Pepsi Launches Caleb’s Kola at Select Costco Locations

October 21st, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

Caleb's Kola is available exclusively at Costco

Caleb’s Kola is available exclusively at Costco

Pepsi has a new soda that they have released recently that isn’t full of artificial ingredients and could be considered a craft soda.  The new brand, Caleb’s Kola, has been in the works for a while but they’ve finally perfected it and it is ready to grace a shelf in your fridge.  Unfortunately, it isn’t being released everywhere yet, just a small selection of Costco locations in Maryland, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C.  Of course,it will eventually be available to a wider audience but for right now, you can only find it at Costco.  I think it is pretty cool that they chose to release it exclusively to Costco locations, even if it isn’t at all of them.

Caleb’s Kola is in old fashioned glass bottles like they used to have all the time but are really hard to find now.   The name is also a nod to cola history since it is named after Caleb Bradham, the North Carolina pharmacist that is credited with coming up with the original Pepsi formula in 1890.  Part of being more of a craft soda type production is that it has natural ingredients.  Unlike most sodas now it is not made with corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, which seem to have really impacted cola and soda sales in the last few years.  Caleb’s is made with sparkling water, sustainable Fair Trade cane sugar, kola nuts from Africa, a special blend of spices from around the world, and a hint of citrus oils to give it just a touch of citrus flavour.  If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering about the kola nut extract.  Here’s what they say on the Caleb’s website:

With a unique, slightly bitter flavor and a small amount of caffeine, the kola nut is an evergreen tree nut originating from the tropical rainforests of Africa. The nut itself is the fruit of the kola tree and can range in size from as small as a chestnut to as large as potato! Widely used to flavor drinks, we’re extracting the kola nut’s natural flavor as the key ingredient in Caleb’s Kola.

But of course, for me, the cool thing is that Pepsi picked Costco as the exclusive retailer for Caleb’s Kola.  And it is a pretty exclusive selection of Costco stores too, with just nine lucky locations stocking the new soda.  Here’s a list of all of the Costco locations  where you can find Caleb’s Kola, so you’ll know if you can pick some up next time you are at your Costco.

  • 517 East 117th Street, Manhattan, NY 10035
  • 61-35 Junction Blvd Rego Park, Queens, NY 11374
  • 2975 Richmond Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314
  • 976 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232
  • 4725 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030
  • 1200 S Fern Lane, Arlington, VA 22202
  • 2400 Five Lees Lane. Lanham, MD 20706
  • 10925 Baltimore Ave, Beltsville, MD 20705
  • 2441 Market St. NE, Washington, DC 20018

Clearly, I haven’t had a chance to try this new soda yet, but if anyone has, I’d love to hear about it.  Not that I really drink soda more than once or twice per year, but I really hate the taste of the artificial sweeteners in soda now, so this sounds like a nice change to me.

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Get Your Flu Shot at Costco for less than $15

October 20th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

As the weather starts to turn cooler and the leaves are starting to change colours, that means flu season is just around the corner.  And of course that means that you should get your flu shot now so that you can avoid getting sick during the holidays.  Which will then turn into getting everyone else you know sick for the holidays.  And really, that’s not a gift that is going to make your popular with friends and family this holiday season!

Get your flu shot at Costco US for under $15

Get your flu shot at Costco US for under $15

There are so many places in the US where you can get really affordable flu shots now, from your local pharmacy and of course, your doctor.  But did you know that you can also get your flu vaccine at Costco?  You can also get several other types of vaccinations at the Costco pharmacy too.  The Costco pharmacists have been immunization certified so they can administer vaccines for flu, pneumonia, shingles/Zostavax, and tdap (whooping cough).  You don’t need to make an appointment or even plan ahead, just come to the store during regular pharmacy hours Monday through Saturday because walk-ins are welcome.  So, for less than $15.00 you can get your flu shot and do your regular Costco shopping (which will almost definitely cost more than $15.00).  At the Costco US Flu Shot webpage, they state that they are administering trivalent vaccinations this year.  That means that their flu vaccine protects against three strains of flu: two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus.

I have a chronic illness and I’m on some medication that isn’t super friendly to my immune system so I always get a flu shot and Dave always gets one since he’s in a household with a sickie (aka someone at high risk of complications from the flu).  I know not everyone likes to or doesn’t think they are necessary, however, if you’ve had the flu recently, you know it isn’t something that is all that great to have and can take quite a while to get to feeling normal again.  I got the flu last year before I had the chance to get my flu vaccination and definitely don’t want a repeat performance.  This year it was like I was waiting in line for a new iPhone or concert tickets, just so I could get in there and get my vaccination early.   Most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later, though outbreaks can occur as early as October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against the influenza virus infection, therefore, it is best that you get vaccinated early so you are protected before flue begins spreading.  According to the government’s Flu website, getting a vaccine can mean that you are about 60% less likely to need treatment for the flu.

