Meet the brains and talent behind Totally Ready - Carolyn Nicolaysen and her niece, Nicole Beus Harris.
Founder and Teacher
Carolyn grew up in New Jersey where she loved baking with her grandfather, swimming, singing in school choirs, and visiting the Jersey Shore. Prepping was part of her childhood long before it was seen as a movement. This may have been due to the fact that her parents were children during the depression and remembered ration cards and lawns torn up to plant gardens.The food storage shelves in her childhood home always included her dad's favorite, cream soda -maybe the reason dessert are an important part of the Totally Ready food storage plan.
She attended college in Pella, Iowa where she earned a BS degree in home economics with an emphasis on foods and nutrition and a minor in science. She continued her education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
As an educator, Carolyn taught high school in California, served two terms as an elected trustee on her local school board, and helped write grants and curriculum for the school district.
She has taught personal and family preparedness for over 25 years. Having lived in areas where she experienced hurricanes, ice storms, and tornadoes, and now living in a flood, wild fire, and earthquake-prone region. Carolyn has developed a passion for readiness. Remembering playing games and eating treats in the basement as a hurricane roared above she understands disasters do not have to be as traumatic for families, especially children, when preparations are made and discussion had before an event.
She is a favored speaker at church and community preparedness events, does private consultations, and authors the Totally Ready website and Facebook page. Carolyn has also hosted a blog talk radio shows.
Carolyn is a licensed Amateur Radio operator (K6CJN) and has received FEMA first responder training.
Carolyn's eBooks are: Mother Hubbard: What She’s Doing Now: a guide to food storage in the 21st century, Prep Not Panic – Keys to Surviving the Next Pandemic, That Won’t Happen To Me, a discussion of disaster scenarios, Pack Your Bags We’re Staying Home, a guide to a stay at home vacation. She has also written a guide to be kept in your car for survival when traveling; Totally Ready for the Road.
In addition to her eBooks she has also written for several newspapers and currently writes a recurring column with Meridian Magazine.
Carolyn and her husband are the parent of four and grandparents of seventeen.
Nicole Beus Harris
Designer & Marketer
Nicole grew up in a family of "preppers" - it wasn't described as prepping, it was just having common sense and being taught to be self-reliant. One of her most vivid memories is the weekend that the family built a food can storage shelf. Her father was way ahead of the time in making sure that the cans were easily rotated by having the shelves slanted and cans would be loaded from the backside and roll to the front. Of course now people pay big money for pre-made shelf systems, but Nicole always sees her childhood rack as the best.
Other common sense parts of her upbringing included gardening and preserving food, knowing the basics of emergency automotive repair including, but not limited to changing a tire and belt, and skills like how to read a compass, a map, and being locationally and situationally aware of your surroundings.
Like most typical kids - she didn't listen or abide to everything, especially as a broke college kid and when times were good she sometimes didn't prepare for when things might be scarce. She learned a lot of valuable lessons from those life experiences and returned to prepping - including helping to run Totally Ready's social media and web presence.
Nicole's other background includes law enforcement and being a small business owner. Her company started with a focus on marketing and administrative services for sole-entrepreneurs and in 2011 she started a second focus of marketing for political campaigns. In 2014 she met her husband through work and they married in 2017.
She has one son at home, five grown step-children (3 married & 2 in college), and eight grandchildren. Nicole spends time in DC with her husband, as well as with other Congressional Spouses helping with service projects and events. She also spends a good deal of time working in her husband's Congressional District building relationships with constituents. She continues to work with her sole-entrepreneur & political clients weekly, and spends as much time as possible at home for her son and grandchildren.