This week is my first set of reviews from shopping at Costco Australia and the funny thing is that it is all stuff you could find in the US, Canada, or UK. I’ll pick more interesting things next week, I promise. There are a lot of basic things that we needed to get, and naturally, we got them all at Costco. I realized that it has been years and years and years since I’ve been starting from scratch with pretty much nothing in the kitchen cabinets but dishes and silverware (but more on that next week); a fully stocked serviced apartment is pretty spartan as it turns out. The trip to Costco definitely helped to make me feel a little more settled here in Sydney and getting back to our usual routine has helped too. It could also be that we’ve had a week full of sun and nice days, which can really do a lot to make you enjoy someplace.
Canon Pixma MG3260 Multi-function Printer – A printer is important for us, but a scanner is an essential item that we just really can’t do without. We have a lot of things that we need to scan for business and insurance reimbursements. Plus, it seems like there’s always something we need to scan for things like banks and such that we do business with in the US or UK. It’s really nice now that you can scan checks for deposit into a bank in the US when you are miles and miles away in the UK or Australia (though, to be fair, I can also do this with my camera phone through an app). So, we bought a multi-function printer. We figured that the price was well worth it to be able to scan and print on our own terms, rather than paying a fortune for someone to most likely mess it up here in an office services type of place. Not to mention, it is so pricey to do scanning that way (at least here). And we’ve got a ton of receipts to scan for business stuff to get reimbursed. Has anyone else noticed, that it is almost cheaper to get a new printer than it is to buy an ink refill? How crazy is that? In any case, this is a nice little Canon printer, scanner, and copier. It’s got all of the latest essentials like wifi printing, does duplex printing automatically, scans at a respectable 1200×2400 dpi, and also allows printing from your mobile phone. One of the keys for us though, is that it works with Mac OS. You just plug it in and it takes about 5 minutes to get everything installed and working perfectly. It is considerably smaller than our previous Canon Pixma all-in-one printer too, which is very nice when space is at a premium. I love that I can print and scan from my phone though. I know, it sounds silly but it can be very convenient for some things. While the scanning isn’t super high dpi, I find that this level of resolution works for the documents and even some image intensive things that we scan (like the coupon book), and it also means that file sizes are smaller as well. I have’t printed photos yet, because I don’t do a lot of that anyway, but it can print 4800×1200 optical dpi, combined with the FINE print-head technology from Canon, I imagine the photos will look just as good as they did on our previous Canon printer, and that was every bit as good as getting them from a photo processing place. The only thing I’m not overly thrilled with is that the coloured inks are all in one cartridge, which can be a bummer if you have to replace it because you’ve used all of the blue but like none of the magenta. The other thing I’m wondering is if I’d be able to take this back to the UK and still get the ink to work. If you weren’t aware (and why would you care unless you moved to a different country), Canon puts a little region chip in their inks, so for instance, I could not use UK ink in my US purchased printer, even though they produced the exact same printer in the UK. That always made me very sad. So, my guess is that the Aussie printer wouldn’t work with US or UK ink either. Why they would need to regionalize ink is beyond me. We looked at a few other stores, the electronics type places, and their printers were a bit higher to way way higher than at Costco. A$66.99 (US: $68.82; UK: £43.78). Item #: 24773.
Nike Women’s Zoom Vomero+ 6 Running Shoes – If I had only known how expensive a pair of running shoes would be here, I would have found a way to cram mine into our luggage on the way here. Shoe prices are quite high here, so I was thrilled to see this pair at Costco. Believe it or not, this pair of Nike’s for $90 was the least expensive pair of real running shoes that I had found anywhere, even with all of the sales that were going on for Australia Day when we first got here. Mostly, the real running shoes (I mean, not the Chuck’s Converse All-Star or all leather types but ones meant for sport) were like A$130.00 and up. I don’t actually run-run (just in case my rheumatologist is reading this), but I do a lot of walking and I workout at least four times a week and do some running during my workouts. And with my already lousy joints, I need a decent pair of shoes. Even though Nike has never been my preferred brand, I am actually finding these shoes really comfortable. The sole is very supportive but still allows for enough cushion to keep from jarring my joints, even on hard surfaces. Aside from the very nice sole, the shoes are extremely lightweight, which midway through a workout I can truly appreciate. Nike says that they are made specifically for women’s feet: “women’s-specific midfoot with elastic mesh panels that lock the foot down and create an adaptable fit, stretching and flexing with the foot for comfort and support through all phases of your run. This update also boasts a mesh inner sleeve that wraps around the entire foot for a plush, comfortable fit and easy on and off.” Perhaps this gender specific design is what makes these work so well for me, as compared to previous Nike shoes that I have owned. Usually my foot feels like it is sliding around inside Nikes, which is just an injury waiting to happen, but these keep my foot very stable and secure. And the ball of my foot doesn’t seem to be aching as much as it did with my previous shoes, which is a welcome relief. I even like the grey colour so that they are not crazy bright white that always seems to scuff and like grungy. The super vivid yellow might not be my first choice, but these are to workout in, not be fashionable necessarily. Incidentally, they go with absolutely none of my workout gear (all of the KS tops and capri pants), but they don’t really clash either, so it’s good. I feel quite pleased with my shoes, especially since they were the only pair they had at Costco; very good luck. A$89.97 (US: $92.43; UK: £58.80). Item #: 702249.
