August 21st, 2018 / posted by paularath

One of the most treasured Hawaiian fine jewelry pieces one can have is a kahelelani shell necklace, bracelet or earrings. So I was thrilled to find some beautiful kahelelani pieces from Moloka’i this week at Riches Kahala.

Ameron-John Kaikaikaokamana’omekekino Madela of Moloka’i creates his beautiful shell jewelry from all natural colors of the tiny shells: pink, red, salmon and beige.


Moloka’i shell earrings start at $60 at Riches Kahala.

When searching for your Moloka’i kahelelani shell lei, there are five things to watch for:

  • Color
  • Luster
  • Flaws
  • Size
  • Workmanship

This three-piece set sells for $1,000 at Riches Kahala, which is a great price for fine kahelelani shell jewelry.

A shell lei is a perpetual reminder of this special place we call home. And, unlike flower lei, it won’t wilt. Rather, it will become more and more beautiful with time. Shells love to be worn!

-Paula Rath


August 2nd, 2018 / posted by paularath

A view from our “tree house” in, Nu’uanu                                   Photo by Duncan Graham

When we are traveling, people always ask us why on earth we would ever leave Hawaii to visit (insert their home here – Carcassonne, Dublin, Bruges, Buenos Aires, Paros, Pittsburgh- you get my drift) and, yes, there are moments when we ask ourselves the same question.

The fact is, we love Honolulu and our little “tree house” in the rain forest of Nu’uanu. We never feel sad or regretful when we return to the often misty mountains my son Duncan Graham captured in the photo above.

Along the sea cliffs of Vestmanna, in the Faroe Islands

And yes, we often have waterfalls we can see from our deck. But our waterfalls are quite different from the waterfalls we saw in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Ireland, and therein lies the fascination. No matter how beautiful our island is, it is a very small island, in the middle of the Pacific, and the world is such a huge and magnificent place. We want to see as much as we can, for as long as we can.

Gullfuss Falls, on the Golden Circle in Iceland

That said, we are now preparing for a five-week trip to England in late August. We will spend two weeks in a watercolor workshop with John Lovett, a teacher from Australia whom Jerry has admired for years. We’ll have one week in the Cotswolds, based in Stratford upon Avon, and one week in Cornwall, based in Plymouth. Wonderful subjects for plein air painting!

After the workshop, we will retreat to a little cottage in Lower Heyford, a tiny village in the Cotswolds, where we will paint the English countryside while our lessons are still fresh. During those two weeks we will take train or bike trips to nearby places such as Oxford and Blenheim Castle.

Then a week in London, my very, very favorite city in the world. I want to see if my old 1967-68 address, a third-floor walk-up at 60 Hogarth Road in Earl’s Court, has turned into something quite different from the frumpy old Victorian I knew.

Stay tuned for more travel blogs…..

  • Paula Rath

Cliffs of Moher, Western coast of Ireland



July 24th, 2018 / posted by paularath

My fave from Mao Mam


Meet one of my go-to dresses for the season. It’s by Mao Mam, and I get endless compliments on it wherever I wear it.

One day I was walking through the airport on my way to visit my dear friend Cheryl on Maui and I ran into uber interior designer Marion Philpotts,, one of Honolulu’s most chic women. She loved this dress and wanted to know where to find it.

Mona Lisa tunic from Tapestries Studio.

Well, it’s not all that easy to score a Mao Mam piece. You can find it online at, but if you prefer to touch the fabric and try on for size, you have to go to a trunk show.

Hey, this coming weekend you’re in luck. There’s a Tapestries Studio trunk show from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, July 27, and the same time Saturday, July 28. Look for it at boutique AllisonIzu/Ten Tomorrow, at 1114 11th Avenue in Kaimuki.

It’s a nice opportunity to say hi to Lori, former owner of Tapestries in Ala Moana, and Chie, creator of Mao Mam, Mona Lisa and You-Be.

