June and New Blog Layout

June and New Blog Layout

Hello lovely people and Happy June!!!

It’s been on my mind for a while to resuscitate this blog and make things easier and organized so you could find the posts whithout much effort. I put in long hours to fix this blog also adding tags in every post to make sure things are working properly and smoothly. I deleted some older posts that I didn’t like or I guess should be less representative of what I want to write about today.

The best URL to use is https://bella.bluelf.me, especially if you’re going to log in to post replies.

There are new Social Media icons displayed in the right side of this blog, easily visible to share the posts you like. Sadly with the above http to https change, I lost all the numbers representing liked and shared posts. For now I’m starting with zero, so please start sharing again and point to (copy/paste) the URL with https:// specifically …

If you have any questions or suggestions about the new blog or blogging in general, feel free to let me know … After all I’m here because I like to hear from you.

Not too long ago we went kayaking across the Mission Bay Channel to Mission Bay here in San Diego. Something completely new to me. The weather was perfectly bright blue skies and a cool breeze blowing in our faces, and splashes of water refreshing our body. It was a lot of fun being out there in the middle of the bay. I saw for the first time an old Mississippi style steam boat full of passengers. I thought this was very cool for an old style boat like this to still be running.

These photos were taken while in the front seat of our kayak. The view is crystal clear because I was so close to many of these old cargo ships, birds and bridges. As a side note, I would not recommend for anyone to kayak in these waters because you share these waters with either powered or large other craft and their captains may not see you. Even if you wear bright safety vests it’s still a bit of a risk.

I really enjoyed being out there in the early morning and the experience of feeling the water, the sun and the smell of salt in the air, is truly amazing.

After we finished kayaking, it was time to find something to eat. Along the way, we came across these lovely pink buttercup blossoms all over the harbor. And the blue sky was a perfect backdrop for a photo.

PS: If you’re planing to visit San Diego here is the Aqua Adventures Kayaks & Paddleboards to rent.

The Huntington Library — Part 2

The Huntington Library — Part 2

As I promised, today I’m sharing more photos of The Huntington Library

In my experience, these are the best in the Southern California including: the “Australian Garden”, the “California Garden”, the “Lily Ponds”, the “Palm Garden”, the “Herb Garden”, the “Shakespeare Garden” and the “Subtropical Garden”. You’ll need more than one visit to see everything. There are 12 themed gardens to explore. That’s a lot of walking! If you plan on spending the entire day, a water bottle, some sunscreen, and wear comfortable shoes and light clothes, a wide hat, and sunglasses.

The gift shop is huge with a large collections of gifts for many a taste. The library is incredible and well organized with amazing collections of rare books and manuscripts, even if you’re not allowed to touch. After a while you’ll find yourself hungry. So you’ll be relieved to know that there are a several options to eat seasonal food made from scratch.

Have an amazing week!!

Water Lily Pond.

The Rose Garden.

The Desert Garden.

Water Fountain at Huntington Library.

The Shakespeare Garden.

The Sculpture Garden.

The Jungle Garden.

Giant Bell at the Japanese Garden.

The Huntington Library

The Huntington Library

Happy May to all and hope you are enjoying the full bloom!

Today I’m sharing some photos from my recently visit to The Huntington Library in San Marino, LA. It’s my second time exploring this beautiful place and it’s interesting to see the different gardens, e.g. the “Japanese Garden”, the “Desert Garden”, and the “Chinese Garden”, as you walk through the grounds. It feels like you’re entering a different world. It’s impressive and peaceful at the same time.

There’s so much to see, it’s best to take your time and come again to see more. The admission is on the expensive side at $23 for adults, but worth every penny …  We visited during the weekdays when it’s less crowded and allowed us to slow down and enjoy each garden, walk slowly and take photographs. When you get exhausted, find a grassy space under the shade of one of the many voluminous tree. It’s a pleasure to just sit for a moment, take in so many different blooming aromas from the gardens and listen to the water of the ponds. Either that or you’re even welcome to nap. Sounds wonderful no?

