Twinkle Light Parade & Nob Hill Holiday Shop & Stroll

December 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Holiday Events, Kids, Parades, Shopping

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You’d have to be walking around with your eyes shut not to know about this already. But hey, we’re all busy people. Maybe you forgot about it. Or maybe you just flew into the Duke City and never knew about it in the first place.

This year the Twinkle Light Parade and Nob Hill Holiday Shop and Stroll are both combined again in Nob Hill on the same day: Saturday December 7, 2013.

The Nob Hill Holiday Shop and Stroll runs from from noon to 10 pm on December 7, when everyone hobnobs in Nob Hill with street performers, mariachi groups, and carol singers to get us into the festive spirit.  They close Central Avenue off to cars between Girard and Washington between those hours, so pedestrians can wander at will along historic Route 66. Of course there are lots of shopping opportunities, with many boutiques staying open late, some stores offering discounts, and a lively atmosphere in the restaurants.

  • There will be photo ops with Santa Claus – he usually rolls by on the Twinkle Light Parade too.
  • A jolly trolley from Albuquerque Trolley Co. will run free shuttle rides along Central between noon and 4 pm.
  • Albuquerque Film & Media Experience will show a free outdoor screening (bundle up!) of the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at 7:45 pm. That’s at 3712 Central Ave, between Hermosa and Solano.
  • O’Niell’s Pub will serve free coffee and cider on the enclosed patio.

The Nob Hill Holiday Shop and Stroll map gives all the skinny and shows what’s happening where.

If you download the PDF of the Nob Hill Shop and Stroll program you’ll find a few coupons too, although not as many as in previous years.

  • 10% off one item at Gertrude Zachary
  • $10 off at Yanni’s Mediterranean Grill when you order two entrees (valid to January 1, 2014)
  • 10% off at Yanni’s new Lemoni Lounge (valid to September 1, 2014)

The Twinkle Light Parade starts glitzing at 5:15 pm on December 7, traveling west along Central Avenue from Washington Street to Girard Boulevard.  Bleachers will make it easier for everyone to watch the parade. The City of Albuquerque reckons that there are more than 100 floats (cars, horses, anything they can gussy up with sparkly lights) in the parade this year. I do so love this festive event, but dress warmly – I’ve nearly frozen my tootsies off watching the parade in previous years.



Albuquerque Concert Band Free Holiday Concert

December 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Art & Entertainment, Concerts, Live Performances, Music

Albuquerque Concert Band plays holiday musicThe Albuquerque Concert Band has been entertaining Albuquerque for more than 40 years, and they’re staying true to form with a free concert of holiday music.

The  Albuquerque Concert Band free holiday concert is this Sunday December 8, at 3 pm, at the KiMo Theatre. I love holiday music and I had a wonderful time at this free concert the last time I went with friends.

It’s all very rousing and jovial, with plenty of family favorites to tap your toes to. The Albuquerque Concert Band and conductor even wore different festive headgear to accompany each song. I can’t guarantee they’ll be doing the same this year, but I can guarantee that they are terrific entertainment.

Short of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer crash-landing on my head, I’ll be there first in line!
Doors open at 2:30 pm and it’s wise to arrive promptly as it’s a pretty full house in my experience.

Here are some free audio samples from Albuquerque Concert Band recordings to get you in the mood.

The KiMo Theatre is located at 423 Central Avenue NW.



Toys for Tots and a Free Aveda Haircut

December 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Charity Events, Kids

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Toys for Tots AlbuquerqueI have a soft spot for the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots aims to give every child a merry Christmas by ensuring they have a new toy, no matter how difficult their family’s economic circumstances.

The Albuquerque Marine Toys for Tots program distributes donated new toys as gifts to less fortunate kids in Albuquerque – and a fine job they do of it. They’re kind of like our home-grown Santas!

Of course everything depends on us making donations, so feel free to take new and unwrapped gifts for a child, boy or girl, to the many local collection points through December 9, 2013.
Here’s the list of Albuquerque Marine Toys for Tots drop-off points, which conveniently include two Toys R Us locations.

On Wednesday December 4, 2013, the Aveda Institute New Mexico will hold a Toys for Tots Cut-a-Thon from 9 am to 7 pm. Take in a new toy donation for Toys for Tots to the value of $10 and get a free haircut! Aveda Institute New Mexico is located at 1816 Central Avenue SW in Old Town.