According to the CDC, in the United States, it is estimated that on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications each year. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.  So, even in good years, when the flu wasn’t as severe, 3,000 people still died.  For the few minutes it takes to get a flu shot, I think it is worth it not to be in the several thousand that may die from flu complications.

If you fall into any of the following groups, you should definitely make sure to get a flu shot:

  • all children aged 6 through 59 months;
  • all persons aged 50 years and older;
  • adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma) or cardiovascular (except isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
  • persons who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV infection);
  • women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season;
  • children and adolescents (aged 6 months through 18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye’s syndrome after influenza virus infection;
  • residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives; and
  • persons who are morbidly obese (body mass index of 40 or greater).
  • health-care personnel;
  • household contacts (including children) and caregivers of children aged 59 months and older (i.e., aged younger than 5 years) and adults aged 50 years and older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children aged younger than 6 months; and
  • household contacts (including children) and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at high risk for severe complications from influenza.

Side effects or complications from the flu shot are very rare, but can happen.  If you have an egg allergy, you should talk to your doctor about what options you have for getting a flu vaccination.  And you’re definitely going to have to go see your doctor to get a vaccine because you need to be in a setting where any severe allergic reaction can be dealt with swiftly.  If you have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination, you should not receive a vaccination at all.  And children younger than 6 months of age should not be vaccinated.  Also, anyone that is moderately or severely ill with or without fever should usually wait until they recover before getting flu vaccine.

So, if you don’t fall into any of those groups that shouldn’t be getting a flu shot this year, make sure you get one now that they are available.  Since you can save time and hassle by getting one when you are doing your regular Costco shopping, you’ve got no excuse!  Unfortunately this flu vaccination program seems to only be available at Costco locations in the US, but you should check your local Costco for details about when they are doing an in-store vaccination drive.  But wherever you live, get your flu shot!

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This Week at Costco – October 12, 2014

October 18th, 2014 by Kimberly · 2 Comments

We’re getting ready to head to the US for a few weeks to do some stuff that isn’t going to be all that fun, but needs to be done.  Like, dealing with all of the stuff we’ve had in storage for the last few years.  So this week has been kind of hectic and I’m glad it is finally the weekend!  I am looking forward to seeing my family though since it has been a while.  Plus, I’ll get to do a bit of shopping at Costco, of course.  I never have a visit to the US without a bit of Costco too.

If you’re in the UK, don’t forget that a new coupon book started this week.  And if you’re in the US, you’ve only got another week (until October 26) to pick up anything in the latest coupon book, and get ready for Halloween.

Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner  – This week I’ve got a cautionary tale about hair care.  Sometimes, more expensive does not mean better, it just means that you are spending a lot more money.

When we were in Australia last year I decided that I was going to treat my hair to some Molton Brown shampoo and conditioner since we weren’t going to be there very long; it is around $40.00 AUD,  $30.00 in the US, or £18.00 in the UK for each 10 ounce bottle of shampoo or conditioner.  I didn’t want to buy the big bottles of Kirkland Signature shampoo and conditioner because I knew it would be impractical to try to get them back to London from Sydney and I hate wasting stuff like that.  So, I splurged and bought myself the Molton Brown products for colour treated hair.  After I used it for about a month, I didn’t think it was anything particularly special for my hair, but the smell of their products is really gorgeous so I was okay with it.

After using the Molton Brown for the six months we were in Sydney and then a couple more months when we first got back to London, I noticed that my hair wasn’t looking its best and my stylist said it was looking pretty damaged.  It was limp and dull, plus my curl wasn’t as peppy as it should have been either.  I thought maybe I was getting sick or not eating particularly well, but I didn’t realize what a number the shampoo and conditioner were doing on my hair.  What really confirmed for me that it was a shampoo issue was how quickly my colour needed to be redone once we were in London again.  Yes, I skipped any kind of hair cut or colour for the whole time we were in Sydney so really my hair should have been healthier without the colour processing and blow drying.  I had to have the colour done in about half the time that I usually do and not only is that harder on my hair, but harder on my purse too.  That’s when I decided that it must be down to what I was using on my hair.  And it turns out, I was so so right.

