April 14th, 2020 / posted by paularath

With my fabric art at Pauahi Tower’s Mezzanine Gallery

This photo was taken, clearly, “before.” I suspect we will be referring to the “befores” and “afters” in our lives for awhile now.

Jerry took it at the opening reception for the Hawaii Handweavers’ Hui Show, “Suitable for Framing: An Exhibition of Fiber Arts,” on January 16, just two months “before.”

I was thrilled to win the “Cutting Edge Award” for my work in the show. My prize is a pair of beautiful tailor’s scissors, a gift from generous donor New Home Sewing Center.

Of course all the artists were thrilled to have our work shown in this gorgeous gallery, and to have it hanging there for six months, from January 16 through July 11. Now I’m afraid there aren’t many eyes to appreciate the work in the show currently, but perhaps things will change before July.

“North Shore Surf’s Up,” my winning piece

It’s not easy to find venues for the work I have been doing. Although they look and act like paintings, there is no paint on them. They are entirely created with fibers I hand-dye in indigo and rust. So they don’t qualify to be in a show of watercolors or oils or acrylics. They were accepted for the Weavers’ show because of the way I layer the fabrics, sometimes five deep and often laid across each other in the manner of a weaving.

“Summer at Waimea Bay: Jump!”

Another opportunity for my work also came along this year, when the Hawaii Craftsmen announced their Fiber Hawaii 2020 show “In, of or About Fiber,” inviting artists to enter their “functional and non-functional objects made in any craft medium.”

Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and was excited to have two brand new works accepted into the show, “Summer at Waimea Bay: Jump!” and “Honu Returns to Laniakea.”

My fiber art piece “Honu Returns to Laniakea.”

However…..the show was scheduled to open April 3 at Gallery Iolani at Windward Community College, and close on May 3. So the accepted works are patiently waiting in the holding room of the gallery.

Yes, it’s sad to have these shows shut down. But, you know, this quarantine may provide many artists with extra time to create new work. And perhaps they are thriving with the burden of “so little time” lifted.

I have seen some talented artists showing their brand new work in Facebook and Instagram posts. Among them, Susie Anderson, Mark Norseth, George Woollard, Jo Rowley and Roger Whitlock. After all, plein air painting can easily (and probably preferably) be done more than six feet from another person. And our studios beckon.

So art goes on.

Paula Rath


April 9th, 2020 / posted by paularath

It’s far too easy to swim into a sea of angst in these days of self quarantine. It can sneak up on you at the most unexpected times, sometimes even when you’re just sitting in your comfy chair, reading.

If and when this starts to happen, there’s a technique that Jerry has learned to employ, and he recently taught it to me. It involves simply getting in touch with your senses.

You don’t have to leave your house. It can be done from any room, or even without getting up from that beloved chair.

I will share some of our sensory healing “tools,” but I’m sure you can find some of your own around your home.

SMELL is an often under-appreciated sense, but it’s always been an important one to me. Today it has a special significance, because loss of smell can be one of the signs of Covid-19. So you can check your sense of smell while enjoying a little relaxation.

My favorite aromatherapy candle is Baies by Diptyque. It’s pricey, but it lasts a long, long time and the scent takes me back to our family beach house on the North Shore. Do you have a favorite smell reminiscent of small kid time?

A fragrant flower can also do wonders to wipe away anxiety. It was so exciting when I woke up on the morning of April 1 to find the first bloom on my gardenia plant. I left it on the plant, and whenever I need to chill a little, I go out on the deck and enjoy its hypnotic fragrance.

Gecko “Cookie3” dining on the counter

SIGHT in our own home is something we can so easily take for granted. After all, we see the same things every day. But perhaps it’s a good time to take a deeper look at some of the things we live with.

At the moment we don’t have a pet, but we do have something living in our house that can be quite amusing: geckos. I have taken to naming the gecko that lives in our kitchen. There’s just one, and I believe we are on the third generation of the family of Cookie3. She is a good listener. She stops in her tracks and listens to me whenever I talk to her. It’s always nice to have a fresh audience, isn’t it?

Photo courtesy Honolulu Zoo

Do you have a kolea that returns to your neighborhood every August and flies away around April 23? Look especially hard for it in the next couple weeks, as it will be the last time you see it for several months. An aloha can relieve anxiety.

Perhaps you have an item in your home you haven’t really paid attention to lately. Look a little closer and see what you can see within it.

HEARING is a real challenge for Jerry, as he is 100 percent deaf in one ear and about 30 percent deaf in the other. He employs a technique of listening carefully to identify different sounds around him.