During the Holidazzle at the Promenade event on Thursday December 5 from 4 pm to  7 pm, take a new and unwrapped toy to any participating business and you’ll receive a free dance fitness class at Baila Dance & Fitness Studio. The event also includes carols, prizes, and photos with Santa, at 5200 Eubank NE, Albuquerque NM.



Return of the Sandhill Cranes Festival

November 14, 2013 by  
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The annual Return of the Sandhill Cranes celebration is back on November 16 and 17, 2013, offering plenty of free fun, including Tai Chi. (You do it with the cranes, although who knows if the cranes will join in?)

Albuquerque’s Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration this weekend at the Open Space Visitor Center gets us all in a flap on Saturday and Sunday November 16 – 17. It’s a great opportunity to join with others to see the sandhill cranes traveling south for the winter. Whenever I see the large flocks of cranes migrating along the Rio Grande Valley I’m awed by their beauty and grace.  I often want to fly away with them but I haven’t got the hang of that bit yet.

The free family event is not just about birdwatching through the viewing scopes, however. The line up includes:

  • A guided Bosque bird walk (8:30 am on Saturday) plus a couple of fly-in and fly-out walks
  • Tai Chi with the cranes at 9 am on both days
  • Silk painting demonstration at 11 am on Saturday
  • A tin punch workshop at 11:30 am on Saturday
  • Two performances of the musical Love in the Bosque by Phil Bock, about a romance between cranes who pass through Albuquerque along the Rio Grande. (Cute! The performances are on Saturday at 1:30 and 3 pm.)
  • See Wildlife Rescue birds from 10 am – 2 pm on Sunday (I always love that!)
  • The Albuquerque Origami Society – they usually get everyone making origami cranes
  • Films including Waking Up Crane and Stories of Wolves
  • Children’s games and crafts, and solar scopes for everyone!

See the full Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration 2013 schedule as some events only happen once. And check the times for anything you especially want to do, as all events are subject to change.

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)



Monday Night Savings at Thrift Town

November 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Shopping

Thrift Town Sale

Photo © Alexk | Dreamstime Stock Photos

If you’re a Monday Night Football widow (or widower), take heart. While your partner is cheering on the team, you can score big savings on new-to-you clothes at Thrift Town!

Every Monday night through December 23, 2013, from 6 – 9 pm, Thrift Town is offering 30% off clothing in their Monday Night Football Sale.

That’s adult clothing, kids’ clothing, women’s clothing, suits, skirts, jackets, coats, ties, you name it. The sale excludes gift cards, and already-reduced Color Tag items.  It also excludes Thrift Town logo gear. Don’t fumble this opportunity to kick off the week with a new (to you) uniform ;-)

The Thrift Town 30% off clothing sale is only on Monday nights from 6 – 9 pm.

Also note that Seniors aged 60+ get 30% off clothing at Thrift Town all day every Monday.  You can’t combine the senior discount with any other promo.

Pick up a Thrift Town Super Shopper card while you’re in the store. You get a stamp for every $10 you spend, and once the card is full with 20 stamps, you earn $10 off your next $20+ purchase.

The Thrift Town Albuquerque store is at 3900 Menaul Blvd NE.



U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Albuquerque: Nov 15

November 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Events, Holiday Events

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The 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is on its way from Washington State to Washington D.C. and that means we get to see it in Albuquerque! This year’s tree is an Engelmann Spruce standing 88 feet tall – that’s a whopping 15 feet taller than last year’s tree!  The tree is being transported on a  massive great truck, tied down with 4,000 feet of parachute cord. You can bet your life I’ll find myself driving behind that baby.

The tree will be on display in Albuquerque on Friday November 15 from 4 pm to 6 pm at the New Mexico National Guard Armory Building, 600 Wyoming Boulevard NE. According to an Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau press release the free event includes hot chocolate, cookies, live music, and crafts for kids.  I believe there will be some kind of viewing platform to see some of the ornaments that were created by Washington State school children.  During the event you can also donate a new, unwrapped toy for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots collection.

