Okay, I’ll apologize right up front for not posting last Saturday. We had gotten back to London Friday morning and I was so beat I could barely wake myself up to do anything for the next day or so. Staying up for 24 hours is not something I’m good at. So, sorry!
And, this is all stuff that I bought while we were in New York. On July 3rd we went to check out the Costco on East 117th. I was amazed at how it was really not busy when we first got there, but by the time we left it was getting pretty crowded. I was amazed at the number of people that were walking to and from Costco with their big Costco bags (the smarter ones had the little wheeled carts). We unfortunately did not have our big bags with us, just a smallish one, and we really could have used a bigger one to get the 23 items back to the hotel. Oh well, luckily we didn’t have anything too bulky.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Great Britain – Yes, I will freely admit to the fact that we moved to the UK and I didn’t have a travel guide for the whole area, just London (three of them actually). I don’t know what I was thinking. However, we were so so lucky to be able to rectify that when we were at Costco and found this guide in the book section; totally by accident. I’ve never been able to really make up my mind about who makes the best travel guides – Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, Moon, or Eyewitness. I think they all offer sort of a different take on the travel guide format. But what I find nice about the Eyewitness guides is that they have a lot of pictures and maps or diagrams of cities and museums, that aren’t really offered in such detail in other guides. I like the illustrations because it does make the reading or browsing of the guide a little easier; more scannable. Much the same as all guides they begin with a history lesson about the country, and a section that gives you the overview of each region with the tourist highlights for that area. I like this because it makes it easy to pick out what areas fit your vacation style. After the history and overview, comes the real bulk of the guide: the details of what to do in each region. So, in this regionally divided section you get an overview of each region, and then a little bit of detail and history about that specific region, after that they highlight the main cities or towns and what to do in each one. They provide a map and very clearly list the sights for the city with numbers so that you can figure out what goes where on the map. They also are good about listing all the necessary information for each sight (hours of operation, cost, contact info, URL, etc), along with some pictures. For specific museums or big parks or castles, they also list a map or diagram and give you information about what can be found in each area of the museum. Then at the back is a section called “Travellers’ Needs” where you get the list of all of the suggested lodging, shopping, and dining choices. Plus, in this section they also have a nice bit of information on what kind of food you can expect to encounter, what the various types of lodging designations mean (like what makes a Country House Hotel different from a Bed and Breakfast, stuff like that), and a similar level of detail about the shopping experience (hours, how to pay, sales, etc). These guides are great and offer so much information and in a format that is entertaining without being boring or overly drawn out; love them. The only downside is that they are a little heavy, this one is right at 2 pounds. I imagine it is because of the nice glossy pages with all of the pictures. The other important thing to note is that the guides are updated yearly, so the information is quite fresh. They are so informative, they are worth picking up if you’re planning a trip. There’s a savings of about $2.00 over the price at Amazon too, where it gets 4.5 stars out of 5. $17.99 (UK: £27.61). Item #: 530774.
Champion Elite Women’s Low Cut Athletic Socks – For bundles of athletic socks, I’m not sure you can beat Costco. I like to buy socks there because they are good quality Champion socks and they are at a price that you just can’t find anywhere else, really. And because the price is so low, I don’t feel bad pitching them when they start to get really ratty or lose their elasticity. This particular bundle of socks has the Champion double-dry moisture wicking technology, as well as odor control, arch support, cushioning, and engineered mesh panels for better breathability. Plus, they have a little spandex to help them keep their shape. This is my second pack of these socks and I really like them. I mostly notice that the arch support and extra padding on the sole really do make the sock more comfortable. They feel better on my feet, and when I’ve been walking or running a lot my feel don’t feel as tired. I guess the moisture control and odor stuff must work too because I never have nasty sweaty sock smell either. The other thing I like about them is just a weird personal preference for my athletic socks to be white. These have just a small touch of color, and mostly that is on the foot except for the little Champion logo which is on the back of the ankle area, and that is almost entirely covered by my shoes. These socks also stand up to washing and drying very well; my other ones are still sparkly white and practically just like new after two years even though I wash them at least once per week. And buying these at Costco is considerably cheaper than other places, for instance, this same 6-pack of socks at Amazon is $16.99. 6 pairs for $9.99 (UK: £15.33). Item #: 153943.