We are so lucky to live in the rain forest, where birds abound. We wake up every morning to a cacophony of birds singing and chattering away to one another. With the traffic noise on the Pali way down due to people staying home, the birds play an even bigger role in the music of our days.

Also, a Tibetan Singing Bowl can be an amazing way to soothe the soul. Its sound literally vibrates within.

Music, of course, is an ideal coping mechanism for those suffering from anxiety. For Jerry, it’s all about ABBA. For me, it’s Carole King and James Taylor. For both of us, it’s a wide range of classical music and jazz. Mahalo KHPR!

TOUCH is much missed these days by everyone in Hawaii. We are so used to hugging people whenever we see them, or at least touching their arm or taking their hand.

A pet is an ideal means to keep a soft and gentle touch in our lives. For me, my late cat, Eleele, filled that role. Cookie3, not so much. She actually does let me touch her when I’m talking to her, but it doesn’t last long, and she’s not exactly cuddly.

Sometimes just standing or sitting on the deck, letting the tradewinds caress, can offer so much solace.

TASTE is usually an easy fix for angsty days. Chocolate, anyone?

For me, baking is a means to happiness in so many different ways. It satisfies touch, taste, smell and sight.

Who doesn’t love baking a batch of cookies? And when baking bread, I can even get some frustrations out when kneading the dough.

But without our usual physical activities, such as swimming, pickleball and regular gym workouts, we are trying not to eat too much, and a batch of cookies, or even a whole loaf of bread, can be a problem.

So I attack my angst by trying to make new and different salads with quinoa, beets, couscous and Middle Eastern spices my niece Tiare gave me, but I never took the time to try. Time is no longer a rare commodity, is it?

So…..How are you attacking your angst?

Paula Rath

March 23rd, 2020 / posted by paularath

Messy closet #1

Since Jerry and I are self-quarantined in our home, I decided to pay a little more attention than I usually do to the state of this place we love.

My goal: to work on, or preferably complete, one task each day that will contribute to the care and cleanliness of our home. A few examples:

Polish silver: check

Clean screens and louvers: check

Scrub and wax the spa: waiting for a sunny day, and we live in the rain forest

Clean and “edit” the drawers, and refresh the drawer liners throughout the house: in progress

Clean my closets: auwe!

Messy closet #2

There’s a lot of psychology captured in a closet.

Oh, the guilt and dread for the clothes I never wear:

  • the yellow cardigan I bought when I was in a blue mood and thought maybe a bright and cheery garment would help, although the color makes my skin look green
  • the size 4 designer jeans I was convinced would fit one day when I lost a few pounds (they’re the ones with the tags still on)
  • the tie dye hippie skirt I wore to the Rolling Stones concert…and never again

Then there are the emotional attachments to things I’ve worn countless times because, well, they just make me feel good about myself, even though some pieces are 40 years old:

  • the red silk suit I wore when I pitched three new clients, and they all hired me (oh well, so the jacket has a few stains)
  • the dress, now droopy and sad, that made everyone say “Have you lost weight?”
  • the relaxed palaka tunic that makes me feel like a day at the beach (Oh, why didn’t I buy three of those when I had the chance?)

That’s why cleaning my closet is the most difficult task of all. It forces me to face my fears and flaws.

And you know what? It hasn’t become easier with age, so the accumulation can be appalling.

Paula Rath


March 12th, 2020 / posted by paularath

Frederic Fekkai, around the time I knew him.

Back in the day, around 20 years ago, I was the fashion writer for The Honolulu Advertiser. (Until, sigh, the newspaper closed.) It was the perfect job for me, as I was both a writer and a fashion designer.

I also had a weekly segment called “Island Style” on the Channel 2 Morning News with Leslie Wilcox and Ron Mizutani. That was a great gig also.

Having both a fashion print column and a fashion TV segment meant that I got first dibs on all the major Hawaii fashion stories, as well as interviews with the big name beauty experts and celebrities who came to Honolulu. The PR people would call me first because they wanted to get print and TV coverage for their clients.

It was great to interview and spend time with people such as Isabella Rossellini, Paloma Picasso, Anna Sui, Laura Mercier and Frederic Fekkai.

Island Life, The Honolulu Advertiser, June 13, 2000. Sorry about the distortion from the crease in the newsprint!
Photos by Jerry Mayfield

I wrote several stories about Frederic, as he visited Neiman Marcus Ala Moana often in the early aughts to introduce his eponymous hair care line to Hawaii. He is one of the most charming, elegant, tasteful and creative people I have ever met.