(Note: The official U.S. Capitol Christmas tree site   says the tree will be in Albuquerque from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm, so turn up early if you want and take your chances.)

The tree is on its way to the U.S. Capitol, where it will be decorated and ceremonially lit. Each year, a different National Forest provides the tree and this year it’s the Colville National Forest in Washington State.

The last time New Mexico supplied the Christmas tree was in 2005 from the Santa Fe National Forest, so it probably won’t be our turn again any time soon. This is your chance to see the People’s Tree before it heads to the U.S. Capitol lawn, to be lit by House Speaker John Boehner and admired by people all over the world.

If this inspires you to think about your own Christmas tree, don’t forget about the Home Depot Christmas light trade-in deal I mentioned in a previous post, running until November 17.



Christmas Light Trade-In

November 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Shopping

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Christmas Tree Lights by BrihoHome Depot trades in used and broken Christmas lights for discounts on new sparkly lights – you need to take advantage of the deal by November 17!

The Home Depot Christmas light trade-in for old lights is such a great idea. Every year Mr Cheap pulls down last year’s lights from the box on top of the wardrobe, I plug them in, they don’t work. We plug them in to another socket, they still don’t work. We change the fuse in the plug. They still don’t work. I go through the whole strand checking every bulb is screwed in tight. They still don’t work. By now it’s Easter.

Sometimes it feels as if I might as well just throw away all the lights when I take the tree down, instead of carefully storing them for next year. But if we did that, we wouldn’t be able to trade the lights in for a discount!

With The Home Depot’s Christmas Light Trade-in you can take used or broken incandescent holiday light strings to The Home Depot store for recycling. In exchange you receive a discount of $3 to $5 on a new purchase of energy-efficient LED lights. Home Depot reckons that the Energy Star qualified lights use up to 65% less energy than incandescent lights. The discount options are:

  • $3 off Home Accents’ Holiday LED lights
  • $4 off Martha Stewart Living or GE LED lights
  • $5 off EcoSMART or Light Show LED lights

Find all the details in the Christmas Light Trade-In PDF. Each customer can take in up to five old incandescent light strings for a maximum of five discounts, by November 17, 2013.

Time to check out your holiday lights people… where did you put them? Sparkle on!



Veterans Day Deals & Freebies

November 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Attractions, Freebies, Restaurants & Bars

Here is our 2013 round-up of Albuquerque Veterans Day deals and freebies. Even if you’re not a service member, look in the For Everyone list below to find some Veterans Day deals for all.

There are tons of freebies for veterans and current military – as is only right and fitting. A heartfelt thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Some offers are valid only on November 11, others on other days, and most require proof of military service – check details at the links. Know of any other Veterans Day deals? Tell us in the comments box below!

Veterans Day Deals For Everyone

Free admission to National Parks for all visitors for three days over the Veterans Day weekend, from November 9 to November 11. This is the last of the National Parks free entrance days for 2013, and fees are waived at parks nationwide that usually a charge a fee, including these New Mexico National Parks.

Veterans Day Honor Free MP3s by the U.S. Armed Forces bands and ensembles, including the Star Spangled Banner, Taps, Here’s to America, Eternal Father, Strong to Save (The U.S. Navy Hymn), When Johnny Comes Marching Home, and more.

New Mexico Veterans Art Show Free admission to see work by artists who are veterans or serving in military, Reserve or National Guard forces. At EXPO New Mexico Fine Arts building, the show opens on November 8 with a reception at 6 pm and ceremony at 7 pm. Then the show runs from 10 am to 4 pm on these weekends: November 9/10, November 15/16/17 and November 22/23.

Thrift Town Veterans Day Sale 30% off clothing on Monday November 11, excluding gift cards and color tag items already discounted by 50%.

Savers Veterans Day Sale offers 50% off clothing, shoes, accessories, and bed and bath on November 11.

Living Social 10% Discount from November 8 – November 11 using the promo code: VETERANS10
The offer is valid on purchases site-wide and you get 10% off any order, up to a maximum discount of $20.  There are some terms and conditions and redemption instructions here. At time of writing there are 68 Albuquerque deals on Living Social, from restaurants to massages, manicures, yoga, fly fishing, kids’ stuff and quite a lot more!