3M Command Value Hook Set - This might seem like a strange thing to purchase if you haven’t lived in a rental place for a while. But honestly, as a renter, these hooks are your best friend. You can hang them where ever you want, for all of your hook needs and when you get ready to leave, you just pull the little tab and they come right off with no mess on the wall and no paint removed either. We had these in our flat in London to hang everything from bathrobes to pans in the kitchen. They were on the back of every door and on the insides of our kitchen cabinets. I wasn’t smart enough to bring some of the ones we already own with us, so I felt very fortunate to find this nice variety pack at Costco. The variety is nice because not everything you need to hang is heavy or ideal for the chunkier hooks made of plastic, so this gives you some choices. The big hooks can hold up to 5 pounds, which might not sound all that heavy, but will easily handle your heaviest pots and pans or very thick robes or heavy jeans (yes, I actually weighed mine before using the hooks). The littlest hooks with the wire hook, hold just 1/2 pound, but they have a pretty small hook, so that seems reasonable. The smallest plastic hooks can each hold one pound, which is enough for quite a few things and is good for some clothing items and such. All of the other hooks each hold three pounds which is a perfect size for smaller pots and pans, and several miscellaneous items you’d like to hang around the house. I use these hooks for lots and lots of things because they are so easy to place and then remove. And the command strips that come with them work pretty well on their own to hang stuff too. We used a couple of them to hang up a power strip so that it was in a more serviceable place. The one thing you really must do though, is to clean the two surfaces and use an swipe of alcohol to make sure there’s no residue, otherwise the Command strips won’t hold and that’ll just be a mess. When you’re ready to take them down you just pull straight down on the Command strips little tab and it will miraculously pull away from the surface of the wall and the back of the hook to leave the surface clean on both sides. But really, just pull straight down, or else you can damage the surface. The instructions on the back of the package are very thorough and clear, and easy to follow. You get 17 different hooks in the package at Costco and 24 strips spread across the various sized hooks, though several of the hooks use the same size strips. But this is a great deal when I compare it to Officeworks (think Office Max in the US or Ryman’s probably in the UK) where their value pack of 6 hooks and 12 strips is A$14.98. That’s a price of A$2.50 per hook, whereas at Costco the price is A$1.35 per hook. 17 hooks for A$22.89 (US: $23.52; UK: £14.96). Item #: 10052.
Langer’s Mango Nectar – When I first said I was moving to Sydney, someone from Langer’s sent me an email and let me know that I would be happy to find out that Langer’s Mango Nectar would be available at Costco here. They were so right! I forgot how much I love this mango nectar. All other mango juice or nectars pales in comparison. The Langer’s has a thick texture and a deep golden orange color that looks just like the fruit. It doesn’t look watered down and pale like other products that try to pass themselves off as nectar but are clearly just juice, watery bad juice at that for the most part. The taste is really delicious too because it is very mango-y flavoured with that sweetness and just a hint of something like cinnamon almost in the background. Honestly, I’m a mango fanatic and for the three years that we have been in the UK, where they do not sell Langer’s at Costco, I have been trying to find a reasonable substitute, but without any luck. A lot of the mango juices try to sneak in other juices like apple or orange or white grape, which is just cheating to me. Plus, that totally distorts the flavour and reduces the mango yumminess that you are looking for anyway. I think the difference comes from the fact that 20% of the ingredients are mango puree, and yes there is water and sugar in there too but that’s a lot of pureed fruit as well and that makes it taste like the fruit. That puree is also what gives it the nice thick consistency that truly sets it apart from other mango juice/nectar. Also, if you are like me and can’t drink orange juice or eat oranges, and therefore have a hard time finding something that you like as a way to get your daily Vitamin C needs met, one 8 ounce glass of this per day meets 100% of that requirement and is a reasonable (for juice) 140 calories. Truly, if you like mango fruit or the flavour, you will love this mango nectar. 1 gallon for A$8.79 (US: $9.03; UK: £5.75). Item #: 135344.