerian women to NOT breastfeed. They thought it was more “western” and “sophisticated” to give their babies formula. However, the water in most parts of Lagos was dreadful and women often didn’t know the mix ratios, so babies were dying of malnutrition. Such a tragedy and totally unnecessary.

Unfortunately, I hardly got to wear this dress because, unknown to us, we were illegally in Nigeria. The ad agency had our passports and were committed to renewing our visas. However, unbeknownst to us, our visas had expired in February, and the complex Nigerian Indiginization Decree signed in April meant that Dick was one too many expats for the ad agency to retain legally.

Yikes! We didn’t learn of this until June, when I arrived at the airport to take a plane to London to meet my parents for a road trip to Scotland. The military police escorted us home and we were put under house arrest for several days. Oddly, I never worried about it. I was in this sort of blissful state and I chose to believe the agency when they blithely said  “Don’t worry. We’ll get you back to Nigeria.” I flew off to London while the agency sent Dick to Ghana. We never returned to Nigeria and we lost everything: house, car, pets, possessions.

A traditional Nigerian embroidery design

I had a wonderful trip with my parents, although it’s a bit tricky when you’re seven months pregnant and on Scottish country roads with no petrol stations and thus, no bathrooms. My father got quite used to dropping his daughter off near farm fences so I could, well, you know.

Eventually, Dick joined me in the U.K. For awhile we thought I might have the baby in London. I did get a little prenatal care, but the National Health Service would not kick in until after the due date. So we reluctantly flew to Pennsylvania, to Dick’s family, where Duncan was born.

Sadly, I have precious few memories of my time in Nigeria. It was learned a few years later that if a woman takes Paludrine, a drug commonly used to prevent malaria, during her pregnancy, she is likely to lose a lot of short term memory. And boy did I! It’s really a shame.

Close-up detail

I do have one clear memory, though. My parents and I were staying in a beautiful lodge in Pitlochry, Scotland. All the guests had gathered to watch the BBC News. It was the night Richard Nixon resigned his presidency. I had never been so embarrassed to be an American, and we were the only ones in the room.

I still wear the dress occasionally, and I only have happy memories of the excitement I felt carrying Duncan. And, regardless of not knowing where we would be living for a few months, and where he would be delivered, he came out just fine!

Please return for the next installment of “What I Wore.”

Paula Rath

February 9th, 2021 / posted by paularath


Courtesy Diamond Head Theatre

Diamond Head Theatre is currently presenting a play I love, and you can see it live on February 11, 12, 13, 14, 20 and 21. There are both matinees and evening performances, so take your pick.

The theatre is all about safety and COVID precautions. Your temp will be taken and you will be seated at a safe distance from any other patrons. I felt perfectly safe when I attended their lovely Christmas show. I understand that there are still some tickets left for some performances, so do try to see it.  I’ll be at the 3 p.m. performance Saturday, February 13. Hope to see you there!

Click on http://www.diamondheadtheatre.comhttp://www.diamondheadtheatre.com

Sisters Nora and Delia Ephron wrote this insightful and funny set of five monologues, “Love, Loss and What I Wore.” It goes straight to the heart of what our clothes mean to us, and how they bind us to our identity.

Women’s relationships with their closets are often fraught, but just as often funny. Slip on a dress you wore to the prom (if it still fits) and it can transport you back there, awkwardness and all.

A pair of jeans or a tie-dye skirt can be a time capsule of your life.

As a former fashion designer and fashion writer, clothes have always been an important aspect of my life. I treasure them, and the moments they conjure. So I’ve decided to write a series of blogs about special clothes that help tell my life story:

  • maternity dress I had made in Lagos, Nigeria
  • jeans I wore when traveling in a tinker’s caravan through County Cork, Ireland
  • safari skirt my son Duncan gave me for my 40th birthday, when he was 11
  • swing coat I made as a class project in Fashion Technology at Honolulu Community College
  • hand woven silk scarf and vest gifted to me by renowned silk artist Akihiko Izukura

…and more. Please join me on this journey of remembrance. Subscribe to http://www.paularath.com

to receive email messages when a new blog is up. And please share your own closet tales.

Paula Rath

February 2nd, 2021 / posted by paularath

The first week in February simply cannot exist without the Punahou Carnival, right? The teeming crowds, endless malasada lines, cases of mango chutney, keiki games, EK Fernandez rides…..

Well, it’s not exactly possible to hold that kind of event this year, but the Punahou Junior Class is doing everything possible to bring as much Carnival as they can to us.

One thing you can easily enjoy online is the Punahou Art Gallery. It’s considered the largest and most diverse art sale in the State. It’s by invitation and quite prestigious for the artists, too. I was asked to enter three pieces this year, and here they are.

You will notice that they all relate to the North Shore of Oahu, where I did a lot of my growing up.

“Summer at Waimea Bay: Dive In!!”

“Waimea Bay: Breaking Big”

“Honu Comes Home to Laniakea”

Of course, not being able to see and touch the art before bidding on it is a shame. I find it especially difficult with my work because most of my recent art (and all three of these pieces) is done with hand-dyed fabrics. They may look like paintings, but it’s all fabric. There are a lot of interesting layers and textures that aren’t evident in a photo.

To take part in the silent auction in support of Punahou Scholarships, here is the link to get into the Art Gallery, followed by the details on how to navigate:


It will be open to the public (no password necessary) starting
Monday, February 1st at 6pm through

Saturday, February 6th at 11pm 
Once you are at the site, you can navigate from the top menu to collections, or see the whole catalog. You can also search for any of the artists by name under the dropdown menu on the left “Vendor” and select it just to see his or her work. If you can’t see all three of the pieces above, that means it sold. On the upper right there is a small magnifying glass logo to click on to search. You can search by name or keyword.

I hope you will make a virtual visit to “A Carnival Out of this World,” an appropriate name for a Carnival during COVID!

Paula Rath