Adidas Women’s Sport Top and Shorts – Since I got new socks I felt compelled to buy some new shirts and a pair of shorts to work out in too. The tops are nice for this time of year, or working out in a gym, because they are sleeveless with a little v-neck. The fabric, all polyester with a quick dry weave, is so light and soft that it is really comfortable to wear, even when you get sweaty from working out. They have a ‘regular fit’ which I’m not sure exactly how that is supposed to translate but they are not overly tight and tailored. I like the wide, flat seams around the sleeves because it cuts down on any possibility of chaffing or uncomfortableness. Around the waist they have some detailing with the trademark Adidas stripes to give the shirts a little contrast and not be so plain. They’re very comfortable and probably half the price at Costco of what they would be at another store. Shirts: $12.99 (UK: £19.93). Item #: 467054.
I also picked up a pair of the matching PowerPlay shorts too. These are also 100% polyester. However, they are a very light, kind of waffley weave so they don’t feel heavy and non-breathable when you’re working out in them. They have a drawstring at the waist, along with a little elastic, so you can get the fit that you want. They are pretty comfortable on. My only complaint is that they are a 4″ inseam and I’d have liked them to be just a wee bit longer. And again, they were probably half the price at Costco vs buying them at a sporting goods store. Shorts: $12.99 (UK: £19.93). Item #: 467053.
Canon Ink 5-Pack for PIXMA Printers – I don’t know if I’ve complained here or not about the fact that our wonderful Canon Pixma MX860 All-in-One Printer, that we bought at Costco just last March, doesn’t work with the ink cartridges that they sell here in the UK. But yeah, it acts like you have no ink in if you try to use the UK version cartridges. I’ve discovered that the little chip on the ink cartridges is actually region specific. And yes, I did find this very, very annoying. It’s lucky for the printer that I like it so much because otherwise, I might just have beat it with a hammer (very high level of frustration). Mostly it was annoying because I just wanted to scan some documents, which does not require ink at all, to save as PDFs but nothing on the printer would work because we didn’t have ink cartridges in it that it recognized. Good times. We fixed the problem by having my mom bring some ink with her when she came to visit in May. When we were at Costco in NY and saw the Canon ink pack, I decided it would probably be a very wise idea to buy a back up set too. Because you always run out of ink when you are needing to print something right away. For these printers, there are actually five separate ink cartridges: 220 black (pgi-220, a big one), cyan (cli-221c), 221 magenta (cli-221m), 221 yellow (cli-221y), and 221 black (cli-221bk, a smaller black). I like the idea of separate cartridges because you can just change out the ones that are low; it’s much more cost efficient too. Nicely, the printer does show you the ink level for all individual cartridges too, so you can tell exactly which one needs changing. In general, ink is expensive, it doesn’t seem to matter who the brand is either, it’s not cheap no matter where you buy it. Luckily for us, we don’t print all that often and run through ink like crazy. 5 pack of ink cartridges for $54.99 (UK: £84.38). Item #: 347481.
Kirkland Signature Aller-Tec – Dave is Mr. Allergy and definitely needs to keep a steady supply of allergy medicine around to stay sniffle and sneeze free. Luckily, we made a trip back to the US before he ran out. The problem is that all of the drugs and brands are called by different names here and some of the allergy medicine is really hard to buy. Plus, it’s so easy to pick up a bottle in the US that will last for a year, it seems silly not to do it. The KS Aller-Tec is comparable to Zyrtec and offers relief for 24 hours for indoor and outdoor allergies. The active ingredient is 10mg cetirizine hydrochloride, an antihistamine. For Dave it works quite well and does keep him free of allergy irritation for 24 hours. Plus, it doesn’t make him drowsy, which is good since he has to take it everyday. I know that Costco also has a Kirkland Signature version of Claritin too, if that is your preferred allergy medicine. The bottle is a year supply with 365 tablets and so, so much cheaper than Zyrtec would be someplace else. I just did a quick price check at Walmart.com and the 45 count Zyrtec was $25.78 and their Equate store brand equivalent was $19.92 for 90 tablets. Either of which is considerably more than the $15.95 for the 365 tablets of the KS version at Costco. That’s the difference between paying $0.22 per tablet for Walmart’s store brand versus $0.04 per tablet for the KS version. That is a HUGE difference! Over five times as much! You’d end up paying just over $80.00 to buy the equivalent number of pills of the Walmart Equate brand. Craziness! 365 tablets for $15.95 (UK: £24.48). Item #: 311676.