It’s Monday and you know what that means… MONDAY MUSE time! This week’s Muse is none other than the wonderful Elizabeth Ries, Co-host of Twin Cities Live and the Podcast Best to the Nest. Every day she openly shares her life on TCL and yes, she is that funny and quick witted. When you meet Elizabeth in person, she gives you 100% of her attention. She really wants to talk to you. Listen to you. Learn more about you. And she does it all without you even realizing you just spilled your guts out to her. She makes you feel like you’ve known each other for years and are just catching up after not seeing each other in a while. Besides her work on TV and Radio, she’s married, has 2 kids, 3 chickens, loves to grow and cook her own food, ride her bike to work (hopefully without crashing!), attend a multitude of events each week, and is also in the process of having her kitchen redone. Whew! I don’t know how she does it all and still stays so positive. Let’s learn more about Elizabeth!
Let's start at the beginning - what did you want to be when you grew up and why?
I wanted to work in television from the time I was 13. I loved the idea of live TV and getting to connect with people and share stories.
What inspired you to go into journalism?
I remember having a sort of lightbulb or a-ha moment when I was 13 — I was watching a newscast on TV and what a dear friend of mine calls “the still small voice” said, “I can do that.” It was this gut feeling. I listened and followed it. Along the journey, I kept meeting women who were strong, successful and smart who worked in this field and I knew I wanted to be like them.
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you balance it all and stay organized?
My times on the air are the non-negotiables — I’m either on the radio or tv at those times — but the rest of the day always looks different. I fit in shoots, commercials, meetings and more in between show times. I live and die by my calendar! Making sure everything is on the calendar is the only way I can keep things organized at home and at work. I heard someone say recently, don’t strive for balance because it’s impossible, work towards harmony in life instead. I think that’s really wise. I also try to understand that everything in life is a season. My kids won’t always need me this much, a busy week leads to a lighter week and there’s a lot to be grateful for
Tell me about your chickens? What inspired you to get them? How are they taking to city life? What does your dog think about them? Do they all get along? So many questions this could be it's own interview :)
We have three chickens right now – Emily, Chippy and Daisy and they are so much fun! I love to garden and the chickens came about as part of my mission to produce as much food as possible on my own property. At the time I lived in a house in the city on a tiny .13 of an acre lot. We’ve since moved to a house with a bigger yard and it’s so fun to plan out where the garden will go and how we can live off our land! Chickens definitely have distinct personalities and a pecking order within the flock. Emily is the bossiest of our bunch and tends to pick on Daisy. Chippy is a free spirit who tends to wander in her own direction! They are so calming to have around, I love hearing their little clucking noises and the way they scratch at the ground to find bugs.
What's it like sharing so much of your personal life with your viewers/followers? Do you have any off limits topics or areas that you stay away from or are you cool being an open book?
I really enjoy making connections with viewers and followers and sharing my life – both the great things and the hard things. One of the hardest days was talking about the death of my dog Henry (who’d been featured on the show for years!). He passed away on a Wednesday and it took until the following Monday for me to even be able to talk about it on the air. It was so hard – but I was just amazed by the outpouring of support from viewers. They sent me cards, stuffed animals and personalized items as a tribute to Henry and shared their stories of losing a pet. It was incredible to feel that support. It really reminds me that we’re more alike than we are different and that the more we share our stories, the better. That being said, I’m very conscious of what I share about my children. I don’t have a problem sharing times when I’ve been an imperfect mother, but I don’t share things that would make them embarrassed or open them up to criticism. And I have a very strict social media policy: if my family or children are criticized (even in a passive-aggressive way!) I hit the block button immediately. In order for me to continue sharing my life I have to feel like my social media community is a safe and supportive space. I think we should all use the block and mute buttons a little more often! Ha!
What’s the best advice you've ever gotten?
The best advice came early in my career from the main anchor at my very first television station in Duluth (shout out to Pat Kelly!). I remember receiving my first critical email from a viewer and he told me two things:
1) file that away in case the person continues to send messages
2) don’t take the nasty emails personally and even more importantly, don’t take the praising emails personally.
His message really resonated with me because it was a reminder that you can’t determine your self-worth based on what other people think of you, whether they like you or they hate you. Your self-worth is determined by you. That’s a really empowering concept and it’s helped me significantly throughout my career.
What would you tell your younger self?
You are just as smart as anyone you are interviewing! As a young news reporter, I remember being so nervous to ask people in positions of power or leadership questions. I thought they knew so much more than me. Everyone is entitled to ask questions confidently.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite restaurant in Mpls/St Paul – IN BLOOM
Coffee or tea – COFFEE
Fun fact no one would guess about you – I’M MORE INTROVERTED THAN YOU’D THINK
Early Riser or Night Owl – EARLY RISER
Dream Vacation -- ICELAND
Describe your perfect day – Wake up on my own time, solitude in the garden, cooking something amazing for my family who shows up in the evening.