Hope you enjoy the images; but it’s a far cry from the real experience! I’ll be back with the part 2 post.


Beautiful happy birds singing in sunny days at Huntington garden.

The Golden Barrel cactus from Huntington Desert Garden.

Water Lily pond at Huntington Garden.

Huntington Wooden Bridge of the Japanese Garden.

Lead the way path to the Japanese Garden.

San Diego in Bloom

San Diego in Bloom

San Diego and the whole California state, to me, is the most beautiful place right now to visit. Warm air, clear and bright blue skies, and a sparkling, calm ocean. Spring is a time for renewing our energies! Wake up early and appreciate every moment and feels its rejuvenating powers. Watch nature unfold, turning into fields of super blooms in so many different hues to enchant our eyes and intoxicate us with its fragrance.

Here are a few photos that show just a bit of the beauty around town. Hope you enjoy the photos as much I did taking them.

Wishing you a lovely Spring …

Pink dreamy flowers sprout forth ...
Pink dreamy flowers sprout forth and turn their faces toward the evergreens and sun near my home.
Beautiful carpet of purple and white flowers.
Beautiful carpet of purple and white flowers from the Flower Fields in Carlsbad.
Carpet of multicolored flowers.
Carpet of multicolored flowers from the gardens around town.
View of La Jolla shore.
Spectacular view looking of La Jolla shore.
One of the little beaches in La Jolla.
La Jolla beach has some small beaches that are great for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. Just be mindful of the large rocks in the sand.

Auckland – New Zealand Part 2: Favorites

Auckland – New Zealand Part 2: Favorites

Greetings Dear Readers!

Hope you all had a great Easter and enjoyed the weekend with family and loved ones! My holiday was quiet, giving me a chance to rest while still going through tons of photos from my long vacation last year.

Below are some of my favorite moments around the city. You’ll notice by the snapshots that Spring was in full bloom everywhere. The season started in September and going through November. It was a perfect time to visit. The air varies between very fresh to chilly, which meant for me to buy some sweaters to walk around town. But the trip was amazing and very interesting to me to see the other side of the world. Everything is completely different from what I’m accustomed to, but the experience was great nonetheless.

I mean where else would you have to explain to restaurant server what a cup of coffee consists of, or see horses and cows in your neighbors’ backyard.  Not good, not bad, just oddities, differences aside from driving on the wrong side of the street … <SNICKER>

From my experience, this is so far and by far the most environmentally conscious country I’ve yet had the pleasure to visit.

By my photographs you’ll see that I wanted to capture moments different from the average tourist shots. What I saw in the town where people who know to have a good time, eat well, play and share things together. Even the animals and birds seemed more natural and relaxed with lots of green shrubs or seeds to eat. I may write another post about where to eat around Auckland.

Hope you enjoy my photos and let know what do think!

Have a wonderful rest of the week. ☼ღ(◕‿◕)

Little Pony walks on the backyard of the home.

The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the Auckland CBD, Auckland City, New Zealand. It is 328m (1,076 ft) tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast, making it the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere. It has become an iconic landmark in Auckland’s skyline due to its height and unique design.

Auckland harbor.

2016 - Love & Mr Lewis Flowers Ponsonby Central - Auckland New Zealand photo 1 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Love & Mr Lewis Flower shop at Ponsonby Central.

Another angle from the Albert Park.

I saw this adorable cat resting under the shade, I couldn’t resist the snap.


Albert Park with a view of the Sky City Tower.

A little history about the Western Park: The park dates back to the late-19th century, and is considered one of the city’s most distinguished open spaces. It may be considered Auckland’s oldest Municipal park as the Auckland Domain was created by Central Government. The original parcel of land set aside in 1871 consisted of a coffin-shaped wedge going from Ponsonby Road down to Beresford Street, with access to the park being gained from a very narrow frontage on Ponsonby Road. This was land on each side of the stream, which in pre-European times had been called Tuna-Mau by the local Māori, meaning ‘the trapping of eels’. The stream was one of several which emptied into Freeman Bay, now reclaimed as Victoria Park.