Previous to trying the nice smelling but not nice for my hair Molton Brown, I had tried Philip Kingsley, another expensive shampoo brand (about the same prices as Molton Brown), but I had only used it sporadically and had really used the Kirkland Signature as my primary shampoo and conditioner.  When we moved into our own flat again I went back to using the Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner.  And my hair loved me for it!  Within about two weeks I felt like my hair had almost completely recovered from the foray into bad pricey shampoo and within a month it was back to looking and feeling great and more like my hair should look.  My hair stylist commented on how much healthier my hair looked several times too, and he’s back to thinking that I actually take care of my hair in between visits and don’t just sit around seeing how hot I can get my blowdryer.  So I think it really must be as terrific as I think. Not only does my hair look great again, but the KS stuff is way cheaper than the fancy salon brands and I don’t have to get my colour done as often using it either.  So that is a lot of savings thanks to Costco and just this little switch probably pays for my Costco membership for a year (colouring your hair is expensive, guys).  For the price, you just can not beat the quality of the KS shampoo and conditioner.

Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo – We used the previous version of the KS shampoo and conditioner for a long time and the new formulation is even better, I think.   The bottle says it will make your hair healthier, softer and shinier.  The shampoo uses their Moisture Nutrient Complex, which they say provides hydration, nourishment and helps improve the overall performance, manageability and vibrancy of hair.  And indeed, my hair does feel really nice after I use it. It has a nice florally fragrance, which doesn’t seem quite as powerful as the scent in the conditioner. It comes in a fairly large container, thankfully with a pump so you just have to worry about having someplace to set the bottle in your shower and not about actually picking it up or moving it to get some out. Some might not think it is all that attractive but who needs a lovely looking bottle that you never really look at and just sits in your shower? Luckily, we don’t, though, in the package’s defence, I actually like it and think it looks better than other big shampoo bottles from brands like Aveda. The important thing is that it is actually a really great shampoo with a nice fragrance that leaves your hair looking nice too. It’s also safe to use on colour treated hair.  I have to get my hair coloured far less often with this than with other, more pricey shampoos.  I also don’t have a problem with it fading my colour when it is new as some shampoos with strong sulfate formulations so often do.  The shampoo is sulfate, paraben and even gluten free.  Did I mention that it’s also quite low cost?  I have paid way, way more than this for Aveda and other salon brands.  A litre of Aveda could run you around £24.00 – £32.00 and other salon brands could be that much for just a small (relatively) bottle.  In any case, that’s far more than the Kirkland Signature shampoo and probably not even as good for your hair as I have found out the hard way.  I know this is a product that you can get in the US and at other Costco locations around the world too.  1 litre for £6.79 (US: $10.93).  Item #: 0519825.

Kirkland Signature Moisture Conditioner – On the bottle they say it is a “Professional Salon Formula” but I’m not really sure what that means exactly because it just seems like a decent quality conditioner.  It seems nice and thick and does a great job at keeping my hair looking shiny and healthy.  The thing that I really appreciate is that it is safe for colour treated hair.  It’s hard to find a decent conditioner, that doesn’t cost a fortune, isn’t hard to actually buy, and won’t strip the colour right out of my hair.  I’ve noticed that it somehow manages to keep my hair soft and shiny, but allows my natural curl to develop and look great.  I have natural curl in my hair, but if I use a conditioner or shampoo that has lots of stuff in it that weighs down my hair it gets all straight and flat looking.  And really, no one wants that.  The KS conditioner though is free of sulfates and paraben, so I think that helps keep my hair in better shape and allows the curl to come out too.  It’s also gluten free, though I’m not sure what that means in terms of hair care.  I’ve never really thought about gluten in my shampoo and conditioner.  However, if you’ve got a gluten allergy, I guess it can cause a problem for you.   The bottle is fairly compact considering how much there is in it and has a pump, just like the shampoo.  It definitely fits in my shower better than some of the large bottles that I have had previously from other brands.  My one and only gripe about the conditioner formula is that it is super perfume-y when you first put it in your hair.  It’s got a very floral and strong scent.  The strong floral smell dissipates fairly quickly and you do get used to it.  I don’t know how guys would feel about this, Dave still uses it and says that it is okay because he doesn’t smell like a flower all day long.  So, I guess that’s okay then.  However, if you are really sensitive to smells, this might not be a good fit for you.   1 litre for £5.19 (US: $8.35).  Item #: 0519925.

