They say time flies when you're having fun. Well, this past year has flown by. I can't believe we've already been in Albuquerque for a year! Here are some observations, now that I'm no longer a newbie:

Vibrant Albuquerque Sunset

I'm addicted to chile: It started out slowly - I'd sample chile here and there when I went out for a work dinner to get a sense of it. Then, I started enjoying it in everything from breakfast to biscochitos. My tolerance for heat is much higher than it used to be, and now I need this New Mexico veggie several times a week to satisfy my cravings. And, my first thought when I get the sniffles is, "I need to get my hands on some green chile."

I own turquoise: I always admired this beautiful stone, but now I'm the proud owner of a nice handful of pieces of turquoise jewelry. I bought myself a ring from Skip Maisel's Indian Jewelry & Crafts first (which is, thankfully, within walking distance of my office), then a bracelet from the Old Town vendors. I got earrings for Mother's Day and rounded out my collection very nicely this Christmas when close friends gifted me with a gorgeous necklace. I'm very proud of each piece and can't wait to add more to my collection. 

This place may have the best weather of any place I've ever lived: Listen up - I think this is one of Albuquerque's best-kept secrets. I've lived in four states and visited more than I can count on my fingers and toes. I loved how everything came to life and the city turned green in spring. Summer was amazing (especially after 10 summers spent in Phoenix). I relished the warm days and cooler evening breezes, fall was spectacular and full of color, and we see just enough snow in winter to keep things exciting without being shut in by it. 

The Sandias look different every day: From those famously stunning pink sunsets, to being snow-covered, to seeing patches of color in the fall and clouds settling into the canyons, I can't keep my eyes off these beautiful mountains. In the spring, I visited the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, and noticed how different the mountains look from the north. This summer, we took a drive on the Turquoise Trail, which allowed us to see how different the east side looks. Although they are ever-changing, they are also a comforting constant in the blur of daily life in the city. 

Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque

I wear makeup to the grocery store: Coming from a large metropolitan area, I very rarely ran into anyone I knew when I was out and about. That allowed me the pleasure of wearing yoga pants, flip flops and no makeup on my weekend grocery store runs. I quickly realized that kind of thing just doesn't happen in Albuquerque. Albuquerque SunsetThis big city has some small town qualities, and running into people you know is one of them. I actually really enjoy knowing that I go to the same nail salon or park as someone I know, and I've come to enjoy this. Don't get me wrong - I still wear my yoga pants, just with a touch of makeup now. 

Sure, I could go on about family-friendly activities, how everything is easy to get to and truly amazing it is to see the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in person. But, I'll save that for another time! 

Check out Heather's original "new to Albuquerque" post from January 2014.

If you've relocated to ABQ from elsewhere, what are your observations? Let us know in the comments below.