8 Reasons Why This Cooler Rules Them All

vintage camping cooler

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a photo I posted a week or so ago where the subject was this amazing late-1970s camping cooler covered in vintage bumper stickers. It’s arguably the coolest thing in my apartment right now. I did not thrift this, I finally got my mom to agree to let me have it. Turns out she was planning on dumping it at a thrift shop sooner or later, and I’m so glad I saved it from that fate. Because, this cooler? This cooler! It is a family artifact. It is older than me. Allow me to break it down for you why this thing rules Planet Cool.

anchorage alaska vintage bumper sticker

1. My parents got this cooler when they were going steady, before they were even engaged, actually. As the story goes, my dad bought it for all these camping trips that he and his eventual wife (my eventual mom) went on in the mid/late 1970s. There are photos of the two of them camping in California and in a couple shots there will be a corner or side of this very cooler in view. It’s just plain and brown and it looks kind of naked and awkward.

2. The stickers on this cooler both followed and predicted my life’s direction. How could my parents have known, as they slapped and smoothed the stickers over this blank metal canvas, that their daughter would one day visit or live in most of those places. Anchorage, Alaska? Check. Oregon? Check. Virginia? Check. And that’s just the first three.

new mexico alien sticker

3. Oh, and the Alaska Highway?  My parents drove that whole 1700-mile road in the 1970s, back when it was dirt and gravel and worth getting a braggy bumper sticker for. Years later, I rode shotgun with my dad in our VW Westfalia bus and traveled that same stretch of road with him. I had just turned thirteen. 

4. The New Mexico ‘Alien’ sticker. We briefly lived in Santa Fe in the early 1980s before my sister was born. I like that this is a play on the ‘Native’ version of this sticker. Stickers like this can say a lot of different things, but for me, it acknowledges that New Mexico has a complicated history regarding its residents, and that we most certainly were visitors, especially when considering the indigenous folks that populated the area long before white folks like us showed up.

vintage 1980s camping cooler

5. I grew up with this cooler. Here’s my sister (blue hoodie) and me (pink hoodie) eating what is most likely dry cereal in the mid-1980s, probably in a campground somewhere in Virginia. Who would have guessed that 30 years later, it would be sitting in my apartment, serving multiple purposes (none of which however involve keeping food cold).

vitnage thermos camping cooler bumper stickers

6. That Sundance sticker was really confusing to me as a pre-schooler. Who was that guy? Did we know him? I couldn’t read yet so the possibilities were pretty much endless.

1980s smokey the bear sticker

7. Oh, guess who the manufacturer of this cooler is? Thermos! Yup. Needless to say, this model was discontinued many years ago.

mt mckinley vintage bumper sticker

8. These days the cooler is sitting in my living room, serving as a little end table and doubling as a storage box for all the vintage hats for the shop. So if you ever buy a hat from me, it’s pretty much a guarantee that it was hanging out in the cooler before you bought it.


Giving Thanks, Giveaway!

vintage hat purse bag brooch contest giveaway dronning

I am so thankful for you. Yeah, you. If you’re reading this blog, if you’ve visited the shop, even if you’ve never ever bought anything. I’m feeling a lot of gratitude these days.  Having Dronning Vintage in my life for the past three years has been so fantastic, and things get better all the time. It’s not all rainbows and roses, it can definitely be stressful sometimes, but overall, things are good. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, which is this Thursday, I’m having a giveaway for the first time ever on this blog. And it’s all about saying thank you. One person will win a six-piece gift box filled with everything in the photo above.

Interested? There are so many ways you can enter. You can leave a comment on this blog post. You can tweet about it and use the tag #dronninggivesthanks. You can ‘like’ Dronning Vintage on Facebook. Each time you do one of those things, that’s a notch next to your name. This giveaway contest will run until midnight PST on Wednesday, November 27th. The winner will be announced on Thanksgiving Day. Oh, and anyone can enter, no matter where you live in the world.

Here’s a closer look at the prizes. Trust me, everything is your size.


1940s/50s beaded formal bag.


red felt wool beret with rosette detail

ceil chapman brooch

Ceil Chapman brooch (signed)

velvet bag

1940s black velvet evening bag

sweater clip

1950s sweater clip 


mid-century soft beret with tiny metal detailing

Good luck, everyone! 


black 40s dress

Recently, while browsing FIDM’s archives (via a well and worn rabbit hole known as Pinterest) I saw a dress that made me gasp. The reason being is that it is alarmingly similar to a dress I have in the shop. I’ve lined them up side by side for you to see. On the left we have the evening dress from FIDM’s womenswear collection, and on the right is the dress from my shop. Obviously it’s not the exact same, but there’s no doubt one was influenced by the other. Another interesting thing to note is that the label on the FIDM dress reads ‘Junior Guild Originals’ and the dress in my shop’s label says ‘Johana Junior.’ Both are juniors dresses, too! I think I have some twin sisters on my hands here, although let’s say they’re fraternal, not identical.

Some Breathing Space

star formation hubble telescope


When I get stressed out (which these days isn’t too often) I really like it when I can put things in perspective. Today I came across this image, from the Hubble telescope’s archives. It’s a photograph of a star forming.  Things like this remind me of how small I am, how great, mind-bendingly amazing things are happening that I would never have known about, but because of crazy powerful camera in a crazy powerful telescope, I do. It’s elevating and humbling at the same time.

Manicure Party

manicure party envelope
Thursday evening is one of the busiest times for nail salons. Why not have a girls’ night in at your place? I made these invitations out of simple card stock, a black pen and a red marker.

manicure party invitation inside
Serve snacks that can easily be stabbed with toothpicks or skewers, and have your guests bring colors that don’t work for them to trade with others.

Here are some more tips to make the party go smoothly:

manicure party

nail polish nail art party

essie bottle nail polish nail art