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Costco Opens in China with Clicks Not Bricks

October 16th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

Nǐ hǎo, China!  Costco has decided to take the faster (and less expensive) way into China by opening a virtual storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall Global.  They join the tens of thousands of merchants selling via Tmall to customers in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.  The site serves over 150 million buyers which could prove to be a huge shopping audience for Costco.  This should also be a good proving ground for Costco to gauge the interest of buyers in China, Hong Kong, and Macau where they do not yet have a physical presence.  Stores in other Asian markets – Korea, Japan, and Taiwan – have already proven quite successful for Costco.  Some of their most successful stores are located in the Asian market.

The Chinese retail market is growing rapidly as they have an ever expanding middle class that has a real desire to purchase imported goods.  Somewhere around 45% of the Chinese population is online currently and even that represents a huge new market for Costco, but of course that number is growing quickly too.  China’s ecommerce market surpassed the size of the market in the U.S. in 2013 to become the world’s largest, with $295 billion in sales versus $270 billion in America, according to McKinsey.

Costco opens a virtual storefront to serve the Chinese market

Costco opens a virtual storefront to serve the Chinese market

Costco has already launched their Tmall store front and they are selling items across four major categories: Health and Beauty, Baby, Snack Foods, and Home and Life.  They are selling a lot of their own Kirkland Signature items, but also items that this market doesn’t usually see, such as US brands like Ocean Spray.  And of course, if they do see these brands they are most likely not at Costco prices.  I am sure that once they get a feel for the market they will expand their offerings to give the Chinese buyers even more options.  Costco will be utilizing Alibaba’s data mining capabilities to help them determine the best products for the market.  Costco will be shipping goods direct from the US, but will also take advantage of Tmall Global’s warehouse stores would help it cut logistics costs and delivery time.  Just like Costco’s other ecommerce stores around the world, shopping at their Tmall Global outlet will not require customers to have a membership.

I’ve taken a spin around the virtual Costco and it is an interesting mix of products that we can all find in our Costco warehouses, and some that I’m not familiar with at all, but are probably found in their other Asian locations.  There is a lot of Kirkland Signature available, which shouldn’t be too surprising since they have an ever expanding selection of KS goods in the warehouses too.  I always find it interesting to see what products are offered in other Costco locations around the world, and this is no exception.  It’s like taking a trip without leaving my house really.  There are products that I find it surprising that they have on their site though, like: KS mens jeans, KS hiking socks, Swiss Miss instant cocoa, Sensodyne toothpaste, and Novafoam pillows.  They have a really interesting mix of products.  I found it really fun to take a look around (Google Translate is a big help if you decide to take a virtual shopping trip).

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Great Costco Auto Offers for US & UK Members

October 14th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

There are some great promotions going on right now through the Costco Auto program in the US and UK.  Quite often there are terrific deals or promotions through Costco Auto, so if you’re shopping for a new vehicle anytime during the year, you should certainly at least check out what they have to offer.  It’s one of the great ways that you can really maximize the value of your Costco membership, aside from the usual great prices on products in their warehouses all year long.

Purchase a Polaris and get a $200 Costco Cash Card

Purchase a Polaris and get a $200 Costco Cash Card

Get a $200 Costco Cash Card with a Polaris Purchase by October 31, 2014

Costco Auto in the US has offered great deals on powersports vehicles, like motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles, since 2011 and while they always have great deals, sometimes they also have excellent promotions like this one with Polaris.  If you buy an eligible Polaris vehicle by October 31, 2014, you can receive a $200 Costco Cash Card.  Here are the details of how you can get your cash card:

  • To be eligible to participate in this special offer, you must be a current Costco member and first register with the Costco Auto Program. To register and locate a participating dealership, click here or call 1-877-780-1470.
  • Purchase an eligible, new powersports model from a participating dealer between 9/1/2014 and 10/31/2014 to qualify for the special offer and $200 Costco Cash Card.
    • Offer excludes all 2015 RANGER® ETX, RZR® 900, RZR® 900 EPS, RZR® 900 XC, RZR® S 900, RZR® S 900 EPS, RZR XP® 1000 EPS, RZR XP® 4 1000 EPS, Sportsman® ETX, Sportsman XP® 1000, Sportsman® Touring 1000, Sportsman® 570 SP, Sportsman ACE® 570, Phoenix™ 200, Outlaw® 50 and RZR® 170.
    • Pre-owned vehicles are excluded from this offer.
  • Submit a redemption form within 30 days of your purchase. After your purchase has been verified by the manufacturer, the Costco Auto Program will contact you to complete a member satisfaction survey to receive your $200 Costco Cash Card. Complete the survey within 60 days after your purchase.
  • As always you can still take advantage of Costco’s pre-arranged low prices, as well as any applicable national incentives.
  • You can find all of the information about this special offer online and get started locating your nearest participating Polaris dealer.
Purchase a GM and get a Costco Cash Card

