Is This A Southern Thing?

Even though he's short on details, I frequently hear 
from our son attending college in Florida 
(especially when he is low on cash).
This morning, from a chartered bus somewhere in Georgia, 
Tommy sent me Iphoto pictures of this cooler 
that his date painted for him.

 This is amazing!  
I hope they are taking special care of it on the trip.
 Oh man, I love this song.
 I want to go to Charleston.  

Have you ever heard of decorating coolers like this?  
In an effort to thwart my questions via text, 
Tommy said to look up Cooler Connection 
on Facebook.  I did.  They have over 35,000 members.
And, I checked it out on Pinterest.

I NEVER could've decorated a cooler like this.
Although I've discovered that I'm pretty good with a stencil
(check out my previous post--in case you missed it).

Is this the modern version of an old fashioned picnic basket?  

Sandwiches were on top and underneath are grapes, cookies, 
water bottles and ah, root beer.
I grew up in California...is this a Southern hospitality thing?
Lucky guy to get such a cool/talented girl to go to 
the formal with him.

PS.  In case you were worrying, Tommy said it was ok to post these photos.


  1. YES, that's an SC thing FOR SURE. People used to pay me to paint coolers for fraternities and such when I was in college. It was a nice little side gig!

  2. I'm from the midwest so I don't have an answer, but if it is a southern tradition I think it's a fun one. What a talented girl! (BTW, thanks for giving me the incentive to start blogging again. Today was my first post in almost 6 months!)

  3. Yes - I live in Georgia and that is a Southern Fraternity/Sorority thing.

  4. so cute. These college kids have to keep us up to date as to what is trending! Love it. Everyone can put their own personal touch on theirs. cute!
    xo Nancy

  5. Totally a southern thing! I've done several of them! I was going to tell you to look on the cooler connection. Usually they aren't filled with food-just beer:)

  6. That is beautiful. I've never heard of it before. Do you think she painted a plastic or a metal cooler? What a talent she is!

  7. How cool is that? She's a keeper!

  8. That is beyond clever! And I am guessing that's beer too! Hope they have a blast and thanks to your son for sharing with us...

  9. omigosh i love those! so cute. while ive never seen one before and am from the south - i feel like its very much in line with the whole monogram/prep/personalize everything tradition in the south. i really like these coolers

  10. Okay I'll step up and out myself as a sorority girl form the South who dated a fraternity boy from another college in the south and I have to say the cooler thing has been around since before my time. The girls decorated the boys big coolers for things like mountain weekend or formals and our big sisters decorated little six pack size coolers for us right after bid day. I must say I'm impressed with his lady friends' paint pen skills. Pinterest must have hit the sorority halls as well as our homes!

  11. Obviously you have the answer although I didn't go to college in the South so it surprised me. I imagine the same thing goes on here in VA...although most in the deep South don't even consider us Southern...even though we were the capital of the Confederacy and all!! Go figure! If this gal marries into the family you have an assistant on your hands! She did an amazing job!

    1. Ha! Lorraine--this would freak Tommy's poor date out if she read this.

  12. That is so great looking and I would have to say this girl must like your son A LOT because tradition or no tradition..it took some effort and time to go into doing that!! We all know southerners do love their names, monograms and anything personalized! Hey, look at it this way, if she ever becomes your daughter in law..you could team up and be a power designing couple!

  13. Now that is a great cooler! Have never heard of this before, but what a fun idea!

  14. I LOVE the cooler. So talented the artist is, it really is adorable. So nice he shared it with you and you shared it with us!

  15. Also I think it is awesome that there is actually food in there!

  16. Holy cow that is AWESOME! I have never heard of it either Mary Ann, but I want one! What an amazing gift and keepsake from this fun time in Tommy's life. So cool!!

    I'm thinking this would be a great gift for my kids....UCLA games, etc. The possibilities are endless.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Have a great weekend Mary Ann! Beautiful So Cal weather on tap...woohoo!!