Hope to see you there!

-Paula Rath

July 23rd, 2018 / posted by paularath

Cookie finds a treat

A few months ago, our “last cat,” EleEle, passed away. After living with pet cats for more than 30 years, we committed to being cat-less. It makes our travel plans much more flexible.

But I gotta say, it’s been really hard.

EleEle, and Scrimshaw before her, have been my constant companions.

Scrimshaw, our beloved cat of 21 years, always became quiet and serene at the vet’s.

Scrimmy lived until he was 21 years old, and he seldom left my side. He followed me from room to room and climbed on my lap every chance he could get. His purr could be heard across the room, and he loved to talk. He honestly seemed to be responding as I chatted with him while cooking, painting or sewing.

Once Scrimmy was silenced, so was I. The house became very quiet whenever Jerry was out and about.

Until Cookie came along.

Cookie is my “pet” gecko. I first met her when she crept up under my cookie cooling rack and started gobbling up the cookie crumbs. She’s one of the pretty geckos with the red spots on a green body. She’s put on a little weight since we met, which only makes her more adorable. She has become very social, and the sound of my voice causes her to pause and listen intently. She mostly lives behind a framed print near our kitchen windows, but comes out to visit whenever I’m cooking.

Now Cookie has a family, ‘Cado and Crax. They are far more shy, and they’re not good listeners. But oh how they love their avocado and their crackers!

Cheeky Cointreau will go to great depths for his fix – even diving to the bottom of a cocktail glass!

Cointreau’s cousin samples vodka, which was not a winner.

Jerry really was the first in the family to befriend a gecko. Cointreau the Gecko, who is ancient in gecko years, crawled up onto a Cointreau bottle one evening years ago and started licking…and licking…and licking…until the bottle cap was clean! Now a whole family of geckos comes out at cocktail hour to see what Jerry might be offering for their Happy Hour. He has tried lots of different liquors, but Cointreau, Fireball and Grand Marnier are by far the most popular.

Cointreau toddles off after a good lick of Fireball.

Jerry has long conversations with Cointreau, who is usually quite attentive, though the attention span lessens as he imbibes.

Do spiders make good pets?

We recently ran into (literally), this beautiful spider, who seems to appreciate guitar. But all she was interested in was weaving back and forth between the guitar and the desk. Not a social creature at all. Do spiders have the potential to be house pets? Shall we name her Charlotte?

Spiders, and their webs, are among the joys of living in the rain forest!

-Paula Rath


July 22nd, 2018 / posted by paularath

Left: Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, with Ben Foster Photo: Scott Green/Bleecker Street

Summer is generally a pretty bleak time, movie-wise. The screens are over populated with super heroes, violence, ridiculous creatures and screeching cars, planes, motorcycles and voices.

But right now, in the midst of this movie morass, there is a quiet little film that stole my heart: “Leave No Trace, the lyrical indie film by writer/director Debra Granik, who won an Academy Award for “Winter’s Bone.

I can’t think of a more chaotic time for our nation than the summer of 2018. Of course I remember the summer of 1968, but that was a very different kind of chaos, sparked by passion and commitment. So it is with gratitude and joy that I spent a few hours in the magical Pacific Northwest forest of “Leave No Trace”with two people I came to care about immediately. The world which this loving father and daughter inhabit seems to make so much sense right now. Their forest is serene and tranquil. It’s a picture of peace and I wanted to be there with them.

Of course, it makes all the difference that the lead actors are absolutely superb. The father, Will, is played by Ben Foster and the daughter, Tom, is the transcendent Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie.

Granik’s “Winter Bone” was a breakout film for Jennifer Lawrence. I think – and hope – that “Leave No Trace” will be a breakout film for Thomasin.

Give yourself a break from the insanity we are forced to endure and go see this movie. You’ll be leaving Washington, DC, far behind you. It’s playing at the Consolidated Kahala Theatre.

-Paula Rath