Veterans Day Deals For Military Only

Free Musical Theatre for Veterans. Thanks to Elizabeth at Desert Rose Playhouse for telling us that they are offering free admission for veterans to performances on Saturday November 9 at 8 pm or Sunday November 10 at 2 pm. The show is Dogfight the Musical, set in 1963 as three young Marines have a boys’ night out before heading to the conflict in Southeast Asia. Desert Rose Playhouse is located at 6921 Montgomery Blvd. NE.  To redeem your freebie, make a reservation at (505) 881-0503 or email the box office.

Grace for Vets Free Car Wash on November 11 for veterans and current service personnel. According to the list of participating businesses nationwide, the Albuquerque car washes sudsing up for free are Airforce One Express Car Wash, and Octopus Car Wash locations. I heart Octopus – they always do a grand job on my car at such a fair price.

Half off Golf Course Green Fees on November 11 at all Albuquerque City courses for veterans. The four golf courses are Los Altos, Arroyo del Oso, Puerto del Sol and Ladera.

Free Hair Cut at Great Clips salons on November 11. OR it looks like you can just drop into the salon that day and pick up a card to redeem your free hair cut later, until December 31. Non-military folk who purchase a service at Great Clips on November 11 get a free haircut card to give to a veteran. Check for participation by calling ahead. (A head = pun, I just realized.) See the list of Albuquerque Great Clips salons

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Free Admission for veterans on November 11 if you take your ID.

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Free to military personnel on November 11. Take ID, and the free admission is good for both veterans and current service members.

Tucanos Brazilian Grill Free Meal Thanks to reader Michael for alerting me to this Tucanos offer! Current and former military members get a free meal on November 11, with military ID or proof of past service. Active service members and their families also get 10% off their entire meal from November 8 – 11. So if you go for the freebie on Veterans Day and take your family, they’ll get a 10% discount too. Tucanos also has a Facebook promotion to get a free dessert coupon when you send an Instagram photo of a family member or friend in uniform. Tucanos is Downtown, at 110 Central Avenue on the corner of 1st. (As if we could miss it!)

Denny’s Free Pancakes on November 11 from 6 am – 2 pm at participating Denny’s Restaurants.   The free all-you-can-eat pancakes are for military personnel (retired, active or non-active) with ID.

Texas Roadhouse Free Lunch on November 11 for active, former, and retired military with ID. Select from a special free Veterans Day menu including sirloin steak, country fried chicken, and pulled pork dinner, all served with side dishes and beverages.

Olive Garden Free Meal for veterans and active military on November 11, with ID.  Entrees include garlic breadsticks and soup or salad, and the Veterans Day free menu to select from includes spaghetti and meat sauce, chicken parmigiana, and seafood alfredo. Family dining with you get a 10% discount on their meals. Throughout the month of November, Olive Garden is giving 10% off to current military service members and their families.

Boston Market Free Whole Chicken with purchase. According to Boston Market’s Twitter post and Facebook page, you can get a free whole chicken on November 11 at any Boston Market when you purchase a family meal and show military ID.

Chili’s Veterans Eat Free deal gets active duty military and veterans a free entree all day on November 11 at participating locations. Menu options include margarita chicken, “Old Timer” with cheese, pizza, and more, with proof of military service.

Veterans and active duty military eat free at Applebee’s on November 11 with proof of military service.  You get a free entree from a selection including house sirloin, Fiesta Lime Chicken, bacon cheeseburger, Double Crunch Shrimp and more.

California Pizza Kitchen Free Pizza on November 11 for veterans and active duty military in uniform or with proof of service.

Outback Steakhouse Veterans Day Freebie A free Bloomin’ Onion and any Coca-Cola drink on November 11.  Plus 10% off for military personnel from November 12 to December 31, valid on the entire check apart from booze and tax. Military ID required – check out the required proofs at the Outback Steakhouse freebie page (scroll WAAAAAY down the bottom!)

Golden Corral also offers a free meal to veterans and active duty military members.  This year their annual Military Appreciation Monday dinner will be held on November 11 from 4 – 9 pm.

Red Robin Free Burger and Fries on November 11 for veterans and active duty military in uniform or with proof of service. The freebie is a Red’s Tavern Double burger with Bottomless Steak Fries.