In 1873, the City Council decided to call for a new park design, and declared that the sum of ten guineas/pounds (then quite a sum) would be awarded as prize money to the creator of the winning design. Out of 11 different concepts that were submitted, the ‘Lily of the Valley’ design of Hammond and Blackmore was chosen for the new “City Park”. Western Park, as it was eventually called, was soon finished, at a cost of £200 and in 1874 the City Parks Committee did note that “upwards of 1100 deciduous and coniferous trees of the choicest kind [were] to be planted in the park.”

2016 - Love & Mr Lewis Flowers Ponsonby Central - Auckland New Zealand

A close up of Love & Mr Lewis’ flower shop.

Chapel Bar & Bistro – Ponsonby. It’s popular bar and bistro located on the corner of Ponsonby Road and Anglesea Road. When you hang out outside, you have a great view of the Sky Tower. The Chapel is at its best and liveliest on Sunday afternoons and in the evening. If you want to eat at the Chapel, the best time is at lunch when you’ll enjoy a great meal, beer and the decor in a tranquil atmosphere.

2016 - Chapel bar & bistro Auckland New Zealand photo 16 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Auckland – New Zealand

Auckland – New Zealand

Hello March and Welcome to Auckland – New Zealand!

A Brief History

Around 180 million years ago New Zealand broke away from a giant landmass called Gondwana and drifted nearly 3,000km south to where it sits today. Polynesians sailed here in the early 1300s, following their ancestor Kupe, who had named the country Aotearoa – “Land of the Long White Cloud.”

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman arrived in 1642, naming de land “Nieuw Zeeland.” European settlement began in 1769 with the arrival of British navigator Captain James Cook. In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi confirmed New Zealand as a British colony and it became an independent nation in 1947.

Going through photos from my vacation last year to Auckland, I found the coolest suburbs that I’ve yet ever seen. It’s rich in culture with an interesting combination of people from all over the world. The city is kept clean, with an amazing selection of all types of food that are fresh, mostly organic and delicious. From authentic Italian food, to fine Thai, Indian cuisine and even amazing Argentinian BBQ. Japanese food is the best where you can taste the freshness of each bite in every meal that you ordered. You can sit and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying conversation with friends in any open space food court without the hustle and bustle of overcrowded malls and have a great time. There’s a bit of everything for anyone, vintage shops, high end clothes and accessories made from New Zealand’s independent designers that absolutely gorgeous, pricey, but so worth it. Also the city offers great art galleries as well as sometourist oriented gift shops.

People in general are very nice and courteous as much as they are health and environment conscious while enjoying spending their time out with friends, and family. Overall it’s a healthy and beautiful city with a great environment to live in.

2016 - Auckland Waterfront New Zealand photo 4 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Auckland Waterfront.

2016 - Auckland New Zealand photo 1 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Old Ponsonby Post Office.

2016 - Auckland New Zealand photo 2 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

The beautiful Western Park.

2016 - Auckland Nea Zealand photo 3 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

2016 - Auckland New Zealand photo 7 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

2016 - Auckland New Zealand photo 6 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

2016 - Auckland New Zealand photo 9 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Albert Park is a public park in central Auckland, popular with students and locals alike. A great place for relaxing in the sun, reading, studying or talking with friends.

2016 - Auckland New Zealand Albert Park photo 10 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Auckland is surrounded by classic homes with a lot of greenery if not gardens.

2016 - Auckland New Zealand 11 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Enchanting Hawaii

Enchanting Hawaii

Aloha, and I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and that June is beautiful for you.

I was going through my photos folder, and I noticed so many cool moments that I was happy to capture during my 2 week vacation last year in Hawaii.

Photographs taken from my trip to Hawaii to share from my point of view endless beauty.

