Hey, Cool Mom! with Alexis Blake
Today, I’m proud to feature an awesome mom I’ve known for years, Alexis Blake. My sister met her in 2nd grade and they’ve been friends ever since. Anyone who’s known her awhile can verify that she’s just always been... cool. She’s got great taste, she’s quick-witted, she’s laid-back. Maybe it’s because she has two older brothers or because her mom’s a designer. Whatever the reason, she’s always known about the good stuff and, praise be!, she’s always wanting YOU to get in on it.
Nowadays, Alexis is the mom of two cool kids, she’s living in a cool city, and she’s sharing her cool know-how as an interior designer. In this edition of Hey, Cool Mom!, she’s sharing some of the ways she stays balanced, happy, and curious, plus some of the people, places, and things that inspire her.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Alexis Blake and I live in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m wife, mother and self-employed residential designer.
Describe your family.
I’m married to Dan Blake and we have two boys, Philip (3) and Christopher (2) and a huge Golden Retriever, Hillsboro (4). It’s a lot of male energy.
What do you do most days?
My boys go to school (yes, some say daycare, but these people are definitely teachers!) just down the street from us. While they’re at school, I work for myself as a residential design consultant (alexisgblake.com) providing services ranging from remodel game plans, custom furniture and built ins, purchasing punch lists and staging for realtors.
I pick up my boys at 3:30 and everyday is different, except Thursdays. On Thursday nights, Dan plays in a basketball league and Philip, Christopher and I have “movie night.” While we can really watch any age appropriate movie, my boys always settle on one of the Cars movies. I look forward to the day when we can all agree on a different one.
In my limited free time, I enjoy an occasional yoga class and sign up for weekly art classes provided by the city. It’s important to my health and patience which are both desperately needed when you have two toddlers.
Who/What is inspiring you these days?
I’m very inspired by all of the women and men who identify a need and are drawn to action. This is why I love reading Stay Cool, Mom! The post about the Chicago Period Project giving women the basic and necessary tools to experience periods with dignity inspires me to identify those opportunities for empathy and compassion, and act.
What books are you reading or wanting to read? Why?
As a lover of biographies, I have really enjoyed reading the Ordinary People Change the World series with my son Philip. So far, we have enjoyed the Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart and George Washington. I would like to expose both of my boys to the reality that all people have the capacity to be real heroes.
What’s your favorite song for 1) a dance party 2) feeling sad
This morning’s before-school dance party session featured Benjamin Booker ‘Witness’ and throwback Whitney Houston, ‘Your Love is My Love’.
My favorite song for a feeling sad is either Ray Charles, ‘You Don’t Know Me’ or Willie Nelson, ‘Always on My Mind’. I also love every album by The National which can feel a bit melancholy…but in a good way.
What artists or designers do you like?
As a big fan of Amy Sherald’s work and I love, love, love her recent portrait of Michelle Obama.
Justina Blakeney is the designer/ artist behind The Jungalow. Her cool yet playful interiors make me smile.
I went to college in Colorado and spent some time there afterwards. I always like to check out what the furniture designers at Double Butter in Denver are up to.
Whenever I am in Chicago, I visit my former employer/ favorite store The Golden Triangle for inspiration. Please repeat after me - “Antiques are cool, people.”
What trip are you planning?
I‘m actually leaving next week for a weekend in Austin, TX with my Dad. With so much going on with small children, jobs, etc., I’m so grateful my Dad and I are able spend this one on one time. We’ve rented a small house in the city, have tickets to the Austin Oyster Festival, will check out Dan Auerbach & The Easy Eye Sound Revue at Stubbs, dinner at Launderette, and a planned afternoon at The Contemporary Austin. I’m really looking forward to it!
(Alexis took this trip last weekend (and got to see the new Ellsworth Kelly structure at the Blanton Museum of Art)). Here’s a picture from the trip.
What clothes are making you feel good?
I love me a 10” high rise dark wash jean from Madewell because it really keeps everything where it should be.
My Sorel ‘Joan of Artic’ boots are totally functional in a Wisconsin winter and with the gripped sole and wedge, I feel a bit more feminine.
I’ve been rocking the headbands from Anthropologie this winter. My mom used to say that when I wear a headband, it looks I “may have been in the birth canal too long” but I’ve apparently decided that is the look I am going for.
I wear a lot of dresses and skirts but what I love about the winter is Spanx reversible tights. Creates a smooth line and they last forever. Actually, if it was socially acceptable, I would wear these to bed.
You go right ahead and wear those Spanx to bed!
And keep reminding us to start the day with dance parties. Thanks so much, Alexis!