Z is for Zia @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

The Zia Sun Symbol is commonly seen around New Mexico, even on their state flag. But where did it come from? New Mexico's state flag, Picture from WikipediaThe Zia people are an indigenous tribe, and they currently live on the Zia Pueblo outside of Albuquerque. The sun is considered a sacred symbol, and the Zia symbol design reflects the tribe's philosophy of harmony of all things in the universe.There are four rays in four directions on the Zia Sun Symbol, meant to show the four points on the compass, four seasons of the year, the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle age, old age), and the four sacred obligations one must develop according to Zia belief (strong body, clear mind, pure spirit, and devotion to the welfare of others). The state flag of New Mexico (pictured above) has the red Zia on a field of Spanish yellow, symbolizing both parts of the state's culture and heritage.I hope you've enjoyed these little...
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Y is for Yucca @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

New Mexico's state flower is the yucca, and has been officially since 1927.Yucca Flower Photo by DM on FlickrThere are about 40-50 species (including perennials, shrubs, and trees) and none are actually specified as the state flower.They're pollinated by a specific moth that goes from flower to flower and deliberately transfers the pollen from the stamen of one to the stigma of another, then lays eggs in the flower. The moth's offspring eat some of the developing seeds when they hatch.Pretty cool, huh?xoxo Sarah...
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W is for Watermelon @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

Sandia, in Spanish, translates to "watermelon". So, the pretty Sandia Mountains are really the Watermelon Mountains.Why the odd name? Because, at sunset, the Sandias turn a lovely pink shade in the fading light. Sorry I don't have a picture of it (it only lasts a minute or two, and I'm often not near my phone), but here's a great shot of the mountains.Gorgeous day in #albuquerque #newmexico #ABQA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Apr 2, 2016 at 4:14pm PDT xoxo Sarah...
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Bonus V: Valency Genis Art @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge @Valency

So I decided to do this extra post because my friend, Valency, is a talented artist and because she lives in New Mexico, it's perfect for my A-Z Challenge theme!Valency got her BFA degree at the University of New Mexico, and has been creating what she calls vegan taxidermy ever since. Her extraordinary pieces resemble, well, decapitated Dr. Seuss creatures, and each one is lovingly crafted to find their forever home. Some of her creations have gone to people from Pixar, and even Vincent Price's daughter took one home!She recently had a very successful show in Chicago, and I know she's creating new creatures for some upcoming events. If you like her work, she ships all over the world.Before I link to some pics of her amazing work, Valency can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ValencyArt/And on Instagram and Twitter as @ValencySomething's fishy around here... I put the link in my Instagram profile to sign up for @Rotofugi's online preview for my...
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V is for Vino @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

No one was more surprised than me when I learned that New Mexico has vineyards.Because the first thing I think of when I think "wine" is a dry, desert environment. Perfect for growing grapes, of course. /sarcasmSo, of course I had to sample some New Mexican wines to figure out exactly how bad--or good--they were.Here were the contenders: Wine tasting--the things I do for my blog challenges. #wine #newmexico #atozchallengeA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Mar 26, 2016 at 5:46pm PDTThere was St. Clair Winery Cabernet Sauvignon and Blue Teal Reisling. I figured it would be good to have a red and a white. The third wine, a Moscato from Voluptuous, was purchased because it was as close to a dessert wine I could find.Of course we had to have delicious snobby wine-tasting snacks.Wine tasting--the things I do for my blog challenges. #wine #newmexico #atozchallengeA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Mar 26, 2016 at 5:46pm PDT And now...
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U is for University (UNM) @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

The main campus for the University of New Mexico, a large public university, is located right in Albuquerque. If you can't make it to the main campus, there are four satellite campuses around New Mexico.It was founded in 1889, and is very close to Nob Hill and central Albuquerque. It offers more than 200 undergraduate degree programs, and offers a variety of associate and certificate programs as well as graduate and professional programs.UNM is well-known for its research programs, and has a hospital associated with campus as well.The UNM mascot is the Lobo (wolf), and their athletic teams play NCAA Division I in the Mountain West Conference.We haven't seen any games yet, but it's definitely on our list! Hubs and I love college sports.xoxo Sarah...
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T is for Tram @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

One way to get to the top of the lovely Sandia Mountains is to take the tram. The Sandia Peak Tramway begins in the foothills at the base of the Sandias and runs over two and a half miles to the top. It's one of the most popular things to do in Albuquerque.It's supported by two towers between the first and last station, and took two years to construct. It was built by a Swiss company in the 1960s, and made its first trip up in 1966. The journey takes about fifteen minutes each way, and each tram car has a guide on it who will talk you through what you're seeing--the landscape, the different rocks, the trees.Picture from the Summer Tram Photo GalleryThere's even a restaurant at the very top, so you can stop and have something to eat and enjoy the gorgeous views.From the top, you can get to the Sandia Peak ski area as well as hike various trails....
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S is for Sandia and Skiing! @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

The beautiful Sandia Mountains border Albuquerque on the eastern side. While Albuquerque itself is at about 5,500 feet in elevation, Sandia Crest is its highest point at 10,678 feet, and the mountains provide a lot to do.Hiking is a popular activity, and from the Crest, you have breathtaking views of Albuquerque and beyond. There are over twenty trails, and they range from easy to very difficult, so there's plenty to satisfy every hiker.Sandia Peak is also known for its skiing. The ski area is on the eastern side of the mountain, and is a short drive for those with the urge to enjoy some winter sports.Gorgeous New Mexico! #albuquerque #abq #sandiaA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Oct 13, 2015 at 2:42pm PDT xoxo Sarah...
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R is for Rio Grande @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

The Rio Grande ("Grand River" or "Big River" in Spanish, in case you've never really thought about it) runs from Colorado into New Mexico and then forms the border between Mexico and Texas as it empties out into the Gulf of Mexico.The Rio Grande runs through Albuquerque, and you can enjoy it in non-motorized craft. There's a lot of wildlife to see near the river, and the plant-life is green in the desert landscape.There's even a Rio Grande Nature Park Center in northwest Albuquerque, which is worth a look!See you next time for S! I hope you're enjoying the blogfest.xoxo Sarah...
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Q is for Queso @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

As you've seen from H is for Hatch Chiles, they're the bee's knees in New Mexico and they're in everything here. Creme brulee, bagels, wine (no, I'm not kidding), and one friend even ordered a lobster roll with green chiles. Being from New England, she was not thrilled with the result, but that's not the point. The point is, New Mexicans love their chiles, even putting them in things that, well, probably shouldn't be tampered with.But queso isn't one of them. It's made for Hatch chiles.In the interest of finding a delicious restaurant-style queso dip you lovely readers can try, I tracked down two recipes on the interwebs (Pinterest, to be specific), and taste-tested them for you.It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.Queso Recipe #1: Roasted Hatch Chile Queso Dip from Cook Like A ChampionQ is for Queso experiment 1A photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:50pm PDTFirst off, this recipe was very...
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