Waikki Beach - 2014 Sunset photo 1 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
Locals and tourists happily swimming under the breathtaking sunset of Waikiki beach.
Hawaii - 2014 photo 2 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
A glimpse of Hawaii’s many traits, its volcanic ruggedness against the pristine blue of the unending sea. A perfect place to relax and enjoy the warm and wet coolness together …
Peacefu Place Hawaii - 2014 photo 3 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
Tall gorgeous palm trees dancing to the sound of the wind.
Helemano Plantation - 2014 photo 4 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
I like the artwork around the Helemano Plantation. They have so many cute settings to pose behind, esp. for kids. Also they have an excellent work program for the developmentally disabled. A great community overall that you can feel good for supporting, and have a blast while you’re at it.
Worker at Dole Plantation - 2014 photo 5 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
This worker from the Helemano Plantation happily let me snap this shot.
Snaps Around Dole Plantation - 2014 photo 6 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
It’s a quiet afternoon at the Dole Plantation.
Pineapple - 2014 photo 7 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
Pineapple in bloom, definitely if you are on Oahu, you have to visit the Dole Plantation to learn more about the many varieties of pineapples.
Papaya Tree - 2014 photo 8 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
Papaya trees are all over the island.
Amazing old tree - 2014 photo 9 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
Even trees express themselves in shape and posture if left alone.
photo 11 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
The Allamanda flower is a sturdy vine with firm and shiny leaves. Allamanda blooms continuously and can grow to a height of 50 feet (15m). However, it needs a fence or trellis for support, as well as well-watered soil.
Anthurium Flower close up - photo 12 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
Anthurium flower close up, also called Tail Flower, Flamingo Flower and Laceleaf. It can be seen all over the island in different colors as well.
Hawaii Sky 2015 - photo13 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me
A half rainbow … it’s been decades since I saw a rainbow, so when I snap this shot I couldn’t believe.


Mahalo Hawaii!!!

Barona Resort and Casino

Barona Resort and Casino

WOW! We are already in the middle of the month — time couldn’t go any faster. As you already know from last post, I hosted my Bella Bohemian Boutique at the Encinitas Spring Street Faire here in the beautiful San Diego County. We had a great two day event with so many people stopping by at our tent and so much fun! The paper tissue flowers I made to embellish the outside and the interior of tent was one of many attractions.

Since we were so tired and in much need of rest, the following weekend we heading to the Barona Resort & Casino, located in the lovely Barona Valley, in Lakeside, CA. It’s considered one of the best Indian reservation casinos in San Diego. What a great place for a mini vacation and light entertainment, perfect to play golf, go to the spa, or smell the rose garden, there’s delicious food, super clean rooms, and a well trained staff in all areas of the hotel.

Barona Resort Day Spa is absolutely wonderful. After we had our massage the host guided us to the balcony and to my surprise, there were cool chocolate strawberries waiting for us. Even the table was covered with white table cloth. It doesn’t get any better than that …

If you have a San Diego trip or are planning one in the near future, I recommended you visit this place… Below you can see I really enjoyed walking around the hotel grounds, and taking endless pictures.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!!

Barona golf course 1- 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Sun Kissing Red Rose 2 - 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Not a gambler – but I like the drive and they have a beautiful lake behind the hotel you can feed the ducks, take long walks around the hotel or just relax in one of the many wood chairs around the lake.

Barona ducks in the garden 3 - 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Barona Hotel 4 - 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Barona Hotel boutique entrance 6 - 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

They take a really good care of the the rose garden, it’s just beautiful.

Rose Garden Barona Hotel 7 - 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Barona Hotel entrance of the golf course 8 - 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

The surrounding area is in a green valley, so refreshing for golfing, with all the cool breezes and ponds to make things interesting …

Ducks areound the lake 13 - 2015 photoby Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Lake & Golf Course - Barona Hotel 14 2015 - photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

  • We ate at the Sage Restaurant, portions were very generous, delicious and reasonably priced.
  • Be aware though that no alcohol is sold/served in the restaurants and the casino, though there is a bar on the bottom floor of the hotel.
  • If you’re a non-smoker I recommended you bring a mask, especially if you are going to play in the casino.