Married with LuggageI have to hand it to Betsy Talbot of Married with Luggage for walking her talk.  She and her husband Warren have been downsizing for the last couple years so they can upsize their lives.   They are less than one year away from taking their long-awaited trip around the world.   Betsy will be first to report that it is quite a process to de-clutter home and closets, save enough money to fund the trip, and work through the many logistical details associated with taking a journey like this.  (Oh, by the way, Betsy wrote an e-book that explains how she and Warren saved enough money to take a year or more to travel around the world, and you can get your copy for free at this link.)

get known get paidTo celebrate her 39th birthday last night, Betsy hosted a “My Favorite Things” reverse gift exchange party during which she invited her best gal pals to bid on 39 of her most treasured possessions.  If more than one guest wanted the same item, they had to do a “style off” so the rest of the guests could vote on who wore it best.  The guests then modeled their selections to the beat of  “You're So Vain” and “Anticipation” by Carly Simon.  There were laughs and happy tears all around.

Betsy labeled all her favorite things with tags explaining the stories behind each item.  There were some pretty sassy, memorable stories, which I am sucker for — as you might expect. Sexy, high heeled black leather boots, a silk scarf from France, a red cashmere wrap from Italy, a multicolored evening jacket with Murano glass beads from Venice, and a perfect red wool beret were among the delights on display.   Every item went home happily with a new owner who will have a very personal keepsake to hold Betsy close to her heart as she travels around the world in less than a year's time.

Betsy TalbotIn this season of gift giving, I think Betsy Talbot has come up with a brilliant idea that folks around the world can enjoy, while bringing smiles all around. Thinking big and with some anticipation of my own, I venture to say that this is just the kind of gal pal gathering that Oprah Winfrey could celebrate as a new take on her very popular “Favorite Things” holiday broadcast.   I sense a new movement afoot in these demanding economic times that could really elevate Betsy's reverse gift exchange to a worldwide stage.

(Featured in this photo are Betsy Moore, Nancy Juetten, Birthday Girl Betsy Talbot, and Debbie Whitlock.  The “ladies in red” have Betsy to thank for their purchases!   Photo taken by Karen Rosenzwieg)

When that happens, we'll all have Betsy Talbot to thank.  In the meantime, I'll snuggle up in my new red cashmere wrap and happily wear the lovely necklace and earring set I chose from among Betsy's favorite things.  They are now my favorite things.

Be sure to visit Femme Finance, which is Debbie Whitlock's blog, for her take on Betsy's party.  Her blog post should be “live” by Wednesday, December 16.  She's also got a new radio show by the same name that you can enjoy on the I'm Thankful Network.

(Both Betsy Talbot and Debbie Whitlock are Publici-Tea™ graduates.  They make me so proud.)