  17. You would absolutely love Charleston!! It's one of our favorite places and we are headed back the end of May...I can't wait!!

  18. Wow I just love these! I have never seen this before but I want one!!! Erica

  19. I'm a Southerner and I've certainly seen lots of painted coolers in my day. Love the way his is done and yes, a talented girl that I think may be more than a formal date - she definitely likes him. It looks fabulous!!

  20. We are in the thick of it right now! Pinning away so many amazing coolers. I have to say Tommy's date is my favorite so far. You KNOW you can always come stay with me in Charleston ( our guest room is blue & white to boot) cheers!

  21. What a neat idea...definitely never heard of it in the Midwest. Your son's girlfriend is super talented. And I love Charleston, too!


  22. Yep, southern thing! I am an Old Southern Sorority gal ... and these coolers are part of the fun and tradition. Although I have to say ... this is stepped up a bit. I agree with Julia ... everyone is looking to Pinterest for guidelines!! xo

  23. Sent ya the cute one that Caroline made for fall formal. She's going to love the one made for Tommy when she sees it! These college girls are so talented - I hope they can channel it :) Karen L.

  24. Having grown up in New York, I never heard of this. I think the idea is charming and Tommy's date is one talented young lady.

  25. Oh yes, totally a Southern greek thing. How I miss those days reading this post... :-)

  26. Of couse it's southern, you know we decorate anything that isn't moving, right? Actually think it is a southern "college" thing!

  27. Love! I have never seen that before. Also love your new header for the blog, it looks great!

  28. I find this so interesting! I wonder how many coolers the average Southern girl paints during her college years?

    I just checked out the Pinterest board link... Your son's date's cooler is by far the best. I think he must marry her :-)

  29. Hi Mary Ann, How terrific is that cooler? Being a So Cal Gal native, I've never heard of this either. But what a fun thing to do and Tommy's date did a "beyond fabulous" job....boy, this girl has talent! However, it's almost to cute to use! We have that exact cooler in the garage and I can hear my paintbrushes call me! Thanks for sharing this wonderful southern tradition.
    Oh...btw...count me in on your trip to Charleston...I've always wanted to go there!!

  30. I have never heard of that.....but I like it! I will say she is awfully talented for real....

  31. So cool! He's one lucky guy for sure... What a great gift idea and just in time for the warmer months! Thanks for sharing this Mary Ann!

  32. Very cool, literally! What a sweet and very talented girl to do that and how fun to carry to any event where needed. Fun with a capital F!!!

  33. PS Charleston is on my Trip list too,love it there, I feel like I am home when there!!

  34. I was a sorority girl in the south, but it's been awhile! We didn't do this -- I'm not familiar. I'd think you have to really like somebody quite a bit to take the time!

  35. Wow....pretty impressive....she looks like she is very talented.... she must like your son a lot to put so much work into this....

  36. Wow, the cooler looks amazing! Tommy's date is one talented girl! It would be a great gift idea. Thanks for sharing, Mary Ann!
    ~ Wendi

  37. Are they fantastic or what???????
    Every time I think I'm a creative person - some post - or pinterest - shows me that I'm really not lol
    Would never have thought of this!

  38. How perfect! I love this cooler.
    Looks like your son chose the perfect date too.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Mary Ann.

  39. How clever .... this is so cool ... and I love the fact that you hear from your son when he needs a little extra cash just like mine!
    have a lovely day
    best wishes

  40. This must be a southern thing!! I have never ever seen anything like it in my life! In New England, we might picnic, sure, but I've never seen a gorgeous painted cooler. I feel like Southerners are better at tailgaiting, hanging around outside, picnic-ing / partying outside than we northerners. Perhaps it's just the weather up here (UGH!) or the fact that you just seem sunnier in disposition, too! :)

  41. Having been a sorority girl in Orange County, I had never seen or heard about this cooler tradition..definitely a Southern thing!


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