Purchase a GM and get a Costco Cash Card

Get Special Supplier Pricing and a Costco Cash Card when you Purchase or Lease a New GM by January 2, 2015

Through January 2, 2014 there’s a special offer from Costco Auto on GM vehicles that is available when you purchase or lease your new car from a selection of new 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC models.  Probably the best part of this deal is that you will receive the GM Supplier Pricing which is very good and much lower than you’re likely to ever get on your own, plus you can take advantage of all publicly available manufacturer rebates and incentives (which you can check for on the Costco Auto website).  In addition, you will receive a Costco Cash Card for completing the Costco Auto Program member satisfaction survey. You can choose a new 2014 or 2015 vehicle from any of the following:

  • Chevrolet: Equinox, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse and Volt.;
  • Buick: Enclave and Encore;
  • GMC: Acadia, Sierra, Terrain, Yukon and Yukon XL;
  • Cadillac: ATS, CTS, ELR and XTS

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these vehicles before January 2, 2014, here’s how to take advantage of the special GM pricing and make sure that you get your Costco Cash Card.

  • Select an eligible, new 2014 or 2015 Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick or GMC model from the drop down at the bottom of the Costco Auto GM page.
  • Click ‘Get Started’ to view vehicle details and register for the promotion.
  • Once you complete the registration process, you will receive an Authorization Number and PIN, as well as the participating dealership’s contact information.
  • Visit the participating dealership and provide the designated dealer contact with your Authorization Number and PIN during your purchase.
  • Have the designated dealer contact show you the GM Supplier Price for the vehicle you’ve selected (listed on the manufacturer’s document under the name “SUPPLR”).
  • Submit a redemption form after purchase by January 31, 2015.
  • Once you take delivery of your vehicle and General Motors verifies your purchase, a Costco Auto Program representative will call you to complete a Costco Auto Program member satisfaction survey.
  • After survey completion, you will receive your Costco Cash Card in 8 weeks.  For Executive members, you will receive a $600 Costco Cash Card, and Gold Star and Business members will receive a $400 Costco Cash Card.
  • You can find all of the information for this special offer from GM online and get started finding the perfect car.
Purchase a Vauxhall to get a £100 Costco Voucher

Purchase a Vauxhall to get a £100 Costco Voucher

Get a £100 Costco Voucher when you Purchase a New Vauxhall by December 31, 2014

If you weren’t aware of it, Costco UK also has an auto programme available to members.  It is a great way to save money on your new vehicle purchase, without a hassle over the price.  Plus, you can save on parts and service too.  Through the end of the year, you can get a new Vauxhall at Costco’s pre-arranged pricing, plus a £100 Costco voucher, as well as a 20% discount from Vauxhall on insurance and up to a 10% discount on eligible accessories.  And if you are planning to be more eco-friendly in the new year, you can receive up to £5,000 off the price of the Vauxhall Ampera from the Plug-In Car Grant.

  • Register with the Costco Auto Programme and Vauxhall to be included in this limited-time offer.
  • A Costco Auto Programme representative will contact you to discuss the promotion, your vehicle selection and connect you to a nearby participating dealer. After you speak with the Costco Auto Programme representative, you will receive an email confirmation with the dealer’s contact information.
  • After you complete the registration process, you will receive an email to gain exclusive access to the Vauxhall Partners Programme website.
  • View vehicle options and pricing details on the Vauxhall Partners Programme website where you can select a model, configure your vehicle and view the special offer price.
    • All Expression, ES, Tech Line (except Mokka and Astra), Corsa Sting, Meriva Life, Insignia VXR Supersport and VXR8 models are excluded from this offer.
  • Show your Costco membership card at the dealer and save.
  • Select or factory order a vehicle by December 31, 2014.
  • Submit an online redemption form after purchase or factory order.
  • Once you take delivery of your vehicle and Vauxhall verifies your purchase, the Costco Auto Programme will contact you to complete a member satisfaction survey. Your Costco voucher will be mailed after you complete the survey.
  • This offer can be combined with all other Vauxhall Retail Offers. In addition, members are eligible for a 20% discount on car insurance from Vauxhall and up to 10% off eligible accessories.
  • You can find all of the information for the Vauxhall special promotion online and get started on purchasing your new Vauxhall.
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