Einstein Bros. Bagels Free Bagel & Schmear on November 11 between 5:30 am and 5 pm.  The offer is for a free bagel and shmear or any other topping,  for active, inactive and retired military personnel.

Free Krispy Kreme Donut and Coffee on November 11 in stores (not drive-through) when you wear military uniform or show proof of service. Participating locations include Albuquerque Krispy Kreme stores at Ellison, Wyoming, and Coors.

Red Lobster is serving up a free appetizer from November 11 – 14 for veterans and current service members,  according to a press release. Choose from 10 appetizers, including Lobster-Crab-and-Seafood-Stuffed Mushrooms and Sweet Chili Shrimp.

TGI Friday’s Free Lunch for veterans and active duty military on November 11 from 11 am to 2 pm.

Starbucks Free Coffee for veterans and active duty service members AND their spouses on November 11.

Twin Peaks Armed Forces Appreciation invites service men and women to eat free on November 11.

Hooters Free Meal on November 11. Veterans and active duty military personnel can score a free meal worth up to $10.99 with any drink purchase. Valid at all locations, but take military ID or proof of service!

Note: Not all locations may be participating, call ahead if you want to be sure! Follow the links I’ve given for each deal or venue to find further details, and info on the proof of military service required.

–Tania FYI, I’ve give my Amazon affiliate link for the free MP3s.


National Parks Free Veterans Day Weekend

November 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Freebies, Sport & Leisure, Weekend & Day Trips

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In honor of Veterans Day, all National Parks that usually charge admission fees are free for all visitors for three days over the Veterans Day weekend, from November 9-11, 2013.

The Veterans Day free admission to National Parks all weekend is in tribute to America’s current and previously serving armed forces. Although it’s in gratitude for their military service, the free entry applies to all visitors.

This is the last of the National Parks free entrance days for 2013, offering a great opportunity to to take a day trip, get outside, and make the most of these last fall days.  If you’re in the mood for a weekend road trip, the free admissions include Grand Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Yellowstone National Park, among more than 100 parks waiving their fees.

New Mexico National Parks that usually charge a fee but are free from Saturday November 9 to Monday November 11 are:

Wherever you’re going, check current conditions at the park at the above links. They might have alerts about access or any areas of the parks that are closed. Some may have special free events you can join in too!



Affordable Care Act: Free Albuquerque Info Sessions

November 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Events, Services

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If you’re one of the people seeking information on the new Affordable Care Act, your choices and how the new health care act will affect you, free help is at hand!

Yes, we’ve all heard the news stories about the Affordable Care Act – or Obama Care as it’s known. For those individuals affected by the health care laws and feeling confused about their options, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Library offers a series of free information sessions.

The ABC Library Affordable Care Act information sessions are given in partnership with New Mexico Health Connections. (Scroll down the page at the link to see them all.) Admission is free but seating is limited, so these sessions are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Upcoming one-hour sessions on the Affordable Care Act include:

  • Friday November 8 at 2 pm: Cherry Hills Library, 6901 Barstow NE
  • Saturday November 9 at 10 am: South Valley Library, 3904 Isleta SW
  • Tuesday November 12 at 1 pm: Erna Fergusson Library, 3700 San Mateo NE
  • Thursday November 14 at 5 pm: Special Collections Library, 423 Central NE
  • Saturday November 16 at 1 pm: East Mountain Library, 1 Old Tijeras Rd., Tijeras

Others sessions are offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of NM at the Main Library on Copper, on various dates. More sessions may also be added at the link.

I am one of the self-employed people trying to figure out whether to stay with my existing “grandfathered”  health care plan, which costs a lot for very few benefits… unless I fall out of a plane or something equally drastic. Or whether it would be better to switch from that ‘catastrophic health insurance’ plan to a different plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace at

So far I’ve managed to get myself signed up for the site… but I can’t actually log in to see the plans available. Sigh.  However, two of my friends who could not afford any health insurance at all before HAVE successfully navigated the site, and they are delighted with the good value plans they found.

Well, they promise the website technical hitches will be solved by the end of November.  Fingers crossed!

If you’re in the same or similar boat as me and uncertain about your Affordable Care Act options, I hope the free info sessions by ABC Library will be helpful.  If you go, let us know how useful it was in the comments box below!



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