On one of his visits, I even got to have him cut my hair on live TV while he taught some of his styling secrets to the cosmetology students at Honolulu Community College. It was my best haircut ever, full of bounce and shine.

When Jerry listened to my interview with Isabella Rossellini, he said “That’s a giggle fest!” And so it was. She was in Honolulu for DFS to promote her fragrance, Manifesto.

You may remember Frederic’s life became very public when he dated an A-list heiress for awhile. Then he disappeared to a more private existence, and I lost touch with him.

So it was a pleasure to see him recently in a magazine story with his gorgeous wife, model Shirin von Wulffen. They are living in Aix-en-Provence, where Frederic has roots , and they have started a new line of fragrance. It’s called Bastide, and it’s made in Grasse, France. Find it at www.bastide.com

Fragrance has been an important part of my life since I was 16, when Huddy, my maternal grandmother, gave me my first bottle of perfume. It was White Shoulders. Now I never leave the house without fragrance, and my home is usually filled with fragrance as well.

The Bastide fragrance sampler set

Since I love Fekkai’s sense of style, as well as his hair products, I had to try Bastide. They offer a set of samples called  “Les Sept Merveilles” with seven very different fragrances in it.

The set is $30, and is good toward a $30 savings on your first purchase. It does, however, cost $10 for shipping.

I liked a couple of the fragrances, but my favorite is Neroli Lumiere. It’s simply delicious and my husband and son love it on me. I have to have it, and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival in my mailbox!

Paula Rath

Laura Mercier is a bit shy, but she overcomes her shyness to talk about skin care and makeup.


March 9th, 2020 / posted by paularath

Clearing the “jungle” begins. Yes, that’s our neighbors’ house and we are blocking the entire driveway. Lucky they’re at work all day!

You may have noticed I haven’t written a travel blog in awhile. Jerry and I decided to focus a year or so on our home and get some major stuff done. Major stuff such as refinishing the chocolate eucalyptus floors (pau!), re-roofing the house (pau!), installing new rain gutters (pau!), checking and cleaning our 30 solar panels (pau!) and, last week, trimming all the trees and cutting back the rainforest as it creeps toward the house.

The deck view before tree trimming.

We live, literally, in the rainforest. We love it and don’t want to live anywhere else. But oh my, how things grow – and overgrow – here!

For a number of years we chose to let the trees grow high around the deck. We liked to feel as though we were living in a tree house. Then, about ten years ago, we tried cutting the trees so we could see across the valley, with wider vistas of the Koolau Mountains. We loved it! Now every few years we trim everything so we can get that lovely view back.

The “before” view looking up the valley.


The view from our deck is most beautiful when the mysterious mist plays over the mountains. But today it’s clear.

It’s especially beautiful in the evenings, when we can look down toward town and see the soft remnants of a tropical sunset, and can look up the valley and see the moonrise and the mist as it encloses the Koolaus.

Jerry loves to sit on the deck in the early evening and write a bit of poetry. (Yes, he writes poetry!)

The view from my office mid-trimming.

The back yard also requires quite a bit of cutting back. Multiple varieties of ferns, ginger and other plants grow like crazy. My office has a complete view of the back yard, which has a Japanese berm with rocks, a rock “stream,” and a tropical “backdrop.”

On the side of the house, an area which no one sees unless we’re picking herbs together, the hau constantly crawls creepily toward the house, threatening to “eat up” my herbs. It’s the most difficult thing to control, along with its “buddy,” heliconia. The hau has sort of attacked us from the neighbor’s vacant lot.

So the trees and forest got a nice trim, and we thoroughly enjoyed the view. Then, last night, the wind picked up and, well, see for yourself:

Fallen tree in our backyard

On the roof, but not on the solar panels

…but it’s okay, no damage, even to the new roof and rain gutters. We suspect this fishtail palm was being protected by some of the trees we had trimmed, and without the protection, the wind came straight at it and knocked it down. It was never very sturdy, as it wasn’t supposed to grow that tall.

But oh well, we will deal with it. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the views.

Here’s one of the views that inspired Jerry to write a poem. This is the view back toward the Koolau Mountains as the moon rises, taken just a few days ago.

As the moon rises and the sun sets over our deck…                       Photo by Jerry Mayfield

Another reason we are lucky we live in Hawaii!

Next up on this blog (and I promise it won’t be so long between blogs this time):

  • Where in the world is Frederic Fekkai these days?
  • Cleaning my closet is the hardest task I undertake within my house. Here’s some closet psychology to help me (and perhaps you too) survive this task.

Paula Rath